Category: Tips

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

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Cemetery research absolutely is one of the most valuable tools for genealogy research.
Although I’m pretty much housebound and don’t get out much now, there was a time when I did venture out and do research in places such as cemeteries. As a matter of fact, I previously wrote about one experience at an old Catholic cemetery in Nova Scotia where I and my family spent the better portion of a day checking out the burial sites of our ancestors – and there were bunches of ’em.

By Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW

Grave Tombstone of Marguerite Melanson.
Cemetery research led to the discovery of Marguerite Melanson’s burial site.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling. Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were. Is their tombstone humble or grand? Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition? What dates are inscribed? The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

An ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names, but most often:

  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • the names of family members including parents, spouses, and children
  • religion
  • military service
  • fraternal order membership

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know. For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.


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Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

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Transcription: Documents related to the marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton.

____________________________________________________

The following are transcriptions from photographic images of approximately half of a collection of documents related to the marriage of Elizabeth Sampson and Clifford Carter of Sampsonville, County of Richmond, Nova Scotia, Canada. The second half of the transcriptions and links to the actual document images will be published either tomorrow or the day after.

Fine print in the margins was indecipherable due to image quality.

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my son Clifford Carter (who is within twenty one years) to Elizabeth Sampson.

his
Philip  X  Carter
mark

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my daughter Elizabeth Sampson (who is within the age of twenty one years) to Clifford Carter.

Mr. Vinny Sampson
his
X
mark
Witness

Laura Sampson

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

29/

May 20/16

No……………………191

Clifford Carter

AND

Elizabeth Sampson

MARRIAGE LICENSE AFFIDAVIT

Rich

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

(There is indecipherable fine pring text in the left 1″ margin, due to image quality.)

FORM OF AFFIDAVIT

I, Clifford Carter
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
labourer make oath and say as follows :

I, and Elizabeth Sampson
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
are desirous of entering into the contract of
marriage, and of having our marriage solemnzed at Sampsonville
in the County of Richmond.

I am the age of nineteen and eleven months years, and the said
Elizabeth Sampson, is
under twenty one years.

I am a bachelor and the said Elizabeth
Sampson is a spinster.

Philip Carter & Vin Sampson of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond labourers, both whose consent to such marriage is required, has consented thereto in writing

(Two lines of ‘struck-through’ text that is unreadable.)

I believe that there is no affinity, consanguinity, prior marriage or other lawful causes or legal impedment to bar or hinder the solemnization of our marriage.

Sworn to at St. Peters in the
County of Richmond
this 16th
day of May 1916.

Clifford Carter
Signature of Deposed

Before me,
A. J. MacCuish
Issuer of Marriage License

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

___________

V 29

Richmond – 1916

Carter, Clifford

Sampson, Elizabeth

—————-

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Here are more documents related to this marriage.

—————-

The complete original scans of the document clips above can be accessed by clicking the image. To access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, click on the name link above, or search the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar. It is recommended to search using both methods as the results do sometimes differ. All data on this site is available for free access and download.


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My Ideal Setup for Genealogy Research

My Ideal Setup for Genealogy Research

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Over fifteen years of genealogy research, I have added to, adjusted and tweaked my setup until I have achieved what I believe to be the ideal setup for genealogy research.

In the Beginning

archives

When I started, I had only an early personal computer operating Windows 94 and Microsoft Office, a basic scanner, small black and white printer, and for media I used floppies and a zip drive.

There were a lot of negatives about operating in those early years. Although the internet was beginning to open doors for researchers, there was not much data transcribed for online access, even if it was free. This meant a good portion of my research had to be done the old fashioned way using ‘snail mail’, the telephone and the fax machine. The internet helped me locate the resources and organizations to whom I should correspond and what specifically was available to be accessed.

I used the original free Ancestry Family Tree software that was available prior to Ancestry.com taking over Family Tree Maker. Although I had tried Family Tree Maker, I hadn’t like it at all because it was primitive and the interface was rather unattractive and ‘clunky’. Had Ancestry.com decided to work with and improve the original Ancestry Family Tree software, I’d probably still be using it.

Learning and Adapting

During the years following until about seven years ago, I operated with the same equipment, becoming much more proficient and knowledgeable. The software, however, was another matter. I was never happy with Family Tree Maker and after doing some research, I switched to RootsMagic. I loved the smooth interface, reports, charts, source cataloging, and data entry features including the flexibility handling unorthodox formats for dates, etc.

