Anjelica holds a MA in Public History and certificate in digital humanities from Northeastern and a BA in journalism from Ohio University. She worked as a reporter in New York for four years before starting her graduate degree. She recently finished a year as a digital public history intern with the National Parks of Boston. Areas of expertise: Revolutionary War and Massachusetts records, Spanish fluency.
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Some obituaries provide little to no information aside from the deceased individual’s age and death location—but others can be invaluable sources for learning more about a person’s life and family.
Many of the earliest obituaries were merely death notices. These generally included age, death location, and maybe a spouse’s name. Sometimes, they included how the person died. In more recent times, however, obituaries have evolved into descriptive memorials for deceased family members, providing unique information about a person’s life. They can be useful for linking family members throughout history.
The cost of publishing an obituary can deter people from preserving these priceless stories about their loved ones. I learned this recently when I lost my 95-year-old grandfather, David Earl Oswald. Last year, I wrote about how lucky I was to still have him to talk to, but unfortunately, on 21 March 2023 he passed away at his home in Florida. Continue reading On Obituaries→
My grandfather, Salvador Sanchez, was born 15 February 1921 in Mexico. It was there that he met my grandmother, Rosa Fonseca, and started a family before immigrating to the United States in 1957.
Belo, as we called him, worked for the railroad in Gary, Indiana and stayed there until he retired. Before starting a family, he had traveled to the states for seasonal work. I don’t know what my grandfather did during his trips. Unfortunately, he died in 2002, when I was only nine years old. He didn’t talk to his children about his life before them, and I wasn’t old enough to ask questions when we lost him, so much of my grandfather’s life is a mystery to me.
Even before I earned my master’s degree in public history, I liked to fancy myself a bit of a family historian. I am lucky enough to still have three living grandparents: ages 86, 89, and 94. I have taken up the task of recording conversations with them about their early lives and families, so that their stories can be preserved for future generations.
I’ve gone through photo albums with my grandparents and seen some of the family heirlooms that have been passed down for generations. As a former journalist, I was interested in documenting stories, and that was my focus for years. I recently went back to school and received a master’s in public history. So last Christmas, when I was visiting my paternal grandparents down in Florida, I decided to use my new training as a historian to ask my grandmother more questions and document what I might have missed over the years. Continue reading Finding the family historian in my own family history→