AfriGeneas Thursday Night Chat Log - 10 Apr 2003

Using Search Engines

Hosts/Presenters: Art Thomas & Denise Oliver-Velez

Participant Chatters 14

DeniseO :We are leading a "how to serch" forum search using online resources tricks, tips and techniques :) Art - which one do you want to start with? ancestry, heritage, geneology or LDS

Art :I think that might be the way to ......techniques

DeniseO :so techniques first - then specific services....Art what's our time limit and how much time should we spend on each area 0r should we just "let it flow" until we go :)

Art :they usually run about an hour

DeniseO :okey dokey

Art :might throw out that ancestry is offering a 14 day free trial

DeniseO :good point

Niki :Hi. Also check your public library. In my city Ancestry is free at the library

DeniseO :

Art :Niki, I guess we'll start around 9 PM....any specific questions you have

JOSEPH :Hi Everyone....Peace and Blessings

DeniseO :Art would you like to wait till 9:05?

Art :okay

Niki :No questions right now ..well has anyone else here found "live" relatives while searching for the ancestors?

DeniseO :yup Niki - in answer to your question - found 2 that are right here - Art and Irita

Irita :Niki - yep - I've found about 9 - including Cuz's Denise & Art

DeniseO :we are distantly related ....stretching it a bit

JOSEPH :One relative popped up back in the 1990s around 1995; She was really doing a special project for college and she had notified another relative who recommended her to me; she gave me a questionaire to fill out but I have not heard from her anymore after that

Niki :Well I found some and we will be going to the family reunion this summer

JOSEPH :How do you rate family reunions now compare to those family reunions lets say ten years ago?

DeniseO :Okay folks - lets get this show on the road - tis 9:05 - Art - intro please :)

Art :We're going to try and answer qustions on search techniques , especially Census and search engines special features on Ancestry, HQ, LDS and other online services How many already use those services ??

Niki :Im sorry what is HQ and LDS??

DeniseO :Heritage Quest Latter Day Saints - Family Search

Art :HQ= Heritage Quest amd LDS = Latter Day Saints

vicky :I use HQ and LDS Art

Irita :all 3

lfm :all 3 plus

Niki :I just started using LDS. It was good for marriage records Is HQ a website or cd rom?

JOSEPH :lds and rootsweb

Art :you know between those three you can get from 1790-1930 in Census records

DeniseO :good - then all of you are using some form of online search engine

Art :When you have problems ...are you doing more than just a name search? Use the Library

vicky :I have tried name and age

Niki :In my city, the public library has both the census and ancestry free for members, use all of your free resources!

Irita :State of MI library has all sources free

Niki :When I hit a bump in the road in my research, I find my oldest living relative and talk to them again. They may have a new name or city for me to search

DeniseO :Sometimes - searches are frustrated because we get stuck on what we "think" is the name we are looking for so the most important thing for me - is to be open to the name NOT being what I think - or was told it was

Art :True Denise.....How do you get around different spellings of surnames? How are we keeping track of our online findings....genealogy software?

Niki :Oh yeah, I was looking for "toulouse jones" for years when my grandma finally told me her grandpa was "louis jones" nickname "too lou"

DeniseO :yes Nicki - that's just what I mean

Irita :Don't forget the recorders when you are talking to relatives

Niki :My relatives get nervous if you take notes, I don't know if anyone would let me tape them. but i'll try it

Art :How do you get around name differences other than soundex, DeniseO? when searching Census?

DeniseO :I use a variety of ways Art - depending upon the search engine the first thing is - READ the directions :) different programs have different capabilities for example - some allow for wildcard searches which is different than soundex

JOSEPH :Some surnames sound different from the way they are spelled; for instance in North Carolina there is a surname called Bost; however its origins go back to the German spelling Baast/Bast.

Art :what's a wildcard?

DeniseO :you can type in the first three letters of a name - followed by an * or - in LDS 1880 - you can look for all names starting with a letter like B

vicky :does that work for surname and given name

Niki :sometimes it helps if you can look at the original census image (rather than an index) some names are not in the index because of bad spelling or handwriting

DeniseO :Heritage Quest census cds allow for various wildcard searches like the AA 1870

Art :right Denise

DeniseO :you use the "advanced" search feature this allows you to select a county and find all the names in a county - or race - that contain certain letters

JOSEPH :How about unusual surnames? I notice one in particular, another German name in North Carolina such as Faggart, which in today society sounds horrible, but is actually a surname that is mentioned in all of Cabarrus County, N.C. censuses.

