Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indexing and Spelling Doesn't Count, Etc.

As I sit here working on census, trying to find William A McIntosh on the 1880 census, I am reminded of my friend Mrs Curtin who was the librarian at my kids' elementary school. At that time they called the library, the instructional materials center. I think they took political correctness a little too far with that one. At any rate, when we were discussing Mac and Mc when filing cards in the old card file, we discussed how they actually meant the same, but that Mac was before Mc and that consistency was extremely important in filing.

So I sit here and wonder what the heck Ancestry is thinking of when they show Mac Intosh, MacIntosh, Mc Intosh, McIntosh. And you will find that with all of their Macs or Mcs. It makes me crazy. First of all, if you use a wild card search, it doesn't work with a space. Or say you want to find all MacIntyres/Mac Intyres or McIntyres/Mc Intyres in Huron county, Michigan - you not only have to watch for misspellings such as McIntire, you have to watch for that danged space.

Consistency is so important when working with records. You have to document the actual name changes, the misspellings, the way you do your sources. Can't indexers do the same thing?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Being a Record Hog with OCFRD*

Yes, I am a record hog. No, I'm not talking about vinyl records either. I gave up on those long ago. I'm talking about vital records. When I see a site like Ancestry or the Family Search Record Search site post vital records, the first thing I do is start looking for records. After all, who knows how long those records will be available. The first site I remember doing this with was Missouri Death records at the Missouri State Archives site. I expected to find a "few" records there, and was stunned that my total was well over 300. In person, at the Ohio Historical society, where I have been twice to pull records, I found many, maybe in the 150-200 range plus what I've been able to find online since Family Search added the records from 1908 to 1953. And then there are the Texas records. A few of my lines settled there and I quite happily pulled those records plus whatever Family Search has on Massachusetts and Michigan. Oddly enough, the Michigan ones are fewer in number, even though my mom's paternal line has been here since the 1860s. I need more records after the Family search dates. Seeking Michigan picked up some of the slack for deaths from 1897 to 1920, however, they never finished adding the records and their database has some serious problems since I have records that do not show up on their index. I believe more than one person died in Iosco county, Michigan in 1909.

Lately, Ancestry has placed Vermont birth, marriage and death records up from 1909 - 2008. I'm just waiting for them to pull those out. At this point, I'd like to see the earlier records - Vermont does have them - so I can complete documentation without an 8 hour trip to Fort Wayne or a trip to the local Family History Center. There's something about film movement on readers that really drives me crazy.

So I continue to hog these records, go back and pull the census for them, find more information, go back and find another generation, another census, etc. Looks like my OCFRD* has flared up again.

 *Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Census - ad nauseum - Sort of.

Sometimes something comes up in my daily reading that really makes me go "Oh yeah!"  Such was the case with the April 5, 2010 issue of Time Magazine's Q & A with census director, Robert Groves.  When asked how he applied his statistical smarts to hobbies, his answer was that he is a bit of a genealogist, and that all of us can use old censuses to do little neighborhood studies.

Remember, the 2010 census does not even ask where you were born. Hello? My descendants, should my kids ever 'get busy' will hopefully find us in Tennessee after we lived in Michigan all our lives. I left them a clue.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Carol's Turn

If tomorrow is Monday, it must be Relatively Speaking day. After much investigation it was discovered that it is Carol's turn over at Reflections from the Fence.  Don't forget to check it out tomorrow!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Surname Saturday - Oliphant

Another of my Scottish surnames is Oliphant. I'd like to say that it is a pretty rare surname, but it seems they are all over the place.  My most recent Oliphant ancestor would be Mary Grieves Oliphant who married Alexander Maitland. But it is her father about whom this blog pertains.

Alexander Oliphant was born April 20, 1806, in Eckford, Roxburghshire, Scotland, the son of Ralph Oliphant and Margaret Archbald. On December 7, 1837, he married Martha McMekin, widow of John Nisbet with a young child, Joanna.

The small family emigrated to the United States via the port of New Orleans, arriving about April 30, 1838. From there, they made their way to Richmond, Ray County, Missouri.

