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July 2007

Elaine Turk NELL
Means Family Historian
emturk1976@hotmail.com
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists

 

© Elaine Turk Nell 2007

Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Many genealogists use the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) to locate birth and death dates, but fewer are aware of the treasures that may be found in your ancestor's application for a social security number (SS-5 Form). These include items such as the applicant's name, address, name & location of employer, date & location of birth, parents' names (including mother's maiden name), and the applicant's signature.
To order this form, go to the following website to locate your ancestor's record: http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi. Then click on "SS-5 Letter" to print a request letter generated by Rootsweb. Complete this form and mail it with the required $27 in the form of a check or money order payable to the Social Security Administration. Be patient because it often takes several months for the SSA to fulfill requests.
While Social Security officially began in 1937, the SSDI is a computerized index only for those deaths occurring 1962 or later, although a few pre-1962 deaths may be found in the index. In addition, while many of our ancestors who died after 1962 are included in the SSDI, some are not because of their occupations or because their deaths were not reported to the Social Security Administration.
For more information about using the SSDI in genealogical research, see the following website: http://www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson10.htm
Happy hunting! :)

August 2007

Elaine Turk NELL
Means Family Historian
emturk1976@hotmail.com
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
www.ncapg.com
© Elaine Turk Nell 2008

Were Your Ancestors Employed by the RailRoad?

Did your ancestor work for the railroad after 1936? If so, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board may have records on him/her that could assist in your genealogical research. In order to request these records, you will usually need to provide the railroad employee?s social security number, which is often found on his/her death certificate and/or through the Social Security Death Index (see July 2007 column). For more information on requesting records from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, see the following website: http://www.rrb.gov/mep/genealogy.asp
Happy hunting! :)

September 2007

Elaine Turk NELL
Means Family Historian
emturk1976@hotmail.com
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
www.ncapg.com

© Elaine Turk Nell 2007

Sept. 2007 Newspaper Research: An untapped genealogical resource

Newspapers are often untapped genealogical resources. However, they are filled with gems such as obituaries & death notices, birth, engagement, marriage & anniversary announcements, society & community news & gossip columns, school news, community & school & church activities, graduation announcements, legal notices (divorces, estate settlements, wills, judicial actions, etc.), public announcements, advertisements, unclaimed mail, real estate sales, military news, and reunions.
Many old newspapers have been abstracted or transcribed in book form, on the internet, and some are now available online through subscription. Even more are available on microfilm at public libraries, archives, universities, and the LDS Church’s Family History Center as well as the Library of Congress. The U.S. Newspaper Program lists the largest microfilmed newspaper repository in each state at their website: http://www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html Many of these are available through your public library via inter-library loan.
Finally, remember that there are not only local & national newspapers but religious newspapers as well, often sponsored by church denominations. Some of these have been indexed or abstracted.

November December 2007

Elaine Turk NELL
Means Family Historian
emturk1976@hotmail.com
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
www.ncapg.com

© Elaine Turk Nell 2007

A Wonderful Gift for your Family

At this time of Holiday get-togethers, don't forget to interview your relatives about not only their lives but also any memories they have of ancestors or other relatives. In doing so, you may learn interesting and helpful information for your genealogical research as well as add "flesh" to your family tree. It is helpful to record these interviews (with their permission, of course) but also to jot down notes as you listen. Afterwards, be sure to transcribe these interviews. Transcriptions and copies of the recordings make great Christmas gifts for family members!
While interviewing relatives, you may find that they are very open to showing you family heirlooms and photographs. Take your camera with you for the interviews because you never know what treasures they may have to share. You may even be able to borrow old photographs and make color copies from them at a local print shop (once the photos are out of copyright, of course). Put them all together, and you'll have a nice photo album of your ancestors and other relatives to share. Those also make great gifts!
Happy hunting! :)

Spring 2008

Elaine Turk NELL
Means Family Historian
emturk1976@hotmail.com
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
www.ncapg.com

© Elaine Turk Nell 2008

Spring 2008 Alternative Census Records

U.S. Federal population censuses are often the first place genealogists look to find their ancestors and determine kinships. However, there are other census records that are also beneficial to explore. These include agricultural census, manufacturing census, mortality schedules, and state census records.
Agricultural schedules were taken for the years 1850 – 1880 and provide detailed information about farmers’ crops, machinery, and livestock.
Manufacturing schedules were taken for the years 1820 and 1850-1880. These provide information on manufacturing businesses producing more than $500 worth of goods each year.
Mortality schedules provide names of individuals who died within the year prior to when the Federal population schedule was taken. They also include the deceased’s marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and even cause of death.
State censuses can provide information on ancestors between federal population census years and also may serve as substitutes for missing federal censuses such as the 1890 census, for which few records remain. These censuses often asked different questions than Federal population censuses so may provide additional clues not available elsewhere.

