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Old 03-30-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
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Genealogy

I haven't seen much on genealogy here lately, and I was fascinated by this recent post in another forum:
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Originally Posted by Theseus View Post
While doing some ancestry research I managed to reliably connect the dots back to my 16th great-grandfather born in 1432. In the mix found 2 Earls, one of them during the reign of Henry VIII, a Countess, and a Lord born in the mid 1500's.
I've subscribed to Ancestry.com and one or two similar services from time to time over the years, but I've always been stuck at certain points, so I've given up trying. A big part of the problem is that all my ancestors have been rather nondescript ordinary folk, and consequently have left few if any written records of their existence.

The farthest back I've been able to go is a GGGrandfather on my father's side in northern Germany, born around 1800. On my mother's side, I got to a GGGGGrandfather in northern Ireland, born around 1760.

I have run into a few serious brick walls in parts of my background. For example, my mother's father. There is no record of his birth, nor is there any record of his parents. Yet the family stories are quite detailed about his birth and early years. I'd just like to document them.

So I wonder if anyone here has any insights into genealogical research (short of hiring an expensive expert to do the research), or maybe just some interesting stories about their own efforts.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:17 PM   #2
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My mom did all of ours, so I can only tell what I know from hearing it from her..

Find the local Mormon Library... they have the largest database of records...

I found this link, but do not know anything about it, so take it for what it is..

Mormon Church (LDS) Genealogy / Geneology Records


Also, it seems that your family are recent to the US... if so, you will have to look for info from the country of origin... my mom never did look overseas as she has part of our family going back to the 1600s here...


PS... it took her many years and many $$$s to get 'proof'... just finding a connection you think is not proof in the geneology world... you have to have the birth/marriage/death etc. etc. record...


PPS... churches are a good keeper of records if you know which ones they were members....
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:01 PM   #3
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A friend was connected with some previously unknown relatives via 23andMe DNA test. I think her grand-mother had her mother out of wedlock. Might be worth trying...

I'm not really interested in genealogy but this has been a big focus for my father. It turns out that Koreans keep *very* detailed records on the male side and we can trace back our lineage something like 30 generations. Very likely my wife is the first person with swedish name in the newest version of the clan book.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
(snip)
I have run into a few serious brick walls in parts of my background. For example, my mother's father. There is no record of his birth, nor is there any record of his parents. Yet the family stories are quite detailed about his birth and early years. I'd just like to document them.

So I wonder if anyone here has any insights into genealogical research (short of hiring an expensive expert to do the research), or maybe just some interesting stories about their own efforts.
I've been working a lot recently on putting the results of genealogical research by my parents, younger brother and me into a family tree at Ancestry. I find it a fascinating pursuit. I am still trying to figure out how to make the best use of the records there. A lot of subscribers complain bitterly about the search engine, which I guess has been changed recently. I've always found the Ancestry searches hard to use—I get either too many results to be useful or none at all. Almost all the research I've done has been in US records with a little in the UK and Barbados, but I might be able to give you some suggestions on where to look for your grandfather. If you'd like me to do that, send me a PM with his name, what you know about him, and where you have looked already, and I'll see what I can think up.

Also, if you have never visited the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, you might want to do that. It's an amazing place where you can do a lot of research faster than if you order individual tapes sent to a Family History Center near you.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
A friend was connected with some previously unknown relatives via 23andMe DNA test. I think her grand-mother had her mother out of wedlock. Might be worth trying...

I'm not really interested in genealogy but this has been a big focus for my father. It turns out that Koreans keep *very* detailed records on the male side and we can trace back our lineage something like 30 generations. Very likely my wife is the first person with swedish name in the newest version of the clan book.
My husband found an unknown 3rd cousin through 23andMe. They compared notes and couldn't come up with a common relative. But the cousin's grandmother emigrated pregnant and a "widow". We suspect one of the siblings of my husbands grandfather had a dalliance on the side.

He's founds some other third cousins where they've totally nailed down the common relatives.

My side of the family, not so much... perhaps because I don't have any male relatives to get tested. (Can only confirm on my mom's side since I don't have a Y chromosome.) My dad and my brother died before 23andMe came along.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
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I was lucky that my dad's side of the family has lived in the same Catholic parish for at least the past 4 centuries. My grandfather was able to recover the church's birth (baptism), marriage, and death records for the family since the early 1600's.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:27 PM   #7
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In case you didn't see this thread late last year Any ancestry surprises when researching your family tree?

A few months ago the NYT also included ancestry research in their "ask an expert" series http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/bo...agewanted=all&
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
My mom did all of ours, so I can only tell what I know from hearing it from her..

