Saturday, October 25, 2014

HOW TO DISSECT A CEMETERY











have numerous ancestors buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, New Hartford, Oneida County, New York, so I decided to study my family burials in this cemetery in greater depth. I hoped to discover people I might have missed, other individuals who married into the family, etc. The following is a list of the steps I took and some suggestions for future research.

STEP 1 – MAKE A CHART

I started with a chart that looked like this: 



STEP 2 – TRANSCRIBE INFORMATION FROM PHOTOGRAPHS OF GRAVESTONES

I have been to this cemetery many times and have taken photographs of every person I think could be remotely related to me.  From the photographs, I entered information into the chart. I listed the deceased individuals in order of death. The earliest deaths were listed first. As I proceeded, I added footnotes documenting where I located the information.

If you don’t have photographs of gravestones for your ancestors in a particular cemetery, jump to Step 3.

STEP 3 – GO TO FINDAGRAVE AND LOCATE THE CEMETERY. THEN DO A SEARCH FOR SURNAMES OF INTEREST

I then went to Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com) and selected Cemetery Search. I clicked the drop down box and selected New York, then Oneida County and then Search. From the resulting list I chose Green Lawn Cemetery.  Once I found that, I entered one of my surnames and received a list of all the people with that surname buried in that cemetery. I then compared the results with my chart.  You can also check out Billion Graves (http://billiongraves.com) and add their information, if it differs.  

STEP 4 – GO TO INTERMENT.NET AND ADD ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS SECTION NUMBER AND RELATIONSHIPS

I then went to Interment.net (http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/oneida/greenlawn/index.htm). Here I found information items such as the section in which someone was buried and sometimes notes about their family. I entered this information into my chart. As a general rule, families are buried together unless the purchased cemetery lot runs out of room. In that case, additional family members may be buried in the same cemetery in a newer section. By looking at the section numbers, you may be able to guess possible family relationships.

STEP 5 – GO TO OLD FULTON NY POSTCARDS, CHRONICLING  AMERICA OR ANY OF THE MANY HISTORIC NEWSPAPER WEBSITES

At this point my chart was several pages long. My next step was to see if I could find newspaper articles about the deaths of the people on my chart.  The death dates were all conveniently in order.  As I discovered death notices or obituaries, I entered the information onto my chart, again being sure to footnote my sources. 



STEP 6 – CHECK DEATHINDEXES.COM

I then went to the Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records available at http://www.deathindexes.com. New information was added to my chart. 

STEP 7—VISIT LEGACY.COM

I then searched Legacy.com (www.legacy.com) for the individuals who had died in the recent past. There is even a guest book where loved ones can add comments.  If you are lucky, you will find a photograph.




I now have a wonderful chart of my Marsh, Cutler and Park ancestors as well as collateral relatives (Cullen, Garnsey and Kaelin) in that cemetery. As I find more information, I can add to this master list. By getting organized, I surprised myself. I found new people to add to my tree, and I was able to add details to existing individuals.

Once you have your basic chart filled in with the above “free” information, you can then supplement the data in countless ways. The chart can be expanded with more columns or you can simply add additional information into the miscellaneous category. You could even attach a map of the cemetery.

Here are some ways to add more information to your chart:

  • Obtain death certificates.
  • Visit the cemetery and note the condition/type of stone, neighboring stones, etc.
  • Contact the cemetery sexton.
  • See if you can find church records for death information. Check FamilySearch.org.
  • Search the Social Security Death Index, which is located on Ancestry.com, GenealogyBank.com, FamilySearch.org, Stevemorse.org and elsewhere.
  • If you have a subscription to Ancestry.com, do searches in the “Death, Burial, Cemetery & Obituaries” database.
  • Explore the Family History Catalog (https://familysearch.org/catalog-search) for cemeteries in your place of interest. If you find something promising, order the microfilm. Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution often compiled cemetery records, and those records were frequently filmed.  You may find information in their records that is no longer available. With time, gravestones sometimes sink into the earth or disappear entirely. Cemeteries can be vandalized and gravestones can be destroyed.
  • Check out The USGenWeb Project (http://usgenweb.org) to see if they have cemetery records for your area of interest.
  • Contact local historical and genealogical societies. They often have files on the various cemeteries in their area.
  • Contact libraries near the cemetery to see if they have cemetery books.
  • Contact local funeral homes to see if they allow access to records of persons buried in that cemetery.
  • And don’t forget home sources, such as Bibles, funeral cards, scrapbook entries, etc.

