I don’t like to lose things. The most frustrating things I lose track of are keys, important papers, and women in my family tree. To be fair, the women in my ancestry aren’t things, but they are so easy to lose track of, they sometimes seem to be as elusive as those misplaced keys. As I honor the special women in my ancestry, I like to take time to look for “new” details about the women in my family tree. It is so easy to “misplace” the stories of the women in our ancestry. I say “misplace” because there is a wealth of information to be found online.
I like to paint myself a picture of what their lives were like. I look for pictures of the houses they lived in, the schools they attended, the location of their wedding(s). Sometimes, I can find where they worked, what hobbies they pursued, and organizations they participated in. To complete my imagery, I start with my favorite online search engine: Google. I turn to genealogy specific websites like familysearch.org and ancestry.com. I search for newspaper articles on ancestry.com, genealogybank.com, and newspapers.com. (When searching newspapers, there are countless other websites to try so don’t stop at these
Today, I researched my paternal grandmother. I only knew her as a grandmother, I never knew much about her childhood or her early marriage. We called her “GrandMommy.” Her birth name was Mary Carolyn Edwards. She went by Carol more often than Mary. She married Eugene Cornelius Reed, Jr. in 1946 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. These are facts I already knew.
But what can I find online about Carol? Let’s see. I looked at the census records on familysearch.org. You can usually find the address of the home that your ancestor lived in recorded in the left side columns of the census recording sheet. Next, I went to the Google search engine and entered the address into the search bar. I use either maps or google earth to find a picture of the property I am looking for. Sometimes, I can only get an aerial view, other times I find a street view. The white house (above) is a current photo of the house Carol lived in as a little girl. I found a current photo of the house Carol lived in as a teenager. (It is below.)
I drove past this house as a child; just to see it. Carol lived here while she attended Glen Ridge High School in Essex County New Jersey.
On Ancestry.com I found yearbook photos of Carol. In her senior yearbook each senior was asked questions and her answers were good for a few giggles. She was a story-teller and it was fun to find that story telling was already a gift in high school. I love this high school portrait, I found.
Here’s hoping you don’t have to look for your keys. That time would be better used on growing your family tree.