Archive for the ‘Genealogy Research’ Category
Genealogy research has begun to expand into a new realm. The use of mtDNA and Y-DNA is now well known and accepted by the masses. What is new is in this genetic testing area is the study of Autosomal DNA chromosomes and the data it has locked in its molecules.
For most of the amateur genealogists, the taking of the results given to them by the company that has tested their DNA samples, is sufficient to satisfy their curiosity about just who they are. For others, it is just the beginning. The amount of money spent for both types is the same. Generally, the only thing you need to pay for is to have your DNA sample tested so you can know the exact nucleotide sequences that are present in your genetic makeup.
The next steps you can take will only require time. This is where the scouring of historical data has to be done. While most families have kept their family tree alive in their bibles, others also kept old letters, diaries, and essays written by previous family members. Each one of these can then be used to build up the family tree to be as inclusive as possible.
The use of computers has now sped up the process of data acquisition. One of the more popular genealogy sites is usgenweb.org. It is staffed by volunteers that strive to help keep genealogy on the web free to all users. This site is broken down into states and counties, within which they start to assist you in your search of the past. In this site, you can find records of marriages, births, deaths, cemeteries, families, biographies, and censuses. There are also land records, maps, and links to county sites. If you know the location of family members, their records could be presently found here.
The national archives is another valuable resource. The exact link has been changed recently, and is currently http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/index.html. This is a US government site that all Americans can access for free. This site is set up to help people in their genealogy research of their family’s history. There are military records, census records, along with land, naturalization and immigration records, and passport applications available to you. There are also many tools available to you for free. All of the costs are paid for by US tax payers.
The 1940 US census is also available online at this governmental site. With it, you can track down exactly what was reported to the US government by those citizens that participated in the survey. The same pages where the information was reported are also available for viewing or downloading to your own computer. This allows for you to have a permanent and certified record of your family and their whereabouts during the 1940’s. The names, address, value of the home, number of occupants of the home, along with their ages and sex are all present. The level of schooling attained by each resident, along with their birth state, is also included in this record.
The Church of Latter Day Saints also provides a free online research site for genealogists. This site has not only the census records from 1850, 1880, and 1900, but also slave schedule for 1850. For information outside the US, this site also has the 1895 Argentina census and the 1930 Mexico census. Not only are there official Mormon Church records but any Catholic records present. For this reason, this site is useful to more than just those of the Mormon faith.
The online genealogy research tools available today are still growing. If genealogy is your passion, the internet is the right tool to use to explore your family’s past. It is also a way to make an accurate and correct record of your family tree for all future generations to have.
- Autosomal DNA Genealogy (autosomal.org)
- DNA Testing for Genealogy is the Greatest Discovery (genealogydna.com)
- DNA Success Stories: Virginia to North Dakota Senator (genealogydna.com)
- Genealogy DNA Testing Around the Web (genealogydna.com)
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Our Genealogy surnames owe their origins to the Chinese who first adopted their use 5000 years ago. A surname, or last name, is a common name held by all members of a family to distinguish two or people with the same first name.
Though the Chinese found merit in surnames, the practice of handing a name down through the generations did not take hold in Europe until the 10th or 11th centuries. First this was done by aristocracy around Venice, but eventually all classes of Europeans used surnames to establish known members of a family.
Surname genealogy has roots in four distinct areas. Some last names were actually the first name of the father. This kind of surname is called patronymic. Some examples include Roberts – son of Robert or Michaels –son of Michael.
In Ireland, the placement of the single letter “O” before the father’s name created a surname like O’Dunn. In Old England, the name “Fitz” was placed before a father’s name such as Fitzpatrick.
The second kind of surname showed off social status or employment. One of the most common names among English-speaking peoples is Smith and it corresponds with a most common occupation of old, blacksmith. Wagner comes from wagon maker and Cooper comes from barrel maker.
The third origin of surname involved location. The Welsh word for church was “kirK’ and the name Kirkpatrick denoted the “church of St. Patrick”. Many last names match the location of towns and villages in Europe.