Alexander was a surveyor, and one of the few photos I have of him, courtesy of one of my Percival cousins, shows him holding a transit.

Tragically, Alexander Oliphant died at the age of 72 from a fall from a balcony in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back to Work in Vital Records

After spending a nice afternoon doing long distance research with cousin Karen on Wednesday, I spent Thursday working in Vermont again. has a nice set of Vital records for Vermont encompassing the years 1909-2008. Really. I have been working on Percival lines in Vermont for a long time and had been in the process of  following a female Percival line. Once I took my own good advice and started a Soundex search for Tinney, I soon realized I wanted Tenney instead.  It opened up an avenue of research that led to the History of Royalton, Vermont, which has been a treasure trove of what happened in this female line.

However, one should be prepared because for the most part what you will see are not the conventional birth, marriage or death certificates, nor are they ledger pages. 

<-- Birth record for Frank A. Judd - complete with birth date, parents and location.  Note that it gives mother's maiden name, parents' ages and father's occupation.

  --> Marriage record for the groom. It includes number of this marriage, age, occupation and parents. To get a complete record, you must pull the bride's record too. 

<-- The death record. Much later, you will find conventional death certificates, but this type of record is OK. Sometimes it will actually have the spouse's name on it too. 

All in all, it is like searching any other database. You will find the usual variations on spellings that searching using Soundex or wild cards just don't help that much. But worth searching for anyway. Now, if someone would just get the earlier records online, I could cross a lot of items off my Allen County Public Library to-do list!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This is Really FUN!

Reading Karen's post over at Genealogy Frame of Mind - Winstead Wednesday and I will admit I never got beyond the second line. Why? Because the name Eudaley popped out at me. I had seen that name somewhere, recently. For the last couple of weeks I worked on some Chinns who lived mostly in Ohio county, Kentucky and one - Elijah Rodney Chinn married a Mary Eudaley. You have to admit it is not a common name. Karen and I both got to work and sure enough my Chinn married one of her hubby's relatives!

At this point, we exchange some pedigrees and I see another name on there - Tarpley. This is one of the surnames that connects to the Chinn line even further back and to what I consider the legitimate line of Rawleigh and Esther Ball Chinn. I descend from Rawleigh and his mistress, Margaret Ball Downman. Oh fun.

Now, what was I working on before?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Thoughts on the 2010 Census

My sort of tongue-in-cheek take on the 2010 census.

Did you wonder what the Census bureau is spending on the census? I've read anywhere from 11 to 14 BILLION dollars to count residents of the United States. I have no idea what the mailings are costing them, but so far I have received three:

1. Notice that the census would be arriving soon.
2. The census. Which I promptly filled out and mailed back.
3. The postcard reminding me to fill out and mail back.

Do you remember the stimulus package? It was supposed to create jobs. I think it created 14 here in our little 'ville with the creation of bus service. Mostly the stimulus package has been a dismal failure. You wonder what this has to do with the census? Well, the census bureau has to hire people to go out and collect censuses that have not been returned. I guarantee that if you hang on to that census form, they will come and get it. Put your neighbors to work and let them come and get it from you. Even if it means it costs stimulus dollars.

Then, after the census worker has picked it up, record that in your genealogy.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

My mother's side of the family, the Meyer-Knost-Kettler side all lived in Auglaize County, Ohio from the 1830's on. One ancestor, Gerhard Knost lived in New Bremen, Ohio where all his children, including my great-grandmother, were born.

Gerhard was born June 18 1828 in Osnabruck, Germany and died in New Bremen in 1881. His wife, Charlotte Kettler is buried with him.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 22, 2010

Great Database, But What Do I Do With It?

Do you get those emails from Ancestry highlighting one of their new databases? The latest one, is U. S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938.  The description is according to Ancestry:

"This database contains records from twelve National Homes. The majority of the records consist of  historical registers, but other records included in this database are indexes to the historical registers, applications, admissions, deaths, burials, and hospital records."

