Your Family Ebooks Catalog
V Learning to recognize the records your family left You may be one of the fortunate persons who lives in the same county where your family has resided for more than one or two generations. If so, you may be surprised that within your family's own county, there are a number of repositories to assist in your search. You will familiarize yourself with the records your family could have generated in the county in which they lived. If your family did not live in the same area in which you now reside, consider making a trip to where your parents and grandparents lived most of their lives. Some of your family's records will be in their original form in the courthouse. Some, however, have been abstracted and published those you will find in the library. Also in the library might be items that are originals scrapbooks, photographs, and others.
In this book we take you step by step through the process of genealogical research. You'll learn the techniques and resources to track down the information about your family's unique history. The paper mountain that grows from your research will be tamed in Part 5, Making Sense of It All. This includes the sound practices of citing your sources and some techniques for writing your family history. You don't want just the dry dates of your ancestors' existence. You want to wrap them in the history of their times, so that they come alive to you and others. And, we'll help you over, under, around, or through the brick walls that every researcher hits.
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When meeting a large group of your family for the first time, ask each to sign a Trip Memories book for you. This would include their full name and address. You then have a way to get in touch with them later. If they add the names of their parents, it will also help you in identifying their branches as you become familiar with the family.
You will find opportunities along every step of the search to bring history alive for you and your family. The search is not about collecting names. It is about identifying, with certainty, each of your ancestors and learning enough about their lives to connect you to them. When you read a will written in 1715 and realize what few possessions they had and how they parceled them out, you will understand their lives of bare necessities. When you find the 1850 inventory of an estate that lists shoemaker's tools, you will realize that your shoemaker grandfather was following in the family trade. Opportunities to know your ancestors are endless. Enjoy them at every step of the search.
As you learn the techniques of tracing your family, you can examine various documents to assist in determining if a family tradition is correct. The tradition that your family was related to President Adams or to Jesse James can be confirmed or discarded after a step-by-step process to prove the family's lineage.
A good reason to check out distribution maps is that you can use them to identify potential geographic areas where you can look for your family during the years covered by the site. This is especially true for maps generated from 1850 and 1880 Census data. For example, we generated another map on the Abell surname for the 1880 Census. We discovered that the name appeared more frequently in six states than in the rest of the country. If we hit a wall and can't find additional information online about a particular individual or the surname, we know we can start looking at records in these states to find more clues about families with the name and hopefully, by doing so, we'll find our branch.
For example, Matthew used his great-grandfather William Abell because he knew more about that side of his family. His grandmother once mentioned that her father was born in Larue County, Kentucky, in 1876. This gives him a point of reference for judging whether a site has any relevant information on his family. A site is relevant if it contains any information on Abells who were located in or near LaRue County, Kentucky, prior to or around the year 1876. Try to use the same technique with your ancestor. For more information on how to extract genealogical information from your family to use in your research, see Chapter 2.
Having trouble selecting a name Why not try one of your grandparent's names Using a grandparent's name can have several benefits. If you find some information on an individual but you aren't sure whether it's relevant to your family, you can check with relatives to see whether they know any additional information that can help you. This may also spur interest in genealogy in other family members who can then assist you with some of your research burden or produce some family documents that you never knew existed. With a name in hand, you're ready to see how much information is currently available on the Internet about that individual. Because this is just one step in a long journey to discover your family history, keep in mind that you want to begin slowly. Don't try to examine every resource right from the start. You're more likely to become overloaded with information if you try to find too many resources too quickly. Your best approach is to begin searching a few sites until you...
Faded and hard to read, once deciphered, those old letters can capture a bit of your family's life. A letter written to a sister in 1855, My wife Mary died and I have no one to help with the little ones can you come and help for a while or We just arrived at the mines in Placerville, where the people are fighting for a spot to camp., written from California in 1850, points you to events, locations, and individuals to find. It will be frustrating when the letter is written to Dear Sister, or Dear Son with no further identification of the recipient. But as the search progresses, the identity may emerge. The names within the letter then become valuable new leads.
Membership in these organizations has grown and flourished currently there are hundreds of such groups. Some have published their member lineage records. If you suspect someone in your family joined such a group, obtain the society's address and write for the member's application.
Interviewing your relatives is an important step in the research process. They can provide family records and photographs, give you the dirt on other family members, and identify which other people would be beneficial to talk to about the family history. When talking with relatives, you want to collect the same type of information about their lives that you provided about your own when you wrote your biographical sketch. Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all good candidates for information sources about your family's most recent generations. Talking to relatives provides you with leads that you can use to find primary sources. (For more information on primary sources, see Finding primary sources in the preceding section.) You can complete family interviews in person or through a questionnaire although we strongly recommend that you conduct them in person. For an example of a cover letter to send your family asking for an interview, go to the...
