Did anyone ever get lost in Ancestry.com?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I joined thinking that I wasn't going to renew it after the free week a bit ago, and then forgot to cancel it. So, I have an account which I was going to close today, but decided I would go and do a quick family tree before I did.

    I found the name that we lost when the family came from Austria. I also found how husband's mother really could be adopted. I mean, what man and woman are married in 1920 and have no children until 1939 whereupon they promptly move from Illinois to Oregon and spoil her to death? husband always said "No, my grandpa doesn't have any siblings!" I kept telling him that he must have had cousins. Somehow he can't figure that relationship out - with ANYONE. But the entire family is the spitting image of his grandfather. Sure as shooting, Grandpa's father had 3 sisters. They had children. Grandpa's Mother had a brother. He had children. And they were Irish Catholic as in her father was born in Ireland.

    So, 5 hours later, I got "I told you so!"
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I ended up having an identity crisis in my 60s! I found out that my paternal grandfather was the product of a first marriage to a Protestant. I was so shocked I was reeling. Every one in my family was Catholic, then I find out that dad's dad was from Kentucky, rather than Ireland. I had to be the one to tell my newly found cousin (found through ancestry.com) that his grandmother had been hiding this fact. It's interesting that cousin had always wondered why his aunt and his uncle never could get along. It was a blended family.

    I'm in a weird place when it comes to being an ancestor detective. My French Grandmother was a WWI bride, having met her US husband. I don't know her mother's family name, I once saw some letters of papal dispensation bearing a name starting with "de" which means they were nobility. I couldn't make note of the names. So sad that my interest in history didn't develop until I grew out of my youthful fog. I wish I could go back in time and interview all the old folks, what a treat that would be!
     
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I love ancestry.com! Done a lot of searching, found a lot of stuff...history is fascinating.
     
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Oh 3S, I wish too that I could be back and talk to all my old relatives who are gone now! All these things that I could have asked them back then are real mysteries now! I have gotten sooooo "lost" in Ancestry.com! I have almost 1,900 people in my "tree" now, and hundreds of pictures. Witz, it is so addictive! You solve some mysteries and create others! I've found out all kinds of things, and I've found out that some of the old family stories I've heard all my life are total BS!

    I love looking at the old handwritten census forms because they had so much information on the families, even what they did for a living and how much their house was worth! And it really lets you see how they lived back then ... young mothers dying in childbirth and babies and young children being lost to diseases that are easily cured with antibiotics now. I've found out so many things that I never knew because the relatives never talked about them. I always knew that my paternal grandmother had two brothers, never knew there had also been a sister and a third brother. When my grandmother was just five years old they lost her seven year old sister and one year old brother to diphtheria. I can't imagine being that age and losing the sister that was probably her only playmate and a baby brother, but it happened all the time back then. So sad! And I'm still trying to solve the mystery of my maternal grandfathers family. I knew that his mother (my great-grandmother) died when he was very young and his father remarried a few years later. And I remember his four older sisters, my great-aunts. I remember knowing them when I was a child. Turns out there was also an older brother who just seems to disappear in his late teens/early 20's. My grandfather never mentioned him. I did find someone with the same name who died in Germany during WWI but there is no way to know if it was him or someone else with the same name. And three of the great-aunts just disappear after their mother died, only to reappear years later under their married names. My grandfather was the youngest and he and one sister remained with the father. I can only assume that the older ones were farmed out to relatives. It really makes you think ... back in 1903, what would a working man with six young children to raise do when his wife dies? There was no day care, no welfare, no social security, no food stamps. People just did the best they could. He didn't remarry until three years later and it is this step-mother that my grandfather remembered as his mother. And there are a few other "relatives" that I can't figure out who the h*ll they were! The woman that my mother called her cousin, my godmother, although she was raised by one great-aunt, wasn't her bio-daughter and doesn't belong to any of the siblings! I have no idea who she was!

    The best part is when you connect with other people, even very distant ones, who have a lot of information and pictures to share. I connected with one lady, a real expert - her great-uncle was married to my great aunt, my grandfathers sister. She had tons of information I never knew and lots of wonderful pictures. She had a beautiful pictures of the great-aunt and uncle as newlyweds. I only knew them as very old people, couldn't even imagine them ever being that young! I also connected with another lady who has done very extensive research for years. This lady's husband's great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers. She never had that much information on our branch of the family though so we've been trading information and pictures back and forth for over a year! I've figured out that you can't just "dabble" in this stuff, it's just so addictive! And the more you find, the more you want to keep looking! Fascinating stuff!
     
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Another thing, it is very lucky if you're researching people that other people have done research on, some even putting stories in that are fascinating to read. It shows you just how different life was back then! The story I absolutely love was one about one of my paternal grandmothers uncles who lived on a farm in Iowa, near where my grandmother lived. This family had five or six sons, a blessing in a hardworking farm family back then, and finally, years later had one little girl. But she was sick and frail and she died when she was only four or five, leaving the family heartbroken. So the father wrote a letter to a senator that he was acquainted with, telling him that the family would like to adopt a little girl. This senator either went to or sent someone to an orphanage in New York and they picked out a little girl! And this child, just five years old, was put on a train in New York ALONE with just a note pinned to her coat with the name of her new family and the town they lived in and made the trip to Iowa! They picked her up at the train station, took her home, and she was their daughter! This would have been in the late 1800's. Can you even imagine something like that being done now? OMG! And decades later, when this girl was grown and married, it was her home that the father was living in when he died!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My great grandfather (dad's dad's dad) came over from Greece... married a woman, had 2 kids, she vanished. We don't know if she ran off, or he killed her (which would not be a surprise)... We don't know her name. I assume it must be on Grandpa's birth certificate, but...

