Carol Sanderson, Editor
Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor
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One of the mistakes beginner genealogists make is jumping around. I know it is hard to not jump when you find new information, but keep working your way back and you will get there eventually.
When I first started I knew next to nothing about my great grandparents, so when I found my fathers grandparents, Stanislaus Potoski Dillingham and Eliza Minerva Hellenbolt I immediately checked the census to find them and in the 1870 Minnesota Census, Eliza was living with her parents Richard and Rhoda Hellenbolt. It said Richard was born in New York about 1815 and Rhoda was born in Canada. I immediately went to the 1820 New York census to see if I could find a Hellenbolt household with a five-year-old male child. There are no Hellenbolts in the 1820 New York census, but there are three families in the 1810 New York census.
What did I learn by jumping from the 1870 Minnesota census to the 1810-1820 New York censuses? Nothing, I did not find Richard's family. All three families had left New York by 1820. Where did they go? The 1870 census had a clue as Rhoda was from Canada, but Canada is a very large country, so where in Canada should I look?
Eliza and her brother Dexter were both listed as being born in Wisconsin and the LDS (Mormons) had filmed the birth records for Wisconsin for that time, but neither Eliza nor Dexter showed up in the birth records. About this time, an online friend was heading to an archive in Canada to do some research. She asked me if I néeded any Canadian research? I answered, "Yes" and she found the marriage of Richard and Rhoda in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The LDS had filmed the marriage records so I ordered the film and in a couple of weeks I had the copy. While it did not list Richard or Rhoda's parents, it did list Rhoda's maiden name, Preston. I was so happy coming home from the Family History Center. All I could think of was that I was related to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.
Wandering around Ontario records, I found three Hellenbolt families in Coburg on the north shore of Lake Ontario and not very far from Hamilton. However, Richard was not with any of them. Now I made a real bad mistake, I was thinking Hellenbolt sounds German, and they all left the US for Canada, I wondered if they were Hessian soldiers sent over by England to fight the Americans and then after the war moved to Canada with the Loyalists. So I jumped into Loyalist research, and found no Hellenbolts. The time was all wrong also as my Hellenbolts were still here after the War of 1812 and the Loyalists all went to Canada after the Revolution. About this time someone told me to check the list of New York Militia men in the Revolution. Two Hellenbolts were listed as serving during the Revolution. I checked with the DAR and neither man has ever been listed in any of their records. I still have not found the parents of Richard and Rhoda, but I have a hunch for Richard's.
A few years ago I got a copy of the book "They Gazed on the Beartooths" by James Annan. My grandfather's biography is listed there. Another biography there is for William Henry Eddy a "Canuck" born in Coburg, Canada. He later moved to Wisconsin, and married Abagail (sic) Hellenbolt in Wisconsin, later moving to Austin, Minnesota where Abagail (sic) died. Minerva their daughter, married William Kyle and they moved to Columbus, Montana. Checking more censuses, I find that Abagail (sic) is the older sister of Eliza and she was born in Canada also. My grandparents met in Austin, Minnesota after my grandfather had emigrated from Denmark. My grandparents stayed in Minnesota for about fourteen years after their marriage and then moved to Columbus, Montana. Until I had read this county history, I really never knew why they moved to Columbus. I, also, found more connections to Coburg, Canada. Now it looks like I will néed to do more research in Coburg, Canada to find proof of Richard's parents. Working backwards is always better than jumping around.
When we first start out with a computer, people or textbooks say that you should save your work regularly. Why? That is so if you have a crash not everything will be lost. In fact, they also say back up your work for the same reason.
We, as genealogists, have a lot of our work on paper also. We néed to preserve that...vital records we have searched for and obtained, wills and probate records, deeds and other land records and other types of documentation should all be preserved.
I hear you asking, "How do we do that?" The papers made of pulp that we use today are more acidic than those of the old days when paper was made mostly from rags and linen. We can buy acid free paper today but you usually have to ask for it. We can also buy archival type sleeves, boxes and other containers in which we can store our precious documents and pictures.
Just putting things in these sleeves is not enough though. We should keep our things where the light cannot get at them and where the temperature is pretty much the same. A relative humidity of 30 to 50 percent is the ideal.
Those who have computers should use a scanner if possible and put copies of these items on a disk...in today's terms it would most likely be a CD. However, we must be aware that as technology develops other types of storage media, we should remember to transfer things to a more up to date media before what you have stored it on is so outdated it cannot be retrieved. I have some things on some 3 1/4 inch floppies that I will have to move soon or lose. At least one hard copy of what you have should be stored somewhere away from your home such as a bank vault. This will be protection against natural disasters such as fires and floods etc.
One also néeds to remember that household pests such as rodents and insect scan damage things that you have stored. Keep an eye out for them and when you are getting things ready to store if you are pretty certain they are free from these things they will be pretty safe.
These are just some of the things one can do. Maureen A. Taylor, in a recent column Protected from the Elements: Storing Heirlooms at Home1, lists two books that are good guides. They are:
Caring for Your Family Treasures, by Jane S. Long and Richard W. Long (Abrams, 2000)At some point in the future we will try to review and give more information on this subject. Meanwhile, remember that your documents are only as safe as you make them.
1 Maureen A. Taylor. Protected from the Elements: Storing Heirlooms at Home; Ancestry Daily News, 24 March 2004; Copyright 2004, MyFamily.com
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