When you begin your research, it is helpful to transcribe all the documents you find relating to your family. The practice will assist you in becoming familiar with the old handwriting and will help you learn to recognize common phrases in similar documents. As your familiarity increases, you can switch to abstracting the documents except in selected cases.
Inevitably a time will come when you need to visit public (and possibly private) libraries in the areas where your ancestor lived. Although local history sections are not generally targeted toward genealogists, the information you can find there is quite valuable. For example, public libraries often have city directories and phone books, past issues of newspapers (good for obituary hunting), and old map collections. Libraries may also have extensive collections of local history books that can give you a flavor of what life was like for your ancestor in that area. And, of course, some libraries do have genealogy sections that have all sorts of goodies to help you locate records and discover interesting stories about your family. For a list of libraries with online catalogs, see The Library Index site at www.libdex.com .
There are times when dealing with all of the different record sets and methods of researching your family can be overwhelming. On such occasions it's nice to be able to sit down with people who have similar experiences or more knowledge than you and discuss your research problems. One place that you can find such a group is your local genealogical society. Genealogical societies hold periodic meetings that focus on particular research methods. Some also have weekend seminars where they bring in genealogical lecturers to address topics of interest to their members.
You probably already discovered that taking notes on little scraps of paper works adequately at first, but the more notes you take, the harder the time you have sorting through them and making sense of the information on each. To avoid this situation, establish some good note-taking and organizational skills early by being consistent in how you take notes. Write the date, time, and place that you do your research, along with the names of the family members you interview, at the top of each page of your notes. Then place those notes into a binder, perhaps organized by family group. This information can help you later on when you return to your notes to look for a particular fact or when you try to make sense of conflicting information.
Next, the testator would make specific bequests, usually starting with charitable gifts and then proceeding to members of the family and friends. It is this information that makes wills such an important source for family historians, as you can find out the circle of acquaintances, favoured children or siblings or treasured possessions or heirlooms - some of which may still be passed down within your family.
Your local library's reference department may have a collection of current telephone directories covering the whole United States, or at least a few states. List the relatives who may still be living, and spend an evening at the library. If you cannot find the specific person you're searching for, list all those by the surname in the area you believe the person lived if the list is not too lengthy. For common names such as Smith or Jones you'll need to narrow the list by looking for familiar family given names. Prepare a letter giving some details of your family and your purpose. Send it to each. If the phone book does not provide the ZIP codes for the addresses, check the library while you are there for their ZIP code directory. You can also obtain the ZIP codes through the Web site Look for other Web sites or services that provide names and addresses (including ZIPs). Some provide it at no cost others have a fee.
After you generate a research plan (see the preceding section, Planning your research, for more information), you may need to fill in a few details like dates and locations of births, marriages, and deaths. You can collect this information by interviewing family members and by looking through family documents and photographs. (See Chapter 2 for tips on interviewing and using family Get Started in Genealogy Some tips on how to start your family tree research
Consider joining the genealogical society in the county in which your relatives lived. As a member of that society, you will have privileges. You may find an interested volunteer who will assist you. If the organization publishes a newsletter, ask them to publish a notice in their query section. One of your relatives may even be a member of the society. Many societies solicit family charts from members. Ask if they will search those charts for others working on your family names.
As your search progresses, you will constantly discover new ways in which you might locate living relatives. A letter written by a descendant may be part of the military pension file in the National Archives, and provide you with a location of family members. The state may maintain a statewide property index, and allow its search. The voter registers may be open to the public. The possibilities are endless. You will be thrilled when your scouting turns up the people you have been seeking. Every success will energize you, and will make you understand the satisfaction of following clues. You're now on your way to the same addiction afflicting the rest of us
Although they collected notes on family members and old photographs for many years, it wasn't until 1990, while living and working in the Washington, D.C. area, that the Helms began seriously researching their family lines. Upon returning to central Illinois in 1994, the Helms found themselves with limited historical and genealogical resources for the areas in which their ancestors lived. It was then that they jumped into online genealogy.
Multi-language support is an important feature of Family Tree Builder and affects almost every page of the application. Therefore before diving into the program's functionality, this important topic should best be understood. You may skip this part if you intend to use English only for your family tree. But if you are interested in our unique capabilities of building a family tree in multiple languages, or viewing it in one language while entering data in another, read on.
To enter the complete information for your first family, you may click on the additional tabs and fill in additional information about this family, such as specifying some children in the Children tab. Click the OK button and the main family in your family tree will be added.
