Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Yesterday I had an email from Ancestry.com. They had added a new collection called Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985. “Well, there’s a chance…” I thought.

Wow. I’ve barely scratched the surface so far, but I’ve found the marriage date of two couples, and I have high hopes of breaking through a very frustrating couple of brick walls.

On this Super Bowl Sunday, I’m excited about new genealogy records going online! Hence the Geek element of this blog. ūüėÄ

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In April 1894 my great great great uncle (Newt Garst) participated in an experiment to make it rain in Wichita, Kansas. This article from The Wichita Daily Eagle has so many great phrases in it that I’m just posting the whole thing.

21 April 1894


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What is a genealogy geek to do when she has nothing left to do? Until I have the money for travel to Philadelphia (NOT any time soon, I can tell you) and/or some new records come online, there’s nothing more I can do. It’s so depressing. I have the itch to research and scavenge for missing pieces, but nothing to scratch with.

I believe I’ll make one of my occasional “Please give me something to research” posts on Facebook…

Pointless post, over and out!

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I’ve been sending out a lot of queries about getting copies and/or scans of documents from collections that aren’t available online.

Things I have learned while emailing libraries/archives/genealogical societies:

#1. Genealogy people are so nice! They all understand that it’s impossible for people to travel to every location that their family tree leads them. ¬†At this point I would have had to travel to: New Mexico, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, and Illinois which is just impossible until transporters on Star Trek become a reality.

#2. Some facilities charge fees. ¬†Some don’t. ¬†Some say they do and then don’t charge you. (my favorite!) ¬†So far the charges have ranged from around$15.00 to $5.00. Some charge by the hour, some charge for specific number of look ups, some just charge by the number of pages they have to copy/scan.

#3. ¬†Be specific in your queries! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what collections they have available if it’s hard to tell from looking at their websites. ¬†But once you determine what they have, be very specific in your queries. ¬†Do as much looking up ¬†from your computer as you can before you ¬†ask them. ¬†Sometimes you can look up indexes to information on online card catalogs. I emailed the Dayton Metro Library with the specific newspaper articles I wanted from their microfilm and I had it listed all the way down to the exact column number on the newspaper page. ¬†Their indexes were that good. ¬†For sources that don’t have searchable indexes online, be sure to give specific information about the person you want research. ¬†Just a last name isn’t good enough. ¬†Give a last name, a first name, and some dates if possible and what collection you want searched.

#4. ¬†Be less excited and more thorough. ¬†This might just be something that bugs me, but I hate having a library look something up for me and then a week later I find ANOTHER document at the same library that I need. ¬†I understand that sometimes this will happen, but in this case personally it shouldn’t have. ¬†But I just got so excited that I sent my query off for a copy of it before I had really stopped and looked at what other resources they had. *facepalms*

#5 ¬†Be patient! This is probably the hardest part. ¬†It takes a while sometimes to hear back from these places. ¬†These people are busy helping in person patrons or they might even be unpaid volunteers. ¬†When you find a lead you want to see it NOW NOW NOW. ¬†The records have been sitting there hundred years so a few more weeks won’t matter. ¬†If I don’t hear back after three weeks, I send a super polite follow up email to see what the status is.

Today’s exciting email response was from the St. Joseph County Public ¬†Library in Indiana:

 I am mailing copies of the probate record taken from Complete Record Book No 1 of St Joseph Co Probate Records. I did not find a will recorded in the county. PLEASE SEND $5 to the library. 304 S Main St, So Bend, IN 46601

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