Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Respect for Indexers

I have been participating in the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project this weekend. This has been a first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. I started off with several of the beginning projects and my arbitration results were 96%, so I gradually moved up to the intermediate batches.

I have been working on indexing Kentucky marriage records. Some records date as far back as 1861 and others as late as 1940. I love the idea of giving back to the genealogy community, and it has definitely been exciting. Most of the records were clear and fairly legible, while others were more difficult to read. This project has given me a much deeper respect for all of the volunteers who have all ready given so much of their time to index the billions of records I take for granted on FamilySearch and other databases. I encourage others to join the indexing project and help make more records available online. By volunteering, you are giving back to the community and making it possible for others to find their ancestors.

Want to help? Click here to go to FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project and get started today!

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Know More Than You Think - Ask the Right Questions

Recently, I was able to do some research for a very good friend of mine. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young and although she had limited contact with her over the years, she didn't know that much about her mother's family. She was no longer able to get more information since her mother passed away a few years ago. She had also lost touch with her mother's siblings and longed to reconnect.

Her mother had been adopted when she was a young girl, and I had done previous research on the adopted family, but she was eager to find information on the biological family. This summer I made it my priority to help her find out where she came from.

I would talk to her and gather information, do some research and call her back. Each time I talked to her, I was able to obtain new information. The key was asking very specific questions. Even though she thought she had given me all of the information she had, I discovered that she neglected to tell me certain stories because she didn't think they were important. There were also times when I would tell her what I had found, and that would trigger a vague memory, which in turn brought about new discoveries.

I'm happy to say that she now has information on two new grandparents and four new great-grandparents on her mother's side. I was also able to locate records on her aunt and uncle and used that information to track them down using social media. She was so excited to get this information and she has since talked to both of them by phone several times and has even reconnected with cousins she hasn't seen since she was very young.

Just goes to show that even when a person thinks they don't have much information, they usually have more than they believe they do.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Census Sunday - Eliza Ann (Wickliffe) Wright 1840-1899

This is the 1870 Federal U.S. Census for Tom Township, Benton, Missouri. This is one of my favorite census records, because three of my Wickliffe ancestors are enumerated in a row. My third great-grandfather Charles Wickliffe is enumerated first, just under him is his son, my second great-grandfather William H. Wickliffe, and next is William's sister, Eliza Ann Wickliffe enumerated with her first husband William Harrison Wright.

Eliza Ann Wickliffe and William Harrison Wright married on 14 Jan 1858 in Benton, Missouri. I found them in the 1860 census as a young couple without any children. A decade later, they are listed with three children.

I am working on the descendants of Eliza Wickliffe and William Wright. The transcription for the Wright household is as follows:

* William Wright, 35, Male, White, Farmer, Personal Estate Value - $500, born in Virgina, male U.S. citizen 21 years and up
* Eliza Wright, 30, Female, White, Keeping house, born in Indiana
* Ellen Wright, 11, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri, attended school, cannot write
* Alfred L. Wright, 4, Male, White, at home, born in Missouri
* Laura Wright, 1, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri

By the 1880 Census, William Wright is not listed. According to Find-a-grave, he died in 1876. Eliza married Alfred F. Wight on 17 Dec 1876 and is enumerated with him in the 1880 census. It lists another child, Celeste, 6 years old, as being Alfred's step-daughter. So it appears that Eliza and William Wright had at least 4 children before his death. The 1880 census also lists two more children in the home: Ruffian, male, 2 years, and Daisy D., female, age 4 months. These are Eliza's children by Alfred. I have not discovered any other children as of yet. Eliza Ann Wright died in 1899 according to Find-a-grave.

The source citation for this census is as follows:

Benton, Missouri, population schedule, Tom Township, sheet 283B, page 20 (handwritten), line 18, dwelling #139, family #150, William Wright household; digital image; ( : accessed 15 May 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 759. 

FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event

I received an email invitation this morning. FamilySearch is looking for volunteers to help with their worldwide indexing project. It is a 3-day long project running from July 15-17, 2016.

FamilySearch is a free site that has helped me solve several family mysteries over the years. I have found many wonderful records on FamilySearch that I couldn't find on any other site. If it wasn't for other volunteers giving freely of their time, I might never have found the documents I needed. 

I love looking at old records and I want to be a part of making these historical records free and searchable. I have already downloaded the indexing software, and I'm excited to begin on this project. If you would like to be a part of something bigger and help make more records available, click here to join the FamilySearch Indexing Event!

Let's make more records freely searchable on the internet and help families find their ancestors!