By the time that you have information on a few hundred people, it will become nearly impossible to keep all of those ancestors straight. To make life simple, family historians use charts and forms to organize research and make findings easier to understand and share. Some examples include Pedigree charts that show the relationships between family members, Descendant charts that list every person who descends from a particular ancestor, and census forms in which you can record information enumerated about your ancestor during particular years. Some of these charts and forms are available online at sites like Genealogy Today at
Take with you the names, dates, and locations of your family members who resided in the county. Your goal is to find their birth dates, marriage dates, spouses, and death dates as starters. This helps in documenting the line, in establishing that you have the correct lineage. Stay alert for records that mention the churches they attended or their religion. (Knowing that, you can later determine if the church had records naming them.) A record showing where they were buried can later supply you with further leads. Each of the major events in their lives may have associated records that can help identify to whom they were related and reveal something of their lives. Your purpose is to find everything there that could bear on your family. Nothing is too insignificant to note. Be sure to write down fully in your notes the day of your library trip, the name and address of the one visited, and in which book or file you found the information. You want to be able to find it again. In the...
Many counties have projects to preserve information on their earliest settlers in what is commonly called Old Settlers' files. These may consist of recollections of descendants, biographies, or even taped interviews. Examine them for entries for any of the surnames of your family who resided in the county. Note also the name and address of the persons who submitted the information they may be alive or might have family still living. Contact with them could yield some wonderful memorabilia.
Even if you can't find any surname-specific sites on your particular family, you still have hope This hope comes in the form of queries. Queries are research questions that you post to a particular Web site, mailing list, or newsgroup so other researchers can help you solve your research problems. Other researchers may have information that they haven't yet made available about a family, or they may have seen some information on your family, even though it isn't a branch that they're actively researching.
It's extremely easy to add new individuals to your family tree. In Figure 9, below, you see the result of data entered in the First Family page. Figure 9 The first family in your family tree, shown in Family Tree View Figure 9 The first family in your family tree, shown in Family Tree View
It is unlikely that within a county, the city directories are all housed in the same repository. In mid- and large-sized communities, each has its own library and maintains a set of its own directories. Once you have established where in the county your family lived, determine if the town has its own collection. These directories will not only place your ancestors in the county or town at specific times, but may lead you to the old home, perhaps still standing.
Clubs, lodges, and fraternal organizations may still hold records of your family. Some have national headquarters and will answer inquiries if an SASE is included. The published county history, previously discussed, may give some information on the organizations that existed when your ancestors first lived in the area. Determine if any are still in existence.
No matter how good the index, some mistakes are made. If you don't find your family on a particular index, do not assume they are not on the census. They may have been missed in the indexing, alphabetized incorrectly, or you may be looking in the wrong geographic location.
Your computer is a valuable tool in researching your family history, and we want to help you make the most of it. The issue 21 CD brings you a great program for using with your digital images. Easy Mosaic 5.06 Home is full software for the PC enabling you to turn your collection of digital images into fascinating mosaics. Plus we have The Army List 1832 - very handy for those looking into military ancestors - along with some interesting Essex resources. If you're reading The A-Z of Genealogy Websites book included with this issue and want to visit any of the sites without having to type in those long, confusing addresses, don't worry, all the links are provided here.
P The term et al is shortened from et alii, a frequently used legal term meaning and others. When you encounter it in an index, pursue the full record to determine the names of the additional individuals. Often they are family members. Also seen frequently in an index is et ux., shortened from et uxor, meaning and wife. An examination of the document will probably disclose her name.
In our case, the results page contains two individuals named William H. Abell. One died in Larue County and the other in Jefferson County. The location seems right for the William from Larue County. We check the death date, September 7, 1955, and the age, 82, both of which are consistent with what we've heard from interviews with family members. The database also supplies us with the record volume number and certificate number, which we can use to obtain a copy of the certificate.
Since only the head of household is actually named in the censuses of 1790 through 1840, it isn't possible to determine with certainty which are family members. Some of the others listed by age may not be part of the immediate family. Another relative or a helper could have been living in the home.
Obtaining census records starts to lay the foundation for the documentation you will build on your family. By comparing the listings in the various census years, you can reconstruct a fairly accurate list of the family members and the places in which they lived. You can even determine something about their background through questions on naturalization or military service. You will get further insight as to their worth, those in the family with afflictions, and other details. Always get all the available census records for your ancestors, not just one or two. Every listing is a potential source of important leads and will help build that solid, documented line for you. For additional reading, consult Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, Chapter 1.
I always feel a thrill when entering a courthouse. It never diminishes. There is excited expectation of what might be on the shelves or stored in a dusty attic. Walking up the stairs, worn with the steps of those who have entered for 150 years, I am swept with a sense of history. Visions of those family members who might have climbed the same stairs as they came to pay their taxes or to settle their grandfather's estate come to mind. I wonder if I will find a forgotten record stuffed in one of the metal boxes in the clerk's office that will solve a long-standing genealogical problem.
Land transfers were not always recorded. The land may have been inherited rather than transferred by deed, or deeds among family members may not have been taken to the courthouse in order to save the recording fee. Diligent searching, however, should produce something, perhaps even years after the original purchase, when the land was sold out of the family.
