Showing posts with label Find A Grave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Find A Grave. Show all posts

Monday, October 30, 2017

Family History Month: The "M" That Wasn't


My brain was out to lunch the day I found "Maggie" Steiner's marriage to Mr. Sutherland. They were married on November 2, 1884, in Wyandot county, Ohio, where other Steiner relatives lived. Maggie was hubby's great-great aunt, not very close, so I wasn't planning to spend a lot of time researching her and her family.

The transcription/index of their marriage said the groom was "Morris M. Sutherland." A really quick look at the righthand side of the original document* (above) seemed to confirm that, so I typed in Morris and moved along.

That was then, this is now: I've been linking more and more of my husband's Steiner ancestors in Find A Grave, part of my Genealogy Go-Over. But I was stumped about this couple's death dates and burial places. No Morris to be found. Huh?

Retracing my research, I brought up the image of their marriage record. This time, I looked carefully at each instance of his name, which appears three times on the document.

Two of the three times, he's named "Norris M. Sutherland." Only on the right side is he called "Morris." Ooops.

As soon as I changed my search to "Norris M. Sutherland," he and Maggie popped up all over the place. I've submitted edits to Find A Grave, linking her to her parents and to her spouse's real name, Norris.

Lesson learned: Read the original thoroughly the first time, carefully, to save time later. And resolve any conflicts the first time, by double-checking with other records and sources.

*You always look at the original when the image is available, right? Don't trust the transcription or index alone. Here, I looked at the original but only for a moment--so don't make my mistake. Examine the original with care!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Family History Month: My Favorite FREE Genealogy Sites

I admit to playing favorites! My three favorite free genealogy sites are Family Search, Heritage Quest, and Find a Grave. I use all three nearly every day. Especially if I'm researching someone new to my tree, I'll check all three to see what I can find. 
  • FamilySearch.org - Not only does this comprehensive site have an incredible amount of information available for free (registration is required to view some images), the scanned images are also different quality than on other sites. If I look at the scanned Census on some other genealogy site and it's too light to be read, for instance, I can click to Family Search and see a different scan of that same Census. Even vital records scanned and posted on Family Search are often of different quality than from other sources. Case in point is the marriage license of hubby's maternal grandparents, Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948) and Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). I paid for a copy nearly four years ago--then it turned up, for free, on Family Search three years ago. And the free copy was better quality than the paid copy! Plus Family Search's indexers may transcribe a name or place differently than the indexers used by other sites. This means I might find someone on this site after striking out on another site.
  • Heritage Quest - Many libraries offer cardholders free access to Heritage Quest from home. And it's a gold mine, not just for US Census data (including special schedules like the veterans schedule) but also for Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land records, Freedman's Bank Records, some immigration and naturalization records (newly added), Social Security Death Index, and much more. Ancestry "powers" Heritage Quest, so I suspect we'll see even more content available in the future. Remember, the scanned images and indexing is not the same as on other sites. No wonder I check here when I can't find someone or an image elsewhere isn't clear enough for me to decipher all the details.
  • Find a Grave - So many volunteers who create memorials and post grave photos on this site go above and beyond. It's always worth checking for an ancestor on Find a Grave because we may get lucky enough to see a death cert along with a memorial, or a transcribed census record, or a photo. I've been on a mission to indicate relationships on all of my ancestors on Find a Grave, linking parents to their children, for instance, as well as spouses to each other. Although I always double-check anything I find on this site, it's very helpful to see the relationship links and any additional details posted by volunteers. Gives me clues when I begin researching someone I don't know!
For more posts in my Genealogy, Free or Fee series, see here.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sympathy Saturday: Linking Farkas Siblings on Find a Grave

It's taken a bit of clicking to link my maternal grandma (Hermina "Minnie" Farkas Schwartz) to her family on Find a Grave, because she had so many brothers and sisters.

Now, thanks to the other contributors who accepted my edits, Grandma Minnie shows up with her parents, spouse, children, and siblings.

So many people use Find a Grave for genealogy research that I wanted to be sure my Farkas family was not only completely represented on this free site, but also linked to each other.

It's one way I honor my ancestors and share a bit about them with future generations.

