Category Archives: Genealogy Hoarding

It’s So Hard to Let Go Sometimes

Even though I’m coming up on the end of my family file cleanup, (which I started sometime in 2010), sometimes I just love to dig into my Original file and clean that up a little too. I just can’t seem to let it go. Am I going to always have two working files? Or will I eventually scrap the original? I just can’t decide. I don’t think I’ll ever fully delete the original file.

With all the new databases that come out on a regular basis, sometimes I want to just dig into that old file, and just test the waters out a bit. Sometimes it’s really just to see if the database is going to be a very prolific resource for my family tree. I’m never really sure if the more rural areas of my family recorded the vital records or not. I know it wasn’t mandated until the 1900s in those states, so I know it’s a toss up.

Two of the databases I’ve really been digging into is the Ohio, County Births and Ohio, County Marriages databases over at FamilySearch. I’m digging up my Ohio roots right now on my file cleanup, so I’m really able to progress. I’ve already had some of these records recorded, but only from an index at FamilySearch, so I didn’t have all the information from the original record.

Ohio Birth Report, 1856-1909
Ohio Birth Report, 1856-1909

Yesterday though, I wanted a little break from the cleanup. So instead of just sitting in front of the TV watching the Housewives on Bravo, I opened up my Original file and I printed out the above report. The great thing is that I used the instructions discussed by Russ Worthington on his blog about preparing for the 1940 U.S. Census. Only I didn’t prepare for the 1940 U.S. Census.

I prepared for the Ohio, County Births database. I filtered in individuals with a Birthplace containing Ohio. Then I filtered out anyone born before 1856 and after 1909. Voila. I had an Ohio Birth Report to work from. It turned out to be 18 pages long, but my printer prints on both sides of the paper, so I went ahead and printed it out for ease of use.

After all that preparation was done, the dryer buzzed and my full day took over. Hey, I have the list though, which means now when I have some extra time, I can just bring up the Original file, take out the list and work from that. The great thing is even if I input information into my old database, I always have that up when I’m working from my new database. So I can easily find my sources and information in my old program once I get to that person in the new database.

Sure it might not make much sense to work in such a haphazard way, but then again if it wasn’t that way, it wouldn’t be me researching. It’s how I roll. That’s right, I roll back and forth over and over again.

My Most Interesting Finds

I recently updated my “About Kathleen” page here on the blog. Reading my previous page got me thinking a lot about my views on genealogy. While writing the new page, I was trying to think of what I’m usually asked the first time I tell someone I research my family history. Which I never refer to as genealogy, because then that leads to the blank stare most times.

If you’ve ever had a genealogy discussion with the non-initiated, or even the initiated, the first question always seems to be: “Oh, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve found?”

That question makes me chuckle a little bit. It’s kind of like my sister coming home from a day at the bank and me asking her, “Who was your most interesting customer? No, I don’t want to hear about your day or the mechanics of it. Just your most interesting part.”

Am I dissing someone who asks that question? Of course not! I would never do that. Any reason to talk genealogy is a good enough reason to me. I’m definitely not saying that I want to go on a 45 minute discussion on how I dissect which records are important and which ones aren’t.

I guess my point is, that question is impossible for me to answer.  I was born, raised, and still live in Southern Maryland. In this tri-county area, I’ve had zero extended family most of my life. Most of my relatives are a half day drive away. So when I started to research my genealogy, everything I found was just so fascinating. I couldn’t believe that this five person family I grew up with could branch out so far. I knew I had cousins on each side of my family, and I knew that I had two sets of grandparents. I think I saw my maternal grandma once every five years until we were old enough to travel better. Not to mention the cost of traveling for a young family who didn’t have a lot to spare.

My Grandma Emogene, her siblings and cousin

For someone who had her siblings, their friends, her own friends and that was it; Family is something that it took me awhile to grasp. I’ve read a lot of articles where people don’t understand why people research their family history. It’s in the past they say. It has no bearing on who you are. I don’t need to know about them to live a perfectly normal life.

I can say most of that is true. Except for saying it has no bearing on who you are. I am by no means a psychologist. However, I am a people watcher. I love to observe and analyze. It’s why I enjoyed jury duty so much. I actually think I have a very good perspective on how learning your family history can change your views of the world. Not having any idea where I came from, not having close relationships with my extended family until we were grown, all those factors help me to differentiate how I felt before and after genealogy.

I’ve never walked my ancestral grounds, I’ve never gone farther then the distance it takes to visit family, and I’ve never spent more money on genealogy in a year then I wouldn’t have spent on quilting fabric at the store. What I can say about learning my family history can’t really be put into words, but that’s what I’m going to try to do anyway.

I could have gone through my life never knowing anything about my family history. What you learn in your family history isn’t something thats measurable in money or fame. A lot of people think everyone who researches their family history is in it for some kind of fame seeking reasons. That isn’t so. You actually learn compassion for how hard it was to get to the point where you are today. A lot of people take for granted that the majority of Americans are educated from the kindergarten level, all the way up to high school. As early as the 1930 census, it was common for people not to be able to sign their own name. In fact, there are still people out there not able to read or write. When you think back on ancestors, who left Ireland with nothing but the clothes on their back and a skill they’d learned, you can’t help but feel proud of them. They conquered life when the odds were against them. Their only hope was in themselves and their faith. Yet these people in the past, who you’ll never know but through genealogy put you where you are today. If they had gone left instead of right, would you be the same person you are today? If they hadn’t come to America, would they or their children have survived for you to even be born?

My great grandmother Llewellyn, her brother George, and an unknown friend

So when I’m asked what my most interesting find is, I say “All of them”. I find William H Moore’s immigration interesting. I find the vast numbers of Mays ancestors interesting. I come from a world of living in the same place for all my life, so I find the Redford family’s migration to Los Angeles, CA interesting. I find the farmers just as interesting as the plumbers. The plumbers are just as interesting as the tailors. The tailors are just as interesting as the people who ended up signing their WWI Draft Card from the county jail.

