Month: January 2009


I’ve been doing some indexing for FamilySearch. Helping index old documents for other people to be able to freely search is a good thing to do. Plus, I like seeing all of the history of some of these places. Stop on over there and lend a hand.

While indexing a bunch of New Hampshire Pre-1900 death records, I came across a lot of “causes of death.” A few of them interested me since they were named quite odd. I first was confused by “Consumption” since my first thought was that someone ate themselves to death (come on, you thought it, too.) So, I visited the site where everyone goes to figure something out, Wikipedia. It turns out that consumption is actually Tuberculosis or TB. It was called consumption is the 1800s because “it seemed to consume people from within.” I thought a lot of these names were interesting and it’s also interesting to see epidemics sweep across certain areas. Also, if you’re looking through your family tree, it’s good to be able to see patterns such as Heart Disease or Stroke in your genes.

I thought that listing some of the more common causes of death and their descriptions/name changes would be helpful to some people out there.

Tuberculosis – aka TB, Comsumption, phthisis pulmonalis – a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs (as pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the genitourinary system, the gastrointestinal system, bones, joints, and even the skin. TB caused the most widespread public concern in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an endemic disease of the urban poor. In 1815, one in four deaths in England was of consumption; by 1918 one in six deaths in France were still caused by TB. In the 20th century, tuberculosis killed an estimated 100 million people. source

Diptheria – is an upper-respiratory tract illness. It is characterized by a low grade fever, a sore throat and a membrane adhering to the tonsils, pharynx and nose. This membrane can suffocate the victim. One of the deadliest outbreaks was from 1735-1740 in New England. During this time, some towns had 80% of their children under 10 die.

Myocardial infarction – commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women all over the world. Important risk factors are previous cardiovascular disease (such as angina, a previous heart attack or stroke), older age (especially men over 40 and women over 50) and tobacco smoking. source

Dysentery – is a disorder of the digestive system. Dysentery is typically the result of unsanitary water containing micro-organisms which damage the intestinal lining. source Amoebic dysentery is caused by a small parasite found in contaiminated water. Ameobic dysentery is often known as “Montezuma’s Revenge”, a reference to the legend that the Aztec king Montezuma poisoned the water of Mexico for all that were not born there as revege on the conquistadors.

Cholera – is a water-bourne disease. It is transmitted through contaminated water or through eating improperly cooked fish, especially shellfish. Cholera killed due to the fact that it severely dehydrated the victim. There were a few cholera outbreaks in the early to mid 1800s in North America.

There are also some larger ones such as Influenza, or the flu, and Smallpox that caused issues in the 1800s. You also get the common “Old Age” cause and others such as “Accident” or “Suicide.” It’s interesting to see how they lived in the 1800s and what things you always had to be worried about. That makes me think how good we do have it today.

Today is a historic day in America. It makes me feel good to see how far we’ve come as a country. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember this day and tell my kids and grandkids about it. That made me look into my family tree to see what my family may have been doing during important presidential milestones.

1789 – I don’t think I had any family in America in 1789 when George Washington became the first President of the United States. Most of my ancestors came to America much later in it’s history.

1861 – A lot of my family was already in America by the time Abraham Lincoln took office in 1861. A few of my ancestors even fought for the Union in the Civil War. They were probably also very shocked when Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

1933 – Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the 32nd President. FDR has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest U.S. presidents in historical rankings, alongside Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.All of my grandparents were alive (though probably young) at this time, but may have remembered FDR since he was in office for 12 years.

1963 – My dad always tells me that he remembers where he was when JFK was assassinated. I imagine it may have been the same way for my ancestors during Lincoln’s assassination. Back then, the news would’ve come a bit slower, maybe even a few days later.

So, good luck to our 44th President, Barack Obama and here’s to many more historic Presidential moments.

AnceStories has a nice post about Organizing Your Digital Photographs. I have a basic organization (translates to “I know where some things are”) of my photos, so this will come in very handy.

It also gives me some new ideas. It may also help down the line when I start adding more photos to the collection. This could also be used for other digital documents or files you may have.

Found this over at GenBlog, a 99 (really 104) Things Meme and with a genealogy twist. Thought I’d give it a shot.

