Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Jody, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Anyone use to search family history. This is something I find pretty interesting and thinking about working on. Any suggestions or ideas from anyone that has done this??? Thank you.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I've done a lot of "genealogy-ing," and have gotten pretty good results from ancestry. Another good source is, it's run by the Mormon Church and has a lot of good info.
  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I've got a subscription, tracked down my father's American family, will be going to visit them this Summer.
    I can help you if you don't want to pay the fee. I think that some libraries have and you can access it free there.
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've just gotten started on it about a month ago and I'm really getting in to it. I've learned quite a bit but I've run in to quite a few brick walls too! And I've found out that a lot of the things we were told about family history as kids was pure B.S.! Ours is complicated because most of the relatives immigrated from Germany after the Civil War, lots of name changes, lots of fathers and sons and grandsons with the same names! And I've totally lost three great-aunts, my grandfathers' sisters that I remember from my childhood! I don't know who they were, but if they were his sisters, they didn't live with the rest of the family. I can find them as adults under their married names but not as children. I love looking at the old hand-written census records and it's morbid but fascinating to look at the hand-written death records. So many young people who died, and so many that died of things that are routinely treated with antibiotics now! I think I've gotten addicted to it now!
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My great grandfather was discharged from the Civil War for "diarrhoea." I have copies of his discharge papers. Fascinating stuff.
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I knew my paternal grandmother had two brothers - I never knew either one of them but I had heard of them. It wasn't until I started researching that I found out that there had been two other children in her family and both died in the same year. When my grandmother was five, her seven year old sister died and also a baby brother. It's hard to tell exactly how old they were or if they died at the same time because it doesn't give dates, just the year that they died. I haven't found the death records yet (if there are any) but so many died back then of typhoid or diptheria or pneumonia. And I never knew that my father, her oldest child, had been named after this baby brother that died. I doubt if my father even knew that!
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I havent wanted to pay for it but I may do it now. I really want to learn some things.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I had a third cousin twice removed on my Father's side email me and ask for our family picture. Which I thought was pretty cool. Here was a weird story - since DF is from ND.

    Cousin says in conversation she was trying to find GGGpa in a place called (English) White Earth, N.D. In Sioux it's something I can't pronounce, but interestingly enough when I said it? DF knew EXACTLY where it was - only miles from his old homestead and sawmill in ND. It isn't on any map because it's basically a native burial ground or something. This was a 'key' to a part of something she needed to tie another part of the tree together on Dads side of the family as Blackfoot Indians kept very poor records but there apparently was something to do with the Sioux Nation and that was it! Had I not met DF, we never would have put this piece together. It was just weird to us.

    My Moms side of the family is so vast and scattered? I woudn't even begin to know Gma had 13 brothers and sisters living.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    One of our adult easy child daughters has gotten hooked. Evidently there is a television show that is dedicated to ancestor searching and she watches it religiously. She has located a picture of her great great grandmother who died at the age of 101. Wow.

    I did alot of genealogical research in the l960's. My Dad was bound and detrmined to trace the family tree back to the American Revolution so he could join the Sons of the American Revolution. Most of the research was done via written correspondence and supplemented by hiring locals in different places to check court house records and photograph cemetary stones. It was hard work and a tad expensive. He ended up being State President of SAR. As a result I joined DAR and served as President of the local chapter. It was quite tedius (sp?) and I am in awe of internet access that makes it so much easier. I think you will enjoy the challenge. DDD
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    One thing you have to be very careful of when using - what it shows on some records may not necessarily be true. It gets very tricky. You have to check and double check. The old census forms were handwritten and some census takers had better handwriting than others. And I assume that it was like it is today - some guy comes to the door asking questions and he wrote down whatever they told him, nicknames and all. My paternal grandmothers name was Mary Margaret. Some censuses show her as Mary, some as Mamie and some as Mayme. So if I was searching for "Mary Margaret", it wouldn't come up with "Mamie" or "Mayme". And a great grandmother on my moms side was named "Katharine" but different censuses have her as "Catherine", "Katy" or "Katie". And it doesn't help that all of them named their children after relatives so there would be two or three of them with the same name.

