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The Joy Of Genealogy

February 21, 2014

To the Readers’ Forum: A pastime as old as the Bible and as new as “Who do You Think You Are?” is the activity of researching family history....

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Mar-01-14 10:49 AM

Great point 50's! My family has several still viewable, pre civil War Daguerreotypes. Somebody made the effort to pick up a pencil and write on the back of them some details as to who was in the pic, date, place, ect. It seems that this was a common practice when photos were an expensive, studio effort. That seemed to change slowly after Kodak came out with the "Brownie" series of cameras. As home photography became increasingly less expensive, people took more pics but apparently valued them less as fewer pics were inscribed; what eventually happens is that in time nobody can identify the people or events in the pics. Sooner or later, probably after a senior family member dies, a younger member will decide that the unidentifiable, unmarked pics are worthless clutter. This is an argument I have with my wife who loves taking pics, but can't manage to operate a pencil.

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Feb-23-14 1:46 PM

All those photos they didn't put names or dates on. And now all the ones I didn't names on? Yep.

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Feb-23-14 12:07 PM

One of the things that many people don't realize until it's too late is that neglecting to ask parents, grandparents and other aged relatives about family history and =then writing it down= means that far too much is lost when those people pass on. It's something I am guilty of and I regret not paying more attention to my family's oral tradition.

Yes, it's a bit of work but it pays off big as time goes on.

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Feb-22-14 5:27 PM

As for me, I like knowing it was my people built this country, not Africans, Muslims and Mexicans as is claimed.

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Feb-22-14 5:23 PM

Credence-that post was the result of the first site that showed up when I googled that Swedish post. It was a soft po rn site.

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Feb-22-14 12:48 PM

50s forever, "I'm not into" .... Neither am I, I really don't care what kind of boat Granny came over in; neither do I care what color afghan she was a knittin.

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Feb-21-14 6:36 PM

Funny how proverbs are the same in most languages.

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Feb-21-14 5:43 PM

And the Swedish sites from bluedogdemocrat? Helpful?

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Feb-21-14 5:03 PM

The websites mentioned in this article are quite reliable. They link you to original documents. All the documents are public record so they don't reveal anything the public does not already know about you.

However, websites such as geni**** and similar services, even offered by affiliates of ancestry****, allow "members" to publish their family tree. This can be full of mistakes and can reveal too much information about the living.

With regards to your mother's maiden name: because of the internet and proliferation of public records, institutions such as banks do not ask for nor use your mother's maiden name (or at least it is being phased out).

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Feb-21-14 4:47 PM

I'm not over 50, not even 30, but I don't like when I get to the language barriers in family history. I can't understand what's on most of the stuff from Venezuela. Luckily my mom's doing that stuff. I get to edit photos and connect them to names she puts in. I enjoy what I can do, however measly :)

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Feb-21-14 3:13 PM

Looks like some stuff I'm not into.

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Feb-21-14 3:11 PM

Never tried those.

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Feb-21-14 2:52 PM

I used ancestry. Chuck, but had lots of help from distant relatives

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Feb-21-14 1:29 PM

Some sites are making pretty good money and not very reliable. My best was local historical groups in the area of where a relative lived. What sites have been useful to you?

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Feb-21-14 11:31 AM

When you see a disagree on a post of someone's genalogy, you know you are in the presence of some petulant socially challenged pubescent searching for an outlet.

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Feb-21-14 11:19 AM

My sister has had that scam pulled on her using a nephew's name, trying to get bail money. She didn't fall for it. But you're right. They knew what names to drop.

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Feb-21-14 11:14 AM

The problem so far is that these sites are not safe and anyone can pick up on all of your personal information and use it against you for credit (mother's maiden name, for one example) and all sorts of other exploits. (Grandma, this is ___ and I need money to get home.) If there is no way to be found that the internet can be 100% safe these type of operations will soon come to a halt when everyone is hacked into. Be careful out there. (Unfortunately there is no way of being careful out there.)

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Feb-21-14 10:59 AM

Sorry, I should have mentioned that the Aaron Burr connection I referenced was found in the "Fuller Collection of Aaron Burr" in the Firestone Library @ Princeton University. What pops up after you hit "enter" can be at least interesting, if not amazing. It can all depend on the information that you search, combinations of search items, etc. I just find it amazing that so much information about even the most mundane events has been retained. For instance my 4th great grandfather produced more than 1,200 gallons of hard cider on his 400 acres during the 1792 season at his Geneva NY farm. That info was part of a local newspaper accounting, but why such information was retained for long and eventually incorporated into a website puzzles me; nonetheless I'm glad it's there as it tells me something about the person.

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Feb-21-14 10:29 AM

Great stuff. I have one from the Mayflower Compact, A Colonel in the Continental Army whose house Washington visited with his hounds and the children rode them like ponies. Indentured servants taken from pauper's prison to work in the colony. Soldiers in the wars (all of them) Abolitionist activists, one prisoner starved in Andersonville. It just goes on and on. Better than fiction! Oh yes, and monkey....rumor of a black great grandfather. Still trying to find that, but adoption throws a block way back then. I think Gram had some half brothers who were Oglala at Pine Ridge. Her family came from around Sherman area into Pa. and moved West. We really are all connected somehow.

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Feb-21-14 9:36 AM

munch chomp slurp

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Feb-21-14 9:32 AM

You're correct about discovering connections to other families 50s4ever. In doing research into the family branch mentioned in my 8:3am post, the name of my 4th great grandfather popped up in connection to then U.S. Senator from NY, Aaron Burr. It seems that a communication from Governor George Clinton to newly installed Senator Burr confirms that Clinton had appointed my 4th great grandfather to the position of captain in the Ontario Co. militia, as per Burr's request. Apparently the communication was found in a box labeled by Burr and attributed to "friends of the family/compatriots of the revolution". My grandfather was a vet of the Revolution and also involved in politics so their relationship isn't clear, but apparently Burr acted at the request of my grandfather.

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Feb-21-14 9:05 AM

KCW007 contin: From my American history classes I vaguely recalled something about the practice whereby the British government encouraged their discharged soldiers to stay in the American colonies, rather than to return to Britain, by offering them free land for homesteading. It was only a couple of years ago that I learned that my 5th great grandfather on my father's side took that deal and settled in what is now western MA. His son subsequnetly settled in Central NY, and then his grandson settled in this area in the 1820's. The truth is that we're all products of happenstance, but it's interesting to discover how certain events in history may have had at least a small impact on who we are as individuals today.

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Feb-21-14 9:00 AM

Finding the connections to other families, the historical impact, and lasting family traits makes it along term project. There really is no end to it. It really gives you an education.

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Feb-21-14 8:37 AM

My experience is that people don't take interest in their family history until they are in their late 50's or older. Prior to that, they are simply too busy dealing with the daily requirements that life imposes on us all. What I've found interesting from my own family research is how certain historical events, the stuff you slept though during history class, may have had a direct impact on your ancestors, and indirectly on you. A branch of my mother's family was known to have been devout German Catholics. Oddly my research showed that they'd immigrated in the early 1840's from Bohemia. I subsequently learned that the family were religious refuges that had fled their native Bavaria 200+ years prior after some malcontent, "reformer" named Martin Luther messed things up for the Catholics living in their native Bavaria.

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Feb-21-14 8:14 AM

You might find out where your illness comes from.

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