One of my absolutely favorite websites is Online Searchable Death Indexes
. It's the first place I go when I want to know if a particular county has posted any obituaries or cemetery records, or to find the link to the state department of health to order a death certificate. I subscribe to the blog
that sends out regular updates. Today I got an update with a long list of states and counties that have new links. I went down the list, mentally checking for counties for my clients' or my own research, and stopped when I saw a reference for Sanilac County: the Sandusky District Library obituary database
. My Grandma Ruby's cousin Lottie Prosser Wooley (see The Luggage Tag
) grew up in Sanilac County, and so I immediately went to the obituary database and put her name in the search box. BINGO!!
This provides more information than I had before, but I find it interesting that it doesn't mention Lottie's two young boys who ended up living with their grandmother. Another glaring omission from this image (which I copied just as it appeared on the library website) is the citation - there's no newspaper title, date or page number.
Guess that'll wait for another day.
As I said, I'd given up on genealogy. Permanently. Or so I thought. Through the 1990's and into 2000, I refused to get interested, even when I saw books on Genealogy and the Internet on my library shelves.
In 2003, my 99-year old grandmother, who lived in Michigan with her daughter, my Aunt Ethel, was beginning a long, slow decline. Aunt Ethel called and asked me if I could do some online research into assisted living or adult family home facilities in their area. Being the librarian that I am, I immediately went to the Library of Michigan website. I did find a state-wide review of facilities, and was able to give my aunt some names and phone numbers of places to check out. In the process of exploring the library website, I noticed a sidebar that said, "Search the 1870 census index for Michigan." Immediately I thought of my great-great grandfather Stacy Clay Thompson, whom I'd never been able to find, either in Pennsylvania, where he was born, or in Michigan.
So, not expecting much, I typed his name into the search box. In seconds I had my answer - 14-year old Stacy Thompson was living in Blair, Grand Traverse County (where I never thought of looking for him), boarding with another family and attending school.
To say that I was impressed was putting it mildly! Immediately I thought, "Ooooohhhh - this has possibilities!" So I plugged in another name, that of another great great grandfather, Marshall Jackson Chase, who (according to family notes) had taken his small family from Ohio to Michigan in the 1850's. Once again the search found him in seconds - living with his wife Mary Ann, their two children George Carlos and Florence, and his sister-in-law and niece, Louisa and Eva Catlin. I had no idea they ever lived in Lansing.
It didn't take me long to swing into action. I knew I needed an up-to-date genealogy software program, so I went online to read some reviews, and chose Legacy Family Tree, because it was available for download immediately, was user-friendly and a reasonable price. I decided early on that I would be entering all my information from the beginning, using the binders of original records and family papers that I'd collected. I subscribed to Ancestry, and started reading online genealogy newsletters.
I was on my way!