Thursday, February 12, 2015

Understanding all the resources

Yesterday I had some free time and decided to do some research on my own family. For a long time I have had a line in my family with the surname Geller that has been a tough one to trace back. I decided that I need to take a look at what I had researched in the past and take a look at records that were new. What I did follows.

The primary person that I was doing research on was Albert Geller who lived in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio from about 1870 until his death in 1898. My early research had indicated he was born in Albany, New York in 1848. Previously I had done research primarily using Census records and was unable to identify a possible family in this area. The reason for my research in Albany was the stories I was told as a child. I had to look at it from a different angle.

My first step was to look at records that I had not used before, but were on the Internet. Research for me always starts on Family Search. I went to the collections for Ohio and looked at what was new that I have not researched before. In my case it was the Catholic diocese records in Toledo. These records have to be looked at page by page. It is not in the search database. Using Google Maps to determine the nearest Catholic Church in the area I was able to determine that St Mary's was just down the street. I also knew that Cavalry was the Catholic cemetery in the time frame I was looking for Albert.

My family is not Catholic, but I felt it was a strong possibility since Albert's wife was French. Through this search I was able to find their interment records in Calvary and death records at St Mary's. The death records gave me a clue to his mothers name which was Julianae. This led me in a different direction.

Checked City Directories on Ancestry to determine if other Geller's were living in the area close to Albert. I was able to find a Joseph. This led me to a census search. Found a Joseph living in Monroe Co., Michigan. In a family unit led by Adam with a wife Julianne. This would confirm a clue I had on Albert that said he was born in Michigan. This was listed in Church records. This was a major break through for me. Joseph listed left Toledo at the time that another Joseph born in Monroe County moved to Wayne County. My Albert fits into this family group time wise.

Needles to say I need to do more research. This is a lesson for me to look at all the resources and the Internet is always changing. We all should be evaluating what we have looked at and what is new. The Internet is a fabulous thing for our research.