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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sorting Out Family Information on Ancestors

Carrie had previously written about her Babinec ancestor, and I found her genealogy puzzle such an interesting challenge that I asked her for more details. Carrie sent an image of a third hand-written note which I am going to talk about in another blog post as it proved very interesting to puzzle over. This is Part 2 of Carrie's question, heavily edited by me for publication on AskOliveTree. :
I was mixing information. Where I made the mistake was that the hand-written "mess" that was confusing me even worse was on my grandmothers side ...she is a Babinec but the mix-up that she wrote about is on HER side of the family which is PAUZA. I think that I am trying to tackle too much at one time but I keep going back in forth between my grandmothers side and my grandfathers side when I get stuck on one. I believe My grandmother: Alice Babinec wrote these words:

On My Mother's side:
* Great Grandfather Vochner lived in Vine, Austria, 1820 Married Marie Vlcek
On my fathers side:
* Great Grandfather named Pauza married to Smidt.
* My grandmother, Marie Vlcek was of Bohemian descent. Married to Frank Vochner of German descent. He was born in 1850, he was a wagonmaker and cabinet maker. At 65 he went to Germany lived on pension. He died in 1930 at the age of 80 after a short illness.
* My grandfather Frank Pauza, lived in Czechoslovakia. He was Married to Marie Prebel of Bohemian descent.
* My mother was born in Kopicie, May 6th 1880 near the big city of Brix in Czechoslovakia. Came to America in 1905.
* My father was born April 16, 1887 Neudorf-Herlich, Czechoslovakia at age of 12 was apprentice to butcher. At 17, went to Military school in Prague. Stayed 3 years and then went back to Butcher. He came to America in 1904, worked in big meat company in Akron. Worked for Pavelka Bros. co. in Cleveland for many years.

Carrie had a second hand-written note which differed slightly from the one above. She is not sure who wrote it:
* My (the word "Great"was scratched out in pencil) grandfather on mothers side whose name was Vochner lived in Vine, Austria born in 1820. He married Marie Vlchek
* On fathers side, my great grandfathers name was Pauza and great grandmother was named Smidt. They all lived in Czechoslovakia.
* Grandmother Marie Vlchek was of Bohemian descent. She married Frank Vochner of German descent. He was born in 1856 a wagon or cabinet maker when 65 yrs old he went to Germany where he lived on a pension till he died in 1930 at the age of 74. * Grandfather Frank Pauza lived in Czechoslovakia
* Grandmother Pauza was Marie Prebel of Bohemian descent.
* Mother was born in Kogpice on May 6, 1880. she came to America in 1905. Dad was born on April 16, 1877 in Neudorf, Herlich, Czechoslovakia. At the age of 17, he went to military school in Prague trained to be soldier. He came to America in 1904.

Olive Tree Answer: Carrie, how lucky you are to have such a wealth of hand-written details on your family! The notes were obviously written some time ago, and it makes sense that your Grandmother Alice was the writer. I think you've done a good job of trying to make sense of all the genealogy notes handed down in your family.

What I would do is take each of the notes you have, and make separate charts. Don't worry about who wrote each one, just record the information as given, using squares or horizontal lines for each person named. Give them labels (grandparent, great-grandparent) as given in each note.

Then use those charts you have made to research and verify the facts given by the writer(s) of each note. Look for the individuals in census records, ships passenger lists, military records and vital statistics.

After you've done all the research, try combining the notes. Where do they differ? Where are they the same? Again, you're not worrying about who the writer was, just about getting the relationships and details straight.

Be very cautious when hunting for these individuals that you don't leap to a conclusion too soon. I noticed that you were looking on Footnote.comicon for your Pauza ancestors. You left comments on certain records, but I think in your excitement over your finds you overlooked facts that don't fit. I left you a comment on Footnote about one of your notes, as you mistakenly assigned a man as father to one of your Pauza ancestors whose births were only a few years apart.

So go slow, verify each person in the hand-written notes you have on your ancestors. You may be correct when you say that you are mixing yourself up by jumping back and forth from one line to the other. Your genealogy puzzle is very challenging, it will require you to be methodical and force yourself to not get too excited and lose your concentration.

I would also try to verify the place names that are in these family notes. The spelling of course can be incorrect but you should be able to find where these towns/cities/villages are by using Google Earth or a good atlas.

You have some wonderful clues and facts in your notes and I think you're doing a very good job of trying to make sense of them. I will talk later this week about the image you sent me of yet another note about your ancestors which was signed by the person who wrote it. I found it very interesting and hope that what I found will help you in your genealogy search.

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