By this time, I had become very dissatisfied with the image editing quality in Windows software. I had long been considering switching to a Mac, and soon after moving to British Columbia, my Windows computer crashed and I took the opportunity to switch. I immediately realized how much better the Mac was for working with documents and images, but there was one huge drawback – there was no Mac version of RootsMagic.

I diligently researched all Mac software available and wasted a lot of money trying several. The first one I tried was the Mac version of Family Tree Maker. I didn’t like it any better than the Windows version. In order to continue with my genealogy research and input, I tried two virtual environments, Parallels, VMWare and VirtualBox,  so I could operate RootsMagic on the Mac. Parallels caused a lot of performance issues on the computer, ranging in severity from system slowdowns to outright crashes. VMWare was only slightly better. I finally tried and liked VirtualBox and although it wasn’t as smooth and seamless as I like, I continued using it. (RootsMagic has since released a Mac version that I have never tried.)

Stumbling Along

During the next couple of years, I tried Mac Family Tree, Reunion, MyBlood and Legacy. While using all of these, I missed RootsMagic horribly and ended up purchasing a NetBook so I could operate RootsMagic on the required Windows operating system.

Then I heard about Heredis, a new software that operated on a Mac. I purchased it because the free trial would only allow working with a small, limited quantity of individuals, leaving lots of areas in my database of 115,000+ individuals where I was unable to assess its suitability. I loved this software, but there was one huge drawback I couldn’t live with. It did not provide the flexibility and variety of date formats I needed. I’m a stickler for observing the ‘record dates exactly as they appear in the original source and only use the calculated date for the sort’ camp. My husband’s ancestry is deeply rooted in the Welsh Quaker culture and therefore I frequently find, use and interpret the Quaker date formats like ‘3d mo. 17 1682’. In Heredis, this had to be translated to a more standard date format and left a great deal of room for error.

I installed RootsMagic once again, and I still use it today. I use the Mac for the more intricate and detailed image editing and everything outside my genealogy pursuits. I would still love for RootsMagic to release a Mac version, but after years of requesting they do so, I’ve given up.

Another issue I’ve experienced through the years is ensuring the security, storage and portability of data. I tried everything up to and including CDs, DVDs, and flash/thumb drives. All of these options have notoriously short shelf lives and are vulnerable to malfunction, corruption and damage. Instead, I invested in an external hard drive a couple of years ago and it has worked out very well. I still keep my files on my computers and back up frequently to the external hard drive. This drive is easily ejected and inserted for portability and is not nearly as vulnerable as the other storage media choices.

The result is, unless RootsMagic is ever offered in a Mac version, I feel I have the best system possible for my genealogy research, data input, graphic and image editing, file storage and backup, and portability of data.

computer cubicleMy Ideal Setup

Mac computer

  • Its resident image editing software is much more intuitive and gives higher quality results, especially when trying to improve poor images.

Windows notebook computer

  • RootsMagic software requires Windows.
  • For portability when traveling or away from home.
  • Photoscape free software for backup image editing. Although not as good quality, it’s a great backup when away from the Mac or travelling.
  • Sticky Notes is great for quick saving of notes and ‘cut and paste’ of data.
  • Wordpad for working with and quick editing of longer strings of text before inputting into software.

External Storage

  • 1T external hard drive for backup and secure storage of genealogy data and files.
  • CDs for portable storage and mailing of data and files.
  • Flash/thumb drives for immediate, short term, portable storage of files and data.

High Resolution Smart Phone or Digital Camera

  • To take high resolution digital images of publications pages and documents in libraries and archives, especially where there are restrictions on photocopying and scanning.

Software

Mac
  • RootsMagic (is now available for the Mac)
  • iPhoto and Preview
  • Grab
Windows
  • RootsMagic (paid)
  • Photoscape (free)
  • Sticky Notes (free with Windows)
  • Wordpad (free with Windows)
  • Snipping Tool

photo credit: archie4oz via photopin cc


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Transcription: Obituary for Harold Everett Redetzke; 1935 – 2002

Transcription: Obituary for Harold Everett Redetzke; 1935 – 2002

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Harold Everett Redetzke+ + + + OBITUARY – HAROLD EVERETT REDETZKE + + + +

May 18, 1935 – October 12, 2002

Harold Everett Redetzke, age 67, died on Saturday, October 12, 2002 at his home in rural Sebeka, MN. Harold was born to Elmer and Margaret (Kimball) Redetzke on May 18, 1935 in Butler Township, MN. Harold was united in marriage to Norma Eckert on June 8, 1957 in Sebeka, MN. They lived in Foxhome, MN for several years and then moved beck to Sebeka where Harold tanned until retirement. Harold served on the Red Eye Township Board for a few years and was a member of Our Saviour‘s Lutheran Church. Harold underwent heart transplant surgery on September 27, 1987 at the University of Minnesota Hospital.

