Monday, April 30, 2012

Tracing My Roots

One of the great things about Washington, DC is that there is always something happening. There are craft fairs, book signings, lectures, concerts--you name it, DC has it. I was killing time before meeting up with some people and I stumbled upon a genealogy fair at the National Archives. I went it to take a look and was blown away by what I saw. 

One of the booths at the fair was, a free genealogy database. They had computers set up to allow people to search for their ancestors. I did a quick search on my maternal grandfather and was rewarded with data from the 1930 census! Even with a misspelling from the census taker (it's supposed to be Riklin), here's what I found:

In 1930 my great-grandparents were living in Nebraska with their seven children. I didn't know that my great-grandfather was ten years older than my great-grandmother. How scandalous :)

Here's what I found on my maternal grandmother:

She was only a few months old and living in San Antonio, where she still lives today. What was interesting though is that two women, Sophia and Bertha, are listed as part of the household. Who were they? It turns out Sophia was my grandmother's wet nurse (!) and Bertha was the family cook. Crazy, right?

After 72 years the United States government releases census data, meaning that in April of this year the 1940 census became public. Since computers obviously did not exist yet, all of the records are hand-written. FamilySearch was asking for volunteers to help digitize the records and I agreed to do it. So far I've already helped index several records, including some from the 1898 Spanish-American War. It's so fun and easy to do. Here's the link if anyone is interested in doing it too:

Who knows what information you may find!

Note: I was not paid or given any perks for this post. I'm just really excited about what I found on this website!

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