Newspapers as a Research Source – Great Website “Chronicling America “

Chron Amer

If one is open there is always a new tidbit that can be learned. Today while teaching a genealogy class one of the participants shared with me a great website that allows researchers to access newspapers from across America.

The website offers access to historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages. The time frame that can be searched on the website is 1836 – 1922. The site is sponsored jointly by The National Endowment for the Humanities & The Library of Congress.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

Check out the site and tell me what you think! Were you able to find something useful?

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

1/2 Way Mark

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This is June and we are 1/2 way into the year. This is a great time to review our genealogy goals that were set at the beginning of year. Everything seems possible at the beginning of the year.

Don’t give up hope. There’s still time to accomplish a lot in the remainder of the year.

Take small bites of the elephant.

Determine what your 3 biggest goals are. Take each goal and break it down into manageable chunks.

Set up a weekly schedule. Don’t forget use your research journal.  This will help you to remember what you’ve done and what you still need to do.

Try to get an accountability partner. Someone that you can check in with and who will ask you about your goals and if you are staying on track.

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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Backup Your Research

Always back up your research. Whether you are using pen and paper or a computer database, backup your work. Make multiple copies and label them. If you are using electronic files you can use a cloud service or an online email service (by emailing the file to yourself).

Flash drives are also convenient for backing up databases, notes, pictures, etc. The cost is low, size is large and the ease is great.  You can back up your work on multiple flash drives and share them with fellow family members for safe keeping.

Today I used a device that automatically backs up everything on my hard drive with the click of one button.  This device is very handy when the inevitable hard drive crash or virus intrusion disables your computer. The cost for a professional retrieval can be very high.

Share your work with your family, allow them to share in the excitement of the chase. It is very inexpensive to copy and bind your work. (I’ll touch more on that in a later post.) We never think that our files will be lost. However, natural or man made disasters can befall any of us.

Happy Hunting!

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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