Understanding the historical context of the stories of your ancestry can provide important insight into your personal family history.I recently had a project come across my desk where the client wanted to learn more about his father’s life during a 5-year time span that he was in the United States.Unfortunately he arrived and departed between census records, so there was no way to locate him in the U.S. that way. However, by locating him on a passenger list we were able to learn the specific street address, city, and state he was headed to. Even with that information, he couldn’t be found in any available records, including city directories. However, when we used the information we did have - where he was from, his occupation, where he was headed - we were able to locate a newspaper article that talked about his exact situation. The article mentioned that people from his specific origin country came to that specific town during that specific time period to work in the steel …Read more
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The occupation of "keeping house" in the 19th Century, was no easy task! Here's a look at what such an occupation may have entailed for your ancestors. Fanny Belle Kough was eighteen years old when she began her vocation of keeping house, as noted on the 1880 United States Federal Census:Becoming the wife of Hatch Harman on 16 December 1879, Fanny Belle kept house for a man more than twice her age and his eight-year-old son from a previous marriage. Eventually, Fanny Belle would also keep house for the five children she and her husband would have together. The daughter of an Irish immigrant and a Kentucky native, Fanny Belle lived forty of her forty-two years in Hickman County, Kentucky. Her final resting place was in the beautiful, tree-lined Oakwood Cemetery in Hickman County, just a few miles from where she was born.Fanny Belle and Hatch Harman lived during a time of certain cultural expectations and familial patterns. One of those expectations was painted in bold colors …Read more
One of our genealogists shares examples of how local libraries and historical societies can be a great asset for genealogy research. The Hoyt Public Library in Saginaw, MichiganIn family history research, when it is discovered that a family lived in a particular town for an extensive length of time, contacting the local library and historical society can be a great investment of a genealogist's time and potentially yield great dividends. For instance, when we found that a family lived in Saginaw County, Michigan for over three generations, we looked at the Saginaw County library website to see what resources they offered. Come to find out, they offer an excellent obituary index compiled from the old local newspapers. We searched the index by the ancestor's surname and came up with nine pertinent obituaries. These obituaries provided priceless information about family members.Using the Museum in PennsylvaniaFor another research project, we found that a …Read more
Are you wondering how much time it will take to build your family tree? Here's a breakdown of what to expect, and why it may help to hire a professional.As professional genealogists, a question we receive frequently is, "How long will it take to build my family tree back as far as possible?"If by, “as far as possible,” we mean as far back as the records go – which is usually considered around 1500 unless you connect into royalty – the answer is: a very long time!Putting In The TimeFirst, consider the exponential rate at which family trees grow the further back they go. Generation 1 is only one person: yourself. Generation 2 is only two people: your parents. However, Generation 3 is four people, Generation 4 is eight people, Generation 5 is sixteen people, and Generation 6 is thirty-two people! This only usually goes back to the mid-1800s for most people alive today.It is around generation 16 that you reach about the year 1500 in a typical pedigree. A family tree that …Read more