Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ancestry


The snow has been falling since Friday night. Now it's just "light" snow, but 24 hours of medium to light snow does pile up. And the Lincoln will not start -- it turns over like crazy but just won't catch. We're waiting until Monday to figure out the problem. Thankfully Hubby got the flat fixed on the van so we do have some means of transportation, just not what you want to drive around the city in when there's 8 inches of snow on the pavement.

The Internet has been my entertainment today. Googling names of folks I remember from my past (you know you do it, too!) I came up with a couple of source documents that linked to Ancestry.com. I'd been watching the ads for the site and thought I might give it a try, so I purchased as three month only membership and set to work to see what might come up.

Mostly just census records and marriage licenses are available, unless someone has actually been doing research on your family, but seeing your family names from the 1700's is a fascinating way to while away a snowy afternoon. My father's side is very well documented, as I knew it would be. Back in the 1920's the family had already done extensive research into their history and could trace back to Wales in the 1600's. It was interesting to see how many branches of the family I'd never heard of had researched my great, great, great grandfather.

My direct generation though is very lonely. My dad only had one child. His brother only had two. It seems no one had researched this branch of the family. My mother's family is even less well represented and they were the ones I was especially interested in. My great grandmother only had two children and one died in childhood. My grandfather only had one child, my mother. And my mother only had me -- with no children. No one appears to have ever researched the family. Add to that, my great grandmother's name was Mary Hill, one of the most common names in the US.


Unless someone has added records to Ancestry, only the scanned census and marriage and death records are easily available. Sometimes you find old year books from high schools have been scanned into the media archives. And you have to pay bonus money if you want to search outside the US (I found many census records available for relatives in Wales but I wasn't going to pay to see them).


I found my marriage license from 1966 but couldn't find the divorce record. Ditto for Hubby's marriage in 1968. Our marriage license never showed up (but since I have a copy of it in my files -- HA!). I tried to find a record of Hubby's children with his exes, but again, no birth records showed. I wasn't surprised because I couldn't find my mother's birth record. The 1920 census seemed to be the most prolific record for my family -- shows how old we are. My maternal grandparents are well represented from the 1900's on here in Kansas City. And so are my paternal grandparents.

I added a bunch of old scans of family photos I had, in case the "Griffith" side of the family which has been doing all the research wants to have them.

All in all, it was a diverting snowy Saturday afternoon. The picture at the top was taken in 1948 -- and I'm the baby on the lap of my paternal grandmother. Dad is the middle man in the back row -- and my mom is seated on the couch wearing green/brown. We were celebrating Christmas Eve at my maternal grandmother's home (black skirt / white blouse).

2 comments:

Margaret said...

I am always looking for people on the internet, relatives included! It's pretty interesting,although I hate how it always leads to a dead end where you have to pay. (I don't)So, the snow did come--darn it!! Hope it melts soon so you can have some spring.

Donna said...

For actually finding people from your past, Facebook is great. Of course you have to "hide" all the games and stuff that clutter up your page (unless, like me, you like some of them). It's really a good place to find old classmates, neighbors, etc. Zabasearch helps out, too. I have a cousin who has spent hours and traveled hundreds of miles researching my mom's family. It's fascinating, but I would soon tire of all that looking. I do enjoy seeing the results of her labor.