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Ancestry.com

wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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I'm going through a genealogy phase right now. I'm pretty much obsessed with Ancestry.com and have been meeting up with/scheduling time with family members to learn more. It's a lot of fun but an incredible time suck- at least when I allow it to be. I'm also finding that I have lots of dead-ends, conflicting pieces of information, etc. And don't get me started on name changes! I have distant family that has changed their names countless times. The Russians and Germans can't seem to decide what they want to be called!

Is anyone else interested in genealogy? Any tips on finding the information you want?
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Re: Ancestry.com

  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
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    How do they even know if it's actually correct or just guesses? Especially when you go super far back?

    And no, I have zero interest.
  • plainjane0415plainjane0415 The hills of Tennessee member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
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    wandajune6
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
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    We lost most of our family history on both sides, but I do use that website for my Sims legacy families.
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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
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    My FIL did this! He went pretty far back and learned which exact tribes his family came from (he is Native American).

    I want to do this for my family but never seem to have the time.

    wandajune6
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    How do they even know if it's actually correct or just guesses? Especially when you go super far back? And no, I have zero interest.
    I know a fair amount from family history- names shortened, etc. I'm trying to base it as much off of facts - census, birth, and immigration records whenever possible. 

    I haven't made it super-far back. So far, I've gotten up to 7 generations back, often less, depending on the line. I'm not sure that I'll get much farther than that because I do want to stick to records. Or at least for now.
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  • l9il9i Ohio member
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    I have traced back my Father's side to the roots and what is believed to be the origin of the family name.  The patriarch had two sons, one came to the US, the other stayed in Germany.  That side of the family is still in Germany.  I've had several relatives go visit and I really want to go too. Best of luck!
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    The key is to match the name - they're usually similar - with other known/verified information. So let's say that Goldstein changed their name to Gold. It looks likely but if you check that the birth date and birth place match, it's probably pretty likely. In some cases, I found the ship manifest with the old name and found immigration paperwork that listed the ship but also gave the new name. But there's definitely name changing.

    Also, lots of typos.
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    plainjane0415AprilH81
  • I became obsessed with Ancestry.com a few years ago - I pretty much spent all my free time searching records and updating my tree. Then I just couldn't pay for it every month and stopped. One of my dad's cousins did a lot of research on my dad's mom's side so I had a lot of info already. 

    I would sometimes wonder if Ancestry was pulling the correct matches. One of the records on my mom's side had conflicting info. We were always told my grandmother's paternal grandmother was named Johanna. Ancestry records say her name is Josephine. So I don't know where anyone got Johanna from.

    I find it all very interesting. I was hoping to find cool family names for future children but pretty much everyone on my dad's sides (his mom and dad's sides) were all named George and Alice!
     




  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    larrygaga said:
    We lost most of our family history on both sides, but I do use that website for my Sims legacy families.
    That's actually part of why I'm doing it. A lot of family records got lost during WW2 so I'm hoping I can rework some of it.

    The Sims idea is great!
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    l9i said:
    I have traced back my Father's side to the roots and what is believed to be the origin of the family name.  The patriarch had two sons, one came to the US, the other stayed in Germany.  That side of the family is still in Germany.  I've had several relatives go visit and I really want to go too. Best of luck!
    That's awesome! On my mom's side, we know of family in Moscow. My gramma used to keep in touch with them. As we understand it, the head of that line got rejected at Ellis Island and went back. I'm still hoping that I can verify that.

    All of the German family on my mom's side either came to the US or got exterminated.On my dad's side, I can see the relatives who left Germany but haven't found anyone still there. I'm curious if we can find any still there.


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  • l9il9i Ohio member
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    I can also appreciate that it can be frustrating as well.  On my mom's side, my grandmother's dad (great grandfather) passed away shortly after she was born, great grandmother remarried and then the new husband adopted her so in a lot of records the father listed is not her actual biological father.  He passed away young, early twenties, so I'm having a VERY hard time tracing anything back beyond him.  I don't even have a lot of info on him yet!
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 2015
    larrygaga said:
    We lost most of our family history on both sides, but I do use that website for my Sims legacy families.
    That's actually part of why I'm doing it. A lot of family records got lost during WW2 so I'm hoping I can rework some of it.

    The Sims idea is great!
    We have literally nothing. My grandparents all just kinda showed up in the U S of A. Magically. 

    Maybe we were something exotic like Jewish and we burned the history to protect ourselves.

    Jewish people are exotic to me. I have known a grand total of 3 in my entire short life. I met them all in college and none of them were from Michigan. I tried to feed non-kosher food to someone and got upset why they didn't want to eat it, that's legit how ignorant I was. Although he was a huge asshole about it. He screamed at me that it wasn't kosher instead of just politely declining it. We are friends now, we made up.

