Thursday, August 20, 2009

Most times I'm looking for just an obituary notice. How do I limit my search to just those articles?

A: Yes, you can do that on GenealogyBank.
Here's how.

Step 1. Start your search.
For example let's say that you are researching the surname: Clapper
Enter that surname & press enter

Step 2. Limit your search results to just the obituaries
Click on the blue highlighted category: Obituary

Your search results will then be limited to only the obituaries for the name you are searching.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My grandfather had a WWI pension - he wasn't wounded - why did he have a pension?

Q: I have my grandfather's World War I payroll records and his discharge. However, I know that he collected a veterans' pension until his death in1973, and then my grandmother received a widow's pension until she died in 1976. Since his discharge clearly states that he was not wounded in the war, I would like to see his pension records to determine on what basis he collected a pension. Since he served 1918-1919, those records are not available through NARA. How can I access them?

A: Pension benefits for World War I veterans evolved over the years. Basically the rule of thumb for a pension was having served for 90 days. See: Veteran's Administration guidelines.

The National Archives has set up a special site for requesting these records. The son or daughter of a WWI veteran should use that site to request his records.

As the granddaughter, you may access the records of retired veterans from World War I to the present at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

You need to use Standard Form SF-180 Military Records Request Form to request those records. Click on the link to get a copy of that form. Simply complete the form and submit it to the appropriate mailing address listed on the form.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am looking for my family tree. I thought when I signed up I would find it already prepared. What do I do now?

A: GenealogyBank - is an online library of resources - millions of them. Like a library it has an index - in our case an index on every word making it easy to find references in each of the issues of the newspapers, books etc. It has over 1 billion names.

(Illustration: Wikipedia Commons)
Documenting your family tree is a lot like putting up the family Christmas tree. You have the bare tree and now you need to look in the boxes of Christmas decorations and put up each one. It takes time to pick out and put the items in just the right place on the tree - but when you're done - wow - it always looks great.

So - let's get started on putting together your "family tree".
What do you know about the family?
Who are you looking for?
For example - what are your grandparents or great-grandparent's names?
When and where were the born? When, where were they married?

So - you'll see who you are looking for and with the when/where of their birth, marriage and death - you can decide where in GenealogyBank will I be likely to find that information.

If they died in say, 1982 - then look in the Social Security Death Index and in the America's Obituaries section.
If they served in the Revolutionary War - then we'll look in the early newspapers for articles and in the Revolutionary War Grave Index in the "Historical Documents" section.

Tell me more about your family and we'll start researching in GenealogyBank to discover the original sources that document their lives. Taking the time to gather together the facts to document your family tree is worth it - just like it is to take the time to put together the family Christmas tree each year.

We can do this.
Tell me more.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How do I limit my search to only the "List of Private Claims" volumes?

A: We are working on making it possible to bookmark each one of our historical documents. When we have that enhancement in place you will be able to search only one book at a time.

For now - you need to fine tune the search by adding the term "List of Private Claims" in the include keywords with search terms box and adding 1880 to the date field.
That will narrow your searches to just those two volumes. See the attached example.

You may then add the surname of the family or name of the individual you would like to research.