DeniseO :which helps a lot if you are not sure of the spelling

Art :and this technique catches many misspellings, right Denise?

DeniseO :Joseph - I would type in FAG* Or Fa* and get all the names that might start that way but that won't always solve the problem

JOSEPH :Sounds cool....House is another one; Haus comes out okay, but House?

DeniseO :because the name could be spleed Haggert spelled in the index

Art :Right, and if you are using HQ ....only Cabarrus and black or mulatto will get you there

DeniseO :yes!

vicky :Cabarrus?

DeniseO :it is really important to know how to manipulate the search engine and to try many variations

JOSEPH :No. It is exactly as I mentioned it. It is in the Cabarrus County, N.C. census, and it is the name of one of many families from Germany migrating to the South from Pennsylvania back in the 1700s.

DeniseO :Cabarrus would be the county Vicky

vicky :thx

Art :and joseph you don't need the name i this case...the search will find all blacks/mulattos in Carrabus Co., for you

JOSEPH :Yes, Cabarrus County, N.C. right next to Rowan County. A lot of Germans mixed into the that part of N.C.; and of course some of them had Blacks as slaves.

Niki :I wanted to ask...did couples who were together before slavery ended get married after emancipation?

DeniseO :another way to narrow it down - if you have found nothing with a surname - under any spelling is to do a first name search

JOSEPH :Art, Mulattos like Joel House who worked as a free person of color for John Faggart, farmer, and his family.

Sandra :Some did, Niki.

DeniseO :it helps - if the first name is rare

vicky :that was my q d can you shorten the first name also with *

DeniseO :in some programs vicky

Art :Niki, many states had a period of time when former slaves could get "officially married" following the Civil War

DeniseO :but in others - no

vicky :what about HQ

Niki :Im looking for marriage records for a couple that would have been together before 1850

DeniseO :which is why - you sould always read the "search" instructions or tips Nicki - in your case - I would go to and use the "state" search feature

Niki :Okay, I can try that

DeniseO :on this page - there is a map t allows you to select a state click on the state and you will find a list of all the databases ancestry has in that state

JOSEPH :Anybody ever tried Familysearch.Com? Check out the census for 1880; type in a last name and of course the state you are searching, and you will come up with some good stuff.

Art :That is the LDS site Joseph And it only has 1880...the other sites go from 1790 to 1930

JOSEPH :The LDS, yes; I also prefer to it as

DeniseO :most folks just use the name searches and are not aware that they have many smaller databases like "marriages in "Meckelenburg County VA"

JOSEPH :Denise. Now that's something to think about.. Mecklenberg County, VA and Mecklenberg County, NC...Some people could get confused on the two

Sandra :But Niki, be sure to read the information about the database carefully. Some of them only provide info about white marriages, for example.

DeniseO :A combination of companies - if you can afford it - is your best bet - or your local library - as Art suggested

Art :I tried Accomack county Va for births 1853-1865 and found 900+ AA births by just using the keyword "c" keywod searching can narrow your search down

vkn :Yes just seeking the term Negro brings up hundreds before 1870

Niki :Okay, any tips on searching female ancestors? Im also having trouble with finding maiden names

DeniseO :depends on the time period Niki

JOSEPH :North Carolina has a pretty good record for marriages especially 1870 and after. One great uncle Sire House married Elizabeth Shad in 1873; goes to show how far some things can go back to. He was about 20, she was a little younger, which meant that he was there during slavery.

DeniseO :my theory is that in many cases - a female ancestor can be found within 0r twelve census pages away from the person she gets married to particularly in early period

Art :probably best start for females are Marriage and death Certificates and as Denise says "be aware of the time period"

DeniseO :as Art says - start with marriage records - if available if no record - then first name searches - which is hard - because females are in families usually look at the naming pattern of the children search for male first names

Niki :Yep. back then, they were catholic so some of them got married at the local parish

JOSEPH :Sometimes the unusual can happen. You may find your ancestor in someone else's household, be they white or black

Art :Female research is one good reason to do "whole family" research...male siblings often lead to records for married females

lfm :Niki, do you know the name of the parish or Diocese?

