Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not all records disappear

When it comes to doing research, we genealogists have to learn to take the good with the bad and vice versa. Take yesterday for example, records I had come across last November decided to disappear and I have yet to find them again. But today, I got an e-mail from someone researching a surname that I am also researching, KOENIG (or KONIG). I wrote back with some info I had and remarked that I hadn't worked on that particular line in a while. So, this afternoon I decided to take another stab at it.

After trying to find Michael Koenig (Konig), my 3rd great grandfather and not finding anything of interest I decided to tackle one of his children, his son Joseph. All I knew about him was that he was born in 1863 in Chicago and had died 10 Dec 1896. From his death certificate I also knew where he had been living at the time of his death, 406 N. Robey, which is also where his father had lived before he died in 1901.

I started poking around the FamilySearch website, and put Joseph's name and year of birth in just to see what would come up. I found a Joseph with a wife named Louisa. Knowing he died before 1900 I first tried finding a marriage record. Once I found that I looked for Louisa (nee Olson) in the 1900 census to see how many (if any) children they might have had. There's never a bad time to say BINGO when it comes to genealogy research. Per the census, Joseph and Louisa had 3 daughters, Edna, Anna and Louisa. Louisa's father was also living with them at the time. Now you might say, well how do you know it was the right one? That's the kicker. Most if not all of my maternal lines lived in Chicago BUT the key to finding them is just WHERE in Chicago they lived. That key is 'West Town'. Don't ask me why but for each family that I've searched for in the 1900 census I have found them in West Town and knew I was on the right track.

My next step was seeing if I could track the three daughters to the present. I found a marriage record for Edna and also found a sister living with her in 1910. But the best clue I found that I had the right family was the birth certificate I found for daughter Louisa. It listed her parents as Joseph and Louisa (Olson) Koenig AND where they were living at the time of her birth. 406 N. Robey! The exact same place that Joseph was living when he died AND where his father lived up to 1901.

I still haven't found Michael Koenig's parents BUT I can at least track another sibling of my great-great grandmother Rose to the present, or as much to the present as 1930.

So if you get frustrated, take the good with the bad or like in my case, the bad with the good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Case of the Missing Record

Okay, I know I promised I would 'try' to post something every week or so but other things got in the way last week and this entry won't have a tip or suggestion in it. But rather its going to be a way for me to vent about something that I just don't understand.

I posted here not that long ago that I had 'possibly' found my 2nd great-grandfather, Fred Ring's parents and was very excited about it. But today in fact just this afternoon, I was poking around the 'enhanced' FamilySearch site and can't find the record for the Frederik Alexander Ring (born 17 March 1854) that led me to believe (or better yet suspect) that I had found his parents, grandparents and even a couple of siblings. That's right, the record has VANISHED and to say that I am irritated is an understatement. What's worse is I can't find it on the old 'pilot' site either. The other siblings are there, or at least the girls are and I can find his 'father' and 'mother' and even go back two more generations, but Fred and Carl are NOT listed. It doesn't make any sense that a record that could (and did) lead to at least three generations back to Denmark where Fred was born ARE NOW GONE, VANISHED, DISAPPEARED!

I'm not going to remove the information from my files (well my hard copy files I haven't added it to my genealogy program yet), because I saw the record and it show the EXACT SAME date of birth. Its not like there was an image attached to the record or anything but I still think its a good clue and I intend to pursue it and I WILL find that record again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, new strategy for research

I promised myself that I would try to post a suggestion for genealogy research either every day or at least every week in 2011. Now I said 'try', however I really mean to try to post some kind of suggestion or strategy to either jumpstart your research, or approach a project or branch of your tree from another angle. And I know that you've probably heard these before but for the most part they have worked for me because and let's be honest, when it comes to genealogy research, you not only have to become a detective but you also have to become creative in some cases in order to knock down tough brick walls.

So here goes.

Since this is a new year and that usually means a new beginning my suggestion for today which can also apply when you finally decide to start researching your family. Talk to your relatives, especially the older ones, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. Do what I didn't get the chance to do when I started my research. My grandparents were all gone when I started in 1991 (has it REALLY been 20 years, YIKES!). I didn't start out asking family about names, dates and places and if I could go back BELIEVE ME, that is exactly where I would start.

But if you have already started and don't have older relatives available here's another suggestion, talk to friends of your parents and grandparents (provided they are still living and you know how to contact them). My biggest regret is not having done both of these things, but you can before its too late.

Here's hoping all my fellow genealogists have a 2011 filled with much success in your research and that you knock down dozens of brick walls.

Happy New Year!!!!!