|Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, Historian||
Location - It is Everywhere
In recent times in Australia we have had inflicted upon us the mantra "Location, location, location!". The perpetrators have been real estate agents trying to convince us that we should buy a particular house because it has a good location for resale.
Having lived in the same house for 36 years Di and I find this rather irrelevant. But I have found the principle of "location" relevant to my genealogical research. Often I have found that by working out the location of where people lived I have been able to work out their relationship to each other.
The first time I used this idea was when I found that the early Gainsborough Jerrems families came from a "cluster" of villages gathered around Gainsborough. I did not twig to this for a long while because I did not realise that Gainsborough (in Lincolnshire) is close to a county boundary, and some of the nearby villages are in Nottinghamshire.
Originally I had grouped all the 18th and 19th Century Lincolnshire people together in one category and all the Nottinghamshire people for the same period in another category. After a while I realised that people in the Lincolnshire group seemed to have married people with the same name in the Nottinghamshire group. So I googled a website that gives driving directions and found that the towns and villages were in fact quite close together. Darby and Joan had lived within easy travelling distance of each other. Eureka, it now all made sense!
Similarly Sandra and I recently made some interesting discoveries about James Jerrems, on her side of the family. Initially I worked out that when James Snr and his son (the blacksmith) had both moved from the State of New York all the way to different towns in Illinois in the 1860s they had in fact moved to localities no more than 10 kilometres apart. The family had not disintegrated after all!
At the same time Sandra solved the puzzle of why, some years later, James and his wife Caroline kept popping up in Nebraska and Kansas State Censuses. Surely they had not been moving house backwards and forwards at such a rapid rate, particularly when they were in their sixties and seventies? Then Sandra realised that the village they lived in was in Kansas near the State boundary, and that some of their adult children lived in a village in Nebraska which was only a mile away. The likely explanation was that they had not moved at all, they had merely been visiting their children on the Nebraska census days.
Finding out where people lived is not therefore just idle curiosity, in some instances it is vital to test whether the information you have located can be logically correct.
|Ray Jerrems, Internet Sleuth||
Tracing the Past with Modern Technology
Here is something which will interest all readers.
In her research on her family history Sandra has recently been making extensive use of a particular website, fultonhistory.com. This website has a mindboggling database of about 1,500,000 newspapers published in the north, north west and central parts of New York State from about 1840 up to modern times. Obviously there are search engines like Google that access far more documents than this, but as a single-purpose website available to the public free (distinguishing it from ancestry.com, much of which is not free) it must be almost unique.
Sandra was born in Utica in Central New York State, and her ancestors on both her mother's and her father's side trace back over 150 years in that area, so fultonhistory.com has proved to be a mine of information for her.
Sandra first heard of the fulton website late last year when Sarah Papageorge told her about it.
The strange thing is that in all my previous research on the Jerrems family I had only had one hit on "fulton" by using Google, and that was for a "Nicoll the Tailor" trade card. This one instance did not give me any inkling of the scope of the website. When I logged directly on to "fulton" at Sandra's suggestion I obtained about 130 hits for Jerrems and 100 for Nicoll the Tailor. Wow!
In the 19th Century newspapers were the main source of information for the public. No radios, TV or internet in those days, and a limited range of magazines. In addition to what we would call "news" the newspapers covered a wide range of other subjects of local interest, including recipes, reports on meetings, births, deaths and marriages, court reports, arrivals and departures of citizens, summaries of sermons, and items for purchase and sale. The latter included the usual array of cure-alls and patent medicines which purportedly cured everything from snake bite and ingrown toenails to dropsy and consumption. The style of journalism tended to be melodramatic and the contents of the items were sometimes gory.
The result is that the 19th century newspapers give remarkable insights into the lives, attitudes and interests of the people. These would be similar for all people of that era, whether they lived in the US or Australia.
From the 1880s the newspapers appear to have had access to cable reports, similar to Reuters but on a much smaller scale.
The result is that there is a lot of repetition of the same items in newspapers in different cities and towns. This was particularly noticeable for reports on gridiron matches, which were reported by the New York Times. One of the main teams was Yale University, and Alexander Nicholl Jerrems was one of Yale's star players in the mid 1890s. My excitement at getting so many hits listed for "Jerrems" soon waned when I realised that most of them were for Alexander, and that they were merely repetitions of the New York Times articles.
On the "plus" side, this access to a cable service means that the newspapers carried a sprinkling of reports of events occurring in other States.
The standard of reproduction of the newspapers is variable. The resolution of some of the scanning leaves a lot to be desired (possibly it was carried out some time ago), making it somewhat of a guessing game to interpret the documents in some instances. The newspaper reproductions are in the form of PDF files which can be copied and transferred to your computer. The searching capability is extremely fast, about the same as Google, a remarkable feat for a non-profit organisation.
Another interesting aspect of the website is that it plays old radio reports of famous events.
I will pick out some classic newpaper items in the future and submit them to Donald for inclusion in the Journal.
So, next time you are on the Internet log on to fultonhistory.com and take an excursion back in time to the 19th Century!
|Donald Jerrems, All-purpose Editor and More.||
Newest Subscriber #48
We have a new subscriber, Ray and Jean Lloyd, from the UK. They met Sandra through the Ancestry.com connection service.
Here is what Ray Lloyd has to say about his
Second Granddaughter for Ray and Di; sister for Samantha
Exciting late-breaking news from our Genealogist Ray and his wife Diane:
Their daughter Anita had a baby girl on Sunday April 13th, named Samantha. Her weight was 8 pounds 2 ounces (isn't it interesting how the imperial weights are still used in Australia for babies, over 40 years after Australia went to metric measurements?).
Her husband Brad was so excited that when he was driving her to the hospital he ran into the back of another car, fortunately with minimal damage (to the other car, that is).
Congratulations to Brad and Anita.
On the following Saturday Samantha and her older
sister Jessica joined in celebrations when a
racehorse (Sebring) partly owned by Brad's
the Golden Slipper race in Sydney. This is one of the
top races in the world for 2 year olds.
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