Special Guest
Genealogy Columnist

 

By Candace Hogan

Internet
Genealogist

Family Historian

 

Owner

genealogysoup

website

 

Twitter
at
GenealogySoup

Fall 2008

...............5 Brick Wall Solutions For Hard to Find Family

Well, you have worked almost a year or more on your family history and now you think you are at a complete loss and can't proceed any further. You have hit that famous 'Brick Wall" in genealogy. That brick wall could be in reference to one individual or a whole branch for which you have no documented information. However, by using the following five ideas; you could very possibly have a major breakthrough in that 'wall'.

First thing is to organize what information you have even if you have done that all along. Many times just going over names, dates, locations, stories and photos again while you categorize them into notebooks or on a family tree database will turn on a light bulb of a connection or a tie-in to another relative you haven't considered earlier.

Second, consider researching siblings within that difficult branch. Your great grandfather may have had a rather common given name like John, but his brother could have had an unusual given name, like Rufus. Also the siblings could have been more accomplished or noteworthy, so possibly easier to locate. In addition, by checking great grandfather's cousins if known and his in-laws could provide additional clues.

Third, make sure there is accurate information on the individual and that it comes from as many diverse sources as possible. For example, you believe an ancestor was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Did each census record you locate confirm that? On their death certificate and obituary was the same birth location written? Were any children born in the same location or a place nearby?

If the ancestor's parents immigrated to the United States, where did they first settle? Was it close to where you thought your ancestor was born? Located that parent's naturalization papers, it will list any children and where they were born. Obtain a copy of the ancestor's social security application (form SS-5), if they lived after 1936, and compare the birth place. By verifying just one item like a birth place might lead you on the correct ancestral path.

Fourth, one of the biggest stumbling blocks can be the various spellings for surnames and given names. Especially the further back in time you research the less likely an ancestor was literate, so the spelling of a name would have been based on how a clerk thought the name should have been written. However, even our ancestors chose to spell and / or pronounce their name differently over the years. Using the Soundex for surnames can be very helpful.

The Soundex is an index of sound codes for names, first used in the 1930s. The index groups a name with similar sounds. Each code is a series of a letter then three numbers with the letter representing the beginning letter of the surname (example: K620). The three numbers stand for the consonants in the name, never the vowels or 'H', and 'W'. Most databases will allow you to mark if you want the Soundex used when looking for a surname. Also play around with the spelling of a name, could there have been two 'f's' in the spelling, or was the ending 'sen' instead of 'son'?
Fifth idea, be flexible in your date search. Sometimes you have the idea that your grandmother was born in May 1898 and you only looked for records with that month and year. Keep in mind, as your grandmother got a little older she could have easily given a different birth month and year, especially on census records.

If her parents had married in February 1898, she might not want it known as the first child, she was born only 3 months later. Not just the ladies, men have changed their ages also, especially on marriage applications, making themselves younger or older. So always move that scale of a birth year several years either way when researching an ancestor. Plus the birth month could have been altered for legitimacy purposes, so also adjust the search of months.

Genealogy is my hobby.. and addiction. For the last 20 years I have been researching, even before there was the internet. Along the way I have found many resources and shortcuts that I love to share with others.

Feel free to visit me on http://www.genealogysoup.com where you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive my "Commonly Used Genealogical Forms" ebook to use in your own research.

I would love to hear from you!

Reprint Permission Granted by the Author.

GetGenInfo's

Resident
Columnist

 

 

Elaine Turk NELL

Fall 2008
Column





Means Family Historian

Contact Elaine

Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
© Elaine Turk Nell 2008
All Rights Reserved

 

 

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Education provides results...

Most of us eventually hit a brick wall in our genealogical research. Learning to break through these can be a challenge, but with further genealogical education, doing so is often possible.

There are many opportunities for learning ways to sharpen our skills in the field of genealogy. In addition to going to local genealogical societies’ meetings & workshops and taking correspondence & on-line courses (on-line courses are available through the National Genealogical Society and through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, for example), consider attending workshops and conferences sponsored by state genealogical societies. Most states’ genealogical websites list upcoming workshops & conferences that they will be hosting throughout the year.

There are also several annual national conferences where many of the nation’s best genealogists teach. Some of these are the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference in the States, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference, the Institute for Genealogical & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and the Brigham Young University Conference on Family History and Genealogy. Another available conference is the Regional In-depth Genealogical Studies Alliance (RIGS Alliance), which focuses on research at regional branches of the National Archives.

