Ancestry.com

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Von Jones, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I haven't renewed my membership to Ancestry.com but I plan to. If you ever were curious about your family or your spouse's family or any one's heritage Ancestry.com is the place to start. My mom and other family members began a genealogy tree of her side of the family. I decided to research my dad. I didn't know my father very well as I had some idea about him that I wanted to have confirmed. Unfortunately, his side of the family was quite secretive so I didn't get very far. I must say that he was a very mysterious man himself. I have a big problem with the 'not knowing.'

    You see commercials and some programs on television about how celebrities trace their heritage, doesn't it make you curious?
     
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  2. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I'm very curious. My maiden name is Campbell, so obviously, somewhere along the line, my father's family came from Scotland. I have a lot of the stereotypical Scottish traits, so I'd love to find out more about it. My mother's people have English and Welsh names, so it would seem that they should have been enemies at some point.

    I have a cousin (my father's, brother's daughter - also a Campbell) who went to Ireland on vacation. She was in a small town, in a shop that sold tartans, and she innocently asked for the Campbell tartan. Little did she know, about 600 years before, the Campbells had raided the town, raping and pillaging as they went. The store keepers started yelling and screaming out her, and literally shoved her out of the store, where all the ruckus drew the attention of the other townsfolk. Once they learned that she was a Campbell, she was "shown the door" and took her cue to leave town.

    Anyway, I'd love to find out when my "people" came here. I know my father's family settled in the western part of Virginia, in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, while my mother's family settled in the Tidewater area of Virginia.

    What are your experiences with Ancestry.com. Has it been helpful in your research? Have you found out anything about your father's family? Do you recommend it? How much does it cost?
     
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  3. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I started with the 14 day free trial. I think it took me 14 days to get use to learning my way around and functions that could be performed. After I felt comfortable with it I signed up for the next affordable session and began my research and built my family tree. Yes it was very helpful with possible hints (the green leaf) to follow. You have to be able to do the math though or you could wind up with some one in your tree that you are not related to. The resources were endless. If you have any records of any family member they are excellent resources. The spelling of names may be wrong but you need to follow it just the same.

    As far as my father, no. I haven't given up though, he has a history I just have to find it. I do know that he was a musician/manager.

    As a starting point I would recommend Ancestry.com even though there are others that do the same thing. The cost depends on how far out (other countries) you want to search back. You would need access to those records which would cost more.

    My suggestion would be to start with one family member first and adding all the information and work the hints until you hit a roadblock or dead end.

    I really enjoyed it my first go 'round. I can relate to the celebrities in their excitement now.
     
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  4. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    That's one thing that I think we've missed out in our "modern" world. Generations ago, people knew their family history - they knew about their ancestors and they repeated their verbal history to each generation. They sat around and told all the old stories, so you knew about the black sheep, or the romantic tales or about the heroes. We don't do that much anymore, we don't seem to value the older generation like we used to.
     
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  5. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    I've always wanted to know more about my family, but none of the free searches I've tried have ever been much use. Living in South Africa, I think it may be more difficult for me to find the information I want than it would be for people living in places like the US or UK, and I'm really not keen to pay to use a site like Ancestry.com and then find that there's no information of any use to me there.
     
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  6. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    Sometimes you can access information through archives located within a government agencies such as Vital Statistics. I'm not really sure how that would pan out for you in South Africa though. If you knew someone here in the States maybe they could assist you in your venture.

    I would take advantage of the 14 day free trial, get all the information I could and cancel the subscription on the 13th day. It's worth a try...
     
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  7. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    Thanks. I might just try that when I know that I'm going to have a lot of free time. 14 days may sound like a lot, but it can go by very quickly without my getting too much done besides the day to day basics.
     
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  8. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    That's great, Michelle! A tip - start with your grandparents' (maternal or paternal) birth dates. Good luck!
     
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  9. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I am interested in learning more about my family ancestry also. My grandmother came over from Gernamy in 1901, married my grandgather, and my mom was born a few years after. My grandfather was from English parents, but his mother died when they children were young, and so all of the chldren were adopted out, and went to several different families. My great-grandmother was buried in Texas, and apparently there is now a lake there where the town and cemetary used to be.
    My grandfather was adopted by a German family named "Fuchs"(Fox), and one of his adopted brothers was Oscar Fox, the songwriter. My grandfather also wrote songs, and became a piano tuner, among other things.
    Here is a picture of my grandfather in his younger years.

