Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Genealogy-centric Summer

One of the things I really wanted to do this summer was to get away from the computer and actually do some good old-fashioned genealogy.  By that I mean, visit some cemeteries, libraries, repositories, write some letters/e-mails and order some vitals. 

I've had some success so far in that I made it to a library not far from here where many ancestors of mine settled.  I was able to go through their files, which were mostly indices.  But even though I didn't come away with any new ancestors, dates, places or events, I did come away with file and certificate numbers for everything from vital to probate records.  I plan on sending away for them before the year is out.

I also have been spending more time on RAOGK and have made three requests so far this summer.  One (for an obituary in Florida) didn't pan out and I'm still waiting on the other two (one was for some tombstone photos in Michigan, another was for my great-grandfather's naturalization record in Ohio).

I've also started to really utilize my local FHC in recent months with some excellent results.  I ordered some Italian films and was able to find much, including the names of my great-grandfather's parents and some more of his siblings.  Surprisingly, I seem to be the most knowledgeable person there whenever I've gone in, even more so than the volunteers.  Invariably I end up spending hours helping someone with Ancestry.com, the computers or microfilm.  Since I'm not a member of the LDS Church I cannot volunteer there but I'd really love to...

I've also become obsessed with lineage societies this summer!  Can't explain it but it has definitely gotten in my blood.  I can't seem to be able to do anything without running over in my mind the sources I need to get, places to look for them, what might or might not be acceptable proof, people to contact, etc. The Mayflower Society and DAR are the two biggies I'm working on but there are a few smaller ones I'm working on as well.

Another thing I'm doing more is actually writing to government agencies for documents.  For some reason I've always been wary of writing to the government about anything, which is irrational I know.  At the top of my list of things to request are SS-5 forms (Social Security Applications).  I have three grandparents and five great-grandparents who I know filed an application.  Since it is nearly $30 per request, it will be awhile before I have all eight applications.

 Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make a request or two over at Books We Own...


  1. Leah,

    Have you asked about being a volunteer at th LDS?? Things may have changed, and your FHC may be different than the one I used to frequent, but, I am not Mormon but, was a volunteer at one of the FHC's in Michigan for a number of years. In fact, about half (give or take) of the volunteers at that FHC were NOT members.

    Course, like I said, that may have changed, or may have just been that center.

  2. How do you know if they had made application for Social Security? My great grandparents died in the 1930's and I did not find them on the death index. Actually, my grandmothers did collect Social Security and I did not find them either.


  3. Carol - I don't know if it is up to the individual FHC but my local one does have a policy of LDS members only. It is one they really need to change too because they keep cutting back their hours due to a lack of volunteers. I think the reasoning behind that policy is that they need an LDS member there to help other LDS members with the LDS aspects of genealogy (baptisms, sealing, etc.).

    Claudia - I know they made an application because they either turn up in the SSDI or a SSN is listed on their death certificate. I also have an ancestor who had a SSN but does not turn up in the SSDI. In her case, I'll send in my request along with a copy of her death certificate to show proof of death.

  4. Leah, I am so impressed by all the research you have been able to do this summer. You have inspired me.

  5. The policy of only LDS members as FHC workers is definitely a local one. Many FHCs welcome having other's serve. Maybe you should speak to the FHC director and express your desire to serve, they may change their mind.

  6. Hi Leah ~ Where in Ohio was your great-grandfather naturalized? I have relatives in several parts of the state and go there a couple of times a year on genealogy "expeditions" :-)


Thank you for commenting!