Archive for August, 2009

How Many of Your Ancestors Appear in the SSDI?

Michael Neill at RootDig asked the question: how many of your direct ancestors appear in the Social Security Death Index?
His total was seven, and Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist has eight.  Knowing that my family has been particularly long-lived in recent generations, I thought that I might fare a little better:
GRANDPARENTS
4.  Myron G. Hait:  7 Jul 1927 – 14 Jul 2001, Last residence:  College Park, Maryland; State issued:  New York (before 1951)
5.  Marjorie K. Hait:  28 Aug 1926 – 10 Oct 2002, Last residence:  College Park, Maryland; State issued:  New York (before 1951)
GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
8.  Myron Hait:  8 Aug 1897 – Mar 1978, State issued:  New York (before 1951)
9.  Gladys Hait:  7 Jan 1908 – 24 Jun 1994, Last residence:  Ballston Spa, New York; State issued:  New York (1972-1973)
10.  Clarence Posson:  15 May 1897 – Jul 1973, Last residence:  Schenectady, New York; State issued:  New York (before 1951)
11.  Mary A. Posson:  25 Aug 1898 – 30 Oct 1987, Last residence:  Schenectady, New York; State issued:  New York (1973)
12.  Brady Dennis:  22 Dec 1904 – Jan 1975, Last residence:  Farmville, Virginia; State issued:  Virginia (before 1951)
13.  Alice Harris:  20 Aug 1916 – Dec 1984, Last residence:  Vine Grove, Kentucky; State issued:  Maryland (before 1951)
14.  James Shipe:  8 Apr 1910 – Jun 1980, Last residence:  Rockville, Maryland; State issued:  Virginia (1960)
GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
19.  Mabel L. Thompson:  13 Jul 1887 – 18 Mar 1990, State issued:  New York (before 1951)
25.  Florence Dennis:  17 Jul 1881 – Jan 1972, Last residence:  Cumberland, Virginia; State issued:  Virginia (1966)
28.  Joe Shipe:  20 Jan 1883 – Jan 1963, Last residence:  Virginia; State issued:  Virginia (1960)
30.  Owen Obaugh:  4 May 1884 – Jun 1966, Last residence:  Fishersville, Virginia; State issued:  Virginia (before 1951)
So, a grand total of thirteen (13!) of my direct ancestors appear in the Social Security Death Index.  The oldest at her death was my great-great-grandmother Mabel L. Thompson, who died during my freshman year of high school, just shy of her 103rd birthday!  The earliest birth was Florence Dennis, born on 17 July 1881, and the earliest death was my great-great-grandfather Joe Shipe, who died in January 1963.
How many of your ancestors can you find?
Michael Hait

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Tonight’s Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver at the Genea-Musings blog asks you to determine your ethnicity by looking at each of your 16 great-great-grandparents.  Here are mine:

16.   MYRON GRANT HAIT, was born 14 Feb 1863, in Patchogue, Suffolk Co., New York, and died 23 Feb 1900, in King’s Park, Smithtown, Suffolk Co., New York.  ENGLISH

17.   ELIZABETH NANCY SMITH was born 7 Oct 1863, in Blue Point, Suffolk Co., New York, and died 28 Jul 1950, in Dunedin, Pinellas Co., Florida.  ENGLISH

18.   WALTER BURNHAM was born 13 Apr 1881, in Ballston Spa, Saratoga Co., New York, and died 17 Jun 1948, in Ballston Spa, Saratoga Co., New York.  ENGLISH

19.   MABEL LUCILLE FEULNER was born 13 Jul 1887, in Saratoga Co., New York, and died 18 March 1990, in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York[?].  GERMAN

20.   FRED POSSON was born March 1873, in West Berne, Albany Co., New York, and died 18 March 1954, in West Berne, Albany Co., New York.  UNKNOWN, possibly GERMAN

21.   CORA BRIGGS was born 22 Oct 1876, in Schoharie, Schoharie Co., New York, and died 24 Jun 1909, in West Berne, Albany Co., New York.  UNKNOWN, possibly ENGLISH

22.   STEPHEN GEORGE REITTINGER was born 9 Aug 1871, in Albany, Albany Co., New York, and died 28 Sep 1939, in Saratoga Co., New York.  GERMAN

23.   MARY FRANCES CONNELL/O’CONNELL was born 31 Jul 1868, in Cloonkeen, Dunmore, County Galway, Ireland, and died 10 May 1945 in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York.  IRELAND

24.  JAMES HENRY DENNIS was born 10 Dec 1874, in Surry Co., North Carolina, and died 3 Oct 1960 in Cumberland Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN.

25.  FLORENCE ETTA BRYANT was born 17 Jul 1881, in North Carolina, and died Jan 1972 in Cumberland Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN

26.  FRANK CLARK CONKLE was born Dec 1876 in Richland Co., Wisconsin, and died 12 Sep 1934, in Cunningham Dist., Fluvanna Co., Virginia.  GERMAN

27.   LANDONA BURK WRIGHT was born Jun 1889 in Cumberland Co., Virginia, and died 26 Jun 1986 in Lancaster Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN

28.   JOSEPH E. SHIPE was born 20 Jan 1883 in Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., Virginia, and died Jan 1963 in Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN, probably GERMAN

29.  DELLA ANN BLACK was born 10 Sep 1885 in Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., Virginia, and died 3 Dec 1839 in Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN.

30.   OWEN B. OBAUGH was born 4 May 1884 in Bridgewater, Rockingham Co., Virginia, and died Jun 1966 in Fishersville, Augusta Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN

31.   ETHA ELSIE WILLIAMS was born 15 Apr 1884 in Burketown, Augusta Co., Virginia, and died 30 Mar 1864 in Fishersville, Augusta Co., Virginia.  UNKNOWN

According to my calculations, with each person comprising 6.25% of my ancestry, I am 18.75% English, 18.75% German, 6.25% Irish, and 56.25% Unknown, though an additional 12.5% of this may be German, and 6.25% may be English..

The interesting part of these calculations is the small, and relatively recent, sample used.  I wonder just how much the percentages would change if you go back additional generations, making the sample size 32 or 64, or even 128.  This would obviously be more accurate, but also less known, as you will likely begin to encounter a brickwall or two.  This will result in an “Unknown” the way mine has above.  But just as an example, several of the above ancestors had parents who immigrated from other countries or bear a different ethnic background.  For instance, I know that I have Scottish, Dutch, and Swedish ancestry as well.  I still have quite a few brickwalls, though, where I have been unable to identify either the origin of person, or even the origin of the surname.  ‘Til I can knock down those brickwalls, though, there is sure to remain quite a large “Unknown” percentage of my ethnicity.

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