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Who Do You Think You Are?


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#1321

Glass Ocean

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 12:31 AM

Talk about being surprised that an ancestor couldn't read or write. My grandpa came over in 1911, and the ship's manifest or passenger list has "no" in the "read" and "write" columns, but I'm not sure if they only mean English. Apparently he had learned by the 1930 census somehow along the way. My US-born grandma on the other side had been yanked out of school by the second grade to work in her parents' boarding house, so she valued education above all else for her children since she was allowed so little herself. It was terribly painful to watch her attempt to write down recipes with her second-grade penmanship.

Edited by Glass Ocean, Mar 18, 2012 @ 12:31 AM.

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#1322

kassa

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

I've got to go back further than I would have expected to find people who signed with an X -- everyone who came to this country could read and write. They were mill workers and tannery workers and common laborers, but whatever primary education they had in England and Ireland at least managed basic literacy. That made me doubly sad when I came across a gggrandmother who signed her wedding register with an X.
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#1323

polycarp

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

I live in the US and bought all seasons of the UK version on Amazon UK. I also bought a cheap multi-region DVD player.

When I got the DVD's though, they do play on our xbox 360. So, if you have one, that might work for you.
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#1324

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 6:25 PM

My X-ers are mostly Civil War era, but some went beyond that into the next century. They were mostly farmers and probably were pulled from school early to work. The Germans seemed to have gotten a better education, (And were more 'middle class') but didn't seem to write very often, or maybe were just old when they signed the paperwork I saw. Their signature was fairly scrawly, especially my female ancestor. Her husband might've had to sign things more often since he had his own shop. There were some who could read and write though despite being farmers: I don't want to make them all sound the same. But they did live in some very rough times. They mostly kept pushing westward which meant they were living in virtual wilderness - I wonder if there was even a schoolhouse for some of them.

She does know the origin of the anglo- saxons right?


Ha. And more recently in Alsace it changed hands between French and German sides often. Some of my lines were from there too - some spoke German, one spoke French. Doesn't matter to me which side they aligned with or descended more from, I like both countries. With all my German blood I can't think why I don't like their food more. Other than potato salad. Hubby's lucky and traveled a lot and says Germany is gorgeous, as an adult he drank the best beer he ever had there, too. Anyway, my theory is that if we go back far enough, everybody has had an ancestor from anywhere, anyway. It's interesting who people identify more with, though, and we mostly only know about recent civilisations of course. I wonder what will come to light as DNA analysis gets light years ahead of where it is now. But they'd have to sample mummies, old tombs and such.

1940 census debuts soon - I wonder if they will feature it this season?
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#1325

Tolteca

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 6:45 PM

There's no 100 year rule in the US re censuses?

Even if they were kind enough to let the 1911 out early this time.
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#1326

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 6:47 PM

I think it is 70 years here (in the U.S.) but am not sure on that.
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#1327

Galloways Cave

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 7:17 PM

72 years in the US for censuses. The 1940 census will be online April 2 on Ancestry.com.
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#1328

strebor

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 7:40 PM

What I would like specifics of is more of the "whys" of why my ancestors came over. I know it could have been faith, poor farming, avoiding military and a combo of all of these. But, dayum! I would have loved to have someone's journal indicating that southern Germany sucked in the mid 1800s due to faith and military subscription (I think that's the word). Now, we just guess.

But to gather all your 8 or 10 kids and jump on a boat for a couple weeks to get to America where you don't speak the language just gobsmacks me. I'm so impressed and proud and hopeful and I don't know what about these relatives who came before me! How lucky I am to have those ancestors who made these changes. But I so wonder about those decisions they made.

As an aside, this is also why I vote in every election.
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#1329

yruneh

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 11:26 PM

Another moment of 'hear what you want to hear': When Bettis went back to his mom he told her "They got divorced; there was no abandonment." Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly but wasn't the divorce granted because that g/grandfather had abandoned the wife for over a year?

Yep. He was furiously rewriting his GGF's history.