Niki :Oh my GOD, the names in my family repeat generation to generation so that's how I know its them

lfm :Catholics kept excellent records - birth, marriage, baptism

Niki :I sort of know the parish but the church burnt down a couple times so the records are hard to tie down

Art :Then you are fortunate Niki :)

Niki :Why Thanks

Art :about names, not the burned church

Niki :LOL

DeniseO :of all the online programs - the most difficult one to use is 1900

mscharcy :why is that Denise?

DeniseO :you will need high speed acess to wade through it it is VERY slow and you cannot search by county f you don't have an exact spelling of both names - first and last you have to wade through every surname in the state - like JONES which could take a month ;) It is not a "user firendly " search engine

vicky :what is their cost

vicky :never mind :)

JOSEPH :In the National Archives I saw a lot of 1900 censuses; some of them depending on where you are looking have become a little dim looking.

Art :Another thought is to know the history of counties searching... were there special Census for blacks An example 1866 for Alabama

DeniseO :good point Art

mscharcy :that is a good point Art

JOSEPH :Art. Right on. I am one for knowing the history of the county, not only that, the history of the small town; and even the history of the settlers there.

Irita :Dee - so you are saying that would not be a good program for me with the Goins surname

Niki :Also, sometimes the lines drawn for a county can change as time goes on

JOSEPH :Goins? The ones I know are in Maryland.

DeniseO :it is fine for "Goins" - but more difficult when you look for the variations since Goins is almost always mis-spelled - Goings, Goines, Gawings etc

Irita :Goms, Gans, etc

DeniseO :it is important to imagine what "mis-spellings" your surname could have make lists - and keep them look-up folks here at Afrigeneas have found whole families for folks

Art :Use of occupations often lead you to ancestral lines... Trades run in family groupings..barber, teachers, blacksmiths, etc.

JOSEPH :It is important to imagine a lot of mis spellings, since sometimes census takers could not even spell in most cases.

Niki :I was looking for a "Jury" which I didn't find till I looked at a census image and found the "Juary"s the next town over it was so off, the soundex couldnt even find it

DeniseO :the LDS census cd - 1880 allows you to search by occupation

Irita :another point to keep in mind is that census takers weren't accurate in spelling, they also weren't accurate in recording races

DeniseO :yes Irita!

JOSEPH :Denise. LDS also allows you to find all of the other households within that area, too.

Art :Yes, please don't get "hung-up" on that Mulatto thing :)

JOSEPH :Mulatto aint nothing but a word.

DeniseO :everyone in 1900 was Black :)

Art :and NEG in 1930

DeniseO :or colored

JOSEPH :When does human come into the picture?

Niki :My family is darkbrown in color, but in the census, the same family member can be "white" "black" or "mu" depending what year you search

DeniseO :though - you have to be careful with some search engines - which allow you to choose "race" I look at all the listings in the index - then look at the actual record because indexes are wrong - a lot! many AA families are listed as "W" some white folks got listed as "B" some race colums were blank

Niki :One thing which was interesting in the census was the native american section...which listed folks housing as "fixed" or "moveable"

JOSEPH :All I can say is that I am a very lightskinned person whatever that means. I am also human.

DeniseO :Art - could you talk about searching in locations?

Art :BTW, don't forget "google" for local gen societies and a listing of their holdings...locals frequently have information not at a NARA site.

JOSEPH :Whatever happened to genforum and

Niki :I use the genweb/rootsweb, all the time

Art :We've stressed Libraries....joining gen groups in your area of research is always a good idea

K_Wyer :Have you discussed the differences in the census between Heritage and Ancestry? I just subscribed to Heritage and found that the census does not include my ancestors while Ancestry does.

Irita :also use the "search" box rather than httm.... box as in aol - they often give you different areas to search

DeniseO :K - each index has flaws and omissions - which is why its good to double check

Niki :yeah what is the difference? which is worth the purchase price?

Art :OH, K-Wyer..... HQ is primarily and Index of HOH

Niki :um...whats HOH?

