Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Find that strange place my Ancester is from

Today though it might be a good idea to discuss those strange sounding places the ancestors were supposed to live in. By now you should have a bunch of notes about the old folks and very possible some documents -marriage license or birth record even old photo's with notes on the back. Before we can get down to searching Vital Records or church records we should know were they lived. Now my specialty is New York State it was the bridge between the new England states and the west so thousands of our ancestors went thru this area.

I am not sure of the other states but I assume they also had a book called "Gazetteer" in new york we had a series of them first one was in 1813, then with the growth of the nation another was issued 1825 both of these are authored by H.G.Spafford, and a very rare and expensive but also very important they list every small hamlet shows number of churches,mills,other types of manufacturing, population and detailed description of land,streams and topographical and statistical tables. It is laid out in Counties, by townships, this is important for the genealogist as the boundaries keep moving and a family living in one town might not move but the title of the area can, which in many cases happened over again every few years.

By 1830 another Gazetteer is issued by Nellis and another by Barbour & Howe in 1844.

The counties are being cut up and boundaries changing so fast that another was issued in 1860 this one done by French and by this time the Towns and cities are well established and most of the counties are surveyed out . this is without a doubt the best New York State Gazetteer and all the small crossroads are using the names that we know them as today. Then in 1870 another one came out by Barbour and Howe.

by using these you can find were that strange town was that you ancestor came from and you will see later how important it is to know everything you can about the spot were you relative lived as well as the physical description of the location relative to his home and the church that they attended. These are going to be your keys to work with so keep tract of the funny sounding places you have been told about.

Now a little bit about the photo remember the log camp photo of a few days ago well this is the lady Margaret Jane LaVallee Genereau Alias Cummings Notice her shoes they are indian moccasins .,was she part indian ? Born in Quebec Ca. 1859 appears in first 1861 Census Canada Hastings as a infant father was Michael LaVallee and mother Marie Haren we are not sure if she was native Canadian or not.
Margaret's mother died in 1867 her father died 1878 there story will follow later. Margaret was married 1857 her father had remarried and the new wife was Sophie Genereau it was Sophie's brother Anthony Moses who married Margaret in 1857.
Margaret lived with Moses in the Hastings area and had 8 children up until 1887--then her husband and we will tell that story in a later post , took of 6 years and left home, Margaret with no income gave the children out to other families during this 6 year period then in the winter of 1895 Moses wondered home, with a new name "Cummings" he gathered up the family and they went south to Spring Cove,N.Y. were he was a blacksmith and Margaret was cook for the lumber camp. They took up were they left off and had 5 more children in the Spring Cove area. All of the children were loyal and used the name Cummings Moses and Margaret they lived together until there death which was about a week apart in 1932. Despite the problems they had they seem to have been able to cling together which is a lot better than many families to day.
If you have gathered up any material and want to drop my a note will try my best to get you started-email me

Monday, February 25, 2008

Time out for a couple of days

Have to take break , setting up a web page my new domain will be,
no use going there right now as its being developed. it will be a offer to do your genealogy [for a fee] it will also have a lot of good information and how too's for you never realized just how much work it is to develop one of those simple little web sites' its a great host will tell you all about it in a future blog, they have been very help full, of course I am not up and running yet.
Will return in day or so I have so much to tell you about doing your genealogy.
I am posting a photo of the lumber crew at Camp 5 Spring Cove, New York about 1905
the only female that you can identify standing in door way to left is my grt grandmother Margaret Jane LaVallee Genereau-- boy she is going to be another story married when she was 16 had 14 children her husband took 6 year vacation from marriage but came back and they died about a week apart in 1932==her husband he could have lived today

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Further to our interview with member of family