So I randomly started entering family surnames hoping to find a hit. On Webb I hit on John V. Webb. The record showed a relative named Mrs. J. M. Redd. Great. This is a son of Thacker V. Webb and Martha Tyree Green, all of Lafayette County, Missouri.  (If you want to see a larger image click on the image.)

I haven't quite figured out what to do with this information. It doesn't give me a birth date or a death date or a burial place. It does tell me that he was single and that he had cerebrospinal syphilis. It does tell me that in that pre-penicillin age he probably didn't live much longer. There is an age on the form, which probably is for his first admission. His last admission was in 1929, which would make him almost 60. The one thing it probably does tell me is that he probably died in Leavenworth, Kansas and not as I had supposed in Missouri. These particular registers for Leavenworth, Kansas range from 1885-1934.

So far, this John Webb is the only one I can verify as being "mine." If you would like more information on this database, go here.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The blog birdie tells me it is Karen's turn tomorrow. What is her take on her topic? Tune in Monday at Genealogy Frame of Mind.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Percival

I used to think that Percival was a rather rare name, until I started researching it. Growing up in the Detroit area, there were other Percivals, but we didn't have any connection to them. This, of course, was before the internet and online phonebooks, Ancestry, etc.

Our Percival line, tracing back from me, born in Detroit to my father in Kansas City, Missouri all the way back to my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, James Percival, the earliest of that line that we can trace. We don't even know for sure where he was born. The first mention of James Percival was in Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony records in 1670 where he is ordered to pay a fine of 5 pounds and to return the boat he stole in Virginia. A few years later, he was given permission to take up lands in Sacconessett (Falmouth, Massachusetts) and that is where he spent the remainder of his years. Part of the family remained in Massachusetts and there are many of his line that still live there, which is mind-boggling to me. My line through James Percival's oldest son, John, must have had gypsy blood because they settled in Connecticut and his descendants moved through New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and California.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 19, 2010

2010 Census Revisited

After filling out the 2010 census for our family, I begin to wonder if it would even be worth it for it to be filmed. Apparently, no one cares where we were born. I did my best to leave clues for my future (?) descendants and inserted my first name and maiden name into the census. It will leave them guessing about the move to Tennessee though! Actually, it seemed to me if you weren't of Spanish/Mexican descent, they didn't really care about you at all!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Don't Care if it is Written in Stone

I love working in cemeteries. And I find such interesting information and topics for blogs working cemetery research. Such was the case when I discovered this headstone for Grant and Elizabeth Chinn  at Find-A-Grave, who were buried in Weldon Christian Church Cemetery, Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky. Note that the headstone for Grant says that he was born in 1873 and died in 1940. The Elizabeth side of the stone is for Annie Elizabeth Trent Chinn. It says she was born in 1871 and died in 1920.

That's not what their death certificates say. Grant died September 4, 1937 and Annie November 18, 1919. The correct information does appear on Find-A-Grave.

I guess what bothers me, is that headstones are not inexpensive. Why wouldn't whoever paid for them not make sure they had the right information on the stone? I know what was posted on FAG is correct, because I did look at the census and the death certificates.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Special Women

There are two women in my far past that when I think of them, I am astounded by them. The first was Sarah Ann Kirtley. She was just a young thing of 13 in 1822 when she married my great-great-great grandfather, Dr. John Stearns Percival and took on the task of raising his children from his first marriage. I can only trace one of those children on, Egbert Percival. His story is for another time.

In January 1841, Dr. Percival died an untimely death. Sarah was only 31 and left with her four children to raise: Eliza, William, John and Jabez. I know John and Jabez were living in other households in 1850, Eliza was married and William is nowhere to be found. In 1845, Sarah remarried to Lewis Webb and raised his children, while her children learned trades elsewhere. Jabez resided with his sister Eliza and her husband Joseph Oliver, who taught Jabez the blacksmith trade. John lived with another family where he learned the carpentry trade.

