Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A world lost in 4 generations?

Tuesday night, I finally found "Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem" on TV. Channel 366 if you have Direct TV, or look for JLT. Ari said that most Jews today are only 4 generations from being devout. That all you have to do is start to study. I happen to think that applies to the rest of us as well. 4 generations ago, our ancestors were all pretty religious in one way or another. I think we have lost a lot. I've written already about how language was lost in my ancestors in just 3 generations. Along with language is customs, culture, photos, memories and stories.

Today I start a journey that I've not taken before - scrapping a story that is not related to me in any way....other than the fact that Dad owned a Texaco station in the place the story took place.

I've gotten just a few emails from you all asking about genealogy and how to get started. So, here are my thoughts. Interview your parents and your grandparents. Ask cousins, aunts and uncles what they know. Oral histories are the best place to start and 9 times out of 10, you can prove the oral history with legal documents.

Next start with the 1930 census. It's the most recent available to us. Join or another site that will give you access. Worth every penny! If your grandpa was 40 in the 1930 census, then look for him as 30 in the 1920 and so on. Don't bother looking at the indexed names. Take the township where he lived and look at each individual name. I swear....people could not write and today, the people doing the transcriptions don't have an ounce of logic! LOL!!! Newby is NOT Neuman, no matter how you look at it. But I know, it's just a job and they are in a hurry. So, tip #1 - look at each page of the census. Usually, family lived pretty close together, so if you find someone with a similar name, start looking real close!

Tip # 2. Anything in writing is only as good as the person who took down the information and we all make mistakes. But look for the obvious. 2 sisters born 6 months apart....probably something written down wrong.

Tip # 3. Think about spelling. No one knew how to spell and mostly did it by how it sounded in earlier census records. Moore could be Moor, More, Mohr, Muir and so on. Clark could be Klark or Clarc or Klarc. And then add accents. My ancestors came from Germany. Haus became House. And in one census, it is written Hauce. Hmmm....Not sure about that one!

Tip # 4. Until about 1917, you could change your name anytime you wanted. To anything. We didn't have driver's licenses, etc. In my family, the story was told that 2 brothers got mad at each other and the one changed his name from Kerr to Karr. Sure enough, that is exactly how they are in the 1930 census!

So, when you find something, don't just write it down, do something with it. Today, Kathy came over and gave me an almost full day lesson in the cricut. WOW!!! I have been having fun using my jukebox and Design Studio. Amazing technology. We'll see where I can take it.

Note, just click on the photo and it will come up in it's own window. IF you are a descendant of the colony, feel free to print and make your own scrapbook as you follow along with the stories here.

And please email me! I'd love to hear from you!

Saul Baer, Sal Baur, Baruch, SB....he changed his name on nearly every single document found. He died as S. B. Milstein. I have decided to say that his name is Saul Baruch Muhlstein because that is the name I found on the ships register which is the earliest document found.

Last tip today, invest in some type of software. I use Reunon for Mac, but have used Familytreemaker in the past as well as other packages. I kept everything by hand for years and still have boxes of stuff to enter into my computer. OK, it may never get done. But remember, I've been doing this off and on for over 40 years. Loads of stuff to scan!

Build a family tree and add to it as you find new information. A tree in itself can help you find people and I'll talk about that next time. And really, I plan to scrap my way through part of the story of Cotopaxi, but as I do it....look at the layout. Can you tell what is store bought and what I made myself with the cricut? Kathy showed me how to merge different elements together and I think I may just go crazy combining diecuts! You will have to look hard to see that the flourish and star in the upper right corner are one piece with other stars layered on top and below them. Truly gives great dimension to a page!

1 comment:

Willow said...

Oh Jen, please do not stop sharing the Cotopaxi colony with us. The whole idea is so exotic to me maybe because I am Jewish, not sure, but I read every detail on your scrapbook pages. I think there is the making of a great novel and/or movie in their story!! Of course I love your design elements as well! Thanks for being you!!