    I would love to see what I can find out about the last few generations, but I really don't care beyond that.
    I understand that some people really enjoy tracing their family tree back several hundred years; and finding out whether they have any famous people or royalty in their lineage.
    I am not interested in knowing that particularly, although I guess that it would be interesting.
    It seemed like Ancestry was pretty expensive for even the basic membership; so I have just used websites that offer free information.
    image.jpg
     
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  10. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    Yvonne, I have a great many questions about my father's parents since he was born in 1918. It has always been a great mystery to me. I did find out one answer during my search that put a lot of questions to rest though.

    I think it's important to know some of your heritage even if you can't name everyone in the photos that you come across.
     
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  11. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Von, your story sounds interesting, and i hope that you are able to find out what you want to know about your father and your ancestry.
    I remember when I was a kid, my folks would take out their box of old photographs and look through them. Mom would explain to me who everyone in the picture was, and where it was taken; but I was so young at the time that most of what she told me has been forgotten.

    When I was out with my daughter exploring around the Tennessee River, and we found that old, old cemetery buried deep in the woods, it really helped me to understand how easily people can lose track of what became of their family.
    People who were buried there in the 1800's mostly have no kind of markers to even show there was a grave at all, and many of the ones that are marked were hand carved.
    There was a town named Cottonport next to the river where they shipped the cotton from. For some reason, the whole town just disappeared around the mid-1800's, and most of the history of the people (of any race) has been lost.
    After we got home from exploring out along the river, I started researching online for old cemeteries in that area, and was able to find out this much of the information. Here is a link to the webpage with pictures of the old cemetery.

    http://aigcemeteriesii.weebly.com/centerstar-cemetery-limestone-co-al.html
     
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  12. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I saw a sign in one of the photos that the cemetery is a natural wildlife area which explains all the overgrowth. Do you often go trekking in areas similar? Do you carry a camera with you?
     
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  13. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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    I am really interested in trying this website out, as I only know my ancestors up to one point, but I was turned off by the fact that it is a subscription service. Sure, it may have a trial, but it automatically charges you after the trial is done, and I hate these things because I always forget to cancel the service before they charge me.
     
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  14. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    @John D. there are also services available for free as Yvonne has stated in another post. You might want to check online. As far as trials go, I understand too. I always put a reminder at least two days before the trial expires and cancel at that time.

    I like Ancestry.com. You can find out so much and have you thinking of more questions leading to more discoveries.
     
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  15. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Von, I used to spend a lot of time out of door, especially when I used to have horses, and went riding a lot. Now, I live in town, and plus it is a lot harder for me to do the things that used to be easy to do when I was younger.

    Sometimes my daughter takes me out exploring with her, and that is what we were doing that day. She always has at least one camera, plus her iPhone; so she is the picture taker for the expeditions when we go.
    She likes to gather driftwood, and had been down along the river looking for some when she discovered the old cemetery; so the next time we went out, that is where she took us.
    There is just a lot of history in this part of the country, and I enjoy it when we go and see the different areas and old homes. One of the first places she took me is down to the historical part of Huntsville and we spent several hours walking through that area of town and admiring all of the grand old homes there.
     
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  16. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    I love ancestry.com. I started with the free trial as well, and graduated to a full account. I was able to learn and record a lot. I had to end my subscription due to decreased finances, but I hope to start it up again someday. Another great place to start is this website, sponsored by the Mormons:

    https://familysearch.org/

    It's free to the general public, and it got me started with my ancestral research.
     
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  17. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    I was really tempted to sign up there but a quick search of a couple of names produced no results at all. On my Dad's side of the family there's not much more information I can use to search on, so I'm not sure this is going to work out. I tried using free information at another site years ago and had the same problem.

    It doesn't look like there's much point in joining the site after all.
     
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  18. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    @Brittany Houser, thank you for this site. I visited it yesterday and found some information on my father's side that I had the most difficult time searching for on ancestry.com. The correct spelling of my grandmother's maiden name.

    I will definitely be using this site as a resource for my family tree.
     
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  19. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    You're welcome. I'm glad you is of use to you. I was amazed to find my Great-Grandfather, who was a Civil War veteran. I hadn't been able to find info about him anywhere else!
     
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  20. Magalina Lilis

    Magalina Lilis Active Member
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    Oh, what a great picture! Thanks for sharing. I have enjoyed this thread immensely. Tracing my family tree lines has been one of my passions for about the last ten years. It is such a thrill, when I come across an old photgraph or letter written by one my ancestors.

    I agree with Mal about how this tradition of passing along verbal stories has diminished over time. Therefore, I am in the process of creating a great big family tree book for my future grandchildren. Actually, my mother and I do this activity together.

