Saturday, November 15, 2014

How not to wait 6 to 8 weeks for a record... or the best ways to order vital records in CT

I saw a message board post recently which made me cringe. The original poster planned on order in a record through VitalCheck. A second poster suggested that she save some money by ordering it through the statewide office of vital records - provided she didn't mind waiting for six to eight weeks. All of these options have their value, but the original poster knew the person's name, the place, and the date the event occurred. She should have started somewhere else.
In Connecticut, if you know where the event occurred, <em>ALWAYS</em> start with the town or city. Depending on the location, records may be in the town clerk's or health department. They'll need verification of your relationship to issue birth certificates less than 100 years old, but all other records should be issued upon request. The town will charge you $20 a record (which is a statewide standard). They can often overnight the records, provided you pay for the service. If not, most have a turn-around of a week or so. Call them and ask for details before requesting.
If you don't know the date of the event, then turn to the state office. They have an index to all events in the state beginning in 1897 (when duplicates of the records were required). They do have a much slower turn-around time of 6 to 8 weeks, so you may want to consider checking area towns first. Most towns will confirm is if they do or do not have the record. If you need the record overnighted from the state, then consider VitalCheck... And if you've used it, I'd be curious to know how it works. I've never had to try.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Did your female ancestor serve in World War I?

Have you ever heard of the Yeomanettes? Women in their teens and twenties were enlisted in the Navy as part of the military effort to support the First World War. Most served as stenographers or clerks, although a few were posted overseas. Their service likely provided the ground work for women's units during World War II - and women's roles in the modern military.
One of their bases was New London, Connecticut. Women staffed offices so that men could be deployed overseas. My own great-grandmother served her enlistment out at New London.
Don't forget to check military records for your female ancestors! Many are listed in rosters issued by the local Adjutant General's office. From there, you can order their service records. Who knows what you might find.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cleanout failure

I've been cleaning out my genealogy library over the last few days. I hadn't read Buzzy Jackson's "Shaking the Family Tree" for about 4 years - and was intending to clean it out.
Needless to say, it won't be leaving. In deciding whether or not to keep it, I did another read through. "Shaking the Family Tree" is a solid introduction to genealogy. The author dove into her own tree from all directions, touching upon both her father's colonial Virginia and her mother's Jewish heritage. She researched her tree using interview techniques, DNA, and far more. Jackson offers solid tips for beginners while presenting her own successes and failures.
If you have a family member who doesn't quite "get" your obsession with genealogy, "Shaking the Family Tree" might just be the place to start.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's a "real daughter?"

I wish this question had come up under slightly different circumstances, but we can’t always choose! A Connecticut facebook writer noticed the damage done to the gravestone of a “real daughter.” You can read more about it here… and hopefully offer to help.
So, what is a “real daughter?” Real daughter is a term used by the Daughters of the American Revolution to identify a member who was a biological daughter of a Revolutionary War patriot. All members are called “daughters.” The statement is simply more accurate for these members.
Real daughters can be, and often are, honored by DAR with memorial plaques. If your “real daughter” hasn’t been honored, consider contacting your local DAR chapter to find out how to get a grave marked.
Why do you care? If you find one on an ancestor’s gravesite, you may be able to skip a few steps in your research. Their connection to a Revolutionary War patriot is likely document in the DAR library.
Happy research!

Middlesex County Resources updated...

Clinton has been added to Middlesex County Resources on the new site. Here's the link: https://forustheliving.wordpress.com/connecticut-genealogy-resources/11-2/

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gradually migrating to a new blog...

Announcing For Us the Living (http://forustheliving.wordpress.com/) , my new  blog and webpage. The migration is happening slowly. Expect some double posts for some time. Please let me know your thoughts!

Your ancestors are American... Right?

 In doing research recently, I've run into the same circumstance over and over again: American families crossing the Canadian border, or vice-versa. If you've been raised in New England, it's not something you necessarily expect. We have a mentality that all New Englanders were Puritan settlers who remained here from their first settlement.

That's not always true. Families from northern New England or eastern Canada migrated across the border in search of new jobs or new opportunities. They may have stayed for years or just months.  Sometimes their descendants forgot that they were anything but American.

Why do I raise the issue? Simply to challenge how you think your research. It's very easy to fall into a pattern of just looking for records in one area. If we assume a family was from Maine, we tend to focus on our work there. By doing so, we may miss the ancestor's actual records, just over the border in Canada. Always do an open-ended search - just in case!