    EDIT: I apologize for not ever staying on subject in any post I make
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  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
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    I have heard from several sources, that Ancestry is owned by the Mormons and they use the data you provide to posthumously/proxy baptize people in the Mormon faith which their faith allows for.

    I am very interested in my family history, but I will refuse to provide them information.

     

  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer

    I have heard from several sources, that Ancestry is owned by the Mormons and they use the data you provide to posthumously/proxy baptize people in the Mormon faith which their faith allows for.

    I am very interested in my family history, but I will refuse to provide them information.

    Do you think they baptized my sims family??????????????????????????????????????
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    MrsMack10612chibiyuiredwoodoriginal
  • I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    I got obsessed with Ancestry.com about 2 years ago. I traced my mom's side really far back. You take info you know to be fact -- like birth place or birth date, wife's name, children's names, etc, and match it to factual documents, like census records, death records, birth certificates, etc-- and keep working your way backwards. 

    Sometimes you'll get connected to someone else's "family tree" that links to yours and it'll validate the same info/relations. 

    But the biggest validation for me was when I found out my aunt had actually hired a professional genealogy researcher, so I contacted her. She mailed me a huge packet of everything the pro had found and guess what? It perfectly matched every single  thing I had found. Plus hers went back way farther, like to the 1100s, which was nuts. 

    My dad's side has been much more difficult to trace because a lot of them lived in cities that were invaded by the Nazis and they were Jewish so.... I can guess where their story ends and I'm kind of glad I can't find anything.  
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  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    larrygaga said:

    I have heard from several sources, that Ancestry is owned by the Mormons and they use the data you provide to posthumously/proxy baptize people in the Mormon faith which their faith allows for.

    I am very interested in my family history, but I will refuse to provide them information.

    Do you think they baptized my sims family??????????????????????????????????????

    HA!

    I suppose it's entirely possible. 

     

  • My grandfather is SUPER into this. He got skype just so he could 'call' long lost relatives overseas.

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    wandajune6redwoodoriginal
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    l9i said:
    I can also appreciate that it can be frustrating as well.  On my mom's side, my grandmother's dad (great grandfather) passed away shortly after she was born, great grandmother remarried and then the new husband adopted her so in a lot of records the father listed is not her actual biological father.  He passed away young, early twenties, so I'm having a VERY hard time tracing anything back beyond him.  I don't even have a lot of info on him yet!
    That's got to be tough. If you can find the marriage license or obituary for your great-grandfather, you might get somewhere. It's easiest if you have a county to start with but it's still workable.

    Good luck!
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    larrygaga said:
    larrygaga said:
    We lost most of our family history on both sides, but I do use that website for my Sims legacy families.
    That's actually part of why I'm doing it. A lot of family records got lost during WW2 so I'm hoping I can rework some of it.

    The Sims idea is great!
    We have literally nothing. My grandparents all just kinda showed up in the U S of A. Magically. 

    Maybe we were something exotic like Jewish and we burned the history to protect ourselves.

    Jewish people are exotic to me. I have known a grand total of 3 in my entire short life. I met them all in college and none of them were from Michigan. I tried to feed non-kosher food to someone and got upset why they didn't want to eat it, that's legit how ignorant I was. Although he was a huge asshole about it. He screamed at me that it wasn't kosher instead of just politely declining it. We are friends now, we made up.

    EDIT: I apologize for not ever staying on subject in any post I make
    My dad's family all thought the same thing. Until my dad married one.

    We don't keep kosher, practice, etc. But it's who we are. I'm weirdly fascinated by Catholicism. DH- raised Catholic - doesn't get it.
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    larrygaga
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    I have heard from several sources, that Ancestry is owned by the Mormons and they use the data you provide to posthumously/proxy baptize people in the Mormon faith which their faith allows for.

    I am very interested in my family history, but I will refuse to provide them information.

    I knew that it was founded by Mormons. It is now publicly-traded and it looks like Permira, a private equity firm, currently has majority ownership.

    As for the Mormons and their posthumous baptizing, this article is interesting: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/mormon_explainer_1/2012/02/mormons_baptize_wiesenthals_is_there_a_way_to_stop_baptism_by_proxy_.html

    I disagree with the practice of posthumous baptism but don't have problems with the company. Also - since you got me researching this - it looks like even Mormon leadership doesn't approve of the practice: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/03/04/147877754/mormon-leaders-warn-followers-to-stop-controversial-baptisms.

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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    I got obsessed with Ancestry.com about 2 years ago. I traced my mom's side really far back. You take info you know to be fact -- like birth place or birth date, wife's name, children's names, etc, and match it to factual documents, like census records, death records, birth certificates, etc-- and keep working your way backwards. 

    Sometimes you'll get connected to someone else's "family tree" that links to yours and it'll validate the same info/relations. 

