Genealogy

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Something Lex said in a previous post has brought genealogy to mind.

    I've always been interested in my own and have helped many others as an avocation for years. The especially difficult family histories to trace, I find, are the Irish immigrants to Boston during the mid-19th century. That difficulty is second only to the Italian migration to these shores in the early 20th century. The trail often stops upon arrival to American shores.

    Lordpendragon has spoken to me of his interest in genealogy and I wonder if anyone else has "caught the bug". Searching census records and old cemeteries is "high sleuthing" and can yield a wealth of information which can give one a wholly new take on his placement (in many case) in this American society.

    Certainly Canadians and Australians will find the task as daunting as many here in the States since often immigration records are so difficult to find and access.

    One recent discovery was a "find" for my high school girlfriend one line of whose family came to Boston in 1851 from County Mayo. It's her only concrete link to her Irish past and it's given her a sense of connection to her history that has spurned more work in finding out as much about her background as she can.

    Helping my boyfriend with his brought us to Scotland. The joy on his face as he investigated tombstones in a country churchyard was one of the highlights of foreign travel for us.

    Speaking to elderly family relatives and asking about previous generations is key to securing much-needed information and I encourage anyone interested to "strike while the iron's hot" while you still have older family members with you.

    I'm interested to learn of others keen on genealogy.
     
  2. amberleafbabe

    amberleafbabe Member

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    i kind of got the bug but not as much as you we have been doing a family history over the past few years.we discovered about a year ago that most of family came from sicily but when we got to america our last name was changed to make it sound more american.we though for all these years we were irish but we weren't.then we did a history on my ex wifes family for the kids,and discovered that my kids are from a related to abe lincoln,and that we thought her family was german and that was it.some to find out her family is jewish,but hid it when they came to america and became christians.you find out alot of interesting info on you family doing this.
     
  3. Lex

    Lex
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    Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosted a 4-part program on African American genealogy where DNA was used to trace the roots of several people. Interestingly enough, those who had more "ethinic" features were more apt to be traced to a specific area/tribe in Africa that those without such features.


    Transcript from the Washington Post
     
  4. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Yes.

    I watched that show with great interest. Whoopi's segment was what I recall most vividly. There's something tactile about being able to lay claim to a tangible past that is distinctly one's own.

    Another PBS show featured (2002) the exhumation of the "unknown baby boy" from the Titanic's sinking in 1912. The child was the only recovered body of an infant from that disaster. The baby had been buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia (along with many other recovered souls) and was long-thought to be of Swedish descent.

    After the exhumation there was only one small bone and several teeth remaining but they were able to get ample DNA to cross-reference the ship's manifest to narrow down who the child may be. After two false starts they were able to locate elderly grandnieces and of the child in Finland.

    The bringing of those relatives to the gravesite was pretty spectacular and the emotion which came forth was nearly 100 years in the making.
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    One of the great travesties of the slave trade---specifically of the way families were purposely broken and separated---is that many African Americans can not fully trace their roots.

    I know my roots include Native American and Caucasian, but no one on my dad's side is alive who can remember much of it.
     
  6. bree

    bree New Member

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    Oh yes very much into Genealogy.... Started with the grandparents ... Have work on it for the past 6 years.... Doing pretty good... Have over 300 people in the family tree now.... But only have gotten as far as 1400's on some... I find history so fun and enjoyable... It is nice to know where the roots start.. Why they came to America... What did the do... I love finding information i have been looking for.. the great smile that comes over my face... Surprises I find out about my family... I know Im heniez 57 but it is really fun to see how two people from different countries come together in the US because of love... Meeting on the ship coming across the water... I wonder what they thought... The conditions on those boats was not good-- The time it took to cross to the new world... Sounds funny but some of the family was coming in the 1700's looking back at where they settled there was nothing there... Cutting into the world to start a new life.. I live in the country know.. The land is covered with trees and bushes... I see how long it takes to clear the land with heavy machine... Cannot even imagine the will power to succeed for your family... To clear the land with the tools of the day... Succeed make a life... All i can say is wow.. I love knowing that the backbone,will power, and driving force i have came from them... Right down into my genes... I could talk for hours so I will leave you... Smile and say Everyone makes what they can out of life.... Strive to be the best you can be for yourself... Smile at the little things.. You never know when live can be taken away... Little troubles always seem to work themselves out... Larger ones are task of life... Make us who we are..
     
