The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “Federal Census”

The Online Genealogist asks “How do you find her maiden name?”

Maiden Name 01First off, many thanks to MAD’s Al Jaffee for the above extreme, but fitting image.  Found elsewhere online, uncredited.  I’d recognize his drawing style anywhere.

One of the most challenging aspects of genealogical research is discovering the maiden name of a female ancestor.  How many times have we seen a compiled family history, with entries such as this?…

Maiden Name 02

Yes, the dreaded blank line after the young lady’s given name.  Even esteemed genealogical societies’ published family histories aren’t immune.  In fact, it’s more surprising if ALL maiden names were known.  Why is that?  Several reasons, but near the top would surely be the lack of female records in general.  The overwhelming majority of early records feature men, men, men, men…

It was glaringly apparent in those Lebanon, NH town records I was looking at last week.  There may be an occasional “widow Reynolds” mentioned in a new road survey or “Sally McNeil” in the town poor house, but 99% of the names in there are William, Daniel, Thomas, Ziba or some other equally manly moniker.

One of the best ways I’ve found maiden names are through the Federal Census records – mainly 1850 and on when all members of a household are listed as opposed to the head only (MAN) that was there in 1840 and before.  The most recent censuses are even better.  “How so?”, you ask?  “How about an example?”, I answer.  Here’s one from the 1930 Federal Census…

Maiden Name 03

Any guesses for what the wife of Peter Gioia, Pauline’s maiden name is?  Score 1000 points if you yell “Messina!  Messina!  Messina!!!”  I’ve found SO many maiden names in this manner.  It could be a maternal nephew or bonus multiple in-laws, as in the above Boston snippage.  The maiden name is right there!

And if you’re looking at 1850, 1860 or 1870 , where the relationship to the head of household wasn’t included, no need to fret!  If I see an older Mrs. Wilson living with a Richardson family, I’ll most definitely be looking at Wilsons in the area as possible/probable parents for Mrs. Richardson, which of course, would provide her maiden name.

Other great maiden name hints?  Middle names!  Oh, and OBITS!!  But those are whole other posts…

 

If you’re looking for a hard-to-find maiden name, you’ll find that I may find out what that is.   I’m the Online Genealogist!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

 

 

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The Online Genealogist is tired of hearing “Only 10% of the genealogy records can be researched online”

CGS_Iceberg                 Many thanks to CGS!

Nearly any time a “traditional” genealogist bashes the majority of research being done online, this is often used to back up their argument.  “Yeah!  Just a TIP of the ICEBERG!!”

Where are the citations to back up this wonderful graphic?  How is the tip size being calculated?  Where is the research and study data?  I’ve heard no crunching numbers.  And who keeps passing this along as fact?

First off, the 10% figure is nowhere to be found in this blog post.  Must be one of those extras added as the tale traveled.  Looks to be less than that on the iceberg itself, but as I won’t be breaking out my compass and protractor; 10% will work.

And I believe we’re strictly talking about United States records here?  The worldwide figure for records online is probably a tiny .0010% number.

With that, how accurate do I believe the iceberg portrayal to be?  Oh, about 10%.

First off, did you notice the date of that blog post?  Being into genealogy, of course you did!

27 Mar 2009

This was created over five years ago.  As a poster.  Which is still being sold online.

Genealogy records are being digitized as I type.  (And surely much much faster.)  Can you count how many have been added over the last 5 years?

No, I didn’t think so.  Neither can I, but I’d bet the big bucks that massive mystery number will at least double going into the next 5 years!

So, what percentage would I give the iceberg tip now?25Seriously!

But wait – it’s going to grow even more!…

There should be adjusted percentage points when the USEFULNESS of each record set is taken into account.  Which records will be most beneficial for the largest number of researchers?

Many of the biggies are online now.  Most US censuses, a nice variety of vital records, lots of city directories, a huge selection of newspapers and hundreds of wonderful historic maps are easily accessible via the internet for the viewing!

Q:  Which would be more likely to help us in our research, the 1880 Federal Census for Chicago -or- Member Directory of the Greene Street Philatelist Club of Beaufort, South Carolina, Autumn, 1727?

A:  Duh!

Q:  Shouldn’t census records alone make that iceberg tip even larger?

A:  Why, yes.  Yes, they should.

With the Usefulness Factor included, how large should the iceberg tip be NOW?

50Really!

Not much of an iceberg tip now, is it?

There’s more information online than you think.  WAY more.  I know this because I keep finding more things online!

How many have gone to ancestry.com, typed in a name, got only a couple of search results and then cried “Online genealogy researching SUCKS!”.  Or they do a quickie Google search, not realizing how much of the internet Google can actually get at?  Isn’t it something like…10%?

No big secret to online family history research.  You have to know where to look.  And be able to get there quickly.  Oh yeah, and know genealogy.

OK, so maybe that 50% is slightly high, but regardless – that iceberg tip is no longer a valid analogy for online genealogy research material availability.  (You knew I had to be going somewhere with this fuzzy math.)

In any case, the above outdated and misleading poster needs to be TOSSED!!!!!

Or modified, at the very least…

Genealogy Research 2014with apologies to Elizabeth Gorrell

Others say it’s only 5%…*sigh*

 

If you don’t believe this, put me to the test.  I’m always up for a challenge!

 TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

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