Thursday, July 23, 2015

What sort of genealogist am I?

I saw an article in GeniAus a little awhile ago, and she asked herself what sort of genealogist is she. I thought it was a very interesting main question with sub questions just as interesting.

This is a question of internal examination of myself and covers: Researcher, Author, Educator, Curator, Archivist, Librarian, Analyst, Marketer, and Retailer.

 Researcher: The most traditional of genealogy careers. Defined as a researcher is someone who conducts research, i.e., an organized and systematic investigation into something.

Does this fit me?
It does. I research history of places, events which happened and many of the other information that might help to find out and understand my ancestors. Further, some of the online groups, friends, and relatives have all been helped by my knowledge in various areas when discussion has happened.

Author: Someone who writes about various aspects of genealogy and family history, from magazine articles to books. Defined as a writer of a book, article, or document.

Does this fit me?
It does. I write articles for blogs, but this one is on family. Further, I have 2 Facebook groups which discuss ancestors which I write tiny snippets for. Finally, I’m in the process of writing up my grandmother’s story to hand out one day.

Educator: With almost any industry or field, people who are new will want to learn how to perform certain tasks. Defined as a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher.

Does this fit me?
It does. Not only do I inform relatives about things happened within timeframes and such, but I also have taught classes and lectured on genealogy for the community.

Curator: Last year I spoke of the power of the “curator” and the concept of a curator seems to have gained traction. Defined as a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection.

Does this fit me?
Not really. I am a collector of information on my ancestors, but I would not term this as a true collection.

Archivist: Many repositories have staff with a genealogy background who work to preserve artifacts, documents and the like so that researchers can better understand them and have access to them. Defined as a person who maintains and is in charge of archives.

Does this fit me?
It does. I have photos, documents, interviews and other information I maintain and add to. I also give people permissions to view them.

Librarian: There are quite a few genealogists with their library science degrees and backgrounds who work for genealogical libraries as well as other types of libraries. Defined as a person in charge of or assisting in a library.

Does this fit me?
It does and doesn’t. When I was growing up, I used to volunteer at Libraries to work, assist and help with various jobs. However, since then, I only visit every now and then as a customer and not as a worker. Overall, I wouldn’t classify me as a Librarian.

Analyst:  Defined as a person who analyzes or who is skilled in analysis or a person who studies or analyzes something.
Does this fit me?
It does. Sometimes by looking at and determining pictures, facts based upon paperwork, researching events, diseases and various other subject matter you can give an overall picture of what history was like by putting socioeconomic and society backgrounds to my ancestors, which puts “some life into them” and it makes them feel like a real person.

Marketer: Another growth area in the genealogy industry especially when it comes to social media. Defined as a person whose duties include the identification of the goods and services desired by a set of consumers.

Does this fit me?
This doesn’t fit me. Why? I can’t sell anything to save a life. I know where people can go to get information and can provide them with it, but don’t promote it to any level. I’m more than willing to help people find information rather than promote anything. In fact, when I was in high school I had to sell cookies at lunchtime to get money to go away to a conference. I really struggled to sell anything because I can’t sell things very well. I did get to go to the conference, but that was with help of many of my friends.

Retailer: Just look at any genealogy conference or expo and you’ll see booksellers, craftspeople selling their handmade goods related to family history, and more. Defined as a term describing businesses that sell goods directly to individuals.

Does this fit me?
It does not fit me. Why? See marketer comment which applies here. Again, happy to help and point people in the direction of paperwork, but sell something? Nope, they will probably run the other way if nothing else.

These question make me as  - What type of genealogist are you?

Friday, July 3, 2015

In Deep with the Book of Me - Dream Trip

This seems like an interesting topic for those those of us who do Genealogy -

This prompt was inspired by a blog post written in September 2014 by Jennifer Shoer who blogs at The Scrappy Genealogist. I wasn't the only one inspired because +Tessa Keough & the team at the Legacy Virtual Users Group Community at Google + hosted a hangout in October 2014 and you can see that recording here.

Topic: You are going to plan your dream trip. Where do you want to go and why?
Genealogical connections, revisit because of happy memories, or perhaps you just feel a connection to somewhere else? What do you want to do when you get there?

The trip can be as long or as short as you would like it to be. Forget about the constraints that you might feel and be aware of. This is an opportunity to dream and perhaps sow the seed for a future adventure.