By 1856, John had made his way to Missouri, where he met and married Susan Davidson. In 1859, Herbert was born. Unfortunately for them, the Civil War had started and John, a Captain, fought at Wilson's Creek and at the battle of Lexington, Missouri. When his enlistment was up, he returned home to be with his wife when their younger son, John Henry was born in February of 1862. He then re-enlisted, receiving only a Lieutenant's commission. There is speculation that he was promoted to Captain shortly before the battle of Bayou Meto Pass, Arkansas, where he lost his life. At home, his wife held their little family together, teaching to support them.

She, too, eventually remarried, and her children suffered the same fate as her mother-in-law's children, being farmed out to relatives and friends. Herbert lived with his Uncle Jabez Percival in Covington, Kentucky while he attended Medical School. John Henry learned the tinsmith and plumbing trade.

What was so special about these women? One was the fact that they could read and write. It was not a presumption in the time frame from 1808 to 1880 that women were taught to read and write. Let alone support a family by teaching. The other was their obvious faith in God. And they were so pragmatic about death. Even though both lost their husbands tragically early, when writing about life, illness, tragedy and death, they always quoted "The Lord giveth, and the Lord Taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OCFRD Relapse

I wasn't paying attention to the signs and symptoms, but my packed Death Certificate folder - 150 when all was said and done - should have been a huge clue. Also, while I was pulling those, I was looking for links to some of these people on Find-A-Grave. My pile is an inch high for that. Then there are the California and other places indices that I printed off reports on and the obits I've yanked off Genealogy Bank and Ancestry.

Then I played domestic goddess for a while, mopping the hardwood floors, dusting, laundry, cooking, etc. Then I got to play domestic goddess again after DH's mishap with coffee. Really, doesn't he know this is cutting in to my research time?

Actually, other than a few other surnames, most of what I worked on were of the Chinn surname in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Texas and California. I even checked out the Michigan Chinns but those were all recent (late 19th to early 20th centuries) immigrants, so I skipped those. It will probably take me a couple weeks to get all the paper information entered and then I can work on the marriage and birth records I pulled on these families. And the obits. Can't forget those. 

When I wasn't working on vitals this weekend, I caught the Emmett Smith episode of Who Do You Think You Are? I found it very interesting and loved the "woo-woo" factor when he told that he wore 22 on his football jersey in college and during his pro career, which was the number of the Mecklenburg County, Virginia deed book his ancestor's transfer as property was recorded in.  I assured my DH that indeed there was a lot of "woo-woo" factor when working on family history research, or Kismet or karma or whatever you want to call it.

One other thing that caught my attention was his firm belief that his ancestors would know that he had found them and they weren't forgotten. I have that same belief with my family research including my husband's side. When I find a new person in our lineages I feel like it is welcoming a new member to the family. Someone who is integral to who we are.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Caught in a Time Warp.

It seems that my OCFRD has struck again. For the past week, I've been working on death certificates. The bulk of these are in Kentucky between 1902 and 1953.  Not only am I finding children of the Chinn lines I've been working on but also spouses.

The internet over the years has been a blessing and a curse. Right now I am not swearing at it to hurry up and load a page, but marveling over what you can find online now as opposed to 1994-ish when I installed our first modem, a 14.4 kbps model.

Since my research is centering around the early 20th century, the causes of death sometimes have names we aren't familiar with or maybe the meaning has changed. One of the former is Sydenham's chorea. I was a medical secretary for 12 years and never heard this term. Apparently it could follow scarlet fever, and was not uncommon in children. The person who had this was 52 when she died.

This one threw me for a bit though:

1. Immediate cause of death:  apoplexy - ok - that's a stroke.
2. Due to HB Pres.  Ah - I get it High Blood Pressure.
3. Due to Kidney inf. (infection?) and senility.

By far the most common cause of death seems to be tuberculosis. Then there is pneumonia, bronchitis and interstitial nephritis. Then the random suicide and someone who lost a race with a train.

I find the older records - previous to 1900 can really be a test of one's ability to translate the record into a readable document. 

Using Google search, I can even find diseases that I've misspelled or that was misspelled on the document. Thanks to the Merriam-Webster online Medical Dictionary, I can even hear the diseases pronounced.

Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins That Blog.

