Common Surnames: Finding Your Smiths

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Whether your ancestor was a Smith, Jones, Brown, or Johnson, Juliana Szucs Smith will share tips for tracking them down. Using charts, spreadsheets, search tips, and a little common sense, you’ll leave this class with some ideas for narrowing your search.

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Common Surnames: Finding Your Smiths

  1. 1. Juliana Szucs Smith 6 February 2014 Common Surnames: Finding Your Smiths 1
  2. 2. Your Ancestor Was Unique • Looking for the things that make your ancestor stand out and assembling the information. • Create a search strategy. • Zeroing in on their location with records and tools. • Putting what you’ve found to work.
  3. 3. What makes your ancestor unique? • Create a profile of your ancestor • Names (given, middle, and nicknames) • Occupations • Birth date and place • Residence • Religious affiliation • Autograph • Family structure • Friends, neighbors, business associates, sponsors, witnesses, etc. • Anomalies
  4. 4. Create a Profile
  5. 5. Where do we find the details? • Older relatives According to Aunt Olive, “[Catherine’s] family were the Kellys of 12th Street.”
  6. 6. Where do we find the details? • Older relatives • Letters and correspondence
  7. 7. Where do we find the details? • Older relatives • Letters and correspondence • Documents
  8. 8. Where do we find the details? • Older relatives • Letters and correspondence • Documents • Photographs (Look for house numbers and match them to directories.)
  9. 9. Where do we find the details? • Older relatives • Letters and correspondence • Documents • Photographs • Books • Heirlooms
  10. 10. Records!! Extract every single clue, every single fact, from every single record you can find on him or her.
  11. 11. Have a Search Strategy • Start wide and grab lowhanging fruit with a global search. • Big 3 − Name − Residence − Age/year of birth
  12. 12. Putting the Details to Work with a Search Advanced Search Can Give You an Edge.
  13. 13. Advanced Search Options • Name options
  14. 14. Advanced Search Options • Name options
  15. 15. Go wild with wildcards! • * matches zero or more characters • Kell*y matches Kelly or Kelley • ? matches one character • Sm?th* matches Smith, Smyth, Smythe • First letter can now be a wildcard • Either the first or last character must be a non-wildcard character • Names must contain at least three nonwildcard characters
  16. 16. Advanced Search Options • Name options • Events
  17. 17. Advanced Search Options • Name options • Events • Don’t include death unless you’re looking for a deathrelated record. (Most records were created when your ancestor was alive.)
  18. 18. Searching With What You’ve Found • Name options • Events • Don’t include death unless you’re looking for a deathrelated record. • Estimate dates & click exact − Grandpa born 1906 -25 years = 1881 +/- 5 years = 18761886 Would include a parent aged between age 20 and 30 in 1906 when he was born.
  19. 19. Searching With What You’ve Found • Name options • Events • Don’t include death unless you’re looking for a deathrelated record. • Estimate dates • Include event locations
  20. 20. Searching With What You’ve Found • Name options • Events • Don’t include death unless you’re looking for a deathrelated record. • Estimate dates • Include event locations • Include family members − Only those that you expect to be living with them in the time frame you’re searching. • Explore other fields if you think they may help.
  21. 21. Search Strategy, Part 2 • Identify collections your ancestor should be included in, and search directly.
  22. 22. Search Strategy, Part 2
  23. 23. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Advantages • Less records to wade through/less cluttered results • Customized forms created for the content within
  24. 24. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Searching directly gives you more search functionality. • 1900 census form includes: − Marriage date
  25. 25. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Searching directly gives you more search functionality.. • 1900 census form includes: − Marriage date − Arrival date
  26. 26. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Searching directly gives you more search functionality. • 1900 census form includes: − Marriage date − Arrival date − Place to specify other family members (Censuses beginning in 1880 included relationships to head of household.)
  27. 27. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Searching directly gives you more search functionality. • 1900 census form includes: − Marriage date − Place to specify other family members (Censuses beginning in 1880 included relationships to head of household) − Marital status, relationship to HOH, gender, ethnic background
  28. 28. Searching Directly With What You’ve Found • Searching directly gives you more search functionality. • 1900 census form includes: − Marriage date − Place to specify other family members (censuses after 1880 included relationships to head of household) − Marital status, relationship to HOH, gender, ethnic background − Parents’ birthplace
  29. 29. Dig Deep for Collections • Title searches for terms in the database title only • Keyword searches title and descriptive materials
  30. 30. Dig Deep for Collections • Title searches for terms in the database title only • Keyword searches title and descriptive materials
  31. 31. Catalog Filters • Filter by: • Record Collection • Location • Time Frame (Century or Decade)