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (color optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

  1. Belong to a genealogical society.
  2. Researched records onsite at a court house.
  3. Transcribed records.
  4. Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
  5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) .
  6. Joined Facebook.
  7. Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.
  8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
  9. Attended a genealogy conference.
  10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
  11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
  12. Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
  13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
  14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
  15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
  16. Talked to dead ancestors. (Not really…or did I?)
  17. Researched outside the state in which I live.
  18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
  19. Cold called a distant relative.
  20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
  21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
  22. Googled my name. (aka The Ego Search)
  23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
  24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
  25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.
  26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
  27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
  28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
  29. Responded to messages on a message board or forum.
  30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
  31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
  32. Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
  33. Performed a record lookup for someone else.
  34. Went on a genealogy seminar cruise.
  35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
  36. Found a disturbing family secret.
  37. Told others about a disturbing family secret.
  38. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
  39. Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.
  40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
  41. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
  42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
  43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
  44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
  45. Disproved a family myth through research.
  46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
  47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
  48. Translated a record from a foreign language.
  49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
  50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
  51. Used microfiche.
  52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  53. Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
  54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
  55. Taught a class in genealogy.
  56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
  57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
  58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
  59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
  60. Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
  61. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
  62. Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
  63. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
  64. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
  65. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
  66. Visited the Library of Congress.
  67. Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
  68. Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.
  69. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
  70. Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.
  71. Can read a church record in Latin.
  72. Have an ancestor who changed their name.
  73. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
  74. Created a family website.
  75. Have more than one “genealogy” blog.
  76. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
  77. Have broken through at least one brick wall.
  78. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
  79. Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
  80. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
  81. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  82. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the “Psychic Roots” variety.
  83. Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
  84. Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
  85. Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
  86. Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
  87. Use maps in my genealogy research.
  88. Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
  89. Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
  90. Visited the National Archives in Kew.
  91. Visited St. Catherine’s House in London to find family records.
  92. Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country).
  93. Consistently cite my sources.
  94. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don’t live in) in search of ancestors.
  95. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
  96. Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
  97. Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
  98. Organized a family reunion.
  99. Published a family history book.
  100. Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
  101. Have done the genealogy happy dance.
  102. Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
  103. Offended a family member with my research.
  104. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

Maurice Corrigan

Photo: Maurice Corrigan – Original owned by Mary Jane Zalewski (daughter of subject)

This is a photo of my great-grandfather, Maurice Corrigan. At least, that’s what it’s noted as. I’ve been told unofficially that they used to dress up boys in dress-type  clothing in the early 1900s for photographs. I have no reason to not believe this. I assume it was just a custom back then. Does anyone have more information on this custom?

Westminster Abbey

Hello again! Been doing a bit more research lately, so I’ve stepped up my postings (which isn’t too hard to do I guess.) Just remember that even if I’m not posting regularly, I am always available for comments, emails, research questions, etc. I just may not be actively searching at the time, but I will respond.

I was in the process of cleaning up my wife’s family tree yesterday so that I could print out some information to give to her parents as sort of a secondary gift. She had two names in her tree that were missing information. Those were her great-great grandparents on her maternal grandmother’s side. She said she had issues finding any information. So, since it’s been awhile since either of us had done any research on that line, I thought I’d log into Ancestry and just do a basic search. This “basic search” lasted me over 3 hours and gave us some amazing information.

I started by searching for Julius BANNACH, who is my wife’s great-grandfather, and then I’d work from there. My first search brought up Julius in another user’s family tree, named “Shannon Family Tree.” Julius’ wife was named Marie SHANNON, so this was good. I clicked on this link and it brought me to the tree and then I hopped on over to Marie’s information. Right away I saw that it had her parent’s names listed as George SHANNON and Mary DAKINS, so this is good information already. I am always aware that a lot of these trees do not list many sources, so I did enter this info with that in mind and a note to double-check what I can.

I entered the info and then went off to George SHANNON’s information. Sweet! This also lists his father and mother as Nathaniel SHANNON and Rosina Winslow ARNOLD. This is getting good. I keep doing this with the SHANNON line over and over. One odd thing I noticed is that she comes from a line of Nathaniel SHANNON’s that goes for like 7-8 in a row. What are the odds of that? (I guess creativity doesn’t run in the family. I kid.)

The SHANNON line finally runs it’s course in the year 1655 in Londonderry, Ireland. Ok, so I started this, I was going to finish it and enter what I can. So I started by going back and running each line until it ends.

Long story short, I don’t think I’ll ever get all of this info entered into our tree since I’ve now connected my wife (obviously tentatively, need to check the sources) to multiple Dukes, Barons, Counts and Kings of England. Basically, once you break that seal you have access to so much information and connections since millions of people can trace their lines back here and thousands of people have done the research already. Fortunately, I have a  copy of one of the Family Forest CDs, so I can see just how far back this line can go….very far. Sadly, my wife has cooler relatives than me, all I could connect myself to was Robert Goulet.

So, as I work my way through her line to double-check the sources and connections, it does give me some more interest in the Peerage and Royalty of England and also sparks my research bug again.

Has anyone else connected themselves to Royalty or other famous people?