Jul 172014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

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An ancestor’s census enumeration sheet is probably one of the very first documents a budding genealogist learns to look for. The United States Federal Census had been recorded every 10 years since 1790. These records have been carefully stored by the National Archives and Records Administration and are available for free to researchers through the 1940 edition, with the exception of the 1890 census, the majority of which was destroyed by fire.

There is, however, a catch. The records are available for free, but if you want access to online indexes and a search function so that you may more easily find your 4th great-grandfather, then you might have to pay to view these documents.

Ancestry.com has the complete set, 1790-1940 (only a very few of the 1890 records survive), with the 1880 and 1940 records available for free at this time. To see the rest, you must have a subscription.

FamilySearch.org also has the complete set, but only the actual images for the years 1850, 1870, 1900 and 1940. For the other years, the data is available and searchable, but you have to hope that whoever transcribed them was correct, as you can’t view the documents themselves.

There is a third alternative, and it is the Internet Archive.

The record of the population census from 1790 to 1930. Scanned from microfilm from the collections of the Allen County Public Library and originally from the United States National Archives Record Administration.

The Internet Archive United States Census complete set 1790-1930 is available to view and download for free, but there is no index or ability to search.

But, if you know where to look, the images are there!

FamilySearch.org can provide you with the location (state, county, enumeration district, page number), which you can then use to find the sheet you want in Internet Archive’s census collection.

Here is an example. I have an image of the 1910 census sheet for my great-grandfather, William Earl Hall. I downloaded it from HeritageQuest many years ago. But, as you can see, it’s not a very clear image.

WilEHall-1910old.jpg

 

So tonight, armed with the state, county, ED and page number of that document (information which I knew from my old image, but which is also available from FamilySearch.org), I went to the Internet Archive US Census collection and within about 10-15 minutes was able to locate and download my great-grandfather’s 1910 sheet.

WilEHall-1910new.jpg

 

And the second image is actually of a much better quality than the first.

For free!

Jul 162014
 

My great-grandfather William Earl Hall is one of my brick walls. I have 3, and only 3 confirmed pieces of evidence that document his life: his marriage license from Indian Territory, (now Oklahoma) in 1906, a newspaper article discussing said marriage (my great-grandmother was under-age at the time and lied about it! Oh, the scandal!), and his entry in the 1910 US Census from Gainesville, Texas. After than, he has vanished. The family lore goes that he died in some sort of railroad accident (he did work for the railroad.) Since my great-grandmother remarried in 1913, I can assume he died between 1910 and 1913. And that’s about all I know for sure.

According to the 1910 census, William was born in Kansas, about 1887. So I did a general search of the 1900 census, looking for a William Hall, born ca 1887 in Kansas. Lots of William Hills popped up, of course. But the one who seemed most promising, mainly because of his location, was William Hall living on Cherokee Nation land in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

Now comes the “tricky” part. This census image shows William at the top of what looks to be page 22A. He is listed as “son”, with 6 siblings and parents from Iowa and Indiana. Wouldn’t you think that his parents would be found at the bottom of the previous image, page 21B?

WilliamEHall-1900a.jpg

 

Not so!

Here is the previous page (labeled as 19B), no Halls to be seen!

WilliamEHall-1900b.jpg

 

But if you move on the page after William:

WilliamEHall-1900c.jpg

 

Here, at the bottom of the page (labeled as 20B), are William and Minnie Hall, from Iowa and Indiana, with 6 kids (the group of six children showing William, Jr as the oldest child on the previous page.)

Hummmmmmmmmmm…

So what you see on a census page is not always 100% true and correct? Oh, myyy….

