Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Discovery Excercise #2 Heritage Quest

Discovery Exercises #2: Heritage Quest online:
I searched for my grandfather, who was born in Scotland, and lived in San Francisco in the 1920s. I found his name in the Census search. I learned that he was a dry goods salesman at that time, which was very surprising as I thought he was an accountant, as he had been in Scotland. This was also surprising because my father (his son) became a salesman in his later years. In addition, neither my grandma, father nor uncle were listed under my grandfather’s name.
I then found my maternal grandfather who lived in Toledo, Ohio in 1920, and noticed some differences in the data. Charles Yates was born in Wyoming  and his wife, Naomi and daughter Betty Jean (my mom) were listed under his name. In addition, I note that most of those Ohioans were born in the U.S., unlike in San Francisco, where there a great number of foreign-born residents. While very difficult to read the descriptions in the columns, I believe I read the date of my paternal grandfather’s becoming a U.S. Citizen as 1916, two years after my dad was born. Both doucmnets were written in very scrolly handwriting, and may not be readable here:

I browsed the 1890 census but there was a fire at the Commerce Department that destroyed over 99% of the data. In Kodiak I am unaware of any efforts to overly-safeguard records. In our public library, there is a marvelous Alaskana collection, but the HVAC considerations have not been addressed. In the Russian Orthodox Church’s collection, there is a lack of suitable storage and protection for their archives. It is important. 
  • The first year Alaska was included in a U.S. Census was 1900. This census is very interesting because only 3 areas are included, Aleutians, with nice handwriting for Attu; and Southern & Northern. In addition, the race is listed in Attu as Aleut for every villager. I looked at the Census of Karluk, where I work sometimes, and it is very hard to read.  This village has been around for 6,000 years. When I used the search tool for a common name there, Reft, yielded no results. I also searched for my husband’s family, the Madsens, who were in Alaska since the late 1800s, but found no results, and when I looked up Metrokin, a native relative, I found out that a great aunt was listed as a servant at 8 years old working for another family. The race for this village was listed as mixed race, which makes sense also as the Russians were the first mixture of white to mix with Natives. However, in Attu, could that be purely Aleut? Probably not since 1760 or so. When I searched the 1920 Census, I was able to find my husband’s grandfather, and other Karluk relatives.
Use of screen shots may be a viable alternative to printing. In addition because of the illegibility of the older census data, screen shots would be better and clearer.  I tried printing from the website, and was able to get a better copy than a pdf. I just had to print it in stages. Use of the notebook feature is good to keep track of one’s searches, but when I used the email function, this is what I received in an email: Image: ALASKA (1920 U.S. Census)
  • Series: T625 Roll: 2031 Page: 177
So that’s a good reminder of what I found and where it’s located, but I was hoping for a document! 
Using this tool was very interesting and yielded some interesting results.

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