Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just a reminder

Just a reminder to myself....I have spent the past week checking on what census reading were missing for my Smyth family. I have been working on this family for a good 10 or more years. When I went to check on census readings done for various members of the family, many were missing!

I always have to remind myself to go back and look over old work that I have done. I will invariably either find a new clue that I missed before or see something that I had missed and need to check out.

With 2010 quickly approaching, I am hoping that the 1940 census will be out soon. I need to at least be caught up with the 1930 readings! So this past week, I have chosen various family lines and reviewed the census listings that I have, then gone to find what is missing. I have found most of the missing. Where it hasn't been found, I make a note of it in the Notes section, so that at least I know that I have searched before.

I began working on a story that I came across last year about a young 9 year old girl whose father brutally raped her in the woods, and when she was finally convinced that her father could no longer harm her, she reported that he had killed her mother earlier that year (1889). The father was convicted and sentenced to 34 years in the penitentiary. When I had requested records from the penitentiary, it came back that they had no record of him. I have not been able to learn what happened to either the daughter or the father. I began going through what papers I had gathered on the story last year, and looked for areas that I might have missed. I came up with a few leads, so will be following up on those this week.

Again, Note to Self: always go back and review your research!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Influencing Others

Last week I was visiting an old friend in Colorado and I began talking about my genealogy obsession, uh, I mean adventures and she began asking questions. Before we knew it, we were on ancestry.com and I was showing her how easily one could begin looking at the old census records. She got hooked! She talked to her parents, and her father got enthused and her parents came up with some old records, notes, pictures, etc. and she is off and running!

That is the first time that I have gotten anyone interested in actually doing genealogy and it was a quite satisfying feeling! It was so nice to be able to share the enthusiasm and excitement of learning even the most minuscule detail of an ancestor's life. I just wish that we lived closer to each other! I have always told my husband that I need a genealogy friend!

I was not able to help her with choosing a program, however, because she is using a Mac and I use RootsMagic which doesn't appear to be compatible with Mac computers. So I don't know what she will end up using.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Researching

Well, today was a good example of all the hours needed for researching one tiny single thing of one's family, and how one little bit of information leads to more searching. I started the afternoon trying to find out more about Crystal, Pembina County, ND, which is where my gg-grandfather settled when he left Sweden in 1888 (leaving his wife and children behind for evermore). I did many Google searches looking for some history or any information and found little. Checked all of the genealogy message boards related to the state, etc. Posted a query on one of them requesting some history of the area. Checked Ebay for anything related to the area. Nothing.

Finally in desperation, I began going through each of his children and looking to see if there was missing information on any of them. Began searching the Social Security Death Index and came up with 5 dates of deaths to take to the library for obituary searches. That was very worthwhile. However, I still couldn't find anything on Charles and Ida Seeber's last child, Earl.

I did know that his wife had remarried after his death. She would be about 89 now. She isn't listed in the SS Death Index so I am guessing that she may still be alive. I did a Google search with her name and came up with an article form the LA Times written in 1998, after her second husband died. In it was listed the married name of Earl's only child.

Thus began another search, trying to find an address for her with the information given in the article. Tried many different searches, and finally! may have found who I was looking for! In fact, I am positive that it is her. Now, is the address current?

I have written a letter to the name and address and here's hoping! Meanwhile, 4 hours on-line have passed by. Do I feel like it was wasted time? Heck, no! These were possibly huge finds for me! And if I get a response back, and it's her, the whole family will rejoice! After Earl died, the family didn't have much contact (they lived in CA and we are in IL), so we are all anxious to learn how they are, etc.

More to follow! Never give up!