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A genealogist's dream: 50 million historical documents on Web
SF Gate ^ | 4/4/03 | Eun Kyung-Kim - AP

Posted on 04/04/2003 12:31:01 PM PST by NormsRevenge

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:42:10 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Researchers, genealogists and the plain curious can now use the Internet to check more than 50 million historical records at the National Archives, from Civil War battles to family immigration files.

Before the system became available, people had to either visit the Archives and spend hours combing through documents or request the files by phone and pay to have them mailed.


(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: documents; dream; genealogist; historical
Yeah, like anybody has any spare time since FRee Republic came into being. ;-)
1 posted on 04/04/2003 12:31:02 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
50 million historical records

Accompanied by 100 million pop ups.

The humanity!!

2 posted on 04/04/2003 12:34:09 PM PST by freedomlover
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To: NormsRevenge
Lord! Now I'll never escape my idiot family!
3 posted on 04/04/2003 12:36:09 PM PST by JennysCool
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To: NormsRevenge
Yeah, like anybody has any spare time since FRee Republic came into being. ;-)

Isn't that the truth!

I got to look at some of this genology stuff.

4 posted on 04/04/2003 12:40:46 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam?)
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To: JennysCool
LOL! I know that feeling.
5 posted on 04/04/2003 12:41:32 PM PST by ninergold3 (GOD BLESS AMERICA - GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS)
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To: NormsRevenge
I love doing genealogy research. I have learned so much about our ancestors. It seems that every generation has had soldiers in wars from the Revolutionary War til the present. Most of my greatgrandfathers fought in the Confederate Army and l gggrandfather did. Some lost limbs in battle including one in the Rev. War. There is all kinds of info on the web. I have been able to do most of my families back to the late 1600's or early 1700's. I want to do some research and find what they wore during the different periods to place with all my info. Try it, you might like it. Another researcher sent me a pictue of my ggrandfather which I had never seen. It also had one of my uncles when he was a kid and 2 cousins when they were very small. I would love to find others who have family pictures which I have not seen.
6 posted on 04/04/2003 12:41:32 PM PST by MamaB
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To: NormsRevenge
Bump til I get home!
7 posted on 04/04/2003 12:42:21 PM PST by mtbrandon49 ("Beware the fury of a patient man")
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To: NormsRevenge
bump
8 posted on 04/04/2003 12:43:42 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Be copy now to men of grosser blood and teach them how to war!)
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To: NormsRevenge
Bump for later.
9 posted on 04/04/2003 12:44:03 PM PST by Celtjew Libertarian (No more will we pretend that our desire/For liberty is number-cold and has no fire.)
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To: MamaB
Bump Reply. I've found Presidents, Governors, Mayors, Scoundrels - all online in my genealogy search. It has been fascinating. I would encourage anyone interested to give it a try.
10 posted on 04/04/2003 12:46:11 PM PST by SuzanneC
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To: NormsRevenge
BUMP
11 posted on 04/04/2003 12:58:00 PM PST by Constitution Day ("They haif said. Quhat say they? Lat thame say.")
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To: MamaB
My two vices are Freeping and genealogy. I started working on my family tree about two months before my daughter was born. I've been at it for almost 8 years. You're never finished!

When I started out, I have about 34 names with some dates...nothing else. I now have about 1,200 in my database, with census records, birth, death and marriage records, wills, estate papers, copies of deeds, and photographs! of my ancestors. I can take most branches of my tree back to at least the mid 1700s and some considerably further.

My daughter has 5 direct ancestors who served in the Revolutionary war, two on my side and three on my wife's. I have two direct ancestors who were Whiskey Rebels, and have records of their arrest, conviction and pardon. Its great fun and has given me (and hopefully my daughter) more of a sense of what it is to be American. My only disappointments have been those damned Belgian ancestors... My other claim to fame: I'm related to Jimmy Kimmel!
12 posted on 04/04/2003 1:06:02 PM PST by RayBob (Put your ad here!)
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To: NormsRevenge
bump for later
13 posted on 04/04/2003 1:09:08 PM PST by P8riot (Stupid is forever. Ignorance can be fixed.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Bump for later.
14 posted on 04/04/2003 1:16:24 PM PST by sistergoldenhair (Don't be a sheep. People hate sheep. They eat sheep.)
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To: RayBob
Would you suggest sticking to the web for beginners? I have looked at software in the stores and wondered if they are any good. Also, some of the 'pay' genelogical sites too... I don't know anyone that has had any real luck though.

