Friday, February 17, 2012

Find A Grave

A few years ago, I stumbled across the Find A Grave website. At the time I was trying to find out more about The Ziegfeld Follies since my great aunt, Margaret Morris, had been a Follies Girl. I came across information on where some of them were buried on this site and decided to add my great aunt's information too.

She does not show up when doing a Famous Grave Search on their site because in that case I would have to let Find A Grave maintain her page. Right now I don't want to do that in case I ever want to add more information.

I think the Fine A Grave site can be very useful for genealogical research. I have since added many of my relatives to their site. However, when my Dad died I discovered that someone else had added his name to the site two days after his death, and it wasn't a member of our family. Dad's name was added by a man in the next town. My Dad died here in Texas, but was buried in his native New Jersey. The man told me he got the information from the local funeral director. I explained that I was his daughter and he willingly transferred management of the page to me. Adding names to Find A Grave is a hobby for him and done because of his interest in genealogy.

However, I've noticed that for some people it seems to be more than a hobby. It's become a competition. I feel like there should be a mandatory waiting period so that grieving relatives can add their own family member's name and information. If they haven't done it in three to six months than go ahead and let someone else add it. Some people have added over 100,000 names. I noticed my mother's cousin's wife was added by someone two days after she died. This person has added over 134,000 names and probably got the information from a newspaper obituary.

I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like people don't have to transfer management of a listing to a relative. That bothers me a little. The man I dealt with was very nice, but what would have happened if he had refused to transfer management to me? I wouldn't have been able to write a bio and link the family members together on the site.

I'm going to tell my family that when I die get my name up right away before someone else beats them to it! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dorothea Lotter Volz

The lady that started it all back in the 1980's was my grandmother's mother, Dorothea Lotter Volz. This is the only picture that to my knowledge exists. 

When I was a teenager my grandmother told me that her mother had died when she was a baby and showed me this picture. Up until that time I thought my great-grandfather's wife at the time (Anna Elisabeth Dietz) was my grandmother's mother.

In the 1980's I wrote to the New York City Municipal Archives and asked them to look for her death certificate. I knew my grandmother was born in 1890, so I asked them to search 1890, 1891, and 1892. A letter came back and I was told they were unable to locate a death certificate.

Six months later I joined a genealogy class while we were living in Oklahoma. The teacher told me to write again, but not to even mention that I had written before. She said that sometimes it just depended upon who got the request and some people were better at reading the old handwriting than others. So, I wrote again and requested a search of the same years. A couple of weeks later the death certificate came in the mail.

From there I learned that my grandmother was actually 17 months old when her mother died.  I also learned that Dorothea was buried at Linden Hill Methodist Cemetery in New York.  I wrote to the cemetery and learned that her mother-in-law (my great, great grandmother), Maria Volz, was also buried there.  On a trip back home we were able to visit their graves. The graves are unmarked.

It kind of helped me feel like I knew her and she wasn't forgotten.

Dorothea Lotter and Wilhelm (William) Volz were married in New York City on April 6, 1890.  I was also able to obtain their Marriage Certificate.

And the Marriage Certificate told me her parents' names.  Her mother was Elisabeth Ruemtheim and her father was Friedrich Lotter.  Like Dorothea they were born in Germany.

I hope eventually I can learn a little more about her.