    Now allegedly my Grandparents got a letter from some woman claiming to be Grandpa's mother, but Grandma said she was after money and destroyed the letter. I really don't know but darn it I'd like to!
     
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Annie, if you go back very far, there are no birth certificates like we have today. When I was searching for records on my grandparents generation, what comes up are handwritten entries in some type of log book kept by the city or county. And sometimes the handwriting is almost illegible. It usually has the date, the name of the baby, names of the parents, and their address. Since most babies were born at home, I guess it was up to the parents to have the birth recorded.
     
  8. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    If any of you can get a hold of your ancestors' death certificates and find that cause of death is hard to interpret, you can go to: http://www.antiquusmorbus.com/ it's a great resource!
     
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Annie, if you pm me with some names & Birthdates, I'll look.

    My maternal GM wrote a letter to one of my cousins in 1957 for a family tree project, which I have a copy of. It's a bit of a tangle because she spells names one way here and another way there. My paternal grandfather was born in 1849 and raised by his grandparents and there is no sign anywhere of either of his birth parents. You can see him in the 1860 Census at 9 years old living with his 73 & 69 year old grandparents. I have his birth date but can't find a birth certificate so I have no clue what happened. But their big family story is that his paternal grandfather Isaac Jackson was supposed to be a cousin of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. VMI tells me that they'd be happy to let me go to their library and research, but that's not exactly on my list of things "to-do".

    There is a DNA group that is trying to establish that particular family line. It's really hard to know more without knowing which of Isaac's many uncles were somehow related and which of his daughters married the man who gave my grandfather his last name. It could have something to do with the Jacksons being proud British and the others being Scottish. Unless the Jacksons were Scottish Jacksons. Or, it could be because our Jacksons settled in PA, and there was a little battle there with good results for them over the other Jacksons...
     
  10. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Ugh that site! LOL yes, I have gotten lost to it more then once. I joined it like you thinking just something quick and got sucked in. Ended up being on there for 3 months and built an extensive tree. Left it for another 6 months or so and then it called me back for another 3 months and I built on even more. I finally was able to tear away from it. It is very fun, very frustrating at times. More so when ancestry is over seas and records are in foreign languages or missing records, etc. Gets sooooo confusing when families are very large (when there is like 12 children and then you track each child and their children, etc). I am a 2nd generation to immagrants on 2 sides so that's why it's harder. My maternal grandmother's family immigrated from Scotland and my paternal grandfather's side immigrated from Germany. Then you add in a common last name (maternal grandfather) and it gets even wilder. Add in miss or changed spelling through immigration and wow! But I love a good puzzle and ancestry work is like a giant puzzle and you get drawn in so badly to fit all the pieces together and get them to fit and then you want to find "just 1 more piece" and then another and another and then you create a gap so you have to fill that one and.....well you get the picture. It's a very vicious cycle you create for yourself but geesh it's sooo fun and fascinating! I too have learned about stories, saw pictures and even learned about health situations that run in the family (including mental health!).
     
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Given all the different ethnicities in my family tree, not to mention migration patterns and other events, I would have no idea where to start. Add to that the fact that my mother's maiden name is about as common as "Smith" in her country of origin...and it just gets weird. I've never tried.
     
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    TR, in our family we have some VERY common names, too. You'd be surprised how many ways there are to spell some very common names. With husband, I found someone who has his first, middle (which is spelled in an unusal way) and last name born the same exact date as him a thousand miles away. on the other hand, I couldn't find hubby.

    The cool thing about it is that once someone has entered someone on the tree, you can hook into their info. So for example, if you can find the right "John Jones", then you find his wife and their children. From his wife you'll find their marriage certificate and from that you get birth info. Then you know who their parents are and you go from there. It's just lots of little clues.
     
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    One of these days...

    Actually, I'm more interested in doing that ethnicity tracing thing that they do on television. Where they analyze your genetics to sort out your origins. There have been so many generations of "blending" in my family that I'd love to know more about the different components.
     
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You can do that at familytreedna.com. It's not too expensive. This is the place where they are trying to find Stonewall Jackson's family line. Of course, your comment makes me thing of the white supremacist behind an initiative to turn a North Dakota town into a "white enclave" receiving some shocking news...
     
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Thanks Witz, I'll look into it.

    And yes, I read in the newspaper about the white supremacist and his background. What a hoot!
     
  16. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Trinity, right now ancestry is offering their DNA package for only $99. Not sure if that's within your reach but they just sent me an email the other day about it.
     
  17. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tia. I'll look into it. I'm not sure whether the sale will be available in Canada -- they often aren't -- but it's still worth a try.
     
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