Category Archives: Genealogy Research Brick Walls

Genealogists Can be Detectives

Genealogists Can be Detectives

6-15-2018

Vicki’s Note – this is an article from FamilyTreeMagazine.com . Click on the title to read the full article.   I saved the research help links in this article to the BLOG tab “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” under the heading “Missing, Unidentified, or Unclaimed Deceased Persons”.   Genealogists can do a lot to help families to find relatives and to find closure.:

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How Genealogists are Helping Coroners Track Down Family

 
When someone dies alone, county coroners must track down next of kin to notify—and they’re increasingly asking genealogists for help. See how three determined researchers cracked a tough family-finding case.

Zulma Ramos died alone of cancer two weeks after the start of 2016. Investigators at the Orange County, Calif., coroners office, charged with notifying her family, knew that she was somebody’s someone. A sibling? Mother? Wife? Friend? Who would want to know she was gone?

Her case is not an unusual one

Every year, US county offices investigate thousands of unclaimed deceased persons, looking for next of kin to contact about burial arrangements and estate distribution—and just to let the family know what happened. But finding families isn’t always a simple matter. Overburdened coroners and medical examiners increasingly are reaching out to another group accustomed to reconstructing the lives of the dead: genealogists.

After 71 days of working leads in Ramos’ case, Supervising Deputy Coroner Kelly Keyes contacted the Genealogical Society of North Orange County (GSNOCC) in Yorba Linda, Calif. Follow the three amateur genealogists—myself, Maury Jacques and Lynn V. Baden—who worked the case, using scraps of minimal and misleading information to find Ramos’ lost family….”

 

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Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) – New Technology

Vicki’s note – here’s to the future of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR).  What exciting possibilities are awaiting us in the future technologies to assist genealogy research.  This works better than Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and will enable keyword searches of handwritten material.

March 15, 2018

 

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Article from Adam Matthew Digital, a Sage Company:

Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR)

 

Artificial intelligence transforms discoverability of handwritten manuscripts.

“Handwritten Text Recognition is going to transform scholarship and the types of questions researchers can ask. The technology has tremendous potential.”
Dr Patrick Spero, Director, American Philosophical Society Library

Adam Matthew Digital is currently the only publisher to utilize artificial intelligence to offer Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for its handwritten manuscript collections.

The HTR application takes advantage of the latest advances in neural networks and uses complex algorithms to determine probable combinations of characters to find the search term.

This enables relevant handwritten text to be identified at document level with automated searches deployed through the metadata, allowing users to easily navigate between highlighted search results.

Now available in Colonial America, East India Company and Medical Services and Warfare, HTR will be extended to Mass Observation Online during 2018.

Hear from scholars and librarians on the impact of HTR:

 

Vicki’s note – here’s the newest from Legacy Family Tree and RootsTech 2018 on MyHeritage.com and Genealogy DNA testing and syncing:

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Perspectives on Combining Genealogy and Genetics

Join MyHeritage’s founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, as he reveals many first-time-ever technologies that take the lead in and shapes the future of both traditional and genetic genealogy.

Presented live at RootsTech 2018 (and concluded with a rousing standing ovation), Gilad announced the immediate availability of:

He also announced what’s coming soon at MyHeritage including the interactive Pedigree View, the “Big Tree” and the Theory of Family Relativity.

 

Click here to view the presentation.

https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=826

Interpreting what it says on a death certificate

Interpreting what it says on a death certificate

February 3, 2018

Vicki’s note – some helpful genealogical links that can help you interpret what it says on a death certificate. The death code numbers make the cause of death clear if you can’t read  the Doctor’s handwriting.  I got the link to Will Moneymaker’s AncestralFinding.com article from Facebook postings that I get. You can sign up for a  free on-line newsletter:

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International List of Causes of Death, Revision 3 (1920):

195 Lightning

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International Classification of Diseases    http://www.wolfbane.com/icd/index.html

(Tells what the 3 digit code of disease means, if you cannot read what disease/cause of death is written on the ancestor’s death certificate.)

