Having recently moved to Chicago, I feel awed by the size and scope of this city. While coming here for graduate school has been a difficult and exciting adventure, I am settling in and learning the way of life of this place as quickly as I can afford it. Currently I am researching client lines in California and New Jersey while settling into a routine here. I am excited to learn more about the local repositories, and to become firmly established in my new hometown.
I just learned that today is "Happy Roots Day." Had I anything to sell on here besides customized research and transcription projects, this would be a great marketing tool/theme. Instead, however, I will give you updates on the current company work. I have finally gotten my own Ancestry subscription! I have wanted one for years, and even with the business, there were many things that I could not do or afford on my own. Between myself and a friend, I purchased a one-month US subscription, and she got me a 6-month World Deluxe for Christmas. I feel very blessed, and I have been uploading trees and checking on connections as quickly as possible.
My personal tree, I'm not as-worried about. My client's and friend's, yes, but noting horrible or crazy. I'm getting things done, but I need more clients.
I finished a project for Client 1 on Friday. Already I had finished the eleven-page transcription, added headings as needed, and had put the tape in for transferral to CD. In addition, found 8.5 x 11 digital scrapbook albums with digital photo add-on pages.
Assembly and printing took about an hour. Though I was trying to find Archival-quality pages, the online resources cost at least $80, and there were no local resources that I could find. Instead, I used regular acid-free paper that was conservation quality.
Assembly utilized a slightly tired roommate (I have three roommates and live in an apartment), screwdriver, and laying things together in such a way that it would all come back together again. Adding the pages was simple. Adding the cover heading did not go badly, either. All together, the finished product looked professional and was shipped off to the client's brother and sister (two copies) without incident. I was very pleased.
Today I am in LA, celebrating Thanksgiving with an old college friend. As I was going through client documents, there is one that does not seem to belong, but I cannot place it anywhere. Thus, I am posting it online since everyone on the paper deceased more than one hundred years ago and it may be of-use to someone who is trying to find this family or this paper. It looks like it concerns a cemetery, or at least a family plot. This was found in McMillan family papers.
They deal with Blanche, Mabel, Mary A. Simons, C. Eugene Hickok, Herbert, Emilie, Lawrence, and Mabel I. Hickok, G.E. Hickok, M.A. Hickok, C.B. Hickok, Anstis D. Hickok, Emili J. Hickok, Lawrence Hickok, and F.W. Millier and F.E. Millier.
I like it when I call up helpful people, or at least when people are committed to what they do and don't simply punch a time clock. May I say that the amazing historian at Cayuga County, New York is one of the best people ever? Yes, I do say this. Why? I told her this small problem, and she was the most helpful person EVER when it came to research for the client family in question.
The multiple times-great grandfather of the client used to be a carpenter-cabinet maker-piano maker, and/or prison carpenter for the Cayuga County, New York prison and for the Kingston, Ontario, Canadian prison. Apparently he was good at what he did. Since looking for an estate file hasn't gotten me anywhere (I have tried to access it via international inter-library loan with zero luck at the present) I decided to try another tactic. Luckily for me and for the client, this man worked at prisons that are still in operation. That was my first place to check. Does this place have any records that go back that far? The prisons were both established at least 40 or more years prior to his employment there, so there was a possibility of it, whether or not it was rather remote.
Called up the prison on the US side, and they couldn't help me, but they recommended the vital records area. I may have been asking the wrong question, especially as apparently they have a museum to the prison on the premises, but I can check this later.
The New York prison recommended that I contact the vital records department. Okay, why not? By this time my goal had switched to finding the marriage record for the multi-time great grandfather. So they didn't have that particular vital record at the vital records office, but they said that I should check with the county historian. Now comes the good stuff.
The county historian, bless her, is a wonderfully informative lady who was willing to take some time and actually look up information pertaining to the surnames in question concerning the bride and groom. Although my main research goal is the groom's ancestry, I will take what I can get when it comes to information in general. If you find a gold mine, you don't stop and turn away because you were looking for platinum or silver. You start mining gold if the right resources are available.