It's my turn tomorrow and I feel like I'm in a time warp.  Don't forget to check it out Monday! You will find me at Gene Notes.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Surname Saturday - Davidson

My earliest Davidson ancestor that I can trace to is Nathaniel Davidson, born in Kentucky, circa 1797 and died in Lafayette County, Missouri, April 10, 1854. He married Ann(e) or Hannah Eastes (Estes) July 29, 1828 in Lafayette county, Missouri.  Nathaniel is also my brick wall as I can not trace him back further.

I do have an intriguing letter written by a John Davidson in 1833 to his father. Nathaniel Davidson did have a son, John, born about 1830. Could the writer of this letter be Nathaniel's brother or maybe even his own father?

This is a transcription of the letter:

Claiborne La Septr 26th 1833

Oh My dear father,
What shall I say to you in answer to your letter under date of 28th June last, in which you detaild the last hours and death of my very aged and Mother. My father how it strikes my heart strings to when I look back and see when youth bloomd in her face, now your with my father never to Return. But Oh My Father you know that I know her exemplary life is rewarded in the world beyond the poor. I feel proud that I have the heart of such a parent to write such a letter as your last that was able to give such a minute account of One on the very verge of Heaven, why my Father will you mourn her loss, look at your age, few such cases in your knowledge, see how long her life was lengthened out as a partner of your Cares & joys in life, and you have no kind of doubt of her piety. Therefore hope you will in your next Say to me. The Lord giveth and taketh and Blessed Is his name. I Blush at the Idea of dictating to you, on any moral subject.

I wrote you sometime in June last and stated my health was somewhat delicate. Thank God I am in good health and have been for some time. My daughter I am truly uneasy about have Recd. no letter from R since 18th June. She went on a visit in March last to Orleans have not see her since. I have said much On the subject of visiting you that I will say no more until you do. Heaven protect my aged Father until we meet.


John Davidson

How this letter got into the hands of Nathaniel's family I do not know.  I don't know where John Davidson's father was living in 1833. In the 1830 census there is one John Davidson in Claiborne parish, Louisiana aged 40-50 and one 5-10 year old female. If you look at the 1830 Howard County, Missouri census, you will see Nathaniel Davidson with this household:  One male less than 5 years old, 1 male between 20 & 30, 1 male between 30 and 40, 1 male between 70 and 80.  One female between 15 and 20, 1 female between 20 and 30, and 1 female between 60 and 70. It appears that an elderly couple is living with him and his wife and oldest son John. Its possible he has younger siblings living with him.  I really hate the census prior to 1850.

Here is a scanned photocopy of the original letter. You can see that someone attempted to tape it together, which made the original photocopy dark in areas. If you click on it you might be able to read the original.

So for now, Nathaniel Davidson sits there on my brick wall list.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tantalizing Information

Did you ever come across a death certificate that starts off with a cause of death with words like:

"accidentally shot by 32 cal Winchester rifle in ..." and then parts of the rest are just about unreadable? I'm putting it out here for opinions.  Click on it for a better view! Thanks!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A while back, I requested photos of  some graves in Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The volunteer, Max B., did a great job of waiting for the snow to clear and grabbing the photos for me. He also got the names of the people on adjoining lots. Really, this is so above and beyond, that I had to give him a shout out!

It reminds me of last year, when I found some information in a Philadelphia cemetery, sent an email off and got 8x10 glossies of the graves and copies of the burial records. There was no charge for it, but donations were not discouraged to their Friends of the cemetery organization. I hoped my donation would possibly fund copies and photos for someone else.

I spent quite a few years of my life volunteering. A few years were spent in the Instructional Materials Center - we used to call it the library - at my kids' elementary school and then ten plus years at the local Family History center.  Almost all that I know about research, I learned there. It was such a great experience and the reason why I truly appreciate volunteers!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Do I Work on Next?

 I'm finishing up cleaning out my "folders."  These folders are the ones on my PC that hold my image files for addition to my database. I have a census left to do and then four death and/or marriage notices to enter. Then basically I am done with that stuff.