Rootsweb Genealogists, who seem to be willing to answer any question. https://www.facebook.com/groups/17834741205/

 

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Death Records Research

Death Certificates: Your Doorway to Your Ancestor’s Life

https://ancestralfindings.com/death-certificates-doorway-ancestors-life/

“It might seem strange that a death certificate, which is a document of an ending, could be the beginning of your journey into your ancestor’s life. However, a death certificate can hold a wealth of information that either directly tells you things about your ancestor that you didn’t know, or points you to where you can find more substantial and important information. You’ve got to study the death certificate closely, though. Don’t skim over or ignore any line. Each line on the certificate has the potential to tell you something useful about your ancestor. Here are the top things you should be examining (but again, remember not to ignore any line)…”

Marital Status, Full Name, Names and Birthplaces of Parents, Informant, Cause of Death, Name of the Attending Physician, Method of Disposal, Place of Burial, and Name of the Undertaker.

Will Moneymaker founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)

What’s New at the NARA – United States National Archives and Records Administration?

Vicki’s note – mostly from the NARA site. 

Here is a NARA hint from our speaker Katherine Kemnitz, genealogist, from last weeks program on “Formating, Printing and Self-Publishing a Book”.

In her research on  NARA, Katherine noticed that she had a hard time finding her soldier ancestor Clem.  She discovered that between 1877 – 1900s that the NARA hired extra clerks to catalog all Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans.  The clerks would combine several soldiers of various names into one folder with one name, if those soldiers were only short -term enlistments, and only on one pay record.  The only way to see the other soldier’s (names/information) was if someone looked into the folder.

There are so many free tools and resources at NARA.  Click on the links.:

October 16, 2017

What’s New at the NARA – United States National Archives and Records Administration?

 

https://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy

What’s New?

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

October 25, 2017

On Wednesday, October 25, the National Archives will host the fifth virtual Genealogy Fair via webcast. Viewers can participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event on YouTube.

All of the session videos and handouts will be available from             this web page free of charge. You can watch the sessions and download the materials at your convenience.

Are you going to miss the live broadcast? We have you covered! The video broadcasts and the presentation materials will continue to be available after the live event.

NARA is hosting its 5th annual Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The fair will be broadcast live from YouTube.

The Genealogy Fair is NARA’s biggest genealogy event of the year and will feature sessions that offer advice on family history research for all skill levels.

The topics include:

– Federal government documents on birth, childhood, and death

-Recently recovered military personnel files

-Japanese Americans during World War II

-19th century tax assessments

-A special presentation on taking care of your family heirlooms

 

Can I start my family history research by typing a name in the search box?

Our search box will not help you find information on a specific person.  However, we have many tools and resources that can lead you to information about our holdings.  Many of our records have been digitized and are made available by our Digitization Partners.

Preparatory Schools Were the Early High Schools

Preparatory Schools

Were the Early High Schools

Vicki’s note – This information about the Beloit Seminary/Preparatory/Academy is quoted from the online Beloit College Archives site. 

Hints:

-We can often find information about the local history of a locality at a college near that community. If you are lucky, the information may be on-line.

-The locations of institutions may change locations  from one building/address to another through it’s history.

-Depending on the time period, you may have to look for alternatives for where your ancestor went to “high” school. “Many preparatory schools were opened across the country due to the lack of public high schools in certain areas. Once high schools were built many preparatory schools closed. “

-There is a lot of information in print that you will not find on-line i.e. “approximately 6 linear feet (10 boxes, including oversize flat boxes, loose documents)”.

-An institution may have it’s origins very early in the history of a community, and it may not have actually been established right away.  I.E.  Beloit was first settled in 1836  – “The origins of the Academy stem from the Beloit Seminary, an institution that itself began life in the form of a charter written in 1837, but did not actually form until 1843.”

– Women may have combined or separate schools; and nearby communities (even across state lines) may have organizational connections.  “…1849. However, after it became the Academy women were no longer allowed to attend. At that time the Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford, Illinois) was opened.”

