Here are some handy conversion tables and tools for genealogical research.
Who are all these cousins anyway? Use this chart to identify relationships between you and your relatives. Start with Self, that's you. Each row is a generation. Move down to identify children. Move across to identify brothers, sisters, and cousins. Move diagonally upward to identify parents. For example, first cousins are children of your grandparents' children. A cousin once removed is one generation before or after your own.
|Grandparents||Great-uncles/aunts||1st Cousins 2 removed|
|Parents||Uncles/Aunts||1st Cousins 1 removed||2nd Cousins 1 removed|
|Self||Brothers/Sisters||1st Cousins||2nd Cousins||3rd Cousins|
|Children||Nephews/Nieces||1st Cousins 1 removed||2nd Cousins 1 removed||3rd Cousins 1 removed|
|Grandchildren||Grandnephews/nieces||1st Cousins 2 removed||2nd Cousins 2 removed||3rd Cousins 2 removed|
|Great-grandchildren||Great-grandnephews/nieces||1st Cousins 3 removed||2nd Cousins 3 removed||3rd Cousins 3 removed|
Surnames in the United States federal census records are often encoded. This encoding, call the soundex code, is based on the way a name sounds rather than how it's spelled. This simplifies searching the census records, which generally have wide variations in spelling for the same surname.
Use this form to convert a surname to a soundex code. Use the code when searching census records from 1880 onward. I recommend trying different first letters for a surname. Sometimes the transcriptionist may mistake a P for a D, for example.
French Republican Calendar
French vital records during the time of the French Revolution use the French Republican Calendar. You're likely to see some strange dates on records during the years 1792 to 1806. Use the following form to convert between our present day Gregorian calendar and the French Republican calendar.
Day of Week
Suppose you know the month, the day, and the day of the week, but not the year for some event. Use this form to help determine the year. Suppose you have an old picture that indicates Thursday, December 30, but the year is illegible. You guess it was taken about 1900. Enter the date as December 30, 1900 and see in which year December 30 falls on a Thursday. In this example, December 30, 1909 was a Thursday, as was December 30, 1897.
Note: The Gregorian calendar was not instituted until October 15, 1582 (October 5, 1582 in the Julian calendar). Some countries did not accept it until much later. For example Britain converted in 1752. So dates before these times may not be meaningful.
If you are researching places in Pennsylvania, it is helpful to know how county boundaries have changed since 1682. View an animated history of Pennsylvania Counties.
Contact: Mike Voisin