For more ideas about sharing family history, please see my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tuesday's Tip, Genealogy: Free or Fee, part 7--Redo Your Searches (Again)

Doing my Gen Go-Over, I've been rechecking dates, places, and relationships on my tree and my hubby's tree.

I can't check every ancestor every week or even every month, but I redo searches of my direct line (and my husband's) at least every year just in case.

In many cases, I find new data has been posted since my last search. More than once, I've broken down a brick wall by retracing my steps and redoing my searches, no matter that I'd used the same sites and strategy a year earlier.

Among the free sites, I usually begin with Family Search and Find a Grave, because so many new records are posted on these sites, week after week. Also, I'm on a mission to link my ancestors on F-A-G so others will be aware of the parent-child-spouse relationships.

Recently I redid a search on Find A Grave for my husband's McClure family. Up popped this memorial for great-great-aunt Adaline. The kind volunteer who posted the memorial did his own research to uncover her obit and explain her name. Having these details gave me new clues to trace the McClure family's spread from Ohio to Michigan. (Of course, I submitted an "edit" for relationship linking to parents.)

After finding Adaline on F-A-G, I looked to the left of that screen and clicked to "Find all Cooks" in the same cemetery and county. That's where I located Adaline's husband's first family, all linked to each other but not to Adaline (until I submitted the edit).

As an Ancestry subscriber, I redid the search there too and immediately, a few new hints popped up for Adaline and her husband. It's like priming the pump: You can get the hint system working in your favor by browsing the "dormant" parts of your tree every now and then.

In addition to sites mentioned in parts 1-6 of this series, here are more sites to try during a Do-Over or Go-Over. Admittedly, searches sometimes wind up on a paid site, but you still may learn enough from previews to continue the search on other sites if you're not a subscriber. Good luck!
  • Family Tree Magazine's 25 Best Genealogy Websites for Beginners is a mix of free and fee. From this list, one site I particularly like is Chronicling America, with free access to newspapers from 25 states. 
  • Family History Daily's 50 Free Genealogy Sites includes must-see megasites like Cyndi's List plus more targeted sites like Fulton History, which allows searching through New York-area newspapers. Fulton History has yielded news and social items for several folks in my trees.
  • The US government has a page of genealogy links to sites like state archives listed on the National Archives page. Worth a look - click around to see what states you want to search.
  • Don't forget Steve Morse, and his one-step webpage links for searching Ellis Island and Castle Garden, state and federal records, and much, much more. (This site alerts you when the results of one-step searches lead to fee-based sites, by the way.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Pvt. Harvey Heath Larimer

On January 31, 1865, my husband's 1st cousin 4x removed, Harvey Heath Larimer (1848-1893), enlisted as a private in Company C of the 151st Indiana Infantry, signing up in Peru, Indiana, close to his birthplace. He was days away from celebrating his 17th birthday. He enlisted at the same time as his older brother, Jacob Wright Larimer (1846-1876) and they served side by side during the Civil War.

Harvey served in the Union Army for less than 8 months and was discharged in Nashville, TN, in mid-September of 1865 (along with his Brother Jacob). Harvey was in and out of the home for disabled war veterans later in his life and finally died of heart and lung problems in the Indiana Sate Hospital in Lafayette on November 18, 1927.

Harvey has been memorialized with a Find A Grave page detailing his war experience. I am requesting corrections and links to add to the F-A-G information about his life and family. This is my way of honoring Pvt. Harvey Heath Larimer, who enlisted on this day 152 years ago, and preserving the history of the Larimer family. I'm also editing relationship links for his brother Jacob Wright Larimer's F-A-G page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Jacobs in the Plungianer Unterstutzungs Verein plot

Pauline Jacobs, daughter of Joseph Jacobs and Eva Michalovsky, was buried on the last day of 1907 in the family's plot in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens. Joseph Jacobs (1864-1918) was my great-great-uncle, brother of my paternal great-great-grandma Rachel Shuham Jacobs (?-1915). Pauline would have been my 1st cousin, 2x removed.

Both of Pauline's parents and my g-g-grandma Rachel are also buried* in the plot of Plungianer Unterstutzungs Verein (Plungianer Support Club). Others on my father's side of the family were born and brought up in or near Telsiai, Lithuania.