 

 

“The Beloit Academy, also called the Preparatory Department, evolved from the Beloit Seminary in 1849. However, after it became the Academy women were no longer allowed to attend. At that time the Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford, Illinois) was opened. Classes were held in the basement of a new church nearby until the chapel was completed on campus. The Academy prepared men for entrance into Beloit College or other colleges. Many preparatory schools were opened across the country due to the lack of public high schools in certain areas. Once high schools were built many preparatory schools closed. Until the Academy closed in 1910, enrollment in the Academy usually exceeded the college enrollment.

Beloit College Academy Records (AC 16) Beloit College Archives:

https://www.beloit.edu/archives/documents/archival_collections/beloitacademy/

This collection contains Beloit Academy (also called the Preparatory Department) administrative materials such as student registers, grade books, and catalogues, as well as publications (Junta Climax) and alumni correspondence and other materials created by Academy students.  Additionally, there is a compilation of transcripts of articles and meeting minute excerpts concerning the Academy, gathered by Beloit College Professor Robert K. Richardson.

The Beloit College Academy, at one time called the Preparatory Department, was a preparatory school for Beloit College from around 1848 to 1910. It originally focused on study of the classics, and then grew to also include courses in business, English, and science.

The origins of the Academy stem from the Beloit Seminary, an institution that itself began life in the form of a charter written in 1837, but did not actually form until 1843…”

Where are Probate Records?

Where are Probate Records?

Vicki’s note – A good reminder of the importance of Probate Records in proving the relationships of people. 

What are Probate Records? See this definition from Rock County Probate Court:

” Under the supervision of the Circuit Court, the Register in Probate oversees the administration of estates, “testamentary” trusts, guardianships, and mental health commitments. The Register in Probate also makes and keeps records of proceedings; and maintains records of wills admitted to probate, wills for safekeeping, guardianships, and mental health commitments.”

Currently, people do not have to go to Probate Court for a deceased person how has an estate of less than $50,000 in value, but there are other legal forms, or informal court proceedings that will be stored.  And there are more possible records to find – for guardianships and mental health commitments.

I have made good use of the recent addition of the Probate  materials added to Ancestry.com.  I did not know that Ancestry had been so systematic in approaching all of the county courthouses.  A newly added group of wills from Ohio proved the daughter/father status of one of my ancestor families.  Until then, I could not definitively prove their connection.

Hint – try to prove your ancestor’s facts in three different sources, including a primary source like a will.

Read the whole posting Finding Probate Records by Will Moneymaker in his BLOG AncestralFindings.com.

Finding Probate Records

“Probate records are some of the most valuable, informative genealogical records you will come across. There are several different kinds, and each one can tell you previously unknown things about your ancestors. You may find probate records that are simple inventories of estates, wills with varying amounts of personal information in them, and legal records from proving the will (and sometimes, contesting it). Probate records let you know what things your ancestors owned, how much money they had, how well they lived, and their family connections. If a will names children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, in-laws, and friends, as they often do, this information will allow you to confirm suspected relationships and learn new ones.

So, where do you find probate records? There are a few different places.

1. County Courthouses

County courthouses can contain probate records going back centuries…

2. Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com just added a huge new collection of probate records from around the United States this year. These are the same probate records you would find in county courthouses. Ancestry.com sent representatives out to county courthouses across the country to get the courthouses to allow them to digitize their probate records…

3. Older Relatives

If you have older relatives who have collected a large amount of family information over the decades, you should visit them and see what they have in their boxes, chests, and files… genealogical gold

4. State or Local Archive Buildings

Probate records from colonial times may be found in county courthouses, but are more often found in archive buildings. If you are looking for the probate records for an ancestor who lived in America before the American Revolution, visit or write to the historical society in the city, town, or county in which they lived….

Will founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his Moneymaker surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)

Language Challenges in Genealogy

Language Challenges in Genealogy

Vicki’s note – How would you like to do genealogy research in this library?  Not only are the books in lost languages, but there are several books written over each other on each page.

From Online Smithsonian magazine Sept. 5, 2017 article by Brigit Katz: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-lost-languages-found-manuscripts-egyptian-monastery-180964698/

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Keeping you current

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt

St Catherine's

 

“Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there—some of which contain hidden treasures.

Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery. Many of these original texts were written in languages well known to researchers—Latin, Greek, Arabic—but others were inscribed in long-lost languages that are rarely seen in the historical record.”…

“…Other hidden texts were written in a defunct dialect known as Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a mix of Syriac and Greek, which was discontinued in the 13th century only to be rediscovered by scholars in the 18th century. “This was an entire community of people who had a literature, art, and spirituality,” Phelps tells Gray. “Almost all of that has been lost, yet their cultural DNA exists in our culture today. These palimpsest texts are giving them a voice again and letting us learn about how they contributed to who we are today….”

Brigit Katz is a journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Flavorwire, and Women in the World, a property of The New York Times.

Read more from this author |

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-lost-languages-found-manuscripts-egyptian-monastery-180964698/#F4iwvRw5xIJsmHdR.99Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGvFollow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

 

Where is the Book on My Family?

Where is the Book on My Family?

Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

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Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

 

… Here are the best places to look for digital books about genealogy.

Google Books

Launched in 2004 as “Google Print,” Google Books now contains over 25 million scanned book titles.

Internet Archive

The appropriately-named Internet Archive began in 1996 with the goal of archiving the Internet, but the project soon expanded into providing digital versions of other published works. … Most books are offered in several different formats, including DAISY files for the print-disabled.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust (pronounced “haw tea”) is a partnership of several academic and research institutions offering a collection of over 15 million titles from libraries around the world. Books that are uncopyrightable (i.e., some government works) or in the public domain …

FamilySearch

The Family History Books collection at FamilySearch contains more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of family history libraries such as the Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. …

MyHeritage: Compilation of Published Sources

One of MyHeritage’s best-kept secrets is their repository of digitized books. All are free to access, and you don’t even need to log in with a free account! …  To learn more about the digital books at MyHeritage watch the free Legacy webinar – Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage.

…Genealogy Gophers

Despite the funny name, Genealogy Gophers offers access to more than 80,000 digitized “family histories, regional and local histories, genealogy magazines, how-to books, gazetteers, newsletters, and medieval histories.” … developed specifically for “identifying real people named in genealogy books.”…

 

Elizabeth O’Neal is a freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog My Descendant’s Ancestors, where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly “Genealogy Blog Party.”

Solving Photo Mysteries

∞ Vicki’s Note – Maureen has given us some efficient steps on how to effectively search for solutions to our unknown ancestors in mystery photographs.  We can find the answer to the “I know they are my ancestors, but I don’t know who they are” quandary.

I have found her books and her BLOG invaluable to find photograph identification answers.  Maureen is one of my genealogy heroes.

 Solving Photo Mysteries

 Maureen A Taylor – photodetective.  FamilyTreeMagazine.com

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Read her full article here –  There’s a Good Chance This Photo Mystery Is Solved!

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There’s a Good Chance This Photo Mystery Is Solved!
Posted by Maureen…four steps to tackle a mystery photo:1.    Establish a time frame.

2.    Focus on place.

3.    Search for records.

4.    Watch for matches.

… Based on the clothing clues, I dated the image to circa 1897.

… go through her genealogical material and add a bit more detail to her original query:

  • ….  A more specific location will hopefully make finding a match easier.
  • The last name …. Spelling differences aren’t uncommon….do a broad search of censuses. … don’t filter results to exact spellings.

…estimate the ages of the children in this photo …  In the 1880 census,… 1900 …

Finding a Match

I found …in FamilySearch censuses. In 1880, Joseph F. had children …

Adding 17 years to their ages for an estimated 1897 photo date gives us…  This identification seems to fit the mysterious photo.

Next, I’d encourage Barbara to do “reverse genealogy,” and research forward in time to find descendants of all these children. She then could reach out to find out photographs of them and verify that the faces match.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

·  Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries

·  Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900

·  Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

·  Hairstyles 1840-1900

·  Photo-Organizing Practices

·  Preserving Your Family Photographs

·  Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now