Any suggestions?

15 posted on 04/04/2003 1:19:38 PM PST by cdefreese
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To: RayBob
Agreed.. It's a good way to spend time and connect to the past.

In my dad's last few years , he and my step-mother spent a lot of time working on the family trees. They had the families traced back to the 1700s or thereabouts, I believe.

My step-sister has the records and all the documents they accumulated and had a couple of binders of stuff.

I remember looking through them but I can;t recall how many scoundrels and scalywags we had in our families. From talkin' to my dad, it sounds like a little liquor got dispensed of along the way .. in more ways then one ;-)

16 posted on 04/04/2003 1:32:39 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: cdefreese
You have FREEPMAIL (or will very shortly)
17 posted on 04/04/2003 1:32:59 PM PST by RayBob (Put your ad here!)
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To: RayBob
Believe me, it can be very addictive. You are always trying to find that hard to find info. My cousin's wife had been doing this for over 20 years and had gone all over the country trying to find records. Now, the internet has really helped that. I have Indian blood and we have never been able to find out which tribe my greatgrandmother belonged to. Everyone who has seen her picture has said she is definitely Indian but not even the people in Indian research facilities have been able to help. She was adopted by a family in my hometown and that is as far as we have gotten. She and her children were offered land in Indian Territory-now Oklahoma and they went back and forth from MS to that area. Some info is very hard to find but other stuff is very easy. Good luck.
18 posted on 04/04/2003 1:58:43 PM PST by MamaB
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To: error99
Hey; check this out. - bump
19 posted on 04/04/2003 2:01:17 PM PST by Hanging Chad (tag appied for)
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To: NormsRevenge
YESSSSS!

I love genealogy! I subscribed at ancestry.com 2 years ago, and started researching this vast database. Paydirt! Found mom's second cousin Pat who has tons of family information from 25 years of collecting newspaper clippings, checking microfiche, and interviewing relatives.

In just 2 years, I've dug up just as much info as Pat has in 25!

It's a feather in my cap to find famous persons to whom I'm related.
20 posted on 04/04/2003 2:02:08 PM PST by petuniasevan (cogito, ergo spud: I think, therefore I yam...)
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To: cdefreese
Try the free signup at http://www.ancestry.com and see what you find in the World Tree and Social Security Death Index.

If you get hooked (like I did), you may opt to purchase access to various other databases such as the US Census.

There are over a BILLION names listed at ancestry.com.
21 posted on 04/04/2003 2:05:39 PM PST by petuniasevan (cogito, ergo spud: I think, therefore I yam...)
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To: RayBob
What research sources would you recommend? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
22 posted on 04/04/2003 2:09:19 PM PST by Oorang
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To: cdefreese
Not sure about the software, etc., but I've heard often not to rely on the data in the Mormon databases re genealogy -- heard they're more in to quantity than quality and not dependable. Don't know if that's true or not -- just passing on info I've been told.

My uncle who died at 93 last year spent much of his life on this research. At the last reunion his chart, on a roll of butcher paper, ran the whole length of one of the walls of the Grange Hall. Too much information in one place. Mind-boggling Arrrgh!
23 posted on 04/04/2003 2:14:14 PM PST by MayflowerMadam
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To: NormsRevenge
A friend enjoys researching the geneology of her family, and when she came to Houston recently she used the opportunity to track down more info on some of her relatives who had lived in the area. It was fascinating following her around as she worked, and discovered the gravesites of some of her relatives. Seeing their final resting places really gives a sense of reality to lives you'd otherwise know about only from newspaper clippings or other intangible sources.

She also did a quick web lookup to see what was easily available about my family. It was eerie to see an image pop up on the computer screen of the original handwritten 1930 US census sheet which documented my maternal grandparents, and their two young children (my uncle and my mother).

24 posted on 04/04/2003 2:21:19 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: NormsRevenge; RayBob; MamaB
I am also fascinated by studying my family history (check out my handle, if you doubt it). I've been doing it since 1994, when my Dad's uncle (then 87) immigrated from the Ukraine (I figured that it was now or never).