    Something else you have to be very careful of ... when you put someone in your "Tree", it will come up with hints to tell you that this person is also listed in someone elses "Tree" and you can connect with theirs and see what they have on them. But that doesn't mean that what they have is necessarily right - it could be completely wrong! It might be a close relative that you knew personally but only a distant relative that this other person knows nothing about! And when you search through the records, there's thousands of people with the same names! I've seen lots of them where people had been given a completely different set of children than what they really had, or people who were listed twice like they were two different people, once under their real name and once under the nickname.

    I was very lucky in that one of my cousins has done very extensive research on our grandparents ancestors so I copied a lot of mine from hers. And she has lots of old family pictures that I had never seen on hers and I also copied all of those.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    husband does a lot of genealogy. One thing you can say about the Mormons - their computer software for genealogy is the best.

    Accuracy is going to be a problem with any records. What people choose to record can be inaccurate for all sorts of reasons, from deliberate hiding of dates (my parents lied about the date of their marriage by a year to hide the fact that it was a shotgun wedding) to accidents (my brother organised the plaques at the crematorium and got the death dates wrong - swapped with the funeral dates).

    Other issues we've encountered - people who ask you to falsify or delete information because it is personally sensitive. For example, my adopted niece asked to have her adoption identification removed, she wanted to be shown as the natural daughter of my sister. husband had to be tactful and make a change to the file in front of my niece, then later on made a private note re-correcting the data but hiding it from a casual printout. Later generations will have the true record. Similarly, I have an uncle whose parentage publicly is one thing, privately is unknown but we have increasingly strong suspicions, now never to be confirmed except perhaps by DNA maybe. Only nobody is going to ask, because it would be his kid's DNA compared with our DNA looking for mitochondrial evidence. Which we know won't be there. Frankly, too much hassle for what would only hurt people. So some things you can never know, the best you can do is put in info as accurately as you can.

    Have you ever received genealogy info from someone, asking you to check it for accuracy, and found errors? This is the norm., like all other forms of information collecting (including church records and family bibles) is only as accurate as the hand putting the information in. You can send off your corrections, but how often have such corrections not been fully logged? Or someone accidentally digs out the earlier version? How often have you had to change your address or contact details on official correspondence when you could have sworn you'd already done it before? It's because there is always the human factor to consider. is good, we've been told, but we personally haven't used it. Too expensive and much of the information is out thee anyway, a lot cheaper. Anything that can afford the sort of advertising we're seeing, is making good money out of it. They need to pay for those ads. So we'll continue to stick to family records reinforced with copies of birth, death and marriage certificates (get scanned copies from family where possible) - otherwise known as "hatch, match and despatch".

  12. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    There is a 14 day trial for free. I signed up for that. They do not take any money out unless you, go past the 14 days. I am having a ball and learning so much about my family, way back in the 1800's. This is so much fun and just so interesting. I found Immigration papers on Great Great Grandparents, coming from Ireland. I wish there were more hours in the day, I am hooked. Going to try to do everything I need to in 14 days. Lol, I love the mormon record site too. Thanks for that information!!!! This is a fun hobby.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Grab what you can from it and be aware of the teasers. We stayed with my sister on our way home on Friday night, she said she joined and found the free period good but frustrating because it had limits that only go if you spend money. So get what you can while you can. You can also get a lot of this info for free or cheap, if you go direct. Increasingly, records are available online anyway. Find a family group (we are connected to an ancestral family group in the UK) and pool your information. It's what we did before existed, so now we don't need

    But wherever you find the info - always be aware that information is often incorrect because people lie.

    Something I strongly recommend - go to old family members and friends, record an interview with them about what they remember. Transcribe it. Pass the transcript around (with permission) and get more stuff added. We did this with elderly relatives in my family but started almost too late. Got a little more info than we would have. Some wonderful stories which should never see the light of day in an official publication - like the time my great aunt, at 15, was getting ready for bed with her sisters, all in nightgowns, and this particular one of the sisters (the pretty one) was "putting on airs and graces" and dressed up as the Queen with the eiderdown as a long train and the cast iron chamber pot on her head as a crown. Her jealous youngest sister rapped her over the top of the chamber pot which slipped down over her face and got stuck over her nose. They couldn't get it off, so had to harness the horse to the sulky, load the girl (in nightdress, wrapped in eiderdown) with chamber pot stuck on her head into the buggy, and ride the three miles to the nearest neighbour's so he could try to hacksaw the pot off her head. The story was told to me by my mother as a moral tale against pride. She also said, "Never tell your great aunt that I told you. She was mortified."