The Plungianer Support Club is listed in the American Jewish Yearbook 1900-1901 as a New York-based organization, and it was incorporated in 1890.

There were two such organizations in Manhattan, listed on the Ackerman & Ziff Family Genealogical Institute pages. More research is in my future to learn about these groups, which may still have records in existence at Jewish genealogical societies.

Name: Plungianer Unterst├╝tzungsverein
Address: 26 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Borough: Manhattan
Associated Towns: Plunge (Lithuania)



Name: Plungianer Unterst├╝tzungsverein
Address: 66 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002
Borough: Manhattan
Associated Towns: Plunge (Lithuania)
*PS: I just linked Pauline with her family on Find A Grave. Every time I post for Tombstone Tuesday, I'll make sure I've edited those relationship links. It's a good way to keep up with my resolution to flesh out the Find A Grave memorials for ancestors. I previously linked everyone else in Joe & Eva's family, but Pauline slipped through the cracks.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sorting Saturday: Great-Aunt Dora Mahler's Birth Date

I'm still working on my Genealogy Go-Over, and looking more closely at my father's Mahler ancestors.

As shown above in the 1900 Census, my paternal grandmother (Henrietta Mahler Burk) was one of 7 living children of Tillie Jacobs Mahler and Meyer Elias Mahler.

The next-to-youngest girl was my great-aunt Dora Mahler, born in July 1893, according to this 1900 Census. Alas, I never met her, but she is fondly remembered by one of my 2d cousins.

Despite looking in New York City birth indexes and searching in Family Search records, I can't find Dora's actual birth certificate. When was she really born?
  • The June, 1905 New York Census showed Dora as 11 years old.
  • The April, 1910 US Census showed Dora as 15 years old.
  • The June, 1915 NY Census showed Dora as 20 years old.
  • The January, 1920 US Census showed Dora as 24 years old.
  • The June, 1925 NY Census showed Dora as 30 years old.
  • The April, 1930 US Census showed Dora as 35 years old.
  • Still searching for her and her Mom in the 1940 US Census.
  • Social Security's records show Dora's birth as July 11, 1894. But then again, her name is listed as Dorothy Lillian, not a name she was ever called in the family.
After Dora died on June 9, 1950, probably of heart failure, her brother told authorities that Dora was about 44 years old, pegging her birthday as July 11, 1905. Nope, he wasn't even close.

Dora is buried at Beth David Cemetery on Long Island, NY, but I haven't yet ventured out to see her grave (nor is she in Find A Grave or on Beth David's grave locator). So for now, I'm going to say Dora's birth date was July 11, 1893. Until new evidence emerges!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: The McClures, Wabash Pioneers


Benjamin McClure and his wife, Sarah Denning McClure, were named as pioneer settlers of Wabash, Indiana, as noted in this excerpt from History of Wabash County. These are my hubby's 2nd great-grandparents. "Uncle Benji" helped found a church and was a civic leader in Wabash for many years.

A couple of years ago, I put the woodcut of "Uncle Benji" on his Find A Grave memorial page. Sadly, I have no similar image of Sarah (other than her gravestone).

The wonderful folks at the Friends of Falls Cemetery have been posting census data and doing many links to help connect the relationship dots in Find A Grave. They originally created this page for "Uncle Benji" and I want to say thank you!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Genealogy Resolutions and Results, 2016-2017

Looking back on 2016, I accomplished a lot. At right is a snapshot from my Find A Grave contributor tools page, in which I more than doubled my statistics from this time last year. Every trip I take to a cemetery, I take a hundred or more photos of surrounding graves and add them to the memorials, helping others find their ancestors' final resting places.

Of course, these numbers don't reflect the dozens and dozens of edits I've made or requested to link and correct ancestors' memorials from my tree and my husband's tree. This was my #1 resolution from last year and I feel good about my progress (even if it much of the work was crammed into the past week).

My favorite accomplishment of this year (and every year) has been meeting cousins in person after finding them through genealogical research. In fact, it was quite a year for cousin connections. In January, after I met a Farkas cousin of mine in NYC, Sis and I took a fun field trip to meet more Farkas cousins and reunite with our Burk/Mahler first cousins. Later in the year, I met several more Farkas cousins (including one across the pond). And I spent five days with a handful of Chazan cousins in Manchester, England. More cousin connections are in the works for 2017.

