Ghost Hunters Guide to Free Internet Sources [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
eBook Category: Reference
eBook Description: Until now, ghost hunters relied on modern equipment and high-tech gadgetry to hunt spirits and then attempt in-depth background research by plodding through low-tech methods and tedious trips to libraries, historical societies and archives. No more plodding! Now, computer friendly, in-depth research can be accomplished on a 24/7 basis, because the Ghost Hunters Research Guide to Free Internet Sources provides exact Internet addresses and precise tutorials for using dozens of free, legal and public Internet sites that have the information paranormal investigators need: ? When and where a person died. ? Locate graves and cemeteries. ? Find nicknames, abbreviations, name translations and origins. ? Communicate in the vocabulary of the ghost. ? Read and date old-style handwriting. ? Research shipwrecks and natural disasters. Access the life of a ghost in the U.S. Census: 1790 to 1940. ? Ghosts that are African, Slave, Freedmen, Immigrant and Indentured Servant. ? Lumberjack, Pirate, Waiter or Witch? Occupations and associations. ? Get the facts about haunted or stigmatized property. ? Determine a ghost's wealth and lifestyle. ? Apparition or Hallucination? Facts on drugs, medication, food and lifestyle interactions. ? Client's personal history records. Does your client have a hidden agenda? ? Ownership and tax history of haunted property. ? And more. Access and how-to use these crucial Internet databanks is free and legal in the book: Ghost Hunters Research Guide to Free Internet Sources by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox. Elizabeth Eagan-Cox is the author of three paranormal novels. Known as the Ghost Hunter's Librarian, Elizabeth Eagan-Cox is a former school librarian and an expert in genealogical/paranormal research. Her upcoming book, Ghost Hunter's Research Guide to Free Internet Sources details her techniques for digging up crucial information about persons and events from centuries ago, a generation ago, or today. Mrs. Eagan-Cox is a frequent guest on paranormal radio programs, advising ghost hunters on topics such as: How to Identify a Ghost, and, Are Your Ancestors Your Ghosts? She resides in California where she travels occasionally and is always at home in Cyberspace.
eBook Publisher: Charles River Press, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2011
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Table of Contents
Foreword: How to Use This Book.
Part 1: Death is the Beginning.
Obtaining evidential information regarding the date and place of a person's death is essential in determining the identity of a suspected ghost and crucial to the advancement of research about the decedent.
Family records may contain incomplete information or misinterpreted information. Rather than rely on a family member's knowledge or memory, it is best to have objective factual data as proof.
Part 1: Death is the Beginning also addresses research issues that can be problematic in regard to Names, Vocabulary, Language Translation, Handwriting Styles, Manmade and Natural Disasters, including shipwrecks, and there is a chapter on Troubleshooting. For a quick reference guide to Part 1, browse the chapter summaries that follow.
IMPORTANT. When conducting an Internet search for data, remember to use variant spellings of a person's first name, middle name and surname. For married women try using their married surname first and then, if that does not render results, use the woman's maiden surname.
Chapter 1: Use Free Internet Sites to Discover When and Where a Person Died.
+ Deaths from 1937 to Present.
Referred to by its initials: the "SSDI" is sometimes called the Social Security Death Master File "DMF". This database started in 1936 and continues to present day as a collective source for information on deaths as reported to the Social Security Administration from relatives of the deceased, funeral directors, financial corporations and insurance companies, U.S. Postal Service authorities and a variety of government agencies.
The Social Security Administration does not provide Internet access to the SSDI, it is not set up for this purpose. However, several Internet sites do provide public and free access to the SSDI.
The SSDI is in constant update mode and the timeliness of available information will vary from one databank to another. Generally speaking, any one databank is from a few months to one year behind.
When searching an SSDI databank it is best to begin with the minimal information that is known to be factual in regard to the decedent. For this reason, conduct an initial search using only the decedent's first and surname. Exclude additional details such as age, birthplace, death place and etc., unless you are absolutely certain of the validity of such details. The free-use Websites listed in this section allow you to search on a name-only basis, as well as including additional optional details about the decedent. Typical data contained in a decedent's DMF file is:
Social Security Number.
Last known residence.
State in which the person first enrolled for a Social Security card.