Anyway, I found a branch of my family that had gone to Mexico, and was later introduced to my wife by one of my Mexican cousins (NO, she's not a blood relative, and NO, I don't go to family reunions to find a date).

I now have over 1900 names on my tree, going back to the mid 1800's on all lines, and the late 1700's on one branch. No one famous (yet), but lots of interesting stories. I have hit a number of brick walls (owing to name changes and previously unavailable records in Russia and Poland), but the Internet has enabled me to continue to progress. Now, if I can only get some distant cousins to provide information....
25 posted on 04/04/2003 2:25:10 PM PST by Ancesthntr
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To: Myrnick
reminder bump
26 posted on 04/04/2003 2:28:27 PM PST by Myrnick (eee, I wuz awl 'ungry like)
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To: NormsRevenge
Bump for later perusal.
27 posted on 04/04/2003 2:32:08 PM PST by 75thOVI ("Draw the bayonet, and throw away the scabbard!" The Blue Light Elder)
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To: cdefreese
Try Legacy.

As for online databases, try Ancestry.com, The Mormons, and Genealogy.com.

Word of warning: do not incorporate anyone else's work into your own. Use it as a rumor or a guideline, at best -- always look for proof and hard-copy documentation.

There's a lot of vanity trees out there, more interested in quantity than quality.

28 posted on 04/04/2003 2:33:23 PM PST by JoshGray
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To: Myrnick
Future reference bump
29 posted on 04/04/2003 2:33:42 PM PST by mommadooo3
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To: Oorang
See my reply #21.
30 posted on 04/04/2003 2:33:50 PM PST by petuniasevan (cogito, ergo spud: I think, therefore I yam...)
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To: RayBob
You're never finished!

Isn't that the truth!! I've been working on mine for years with no end in sight.

31 posted on 04/04/2003 2:45:58 PM PST by girlscout
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To: Oorang; cdefreese
Each state has a genealogy web page, with links to each county's genealogy web page. These are all free sites and have vast amounts of information. The main page is www.usgenweb.org. Go there for the state links, then go to the county links.

Each page has query boards where you can post a query looking for info and if someone has it, they'll post it. Its worth a few hours of searching these sites. They also have archives where they have transcriptions of census records.

My favorite site is RandomActsofGenealogicalKindness (http://www.raogk.org/) They list look-up volunteers by state. These folks will help you at no cost, save out-of-pockets for photocopies),

There is also the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, where volunteers have transcribed passenger manifests from hundreds of ships from the 1600s to present. I don't have a URL handly, but google it and you can find it. Also Ellis Island has a searchable database.

Someone else cautioned about copying others' work. They are right. Too many "genealogists" will take shortcuts and perpetuate bad information. Sometimes they find a name with dates that kinda, sorta, maybe work, and they are too lazy to prove or disprove the link. Always, Always, Always, independently verify the research. You would be amazed at the amount of pure rubbish that is out there, including family trees made up from whole cloth.

As for software, I like Family Tree Maker (www.familytreemaker.com) I don't like the pay sites. Ancestry has info, but its costly. You can do ther search for no charge, and then if something shows up, sign up for the two week free trial.

32 posted on 04/04/2003 2:48:51 PM PST by RayBob (Put your ad here!)
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To: NormsRevenge
Some years ago, I inherited a pipe (tobacco, that is) that had belonged to my great uncle. It is Civil War related, carved into it is a regimental insignia and the names of a number of battles, some important, and some minor. The owner's initials were there as well. The story that came with it was that it had been carved by a Union POW while in prison.

I knew there were no direct family connections, but through the Internet, I was able to identify its owner, and I ordered copies of his military records from the Government. Turns out that romantic story was not true at all. He had gotten out on a medical discharge, and never actually fought in any battles.

