9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites – Day 9

  1. Find a Grave  http://www.findagrave.com/

R   S   FREE

Dig up ancestral burial information from millions of tombstone images here. Search by an individual or cemetery name. Users are encouraged to upload additional tombstone photos and submit biographical information for memorial pages. You can even create virtual cemeteries to connect loved ones buried in different places.  I was able to find my paternal grandmother using this site. I also found the headstone of a civil war soldier. We were blessed that the Company and Regiment were marked on the grave.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

This is the last  day of the review of my top 9 genealogical websites.e Thanks for hanging in there with me and reading all the posts.   Please continue to share what you are learning from the reviews of the websites. Or maybe you have a website that you think SHOULD have made the list. Feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites – Day 8

  1. FamilySearch.org  http://www.familysearch.org/

H   R   S   FREE

This is one of the best free online resources available. Search millions of digitized and indexed records from around the world. Some results point to offsite sources for digitized records. Don’t ignore the Learn tab; it’s packed with keyword-searchable articles and online courses. The Catalog tab takes you to the most extensive genealogy library catalog in the world. Microfilmed holdings can be rented for use at a FamilySearch Center near you (see the FamilySearch Centers tab). Share your family tree at the bottom of the home page; learn how you can contribute to online records access under the Indexing tab.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

This is day 8.  Including today’s post, we have 2 resources to go. I would love to hear what you are learning from the reviews of the websites. Or maybe you have a website that you think SHOULD have made the list. Feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites – Day 4

  1. Vital Rec  http://www.vitalrec.com/

R H Free

The most comprehensive resource for locating vital records. This site will show you to how to obtain vital records (such as birth certificatesdeath recordsmarriage licensesdivorce decrees, naturalization, adoption and land records) from each stateterritory and county of the United States. See the guidelines for information on how to order vital records. If you are looking for vital records from a foreign county, see links to international vital records web sites.

Access contact information for each state’s vital records office to request Vital Records (birth, death) from across the United States.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

vitalrec

This is day 4.  I hope you are enjoying the resources. Vitalrec happens to be one of my favorite websites. It makes it very easy to find out costs and contact info when you are researching in different states. Feel free to share your insights any and all of the websites. It will help me and others to about aspects we might not been aware of.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

Who would you talk to ?

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I just saw a great picture on one of the social media platforms that I frequent. The picture is shown above. My answer to this question would be, my Dad and my Granny.  My Dad because there’s so much I didn’t even know to ask him about his life growing up and what his parents were like.   My Granny because I miss her and she was so loving and we always had a great time together.

In a lot of ways family history is a way to “speak” to those who have passed on. We learn about them, where they lived, who their parents were etc.  Don’t wait till someone has passed away to think about questions to ask them about their life.  Sit down now with the people in your family and ask them questions about their life. In addition to that, let them talk. Don’t interrupt unless you need to clarify . You would be surprised what you can learn when you let individuals “ramble” on.

Develop a list of questions to ask your relatives.  Allow the interviewees to use the questions as a guide. Let them become comfortable so they can open up.  Some interviewers like to do audio or video recording.  (Ask their person if you want to record the interview.) Taking notes can, sometimes, distract from what the interviewee is saying.

Think about what you would like someone to know about you and start from there.

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand baby

Nichelle ~

Female Ancestors 1/2 of the puzzle

ImageAnyone who has done even a tiny bit of research in the distant past, knows how difficult it can be to learn about female ancestors. There is a frequent tendency for women to be identified as Mrs. James Curtis in public documents. This makes it very hard to find women’s first names and often impossible to find birth surnames (maiden).

 

I have been blessed, in that I know most of the first names and birth surnames of my female ancestors. If you are only researching male ancestors you are missing 1/2 of the puzzle.

 

Today I’m going to shine a light on Mary Martin Hayes Williams, one of my direct female ancestors. She was born February 1884 in Kentucky and died November 1964 at the age of 80.  She married Hubert Hayes and the couple  had 5 children. Four girls and 1 boy.  According to one of her grandson’s she was a kind and loving woman who cared deeply for her family.

I learned Mary’s full name from one of her grandson’s. From there I was able to find her death certificate which gave the full names of her parents.

