A long time ago, I inherited a bunch of antiques from my grandmother that I never quite knew what to do with. Some of these items were pretty interesting, some were kind of junky, and most were handmade ceramics bearing her name on the bottom. Since I had no real interest in them at the time, and no way to display them that would fit with my own taste in home décor, they remained boxed up and in the basement for years.
The year was 1918, and I knew that influenza was bad that year, but I didn’t realize it was one of the worst pandemics in history. While I was indexing some death records on FamilySearch, I noticed that almost all the deaths were from influenza.
In 2006, I decided to look for my Poppenberg family, thinking it would be a long and wild goose chase. I knew they were in Seneca County, Ohio and decided to join the Seneca County Ohio Genealogical Society because I knew that as a member I could send a few free queries a year. My first issue in January had an index, and lo and behold, there was the Poppenberg surname in the index for the previous issues! My next step was to order the four previous issues.
New Records Are Marching Onto the Ancestry Website
Did you hear the news? The Ancestry Company signed an agreement with Family Search International, thanks to which Ancestry will add more than one billion already digitized records from more than sixty countries to its databases. Moreover, it will be adding approximately a billion never seen or published records from the Family Search vault in the next few years. Isn’t it fascinating?
Using Newspapers to Enhance Your Genealogical Search
An abundance of genealogical information can be found in newspapers, but many genealogists only think of newspapers to find obituaries. However, obituaries are not the only type of information you can find about your family. Maybe your father was the star quarterback on his high school football team. Maybe you have a famous ancestor that was a celebrity or politician like Harry Truman. Since the Midwest Genealogy Center is located in President Truman’s hometown, I just had to mention one of Independence, Missouri’s most famous citizens.
I always felt a little cheated that there was not a book already written about my family. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved doing all the research. But when I hit a brick wall, it would be nice to open up a book and find all the answers inside. One day I found a book right here in the library that had some of the answers that I had been looking for.
While working with one of the Midwest Genealogy Center’s archival collections, the Titus Family Collection, I came across an interesting bit of history. In the course of my transcription of letters written by Private Square Holt during the Civil War, I came across a reference to a “gun that fired a thousand pound shot.” This description intrigued me, so I decided to look into the gun and to find the history of this “monster” cannon.
Warm weather is finally here--Yay! It’s the perfect time for vacations, road trips, and finding your ancestors. As every genealogist discovers at some point, travel is sometimes necessary to help with your research. Some records or artifacts can only be viewed in person, and that means travel. Regardless of the distance, genealogy trips are a great way to get out there. Maybe you will get an opportunity to travel to another country or just the next state over to find the missing link for your ancestor.
Recently, I paid a visit to Sedalia, Missouri, where my ancestors had lived for several generations. It just so happened that the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival was going on there, all the better to see this small city in all its glory!