This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents and to our ancestors. If you are related to those listed, I hope this gives you a better understanding of their lives. Feel free to comment on anything posted, especially if you have additional or different information. The posts on this page chronicle my
research journey and provide resources and links. Genealogy is divided by parental lineage into Lowe and Bader. You can access these by
category from the menu and side links. Please be aware that this is an on-going project. Information will be updated as it becomes available.

Journey # 4: Help!

On my next day off, I was standing in the genealogy society office telling my story to the first volunteer I could find.

When I complained that I had no access to original documents, the volunteer explained that the subscription genealogy databases had certain types of scanned documents that could be viewed online. She offered to show me how to use since the society had a library license that provided access to all members and visitors. She explained that birth and marriage records were not always the best resources for finding family members and recommended census reports. I'd ignored the listings for census reports while I was using, because I did not understand their significance or how to use them. 

That day I discovered that these census documents were a wealth of information. Not only did they show exactly where the family lived, but listed all residents and how each related to the head of the household. The records provided names, ages, occupations and birth places.

I spent all my spare time over the next week at the municipal library on public workstations using for free (the library pays for a license the same as the genealogy society and is open on weeknights). 

Census surveys were done in the UK every ten years, with the most recent one available online having been done in 1911. I knew my father's father's name from his birth certificate, and my grandfather's father's name from the marriage certificate I had in my trunk. I also knew the name of one of my grandparent's siblings from letters. Those names helped me to find the family in the 1911 census. 

To find the correct census record, I searched by my grandfather's name with his approximate age and then viewed each document that had a person on it with that name. I started with those in Yorkshire since that's where my father was born and where my grandfather was married. In the household lists that contained names the same as my grandfather's, I looked to see if the household head matched my great-grandfather's name and if any of the other children matched the first name from a letter I had.

This wasn't as straight-forward as it sounds. As I mentioned, their names were super common and there were many records. Also, the census records are hand-written and could be difficult to read — not just for me but for those who transcribed the data that ended up in the online index. Sometimes names were misspelled in the transcriptions, although I didn't realize just how significant that could be in searching yet.

But I'd found a family living in Leeds that fit the information I had. I checked the age of the person with my grandfather's name and extrapolated a birth year. It matched the birth year shown on the marriage certificate. I'd found them! I knew exactly where they were in 1911 — and more importantly I now knew his mother's first name as it appeared on the census. Additionally, I knew where each person had been born. I saved the document to a thumb drive I'd plugged into the library computer. From that information, I was able to find the same family in the 1901 census as well.


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