Find the local Mormon Library... they have the largest database of records...

I found this link, but do not know anything about it, so take it for what it is..

Mormon Church (LDS) Genealogy / Geneology Records


Also, it seems that your family are recent to the US... if so, you will have to look for info from the country of origin... my mom never did look overseas as she has part of our family going back to the 1600s here...


PS... it took her many years and many $$$s to get 'proof'... just finding a connection you think is not proof in the geneology world... you have to have the birth/marriage/death etc. etc. record...


PPS... churches are a good keeper of records if you know which ones they were members....
The mormon church maintains another website : https://familysearch.org/
that you can use it contains lots of information. US Census records up to 1940 now, ship lists etc, as well as some german church records. Found what I think is my great great grandfathers baptism in 1811 and found out where he came from in germany (the names and birth dates match). In the process I think I now know my great great great grandfathers name also.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #9
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I'm going to look into using 23andMe.

I lucked out and had some great family resources to use. An uncle had connected with older family members and got copies of family histories from bibles, and an interesting set of notes from 1917 when one of my distant cousins transcribed a conversation he had with my 2nd Great Grandfather. It was an oral family history that was amazingly detailed. All the other cousins at the time thought great grandpa might have been wrong, or making stuff up, so they went back five years later and told him the history had been lost and would he re-tell the information. It was almost verbatim. That history went back to his great grandfather who came here from Ulster just in time to fight in the revolution.

There is a public library branch in Houston that consists entirely of genealogical books and other resources. That was my main tool until the internet really became useful.

Once you find somebody in your line that has been document by other credible sources (lots of fake genealogies in the books), it opens dozens or even hundreds of branches to explore. Luckily, my family sources gave me plenty of information that got the research back to ancestors who fought in the revolution, and from there I found hundreds of other genealogies in history books and resources like the DAR. Some of those lines lead to royalty and then I just used history books to track ancestors back 30+ generations. Two of them went back to people who may have been mythical.

The hard part for me was finding information on people born in the mid-late 1800s. So many families moved from civilized areas to the wilds of the frontier, war and other disasters destroyed records, etc., that the information is lost to time. I have several lines that go back two-three generations and then stop. That part is frustrating, but all the stuff has been very interesting. It made history come alive for me.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:54 PM   #10
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I'm going to look into using 23andMe.


The hard part for me was finding information on people born in the mid-late 1800s. So many families moved from civilized areas to the wilds of the frontier, war and other disasters destroyed records, etc., that the information is lost to time. I have several lines that go back two-three generations and then stop. That part is frustrating, but all the stuff has been very interesting. It made history come alive for me.
Here the 1870 1880 and 1900 census come in handy. If you know folks born in that times birthdays then you can look and find them as kids. Families are listed together. For example we had lost a great great grandfather because of divorce but the census records showed him living with another son in one state in 1910 and a second in 1920. (we knew backwards from him because that ran into a family genealogy in a book, I first found at the Clayton Lib back when I lived in Houston. Note if in the Northeast or midwest Fort Wayne In has a large genealogy section in their public library as well.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:01 PM   #11
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A long lost cousin who's a serious genealogist contacted me. He got back to 1592 when the family name changed to current. He sent me the entire lineage as a gift.