Then, if I choose, there is a bunch of Chinn family stuff to work on that I work on in between working on census, births, marriages, deaths, etc.

Or I could go outside with DH and get a head start on the gardening since the weather will be nice for a few days.

I wonder which one will win?

I wrote the above a few days ago and this is how it played out. First I started working on my Chinn family. The Chinns are a direct line and I've been working on the lines all the way back into Virginia when the legitimate and illegitimate lines meet. What can I say, it is an interesting family.

I worked on that for a couple days and then worked outside doing some spring cleanup in preparation for DH to throw down fertilizer and pre-emergent on the grass. He used the leaf sweeper, which was made necessary by the fact that our next door neighbor's lawn people only blew her leaves into piles, so they ended up on our lawn during the last heavy winds. I hooked up the vacuum attachment to our electric blower and sucked up all the leaves around the house, in the wells around the vents in the back of the house and around the downspouts and the bushes. I did a little raking around the birdbath and feeder out front and sucked lint out of the dryer vent.

On DH's trip to the local box hardware store I scouted out plants. I'm looking for some BIG ornamental grasses. While I really love our west side neighbor, I don't love her grandson's vehicles that she allows him to park on the side of her house. I think some of those nice tall grasses will fit the job nicely.  I'm looking for a red hot poker "Lola."  It is interesting and colorful. And those flowers are gorgeous!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Working Emigration-Immigration Records and Spelling Doesn't Count Here at All!

Husband's family has largely been a mystery to him and his relatives. For years, I've researched this family, finding the Klijewskis and Siekierskis (for Siekierski see my Surname Saturday for March 6.)

Several years ago, I had located the arrival record for Antonina/Antonia Siekierska and children and for Michael Kruszka and his stepson Jan Fryczynski.  Antonina Siekierska was actually very easy to find, yet her husband Tomasz/Thomas eluded me. So did Michael Kruszka's wife and other step-children and his oldest child, Walenty/Valentine.

Some of the problems I've had searching these surnames are the surnames themselves. Sometimes doing a soundex search results in way too many hits. For instance, a soundex search of the immigration/emigration records on Ancestry results in 283,440 hits.

Finally, I began searching each port of arrival for variations on the name Kruszka, i.e. Kruszka - Kruska - Kruzka - Gruszka - Gruska - Gruzka. Searching Gruzka gives me Michael, but I already had him arriving with his stepson Jan Fricinzki.  Michael and Jan arrived in April 1891.

A check of my records shows that the first Kruszka child born in Buffalo, was Martin, born October 26, 1891. So searching for Jozefa or Josefa might work with a filter of 10 years on her birth date of 1858 and an arrival date of 1891, I finally found Josefa Kruozker in the Baltimore arrival records. Bringing up the image on Ancestry revealed:

     1. Josefa Kruszka (I really think it is an indexing problem) age 30. The age is a little off, but that is not unusual.
     2. Michala, age 10. Again two years off (according to census). She is dittoed as Kruszka. In reality, she is Michalina Fryczynski, a daughter of Josefa and her first husband.
     3. Josef, age 7, again a son from Josefa's first marriage.
     4. Leonora, age 6, daughter from first marriage.
     5. Valentin, age 11 months. He is the oldest child of Michael and Josefa. Again, birth date is a year off.

I had searched under Fryczynski and all variables plus soundex that I could come up with with the only result being Jan/Johann who came over with step-father Michael Gruzka/Kruszka.

On the Siekierski line, searching for Tomasz did not yield any results, so I anglicized the name to Thomas, typed in his last name and came up with the Hamburg list without a problem. The problem was finding his arrival record. Eventually I searched by Thomas, born 1850, (he was born in 1849 - I have the record of his baptism which took place in 1849) arrival in New York aboard the Gellert in 1887. Bingo. You won't find an entry record if the name is spelled wrong and it is actually spelled Sierkrierski on the arrival record. Those first two r's don't agree with the Hamburg record or baptismal, marriage or death records.  Those first two r's also threw off the soundex code.

For Max Klijewski I had to open my mind to arrival ports. I finally found him arriving at the port of Philadelphia from Antwerp, Belgium as Max Kligewski on May 18, 1893.

