Genealogy research

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Susan1, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Marilou

    Marilou New Member

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    With regards to siblings, census records help a lot, but not just census records, but wills and obituaries, etc. Solved a huge family mystery by getting the will/letters adminstration of one brother which included letters from another brother. The obituary of yet another brother included details of the family migration from the Niagara region of Ontario to Trafalgar Township to Essex County - again helping piece together another mystery.

    Church archives can be very helpful as well. The United Church of Canada archives in Toronto include records from many of the churches that amalgamated to become the United Church, such as the Weslyan Methodists. There are journals written by some of the old circuit preachers which include details of what life was like in some of the earliest communities. There are old tithe records, church meeting minutes, as well as a few birth/baptism records.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    When I was 10, I went to Europe with my grandmother and met many relatives. Of course, being the only kid and having grownups speak a foreign language around me wasn't that interesting. At one place, I had to go say goodnight to my ancient great grandmother every evening, and she would keep me in her sitting room for an hour going through albums and boxes of old photos.

    I couldn't get out of there fast enough as you might imagine, but what I wouldn't give now for just a few minutes with her. Her brothers and sisters are among the most interesting in the family tree to me now!
     
  3. jenlyon60

    jenlyon60 Member

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    And when you start looking at death records, remember a death record is essentially a secondary source. The person answering the questions may or may not know all the information being asked. Or may only "sort of" know it. That individual (the informant) may or may not be a blood relative, even.
     
  4. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

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    Very true! And once again it often depends on how the questions are posed by the person completing the death registration document or heard by the person responding. If, for example, they are talking to Johnny Doe about the death of his father Burton Doe and among the items required is the parentage of Burton, i.e. his father and his mother. I have seen any number of death registrations where Johnny has dutifully provided his grandfather's name but instead of his grandmother's name he has submitted the name of his own mother, i.e. the wife of the deceased.
     
  5. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    My great grandfather's death certificate has his parents listed as "unknown" Since his parents lived with them until he died (he died young), I'm not sure who the heck filled it out! And the birth date on his gravestone is off by a couple of years. I guess that sort of thing just wasn't as important to them.
     
  6. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

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    I heard a story just today about a couple whose birth dates on their headstone were deliberately erroneous. He was made a couple of years younger than he actually was and she was made a couple of years older. This was done by family members to hide the fact that they married (in 1907) when she was only 15 & 1/2 and he was a widower of 32.

    Apparently their marriage is still considered a "scandal" by some of their descendants more than 100 years later! Perhaps they should consider the fact that if they had not married there would be no descendants!
     
  7. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I just reviewed my family tree on geneology.com. There is a lot of miss-information even among the living.

    The keeper is my cousin who is a generation older than I, and whom I don't think I've ever met. He has added an extra child to my immediate family (apparently he doesn't know that Ricky and Frederick are the same person), there are not only numerous spelling errors, but the spellings are not consistent throughout. He also has a note that my sister-in-law was killed in a car accident so my brother must have remarried. My brother has been married to the same woman, and she was never in a car accident, so I don't know where that came from!

    The lesson is you have to review multiple records and go with the most consistent information.
     
  8. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    I ran across a family tree that had some really interesting goofs. There were two women with the same name in the area, my grandma and someone else--who was 80 years older than my grandma. This guy combined the two of them, even though the dates were an obvious give away, and then added some weird story that my grandma turned a hobo away from the house without food, the hobo cursed her and she had some strange thing happen to her. Yes, I contacted the person who had put up the tree (turned out this was the guy's sister) but I don't know if it was ever fixed. I was more amused than upset. And grandma always fed the hobos. :)

    She also ended up with more kids on his tree.
     
  9. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Naughty grandma...;)
     
  10. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah! :rofl:

    She was a fab lady--my uncle still says that he lucked out in the mil sweepstakes. :)
     
  11. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Replaced the display under my name

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    I am lucky in that I had 3 relatives very interested in genealogy, one of whom has since passed away, who created extensive records and shared. The one who has passed away made several trips back to Holland to research records and being as he was from Canada, served in WWII and that there is such a close and warm connection between the Dutch and Canadians stemming from the liberation of Holland, he had people there who couldn't do enough to help him with his research.

