Friday, January 27, 2012

Maybe, just maybe a Rose isn’t a Rose

Maybe, just maybe a Rose isn’t a Rose. She might be a Rosario. William could be Bill or Bud or Buddy or Wm. John could be Jno, Jonathan, Joh…. Thomas – well that’s Tom or is it? I’ve seen Tho, Thos. Well, you get the picture.

When searching for your ancestors sometimes even knowing their names does not seem to help! It depends on who recorded the records. I found a website (and I’m sure there are others) that has a list of alternates for names. also shows how some of these names appear in script in the records.

Finding your female ancestors can be even more difficult. Many women of Catholic European heritage were named Mary something and spent their whole lives being known by their middle names. The only records that would have their Christian names are the birth, marriage, or death records – just the ones you are looking for!

Another problem I’ve found with searching for women in newspapers is the more formal naming patterns. Many of my ancestors’ newspaper records show the women as nothing other than Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Parker or, if I’m really lucky, Mrs. James Parker.

Don’t forget that some of your immigrant ancestors may still use the “foreign” given name they were born with. Lewis could be in the very record you are looking at but he’s listed as Ludwig. Rootsweb has a great chart for researching foreign names across multiple countries and shows the name in different languages:

The results are shown as .pdf files and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (or similar software) in order to read the results.

Don’t give up!

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Genealogy Research on Sale Today

Genealogy is on sale.

Family Tree Magazine 10 year archive on DVD is down to $50

How about for $49.95 instead of $79.95 until the end of the month!

Celebrate Fold3's 5th Anniversary with a
Special Limited-Time Offer.

Join Fold3 today and Save $30

I did not want you to miss these great opportunities. Don’t forget that provides a full 30 day trial.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brickwall Resolutions

It’s a New Year and time to look at genealogy resolutions. Every year I go through what I’d like to accomplish with my family history research and then, when I review it in December – well, you know. What I’m going to do this year is be more realistic. Instead of saying “I’m going to solve some brick walls.” I will focus on one family.

I’ll take a look at the Beach family in New York City in the mid 1800’s. I’ll identify the siblings of my brick wall – Charles E Beach 1830-1889. I’ll find all the Federal and State Census records for his lifespan. I’ll record his address and look at historical maps (search for historical maps) for churches in the area that may have records. Some school records are also available.

The search produced an unexpected treasure trove of online historical maps from a special collection at the University of Texas – Austin library. When I tried the search from the library’s website I was stumped but Mocavo drilled right through the system and brought me to this page with lots of information.
Some of the maps online from Texas University Library
I’ll look at his occupation since many occupations are handed down from generation to generation. City directories list occupations, also. I use  to help find websites with these after I check  I’ll look at his children’s records, also, since many of these records may mention family.  has yearbooks online, too. I’ll search newspaper records for the area he lived and the area his siblings lived using I was surprised to see that visits from relatives were newsworthy in Fulton County New York’s papers

I’ll see if I can figure out which Charles E. Beach was a Civil War Veteran and which one was a deserter using or . I’ll find obituaries for the siblings and children; maybe one of them mentions a hometown.

I’ll refer to the state guides from Family Tree Magazine either from each magazine, the CD for state research, or the 10 year annual magazine collection. Good state resource lists are available in other books and publications, too:, , and The Red Book (included on some of the Family Tree Maker resource CD’s.) I won’t neglect county records and historical societies in my research.
Some of the state projects at Rootsweb
So, I wish each of you success in breaking through at least one brickwall this year. Break the project down in to manageable pieces and fill in the blanks as you go. Don’t spend all you time on one project but do allocate some time for a specific piece of the project.

There are many other brickwall techniques and step-by-step guides and I’ll provide more here as we go along.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 is a Great Year for Genealogy - 1940 Census

Oh, goody 2012 is going to be a great year for genealogy!

First the 1940 census will be released on April 2, 2012. YEAH! For all of us trying to put places together with our recent ancestors this is a great event. Please be aware, though, that indexing will not be completed for quite a while. This is not a small project by any means.

If you go to Google and search for “1940 census release date” this is just a few of the results:
 Extract of Google Results for "1940 census release date"
You will note that some of the normal subscription sites will be allowing access to the 1940 census for free. This is probably because it won’t be indexed. I noticed that Ancestry is permitting free access through the end of 2013 and can’t help but wonder if this is also the target date for indexing. Indexing is vital if you want to be able to type in search information like your ancestor’s surname, given name, or other vital information. Without indexing we will only be able to browse through the data. So, between now and April 2, 2012 I have some things on our “to-do” lists.

1.  Locate the people or holes in your research for 1940.

2.  Figure out what area they might have lived in.

3.  Figure out who they might have lived with.

4.  Use currently available documents to help establish residency.

a.  City Directories

b.  Year-Books

c.   Newspaper Articles

d.  Shared family trees

5.  Determine their census enumeration districts so you will be ready! I recommend the tools at:

6.  Sign up with one of the free sites to help index!

Family Search is constantly soliciting for people who would like to index records as are many lineage societies. Get a head start and index records now for other projects because when the 1940 census is released many of these other worthwhile projects will languish until the 1940 records are done.

The 1940 census asked LOTS of questions! The whole list is available at:

The one set of questions that struck me was asking for occupations for anyone over 14. I think asking any current 14 yr. old what his or her occupation is would be shocking. Some of the more helpful questions include (for women only): How many marriages? How many live births? And the very helpful question – What language was spoken in early childhood?
So - be prepared and
as always,
Happy Hunting!