  7. basque9

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    My cousin and I got the genealogy bug several years ago and we determined to trace our lost German Celtic roots. The journey initially took us back to Canada ca. 1740, when the turmoil that embroiled Europe spawned thousands of exiles to North American shores. Going back beyond the voyage to America, we discovered a German history and society that was vastly different from anything we could have imagined. We found that we were descendants of a very old Celtic family with exciting traditions, legends and history! There is more research to be done, but the journey back thus far has been very illuminating , educational and rewarding! :smile:
     
  8. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Yes I know. That's why I was so pleased to see the advances made that enabled African Americans to narrow things down to a specific area of that continent. The look of palpable joy and historical connection on Whoopi's face was simply amazing.

    With regard to your dad:

    I don't know how interested (if at all) you are in that side of your background but if you know the town where he was born or the name of your paternal grandparents (and perhaps places of birth and death) those records could aid in your search.

    Death records (especially since 1880 or so) always give parents names - along with mother's maiden name - and generally place of birth. This was exactly the means by which I helped my old friend in her search for her ancestry.

    She's always said "oh I'm Irish".

    After six months of perusing family photos and state archives we were able to find that she's about one half Irish in truth. Her earliest American ancestor was a Scot and her great grandmother was born in Bavaria.

    I cannot encourage those interested enough to explore an area many forget to access. It can give - for those interested - the most wonderful connection to living history. We all have a genealogical past. It's something we share. And for me it's been extremely interesting to assist those whose genealogy is more difficult to trace since it presents more of a investigative dilemma (hence more of a challenge).

    Here's a place for those who know their people came through Ellis Island.

    It's free and you simply have to join THE SITE
     
  9. rawbone8

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    Genealogy is interesting. It usually restricts itself to pretty narrow traces, following patriarchal strings or including matriarchal if there is a dead end, but often follows the patriarchal string on the matriarchal side. It can yield fascinating information, but it's generally too complex mathematically to explore ALL of the strings past great grandparents unless the family stayed in a very restricted geographic area, and their religion remained fairly consistent, since parish records form the guts of it in Europe.. Once past great-great-grandparent there are so many genetic contributors that following just one string gives them undue influence. It's all that we can usually find, so that is what we make of it.

    Infidelity, rape and incest starts entering into it as well, where there is an unacknowledged father contributing genes, or a child born out of wedlock to a teenage girl, who is in reality a grandchild, but claimed as a child by the grandmother to coverup the illicit affair, and of course, these are not part of the "official" record.

    Someone once told me that "Fitz" used as as a prefix denoted "bastard child of", is that true?

    My uncle has traced our patriachal string directly to Edinburgh, Scotland and has drawn a chart that is still a work in progress. We've been in North America since the mid 1700s but only moved to Canada around 1784 as part of the exodus that followed your War of Independence. (Ethnic cleansing LOL ?) Some descendents still righteously refer to themselves as "The Loyalists" in Canada.

    It's interesting too how I think dong20 posted an article on the board that showed we all have the same common ancestor if we go back only 5000(?) years (or was it much less?). I should try to find that link.


    There's a lot to keep track of if you want a complete picture. Each one of the oh 1020 or so people excluded from a family tree traced back to the 1640s period has just as much genetic influence in making me as the minor group of four people who are included and probably recorded and accorded the status of being the root of the family. In reality they represent only .4% of the ancestors of that time (if my math is correct LOL)


    me (born1956)
    2 parents (1920 approx)
    4 grandparents (1880s approx)
    8 great-grandparents (1850s approx)
    16 great-great-grandparents (1820s approx)
    32 great-great-great-grandparents (1790s approx)
    64 great-great-great-great grandparents (1760s approx)
    128 great-great-great-great-great grandparents (1730s approx)
    256 great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents (1700 approx)
    512 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (1670s aprox)
    1024 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (1640s approx)
     
  10. perthjames

    perthjames Member

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  11. Gisella

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    Well, I was once very fascinated by it and all over it when discover that my father's mothers has family 'book' about their genealogy and some of relatives being faithfully adding to it. Plus my maternal Granpa has his own to but less detailed. But never heard of them about the obvious Jewish roots in our family.

