Well here is the first of my “old” stories.
In my files I had fifty-three (53) items for which I have not been able to find a family tree, where I could send the item. I thought I would look at these files, go back to the newspaper link and capture the item so that I could have more information to work with. Well, the first file I looked at in my “No Luck” folder now has a family tree.
Since my files of stories contain some text information about the person and a link to the story I was able to go right to the newspaper item. Once there I captured the Obituary item and gave it the same name that I was using for the text file [Cassie M. Johnson 1974]. This way I keep the files together in the folder. I then went back to the fake tree I had created for Cassie and by putting in more info off of the captured newspaper clipping I was able to connect the person’s sister to a tree.
When I cannot find a tree right away, I create a fake tree using the information contained in the newspaper item. Since I have an account with Ancestry.com I am able to use all their tools and one tool is the hints they give me on the information I type in. Therefore if I cannot find a tree right away, I simply create a fake tree and start putting in the names, dates and places that are in the newspaper item. Ancestry.com is in the background sorting all my input and comparing it to all the names, dates and places they have in their files. Most of the time they start giving me hints right away. Some of the hints are way off the mark but other hints are spot on, so I add that new info to the tree. As I add more info to the tree from the hints, I eventually get the hint I was looking for a family tree.
Once I review that tree to make sure it really does have the person or a relative of that person and find that it is a good match then I contact the owner of that tree and send them the newspaper info and link. I then stop my work on that item and file all the text files, census records, photos and now Newspaper clippings captured off of the screen into a folder marked as “Found”. I save all those files because they might be clues to some other newspaper item I find down the road. When I send the message to the various family trees I copy their family tree links so that I can go back to them later if I find some new information, or get a message from them asking for help with some long lost relative.
When I am working in one of those old newspapers and I find a good item, I will look at other issues of that same newspaper to see if there is more news about the particular news item. In the course of my work I’ve found an engagement announcement for the couple, their wedding write up several months later and even their divorce decree several years later. It is not a good feeling when that happens but I guess that is life and it is part of someone’s history and part of someone’s family tree.
Now back to Cassie. I got a good hint for a family tree and I sent them a message telling them that a photocopy of the Obit was now available on my fake tree for them to grab and put on their tree. In the past year I’ve sent out over two thousand such messages and have even got some “Thank You” messages in return. I have not found two thousand newspapers items, I’ve contacted that many trees because many of the people in the items I find are on several if not dozens of family trees. That is why there are more messages sent then there are newspaper items.
So now I only have fifty-two (52) items in my “No Luck” folder. Fifty-two people who are not on any family tree. It is sad to think that no one cares about them but then again maybe the owners of the family trees have misspelled the name or the dates they have on the tree are not the same dates which appear in the newspaper item. Since these old newspapers where written up by ordinary reporters it is possible that some of the information is wrong. Anyway, there are fifty-two stories I will have to review sometime next year.
I guess this is a good way to end my work on the Blog for a few days. I will be traveling for the holidays down to Chicago to be with my sons’ family. Maybe he can help me learn more about Blogging.
While I am there we will have to talk about the scrap book he found last year and which started us working on other peoples family trees. That story will have to be put up on this blog one of these days.
To View the Original item,
Select Baltimore Afro-American in box below:
Item is on: Page 5 Obit’s Column 1
May 11, 1974