Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Luxembourger genealogists Bob Arens and Fausto Gardini

  It's been a long time since I've done a "Thankful Thursday" post, but I wanted to give a shout out to Luxembourger genealogists Bob Arens of Luxembourg American Families and Fausto Gardini, a writer and blogger on Luxembourg. Both maintain extensive lists of Luxembourger immigrants to the United States and have willingly shared that information with descendents of these men and women. While their information isn't always perfect, their work provides new genealogists with a starting point for researching their families. Merci!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Can't figure out where your ancestor was buried? Try Wikipedia...

  Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Wikipedia for genealogy - there isn't enough detail on the towns I study - but I have to admit, it can come in handy in unexpected ways. I've mentioned a few times that I'm currently studying one particular ancestor. She's proven quite hard to trace. We have no idea when she immigrated or where she was buried.
   I've almost gotten one of those problems solved - thanks to Wikipedia. Her death certificate lists where she's buried, but the only cemetery of that name was founded four years after her death. I would have given up, but I happened to notice something in the article. The cemetery was called the "new" cemetery. The old one had been moved... and the article told where.
   Lesson learned. Next time I can't find a cemetery, I'm checking Wikipedia. I may find nothing. But I may find gold.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tip of the Day: Trace Family Groups for Alternative Spellings

   I just was reminded of important tip - trace the family group for more information on your family.  The idea of a "FAN club" has been well explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills (you can see her explanation here). I applied the idea in looking for a Luxembourger ancestor who "appears" in the United States in the early 1870s. Despite my best efforts, I've been unable to find her immigration record. I know she had several siblings immigrate to the United States. There was a slight chance they traveled together, so I decided to take a look. It was a dead end.
   So why am I happy? Because in all my searching, I discovered that her siblings used a different version of the last name than the one we knew. On a whim, I pulled it into FamilySearch. Bingo! I now have the date of her marriage - and more details than just the year!

Thrifty Thursday: Emigrant Biographies, Institut Grand-Ducal

  I've probably mentioned the Emigrant Biographies on the Institut Grand-Ducal website before, but honestly, I've never taken them as seriously as I should. What are they? Information on various Luxembourg-Americans compiled from their obituaries in the Luxemburger Gazette. When I saw the site originally, my first thought was - oh, that's nice.
  Of course, that was before I realized the site covered one of my Luxembourger ancestors. It only goes up to the letter "E," but as it turns out, my ancestor was in the first bunch. The entry was pretty simple. Birth, death, marriage - in German- but it also included details about where my ancestor lived in the United States and when. The information on movement was more than I every would have found on my own.
  Learn from my mistake :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Monday: What would our Luxembourger ancestors have thought?

   I've spent the last few weeks putting together a family narrative on two of my Luxembourger ancestors and, given the presidential inauguration, realized that I had left one major question unanswered: what did my ancestors think of American politics?
   My ancestors arrived in the United States in about the mid-point of Luxembourger immigration, which is to say, right around the American Civil War. Both were too young to fight in the conflict. As a result, I can't tell much about how they would have chosen sides from the records. But it leaves me to wonder: what did they think of their country, and its politics?
   Honestly, I may never know. The records I have indicate that my male ancestor was very involved locally, but say nothing about the national level. He definitely read the Luxemburg Gazette and not the New York Times. Was he concerned about the national government?
  I can say definitively yes to that. Because he was naturalized years before one had to be. The only good reason to go through the process was to vote. And he did.  So, hopefully, he would be proud watching today's inauguration. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Remember to Check Both Spouses

   I know, I know. I should have remembered this on my own. But at least I thought I'd share so that my silly mistake wouldn't be repeated.  I've been working on tracing a distant family line. Since I'm related through the wife, I'd focused all my energy on her. On a whim, I entered her husband during a search. I found one additional child for this family... and I'm just getting started.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Write - and Review - as You Go

   I'm sure you've heard the idea of "write as you go" a lot in the last few weeks. The idea is simple. Once you gather information on a person, work it into some sort of narrative. It could be a family history, a story, a conference paper, something. It's just to prevent you from throwing everything in a file and forgetting it's there.
    I'm adding a second part to that tip. As you write, review what you know about that person. Don't just copy things from your database or file. Make sure that what you're writing makes sense and that you can back it up with documentation.
   Why do I care? Because I just followed my own advice. I'm putting together a family narrative. Looking for more sources, I followed the tree a few generations down. And low and behold, someone in my file had the wrong first name. Easily remedy, but it almost sent me off on the wrong track.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Follow Friday: Palen and Pletschette Genealogy

  I had some serious reservations about publicizing this blog - the author makes her political views a little too clear for my taste - but I thought it might be helpful for anyone with Palen genealogy. The Palen and Pletschette Genealogy blog traces the writer's direct line ancestors. Each post profiles one branch of her Luxembourger family tree. Entries are basic b-m-d form, but they may provide new information if you are working on this tree. Good luck!