It seems that January is when my interest in family history spikes. I spend a lot of my free time knitting for the rest of the year, but mid-winter just sucks the creative life out of me. I need something to do with my mind to unwind so why not a bit of research?
My Mom lent me some family photos so I could scan them into the computer. There’s quite the treasure trove in my Grandmother’s possession, and I have just a few that she was willing to let my Mom make copies of.
Alice F Pratt (Knox)
b. 2 February 1882 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts
m. Harry L. Knox of Epping, New Hampshire on 9 February 1900 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts
d. 1944 in Epsom, New Hampshire
They had one daughter as far as I know, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1901. It can be so interesting to look at marriage dates, and the date of a family’s first born. In this case it did not take long for the couple to have a child.
At some point they moved to Epsom New Hampshire, but I am not sure when. The 1940 census shows Alice and Harry on the Newton City, MA census but also says below their names “Vacant Household”. The 1930 census shows them in Newton City with no note about a vacant household. I know from information my grandmother has told me, and their burial in Epsom, New Hampshire, that they did end up moving to Epsom at some point. Did they maintain two homes for a time?
Alice was a Christian Scientist, thus didn’t believe in modern medical treatment. She suffered from diabetes, and became blind at some point. She managed to hide it for a time before it became obvious. Her death was due to complications from diabetes I believe.
I know there are a lot of resources on the internet for genealogy research, and it can be incredibly overwhelming. What a time suck to try to go through some of the genealogy link lists to find stuff that is actually useful. Plus, so much of genealogy research is regional, where do you narrow it down?
One thing that I found to help was to look up websites for individual towns. If you have a family that resided somewhere for a fairly long time, you can look up the official town website for information on how to get vital records. The New England towns I’ve looked up have been very helpful, as well as some in Pennsylvania and Michigan. You might also find independently run websites like http://www.epsomhistory.com which I linked to in my previous post.
Another thing to do, is to search by name for your ancestors. I recently found that you can find results much quicker, and more effectively when you put the names in quotes like “Harry Woodburn Bates”. Having first, last, and middle name will help pinpoint results to more likely be the one person I’m looking for. I ignore Ancestry.com results unless it’s a forum post, because you can just look for those by searching at their site. This is how I found Harry W. Bates death certificate at Seeking Michigan. Two hits in one: an image of an original record and a whole website of resources to look up my Michigan ancestors.
So let’s get this started. I’ve been reading, agonizing, ruminating, and all those other appropriate -ing words for the last few days about how to organize and present this website. This is my new project. What with running around after two very young children for most (all) of my week I decided I needed a project for myself. My main problem so far has been how to present all of my information. While doing my normal stream-of-consciousness searching on the web today I came across http://www.epsomhistory.com/
I have ancestors (and living relatives) from Epsom, and I was just thrilled to see all the helpful information. There are some transcriptions of a bunch of records, images of original documents, and a genealogy of the “early settlers” including some of my ancestors. Yes I like all the information presented to me, and I will be using it as a starting off point while verifying as much as I can with original documents. What I really liked was the good example of how to format a long genealogical list online. I don’t have the Legacy program to do it for me which this creator used, so I’m typing it all up on my own.
I believe this information should be freely shared which is why I will be putting up much of my genealogical findings on this website. Things may not look pretty now, and it’s a work in progress to get my measly 200+ names and information up. I want this resource to be useful (like epsomhistory.com has been for me) to others starting their genealogical journey with whom I have ancestors in common. So, here goes for better or worse.