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Thread: Genealogy and Family History

  1. #1
    Hard Boiled
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    Genealogy and Family History

    I've long been fascinated with the idea of family lineage. I find it really interesting, and details of what my ancestors were like hundreds of years ago is something that I hope to find out someday if it's still possible (long story short, it's very tough to do so because a lot of records were destroyed during wartime).

    Have any of you ever had any interest in finding out your family lineage, and if so, how successful have you been? I notice a wide range of success depending on where people come from; some are able to go back and find out things about their ancestors from 1000 years ago, while others can't go further back than just a few generations, relying purely on what their parents or grandparents are able to tell them from memory, which is unfortunate.

    So, just for the sake of discussion, does genealogy interest any of you and what have you found out of interest so far about your bloodline's past?

  2. #2
    Color Guy Hollingsworth's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    A lot of records in the States are intact, actually. The main census that was destroyed was for 1890. Otherwise, you have most of them logged, indexed and available online at Ancestry.com, which is owned by the Mormon church. They also have WW1 draft cards and lots of military records. I've tracked my family back quite a ways on many branches, some dating back 800 years. Some of it is conjecture, some educated guesses, lots of it based on other people's research. The main thing to do is have patience in looking.

    I found that a lot of my research was just looking through census sheets. Page after page. What happens, is that you can often find your family. Then you can often also find families that your family married into living near them. I had this happen a lot. So, say you have, in my case, Katherin Anne Hollingsworth living with her family in the 1880 census, and living near and Oldham family. One of the male Oldhams married her. But one of the male Hollingsworths also married a female Oldham. Then, 20 years later, you can see the same families living near each other with new children. Also, if you're looking at an index of census data and it says to check page 18 or something, look 5 or 6 pages before and after that and scan for surnames you are looking for. You will often find errors in the index. And, ages are also often wrong. Sometimes the census dudes would come around on a farm, and the men would be out working on the farm. And maybe the women were busy with something and the kids answered the questions. They naturally think grandpa is much older than he is, and you can see this happen a lot. So don't rule out stuff based on exact data. Also, same happens with listing place of birth. Look for patterns where you can match an entire family even if something is slightly off.

    Also, your surname may have a surname project. Mine does. And I used DNA testing to confirm that I am related to this guy, who brought my surname to the States in the 1680s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine_Hollingsworth

    Surname projects can be looked up here:

    http://www.familytreedna.com/

    I'd recommend starting with searches at Ancestry.com. If you find records you want to actually view, you can either pay their membership, or you can view them at many of the family research libraries that the Church of Latter Day Saints has. They allow non members of the church to come in and use computers and people are also there to help you. It's pretty great.

    Good luck.
    Matt Hollingsworth
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  3. #3
    Hard Boiled
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollingsworth View Post
    A lot of records in the States are intact, actually. The main census that was destroyed was for 1890. Otherwise, you have most of them logged, indexed and available online at Ancestry.com, which is owned by the Mormon church. They also have WW1 draft cards and lots of military records. I've tracked my family back quite a ways on many branches, some dating back 800 years. Some of it is conjecture, some educated guesses, lots of it based on other people's research. The main thing to do is have patience in looking.

    I found that a lot of my research was just looking through census sheets. Page after page. What happens, is that you can often find your family. Then you can often also find families that your family married into living near them. I had this happen a lot. So, say you have, in my case, Katherin Anne Hollingsworth living with her family in the 1880 census, and living near and Oldham family. One of the male Oldhams married her. But one of the male Hollingsworths also married a female Oldham. Then, 20 years later, you can see the same families living near each other with new children. Also, if you're looking at an index of census data and it says to check page 18 or something, look 5 or 6 pages before and after that and scan for surnames you are looking for. You will often find errors in the index. And, ages are also often wrong. Sometimes the census dudes would come around on a farm, and the men would be out working on the farm. And maybe the women were busy with something and the kids answered the questions. They naturally think grandpa is much older than he is, and you can see this happen a lot. So don't rule out stuff based on exact data. Also, same happens with listing place of birth. Look for patterns where you can match an entire family even if something is slightly off.

    Also, your surname may have a surname project. Mine does. And I used DNA testing to confirm that I am related to this guy, who brought my surname to the States in the 1680s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine_Hollingsworth

    Surname projects can be looked up here:

    http://www.familytreedna.com/

    I'd recommend starting with searches at Ancestry.com. If you find records you want to actually view, you can either pay their membership, or you can view them at many of the family research libraries that the Church of Latter Day Saints has. They allow non members of the church to come in and use computers and people are also there to help you. It's pretty great.