Jul 142014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

***

Do you have ancestors who entered marital bliss in Denton County, Texas? The Denton County Clerk website offers free search and download of marriages licenses:

The Denton County marriage records go back to 1875. In 1875, the courthouse burned and the records were destroyed. Marriage records are recorded in the county where the marriage license was purchased, not the county where the marriage took place.
You are welcome to search the marriage license records on our website for free at: Real Property Records Search website. You will need to select “Marriages Name Search” from the Search Criteria menu located in the top left corner of your screen. On this site you are able to research, view, and print copies of marriage licenses for free.

Note that the actual marriage search page is located at the Real Property Records Search site, so don’t be confused when you arrive.

Here is an example of a marriage license that I downloaded from this site:

Hall-Schad marriage license

 

This is the marriage license of my grandfather Victor Earl Hall and his second wife, Agnes Schad, dated 29 Feb 1936.

The site isn’t clear about the dates of the available licenses, and I have only the one couple that I know to be married in Denton County. However, a random search for the surname Turner returned records (images!) from 2013 and before, including a license for Alonzo Turner and Nannie A Wilson, dated 17 Apr 1876!

I wish I had more ancestors from Denton County, Texas!

Jun 112014
 

This lady never fails to astound me! Dovie McBurnett was my great-grandmother. Earl Hall was my great-grandfather. Earl was Dovie’s first husband (I have counted 7 so far: Hall, Stanley, Epperson, Epperson (same guy, second marriage), Priddy, Bailey, Copeland, Coshnitzke).

Earl was the father of 2 of Dovie’s 3 sons, middle son Victor was my grandfather.

Anyway, I was doing a little more searching at Newpapers.com and look what popped up:

Image1
(From the Daily Ardmorite, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 24 Jan 1906, page 5)

Dovie McBurnett research is never boring!

Jun 112014
 

VicEHall20Yesterday I signed up for a free 7-day trial at Newspapers.com and I have already found several small items, as well as a full obituary for my grandfather!

This one is from the Abilene Reporter-News. I was surprised to find his obit in this newspaper, as Abilene and Stephenville, Texas, where he lived, aren’t that near to each other. But, hey, I’ll take it!

I already have a very short obit from the Stephenville newspaper, but it has very few details.

I didn’t learn anything new from this new obit, but I’m still happy to have it!

Jun 102014
 

As I slowly go through my database and upload images to create my Ancestor pages, I am finding that many of my folks are extensively documented. But I really haven’t looked at that documentation recently, some in 4-5 years.

So with each Ancestor page I create, I do a “cursory” Google search, and I run that person’s name through some of the appropriate FamilySeach databases, as well as Find A Grave, and several other free sites. Not digging very deep, just a quick check.

This morning I was preparing to create a page for my grandfather, Victor Earl Hall. I typed his name into Google and look what I found:

VicEHall8

A freebie from newspaperarchive.com, the 2 Mar 1936 edition of the Denton Record Chronicle.

I already have a copy of his marriage license, but the newspaper announcement in pretty neat, too!

Jun 082014
 

Yahoo  GeoCities   terryallanhall s Home PageWell, his website, anyway.

My brother Terry died quite unexpectedly on April 17th. We were all shocked. Only a few days earlier he had been in good health, and suddenly he was gone. He was only about a year and a half older than me.

Terry was a musician. And he had created his own website, terryallanhall.com, to showcase his talents. Photographs, press clippings, recordings of his music, etc. His life in sound and verse.

As I was updating his RootsMagic file this morning with his death information, it occurred to me that his website probably wouldn’t be around forever, that I needed to save it while I still could.

Several years ago, the free version of GeoCities shut down, and with it thousands of “Mom & Pop” websites. A McBurnett cousin had such a site, containing her genealogy database. Certainly didn’t want to lose that! I did some research and through Dick Eastman discovered a remarkable open-source (free!) program, HTTrack, that could download an entire website to your hard drive.

So, today I went to the website and downloaded the latest build of HTTrack. After a few adjustments (options, options, options!), I was able to save Terry’s entire site: photos, newspaper articles, .mp3’s.

I miss my brother, but at least I have been able to save something that was important to him.

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