History and Culture

The Life of Annie Moore

By Terri Paajanen

If the name doesn’t ring any bells with you, she was the first person to immigrate to the United States through the famous port at Ellis Island.

history of Annie Moore and Ellis Island

Annie Moore was the first person to come to the USA through Ellis Island.

More than 12 million people arrived in America at Ellis Island between the years 1892 and 1954, coming from all parts of the world to live in the United States. But on the first day, it was 15-year old Annie Moore who was first. She was coming from County Cork in Ireland with her 2 younger brothers (Anthony and Phillip). Their parents were already in New York having travelled previously to get established. Annie and her siblings had spent 12 days on a ship, in the steerage compartment.

To commemorate her arrival, she got a $10 gold coin and there is now a statue of her on the island. Seven hundred other people were processed that day after Annie. (more…)

14 May 2013

Interfamily Marriage in Your Family Tree

Have you come to any points in your family tree where the branches start to cross? That is, where relatives have actually married one another. I’m sure you have, and if not, you will eventually. Almost all family trees have a few cousin-marriages in them. Marrying close relatives is not as socially acceptable as it once was, though that depends on the culture and time frame that you’re researching. The term “consanguinity” is the official way to describe marriage between close relations.

Through history, there have been many periods where marrying your own cousin (even a first cousin) was acceptable and even considered a good idea. This would keep assets and estates within the family, and was thought to strengthen the bloodlines. And of course, travel was pretty limited in the past and it was hard to get away from your family even if you wanted to. (more…)

06 May 2013

Old Job Titles

old job titles in genealogy

Are you familiar with the jobs and occupations of old?

When you come across various types of occupations, such as on tax records, census pages or even on some death certificates, it can be confusing because so many terms and trades are no longer commonly known.

Jobs that are outright obsolete or just go by different names now are hard to understand and won’t do you any good if you don’t know what they mean.

Actually knowing the proper occupation can be important and it can lead you to further records or documents for that individual. Even just simple curiosity can be enough to want to know what the heck a “daunsel” is. Also, people often took surnames based on their occupations so there can be further information in someone’s job for that. (more…)

23 Apr 2013

Double Dating

double dating genealogyIf you’ve been doing any genealogy research from the 1500s until the mid 1700s, particularly in any English or early American regions, you may have noticed a little anomaly with the way dates were recorded. Specifically, dates with 2 years. A date such as “January 6th, 1692/3” would be such an example. In genealogy, this is known as double dating.

I found several instances of this personally, and always attributed it to some sort of clerical error or even that the year was being estimated. But after a while, I started to wonder and did a little further research. There was quite an interesting story behind this after all. (more…)

04 Mar 2013

History of Scottish Tartans

scottish tartan history

History of Scottish tartan patterns isn’t what you think.

You learn something new every day, and this article is a good example. This isn’t quite the history I expected when I first started to look into Scottish tartans. My own history turns to this area about 10 generations back but I really didn’t know anything about it. So off I went to research tartans and see what I could find out about the colors, patterns and the family meanings behind them all.

As it turns out, there is a lot of misconceptions out there about what tartans mean and the entire practice about having an inherited family pattern. In fact, most people are completely wrong about the whole thing. (more…)

27 Dec 2012

Lineage Societies

general-tree-diagramMost genealogists will come across the term “lineage society” at some point in their research, and it can help to understand what they’re all about. You may even be lucky enough to qualify for membership, if your family tree has the right branches.

A lineage society is a group of people who can document their personal ancestry back to a particular and relevant place, event or group of people in history. Some are small and mainly unknown, but some are social powerhouses. (more…)

27 Dec 2012

Surname Meanings

Having surnames or family names is a relatively new concept. In the days of our ancestors, people knew each other well enough that they were easily identified by their given names alone. Only once populations grew, and families started moving farther apart did the idea of the family name take hold and become common custom.

Originally, surnames came from descriptions of that person, or were terms that identified them by occupation, their birthplace or other types of features. They also sometimes were used to indicate that an individual as the “son of” someone else. This convention was used the most often in Scandinavian and Celtic regions, and is still used today. Sven Bjornson was really just Sven, the son of Bjorn. (more…)

26 Dec 2012

Latter Day Saints Genealogy

genealogy and the latter day saints

The LDS Church is a great resource in genealogy

If you have been doing online genealogy research for any length of time, you are surely stumbled across the various resources belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (known more simply as the Mormons). Ever wonder why?

Believe it or not, it is actually an official part of the LDS belief system to do research and record your personal genealogy and family tree information. Since I am not personally a member of the church, I will admit that my information has come from a variety of sources so please excuse me if I make any religious errors. I’m a genealogist, not a theologian. For more on the religious background, you can check out the official LDS homepage. (more…)

25 Dec 2012

French Dit Names

Are you doing any French genealogy work? Have you found some mysterious relatives who seem to have 2 last names with the little word “dit” tucked in the middle? Well, now you can figure out what that means.

In my own family, I have a woman named Emilie Montpellier dit Beaulieu and she makes a good example to work with. First of all, the word “dit” means “called” (at least in this context) and it’s pronounced “dee”. Basically, a dit name is more like a nickname as it represents what they were actually called rather than an actual given name. They were used to help differentiate between people with similar names in really large family groups. (more…)

19 Dec 2012

Luke’s Lineage of Jesus

As discussed in an earlier article about the two genealogies of Jesus, there are 2 different listings of Jesus’ ancestors in the Bible. For further reference, here is the lineage of Jesus as told in Luke 3:23. And for comparison, you can see the other lineage from Matthew 1:1. (more…)

18 Dec 2012