Redetzke, Harold Everett; MemorialHarold is survived by his wife Norma Redetzke of Sebeka, MN, to their union were born five children; two daughters, Diane Steinkraus and her husband Ronnie of Sebeka, MN, Debbie Redetzke of Lincoln, Nebraska; three sons, Myron Redetzke and his wife Pam of Sebeka, MN, Marvin Redetzke and his wife Lori of Sebeka, MN, Calvin Redetzke and his wife Joni of Sebeka, MN; seven grandchildren, Lacey Eckman and her husband Justin, Shawn Redetzke, Jeremy Redetzke. Levi Steinkraus, Evette Steinkraus, Reid Redetzke, and Logan Redetzke; five sisters, Delilah Hasbargen of Frazee, MN, LaVern Milbradt of Sebeka, MN, Donna Super and her husband George of Menahga, MN, Joyce Slininger and her husband Bill of St Cloud, MN, Darlene Hought and her husband Konnie of Foxhome, MN; two brothers, Marlyn Redetzke and his wife Joyce of Sebeka, MN, Donald Redetzke and his wife Roseann of Ely, MN; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Gordon, infant sister Mavis and nephew Corey Hought.

[Handwritten: ‘Herbert Redetzke (Bro.)’]

Memorial Services were held on Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 1:30 P.M. at Our Saviour‘s Lutheran Church in Sebeka, MN with Reverend Mark Manning officiating. Organist was Hilda Mary Schoon and congregational hymns were “In the Garden,” “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling.” Honorary Pallbearers were Glen Kimball, Randy Redetzke, Daniel Besonen, Ryan Milbradt, Larry Huotari, Benny Olson and Gerald Olson. lnurnment will be at Green Hill Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements by Cardini — Behrens Funeral Homes of Sebeka and Menahga, MN.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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The Discovery Service at the National Archives in Great Britain

The Discovery Service at the National Archives in Great Britain

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The UK National Archives  has a free online search, but there are problems. Some knowledge has always been necessary to search the catalogue with any success.

The Discovery Service makes it easier for everyone – novice to expert – to search and use the collection.

The user is able to search the collection, explore and browse, whether for genealogy research and/or scholastic purposes.

Discovery is a digitized document delivery service that will make it easier to search for genealogy records such as wills and testaments, court proceeding transcription and order digitized genealogy records.

To experience Discovery, visit the Labs section of the National Archives website, the place they release new online services for customers for testing and to provide feedback. New features are being added to Discovery regularly and the latest release includes advanced search and fixes existing problems in previous versions.

The Discovery service will be fully tested and approved before it replaces any other services.

The National Archives holds over 22 million historical government and public records, doubling in just over two years and making it one of the largest archive collections in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, the collection includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.

The old catalogue offered a free search of the collection, but had its problems. A minimum knowledge level was necessary to be able to effectively search the collection. This required level of knowledge made it difficult for new users to take advantage of the search.

The National Archives Discovery Service implemented a system that makes it easier for users of all levels.


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Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

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Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe
Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe
The following is a transcription of the tombstone of Anna E. Blythe. Anna died August 9, 1925 in Danville, Vermilion, Illinois, USA.

Anna E. Murray

wife of

Charles E. Blythe

1873 – 1925

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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DNA optics: seeing more clearly into the past than ever before.

DNA optics: seeing more clearly into the past than ever before.

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Another post about DNA and related discoveries?

Bering Strait land bridge DNA
Map of gene flow in and out of Beringia. Colors of the arrows correspond to approximate timing of the events and are decoded in the colored time bar. The initial peopling of Beringia (the region depicted in light yellow) was followed by a standstill after which the ancestors of the Native Americans spread swiftly all over the New World while some of the Beringian maternal lineages (C1a) spread westwards. More recent genetic exchange (shown in green) is manifested by back-migration of A2a into Siberia and the spread of D2a into north-eastern America that post-dated the initial peopling of the New World.