    I discovered that Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions forced conversions in both of them..they became new christians to tryed to assimilate it. I remember in my paternal granpas home 'strange' (I see they are strange now not them) costumes like dont mix some foods, we kids were blessed by older relatives, friday 'cleanings', mourning of dead relatives..but you never question why we did it and i think nobody knew why..you just did it...:tongue:

    Because you can see in the family records that many of the my ancestrals were all over the place ( Italia, Portugal, Spain and France) before get to Brasil they already were very much mixed in Europe and than came to Brasil and mixed much more. Plus when forced converted they had to adopt or given a new name.

    Conclusion: As much I was very fascinated by my discoveries I did became sad. Sad bcause of the persecutions one had to endure in this world since long ago. But I am lucky to get to know some of my family history as Sephardic and Marranos (pigs or forced to convert, depends the translation)

    It seems that in Brasil that are a lot of families with similar history than mine..kind of 75 millions of Brasilians ancestry was 'New Christian" when arrived there. Many today are discovering that and want to know more about their roots and kind of flooding 'Federacao Israelita Centro-Oeste' a cultural Jewish association in Brasilia, with questions and etc.
     
  12. tripod

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    Interesting Gissela, Jewish women are hot! Maybe that's part of the reason Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world!

    That paternal DNA test that Lex speaks about is pretty expensive, it is of no help to caucasions though. DNA tests just reveal your European, African, or Asian ancestry (native american is hard to tell apart from Asian DNA). Does anyone know why the maternal DNA cannot be traced like the paternal can? That is something I have been wanting to know since I watched the show like three times several months back.

    There was also a program on LinkTV (best channel out there) that was just like the show with Henry Luis Gates, but with average everyday people. I think that they were from the UK and Canada. It was actually a better show because they brought these people back to the actual location of their ancestors. Most all of the people couldn't wait to get out of Africa after mingling with their long seperated tribesmen. It was like they were going back in time. Most of the tribespeople looked down on the newcomers and were money grubbers. Pretty cool show though, has anyone seen it?
     
  13. Mr. Snakey

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    Very interesting topic Stronzo!:cool:
     
  14. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    This is very interesting to me james thanks.

    It was an assumption on my part that researching Australian convict ancestry would be difficult (though I realize not all is penal colony stuff). It's like the assumption many have here that the Pilgrim and Puritan immigrants to Massachusetts were all n'er-do-wells. It's largely untrue (with the glowing exception of Standish).

    When we were perusing the Scottish records in Edinburgh for my boyfriend we found the British Isles census extremely helpful (espeically one I think which was taken in 1841).

    Thanks. What's most interesting (nevermind gratifying) for me is to see the look of wonderment when I present someone with documenation of their historical past and see there mouths drop open.

    I make my "running around money" doing genealogical work for others here in the Boston area. It's more of a passion than an avocation.
     
  15. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    rawbone?

    Fascinating post.

    Re the "Fitz" prefix I'd always heard it was was "son of" as in "Fitzhugh" or "Fitzsimmons". But you may be on to something that's little known. I'll ask around.

    Missed this part.

    So many Loyalists moved to the Maritimes during the American War for Independence. My ex-wife's family has (on her maternal grandmother's side) nothing by exactly that phenomenon going on. I traced one line back to Massachusetts and in doing so found that she and I (though distantly) were cousins.

    I've often wondered what side I'd have taken in that war now that you mention it. I come from many who fought in that war but I wonder if I'd have fled to Canada. I've considered often how I'd have handled it. I'm still not sure.
     
  16. Wonderboy

    Wonderboy New Member

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    Fitz/Von/Van and Mc etc are all son/daughter of.