DeniseO :Head of Household

Art :Head of Household

Niki :oh thanks

Art :Ancestry..especially later Census (1930) are all individuales

DeniseO :and LDS 1880 - you can search individuals

Art :right Denise

DeniseO :also - i the Miracode indexes OH, VA and PA you can find family members 19 but all three of these are very full of spelling errors beware of just using soundex

Art :Again, on Miracode for 19 keyword "B" along with county will get most of US.

Niki :Thank you all it was good to chat with you. I gotta go Good luck with your research!

K_Wyer :Someone earlier mentioned Catholic records. Besides Notre Dame are there any others on line?

lfm :K, do you mean actual data or just the Diocese Many diocese are online - few records

DeniseO :there are quite a few diocese records online

K_Wyer :I mean data and in some cases information from records

Art :actual data probably not "digitized" K but repository and their holdings are often on-line

K_Wyer :Actual data from the diaries of bishops priests etc. I found one of my ancestors

lfm :I have not found 'digitized' Vital Records

K_Wyer :Not vital records in the case of Notre Dame but baptismal records marriage etc

DeniseO :Art has pointed out in a post that many times we search for family in the wrong state because state boundaries change as do those of counties

JOSEPH :Has anyone ever thought about checking out some of those death certificates that has states, counties, cities, etc.

vicky :what exactly is AIS Denice?

Art will get you there Joseph

DeniseO :a few states have many vital records online - CA for example

K_Wyer :Every slave in the Catholic southern states were supposed to be baptised

Art :Ancestry has Ohio 1913-1937 and 1958 to 1998

JOSEPH :Art. tkx art very much

lfm :Denise, actual copies of the certificate? as in the census records?

DeniseO :lfm - no - not copies - digital

JOSEPH :What is AIS?

DeniseO :the AIS index - which is available at ancestry is a hoh and slave schedule index for 1830 through 1870

Irita :you can also go to

DeniseO :This collection contains Federal Census Indexes, State Census Indexes, and indexes to various Federal non-population schedules (Mortality Schedules, Veterans Schedules, Slaves Schedules)

Art :Most have certificate & volume # and ordering instructions for records they have posted

DeniseO :so AIS m ay also include pension listing from civil war using the AIS index is very useful if you are looking for slaveholders

Art :For those not sold on Ancestry...try their 14 day trial and click on "list of all databases" You will be amazed at what is there Not necessarily identified as AA records tho' may need to do some WORK :)

vicky :.does it include the agriculture census also?

Irita :Art/Denise - I'm a new subscriber to -- have found a multitude of info in just a few weeks

DeniseO :vicky - you do search using the "state" map it will list what data are availble for each state but I found KS agriculatual census online through rootsweb search

vicky :ok

DeniseO :it wasn't at ancestry here are the databases:

Art :What do you do with information found on-line? Do you request a copy from the source? if not, why not? Vital records in particular

DeniseO :I always want a "real " copy if i can get it Art

Art :You can't imagine the thrill of holding a copy of the actual document in your hand...right Denise?

DeniseO :hehehe

Irita :Time to retire for the night - This has been a very beneficial session - thanx Art & Denise. Goodnight all

K_Wyer :The same here ciao everyone

DeniseO :any questions folks?

lfm :I've learned a lot! Thanks all...and goodnight

Art :nite lfm

vicky :me too Denise and Art thanks

joseph :One more question. When is the next chat?

vicky :my next task is to look for Mariah as white

Art :check the AfriGeneas announcement forum for next scheduled evening chat

joseph :Just curious. This was getting good this whole chat thing, i learned a lot more especially from yu denise and yu art. Anyway, Peace and Blessings and Good night

Sandra :Great. I enjoyed it. See ya then, but please be sure to send a reminder. :)

vkn :Bravo,Art !!!!!!!!!!!! ; Bravura Denise!!!!!!!!!!

vkn :XCEL to the two of YOU

DeniseO :*sigh* - we only got to cover one th of the info we prepared

Sandra :That means at least nine more sessions on this topic. :)

Art :ain't it the truth DeniseO...I knew you were loaded with info It was "loose', but fun...DeniseO got a lot of good stuff out there

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