When you enter the deed office, a clerk will offer to assist you. Do not go into the details of your family's history. The clerk is probably busy with the day's current work and does not have time to get involved. Instead, because you know what you want and the time period, ask simply, May I see the deed indexes for 1800 through 1875 (or whatever records and time period you are seeking). The clerk might take you into the vault and show you where to find the indexes, or just point you to the vault and let you proceed on your own.
Be particularly alert to indexed entries that appear to involve several persons. They could be family members. The words et al (et alii, and other persons) can be a tip-off to such transactions. If the document is designated Power of Attorney, Gift Deed, Partition (involving divisions), or if an estate is mentioned, you should take the time to examine it. These types of documents often show family connections. You are not only interested in the property, but in proving relationships. Ideally, you will look at all the documents involving your family, but time limitations will force you to make choices.
Once you've tracked the deeds of your family in the courthouse, you'll want to do some research with estates. Estates are the whole of one's possessions, especially the property and debts left by a person at the time of death. They are another valuable source of clues. Relationships are often specified. Normally, those you first encounter will involve estates of decedents, (that is, persons who died).
Many families have legends that they are descended from famous American Indians. These claims should always be researched carefully and backed up with appropriate proof. One of the most prolific legends is descent from Pocahontas. If that legend runs through your family, you may want to visit the Pocahontas Descendants page for resources that can help you prove your heritage. You can find it at pocahontas.morenus.org poca_gen.html.
On your trip to the area where your ancestors resided, allow time to search for burial records and for the cemeteries. You are already prepared with the background information you need on the surnames and any variants, and the approximate dates of death, as well as names associated with your family. You may have the name of a cemetery from a death certificate, an obituary, or interviews with family members. Your library research may have turned up cemetery surveys that list your ancestors, or you may have clues from a county history.
Your Family Tree is the registered trademark of Future Publishing Ltd. All trademarks and copyrights in this issue are recognised, and are acknowledged where possible. If we have failed to credit your copyright please contact us - we're happy to correct any oversight. All information contained in Your Family Tree is for informational purposes only and is correct at the time of going to press to the best of our knowledge, Future Publishing Limited cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies that occur Material submitted is accepted on the basis of worldwide right to publish in printed or electronic form. All the content of Your Family Tree is copyright Future Publishing Limited or the relevant contributor, all rights reserved, no unauthorised reproduction is permitted. Future Publishing Limited 2005. All rights reserved. One of the reasons tracing your family tree has become so popular over the last two or three years is that it's so easy to get started from home, on your...
Have you ever thought about the applications of genetic testing in genealogical research It's a brave new world in which some of your family riddles may Determining if two people are related when one or both were adopted Identifying whether two people are descended from the same ancestor Discovering whether you are related to others with the same surname Proving or disproving your family tree research Providing clues about your ethnic origin
Mitochondrial DNA changes (or mutates) at a slow rate. This makes its uses for genealogical purposes very different than the uses for Y chromosomes, which change at a faster rate and can link family members together at closer intervals. However, mtDNA is useful for determining long-term relationships, as in the case of the Romanov family.
This is done in the Edit Photo, Facts tab. You may associate the photo with any event in the life of a person or family in your family tree. For example, a graduation photo should best be associated with a graduation fact for a person A wedding photo should best be associated with the marriage fact for a family a tombstone photo should best be associated with the burial fact for a person, and so on. When you perform such association you will be given the option to copy over the date and place information from the fact (if available), to the photo.
If you have scanned old photos you have probably made, in some cases, multiple scans of the same photo. Perhaps you scanned different copies of the same photo, each one with its own problems , scratches or holes or scanned the same photo in different resolutions. In order to avoid adding the same photo several times to your family tree, in case of very minor variations, you can add one master version of each photo and add the other variations as similar photos for it. The similar photos will be stored in your family tree, but will not be displayed in Photo View. Adding similar photos is done in the Similar photos tab in Edit Photo page. If the photo has an interesting inscription or dedication on its reverse side, you are encouraged to scan it, add the result as a similar photo and then click the 'Set Reverse' button, to tell Family Tree Builder that this photo is in fact the reverse side of the master photo. When photos are published to the Web on MyHeritage Family Pages, the reverse...
One key to your research is old family stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Interviewing your family members is a good way to find out what tribe your ancestor belonged to and the geographic area in which that ancestor lived. After you have this information, a trip to your local library is well worth the effort to find a history of the tribe and where it migrated throughout time. From this research, you can then concentrate your search on a specific geographic area and gain a much better chance of success in finding records of genealogical value.
You've been gathering the bare facts about your ancestors their names, their dates, their locations. So far, so good. But, at this point, they are just shadowy figures. Who were these people whose genes you share You can connect with them and make them come alive, if only on the pages of your family history. How can you know what life was like for them Make the records talk to you. Add historical background and visualization so your ancestors become more real.
As you try to complete the pictures of your ancestors' lives, steep yourself in the history of the period and locality. There may be clues there. Reading about the coal mine disaster or the opening of the canal, you may finally understand why your family left the area. The newspaper article in the weekly paper extolling the virtues of Nebraska may explain why they left the fertile land of central Illinois and headed west.
