Thursday, May 28, 2009

The First Name Game

The First Name Game

The Name is the Same

Lizzie Rampley had some explaining to do to the pension department when she applied for her husband James' Civil War pension. There was a problem. Her name on the marriage license to James Rampley indicated she was born Nancy Newman, not Lizzie. The difference needed to be explained. Some potential pension claims were fraudulent, and Lizzie would have to explain why she married under one first name and was applying under another one. Inconsistent names in applications gave government officials reasonable cause to be suspicious.

There was a reason for the name difference, and it had nothing to do with fraud. The story is partially explained in the pension file itself with an affidavit from Lizzie's sister-in-law, Nancy Rampley.

The rest of the article can be viewed on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter which ran on 7 May 2009 .

Bridging the Biography

Bridging the Biography

Biographies from county histories are an excellent genealogical source. Today many of these county histories, particularly those from the later nineteenth century, have been digitized and placed on the Internet. Thousands of them can be downloaded for free. This week we look at a biography of a Boston native and see what clues it tells us about his life and how to organize the personal details the biography contained.

The 1882 biography of Andrew Trask is fairly short, but full of information.

The complete article ran on 19 May 2009 and can be viewed on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter site.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Multiple Obituaries

Multiple Obituaries

Two are better than one.

Genealogists are usually advised to obtain as many records as possible. While sometimes this is not always practical, it is generally good practice to get information from a variety of sources. Multiple records of the same event may provide different or conflicting information. This week we look at my Irish forebear whose obituaries unfortunately provide few details as to his origins.
The rest of Multiple Obituaries appears on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsetter website.
This article provides a nice analysis of two obituaries for Irish immigrant Samuel Neill who died in 1912 as well as suggestions for locating additional obituary copies. This article originally appeared on 15 April 2009.

Finding Gesche

Finding Gesche

Tracking the entire family is excellent genealogical advice. Sometimes it is easier said than done, especially when the ancestor was married three times, had children over a twenty-year time span, and moved from place to place. Keeping the various relatives, in-laws, and step-relatives straight is a never-ending yet important struggle. To find the "desired" person, many times it is necessary to research the extended family as well in hopes that they left behind clues about the person for whom I am actually searching.

So it was in locating the entire set of siblings for my ancestor Noentje Grass. Born in Backemoor, Germany, in 1848. The rest of the story continues in Finding Gesche, which is the story of my search for Gesche Fecht Weerts Grass Heyen, my step-great-great-great-grandmother.

This column originally appeared on 21 April 2009.

Getting the Most from a Christening

Getting the Most from a Christening

For some of our ancestors, church membership and ceremonies were important. And if the church was important to our ancestors, the records of their church membership should be important to our research. This week we take a look at a foreign language baptismal entry and see what it does (and does not) tell us about the child and its family. In this case, avoiding misinterpreting the handwriting is important as well. This article originally appeared on 1 May 2009 and discusses the christening entry for Louisa Trautvetter from the 1880s in Illinois in a German-speaking church.