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Saturday, August 5, 2017

This and That

Childhood memory

I was very fortunate to have had a great childhood, sometimes magical. While strict, my parents spent time with my sister and I, took us places and talked to us.

We had a mountain of relatives nearby and visited fairly frequently, both my mother's and my father's families. Don't forget, you're equally related to both your maternal and your paternal families.

This memory resulted in my planting a few potatoes in my little patch in the community garden that I discovered this year.  Visiting Aunt Fanny's and Uncle Bus's farm was a favorite visit.  I love animals and there were plenty there.  But this memory isn't about any of the animals.

One visit, Aunt Fanny asked me if I'd like to help dig potatoes.  I have no idea how old I was but old enough that she thought I could be of some help.  She explained that you have to be careful when digging potatoes not to damage the potatoes.  She would turn an area of the patch with a garden spade then tell me to use my hands to dig into the loose soil, feeling for potatoes and she had something I could put the potatoes into.  This process was repeated until we had a pile of potatoes to take back to the house to wash.  

I had a great time and the memory of my hands in the dirt, feeling for potatoes, came back to me as I was planting my little garden patch so I planted a few red skinned potatoes and look forward to digging them up at the end of the growing season.  They're nearly finished blooming. 





Family memories are wonderful.  Write them down.  Share them.




 I haven't upgraded my software yet, just haven't got to it.  I'm hoping the chart printing will be improved in the newest version and I can give you charts.




If you contact me for information, here or by email or on Facebook, please tell me how you think we're related, give me a brief family tree that you think connects and specifically what information you're looking for.  It's very important to include dates and places, if only approximate.

I will no longer send information without see a tree, at least through your grandparents, with some dates and places.  I've spent a lot of years, time, effort and expense collecting all the data I have.  I still have holes in various family lines so I need information as well and I won't give it away anymore without getting some back.  It doesn't matter if it's information I already have.  I'm just tired to sending information and never hearing anything from that person again.  Sharing is a two-way street.


 The phone app, We're Related, changed very shortly after I wrote about it here and you could no longer search by GPS for people you might be related to.  It became completely useless.  I can't recommend it.  I have uninstalled it and suggest you do the same.



Just a quick overview of the process I've been using (and I've only scratched the surface).  If you want to research your family history begin this way:

  •  Make an outline of what you already now about your families: you, your parents, ALL your grandparents, ALL your great grandparents. Include all dates and places you already know.



  •   Visit family and ask questions. Start with your parents, then your grandparents, then your aunts and uncles. It's useful to make a list of questions you want to ask so you don't forget something. 
  • Repeat the last step several times over a year because we all forget things temporarily and asking the same questions several times can turn up memories that weren't there the last time asked.
  •  There are many web sites that have genealogical information.  Some of that information is free.  Look at my Links page to find some of them.  Email me and ask me specific questions after telling me what you already have.
  •  After filling out charts I then spent years searching censuses to fill in gaps.  I'm a paying member of Ancestry.com so I'm not sure if their census images are free or not but I can do look-ups and will for proven relatives, for others I'm going to have to begin charging for my time. 
  •  My aim is to trace each individual from birth to death.  Once you have sufficient information, I can tell you how and where to send for documents like birth, marriage and death certificates.  I may have some that I can send copies of, provided we're related. This is where expenses come in.  It used to be fairly reasonable to get a copy of any of these documents but costs have increased many times over the decades and vary, from state to state and county to county.



What would you like to see? or read about?

Again, I'm researching the following families (these are the primary bloodlines, there are more): Beismer, Beesimer, Beasmer (and all the rest of the 52 variant spellings I understand exist), Flower(s), Hulse, Hogancamp, Hendricks(on), Mattice, Odell, Oliver, Platner, Vande(r)mark, Wormuth.

If you're related, or researching any of these families, I'd love to hear from you.




I am responsible for all typos and other errors in this blog.

Friday, March 3, 2017

We're Related

We're Related is a smart phone app from Ancestry.com.

I think it's relatively new and, therefore, not enormously interesting since it requires that people related to you also have the app for it to be most effective.

The app uses the family trees in Ancestry to look for family connections with your family tree which you enter into the app, only a couple of generations.

It provides you with a list of possible connections, predominantly celebrities, with common ancestors.  As is widely known, since the family trees on Ancestry are provided by an enormous number of people with hugely varying expertise, from none to professional, the connections are mostly questionable.

Still, you never know.  I've seen a few celebrity trees that have interesting possibilities.

I have 2 or 3 actual family connections in the app, with people who I already knew are related.

Here's the latest thing I found:

Below each of the suggested celebrity connections, is a series of icons:  a tiny family chart, a heart and a variation on a menu link icon to share, etc.  If you click on the family chart icon, the app gives you what they suggest as a common ancestor with that celebrity.  Below that are connecting lines to each of you and at which generation each of you are from that common ancestor.

In most cases, this doesn't give you much because none of the connections seem are familiar.  But, here's one I found that I'll pursue.

The actress, Kate Upton, is listed as a possible 8th cousin, twice removed, to me.  Generally speaking, I'm not very interested in celebrities and that connection is very distant.  But, once I discovered the feature to see both family trees, I tried most of them and Kate Upton's showed some possibilities.

Our possible common ancestor is a Jannetje Roosa.  I'm very familiar with the surname since a Roosa had tanneries in southern NYS where many of my ancestors lived.  Clicking on Kate's link to Roosa, I find that her ancestors include Van Ettens, Cuddebacks and Swartwouts and all of those surnames are very familiar to me and I have relatives by marriage in at least 2 of those families.  So, it is very possible that the relationship between Kate Upton and I is correct and I will make some time to look into it.

So, while the app is very new and entertaining and not yet very useful, it does show some possibilities.

I'll describe some features more tomorrow.

Good family tracking.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The families in newspapers

BEISMER

Republic Watchman - Montecello, Friday, April 3, 1931 - [My brackets] - "Mrs. Silas Beasmer, [Eliza Vandermark Beismer] of Grooville, celebrated her eighty-second birthday Tuesday, March 24, at the home of her brother, Lafayette Vandermark.  A family party with a few friends gathered to honor the occasion and all enjoyed the affair very much."

 INGRAHAM

Otsego Farmer - Cooperstown, Saturday, March 27, 1886 - "James Ingraham of Unadilla, who was recently stabbed by a drunken man, has recovered."

ODELL

Hancock Herald - Hancock, date unclear but certainly 1879 - [In Married notices] - "ODELL-OLIVER - Meredith, April 6, [1879] by J. M. Graham, Esq., Joseph Odell, of Rockland, to Minerva Oliver."







My Native Ancestry

After some reflecting about my and my father's DNA test results, both of which show no Native ethnic markers, but which fact doesn't necessarily mean there were no Native ancestors, I have decided to stop thinking about this.  It was the original impetus for my family history research and the lack of evidence has briefly hurt my feelings as has the careless spread of the "family legends" by my grandparents.  However, I have spent a lot of time and expense and have enjoyed the work and I will continue but with changes in my goals.






Surname Variants


Many of my families' surnames have multiple variants, some a great many.  It makes the research more time consuming but doesn't stop it.  Fortunately, many of my surnames are not common like Smith or White.

It occurred to me recently that most of the records that I find have been filled out by someone other than the individual him/herself.  Clearly, especially as evidenced by census records, the recorder rarely, if ever, asked for the spelling.  Sometimes, in a single record, a surname can be seen spelled in more than one way.  It's unfortunate but common human carelessness and laziness.  I finally realized that, unless and until, I find records written by the person themselves, I will not be sure how they spelled their name.

Also, over time, individuals choose to spell their surname, not quite as often as they do their given name, differently to distinguish themselves from other family members.  My paternal grandfather, apparently, introduced the capital D and apostrophe into our surname which was originally just Odell.  He did so to differentiate himself from a younger uncle with the same name.

Since I have traced only a few family lines back to European origins, I have little evidence of original spellings, pronunciations or national origins.

It remains interesting.

Until next time.