Saturday, January 19, 2008

Congrats to Jasia!

I just want to say, "Congrats!" to Jasia, who won the free DNA test. You can read Blaine Bettinger's post on the results here.

Some Free Online United Kingdom Databases

In some previous posts, I mentioned that I have British ancestry, and I thought that I would mention a few free online databases for those who are just beginning to do research on their British ancestors. So here are a few free databases and what they cover:
  • Free BMD - This database covers births, marriages and deaths of England and Wales from 1837 to the early 1900s. If you have ancestors who died, married or were born in England and Wales in 1837 or later, you might find them in this index. (Please note: You will not find any vital records later than the early 1900s in this database.)
  • UK BMD - This database covers some vital records from select counties and cities of Wales and England. Again, the vital records begin in 1837, and continue on into the 20th Century a lit bit later than the database above. (Please note: I have linked to the page where one can search the multiple databases, but the page has links to the local county pages.)
  • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland - This site has a couple databases for Northern Ireland records. I learned about this site from John Reid's blog.

As you may have noticed, I have not included any free sites for Scotland as I did not know of any free sites. Hopefully, in future posts, I will write about other free sites for the U.K. If you know of any other sites, any suggestions are welcome. Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The latest edition of the carnival of genealogy has been posted! You can read it here. The topic for the next carnival is, "If you could have dinner with four of your ancestors, who would they be and why?"

1808: Where Were My Ancestors?

"Where were your ancestors in 1808?" That is the question that Donna over at What's Past is Prologue has posted. Her post is similar to the challenge that Lisa of 100 Years in America posted, except that the year is 1808 and not 1908.

So, where were my ancestors? Well, the question was not an easy one for me to answer. I have only been able to research back to about the 1820s and to the mid-19th century on my lines, and therefore, I am not completely sure as to where my ancestors were.

For a few lines, I can make an educated guess about the location of some of my ancestors. For my British ancestors, all I can say is that some of them would have been living in the county of the Lancashire. (My ancestors lived in various towns of the county.) As for the rest of my British ancestors, I can't get any more specific.

Three of my American lines go back to Pennsylvania. I can't exactly state where these ancestors were at, but the ancestors of these lines should have been living in Pennsylvania at this time.

As for my German ancestors, I can't state with any certainty which kingdom they lived in, nor do I know with any certainty which towns or villages they lived.

So, as you can see, I have quite a few holes in my research going back to this date. I know less about the location of my ancestors in this year than I did for them in 1908.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Response to "Where Were Your Ancestors in 1908?" Posted

Lisa over at 100 Years in America has posted a list of articles written in response to her question, "Where were your ancestors in 1908?" You can read the article here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Local History and Genealogy Blogs

Earlier today, Terry Thornton put out a challenge for genealogy bloggers to list local history and genealogy blogs, and I've decided to participate. So, here are my recommendations:

  • Sandusky History - This blog focuses on the history of Sandusky, Ohio and is maintained by the Sandusky Library Archives. I realize that this blog is not from my local area, but I'm including it as my family has a cottage about a half-hour's drive west of Sandusky. So, I guess it would be considered local, as I consider the area a second home.
  • Westport (Massachusetts) History - I am not sure if this site is a blog, but it is the site for the historical society of Westport, Massachusetts.
  • Ancestor Research Log - This a genealogy blog maintained by the public library of Plymouth, Michigan. The blog mostly covers genealogy news and information on genealogy sources, especially on Michigan sources.
  • Pieces of Wild Rose, WI Area Genealogy and My Own - The focus of this blog is on doing genealogical research in the area of Wild Rose, Wisconsin.

At the moment I can't think of anymore blogs. I know I more listed on the lower left side of the page. I have just mentioned blogs that were mainly from the Great Lakes area. Any suggestions for other history or genealogy blogs are always welcome.

Update 1/16 at 11:15pm: Correction - I misstated when I said it was Terry who put out the challenge. It was Denise Olson who actually posted the challenge. I'm sorry for any confusion that I might have caused.

Doing Research at the Library of Michigan

Although it has been a while since I have done research at the Library of Michigan, I thought I would write a post about my experiences since Jasia and Randy briefly blogged about the library.

Both the Library of Michigan and the State Archives of Michigan are in the same building, but are on different sides of the building. Again, I will only be posting in this post on the library.

The library is on the left side (walking into the building) of the building and is on the second floor. After taking the elevator up to the second floor, one will notice that the floor is divided between two sides of bookshelves and in the center, a row of tables. On the side of the floor that has the elevator, there is an area where one can access the internet and genealogy databases from a computer. Near the computer work-stations is the librarian's reference desk. Past the reference desk is the microfilm room where one can view censuses and vital records. The other side of the floor also has a microfilm room, but that room holds the microfilms of newspapers. (I have only gone into the newspaper room once, so I am not as familiar with what newspapers are on microfilm.)

The microfilm room near the reference desk holds, among other records, vital records and censuses. The library holds these vital records:
  • Marriages - 1867 (or 1868 for some counties) to 1925. I forget the exact year, but I believe after 1921, the marriages are not indexed.
  • Births - Supposedly from 1867 to 1915. (I have only seen indexes for a few years, and I haven't found any actual images for the early births.
  • Deaths - 1867 to 1920. After 1915, the deaths are not indexed. Please note that Detroit deaths (and births) are kept on separate films from the rest of Wayne County.
  • Censuses - Federal and state. (Most of the state censuses are from the years 1885 and 1895.) You will only be able to view the population schedules for the federal censuses. If you want to view the other schedules of those censuses, you will have to go to the State Archives.