You bet. DNA news seems to be breaking increasingly more frequently as time goes on.

I recently found the news about the discovery through DNA that first peoples and asian peoples are definitely linked via DNA from the skeleton of a 12 to 18 month old boy discovered during construction on private property. The cause of the boy’s death is undetermined at this time.

Artifacts found buried with the boy were those of the earliest known native North Americans, in existence approximately 13,000 years ago – the Clovis people.

The determination of the origin of the young boy and the artifacts was made by comparison with other tools and artifacts from across North America.

The DNA analysis confirmed the boy was related to East Asian and Ancient Siberian people, confirming the oral tradition of many first nations people through the generations.

This discovery provides the first definitive DNA evidence of the long held theory that native people of the Americas descended from those who crossed the once existing land bridge across the Bering Strait, connecting Asia and North America.

It’s amazing to see how as we discover more and more about the minutia of what at first assessment is our enormous world, it actually appears considerably smaller through our blood and DNA connections.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.org


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Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

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Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

This is my transcription of the marriage record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim of August 9, 1930 in Butte Fourche, Butte County, South Dakota.

Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

Original Form Text is black. Text entered by hand is blue.

_____________________________

South Dakota Department of Health

Division of Public Health Statistics                                                                                                                                            County No. 655

RECORD OF MARRIAGE                                                                                                                                                            State No. 139423

Date of Marriage: Aug      Month: 9      Day: Yr.: 1930

Where Solemnized: Butte Fourche

City, County: Butte

GROOM

Full Name: Oscar Thomas Blythe

Usual Residence: Nisland, Butte

(City, County) Butte

BRIDE

Full Name: Thirza Estelle McKim

Usual Residence: Fruitdale

(City, County) Butte

Age

(last birthday)

24

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Age

(last birthday)

19

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

SDVS-11

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is available online.

Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is available online.

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Previously, I wrote about the Incest Prevention App called ‘Sifjaspellsspillir’ or ‘Incest Spoiler’. It was created by University of Iceland students for a contest by the Íslendingabók database and its purpose is to alert two people of a possible familial connection when they tap their phones.

Later, in a related story, the “Icelandic Roots: Genealogy, Heritage, & Travel” website announced its release of the Icelandic genealogy database through their site.

The database is available with a monthly or yearly subscription. Access is also available to organizations and researchers by contacting them.

While continuing to add names and other great features, the database also links you to events, dates, occupations, cemetery records and burials, photos and more.

They will assist with your genealogy research by helping you find your family tree, connecting you with family members, and  providing ancestry charts and reports. All this is possible through their popular “Cousins Across the Ocean” project or you can complete their online request form for more information.

If you’re interested in finding out more, there are tips for using the database, and they also explain its history. If you have Icelandic research to do, this site and database are well worth checking out.


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Vintage watches and vintage photographs make a wonderful combination.

Vintage watches and vintage photographs make a wonderful combination.

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The old, hackneyed saying of “a picture’s worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more true than with this image I stumbled across on Pinterest this morning of vintage watches repurposed as portrait frame bracelets.

Luckily, that’s all that’s needed in this case as this blog seems to be in Swedish – which I totally don’t understand at all. I could use Google Translate or some other translation service to read the post, but why bother? The picture truly is self-explanatory.

Then I started thinking of other time pieces that could be converted this way, especially if they’re broken.

Here are the possibilities brought to mind:

  • Grandfather clock.

  • Pocket watch.

  • Mantle clock.

  • Watch pendant.

  • Wall clock.

While rummaging through garage sales and thrift stores in the past, I never would have thought to look at old clocks, watches, etc. Seeing this post (oops! I should say image as I couldn’t read the post) has changed that completely – and I’m going to start looking out for such items to use as frames for family photos and vintage images from my family tree research.

Sometimes the best ideas are other people’s ideas!

photo credit: practicalowl via photopin cc


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Sometimes it pays to look to the present for information about the past.

Sometimes it pays to look to the present for information about the past.

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It’s amazing what information about the past including people and events can be found by searching through online newspapers, magazines, etc. – even if they are in a foreign language.

I’m routinely having to read, translate and understand documents written in their original language such as French, German, Swedish, and so on. My go to method for getting started is accessing ‘Google Translate’. To have a web page translated, just type the complete original language url in the Google search box, press ‘search’, find what you’re looking for in the search results list and click on ‘Translate this page’.

