Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve 2010

So much has been done, so much to do.... In the past year I have found out more about my ancesters than I thought possible. (And, in one case, more than I ever wanted to know.) I have met cousins I never knew I had, and became closer with some that I knew.

Ancestry is more that finding who you are related to. In a way, its about finding out who you are (mentally and physically) and (sometimes) how it came to be that way. Its about heartbreak. A cousint said to me after a trip to her home town, "Its bad enough seeing yourself fall apart, but to see the place you grew up in fall apart, it makes you feel bad inside..." (The town she grew up in is dying and the population is shrinking.

The hardest thing for me personally it to find the details, the stories that add depth to an individual. I have 6 generations back and every single one of them is very firm as to accuracy. But how many of those people have stories and personal information associated with them? Not many. Ironically enough I have found more on my great great grandfather Heald than any other. Plus I know there is more out there but the data is in Illinois and I am in Florida.

Victories this past year? I found my great great great grandmothers death certificate. Everyone else had the date and location wrong. Death certs on others as well (including my 2x great grandfather proving his middle initial many had that wrong). I hope to get up to Illinois next year, take pics of some headstones (if I can find them), and maybe check out some microfilm from the Chatsworth newspaper.

Happy New year to all and good hunting!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Holy Geneology Batman!!!

OK now that I have been yanked back to the present from the 8th century, (but not before I found an honest to goodness Saint in my possible lineage) lets see what else I can come up with to blog about. Right now I am frustrated. My wife has no trouble finding elderly relatives to talk to. People who actually have pictures an information and documents. You know, the stuff you need to be able to good thourough job at geneaology...

Sigh... Just me an my trusty 'puter against a family that didn't like to document itself well... (Forget the ancestors I dont even have pictures of ME!!!) The up side to all this is that since 1996 my job has always focused on being able to do a web search. Because of that I seem to be able to find things, just not pictures. If its on the web, I can usually find it though.

We dont call the livingroom "the batcave" for nothing. It's kept dark so the light doesnt glare off the monitors as I search... Bruce Wayne has nothing on me. 6 computers, 4 different geneology programs untold millions of pixels spans multiple monitors as I search. Come here my data I need some dates or sources. Oh yeah, on the way, would you bring a dang picture!!! ;)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Forgive me I have sinned...

Been working hard at finding info that no one else had on some of my ancestors and decided I just wanted to zoooooooooooooom back and see who was potentially on my tree...Several members of the Plantagenet family (English royalty). I enter that tree from not one but 3 branches (at the moment.. There could be more...) Kings of England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Jerusalem and as I hoped, a Viking King. But the creme de la creme is the Emperor Charlemagne (1st Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire). WOW! I didn't expect that! I was hoping for maybe a knight (check), a pirate - hanged (check) even a sea captain (check). But Charlemagne??? (And if you don't know who I am talking about shame on you for not staying awake in history class.)

Now, do I believe that its a solid link? No. Was it fun?? Oh heck yes!!! Will everyone find links like that? No but then again you don't know who you will find.

I want to give kudos to the individual in the state of Missouri that decided to publish death certs on the web instead of charging for them or selling them to a company that charges for them. Way to go (even if you never read this).

I have found death certs on 5 people in my tree and one of them never had a death date listed... So I got to scoop everyone (now that felt good!) We search very much sand for a single nugget of information but it is that information that makes things worth while... Ho hum back to genealogy. Somewhere out there though there has got to be another pirate in my tree though ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

If you do it right, ITS HARD WORK!!!

I have been at it for a little bit now, managed to skip some of the potholes beginners fall into. (The operative phrase here is "some". (Yes I have made mistakes and ripped out whole branches).

It would seem I have a tendency to choose certain ancestors and somehow (and no, I don't know how) they become a favorite. Sometimes they end up with more source citations than others (either they were easier to find or I was more determined because I "liked" them, yet others in that same category may only have one source citation. I also like to work with a family unit at a time which I am told is a good thing.

Just a note, a source citation is usually a legal document. However, it is important to note, for example, that on a death certificate there is primary (name of the deceased) and secondary (name of parents) information. I had one where the ACTUAL name is Lewis Heald. On his SONS death cert it lists Jonathan Heald as the father. How can this be??? These are close enough I can even find them in the same census so who is right and who is wrong? In this case, neither was wrong. Looking closer, Lewis' middle initial was J. If his grandson (the one that provided the info to the coroner) had called him uncle Jonathan all his life, chances are he would think his name was Jonathan. (The J was for Jonathan). BUT you can see how misinformation that sends you down the wrong path could creep in...

I love getting my hands on death or birth certificates, newspaper articles, pictures of headstones, and of course pictures of individuals. Its the newspaper articles that give an individual depth and reality. Once again what started out to be short has the makings of a text wall, so I am off to dig some more...

Oh yeah, it may be hard work, but its fun and definitely worth the effort!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Technical Support vs Geneology

Another day, another post... (I know I said I wouldnt do it often, shush).

I have done telephone technical support for 8 years now. Its very much like doing geneolgy. Now that I have your attention you undoubtedly want to know why... OK I shall indulge you (just this once ;)

  1. You cannot see what you are working on with rare exeption.
  2. Although you are working with facts, many times you only have obscure clues.
  3. People lie to you (though usually not intentionally - I kid you not).
  4. Yon never know where a call or research on an individual may take you.
  5. Often times you must ast the same thing different ways to find the answer.
  6. You MUST have patience (one step down from Job).
  7. Get ready to be hung up on lol.
  8. Many moments of exteme frustration are wiped away with just one success.
  9. You MUST learn to trust your instincts but DOCUMENT your answers.
  10. Just as there is always another call there is always another person to investigate.

Ten items is all my tired brain can up with tonight. I was thinking about this today between calls and there honestly are similarities. In addition (for me anyway) both are exceedingly rewarding.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swore I would never blog

OK, So all things change. Its OK but that doesn't mean I will do it often... (I think I said something along those lines to my dad many years ago about sex, but I digress).

Right now my hobby (geneology) has become more than a hobby but not quite a passion. (Yet). This seems to be a good way of letting people know I am out here and where I am stuck. As well as the victories. At the moment I seem to be stuck far more often that I can help. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I have read where geneology is one of the few places the average person can do meaningful detective work. I prefer to describe it as putting together a jigsaw puzzle where you have seen only 10-15 pieces and know what some of the others are like. Most pieces don't fit exactly and some corners are bent and torn or missing all together. You haven't seen the overall picture and when you put pieces on the side while you look to see where they fit, someone rearranges them. Oh, did I mention you must do this while blindfolded wearing gloves? Oh yeah there are pieces from another puzzle mixed in...