Friday, May 6, 2022

Free Access to for Mother's Day, 2022

I always look forward to free days at  Access is free through May 9, 2022.  Use this link: Happy searching!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

He Is Risen!

How grateful I am for a Savior who knows and loves me, who suffered and died for my sins, and who offers me the gift of Eternal Life.  And he did and does the same for everyone.

Happy Easter!


Sunday, April 10, 2022

There We Are — There I Am! — in the 1950 U.S. Census

While anticipating the publication of the 1950 census I realized that if I'd been born just 2½ months later, I would have had to wait until 2032 to find myself in a U.S. Census.  While I'm not excited to be older, I am pleased to have lived long enough to see myself in this document.

And there we are, my family and I, on Furnace Street in Mineral Ridge, Weathersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, E.D. 78-208, census page 10 (National Archives image 11).  (See National Archives link to images here.)  We begin on line 22.  (Click the image to enlarge it in a new tab.)

Beginning on line 22 are
    My father, Lee, age 35, was working as a turn foreman at a steel mill.
    My mother, Audrey, was 34, at home.
    My brother, Robert, was 10.
    My sister, Marsha, was 6.
    Me, Nancy D., born February.  (Who provided that misinformation, I wonder?)

It was a surprise to find that little Mineral Ridge was divided into to two Enumeration Districts.  The other, to the east, is E.D. 78-207.  Some relatives who lived just a block away or down the street from us are in E.D. 78-207.

Because my grandparents lived just two houses away from us, I anticipated finding them on the same page as my family.  But nope, they're several pages and many houses away.  Who knows the path of the census taker!

The census page above can be found here at the National Archives 1950 census website.

Won't you join me in in the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project by comparing computer-read names with transcriptions of those names? It takes only a few minutes to do 20 names. If you're interested click the image at right to learn more.


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Friday, April 1, 2022

Until There's an Every-Name Index for the 1950 U.S. Census

Without an every-name census index it might be harder to find your people, but it's still possible.  These are my suggestions for the steps that will make it easier. 

Locate an address for the person you want to find
It will be an immense help.  Where did she live when the 1940 was taken?  Is she in a late -1940s or 1950s city or telephone directory?  Do you have an envelope with her address?  Be creative about ways to find the address or general locality.  If you don't have a specific address, even the name of a town or other locality will help.

Use an E.D. finder  (E.D. stands for Enumeration District.)

Look at the records
Go to National Archives 1950 Census where you will be able to enter the state and county names and the E.D. number. You will probably still need to look through several pages of census records but the 1950 census pages have fewer names per page which makes it quicker to look through them; and each E.D. seems to have only about 30 pages.

These are the steps I will follow UNTIL FamilySearch or Ancestry or another organization has created an every-name index. 

If you know of other or better tools, please share and I'll add them to this post.  Thanks!


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Thursday, March 31, 2022

My First Census

I am ridiculously excited for the release of the 1950 U.C. Census tomorrow.  It is not the lure of finding ancestors.  The only ancestors I'll probably find are my parents with my siblings and me; my maternal grandparents; aunts and uncles; and grand-aunts and -uncles.  So many ancestors had already died by 1950.

The excitement is because this will be my first census--the first one in which my name appears.  Had the census day been January 1 instead of April 20, I would have had to wait another 10 years to find myself in the census..  (And who knows what condition I'll be in 10 years from now, whether I'll still have my faculties about me or whether I'll even be alive.  One never knows.)

I was pleased to learn of Ancestry's 1950 Census district finder because it will find small towns and locations in townships, and probably in rural areas, too, unlike some of the other census district finders.  I lived in a small village, Mineral Ridge, within the boundaries of a township, Weathersfield, about three miles away from the nearest town.  The census district is 78-208.

That orange marker on the map is the approximate location of the home where we lived.  Skip right to the next block, about halfway into it, and that's where my grandparents lived.  It's possible that my mom's youngest sister was still living at home.  She was 22 at the time of the census.. 

This post lists the questions on the 1950 Census.  I hope my parents responded to all of them and, even more, I hope that my father was on line 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, or 29, in which case he would have been asked an additional 18 questions.  I anticipate finding that my father was 37, my mother 34 (turning 35 in June, 1950), my brother was 10 (turning 11 in May), and my sister was 6 (turning 7 in October).  I'm eager to learn the responses to the other questions.

Are you ready to find yourself or ancestors in the 1950 U.S. Census?


