Genealogy and family history research are aided greatly by the generosity of volunteers. They know the importance to people of finding their ancestors.
These volunteers transcribe old documents such as census records, city directories and genealogy books. They develop and maintain Web sites, and find still more volunteers to contribute information. They own valuable books and documents and offer free look-ups. They are the heroes and heroines of genealogy.
A remarkable network of volunteer genealogy Web sites is the USGenWeb Project which aims to have a useful — and free — genealogy site for every county in every state in the USA. From the home page, you can find the state sites, and at state sites you’ll find links to county sites and other helpful resources.
Let’s use Wisconsin as an example. At the WIGenWeb Project site, you’ll find a brief description of Wisconsin history, a history timeline, a state map showing the counties and a link to the County List of county sites. There is also a Wisconsin Archive of historic documents and a search engine for them. In addition, there is a big page of Wisconsin resources.
But if you know your ancestors’ county, you’ll likely find the most useful information on the county site. For example, I visited Calumet County where New Holstein is located. One-quarter of my ancestry has its roots in New Holstein and back to Holstein, Germany. The Calumet County page is helpful, but the treasure trove for me was the Calumet County Genealogy Page.
For example, in searching for my Hachez ancestors, I found the obituary of Nicholas Boie that listed his many daughters and sons. Among them was Mrs. Ferd. Hachez. I now had the maiden name for my great-great-grandmother, unknown until then.
Then, in searching for Boie, Hachez and Luhr/Luehr ancestors, I found them all in the 1860 census transcription. There were Nicolaus Boie, Ferdinand Hachez [the elder], and John, Margaretha and Peter Lühr, later spelled Luehr.
Transcriptions from the New Holstein Cemetery provided more family details including for many of the Boie family members, including Nicholas Boie and his wife Cecilie Tonner Boie. The online cemetery plot owners listing shows listings for Nic Boie, Ferdinand Hachey [Hachez] and John Luehr.
The 1893 New Holstein Patrons Directory had a business listing for Ferd. Hachez [the younger], and the transcribed newspaper clippings revealed that William Henry Luehr, son of John and Anna, was at the University of Wisconsin during 1888-1889.
Thanks to this excellent site, I found details that helped fill in the family story. In return, I have transcribed and donated the obituary for Anna Margretha Groth Luehr, another of my great-great-grandmothers, and will donate others soon.
Check out USGenWeb and consider the parallel WorldGenWeb for your own research.
This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research ideas to help you find your family and ancestors for modest or no cost.