Finding_Elusive_East_European_Ancestors

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Finding Your Elusive East European Ancestors:

Finding Your Elusive East European Ancestors Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

Slide 2:

http://www.lisaalzo.com

Talk Overview:

Talk Overview Immigration influx from Eastern Europe late 19 th /early 20 th c . Complications of Eastern European genealogy 10 Common myths about research Traditional methods and online resources Records in U.S. and abroad Techniques for overcoming common obstacles

Myths about Eastern European Research:

Myths about Eastern European Research It’s too difficult All information is online Need to search “across the pond” first Contemporary spelling of names Current geography = Historical geography

Myths about Eastern European Research:

Myths about Eastern European Research My ancestor came through Ellis Island Immigrants stayed permanently in U.S. Place of residence = Place of birth Ethnic identity is 100% certain Resources & research process universal

Myth #1: It’s Too Difficult!:

Myth #1: It’s Too Difficult! Exotic sounding surnames Border changes Political divisions Town/village names Record availability

Genealogy is…:

Genealogy is… Persistence Skill Serendipity

Keys to Success:

Keys to Success Immigrant’s original name Name of town or village General locations: Prague, Presov, Kiev, etc. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Myth #2 All information is online:

Myth #2 All information is online Yes, a number of U.S. records are available. But… Many foreign records must be obtained by traditional methods Utilize Internet resources whenever possible Always verify information!

Myth #3: Need to Search “Across the Pond” First:

Myth #3: Need to Search “Across the Pond” First Start by researching records on this side of the ocean and work backward North American records are easier to access These records provide clues to town/village of origin Helps you to avoid making critical research mistakes

Important First Steps:

Important First Steps Develop a research strategy Who, What, When, Where, Why? Document everything Organize your information Genealogy software programs Pedigree/ancestral chart Family group sheet Free online charts and forms

Learning Details about the Immigrant:

Learning Details about the Immigrant Personal and family details Locate the town/village of origin Search U.S. records for surnames Check for siblings, friends, neighbors

Information to Research:

Information to Research Full name (including maiden names) Approximate dates for vital events Locations for vital events Understanding of "place” Ask about documentation

Key U.S. Sources:

Key U.S. Sources Home and Family Sources Federal Census records (1790 – 1930) & Mortality Schedules State Census records (where available) Immigration records Naturalization records Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Vital Records – Birth, Marriage, Death

Other Sources:

Other Sources Church records Obituaries Cemetery stone inscription Burial records Funeral home records & memorial cards Lodge, fraternal, insurance records Newspapers Land/probate records

Slide 16:

My mother, Anna Alzo with me, July 1999

Slide 17:

Baptismal Certificate Verona Sztraka Issued in Lutina, Slovakia 1899 Parents: Andrej Straka and Maria Verbovsky

Myth #4: Contemporary Spelling of Names:

Myth #4: Contemporary Spelling of Names Be flexible and open to alternate spellings Various languages, alphabets, etc. Anticipate/expect confusion with names, dates, places Verona Veron Vera Veronica Sztraka Straka Stracha Strake

Slide 20:

Verona Straka 1922 Czechoslovakia Hanigovce July 7, 1922 Hamburg Paid $1.00 visa $9.00 Passport

Slide 21:

Do the same for first names: Example: Elizabeth could be: Liz, Lizzie, Betty, Betsy, Beth, etc.

Myth #5: Current Geography = Historical Geography:

Myth #5: Current Geography = Historical Geography Border changes Austria-Hungary World Wars Political divisions Search both old & new names

Locating the Ancestral Village:

Locating the Ancestral Village Check Maps, Gazetteers, Atlases Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe FEEFHS Map Library http://www.feefhs.org FamilySearch http://wiki.familysearch.org Common Place Names ( Slovakia Genealogy Research Strategies) http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/place_name_terminology.htm

Slide 25:

Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) http://www.feefhs.org

Locating the Ancestral Village:

Locating the Ancestral Village Radix Genealogy Site http://www.bogardi.com/cgi-bin/rdxlinks.pl?mapsplaces Identify location today (border changes) Google Earth: http://earth.google.comUse Shtetlseeker available via http://www.jewishgen.org

Slide 28:

http://www.jewishgen.org JewishGen

Myth #6: My Ancestor Came Through Ellis Island!:

Myth #6: My Ancestor Came Through Ellis Island! 20 million immigrants at Ellis Island 1892-1924 Ellis Island was not the only port Database http://www.ellisisland.org launched April 2001 Eastern European surnames are often difficult to search

Myth #6: My Ancestor Came Through Ellis Island!:

Myth #6: My Ancestor Came Through Ellis Island! Prior to 1892 or after 1924 not in EIDB Check lists for Castle Garden (before EI) lists 1820-1913 http://www.castlegarden.org Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. Some earlier records available online Microfilmed passenger lists: FHL

Documents: Ship’s Manifest:

Documents: Ship’s Manifest Verona Straka 1922 Age: 22 Single Laborer (“Hospital Discharged”) Slovak Milpos Traveling with Maria Straka, Age 19

Documents: Ship’s Manifest:

Documents: Ship’s Manifest Going to: “Mother”: Maria Sivak , 129 “ Grandford ” Str. Duquesne, PA, Cz . Slovakia Milpos

Slide 36:

Record of Detained Aliens

Slide 37:

Search Tools Steve Morse http://www.stevemorse.org More specific search parameters “Sounds like” searches: names & towns Other search tools (“one-step” pages) Baltimore/Castle Garden, et al. Lists Use w/ Ancestry.com The Ship’s List http://www.theshipslist.com Census City Directories Myth #6: My Ancestor Came Through Ellis Island!