You did remember incorrectly. Jerome Bettis did not rewrite that. I just watched the episode. Jerome said something like, "He didn't disappear. There was a divorce." Which makes complete sense. His mother's story was that her grandfather disappeared, not that he abandoned the family. Jerome was correcting his mother's prior belief (disappearance). He wasn't correcting something she didn't even know (abandonment).
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#1330

kassa

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 9:26 AM

What I would like specifics of is more of the "whys" of why my ancestors came over. I know it could have been faith, poor farming, avoiding military and a combo of all of these. But, dayum! I would have loved to have someone's journal indicating that southern Germany sucked in the mid 1800s due to faith and military subscription (I think that's the word). Now, we just guess.

But to gather all your 8 or 10 kids and jump on a boat for a couple weeks to get to America where you don't speak the language just gobsmacks me.


There was an episode of some celebrity whose relatives came from Germany because farmers there were being actively recruited - they showed the pamphlets and everything. I think it ended up being some kind of a scam but a lot of people from certain parts of Germany took the bait. Anybody remember which one that was?

Even if they weren't actively recruited, I suppose all it takes is a few brave souls to establish a little local area where newcomers know that once they're there, they will have friends and neighbors around them to speak German with and not feel alone.
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#1331

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 4:43 PM

There was an episode of some celebrity whose relatives came from Germany because farmers there were being actively recruited - they showed the pamphlets and everything. I think it ended up being some kind of a scam but a lot of people from certain parts of Germany took the bait. Anybody remember which one that was?


Oh yeah! In the UK series, right? I only vaguely recall that. I'll ask hubby if he remembers who. I heard something about "the 48ers" in Germany or something - it was like a movement of people fed up at the political and social unrest who left the nation in droves.

We watched Colin Jackson's episode last night. It was really interesting. I didn't know any of that about the early history of Jamaica. He did a DNA test which broke down the 'percentages' of heritage for him. He was 7% Native American, 38% European and 55% Sub-Saharan African (that's exactly how they worded it all.) I wish they had said which type of test he did or where it was from. It looked more like Family Tree's than Nat Geo's to me - I think Nat Geo has a little liquid vial you have to put the used swab in. Family Tree's just has plastic.

The bit at the end was awful - I don't know if I would've told my mother about that (the only reason might be so she didn't first see it on Tv.) It was hard to watch his mother cry like that.
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#1332

ChicagoCita

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 5:16 PM

My X-ers are mostly Civil War era

Me, too. My 3xg-grandmother was one who signed her name with an X but she was a shrewd and successful businessperson, rather by default than intent (widowed by age 40 in 1863, left with nine kids and a farm). She ended up running the hotel in town for many years. I have her son's (my 2xg-grandfather's) ledger book with their financial transactions in it. She loaned money to her children, but always charged interest; she always had a literate witness attest to the documents she signed with another party (even her children); and she had accumulated quite an estate by the time she passed.

I realize that Jerome Bettis, knowing his ancestors were slaves, had a very different emotional reaction to seeing an "X" as a signature than my reaction, which is one of admiration for someone who succeeded in a world she never expected to be part of. While acknowledging that people with hunky-dory lives aren't usually the ones who emigrate to another country, I don't know of any horrendous circumstances my ancestors went through that could compare with his knowing his ancestors were treated like tradeable commodities.
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#1333

Demian

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Posted Mar 20, 2012 @ 9:56 PM

There was an episode of some celebrity whose relatives came from Germany because farmers there were being actively recruited - they showed the pamphlets and everything.

Tim McGraw, I think? The one where he found out his German ancestors came over on the same boat as the Presleys, of Elvis fame? And they all ended up on some form of public assistance in New York City because of the scam?

#1334

Aurora Borealis

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 1:16 PM

The 1940 census will be online April 2 on Ancestry.com.

And I have a full, Nacho Grande Burrito Supreme Chalupa worldwide subscription if anyone would like to PM me. (Keeping in mind, my own research comes first & I've got a lot to look up in those records.) Until the records are indexed a street address is required - I'm not going to blindly search a whole city for you. My PM back will include instructions for finding & calculating the data I'd need - you do the work and give me the quick answer that lets me go straight to your ancestor(s).

