27 April 2012

National Genealogical Society Update

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will hold elections for its officers and directors at the annual meeting on Saturday, 12 May 2012, at the NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Members who cannot attend the annual meeting may cast their vote online at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/members_only between 1 April and 1 May 2012. 

26 April 2012

Genealogy Giant Ancestry.com Expands

Ancestry.com Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Archives.com, a family history website, for approximately $100 million in cash and assumed liabilities, the company announced yesterday.

 Ancestry.com will welcome a team of talented engineers, digital marketers, and family history innovators into the Ancestry.com fold and also gain access to a proprietary technology platform that has supported Archives.com's rapid growth.

Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection LLC, a Silicon Valley-based technology company. Since Archives.com's launch in January 2010, the site has rapidly grown to more than 380,000 paying subscribers who pay approximately $39.95 a year. Archives.com offers access to over 2.1 billion historical records, including birth records, obituaries, immigration and passenger lists, historical newspapers, and U.S. and U.K. Censuses.

"Archives.com has built a fantastic and fast-growing business that we think is highly complementary to Ancestry.com's online family history offering," said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. "We love their focus on making family history simple and affordable, and we are excited to help the talented Archives.com team continue to grow alongside Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and Family Tree Maker."

"Family history remains a dynamic and growing online category," added Sullivan. "Archives.com's focus is consistent with our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history, which will help continue our efforts in delivering amazing discoveries to an even broader audience."

Over the past two years, Archives.com has partnered with multiple well-known family history organizations that have helped build out Archives.com robust collection of family history records. Most recently, Archives.com partnered with the U.S. National Archives to provide free digital access to the recently released 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

"We are proud of the experience we've built with Archives.com and believe strongly in its future potential," said Matthew Monahan, CEO and Co-Founder of Inflection. "Combining with Ancestry.com positions Archives.com to best capitalize on that potential, pairing complementary visions of the marketplace and the opportunity. We've long admired Ancestry.com's content and technology and the innovations that the Ancestry.com team continues to bring to market. We're excited to see how this transaction expands the reach of family history to an even larger audience."

Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the HSR waiting period, Ancestry.com will continue to operate Archives.com separately retaining its brand and website. Multiple Inflection employees, including key product and engineering executives are expected to join the Ancestry.com team.

NOTE: The above is a press release dated yesterday from Ancestry.com.

24 April 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Maiden Names

Maiden names are not always the easiest to determine. We all have the one stubborn woman who married into the family and was simply always referred to as Mrs. So and So. Here are some suggestions to help find her maiden name and that next branch:
  • Marriage certificate and/or license application.
  • Social Security application.
  • Children's birth and/or death certificates.
  • Obituary - perhaps a father or brothers are listed.
  • Church records.
  • Engagement and marriage announcement.
  • Census records - often neighbors were related.

23 April 2012

Random Tips & Tidbits

Today's Motivational Monday is a cleaning out of sorts. It is filled with random tips and tidbits. Feel free to add your own tips and tidbits in the "Comments" below the article.

Great resource for fellow Poles is the PGSA - the Polish Genealogical Society of America. Membership is open to anyone doing research within the borders of the old Commonwealth of Poland.

Eastman's Online Genealogical Helper did an article on indentifying an unknown Civil War soldier. That reminded me that I need to get back working on my Van Horn line. My third great grandfather had a brother BENJAMIN VAN HORN who served the UNION in the CIVIL WAR. I know very little of his service however and would love to delve into that are more.

I received this picture above from a family member descended directly from Benjamin. The plaque shows he was a Prisoner of War.
Social Security Numbers.
We all have one - or at least we should! The Ancestry Insider wrote "Social Security Death Index Redactions" about Ancestry.com removing the SSDI Index. Are they really important? Heck yea! While sorting through may various random information, I came across something I pulled off of a forum on AOL back when AOL was still the be all and all and before Gore even thought to claim he invented the net! On a social security application one can find the name, address, age and birthday, employment, place of birth, parents names, sex, race, date of application and thier signature. The NUMBER is made up of three parts, as you may have noticed from your own. This is especially helpful if your ancestors moved around or are hard to find. Mine got to Pennsylvania and stayed so no big surprise that they all begin with a PA number. That's right. The first three numbers are what's called the "area". Pennsylvania numbers range from 159 to 211. So someone from that state would be - for example - 164-xx-xxxx. The second part is a group number and the third is a serial number. The serial number would be given in the order they were processed. Even if your great grandparents were processed at the same time, does not mean that there was not any one else in the state who wasn't being processed at the same time, so therefore their numbers may not be in order.
Document! Document! Document!
This should be the official mantra of genealogists! Back in February the National Genealogy Society (NGS) announced a new course, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation. The course is a three module self paced course and includes basic principles and applying those citation principles. The course is $30 for members and $45 for non members. For more information, go to www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/guide_documentation_sourcecitation.

Awhile back, I wrote a piece concerning the Rosenbaum Bank in Philadelphia. I needed to follow up after receiving a question from a reader. According to Jessica Lydon, Associate Archivist for the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Temple University Libraries, "one did not need to be Jewish to utilize the services at M. Rosenbaum and Co. or any other private "immigrant" bank or steamship agency. These were common establishments during the immigration boom of the early 20th century. Many immigrant communities established these businesses in neighborhoods all across America, although primarily Italian immigrants." She then also provided a link to the SCRC's digital collection of steamship ticket purchase ledgers to access more information about steamship agents in Philadelphia and immigrant banking: http://digital.library.temple.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16002coll16 .
I found an email conversation with the Chester County Historical Society concerning the record of declaration for naturalization for my great grandfather John KURENDA. His date of declaration was 14 October 1935. The book was #9. The petition # was 3138. I had evidently asked how much would it cost to have them mail me a copy or if I could simply pop down and retrieve it myself. Well, I must have got sidetracked because the email is from last August and I still have not made it to West Chester. Another item moved up the To Do List!

