Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

The Family Tree

I'm not sure whether I should hug whitetail or punch him. Last week he posted about a genealogy website Family Search which is run by the Mormons. I really can't stand the religion, but I will hand it to them for their fanatical desire to know family history which is a boon to us all (and for free!) It started off innocently enough with me poking around to see just what was out there. I found some pretty cool stuff about my dad's side of the family and soon I was totally sucked in. I wanted to fill in the whole side of the tree of my grandfather on my dad's side of the family because so little was known about it. My grandfather died when my dad was only 18, so he never knew a lot about that side of the family which is also my namesake side. I had re-created my grandmother's side since my aunt did a lot of research on her mother's family. They had lived together until grandma died in the early 70's. So I decided to do a little digging. There is a treasure trove of birth and death certificates as well as US Census reports. Just from those I was able to find all of my great aunts and uncles as well as my great grandparents. They put so much useful information on death certificates back then! I was even able to find my great grandmother's parents' names, so now I have info on great great grandparents! Things get difficult then because now we're back in the "old country" of either the modern Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, or the Austria-Hungary Empire. With patience I might be able to go back to the 1700's since there are some church records that go back that far. When I go visit my mom again, I will have to check out the Bohemian/American history section of a local library. They have a whole section devoted to the local immigrant population including obituaries. Those will be key in helping me close a few loops where I'm not 100% sure of certain connections. I really need "the brother of" or maiden names to make sure I connect the right "John" or "Frank" since they were such common names. My grandfather was named Mathias but that frequently gets turned into Michael like with my uncle. I also encountered Matij which I think is slang for "Mike" in Czech. Then there are also the Franks or Francis or Frantisek not to be confused with Frantiska which would be Frances. It got quite confusing with a great uncle and aunt being Frank and Frances. Surprisingly I'm finding it much harder to find meaningful information the later things get. The info from birth and death records is not as robust as in the early part of the 20th century. There seem to be lots more loose or dead ends with the more recent info. I thought I found some juicy bits when I saw a person listed as "inmate." Oooo! A bad boy in the family! Actually, people in nursing homes were listed as "inmate" when the census was taken. The really sad thing, however, was that he was only 55 years old. The old joke about family trees applies well to furries. I hope to trace the family tree so far back that my relatives were swinging from it.
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