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Abel Armitage & Eliza Hartley's 1847 Marriage Records

Abel Armitage and Eliza Hartley were married at St. Peter's Church (also known at Bradford Cathedral) in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on January 13, 1847.  I obtained both a civil record and a church record, shown below. 

Marriage Certificate from UK GRO, Year 1847, Quarter M, Volume 23, Page 140.
The transcription.
1847.  Marriage solemnized at St. Peter's Church in the Parish of Bradford in the County of York
No. 113
When Married.   13 January
Name and Surname.   Abel Armitage    Eliza Hartley
Age.   25    33
Condition.   Bachelor    Spinster
Rank or Profession.   Carter    Mill hand
Residence at the the Time of Marriage.   Horton    Horton
Father's Name and Surname.   John Armitage    Richard Hartley
Rank or Profession of Father.    Collier    Cloth-dresser
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by banns, by me
W F Stirling, Curate
This Marriage was solemnized between us    
Abel Armitage's  x  mark     Eliza Hartley's  x  mark
in the Presence of us,
Charles Hemsworth     Joseph Smith

Marriage Record from St. Peter's Church, Bradford, Yorkshire, U.K.  Available at
The transcription.
Page 57.
1847.  Marriage solemnized at St. Peters Church in the parish of Bradford in the County of York
No. 113
When Married.  13 Jan
Name and Surname.  Abel Armitage   Eliza Hartley
Age.  25   33
Condition.  Bachelor   Spinster
Rank or Profession.  Carter   Mill hand
Residence at the Time of Marriage.  Horton   Horton
Father's Name and Surname.  John Armitage   Richard Hartley
Rank or Profession of Father.  Collier   Cloth dresser.
Married in the parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, By Banns by me, W. F. [illegible words], Curate
This Marriage was solemnized between us Abel Armitage's X mark   Eliza Hartley's X mark
in the Presence of us, Charles Hemsworth   Joseph Smith [signatures]

Record images together for comparison. 
The church and government records request the same information but you can see that the handwriting is different in these records.  The only other difference I see between them is that the church record has a page number and the civil record does not. 

On at least one occasion I purchased a UK GRO marriage record after having already found a church record.  When the civil record arrived I was disappointed to see that the images were identical, almost as if the GRO had copied the church record onto their form. 

I haven't been able to learn where or how the UK GRO obtains its information, whether directly from the couple or the minister, or in some other way.

It's great to get the names of the bride's and groom's fathers but not really helpful in determining which man is their father when there are several men with the same name in the same community or county.  Finding a church birth record is helpful but even then, the record only asks for the mother's given name. 

I also find it interesting that no one has added the parents of either Abel or Eliza to FamilySearch's family tree.  Often documents/sources are attached to the tree and I take those as hints to research further.  No help from FSFT yet for this couple!


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Books for Women's History Month, 2022

March is almost over and this is my first post for Women's History Month.  I didn't want the month to run out before I share a few books that focus in one way or another on women's history.  These books are, for the most part, about either one woman or a small group of women who made history or lived through a challenging time period.  There are four adult non-fiction books, two children's biographies, and four fiction with women as the main characters in historical settings.  Perhaps you will enjoy one of them.

This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear
This seemed like a hopeful book to read at the beginning of 2021, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.  And it was.  I loved this memoir.  Winspear grew up in the late 1950s and 1960s in England.  I love the detail about picking hops, oast houses, her parents’ time living in a gypsy caravan, and the other memories and insights she shared of her own childhood and youth.  Her parents taught her to work and that work would take care of many emotions—anger, sadness, unhappiness.  After surgery on her eyes when she was young, her face was black and blue.  When her father first saw her after the surgery, he held her close and told her, “This time next year we’ll be laughing”  I love the subtle admission that now is rough combined with the strong suggestion that things will get better in the future.

The Ride of Her Life:  The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Elizabeth Letts
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  As the book opens, 62-year-old Annie Wilkins goes to the hospital with a bout of pneumonia.  While there, recovering, her Uncle Waldo is sent to a care home where he dies.  When Annie returns home the doctor tells her to live restfully.  She has a farm to take care of, now without the help of her uncle, and she doesn’t have enough money to pay taxes on the farm to keep it.  She gets free seeds from the pickle factory, plants them all, and earns enough money to leave the farm behind. She decides to buy a horse and ride to California to fulfill the dream her mother had of visiting the state.  She buys Tarzan, a Morgan horse, packs up her possessions–at least what she believes she’ll need on the trip—and with her little dog, Depeche Toi, they set off from Minot, Maine, in November, 1954.  The book recounts her travels, negotiating highways with her horse, her interactions with those she meets along the way including those who give her shelter and help, and incorporates a bit of history of some of the places she stayed.  Through the book we get an idea of what it was like living in the mid-1950s.  One of the themes Letts brings up several times is the change in outlook from the view of a safe America to one of uncertainty about strangers vs. potential acquaintances/neighbors/friends that was happening at that time in America.

