Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Looking for the Place of Death

I've always wondered why I could never find Joseph T. Allen in the Ohio death certificates at FamilySearch. He lived most of his adult life in the Warren area, so his death should have been registered in Trumbull County, right?  Plus, I know he was buried in Union Cemetery (AKA Niles City Cemetery) which is in Trumbull County.

Well, today I got a copy of Joseph's obituary.  At the time of his death he was visiting his daughter who lived nearby... in Sharon, Mercer, Pennsylvania.  So not only did Joseph not die in Trumbull County, he didn't even die in the state of Ohio!

To make sure, I decided to look for him in the Pennsylvania death indices online.  With minimal effort, I found him:

Since all my Pennsylvania ancestors left before vital records began to be kept, I have no experience with ordering records from the state.  I have heard that it can take a very long time and easily turn into a nightmare.

Then again, I'm not in a hurry, it is a record I'd like to have, and it would be a new experience.  Hmm...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

NGS Courses

My membership in the National Genealogical Society recently came up for renewal and once I finished paying my dues, I noticed something new.  Well, new to me at least, and apparently I'm a bit behind the eight ball because they have been out awhile: online/PDF courses (besides the Home Study course).

I am actually surprised these haven't gotten more press (beyond NGS's blog) online.  The most interesting ones to me were Working with Deeds and Introduction to Religious Records.  The cost is $70 to non-members and $45 to members for each course.

I'm seriously thinking about ordering one.  Has anyone tried these, and if so, what did you think?  My only apprehension is if they are geared towards brand new beginners, I might not get a whole lot out of the course.  I think this might be the case with Introduction to Religious Records (the title kind is a tip-off).  But I like that it has a section on the Quakers, so I might get it anyway.  And, since it is NGS, I'm bound to learn something useful.

One thing I really like about each of the courses is that they include how to create a proper source citation for a record in that particular set.

Have you taken a course through NGS?  Did you enjoy it?  Did you learn a lot?  Which course(s) would you recommend (the Home Study course is a given)?

Disclosure:  I am a paying member of NGS and have no affiliation with them beyond my membership.  I received no remuneration of any kind from anyone for writing this post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Northern California Family History Expo Day 2

(A recap of day 1 can be found here.)


Unfortunately, I started the day not feeling great and it got worse as the day went on.  It is the reason I missed the first session of classes, which disappointed me because I had wanted to attend Stephen P. Morse's Genealogy Beyond the Y Chromosome: Autosomes Exposed.

I did arrive in time for the second session, which was Arlene H. Eakle's Migrations Within the United Kingdom and Ireland.  As always, I learned a lot.  Some things that especially stuck in my mind: 1) our ancestors were far more mobile than we give them credit for being, 2) even the humblest of families could have a servant (who was probably a relative there to learn a trade), 3) records of the poor were recorded separately in the parish registers.  That last one was especially important to me because I have at least one ancestor who I know died in a poor house in 1847.

After this it was lunch time.  My mom came by and we had the (very good) buffet that the hotel put on.  I wasn't expecting the hotel to offer lunch but was so glad they did as it meant I didn't have to go far and possibly miss the next class session.

After lunch, the third class I went to was one put on by RootsMagic's Michael Booth called RootsMagic: Sharing and Publishing Your Family Tree.  I've listened to many RootsMagic webinars, which is why I think I didn't get much out of the class.  I did learn more about the book making feature and how to create a shareable CD though.  I do think if you are brand new to RootsMagic or thinking about getting it, it would be a valuable presentation to attend and Michael Booth was a good instructor.

The last session I attended was a last minute decision.  Arlene Eakle had another class at this time, but I thought I should "diversify" so I went to James L. Tanner's Ancestry.com for Experienced Users.  I had really high hopes for this class as Ancestry.com presentations I had seen before seemed to be geared towards beginners.  But, I guess I'm too "experienced" because I didn't end up learning much new information.  One thing I did like was that he used Ancestry's new search throughout the presentation.  That is one thing I need to get used to and learn to love.  I do think it was a valuable class and James Tanner was an excellent instructor, I just think it should have been called Ancestry.com for Intermediate Users.