So, sometimes disappointments are in store, but it is truly amazing how much information is actually out there and readily available.
33 posted on 04/04/2003 2:49:16 PM PST by Fresh Wind (Never forget: CLINTON PARDONED TERRORISTS)
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To: Oorang
US Genweb is a good site, plus it's free. Also Roots Web.

http://www.usgenweb.org/statelinks.html

http://www.rootsweb.com/

34 posted on 04/04/2003 2:51:38 PM PST by girlscout
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To: MayflowerMadam; cdefreese
Morman's info is based on family trees submitted to it. There's a lot of bad, undocumented, inaccurate information there. They have some official records, but most are just submitted. Be careful. Its a good jump-off point, but you have toe verify everything. Samething with the World Family Tree database at Ancestry.com. Just like computers, garbage in, garbage out.
35 posted on 04/04/2003 2:51:41 PM PST by RayBob (Put your ad here!)
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To: Rose in RoseBear
Take-a-look-at-this ping.
36 posted on 04/04/2003 2:54:12 PM PST by Bear_in_RoseBear (BeBopALula)
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To: Ichneumon
If you live in Houston then you have the Clayton Library available to you. It's a genealogical library with census records, books for every state and some foreign plus all kinds of other neat stuff.

Most big cities will have a genealogy library that covers more than just that area. Great resource!!

37 posted on 04/04/2003 2:55:15 PM PST by girlscout
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To: RayBob
Actually, the LDS family history organization is the largest in the world and is considered by professional genealogists to be the gold standard. Vital records from localities within nearly every country in the world over the years have been microfilmed, catalogued, and electronically archived.

In addition, local LDS family history libraries, with direct electronic access to the Church's huge central library in Salt Lake City, are open to the public in cities and towns around the world.

Check your local telephone book for the one nearest you....

38 posted on 04/04/2003 3:03:59 PM PST by tracer (/b>)
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To: tracer; RayBob; MayflowerMadam; cdefreese
I think RayBob is referring to what LDS actually has name-searchable on the web -- pedigree resource files, ancestral files, and international genealogical index.

I suspect that any of those that are actually provable and mostly accurate will lead one to find their gr-gr-granduncle who died a Catholic priest in 1925 and became a Mormon in 1973. (My one gripe with the LDS and their genealogical research: it's geared towards posthumous recruitment/conversions.)

39 posted on 04/04/2003 3:13:58 PM PST by JoshGray
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To: Oorang
Anyone needing any help can email me. Others here have given many of the good sites. Going online is quick, but you miss out on the personal side. It's not easy and can be costly, but if you get a chance to visit an area where your ancestor lived, DO SO. Stop by the local library, museum, and courthouse for the low down on what the community was like and most likely they'll be able to give you the dirt on your folks (mine were "blood thirsty" and run out of town - that's something you won't get off the web). There's nothing better than being able to actually touch marriage certificates your ancestors signed with their own hands, walk the streets they did, and visit homes they lived in. The web is just too sterile and boring. We've taken vacations that were just for genealogical research. Once we happened into a town and saw a car dealership with my grandfather's name. When I walked in I nearly fainted because the owner who greeted us was the spitting image of my grandfather. Grandfather and this guy's branch connected back in the early 1800's! I'd have never found that branch without actually making the trip to the old family community and there have been countless other quirky instances like this.

Obviously, I too love genealogy, and have traced us back from the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, Revolution, John Smith, and to Europe on my own. I've found others on the net who have taken us back to Wm. the Conqueror (lol, Mr. M and I were both from him though Mr. M from his wife and me from his mistress!) and on back to the Vandals and Kings of Norway around the 4th century. But I feel more a connection to those people I've hunted down myself.

As someone posted, do your own research and take someone else's research with a pound of salt. Consider other's work as a tip but not the gospel. It's not that others lie or try to make their lineage important but some are just careless and go off on unrelated lines. Document, document, document.

Good luck and have fun.
40 posted on 04/04/2003 3:28:55 PM PST by mtbopfuyn
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To: JoshGray
"All your relatives' souls are belong to us."

Just kidding, with a little bit of FR humor.

As for "recruiting," even LDS doctrine holds that the individual, living or dead, can exercise his/her free agency and decline or accept the vicarious ordinances........

41 posted on 04/04/2003 3:29:38 PM PST by tracer (/b>)
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To: Hanging Chad
Thanks!
42 posted on 04/04/2003 3:43:09 PM PST by error99 (this space for lease)
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To: NormsRevenge
bump
43 posted on 04/04/2003 3:48:52 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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