So far, I've been able to find all of DH's direct line ancestors who emigrated to America from Poland, including his maternal grandparents who came in 1907 and married in Massachusetts. I wish mine were as easy!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 8, 2010

Genealogy Television

Cousin Karen at Genealogy Frame of Mind had a great post last Thursday on Genealogy and TV. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.

However, I have to say I am both blown away and hugely disappointed in "Faces of America." Except for the bit on DNA, there is no effort to show the amount of work that goes into researching a family tree, and the fact that Dr. Gates traced poetess Elizabeth Alexander's roots back to Charlemagne, to me is suspect. For years I've poo-pooed such claims because I think the work really has no real sources to back it up. I may be wrong, but we all know how hard it is to work without written records.

Getting back to the DNA portion, it was really interesting to me when Gates and his father had their DNA tested and Gates the younger could see what he got from each parent. And that they could see he had problems with lactose intolerance and that he had an epiphyseal problem. Gates suffered a hip fracture at the age of 14. He was also told that there was no evidence of early Alzheimer's disease. And this is what fascinated me. Not that I would want to know if I did have evidence of Alzheimer's, but I think with all the genetic engineering that someday Alzheimer's will be a thing of the past. What if one found out in their forties or fifties that one could prevent a disease like Alzheimer's by taking a combination of drugs?

DH watched the show with me Wednesday night and was both fascinated and skeptic. He only finds what I do on a daily basis mildly interesting and doesn't understand my need to know everything about my families. I admit to my share of skepticism regarding the Royal lineages, but my fascination lies with the DNA.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" on the other hand pleasantly surprised me. I liked the format a lot better where they just did one celebrity at a time instead of the incessant jumping around. I like how Sarah Jessica Parker was more engaged in the search than just sitting there and getting results. I frankly was surprised there wasn't more on in the program.  My DH actually sat and watched the program with me and didn't scoff at everything and talk through the program like he did with "Faces in America." Although he denies having any interest in genealogy, he seemed to get into this program a bit. He only made one snide remark about SJP's ancestress in Salem, Massachusetts. Still, I am disturbed by the seeming jumping to conclusions about the 1850 census and the John S. Hodge who must be her ancestor. I also liked the venues they sent her to, a public library, a private library - the New England Historic Genealogy Society - and the Massachusetts Genealogy Society. I think it is important that newbies learn that you do need to get out and do some actual research in research facilities instead of parking themselves in front of the internet or you are liable to miss out on some good resources.

Happy Hunting!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins That Blog

Monday, Cousin Carol is up again for Relatively Speaking at Reflections From the Fence. I think Carol and Karen might agree with me that our own turn seems to come up really fast! Anyway, enjoy her post!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surname Saturday - Siekierski

Again one of my DH's side. His earliest Siekierski ancestor was Gregor Siekierski who died December 1st 1854 in Radomice, Poland which was somewhere near Czerniejewo, as his death record is found in the church records of Czerniejwo.  He married Marianna Konieczna Nov 22 1840 and to this couple were born eight children, the last three of whom were female triplets - one died less than a month after birth, but the other two lived to marry and have children of their own.

Gregor & Marianna Siekierski's only surviving son, Tomasz, married Antonina Perek in Czerniejewo and four of their six children were born in Poland. For years, I've searched for Tomasz Siekierski's arrival record in New York. I'd found Antonina and the older children arriving in 1888 and the 1900 census indicated that Tomasz came to New York a year earlier.  But I'd had no luck.  Finally, thanks to my OCFRD, I located those two records - Hamburg list and the New York Passenger Arrival list. Tomasz is my DH's great-great grandfather and his earliest immigrant ancestor. Tomasz is located at the red * halfway down the page. (Remember to click on the photo for a better view.)

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 5, 2010

Frustrated Friday

Actually, it should say Frustrated Monday, as that was the day that I discovered this great blog due to Google Alerts. The Genealogy Gals had a great blog on "Trying to Get from Here to There" which I found totally enjoyable because, HELLO, here are people who work like I do.  But could I tell them that? No, because on their blog you have to register with Word Press to leave a comment. I'm not gonna do that, and they may not ever read this, but Well Done, Gals!

