Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking for Ma & Pa in Ancestry's new Michigan Marriages


       My Great-Grandparents lived in Michigan, specifically the Hungarian neighborhood of Del Ray. They married in 1899. I have been looking for their marriage record since 1980. Over a cup of coffee and coffeecake one morning at her kitchen table, my Grandmother suddenly brought out a slip of paper from her dresser with the family dates on it that were copied from a book from my Great-Grandparent's house. It was not a family Bible like most Hungarian kept in their homes. It was either a lexicon, geography or encyclopedia book written and probably published in Hungary as my Great-Grandfather was not Catholic. He supposedly eschewed all manners of institutionalized religions. He himself was christened as a Calvinist back in Hungary.
I have never seen the original data or the "book" so I was looking at secondary evidence, copied by my Grandmother. I did not weigh that date too heavily until I saw the same marriage dates for them in his naturalization records. TIP : Naturalization records for immigrants MAY CONTAIN their marriage date and place.
With that marriage data in hand, letters flew back and fourth to many government levels of Michigan looking for a marriage registration with no results. Simultaneously, there were many years of letter-writing with various ecclesiastical locations trying to pinpoint their marriage record. They did not marry in Hungary either.
So imagine my delight when Ancestry released the Michigan marriage database ! See Michigan Marriage Records, 1867-1952
The original images are wonderfully preserved and detailed. They have couples' birthplaces, parents, occupations and the name of the pastor/minister who registered the marriage ( which one can cross index with city directories to locate the actual parish to receive more marriage data).
There is an index but with Eastern European searches, I heavily use the side panel BROWSE THIS COLLECTION.
1) Click a record type group ( Certificates or Registers)
2) Decide on a range of dates
3) Under the Description label, choose a location.
Happy Hunting !

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Creating your own Source Template in RootsMagic

I am a veteran PAF1 user. I have been using PAF literally since I was a baby. I did not have a computer but our Family History Center had one and it was love at first sight.

I am lucky that I married someone who is a computer geek. We had an Amiga for years and PAF worked on it. Then progress followed, all the way up to version 5.2. But this is not an article about PAF. When FamilySearch announced that they were discontinuing PAF downloads from their website, I reinvigorated the ROOTS MAGIC ESSENTIALS ( the free version) on my desktop. I have since updated to their current version 7.
Like many genealogists, we have our "staple" data entry genealogy software and then, our prospective ones. Because PAF is gone, I am allowed to flirt with other programs out there. Roots Magic 7 exports spreadsheets so that was a determining factor for me. I also found out you can create your own source templates.

On the RootsMagic Forum, Renee Zamora mentioned that one can create their own source templates which interests me because I use a lot of European sources that just do not cookie-cut into the templates at RootsMagic. So using Elizabeth Shown Mill's Evidence Explained2 examples, it has been an intriguing temptation to create my own.
So get a look at the templates that have been created already at this Roots Magic Homegrown Templates site and see if you like them. By the way, if you working with English records, someone has created GRO templates for your work.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do you know what your ancestral home looks like ?

     When you do research on all your families as you crawl back in time, do you wanderlust about the places they lived in? Of course, as we go further back, our wish list of "travel ancestral home visits" gets bigger!

    Last spring, I had a client and she was traveling to her ancestral village to solve more mysteries. She asked me where my family lived in Abauj- Torna. I mentioned that they were 1/2 mile from the border of Slovakia. One day, I opened my mail, lo and behold, there were pictures of my ancestral village, Jablonca ! And not only of Jablonca but my Grandfather's family ancestral homestead in Hungary ! Still standing and obviously, in beautiful condition and surroundings.  Thank you, Cathy!

  In Hungarian records research, house numbers are noted quite frequently in church and census records so I knew that my Nagy family lived in Jablonca No. 9 [3]  for many generations. Eventually, the only remaining child that lived on, with descendants, immigrated to America and a paternal Aunt lived on at No. 9 Jablonca.

Jablonca 9,by Cathy

Here is my family from Jablonca No. 9:

István NAGY  Born 15 Jan 1842  Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [1]
Christened 16 Jan 1842 Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary   [2] 
married Susanna SEBÖ,  ( b. 16 Jan 1838, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary ) They married on 15 Apr 1863 in
Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [2] (witnesses at their wedding: Pal Zeman & Istvan Lorintz)
1. István NAGY,   b. 25 May 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 25 Sep 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
2. István NAGY,   b. 1 Nov 1865, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 10 Feb 1875, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
3. Lajos NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1869, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 19 Jun 1896, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
4. Maria NAGY,   b. 13 Oct 1871, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 23 Aug 1873, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
5. Joseph NAGY,   b. 19 Jul 1874, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 18 Aug 1953, Toledo, Wood, Ohio,
6. István NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
7. Maria NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 5 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary

4Jablonca from Cathy.JPG.crdownload

1) Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Rec# 2.

2)Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Other Entries.

3)Népszámlálás 1869 (Hungarian 1869 Census) .Author: Magyar Statisztikai Hivatal .(Manuscript/Manuscript on Film,Salt Lake City, Utah.Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998-1999)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Zen & the Art of Genealogical Maintenance


Apply to your genealogical matters :

"You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge".

"The pencil is mightier than the pen.”

“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. ”

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

How many years have you been doing genealogy? What do you have to show for all your hard research, encased in your gedcoms programs on your computers or bundled in file boxes of notebooks and if you found time, you patiently printed out pages of your work. This is not an article about genealogical organization; there are plenty of them out there.  I was recently inspired by Valerie Elkins Brown when ROOTSTECH 2013  live-streamed  her " gen-organization "  talk. Her motto was to give yourself a break and do it your way.

Three things that strikes me these days when I look at my genealogical life  :

1 ) Less is more

2 ) Don't be a genealogical hoarder

3)  Keep it simple.

I have been doing it various ways, for many years, rotating different methods through desktop genealogy software. Life got too busy and there are more challenges in getting the research out there which became more stressful.Then I read this inspiring article written by Lianne LaVoie of "Stories of a Canadian Family" :

Like Lianne, I use Wikitree all the time. I research with one tab open and make a profile in the other tab in WikiTree. Sometimes I categorize the profiles by locations. Sometimes I edit, write some biography or post a follow-through on the sources  I have accessed. WikiTree is a great genealogy cloud if your hardware at home fails. I am not big on uploading gedcoms to public trees so I enter my findings one-by-one manually as I work along which helps me analyze my research deeper. It's extremely convenient to access wherever I am located. It works great on my Kindle Fire when I am traveling.There are many " widgets " to view your input. I like the privacy settings, the geocoding for locations and the printing capabilities. I can also upload images of documentation ( like a free cloud ). I did not mention the side benefit of other family collaborators that found me on WikiTree.

 My core work is still lodged into my computer software and I always have my spreadsheets but it's very liberating to use WikiTree as I can see my work gets out there. I am not going to say anymore on how WikiTree can help you but it's working for me. You can become a guest at to see if the wiki way works for you and then, join, for free.