By Jim Stanton
Guest Writer 

Several new sites available to search history


July 4, 2019

I have written several times about family history. Back in the 1980's when I was just getting started in family research it was trips to libraries other places where records were kept. Some time during the mid 1990's there was these things called computers and the internet coming into play. Some smart people saw a way to use the computers and internet to do family research making everything much easier for us. This made finding your relative from all over the world somewhat easier.

Then several years later a thing called DNA research came along. I have used DNA to find a lot of relatives, some I personally know and some I have never heard of. As more and more of my relatives take the test they show up on my list of relatives. Even the DNA results have improved in just the past year or so, now you see which side of your family your new found relatives are on.

Another thing with the Ancestry DNA, not only does it tell if someone is a first or second cousin or other relative, but it shows you the results of the test, in other words how much or your DNA and the person you are checking match up. I have seen several people that I've never heard of show up on my list, but their last name is a family name and can be found on my family tree. Some companies will even show your medical history and traits.

When doing family research, I have ran into discrepancies in dates before, when I come up on this, I try to find a picture of a headstone or go to a cemetery if it's nearby and check the date on the headstone itself. It's just that I believe that the date on the headstone will be more accurate than a paper record because the headstone was usually ordered soon after the persons death.

Some people may say, well I would like to check the headstone but it's several hundred miles away. There is a way to take care of this without ever leaving your home if you have access to the internet.

There is a free service called Find A Grave, they have millions of records from just about every cemetery in the country including maps to most cemeteries. Most of the time you can go to their site and find what you are looking for right there by entering the name and location of the cemetery and the name of the person. What if you enter this information and don't get any results, in this case you can make a request right on the website and usually someone will take the request and fulfill it for you. It might take from several weeks to several months to have it fulfilled. I have actually done this being a member of Find A Grave. One that I did in May was for lady that lives in Alaska but her grandparents are buried in Escambia county Alabama.

I sent the lady a e-mail explaining to her that I would take care of her request in a couple of weeks. That I was going to be going to a cemetery where my grandparents are buried and doing some work there, and on my way out to that cemetery I would be passing about two miles from the cemetery that her request was for, and I would take care of it at that time. So if you have family or friends that were living in another part of the country and you have never seen their final resting place this might be one way to take care of that.

Also if you visit Find A Grave and want to you can leave a virtual flower for them, the last time I checked they had several different flowers to choose from. The Alger Sullivan Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Leach House Museum in Century at the corner of 4th street and Jefferson Avenue, come join us and consider becoming a member.


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