Finding People with Common Names

Finding people with unusual names can be very difficult but it is easy to find them on GenealogyBank.

Today I was looking for Henry B. Platter and his good wife, Rachel (Bittinger) Platter. The Bittingers are my cousins and many of them are from Garrett County, Maryland.

Now, Platter is an unusual name. It would be easy for a search online to bring back every record that spoke about cooking, kitchens, plates or platters.

On GenealogyBank, I was able to instantly zero in on records
about them.

With just a few clicks I was able to find a dozen documents
about the Platter family. I began opening them one by one.
The first hit came from the historical documents and was a pension request by Henry’s wife, Rachel Platter. I quickly discovered Henry had served in the Civil War, a private in Company A, Second Regiment, P.H.B. Maryland Infantry and received a pension of $72 a month (certificate No. 1045070). (This is from: Pensions and increase of pensions for certain soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. Feb 5, 1925: Serial Set Vol. No. 8392, Session Vol. No.A68th Congress, 2nd SessionH.Rpt. 1385).

This is a terrific document – it gave me a lot of details about the family. The record showed that he and Rachel had married on March 12, 1867. That would have been hard to find anywhere else.

It also states that he died on October 4, 1923 leaving her in need of assistance; how long he had served in the Civil War and that his disability was caused during the war.

This document showed that she owned her own home, the value was $500. Perhaps her house looked like this one. It is a picture of her nephew Charles “Wooly” Henry & Sarah (Hoover) Bittinger and their family in front of the family home in New Jerusalem, Garrett County, MD.

It was taken in 1937 just a few years after Rachel Platter had requested a pension. Perhaps Rachel had a similar home.
(Photo by Arthur Rothstein; Library of Congress Photo LC-USF34- 026095-D).

Wow. It’s great that
GenealogyBank has been digitizing so many documents. I never would have found this one on my own. It was easy to find it online at GenealogyBank.

Their names, marriage and death dates, military service; details about their house, their income – bingo, there it was – all this family history in one document.

GenealogyBank added over 42.5 Million family history records last year and added another 2 million just this week. It now has over 216 million historical newspaper articles, obituaries, government and historical documents online. records and documents online.

Give it a try right now. It’s available at a great “get acquainted” rate – only $9.95 for 30 days.

I found documents that gave me the details I needed for my cousins in the back hills of Maryland ….. what will you find?

GenealogyBank – Added Over 42.5 Million Records Last Year!

GenealogyBank reported explosive growth in 2007 increasing its digital archive with over 40 million historical newspaper articles and modern obituaries.

GenealogyBank is quickly becoming the fastest growing newspaper archive for family history research with over 3,300 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states. The exclusive collection features newspapers from the 1600’s to the present day with over 106 million historical newspaper articles and more than 26 million obituaries now available for family history research. Each article is a single digital image that can be printed and preserved for family scrapbooks.

To celebrate, GenealogyBank is currently offering a 30-Day trial for only $9.95.

“We are excited about the rapid growth of our newspaper collection and the vast breadth of family history information we now have available” says Genealogy Director for NewsBank, inc., Tom Kemp. “GenealogyBank provides exclusive access to more than four centuries of important genealogical information such as obituaries, marriage and birth announcements as well as interesting and often surprising facts about our ancestors.”

Latest additions to the GenealogyBank historical newspaper collection features big city dailies and regional weeklies including: San Jose (CA) Mercury 1886-1922, Baltimore (MD) Sun – 1837-1901, Kansas City Star (MO) 1815-1922, NY Herald 1844-1863, Philadelphia Evening Post – 1804-1912, Philadelphia Inquirer 1860-1922 And many more. View entire list.

Kemp added, “Toward our stated goal of creating the single most comprehensive resource of newspapers for family history research, GenealogyBank will continue to digitize millions of family history records in the upcoming months that will greatly expand and increase the depth of our collections. We will begin releasing Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 in February along with hundreds of additional historical newspaper titles.”

About GenealogyBank: GenealogyBank, a division of NewsBank, inc., supplies individuals interested in family history research with over 300 years of U.S. newspapers, government documents and other historical records in all 50 states. GenealogyBank contains over 214 million family history records including obituaries, birth, marriage, death notices and much more.

Wow, at this great price – give it a try right now. I have been finding hundreds of articles, articles with critical new information about my family – write me and tell me what you find.

Try it right now – click: GenealogyBank

James L. Sorenson – DNA Pioneer Dies at 86

James L. Sorenson, a pioneer in DNA research has died. A self-made billionaire, he used his wealth in many causes.


Genealogists in particular are aware of his efforts with DNA and genealogy. In 1999 he started the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. The group has collected more than 70,000 DNA samples, together with four-generation pedigree charts, from volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.

His lengthy obituary and related newspaper articles appear in today’s Deseret News (UT) – you can read them in

GenealogyBank.

Here is the article (used by permission):
Deceased Name: Inventor, philanthropist James Sorenson, Utah’s richest man, dies at 86
James LeVoy Sorenson, whose success as an entrepreneur, real estate magnate and inventor of numerous medical devices made him Utah’s richest man, died Sunday, Jan. 20, at a Salt Lake hospital.