The migraine I had been fighting all day finally got the better of me during this last session.  I thought I could make it through the closing keynote but left about fifteen minutes in when I realized I still had a thirty minute drive in 100 degree heat to make.  The expo itself was just as wonderful the second day, I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more!

Disclosure:  I am a Blogger of Honor for the event, see here to learn what this entails.  I have no affiliation with any person or company mentioned in this post.  I purchased RootsMagic 5 last year, use it, and like it.  Beyond what I received from Family History Expos, Inc. I received no further remuneration of any kind from anyone for writing this post.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Northern California Family History Expo Day 1

I'm tired, but it is the good kind of tired (the kind you get from a day of fun and learning).  Where to begin?

Well, I arrived a little after 1pm at the Crowne Plaza in Sacramento.  I quickly got registered and then wandered a bit before the keynote speech began at two.  Our keynote speaker was Dean McLeod who provided the perfect start to all the fun ahead.

After the keynote address ended, I made a bee line for the Family Roots Publishing booth.  I wanted to see if they had some titles I was specifically looking for and if so, I wanted to snap them up before they were gone.  Luckily, they had a wonderful selection and were very friendly and helpful when it came to a book I had wanted but they didn't have.  I ended up getting three titles I had been wanting for awhile (and I might get more tomorrow if funds permit): Genealogical Proof Standard - Building a Solid Case by Chrstine Rose, Genealogy As Pastime and Profession by Donald Lines Jacobus and The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood.

After my book haul, I wandered a little bit, then chatted with Sheri of The Educated Genealogist for a few minutes and also met Kim of Le Maison Duchamp.  Then it was time for my first class: How to Document your "Common Man" Ancestors in British Land Records by Arlene Eakle.  As with all the Arlene Eakle classes I've gone to, I left feeling inspired and excited to begin a whole new (to me) area of genealogy.  This class concerned British land records and the fact that even if your ancestor was a "common man" you can still find information about him in these records.  I thought it was especially interesting to learn that when the rent was raised, many left to come to America, Canada, etc. where they would purchase their own land.  I also have to chuckle because we learned that American Dream was a horse, a cow, a home and land to farm I remembered that I have a family picture that depicts this "American Dream" to the letter.

My next class also concerned land records.  It was Deeds and Land Records by Billy Dubois Edgington.  More than anything, this class was a good refresher as I had not realized how much I had forgotten.  I also learned a lot, especially terminology and jargon that go along with these records.  One thing I was never clear on before this class was "quitclaim."  Now, I'm selling the Golden Gate bridge, who wants to buy it???

Following a dinner break, my next class was another of Arlene Eakle's, British Isles Migration Patterns to America: Documenting "Original" Settlers to New England, New Netherlands, and The South.  I think of all the classes, this one was my favorite.  I learned about many new books as well as some of the reasons different groups chose to migrate (for example, the Scottish were usually merchants and came for the money while the Scots-Irish came for the land).

After this class, I visited some more exhibits before heading in for my final session of the day, Angela Kraft's Beyond Names and Dates: Building Your Ancestor’s Profile.  It was a good class to end the day on: laid-back and fun.  It was mainly a refresher to me, but I think it would be quite valuable for a beginner to genealogy.  One thing I really liked about this session was the long Q&A period which seemed lacking in the other sessions.  We were a pretty chatty group and the presenter was more than happy to answer questions and keep the flow of conversation going among us.

With sessions done for the day, I ended up at the doTerra booth talking Italian genealogy with the folks there.  I learned about several new websites here and got to see pictures of a variety of Italian records.  I also got some ideas on where the go with my brick-wall Italian ancestors.

All in all, I had a wonderful day.  I'm torn about tomorrow's schedule though, because I'd like to attend all the sessions - if only I could!  Maybe after I sleep on it, the decisions will be clearer (though I doubt it!).  I can't wait until day 2!

Disclosure:  I am a Blogger of Honor for the event, see here to learn what this entails.  I have no affiliation with any person or company linked to or mentioned in this post.  Beyond what I received from Family History Expos, Inc. I received no further remuneration of any kind from anyone for writing this post.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Navigating New York Probate Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch added many New York probate records recently and I have been having some good luck finding records.  But, it can be a bit of a process to get to the records.  So instead of just posting a copy of one of my finds, I'll post about the process I went through to get to it.

