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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I think I've got it!, or, Cluster Genealogy Works!
Posted by Diane
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my
third-great-grandmother's hard-to-read maiden name in her divorce
case file from 1879 to 1881. Many of you offered suggestions
for searching for her family in the 1850 and 1860 censuses—thank
I tried those searches and I kept examining the case file for clues
... and I'm 98 percent sure I have the maiden name! It shows that cluster
genealogy works. Here's how it happened.
I saw this in my third-great-grandmother Mary Frost's testimony:
Her oldest child—my great-great-grandfather—George, stayed with
Mary's sister (unnamed here) and worked for the sister's husband, George Hartke, in his
I searched for George Hartke on Ancestry.com and found this in an 1878 city
directory for Covington, Ky.:
I then found his family in the 1880 census, under "Harke":
My great-great-grandfather is listed in the household as "nephew."
Interestingly, he's double-enumerated in his mother's household in
I turned my focus to George Hartke's wife and Mary Frost's
sister, Elizabeth. Death records often name parents, especially in
the 20th century (Mary's doesn't, though), so I looked for
Elizabeth's. Lo and behold:
Let's take a closer look:
Elizabeth's Oct. 22, 1931, death certificate reports her parents as
Henry Wolking and "Eliz." Evers, both born in Germany. I did some more census searching and believe the
informant, "Mrs. Henry Harke," is Elizabeth's daughter-in-law.
I still haven't found the Wolkings for sure in 1850 and 1860
census records. My best candidate so far is this Wolkins family in 1850:
The father's name doesn't match, which isn't great but also isn't a
deal breaker—he could've gone by his middle name or the census
taker could've talked to a neighbor, or Mrs. Henry Harke could have been wrong on the death certificate. This family does have a Mary,
Tilda (the divorce records refer to Mary's sister Matilda) and Lizzie of the right ages.
Learn more about how to use cluster genealogy in your research from
our on-demand webinar, Using
Cluster and Collateral Searches to Beat Brick Walls, presented
by Thomas MacEntee. It's available in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Originally posted at the Genealogy Insider blog.
Ancestry.com | census records | Female ancestors | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:48:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
How to Use Google for Genealogy
Posted by Diane
You've probably searched for information on your ancestors using the
Google search engine, but have you
also waded through a flood of irrelevant search results to (maybe)
find useful genealogy information?
Have you taken advantage of
Google's other free tools, such as Google Scholar and Alerts? Language tools?
In Family Tree
University's next webinar, Lisa Louise Cooke,
author of The
Genealogist's Google Toolbox, will
show you how to research your family tree using these and other Google tools.
Your Genealogy live webinar takes place Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7
p.m. Eastern Time (that's 6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain and 4 p.m.
Pacific). You'll learn:
Webinar registrants will receive a PDF handout of the presentation
slides and access to watch the webinar again as many times as you
like. You'll also get Family Tree Magazine's Step-by-Step
Guide to Google article.
- Basic and Advanced Google search techniques to hone in on your
family (even if they had a common name)
- How to set up timesaving Google Alerts
- How to use Google Scholar, Google Patent and other tools to
find genealogy information
- How to leap language barriers with Language Tools
- ... and more
here to register for our Googling Your Genealogy live webinar with
Lisa Louise Cooke (sign up before Feb. 21 to save $10!).
Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:02:33 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, February 11, 2013
African-American Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane
Black History Month started in 1926 with "Negro History Week," set
during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. February was first
celebrated as Black History Month at Kent State University in 1970;
the US government first recognized the celebration in 1976. The UK
observed Black History Month beginning in 1987 and Canada's House of
Commons followed suit in 1995.
This month shines a spotlight on those researching African-American
ancestors—and the challenges that slavery and segregation have
placed in their way. These are some of our favorite
FamilyTreeMagazine.com resources to help you face those challenges
and commemorate the lives of your ancestors:
Looking for more in-depth advice on how to research your
African-American ancestors? Try these:
African-American roots | Family Tree University
Monday, February 11, 2013 11:31:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
We're Giving Away a Copy of Family Photo Detective
Posted by Diane
Here's our Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor's new book about
researching your family photos (and those mystery photos that might
or might not be your family):
... and you could win a copy by entering
your name in our Family Photo Detective giveaway.