This would be a fun project for you to do over the long winter.  And once you finish one cemetery, there are many more to go!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Trees & Leaves, 2004.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

RESOURCES TO NAVIGATE THE WELSH MAZE

For some time I have been collecting useful links for learning about Wales and the Welsh. Today I thought I would share some of these resources with you in case you too are trying to sort through the maze of repetitive names, such as William Williams, Richard Pritchard, Hugh Hughes – well, you get the picture. I sometimes think the Welsh really wanted to remain anonymous.



MISCELLANEOUS LINKS








A SAMPLING OF WELSH RESOURCES ON FAMILYSEARCH









HISTORY OF WALES



NEWSPAPERS/PERIODICALS



LEARNING THE LANGUAGE




THE WELSH IN VARIOUS U.S. STATES




Jane Owen Williams
1860-1941


BOOKS ABOUT WALES OR THE WELSH

Sunday, October 5, 2014

STRIKING PAY DIRT ON GOOGLE

While watching television the other night, I decided to do a little family history research on Google—nothing serious.  I have Googled my poor family to death, so I didn’t expect to find anything new. My search was:

“Marquis ? Scripture”

As used in the above example, the question mark wild card will give you an assortment of hits with different middle names, middle initials or no middle name at all.  As background, Marquis Scripture was my 2nd great grandfather. He is a bit of a mystery because his father is unknown, and he took the surname of his mother, Marilda Scripture.



 The first few hits were nothing new to me, but then I came upon my hit of the century:

” Supreme Court Appellate Court Division – Page 15 – Google Books...” (1)

This search result was from the Last Will and Testament of Harriet Scripture, Marquis’ wife. (2) Harriet’s maiden name was Bowles, and she was my 2nd great grandmother.  The Last Will and Testament was an exhibit to a court case in the Supreme Court Appellate Division in the State of New York filed by George R. Taylor [my great grand uncle] against Claude W. Goodenough [not my ancestor]. (3) The case involved a contract dispute over approximately fifty acres of land in Oneida County, New York. (4)  I learned that the land had been in my family with various family owners from the mid-1800s to 1924. (5)  There were a number of deeds attached as exhibits from different years among assorted family members.   

As I browsed the document I found page after page filled with genealogical information on many people with different surnames in my family tree.  There were leases, warranty deeds, quit-claim deeds, title searches, a number of Last Wills and Testaments, affidavits, the Plaintiff’s Brief and the Defendant’s Brief.  I had struck pay dirt! If I had searched for these documents in the Oneida County, New York courthouse, it would have taken hours. I don’t live in New York, so going to that courthouse is not a frequent event. But, here, I had the documents delivered to my computer screen in minutes!  I know that good genealogists always attempt to locate the original documents, and now, thanks to the documents being file date stamped, that task will be much easier.




So what have I learned from this event?
  • Don’t stop doing occasional Internet searches on your family, because new material is posted all the time.
  • Deeds are an incredible genealogical source. By looking at the neighboring landowners to a parcel of property, you may very well find a relative or ancestor.
  • Legal cases are another wonderful source of ancestral information. You would be surprised how often people got into legal tangles. 
  • It is important to utilize wild cards in your searches because these aids hone in on the information you need to find. You’ll get better results, and it will save you time.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Blanche Cirker, ed., "1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments," Electronic Clip Art, 2006, Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) “Exhibit B,” The Last Will and Testament of Harriet Scripture, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, Submission of Controversy Upon Agreed Statement of Facts, O. Gregory Burns, Attorney for Plaintiff, and Pirnie Pritchard, Attorney for the Defendant, State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division – Fourth Department, Goodenow Printing Company, Inc ., p. 15 (books.google.com/books?id=_dNcbuwGNScC : accessed 5 Oct 2014).

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Statement of Facts, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, Submission of Controversy Upon Agreed Statement of Facts, O. Gregory Burns, Attorney for Plaintiff, and Pirnie Pritchard, Attorney for the Defendant, State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division – Fourth Department, Goodenow Printing Company, Inc ., p. 1 (books.google.com/books?id=_dNcbuwGNScC : accessed 5 Oct 2014).

(5) Ibid., Statement of Facts, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, p. 11.