Friday, July 25, 2008

20 Things That Make Genealogy Fun

This is intended to be a bunch of silly nonsense. So please don't take it too seriously.
  1. In Germany all the women are named Anna Maria and all the men are named Johann. This was done to confuse genealogists.

  2. In Mexico all the women are named Maria and all the men are named Juan. This was done to confuse genealogists.

  3. In Ireland all the women are named Mary and all the men are named James Patrick O'Connor. This was done for "fun in the pub."

  4. In New Mexico the "Kevin Bacon Game" is called the "Juan Baca Game." No one knows who Juan Baca was, but everyone in New Mexico can trace their ancestors to him.

  5. In Boston the "Kevin Bacon Game" is called the "James Patrick O'Connor Game." And you're only allowed to play with a Boston accent. For tips on fine tuning your Boston accent see the Academy Award winning Martin Scorsese film, the Depahhted.

  6. The record you need is always at the end of the microfilm roll.

  7. The records at the beginning of the roll are clear and easy to read with beautiful penmenship. By the time you scroll to the end of the roll where the record you need is located, everything is a blurry mess.

  8. Oh nevermind. They're gonna digitize all of it soon anyway, right?

  9. You actually know what M237 means. You freak.

  10. All of your ancestors settled in Chicago. Whenever you can't find something about them you curse Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

  11. That same cow is probably responsible for the loss of the 1890 census.

  12. Stupid cow.

  13. You wonder why a non-profit religious organization can distribute National Archives microfilm better than the National Archives.

  14. You wish the founding fathers had thought up Social Security so the Social Security Death Index would begin around, oh, 1780 or so.

  15. When someone first tells you their last name you immediately convert it into a Soundex code. This kind of behavior is so not normal. Er wait a minute, since everything has been/will be digitized we don't need Soundex codes anymore, right?

  16. Your ancestors did not swim to America.

  17. You are not a Cherokee princess.

  18. None of your ancestors knew Jesse James.

  19. But my Apache princess ancestor knew Billy the Kid.

  20. So yeah, my ancestors are cooler than yours. Well of course everyone thinks that... Ok, number 19 is not really true.
Your ancestors really did swim to America. Perhaps alongside one of these ships: Finding Passenger Lists 1820-1940s (arrivals at US Ports)

Your ancestors are named Anna Maria and Johann. You'll love it here: German Roots: German Genealogy Resources

Your ancestors are named Mary and James Patrick O'Connor: Irish Genealogy Resources

You've been playing the "Juan Baca Game..." New Mexico Genealogy Resources

Don't know what M237 means? You do now... National Archives Microfilm Publication M237: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820-1897, which of course, has been digitized.

The Fate of the 1890 Census Stupid cow!

This is a revised and reduced version of my original "25 Things that Make Genealogy Fun" list. So yeah basically I stole this from myself. Please don't bother with the original one. Note lack of link.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Chicago and Cook County Vital Records Now Online

The Cook County, Illinois Clerk's Office has a new website where you can obtain online copies of Cook County and Chicago birth certificates 75 years or older, marriage licenses 50 years or older, and death certificates 20 years or older. You may search the database for free, but payment is required to download copies of the records. The records begin circa 1872. Cook County vital records before that were destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871. Not all of the records have been posted online yet, but more are being added.

See: Cook County Genealogy: Vital Records - Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

Also helpful: Online Chicago and Cook County Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

Thanks to Anita for letting me know when these went online.