    But the biggest validation for me was when I found out my aunt had actually hired a professional genealogy researcher, so I contacted her. She mailed me a huge packet of everything the pro had found and guess what? It perfectly matched every single  thing I had found. Plus hers went back way farther, like to the 1100s, which was nuts. 

    My dad's side has been much more difficult to trace because a lot of them lived in cities that were invaded by the Nazis and they were Jewish so.... I can guess where their story ends and I'm kind of glad I can't find anything.  
    That's amazing that your research matched so well!

    As for your dad's side, that's rough. We know pretty much everything that happened to our Jewish family in Nazi territories. The Jews I haven't managed to trace have been those in villages throughout the former Soviet Union.

    If you want to try following that side, different Holocaust organizations keep amazing files. You might find something.
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  • I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    I got obsessed with Ancestry.com about 2 years ago. I traced my mom's side really far back. You take info you know to be fact -- like birth place or birth date, wife's name, children's names, etc, and match it to factual documents, like census records, death records, birth certificates, etc-- and keep working your way backwards. 

    Sometimes you'll get connected to someone else's "family tree" that links to yours and it'll validate the same info/relations. 

    But the biggest validation for me was when I found out my aunt had actually hired a professional genealogy researcher, so I contacted her. She mailed me a huge packet of everything the pro had found and guess what? It perfectly matched every single  thing I had found. Plus hers went back way farther, like to the 1100s, which was nuts. 

    My dad's side has been much more difficult to trace because a lot of them lived in cities that were invaded by the Nazis and they were Jewish so.... I can guess where their story ends and I'm kind of glad I can't find anything.  
    That's amazing that your research matched so well!

    As for your dad's side, that's rough. We know pretty much everything that happened to our Jewish family in Nazi territories. The Jews I haven't managed to trace have been those in villages throughout the former Soviet Union.

    If you want to try following that side, different Holocaust organizations keep amazing files. You might find something.
    Thanks, I never even thought of that. I still have to figure out if I'm ready for it yet or not, though. My friend visited one of the concentration camps while we were in Europe, and I did not go. While she was there, she looked at all the "artifacts" that had been saved from victims. One of them was a suitcase with a luggage tag that had my last name on it, and I don't have a very common last name, so it's rare to see it anywhere. She kept telling me how cool and fascinating everything was, and that I should have gone. But I'm pretty sure if I had seen that luggage tag I would have lost my fucking mind. 
    image
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    I got obsessed with Ancestry.com about 2 years ago. I traced my mom's side really far back. You take info you know to be fact -- like birth place or birth date, wife's name, children's names, etc, and match it to factual documents, like census records, death records, birth certificates, etc-- and keep working your way backwards. 

    Sometimes you'll get connected to someone else's "family tree" that links to yours and it'll validate the same info/relations. 

    But the biggest validation for me was when I found out my aunt had actually hired a professional genealogy researcher, so I contacted her. She mailed me a huge packet of everything the pro had found and guess what? It perfectly matched every single  thing I had found. Plus hers went back way farther, like to the 1100s, which was nuts. 

    My dad's side has been much more difficult to trace because a lot of them lived in cities that were invaded by the Nazis and they were Jewish so.... I can guess where their story ends and I'm kind of glad I can't find anything.  
    That's amazing that your research matched so well!

    As for your dad's side, that's rough. We know pretty much everything that happened to our Jewish family in Nazi territories. The Jews I haven't managed to trace have been those in villages throughout the former Soviet Union.

    If you want to try following that side, different Holocaust organizations keep amazing files. You might find something.
    Thanks, I never even thought of that. I still have to figure out if I'm ready for it yet or not, though. My friend visited one of the concentration camps while we were in Europe, and I did not go. While she was there, she looked at all the "artifacts" that had been saved from victims. One of them was a suitcase with a luggage tag that had my last name on it, and I don't have a very common last name, so it's rare to see it anywhere. She kept telling me how cool and fascinating everything was, and that I should have gone. But I'm pretty sure if I had seen that luggage tag I would have lost my fucking mind. 
    I get it. None of my family made it to the camps. They all either escaped or, from what we can tell, got killed somewhere before making it to the camps. That said, I don't know much about the extended family- and we have a very common Jewish surname.
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  • I have no advice on this, but I do think it's cool when people trace their ancestry back.  I'm with @JennyColada though, how will they know it's accurate?  Especially with all the name changes?
    I got obsessed with Ancestry.com about 2 years ago. I traced my mom's side really far back. You take info you know to be fact -- like birth place or birth date, wife's name, children's names, etc, and match it to factual documents, like census records, death records, birth certificates, etc-- and keep working your way backwards. 

    Sometimes you'll get connected to someone else's "family tree" that links to yours and it'll validate the same info/relations. 

