Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why My Husband's Genealogy Is So Unfair!

Recently, I started working on my husband's family tree. And it is soooo not fair! His genealogy is so much easier than mine.

His family lived in Toledo, Ohio for many generations. Before moving to the city, most of them lived somewhere else in Ohio. I have been amazed by how many details about his family I have found through the Ohio death certificates on FamilySearch Record Search. I'm from Ohio too, but my family was barely ever in Ohio and when they were they would move counties each generation. Adding obituaries from the Toledo Blade on Google's News Archive and I have even more to help me find his ancestors. Add to this the fact that I have barely touched the Toledo city directories available on Footnote and his genealogy has come together easily.

It's not like my genealogy where most of the places where my ancestors lived have little to no online records. It's not like my family tree where I have way too many secondary sources. I have to work to get to the good stuff in my family's history. It's just not fair.

Even when his family immigrates, I have had luck. One of his lines came from Sussex, England and I easily found their passenger list and census records in England. I can barely find passenger lists for my family when someone else tells me the name of the ship they used to travel across the ocean!

Plus his family has jobs! One of the reasons that Valentine BLITZ is my favorite ancestor in my own family tree is that he was a stone mason, not a farmer like everyone else. My husband's family lived in the city and had all sorts of interesting careers (interesting = not farmer).

Even when I get stuck on one of his lines I can figure out a way to get unstuck. This week I was missing one set of great great grandparents from his tree. It bothered me because by adding their information I would "finish" his family tree (well actually just the view in Roots Magic starting with him would be filled). I go on FamilySearch Record Search to their Ohio marriage collection and find the marriage of his great grandparents that give me the parents' names that I was missing. I would like to add that not one of MY ancestors marriages are in this database. And even though it is just a transcription of the record, it tells me exactly where to go to find it in the FHL microfilm.

And the thing that irks me the most about his tree is that it is so well sourced. Even though I learned fast doing my own genealogy, I didn't learn fast enough to get all my sources just right. And his research is all organized from the start because I found a system that worked for me (after 6 months of fixing my old system).

Maybe it's all that I have learned or where his ancestors lived or something else. But I still think it's unfair!

13 comments:

  1. Nice rant...lol. I have a friend (who is not even into genealogy) whose family history has been kept since the beginning of time - or at least it seems that way! I find my self "jealous" of her, because I'm doing such hard, time-consuming work to try to uncover the tiniest details about my family's past, and she just knows all of that stuff about hers, and takes it for granted that everyone does! Maybe one day I'll do a little rant about that! (Oh, I think I just did!) :)

    Renate

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  2. LOVE it! I was recently at the FHL and after three full days was thouroughly disgusted with my family. So I decided to do a quick check for a friend. I managed to get good, reliable, sourced information for four generations (!) in just over an hour.

    Sigh.... At least it was nice to get some kind of results....

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  3. Interesting post... but be careful what you wish for... at least you are researching a lot of US records. All of my pre 1890s family history is hiding in Europe with little hope of me having the time, money or language skills to ever find it.

    But I'm the easy side in my family. My wife is from China, and besides the huge language barrier, records are almost non-existent before the PRC, and many of the recorded family histories (like the one shown for Yo yo Ma on FoA) were destroyed during the cultural revolution.

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  4. There are so many great Ohio resources available. I consider myself very lucky to have found what I have! :)

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  5. My situation is the opposite. My side of the family tree was easy. My husband's side has been nearly impossible, mainly because his paternal line has only been in the US since 1905. Their country of origin was broken up and many of the villages renamed after WWI so it's been a pain finding records.

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  6. Tina, LOL - I have experienced much the same in research my side of the family vs. my husband's. I must admit, when I get discouraged with my tree, I jump to someone on my husband's side for a quick fix of satisfaction. Laura

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  7. I'm having a good chuckle at this....I have a somewhat similar story. Ted's family was primarily in Ohio...two towns...easy documentation and there is also documentation back to the Mayflower on one line....NOW how unfair is that!!!

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  8. I can relate. My husband's Coffins are well researched, which is why I haven't worked on his lines. Of course, all the research inquiries I get are based on the Coffin name. Figures.

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  9. I'm fortunate to have most of my ancestors hail from Scotland where the record keeping is phenomenal! I have had unbelievable luck finding BMD's for just about everyone except one gr. grandmother (who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth!). Even the old OPR's are well documented (provided the families actually registered events - which before 1855 wasn't mandatory). The real "fun" starts when tracing the Irish side of the family. With so many records destroyed in 1922, it makes it interesting. Mind you, the records are easier in Northern Ireland than in the South.

    But just think, if everything was handed to you on a silver platter, where would be the fun in the hunt?

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  10. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks farmer = not interesting. : ) I get so excited when I find someone who has a blacksmith or worked in a mill. Good post!

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  11. Love this post because it reminds me of a friend who always says that she likes my people better than her own because mine are (somewhat) easier to research.

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  12. I sure have run accross quite a few from Luneburg stadt area who have gone to Cinncinatti and Toledo Ohio, I have wondered why. Ill have to check the area out, and hope I can be as lucky as you were with HIS side.

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