Saturday, February 13, 2016

FamilySearch Apps - MooseRoots

Greetings from sunny Florida. It is almost 70 degrees today. It was a wonderful day to get outside and visit the  farmer's market, beach, auto show, dinosaur exhibit and just have an enjoyable day. After all that running around I decided to take a break and add my next post to my blog. One of the things I told myself was that I would focus more on the blog posts this year and I will start by focusing on the various apps that can be found on FamilySearch. If you are a registered member of FamilySearch and haven't yet visited the FamilySearch apps page, you are really missing out on some great tools. The apps cover a variety of topics and platforms including Windows, Android, iOS, web based, etc. So there will be something there for you to try out.

Today I want to highlight MooseRoots, one of the web based applications. MooseRoots was also one of the sponsors of RootsTech this year and I had a chance to talk to their representatives while I was at the conference. This site helps you explore the time and area of your ancestors' lives. It provides graphics which allow you to visualize the historic demographic and population trends of a region, provides information on the origins and meaning of names, displays economic data, and suggests record matches to give you insight into their lives.

When you visit the MooseRoots site you will see a search bar that allows you to search the 1940 US census, other US census records, death records, marriages & divorces, birth records, and cemetery records. This site does not access your FamilySearch FamilyTree account so you will have to type in your ancestor's name and birth year for the search.

For my test, I searched for my grandfather, Raymond Anthony Meyer, born 1909, in Auglaize County, Ohio, in the 1940 census. Once I found his name, (it wasn't at the top of the search results) I went to the page that MooseRoots created for him and received the following information: "Raymond Meyer lived in Auglaize County, Ohio at 59 Fourth in 1940, which is also where he lived in 1935. He was the head of the household, 30 years old, and identified as white. Raymond was born in Ohio around 1910. In 1940, Raymond was married to Velmie Meyer." All of this was correct, except his wife was Velma, not Velmie, but I guess I can forgive the transcriber for that small mistake. This part of the page also has an area to add or edit photos and to leave a story if you want to provide more details to this record. Below that section there is a more detailed transcription of the information from the 1940 census as well as the other names listed on the same page and others on the same street. This information can help provide links to neighbors or other family members in the same area. One thing I found in the list was a household at 218 Fourth with Elizabeth Meyer, age 71, daughter Leona Meyer, age 46, sons Alfred Meyer, age 42, and Leroy Meyer, age 26, and grandson Lawrence Steinemann, age 21. I don't know who this family is but they were living on the same street as my grandfather so this provides me a new set of people to research and figure out if they connect to my family. The research never ends.

The personal page for Raymond also provides possible record matches for the other search functions. However, after looking through the possible matches, none were for my grandfather. Below the possible matches there is a timeline. This timeline provides some of the events that occurred during Ray's life. It starts out with the year 1910, which is his approximate birth year based on the 1940 census. So what notable events occurred?
  • 1910: The weekend becomes popular in the US.
  • 1914: The Federal Trade Commission is established.
  • 1919: The US rejected the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.
  • 1923: President Warren G Harding died of a heart attack at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
  • 1927: The CBS radio broadcasting company was founded.
  • 1928: Ray's 18th birthday.
  • 1940: Ray's 30th birthday.
  • 1940: The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, reinstating the US Military draft, was signed into law.

It was interesting to see what was included and what was excluded from the timeline. I was surprised that World War I and the Great Depression were not included but the establishment of the FTC was included. I am really not sure how events were selected for this timeline, but I think there could have been a better selection of events that had more of an impact on a person's life.

According to the information provided on the site, Raymond is derived from an Old French name, Raimund, of Germanic origin, from ragin meaning advice or decision and mund meaning protector. This name was adopted by the Normans and introduced by them to Britain. Subsequently it dropped out of use but was revived in the middle 19th century, together with several other given names of Old English and Norman origin. I also learned that Raymond was most popular in the 1920s when it ranked number 15 among male baby names and it has declined in popularity since then.

Rank of the Name Raymond Over Time | MooseRoots

I also learned more about the last name, Meyer. According to MooseRoots, Meyer is a very common surname in the United States. In the 2000 US census there were about 149,664 individuals with the surname Meyer, making it the 163rd most common surname. The name is most prevalent in the Midwest, especially in Nebraska, and is least common in the Southeast. Meyer is of German and Dutch origin, from the Middle High German meier, a status name for a steward, bailiff, or overseer, which later came to be used also to denote a tenant farmer and is used in many compound surnames formed with this term as the second component. There are also Jewish, Irish and Dutch variants of the surname with various other meanings.

Popularity of Meyer by State | MooseRoots

Additionally, MooseRoots provides a short history of Auglaize County, Ohio. I learned that Auglaize County was established in 1848 and in 1940 it's population was 28,037, somewhat lower than the average for Ohio counties. In 2014 the population was nearly 46,000. Women slightly outnumbered men by 1.7%, there were 2,387 farms, most people lived in rural areas, 13% of the residents had at least a high school education and 67% were married. Demographically, Auglaize County was 99% white in 1850 and by 2014 it was still predominantly white with 98% of the residents identifying as white.

MooseRoots also provides information on the economic environment during Ray's life, including information on the stock market, inflation and GDP. There are also areas to look at more detailed demographics, such as education, gender ratios, age distributions, marital status, ethnicity, urban/rural distribution, place of birth, employment, occupation, farming, and nearby counties.

Marital Status of Auglaize County in 1940 | MooseRoots

One of the things I like about the site, is that you can embed the information from their site into your blogs. The ones I included above are just a few of the many ways they provide a setting to your ancestor's story. Take a look at the wealth of information provided by MooseRoots and see how it can improve your stories by incorporating the contextual data into their lives. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and found the information useful in furthering your research.

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