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Thread: Genealogical Research

  1. #11
    Kanai Nemeses's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Great job you've done so far, mrd, my compliments!

    My best suggestion for organizing those notes is to use one of the Family History software products available. They'll make organizing those notes so easy, and can crossreference them for you if needed. My personal favorite family history software is Roots Magic because it's proven to be the most versatile and adaptable to your needs. It can also help you put all your information into various reports, as well as make a CD of your work if you wish to share it with other family members. I've tried 4 other programs, but I finally decided Roots Magic made the most sense, especially for a long-term project.

    Good luck with the continuance of your project, it sounds like you're well on the road to having a good project going. Again, if there's anything I can do to help you, or check any of my own non-public databases, I'll be happy to help you.

    And I'm happy for you in how far you've gotten so far! Good job!
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Wow, no one can stop a thread dead better than me, I guess.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    No, don't think that. I'm sorry I didn't reply.

    I have loved all your advice and I've been busy working on my project here and there.

    I have also been looking at the programs you suggested and I may have to take you up on the non-public databases.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all my questions and offer tips and advice. (I was just off using your tips and advice so couldn't post on this thread. )
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  4. #14
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Oh, that wasn't aimed at you, mrd Not in the least, I was kinda talking tongue-in-cheek in general.

    Just that genealogy is such a satisfying and special experience for families who undertake it, I hate to see the topic end. I hope more and more FoRTers take up the hobby if they haven't already. It really is one of the most personally gratifying things you can do, and just gives a strong appreciation for all the elements that make up a family unit.
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Nemeses;2756048;
    Oh, that wasn't aimed at you, mrd Not in the least, I was kinda talking tongue-in-cheek in general.

    Just that genealogy is such a satisfying and special experience for families who undertake it, I hate to see the topic end. I hope more and more FoRTers take up the hobby if they haven't already. It really is one of the most personally gratifying things you can do, and just gives a strong appreciation for all the elements that make up a family unit.
    Well it has been a lot of fun and now I'm really kicking myself for not asking more questions and writing more down before a lot of my family died and that stuff was lost.

    For instance. My grandfather had a law degree and was close to 30 when he went in the Army during WW One. He enlisted as a private and became a medic. Why was he not an officer? I always thought that most college grads could become officers. No one in my family has the answer to that one and the ones that do are no longer around. And his service records don't indicate anything as to why either.
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  6. #16
    Kanai Nemeses's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Quote Originally Posted by myrosiedog;2756056;
    Well it has been a lot of fun and now I'm really kicking myself for not asking more questions and writing more down before a lot of my family died and that stuff was lost.

    For instance. My grandfather had a law degree and was close to 30 when he went in the Army during WW One. He enlisted as a private and became a medic. Why was he not an officer? I always thought that most college grads could become officers. No one in my family has the answer to that one and the ones that do are no longer around. And his service records don't indicate anything as to why either.
    Under usual circumstances prior to the 1950's, the number of 4-year (and higher) college degrees in the officer ranks was less than 55%, the number decreasing more as you get further back from the Korean Conflict. And during the first World War, the vast majority of those college grads who enlisted for officer commission would have received the commission only if they were performing military duties related to their college degrees. The fact that your grandfather became a medic instead of serving in the military legal field may have had a lot to do with that. But then, as now, a college degree doesn't automatically grant officer commission. It had even less to do with it in the early years of the 1900's. So unfortunately, there's not much of a clue in that fact to say why he wasn't an officer, other than just that a degree didn't ensure that much back in WWI.

    As to what his reasons for becoming a medic instead, hard to say since he's gone now, but at that time the Army was sorely in need of medical personnel, even untrained ones who they could train after enlistment. Sometimes newly enlisted personnel who had some years of college were offered some small incentives to request medical assignments/training, on the valid reasoning that someone with higher education might adapt to the medical training better. Bottom line was they needed medical personnel more than they needed legal personnel, and enlistees who were already adapted to higher education were the people they could train faster and better. So it could have been just a matter of patriotic need that he became a medic.

    One thing you can do that might give you a clue about this is to get the history of his unit. Many unit histories gives information that tells you something about the personnel assigned to them, such as if the unit was commissioned to utilize and/or train medical personnel during a specific period which could correspond to your grandfather's unit. Some histories might state that during a specific period of time, they were assigned for a certain duty at a specific place. Any of this might give a clue about your grandfather, if you can get his service unit's history, which is available at NARA (National Archives and Records Administration).