El Economista TranslatedOne such site I’ve recently accessed was ‘El Economista’ a Mexican, Spanish language online newspaper. On this particular day, the headlines were dominated by news of Javier Duarte de Ochoa and his handling of the crisis created by the recent tropical storm. Javier Duarte is the Governor of Veracruz, Mexico.

Above is a clip from the Google translated site mentioned and as you can see the text in the first paragraph is quite understandable, although not quite grammatically correct. I would always suggest finding independent confirmation elsewhere to confirm your understanding, if possible.

I routinely search through newspapers in the areas in which I’m researching and I have stumbled upon some real ‘gems’ related to my research, including a rooming house arson fire a recent ancestor escaped from, another ancestor whose name was published as a deserter in WWI, and most recently news of a tragic train crash in a community from which my own father’s French Canadian family originates. It was particularly heartbreaking to read the names of the deceased in the online French language news sites, and to recognize many of them as distant relatives.

Using Google translate  is also a useful tool if transcribing documents from their original language. Go to the main Google translate page, type the text in question in the left box, making sure it’s labeled with the correct language and click ‘Translate’. The English translation will appear to the right if English is the selected language. Text can be translated to and from numerous languages.

photo credit: Augie Schwer via photopin cc


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Historical Vital Statistics website of Nova Scotia Archives is searchable in French and English.

Historical Vital Statistics website of Nova Scotia Archives is searchable in French and English.

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I have a few favorite, go-to sites that I use much more than any others, and the Nova Scotia Archives site is one. Considering the substantial Acadian ancestry of my family, it’s no surprise that the majority of vital records for the majority of my ancestors are available on this site.

The searchable database of the Nova Scotia Archives contains almost one million names, each of which is linked to a corresponding vital registration, including births, baptisms, deaths and marriages. The records date from the mid-1700’s to the 1960’s, are all digitized and available online, and are searchable in French.

The records can be searched in both French and English on the Historical Vital Statistics website.


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Tugs at the heartstrings – foundling swatches tell a story.

Tugs at the heartstrings – foundling swatches tell a story.

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Foundling swatches are ‘bits and pieces’ such as cloth scraps, mementos, jewelry or any other identifying objects that were left with abandoned children upon admittance to the foundling hospital. These swatches were sometimes helpful in reuniting the child and mother at a future time.

Foundling swatches tell a story.
Foundling swatches tell a story.

Numerous such foundling swatches were rediscovered approximately 250 years after they had been left with the children. They were long forgotten as they were wrapped in paper that was folded numerous times and filed away in books at the Foundling Hospital opened by Captain Thomas Coram in 1741 by charter from King George II.

Among these sad ‘scraps’ were a needlework sampler found with a boy later named William Porter in December of 1759, who sadly died on May 27, 1760; a patchwork scrap with an embroidered heart that had been cut in half (presumably the mother kept the other half) left with a boy later named Benjamin Twirl by those at the hospital and who was later reclaimed by his mother Sara Bender on June 10, 1775; a swatch of linen painted with an array of playing cards left with a boy named Joseph Floyd and apprenticed in 1769; a red wool heart cut from a garment and left with a girl named Isabel Crane on November 22, 1758, who died on December 16, 1758 .

The opening of this foundling hospital was an innovative idea at the time and provided some hope for the children who might otherwise have been abandoned, neglected, or have died of disease and/or malnutrition..

Periodically, these foundling swatches helped to achieve a happy ending, as in the case of Benjamin Twirl and Sara Bender.

photo credit: limaoscarjuliet

 


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New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

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Learning of this online newspapers archive site was very exciting to me. Some of the most valuable information we can find in our genealogical search comes from newspaper accounts because they provide a more detailed reflection of the lives of our ancestors – not just facts and figures. I have added this link to the main ‘Genealogy Links’ page in the top menu.

 

Online newspapers archive.
Online newspapers archive.

The Online Newspapers Archive site endeavours to centralize the thousands of historical newspapers from various sources in one location.

The first newspapers I looked for were those in the Acadian territories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before, during and after the expulsion. My family names do show in the papers available after 1850, but it will take some time to sift through them.

The newspapers for Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Kentucky also look promising as a great deal of our family history took place in these states.

