Month: February 2006


Here are some helpful links that I’ve used in the past.

  • Zeeuws Archief – From their site, “The Zeeuws Archief [Zeeland Archives] is the principal archive for Zeeland, the most southwesterly province of The Netherlands, and for the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere. The Zeeuws Archief, the treasure house of Zeeland’s history, holds a wealth of information about Zeeland in general and about the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere in particular. Information for a family tree, but also for a wide range of historical research.” Loads and loads of useful information if you’re family hails from this area in the Netherlands.
  • Books We Own – “..is a list of resources owned/accessed by individuals who are willing to look up genealogical information and e-mail or snail mail it to others who request it. This is a free service” Very helpful if you can find the correct book. It sometimes contains priceless information.
  • Surname Helper – A very helpful surname search engine, works well with those multi-spelled names out there.

I’m not sure when it happened, sometime between college and now. Throughout school, from elementary through college, I really didn’t like history. I’d shuffle through it, learning enough to get by, but it really didn’t do anything for me. Even in college, when I needed to take US History or Western Civilization, or whatever it was called, I didn’t get into it. Now, I love history, well most of it anyway. If the history has something to do with my family history or to me, in general, than I love finding out about it. All I can say on that note is “Thank (insert your god here) for Wikipedia!”

I’m really more interested in local history, since I’ve lived in the area and I like finding out more about it. But, I also like to read up on places that my ancestors hailed from to see what it was like back then. Doc Brown, I’m calling your name here..

I guess this is why genealogy really interests me, it scratches all of my historical itches very nicely.

The family tree area of the site may temporarily be down this afternoon while I install a more robust system (from what I hear.) Stay tuned.

The family tree is back up. I installed some new software called The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. It’s a bit of a long name, but it works nicely. I’ve always used phpGEDView, which worked fine most of the time, but it seemed to choke on large databases. I don’t mind shelling out a few bucks for something that works and is designed well. I’ll run with it for awhile and see how it pans out. Take a look, it’s pretty neat. It’ll be a lot neater once I get more info into it.

If you’re stuck on an ancestor, try checking out the USGenWeb sites. I have found some very helpful information using these sites along with my other normal sites. Most of the time, they can give you very helpful information on a certain county. Some sites have tons of information available, and some don’t have much.

Anyway, what is it that some of these sites have some of the worst user interfaces ever, and some of them are gold mines? A lot of the county sites I’ve been to look like they haven’t been remodeled since the mid-1990s (and we all remember how good those sites were.) There are some good sites out there with very helpful user interfaces. I usually spend more time trying to figure out what’s what then I do finding anything useful. Now, I know that finding information isn’t always easy, even though I do find it frustrating that some sites just like everything back to Rootsweb or Ancestry. But, at least organize the information better. You’d think that being genealogists, we would have organization skills (though this is the pot calling the kettle black here.)

Though, like I said earlier, the majority of these sites are too helpful to pass up when you’re stuck or are looking for that one piece of info that could crack open your research. It’s probably just my web developing side ranting and raving about usability and design, but when I see flashing text and dancing, animated images I’m immediately pulled back into the darkness of mid-90s web designs. I’m tempted to volunteer for one, but all the ones in my area are taken and are down fairly well, such as the Ozaukee County site. But, I think the Milwaukee County site could use a nice overhaul. I know that there is a lot more information out there for that county.

Check them out, hopefully it will help you out.

I setup a wiki-based area of my genealogy site that I can use to store all of the miscellaneous information from my tree. Tidbits, letters, information, etc. The first thing I posted is a letter that my great-great uncle, Edwin Corrigan, had wrote to some other family members. Sadly, Edwin died just last June at the age of 95. The letter includes a lot of insight into life in the early 1900s in northern Wisconsin. It’s a very interesting read for anyone who enjoys history. Here is a small excerpt, but you can read the whole thing on the wiki if you’d like, but it is pretty long. Plan on more than few minutes.