WRT to wondering why ancestors would come here to the US, how's this: One side of my family is from Russia (grandfather Russian, grandmother German). During World War II, maps of a particular battle show combat taking place right in their village. So they're off & running to get the hell out of the way. Since the extended family were Russians of German descent, Stalin didn't want them (or anyone else not truly 'Russian') and gave orders for shipment to Siberia. Hitler apparently saw this as a way to improve his standing in the world, so anyone Stalin was kicking to Siberia who could prove German ancestry beyond two generations was more than welcome in his little empire as full German citizens, great humanitarian that he was. (/sarcasm in case it wasn't obvious.) As soon as my last surviving great-grandmother passed (all four of my great-grandparents had made the trip to Germany, were old and sick, and died off one by one), the family was on a boat to the USA as refugees. Other relatives are freaked out when they see 'ethnicity/German' and swastikas all over the paperwork, but as one of my history professors said, what else were you expecting to see from Germany during that time period? Like slavery - it was what was expected back then - why are people embarassed now?
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#1335

pally1

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 3:28 PM

"72 years in the US for censuses. The 1940 census will be online April 2 on Ancestry.com."



The 1940 census will be RELEASED to ancestry.com on Apr 2. It will take ancestry several weeks to upload the entire census and up to a year or more to completely index it.

To access the census on Apr 2 use this website http://1940census.archives.gov/ or visit a NARA location in person
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#1336

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 6:39 AM

pally1 according to Ancestry they have already been indexing it, in fact they said it's the most complete indexing system they have yet done. From what I understand, the census will not be searchable by name anywhere else but it will at Ancestry. What I hope is that the site doesn't crash on launch day with everyone trying to get in and see where their rellies were in 1940.

Helen Hunt this week, Rita Wilson next week.

I've been reading about the connection between Tom Hanks and Abraham Lincoln. Since Rita (his wife) did an episode this season, I wonder if Tom will be on next year?
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#1337

Mikita

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 8:11 PM

Tuned in to watch the show only to find that my local affiliate was showing some sports special about the Tigers,Lions,Pistons and Red Wings. Now I love my Tigers but damn channel 4. Looking at the menu I found them airing it at 3 am tonight. This morning. Sigh. The dvr is set and I will watch it tomorrow.
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#1338

strebor

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 8:23 PM

HH's story is pretty amazing. Her family has some great American stories in it. Truly worth taping (yes, I still own a VCR). It almost made me cry.
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#1339

maraleia

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 8:32 PM

While watching Helen Hunt's episode I was astonished by how much American history most people, including Helen, don't know. I guess since I am a history teacher and a student of history I forget this fact. Helen's family was really interesting and I loved that they focused on the awesome things that Augusta did in Portland, ME. This episode was fantastic because they spent time explaining all of the historical events that surrounded Helen's ancestors lives.

Edited by maraleia, Mar 23, 2012 @ 8:35 PM.

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#1340

braggtastic

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:00 PM

This was interesting, especially because they researched both sides of her family.

Helen Hunt is a puzzle to me. From the eyebrows up, it seems like she's had major work done. Her giant forehead was starting to wrinkle in the final seasons of Mad About You, and now it's smooth as silk. And either she had some kind of eyelift, or plucking your eyebrows really gives your eyes a completely different look. However from the eyes down, it doesn't appear she's gone in for any cosmetic procedures. She's got tons of upper lip wrinkles and even her cheeks are looking crepey. She has to be a smoker.
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#1341

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 1:56 AM

I had hoped this episode would be a winner with hubby, but he was distracted by Helen Hunt's appearance, and he actually fell asleep watching it. Granted, it was late.

I thought I had heard something about Helen being ill, but a google search only turned up speculation about her being ill going back to 2008. Hubby kept saying "she does not look well" and couldn't focus on the episode. Didn't know what to tell him.

I liked the episode, there was a fair amount of history although not what I had expected. And she sure came from some illustrious and influential people. I thought it was all interesting. I was happy for her that she could find some writeups about her ancestors.
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#1342

Madmarsha

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 2:19 AM

Other relatives are freaked out when they see 'ethnicity/German' and swastikas all over the paperwork, but as one of my history professors said, what else were you expecting to see from Germany during that time period? Like slavery - it was what was expected back then - why are people embarassed now?

