Wednesday, April 23, 2014 PA Death Records 1906-1924 Brick Walls Smashed.

I am not entirely sure where I read about the PA Death Records from 1906-1924 being available on, but it only happened a few days ago.  The first time I saw the info about the records I really did not pay it to much attention.

After thinking about it I have a ton of family members in PA from both sides of my family, and there maybe a possibility of finding a new connection based off the Death Records.  Due to my main computer dying a few weeks ago I have not fully setup my new system with my family tree software, so I was using tree which was updated right before my computer died.

I found all my Decker's, Toomey's. Gerrity's, Jackson's, and Price's that had passed between 1906 and 1924, and started my search.  I figured the most I would find was just info to back up my current documents.  But after doing a search for Jane Price Decker, who I do not have any parents listed, I hit a possible match.

It was a Thos Price which I am guessing is Thomas, and a Mary Rouge both from Wales.  This was the correct person, as my Jane Price Decker died from a Lightning strike, and that was the cause of death on the death certificate.  So after about 10 years I was able to take it one step back again.

Now I know that I could have probably ordered the death certificate locally, or gone somewhere when I traveled to visit my family, but the ease of being able to download it at home was nice.  

The next brick wall was for a Anna (Anastasia) Toomey.  She would be one of my paternal great great grandmothers, and well that is all I knew about her up until yesterday.  She was another one that I have been searching for years and years to find some sort of connection.  So yesterday I was able to verify a match I found in the death certificates and now I at least know her dad's name Peter Cullen and that he came from Ireland.

Now I just wish that the available records were for a longer period of time, guess I could wait or I could find out how to order them online and have them mailed here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Slovak Films: Another Discovery

After my initial find of my Anna Benyak birth in Slovakia, and some of her other family members.  I decided to pick a new name from the tree and see what I could dig up.  The name that a choose was Pavol/Paulus Vidovic which is connected to my Kondrc line of Slovakia.

At the start of it I knew he was born in Brestovany, or at least had a strong feeling.  Besides that I knew that he was born before 1844 (first recorded child), and died after 1859 (last known recorded child).  Really not to much to go on.

First thing I did was a generic search in for Paulus Vidovic, Slovak Collection.  This brought up about 500 names, to narrow it down, I choose birth between 1810-1825.  I figured that this would give the best chances of finding mine.

There was a bunch listed, but I sifted through it all looking only for Brestovany births, which lead to four possible connection.  At this point I am still hoping that he was born in Brestovany, and not another small town near it.

Here is my "possibles" with information I gathered at the time.

DOBMother FatherDeath
5/31/1815Anna BalassMichael
4/1/1817Helena JankovitsStephanus V
7/5/1813Anna MiklossovitsMartinus10Sep1831
1/4/1818Doroth DobissJoanesDied 1849

Finding the date of death for my possibles was a little bigger issue.  It looks like they have not been indexed so I had to once again sift through about 500 images from 1852-1907.  During this process I created an spreadsheet and jotted down any surnames that were mine, or close in spelling to mine for deaths.

The spreadsheet includes Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Page Number, Collection, and comments section.  This way I can go back and double check on someone who might be more then just a possibility in being connected to me.   In the last two days I have collected about 250 folks which will be categorized later.

Back to Paulus, by 1872 I had narrowed it down to two possibilities.  And I was starting to get worried because they were getting up in age and was just hoping that they were in the images.  I first found his wife in 1891 which provided me with her birth date also of 1923 putting her at 68 years old. 

Almost at the last pages of the index for 1900 I found Paulus Vidovics listed with his birth date of 1 April 1817.  So not only was I able to get his birth date, date of death, location of death, and cause of death.  But I was able to figure out which one of the four was his parents.  Stephanus V Vidovics and Helena Jankovits. 

I guess its time to pick a new name and see where that takes me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Operation War Diary

A new site I found today that relates to us in the genealogy world is Operation War Diary.  The objective of the site is to transcribe about 1.5 million pages of the British Army during World War I.  These are the personal war stories told from the front lines with a soldiers point of view.  

Zooniverse in partnership with the UK National Archives, and the Imperial War Museum have put up a community site for making a searchable index of the diaries.

You will need an account on Zooniverse, and do a brief tutorial before starting the transcription.  After a quick look if you have done FamilySearch Indexing or indexing it should not be that hard to pick it right up.  

Currently I do not have any known family members that were in the British Army at any time, but just the stories and history that will be uncovered is more then rewarding, and I will be signing up for an account and seeing how much I can do to help this effort.

If you want to check it out, go here, and I first read about this from Popular Science

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Research Help Request: Slovakia (Liszicky/Benyak)

Continuing on my research of my Slovak relatives I am now searching for the Parents of Maria Lisciski (Liszicky).  I know that she had her earliest child with Paulus Benyak in 1872 (well earliest documented).  I have found all the documented children but cannot find a marriage record as of yet for them.

From the know information they were from Cerová: Lieskové, Senica, Slovakia (that is where the birth records say all the children were born).  Along with the SS-5 from my great grandmother also stating Lieskove as her town of birth.

I did a search for Maria Lisciski/Liszicky Slovkia born between 1830-1850.  I wanted to try and narrow it down a little bit and based off the oldest child being born in 1872 I figured that 22 years would be enough, truth I should probably set it for 1855ish.

Nothing shows up for Cerová: Lieskové, Senica, Slovakia in relation to a Maria being born, but there are about 3 showing Senica, Slovakia as a place of birth.  From here though I am lost as who they could be, as I need to find more information on who might the parents be.   I don't even know if Maria has any brothers or sisters.

