Your Quick Tips, 10 December 2007

Researching the Landscape
I live in a rural county and do a lot of research for people who cannot come to our area. They frequently want to know what the area is like. We describe the (lack of) roads, the flat land, etc.
I recently decided to try the same thing for my children and grandchildren. Our roots are heavy in Pennsylvania. When one drives through there it is lovely to see the tiny communities tucked in between the mountains. I am going to start taking photos of the areas our roots grew in. Since we were there pre-Revolutionary War, I have started reading articles describing the hardships at that time.
My grandmother was born in Nebraska in 1903. Most of the housing there was sod houses. She and her two oldest brothers were born there. I have done some Web searching and located photos of several types of sod houses and have printed them off.
Families are so much more than names and dates. This is making ours come alive.
Gloria Hall

Save Old Address Books
Don’t overlook old address books for some surprise connections. My grandfather died at ninety-two, and he kept the same address book for years. In this address book, addresses were updated by simply marking through and adding the new above or below. Some of the names had kinship shown, as in “Oliver’s granddaughter.” There was also a separate Christmas card list.
I was actually able to take some of these names and locations and connect to a lost branch of my family. Some of the older address books are almost a family history in themselves. Be sure to keep them when old papers and items are sorted through after a death.
Cheryl Parsons

Widowed May Not Mean Widowed
Don’t assume that “wd” means widowed in the census. There were many more divorces in the nineteenth and early twentieth century than one would guess. However, many women listed themselves as “widowed” rather than divorced; and men would list themselves as “single.” The women would typically have children with them, so could not easily state that they were “single.” Many times the men did not have the children, so they could more easily call themselves “single” without much question. Do not count the former spouse dead until you find a death record. I have found this situation several times in my family lines.

Tom Humphrey
Jacksonville, Alabama

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5 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 10 December 2007

  1. Oh, yes, the “widowed” category — Tom, you are so right. I have also found that used — once when the wife was in a hospital for the insane. No wonder I couldn’t locate her death record when I thought I should!

  2. how did you find the hospital for th insane? i beleive one of my relatives might have been in one.

  3. I have found that women with post-natal depression in the early days in Australia, were put in gaols with the crimials and were neglected until they “came to their right senses” and could then be released to their husbands. Can you imagine what happened when a woman had 10 children??

    Comment by Mercy

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