Tag Archives: roots

Health and hospitalizations

Having spent the last eleven days in critical care with a seriously ill family member, I’ve had little to think about except beeping monitors, IV poles with various concoctions running, ventilators, and multiple hours in surgical waiting rooms praying that everything will be alright. Yes, it’s been a pretty bad time, but we’ve finally reached a point where discharge is in the not too distant future.

The illness and hospitalization brought to mind my elusive grandmother’s illness and eventual death. Previous posts have addressed the difficulty I’ve faced finding my father’s mother. I know her name and that she gave birth to my father in 1923; I know she was married to then divorced from my father’s father; I know she went to New York City when my father was a baby and worked for a newspaper; and I know that she was ill before she died and had health aids in her home taking care of her. I never knew my grandmother. I don’t know what diseases plagued her or what eventually led to her death.

So, how do I find more on my grandmother? In genealogy we work backwards from the present through the past. I know that death certificates can be obtained for a deceased relative. I could start with her death certificate – a document that tells the name of the person who died, what they died from, and what the parent’s names were. I already know the names of her parents. How much would I really learn from the death certificate? Do I need to know the cause of death? As a medical professional, I know that health history is generally restricted to the patient, parents, and siblings.

So, do I need to put out the money to order that death certificate or not? That’s a question I’ll ponder as I sit in the hospital and listen to the monitors beeping and setting off alarms.


Posted by on March 22, 2011 in random musings


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My oh my, repetition, repetition

So, I was spending hours searching through and importing data from other family trees and historical records. Later, much to my horror, when looking up a person on my tree I found him in there twice! When I looked further, I found more than one person was in there twice. It seems that many of the family trees I had used as source material had the repetitions as well. Fortunately the damage was minimal and I was able to delete the repetitions on my tree without disrupting the verified material I had there.

Lesson learned: watch out for repetitious information.

Then I got an email from Ancestry with possible matches for my tree. I clicked the link to check all and was presented with 7 pages of names with hints. Most of these were more distant branches of the tree that didn’t present a direct link to me. Each time I updated one, it opened other branches and more names would pop up on the list.

Another lesson learned: it isn’t necessary to put all the children of all of the relatives on tree – they only sprout more leaves.

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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in tools


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Proposal for my genealogical search

Have you ever wondered where you come from? Not your recent history, your distant history. The blood you carry in your veins carries components of the blood of your ancestors. How long have your ancestors lived in the United States and what nations did they come from?

There are a few organizations that are concerned with your lineage – your genealogy – The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the Confederacy. For each of these organizations, you need to trace your family tree either back to an ancestor who was in the United States during the founding of our nation or back to the Civil War to gain membership. I am sure their requirements are quite stringent, but I will barely touch on these organizations. My research will be mainly concerned with my own ancestry.

When, in the past, I had been asked what my ancestry is, I have said, “mostly Irish.” While that is true, I have been told that I am Irish, English, French, Holland Dutch, and Seneca Indian. I have always been interested in my roots, but never thought I could trace my roots. Too complicated, I thought.

I plan to trace my roots and build my family tree one branch at a time. I will start by interviewing members of the Historical Society to help gain a footing on where I should begin my search. I’ll search for sources that may help me find information about my ancestors. I’ll finally go through the box of family artifacts and papers my mother gave me when she moved out of state. I don’t know much about how to search, but will learn along the way.

I am sure there are other people out there who would be interested in working on their own family tree, but, just like me, don’t know where to start. I plan to create an article for publication to a trade journal, like Family Tree magazine. This is such an extensive, ongoing subject, that I have even considered making it the subject of my thesis – perhaps a nonfiction book concerning the journey I’ll take searching for my roots. We shall see where the journey takes me.


Posted by on February 10, 2010 in First steps


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A trip to the library nets a curious discovery and launches a quest

I have always loved visits to my local library. I’ve known many of the librarians since our town’s collection of books occupied a tiny building. There was a real sense of community and camaraderie in that tiny building. Times changed and, though that sense of community and camaraderie remains, the once tiny library has grown and has been incorporated into the local community center. The library occupies one wing of the large community center. Outside of the library, off on other wings, are offices and rooms that have always been a complete mystery to me. No longer in a small building by itself, our library occupies a part of a larger community center.

I recently visited my library. I was humming happily with a pile of books I had checked out in my arms. I stepped out of the library entrance into the lobby and noted a green slip of paper laying on a table there. “Trace Your Roots,” the flyer proclaimed. According to the flyer, you can go to the Historical Society to learn how to do your family tree. Historical Society? I looked across the lobby and noticed, for the first time, a slightly cluttered office that housed the Historical Society of the Township of Franklin. The office was closed, so there was no one to ask about this flyer I had found.

I plan to return to the Historical Society to interview the staff about family research, obtain texts related to genealogy, and investigate other resources that are available for further research. With the knowledge I obtain, I plan to begin to trace my family roots and begin to build my family tree.


Posted by on January 27, 2010 in First steps


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