Friday, May 01, 2020

COVID 19 Pandemic and Genealogy

It has been a long time since I have posted anything as I started a new job back in 2017 and have been busy learning my new position. You may wonder about the title of this post and it's relationship to COVID 19 and why I am now posting. Let me explain. With everyone staying isolated/quarantined in their homes due to the COVID 19 pandemic, there is a number hours to fill especially if like me, you have been furloughed or laid off from work.

I have done several tasks/chores I wanted to complete within my home that I have put off from doing because of work. Well, I have accomplished many of these things and have been feeling a yearn to do something else. Now what?

A fun option for me and possibly for you would be the 21-day Connection Experiment/Challenge.  The challenge was initiated by two women by the name of Olivia and Sydney. They have created various 21-day Challenge calendars based up on what you would like to focus on.  The calendars include: Family Plan, Teenage Plan, About me Plan, "My Tree is All Done" Plan, and Build Your Own Plan. The calendars are being shared at no cost to anyone.

Each day provides you ideas on how to focus on your family, yourself or others by completing a simple and not so simple task. I have chosen to Build My Own Plan.

Today, I started by texting my siblings and asking them to participate with me by responding to a question once a week about something simple. My first question to them was: What qualities in your friend do you admire most? My answer was short and sweet: I admire in my friends kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty and integrity.

You could do this challenge through email, texting, Marco Polo, FaceTime, What'sApp. etc.  You just make the challenges your own if you are doing the Build My Own Plan.

They have developed a questionaire with questions about how you are feeling when you first start the experiment. Then after 21 days, you complete the questionnaire again to see if there has been a change. The thought behind this experiment is to see how working on genealogy can change your life. The questionnaires are not mandatory to complete the challenge, but it would be fun to see the results. If you would like to join in, click here to get your calendar and to learn more.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Danish Family Search

I don't know about you, but researching for your Danish ancestors can be challenging and finding records and being able to understand what you are seeing can be a daunting task.  I have found a website called Danish Family Search, not to be confused with the FamilySearch. From what I have read and looked at online, Danish Family Search is not connected to FamilySearch. The Danish Family Search began as a result of Marianne and Dan Nicolaysen's search for their own family names. The couple has a background in IT and developed the site to make it easier to search for family names. They also have registered users who assist with transcription. The site is wonderful and would be worth taking a look at if you are looking for your Danish Ancestors. The site contains Church records, Census records, Military Levying records, and School protocols. You can use the site in Danish or English. The site has a search tool and also allows you to click on the region your ancestors are from on the map of Denmark on the home page.  I found it simple to use and fun.. I searched for records of one my ancestors Carl Alexander Albert Christiansen and found him in the 1880 with his family. In the census, I found his name to be Carl Albert Alexander Christiansen. The order of the two middle names has been an unknown for some time and finding a records a little closer to his birth date might give one an idea of the proper order. Either way, it was fun to find the family. If you would like to search the Danish FamilySearch, click this link.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Field of Stones

Have you ever hit a brickwall in your family research in trying to find inforamtion regarding a family member's death. You have searched everywhere you can think of to try and find the inforation, but have come up empty handed.  I would suggest looking in some of the cemeteries of the area you know your ancestors have lived to see if they might be buried there.  This can be helpful, but at times, there are cemeteries that are located on homesteads and/or private propterty, making it difficult to research.  Have you ever wondered about the inaccessible cemeteries located all over the world? Cemeteries which are located on private property, or long lost cemeteries?  In my search for new resources for everyone, I came across a website Field of Stones - Homestead and Inaccessible Cemeteries located in Ontario Canada.  The site is hosted on roots web, which has always been a favorite place for me while researching my family lines.

The Field of Stone site provides links to various cemeteries in a variety of locations in Ontario Canada and the side administrators  encourage you to return frequently as they update the site with new images routinely.  The site provides you images of various grave markers located on Homestead and Inaccessible cemeteries. Some of the stones are easily readable as the one noted to the left. Others are more difficult to read, but the people who have posted them to the site provide you information about the stone including the names and dates like the stone to the right.  Yet other stones have become damaged through the years are and cracked or broken.  If you have Canadian roots, or would like to view some of the grave markers, click Field of Stones - Homestead and Inaccessible Cemeteries.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

What Clues Can Your Surname Provide?

What is a name?  Way back when, people were given a first name and the last name was typically noted as  the son or daugther of the father.  For example, John nee Harris, Mary nee Harris, Bertha Marie Pedersdautter or Neils Pederson.  All these names have a word that indicate they are the son/daughter of Harris or Peder.  The customs of surnames is variable depending upon your heritage; for example, the hispanic culture has in the past included the father and mother's surname in the child's last name.