In addition to being wonderful opportunities for learning and improving research methods, attending genealogical workshops and conferences is a fun way to network, make new friends, and often find new relatives. Another great thing about attending them is that while you’re there, no one looks at you like you’re a Martian when you want to talk about your family history and your most recent tromp through a family cemetery! I highly encourage you to attend as many of these opportunities for genealogical education as you can. They are invaluable in breaking through those brick walls. There is always something new to learn in the field of genealogy. Just when we think we’ve searched everywhere for Grandpa, there’s another avenue to try.

Below are websites for the national conferences discussed above:
NGS:  http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/
FGS:http://www.fgs.org/conferences/index.php
IGHR: http://www.samford.edu/schools/ighr/
NIGR:http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~natgenin/
Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy:http://www.infouga.org/site/
BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy: http://ce.byu.edu/cw/cwgen/

Other opportunities for genealogical education:
RIGS: http://www.rigsalliance.org/
National Institute for Genealogical Studies: http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/
National Genealogical Society:http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/ The NGS Home Study
Course and their on-line courses are well-known for quality instruction


Using Family History to Improve Your Health.
 


Genealogy, the practice of finding your ancestors and charting out your family tree, has become one of the most practiced hobbies worldwide. People of all ages are digging into old family records and getting back to their roots with a myriad of different tools and websites available to assist this growing passion. One aspect of genealogy that is less well known, but may be even more beneficial to you than collecting interesting family stories, is charting your family health history.
A family health history is similar to a family tree in that it organizes your ancestors in generational groups showing parent-child relationships, as well as marriages and siblings. However, a family health history differs from a typical family tree pedigree in that it records certain health issues, illnesses and disorders individuals in a family have had, and shows trends of those illnesses and disorders through families.
Doctors have long known that certain disorders can ‘run in families’. For example, an individual with a strong family history of heart disease has a 9.8 times greater risk for heart disease than an individual without a family history of the disease. Charting a family health pedigree can make health trends and patterns in the family easier to spot. This of course, can be key to preventing health problems from ever developing.
A clearly marked family health history will indicate to you the need to make smart dietary and healthy living choices, as well as be particularly motivated to get tested and screened for family diseases on a regular basis. Sharing and discussing your family health history with your doctor will help you to catch and treat any problems in the early stages before it is too late.
A new website called ItRunsInMyFamily.com will help you create your family health history online. Start your family health history today!

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
www.Sggenomics.com
ItRunsInMyFamily.com

Guest Columnist

Winter-Spring 2009

 

 

Nancy West

 

t0urgirl@yahoo.com

 

Munsellle Family

HISTORIAN

 

http://munselle.blogspot.com

 

...................Topics in Texas Research
.......................................By Nancy West
Wondering where to begin in Texas research? I have been researching my maternal Munselle family since 1984, and have been working in partnership with a Munselle relative, Nancy Cunningham of Dallas, Texas, for about 20 years.

We have a Munselle website at
http://www.griffincunninghamnet/munsell4/gargoyles/.
We offer assistance and guidance to anyone from the
Munselle or related families who is working on their family history.

During the past year, we have made significant progress using the free Texas death certificates available on the database, Texas Deaths: 1890-1976, from FamilySearch Record Search at http://pilot.familysearch.org/. If you are
hoping to fill in the gaps in your family history, this is an excellent place to begin. One caveat: the information on these death certificates was usually provided by relatives, who could (and did) make mistakes. Take the time to verify data on the death certificates by checking it against other family and historical records. It is also a good idea to search for all possible variations and spellings of your ancestor's name. Many of our most elusive ancestors have turned up in the death certificates under unusual
variations of both first and last names. Can't find a female ancestor? Look for her under 'Mrs. John Smith'.
Another resource that I use systematically is The Handbook of Texas Online at http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/search1.html .
I would recommend this site to any Texas researcher. Not only will it tell you what county any Texas city or community is in, it will provide interesting background about where your ancestors lived, and help you to place them geographically.

Have you encountered a 'brick wall'? Our tried-and-true approach to this problem is to send out targeted queries to all possible related message boards. Be creative in your search for message boards; try to think of
connected surnames and geographical areas that you may not have queried previously. In addition to the message boards on Ancestry, RootsWeb, and
Genealogy.Com, I have had considerable success with Cousin Connect at
http://www.cousinconnect.com .
Research in Texas can be challenging and frustrating, but it is also fascinating and rewarding.

Happy Hunting!

Nancy West
t0urgirl@yahoo.com (That is a zero after the "t" in tourgirl.)
Blog: http://munselle.blogspot.com
.....

