Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There Are Many Ways to Research

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been running across many results that are not available anywhere but the public library system.   Last weekend, I broke down and went to town to get my library card.  It cost me $25.00 because I’m not a resident within the city limits, but I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.  The first thing I did was request an library transfer of researchers note on the Clan McCullough from a library in Missouri.  Why you ask, well because a search on Family Search.org related that my Grandmother was listed within this published document.  It is currently held by only two libraries, and guess what?  They don’t want to share! My request was cancelled the first day.  The Librarian said that it was not uncommon with research notes.  The libraries are very worried about losing their material.   She suggested I contact the libraries myself, and explain my request, perhaps they will be more favorable that way.

I took it a step further, and wrote a letter to the author also.  She just happens to live in Colorado Springs, and I have my own contacts there, namely, my sister.  In the meantime, I picked up a little paper research of another nature.  I signed out two books, A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Germanic Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage (Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Ancestors) and a little book I found very interesting, A Dictionary of Traditional First Names.  Obviously, the first book is because I am doing so much research about my Germanic ancestry.   The second, is simply a intriguing curiosity that I has resulted due to the genealogical research I’ve done.  I noticed that so many common names are used by my ancestors in naming their children.   I began to wonder at the significance of the individual names. 

Between the two books, I have discovered there was significant reasoning behind the naming intricacies.   In old Germany, it was common for the first born male to be named after either the father’s father or the baptismal sponsor’s father, the second male to be named after the wife’s father, or the child's father’s father in cases where the baptismal sponsor’s name was used .  It was also common to add a name or two to the list.  This explains why I have so many Friedrich Christoph Schweer’s in my background.  With each generation, an additional name was added, there is a Fiedrich Christoph Conrad,  and a Hans Friedrich Christain, or even Hans Heinrich Friedrich, and  so on.  I also learned that the middle name was generally how the individual was known.  It was very common for them to shorten or use a derivative for every day use.  For example, many of my Ancestors were known as Christ, Henry, Will, or Bill when they came to the USA.  The women were named in the same way, using the name of the mother’s mother, or father’s mother.  In one family, I have an Engel Sophie, Marie Ilse and then there is a Sophie Marie Margaretta, and so on.  So that there are a total of four sisters named Sophia Marie, each with a different name added in.  The prominent names of the females are Dorothea, Sophie, Engel, and Marie, or variations of them.  The Dictionary of names also informed me that many of the names are representative of the saint’s.  My ancestors were very involved with the Lutheran Church, and I suppose would have adhered to the churches naming conventions.

All of this was just a curiosity of mine, that ended up shedding some light on my ancestors from a new direction.  It seems, I am learning far more about my family history than I would have thought was involved in Genealogy.  However, I also learned that genealogy is just that, family history, not just simply tracing your pedigree to it’s origins.  I am very happy to learn all I can, for that will make the writing of  our history that much easier, and more entertaining.    As a side note, I discovered my wife's name appropriately means, “dazzling”.

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blue prints of your ultimate achievements.”  - Napolean Hill, via Quotations Book.

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