18 November 2012

Amend Process of Elimination

a different duo - John Philip with his son Charles P. Ament
Two weeks after Exploring my German Roots: Amend/Ament

On November 1st, All Saints' Day, I toured the hometown of my immigrant ancestors--son and father duo--John Philip Ament and Johann Georg Amend (also Ament, Amendt, Am Endt). They arrived in the USA between 1835 and 1840. Using online records and the microfilms I had already confirmed this line two additional generations: Johannes Amend b.1771 and Johannes Amend b.unknown.

In my previous Amend blog post I mentioned "almost 70 Amend records." I had copied every Amend seen in the index for the earliest two volumes. Unfortunately, the Amend records stopped in the 1660s due to an early church fire in which all the records were burned. 

On Saturday, I had been doing some FamilySearch Indexing. I called home as I usually do, and my mom suggested I review the Amend records. After our call, I went to work at it. I draft printed the 69 pages for easier review.

First, I identified the two family groups already in my family tree. Because I only copied the records from the 2 oldest printed volumes these included the first 3 siblings of Johann Georg Amend and the next family group--children of Johannes Amend and Catharina Elisabetha Kröckin. I wrote the FamilySearch person ID next to each name (ex.LCZ4-6QC). 

Second, I placed the remaining records in piles by decade. A pile for the 1700s, the 1710s, and so on through the 1760s (later records were already set aside in the known family groups). I also had one pile for the century of the 1600s because there were fewer in that century. Next, I took each pile by decade and put it in reverse chronological order from the most recent year backward. 

Third, I began my search for Johannes Amend b.unknown. Based on my online and microfilm research, I knew there were at least 2 who could possibly be him. Once things were organized and I could be sure I had all the available records in front of me, I could use elimination to determine which Amend line was mine. I soon had identified the only 2 Johannes Amends who were born at a time where their age would allow them to be my ancestor. 

One in 1742 and the other in 1719. The one who was born in 1719 had a marriage--and bore children up until about the time that my Johannes Amend and Catharina Elisabetha Kröckin begin to have children. I knew that it was common enough for a man to have children with another wife after the first wife passed on. I still needed to find a way to eliminate one of the Johannes Amends. A death record for either would do the job. In my rush to copy all the records from the printed books in Heuchelheim, I ended up with only 3 Amend death records, and no marriages. Perhaps the index was split into sections. I wasn't stuck yet. FamilySearch volunteers had extracted many of the Heuchelheim church records onto FamilySearch.org. I soon found a Johannes Amend who died in 1784, born about 1719. This proved that the 1719 Johannes was not mine. My Johannes had his last children in 1787. This left only the Johannes born in 1742 as a possible match.

I used a similar process of elimination to take my line further back 3 additional generations. It was easier at that point. Johannes' 1742 baptism listed his father as Lorentz. There was only one baptism of a Lorentz that could have been him. His baptism listed his father as Stophel. There was only one Stophel--Johann Christoffel--in the baptism records. When looking at marriages and deaths on FamilySearch, it only confirmed that there was one Stophel in Heuchelheim. I found his death, and the death of his wife. I also found the deaths of two of his children. Johann Christoffel's baptism was in 1674 and listed his father as Lorentz. Because of the church fire, I can not get Lorentz' baptism record. When entering him into the FamilySearch Family Tree, it took the line further back 3 more generations past Lorentz. 

I realize this can all get confusing. Here is my verified Amend line:

Click a name to see it in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree

Johann Philip Ament b.1835
Johann Georg Amend b.1802
Johannes Amend b.1771
Johannes Amend b.1742
Johann Lorentz Amend b.1717 
Stophel Amend b.1674
Lorentz Amend b.unknown

To see the additional 3 generations which I do not have sources for, please click Lorentz and navigate the FamilySearch Family Tree.

08 November 2012

The National Archives of Ireland's free genealogy website by FamilySearch

 Recently a couple of my favorite blogs, including Genealogy Insider, posted about a new genealogy site provided by The National Archives of Ireland.

I have a couple elusive Irish ancestors of my own so I headed over to the site for a test ride. There is not enough material at this time to solve my mysteries, but the material is ground-breaking nonetheless. The 1901, and 1911 Irish census, are available alongside the tithe applotment books, and soldier's wills 1914-1917. Although some of these records were available elsewhere online, there are two benefits for the researcher.
  1. the records are free
  2. they include images of the original documents
 The most exciting thing for me was something not mentioned in the posts I read. When going to the page for tithe applotment books I noticed the following in bold, near the bottom of the page:

"The Tithe Applotment Books are the first in a series of National Archives records of genealogical interest to be digitised by the Genealogical Society of Utah in partnership with the National Archives, and placed online free to access. Others will follow over the coming years; the next will be the Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858 - 1922."

For those of you who do not know, the Genealogical Society of Utah is FamilySearch which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm excited the most about this partnership because I see this as one step by FamilySearch in making records freely available to everyone. A process that continues to hasten as new partnerships are secured. We all benefit, especially the archives who long to preserve and make available their precious holdings.

01 November 2012

Exploring my German Roots: Amend/Ament

One year ago today I experienced an Amendt Genealogy Miracle

Earlier, on August 15, 2011, I found which town in Hessen, Germany that the Ament family came from.*

Today I visited that town--Heuchelheim, Gießen, Hessen--and visited the church where my family attended 200 years ago.

In the past year, I've been incredibly blessed to start a career in which I travel to Germany for business. My job itself is in the genealogy field and my boss loves this stuff. He gladly gave me some tips on how to use my days off wisely. Today is a German holiday, and so it is a day off. His niece niece's family is learning English and invited me to speak with them over dinner. My boss suggested that they spend the day with me in Heuchelheim. His niece stayed home to prepare while her husband and daughters gladly gave me a ride. The daughters are taking English in school and they did a very good job of translating for me. 

We walked the town cemetery and photographed two Amend headstones which they spotted for me. Then we went to Martins Lutheran church (Evangelische Martinskirche). We walked around the church and into the church yard, looking for any old headstones or a date of construction for the church. We didn't find what I expected, but much more: After we were about to leave, we happened to walk by a glass wall of the church's addition right when a maintenance person was walking on the inside. In a moment, she opened the door and was talking with all three of my wonderful hosts. They explained to her why I was there, and we were invited to go inside. I took pictures and enjoyed the feeling of walking in my ancestors' footsteps. We then went to the office and were directed to a beautiful set of professionally bound church book transcriptions. The teenage girls did more than practice their English, they were enjoying the entire trip. One later indicated that she had never done anything like it and was more interested in her own family history than before. Here, they referenced the index at the back of the books and turned to each Amend entry so I could quickly photograph the page with my cellphone. I ended up with almost 70 Amend records. While the originals are generally kept back for better preservation, they allowed me to look at one of the old volumes. The entire experience was as if doors were being opened before me in a hallway that I didn't know existed.

New Jersey vital records online access under discussion

People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) posted the following announcement on their Facebook page today:

Our FamilySearch source stated the following: "We have begun discussing a cooperative project with the New Jersey state archives. This would include vital and state censuses and other records. They have a concern with revenue and we are trying to find a good solution to help them. Ancestry is also very interested. - This is a complex issue and we are trying to find a model that meets our respective mandate. I have confidence we will find the right model eventually. The archives is open and is an eager participant in our discussions."
Click here to see the post as it appears on Facebook.

Enduring Legacy Genealogy continues to support records access for genealogists. If you become aware of any records access discussions or action points please share. I will be glad to help spread the word.