One-Step Webpages (Steve Morse):

http://www.stevemorse.org One-Step Webpages (Steve Morse)

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S.:

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S. Check Port of Departure Records Hamburg “Direct” and “indirect” lists and both should be searched so you don’t overlook your ancestor Check for these lists (Auswandererlisten 1850-1934) in the FHL catalog Online used to be through Link to Your Roots; now on Ancestry.com (subscription)

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S.:

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S. Bremen (1920-1939) Most Bremen have not survived Reconstruction effort, some lists (1920-1930) online (Die Maus ) http://www.passengerlists.de/

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S.:

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S. Many immigrants renounced homeland for the U.S. political or religious oppression terrible economic or social conditions never wanted to go back

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S.:

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S. Many came over a short time just to earn enough money Planned to return to their homeland and purchase land Would possibly travel back again to earn more money “Birds of Passage” Did not necessarily intend to settle permanently in U.S.

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S.:

Myth #7: Immigrants Stayed Permanently in U.S. Check for multiple entries arrival & embarkation Note “Place of Residence & “Destination” columns “State of Origin” for departure records. Clues: Look for USA listed in passenger lists

Myth #8: Place of Residence = Place of Birth:

Myth #8: Place of Residence = Place of Birth Immigration records: “Place of residence” Does not always indicate “Place of birth” May lead you down a false path Confusion during foreign records search Some immigrants may have had to work to earn money for passage in the city of departure Others may have moved

Example: Janos Figlyar:

Example: Janos Figlyar Maternal grandfather’s arrival record Lists his “Last Place of Residence” as “Podolinec”

Example: Janos Figlyar:

Example: Janos Figlyar From personal documents He was born in “Osturna” His real father died around 1900 or 1901 His mother remarried & moved to Podolinec

Myth #9: Ethnic identity is 100% certain:

Myth #9: Ethnic identity is 100% certain Beware of the “nationality trap” Ask what language spoken in home Check the Census records columns “Language spoken at home before…U.S.” (1930) “Mother Tongue” (1920)

Myth #9: Ethnic identity is 100% certain:

Myth #9: Ethnic identity is 100% certain Religion may provide additional clues e.g. Carpatho-Rusyns are typically Greek Catholic. Don’t take the information as “gospel” There are always exceptions “Family history mysteries”: Be open to all possibilities

Myth #10: Resources & Research Process Universal:

Myth #10: Resources & Research Process Universal Records: Type and availability will vary Not all countries the same Be flexible in your research Use resource guides/books

FEEFHS Resource Directory:

http://www.feefhs.org/links.html FEEFHS Resource Directory

LDS Microfilmed Records:

LDS Microfilmed Records The Family History Library (FHL) http://www.familysearch.org Has filmed some records Not all records in all countries Church records Several villages in one parish Records may be in larger, nearby town Census Records (Austria-Hungary)

Slide 54:

Sample LDS Microfilm Church Marriage record, 1875 Hungary

How to Read and Interpret Church/Civil Records:

How to Read and Interpret Church/Civil Records Birth, Marriage, Death Languages (Cyrillic, Greek, Hungarian, Latin, Slovak) Can often be difficult to read and interpret LDS: Word Lists (see FHL catalog) Consult Web site by John J. Jaso http://www.bmi.net/jjaso/index.html

Census Records :

Census Records Availability depends on country Check FHL Catalog Types Landowner Census (1828) Jewish Census (1848) Sample Census record 1869 ( Osturna ) Hungary

Slide 57:

Sample LDS Microfilm Census record, 1869 (Osturna) Hungary

Other Records:

Other Records Military records Local histories Nobility records Tax lists (limitations) May or may not be on microfilm at FHL

Research by Mail or in Person:

Research by Mail or in Person Archives in Eastern European Countries Availability/policies for research will vary Check FEEFHS Web Site Consult LDS Family History Library (FHL) Word Lists/Letter Writing Guides Some in downloadable PDF format “Research Helps”

Professional Researchers (check credentials):

Professional Researchers (check credentials) Association of Professional Genealogists in America http://www.apgen.org Board for Certification of Genealogists http://www.bcgcertification.org Cyndi’s List (professional researchers, (volunteers & other research services http://www.CyndisList.com Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International http://www.cgsi.org

Networking: Finding Others :

Networking: Finding Others Genealogical and historical societies Queries in genealogical publications Facebook , Twitter, Blogs Online Message Boards/Forums Mailing Lists - RootsWeb Foreign telephone directories Establish contacts in the ancestral village (mayor or priest)

In Summary:

In Summary Determine immigrant’s original name Town or village of origin Start on this side of the ocean Follow the family & friends (cluster genealogy) Use the Internet to gather information and network with others Be flexible with spelling Think “outside the box”

Conclusion :

Conclusion Effective Eastern European genealogical research in the 21 st century is not accomplished by only traditional research or only online research, but by using both methods.

Finally….:

Finally…. Be serious about your research But have FUN doing it!

Questions & Answers:

Questions & Answers

Thank You:

Thank You Contact me: lisa@lisaalzo.com http://www.lisaalzo.com SpeakerWiki http://speakerwiki.org/speakers/Lisa_Alzo

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