The Dressmakers of Auschwitz:  The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive by Lucy Adlington 
   In some ways this book was hard to read but it was so worth it.  The author introduces the reader to a number of young, female seamstresses as they grow into adulthood in Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and France, and find themselves prisoners in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where they were eventually selected to become seamstresses in a salon for the wives of Nazi leaders.  (I can’t imagine having to do a work I love for people who treat me like vermin.)  Without being too graphic the author presents the situation of the captives and takes us into the concentration camp, showing the reader several areas of the camp including Kanada, warehouses of looted goods from the people held in the concentration camp.  It was interesting to learn how friendships formed and how some prisoners supported each other.  Almost a behind-the-scenes look at some aspects of Auschwitz.
   The book is based on research and interviews with 98-year-old Bracha Berkovic KohĂșt, and daughters, granddaughters, and other family members of those who were in Auschwitz.
   Early in the book the author discussed how fashion can create unity (and to some extent, pride) in a group of people, something I had never thought about.  Think Boy Scout uniforms to military uniforms and even national folk costumes.  Fashion can also create divisiveness.
   I came away with the lesson that resistance can be manifest in a variety of ways.

Nothing Stopped Sophie.  The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Barbara McClintock, illustrated by Cheryl Bardoe
This is a children's book about Sophie Germain, who lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s in Paris during the French Revolution at a time when the education of girls and women was minimal.  She loved math and persisted to become a mathematician.  Beautiful illustrations and well-written story.  Though written for younger children, I noticed that some of the words (for example, scoffed, scholar, prodigy) are above the level of a 5-6-year-old.  Still, a way for them to learn new words in an inviting way.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures:  The Story of Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism when she was a young adult.  Because of that different ability, she has become an expert on animal science, invented cruelty-free livestock facilities, earned a PhD, and is a livestock expert.   This book, in verse, points out that being different is not being worse. At the end there is a 2-page spread with fun facts and tidbits from the author’s chat with Temple; another 2-page spread with a time line; and a more detailed biography for adults. Temple Grandin is one of my favorite contemporary great ladies.

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan.
This is a fiction book that offers a new twist on the World War II experience.   The setting is a small town in England in 1942 when food rationing is a major concern for the women of the time.  There are four main characters, all women, who participate in a cooking contest to become a co-host for a BBC radio program about cooking with rations.  Audrey is a war widow with 3 sons; Lady Gwendoline is her sister, and they are at odds with each other; Zelda is a chef who wasn’t able to find work in London after the restaurant where she worked was bombed; and Nell is a cook’s helper for Mrs. Quince at Lady Gwendoline’s manor.  Different backgrounds, different personalities, different challenges.  I really enjoyed this book, especially because of it’s focus on women and their roles in a historical setting.  A ration recipe is included at the end of some chapters.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
What a great book of fiction! I loved it and I loved the premise of the book, that words relating to women were excluded from early dictionaries.  We meet Esme Nicoll in 1886 when she is about 4. Because her mother is dead, she plays under the table where her father works in the Scriptorium.  He is a lexicographer, helping to define words for the upcoming publication of a new version of the Oxford English Dictionary.  The words are written on 4" x 6" cards of paper, called slips.  Each include a word, its definition, and a sentence in which the word is used.  As she grows older Esme falls in love with words, and realizes that most of the words in the dictionary, and their definitions, are decided by men, and that there are words by, for, about, and used by women that are not included.  She begins her own collection of slips.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
I loved this work of fiction, written almost as if it's a memoir.   Hannah is an 80-year-old widow (born in 1920) who tells the story of her life. The book is beautifully written with a down-to-earth, yet sometimes lyrical, voice. Hannah has plenty of insights.  For example, Hannah describes her grandmother’s clothing and says, “'The girls of her day, I think, must have been like well-wrapped gifts, to be opened by their husbands on their wedding night, a complete surprise. ‘”Well! What’s this?”’” A delight to read.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee 2021
I loved this work of fiction for young adults.  The language and writing were beautiful and the story was interesting and insightful.  It is filled with surprising similes.  Written in first person, the story takes place in 1890 in Atlanta where 17-year-old Chinese girl Jo Kuan lives with Old Gin, an older man who took her in when she was a baby.  They secretly live in the basement of the home and print shop of one of the local newspapers.  At the beginning of the story Jo works in a hat shop decorating women’s hats but is fired because she makes the customers “uncomfortable.”  She returns to work for the wealthy family as a lady’s maid to their haughty daughter who is about the same age as Jo.  The story leads us through mysteries (to learn who Jo’s parents are), romance, surprising challenges, and adventure, all with the thread of discrimination running through it—against blacks, Chinese, and women—and their attempts to overcome it.  One thing I will say is that Jo seems older and more mature than any 17-year-old I’ve ever known.  And though published as a teen/young adult book, I think some of the content would be more appropriate for a slightly older audience.