You want to conduct interviews with everyone still living who knew your relatives and remember the stories that were handed down. Do not delay. Deaths and illnesses may put their recollections and insights forever beyond your reach. Glean all you can from still living family members and their associates. Seek out the stories of their youth.
Technology continues to make it easier to keep track of and share data. Computer programs can help you determine the gaps in your family history. Just a few years ago, genealogy was done by hand with charts painstakingly drawn for each person wanting a copy. Shared information was often incomplete and completely lacking documentation because the person disseminating the information ran out of energy before getting it all sent off to a distant relative. Writers promised to send more details soon but never found the time to complete the task. Copy machines have changed all that. Copiers are everywhere even residents of very small towns usually have access to one somewhere nearby. Now there is little excuse for sharing undocumented or partial data.
She was a little young to understand, but now she knows the relationships. The children of your aunts and uncles are your first cousins. Your children and your first cousins' children are second cousins. Your first cousins are your children's first cousins once removed. That is, they are one generation away from the individual. It's that simple. The age of the individuals does not matter. Whether your first cousin is older or younger than you, you are of the same generation. Your children are one generation away, or removed, from your generation and that of your first cousin. Cousins are cousins because they have ancestors in common first cousins have grandparents in common. Your children's great-grandparents are the grandparents of their cousins once removed. If this still seems confusing to you, take a look at Jackie Smith Arnold's Kinship It's All Relative. The charts there will help you to understand.
Recommended after running automatic translation, a report can be viewed in an HTML file. This report includes names that were missing in our dictionary but common in your family tree. Email us this report file to beta myheritage.com. It will help us add more names to our built-in dictionary for your benefit and the benefit of other users.
This is a demonstration version of the AniMap & SiteFinder program. AniMap is an interactive historical atlas that helps you track your family's movements and county-boundary changes over time. Information about the full program is available at For Macintosh. Demo version. This is the demonstration version of the popular genealogical program for Macintosh. It allows you to document, store, and display information about your family. The demo version limits you to information about 35 people. If you find that you like Reunion after using the demo, you can purchase the full version. For more information about Reunion, visit its Web site at www.leisterpro.com .
The Seeking pages in Your Family Tree are a place where you can turn when you've hit the proverbial brickwall when researching your ancestors. Write in and see if fellow readers can help you track down more information about that illusive great-greatgrandfather's brother. The subject of your enquiry doesn't have to be a person, though. You can request information about a building, business or barge anything that you're having trouble with in your research. If you have a photograph and you want help identifying the subjects, send it in with the clues you have.
You may be tempted by the allure of various advertisements that promise a family history of your name in America with origins of the surname, coat of arms, and every individual in the United States with your name, or other ads touting books with information about your forebears and why they immigrated to the New World. Don't be misled. It is not your family history, or anyone else's family history. These publications are usually nothing more than paragraphs of general information that could apply to any family, followed by a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers taken from widely available sources.
If you have a general idea of where your family lived at a particular time, but no conclusive proof, city and county directories and newspapers from the area may help. (Census records, which we discuss in Chapters 2 and 5, are quite helpful for this purpose, too.) Directories and newspapers can help you confirm whether your ancestors indeed lived in a particular area and, in some cases, they can provide even more information than you expect. A friend of ours has a great story morbid as it is that illustrates just this point. He was looking through newspapers for an obituary about one of his great-uncles. He knew when his great-uncle died but could not find mention of it in the obituary section of the newspaper. As he set the newspaper down (probably in despair), he glanced at the front page only to find a very graphic description of how a local man had been killed in a freak elevator accident. And guess who that local man was That's right, he was our friend's great-uncle The newspaper...
While finding the location where your ancestors lived on a map is interesting, it is even more exciting to create your own maps that are specific to your family history. One way genealogists produce their own maps is by plotting land records They take the legal description of the land from a record and place it into land-plotting software, which then creates a map showing the land boundaries. A couple of programs for plotting boundaries are DeedMapper by Direct Line Software
In Chapter 2, we discuss the value of photographs in your genealogical research. But a lot of us don't have photographs of our family beyond two or three generations, though it sure would be great to find at least an electronic copy of a picture of your great-great-grandfathers. Actually, a picture of your great-great-grandfather may exist. Another researcher may have posted it on a personal site or the photograph may be part of a collection belonging to a certain organization. You may also be interested in pictures of places where your ancestors lived. Being able to describe how a certain town, estate, or farm looked at the time your ancestor lived there adds color to your family history.
V Start your genealogical search with your own family members, not only your parents, but also aunts and uncles. As you gather the odd-shaped pieces of the puzzle of your family history, your excitement mounts. Eager to find the missing pieces and to fit them into the picture, you want to rush ahead. But before you plunge into the wonderful world of records and documents waiting to be discovered, pause for a few minutes and learn how to get the information you need from your research. This chapter and the next explain some tools and techniques to assist.
