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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Trees

My maternal grandmother Helen Margaret (Margie) Davo passed away in December. It was a sad day, but it was also an eye opening experience because I got to meet some family from Ohio that I had only heard tidbits about as a kid. You see, I'm one of 5 children, my father is one of 7, and my mother is one of 9. My grandmother had 3 siblings, and one of them had 10 children. My great-great-great grandparents had 13 children. You can see how I confusing that could be!
 
Michael and Magdalena Kempf, born the 1850s in Alsace Lorraine (my great-great-great grandparents)

my great grandmother Helen Margaret Bensoskey (changed to Benson) at school

my grandfather Ronald Davo Sr. in the Navy - he became an inventor!

Davo family in NJ around 1990       Davos in NJ around 2001

My grandfather Donato Pasquale Battista Sr., born in Italy in 1920

about 10% of the Battista grandchildren 2009

Anyway, all of my mother's cousins are out in Ohio and Michigan. After the funeral, some of us connected on Facebook. I used information and pictures that I inherited from my grandmother (she kept meticulous notes, plus every obituary, funeral card, engagement announcement, wedding invitation, birth announcement, birthday card, etc.) plus the following sites to piece together a tree that includes 1,659 people from 1644 (related by marriage from 18 steps) to immediate family members that were born this year.
I went out to Ohio on a last minute trip this weekend and met a small few of them. If you're interested in doing your own tree or working on a smaller scale with your older students, check these sites out. You'd be surprised what you can find with just a few names! They really will learn more than just about their families...both of my grandfathers fought in World War II, and many relatives worked on the railroad after coming here from Poland, Germany, Italy, and Ireland. We even have a Cherokee Indian whose father had a town named after him (Bono, Ohio).
www.myheritage.com - free site that allows you to start a simple tree and connect it with existing trees if you have a match; I love the Memory Picture Game - you get to know people's faces quickly! It also has statistic features that tells you everything from average age at death to number of children to most common name.
www.ancestry.com - must pay to use this site but it is worth it...I suggest you wait until you have exhausted all other options first before joining though
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp - site run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints - one of the best free sites out there!
http://news.google.com/archivesearch/advanced_search - Google News Archive allows you to check
newspaper articles; some require you to pay to see articles
http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ - Roots Web Social Security Death archive - no # needed

Click to download a simple tree template.

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