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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in research tips (29)

Tuesday
Oct292013

Daughters of the American Revolution Take 2: Saratoga

A few years ago I blogged that I was joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. For whatever reason it just didn't happen in Brooklyn. Now that we're living in Saratoga County- it's happening! Today I met with the chapter registrar and she was delightful. With my worksheet almost fully filled out, I just need to work on getting full documentation on my parents and my paternal grandparents (birth, marriage, death certificates).  I need to do this! I want to check this off my list and finally become a member of this prestigious group. For myself and my girls! My daughters are more fuel to the fire.

My American Patriot is Lieut. Samuel Merrill of MA. He settled in what is now Maine, specifically Salmon Falls, Saco, York Co Maine. More to be shared on him and his property.

Feeling very excited and motivated!

Sunday
Oct272013

Finally! A Lead in my Hyrcuniak Family! 

Recently I've been spending a good amount of time researching Anna Hyrcuniak Koval, my maternal great grandmother. And let me tell you, the last name Hyrcuniak is a tough one to research. It's hard to say, spell, originates from a different language, and she came from a place that was Austria and has since been Poland, Ukraine, and now it's back to Poland. So you can imagine the MANY different ways I've found it spelled and the roadblocks I've faced.

Anna married Fedor "Frank" Koval in Wilkes-Barre, PA and had 11 children.  I stalked the Ellis Island website, searching and searching for anyone with a name close to Hyrcuniak who came to the general area of Wilkes-Barre, PA in the early 1900's. I found a pair of brothers, Wasil and Michael Hyrcuniak, who came to and from Austria to the mining regions of eastern PA in the early 1900's. And then it happened. I found a single Anna "Hryciniak" coming from Lutowiska going to Scranton, PA to meet her brother Michael! So I not only found my great grandmother's passage to the US, but connected her to 2 brothers! An it just so happened that she arrived in the US June 1904, 3 months before she was married in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Obviously this is not 100% without a doubt, but it's a VERY good lead. And sometimes when researching your genealogy, you just have to have that feeling. You've done so much due diligence and you just know that these pieces fit together.

Not long after finding this record I received some very interesting news. A possible distant relative contacted me. Her great grandmother was a Hyrcuniak and this person had been in frequent contact with my maternal great aunt before her death. This person had traveled to Poland, TWICE. Guess where? LUTOWISKA! This past weekend we had a great, almost 2 hour long phone call discussing all of our information and sources. Growing up, her uncle and my great aunt had said that our great grandmother's were sisters. Enter the 3rd party. There is another researcher involved! His grandmother is another supposed Hyrcuniak sister. I'm not convinced we're all connected to the same exact family, but it seems we are all very avid researchers dedicated to finding our family. Either way these connections are valuable and worthwhile.

I'm feeling very encouraged and excited!

 

 

Thursday
Mar282013

The Babybook

My girls just turned 8 months, and I've yet to add a single picture or word to their baby books. I've purchased the books (1 for each girl, the same book of course!). I've printed out pictures. I've been trying to keep up a milestone list/journal in my Google Drive of important events and firsts. But I just haven't found the right time to start making their firsts official. It's different with a blog or a google doc, I can change wording. Add or delete. But what I'm writing in their baby book is... definite and special. When they are all grown up I want them to find these books and love how organized and thorough their Mama was! These memory books can be a really great piece of family history.

My dad's baby book and the baby book my mom made for me are meticulously complete with records of baby and childhood. Dad's baby book even has notes/stories up until his college years! (filled out by his grandmother- verrry interesting details, like failing French lessons!) Reading my Dad's book was helpful to learn names of family and family friends, especially for recognizing names in letters and documents I found throughout my research. My baby book has all the details of my first words, foods, and major milestones- even the hospital bracelets and a lock of hair from my first haircut. I can only hope to complete such a detailed history of each baby in a complete succinct book. Right now I have notes, pictures, hospital bracelets, and birth announcements all over the place.

So until I have the time, organization, and confidence to fill out G&G's baby books- I made a photobook via Shutterfly of their first month. I know it sounds silly, the first month?! But with 2 babies and so much happening from the birth, home coming, family visiting, etc...there was a lot to pack into 20 pages. The next photobook I'll try and tackle the first year.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

 

I can't find the power cord to my printer/scanner- I'd love to add pictures from abovementioned baby books! It's on my to do list once the cord has been recovered. Might not happen for a while- but they are precious pages I'd love to share! Did I mention that I really need to get organized? :)

Friday
Apr062012

How to Search the 1940 Census Online at the National Archives

This has been a very exciting week in the genealogy community with the release of the 1940 census. It's still a little early for you to be able to search for your ancestors by name, websites are working to get states up with a searchable name index asap. For now, I've had the best results using the Enumeration District information with the National Archives. Want to learn how?

 

 Search By Location

Do you know the street where the person you are looking for lived in 1940? If so, you can search by location. Simply enter their State, County, City, and Street. If it's a long street split into numerous districts, you will have the ability to enter a cross street to narrow your search results. What you'll get after you search is 1 or more census schedules that street can be found in. If you're looking at a residential street in a smaller city, the better you're chances you'll only have 1 census schedule to search through. The longer the street, the bigger the city= more census schedule results.

 

 

Search by Enumeration District

If you have the 1930 census record of the person you are searching for in 1940, pull up their census page and in the upper right hand corner you will find their Enumeration District. The National Archives has this great tool that will figure out the 1940 Enumeration District from the 1930 Enumeration District you entered. So easy! Same thing as before, you might wind up with a few different census schedules to search through. I really didn't have much trouble with this issue though. If you are using the 1930 district number, don't forget to click on the 1930 tab!

Here I searched with the 1930 Enumeration District from East Orange, New Jersey 7-402. My result is a corresponding 1940 map of the district, 2 census schedule descriptions, and 2 census schedules.

The map will show me a map of the city of East Orange in 1940. The descriptions will detail the boundaries of each census schedule. The census schedules are the actual pages of the census where I might find my family! What I usually do is open a new tab with the street address of the house I am searching for. I then click on the census schedule and start checking the addresses from the census to the map of my address. I then kind of walk with the census taker, going page by page through the census schedule, checking the streets they hit to and follow their path to my intended street.

Remember, they will sometimes do blocks and jump from street to street or work only on one side of the street. So don't be worried if you see the street you're looking for but not your house number. Keep going! They will come back to it. And don't be intimidate when it says 38 pages or something like that, it goes surprisingly quick! When I find the house and family I'm looking for it feels SO good! You feel like a detective who just solved a mystery.

Where do I see the street/address on a census?

Just in case you're not quite sure where you find the street and address on a census. Look on the left hand side of the census and you'll see the street name written vertically in the left hand column. If you don't see the street name written, you might want to check the pages surrounding your page to find it. Sometimes if it's a long street they don't write it on every single page.

 Good Luck!!! And if you don't know where your family lived in 1930 or 1940, just give it a little time and you'll be able to search for them by name in the 1940 census. 

Questions? Comments? Happy Friday!!!