Friday, August 29, 2014

No posts for today and Monday

Taking a break from Labor. Enjoy your Labor Day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Have you done your homework?

When resolving those brick walls that we all get in our genealogy a big mistake by many genealogist is not doing their homework, coming up with a plan and then following it. Genealogist spend a great deal of wasted time of not looking at the full picture.

The first step in resolving your brickwall is to determine what you are actually looking for with your ancestor. Make sure you are specific on what you are attempting to learn. Broad goals although helpful do not normally help in resolving brick walls. Evaluate what you have already found and where you have looked to resolve this problem. Don't assume you have looked at everything. Don't think you are the expert. When we do this it closes are thoughts to new sources. One example of this is Family Search that adds almost five million new sources a week.

Check to see what information is available to help you with your problem. Read on the subject on the Internet. Create a library of books that will help you in these situations. Attend local meetings and share with those in the group what you are dealing with. Watch videos or participate in online seminars. The chances for further learning are endless. It is also constantly changing. Don't assume you have looked everywhere. Educating yourself to new sources and methods is critical to your genealogy success.

Make a list of sources or records that you can consult to resolve your problem. Make sure you are able to find sources that help you. You won't find a vital record other than marriage in Ohio prior to 1850, because they just weren't kept. You are going to have to look in other sources. Cemetery markers, death notices, probate, guardianship and military records to name a few.

Put the problem away for a while a come back to it. In my own research fresh eyes looking at the problem allows me to look for new ways to resolve the problem.

Remember all the answers are not always on the Internet. Majority of records are still offline. Make a phone call write a letter. These methods still work and are often the only way to find new information.

Make sure to document what you have found and sources that you did not find the information. Many times records that don't make sense now will make more sense as we find more information.

More on this topic later. As always I look forward to your thoughts and ideas.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Italian ancestry in Ohio

Do you have ancestors that lived in the New York area? Great site I found.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Do you source your Genealogy? Why not?

A great problem in Genealogy is the inability by Genealogist of the present and the past to document their work. Without the ability to show on what you base your lineage you are failing others that may want to use your genealogy currently and in the future. Not to mention failing yourself.

In the past there has been a great deal of genealogy that has not been sourced. Just because it is in a book or magazine does not make it right. There are numerous examples of research that was wrong that was passed from one publication to the next. Eventually it was excepted as fact, because it appeared in so many different places. The saying use to go that a professional genealogist could have you related to anyone you want as long as you have the money. No George Washington did not have children.

The Daughters of the Revolution had this problem in their past and now face the challenge of correcting it. Many patriots were confirmed as such without documentation. Today to join you must document your lineage to the patriot. In many cases lineages that were accepted in the old days are now rejected due to lack of documentation and for being wrong.

Ancestry appears on the scene in the late 90's and has nothing to do with documentation. I am always struck by the number of lineages on Ancestry that have no sourcing what so ever. Then on top of it 100 people claim that lineage as correct based on what? Either we are to lazy to source or we don't know how. Not real sure which one it is or it may even be something else.

I run into people all the time asking me how do I get them to correct a record on the Internet. They become very angry and don't understand how this could be allowed to happen. Then they have no problem using a lineage that has no documentation as correct. What's wrong with that picture?

My advice for all of us is to document and source our research. Try to identify at least three records to prove each event and fact. Make sure the document you are using is the best available record to use as a source. Census records do not prove birth or locations. Bible entries do.

Today's computer technology allows us to do the sourcing. If you are on Ancestry or Family Search sites now allow you to source your material. It is even put in the proper format for you to enter in your genealogy program. Don't be lazy do it. Nothing is more frustrating than when you come back to line after not working on it for a while and you wonder, "how did I come up with that?". Imagine future genealogist trying to figure out the same thing. How did they come up with that.

As always I appreciate your ideas and input. Keep hunting.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why is sharing genealogy sometimes so hard?

I am always struck by in the process of researching your family it is often so hard to share information with other researchers. Numerous times in my thirty plus years of doing research I have come across other researchers that have information I would like to have and I am willing to share what I have. Then when I go to do it many factors come into play.

The first one that frustrates me the most is the large amount of dead emails. Don't know what we are going to do when the researchers are gone. Collaboration comes to a end. The ability to share records and compare notes is not longer possible. There are lot's of situations like this. Couple of examples would be on Rootsweb and Ancestry. Many have lineages that make sense and are something that I want to learn more about, but you get no response or the dreaded mailer demon. So very frustrating.