One great disappointment, though is that there is nothing yet for the United Kingdom.

Although there are great gaps in the newspapers available for some geographical regions, what is available could provide that ‘gem’ one or more of us have been seeking.

I definitely intend to investigate this site further.


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Unravelling the mysteries behind one of Canada’s oldest cemeteries.

Unravelling the mysteries behind one of Canada’s oldest cemeteries.

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I had to post this article as soon as I saw it. Visiting this graveyard was one of the best family experiences we’ve ever had – and it was a great opportunity to explore our own family history.

As a matter of fact, the tour guide, Alan Melanson and I are 7th great grandchildren of Charles Mellanson and Marie Dugas (Charles was a son of the original Melanson couple – Pierre and Priscilla.)

Stuart, Erin and Alan Melanson in graveyard.
My children, Erin and Stuart, sit through an enthralling tale told by fellow ‘Melanson’ cousin, Alan Melanson, the very informative and entertaining tour guide.
It’s been a century since Fort Anne became Canada’s first administered national historic site, but much of the history surrounding the once hotly contested grounds in Annapolis Royal, N.S., is still shrouded in mystery.

On Monday, a team of researchers hope to use new technology to unlock some of the old secrets buried within Fort Anne’s Garrison Graveyard, which is one of the oldest English cemeteries in Canada.

“To understand where we’re going, we need to understand where we’ve been,” said Ted Dolan, Parks Canada’s site and visitor experience manager for historic sites in southwestern Nova Scotia.

“Any additional information that we have as to what happened on our landscape in the past is really going to inform us as to who we are and where we come from.”

Dolan describes Fort Anne as “the most fought-over piece of land in Canadian history since European colonization.” Originally fortified by the Scots as early as 1629, the site was later taken over by the French, before it fell to British troops in 1710. It would remain a regular battle scene for another 50 years.

While over 200 British headstones still stand in the Garrison Graveyard, Dolan said researchers believe there could be more than 2,000 people buried at the site whose wooden markers have since decayed over time.

In addition, prior to 1710, Dolan said French soldiers and Acadians from the region were buried at the nearby St. Jean-Baptiste parish, which had a cemetery located close to the fort.

While researchers aren’t completely sure where the French and Acadian cemetery is, he said they have a “pretty good idea. . .”

Read on . . .

Source: Unravelling the mysteries behind one of Canada’s oldest cemeteries | CTV News Atlantic


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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Dec 1918.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Dec 1918.

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The following are the most recent Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Dec 1918.

You may have noticed that the usual FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com updates post from mid-October did not appear. This was due to a much reduced quantity to list. The few between October 1st and October 31st have been included in the list below.

In future, the only scheduled updates and additions posts will be the ones on the first of the month. However, if the quantity of links warrant it, there could be an additional post at the mid-month.

 

FamilySearch.org updates and additions.

Canada

Costa Rica

Honduras

Germany

New Zealand

Peru

Portugal

South Africa

United Kingdom

United States

 

Ancestry.com updates and additions.

Canada

Germany

Ukraine

United Kingdom

United States


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Descendants of honor: Ancestry.com opens records for Veterans Day.

Descendants of honor: Ancestry.com opens records for Veterans Day.

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Ancestry.com is honoring customers who are descendants of US Medal of Honor recipients, as the country prepare for Veterans Day.

The Ancestry campaign makes its collection of more than 250 million military records available for free to the public through November 12. The collection includes draft cards, service records, and prisoner and casualty lists for military heroes worldwide.

“Ancestry is committed to honoring and sharing the stories of America’s heroes, who come from all over the world,” said Vineet Mehra, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Ancestry.

“We encourage everyone to discover the military heroes in their family, which is why we have provided free access to our unparalleled collection of military records this Veterans Day. Through these records people can uncover the incredible stories that lie in their family’s past, and honor those heroes this Veterans Day.”

Of the 72 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, four earned the award in World War II, five in the Korean War, 51 in the Vietnam War, and 12 in the War in Afghanistan.

Two earned their medal while serving in the US Air Force, 50 in the US Army, 12 in the US Marine Corps, and eight in the US Navy.

It’s been 157 years since the Medal of Honor was created.

“The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation in 1861 . . .”

Read on . . . 

Source: brandchannel: Descendants of honor: Ancestry.com opens records for Veterans Day.


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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Nov 2018.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Nov 2018.

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The following are the Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Nov 2018.

