Thoughts and Prayers to Those with Madeiran Cousins

Huffington Post has a story that the island of Madeira is flooding and there were major mudslides.  The storm has claimed 32 lives as well as causing destruction.

I know that some of the readers of this blog have Madeiran roots and may even have cousins on the island.  My thoughts and prayers go out to you.  I hope your loved ones are safe and sound.


Redoing My Genealogy Computer Folders

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I started collecting genealogy documents on my computer.  I put things in folders labeled Census, Ellis Island, Passports, etc.  It made sense…at the time.

Now it’s a decade later.  I’ve got thousands of people who I’ve collected documents for and I can’t see to find anything!  Why isn’t her sheet in the 1910 census folder?  Oh, I put it under Portuguese ancestor research.  Why, of course, it makes so much sense!  (Sarcasm intended)  I have found myself redoing research only because I can’t remember where I filed something the day I did the research.

Doing research on the web, has changed the way I collect data–and the amount.  Because of this, I’ve decided that filing documents under the type of research doesn’t make sense anymore.  I will still keep subject folders for those documents I haven’t quite figured out.

Right now, I am working on moving everything into folders by surname and then sub folders by each couple.  It makes more sense to me.   I’m less likely to look for something in the 1910 census folder.  I am more like to say “What research have I done on Martin Kelly and Catharine Dolan” and then look for their documents all in one place.

In the end, I may also put all the photos in the same folders.  That way I can see that I have these photos for Jose Pacheco and Minnie Ventura and then see that I have 5 documents as well.

How do you organize your data?  Have you changed your habits since you’ve amassed documents from the web?


How Do You Research Someone Who Left No Trail?

I am working on a research project for a friend because I can’t seem to get my genealogy fix with my own lines ;)  I like working on other people’s trees since it gives me experience in a research area that I wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with.

This line has me a bit confounded.  I’m not going to give details as I’m not sure the person wants them public.  However, I thought I’d present my dilemma and see what folks might come up with.

1.  Alot is known about the bride’s side, but nothing about the groom–the side I want to locate.

2.  The groom might have been born in Cabell County, West Virginia.  Then again, he might not have.

3.  The groom might have been orphaned at the age of 13.  Then again, he might not have been an orphan at all.

4.  The couple was married in Arizona, but it’s unknown where in Arizona.  From my research, I found that marriage records for Arizona are kept at the local level.  There is no state index (am I wrong on that?)

5.  Though the death notice gives information about the groom’s birth, the informant isn’t considered reliable.

6.  Though the groom was born in 1903, he doesn’t seem to be in the 1910, 1920, or 1930 census under the name we know him by in anywhere within West Virginia.

7.  The groom was a screenwriter.  While much can be found about his movie credits, little can be found about his personal story.

There are many possibilities here.  The place of birth is wrong.  His name has been changed.  If he really was an orphan, he may appear in the census records under the last name of the family member’s who took him in rather than the last name he was known by. His first name might be recorded wrong in the census completely throwing me off.

One thing is for sure.  He did live.  I was able to find him in the voter registration indexes for California in the 1940s.  Possibly the 1940 census when released will tell us more about his early beginnings depending on what information was collected that year.

He is in the Social Security Death Index as well.  So, that’s another option for research.

Can you see my conundrum?  Without a firm place of birth, it’s difficult to know if I’ve found the right families in the census.  Without known what cities he was married in, I’ve got no clue where to look for the marriage record in Arizona.  Though, I suspect this will be the record that tells me what I need to know.

Some research makes me ask why some ancestors were so good at covering their tracks.  While some people left behind volumes which are easy to locate piece by piece, others seemed to deliberately hide their footprints so no one will know they were here.

If anyone has suggestions on where I might look next, I’m open to suggestions.  This is a confounding research project!