If I could find the marriage record for Maria Liszisky and Paulus Benyak then maybe I could go forward.  Does anyone know of the best way to find the marriage records if I cannot find them on FamilySearch?  Some Agency that I could contact in Slovakia?

If someone knows a little bit about Slovkia, maybe the can gleam something from the records that might be able to help me narrow down my search, or move it somewhere else.

Maria Liszicky 1

Maria Liszicky 2

Maria Liszicky 3

Maria Liszicky 4

Friday, January 10, 2014

Benjaks Part 2

Ok so its really only been a few minutes and I probably should have just edited the first post, but I now even have more confirmation that I found the right family.  Theresa Benjak was a sister of Anna Benjak, and I just found her information on FamilySearch.

Once again the birth dates were off but the names matched up, and additionally it states that she married Stephanus Curaj in 1901.  Right there I know that I am on the right track as that is who I have her listed as married to.  As of five minutes ago I had no idea if they were married in Slovakia, or Pennsylvania.    I guess I just found another piece to the puzzle.

I also went from 3 "known" family members of the Benjak's, with 2 possible extra's that I could not find anything on to 9 total right now, and those 2 extra's I just mentioned, well now I am down to just 1 as the other was confirmed also.

All in all a good night, and did not even spend that much time in searching.

A Stepping Stone: Anna Benjak Found.

Lately my daily routine was to jump on FamilySearch and look for random surnames to see if I could find anyone.  No real rhyme or reason to my search habits.  I guess I was just hoping for that needle in a haystack moment.  I started the same as every other day, the usual names Hopfengartner, Maczek, Kondrc, and then I went to Benjak.  So far I was not getting anywhere fast.  At this point I decided to search for a total block in my tree.  I mean I know her parents names, I know where she was from, but there was no documentation besides a SS-5 form for Social Security.  I wanted to know more about her.

The name I searched for was Maria Lisciski.  She was my great great grandmother on my mothers side. She was the wife of  Pavol Benjak and they lived in Slovakia.  Punched in the name Maria Lisciski, 5000 matches.  Hmm, lets try and narrow that down a bit.  Started with Collections.

I used Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1910.  Still about 300 names.  I tried to add Benjak under spouse name but that did not help much so I tried Pavol as his first name.  At the bottom of the search with Pavol, and the Slovakia Collection there was a Maria Lisciski (Liszicky) and a Paulus Benyak.  

Maria looked good, Paulus? I guess that could be Pavol, not really sure, as for Benyak vs Benjak from what I understand not much of an issue.  But the first name that appeared was a Catherina Benyak.  Currently I do not know of any Catharina Benjak (Benyak) in my tree.  

But the parents names and location of birth: Cerová: Lieskové, Senica, Slovakia sounded familiar to me.  I remember that Lieskove from either the mother, or the children that I have listed.  Not having info currently in front of me (thanks to a dead computer).  No worries really, I have all documents and what not stored in dropbox, but my ready tree is now just till I can get everything back up.  

Well back to this searching.  Page 2 pulls up and now there are 4 more names that are children to these parents that I have no clue about.  Same parents, same location, ect, and then I see her.  Anna Benyak, quick look at date puts her a year off from what I know.   It shows her birth year as 1890, I have her as 1889.

Ok not a big deal right?  The 1890 was the christening.  Anna was born 13 Feb 1889 per my current info.  Thank to FamilySearch they have a document to view available.  Going to her name shows she was born 1890, and then I scroll over to the year/month.  13 Feb 1890.  I think I found her after all these years.  Never considered her a brick wall but now it gives hope that if I found her I can fill out the rest of her family and go back another generation with actual facts,  not just assumptions.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014 new collections since January 1st

Just like I posted the other day about FamilySearch I want to see where Ancestry stood now about a week into the new year with new collections.

The current newest collections on are:

NEW Germany, Warsaw Jews Who Survived WWII, 1948
NEW Pennsylvania, Card Indexes to Genealogical Scrapbooks and Research Folders
NEW Web: Cincinnati, Ohio, Oak Hill Cemetery Index, 1910-2012
NEW California, Birth Records from Select Counties, 1872-1987
NEW England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858
NEW Iowa, World War II Bonus Case Files, 1947-1954
NEW Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, St Peter's Cemetery Tombstones, 1857-2000

As of November 6th (the farthest) I know how to look back date wise of updates/new collection shows 81 collections have been added/updated.  I am sure there is a way to see all the updates that have happened over the course of 2013.  

Once again if anyone knows where to look please post it in the comments.  It would be interesting to see the comparison between FamilySearch and Ancestry on how many collections for 2013 were updated/new for each. Facebook Contact Integration

I was on today and saw the Facebook Contact integration with your tree and decided to give it a try.  Mind you I have already seen multiple posts about the dangers of it (privacy issues).  But I just wanted to get a feel for it and see how it works.

I was not even sure I would click all the way through, but wanted to see what information would be "discovered" from Facebook and then placed into the Tree.  If I remember correctly most folks were talking about using it via the App (iOS) I believe.

But I noticed the option on the website itself.  So I went ahead and clicked it.  Which brought up a window with a bunch of my family members, requesting me to click a check box if they were matched up correctly.  Well for about 96% they were correct.  I clicked the check box expecting something to happen, and so far nothing new.

The screen is showing no new information after I verified all the names. All that is left is "I'm Finished" which I was hoping would bring you to a new screen showing all the new information before you proceed to add it to your tree.

But currently I am stuck at that screen, as the I'm Finished does not seem to do anything, and reloading the site just makes me reconfirm all the names I just confirmed.  Maybe its a blessing so that none of the information gets published that could be privacy related to the family members that are alive, or might just be something wrong with my computer/internet not updating when clicking the button.

If anyone has any insight into this please leave a comment.