    For many cultures family names are certainly repeated over and over. It was helpful to know that first son born was named after the father's father, second after the mother's father, etc. Both my mother's grandparents came from families of more than a dozen children. Not only that but a number of siblings from each of their families married each other so just imagine how many kids ended up with the exact same first and last name. I know for both my mother and her brother they were identified by given name and then father's name to differentiate. (E.G. Mary, Uncle John or Peter, Uncle Jake. The girls were able to escape this a bit once they married and took on their husbands' last names. Looking at records their middle names could be an important clue, but back in Holland that wasn't a great help because often they had no middle names. It would appear at one point the government charged extra to register middle names so only the rich paid for that privilege. Once the family was in Canada they went nuts with middle names so many have at least 2. The other thing that happened is that many were known all their lives by a unique variation of their legal name, or even just by a nickname that stuck and bares little resemblance to their real name. (One of my dad's brothers hated his given name so much that he actually adopted the nick name of an uncle, which is used amongst family members, but was mostly known by a different nickname in his work life. It's to the point that when I introduce him to outsiders I let him decide which name to use :D

    Some of my grandparents siblings did not come with their parents. In my grandmother's case some of the oldest were already established and didn't want to come. In my grandfather's case it was actually the oldest who emigrated first and brought most of the rest of the family over later, including parents. However one sister was refused passage when medical screening determined her to be ineligible at the last moment. Since everything had already been sold up and all their money spent on passage for the whole family, they hadn't much choice but to continue so she was left behind with other family. I can't imagine the shock they were all in over that turn of events.

    Another reason dates can be off is simply that many home births were not registered right away. I think my mother told me she was 6 months old before she was documented. I am sure the further you go back, or the more rustic the local, the more often that type of thing happened. I can see how the registration date and birth date could become confused. It is also my understanding that in some Catholic cultures it was more important to "assign" a Saint to a child and often they would celebrate the Saint's day instead of the child's actual birth date. Does anyone know if that is common?

    I also find it a bit amusing that the lady who stopped researching when she uncovered the lack of a formal marriage in the family's past. Depending where they lived and how far back you go, common law marriages were very common. Sometimes only the more well to do formalized their arrangement.
     
  12. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Or just families for that matter. My family does this, and has for quite a while. My GG Grandmother's maiden name Marshall, it is my G Uncle, and a cousin's first name. One of my brother's middle name King, was my Paternal Grandmother's maiden name, my cousin's middle name is my last name, and both of my nephews have middle names that are family names as well, and etc. It's unique to them, and it makes a nice line to the generations before.

    The first names can be confusing. We have a plethora of James' in our family. So, my GF went by his shortened middle name, Wilf, my dad was Jim (except to the older family members who called him Jimmy), my brother was Jimmy, and my cousin was referred to by our side of the family as Cousin Jim (last name), which is what their side of the family called my dad - Cousin Jim (last name), which is funny since they both had the same last name!


    I recall - and I could be wrong, that sometimes births were not registered until after the first year because so many infants died before then.
     
  13. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    Wisconsin did not require birth, death and marriage certificates to be registered until 1908. These documents were registered before then, but not always. Depending on who was in charge of it, and how conscientiousness they were. Even after, things always didn't get recorded. My mom had to have an amended birth certificate filed in 1942 during WWII because her birth wasn't registered--and it was a fairly large city too. Her older siblings had birth certificates (although her one sister was "baby girl") Her dad and uncle did have birth certificates, but that court house had burned down, so they had to have amended ones as well.

    Things can really get interesting if you are looking up families with Norwegian heritage. Surnames can drive you right round the bend. I only have to deal with Germans!
     
  14. jenlyon60

    jenlyon60 Member

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    Many states did not require birth registration until the early 1900's. For Virginia, it was around 1912, although here was some limited birth registration at the county level before that. Same with death registration...not required or enforced for a long time. People just had a coffin made and buried their loved one in their church cemetery or a family cemetery.
     
  15. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    I got lucky on one hunt--there was a person in the county who collected all the obits he could--as far back as he could, and indexed it. He left to the local Mormon church's research center, and they have maintained it since. It was very complete and I was able to find some family information where there was not a death certificate.
     
  16. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Oh yeah. I'm partly Norwegian and do you take your fathers name (patronymic) so you are Ericksen, or the town you're from? Mine were Aasbe - which is a place name, which was changed to Osby in the US. And that's an incredibly simplified version. Although they don't do it any more.
     
  17. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the Norwegian way of doing names drives me up the wall. My part of the family used the surname from wherever they lived... and they moved quite a bit, so it's super hard to trace if you don't know where they were before. Luckily, once they came to America, most of them kept the name of the last place they had in Norway and didn't change it once they got established here.
     
  18. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, patronymic--and it used to be the women too. When I did the quarterly magazine for our genealogy group, we has a special section that listed names from the wedding registry at the court house from the 1800s. There were quite a few Petersdaugthers, Nelsdaugthers among the women. One of our members wrote an article about tracing her husband's Norwegian line that had to make you laugh--his greatgrandfather and his brothers all changed their surnames about three times each, and not one of them ended up with the same one.
     