The fascination isn’t in the notoriety or out of the ordinary for me. It’s the family unit and how it survives over time. I know because of my relatives that rough patches iron out. You lose your loved ones, but you can in fact carry on and survive. I know that those friends I made during school and am still friends with are as much a part of my family history as my cousin Patty is. They all make up my story.

The facts about my ancestors may not be Hollywood worthy and they may not have done super extraordinary things that made them rich or famous. What they did do was give me inspiration to do what I love and keep living my life for today and not yesterday. Yesterday is already written. It’s my decision on how to write today and tomorrow. I only hope that I’m half as much inspiration to my descendants as my ancestors are to me.

Clifford and Jane Redford’s Wedding

This scan was sent to me from my Aunt a few years back. It was one of my first and only clues about the Parkin family. Their name has constantly changed through all my years of researching them.

Family Record of Clifford and Jane Redford's marriage

Having this allowed me to send away to New Jersey for an official record of Clifford and Jane‘s marriage.

Official Record of Clifford and Jane Redford's marriage

This record had much more information for me to digest. I already knew Clifford and Jane‘s estimated birth years and residences. I had known from the 1930 census that Clifford was a plumber by trade. I also knew that his father’s name was Herbert and his mother’s was Sadie. However I did not know that his mother’s maiden name was Putcliff or is that Sutcliff? To this day I’m still not sure!

On Jane‘s side it was all knew information. This record actually broke down my Parkin/Parker/Perkins brick wall. It most definitely is Parkin now and I learned that her parents names were John Walter Parkin and Jennie Featherson. I have a lot more information on John Walter Parkin now, but before her marriage Jennie is still a mystery to me.

I’ve had this record for a number of years and still I come back to it for clues every once and awhile. It’s always good to look over things you’ve had awhile. You never know what you might have missed in the excitement.

Grandpa’s Stuff, Part 2

With Grandpa moving to Maryland, I’m starting to get another look at some of the more interesting things in his collection. The funny thing is, my treasure is his self-professed junk. What I’m about to show almost got sold for scrap metal. Luckily my Dad saved it because he knows I’m hungry for these kinds of cool things.

North Caldwell Public Safety Center Plaque

The police chief that took over after Grandpa retired thought Grandpa might like this. I think it’s pretty cool, but boy does it weigh a lot. I have no idea how to hang something like this on the wall without it breaking whatever mount you put it on.

Here’s a note for you guys, if you have an antique seller in the family, make them aware of your interest in these things! Next time I show you some of his stuff, I’ll show you his baby blanket that his grandmother (Jennie Love-Thorward) made for him when he was born!

Another Day at the Beach

Actually this was probably the same day, but here we go.

I notice my great-grandfather William Lawrence Moore standing in the back on the right. I also see George W Thorward, sitting in the middle. I think the woman sitting next to him is one of Jennie‘s sisters but I’m not sure.

GroupShot68

A Day at the Beach

What’s a girl got to do to get an invitation to Beach Day?

I recognize Jennie Love and her husband Lewis Thorward, but the others, well your guess is as good as mine! I’m pretty sure one of Jennie’s sisters is sitting next to her. They look like they could be related.

What fun they must have had. I think I have a whole months worth of beach pictures alone I could post about.

Menzies Cemetery Fun?

I know, I have a very strange sense of humor. Most genealogists I come across get the cemetery fun thing though. I mean I don’t see them as horrible, scary places. I see them as peaceful places to visit our ancestors.

So, onto the fun. Once I got the death certificate of John Menzies, it was time to dissect the information. Which I’ve done on the blog. After the dissection is time to follow leads. The lead I’m exploring today is the cemetery where John was buried, Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

My first stop was Find a Grave to see exactly where the cemetery was and if there was already a listing for John.

There wasn’t. Only one Menzies and it wasn’t John or his son Alexander (though I am curious… brother? maybe?). There are always more questions it seems. Then I decided since the Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn had a website, why not see if Greenwood did.

Not only did it have a website, it has an AMAZING website. I’m not apologizing for the caps, because caps are sometimes needed. The Evergreen Cemetery also has a burial database but I never found my family in it! This time I did. What I love about this database, is that it gives the lot and section number. There are 12 Menzies currently in the database. (Note that the database is not complete.)

My John Menzies is ninth down on the list! From just this search, I can also see the other people buried in the lot! This doesn’t mean it is everyone, just the ones by the last name Menzies. So who else is buried with John?

  1. Alexander Menzies – John’s third child, second son.
  2. George Menzies – John’s ninth child, fifth son.
  3. Jean Menzies – Alexander’s first wife I believe.
  4. John D Menzies – John’s fifth child, third son.
  5. Margaret J Menzies aka Poor Margaret from William’s Letter.

I can’t be sure of these relationships of course, until I confirm death dates/years. I actually had no idea of them except a general idea from census and marriage information. Except for Margaret, whose death is referred to in the letter between William and his sister Jane.

I also have to tell you that the cemetery does take genealogy requests! For $19.75 you can get an individual burial transcript, but if you pay $28.00 they’ll send you a whole plot of names and dates of internment! That’s pretty exciting for me, since I don’t get the opportunity to travel much.

Now all I have to do is overlay the cemetery map in Google Earth like I did for the Evergreen Cemetery. Then I’m set for a trip to Brooklyn this summer!

Note: I could say I have no affiliation with the cemetery but I’d be lying. My ancestors are buried there, so technically I do. However, I am receiving no encouragement or compensation for having a teenage fangirl moment over their website. I’m an amateur website designer, I can’t help it.

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