The person I will be looking for is Francis Plaine Smith.  I do not know when he died or where.  But, I do know he was living in Oyster Bay, Queens, New York at the time of the 1870 US Census and that he does not appear in any subsequent censuses.

1) First I went to FamilySearch and narrowed the collections down to just New York:

2) The collection I want, "New York, Probate Records, 1629-1071" is at the bottom.  I'm going to click on "Browse Images" to the right of the collection title.  Once I do, this comes up:

3) A listing of New York counties appears.  Since Francis' last known address was in Queens (circled in red above), I'm clicking that one.  Then this appears:

4) A listing of everything available for that county comes up and I scroll up and down (note the red arrow) until I reach what I am looking for.  Not all counties have a general index of names volume(s), though each individual record volume (i.e. "Letters of Administration, 1864-1868 vol G") seems to have a name index towards the front.  In the case of Queens, there is a general index of names and I clicked on the one I believed Francis was in, "General card index 1787-1900 Rhoads, William-Zubrod, Charles."  This opens up the volume and I hunt around until I find who I believe to be my Francis P(laine) Smith:

Note the image field box (within the red box).  I began my search by typing in a random number in this box, then another until I had narrowed my search down to the image I wanted.  The previous image also concerns this same Francis P. Smith:
With these images (as with all images on FamilySearch) I can make viewing adjustments (in the red box), save to my computer or print (encircled in red) or skip ahead to the previous or next image (encircled in blue).

5) According to the card above, Francis' will can be found in volume 4, page 231.
I'm going to click on Queens again (encircled in red above) to get back to a listing of everything available for that county (see screenshot 3 above).  I scroll down to wills and look for the volume I want, which is "Wills 1875-1898 vol 4-6."  To make sure this is the right volume, I look for an index at the beginning.  On image 6, I find:
Francis' information is in the red box.  I know I'm in the right place.

6)  Next, I want to find page 231.  Page numbers and image numbers rarely seem to correlate, but I'll type in 231 in the image field box (see screenshot 4 above).  It takes me to pages 440 and 441, so I know to halve my next search.  I type in various numbers until I reach page 231, which ends up being on image 124:
After reading the will, I know for sure that this Francis P. Smith and my Francis Plaine Smith are one and the same.  It is a wonderful document that not only gives me Francis' death date and place, but also a listing of his living brother and many nieces and nephews as well as their places of residence in 1877.  With a name like 'Smith,' several of these people were brick walls for me before this document gave me locations in which to search for them.

I am so thankful that FamilySearch added these documents.  If you have New York ancestors this collection is certainly worth a look.  I hope this makes navigating FamilySearch easier, if not I'd be happy to help.

Disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with FamilySearch or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor did I receive any remuneration of any kind from anyone for writing this post.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Searching Ohio in 1940

I was ecstatic when I learned Ancestry had recently released the 1940 US Census for Ohio because it meant I could finally find my grandmother... right?  Not so much.  I spent a good while looking for the family in early April when the unindexed images were first released.  I thought they'd be easy since I knew their address and their enumeration district (which was small).  I never did find them, and apparently Ancestry's indexers haven't either.  If they weren't at 706 Oak St., SW Warren, Trumbull, Ohio then I don't have a clue where they were in 1940.  It is looking like they just weren't enumerated (or were enumerated elsewhere for whatever reason).

I thought MAYBE they were enumerated with my great-grandfather's brother, Nicola, and his family (also in Warren).  Alas, no.  But at least Nicola's family was enumerated:


And looky there, Nicola (enumerated as 'Nicholas') was one of the chosen few asked supplemental questions!

No big discoveries there, I already knew his parents (and he) were from Italy and thereby deduced that the language of his childhood was Italian.  I did not, however, know that he had a social security number.  If SS-5s weren't so expensive I might order his (I already have his brother's/my great-grandfather's).

Thanks, Ancestry!  It isn't my grandmother and her family, but it is the next best thing.

Disclosure:  I have no affiliation whatsoever with Ancestry.com, though I am a subscriber to the site.  I also have no affiliation with NARA.  I received no remuneration of any kind from anybody for writing this post.