Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship — Southfield Public Library

Excellent talk tomorrow.  

Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship — Southfield Public Library

Death Records

Death records are by far the least reliable vital record that you will find on your ancestor. Why you say, because the person that has the most accurate information is dead. Beware of everything that is listed on this document. The records itself is only as reliable as the informant that is on the document. Make sure you understand the relationship between the deceased and the informant. This will help you understand the inaccuracies in the document.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NGS Family History Conference: Getting Around in Las Vegas

Are you going?

NGS Family History Conference: Getting Around in Las Vegas

Census Records

Census records in the United States were kept from 1790 to 1940 for current viewing. The accuracy can vary with these documents and should only be used as a guide. Be sure to use the 10 up and 10 down rule when searching the census records. Here you will be able to identify potential relatives that lived in the neighborhood. Finding brother and sisters in the area are high probability. Locating the grandmother living with another family where the women is the daughter or sister of your ancestor. Don't forget to use agricultural, mortality and state census records to complement your search.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Birth certificates as a general rule are very good for identifying key information on a individual. The information was recorded shortly time of the event which improves accuracy. You are able to determine parentage except in instances when a child is born out of wedlock. You get the date they were born, full name if determined and you will be identify if they were born in a hospital. Targets our ancestors at a particular location at a specific time. Pre 1867 in most states they do not exist. This proves to be a challenge in our search.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Welcome · Digital Public Library of America

Another source for books and a variety of documents.

Welcome · Digital Public Library of America


Our ancestors left identifiable paper trails if they have money. If they don't the trail is hard. Make sure to check things like census records (Did they rent?), land and Probate. People with out assets did not own land and have anything to distribute when they died. The buying and selling of land was a way to create wealth. If you ancestor was not participating in this activity they lacked assets. Identifying the paper trail of the collateral lines will help you with understanding your own ancestor.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where are your ancestors buried?

A common interest is to locate and visit the grave of our ancestors. Similar to a scavenger hunt if you do not use the proper tools to locate them it will be a daunting task.

When attempting to locate our relatives final resting place in a rural setting it is important first to do a little searching for land records and a death certificate. The land records will help you in locating a local cemetery to where your ancestors lived at the time of death. In most cases people would be buried close to there last home or in a place where other relatives are already buried. You will find many generations of a family often in the cemetery. Most of these rural cemeteries can be located identifying on a current map like on Google and identifying cemeteries that would be candidates in the neighborhood.

Prior to 1860 though it can be a challenge, because many people are buried in the backyard. In my own family everyone from one family is buried in the sheep field that is right along the Blanchard River. It is a beautiful spot, but it really took some looking to find it. Identifying the location of the family through land records helped identify the farm that was the best candidate for it's location. It was not identified on any maps. Over thirty people were buried there. Make sure to first locate the most likely location and talk to the locals.

Another place for rural cemeteries to check it with the township office. Here one of the members of the township board or what they call a sexton will have a list of the cemeteries in their area. Make certain to see if they have interment records as well. These provide excellent information on where people are buried and specific information that may not be reflected on the stone. It is also a great way to locate folks were stones may have been damaged or destroyed.

Urban cemeteries are a completely different search all together. The key identifier here is what it says on the death certificate. Look for the information where it says the body was located. I had a instance where I could not locate a individual in the city and found out that the body was transported to a cemetery that was almost sixty miles away.

Once you have found the cemetery office to locate where the grave is actually located. If you go out looking for it with out this step it will be like locating a needle in a haystack. Most staff are very helpful. Knowing the religion of the deceased is will also help you in identifying the correct cemetery. Pay attention to the workers in the cemetery, because they often can help reduce your hunt.

A recent addition to the cemetery hunt is the website Find A Grave. Although it often does not list everyone sometimes you get lucky. Many cemetery censuses are located on line or in the local library to where your ancestors lived. Make certain to check those out. The local funeral homes will also be of great help. Good luck in your hunt.

Researching Newspapers - The Free Google News Archive - YouTube

Helpful thoughts on doing newspaper research on Google.

Researching Newspapers - The Free Google News Archive - YouTube

Home | Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project

This is a wonderful site for understanding the movment of our boundries over historic time.

Home | Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our History has been effected by many Natural Disasters

Recently a friend of mine made me aware of a new website together dealing with the Floods that occurred in the Midwest in the spring of 1913. This story struck home for me, because my own family was effected by this storm.

Back in 1913 my Great Great Grandfather George Dangler lived along the Blanchard River in Ohio. He was a Civil War veteran and was in his eighties at the time of the flood. Living by himself had not been a problem up until this time. He was reluctant to move into a modern house for the time period so he stuck it out in a log cabin. It was spring time in Northwest Ohio and they were in for a nasty storm. They lived in a rural part of Putnam County. The rain had been going for several days and the river finally crested. It started to invade the log cabin George was living in. As it rained several more days the water became much higher. Several days after the water was starting to go down family members came to see what was going on with poor George. Luckily he had managed to crawl up into the rafters of the cabin. He was found straddling one of the log beams. At eighty years of age it was a big feat. Other than being hungry and cold he would go on to live several more years.

The website shows pictures for the time period shortly after the flood had occurred. The interesting add on to it is the accompanying picture taken off of Google Streetview. This is a fine example of the old meeting with the new. Makes us realize that many of the places we travel today have been struck by history for many years prior to our travels.