In 2016, I wanted to submit testimony to Yad Vashem about my great aunt, Etel Schwartz (a sister to my maternal grandfather, Tivador Schwartz). She's one of the two ladies in the big-brimmed hats in the photos above, along the banner of my blog. My cousins and I are having trouble determining who's who in the few photos we have of the Schwartz siblings, and we don't know Etel's married name. But I will submit what I know in 2017, even without a photo, to keep Etel's memory alive for future generations.

An ongoing resolution is to "tell the stories" and I'm continuing to do that, formally and informally, during meetings with cousins and at other opportunities. At top is a photo of me all dressed up in a bow tie and shirt with the stern face of Benjamin McClure, my husband's 2d great-granddaddy (he's also my FB genealogy persona).

I wore this shirt on Halloween when making genealogy presentations, and my family got a kick out of it. It's a different way to spread the word about an ancestor's life and times. Also I told some stories and featured ancestor photos in my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past. More stories and T-shirts are in the works for 2017, maybe even a new book.

Carried over from 2016, I'm still trying to pierce brick walls about my father's Birk and Mitav ancestors in Lithuania and continue looking for the origins of my husband's Larimer-Short-Work families, originally from somewhere in Ireland (north, most likely). So 2017 will be another busy and productive and exciting year!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sorting Saturday: The 1924 New Year's Day Marriage of Ethel and Clay

Because of my 2016 resolution to continue linking ancestors to spouses, parents, and children on Find A Grave, I've uncovered all kinds of interesting info. Above, last night's find, which probably has a fascinating story behind it. Let me explain.

I was busy linking all the children of my husband's great-grandparents, Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest, including their fifth son, Charles Augustus Wood (1862-1895). After finding Charles on Find A Grave, I researched his wife (Martha Ellen Hale) to link her.

Then I continued down the rabbit hole for another hour and looked for their children on Ancestry, Family Search, and F-A-G. (Lesson learned: Now I always have three windows open when researching to check those three sites simultaneously.)

The only daughter of Charles and Martha was Carrie Ethel Wood (1888-?). She married Clay Harry Focht in December, 1908. After nearly 15 years of married life together (and two children), they divorced on November 10, 1923. Somehow, one of them convinced the other to try again.

Clay and Ethel took out a second marriage license on Christmas Eve, 6 weeks after their divorce, as shown here. They married on New Year's Day in 1924. And a few years later, they had one more child together. Why they divorced, and why they remarried, I don't yet know. (And by 1940, he was living separately and said he was "single" again--his death cert says he was divorced.) It's quite an unexpected find as a direct result of doing research to link people on F-A-G. For which I'm grateful! And now future generations will know more about these ancestors.

Happy new year 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Fleshing Out Find-a-Grave Memorials

Find A Grave memorial for my great-grandma in Mt. Hebron, Queens, NY
Over the course of four years, I've sent 93 edits to Find A Grave, for memorials that others were kind enough to establish for people they don't know--my ancestors. Every one of these generous volunteers has made my edits, for which I am truly grateful. And I'm thankful for the many volunteers who have posted or taken photos, especially valuable for Jewish genealogy.

Now I'm continuing my resolution to keep family history alive by fleshing out the Find A Grave memorials. Descendants may someday go searching for these people's burials, so I want to include more detail for the benefit of these genealogists of tomorrow. The more they know, the more they can pass to the next generation and beyond.

This new year's resolution (expanded from my 2016 resolution) is to:
  • Link my ancestors to each other, wherever possible, so their relationships are clear. Above, I finally linked 10 children of Lena Kunstler Farkas* and Moritz Farkas to each other. One of their children is missing from the list because I haven't yet located her final resting place. 
  • I also linked spouses of these adult children to each other and in the next generation, I linked children to their parents. (I'm still working on this step for the main branches of hubby's family tree.)
  • I'm going to be adding or completing birth/death dates and places, as well as correcting spellings.
  • I'm already adding brief bios or excerpts from obits, omitting the names of living people for privacy reasons. Ancestors were more than just names and dates and relationships. If I can mention occupations or other snippets, these memorials become that much more meaningful, IMHO.
Thanks again to Find A Grave volunteers!