If you are looking for information on a wide range of genealogical topics, hop on over to the About.com Genealogy site. The One-Stop Beginner's Genealogy section of the site has a large collection of articles that are categorized by subject Articles and Tips, Learning Corner, and Tools and How-To. There are many subcategories under each of these topics as well. Some of the resources within these categories include information on surname origins, mistakes you can avoid, a genealogy chat room, and publishing your family history.
The War and Remembrance feature in Your Family Tree issue 18 made for an interesting read. Would it not help many people if you compiled an article giving British Army hierarchy For example brigades, battalions, companies, platoons, etc, with approximate numbers contained, and along with dates of important changes. Chris Hopkins via email
When you subscribe to Your Family Tree If you're interested in finding out about your family history, Your Family Tree is the magazine to help you Each issue is packed with practical advice from the experts, presented in a clear and accessible way. Plus the CD-ROM brings you new software, sample data, web links, video clips, and more If you subscribe today, you will get 4 issues free - that's 13 issues for the price of 9 (UK saving)
In Chapter 4, we highlight several features of the FamilySearch site. One that we don't talk about is the Family History Library Catalog. This catalog lists over 3 million microfilms microfiches and 300,000 books in the Family History Library collection. This is a good resource for finding family histories that are already completed on branches of your family. You can search the catalog by author, microfilm fiche, place, surname, keyword, title, subject, and call number.
Your friend is excited about the family reunion and the chart showing his descent from Pocahontas. You've just listened again to your mother's oft-recited tale of her grandmother's nomad existence with her itinerant preacher father. And this morning, when filling in your child's baby book, you realized how little you know of your family. Perhaps it was Alex Haley's Roots or a PBS series on ancestors that made you regret that you didn't quiz Aunt Mabel before she died about your French-Canadian antecedents. Whatever the reason, you now long to know about the people whose bloodlines you share. Is it possible, you wonder, to find your roots
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The event was publicised on BBC Two's Who Do You Think You Are and experts including Your Family Tree contributor Nick Barratt were on hand to answer questions and give tips to eager new family historians. Advice on using the web was handed out, and there was also the chance to
Also, consider any variations in spelling that your ancestor's name may have. Often, you can find more information on the mainstream spelling of his or her surname than on one of its rarer variants. For example, if you research someone with the surname Helme, you may have better luck finding information under the spellings Helm or Helms. If your family members immigrated to the United States in the last two centuries, they may have Americanized their surname. Americanizing a name was often done so that the name could be easily pronounced in English, or sometimes the surname was simply misspelled and adopted by the family.
Have you got something to say about this, or any other topic in and around genealogy Then let us know. Write to us at yfted futurenet.co.uk or Letters to the Editor, Your Family Tree, Future Publishing, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW, and keep an eye on the Letters pages in forthcoming issues. FEBRUARY 2 0 0 5 YOUR FAMILY TREE l5 -
Sometimes it is possible to connect two branches of your family by the photographs they own. Your Ohio branch and the Missouri branch may have lost touch 75 years ago. If both have the same photo of the original family home in Ohio, the photo in common can assure you they are of the same family. The photos belonging to your relatives can also assist you if they have the same photograph, which was unidentified on your family's copy, but identified on theirs. Your photograph of an unidentified Civil War soldier may be the same photo in another branch, with identification.
Assemble all the information you can from relatives. Gather together - or take copies of - all the available birth, marriage and death certificates of family members, or ask for the approximate dates of birth, marriage and death. Talk to as many relatives as possible, including the eldest. They will all have information some that they'll readily tell you, though they may be reluctant with revealing certain events. Make comprehensive notes.
Using technology is not a necessity, but it can be a great help, and you'll find that more and more resources and organisations are gearing up to take advantage of it. A computer is an efficient tool for storing, copying, sharing and presenting data, and - along with wordprocessors, email, Internet, scanning and printing - there are programs specifically designed to help you draw up and publish your family tree and history. The Internet is home to a great deal of useful information.
The National Archives publishes a research guide to POW records from 1939 to 1953, available online at www.catalogue.nationalarchives. gov.uk RdLeaflet.asp sLeafletID 303. Peter Gaston's booklet Korea 195053, POWs The British Army lists all personnel who were taken prisoner in the conflict, and is available from the Naval & Military Press (www. naval-military-press.com). In next month's Your Family Tree military expert Paul Reed reveals the best techniques for researching the WWII heroes in your family.