Exactly. I came across something called "Ku Klux Klan Children Home" on an early 1900's Harrisburg, PA census. And then there's all the different census columns back then for listing "colored" or "imbecile" which is shocking at first to read. But as you're doing this research, you can't read it with your modern day PC sensibilities and be shocked every time because you're going to be seeing things like this again and again. I haven't seen them but apparently there are slave records for Pennsylvania. I was surprised because you don't WANT to think how ubiquitous it was that it existed above the Mason-Dixon line, but it would be naive to be shocked that your wealthier northern landowners were using slave labor at least on some level. I found a wealthy distant distant relative in Maryland who owned 2. He was worth millions then. I'm sure if he was in the deep south, with that amount of wealth, he would have owned dozens.

I dunno what happened but I missed 20 minutes of Helen Hunt's epi. I guess it's when the power blanked out and the recording never restarted and I didn't think to check. Are these available online anywhere after broadcast?
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#1343

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 6:38 AM

Are these available online anywhere after broadcast?


Yes - they show up at the official website.
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#1344

KittyMarthaPoo

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 7:15 AM

Helen Hunt is a puzzle to me. From the eyebrows up, it seems like she's had major work done. Her giant forehead was starting to wrinkle in the final seasons of Mad About You, and now it's smooth as silk. And either she had some kind of eyelift, or plucking your eyebrows really gives your eyes a completely different look.


Totally agree. Her droopy eyelids were always distracting to me BUT now her eyebrows point upwards at the corners - it looks very bizarre. And yes about all the wrinkles around the mouth.
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#1345

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 7:30 AM

I was also somewhat distracted by Helen Hunt's apparance and demeanor. I guess I had not seen her photographed in a while and there was something about her eyes and face that seemed sort of 'off' to me. I felt she lacked the real interest that a lot of the guests have - at least in the beginning of the program. She did seem to get more involved when the information about her grandmother and women's voting rights came to light. She did not make many comments on camera or to the experts she met with. Other guests seem to take the lead when talking to the experts and open the conversation by asking questions about their relatives. Helen seemed to mainly sit down and wait for them to take the lead and tell her the information.

Not overall a bad show, but her lack of enthusiasm made me wonder how much she really wanted to be on the program.
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#1346

queasy

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 8:15 AM

It seemed a little odd, considering the Scholle side's wealth, influence, and diverse business interests, that it had all been forgotten in three generations.
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#1347

jjj

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 8:32 AM

Agreed -- you would think that being a founder/major player in creating a major national bank would be part of family lore. And you'd think that having a well- known great- grandmother who died as recently as the 1930s at age 90 would have been mentioned when she was growing up.

But mostly I was baffled at her lack of energy about this. I got no sense of driving curiousity that was so apparent in someone like Marisa Tomei.
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#1348

gateau

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 9:07 AM

I thought people would be happy that unlike many other subjects HH refrained from claiming that she is the way she is because of these ancestors. She did say at the end that she wanted to share this information with her daughter, who is a strong woman and a future voter, but to my ear she didn't make the direct claim that her daughter is like her however many times gggrandmother.

It did seem weird that neither parent seemed to know even the basics of their own family, or at least they hadn't passed their info down to her.
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#1349

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 9:26 AM

Helen Hunt's appearance was distracting - she doesn't seem to be aging well and her affect seems rather flat. For all the history connected to not-distant illustrious ancestors, she didn't show much personal connection with them. Where some people on the show often exaggerate their traits in common with far more distant ancestor, she seemed detached.

My ears perked up when they showed the full name of Augusta - middle name Merrill. In Maine, with the name Merrill, there was a good chance we shared a common ancestor. I found the family tree on RootsWeb and Augusta's mother was a Merrill, so Helen and I share my 8th great grandfather as ancestor.
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#1350

ikmccall

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 9:51 AM

What really distracted me about the Helen Hunt episode was her admitting that she knew nothing about the California Gold Rush and the temperance movement. What kind of schools did she go to? I didn't grow up in California but I learned the basics about the Gold Rush and I learned other info as I've grown older.
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