*Elizabeth Handler suggested I include the translations on F-A-G. A great idea. Lena's gravestone says she's the daughter of Shmuel Zanvil.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Finding Great-Aunt Nellie's Gravestone

No tombstone photo for Tombstone Tuesday, but instead, a story about a favorite great-aunt in my hubby's family. I found her tombstone only today on Find a Grave, nowhere near where I expected to find her.

Rachel Ellen Wood (1864-1954) was one of 17 children in the Wood family of Toledo, Ohio. When she grew up, married, and moved away to Chicago, she remained an important part of the glue keeping the next generation in touch.

For every holiday, she would send her many nieces and nephews postcards with a loving message. She signed her cards from "Aunt Nellie," as she was affectionately known in the family.

Here's a Halloween greeting she sent to her middle nephew in Cleveland, asking whether he was still taking violin lessons (the answer was yes, at least at that point).

Until today, I hadn't been able to find Aunt Nellie's final resting place. But because I wanted to write about her, I did a bit more searching. I knew she died in Chicago. Turns out she wasn't buried anywhere near there.

I shouldn't have been surprised to discover, after trying a few different searches, that she was buried in the Wood family plot of Forest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio, where so many of her siblings were laid to rest.

The Find a Grave listing shows her as "Nellie Wood" but the photo shows her name as "Nellie Wood Kirby" and includes the inscription "Sister." RIP, Nellie, a beloved sister, aunt, and great-aunt in the Wood family, and be assured I'll ask for the memorial to be edited on your behalf.  PS: Find a Grave is updated!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Statistics

Feeling good about my contributions to Find-A-Grave over the past nearly four years. I still have 25-30 more photos to add from my most recent cemetery visit.

Of course there are still dozens of my own ancestors to link together as parents/children or spouses on Find-A-Grave, so that future generations will see the relationships at a glance. I've started this process but won't be finished for some time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Two of the Four Markell Brothers

In the ongoing saga of locating members of the Markell family (who married into my Mahler family), I finally checked out the headstone of Philip Louis Markell (1880-1955) to learn who his father was.

Thanks to the friendly folks at Tracing the Tribe, I confirmed that Philip's father's name translates as Yochanan Avraham, as shown on his stone at left. 
 
Philip's older brother is Barney H. Markell (1874-1944) and his stone (in a cemetery hundreds of miles away) says the father's name is Elchonon or Alchanon Avraham. Barney was the father of Joseph Markell, who married my great-aunt Mary Mahler.

One younger brother is Samuel Markell (1885-1971), who died--I believe--in Massachusetts. He's not in Find A Grave or the Jewish Online Burial records, so I don't yet know his final resting place. 

The other younger brother is Julius Markell (1882-1966), who died in Brooklyn, NY. So far, I don't know where he's buried and can't yet compare his father's name with that of Philip, Barney, and Samuel. The saga continues!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Operation: Picture Me Finds Capt. Slatter's Resting Place

Hubby's great uncle, Capt. John Daniel Slatter, died in Toronto in February, 1954. I have numerous obits of his illustrious life as the beloved bandmaster of Toronto's 48th Highlanders Regiment for 50 years.


But none of the tributes mentioned where the good Captain is buried. So as part of my Genealogy Do-Over/Go-Over, I reached out to my friendly contacts at the 48th Highlanders Museum in Toronto, which hubby and I visited in 2014.

Dave, the wonderful museum volunteer and prolific Find A Grave contributor behind Operation: Picture Me, dedicates himself to locating and posting photos of Canadian military personnel who died during wartime, as a way to honor their memory.


 Not only did Dave immediately search for a funeral notice for Capt. Slatter--stating that the burial would be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto--he also posted it on Capt. Slatter's Find A Grave page.

Then Dave went to the cemetery and photographed the Slatter family's headstone, front and back.

 Thanks to Dave's kindness and dedication, the family now can see the final resting place of Capt. Slatter and his wife Sophie Marie Le Gallais Slatter, plus two daughters (Edith Sophie Slatter and Bessie Louise Slatter), along with son Albert Matthew Slatter and Albert's wife, Maude Mary Hutson.