Facebook has been helpful lately as well. I "joined" several relevant groups including one on Polish Genealogy. The help received has been great. I also joined the Lancaster Genealogy group so I can possibly give back a little as well.
And finally, since this IS a daily prompt (Motivational Monday) from GeneaBloggers, I thought it interesting to note that I found an old email from Thomas MacEntee. The email concerned Genealogical Gems being added to his already huge database of genealogy blogs.

NOTE: This entry was updated Monday, 21 July 2014

21 April 2012

Sorting Saturday -- My Inbox

I love collecting genealogy and local history books. It doesn't matter if it pertains to my specific lines or not. There is just something exciting about looking through physical books and finding information pertaining to the family or the location. I also lately have been storing up my emails. My mail server has told me - very nicely - that it is high time I sort and delete.


Under my Inbox I have several folders. One of which is titled Genealogy. As emails come in they get thrown into their respective "deal with it later" folders. Unfortunately genealogy does not pay the bills; it merely feeds the soul. Hence, many genealogy related emails go in that folder to be dealt with later. Today is later!

As I go through them I would like to include here random tidbits that appear helpful in a general sense. In other words if I find a link specifically on Ruczhaks, that would be interesting to a select few people. However if I find something on "The Moving Borders of Austria, Poland, Ukraine" then more than just my specific family might be interedted and I will comment here about it. By the way don't get excited I do not have anything (that I know of) pertaining to that title ... although it does give me a great article idea ...

As most of you know, the 1940 Census is out! Have you found your family yet? I found some of mind. Others are still stubborn. In any case, one email linked http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1940s.html. It gives examples of 1940 prices and helps put things into some perspective. Using my paternal grandparents as an example ... my grandfather reported making $600 in 1939 as a bartender in a tavern. Wow could you imagine trying to make it on that today! However this site -- http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1940s.html -- tells me that the average 1940 income was $1725. So for a small depressed town (Coatesville, PA), my grandfather didn't do too bad that first year of marriage. Incidently, a gallon of gas in 1940 was 11 cents. Today it is just shy of $4 a gallon!

Some emails I have saved turn out to be disappointing. For example, I subscribe to "The Genealogy News" and one of their links of the day recently was "Researching Genealogy in Land Records
(Source: Genealogy Insider via RSS Feed, 18/Apr/2012) " It appears tobe a great resource but for me personally it was disappointing since I already have several books on land records and I've already done so for several lines in my two main counties. Incidently, a word of advice here - even if you think you know the answer, ask the local librarian or aide for assistance. They often know obscure facts about the area or the people from other researchers.

One fellow blog that is almost always interesting is Eastman's Online Genealogical Helper. Some emails are simply reminder type emails. By this I mean, one newsletter linked "Understanding Probate Records Review (Source: BellaOnline Genealogy via RSS Feed, 17/Apr/2012)." While most of the article seemed to be a regurve of another work, it was still helpful since I always feel overwhelmed going through probate records. Not worth saving anymore but definitly worth the read.

Some emails link off to other reseracher's blogs, some of which are indeed interesting. For example the woman who writes Olive Tree Genealogy has to downsize her collection. After reading this blog entry, I really hope she writes during the progress and a final "this is how i did it" kind of article! I'm not downsizing but I am in an apartment so space is limited.

Well I am only thru a small portion of my emails but I was also able to put some emails - family related ones - into their proper folders and respond to a few as well. So all in all it was a good Sorting Saturday. Unfortunately ... I think we're going to continue next week, o if you liked this rambling, stay tuned!

04 April 2012

Ruczhaks found on the 1940 Census

The 1940 Census has finally been released. Ancestry.com, and other genealogy help sites, are still indexing the images and making it all pretty so it is easier for all of us.

I chose 1940 under the census choices. It them asked me to select my State and county then municipality. Since I knew my grandparents were living in Rock Run at the time, I chose them to start with. I chose then Pennsylvania - Chester County - Valley Township. I found them!

There was Gigi - my grandfather! Joseph Ruczhak, age 21, shows up married to my Baba (grandmother) Anna, age 19. The couple above them - John and Catherine Yuzwiak - are Baba's sister and brother in law. Notice the circle "X" next to baba's name? That indicates that she was the one who provided the information to the census taker.

One question I do have concerns with the schooling. Baba shows that the highest grade she attended was 8th grade which was normal for that time. Gigi however has an "H4" in that column. I noticed some others have similar notes but I am not sure what that means ... yet!

On the right is a section for those over 14 years of age concerning work. Gigi worked. Baba did not. She did mark that she was engaged in housework. The 1940 census shows my grandfather as being a bartender in a tavern.

As Ancestry.com continues to finish indexing the 1940 Census, more additions and changes will be made. For example, one addition is a highlight feature that will calculate birth years when you mouse over. So in Gigi's case he is 21 in 1940. The highlight will read something similar to "He is 21 so he was born in 1919." In actuality my grandfather was born in January 1918. Over the next several months, another highlight feature is expected. This will literally highlight the entire household.

The good side -- I'm excited! I am hoping to fill in some missing pieces.
The bad side -- I am really have to workon my self-discipline. I don't see much other work getting done for awhile!

Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.