The second one is when you do get a response and you find they have based their family line on thin air. Beware the shaking leaf. Just because 100 people have confirmed a lineage without any sources does not make that family line right. It is sad to think the quality of the research is very low when you don't have sources. Some people have very good genealogies, but when you do not source it how are we suppose to trust it. Simple lesson here is don't trust unsourced work. Do your work and use sources.

The third problem is when you contact someone and they have lots of information and they do not want to share at all. I have an example of this in my own family. Cousins have inherited the family history items over the years, but do not share the same surname. My father and I have tried several times to set up a meeting with them. In one instance they canceled at the last minute when we were driving to their home which is over three hours away. Don't understand what they feel they have to protect. My fear one day is that it's going to run into people that don't know what it is and it ends up in the dumpster.

The fourth problem is when someone is out purposely changing genealogy or copying other's work. I heard of a incident recently where a person not even related to the people was copying their pictures on Find A Grave and then changing the names. Then the person would repost it so they had control. The ramifications long term make my head spin. What are future researchers going to do? Does this happen on Ancestry and other genealogy sites?

Would love to hear your stories on this subject. As always thank you for visiting.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Genealogy Field of Dreams

Over the weekend I watched the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner for the eleventh time. For some reason this movie always makes me cry. This is not normally something I do very often. Sure I enjoy baseball, but got me to thinking. Why do I watch this movie? Then it suddenly dawned on me is because I love Genealogy and my Family History.

The short version of the movie is the main character Kevin hears voices telling him to build a baseball field. He travels the country picking up clues as well as a dead baseball player who is alive. Finally once he builds the field all these dead baseball players come out of a corn field to play baseball. Those that believe can see it.

In my genealogy searches over the past 30 years I have often wished I had a corn field that my dead relatives would suddenly come alive. Oh how easy my brick walls would be to solve. Just think of all the amazing stories you could hear.

As genealogist we are all in the process of building our families stories for ourselves and future generations. Sometimes my research makes me cry as well, but I think that is part of the passion I have for what I do. Are corn fields are the many sources that we search that help bring our relatives alive in some way. Some better than others.

Do you have stories in your families search? Share them.

Thank you again for your support and as always please post your ideas and thoughts.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Family Search Online Databases

I am sure by now if you have read my posts you are aware of how much I like the Family Search Website. The records are fantastic and they are constantly being updated. They maintain the largest collection of genealogy information in the world.

You have probably used the standard search feature to do your research, but are you aware there are additional Collections that are not included into the standard search feature. It covers the world, but I am going to speak on what is available for the State of Ohio.

Currently on Family Search there are 27 collections that deal specifically with the State of Ohio. Make sure when you go to the search section that you click on the Collections tab. Once you get there you find a list of all the projects that have been done or being done by Family Search and their indexers. On the left side of the page you will see a list of regions in the world. Click on the United States. Then click on the state of Ohio. You will be on a page with the projects that have been done or are being done for the State of Ohio.

All the Ohio collections that have been completed are listed with total number of records and the last date that the collection was updated. The status of these collections can change due to more records being available for indexing. The second type of collection is one that is being actively indexed at this time and is not complete. In the records row it will say Browse Images and the last date that this collection has been updated. The collections that have a records total are searchable and will be in the regular search feature. The collections that list Browse Images has to be researched manually. This type of search is similar to what you would have to do in person except you are in your pajamas and it's two in the morning in the comfort of you own home.

The following collections I will highlight due to their importance to Northeast Ohio research.

Ohio Tax Lists- This collection has tax records for primarily the eastern half of Ohio. The records can run from 1803 to 1850. Works great when you are attempting to establish a timeline of arrival or departure from a particular area.

Cleveland Cemetery Records- This collection is from the Cleveland Public Library Collection, but makes it accessible online.

Cleveland Trinity Church Records- This collecting covers a long time period of history. Includes vital records that you may not be able to find anywhere else.

Cuyahoga County Probate Files- Records cover from 1813-1932. Awesome way to check for these type of records.

Ohio Probate Records- Runs from 1789 to 1996. Covers the majority of the counties in Northeast Ohio. Fantastic resource. Includes all type of documents related to probate.

Stark County Coroner Records- 1890-2002 If you had ancestors that died non natural causes this could be a gold mine.

Stark County Probate Records- 1886-1921

Stark County Court Records- 1809-1917 All of our ancestors at one time or another may have spent time in court. If it was in Stark during this time period great place to look.

Summit County, Coroner, Hospital and Cemetery Records- 1882-1949 Record source that is not normally covered by most genealogist.

Trumbull County Records- 1795-2010 All things non Probate.

Check these records out. Takes a little time but it is well worth it.

Please post your ideas and thoughts.