To Dave and Operation: Picture Me--please know how much your efforts are appreciated!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Genealogy Resolutions for 2016 and Genealogy Connections from 2015

Sent to Wallis W. Wood from Aunt Rachel Ellen Wood Kirby, 1914
Thank you, dear cousins, for making 2015 another year of genealogy connections. I am grateful to so many cousins and family friends for their friendship and help in tracing our Birk/Burk, Chazan, Farkas, Kunstler, Jacobs, Larimer, Mahler, Mandel, Markell, McClure, McKibbin, Mitav, Roth, Schwartz, Slatter, Steiner, Waldman, Weiss, and Wood ancestry. Sharing memories, photos, and documents brings our families closer together and brings the past into focus for all of us!

As of 1/1/15, my activity on Find a Grave
My genealogy resolutions for 2016:
  • Continue posting grave photos to Find A Grave. Whenever I visit a cemetery, I photograph as many graves as I can on my way to and from the sections I'm seeking, and around the graves I visit. So far, I've posted just over 800 grave photos. 
  • Continue linking family members and posting brief bios on Find A Grave. Not only will this help cousins to understand the relationships, it will also provide hints to other researchers who are looking for members of these family trees. Admittedly, it's a bit of cousin bait that I hope will connect me to more cousins.
  • "Tell the stories" and identify more ancestors so that future generations in my family and hubby's family will know the names and places they come from. Every St. Patrick's Day, hubby's family gets a card from me listing their Irish ancestral names. Every year, I remind them of their Mayflower roots--which were once known in the family, I'm sure, but forgotten over the generations. 
  • In 2014-5, I created several brief "memory books" about my Schwartz, Burk, Wirtschafter, and Mahler families. Also, I created a photo book of my parents' wedding, so all descendants would know who's who in each photo and have the story of their courtship, which started with a matchmaker aunt from each side of the family. Next, I'm continuing to digitize family photos and organize them, along with names and dates or occasions, so these details will be available to future generations.
  • I will memorialize great-aunt Etel Schwartz by adding her to Yad Vashem's list of Holocaust victims. I have her photo, I know a little about her, and I don't want her name and face to be forgotten. Ever. 

In the never-ending ancestor hunt, there are--as always--a number of specific genealogy mysteries I want to solve in 2016:
  • For the umpteenth year, I'm looking for the origins of hubby's Steiner and Reinhart families. They came to Ohio in the early 1800s from Pennsylvania. Where was their ancestral home, Austria or Germany or Switzerland or another part of Europe?
  • I'm still tracing the Roth family's connections to my Farkas family, and looking for the link to my Waldman and Weiss cousins. Getting closer!
  • Still searching for the exact relationships in the Mitav and Birk families from Lithuania that led my grandpa Isaac and his siblings Abraham, Nellie, and Myer to  New York City. Getting closer!
  • This year I'm focusing on hubby's Larimer/McKibbin connections because these will help me zero in on the part of Northern Ireland where they originated.
  • Still looking for the ships that brought my Mahler great-grandparents (separately) to America in 1885-6.
  • When and where did hubby's grandpa James Edgar Wood divorce his 2d wife Alice? And what happened to his 3d wife, Caroline?
Happy new year to all.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Participating in Find A Grave Meetup Day from Home

Tomorrow is the day Find A Grave has asked volunteers to photograph headstones at local cemeteries or fulfill photo requests from its site.

Since I can't be out in the field photographing, I'm going to be participating from home in my own way: By going through my family tree, person by person, and adding everyone to Find A Grave--as well as by linking family members according to relationships. I want to honor their memories and also make it easier for cousins and family researchers to figure out who's who.

Here, for example, is the memorial page I set up for my mother, showing relationship links to her parents on Find A Grave.

The more links, the more opportunities to be found by genealogists and cousins!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Spotting Mr. & Mrs. Work's Tombstone in the Background

Hubby's Larimer ancestors are somehow related to the Work and Short families. I know a few of the connections (from newspaper stories about their reunions a century ago) but not how they originally came together (in Northern Ireland, most likely).
 
Months ago, when I was working on hubby's Larimer line, I went to the Findagrave page for his 3d great-grand uncle, Wright Larimer, son of Isaac Larimer and Elizabeth Woods Larimer.