As the population of the various countreis began to emigrate to new countries world wide, the immigrants would frequently change their surname to mask their origins, or their name could have changed due to the lack of the ability of the person taking down the information to understand the person providing the name, or due to the inability to spell.

We have all been given surnames (last names). Have you ever thought about what/where your last name came from? Surnames could reflect a person's occupation, locality, or origin.  You probably are asking, so what is the big deal?  We all have last names.  How is understanding my surname (last name) going to be of any assistance in researching my family history?  The answer is knowing and understanding your surname (last name) can give you clues into where your family may have lived and their occupations. Additionally, you can possibly discover new relatives.

One mistake almost every new genealogist makes, is to assume that the way your last name is presently spelled is the only correct spelling.  So for example, if your last name was Harris,  the spelling of Haris, Harries, Harris, or any other name, could not be related to you.  It is possible the person with the different spelling is not related, but don't write them off to quickly, as they could be related to you and they just spelled their last name differently.  Family Search has a brief and to the point article about the spelling of surnames here.

I came across a website titled Forebears.  This site provide a search engine for names where you can type in the surname, see a meaning behind the name, origin and distribution map for the name, and possible alternate spellings of the name. If you would like to research the meaning of a surname, click Forebears Surname.  Have fun!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Gratitude for Those who Serve

This time of year brings to rememberance all of those brave selfless men and women who served in miliatry throughout time.  My grandfather (pictured on the left in his military uniform) fought in World War I, and his task was to drive a mule team up to the front lines with supplies.  He left behind his newly married wife, who was expecting their first child and subsequently lost their first born son; with these events occuring during his service abroad.  The only way they could communicate was through letters, which took time to receive.  I can't begin to imagine the sadness both my grandparents endured with the separation shortly after they were married and loosing their first born son.  Although I am sure many people were there to assist my grandmother, she didn't have the support and presence of her loving husband during that challenging time.  He wasn't discharged from the military until 8 months after the loss of his son.

My grandfather's service and story is not unique. Many men and women sacrifice time with their family to provide protection and service to those at home.  They are a special group of people who deserve our gratitude and respect.  I for on am grateful for all those who serve in the military, so that I can enjoy the lifestyle that so many of us take for granted.  We are blessed with the freedom of speech, we can criticize our leaders without concerns for retribution, we can be involved or not involved in the democratic process, we have freedom.  Our freedom has come at a great sacrifice from many sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.  I am grateful for all of those that have served in the past and for those that are presently serving.  Thank you for blessing my life.  

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Fallen Heroes of Normandy - Military Cemetery & Memorial

In honor of those who have served in the military, I wanted to share a website about Normandy. This site allows one to search through the records for free, for those who served and fell at Normandy.  There website can be found here. The website provide information including some pictures regarding those who served and fell at Normandy from the following armed forces: American, Austrailian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, French, German, Indian,  New Zealand, Polish, Russian, and South African.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Dying Art of Letter Writing

The Art of Letter Writing is quickly being replaced by digitial communications through social media, texting, emails, etc.  The ability to hold, read, and re-read letters from the past, is a wonderful thing to be able to pass down to your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Digitizing the letters is a great way to share the letters with everyone, but the actual act of writing letters is quickly being lost.

I was visiting with a family member this weekend about letters they have saved from parents and grandparents demonstrating the beautiful handwriting.  Way back when, before the times of computers, Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, and all the other myriad of ways to instantly communicate, these letters were frequently out of date by the time they were received by the the recipient, but they frequently conveyed the depth of the love one had to another.  It reminded me of the time when I was dating my husband and we were attending different schools.  We would frequently write to each others, sometimes 2-3 times in one week.  We would also call on the telephone, but this way of communciation had to be limited due to the expense and being poor college students.  I always looked forwared to receiving letters in the mail from my husband (then boyfriend) and also my parents.  It was the highlight of my day to receive them.  I have saved those letters and have enjoyed reading through them from time to time even now.  They bring back many fond memories.

The video below demonstrates the importance of these letters.  Now that we live in the time where there is instant communcation, I am grateful for the opportunity to see and talk with my children and grandchildren live.  We are blessed with many great ways to communicate; however,  I still enjoy the letters that I have saved over the years from my parents, husband, grandmother, etc.  They are a treasure.  I hope you enjoy video and maybe think about the letters you have saved.