Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Family Trees

What do you do when your blog is about free and low-cost ways to have fun in Northeast Ohio and the whole state shuts down because of a global pandemic?

It’s a challenge. Last week I didn’t post anything as I tried to figure out how to adapt CLE on the Cheap to fit these unprecedented circumstances. I’ve come up with some ideas that I hope will carry us through until social distancing is a thing of the past.

With St. Patrick’s Day and the 2020 U.S. Census on my mind, I came across something interesting on the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s website. The library system is offering the library edition of Ancestry.com for at-home use. All you need is your library card number and a PIN. If you don’t have a Cuyahoga County Public Library card, you can get one online.

I found the site to be really user-friendly. There are census results and birth, marriage and death records for starters. My great-grandparents died long before I was born, but I found my mother’s grandparents’ marriage license from 1884. You can see it here. I was thrilled to find a record of two people I never knew but am connected to nonetheless.

The 1900 Census shows information about my great-grandparents Michael and Julia Joyce and eight children, some of whom I never met or barely remember. My mom’s uncle Ray, a relative I knew and liked, was 4 months old when the census was taken. The 1910 Census shows Michael, Julia and 12 children, ranging in age from 5½ to 25, living in Youngstown, Ohio. I at least know of most of them, but there are a couple of names I don’t recognize. 

Both Michael and Julia emigrated from Ireland before they were married, although Michael was born in England. Michael’s parents, whose names I don’t know, were born in Ireland, according to the records. I’m going to do more digging to see if I can find out something about them.

Since we’re spending more time at home now, this would be a good time to research your own family tree. If relatives from older generations in your family are still living, ask them about their families and other ancestors. This is also a good time to fill out the 2020 Census.     


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