Sunday, December 29, 2013

What Genea-Santa brought me!

This is a follow-up to Randy Seaver's blog on Genea-Musings, "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -What did Genea-Santa Bring You?  He asked... 1) What gift that you received for Christmas is your favorite for genealogy purposes? Book, magazine, hardware, software, website subscription, research time, DNA test - what was it, and how will it affect your genealogy research?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Using Facebook to expand your research

A few years ago, I viewed a Webinar that talked about using social media in your genealogy efforts. One thing the presenter talked about was using Facebook to create page for an ancestor. I thought this idea was very interesting so I decided to try with my patriot ancestor, the one I wanted to use to join the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). I didn't have a lot of information on this ancestor but according to the Webinar that was not important.

On August 29, 2012, I created a page for my ancestor, Johannes Spanknable as a public figure. I found a picture of a maker that noted his military service and another on the region where he came from. I added a short bio about what I knew about him and then added his DAR# and his SAR#. Finally his personal information is basically a short family group sheet with him, his spouse and his children according to his various DAR applications. I have a link going to his Find A Grave page, the place I found the picture of his marker or gravestone.

The first post is his family group information again because everyone doesn't always go into the “about” section.  Later I added another post about how twelve DAR members used him as their Patriot Ancestor and a link back to the Ancestor search page found on the DAR site.

It took a while but as the movie says “If you build it, they will come” and slowly a few did come and like my page. These people are descendants of Johannes and thus they are my distant relatives. I added an obituary of one of my ancestors who was Johannes granddaughter and now I hit pay dirt as one of the visitors has been sharing pictures of other obituaries. My family line is expanding all because I took a few moments to create a public Facebook page about my Ancestor.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

City Directory helps in finding family in 1940 census

Today I was able to help someone from my Genealogical Society find her husband in the 1940 census as a 3 year old child.

She was telling me how she hasn't been able to find her husband in the 1940 census. I asked if she knew where he was living at the time. She stated San Gabriel, California. So since I had a subscription to I decided to go directly to the 1940 census and I typed in the location. Well there were a lot of different wards, so I decided I needed to try to approach this problem a little differently.

I decided to do a search on her father-in-law name. I found him in the 1930 census but he moved by 1940. Then I found a bunch of City directories. I scrolled through the list and found one from 1941. Sure enough the address that my fellow society member gave me was correct.

So I decided to look just at the City directories, and typed in the year 1941 and the street name. I then found a person who lived near where her father-in-law lived. I recorded the name of the neighbor.

I proceeded to go back and search the 1940 census in San Gabriel for the name of the neighbor that I had found in the City Directory. I found a good hit that appear to be the neighbor and when I viewed the census record it was the neighbor because I found the street and house number. I looked a few rows up on the page and on the first three lines was her father-in-law, her mother-in-law and her husband. When I hovered my mouse over the name of her father-in-law, his last name was mis-transcribed and the g in the last name was changed to a z and this is why her search attempts were not working.

I had tied to use a wild card search of Mag* but since the g was the mis-transcribed letter the wildcard was not working.

So the lesson learned here is that we sometimes need to approach our challenges with different techniques. Plus being a little lucky to find a city directory the year after the 1940 census didn't hurt either.