What's inside Family
Photo Detective? You'll learn how to:
Photo Detective giveaway ends Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET. And if
you refer a friend who enters (by sending the link in your entry
confirmation), you'll get two extra chances to win. Good luck!
- Determine whether you have a daguerreotypes, ambrotypes,
tintypes, cabinet card or other type of image
Use clothing, accessories and hairstyles to help date the image
- Research photographer imprints
Compare facial features in multiple photos to help identify
Interview family members for information
- Use photo props and background to add context
Genealogy books | Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, February 11, 2013 10:53:51 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 08, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 4-8
Posted by Diane
- PBS has gathered its African-American
history content into one place to help you celebrate Black
History Month. Watch programs including Freedom Riders and Finding
Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr., take a quiz about miletones
in African-American history, get ideas for celebrating the month
with kids and more.
Know a young genealogist who could use $500 toward genealogy
education, plus a free registration to attend the Southern
California Genealogical Society Jamboree? Applications are being
accepted for the 2013 Suzanne
Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant, created to
honor the mother of The Family Curator blogger Denise Levenick. It's
open to any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has
attended school in the last 12 months. The recipient must attend the
2013 Jamboree in Burbank, Calif., to receive the award. Application
deadline is March 18, 2013, at midnight PST. Learn more here.
Findmypast.com is giving its registered users the opportunity
to watch the BBC show Find My Past, which reveals how ordinary
individuals are related to people from significant historical
events. With a free findmypast.com registration, you can watch
episodes that first aired during the past 30 days. Thereafter,
episodes will be available to the sites subscribing members. Learn
more on findmypast.com.
Also new in findmypast.com's World subscription is a collection
of 200 British newspapers
from England, Scotland and Wales from 1700 to 1950.
African-American roots | Genealogy for kids | Genetic Genealogy | MyHeritage | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 08, 2013 3:04:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Genealogy Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process
Posted by Diane
Want a closer look at the 15 video classes in our Winter
2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference, Feb. 22-24? In the next couple of weeks, several of our
expert instructors will stop by to share what you'll learn in their
Without further ado, here's Lisa Louise Cooke of the
Genealogy Gems Podcast, who's put together the class
Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process:
When it comes to brick
walls, sometimes you need to think outside the genealogy box.
Cracking a cold case requires a proven process to guide you
through the challenging waters. And in looking for a solid
process that could drum up new leads, my thoughts continually
returned to criminal investigators. They face many of the same
challenges you do, even if your ancestor wasn't a "black sheep."
Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process is a
presentation I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I
couldn't be more pleased to to present it at the Virtual
Genealogy Conference. I'll draw on some of
the best ideas from cold case investigators to create a process
that can guide you through the lengthy process of breaking
through genealogical brick walls.
In each step, I'll give you a cache of strategies you can put
into play right away. Each is designed to keep you organized and
focused while generating new leads.
So dig out that old cobwebbed case file you'd just about given
up on, and join me in the Genealogical Cold Cases: A
Step-by-Step Process class at the Winter
2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference.
Genealogy Conference is sponsored by
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Friday, February 08, 2013 11:35:12 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, February 07, 2013
The Virtual Genealogy Conference Sweeps Winner Is ...
Posted by Diane
I'm happy to announce the lucky winner of our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference sweepstakes!
My fellow Ohioan Maureen Buckel from Hartville has won a registration to the conference, taking place Feb. 22-24.
She'll get access to 15 video classes organized into tracks for technology, research strategies and ethnic ancestors; exclusive live chats with our expert instructors; and a message board for conference participants to exchange questions, ideas and surnames.
Congratulations, Maureen! I look forward to "seeing" you at the conference.
Learn more about the Virtual Genealogy Conference, check out the program of classes and chats, and register here. Only two more weeks are left to sign up!
The Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Newspapers
Thursday, February 07, 2013 11:10:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Find Polish, Czech & Slovak, and Hungarian Ancestors With New Ultimate Genealogy Collections
Posted by Diane
Update: The Ultimate Polish Genealogy Collection is sold out, and we have just a few left of the Czech and Slovak and the Hungarian collections. Get yours while they're still available!
If you're researching ancestors from Eastern Europe, you've probably
encountered your share of name variants, translation troubles,
records access challenges and other obstacles.
We've got three new Ultimate Collections to help you overcome these
Each collection has a Family Tree Magazine expert guide, Family Tree
University in-depth independent study course, a 30-minute
demo-packed video class, our International Genealogy Passport CD, and a
language or records reference book.