    Such stories are gold but are often lost. That incident would have happened in about 1900 in a tiny pioneer hamlet in the mountains along the east coast of Australia. Stories of goannas stealing eggs, tramps, bushrangers, droughts, floods and fire, as well as the daily slog to survive, did come down to us more publicly. The time the youngest and tiniest girl grabbed a shotgun bigger than she was to kill a five foot long goanna (large carnivorous lizard) that was stealing chickens and nearly got knocked over with the recoil. But she did it, was proud of it, until when her big brother came home form the field and examined the corpse, said, "Well, look at the big brute, You could hardly miss, could you?" and totally deflated her.

  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I was only going to get it for the 14 day trial too but I got hooked on it! Supposedly, if you go month to month, you can cancel at any time.

    I may be doing it wrong but if I try finding records from any place other than the Ancestry site, it's very difficult. Many states, counties or cities have sites where you can find records but you can't actually look at the documents, it's more for ordering copies of them, like if you need a copy of a death certificate or divorce papers and there's a charge for it. There's other places to look things up too but most of them require you to join and pay. I'm still having a lot of fun with it though and learning a lot of things I never knew before. I even found a copy of my grandfather's World War I draft card! I never thought about it before but he would have been the prime age to have been in WWI! But apparently he wasn't drafted because by the time the war broke out, he was already married and my mother had just been born!
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Even if you walk into the Births, Deaths and Marriages Bureau (hatch, match and despatch) or shipping records place, you often end up having to pay a fee to get copies. In these electronic times it's becoming faster, easier and cheaper.We've found our national War Memorial to be an invaluable FREE resource for us, with help available on request. Any website or organisation is still going to pass on to you, any costs they would incur on your behalf. They may pass these costs on with an added fee - I don't know. Once you get the hang of hat you need to do, you may find yourself more comfortable flying solo.

    With war service - go straight to your government's war records. husband has actually arranged to travel to Canberra for ours, he spent an entire day in their records room when we last stayed in Canberra with easy child & SIL1. He said the trip was very worthwhile for him. We have also found it to be a valuable family pilgrimage to go there, look around and learn. The displays are "something for everyone" regardless of age. But when checking out war records, be prepared for a lot of data to be wrong. People routinely lied about their age or birthdate in order to enlist, often while under-age. Paperwork often got misplaced or confused. But over time you can sort out a lot of this and you can find out other stuff your family member never told you. We found info about husband's father that surprised us - a possible indication of a suicide attempt soon after the war that seemed so unlike him - then when we learned more, years later, about his experiences, we understood how it could have been possible, and also understood why later in life he was so intolerant of mental illness. It was handled differently back then and he had probably been in a very dark place, not treated as we would these days, and never wanted to be back there again.

    ALso check out - family attics and shoeboxes with old birth certificates and death certificates. Old photos. Scan it all, store it on CD. Check the back of the photos for information, always write it down. My mother used to write on the back of photos, who was in them. Now she is gone, this is vital info. We can cross-reference to other unlabelled photos. Some of her old photos were little more than thumbnails. We have one photo, about 2" x 3", of her and my father "courting", sitting on the running board of what now is a vintage car. The inside of the car is in shadow, but when we scanned it and looked more closely, there in the car, uncharacteristically smiling (because she grew up in an era where you never smiled for photos) was my grandmother who I never met. My mother had always said she had a beautiful smile and it is a shame we have no photos showing her smile. But in this scan - there she is. Chaperone. Smiling, thinking herself unseen by the photographer. We found it 60 years after it was taken.

    Write this sort of stuff down. Organise family reunions, get people to bring their information and photos, bring your own cameras, laptops (with genealogy software), thumb drives, and their kids. Make sure people wear name tags and try to organise name tags with their branch of the family colour-coded or marked.

    These events can be fun. A special birthday or other event for an older family member can be the excuse. We had one last year, I saw cousins I haven't seen since I was tiny. One famous cousin has had a book published about his life. He died a few years ago, but his sisters brought a copy of his book. Another cousin is a prolific author of books on botany, he brought his most recent book to show us. A very modest man. he and my oldest brother talked for a long time and as I watched them I realised how much alike they are. I'd never seen them together, ever, even though my brother has seen more of this cousin over the years than I have. My cousin's father was my favourite uncle, I had a lovely time talking about his father with him.

    Go for it! The more you play with this, the more you find to do and the more you realise how important family history is, to the next generations.