    It is not only important for me to preserve the family names, but a wonderful way to learn about history. I think, when you can add a personal touch to an event, it is more relatable and significant. It also provides a greater perspective, appreciation, and understanding to historical events.

    Here are a couple examples.

    1. Salem Witch Trials
    I have relations that were hung as a witch, and others who judged the condemning the so called witches.

    2. French and Indian War
    I have Indian relations (some even ended up on Reservations up in Michigan, a picture is packed away, somewhere) and I have touching story about other members of my family being scalped my Indians.

    Just yesterday, I was on my way to the airport with my niece to pick up her boyfriend from England, low and behold we drove right past this little church and cemetery that I told my mother I wanted to stop by to visit a new found relation. Since my niece was anxious to be on time for her boyfriends arrival, I did not stop. But you can bet your bottom dollar, I will be back!

    Actually, I am up in my home state for the summer, so I have a big list of cemetery's, and houses I want to go document for my book. As I am working on my parents flower farm, I am going to wait until the flowers really start to pop. This way, I can lay flowers down at the gravesides, too.

    Here is one of my many favorite pictures found recently.
    Part of the family from Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.
    Husband a fisherman lost at sea.


    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    Let me tell you that I tried Ancestry.com in the very early days when I first came online near 16 years ago!

    I was curious about my maiden surname of Greek root, and intrigued because nobody else but my father and his brother were the only men in town (and the whole country) who were given with this surname.

    I didn't succeed finding any genealogy trace at Ancestry.com, so assuming that my surname probably resulted from misspelling the original name, as happened to many Russians immigrants, the most famous of them --as far as I know-- Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard, from the famous Three Stooges.

    The fact is that I quit Ancestry.com hopeless to find my family roots, but installing eventually a content management system called Family Connections (https://www.familycms.com/) on my own hosting space, with the hope to complete my family tree some day.

    Curious fact with this personal project, is that by the time I stopped digging on the family's past, many distant relatives began to appear but on Facebook!

    Interesting to know my surname was not misspelled, and seems not to be so uncommon in Greece, but sad because Facebook people are not necessarily willing to participate in genealogy research as people at Ancestry.com do.
     
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  22. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Hey all.

    My real last name is the same as an American Pop singer for whom I have little respect. Kids in my classes would always ask me if I were related to her and I just got tired of it and decided to draw up my family tree to show them that there was no way in hell I was related to this singer. (I actually made a joke about her.... based upon her stupidity, maybe I'll leave it in the joke section later....)

    So, I used the free version of Ancestry.com, as well as a free family tree maker called "Legacy" (excellent program, really helps keep information in order when that tree branches out!). One of the most useful resources, though, was the LDS ancestry page. As that organization seems to believe that ancestors should be "baptized" into the faith and also believes that such baptism can take place after death, they have a very extensive, searchable data base that is not restricted to those who belong to the faith.

    I never paid for the service (I think my brother did take a subscription to Ancestry when he tried to outdo me on the family tree) and I was able to trace my family back to the early 17th century on my mother's side (Campbells as well! but that's like saying "Smith" or "Jones" ha!) and the 18th century on my father's. Even found out that the family legend of having Native American blood was somewhat true (great-grandmother was Native American) but that my surname had nothing to do with that connection but was rather a fairly common name among Irish and Scottish immigrants to the US.

    Also had family who died on the Oregon trail. Nobody famous, though. Just regular farm folk, almost all of them.

    Not subscribing to Ancestry may limit a bit the resources available; however, I never did so and was quite pleased when I "finished" the tree to my own personal satisfaction.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  23. Magalina Lilis

    Magalina Lilis Active Member
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    Oh, thought I would add another tidbit on my insight into ancestry.com and my general findings with other sites, too. As Jorge mentions, the LDS has contributed immensely in their research via their belief in baptisms. Thus, there is a wealth of free information out there. I just seem to run into a stumbling block when any of my relations are of a Catholic Faith from a country; such as, Germany or Italy Sure, I get lucky, sometimes. However, if I am doing a line from the United Kingdom area, there is a gold mine of information. I can usually go back to the Norman conquest. I find a lot of useful, entertaining stories from online old history book; such as,the records in Domesday Book, along with other peoples published work on their family history or historical events.
     
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  24. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    I was a member on there for one year. I didnt bother to renew it. It was too overwhelming for me. Each family branches off so many times, combined with me having no idea what I was doing, was too much. If I follow just one of my grandparents back I ended up with a few hundred possibilities of where to go from there.
     
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  25. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    My wife has been doing Ancestry.com and she was notified that I had died in Oklahoma in 1976. It's the same name and birthdate but, other than that, I don't think I'm dead.

    ken-anderson-rip.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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