    Good luck.
    Thanks for the help and all, but I don't live in the United States nor have any of my ancestors ever lived there (I have some extended family living there now, but that's besides the point).

    I'm a second generation Canadian (on my dad's side) and the majority of my ancestors on that side came from Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine and the surrounding areas (possibly Poland as well). Those places were really ravaged up during World War 2 and were under Communist rule for so long afterwards, it's likely impossible to find much of anything now in terms of historical records related to the family.

  4. #4
    Color Guy Hollingsworth's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    Thanks for the help and all, but I don't live in the United States nor have any of my ancestors ever lived there (I have some extended family living there now, but that's besides the point).

    I'm a second generation Canadian (on my dad's side) and the majority of my ancestors on that side came from Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine and the surrounding areas (possibly Poland as well). Those places were really ravaged up during World War 2 and were under Communist rule for so long afterwards, it's likely impossible to find much of anything now in terms of historical records related to the family.
    Ah, okay.

    You could still see if there's a surname project for DNA testing. Someone there could be related and have more info than you, which was the case with me.

    DO you have your Canadian roots traced? There's lots of books and data about that too. My roots go back to French Canadian on my Mom's side. I don't know much about conducting research into Canada, though.

    You should put your location in your profile here!
    Matt Hollingsworth
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    My Blog

  5. #5
    Color Guy Hollingsworth's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Do you read Polish or Ukrainian?

    Sometimes Churches keep good records. Don't know about Ukraine, but Poland is heavily Cahtolic. It could be a place to start. I also have Polish roots going back to Poznan, but have been unable to trace it back further.
    Matt Hollingsworth
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  6. #6
    Hard Boiled stevapalooza's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    If your ancestors came through Ellis Island you can look them up at Ellis Island's website (for free) http://www.ellisisland.org/.

    I found my paternal great-grandfather there. He came over from Jawory, Poland in 1906. So Anyone in Jawory with my last name is probably a relative.

    edit: Oh wait, you're Canadian. Never mind.

  7. #7
    Color Guy Hollingsworth's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Quote Originally Posted by stevapalooza View Post
    If your ancestors came through Ellis Island you can look them up at Ellis Island's website (for free) http://www.ellisisland.org/.

    I found my paternal great-grandfather there. He came over from Jawory, Poland in 1906. So Anyone in Jawory with my last name is probably a relative.

    edit: Oh wait, you're Canadian. Never mind.
    The last name "Palooza"?

    Matt Hollingsworth
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  8. #8
    GODFATHER
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Yeah, my grandpa spent decades researching and travelling around the world to trace our Nelson lineage back to the 1500's. He made this huge booklet even, it's pretty sweet.

  9. #9
    Hard Boiled
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    Re: Genealogy and Family History

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollingsworth View Post
    Ah, okay.

    You could still see if there's a surname project for DNA testing. Someone there could be related and have more info than you, which was the case with me.

    DO you have your Canadian roots traced? There's lots of books and data about that too. My roots go back to French Canadian on my Mom's side. I don't know much about conducting research into Canada, though.

    You should put your location in your profile here!
    Yeah, I have my Canadian roots traced. As far as my mom's side goes, that's not a problem. We have information on ancestors dating back to the 1600's. On that side it's French Canadian and they typically kept very good records. The farthest back we get to is the name of the village in France that the first settlers would've originally come from (can't remember it off-hand) so going back further might be a good possibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollingsworth View Post
    Do you read Polish or Ukrainian?

    Sometimes Churches keep good records. Don't know about Ukraine, but Poland is heavily Cahtolic. It could be a place to start. I also have Polish roots going back to Poznan, but have been unable to trace it back further.
    Unfortunately, no I don't read Polish or Ukrainian.

    My main ancestors on my dad's side would've been Ukrainian, there's a loose Polish connection in there somewhere from what I've heard but apparently it isn't very relevent (might've been through a marriage). Ukraine doesn't have much left nowadays in terms of historical records, although if it did I'd have to go there myself to find them and not speaking or reading the language would be an issue.

    Apparently one of my great-great-grandmothers was German, but I have no idea what the status of historical records would be like in Germany nowadays.

  10. #10

    Re: Genealogy and Family History


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