So this nice little nuggety mine is coming up with the bride's surname non-stop. We have four folders of information for the bride's family, the Eldredge's. Some may be directly related, some may not be. I have reasonably high hopes. The skeptic in me wants to take a back seat this time, although I still am not even remotely sure how much is in there. Apparently the former county historian before this dear lady had the same surname as the bride that I am trying to find, and yes, it's not just a surname look-alike. They are the right people at least in one line. I am stoked!
Yesterday, family work got me to Wurttemburg, Germany. I was looking up Richard Wagner Roth, the oldest biological brother of my grandfather, Arnold James Roth. Richard and his father, Frank Joseph, seemed to be lost to time. We had the 1930 census of Shinglehouse, Potter, Pennsylvania, showing Frank with wife, Ethel, and son, Richard, as well as step son Leon, but nothing else. I was mainly interested in Richard, since he apparently died young in an accident. Frank apparently also had died young, but we knew nothing else about them other than what the census gave.
I was looking up Richard Roth's in Pennsylvania or New York state (long shot, but tried it), and looked up Frank, and the approximate date of birth of Richard. Found Richard's burial with mentions of Frank and Ethel there also! right time periods, and right placement. In addition, found Frank's burial beside his first son. Within the cemetery listing, Forest Hill Cemetery, there were other family members that were linkable by parents. A few of the family members aren't quite as clear as Frank and most of his siblings, but I decided that I could look further into the family by checking back to censuses.
I did not check previous censuses originally due to there being too many Frank Roth's living in the United States at that time. Roth is a typical name of Germany, like Smith or Jones are thought to be in the United States. Searching for more of Frank Roth when there was only the one census connection to Ethel kept me from making further progress that way. Also, since the census containing Frank and Ethel was the 1930 census, there was no way to move forward with further census searches in 1940 as that census is not yet available.
From the information jackpot gathered from the Forest Hill Cemetery, I was able to go back to the censuses and make a good search from 1930 backwards to 1900. Since the 1890 census is almost non-existent, that would be out of the question to search. Unlike my Forson relatives (Dennis Sweeney in particular), I have not yet come across any other relatives who would be part of the Civil War enumeration of soldiers that survived the Civil War. There may be a Roth involved, but the Ancestry search engine did not turn up anything there, and there is lower likelihood to find something unless I were to proceed farther back in time with more-specific ancestral aim of a person who I knew was alive then and would be of an appropriate age.
I went through the 1920, and 1900 censuses for Frank, keeping an eye out for brothers and sisters as I went, collecting his older sister Barbara and her husband. then I started with Frank's father and mother, William and Josephine Roth. Progressing backwards in time yielded various children, and gave me the information that I should be looking for 12 children, 8 of whom were living. Since finding that census, I have now 10/12 children by name. There is one possible child from the Forest Hill Cemetery, but no proof of relationship. I want to find those other children, but at the same time, I need to track the possible parents of William (Peter Roth and either Eunice or Esther or unknown wife #3) to see which child may belong to whom, and to flesh out their generations as far as possible before presenting evidence to relatives.
I was so pleased when I got to the 1870 census, and instead of Germany, it listed Wutermbirg (obviously misspelled but easy to rectify), as the place within Germany that both William and Josephine were from. Although a much later census had Frank as being born in Germany, my guess is that he had pronounced German roots. He was born in New York. Finding the right place in Germany was a blessing more than skill.
My motto still is: There isn't such a thing as a brick wall. Just a resource that you haven't found or don't know about yet
Roots4All started in April 2010 as a sole proprietorship genealogical contracting firm. That means that I research people's families and they pay me to do it. I started the business due to having initial clients. The current research areas are: California, New Jersey, New York, Canada, Pennsylvania, Slovakia, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, and England.
The newest aspects of the business are the website (created today- 9/24/2010), and the new Facebook page, also created today (9/24/2010).
Owner of Roots4All, private genealogical research services firm.