My Genealogy Dream Trip

What's funny is my husband and I have been talking about going back to the land of our ancestors. We've been talking about it for probably a good 3 or 4 years now, because we're starting to find information on exactly where our ancestors were.

My starting point would be to go back to the United States. However, it would be to parts I've never really spent time in.

New Jersey
This would be my starting point. If my father wanted to come along, I would be more than willing for him to accompany me. We would start at the old addresses I had of my paternal side:
  • 1920 address: 49 7th Avenue, Hudson, New Jersey(great grandfather)
  • Sept 1920 address: 25 Silver Street, Bayonne (great grandparents and grandmother)
  • 1930 address: 103 11th Street, West Linden (great grandfather)
  • 1937-1942  address: 108 W 15th Street, West Linden  (great grandfather & business)
  • 1943 address: 200 Jefferson Ave, Linden, (grandparents)
  • 1943 address: 1814 Clinton Street, Linden (great grandfather)
  • March 1943 address:  1907 S Wood Ave, Linden (Distant cousin of grandmother)
  • March 1943 address: 1907 S Wood Ave, Linden (Cousin Czeslaw of Great grandfather)
  • March 1943 address: 666 Broadway Bayonne (Cousin Vincent of Great grandfather)
  • October 1920 address: MJ Donohoe School (known now as #4 school), Linden, NJ
  • November 1922 address: #2 school, Linden, NJ (grandmother)
  • 1939 address: 816 Henry Street, East Linden  (grandmother)
  • Bayway Cemetary, North Linden, NJ (Great grandparents)

New York
  • 1934 address: 433 East 72 St, NYC (grandfather)
  • 1934 address: 399 East 78th St, NYC (grandmother)
  • 1934 address: St Monica's Church, 405 East, 79th St, Manhattan (grandparents married)
  • I would also have my father take me to the places he remembers. He has mentioned in the past the old store my great grandfather had and its still a store today in New Jersey. 
  • He mentioned a German bar my grandfather often visited as well in Linden.
  • I would also visit the New Jersey Archives to see if they had any local information on my great grandparent's business as it was very well thought of. I would look up my great grandfather's obituary as well. Lastly, in the late 1930's my grandmother was involved in a very bad car and train accident and my grandmother almost died. 
  • Lastly, I would have my nieces, with their children, meet me in New York City to go to the Statue of Liberty. I would then tell them all the story of my grandmother and getting to New York.  I would follow this by them meeting my father as they didn't know him growing up. 

The next stop on my dream trip would be to Pennsylvania. My oldest sister, Theresa, has already said she wants to come along with us on this one. This visit would be for my maternal grandmother's side - the Ostrzyci and Jagodzinski side.

Pennsylvania (Ostrzyci's)
  • 1910 address: 7 Stewards Row West Carson Street, Allegheny, PA - (Felix Brother of Bernice)
  • St Adelberts Cemetery, Allegheny, PA (Felix buried)
  • 1915-1976 address: 1202 (Lower) Crest Avenue, Charleroi (2x great grandparents lived most of their lives and died, Kurpieski's lived (Laura sister of Bernice, Josephine sister of Bernice)
  • Calvary Cemetery, Charleroi  (where my 2x grandparents and other cousins/aunts/uncles are buried, Kurpieski's)
  • Charleroi Cemetery - Vicki/Valeria Woncheck (Grand Niece of Bernice, Frank, Stanley Jr Brothers of Bernice)
  • Christ Lutheran Church of Charleroi (Dorthoy Ostrzycki Johnson - Bernice's niece)
  • St Mary's Anglican Church, Charleroi (Vicki/Valeria attended)
  • 819 Gallowfield Ave, Charleroi (Vicki Carl J Spallino Funeral Home)
  • Charleroi-Moessen Hospital (Where Bernice's brother in law died)
  • Polish Ladies Auxiliary of Chareroi - Laura Kurpieski a member
  • 1918 address: 205 Fever East Pittsburgh (Adam Ostrzycki)
  • 1933 address: 369 Hayes Ave, Washington, PA (Adam)
  • 1930 address: 939 McKean Ave, Washington, PA (Steve)
  • 1940 address: 1223 Crest Ave, Charleroi (Steve)
  • 1970 address:  Calvary Bible Church of North Charleroi & choir (Steve - left for Tennessee-ministry-then Alabama)
  • 1976: St. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, Charleroi (Josephine)
  • Prior to 1962 Address: 16 Perry Lane, Pittsburgh, PA (Josephine Bernice's sister)
  • Need to look up Corning Glass Works in Charleroi (2x great grandfather)

