Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't buy this one !

A couple of weeks ago,I was on *mazon browsing through their selections .

I had through curiosity typed in CARROLL in the *mazon search engine, and came out with something that sounded pretty glorious at the time.

But, I always want to know more before buying and when I looked closer, I saw what they call are "tags".Other readers have left tags to warn their fellow readers that this book was :

a waste of good money*

bogus genealogy book


Here's what the product information announces :

This book is part of the Our Name in History series, a collection of fascinating facts and statistics, alongside short historical commentary, created to tell the story of previous generations who have shared this name. The information in this book is a compendium of research and data pulled from census records, military records, ships' logs, immigrant and port records, as well as other reputable sources. Topics include:

Name Meaning and Origin
Immigration Patterns and Census Detail
Family Lifestyles
Military Service History
Comprehensive Source Guide, for future research
Plus, the "Discover Your Family" section provides tools and guidance on how you can get started learning more about your own family history.

About the Series
My note : Dig this :)Nearly 300,000 titles are currently available in the Our Name in History series, compiled from Billions of records by the world's largest online resource of family history,

So, I could have the same for any family name, and it would minus a few wee details, sound similar !

Chain production books that are full of general "filler" topics...
By the sound of this, we won't learn much very more on the Carrolls through this book.So, let's save our money for the really good book on the Carroll name that might be on the market.

If I find one of these more serious books on our family name,origins or such, I'll let you all know here.

Happy hunting to all, and " Caveat emptor" or buyer beware !

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's day !

Just a sentimental Irish thought for everyone on this most special day for all those who enter my blog :

An Irish Prayer

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcoming Charles back into our humble clan

There seems to be no such thing as "neutral" when it comes to my research...
Either it's so quiet that you could hear grass grow or things jump !

Last weekend was definitely a weekend when things were jumping. My friend Rita( who has been helping me so much in my research), came up with an obituary for my Grandad's niece. This niece was Agnes Carroll ( or more precisely, my First cousin once removed ).

Prior to this new element, my information was very sketchy on her; I knew the name of her husband and son, but I did not know where she lived and if she had passed away or still living.

Through my cousin's obituary, I had her age, the date on which she passed away, place of burial and yes, next of kin.This kin included my cousin Agnes' son. Rita suggested that I try and phone him, and lucky for us, my cousin did not have an unlisted telephone number.

And I got my courage up and last evening, called Agnes' son, Charles in Ohio.

I have done this type of telephone calls for Genealogy several times. Even though I have my note sheet before my eyes, and I'm more than prepared to cite dates and names, I will admit to being rather tense each time. After all, you never know how the other person is going to take this type of news...
"Hello... you don't know me but I'm your lost long cousin !" Grin :)
You have to agree; not everyone would be jumping for joy !

But, my anxieties just flew out of the window after the first few minutes... Charles was a very friendly and charming man . Once I identified myself and told him who my Grandfather was ( that was only normal), he recognized Grandad's name and we started talking away like mad ! About his Grandad, my Grandad,and many little things in between.I was so happy to have this talk with Charles. He was very much interested in his Family History and eager to know more.

If Charles is reading this post, I'm so happy to be in touch with you now and look forward to getting to know you ! No problem for talking to your Father too, who probably has many stories to tell about your Carroll relatives.

My Grandfather, John Bernard Carroll Sr was originally from a family of 5 children. But 2 of them, a boy named William and a girl named Agnes died in childhood. This makes for 3 brothers who grew up to adult age, to have children. Along with JB Sr was Edward Patrick Sr ( numerous descendants throughout the East Coast and Florida) and finally, Andrew Martin Carroll, who is Charles' grandad.

I had only some very basic information on Andrew Martin's branch. But, I think through Charles, I may be able to learn more about his grandparents and his family.

I'm so happy to Welcome you "back" to our Carroll Clan my cousin ! If you stick around, you will get to know a lot of information about our family, from both the Past and in the Present. We have cousins living on both the East & West coast and Hawaii too ! And don't forget myself out here in France ;)

Keep in touch, Charles !

May this be a motivation for everyone looking for cousins or other kin that they have not yet found. Never say never... use and reuse Newspaper resources like obits at your local Library or ask a Genealogist or Genealogy volunteer to do a lookup for you, especially when you are from out of State.You can also check with the Genealogy Society of the County where your family lived. Some Genealogy societies have obit collections or will do lookups in the local Newspaper archives for a fee.

Obits can give you much valuable information for finding next of kin that you may have a hard time locating otherwise.

Good luck to everyone in their research and have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pity the children...

When I look back at my own childhood and the old pictures of my father's & my Aunt's early years, I realize the distance that has been spanned since the time when the family of Andrew Carroll was living and working on US soil.
The first time that I acessed the US Census for my Carroll ancestors in Shendandoah, PA, I felt bad to see the names of working children. Andrew and Catherine Carroll had 7 Children living at their Cherry street home in 1880 during the Census that was done on 11 June,1880.

2 of these offspring were of adult age, James 22, Laborer and my Great-grandfather, John who was 19 and a miner. This was before John Joseph Carroll moved to Philadelphia, married and worked with the Pennsylvania RR.