In one of the two photos on that page, I happened to notice a tombstone for Samuel M. Work and his wife, Catherine Ray Work. (My red arrow shows what I saw in the photo.) I intended to do more work on the surname Work (pun intended).

In low-tech fashion, I e-mailed the link to myself and tagged the message with the color I use for genealogy. And moved on to other things.

Today I was clearing out old e-mails when I spotted that tag, clicked on the link, and investigated. Clicking to see all "Work" graves in Bethel Cemetery in Bremen, where Wright Larimer is buried, I found 23--including Samuel, who's shown in the background above. There are many names of people who I've listed in the family tree but haven't yet fleshed out or traced back to their birthplaces.

Thanks to this Findagrave photo volunteer (who I thanked), I have lots more leads to explore in Ohio and Pennsylvania as I search for the Larimer/Work/Short families' entry into colonial America and their original homes in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 10 Genealogy Lessons Learned in 2014 - Part 2

More lessons learned from my genealogical adventures in 2014. NOT in priority order:
 
5. Be prepared when visiting or calling cemeteries. With an alphabetical listing of surnames printed from my gen software, I made several cemetery visits this year to eyeball burial sites. Most cemeteries were kind enough to do lookups or give me detailed plot maps, which I compared with my alpha list to be sure I visited as many family graves as possible. Also, I photographed hundreds of stones near my family's graves for two reasons: In case I later learn that they're in-laws or other relatives, and to post on Findagrave for the benefit of others. Not being able to visit certain cemeteries, I've called and asked questions--and found out that, for instance, Rosa Markell (marker at left) was originally buried in one plot but was moved to another when her stone was erected. Lesson: Do my homework before making a cemetery visit, have names/dates in hand, have a camera handy, show appreciation to cemetery staff, and follow-up by posting and/or correcting on Findagrave.

4. Dig deep for resources at the local level. At the start of this year, I followed the URL on the Emmet County Genealogical Society's bookmark (which I received at a FGS conference) and unearthed a goldmine of info about hubby's McClure ancestors--details that don't show up in an ordinary Google or Bing search. A new link on that site leads to online newspaper archives at the Greenwood Cemetery in Petoskey, Michigan, a potential source of obits and other info about the McClures. I also made small donations to county gen societies in exchange for receiving photocopies of surname info in their written files, and will follow up other local resources such as land-office info. Lesson: List the counties or county seats where ancestors lived and search out those genealogical and historical societies.

3. Mine newspapers for every scrap of info. Accessing newspaper databases, I've obtained dozens of obits and marriage announcements this year. I look for each person's obits (or engagement/marriage) on multiple days (often there are two obits, on day of death and on day of burial) and I search multiple news sources (both town and county-seat newspapers, for instance). Some newspapers printed much more detailed obits or wedding announcements, including the full names of out-of-town guests who are relatives! Obits and wedding announcements are also valuable for noticing who is NOT listed. Lesson: Keep plugging in those names, analyze every name/location mentioned, and be flexible about spelling and dates.

2. Context counts. Because I created memory booklets about my maternal and paternal ancestors this year, I did a lot of research to understand why and how they did what they did (leaving the old country, traveling from or to a certain port, settling in a particular area, etc). World history and hyperlocal events definitely influence individuals: My grandparents fled pogroms and persecution in Eastern Europe, along with millions of other immigrants who sought a better life in America. Names, dates, places, and relationships are data points that must be linked by stories of why and how--and that's why context counts. Even the context of a century-old photo makes a difference in telling the story. Lesson: Time-lines and family trees must be analyzed in the context of what was happening at the time.

1. Never give up! This is a lesson reinforced every time a distant cousin finds me via my blog or Facebook or Ancestry or Findagrave and we exchange info. Luck plays an important role in genealogy. We just never know when a vital scrap of knowledge will pop up and solve a mystery that's stumped us for years. Lesson: Life in the "past lane" requires patience and perseverance. Plus good records so when that key item drops into my life, I can put my hands on the rest of the puzzle pieces and figure things out.


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Graves and Obits Online


Joe Beine just tweeted that his online searchable death indexes are up. Although some are fee-based, these links are very helpful. Find A Grave is another site that has helped me locate hubby's relatives in Ohio, complete with photos of cemetery and plots. So grateful for these online resources that allow research from anywhere.