Written by Patricia Hobbs Patricia Hobbs
Created: 23 February 2008 23 February 2008
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I have two ancestors, father and son, for whom I have not gotten any definitive information about where and when they died. Often a genealogist can be on the track of one of the children from whom she is descended and thus lose sight of the fact that she doesn't know what happened to the parents. But there's a certain level of "closure", to use a popular term, in knowing when and where the person's life ended. Last night I was perusing documents at Footnote.com which is a fabulous new site with digitized documents from the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). NARA would like to get materials digitized, but can't afford to do so, so Footnote.com has stepped up and is digitizing the records and supporting their endeavors through subscription. One can peruse the site without a subscription, but I like to think that I'm helping in the effort to get the records available. I was looking for the father of this pair and because I was running the search through all the databases came up with his grandfather (I think--there were four generations with the first name of Gerrit, the last was the brother of my ancestor, Robert Van Hoesen) whose records appear for the Revolutionary War. I limited the search to the Civil War database and did not find Robert Van Hoesen (which is tricky, too, because the name is often spelled creatively), but did find his son Albertus who is the son from whom I am descended. I thought Albertus was too young to have fought in the Civil War. I found the index card for his records
. The bottom of the card gave the date and place of his death! It was a place I had suspected he had died, so eventually I would have found him. Here is a photo of him
just a year or so before he died. He's the older man in the middle. Blogs are nice in that I can talk about things like this and if you're bored, you just don't have to read it.:-) We recently had a guest in our home who knew about his family history enough to know the immigrant ancestor bearing his surname. I whipped on over to New England Historic and Genealogical Society
, of which I am a member, and accessed a very nice file on his immigrant ancestor and printed it off for him. I was very impressed that this young man knew that information and was very accurate in details that he did know. See what you can look forward to when you come to visit?