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           April, 2006

      Carol Sanderson,
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor

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  Not Enough Time for Genealogy
- by Charles Hansen

        In the April 2006 Issue of the Family Chronicle magazine is an article on "50 Family History Tasks You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less," by Lisa A. Alzo. While there are 50 tasks, I am only going to comment on a few of them, so be sure to check out the article as all 50 are great tasks that can be done in a short time.

        The list titles I'm using are Lisa's but the comments are mine although they may seem similar. The list is:

  • Create a Research "To-Do" List:   Plan what you are looking for and where you might be able to find it.
  • Catch up on Filing:   I am not sure I could even make a dent in my piles in 15 minutes.
  • Use a Message Board:   Post a query in the area you are researching.
  • Google! I have checked my brick walls on Google a few times, but Lisa also suggests that you use Google on the names of your ancestor's villages. I had never thought of that, and I got some interesting hits.
  • Check Online Library Catalogs Then when you visit the library and you check out what you have listd more quickly.
  • Join a Genealogical or Historical Society:  Peruse the website of one you might weant to join, download and fill out a membership form, and send it in. Local societies offer lots of education to help your research.
  • Check out Steve Morse's website of One-Step Web Pages:   Here are many items that are great search tools. Be sure to bookmark this site for further searches.
  • Explore eBay:  Look for bibles, yearbooks, postcards or other items from the the area in which your ancestor lived.
  • Subscribe to a Genealogy Mailing List. There are thousands of mail lists on Rootsweb; surname lists, county lists, state lists, and genealogical society lists. All of them are indexed by John Fuller, so check out his website. Every Thursday a whole list of abandoned surname mail lists are given to the list owners, so maybe you can adopt your ancestors surname mail list.
  • Blog!   or as Steve, a member of this board, always says, "Post, Post, Post".
  • Keep a Research Log:   This will remind you know where and what you have already searched. Without a log, you may check the same census several times.
  • Search the Family History Library Catalog:   Check out the research guides, and the IGI. They have filmed so many records, and all are available at a Family History Center near you for a small rental fee.
  • Check out the USGENWeb:   They keep adding new databases all the time.
  • Take Another Look:   Check your materials again,you might be surprised that you already have some clues in your old records.

        By trying some of these research tips, you can fit a task into a short time and still get some research time in to eventually knock down all your brick walls or to just advance yur research.

  The History of a House
- by Carol Sanderson

        What I want to write about this month, is perhaps, a story of a house. I have heard some people call it the genealogy of a house but according to the dictionary definition of "genealogy" that is not true. Genealogy is the study of one's family or the history of such. It concerns people not objects. If one is living in an old house that perhaps has some history or is in an historical district then one can do a study of the history of that house. It might include some genealogy of the people who lived in it.

        I grew up in an old house and as a youngster, I would hear my dad talking with some of his friends or relatives about the house and its age. He knew it was old as it was there before he was born. He lived in that neighborhood. He had done a lot of repair work on the house after he and my mother purchased it. He would talk of some of the things he had found...hardware on some of the doors, old clapboards that néeded to be replaced ( they were narrow in width as opposed to the present day boards now in use), hand hewn oak sills that the house sat on, and square cut, handmade nails that were used. All of these things led him to believe that the house was old but he still couldn't put a date on it.

        He never had the time to go to the courthouse and try to date it by researching the deeds. That would have been one way of fixing a date. His was puzzling over the age of his home right up to the time of his death. I think some of the wondering rubbed off on my brother as well as me. I, too, always seemed not to have the time to go to the courthouse and do some digging. I was busy trying to help my mom in her desire to continue living in that big old place that we all had come to love.

        My brother and his wife decided to do something about dating it. They were visiting and one day went to the courthouse and started with the deed recorded for my parents. They traced the house back until it was time for the courthouse to close. At that time, they had run into a puzzle that was going to take some work to solve. There had been some litigation over the house when one of the owners died...clear title to the deed seemed to be well muddied. Their day was worth the trip, though, as they had evidence of clear titles to the owners back to the late 1700s. They did make note of the owner at that time. He was a Joseph Prime who was born and grew up in that area. At the time I find him in a record, he is a Justice of the Peace in that town.

        After the house came into my possession, my husband and I started to fix it up even more. Since I wanted to be able to use the fireplaces, all three of them, we started by having the chimney relined. When they did this, we found another fireplace that had been covered and then hidden in a closet in one of the upstairs bedrooms

        The living room had a chair rail at the top of the wainscoting all the way around the room. By each window though, there was a groove cut into this. Why had that been done? The dining room across the hall did not have those in the chair rail. Why just the living room? My husband and I started to imagine the house when it was first built. We knew it had been added to. We could imagine a building with just a great room (all-purpose room) with perhaps a loft. I could even see where the access to the loft could have been. Looking at it that way, I could see that it may have been built in the early 1700s. The groove in the chair rail was part of the support for wooden shutters on the inside so that they could be closed primarily against an Indian attack. There was a lot of this in the area from 1690 into the early 1700s.

        In our imaginings, as thing quieted down the shutters were no longer used so were taken down. As the owners prospered, they added to the house. A dining room to match the size of the living room was added with a small hallway. There is no cellar under the dining room but that part sits on huge hand-hewn oak sills also with those being supported by fieldstones.It must have been at this time that the chimney was rebuilt. It rests on a brick arch in the cellar and is sixteen feet square at its base.

        At some point early on, the small hallway had a captain's stairway added to make access to the rooms over the dining room and living room. Up in the attic, there is further evidence of the early life of this house. The large timbers up there are hand hewn and if one looks hard, enough you can still find some of the handmade nails. The boards that make up the sheathing for the roof are anywhere from 24 inches to over 30 inches wide and one can see the marks of the saws used to made them. What is today, the kitchen and the two bedrooms over it were added much later. One can see the difference in construction in the attic.

        I never will be able to prove my imagination of how the house originated and how it developed, as we did not keep the house. However, the person who bought it worked a lot on the inside of it and asked if I had any information about the history. I gave him a copy of the lists of recorded owners back to 1791. I think he may have gone further with it.

        It is nice, when I go that way, to look at the old place as it has been kept up and cherished over the years. What a lot of stories those walls could tell!

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