Friday, January 31, 2014

Some One Asked: Why'd You Get Into Genealogy?

Well, for me it was two separate things that got me started. 

First a  binder of papers families had filled out and returned to one of my grandmother's brothers had my great grandparents and three of their children buried in three different cemeteries.
I wanted to find them for my grandmother before she passed away. 
I started checking out the cemeteries when I went by. One in particular had lost it's records to a chapel fire so I had to hoof it all over the cemetery! 
They, of course, were in one of the last sections I could look in and all together. 
I'm not sure if it was this excitement I had at finding them or his finding Find a Grave first but my husband and I started looking for my ancestors at a Quaker cemetery. 
 This quest for my relatives and the ability to fill requests for FAG fueled a common love for genealogy between us. 
I do confess though, I know I was driven by an underlying motive. Years ago my Grandmother had said the girls in our family could be DARS, Daughters of the American Revolution. Both she and my Mom wanted to do the process but never got to it.

I was told it was through a particular person so I began searching for this person only to find, eventually, this was not the correct person but that they had identified him by his given and middle name. I needed to find an ancestor with a different last name. 
Holy cow, there were so many people with this name in my family...and to confuse me more I had two different lines that followed a Robert to James to Finley generational progression that I kept getting confused. 
When you find one wonderful, hard to find answer it always leads to a dozen more questions.
We have been doing our genealogy for years now and know it will never be done...but it sure is fun doing the research and filling in the blanks.

What got you started in genealogy? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Finding my lost uncle

How I found my lost uncle.

Growing up I always heard that my grandmother had 11 children, but try as I might I can only come up with seven aunts and uncles and my mother. Growing up it seems that the adults never really wanted to talk to you about it, they would say "grandma had 11 children and three died young", but never saying who, when, where or why.
Now that I am searching my ancestry and doing genealogy I decided that I would get the answer to this. After searching all available census records I went to the cemetery where a good portion of the family are buried including my grandmother and grandfather. When talking to the caretaker in the office I did get a tip that there was a child by the name of Milan Dokmanovic buried in the family plot. He was buried there April 2, 1926 but there was no other information available and prior to that the records had been destroyed in a fire in the early 1920s.

My next step was to go to Pennsylvania vital statistics and locate a death certificate for Milan. You can locate and send for Pennsylvania death certificates that are over 50 years old (1906-1964) at the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health website. After searching in the year for 1926 I located his state file number and used the form from the state to send for the record, the records cost five dollars a piece and you can order five of them at a time.
After about three weeks I received the copy in the mail.

Now I have a record of another one of my grandmother's children, number 9 with still 2 more to go.
Milan Dokmanovic, born July 1, 1923, died April 1, 1926, two years nine months old. This is why he did not appear on any Federal census'. Milan is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery presumably next to his mother and father in the family plot.

Next I will begin the task of searching the Pennsylvania death records between years of 1906 and 1925 to see if I can find anymore Dokmanovic surnames. Some years are alphabetized very nicely with the D's all in order, but with some years Da might be followed by Di then Du then back to Da.
Finding these records in genealogical research can be bittersweet. At first you are happy you've finally found that much sought after info but then very sad imagining how distraught my grandparents would have been watching this active two year old go from his active self to an extremely ill child and then dying. 
Having a grandchild at this age makes it vividly evident to us. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Owning Up To Your Family's Past

Owning Up To Your Family's Past

Being relating in multiple ways.

 My maternal grandmother was always telling me, "...we're related to ..". I wanted to hear it but she usually did so when I was driving and interacting with my car seated  little one in my Grandmother's car car that required more than the usual attention to drive. She and my "Pap" had bought it and even though it was very difficult to steer she was keeping it! It just wasn't conducive to writing it all down. When we were at home we both were usually busy doing other daily things.
Anyway, when I was young I remember my (Great)Aunt Gladys and her husband, Uncle Bill coming to visit.  They were both ministers and missionaries. They were always dressed in their 'Sunday clothes'. 
 Aunt Gladys was my Grandpa, Pap's, sister but their last name was Cochenour. Hmmm that name was from my mother's other side...not my Pap's side. 
I'd walk up to Uncle Bill and start a conversation and tell him we were probably related and he'd shrug it off. It made me feel 'warm and fuzzy' that we could be related by family to Uncle Bill and to Aunt Gladys. 
He may have indicated he 'was not related to his wife, Aunt Gladys' in response  but I know time and time again I would try to explain to him it was on his side not Aunt Gladys' so he wasn't married to his cousin.
He just didn't want to hear it. 
To get to the point Uncle Bill was related to us , he was my third cousin twice removed. To make it even more complex he's related to me again; his grandmother is my first cousin four times removed.  So Uncle Bill was related to me three different ways, through his wife by marriage, his 2nd great grandfather and his grandmother. Whew...

Do you have any multiple relationships in your family?