Because an ancient ancestor (pre year 1000) was a Pope, he was also able to somewhat trace back the original name following Pope's father-to-(other?) sons to the 1592 date but a little less accurately.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:05 PM   #12
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My maternal grandfather's family line has a website with forums and all the family records available online. They have been able to trace our family back to the early 1700's in the Carolinas but then hit a wall. It is a Germanic name and has been spelled slightly different by some of the families but DNA testing shows that all are related. There are ship records that identify two men with similar surnames arriving in Philadelphia in the very early 1700's but we have not been able to trace where they came from in Europe or where they went once arriving here. Unfortunately most of the family members who did the original research and are most knowledgeable are quite elderly and starting to have significant health issues. We got some quotes to hire a professional genealogist but it was very expensive and only a few people were willing to make donations.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:50 AM   #13
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I don't "get" the fascination with this, especially those who "take pride in" their ancestry (or their ethnicity). I can justifiably be proud of things I have done or accomplished, but the whole retroactive halo effect (or the reverse) is baffling to me.
The stories of how previous generations met life's challenges, emigrated, raised families, etc are always interesting, but they wouldn't be more interesting if they were my biological relatives.
But, I seem to be in the minority, so that probably means something.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:41 PM   #14
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Just be sure not to necessarily believe any of the work posted to ancestry.com or the lds site without some form of independent verification. My family tree was "linked" to English royalty (and even Charlemagne) by an author back in the 1920s whose work has been reliably disproved. However, the bogus genealogy continues to be posted to these websites by well-meaning individuals who found the book online or in their local library.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:21 PM   #15
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Just be sure not to necessarily believe any of the work posted to ancestry.com or the lds site without some form of independent verification. My family tree was "linked" to English royalty (and even Charlemagne) by an author back in the 1920s whose work has been reliably disproved. However, the bogus genealogy continues to be posted to these websites by well-meaning individuals who found the book online or in their local library.
Very true. Many of the trees on Ancestry are completely undocumented. "Verify it yourself" is a warning frequently seen on the user forums there.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:32 PM   #16
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Just be sure not to necessarily believe any of the work posted to ancestry.com or the lds site without some form of independent verification. My family tree was "linked" to English royalty (and even Charlemagne) by an author back in the 1920s whose work has been reliably disproved. However, the bogus genealogy continues to be posted to these websites by well-meaning individuals who found the book online or in their local library.
Right. On the lds site, I am supposed to be 61 years old (in reality I am 39). If they can't get the recent stuff right, I wonder how reliable the older data is.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:45 PM   #17
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Am among those who are satisfied without all the certificates etc...

Started from the backside and moved forward... First name Rene, a woodcutter in Quebec 1620.

Along the way came across a genealogy group having a reunion and received from them a full listing tracing all the way back, detailing everyone down to my father's famly and his marriage to my mother... On further checking, I found that I was distantly related to my college roomate from 1955.

DW's family included some royalty in England, but we later found out his title came from his ownership of a drugstore chain.... on her mother's side, searching would be difficult, as the last name was Carlson, and half of Sweden is so named.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:46 PM   #18
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My husband and kids are dual citizens US/Italy. As part of getting their citizenship with Italy - I had to gather birth, marriage, immigration, naturalization, and death records for my husband's grandparents.

It blew apart a family story that was well entrenched- and my husbands mom and hisaunt/uncles are still saying I'm wrong. But the documents don't lie.

The family story is that Grandma was born in Sicily (true), married, and immigrated with her husband a few months later. (true). And was pregnant with her first child at the time she arrived (also true). Her version is that she was 15 years old. Her Italian birth certificate, marriage certificate, and the ships records and immigration papers all indicate she was 19 years old. By the time she naturalized - 15 years after immigrating to the US - the 4 years had disappeared - so her naturalization papers don't match the immigration papers, nor the ships records and Italian birth/marriage records. By the time she became a US citizen she had firmly established the change in age.

I think it's funny - but my MIL won't admit her MIL lied. Nor will FIL's siblings. And they got kind of mad at me, at the time. (I didn't bring it up after the original discovery.)

Fortunately I had 3 other "lines" to go from for the Italian citizenship - because that lie would prevent any of her descendants from claiming Jure Sanguinis citizenshhip through her.

I am now the keeper of various Italian records for my husbands side of the family. This way if any of his siblings, nieces/nephews, etc want to pursue dual citizenship, we've got a head start. Very interesting stuff.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:58 PM   #19
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I found it interesting, I uncovered many family facts that when put together explained some behavior. There were many partial family facts, that were not known or disclosed in the family.

Part of the family goes back to 1640s in the US, further in UK. On my dads side the trail stops at my Gggf. There's two possible explanations. One is he was the illigetment son of a great American, Civil War hero.... The other and more probable, an Irish immigrant trying not to starve to death. I had a lot of fun with the first guy, researching his life.
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:56 PM   #20
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Just be sure not to necessarily believe any of the work posted to ancestry.com or the lds site without some form of independent verification. My family tree was "linked" to English royalty (and even Charlemagne) by an author back in the 1920s whose work has been reliably disproved. However, the bogus genealogy continues to be posted to these websites by well-meaning individuals who found the book online or in their local library.
You too must be a descendent of Ralph Shelton!!!

I presume you know of the Thomas Merriwether will. There was lots of scams in early colonial times to claim land and it seems that Ralph and Thomas were players in the headrights game.

Genealogy makes history come alive, at least for me. What is funny is that some of my most self righteous relatives are descended from a bigamist who also abandoned his new wife. On the other side I learned that my grandmother married a guy who lost his crew's wages in a poker game and committed suicide (my Mom said that it saved her Mom the trouble of killing him herself) BUT grandmother claimed that her first husband died in the flu epidemic.
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