To begin with, the were two Corrigan families – the first four children were born in Orillia (Mara county, Ontario.) Pa’s first wife, Ellen Ferguson, was buried in Washburn, WI across the bay from Ashland. Don’t know just when they came to the area – nor how long they lived in Washburn. The youngest child, Thomas Francis, was born in Washburn, Sept. 15, 1886. Shortly after that they must have moved to Sanborn, where Pa built a saloon and boarding house (the building is still there, but has had an addition put on it.) Three of our family members were born while the folks lived in Sanborn, the rest born (at the Summit) in Ashland. Due to an early stroke, Pa had to get out of the business. He did some kind of a trade with property and got property on the outskirts of Ashland, which included a small five room house and building which house a saloon, dance hall and gambling rooms. Remember these were in the early logging days when Ashland housed many saloons, houses of ill-repute, etc. They lived a short time in the large building and then had the small house moved closer to the road – eventually he sold the building (the hall, etc) to the Town of Sanborn to be used as the Town Hall.

Read the whole thing – Edwin Corrigan Letter

It’s about time something like this happened. The world needs less of these jerks. I remember when I was a kid, we used to sled down a hill in our local cemetery. It had no headstones on it, it was an empty hill. But, there were always knocked down headstones and stories about kids who used to do it. I really don’t see the fun in it. Turns out, neither does this kid…
Police: Vandal Trapped By Tombstone

Authorities said it took four firefighters to lift a 600-pound gravestone off the 16-year-old boy’s leg early Tuesday after he helped knock over that headstone and dozens others.

Though, it does make me smile a little bit.

There is an interesting story about my great-great-great grandfather that was told to me by my grandmother.

Charles Van Price was born in the mid 1800s. He came to the U.S. in 1874, and went to Dousman, Wisconsin. He worked for Mr. Dousman, later moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin, then to Phlox, Wisconsin in 1887. Tragedy struck however, because he, my great grandfather, decided to see Holland again. He sold his land earlier, and was now one of the wealthiest men in that part of the state. While staying with his daughter, Effie, in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1922, he went grocery shopping for her and was not seen again. His daughter found he had withdrawn all his savings (a very sizeable amount) and left for Europe. They traced him to Antwerp, Belgium — then all trace was gone. He was never heard from again. After investigating, it was assumed that he returned to Holland from Milwaukee.

I haven’t had too much luck finding any more info on Charles in Holland/Belgium myself. I plan on seeing what I can find.

Here are some interesting links for today:

Good news. Today I may have broken through one of my genealogy walls. I was doing a little searching on some of my loose ends to see if I could find any more information. Today, I was in my maternal line, specifically on the Peter & Ida Muhm family. I’ve not had much luck on this family, except for finding the names of Peter’s parents in the 1860 census. I had “Schwandie” as Ida’s maiden name, but that was direct from family. I’ve never had any luck finding info on it, not even one person with that last name.

So, I came across a WorldTree entry at Ancestry for the Muhm family. It had the Muhm line back 3 generations to a Johannes Muhm born about 1741 in Germany. Very nice. Also, it had Ida’s maiden name listed as Schwinte. Different, but it may come in handy since I have no luck with the other one. The only downside is that the contact info for the submission is listed as “Unknown.” Though, I put the info in my family tree file in case it’s correct. It’ll at least help me dig further.

Here are some interesting genealogy links for today. I’ll try to do this every few days.

Stay tuned for more interesting links!

Speaking of genetics and genealogy, I caved a bought one of those DNA tests from National Geographic for their Genographic Project. I find the tracking on ancestors and evolution via DNA very interesting. It turns out that I am part of the Haplogroup R1a which are believed to have been nomadic farmers in the steppes of northern Central Asia about 10,000 years ago. Current theories point to them being the first speakers of the proto-Indo-European languages and the first ones to domesticate the horse.

Along with this great knowledge of my paternal ancestors, it also allows you to transfer your Y-DNA info off to sites such as Family Tree DNA, which will then allow you to search other individuals who have submitted their DNA info. In some circumstances you can find a distant cousin who is directly related to you. Most of the time you’ll find a perfect DNA match with someone with a different surname, they say that these people are more than likely not directly related to you in the recent past, but more likely from the time before surnames were used frequently. Your genealogical DNA test would not show that information and you would not be able to be informed since medically related information is not revealed by genealogical DNA testing. “The testing lab would not know be able to find you positive for a genetic disease, as the lab is only testing your DNA and looking at  specific loci on the Y Chromosome, or in the case of the mtDNA, the markers associated with that test, which are located at different positions on your DNA molecule than where the genes for known gene related diseases are located. Genetic Genealogy DNA markers are located in the vast areas of “junk DNA” in between the genes.” [1]

Give it a try, it’s fascinating and it could help you get over that brick wall, or even find new distant cousins.