    But the biggest validation for me was when I found out my aunt had actually hired a professional genealogy researcher, so I contacted her. She mailed me a huge packet of everything the pro had found and guess what? It perfectly matched every single  thing I had found. Plus hers went back way farther, like to the 1100s, which was nuts. 

    My dad's side has been much more difficult to trace because a lot of them lived in cities that were invaded by the Nazis and they were Jewish so.... I can guess where their story ends and I'm kind of glad I can't find anything.  
    That's amazing that your research matched so well!

    As for your dad's side, that's rough. We know pretty much everything that happened to our Jewish family in Nazi territories. The Jews I haven't managed to trace have been those in villages throughout the former Soviet Union.

    If you want to try following that side, different Holocaust organizations keep amazing files. You might find something.
    Thanks, I never even thought of that. I still have to figure out if I'm ready for it yet or not, though. My friend visited one of the concentration camps while we were in Europe, and I did not go. While she was there, she looked at all the "artifacts" that had been saved from victims. One of them was a suitcase with a luggage tag that had my last name on it, and I don't have a very common last name, so it's rare to see it anywhere. She kept telling me how cool and fascinating everything was, and that I should have gone. But I'm pretty sure if I had seen that luggage tag I would have lost my fucking mind. 
    I get it. None of my family made it to the camps. They all either escaped or, from what we can tell, got killed somewhere before making it to the camps. That said, I don't know much about the extended family- and we have a very common Jewish surname.
    Yeah, my grandma and her parents and brother made it to the US. All their relatives, though, didn't make it. The ones from a particular town were rounded up into a ghetto in that town, which was "liquidated" a few months later so they were all killed on site and never got to any camps. That's as much as I know, but I don't know actual details like people's names and ages. Supposedly there were some other relatives and some from my grandpa's side that went to the camps and never made it out, but that's kind of just family rumors and I was never sure how much of it was true, or which camps they went to. This is probably a terrible thing to do, but whenever I see old photos of Holocaust victims, I wonder if any of them are my relatives. 
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
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    @novella1186 - horrible, but pretty normal. I don't do that. Yet.

    My 3rd great-grandfather got all of his family out of Russia after their small village got torched. We found an article about it in a newspaper in Canada. After the article came out, their farm got torched.

    History can get scary.
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  • @novella1186 - horrible, but pretty normal. I don't do that. Yet.

    My 3rd great-grandfather got all of his family out of Russia after their small village got torched. We found an article about it in a newspaper in Canada. After the article came out, their farm got torched.

    History can get scary.
    Holy crap! That would be so cool to find an article like that, but so sad and scary at the same time. It becomes really bizarre when you have links like that to the history you've learned in school. 
    image
    wandajune6
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    I have heard from several sources, that Ancestry is owned by the Mormons and they use the data you provide to posthumously/proxy baptize people in the Mormon faith which their faith allows for.

    I am very interested in my family history, but I will refuse to provide them information.

    I knew that it was founded by Mormons. It is now publicly-traded and it looks like Permira, a private equity firm, currently has majority ownership.

    As for the Mormons and their posthumous baptizing, this article is interesting: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/mormon_explainer_1/2012/02/mormons_baptize_wiesenthals_is_there_a_way_to_stop_baptism_by_proxy_.html

    I disagree with the practice of posthumous baptism but don't have problems with the company. Also - since you got me researching this - it looks like even Mormon leadership doesn't approve of the practice: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/03/04/147877754/mormon-leaders-warn-followers-to-stop-controversial-baptisms.

    Thanks for that information.  It helps clarify a bit, but I'm still skeptical of what they have access to/can do.

     

    I personally think it's one of the most low down forms of religious intolerance to force their belief system like that.  I realize the people are dead and it will have no affect, it's just a level of audacity I can't get past. 

     

  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I started looking stuff up during a free trial on Ancestry.com but because a) my family ancestry goes back to lots of farmers and fishermen, so record-keeping was NOT accurate and b) I have one of the most common last names in the world, I gave up very quickly.
    ~*~*~*~*~

  • I love Ancestry! I was able to trace part of my mom's family back to when they arrived here in the US in the 1690s and apparently I'm a Daughter of the Revolution four times over.
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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I have been very tempted to sign up!  All the previous posts are very interesting. 

    My mom's family is already documented back a few generations. But then it goes to the Riley clan in Ireland and as a pure Irishman once told me while I was visiting there, "You can't throw a stone over a schoolyard fence without hitting a Riley."

    My dad's family, whoa, I have no idea. I've been told our (very uncommon) last name is Dutch, or German, or Austrian, or a combination of two German and Austrian names put together, and then my dad said there's a winery in South Africa with our name and that has something to do with the Dutch... and then I visited Belgium and the custom's agent saw the name on my passport and said, "Welcome home," and told me the translation of my name.  My dad's parents both died when he was a teenager so I really have no clue what's going on there.  And that's what makes it so tempting to go find out! 
    ________________________________


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