Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WRHS's Research Center was Busy on Martin Luther King Day

This past Monday, I volunteered in the Research Center at Western Reserve Historical Society. The special occasion: a free research day in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Normally, the Research Center is closed on Mondays.

Attendance was very good, with all 15 computer work stations being used at one point during the afternoon. Several representatives of the African American Genealogical Society were on hand to volunteer as well, and they handled the questions about African American research, which is not one of my strong suits.

For the most part, I was able to assist the patrons I did work with in finding information about ancestors. One researcher wanted to find the naturalization papers for her grandfather, and a passenger list record, as well. Unfortunately, we struck out on this research. He didn't even indicate his citizenship status on the 1920 and 1930 censuses, a source of clues to at least when a naturalization took place. We checked both the federal court records (on Ancestry and Fold3) and the Cuyahoga County Naturalization Index. Nada.

In another case, a young lady want to find out something about her uncle, Nick, who died a few years ago in California. I thought this would be an easy one, because California death records are available on Ancestry. She searched for Nicholas and came up dry. After fiddling with the search terms, she found a record for somebody in Desert Palms, California, which she determined was her uncle. What she learned, along with the death date, was that his name was really Nathan, and Nick was an assumed nickname, not short for Nicholas.

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