When you are drawing up your family tree it is vital that you place individuals of the same generation on the same line and this, as well as being the correct convention for laying out a pedigree, will help you visualise the relationships more easily. You and your siblings form one generation, your parents and their siblings (your aunts and uncles) are on another, your grandparents and their siblings (who are your great-aunts and great-uncles) have another. The same technique should be used Knowing your place in your family tree is helpful when you find someone referred to as a '4th cousin twice removed' in your research. Follow the links to determine their exact relationship between two people
Popular in the 19th century, charming autograph books contained poems, short writings, and eulogies. The following poem was inscribed at the bottom Selected for Belina Adams by her Grand Father in the 77th year of his age A Webster Lebanon Aug 30th 1828. Besides genealogical value, there is some historic interest, because her grandfather A. Abram Webster of Lebanon, New York, was a brother of Noah Webster, of dictionary fame. Look among your family's papers and you too are bound to find such treasures.
But this evolved to mean either a person who becomes a parent to an orphan, or an orphan who becomes a son daughter through the re-marriage of the surviving parent. Although we now understand 'orphan' to mean someone who has lost both parents, in the past it denoted the loss of one parent. On 19th century census returns it's not unusual to find individuals entered as brother sister-in-law when they are, in fact, step-sons or step-daughters. If you find such an entry on one of the household entries for your family, see if there are any large gaps between the birth years of children or in the ages of the head of household and his wife. Sometimes a widower married a much younger woman - possibly around the same age as his own children, so this would indicate a second marriage. Where a widow re-married, her children from her first marriage may take on the surname of their step-father and be entered as such on the census return. As there was no formal system of adoption until 1927, the...
In Family Tree Builder, the main storage unit for your work is a Project. A Project is equivalent to a single GEDCOM file, plus all related photos, documents and files. It's up to you to decide whether to store your genealogy research in multiple projects (by splitting up your family tree into branches and storing each branch in its own project), or to keep it in one large project. Automatic backups are stored here. Just like in Microsoft Word, if you experience a crash while working on your family tree, the next time you start it you will be offered to recover the latest automatically saved backup. This will be very useful in case of a power breakdown, or a bug of ours
Computer technology allows some sophisticated programs to store the photographs of your ancestors. All those charming photographs you have gathered, Aunt Lizzie on her first bicycle or Grandma tending her garden, can be stored on the computer and used to enhance your family histories. Distant family members may not have seen the photos you can now incorporate into your genealogy. Pictures of the rude log cabin or the primitive sod house add immeasurably to descendants' understanding of what life was like in the early days of our country. Imagine the children's glee as they look at the very bushy eyebrows on third Great-Grandmother Harriet and discover the origin of their own eyebrows. Some programs can incorporate audio clips with the material you gather. Grandpa recollecting his capture in the Battle of the Bulge or your cousins in Germany explaining the original pronunciation of your name add color to your family history.
Of course, errors could occur in recording fathers' names, especially if they were long-dead, but that was very unusual. Occupations really could change, though. You could be doing one job when your child was born, and a completely different one by the time your child walked down the aisle. This was particularly so for people in occupations where upward progression was possible (clerk to manager for example) or in which the Industrial Revolution changed working practises (framework knitter to factory hand carter to engine driver). Men tended to serve in the armed forces early in life and then leave to take up civilian occupations (the police was a popular option). Sometimes, careers could take downward turns. However, if the occupations are radically different (sailor to surgeon, say), alarm bells should ring.
Although city directories are very useful for tracing the earlier generations of your family, for now you'll use them to help locate those who are living. Directories list the residents alphabetically and often include a cross reference by street address. This provides the names of neighbors. If the neighbors still live there, they may have known your family. If they were close friends, they may even have kept in touch and might provide you with current addresses. Write to the library of the town or city where you believe your family lived. Ask them to search the current issue or to photocopy the pages with the surname or street you are seeking. Offer to pay the costs, and enclose an SASE.
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Write your answers on a postcard and send it to Family Historian 2.3 Competition, Your Family Tree, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW, or send an email headed Family Historian 2.3 Competition to yfted future net.co.uk. Please include your address, and a contact telephone number.
Once you find the grave you're looking for, start by sketching a map of its location in the churchyard or cemetery, then note down the inscription carefully and, if possible, take a photograph. A return visit to the grave may be many years down the road, by which time the inscription could have worn away or the monument been vandalised or removed. Don't forget to check the surrounding graves for other relations and do take delight in sharing your discovery with other interested friends and family members.
Which your family lived, you can first search those sections in the unindexed book. The location will give you a starting place. A multitude of other published abstracts might be found court minutes, order books, inventories, and others. Look for mention of members of your family and clues to relationships. Later you will make your first trip to the courthouse and experience the excitement of using the original records. For now the published books in the library can aid you in understanding the variety of available records.
The line contains the surname, earliest date for which you have information on the surname, most recent date that you have for the surname, locations through which your family passed showing migration patterns (using a list of standard abbreviations), and a name tag for the submitter.
It's time to start searching for your family in the census, and through it follow them in their journeys north, south, east, and west as they migrated. The thrill of finally finding your family on the census, and realizing that probably at least one of them was there at the very time the census taker was writing down the information, will make you feel very close.