    Another thing that might give you some clues is -- if he was in the Army during the year 1920 -- to find him on the census of that year of 1920, and you'll most likely find him listed with his unit out of one of the Army camps. By looking at the rest of his unit to see what occupation they have listed (which is what their military duty was at the time of the census), you'll get a broad picture of him at that snapshot in time. Look at the other names, are there some that look familiar or are from the same state? Possibly some other relatives or acquaintances that all joined up at the same time for the same purpose and unit. You can learn a lot from examining the census page your relative is listed on, and by examining the other names there. (If you don't have access to the 1920 census, I'll be happy to look it up for you) Especially in WWI, you'd often find entire units from the same general or specific geographic area. Also, if you find him on that WWI census, you can do searches on the other names in his unit, and sometimes you'll find that those other people's ancestors have done genealogy on them and may have put something on the internet regarding him and other members of his unit, or even letters home from a grandfather that could mention your grandfather. In several instances, I've found information on my own ancestors from published sources that mentioned mine in other's researches. Sometimes letters home from soldiers are rather chatty, and they mention their friends in the unit, things "me and Mike" talked about, etc. You just never know.
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Thanks for all the info and what you said makes sense.

    I know what unit he was with and I know he trained at Ft. Jackson, SC (Columbia). He was discharged in 1919, so there will be nothing in the census. He was wounded and deafened in one ear by a mortar round, but not bad enough to be sent home for it.
    I have a "journal" of sorts. He saved a TON of postcards he bought and wrote notes on them. Like "this church was in rubble when we came through". Most of the printing on them is in French, but do have the place names. I also found out he spent a LOT of time at Coblentz, France and was attached to the 14th evac hospital. So I do know quite a bit about some of what he did. And I have some letters he sent home and some he got as well.

    He had also gone to Washington and Lee University in Virginia and then gotten his law degree from Stetson. He had some form of military training at Washington and Lee, but I don't know what. Not to sound pretentious, but what is so puzzling about the officer thing is that his family had both social and political connections (and not just locally, but on the state and national levels) and money, there are surviving letters from friends of his in Europe at the same time (during the war) and they are officers. His father and one of his grandfathers were also W&L graduates and both of them had served as officers in the military. His father had been a cavalry officer. So it's been a puzzle to the rest of the family too because from what we know, he more than likely would have been taken into the Officer corps. He may have chosen to go in as a medic. That's what's so frustrating, we just don't know and there is no one to ask.

    I have his records, but I do not have his unit records, so I will look into that.
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    My brother spent years doing research for both sides of the family. A small part of it involved a lot of trips to old cemeteries and small towns where family members lived, and visits with our 102 year old great-aunt. It's fascinating but I don't have the patience for it although I'm really glad he did.

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    Re: Genealogical Research

    There is a series on tv showcasing the geneologies of some interesting Canadians. It has taken them overseas and many celebs have found out both un-truths and truths! It's very cool to watch. Of course, it's all paid for by the show.

    Don Cherry, of NHL fame, for instance discovered he had a relative who was in the RCMP. He had no idea and thought his whole family was always against authority because of his Scottish heritage.

    I'd love to find out mine, as our family tree basically ends with me. But there weren't many records kept back in the Ukraine and Austria back then and everyone who knew some things have since passed. My Dad did take some notes and tried to patch it together but it was pretty difficult.

    Good luck MRD!
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  10. #20
    Kanai Nemeses's Avatar
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    Re: Genealogical Research

    Quote Originally Posted by misskitty;2757356;
    I'd love to find out mine, as our family tree basically ends with me. But there weren't many records kept back in the Ukraine and Austria back then and everyone who knew some things have since passed. My Dad did take some notes and tried to patch it together but it was pretty difficult.

    Good luck MRD!
    misskitty, there are actually some fine records kept in Austria dating back to the 1500's. I did research for a friend's ancestry who's roots took his family back to Switzerland, Austria, and France, and was absolutely stunned at the wealth of info kept by the civil registries of those countries and their towns/villages/cities. If you'd really like to continue some of that research, the best free place to start is the Geneal-Forum, which is a discussion board for all genealogists in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. You will need to register there (it's free), and you can set it for whichever language you prefer, such as English. Those boards are maintained by professional genealogists and others who have access to current and historic civil records of citizens. Their work is voluntary and of no cost, and if they find information to help you, they often will photocopy any images or civil records of your ancestors and email them to you. With help found there, I was able to trace back my friend's Swiss and Austrian roots back to ca. 1500, and his French roots back to 1066 after he was awarded land for his contributions to the Battle of Hastings. Although English isn't their first language there, if you put your queries or requests on the boards in English, they will add the proper translation for you for the area you seek info from. There's a wealth of assistance on those boards, those people are great!

    Other resources for researching Austrian or Ukraine roots are:

    Austria Genealogy Forum
    Austria RootsWeb
    Ukraine Genealogy Forum
    Ukraine RootsWeb
    Austrian Family History Resources
    Austrian Genealogy
    The Ukrainian Genealogical Society Online
    Ukraine Genealogy - Tracing Your Ancestors in the Ukraine

    Good luck, if you decide to do some reseach on your Austrian and Ukrainian ancestors
    I live in my own world. But it's ok, they know me there.
    Kid Nation... a sad day for society when the exploitation of children becomes acceptable entertainment for television viewers.
    "Online communities, like the Fort, are very snarky and borderline cynical when it comes to celebrities and their shenanigans." -- Leo, FoRT Writer

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