Friday, November 13, 2009

Genealogy of Communites: Intentional Communities in the Next Century

In the final article of her Genealogy of Communities series, Judy Rosella Edwards explores communities of the recent past and looks to the future: "Genealogy of Communities: Intentional Communities in the Next Century." One point made was the increase in international and cross-cultural marriages brought about during wartime; locating ancestors in war-torn and unstable countries is and will continue to be a challenge. The article also asks the question of how genealogists will manage the research of ancestors whose choices and philosophies might differ from their own. Many of these questions we are already addressing and apply to all generations and all time periods, although the new challenges are sure to bring about new and exciting genealogical and technological innovations. This has been an informative series with ideas for researching in many directions.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Utopias

Utopia, the ideal society envisioned by Sir Thomas More in his book of the same name, was then and continues to be an imaginary place. Nonetheless, societies persist in believing it's attainable, and the quest has continued throughout history. In her article, "Genealogy of Communities: Utopias," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the nature of such communities, offering insights and suggestions for genealogical research. As the author point out, "people from all walks of life have joined." For those ancestors who present puzzles, it may be an area worth exploring.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Faith-based Organizations

So maybe Grandpa didn't run off and join the circus, after all. Maybe he ran off and joined a faith-based community. In many cases family members did abandon families to join some sort of community or communal organization. There's definitely a story in there: Did he or she leave the family because the faith required it, did the family choose to stay behind, or did the family reject the person adopting a particular faith? Whatever the reason, when a family member drops off the radar, researchers might want to consider the possibility. In her article, "Genealogy Communities: Faith-based Organizations," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the nature of these communities and how they might be researched. Oh, by the way -- my father did run off an join a circus . . . but he came back . . . and married my mother. The rest, they say, is history.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Asylums, Hospitals, and Sanitariums

Census lists are continually revealing, and sometimes it's a good idea to go back and revisit census records we have already researched. In days past, we tracked where we had been in our research, so we would not go back and tread the same ground. Today, as more and more data comes online with greater indexing and search capabilities, going back may yield new and interesting information. In the latest," "Genealogy of Communities: Asylums, Hospitals, and Sanitariums," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the information derived from census records of these communities. As the article states, "Asylum residents were enumerated and the asylum considered their home." Staff members may also be included, if they lived on the premises. The article provides insights into the "astonishing amount of detailed genealogical data" that can be gleaned from these records.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Prisons

We might not like to think about the possibility of finding an ancestor in prison, but in her article, "Genealogy of Communities: Prisons," Judy Rosella Edwards makes the point that in earlier times, one did not have to be a hardened criminal to end up in some type of jail or prison. Of course, for some, the black sheep of the family are often the most interesting. And yes, census enumerators counted noses, even in prison. One of the more interesting points made in the article is that inmates' occupations, prior to imprisonment, are often listed, even those who were career thieves. The article also provides suggestions for researching those aboard prison ships and reminds us that the prison "community" was comprised of many people who were not prisoners, sometimes complete families resided on the grounds.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Indian Reservations

In the field of genealogy, we always have to be ready to adjust our preconceived notions. Who would think to check the Indian reservation census records for their white ancestry? In her most recent article, "Genealogy of Communities: Indian Reservations," Judy Rosella Edwards illustrates the fact that Indian reservations were not exclusively Native American.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions

"Understanding terminology is essential for researching educational communities. In the late 1800s, seminaries appeared across the country. For years there have been academies, colleges, and universities. Students and others associated with these institutions, were counted in various ways and there are techniques for researching them," so writes Judy Rosella Edwards in her most recent article, "Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions."

Again, using the census in concert with institutional histories and college yearbooks may help in locating or learning more about an ancestor. The challenge, perhaps, is identifying what schools existed at what periods of time in a particular location, for which we turn to local area histories. As the article points out, "Knowing a college town makes research that much easier," and local maps can often help in identifying neighborhoods and homeowners.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Logging Camps

In this second article of her series, "Genealogy of Communities: Logging Camps," Judy Rosella Edwards makes the point that lumberjacks were not the only occupations present in logging camps, but doctors, cooks, and others were also engaged. And pretty much, you wanted to be young and unattached.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Genealogy of Communities

Most of us are aware that a variety of non-traditional communities exist in our society, and have existed in the past, places where are drawn together for one reason or another, possibly employment, but the people are generally unrelated. Take the California Gold Rush, for example. Researching family members who might have been part of such a community is the subject of a new series by Judy Rosella Edwards. In her first article, "The Genealogy of Communities," Edwards introduces these "intentional" communities, so-called because they are artificially created outside the traditional family community, and suggests the first steps to researching them. Additional articles in the series will cover specific types of communities, including logging camps, fishing camps, seminaries and prep schools, etc. Even if your community of interest is not covered, and it would be hard to detail them all, the techniques and resources explored will certainly transfer over. 

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