 

GetGenInfo's

Resident
Columnist

 

 

Elaine Turk NELL

Spring 2009
Column





Means Family Historian

Contact Elaine

Member of the
NC Chapter Association of
Professional Genealogists
© Elaine Turk Nell 2008
All Rights Reserved

 

 

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Please ClicK
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Spring 2009.......... Researching City Dwellers

Were your ancestors urban dwellers? If so, you may find city directories helpful in your research, especially for years between the available Federal Population Census. While they’ve been around since the 18th century (mainly in large cities), directories from those early years are not plentiful. The largest number of city directories still available cover the latter 1800s to the present.

City directories are not the same as telephone directories. Like telephone directories, city directories list residents’ names, dwellings, and businesses. However, city directories were printed long before telephones were invented and provide additional information that telephone directories do not. This is information that may help you break through those brick walls. For example, often a wife’s name is listed in parenthesis after the name of the male head of household. Likewise, an entry for a widow sometimes gives her deceased husband’s name. Ah! So that was grandpa’s name! Residents’ occupations are usually listed, sometimes along with their business addresses (if they were business owners) or the name of their employer. You can then take that information and locate where it is in the business section of the city directory and sometimes find ads for the company. Knowing where your ancestor worked may open up a whole new area of records.

One of the most unique features about city directories is that they can be used to examine households from year to year. If someone else is listed in the household with your ancestor, closely consider that this person may be a relative. Likewise, if someone by the same surname lived in the same house as your ancestor, even if it’s in later years after your ancestor moved to another locale, this person could also a relative.

Most city directories have cross indexes in the back which can be used to identify neighbors as well as local businesses and churches that are nearby. Use these to find new avenues to explore. If you do not know where your ancestor attended church or where he/she is buried, check records of nearby churches and their cemeteries. Neighbors may be relatives, or perhaps they migrated with your ancestor or witnessed some of his/her court documents. Neighborhoods provide a whole new realm of research. Remember that our ancestors did not usually move to new locations alone. They almost always migrated with family, neighbors, and/or members of their church congregation.

So, where do you find city directories? Local libraries and/or archives are logical places to begin, especially those with special collections sections or a genealogical & historical collections. Some original directories are available, while others may be on microform. Some have been transcribed or digitized and are available online at websites such as Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, and DistantCousin.com. The Library of Congress <http://www.loc.gov/index.html> has the largest collection of city directories in the United States.

Don’t miss out on the treasures of city directories. They can help break through those high brick walls!
 

 

 

Spring 2009

Guest Columnist

 

By

 

Jim Gates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

By

 

 

emily aulicino

I asked my friend to explain the Ancestry DNA test and help me understand how to use the results. He is not a certified GenDNA expert, however, he has been studing the DNA process .(webmasterGetGenInfo)
What next
?
By Jim Gates

I like to categorize this DNA information into short-term (less than 1000 years) and long-term (more than 1000 years). I make the break at 1000 years because that is when surnames became common and there is at least the hope of finding documentation.

Beyond 1000 years you are really looking more at anthropology than genealogy unless you tie into some royal or historical lineages.


Short-term you want to try to match up with people who have the same genetic markers as you do for three reasons.

One, if you get an exact match, they
may have some information about your line that you didn't have. Hopefully, they have research that allows you to add generations to your family tree, but the chances of that happening is slim.

Second, it may help you focus
your research. For years I was looking for one of my lineages in VA, and DNA showed that I should have been researching in Maryland.

Third, it will get you in touch with people that are interested in the same lines. I would suggest you enter your data in a public data base to see if you come up with any genetic matches.

My suggestion:
www.mitosearch.org

That's a fairly big database and you may connect with others there.

Long-term you are working with your haplogroup. Ancestry.com has said you belong to haplogroup H. That is a very common haplogroup and there is a lot
of information out there about it. I am in haplogroup W which is fairly
rare so not so much available.

Search on haplogroup H and I think you will find scads of discussions about your deep ancestry (going back 10s of 1000s of years).

Ok, it doesn't add a thing to your family tree but still very
interesting. I would highly recommend reading Bryan Sykes book "The Seven Daughters of Eve." It is very entertaining, because he describes what the
it was like for the women in the seven most common haplogroups to live back in prehistoric times.

You can read just the chapter about Helena which is the name he gives to haplogroup H women

Also if you go to the National Geographic Genographic Project you will be able to see the migration path of the various haplogroups.

Again, pretty interesting to see where your ancestors came from and how they migrated.
Well, that should get you started.