And lastly, personality had a role in the creation of surnames. A muscular individual took the name Armstrong. Reid might have had red hair and Sharp was likely an intelligent sort.
Record keeping was much like the old game of “telephone” and often, the spelling of the same surname got changed with subsequent generations.
Whatever your interest in genealogy surnames, a whole new world awaits you simply for typing in your last name in the blue box above and seeing where it takes you.
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Those of you that do genealogy research should enjoy this incredibly rare video of what big city living was like in the early 1900′s. A couple of weeks ago there was a huge discussion on one of the genealogy mail lists about why there were so many deaths by train in the old days.
Update: (PLEASE NOTE –
This video is being resized and will be available soon.) Available NOW !
San Francisco Video Before the Earthquake
The common term you find in old newspaper articles is, “Killed by the cars”. Well when you view this video it will all become perfectly clear to you as to why so many people were killed by the cars.
Perhaps folks in the horse and buggy days were used to a horse having enough common sense to shy away from a human standing in the road. Chances are trains and electric rail cars didn’t move off the track much.
OK, so this old video does not have anything to do with DNA testing but it sure got my genealogy juices flowing. Please enjoy and if you like it as much as we do please link to it or tell your friends. Thank you.
Video of San Francisco Before the Earthquake 1906
The following description of the actual footage is taken from the archives of the Library of Congress.
Market Street, San Francisco, California.
This rare film was shot from the front window of a moving Market Street cable car, is one of the only video records of San Francisco’s principal thoroughfare and downtown area before their destruction in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
The filmed ride covers 1.55 miles at an average speed of nearly 10 miles per hour. While there is no production or copyright information on the film, the state of completion of the Flood Building and the Monadnock Building indicate that the year is 1905.
Also, the apparent position of the sun in relation to the time visible on the Ferry Building clock point to early September as the month. Market Street, graded through sand dunes in the 1850′s, is 120 feet wide, and nearly 3.5 miles long.
The street runs northeast from the foot of Twin Peaks to the Ferry Building. Different street grids, diagonal on the northwest side and parallel on the southeast side, create several awkward diagonal intersections along Market Street, contributing to the chaotic traffic situation that is evident in the film.
San Francisco’s cable cars, which first began operations in 1873, have no power of their own, and operate by “gripping” a moving cable beneath a slot in the street. This is the origin of the name “south of the slot” for the South-of-Market Street district.
The Market Street lines, dating from 1883, merged in 1902 to form the United Railroads of San Francisco. Dark cars served westerly neighborhood lines extending along McAllister, Hayes and Haight streets, light cars served southwesterly neighborhoods, with the lines extending along Valencia and Castro streets.
The Market Street section of the lines ended at the Ferry Building, where passengers boarded ferries for Oakland, Alameda, or Berkeley, across San Francisco Bay. East of Sutter Street, horse cars ran along Market Street. Independently owned, they ran on side tracks to the Ferry Building.
A few electric streetcars, dating from 1892, are seen in the film crossing Market Street. Market Street itself reverted to electric streetcars in 1906, following the earthquake and fire. In all, the film shows some thirty cable cars, four horse cars and four streetcars. An interesting feature of the film is the apparent abundance of automobiles.
However, a careful tracking of automobile traffic shows that almost all of the autos seen circle around the camera/cable car many times (one ten times).
This traffic was apparently staged by the producer to give Market Street the appearance of a prosperous modern boulevard with many automobiles. In fact, in 1905 the automobile was still something of a novelty in San Francisco, with horse-drawn buggies, carts, vans, and wagons being the common private and business vehicles.
The near total lack of traffic control along Market Street emphasizes the newness of the automobile. Granite paving stripes in the street marking ignored pedestrian crosswalks, making the crossing of Market Street on foot a risky venture. The pedestrian “islands” for homeward-bound downtown cable car commuters are among the few signs of order visible in the film.
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There are several surname genealogy options available for anyone hoping to document their family tree. In order to properly understand and document your Y-DNA test results for your male ancestors, which is also called surname genealogy, you will need to do some basic genealogical research.
