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Tag Archives: genealogy

Citizenship papers are a treasure trove

The recent documentary “The Italian Americans” discussed the period at the beginning of World War II. The government decided for security reasons that certain foreign-born American residents would be classified as “enemy aliens”. These were people whose home countries were at war with us. Also, these people had not filed for citizenship. Obviously, many Italian Americans fit this classification until the practice was ended in 1943 when Mussolini’s government fell. There were many reasons Italian immigrants opted to not become American citizens in the years leading up to World War II. Many wanted to return to Italy after they had ...

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Digging for clues on familysearch

Last month we talked about being stuck in genealogical gridlock. Genealogical old-timers (among whose ranks I think I belong) call them “brick walls.” You’ve looked in as many genealogical resources as you can but you just don’t have enough information to be sure of a piece of information. That birth date could belong to Uncle Lou, or it could be one of 24 different Lou Russos living in Chicago at that time. The other kind of brick wall is that you have no clue when or where Lou was born and there doesn’t seem to be any way to figure ...

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Getting around those brick walls to your ancestry

In a recent column, we discussed some of what happens when you have multiple sources for the same piece of data. Let’s say Zio Angelo’s birth date. He told the census taker he was born in 1892. He told the draft registration he was born in 1894. His hospital orderly said he was born about 1900 when he died. The final answer, if there is one, is to put more trust on the older piece of data, recorded closest to the actual event. There would theoretically be less reason to lie about ones age, and the people who were witnesses ...

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Avoiding genealogical gridlock

I have used a number of GPS devices over the years to find my way while driving. I won’t mention the brand names but there were three different manufacturers, plus two different apps on my phone. They all claim to find the fastest route from point A to point B, but they all tell me to go a different way. Sometimes, they don’t get me where I need to go at all. I usually figure this out when I see the “Welcome To Kenosha” signs! There can only be one “fastest way” to from A to B but they all ...

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Hitting a familysearch speed bump

I have spent the past month going through the Cook County marriage index on Familysearch.org. My parents think I should go out and date more! At any rate, the Cook County marriages are indexed on familysearch, and on Ancestry.com, and on cyberdriveillinois.com up to 1900. Familysearch will allow me to search by groom or bride easily. Or so I thought. I have raved in at least a couple of columns about how you can search for Giuseppe Rossi and find Joseph Russo thanks to new search technologies. I have to amend that slightly. After spending the last month looking for ...

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Searching beyond soundex

I remember the good old days back in the 1990s (yeah, those are MY good ol’ days!) when the only data you could search was on a CD ROM and you could only search for the exact name you wanted. Since all of our ancestors were fluent in English and could spell and pronounce their names perfectly, and the clerks at the County offices and census takers could understand them and write with flawless penmanship, there was no problem. Ok. You can tell by now that I’m kidding. It took awhile for some of the genealogy web sites to use ...

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Family History Centers

It’s been too long since I’ve extolled the virtues of Family History Center and given the low attendance at many of them these days, maybe it’s time to do so. Family History Centers are open to anyone, no matter what level they may be in their research. They are affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as Mormons), and most of them are located in church buildings owned by them. Please be assured, however, that you do not need to be a member of their church to use the Family History Center. Please also ...

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