  32. 32. Dig Deep for Collections • Access Place pages by clicking on the Search tab and then selecting a location from the map.
  33. 33. Place Pages
  34. 34. Place Pages
  35. 35. What You Can Find • Records of the New York Emigrant Savings Bank New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850-1883, on Ancestry.com
  36. 36. State Pages
  37. 37. U.S., IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 • U.S., IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
  38. 38. Find Additional Identifiers in Censuses • Find birthplaces of parents on federal censuses, 1880-1930 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan • Find records of your ancestor’s siblings 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Kings County, New York • Whole family research is a huge help!
  39. 39. Where were they? • Timelines help you put the items you’ve found into context. Noting sources helps resolve conflicts.
  40. 40. Finding Immigration Records Huggins—alternate spellings include Huggans, Higgins, Higgans, Hugans, etc. William and Mary Ann Huggins arriving in New York on the Ashburton, 29 July 1844
  41. 41. A Family’s Trip to America A timeline showed children born to them both here and in Ireland. Where are the Irish born children? William and Mary Ann Huggins arriving in New York on the Ashburton, 29 July 1844
  42. 42. Chain Migration • Sometimes families didn’t travel together. One or both parents may have gone ahead and secured a place to live and sent for the children. •On the ship Liverpool, 09 March 1849
  43. 43. Family and Extended Family and Friends The names and ages of the Huggins children (listed as Higgans here) help to identify them in this passenger list. •On the ship Liverpool, 09 March 1849
  44. 44. Family and Extended Family and Friends A Biddy Murtagh is listed as Catherine Huggins sponsor in her baptismal record. Murtaghs are also living very near a related Huggins family in Griffith’s Valuation. •On the ship Liverpool, 09 March 1849
  45. 45. Family and Extended Family and Friends In 1857, a John Walsh is listed as the sponsor for another of the Huggins’ children in Brooklyn, New York Catholic Church Baptism Records, 18371900 (St. Paul’s R.C. Church) – available on Ancestry.com •On the ship Liverpool, 09 March 1849
  46. 46. The Stories in the Manifest Timeline • 1844 - Wm. And Mary Ann Huggins immigrate • 1846 - Potato famine strikes in Ireland • 1849 – Huggins (Higgans) children immigrate •On the ship Liverpool, 09 March 1849
  47. 47. The Stories in the Manifest • The Liverpool arrived in the Port of New York 09 March 1849. Since the Atlantic crossing typically took 1-2 months, they were on the Atlantic for at least most of February and possibly part of January. That would have made for a very cold crossing.
  48. 48. The Stories in the Manifest • Of the 416 passengers on board the Liverpool, 37 would die before reaching American shores—nearly 9 percent.
  49. 49. City Directories • Ancestry.com has a large collection of city directories, but coverage varies by location. Also check Fold3.com, and other websites for online directories.
  50. 50. U.S. City Directories • Formulate your searches based on availability.
  51. 51. U.S. City Directories • Search Tips • Search for the last name only. • Keywords can help you look for certain sections of the directory (e.g., churches, index of advertisers, etc.). • Specify the publication year.
  52. 52. Finding Common Threads • Directories allow you to track year to year using occupation and residence. New York City Directory, 1876
  53. 53. City Directories • Patterns emerge
  54. 54. Finding Common Threads • Spreadsheets can be helpful in sorting out families. Excel spreadsheet
  55. 55. Finding Common Threads • Create a copy as a back-up and then sort data
  56. 56. Finding Common Threads • Patterns emerge
  57. 57. Finding Common Threads • Patterns emerge
  58. 58. Using Locations in Census Years • Seek out historical maps • Census wards and districts a huge plus for urban residents
  59. 59. Historical Maps • Seek out historical maps (See Cyndi’s List Map page) http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/michigan/Detroit.html
  60. 60. City Directories and Censuses • Beginning in 1880, censuses listed addresses. Use them in conjunction with city directories to locate your ancestors in the census and sort out others who share their name
  61. 61. Estimating Dates and Keeping Track • Project who should be in each census and estimate how old they would be.
  62. 62. Census Forms in the Learning Center
  63. 63. Census Charts Use the projected ages in your chart to create a template for those censuses. (Line in yellow is a template; line in green is a close match.)
  64. 64. Census Charts
  65. 65. Trees…Use for clues, but with Caution
  66. 66. Working Trees • Keeping track of who’s NOT your guy. • ―Working trees‖ give you a place to organize records you’ve sorted out for other families that you can reference as you continue your research.
  67. 67. Beyond Online • Use the tools you’ve created and go beyond online resources.
  68. 68. Beyond Online • Use the tools you’ve created and go beyond online resources.
  69. 69. Beyond Online • Use the tools you’ve created and go beyond online resources.
  70. 70. Beyond Online • Use the tools you’ve created and go beyond online resources.
  71. 71. Beyond Online • Use the tools you’ve created and go beyond online resources.
  72. 72. Your Ancestor Was Interesting and Unique!

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