Previous posts recommending books for women's history

I hope you've found at least one good book to read for Women's History Month.  If so, what is it?


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

RootsTech 2022 Through the Year

Though the anticipation and excitement of our first view of RootsTech 2022 is over, there's still more to come:  our second, third, and ongoing views and reviews of the sessions.  Certainly not everyone who attended RootsTech this year has already watched every session offered?  For me, the conference continues.  I'm thrilled that all the sessions will  be available throughout the year.  I was just as pleased last year and yet I watched few of them after RootsTech 2021 was over.  This year I'm determined to watch more of the sessions.  To make this easier, I created a "My Playlist" (from the dropdown Menu in the upper right corner of the RootsTech website) and I added a bookmark at the top of my web browser as a reminder and to make it easier to get to my playlist.

How about you?  Are you finished with RootsTech 2022 or will you continue to watch more sessions?  These are the ones I watched during the conference.

General Session with Steve Rockwood and Apollonia Poilane
I liked Steve Rockwood's list of principles -- trust, love, faith, honesty, and compassion -- for choosing connection, the theme of this year's conference.

FamilySearch is always making improvements!
What's New on FamilySearch, presented by Ron Tanner
What's Coming to FamilySearch, presented by Ron Tanner

Get Involved and Reviewing the 1950 Census, presented by John Alexander and Ian James, both of FamilySearch
The presenters of this session were low-key, almost as if some of the information they were sharing was just your every-day stuff at FamilySearch.  Perhaps for them that's true, but for we are are not behind the scenes, I though this was pretty exciting.  Because the 1950 U.S. Census was computer-indexed they want to have eyes looking at the records to confirm the accuracy.  We won't have to type the information in the fields as we did for the 1940 census, just confirm its correctness.  The for me, the exciting part is that we can request family names to review. 
Ian James, one of the presenters, said, "We don't want to ask people to work on anything they don't care about, or that doesn't have some sort of impact on them."  This is part of FamilySearch's new "Get Involved" initiative. 

Keynote with Maysoon Zayid and Matthew Modine
I did not know either of these people before watching this presentation.  I was glad to learn about and from them.

Turning the Pages of British Newspapers, with Simon Fowler  (I think this is a 3-part series.)
This presenter was also low-key.   One of the most interesting things I learned is that Australian newspapers often republished articles from British newspapers.  This is of interest to me because I have ancestors who lived in England in the 1800s (and before).  Australian newspapers are searchable at no cost at Trove.  I don't hold out much hope of finding my common ancestors in Australian newspapers, or even British newspapers, but it's worth a shot.

Guided Research:  Make Finding Your Ancestor Easier, presented by Amber Larsen
Maybe I have been living under a rock because FamilySearch's Guided Research Wiki is new to me.  I think it could be especially helpful for beginners though more advanced genealogists might find it helpful, too.  When using it to search for online birth, marriage, and death documents it will help you find them and you can learn what materials for a location are not available, whether the courthouse was burned, or the records didn't begin until a later date, etc.  I also learned that FS offers 20 minute virtual genealogy consultations and that a researcher may sometimes be able to find more information at "Ask the FamilySearch Community."

Damnatio memoriae - condemnation of a person's memory, presented by Dr. Penny Walters
She introduced the presentation by discussing the demolition or removal of historical statues in recent years, and likened that to our refusing to research an ancestor whose behavior we find contemptible, or ignoring some ancestors for various reasons.  I don't think I'm so mean-spirited as that (though I haven't researched my father's "wicked" step-mother's family.  There's just no interest or need.)

If you attended RootsTech 2022 I hope it was, and will continue to be, a great resource for you.


Copyright © 2022 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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