Featured image: House in Lesotho.

FamilySearch.org updates and additions to 1 Nov 2018.

 

Canada

Chile

Dominican Republic

France

French Polynesia

Germany

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Lesotho

Liberia

New Zealand

Peru

United Kingdom

United States

Worldwide

 

Ancestry.com updates and additions to 1 Nov 2018.

Yet again, there is nothing new over the past two weeks.

I will keep checking to see if Ancestry.com starts showing these additions and updates to their site.


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Ancestry.com is in cahoots with public records agencies, a group suspects.

Ancestry.com is in cahoots with public records agencies, a group suspects.

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A nonprofit claims its request to obtain genealogical records from state archives was brushed aside in favor of Ancestry’s request.

I know that Michael Peck, my great-great-great-grandfather, died on July 14, 1922. I know this because last October I visited the cemetery in Cornwall, New York, to find the date on his headstone. I had been searching for information on Michael for almost a decade on Ancestry.com, but never found any information about his death. Had I waited until a few weeks ago, I could have saved myself the trip upstate. Ancestry finally added the New York State Death Index for 1852–1956 to its collection, and I would have found Michael’s date of death with a few clicks of a mouse.

This new archive on Ancestry, however, was added under questionable circumstances, one genealogist claims. Brooke Schreier Ganz, the founder of the nonprofit group Reclaim the Records, has filed a lawsuit against the New York state agency handling the records, calling into question whether it engages in backroom dealings or preferential treatment with Ancestry.

According to the lawsuit, “although the same Records Access Office at [the Department of Health] handled both [Freedom of Information Act] requests, the timeline and procedures followed throughout the process for Ms. Ganz and Reclaim the Records was different than it was for Ancestry.com.”

Read on . . .

Source: Ancestry.com Is In Cahoots With Public Records Agencies, A Group Suspects


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Most of European ancestry can be found from a relative’s DNA | The Atlantic

Most of European ancestry can be found from a relative’s DNA | The Atlantic

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Even people who have never taken a genetic test can be tracked down like the Golden State Killer suspect.

In April, the world learned that police had tracked down the alleged Golden State Killer by using a genealogy site to match DNA from crime scenes to that of his distant relatives.

The next arrest that resulted from the same technique—for a double murder in Washington State—came less than a month later.

And then another and another and another.

As the wave of reports went on, Yaniv Erlich, a computational biologist, was working to understand the reach of such police searches.

Were they lucky breaks? Or could nearly every American be found through a third cousin’s DNA? With every identification that made the news, Erlich had to update the paper he was working on. “It was like, every time, it’s a new case,” he says. By his count, the number of murderers, rapists, or unidentified persons found through genetic genealogy is up to 19—the latest announced just on Monday.

These cases are not exceptional, according to his analysis, now published in Science.

Golden State Killer investigators found their suspect through third-cousin and fourth-cousin matches in a database called GEDmatch, which includes information from about 1 million people.

In a database of that size, Erlich and his co-authors show, nearly 60 percent of people have a relative who is a third cousin or closer . . .

Read on . . .

Source: Can you be found through tracing DNA | The Atlantic


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A primer on cemetery research to find ancestors.

A primer on cemetery research to find ancestors.

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I’ve always loved gravestone and cemetery research to find ancestors.

Although I do most of my genealogical research via the internet, and in a very small amount via snail mail, there is something visceral about visiting the actual graves of our ancestors and recording the information about them (and their families if in family plots).

In previous posts, I related the story of my family’s genealogical driving tour of Nova Scotia a few years ago. The first was about our exploring a community cemetery and the other was regarding our experience taking the Fort Anne graveyard tour.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling.

Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were.

Is their tombstone humble or grand?

Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition?

What dates are inscribed?

The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

 

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

 

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 22 Aug 2015.

 

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

  • an ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names;
  • date of birth;
  • date of death;
  • names of family members including parents, spouses, and children;
  • religion;
  • military service; and
  • fraternal order membership.

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know.

For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.

 

How to find out where someone is buried?

 

There are many ways to find where your ancestors are buried.

The first is to look at any records associated with their death, including certificate of death, obituaries, church notices, and other funerary documents. Consulting similar information for spouses, siblings, children, and parents can also sometimes lead you to the right information.

If you know your ancestor’s religious affiliation, it’s possible to find out if there’s a church or community cemetery. Consult local records and histories.