The other thing that bugged me was that they mentioned my blog but did not link to it. If I find something I truly like, I try to share it by linking it to the blog or to their name. Also, they got my blog wrong it is Gene Notes not Gene-Notes. I know they were referring to me, because they have discovered a related disease to OCFRD - Family Research Attention Deficit Disorder or FRADD. I can so identify with it, and I am sure those of us afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disease are also afflicted with FRADD.

Regardless, check out the blog. It's great!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not My Polish Roots

 Cousin Carol at Reflections from the Fence had a post last week in relation to the Carnival of Eastern Europe Genealogy which inspired me to look into a some of my families, one is Zabrack (yesterday's blog) and the other thing was to look for Borek Nowy near Rszezow in Poland which is the home of DH's late grandmother,Wiktarya Synos and which is pictured here. Borek Nowy, not Grandma (photo from Wikimedia.) It says Borek Nowy on her Birth record, but actually when you look for it now you will find it under Nowy Borek. I can't help but wonder what changes this little village has seen since she left it in 1907. DH's grandmother met her husband Andrzej Zalot in Greenfield, Massachusetts and they were married in Montague, Massachusetts in 1912. By 1920, they had made their way to the Detroit area. Grandma never gave up her Polish, hoping some day to return to Poland. She spoke some English, but by the time I met her she had been living in a nursing home for a few years and had totally regressed to Polish.

There were times when my late mother-in-law and I talked about someday making the trip there, but that dream went with her. But I had to show DH this street view of his grandma's village. I think he filed it under "that was pretty cool."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OCFRD* - Don't Want a Cure!

I've been able since this lousy cold has abated to start tying up some loose ends, genealogy-wise. That is always a great thing.  Of course I have been alternately praising and cursing Ancestry while doing so, and doesn't that show my split personality?

When my research starts to slow down a little and I am burned out from entering all that wonderful data, I look to see what Ancestry has added to their databases in recent days that will help with some of these loose ends. Three such databases are Vermont births, marriages and deaths 1909-2008.  What a boon! I'm not saying they are complete, because I haven't found records I expected to, but found lots I didn't know about.  I wish they would work on the records prior to this that I've used on microfilm in Fort Wayne, because it makes my searches easier.

Of course these database results lead to searches in newspapers and Find-A-Grave. Sometimes, I will even get pretty good results on the Vermont Genweb.

Closing ceremonies are Sunday for the 2010 Olympics and then I won't have a lot of distractions anymore!

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Zabrack Follow-up.

I decided to take some of my own advice - for a change - and googled the name Zabrack.  Most of my results were my own posts to various boards. Most of the rest referred to a race of humanoids - the Zabrak - from the Star Wars series.

I think this totally proves that this family came here from outer space! Thanks to Wookieepedia, I've solved that mystery.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wish I Had Been There

Some things you just can't blame on the indexer. Especially not the following example.

I've been trying to put together all the Percival lines that I can find that relate to me. One of those is a Percival line out of Maine. On the 1900 Census, I find George S. Percival, his wife Helen, son-in-law George S. Burrill and daughter Lottie and their two children Helen and Harry. Ok, great, as I didn't have a marriage or any children for Lottie. One can always use more info, right?

On to the 1910 Census. No George Percival, no Helen Percival. No George and Lottie Burrill. So, out of desperation, I search for Harry Burrill and find him, living with his grandmother, Helen. Only one teeny tiny little snag, though. His grandmother is listed as Helen Burrill and living with her are grandchildren Helen and Harry and daughter Lottie.

I don't even want to imagine the scenario in which the census taker writes down the wrong surname for the head of household. I just wish I had been there to whack Mr. Rollin C. Clark upside the head and say "Pay attention to what they are telling you."

And then to top off all this aggravation are the problems with getting the image to load. Or the index for that matter as our favorite genealogy site is experiencing problems, so I should "check back soon!"

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes