Posts Tagged ‘Chicago professional genealogist’
Are you a homeschool parent or teacher? Librarian or scout leader? A parent or grandparent? Are you interested in engaging the younger generation in their family history?
April 1, 2012 I will launch a set of kids genealogy lesson books for first through twelfth grade students.
Stay tuned for more information and where you can find these books and me in April!
- Follow Friday – Launching Kids Genealogy Lessons (generationsbiz.com)
- Kids Genealogy: The Family Unit (examiner.com)
- Kids Genealogy: Evaluating Records and Information (examiner.com)
- Follow Friday – Tony’s Genealogy Blog (generationsbiz.com)
- Kids Genealogy: Activity – Write A Story About Your Thanksgiving Traditions (examiner.com)
Yesterday I tweeted that I found an obituary full of family information. I had so many names in one obituary it was fantastic! I got a response from a follower that obituaries are great but you have to do the research to make sure the names and relationships are accurate. We had a brief discussion on twitter after that and I thought this topic would make a great post for today.
Obituaries are death notices written when someone dies. They typically list the deceased’s name, possibly with a (nee …) “nee” stands for the maiden name and “…” is what the maiden name was. So you might see Alice (nee Smith) Jones died as the beginning of an obituary. The notices also usually tell you when and where the funeral and church service, if any, is being held and where the person is being buried.
Obituaries sometimes also provide a wealth of information on the deceased’s family. It may list the spouse, the names of the parents, siblings, in-laws, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The obituary I found yesterday contained almost all of those groupings of people.
Ok, so the obituary has all the names now what? Well that depends on what information you already have. In my case, I had the names of all the people listed in the obituary in the family tree. Those people were also already listed by the relationship stated in the obituary. I already had other records documenting each person and relationship.
What if I didn’t already have documents? What if most of the people in the obituary were “new” to me? Then I would begin to search for documents that prove the relationships. I would start by looking at census records and vital records. I would compare the information to other obituaries in the same family.
At this point maybe I have proven most of the people are who the obituary says they are. But there are some I cannot find a record for….yet. Maybe they were born between census years and I cannot find a vital record online. This would require me to search paper records. Maybe there are vital records online and I need to do a more thorough search and change the spelling of the last name to attempt to find a record. I would also visit the cemetery and try to locate a grave and other information. Most cemeteries keep good records so you may be able to find out who the owner of a plot is. If someone you have not yet identified through other sources is buried with the family you think they should be, then you have a clue.
Don’t always believe everything you find in a record, book, or newspaper article. Follow the paper trail to prove the people are who it says they are. If you are still unsure after searching, make a note in your research report to follow up at a later time.
I have been working on a friend’s genealogy off and on when I have time for the last three years. Found out he has two Civil War soldiers on his dad’s side. We have not done his mom’s side yet. My friend ordered the pension files for these two soldiers and had them shipped to me. Wow.
File no. 1 was for Henry A. Hayes, Ohio Union soldier. His file is 150 pages long.
File no. 2 was Milton T. McCoy, Iowa Union soldier. His file is 175 pages long.
Now, National Archives will send you up to 100 pages for the $75 they charge you for a full pension file. Anything over 100 pages is not sent until you call or write them giving them a payment for the rest. Well I called them as soon as the files arrived Monday to give them a credit card number so I could get the rest of the pages.
When you get a pension file it is not copied in date order. This makes it difficult to grasp the full picture. So I pulled out my post it notes and a stack of paper clips and got to work. I used 3×5 post it notes to write the year on and attach to the first document in each year’s stack. I used the tiny post it notes on some documents to tag a date or note about something in that document. Things that stuck out. I paper clipped multiple pages together. It took me about a half an hour to sort and organize the 100 pages for one file, then another half an hour for the other.
What do I have now? An organized file by date. I can track the medical issues for each man from the date of his discharge to his death. I learn the names of doctors who treated them and the neighbors and friends who vouched that each man was who he said he was. I can also track when Milton moved from Iowa to Missouri. I had an idea of when that took place but now I can narrow it down to a few years thanks to his pension file.
No matter if your documents for a person are thick or thin, putting them in date order can make a world of difference when it comes to fully understanding a person and locating clues.
- Military Monday – Searching Beyond those Federal Records (dupagecountygenealogicalsociety.wordpress.com)