Finally, there are a number of cemetery guides online that can help you locate an ancestor’s gravesite.

You might also want to try billiongraves.com and findagrave.com. They can be very helpful in locating family members and their information.

 

Making the most of a cemetery visit.

 

Whether you’re already near a cemetery where an ancestor is buried or you’re making a special trip, there are several things you’ll want to do to make the most of your visit.

The first is to bring a copy of any information you have about the ancestors, such as names and dates of birth. If you have a map or details of the cemetery, bring those as well, as large burial grounds can be difficult to navigate.

To document as much information as possible, bring paper and writing implements or electronic devices to record information and make any notes.

Consider bringing a digital camera with you to document the cemetery, individual headstones, and the relationship between specific stones that may be useful later.

Avoid taking grave rubbings, if possible. It’s a source of conflict but most people today feel that the risk of damage to the stone is too high. A high resolution camera now yields a wonderful degree of detail.

A final note on the logistics of cemetery visits: dress appropriately for being outdoors, and think ahead to things like bug spray and sunscreen. Wear a hat, and bring plenty of water as your visit may be a lengthy one.

If the cemetery you’re visiting is on private property, get permission first.

If the cemetery in question has a caretaker and you’re able to find them, spend a moment saying hello and explaining your mission. They may have valuable information.

Finally, if you’re headed into a cemetery that’s overgrown, isolated, or in an unknown area, consider bringing a companion for both company and safety.

A professional genealogist can help you with all types of genealogical issues, from completing all your research to answering specific questions about cemetery research.

____________________

Jillynn Stevens is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more.


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The Mormons are making major changes to their genealogy database to recognize same-sex families / LGBTQ Nation

The Mormons are making major changes to their genealogy database to recognize same-sex families / LGBTQ Nation

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During Pride Month in June, LGBT people interested in family history received interesting news. Beginning next year, the world’s largest genealogy organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will release a redesigned website that will include same-sex families.

FamilySearch.org, sponsored by the Mormons, first said in 2015 that it would add a feature for same-sex relationships, the Deseret News reported. Now, the major overhaul to the website’s system should be ready by 2019.

There are several other family history sites – Ancestry.com is probably the best known – that already allow same-sex recognition. In addition to Ancestry, other major sites are Israel-based MyHeritage and England-based Findmypast. FamilySearch is the only one that is totally free for all of its databases.

For LGBT genealogists, the FamilySearch news was a pleasant surprise . . .

Read on . . .

Source: The Mormons are making major changes to their genealogy database to recognize same-sex families / LGBTQ Nation


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Provincial Archives project to give genealogists, others fast access to ‘goldmine’ | CBC

Provincial Archives project to give genealogists, others fast access to ‘goldmine’ | CBC

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Archives are digitizing 650 Anglican registers from Fredericton diocese dating back to 1790s.

Jordan Gill

Hundreds of Anglican Church registers dating back to the 1790s will be a lot easier to access after they are scanned and put online in a project underway at the Provincial Archives.

The goal of the project, undertaken with the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton and the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, is to make it easier to access some important records housed at the archives in Fredericton.

The registers include information about baptisms, marriages and burial dates and locations.

Joanna Aiton Kerr, the archives manager of services and private sector records, called the records a goldmine for genealogists.

“They do go further back than … when it became law to record vital statistics, so these can fill in lots of blanks for people,” said Kerr . . .

Read on . . .

Source: Provincial Archives project to give genealogists, others fast access to ‘goldmine’ | CBC


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Trials and tribulations of being a genealogy and history blogger.

Trials and tribulations of being a genealogy and history blogger.

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Regular readers may have noticed a problem with several posts from the beginning of September.
August 28th I purchased a plugin and theme that were supposed to streamline the curation of content of interest to my readers and myself. However, within about a week I noticed that it was bringing up a lot of ‘junk’ and I deleted it. (I’m still waiting for a refund.)

Today, I was doing the final tweaks of setting up this lovely new site theme and happened to notice that the links and videos from some or all of the posts placed by this plugin had broken.

I wasted no time and today I spent the time necessary re-linking and fixing the videos in the posts.

This selection of articles was the result of my cherry picking from the dozens suggested by the plugin. They are of great interest to me – and hopefully you too.

If you had trouble accessing the full articles and media or videos, please do check them out now they’re working.

…and thank you for your patience!

 


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