We get the most interesting questions from our members at email@example.com, and please keep those questions coming! While we can’t get to all of them, we have found some really challenging and interesting questions to share this year. Here were your favorites:
This was the most popular column this year, and I suspect it is because we all have ancestors who don’t want to be found.
The searches for this article centered on the census records and our readers came up with a lot of good suggestions to help finding those elusive ancestors:
The title alone made this one popular! And the question was a good one - why was this woman listed as a concubine, and how do you sort that out. My favorite comment on that post was from Roxie Moreland:
I had a relative that showed up on a census with an occupation of “harlot” It was during the Civil War and she was a widow. Not the most desirable occupation but you have to do what you have to do to keep body and soul together.
Roxie, you have a very practical approach to the past. We have to report the facts that we find and not whitewash our history. And these types of ancestors are somehow just a lot more interesting than all those farmers, aren’t they?
Identifying your ancestress’ maiden name can be tricky. In May, I walked through an example with some suggestions on where to start. Member Linda Bartlett came up with an excellent suggestion: Read through local and county histories for clues about the people, family histories and migration patterns that may lead you down the right track. She also gave us these words of advice:
SOLUTION: noodle, noodle, noodle with curiosity & patience. And enjoy the finds!
Couldn’t agree more! Sometimes walking away from a problem and thinking about it will help you come up with a new idea or approach.
We started with a wonderful newspaper clipping and a family story that our member was a descendant of one of the signers of the declaration of independence. And although we didn’t completely solve the puzzle we did move it a few steps closer to an answer, making the family legend seem likely.
We also discovered that it is possible for sisters to be sister-in-laws; they just have to marry brothers. This happens more than you might think.
Some ancestors don’t seem to leave much of a paper trail. I recommend starting with:
I hope you all have smashed a brick wall or two and uncovered a great story about the past along the way. And hopefully 2014 will be even better!
Ancestry.com digitizes millions of records to make them available online, and we find some really amazing records in the process. The Ancestry team goes through thousands of pieces of paper – turning pages, flipping and scanning, and sometimes, one of our team members will spot someone famous, a historical figure or an important historical… Read more
Want a professional genealogist to work on your family tree? Would you like to try the AncestryDNA test? Think a photo album highlighting your research would make a good anniversary gift? Then enter the Branch Out contest for your chance to win a Family History Package valued over $3,000 USD! We are giving away six (6) of… Read more
Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. With all that going on, you very well may have missed something good in the Ancestry.com world. Let’s review! Blog Posts Ancestry.com Daughters of Utah Pioneers What Kind of Beard Did Your Ancestor Sport? Thanksgivukkah and Family History Every Picture Contains a Story New Content: Vets, Criminals, Immigrants, and Engineers… Read more
During a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I stopped by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP) and the Pioneer Memorial Museum. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers was organized 11 April 1901 in Salt Lake City when Annie Taylor Hyde, a daughter of John Taylor (president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), invited a group of… Read more
We hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday! Now as the smell of turkey disappears and the food coma fades, we wanted to share a fun photo we found in our Library of Congress Database and a good cause. Movember is a global organization dedicated to generating awareness and raising funds for men’s health issues. Movember… Read more
Hanukkah began last night. For the first time since 1888, the Jewish holiday coincides with Thanksgiving here in the United States. Not only that, but Thanksgivukkah will not happen for another 79,000 years. So, families are finding unique ways to celebrate the two holidays together. I’ve seen turkey menorahs and fall colored dreidels. I even… Read more
How many times have you heard that a “picture is worth a thousand words”? Finding old family photographs is every genealogist’s dream. Ancestry users understand the priceless value of a picture from the past, even a faded or damaged one. With the tools we have today, they can be repaired right on the computer screen… Read more
It’s been a good week for new content, a little something to be thankful for as you get ready for the holiday. Pennsylvania offered veterans bonus compensation claimed by men in the Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Applications, WWII, 1950, database. You’ll find more than 1,100 sketches of immigrants or immigrant families in New England, The Great Migration and… Read more
Have you ever wondered how an area might have changed over a 10, 25 or even 75 year period of time? We came across this project from Kerényi Zoltán, an architect and a photographer from Hungary, who has blended old Hungarian photography with modern day scenes to show how people and places in his country have changed… Read more
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