    My last name means 'a clearing in a wood, near a small lake'

    A quick search on www.ancestry.com yielded a lot of results and had a census from 1861 that showed there were many people with my last name even in this county, so we haven't moved far. Interesting, I'd like to know how to find out more.

    I don't want to pay for any site and isn't it entirely possible that they've made information up and it may not be factually or historically correct?

    It is interesting though, me likey.
     
  17. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    That's a very good point Wonderboy.

    I'm always skeptical of those sites. But don't discard them out of hand.

    ancestry.com can connect you with others searching for a common ancestor as can www.genforum.com. But you need to be very scrutinizing about simply plucking information off the net. The only reliable source material is that you gain from real documentation.

    I don't think anyone 'makes up' information on those sites but I have had to post corrections often when I have the documentation to back up my research (and in the process it angers those who've been simply told something by a family member).

    In my own case I always wondered what my own great great grandmother's maiden name was. In a family which was very aware of its ancestry I had an elderly first cousin twice removed who was prone to say "oh the name escapes me just now".

    Only after her death at 92 was I instructed by her executor to go into her attic and get a trunk for that side of the family that proved to be Pandora's Box information-wise. In it was my lineal descent from Brian Boru (purported) and her surname was O'Brien.

    Though that O'Brien ancestor emigrated to New England in 1740 and converted from Roman Catholicism immediately the name was not acknowledged by a family who would only "allow" themselves to be of English descent.. It's been one of my greatest discoveries and I've connected with no less than 5 cousins who had the same stone wall thrown at them with regard to the one Jeremiah O'Brien who figured rather prominently in The War for Independence.
     
  18. Dr. Dilznick

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    Ah yes, "white" Brazilians.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10873790&dopt=Abstract
     
  19. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    I have spent many an hour working on my family tree and found it most satisfying. My tree stands at over 3000 names and the oldest on my tree was born in 1603 in Northumberland England.

    I published my tree about two years ago on a Genealoy website and the very next day got a phone call from a cousin of my Father's who lives in WV. They had not seen each other since they were knee high to grasshoppers more than 60 years ago. They are in regular contact now via email and phone.

    About a week after this a 2nd cousin of my Mother's got in contact from Canada. They did not know of each other's existance and now have regular contact too.

    Genealogy IMO is very immensely satisfying from both identifying those in your past and those still living.

    The website for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always proved to be an excellent source of information. LDS

    Those with ancestors in Scotland can get access to almost unlimited information at WWW.scotlandspeople.gov.uk - you need to buy credits to access the certificates but the initial searches are not chargable. The fees are well worth it and quite reasonably priced. In the rest of the UK most certificates ie Birth, Death and Marriage need to be obtained in person or by post and can be costly.

    I too am more than happy to help anyone get started and point them in the right direction. Feel free to PM about this.

    It's a fascinating and satisfying hobby.

    Dave
     
  20. chico8

    chico8 New Member

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    My Grandmother died last fall at the age of 98. She was very good at keeping and maintaining photo albums over the years, both of her family and my grandfather's family. This summer when I was at my Dad's I packed them up to take home as I want to create photo books for my nephews and niece.

    It turns out that one of my cousins has been looking into the family history and has amassed a wealth of information. 8 great-great grandparents were born in Finland, 6 in Germany and 2 in Engand. The earliest birth he has traced so far is 1823. The 2 English g-g-grandparents settled first near Toronto before making their way to the US. I've decided that a trip to Toronto would be well worth it so hopefully in March.

    Last week I went to the local LDS family history center and ordered a couple of rolls of microfilm that might point me in the right direction on one of the German branches of my family. Fortunately, all of the names I've come across so far are not common in the US so I've been able to make a fair amount of headway.

    It is addicting! My mother who is all Finnish, was always disparaging of my father's lineage, claiming he was little more than a heinz 57. Turns out he's only English and German. Also, one of my great grandfather's sisters married his wife's brother so the history is made a little easier.

    I've also got a lot of photos dating back to the 1850s. I had hoped that I would get the book done for this Christmas but have decided to wait until next year. So far I"ve scanned over 400 photos!
     
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