  • Saint Catherine's Cemetery, Leechburgh, PA (Alfred - great uncle)
  • St. Martha's Roman Catholic Church, Leechburgh (Alfred's daughter married)
  • 1962 Address: Rd 1, Vandergrift (Alfred's address)
  • Leechburgh High School (Alfred's children attended)
  • 1917 address: Cemetary ?, Leechburgh (great grandfather)
  • West Leechburgh Steel Co, West Leechburgh, PA (great grandfather)
  • Visit to Leechburgh (Bridget/Bernice lived)
  • Visit to Pittsburgh - Stella (sisters to Bernice)
  • St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Oakmont, PA (Valma  Dunn - Bernice's sister)
  • Vandergrift, PA - (Apolonius aka Juggs - Mom's cousin lived/died here)
  • Thomas M. Smith Funeral Home and Crematory, 930 Center Ave, Pittsburgh (Mom's great aunt had Valma Dunn had her arrangements done)
  • 1948-1983 Wean United (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius worked)
  • 1943 Leechburgh High school (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius graduated)
  • St Gertrude Roman Catholic Church in Vandergrift (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius chruch)
  • Vandergrift VFW (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius member)
  • Armstrong Conty Sports Hall of Fame (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius plaque)
  • St. Gertrude Cemetery Vandergrift (Janet's brother Jug or Appolonius buried)
  • Need to visit the Charleroi, Vandergrift, Leechburgh, Pittsburgh genealogy/history area for references Charleroi needs to be searched for Laura in Charleroi Mail newspaper for local politics.

I will also want to check cemeteries near Newburgh, NY for my great grandmother Bernice, great Aunt Geneieve, maternal grandfather and great aunt Florance, and St Mary Church and Cemetery in Salisbury Mills, NY.

I would also meet up or  have a huge picnic to meet any of my cousins in one of the nearby parks in Orange County, NY. as I haven't met many.

St. Paul Minnesota


I would then take my time and go through the places listed in my great grandparents and grandparent's documents I found. These are below.

My paternal side comes from these areas of Poland:

My maternal side comes from these areas of Poland:

 My paternal side comes from these areas of Germany:

 My maternal side comes from these areas of Denmark:

My maternal side comes from these areas of Belgium:

My Husband's dream trip would be to Ireland (whole thing), Germany, and places along France/Belgium border for his genealogy.

I think I need to win the lottery. *grin*

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finding New Relatives

It might seem like I've completely stopped with my family history, but its far from the truth. I've had to lessen my searching because I'm currently looking for employment, but I haven't stopped.

Information Searching Overload
This is what I'm experiencing. I have so many different places to search for different ancestors, I'm suffering from overload. I have new areas I can search for my great grandmother's relatives and history near Denmark. I have a Facebook Group for my great grandfather's relatives in and around Belgium, which I keep finding new cousins and we're trying to link up our connections. Then there's the Polish relatives on both sides I'm still trying to put it all together. Finally, there is the DNA side of everything as well. Like I said, I'm on information and searching overload.
Taken from

Share the Information
I'm a big believer in sharing of information. This is why I've started up this blog, a Facebook Group and writing my grandmother's story up. I decided to start with her, because its the ancestor I have the most complete information about on. I thought it would be one of the easier ancestors to write about but was I wrong. I have had to research areas I would not have thought about otherwise. Then try and put all the information - including historical facts - together where it will make sense. Not an easy task I'm finding out.

A picture from the facebook group
The Facebook Group was a great idea as I was trying to share the same information with about 10 people. Now we've almost double that size, but the information that has been shared was much easier for everyone to look at, read and find.

Searching - where to start? 
I do, from time to time, give talks on genealogy for the community. I always tell them the first step is to write things down that they know of or heard and give estimated dates unless the real dates are known.

Next, I have them do a search in a search engine or Google the name of the person...and you'll never know what you'll find.