In addition to records on microfilm, the library also has information on Michigan and other states, and has city directories for Michigan cities.

Again, I must state that I am relying on my memory for this post. I could be wrong. To check for more up-to-date information, click here to go to the library's website.

Top Ten Genealogy Blogs List Posted!

I just want to briefly mention that Kimberly Powell of has posted a list of the top ten genealogy blogs. Of course I wasn't the first to post about this list. Randy Seaver, Jasia and Terry Thornton all blogged about this article before me, and I don't believe I can add any more to my post than what they have in their posts. Even though I am not on the top ten list, I still thought it would be nice to mention that a list has been published, and I just want to say, "Congrats!" to those who did get on the list.

Monday, January 14, 2008

World Vital Records Changes Name!

I just learned earlier today from World Vital Record's e-mail newsletter that World Vital Records has changed its name to You can read more about the name change here.

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Ten

Why should genealogists cite their sources?

I realize that I and other genealogy bloggers have blogged before or touched on the issue of citing sources, but I wanted write about this issue again.

The lack of citations on genealogical information is a pet-peeve for me. It could just be that the drilling and insistence upon citing sources in papers in school has made me hyper-aware of the need for citations, but when I see family trees without citations, I get upset. As a history student, I have to cite my sources in any paper that I write, or I will face serious reprisals if I do not. I would be guilty of plagiarism, a form of stealing, and I could face either failing a paper or a course or getting expelled from school. Outside of academia, I could possibly be sued, as the lack of citations would indicate that I was claiming the words or ideas were my own, which in reality was not true.

I realize that from the previous paragraph, some people will consider my stance on this issue as being too serious, as these people are only doing genealogy for fun. I am also doing my family's genealogy for fun (I'm not a professional genealogist), but I am taking the time to cite my sources because the practice is ethical and because the practice saves me time. Even though I am a college student, I don't have all the time in the world, as is probably true for most genealogists. I do most of my research in the summer when I am not in school, and although I have more time then, I usually only get to visit the area where my ancestors lived about once, if I get the chance at all. I don't want to waste my limited time going over sources that I have looked at before. Plus, I am not going to remember where I found all of my information when I look over it later that evening. The citation of sources is even more important for me as I always have a couple of family members assisting with the research. If my relatives don't cite the source of their information, I am going to waste time trying to find the source of that information, especially when I could be spending the time looking at another source. I should be able to spend my time efficiently since I have relatives helping me. Of course, I have had the situation where one of my relatives did not put down the citation, and I had to spend time looking for that information again. I have also mistakenly transcribed a couple of records, and I have had to double-check some records. If you have the citation for the source, you can easily find the source within a couple of minutes. Thus, citing one's sources is quite practical.

Besides enabling one to find a source, citing also allows one the ability to be able to share quality information. What I mean is the information that one gives on a person is verifiable. The person requesting the information can find out where you got your information. For example, if someone requested information from me about one of my ancestors, I should be able to not only give that person information but I should be able to point that person in the right direction if that person wants to be able to look-up the information himself. Or in my case, when I have inquired for information on a person, who might be the same person as my ancestor, in another family tree, I hoping that I the owner of the tree will have some new information or will be able to point me in the direction where I can find a source of information. There have been times when I have contacted people who did not have any information on sources or where I could find their information. It is always frustrating to me when I find a tree with a possible connection, only to learn that the owner does not have any hard evidence to back up his or her claim.

Hopefully, by the end of this column you have understood the importance of citing one's sources. I realize that there are many experienced genealogists out there who already cite the sources of their information. My intention is not to patronize those who already know the importance of citing, but rather at those who are just beginning to do research, so that newcomers will understand why writing down where one found information is important.

So, what do you think? As always, you are welcome to leave a comment.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Family Mystery - Missing Person ...

Almost all of us probably have some family mysteries or something close to being a mystery. I blogged about one mystery a couple of months ago, but I haven't blogged about another mystery that I am trying to solve.

I only call it a mystery as I have not been able to find one of my ancestor's older brothers. (This is for a different family than the ones I have blogged about before.) The last time I can find him is in the 1900 census. After that, I have no idea where is. In his father's probate packet, his sister listed his place of residence as unknown, and that was in 1910. There is a probate file for him in the Saint Joseph County's Probate office, and the reason given for the file is missing. I have not yet checked this probate file, so I might be able to find some answers or clues from that packet. Hopefully, when I have time, I'll be able to take a look, as this inability to find him has been frustrating to me. (I'm sorry, if I'm starting to rant.)

So, why am I writing this? Well, I figured that other genealogists have come across a problem similar to one like mine. Has anyone been able to resolve a missing ancestral relative mystery? How did you solve the mystery?

Just A Quick Reminder ...

I just want to remind everyone that entries for the next Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy are due by January 25. The topic for this upcoming carnival is on stories. The entries can range from folklore stories to stories about your ancestors from Central and Eastern Europe. You can find out more here.