Begin with the person you know best; yourself! Using a website that facilitates ancestry searches, begin by writing everything you know about your origins and those of your family.
List the names and birthplaces of your parents and your grandparents if you know them. Go back as far as you can. Whether you know a lot about your family history or a little, this is a good place to start.
If you choose a more traditional approach, write about your family history offline, the old fashioned way. Get a paperboard and construct a family tree using documents and photographs. In these modern times your display may include website addresses that contain audio and video files from your family uploaded to the web.
Creating a family history book is an exciting project that capitalizes on the scrapbooking hobby so popular today. There are several websites that can help you with design ideas for your project. A quick search on scrapbooking will bring you many choices.
One of the best resources for information about your family is your oldest family members. Talk to them and get them involved; your grandparents, aunts and uncles, your great-grandparents if they are living. They have many interesting stories to tell but often won’t offer them up because they think no one is interested.
If you show an interest in their early years you’ll be amazed at what you learn. You’ll see these family members in a whole new light and you’ll have a treasure trove of new information to write down and share with future generations.
If you decide to interview older relatives, consult with a website that has ideas on the types of questions to get you started. Once you have the information, the most exciting aspect of surname genealogy is to share it with other family members so that your ancestry becomes a well-worn tale.
The traditional research methods described above coupled with modern day Genealogy DNA testing will bring you many hours of fascinating fun.
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OK, so you know about DNA testing to discover your father and mother’s deep ancestry, now how to do genealogy research online will be covered.
Many of you will be very familiar with all of these methods, but for those of you that are just starting on creating a family tree these ideas should help to get you started.
You should always start with yourself and work backwards through your ancestors locating as much information on each generation as you can before you move on the earlier ones. More time is lost trying to make a connection with some famous person that you were told you might be related to.
Well that may turn out to be right but in order to do this thing right you have to take one step at a time and document all of your research. When you find something that is helpful you should record it in your journal or notebook and then enter the information into your computer genealogy program.
The notebooks should have their pages dated as you enter details that way you can always return to them at a later date when you find another piece of the puzzle.
Some of the most helpful websites that you will use are actually free and you will spend many hundreds of hours online before you will have to shell out any money for online subscription websites.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (LDS) or the Mormon Church, owns the worlds largest accumulation of documents in digital and microfilm formats. Their main library in Salt Lake City, Utah is free and open to the public and no one will try to convert you, it is just a library. Millions of rolls of microfilm are at your fingertips and you will find everything from church records, civil records, local histories, census records, marriage records, cemetery records and everything in between.
LDS also has Family History Centers (FHC) in a Mormon church near you. These smaller branch libraries have access to most of the materials that are at Salt Lake City either by computer or by your renting the microfilm to use at the local FHC.
To find out what they have available you may use any computer on the internet and go to www.familysearch.org to go to the main website. From here you can do some actual personal name searches and see if any of your ancestors have had their information extracted from primary record collections and added to the online database.
This is only one small part of what they have available as most of the records have not been transcribed and digitized yet, so in those cases you will want to click on the library button and then go to the library catalog, and do a surname search or a location search to see what they have in their index and then you will know which film to order.
Another great resource that is free is the huge accumulation of extracted records and queries from other researchers that is online at rootsweb.com. This site is one of the oldest on the web and was operated by volunteers at the beginning until recent years when it was purchased by ancestry.com. Rootsweb is still free to use.
The USGenweb.com site is also free and you will find many exciting discoveries there. My recommendation is to go down to each state/county level for the individual county Genweb sites where you will find cemetery records, maps, documents, bible records and untold wondrous things.
Do not overlook online newspaper collections. Check for newspapers that were in operation in the areas where your ancestors lived. Many of them have online access to the historical editions but you will have to search around and ask questions. You will want to read the article: “21 Ways to Start to Build Your Own Family Tree” at old-newspaper-articles.com.
Later on as you become more advanced and after you have tested your Genealogy DNA you will no doubt want to subscribe to places like ancestry and genealogybank, but for now you should have fun starting with just the free information above.