Now that we gave you the information about the census and you can down load that post and keep it for further reference in the future you are going to want to know what each census will reveal to you.
Now I would like to go back to strongly suggest you go and talk to the older members of the family, I can not do this =I am 82 to my knowledge there is no one in the family older than me guess that is why I want to get you to do this now.
Let me tell you about my grt grandmother, when I knew her she was 89 bed ridden ,lived in house on the way to school so I used to stop and see her about once a week, on one occasion she told me about her husband John "Jack"
Lasher , he was in Civil War, at the time this was not such a great thing after all there was 5 old men living on the same street as we lived on that had been in the war. But she had her daughter "Adda" bring a envelope to her and she gave me a piece of paper shown to the right=Application for Pension. I was only 13 or 14 at the time but I took it home and had my "Mom" put it away. Another day when I stopped by she told me she had his "war jacket" well this did work out very good ,when they found it ,the moths had got there first and she cut off all the buttons and tossed the jacket out 115th. NY Vol infantry. During the year or so before her death she had given me many items
including a 2 vol set of books about Andersonville Prison,where "Jack" Lasher had spent some months. In one book was two Confederate Notes a $5.00 one and $10.00. Further along will discuss "Jack's" life, I think you will be interested in this man who was very typical of the restless men of the Civil War period. I am relating this story to let you understand what you might find if you take the time to talk with to older family members. This lady died in 1941 and she left me a oak framed wall piece about 3 ft high and 2 foot wide with a engraving of the record of John Lasher in the civil war showing all the battles he was in and engravings of the 115th. N.Y. Vol infantry. Items that I would never have had if I had not taken the time to talk with her about the family.
Most people that will one day read this are much younger than me-your hardest period of time will be from today back until the 1900 period, beyond that date you will have Census records and church records to help you. Since 1900 we have had Vital records Births, Marriages, and deaths. These are classified as primary records= I do not agree with this but go along with it. lets take a look at these .
First the birth record these are probably the one record that will be correct. One or both parents should be present-the doctor who signs it should know the mother and child so birth date would be correct--father this may or may not be right the mother tells the doctor who the father was=room for error . these birth records are recorded were the child is born- 60 years ago it was probably at home ,since then mother probably went to hospital. you have to know which one
I was born at my grandmothers home in Nelliston,N.Y. today there are within 20 miles 4 hospitals each in different direction. These birth records are in the office of the Town Clerk or City clerk. These are really public records, however many town Clerks look on these as there personal property and for you to look at them you will need a lot of diplomacy. You can of course write the Public Health Dept at the State Capital and for a fee and after a very long wait get a copy but you have to know the year and place.
Marriage records= these should be all right since both parties had to be present to marry again they are recorded were the marriage took place. My family lived in Nelliston,N.Y. my parents were married in the Dutch Ref Ch in Albany N.Y. 57, miles away==neither of them could tell me why.
Death records: Well the only person who knows for sure is dead so they are not much help. The information on the death certificate is coming from a relative=if its sudden death and close relative no one is thinking good and under pressure there answer could be anything. If its a very old person the living relative might not know anything about them. Its great to have the death record but please do not believe it 100% check every detail and do not take the head stone for proof=this is another item that was made after the fact from someones memory and if its wrong no one is going to have it re cut.
Most of your research is going to be common sense.put youself in the place of the person giving the information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Federal Census 1790 to 1930

Today we will look at the Census- a inventory of our country, this was started in England under William the Conq erour when he wanted to know how many subjects he had and what they owned.-In this country it began in the Colonial time that we might have a list of men capable of bearing arms.
I am most familiar with New York State , Assume the other states have very similiar state census depending of course on there period of being founded.
New York first census 1664 taken on authority of the Crown , I have seen reference to it but never found a copy,the rest are found in State Library Albany N.Y. the next one 1698 just list age of every male, then 1703,1712,1714, and 1723 the list was divided to show males age 0-16, and males 16 upward. then in 1731 they divided it further males 0 to 10 and 10 to 16 plus 16 upward, this was continued 1737, 1746, 1749, 1756, 1771.1776, 1782, 1786, 1795,1801, 1807, 1814,1821 now these are in various forms sometimes as tax list, often as list of voters , etc. none of them are complete but they do give us a list of males in a given area. It's always seemed like the person I was looking for was never there, but when they were it was a great help following there movement.
The states all took census between the federal ones being actually inumerated at the beginning of the time period ending with 5 [1825, 1835,1845,1855, etc these state census followed the innumerations of the Federal Census. but give us a idea were our ancestors were every 5 years.
Federal Census was taken every 10 years begining in 1790 and had the following headings
residence Name of Head of family free white males 16 years upward inc heads of family, Free white males under 16 years, free white females inc heads of family, all other free persons, slaves.
These headings and forms based upon legislation in the Act of 1 May 1790. There was a general expansion of information required with each succeeding census. by 1810 there was an attempt to take a manufacturing census which was expanded in 1810. included in this account will show some of the details as they were added.
lets group the 1800 thru 1830 together these were about the same the 1800 the innumeration started 1st Monday in August 1800, with the following age break down: usually starting with house number, Head of houshold, Males 0-10, 10-16, 16-26, 26-45, 45 up
Females 0-10, 10-16, 16-26, 26-45, 45 up
The breakdowns for 1810-1820 and 1830 was the same
In 1840 more information is required.
Males 0-5,5-10,10-15,15-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 60-70, 70-80,80-90, 90-100, 100
Females same
Colored males 0-10, 10-24, 25-35, 36-55, 56-100, 100 plus
Clored Females same
Slaves Same
it then asks for number employed, Revolutionary war pensioners,White= Deaf,Dumb,Insane, Colored= Deaf, Dumb, Insane, Education
So you can see by 1840 big brother wants more data on us but this is also good for genealogy,we can make up a family group sheet showing the oldest male and female as parents and add the male and female children in age groups, then compareing this model family with previous census arrive at a very likely family all we have to do is substitute real names.
Now comes the break the states that took a 1845 census listed everyone by name, this was followed by the 1850 Federal Census which is the first of the complete index of all Americans and every census after this uses the same information but adding some new items:
1850 Federal Census page shows state,County and local [city-town-street]
1st item is the house number, item 2 is family visited this will tell you if it was single family home or a multipal family dwelling--also the house number may give clue to neighbors
the next item is the head of house then ther are 10 items Age, Sex, Color, Trade, Dollar Value,
Place of Birth, Marital state,School, unable to read, Deaf or Dumb persons dying in the year before 1 June, no children born after 1 june
The above questions were asked of every one in the family and they were all listed seperate following the head of household.
The 1860 census was the same information
The 1870 Census all the same information plus a few more items : "Race" was added and the month of birth, and if parents were foriegn born.
Some one was there trying to give us more information to help with genealogy.
The 1880 census is also a very important one for the person working on genealogy: the required information is same as 1870 but now they ask for place of birth of person listed plus the place of birth of there father and there mother. Also the relationship of each listed person to the head of the household. You can see the importance of this you find out were your subject was born and were there parents came from.
The 1890 census was burned in 1921, a very few pages survive the information was same as 1880.
1900 census again about the same as 1880 with some real helpful information Month and year of birth for each listed person, the age when married, females=number of births=how many still alive.
1910 Census same information with a couple of changes : how many years married, were was Father and mother born.
1920 Census just about same information with a few additions : Rent or Owned,Citizen ship ,year, read or write
1930 Census is the last one you can look at right now, the only additional item they ask is age when married.

So there you have the census a extremely important source for genealogy if you ancestor was not missed you can follow them from one census to the next and combined with state census do it each 5 years. Some people were missed and I have in my line a couple that were in two different census they had moved from one county to another and did not follow instructions. Keep in mind in more recent census some people did not always tell truth=women have a problem with age you will find many of them do not age 10 years between census. Be careful with spelling the names can change from one census to another=the census taker was not always the smartest person in town it was a job and the going rate was 100 names for $1.25.
No doubt there are a lot of problems with it but it's the best thing we have use it you will learn to spot problems and still be able to get somthing from it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Asking those important genealogy questions

We are spending a little more time on this "questioning our relatives"- since the beginning of time man has been aware of his family - before things were written down each family had a story teller who wove into there tales family history-in fact this was practiced by the American Indians for centuries. I think in a way we are still doing it. My mothers father Berlin Olyer was the story teller in that family and wove me into the position-
Today we start with a motor trip in about 1935 I was about 9 years old, my grandmother was under a lot of stress having been the full time caretaker for my grandfather Edwin Lord, confined in bed with T.B so my dad loaded her, my mom and me into the car-we went to the "Old folks home" in Amsterdam,N.Y. on the way we bought a little bag of Hersheys Kisses, when we arrived my parents went in and brought out this very old lady-its strange how at such a young age I can still remember how frail she was, her fingers were stiff, and strange looking, opening the little candy kiss was a effort. Dad drove us around the area and we went to Fort Hunter. [later I discovered this is were the family had lived] Dad took her back to the "home" and that was the last time I ever saw her.
I was told she was "Aunt Hellen"[she was born 1839 and died 5 Jan 1936] no wonder she look old and frail to me.
We now jump ahead to the 1950's I was on hunting trip with my dad and I asked him about his grandfather who was he-? were did he live-? what was he like-? [by now I had a blank spot on my pedigree chart and wanted to fill it in] All he knew was they called him "Barny" he died in New Jersey he remembered that Barny sold used cars and how he would put saw dust in the rear end of the cars to quiet down the growl [not much of a integrity recommend] When we got home I asked my mom and she produced a photo of "Barny".
A couple of years go by I have searched for "Barny" Bryon and every thing that "Barny" could have been Nothing then I was looking at the Criminal Dockets in Montgomery County Court house and there was a Helen Johnson [WoW aunt Helen] she was being sued --she had signed a note in payment for "3 bushel of oysters" for a Byington Lord {Barny} seems he bought the oysters and they had sand in them and he refused to pay they sued him and to keep him out of jail Helen Johnson his sister in law signed the note.
It took about 30 years to put this memory of "Aunt Helen" and "Barny" together but without this I probably would not have ever known his real name-so again any clues you get no matter how simple they seem write them down.
Now to keep on track the Census records are the best thing we have to locate anyone. the federal government took these every ten years beginning in 1790 and they are available up to 1930 every ten years they take a new one and release a new one. the ones from 1790 to 1840 only give the head of household and innumerate the family by age brackets and this is different in each period.
The 1850 list everyone in the family giving the age and relation to head of household-a index has been printed for some of the states, and it can be found on a number of commercial sites. has them all [a paid site] also Heritage Quest in most areas the public library has access to Heritage Quest which if a member of the library you can access free of charge.
From 1850 up until the 1930 census is much better every person is listed and in each census additional information is asked for the 1880 census has been indexed by the Morman church on there web site, I told you about this [were you can get the free genealogy program] just enter your ancestor's name and if they are in the 1880 census it will pop up in a list were you can click on the name and the entire family will be shown.
Copies of all these census are in the County Clerks office [not always]
Now in addition to the Federal Census most of the states took a census in the years between the federal ones 1845 [first one to list each member of family] then on up to present time. These are in the County Clerk office they are open and you can go there and see your ancestor's name, family and neighbors. so you have a way to follow your ancestor and know were he is every 5 years-you will also know what his occupation was and when it changed. the value of his personal wealth and home, how many years they were married, how many children the females had and how many were alive, in 1880 they ask were his parents came from etc. there is so much information we better devote a page to this. For now your job is to interview everyone we have to have to get back to 1930 in order to take advantage of these census.
family pedigree chart and wanted to fill this in]

Friday, February 15, 2008

GENEALOGY basic lets get started

Now that you have a little family history at least your parents and maybe there parents --if we figure about 25 yrs to a generation and assume you are young- you should have some birth dates in or about the 40's a earlier date would be better perhaps a revisit with one of the grand parents might bring up there parents and if so you are now in the 1900's to 1930 making it much easier for our next task. "location" to do any research at all you need a few basic items most important is a time frame about when were they born "and or" when did they die. and the next thing is were did they live. this later one will be covered a bit later and we will no doubt come back to it several times.

This might be a good time to discuss a record keeping system= I like to keep my searching notes in a wire bound note book they are so permanent. The one problem with them is bulk pretty soon there is no way to find what you want. A very good answer is the computer now you can spend a lot of money on programs or you can think about it the Morman church has Genealogy as part of there theology they have spent millions on finding and preserving records and they also developed the easiest and in my opinion the best computer program to record your ancestors called PAF. Would you believe its free--it can handle anything you throw at it from 10 or 12 ancestors right up to and past 74,000 that I have used with no problems. This is a one entry program you only type your ancestors information on a very simple form and the program keeps tract of it and the relationship to each additional person you enter. This program assigns a Rin number to each individual and I suggest you set your note book up using this number that you can readily find the relationship of your notes to ancestor=I know you think you can remember maybe for 6 or 8 but wait until you have 1,000 takes a long time to shuffle all those papers. You can go on line to when the window opens there is a lot of information- this is one of the Free data bases you can search later. Now look on right side, there is list of items as you go down you will see Free PAF click on this and it will take you to site were you can down load this program in several languages, once you have it on your computer open the program and type in your name and your parents and you are off and running== while you are in the program enter everyone you have found parents, grandparents, children aunts and uncles. I want to urge you to record the brothers and sister of each individual as you get further back in time your ancestor might not have walked on a surface that left a foot print but his brother or sister may have and all of them will have the same ancestors=I have always taught my genealogy class that everyone who has walked the earth has left a mark someplace, but I have a couple who's mark has not been found, and I am sure this will happen to you.

While on the subject of Genealogy programs I must tell you about one that is called Family Tree Maker if you can find version 16 collectors edition it is a great deal its put out by Ancestry.Com and this edition has a 1 year subscription to and a lot of other goodies, Genealogy dictionary, Historical Document Collection, Collection Maps and Images, Reference Library on DVD, Gen Smart, I have seen this on E-bay for as little as $15.00 and the average price is about $35.00 its not the current edition but it works great with windows Vista, and the subscription to Ancestry is not included with the new edition.

I am a great advocate of using Free material in about 68 years of research the only money I have spent is for copies, I have never paid to look at public records-I have hired people to search but I will give you some tips on that later.
There are hundreds of thing to tell you but nothing is more important than talking to the older relatives and setting up a record system it took me about 10 years to search out the first 150 ancestors and another 30 years to break the 1,000 mark -then along came the internet == you can add 100's a day but you have to have a good foundation and your ancestor has to be born before about 1930 everyone is so aware of privacy the data bases do not post living persons.

If you are at the point were you have a computer Genealogy program and are having any problem I might be able to help I have several programs on my computer, will admit my own records are all on a PAF program, with the Ged com file you can go from one to the other. If you use ged com be careful it will mix up your Rin numbers-if you transfer data bases from one Genealogy program to another in same program use the back up and restore and your Rin numbers will remain the same.

Tomarrow we will look at ways to find out were our ancestors live

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Genealogy lets look at the begining

As the photo shows I was my grandfathers special one-and he was to blam for my interest in Genealogy.I am relating this that you might realize the importance of listening to the old folks. This is probably the most important step you can make to start that family tree--from the time I was old enough to set at the table , every Sunday was spent at my grandmother's home she fed every family member from miles around. It was not uncommon to set the dinning room table 3 or more times each Sunday Adults only [except me I sat to my grandfathers right sometimes for hours as each shift ate] the rest of the kids ate from card table in corner. My grandfather was the family story teller and would tell tales of early days and parts the family members played in them. The thing I regret most , I did not keep a log of these stories until I was in my teens. Let this be an examnple to you-when you go to visit the older members of the family take a pad and pen with you and make notes you have to develope the instinct of being a detective, you will have to use these notes many times. After you talked with aunt Hattie go back again in a month or two and ask a few questions about the notes even if you know the answer it will get her thinking and she might well give you a bit more. Not evereything they remember will be correct but you may have the only information you are ever going to get about this ancestor. Further along I will relate some of the stories told by my grandfather and how it made it possible against all odds to seperate family direct lines from 100's of others with same names.
In the modern age I should be recomending a tape recorder well that is allright but a much safer plan is a wire bound note pad-I have my notes from the 1940's some are a little hard to read but they are there-even the best tapes would probably be gone.
Right now get that note pad on first page make a little "T" graph with you at the bottom and your father on the top left arm and mother on the right- then make the same "T" [you might want to lay it on its side-placing one after you father and one after you mother and here you can record your grandparents. WOW you have made the first step on your way to becoming helplessly involved in genealogy. special forms are available for this there are special forms for everything. There wasn't when I started so we will stick to the old way until we are out of the infant stage. If you are a little experienced this is going to be boreing for a few postings but come back you will learn somthing as we get into detailed records
Have to stop now Soc Sec check is not enough to pay bills so have to look after my E-bay listing and my jewlery on Etsy

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I have done research for genealogy for over 60 years am willing to help you if you are trying to find those lost ancestors - my 74,000 name data base is available free of charge I may not be able to give you the answer but might know were you can find it. Do you have a king or theif-I had a horse theif- a king and one of the last persons tared and feathered--do not put it off many of the relatives that know about your ancestors are getting older, I am in my 80's and its hard for me to find any older relatives- so do not put it off posdt me a note