When Mary was born women didn’t have the right to vote. According to Historyorb.com  on,  “Mar 8th – Susan B. Anthony addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony’s argument came 16 years after legislators had first introduced a federal women’s suffrage amendment.”  And the Civil War had only been over for 19 years. I can only imagine what life was like for a woman of African descent living in Kentucky. How I wish I knew some of her thoughts and feelings.

This is just a tiny bit of the story of her life. I challenge you to document the story of the women of your family. Learn their birth names and that of their parents. I am blessed to speak her name and have her picture. For today that will be enough.

 

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Free Memorial Day Records Available

There are quite a few websites that are making some of their military records available for free this weekend. Today I took a sometime to review the records at http://pages.myheritage.com/memorialday/  .

I attempted to find records for a few of my ancestors. When performing a search of an online collection, it helps to keep the search broad and then narrow it to find valuable information. The is also a good time to introduce the concept of a research log or notebook. By documenting what collections you have searched and for what individuals you can avoid duplicating your work months or years later. It can also help to illuminate areas you might have overlooked or want to review more closely.

For example according to your current research you believe that your ancestor’s name is James L. Curtis, date of birth (dob) Kentucky, 1927. If you limit your search to those parameters, the search results might miss the person you are searching altogether for  or return no results at all. Utilize the option of using a range of years (if available) , ie.  + or – 5 years, within the search function. It normally is better to omit middle names or initials. Middle names or initials, may or may not be mentioned in the record.

Every collection you search will not necessarily contain information on one of your ancestors. It’s good to remember that records are not always accurate, nor do they all contain the same information. The information is only as accurate as the person who provided the information.  The person could be wrong, misinformed or trying mislead the person or organization collecting the information.  That’s why it’s important to use more than one source to verify information. I often say that, “genealogical research is often about finding a preponderance of evidence, rather than a direct smoking gun with fingerprints and gunpowder residue.” (I watch a lot of crime shows. LOL)  Just because a piece of information conflicts with what you’ve previously learned, doesn’t mean it’s false. It might be good idea to file it under “further research needed”.

Shortened Transcript of Record that I was able to find on one of my ancestors.

TC
Birth: 1921

Residence:
Enlistment: Apr 9 1943

Serial #: xxxxxxxx
Grade alpha: Pvt
Grade code: Private
Branch alpha: No
Branch code: No Branch Assignment
Term of enlistment: Enlistment For The Duration of The War or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion of The President or Otherwise According To Law
Army component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Race and citizenship: Negro, Citizen
Education: 2 Years of High School
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled Chauffeurs and Drivers, Bus, Taxi, Truck, and Tractor
Marital status: Married
Source: Civil Life
Box #: 0900
Reel #: 3.322

I was told previously that he served in the military, however I didn’t know what branch or when he enlisted. This gave me quite a bit of additional information. Excited!!!  His birth certificate states he was born in Louisiana. However I know he lived in Texas for part of his childhood. The name, birthdate, residence and enlistment information all match. This tidbit will encourage me to request his full military records from The National Personnel Records Center. Previously, I’ve requested and received my father’s and my maternal grandfather military records.

Happy Hunting! I hope this blog has inspired you to do some research or perhaps preserve some stories from a veteran in your family.

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand-baby

Nichelle ~

 

Tell Me Now . . .

Sisters
Sisters

Today was the Homegoing Service (Funeral) for my Great Aunt Louise. She was the youngest sibling of my Grandmother, Anna Mae. We were not particularly close. However, I did enjoy seeing her, no matter how infrequently. She always had a warm smile and big laugh and I was always glad to see her. She and my Grandmother talked weekly and always knew what was going on in each other’s extended family. This closeness didn’t really manifest itself to my generation.

She had been sick for sometime. Auntie (my mother’s oldest sister) kept me apprised on her general wellbeing. Auntie had told me several weeks ago, that nothing else could be done to deal with her illness. I dutifully placed her name on the prayer list of my church, and continued to also pray for her myself.

The day arrived when she made her final transition. I knew she was no longer in pain and had gone onto a better place.

As I read her life history, I marveled once again how fleeting life is and how small things overtime build a life. Where we were born, what school we attended, where we worked, civic activities and who we leave behind to mourn us. It’s very hard to truly convey one person’s life. There are so many relationships, jobs, family members and other triumphs and set backs along the way.