....Jim Gates – Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved

---------------------

.....Comments:
The following comments are a result of an article posted on this website entitled: What Next?:

"Surnames general began about 1,000 years ago and primarily in Ireland. Jewish populations, for the most part, did not have surnames until about 200 yrs ago. Even my Welsh ancestors didn’t until 1698 when they came to America.

There’s some DNA statement in the “Answers to basic DNA Questions” article which need clarification:

1. You do NOT need an exact match to be closely related for Ydna; you DO for mtDNA and even then the common ancestor could be tens of thousands of years ago..

2. One must test before they learn of their Haplogroup( see below) so it is not of much interest for people to Google haplogroups that are not theirs.

3. Mitosearch is the public database to enter your test results, ONLY for mtDNA (all female lines). Ysearch, Ybase and Y-chromosome are for Ydna only."

.........emily aulicino
.....dna-genealem's genetic genealogy Blog
Northwest Regional Coordinator for the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG*), manages eleven DNA Projects and several email lists on Rootsweb and Yahoo.

.......Copyright 2009 Emily Audition - All Rights Reserved.
...........................
Contact Emily Aulicino

 

 
Elaine Nell
Resident Genealogy Columnist
Member of the
NC Chapter Association of Professional Genealogists
MEANS Family Historian
© Elaine Turk Nell 2009 All Rights Reserved
Contact Elaine
Summer 2009

Furthering Your Genealogical Education
............... in Trying Economic Times

With financial concerns around every corner in the recent global economic downturn, many genealogists are left wondering how to pay for continuing their genealogical education. Although national conferences and institutes are extremely appealing and worthwhile, they can also be expensive endeavors, especially when food, lodging, and transportation are added. Although often less expensive than on-sight conferences & institutes, online genealogical courses and those offered by correspondence can still be expensive. So, what’s a genealogist to do? What other options are out there?

Faced with an upcoming layoff in my own family, I recently made the decision to forego attending the National Genealogical Society Conference in the States, which was held in nearby Raleigh, NC last month. Having never been to an NGS Conference in the States, I looked forward to attending it since the location was announced a few years ago. I even booked my hotel room last fall in anxious anticipation. Shortly thereafter, however, I learned that my husband is to be laid off later this year. So, when the time came to register for the conference itself, I added up the hotel bill for 5 days, the known food costs, and conference fees and decided I’d best rethink the idea. There would also be additional food and miscellaneous costs, and who could resist buying a few genealogical or historical books while there? I pondered this awhile, really grieving the thought of not attending. Then it occurred to me that some of the lectures might be recorded as they used to be at other conferences using a company called Audiotapes.com. Sure enough, they were! I could buy CDs of lectures for $12 each from Jamb-inc.com, which has provided this service for recent National Genealogical Society Conferences. That decided it for me. While I would greatly miss the experience of being there, the genealogical companionship, and especially the lecture handouts, I could at least have the lectures on CD to listen to again and again and to loan to others too. Most of all, I’d save hundreds of dollars, and with the economy like it is, every bit helps.

Genealogical lectures on CD and tape are sometimes sold by genealogical and historical societies too. For example, the North Carolina Genealogical Society sells recordings of some genealogical lectures given by well-known genealogists David Rencher, Helen Leary, and Mark Lowe.

In addition to listening to genealogical lectures on CD or tape, genealogists can always pour over more books! Your local public and/or university library, especially the genealogy and/or special collection section(s), may offer opportunities for you to read genealogical methods books for free. You will likely be limited to reading some of them on-site rather than checking them out though, and your selection may be limited as well. A solution for this may be Interlibrary Loan through your local public library.

The National Genealogical Society moved its genealogical collection of over 20,000 books to the special collections department at St. Louis County Library about eight years ago. Previously, the collection was only available by loan to NGS members, but now that it is housed at the St. Louis County Library, it is available to the public free through Interlibrary Loan. Not only do they have books on genealogical methodology, they also have thousands of family, state, county, and local history books as well as abstracts of various records.

So, the next time you find yourself fretting about the economy’s effect on your genealogical education, try some of the above ideas to brighten your spirits and help you break down those brick walls!


Websites mentioned in this article:
Audiotapes.com: http://www.repeatperformance.com Click on Genealogy
Note: Many of these are recordings of lectures from several years ago. Keep in mind that
while some topics & genealogical research methods are timeless, others are time-
sensitive. Often it’s better to go with more recent lectures to be safe, in which case it
would more appropriate to use Jamb Tapes below.
Jamb Tapes, Inc.: http://www.jamb-inc.com Click on Genealogy
North Carolina Genealogical Society: http://www.ncgenealogy.org
Look under the Publications Tab, then click on NCGS Tapes & CDs
NGS Book Loan Collection: http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/library_book_loan_collection
 


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