Genealogy to Family History–How I Do It–Part One

I am in the process of switching to a new genealogy database.  Rather than importing the data I am entering it by hand and taking this opportunity to review material, assess what I know and yes, clean up those source citations we have all heard WAY too much about recently. While I enjoy some of the OCD aspects of this project, it is a bit dull because it consists only of facts and not the story behind the facts.

The intersection of facts and stories struck my fancy, so I thought I would show anyone who is interested how I move from the bare facts to the story of my family.  This will probably be a multi-part adventure.

I started with my grandfather, Alexander Silver.

What I Have


1.  The 1900 U.S. Census

Some facts from this census


1.  The name is Silverman, not Silver.

2.  The Silverman family is living on Forsyth Street in Manhattan.

3.  Alex is living with his parents, Mendel and Lena, his wife Pauline and his

daughter, Hatti–my Aunt Ethel

4.Alex was born in November of 1876 and was 23 years old.

5. Pauline was born in December of 1878 and was 21.

6.  Ethel was born in July of 1897 and was 2 years old.

7.  Ethel was born in New York, everyone else was born in Russia.

8. Alex and his parents emigrated in 1891, Pauline in 1888.

9.  Alex had petitioned for naturalization

10.  He was in the novelties business.

11.  Alex and Pauline could read, write an speak English


2.  Alexander Silver’s Declaration of Intention and Petition for citizenship














Some facts from the Declaration and Petition


1.  The declaration of intention was made in 1907.

2. Alex and family were living in Detroit in 1907

3.They were living on South 7th St. in Philadelphia, PA. in 1911 .

4. Alex came to the U.S. from Russia via Havre on the S.S. Campagnia.

5.  He arrived in New York an Aug. 20, 1891

6.  He had three children, Ethel, born July 10, 1898 in New York, Sylvia, born

Nov. 25, 1902 in New York and Stanley born May 10, 1909 in Detroit


There’s much more of interest in these documents, but I’ll keep that for later.


The story as I like to tell it will be Part Two.  Some facts may get bent, but not broken  and some things will be implied from the facts.  Context will be added to truly tell the story.


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