As I watched my Uncle Clarence, her only brother and the last remaining sibling say his final goodbye to her earthly shell. I wondered what does that feel like to be the last person standing. He has children and grandchildren, but nothing is quite the same as a sibling, someone you’ve known your entire life. The persons(s) you fought with and protected and shared confidences with. I wonder what it will be like for him to carry on without her.

In 1989, I lost 2 Aunts and my Dad, All in one year. It was quite a blow, one that took years to recover from. From that time I learned that we don’t have as much time as we think. We shouldn’t put off telling people how much we care.

Many years ago I found a poem titled, Tell Me Now. It said, don’t wait to tell me you love me. Don’t wait till I’m gone to cry for me and try to embrace me.

If you have any tender feeling for me, express it now. I’ve searched for that poem, but it has eluded me. Nevertheless, its meaning stays with me.

I would encourage you to hug your family, make up with your enemies and savor the sweet taste of life that we currently enjoy. The only constant is change, these are the good old days

Sisters
Sisters

.

Nichelle
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step . . . How to begin your research.

Today I want to talk about how to start your genealogical research.  I’ve been researching for many years and people always ask me, “How do I start?”  The beginning of your research is such an exciting time. You have everything to learn and no bad research habits to break.

A few things you need to have.

An Ancestral Chart.   Follow this link for a chart.   http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/charts-forms/

Either Pen & Paper or a Computer/Laptop.

Willingness to be organized.

When beginning your genealogical research begin with yourself and work backwards, towards your parents, grandparents, etc. Resist the urge to start with Great Grandma Rhodes who your family has always spoken about. Researchers have wasted years going down the wrong path, because they didn’t start with themselves work their way back and then confirm or deny word of mouth information from family members.

Write down everything you know about yourself. Your full name (legal and nickname), when & where you were born, parents names (adopted, foster, etc), where you grew up, siblings (half, step, full).  After you have written down everything you know, attempt to confirm the information with documentation. Frequently individuals have assumed something ie, I was born in KY, only to get the birth certificate and realize you were born in OH.  This could have happened because all the other siblings were born there and you just assumed you were too. Never assume! Be open to the facts. Also be open to not being able to confirm every fact. I will talk frequently about a “Preponderance of evidence”.

Sidenote – when documenting the names of women, write down their BIRTH NAMES (maiden). It becomes very difficult to trace women when their last names at birth are unknown or shrouded in the mystery of their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd husband.  A fellow researcher, Charles Kenneth Barker, remarked how hard it was to trace his female ancestors. I let him know that it wasn’t an accident that women are hard to trace. Society pressures women to give up their names and there by their connection to their birth families and their connection to history.(Stepping down from my soap box.)

After writing down everything you know about yourself, write down your parents’ names full name (legal and nickname), place of birth, date of birth, place of death and date of death if applicable.

Next, write down all of that same pertinent information for your grandparents, great grandparents, etc as many generations as you can.

At this point you have a lot of information written down. This is a good time to decide what kind of organizational method you will use, folders, binders, computer files, etc. Most people will use several of these tools. You can conduct research without a computer.  However if you enjoy computers using a database program can help you organize your research. There are several great programs out there.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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Welcome to my blog.

For several years friends and family members have encouraged me to write about my family and my genealogical searches.  Well here I am! I am excited about this new page in the story that is my life.

I first began researching when I was given an assignment in middle school, St. Andrews’ the Apostle Elementary School (K – 8), to research my family tree.  The assignment is one that many school kids are given. For me it started me on my journey of researching my family tree or genealogy.  I immediately dove head first into the assignment. I quickly wrote down my parents’ names and my maternal parents’ names.  I could even go back about 3 generations on my Mom’s paternal side.

This was the first time that I understood the term “family” had 2 sides, Maternal and Paternal.  Prior that my relatives were all lumped together.  I had a large extended family that was primarily of my Mother’s family.

This assignment started my love affair with genealogy.  This blog will discuss family history, ancestors, and descendants and how we stay connected across the generations.  Family stems from blood, marriage, adoption and often times the bonding of friends.  The Ties That Bind Us are of Love.  I hope you enjoy my blog. I hope that this will encourage you to connect with you family both past and present.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Nichelle

“Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby“