german genealogy, german research

Essentials for German Genealogy Researchers: Angus Baxter & Ernest Thode

This March Genealogical.com has released an updated book by genealogy expert Angus Baxter entitled In Search of Your German Roots. Fifth Edition. We’re taking this moment to provide a roundup of essentials for German genealogy research: the works of Angus Baxter and Ernest Thode.

Both of these authors and genealogy experts have work we’ve featured on this blog. We have found that not only is the information what we would consider essential, but both Baxter and Thode have a gift for accessible writing that appeals to researchers at all levels.

Please enjoy our roundup of Essentials for German Genealogy Researchers: Angus Baxter & Ernest Thode: Continue reading…

spanish flu, how our ancestors died

How Our Ancestors Died

Editor’s Note: The following article is written by author Dr. Terrence Punch. His work includes multiple volumes on Irish immigration to Atlantic Canada, Some Early Scots in Maritime Canada, Volumes I-III, North America’s Maritime FunnelThe Ships that Brought the Irish, 1749-1852 and Montbeliard Immigration to Nova Scotia, 1749-1752. Dr. Punch has authored other articles we’ve shared on this blog including Canadian Maritime Provinces and New England: Differences in Record Keeping, Part I and Canadian Maritime Provinces and New England: Differences in Record Keeping, Part II. He can also be heard as a resident genealogist on CBC Radio. 

In this article, “What Our Ancestors Died Of,” Dr. Punch shares tips on how to identify how our ancestors died when the causes can be mislabeled or unclear. This piece contains a list of frequently seen causes of death, and what they actually mean, as well as additional resources to help you on your search. 

Some genealogists collect only ancestors, that is, people from whom they are personally descended. When traced out on a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet you often have a pattern resembling an inverted Christmas tree, wide at the top and pointed at the bottom. Others take a great deal of trouble to track down collateral relatives, the siblings of ancestors and their descendants. If they began with a couple of progenitors, the result will tend to spread more widely with the passing of the generations.

This is not always the case. One couple had eleven children, sixteen grandchildren, but just four great-grandchildren, all four of whom grew to adulthood, two of them married and none of them had children. Within three generations a large family had completely died out. Imagine the original matriarch, dying in 1883 leaving eight children and nine grandchildren, and in 2003 her last descendant died, childless.

One of the reasons why people try to compile genealogies linking collateral relatives as well as direct ancestors is to produce a health history of their wider family circle. They ask questions about age at death, causes of death, conditions that appeared to run in the family, handicaps, tendency to accidents and mishaps, even towards suicide. Continue reading…

Genealogy, Civil War, Lost relatives

Genealogy Isn’t Just Finding Dead People

Editor’s Note: The following post about how to find your relatives, including how to determine whether they’re alive or dead, and if they’re alive how you might find someone who appears to be “lost,” is by Denise R. Larson. This article appeared in the 12/30/2014 issue of “Genealogy Pointers.”

Genealogy is usually a vertical construct with ascending or descending generations, which uses the imagery of a soaring, multi-branched tree and its deep roots to visualize how a family has grown, spread, and at times intertwined through many generations.

There are a couple of new uses of genealogical methods that are horizontal in their approach to finding family members. One looks to the past to help adoptees find their birth parents. The other looks to the future to find lost or out-of-touch family members who can mentor a youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

Both types of looking-for-the-living searches use a variety of resources: hard-copy guides, directories, and documents; online databases; and personal contact over the phone and in person.

Not sure if someone is still in the land of the living?

If you already have the name of the person you’re looking for but are not sure if the person is still alive, go ahead and do an online search of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), which was started in 1936 for persons born in 1865 or later. Several websites offer free access to the SSDI database. They can be found by doing a Google search for “Social Security Death Index.” If the person is located, then it’s time to order a copy of the Application for a Social Security Number (SS-5) to obtain all the personal information provided at the time of the application. As the Social Security Administration states on its website, www.socialsecurity.gov, “A deceased person does not have any privacy rights.” The application can be a gold mine of names, dates, and leads as to where to look next for living relatives. Continue reading…

"Family History" — by Robert Kehlmann (2008). Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest.

Oklahoma Genealogical Society “2015 Family History Story Writing Contest”

The Oklahoma Genealogical Society will be accepting entries for its “2015 Family History Story Writing Contest” beginning January 1, 2015 through March 1, 2015. Society membership is not required to enter, and there is no entry fee. This contest caught our eye due to rule number four, which mentions that citations must conform to the standards outlined by one of Genealogical.com’s noted authors, Elizabeth Shown Mills.

The rules are as follows, posted from Sharon Burns on The Oklahoman’s website:

1.Submissions may be made electronically or by hard copy through the mail. Stories must be typed in a standard font and double-spaced on one side of standard letter-size paper. Entries must be less than 2,500 words, not including attached documents.

2.Story title and page number must be shown on each page; name should not be included on any pages of the story. All entries will remain anonymous when judges are reviewing them.

3.The entry form must include the story title, author name, author’s mailing address, email address and phone, and approximate word count. As the entry form will be used to notify the winners, ensure contact information is up-to-date.

4.Please indicate that you have researched the events by citing your sources as endnotes. Source citations must conform to the guidelines in “Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2009).

5.Family group sheets and pedigree charts may be included if pertinent.

6.Stories must be original and unpublished at time of entry. By submitting your story, you are giving the society permission to publish your story.

7.More information and a downloadable entry form can be found on the Oklahoma Genealogical Society website www.okgensoc.org.

For the complete rules for this contest, go to www.okgensoc.org/storywriting-contest.htm or address questions to contest chairperson Denise Slattery at editor@okgensoc.org.

Good luck to any of our readers who enter! If you choose to enter, please let us know.

Image Credit: “Family History” — by Robert Kehlmann (2008). This image is of an original work by the artist in Sandblasted hand-blown glass, mixed media.By Rkehlmann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.