Mooseroots.com helps bring life to your family history!
Because so much of our information for genealogical research is drawn from factual documents which provide names, dates, and places, but not much more, it is easy to fall into the trap of data-dumping, or what I refer to as “the Begats.”
Austin was born in West Virginia in 1903. He married Edith Wise in Pennsylvania and they had four children: James, Mildred, William, and Betty.
As a historian I know that researching the people, places, and events surrounding a specific point in time can provide rich details about the lives of our ancestors. But if you don’t know what to look for or where, you are left stranded searching through random Wikipedia articles hoping to somehow turn that article about the Great Depression into something relevant for your family’s history.
MooseRoots.com is a genealogy research website that provides detailed information on more than 1 billion historical genealogical records. MooseRoots has several unique record collections, but it is not designed to replace other online genealogical databases. Instead, it is meant to be a supplement to the documents we locate elsewhere. They add the story to our family history.
And, as they advertise: “The best part? It’s completely free.”
Currently MooseRoots has supplemental information for all of the U.S. Census reports; birth, marriage, and death reports from several states, as well as some Australian locations; the Social Security Death Index; U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs burial records; immigration records; military records for the U.S. and Canada; and more.
Searching is fairly straightforward. Although MooseRoots has some smart searching capabilities (if you type “William” you will get results that include William, Will, and Wm, for instance) I found that using MooseRoots was easier if I knew what I was looking for, particularly if the name was unusual or oddly spelled. Of course, if you are looking for some of their unique data then you will want to perform a search and MooseRoots allows you to refine that search with the check-boxes on the left side of the page.
As you enter data the results begin to appear. Once you have located the correct document, click on the name of the individual to see the supplemental information MooseRoots has gathered.
In order to verify that you have the correct document, and to provide some basic information, the page begins with an index-style account of the information contained in the document. In this instance, the 1910 U.S. Census for the Elmer E. Eakman household, this information includes the names of the other members of the family. A large blue box takes you to the document as found on FamilySearch.com. There are also links to other potential census records for Elmer.
As you scroll down the page you discover a section discussing the origin and meaning of the names “Elmer” and “Eakman” as well as a chart showing the drop in popularity of the name Elmer and a map of the United States depicting the places where the name Eakman is most frequently found. On every section of the supplemental information there is a blue box which offers additional information.
One feature that I really appreciate is the snapshot of the location at that time – in this instance, Klickatat County, Washington in 1910. Year established, population, the percentage of farms, and other information is presented in an easy-to-read format. A map of the location is included which allows you to compare it to other places where the family lived, or to determine how far they moved when they left that location.
When I clicked on the ubiquitous “Find Out More” button, I was treated to this graph comparing the size of the farms in Klickatat County with the State of Washington and the entire United States. This showed me that most farmers in the county had medium-sized farms with a surprising number of large, 1,000+ acre farms as well.
World War II military enlistments are another document set given MooseRoots’ unique supplementary treatment. Browder M. Linkous’ enlistment record page begins with the index-style information found on other online database sets. His name, age, height, weight, occupation, level of education, marital status, entering rank, enlistment date, and whether he was a volunteer or draftee are all included.
It was interesting to note, as I scrolled down the page, the names of the other men from Roanoke County, Virginia who also enlisted to fight during World War II. Again, a click of the blue button provides the entire list from that location. Since these were men of similar ages and from the same community, it is likely that this list represents some of the friends or even relatives of the ancestor in question.
MooseRoots offers some very interesting supplemental information to help us tell the stories of our ancestors. Although not intended to be used as a primary research tool, you can find links to original copies of some documents. MooseRoots’ strength is in its ability to provide the details that help us better understand the world in which our ancestors lived, 50, 100, and even 200 years ago or more.
MooseRoots is a Legacy Tree Genealogists partner and recommends us for full-service genealogical research. Click here to learn more about how we can help you discover the stories of your family’s past.
 All images in this article are screenshots of actual MooseRoots.com pages, http://mooseroots.com, accessed February 2016.