MyHeritage.com will be offering it’s military records collection for free through May 28th. The collection consists of records going back to the American Revolution. It covers enlistments, pensions, and more.
Read more about this offer at the MyHeritage.com blog.
Start your search on their search page.
Randy Seaver over at GeneaMusings.com has the Saturday Night Genealogy Challenge posted. This week is an ancestor scavenger hunt. My mission is to head over to familysearch.org, plunk down a name in the search box, then see where it leads me.
As I’ve been working on Madeline (Mazeres) Menaud this week, I thought I’d try her husband, Romain Menaud. The surname is uncommon enough that I should get something targeted if he is in there.
In my first search, I did name only without the boxes checked. My results: 625! Okay, that’s too many. And, from what I can see at a glance no Menauds.
I checked the box next to the surname Menaud and got only one entry. A California Death Index entry for someone whose mother’s maiden name is Menaud. Clicking on the entry offers this information:
Sure enough, it’s a match. Camille is Camille (LaFortune) Rosenbleuth, the daughter of Leona (Menaud) LaFortune. She is the granddaughter of Romain Menaud and his first wife, Ambrosine ???.
Although this person is connected to my tree, it’s not who I was looking for. I tried a different search: Menaud with the box checked and location as California. This gave me zero results. Okay, I see why. This location box only goes by country. Not really helpful in this case. I don’t need to see all the Menaud’s in the world, just the ones in California.
I modified my search to use California in the Residence box. This is what came up:
This is from the 1900 census. It is my family, only the enumerator got all the names wrong. I blogged about it in this post “The 1900 Census got the Menauds all wrong“.
My next search with Menaud and the box unchecked with Fresno as the residence didn’t do much better. Only 4 results were returned, the three above, plus a Japanese man going by the surname Munida.
My next attempt was Menaud with the box checked and no locality at all. I wanted to see if a wider search did any better. Maybe I’d catch some misspellings. The results: 125 entries total. Most of the names on the first page weren’t close, so I didn’t bother on looking at the subsequent ones.
My last attempt was to take a different tack. Romain Menaud was a native of France. This time I tried Menaud without the box checked and France in the birth box. This search gave me 94 results and they were targeted better than my previous searches.
I ignored the first person because she lived in New York. The next three were from the census results listed above. The fifth entry was for someone in New Orleans. But, then things got better at number 6.
The first entry is for Romain Menaud’s first wife. Looks like she remarried within weeks of her divorce to Romain being final. This is new information for me.
The next five entries are my guy. Ramon was a common misspelling for Romain. These are all from the Great Registers (voting records). This is also new information for me.
I am curious as to why the four entries did not come up in any other search, especially the one I did for Menaud with Fresno as the residence. I wonder if it’s because instead of “residence” Fresno is in the “other” field on this entry? Perhaps the search engine does not know these are the same since “other” could be anything.
I’m a glutton for punishment, so I did one more search. I decided to see what would come up with Ramon (first name) Menaud (last name) with no boxes checked and no localities attached. I got the same five results as above, plus some other people who were obviously Latino.
So, my scavenger hunt took quite a bit of scavenging before I found something interesting. I did pull up a death record on a descendant, a marriage record for Romain’s first wife, and a couple of entries in the Great Registers–all information that I didn’t have before. It took some finagling of the search boxes but I did eventually get something useful.
I missed this entry in the 1900 Census for several years. I was looking for Romain and Madeleine Menaud, with daughter. Mary Lacazette (from Madeleine’s first marriage). But, they were nowhere to be found. It took learning more about the family to root them out.
The Menaud surname is rare in California in 1900. Even more so in Fresno where my Menaud’s live. They are the only ones.
This census snapshot gives an idea of how far off the enumerator was:
The names aren’t even close. Robrot (or Robert?) should be Romain. M. unk should be Madeleine. Mary Lacazype or whatever it is should be Mary Lacazette. The only one that is correct is Romain’s daughter, Leona Menaud.
If I hadn’t done extensive research on this family to learn that both Romain and Madeleine were divorce and had children from those marriages, I might not have found the census record. The indexes were of no help until I unearthed Leona Menaud in a newspaper article about Romain’s divorce. If I didn’t have that bit of information, I would have had to go through the Fresno census page by page. A task I have done before and don’t relish doing again.
It makes me wonder who gave the information. It couldn’t have been Romain, Madeleine, Mary, or Leona. They should have known their own names. Romain and Madeleine had been married only a couple of months prior to the census. She was from San Francisco. It’s possible that she was unknown around town and maybe even to her neighbors. That would explain her being identified as “M. Unk.” But what about Romain? He had lived in Fresno since 1872. He was one of the early settlers of the city. He was an investor and in 1900 census is listed as a Capitalist. He should have been well known anywhere he went in area. Yet, whoever gave the information seemed to think his name was Robert. I have no other information showing that he was was called by that name. Raymond was the only other name he was referred to.
This is another example of how indexes can fail us and why we must collect as many sources as possible about the people we are researching. Not only do we fill in the family’s story but we learn clues to help us with future searches.