The most common patterns are for the eldest son to be named (ie surname after their grandfather's first name and the eldest daughter after the mother's mother. Two examples from Dewi's own line his great-grandfather John Thomas' father was Thomas Jones and the latter's father was John Griffith (where Jones means 'son of John', of course . Welsh women rarely took their husband's name. Dewi also advises taking good note of the career of family members in Wales if they later emigrated, For example, slate quarriers often went to Fair Haven in Vermont, and miners to the mines of Pennsylvania.
As your family tree fills up you will see all the individuals being listed on the panel on the left side. The Selector is displayed for quick reference, listing all people in your family tree. You may double click any person in the Selector in order to navigate to that person's card in the Family Tree View, or right-click any person in the Selector for more options. You can also run quick searches in the Selector by typing in a first or last name, sort the names, and even minimize the entire Selector to the side so as to give more room to the Family Tree View itself. Placing the mouse over any name in the Selector provides a tooltip with a photo, for convenience, as shown in Figure 10 above. It is recommended to set the Home Person to be you, in your family tree project.
Cotland's one-stop-shop for genealogy research is a step closer according to an announcement from the website ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk. As reported in Your Family Tree, a family history campus is being established in Edinburgh that will combine the facilities offered by the National Archives of Scotland and New Register House. It's due to open in 2006. 10 YOUR FAMILY TREE old parish records by the end of 2006 The second is the example it sets for other countries. The site already claims to present the most comprehensive online set of family history information for any country in the world and Your Family Tree readers already write in asking why England and Wales don't offer a similar, unified resource.
This is a well written and produced book that opens the door to palaeography for even the most timid researcher, providing an accessible grounding in what is ultimately a complicated and specialist skill. The book's readable nature is a testament to Marshall's own ability to translate this skill for layman readers. For family historians there's plenty here. Original documents can be a minefield if you don't understand how to read them and interpret 'old world' phraseology. If you are delving into your family's mediaeval history this is a must-have reference book to ensure you get your facts straight.
Photos are invaluable for genealogy research and help bring a family tree to life. By scanning old photos, adding them to your project on Family Tree Builder and properly annotating them, you will treasure your family's history and allow your family, relatives and friends to enjoy these photos in more ways than you may have thought possible. This will also likely to benefit your research, because old photos can often jog the memory of your old relatives and lead to information found nowhere else. Photos added to your family tree may also be published online into your own family Website on MyHeritage (this functionality is coming soon).
After you determine how to use the index, look for entries that involve your family. The indexed entry will include the name of the grantor and grantee along with the date of the document, date recorded, type of document, book and page where it is recorded, and perhaps a very short property description showing the township, lot number, waterway, or other brief designation.
Most villages and indeed most towns once rang out with the sound of the blacksmith's hammer on the anvil. Usually, the smithy would be the first port of call when something metal needed purchasing or mending. The 1851 Census recorded over 112,000 blacksmiths, of various kinds, working in Britain. Again, these census returns are a good source of information for determining the names and ages of other family members, together with their places of birth. They can also often pinpoint an ancestor's exact address. Most public libraries now hold copies and many are turning to computer technology to list other local records, making the task of finding our ancestors even easier.
The most important aspect of adding a photo to your family tree is annotate it with information and associate it with individuals, families or facts in your tree. To edit a photo, double-click it in Photo View, or right-click it and choose Edit. The first tab in the Edit Photo page is the Info tag. A default name for the photo is entered automatically based on the filename but you are encouraged to modify it and provide a meaningful title. Specify the date, place and other notes the more information you provide, the richer your family tree will become and the easier it will be for you to locate photos you need in photo queries.
Families traditionally return to the same morticians for all funerals, so the funeral directors are often well acquainted with many family members and may be able to refer you to relatives still in the area. They also know all, or most, of the cemeteries in their county and many in adjoining counties.
Nineteenth-century newspapers are difficult to read they often combined all types of local items into one long column. It is hard to immediately locate the item you are seeking, unless you are fortunate enough to be working with a newspaper that headed its columns Births, Marriages, or Deaths. There are some shortcuts to finding notices when indexes are lacking. Determine the name of the community in which your family lived. That leads you to the local columns in the newspaper.
Find the references necessary for purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates more easily by using the BMDindex.co.uk website to search the 220 million events recorded in the GRO indexes. This month sign up for a free 5 day, 5 credit trial subscription which entitles you to search the records free for 5 days. And during that time, download 5 GRO certificate references for free. Visit www.bmdindex.co.uk yft to take up this offer. Your credit card details will be required. If you do not wish to continue your subscription at the paid-for rate, remember to cancel after 5 days. The offer is open until 15 July for readers with a UK-based IP address, and until 31 August for those with an overseas-based one. This offer is exclusive to Your Family Tree readers.
Single Parentings Guide
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