Case Study, Family Search, Finding Records, Genealogy Records Online, Getting Started in Family History

A Case Study in Getting Started in Family History Part 2

As mentioned in Part One of this case study, I found a news clipping and the 1940 Census for Ann Johnson Earnest, I now know that

Ann Johnson Earnest, the daughter of Malcolm Johnson, was born about 1903 in Connecticut.  Her husband, Albert Earnest, was born about 1902 in Connecticut and he’s a machinist in an ammunition factory.

I googled ammunition factory and the place they lived and I find a Remington Arms factory.  Right now, I’m not going to follow up on that clue…but it is a clue that I can follow up on so I make a note on the information sheet.  But my goal is to find out how my Aunts are related.

Since I have the most information on Ann Johnson Earnest, I now want to find her on a census as a child with her father, Malcolm.  She was in Connecticut in 1940, and she was born in Connecticut in 1903…so I’m going to check the 1910 Connecticut census.  She should be about 7 and hopefully living with her father, Malcolm.

So I go to the main search page for the 1910 Census on FamilySearch and put in all known information.


I hit enter and…


The first one looks like a perfect match.  Now…looks like a perfect match and is the same person are two different things.  Because we’re talking 1900s America, I should be able to information which matches and corroborates the results.  Ann’s birth, marriage and death certificates (you’ll see that written BMD on many genealogy sites) will help me know if this census is an exact match.  But for now, we’re going with this as the match.

We’ll learn more about Ann’s parents on the next searching4ancestors…

Genealogy Records Online, Military Records

US WWI Draft Cards … David O’Connell

The World War I was a life changing event.  We felt the impact less here in the US; but still, millions of young men registered for the draft.  Not all draft cards are the same format, but each one is a family history treasure trove.  If you had a draft-aged ancestor, chances are there’s a draft card with his signature.

Family lore had it that one of my mother’s uncles died in WWI.  That’s what I started with.  When I found my Grandmother on the Census, I noticed she had an older brother named David.  So I began searching for a David O’Connell in Washington, DC and found this draft card.


I had a pretty firm notion this was the same David because:
1.  The name matched the Census records I had for him.
2.  The age was about right, and the month was an exact match for the 1900 Census.
3.  His birth location matched Census data.
4.  The address matched a location for this family from the census and the Washington, D.C. City Directories.

Those are enough corroborating pieces of information, that I feel ok connecting this record to my David O’Connell.


What did I learn from this Draft Card?

I learned his full name, as I only had a middle initial from the Census.
I learned David was literate from his signature.
I learned that he was a horseman for the British Government.
I have his place of employment, although I will confess to not having been able to connect it to anything.

This is the backside of the card…


The back gives me insight into his physical appearance.  I learn that he has varicose veins.  I see that he registered in DC.

I could use the information on this card to find out who registered at the same time.  Maybe he went with a brother (his was too young), or a cousin, or a friend.

Interested in seeing if there’s a WWI Draft Card for one of your ancestors?  You can search the database by clicking this link.  This is a US database.

Draft cards, like any other record, give us the snapshot of a moment in our ancestors lives.  But just like with photographs, it’s better to have an entire album than a single picture.

So off I went to the newspapers searching for more information on Great Uncle David.

The next part of that story on another searching4ancestors post…