Besides his wealth and business acumen, Sorenson was renowned as a philanthropist.
Sorenson, whose wealth was estimated to be $4.5 Billion last year by Forbes magazine, was 86 years old. He was listed as the 68th-richest American in September 2007.
He was the owner of Sorenson Cos., a parent company to 32 corporations in industries including medicine, bioscience, investment/development and manufacturing.
Sorenson held more than 40 medical patents during his lifetime and is perhaps best known for co-developing the first real-time computerized heart monitor. He also invented the disposable paper surgical mask, the plastic venous catheter and a blood recycling system for trauma and surgical procedures, as well as many other medical innovations.
“I think success in his mind was someone that had ideas, that had a strong work ethic and a tenacity,” son James Lee Sorenson told the Deseret Morning News. “As you look at examples in the world today, those are important attributes. I think Dad was a calculated-risk-taker, and successful people generally are.”

The younger Sorenson said his father’s legacy will be as “a great American inventor, a man with a tremendous amount of innovation.”

Among his philanthropic endeavors is Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which is creating a worldwide, correlated genetic and genealogical database used in ancestry research. His donations have helped a Washington, D.C., university for the deaf and hearing impaired and assisted in establishment of an outdoor performing arts pavilion in Herriman. He gave more than $30 million for restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple in Nauvoo, Ill.

After the tsunami of 2004 hit Thailand, he donated DNA testing kits to assist in identifying the dead, and Sorenson Genomics — one of his companies — analyzed their DNA, matching some victims with their relatives.

He donated land and money to help build the Sorenson Unity Center at California Avenue and 900 West, next door to the Sorenson Multicultural Center. The YMCA’s Camp Rogers in the Uinta Mountains also benefited from his generosity.
He and James Lee Sorenson reached out to help Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.; together they donated $5 million to the country’s largest university for the deaf and hearing impaired.

In April 2007, he gave $6 million to the new Intermountain Medical Center, raising his contributions to Intermountain Healthcare to $22 million. He pledged $500,000 during a fund-raiser for Primary Children’s Medical Center in June 2007. In September 2007, the nonprofit Sorenson Legacy Foundation donated $6 million to the University of Utah, toward the James LeVoy Sorenson Center, which will be dedicated to encourage innovation and discovery among students across Utah.

A crisis concerning the Legislature’s refusal to fund some items in the state Medicaid program was averted in 2006 when Sorenson and Intermountain Healthcare donated $1 million each. The next year, the Legislature picked up the tab.

Sorenson also was a poet and composer of LDS hymns, publishing some of them in a book titled, “Just Love the People, the World Is our Family.”

After beginning his career selling pharmaceuticals to physicians for Upjohn Co. in Salt Lake City, Sorenson started buying real estate in the Salt Lake area. In 1957 he co-founded Deseret Pharmaceutical, and the company became the foundation for the establishment of Becton Dickinson Vascular Access. In 1962, he founded Sorenson Research, which was sold to Abbott Laboratories, a Fortune 100 company, in 1980.

He founded LeVoy’s, a company that made lingerie for modest women and used Tupperware-style marketing with parties hosted in homes. He also owned and developed thousands of acres of commercial, residential and agricultural properties throughout Utah.

Sorenson, who was born in Rexburg, Idaho, and grew up in central California, is survived by Beverley Taylor Sorenson, his wife of 60 years, and two sons, six daughters, 47 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Newspapers are terrific!

Newspapers are terrific! They give us the real details of our ancestor’s lives.

This week I found an article about the estate sale for my first cousin, Thomas Huse (1742/43-1816).

It was published in the Newburyport (MA) Herald, 16 July 1816.

Everything was being sold – his household effects; a covered sleigh; ox cart, an ox wagon; an eight day clock, a share certificate in the Merrimack Bridge, a grindstone and various tools.

It would be great to have these items as family heirlooms.

Was that “eight day clock” a Grandfather clock? Apparently most “eight day clocks” in that day were Grandfather or banjo clocks.

My Grandfather Huse made a banjo clock that still hangs in my uncle’s home in New Hampshire. Who knows, maybe Thomas Huse made the clock that was sold in his estate sale.

Thomas Huse owned a share of the Merrimack Bridge – that was one of the first suspension bridges built in America. The original was built in 1792 and it was replaced in 1810 with a wrought iron suspension bridge designed by Judge James Finley.

Thomas didn’t live long enough to see it, but eleven years after his death, February 6, 1827, the bridge collapsed under the weight of six oxen and two horses that were pulling a cart “loaded with wood” across the bridge.
The animals, wood and the two drivers all went into the water. Only the two drivers and horses survived. Who knew that oxen were so heavily used in early Newburyport.
See: Essex (MA) Register 8 Feb 1827. There are also articles describing the collapse of the bridge and the bridge that was built to replace it.

I think of my family and ancestors as “regular” people and I don’t expect to find them mentioned in newspapers but now that I’ve found hundreds of articles about them, I see how “local” papers used to be.

These old newspapers show us clearly who they were and how they lived their lives. You just can’t find this level of detail in any other source – newspapers are a terrific tool for genealogists.

GenealogyBank has over 2,400 historical newspapers from the 1600s to today. Give GenealogyBank a try (click here) right now.

Be sure to take advantage of GenealogyBank’s special price: only $69.95 for an annual subscription – but hurry, this special ends soon.
It’s a great day for genealogy!