My Experiences with Searching using Ancestor's Names
I had my doubts about opening up a search engine and doing a simple search on an ancestor's name. When I did it, boy did I hit gold! I found many newspaper articles. Next up was I found the genealogy site called Geneanet for parts of Europe my ancestors came from. You can sign up for free and do simple searches and post in groups asking for help. I did this, and within about 4 weeks I found my great grandfather's line in Belgium. Within 2 months of signing up, I found a cousin in France. Since then, I have found a second cousin with more family in Belgium. Then when a cousin from my Facebook Group asked for a bit of help, I went looking for more of my great grandfather's line and found at least 2 more cousins that link up to my family history research. However, none of them at the moment link up to my cousin's family from Facebook but where her grandfather came from is the same area my many great grandfather's had came from, so we know we're related we just have to find the missing link.

I'm now also trying to use this same website to go back on my Polish and German sides of the family as well.

So never give up and give things you doubt a try. You never know what you're going to find out there!

Father's Day 2015

Father's Day

My experiences with Father's Day have been very little. This is because when I was very little, my parents divorced and then the custody battle began. Eventually, custody was settled and I was to see my father every Sunday.

Over the years, things happened with the Sunday visits. After awhile, I felt like I was a piece of rope getting pulled from one parent to another, but I did want to see my father so I endured it. However, one Christmas, we went over to see my father for a visit, and it started to snow pretty badly, so we had to leave. He wanted us to wait but even I, who was only about 12 years old, knew the roads were getting bad so we left. My brother and sister in law were in the car with us as we only took 1 car for safety. Anyhow, along the way we got in a small accident but it was still an accident. A big village snow plow backed up and right into us. No one was hurt, but we could have been. After that, I had a good think and I couldn't do it any longer - not with people getting hurt now, so I wanted to stop visiting my father on Sundays. I couldn't do anything with my friends or join any clubs because they always did things all weekend or on Sundays. Add that to feeling like a piece of property instead of a cared for little girl and I knew it was time. I told my mother my decision figuring that we would all sit down and talk about it. However, that was not what happened - I had to come out and tell everyone and all anyone could hear me say was I didn't want to come over any longer and not the reasons around it.

After that, I rarely heard or saw my father. The times I went out of my way to go see him, I felt like he didn't want me there or I was a piece of property to show off and then forget about. If he did talk to me it was about his time in the service or Elvis. Eventually I couldn't handle it any longer and got mad at him and stopped trying. I figured if he couldn't take the time or the energy to see me then why should I to him?

Anyhow, about 10 years ago now, I made a promise to try with him again to someone that matter to us both. My father since then has been trying. We talk on the phone and when we travel to the US, we go to see him. In fact, a couple of years ago, we made sure we went over on Father's Day to see him. It was the first time that I can ever think of that we celebrated Father's Day together.
My father and I on Father's Day in June 2011

Genealogy and Today
I do realize my father won't be around forever. That's a fact that one day we all will be gone. However, with my genealogy research, I'm finding there have been cycles that have been followed in each side of my family's history. One of these cycles are to have family and just not contact them at all. In fact, on each side of the family, father's have never been a huge thing with either of my parents.

Break Cycles or to Create New Ones?
I've never met either of my grandfather's. Apparently my parents agreed none of their children would have anything to do with their father's. I get the feeling something happened to them growing up and they wanted to stop the cycle. Instead, they started a new cycle - just ignoring your family that does not contact you and make no effort to contact them.

In fact, that cycle is going strong today. How? Well, you see my eldest sister and her children don't contact each other because the other doesn't reach out to them or one seems like they are always reaching out to the other. I know my second oldest sister doesn't have any contact, that I know of, with her sons either. The middle child, another sister, has one child and I think they don't have regular contact either. I know she rarely has been contacting the rest of her siblings. My brother has regular contact with his son and most of his siblings and the same goes to me. As you can see, the cycle is alive and well for most of the children of them.

Break that cycle!
Especially now with my research into family history, I want to try and break these damned cycles. I try and encourage others to break the cycles and to keep in contact with others. Its not easy - nothing worth having is ever easy, but I think in the long run it will be worth it.

Yes, I could stay mad at my father. However, I made a choice to make a promise and I never break my promises. The fact is my father will not be around forever. He's in his 80's and sometimes you have to try and let go in order to move forward. Yes, there are still unanswered questions and issues, but you work on them a little at a time, and that's the key - You still have that time. The clock hasn't run out yet. So get out there and talk things over and move forward while you still can because once that person passes away, their stories and reasoning's are gone with them. You need to ask yourself - can you live with how you've left things if they were to pass away tomorrow?

If not, then you have some work to do before that clock runs out.

Taken from