  19. Marilou

    Marilou New Member

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    This is SOOOOO true. My husband's heritage is Norwegian and I had pretty much given up learning anything about the family before they arrived in Iowa in the 1880s. However, a woman who had seen my "limited" tree on Ancestry, saw a name that was familiar to her and contacted me. Long story short, it turned out that her gg-grandmother and my husband's gg-grandmother were sisters and she was able to direct me to the sources I needed. We now know where the family came from in Norway and are able to trace back many generations on some lines. Sometimes you just need a break and to get your info out there. You never know what might happen. :)
     
  20. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    County Cork sounds right, but it might just be because that is the only one I am familiar with. And my dad's father's name WAS Bill Murphy (William J. Murphy). He was born here though. If I was a boy, I was going to be named after him. Don't remember at all what my great grandfather's name was on the birth certificate. Do you have any relatives who moved to Dayton, Ohio?????? Oh, just remembered, there were some cousins in Winchester, Indiana............

    (And I did reply to your PM, other Susan!)
     
  21. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    I wasn't planning on making this my life's work or anything. My aunt and I were talking about not knowing things about the past and I thought I could find out a little something online. But when you see wrong information and dead ends, it's disappointing. Maybe someone in the family will take it up sometime. I don't have any children to pass the information down to anyway.
     
  22. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    "back then" I could understand, but 2007? The hospital had all the ID information, etc. And I was there. The death certificate that I have is correct. Where in the world did this website get Champaign County. The death cerificate is typed. Montgomery County is plain as day. Miamisburg, Ohio. There's nothing typed in any of the spaces around there that even starts with a C. Champaign County is not even an adjacent county. The oncologist who signed it is also from Dayton. And my whole point is if they can't get something right from 5 years ago, how can you trust something from 105 years ago? 50 years from now (heck, next week), someone would not be able to connect my dad to any family because his birth year is wrong and his county of death is wrong.
     
  23. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Hey, just tried to do one tiny little thing - I know what year (1958) and where my dad's dad died and is buried (right here in "the Burg"). There is no record? I even gave them +/- 5 years. Not Helping! Ha - maybe he's listed in Champaign County too???????
     
  24. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

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    Where are you searching, Susan?

    Not all official records are available online.
     
  25. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Before I read the rest of the posts since I last wrote, thought I'd let you know that I did much better with my mom's side of the family (even though I was really more excited about my dad's Ireland side).

    I got back to my great great grandparents during downtime after lunch today - both from Luxembourg!!! And a possible connection to a great, great, great grandfather - still researching.

    It's much easier at work with the faster internet speed and bigger monitor. But we got a new project at 3 p.m. so I emailed stuff home. I can try to continue this weekend.

    Now, why can't I find the right Murphys?
     
  26. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    But I was thinking last night, that these cousins were on my dad's mom's side - not Murphys.
     
  27. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

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    Not aware of any relatives in OH. Ireland to Stamford, CT.
    We do have a lot of Bills, including my dad, brother, great uncle, second cousins etc.
     
  28. jenlyon60

    jenlyon60 Member

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    Here is a rather difficult to believe death certificate from Mercer County WV

    http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1036181&Type=Death

    Yep, 122 years old according to the death certificate. In the 1920 census, his age is listed as 120. In the 1910 census his recorded age is 69. In the 1900 census his recorded age is 60.

    I reckon he probably was actually born around 1840 (i.e. the ages recorded in the 1900 and 1910 census were fairly close to accurate). No idea how/why he suddenly became 50 years older in 1920 and on his death certificate.

    I ran across this a couple years ago when I was going through Mercer County death certificates looking for individuals who had moved there from Southwest Virginia (where my Mom's family is from).
     
  29. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    I'd be interested to see what the 1900 census says... this particular census year lists the month and year of birth for every individual. This is the only census so far that gives that much information about age, and it's super helpful, because as it's been noted, just giving an age leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Wish the other censuses had those columns.
     
  30. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Yay a genealogy thread :cheer: I started mine about 5 years ago and only had some old documents on my Father's side to go on. Within a week I had found a lady in Indiana who is my second cousin and she had been researching my family for over 20 years but had no details on my Father's side of the family. So I was able to fill in the gaps for her and in return she handed over a copy of her family tree which traces my Father's family back to the 1600's. Genealogy jackpot within a week.

    My Mother's family has been much harder work and I'm glad of it, but I've gotten back as far as the 1500's through one line. It does help that both sides of my family had unusual surnames and that they pretty much stayed in the same little villages and towns for multiple generations.