Gathering Names

People do genealogy for a lot of different reasons. They enjoy collecting family stories. They want to discover where they come from. They love the feeling of being connected to history.
I like filling in names. It’s a bit of an obsession for me. There’s nothing I hate worse than seeing ‘unknown’ in the name field. So I do what I can to find the names, especially the maiden names of the women. Yesterday, I received the SS-5 for my 2nd cousin, twice removed, Frank L. Craner. The reason I requested it was there in all its glory: his mother’s name was Mathilda Shepard Ogden. I rejoiced. But, then I began to wonder. Shepard and Ogden are names I’ve run across in my NJ research. Who are her parents? I looked at her dates. Oh no, she’d probably be in the 1880 census. But, maybe not with her parents. Maybe there’d be hope for me. No. Her parents were Isaac S. & Ann E. Ogden. Another unknown. What was Ann’s maiden name? The search continues.

West Virginia Vital Records

West Virginia? Yes, most of my ancestors did not stray far from Philadelphia or South Jersey, but a Craner escaped to West Virginia. This wonderful state has a project to place scanned images of vital records on line. And, guess who I found? My escapee, Richard Craner.

This is exactly the sort of thing the internet should be used for. While some states are requiring photo id & proof of kinship to request vital records that are too old to be any use to identity thieves, others are making scanned images available. ( Arizona is another state doing this.)

Not to mention that New Jersey blocks out the cause of death, even on records over 100 years old. Now, why should it be a secret what my G-G-G-Grandfather Ansel Irelan died of in 1892?

Of course, New Jersey Vital Records does not exactly have the best track record when in comes to genealogy requests. How much easier it would be for them if they just scanned all those old records and put them on the internet. Then they wouldn’t have to deal with us pesky genealogists anymore!

George (Chester) Craner Birth (1879)

CRANER, George C.: Birth Certificate, 14 May 1879
Abstracted from photocopy included in Civil War Pension File for David M. Craner

State of New Jersey
Birth Return

1. Full name of Child (if any): Chester Crainer, Color: White
2. Date of Birth: May 14” 1879, Sex: male
3. Place of Birth: Glassboro, Glassboro Twp., Gloucester Co., NJ
4. Name of Father: David M. Crainer
5. Maiden name of Mother: Mary Brown
6. Country of Father’s Birth: Blackwoodtown, NJ, Age: 39, Occupation: Farmer
7. Country of Mother’s Birth: Turnerville, Glo. Co. NJ, Age: 37 yrs
8. Number of Children in all by this Marriage: Six. How many of them Living: Five
9. Name and P.O. address of Medical Attendant, in his own handwriting, with date,
Jacob Iszard, M.D., Glassboro, NJ