25 January 2007
Often times in our busy lives we don't take the time to write things down. Sure it's easy to snap pictures and have a drawer or computer file full of faces. But do you take the time to write down the story and names in the picture?
Now think back to a photo pasted down by Grandma. Who is that guy or gal standing next to Uncle Joe? Grandma didn't write it down. Where are they and when was that picture taken? You don't know that either. Now think ahead 20, 30, 50 years to your grandchildren. See that drawer full of photos. What happens when you don't write it down? Will they know the exciting vacation you were on? Will they know about the special person standing beside you? If you don't write it down they wont.
Share your stories of unknown people in photos. Maybe someone will know something about it. Do you have an unknown realtive you are searching for or and ancestor who is a brick wall in your research? Or have you writen a story about a grandparent. Share their story. But after you share that story, stop and write your own. Don't be a forgotten someone standing next to someone's uncle.
I look forward to reading your stories.
Submit your stories I will be sharing your stories next on Feb 2, 2007
18 January 2007
First I would like to introduce you to a new website for beginners especially. This site is simple and very easy to follow. The links are marked very clearly. The site is also created in such a cute manner that you may even find your children will find the site fun if you want to work on your genealogy together as a family. A great family activity if you can get them involved. This site comes to us from the UK, but I really like the way it is done and how helpful it is for a beginner genealogist. So if you are just beginning stop in and visit Genealogy Guide.
I also discovered that Kentucky has their land records indexed, scanned and accessible from their Kentucky Secretary of State Land website. I'm still looking for what I need, but maybe if you have Kentucky roots you just might find their land records. If you have someone you know served in the Revolutionary War you may want to check out the site. They have many records for veterans of the Revolutionary War who were given land in Kentucky for their service.
Now I need to get back to work. I received copies of records in today for a friends family I am researching. Her family is from PA, and after no luck getting any further in the research I wrote to the PA state archives. And much to my surprise and thrill I got a lot of help from a wonderful gal there who found the family I am looking for. She found a naturalization record for Charles Speisman and a will for his wife Margaret. Both records gave me clues to work from.
Here is something to think about when researching your ancestors. In the will of Margaret Speisman, she lists her executor as "my cousin John W Haehn." Now from the 1880 census I knew that her mother's name was Haghn. So I then believed that John W Haehn was a cousin from her father's side. I began looking for a John W Haehn and sure enough I found him. The name was spelled "Hahn" in all the census records I found. It turns out that her cousin John lived 0.89 miles from her in Titusville, PA. I started researching John's family at that point. It lead me to find a great deal of her Hahn relatives. Unfortunately I still have yet to discover who her father was, but I have been able to find aunts, uncles, and cousins. It should eventually help lead me to her father.
Genealogy is like a puzzle. Sometimes you have to build the edges of the puzzle first before you can figure out the center. In genealogy sometimes you have to find not so immediate family members to help lead you back to the immediate ancestors you are searching for.
05 January 2007
For many reason our ancestor's names were not always spelled exactly the same way on every document. Here are some of the things to think about that created inaccuracies in documents.
- How educated was your ancestor, if at all? Could they even spell their name?
- Were they an immigrant to the country? Therefore creating a language barrier.
- Did their name have different spelling variations, even with in the same family?
- Was the name spelled differently because of locality? Such as a family from say Missouri with may have had their name spelled one way, but when they said the name in California people spelled it differently because their accent made it sound different.
I encountered one of these issues today. I have been researching an ancestor for a friend of mine. The information I had came from a census record. Also keep in mind that census records are not always correct. Many times there are discrepancies. Sometimes they even relied on neighbors to get the information just to finish a neighbor hood. Anyway I had been looking for Charles Speisman from Germany, possibly Baden or Oberhausen. born about 1847 and migrated about 1869 and naturalized about 1879. I had no luck finding is naturalization or immigration papers.
I had searched everything I could and finally I wrote to the Pennsylvania records asking for help. I very wonderful lady found the information in a day. Here is the kicker there are so many discrepancies that I may have been passing him up all along. Sometimes it pays to ask for help. She found the only Speisman in Crawford county! Crawford is where is spent the rest of his life after he immigrated to the United States. It make me think that maybe his children were telling the census taker all the information. In the naturalization records his name is Charley (a variant of Charles) Speesman (possibly a misspelling because of language barriers). He was born Dec 22, 1851. Not uncommon for census records to be off, I've seen them off as much as five years. He was born in Baden, Germany (correlates with the 1880 census records) and was naturalized in 1897. That is understandable. They may have told the census taker that he was naturalized earlier, not know when he really was. But the part that makes me sure that these two men are the same people is the fact that he is the only Speisman in Crawford County to take the Oath of Declaration during that time period. Most of the discrepancies are understandable because of language barrier, not to mention how unreliable census records are.
So when searching for your ancestor, broaden your search. Search a wider range of years if you are having trouble finding them in the year you expect. Search with the name spelled many different ways both first name and surname. Also search surrounding localities. This same ancestor I had found in a different county in 1900 because he was in a state hospital during that census, but his family was still back home in Titusville, Crawford, PA.
Good luck with your research!