Genealogy is names, dates, and places. Family history weaves stories through those dates, allowing understanding of our ancestors’ lives. The formula is simple enough, but filling the blanks can be difficult. Enter MooseRoots, a FamilySearch compatible computer app. MooseRoots’ billion records may or may not reveal new ancestral names and dates. Its forte is providing background and history—for free.
I clicked Death Records, put in my grandmother’s name, and birth and death information popped up. No big deal to me, really. These dates are easily found on a number of websites. The big deal came when I clicked on her name.
Related information links popped onto the left side of the screen. A click on Death Records brought up said records, with a link to the proper Utah Archives website, but not, in this case, the exact document. Nevertheless, I know now where to look.
Then came various insights. The time line of her life inserted assorted background events. The economy: At her birth, $4.35 was equivalent to $100 today, and the today’s $3 loaf of bread would have cost her parents 13 cents.
The Model T went on the market in 1908. Grandpa bought one ten years later when Grandma was 36 and he was 50. Hmm… No car until 50? That explains family stories of Grandpa’s rough treatment of early vehicles as he assimilated from horses to machines. He didn’t think women needed to learn to drive, and Grandma agreed.
Grandma’s lifetime covered the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the opening of Ellis Island, the advent of penicillin, and the two world wars.
MooseRoots’ census information told me that in 1882, “Emma” was the third most popular name in the US and provided detailed information on the name’s meanings and history. If the name were obscure, it might help decide how far to search for duplicates. It turns out her married name, Christensen, is most prevalent in the West—especially Utah—and is least common in the Southeast. MooseRoots used census data to tell me that she lived on one of the 24,176 Utah farms in 1950 and was part of the 39 percent of the population with a high school diploma. Besides useful trivia, the app provides links for in-depth details. I’d have had to search all over the web to find this information—if I knew what to look for.
World War II Army Enlistment Records yielded up Uncle Glen, an army private born in 1917, married, with a year of college behind him.
This was fun, so I explored further. Besides data for specific people, MooseRoots provides links to place names’ history, government, foreign-born population, and more. When I scrolled down on the site, I found quick stories like “Baby Names That Rocked the 1990s,” “MLB Inspired Baby Names,” civil and historical data, and more.
MooseRoots is worth a visit. Go to the App Gallery to find MooseRoots and a host of other FamilySearch compatible applications to enrich your family’s stories.
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