Here's what you'll get:
Plus, receive a coupon for 25 percent off any future online
genealogy course at Family Tree University.
- expertise on how to research ancestors from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, or Hungary (depending which collection you opt for)
- strategies for discovering your ancestor's birthplace
- where to find records
for learning immigrants' original names
- the best websites and
offline resources to use
- language help
Only 50 of each Ultimate Collection are available, and to further
entice you, they're discounted by 63 percent or more.
Check out our new Polish,
and Slovak, and Hungarian
ultimate genealogy collections to start finding your Eastern
European ancestors today.
immigration records | International Genealogy | Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:08:09 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Ellis Island Immigration Museum Archive Relocated
Posted by Diane
The National Park Service has moved treasures from the Ellis
Island Immigration Museum in New York Harbor to
a federal storage center due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Oct. 29, the hurricane flooded Ellis Island and water filled the
basement of the Immigration Museum, which houses the Great Hall
where millions of immigrants started their lives in the United
Fortunately, the water didn't touch the museum's archive of records
and immigrant artifacts, which were located elsewhere in the
building. But it did knock out the island's electricity, wreaking
havoc on the museum's carefully controlled climate and causing mold
to grow on the artifacts and condensation to build up on walls.
can learn more about the move and see photos and a video in this
Both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (on nearby Liberty
Island) remain closed. Park Service plans call for reopening, but a
date is yet to be determined. You can get updates on the Statue of
Liberty Hurricane Sandy Recovery page.
Historic preservation | immigration records | Museums
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 11:06:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Tabloid Divorces Have Nothing on These Ancestors
Posted by Diane
week I promised to tell you how I got my
third-great-grandparents’ divorce record.
It went on my genealogy to-do list after a random search of
historical newspaper website GenealogyBank resulted
in newspaper notices when my third-great-grandmother filed for
divorce in 1879 (below), and again when the divorce was granted
two years later.
You know when you think something is going to be a big ordeal so
you procrastinate, then when you finally get the ball rolling it
turns out to be a piece of cake and you wish you did it ages ago?
I had checked FamilySearch.org,
Ancestry.com and USGenWeb to see if I could get digital or
microfilmed copies. Nope. So I thought I’d have to figure out
which of the two county courthouses to go to, find time to make
the trip, get a babysitter, search out the records, and so on.
When I started planning a visit and called the courthouse (after
first checking online for info on old records), the nice lady
there said, “Oh, we don’t keep records that far back,” at which
point I may have made strange choking sounds. Then she continued,
“You’ll have to call the state archives in Frankfort.”
I checked the Kentucky
State Archives’ website and learned it does have divorce
records from the time and place I needed, and you can print
a request form to fill out and
send with a $15 fee. Easy peasy.
A few days later, I had an email from a state archivist. The file
was 103 pages(!) and I’d need to send an additional fee for copies
of the whole thing.
When I called to pay over the phone, I asked the archivist what’s
typically in a historical divorce file, just to make sure I wouldn’t be
ordering a bunch of blank pages. She flipped through and said it
looked pretty meaty, with lots of depositions. “We’ll get this
copied today and sent out tomorrow,” she said.
After a few days impatient days, The Big Envelope was in my
mailbox. The first page had this on it:
I spread out the pages on the counter, squinting at the
handwriting and trying to glean all the clues I could—such
as my third-great-grandmother's maiden name—while protecting
them from my 2-year-old's applesauce splatters.
"Meaty" is an accurate description. So far I've found all the
makings of a tabloid-worthy divorce: accusations of cruelty and
mental instability (along with a physician's testimony about my
ancestor's "cycles"—I guess doctor-patient confidentiality was
still in the future), custody fights, and insinuations of an improper relationship between my
third-great-grandmother and a younger man.
I'm still going over the papers and I'll blog more later about
genealogical clues I discover (that way I can call it work).
Thinking about researching your ancestors' court records? Click here for FamilyTreeMagazine.com tips on finding the right courthouse.
Then check out our courthouse research guide digital download, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Depending on the type of court records you're looking for, you'll also find in-depth help in our Using Guardianship Records in Genealogical Research video class with Marian Pierre-Louis and our Using Criminal Court Records on-demand webinar with Judy G. Russell.
court records | Female ancestors | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 9:11:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)