Among the minor aged children in the Carroll household in Sheandoah, nearly all worked the mines :

- Mary Ann, 17 year was a Tailor.
- Thomas, 15 was a Slate picker.
- Martin, 13 was a Slate picker.
- Elizabeth, 11 was at school.
- Catherine, 4 years .

There was an oldest son, Patrick, who was already married and with a family.Add him to the grim statistics also, as he was a miner and probably grew up doing similar children's work in the mine.

When I think that I went to school full time and I played,socialized with other children,had toys and books, and was able to just be a child...

This seems like an extreme luxury compared to my 19th century ancestors.

I feel very much like a woman of today when I think about chidren working .it both saddens and angers me, but I'am well aware that this was another era with other practices.
Though I'm far from accepting these practices, my mind was also full of questions about the children who worked in the coal mines, for example :

Was there a minimum of mandatory schooling for these children ? How did the children work in the mines?Were the jobs adapted to their smaller size and weight ? What were their hours ?

In an attempt to gain some new knowledge about the lives of these and other child laborers in the Anthracite valley of Pennsylvania, I scanned the Internet for some online sources. One of my finds came from the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. Click on the following link for Child labor in Pennsylvania :

Though the article is short, it's a starting point for further reading.

There is also the History place where some some striking photos of child laborers, including miners, await you here.

Just in the same Pa Historical & Museum commission website, I clicked on the Genealogy link. There is a nice page concerning coal miner's records that can be found at the PA State archives called :

Unearthing your coal miner relatives at the Pennsylvania State Archives :

For my great-great grandfather and coal miner, Andrew Carroll , the document sources are after his era. But,more for his sons or even grandsons who may have carried on the trade.

I think that we all have more of these sad faced young workers in one's family tree than one realizes.
More closely to me in my Genealogy, my paternal grandparents also worked at an early age. Grandmother was a seamstress, Grandfather enroled in the Navy at 16... the family legend has it that Grandad" exagerated" about his age to get in and to be able to have a steady job to help support the family.

But all that is yet another chapter in my Genealogy book to open !

Wishing everyone interesting finds in Genealogy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Genealogy sources in your home

Putting together a family tree on Geni ( see last post if you are tuning in) , forced me to get my act together concerning sources.
I want to look at some of the sources that exist in my family, to help those who may be starting their family research. Because finding documents for one's family can be an enormous task.But I do believe before everything that one's Genenalogy begins at home.

Just a few examples of home sources that were available to me in my family :

Family Bible

An excellent source of data... depending if your family kept their records inside.My Grandparents had a Bible with handwritten dates of birth,marriage & death for their immediate family.There was a mention of my great-grandparents, but no Genealogy going further back.

Page with some information found in our Bible.

It was with the family Bible where I took my first steps in Genealogy ! Of course, the dates are subject to confirmation until you can send away for certificates.But in my family, they proved to be acurate.If you had a family that kept a lot of meentos, you could find also a few tucked away in your family Bible.

Baby book-

This may sound like an odd source, but baby books can contain some very interesting information. In my family, my Father had one ( done in the 1920's) and my Aunt also had one.This may seem more like a collection of anecdotes; when baby first smiled, when he first said Mama, but there are often names of family members.I have lists of gifts and their givers for my Dad's first Christmas & first & second birthday, including some kin. This photograph comes from my Dad's baby book :

Military records-

At my mother's home, there are some military documents for my Grandfather.Numerous yellowing papers that lie quietly in a file cabinet. I have not had the time to look again through them, and common sense tells me that it will be a rather long operation.

But more interestingly, there are also two very unusual documents at my mother's home that I do not have with me in France ( I honestly think that one day, my brother should inherit them). They are "booklets" that contained each sailor's personal & Navy information.Dates of service,rank,military serial numbers,physical description and the like. Very informative, and they are quite an antique since these are records that were in a leather holder that the sailor could fold up & put in his pocket.

Newspaper clippings,articles and the like- These delicate mementos can bring you fresh information for your family tree. In my own home, my father had none of these. But I discovered during a visit with my cousins in San Diego a large collection that was once our Grandmother's.An example : among the black and white photographs was a faded obit from relating the death of my Grandmother's youngest sister.

I had only a "hint" of her existance through the US Census, but here she was deceased at the tender age of 13. The obit shed new light on Kathryn's existance.

This is just an example of a few sources... of course, it's a good idea to look for any type of documents that might be hiding at your home/ a parent's home, including, birth,marriage or death certificates,baptismal certificates,diplomas,awards, old deeds,wills or other legal documents... etc, etc.
The sky is the limit...

Why not look for your family's own documents and if so inclined, be the person who preserves them for your family? It is so easy for family members to toss out such treasures through ignorance or in haste. Let me tell you by experience that documents are nowdays expensive and (depending on the type) sometimes very hard to copy again so many years down the line.

Since I do not live in North America, I have a hard time obtaining sources. So believe me, each one I do get from family/ obtain from other sources is a real treasure !

Wishing you Happy hunting !