New at Ancestry

Posted This Week

Weekly Planner: Research an Ancestral Voyage

Search for information on the ship or type of ship your ancestor traveled on. How long didClipper ship Three Brothers, 2972 tons: The largest sailing ship in the world, from Ancestry Historical Photo Collection the voyage take? What were conditions like? How much was the fare? There are plenty of websites and books devoted to the topic. Answers may be as close as your computer, your local bookstore, or library, and the insights you gain will go far in giving your family story depth and interest. For some ideas on the resources available, see Searching for Ships and Learning About Immigrant Conditions. 

Image is from Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Using Ancestry: The Hamburg Passenger List Database, by Juliana Smith

Hamburg Hafenpartie (Hamburg Port portion), Postcard from Ancestry Historical Postcard CollectionThe recent posting of the Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 at Ancestry had me digging for my paternal ancestors once again, several of whom I’m convinced must have swam over. I was able to find several interesting records though and I thought I’d share some tips for searching this new collection.

Searching and Reading German
First off, it’s important to note that the lists, created in Hamburg, Germany, are in German. Don’t let that dissuade you though. They are on printed forms and there are several translation tools out there that can help you with the headings. Continue reading

Tombstone Imagery, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Smolenyak tombstoneI’m not sure which I prefer. I just read an article in Business 2.0 (page thirty-two of the December 2006 issue, in case you’re curious) called “YouTube for Dead Guys.” It’s all about Vidstone, a company that provides solar-powered videos for tombstones. If you want to see what I mean, spend a little time poking around

Video Tributes
I’ve heard of such services before, although the solar-powered option is new to me–not a bad idea since it averts the potentially damaging need to tear up cemetery grounds to route electricity to individual tombstones. And I understand that the video tributes are essentially done Ken Burns-style, with slow pans over photos provided by the family. An audio track is provided and the panel-covered console (designed to protect against folks who regard tombstone tipping and desecration as some sort of entertainment) even includes a headphone jack so other cemetery visitors need not be disturbed. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Seek Out Diaries, by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

Diaries. Have you ever really thought about using diaries in researching your female ancestors? Many women kept diaries for their early traveling from home to a new home in the “wilderness.” One early Ohio settler kept not only a diary of her journey from the old country, but included marvelous drawings to supplement her words. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a vacation following her route through the United States to her final destination?

My great-grandmother (while not the artist like the woman mentioned above) gave insight to her life during the Depression. She wrote of her son going to Detroit, Michigan, to find work; daily cleaning, laundry, canning, and mending; plus visits to family and doctors, where she complained mightily of the cost. One thing that stands out in her memoirs was her marvelous sense of humor. While she recounted her birthdays and one son-in-law’s gift of money matching her age, she commented about being older so she could get more!

You may not have the creative writer in your family’s history, so check historical societies, genealogical societies, and published diaries for people who lived in the same area as your family. Who knows? You may even find mention about your relatives in a long-lost journal!

The Year Was 1816

Secretary of State and Treasurer's Office, 1816-1825, Corydon, IndianaThe year was 1816 and it was known as “The Year without a Summer,” or “Eighteen hundred and froze to death.” It is thought that unusual weather conditions in 1816 were the result of the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia the previous year and several other major eruptions in the years prior. In New England, cold waves, drought, and an erratic growing season marked with frosts meant poor harvests.

Te extreme weather and poor harvests weren’t confined to the U.S. either.
Europe also saw famine, exacerbated by post-war conditions left following the Napoleonic Wars. In Switzerland, the government had to put out information on what plants were edible to keep people from eating poisonous vegetation. Germans baked straw and sawdust into bread to make up for the food shortages, and the UK and Ireland were hit with famine as well, so much so that the British government suspended the income tax. In Ireland, it rained for 142 of 153 summer days, and the damp conditions are thought to have led to the typhus epidemic that hit in 1817-18. The famine there is estimated to have killed 737,000 people. Continue reading

Photo Corner

Meishele Mozesson, at age 92Contributed by George Mason
This is a copy of a photograph, taken in 1861 in Lithuania, of my fourth great grandfather Meishele Mozesson, at age 92. He was born in 1769 (the same year as Napoleon) in the Kingdom of Poland and died in 1862.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Gertrude (four years old) and Ella (three years old) WellhausenContributed by Cheryl Schulte
This is a photo of my grandmother and her sister taken in 1899 and which was dubbed “Dancing Darlings of Macomb County, MI.”  They are Gertrude (four years old) and Ella (three years old) Wellhausen, the daughters of George Wellhausen and Amelia (Schluessler) Wellhausen.  Gertrude later married Hugo Kolberg and died in 1973 and Ella married Elmer Schulte and died in 1989.

3rd Annual Genealogy & Family Heritage Jamboree, 09-10 February 2007, St. George, Utah

My Ancestors Found, a local Utah business, has pinpointed St. George, Utah as the place to be February 9-10, 2007. Family history and genealogy enthusiasts will be gathering at the Dixie Convention Center – 1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George, Utah and will not be disappointed with the more than 100 classes being offered to help you jump start the process. The great thing about this is you don’t even have to have Utah roots.

Presentations for beginning or expanding your family history have an “International Flare!”

Come learn how to locate exciting documents that detail the life of your ancestor in North America; England; Ireland; Germany; Italy; Sweden, Central & South America and Mexico; and more! Continue reading

Ancestry Adds Hamburg Emigration Lists, 1850-1934

Hamburg American Packet Co's Piers, Hoboken, New Jersey and the ship Ancestry has added the Hamburg Emigration Lists, 1850-1934 to its Immigration Collection. This database contains images of passenger lists of ships departing from the port of Hamburg, Germany from 1850-1934 (except for 1915-1919 during WWI). These records were created by the Staatsarchiv Hamburg and have been digitized from microfilm in partnership with them. The years 1890-1913 are searchable, with the names found in the index linked to actual images of the passenger lists, Unindexed images from 1850-1890 can be browsed by year.

The Hamburg passenger lists are a great source for researchers with ancestors from central and eastern Europe as approximately one-third of the people from these areas who emigrated did so through Hamburg. If you do not know the place of origin of your ancestor, the Hamburg, Germany Passenger Lists is a great place to begin looking for that information. Continue reading