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The first hit came from the historical documents and was a pension request by Henry’s wife, Rachel Platter.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?

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!