+ Death Records Prior to 1937 (and including 1937 to present).
Find A Grave site archives over 45 million grave records on an international basis and rarely a day goes by that additional records are not entered into the database. By far, the most popular archives relate to the USA, Canada and England. On Find A Grave you can search by surname with added options of using parameters for country, state/region, death and/or birth year. You may also browse through the alphabetical list of surnames in the index. I have found the most success in using the search page option and typing in the surname for the grave I want to locate and then narrow the results by state. In addition to burials on land, there is also the option for burials at sea.
Search results include the decedent's burial site and the cemetery's location. Information is posted as it is listed on the grave/tombstone, and usually includes the Name, Death date, Birth date or age, and sometimes may include the decedent's relationship to family members.
Additional clues might be found pertaining to the cemetery and its location. Keep in mind that if the cemetery is private and thereby associated with a particular religion or denomination thereof, these are telltale clues to the decedent's life and are leads you may care to follow up on. Often, public burial grounds have sections designated for a particular culture or religion. This information may not be obvious in the listing on Find a Grave, in which case, contacting the cemetery is advisable if you wish to determine that the decent was buried in association with a particular religion/denomination.
+ Death and Grave Records of U.S.A. Military Veterans.
Learn how to perform an Internet search for burial and grave site locations of United States veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nationwide Internet Gravesite Locator includes burial records from myriad sources that provide information. Results will vary.
In addition to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nationwide Internet Gravesite Locator there is the American Battle Monument Commission "ABMC." The ABMC provides information on service members buried in overseas cemeteries (since World War I).
ABMC was established in 1923 through an act of Congress with the purpose to "commemorate the service, achievements, and sacrifices of U.S. armed forces where they have served overseas since 1917, and within the U.S. when directed by public law."
ABMC's four separate databases are: World War I, World War II, Korean War and Other Burial Listings.
Other Burial Listings include, but not limited to, veterans buried outside the U.S.A. involved in the; Spanish-American War, Mexican-American War, American Civil War, Vietnam War MIAs, and burials at the Corozal American Cemetery.
+ Death Records from 1850 through 1885.
Source: Mortality Schedules.
Mortality schedules were tallied every decade from 1850 through 1880 as part of the federal population census. Mortality schedules at state level were taken in between federal census years. These records are archived at the U.S. National Archives in Washington DC, and at the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution "D.A.R." Library, also in Washington DC.
An Internet database is available for free through the Internet site at Mortality Schedules.
Mortality schedules play an important role in locating information about decedents that fall into this narrow category: Persons who died between June 1st. through May 31st. in the year prior to when the federal census was taken. Typical information about the decedent in the mortality schedules include:
Color (white, black, mulatto).
Birth place by state, territory, or country.
Month in which death occurred.
Disease or cause of death.
Number of days ill prior to death.
+ How to Order a Death Record/Certificate.
Source: Center for Diseases Control and Prevention "CDC."
Ordering a death record/certificate will cost and it takes time. There are commercial sites that allow you to order over the Internet. I advise against using such sites in favor of going directly to the official government source: The Department of Health for the state in which the decedent died. The CDC has an Internet index to each state's Health Department.
+ Understanding the Cause of Death.
Diseases and ailments have changed in name and definition.
Word to the wise, for the sake of accuracy and having a thorough understanding regarding the cause of death, always check this list and these links to clarify how you interpret the cause of death.
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Chapter 2: Free Internet Sites for Cities of the Dead.
Everything you need to know about Funerals, Burial Customs, Locating Cemeteries and Funeral Homes and deciphering Grave/Tombstone art and symbols.
+ Locating Cemeteries.
One would think that a burial ground would not be difficult to find. Yet, as cities grew and expanded, some cemeteries were forgotten about and abandoned. Other burial grounds were shunned in favor of large memorial parks. If you need to locate a cemetery that seems to have disappeared, or maybe you just need to know if there are cemeteries in a particular locale, especially if a cemetery was once nearby or at the location of a haunting, then this chapter is for you.
In the previous chapter you learned how to locate death records by locating a person's grave at the Internet site of Find A Grave, so please keep that source in mind for locating cemeteries, too. An additional Internet site for locating cemeteries is at the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, "USBGS."
Established in 1890 and formulated into its present-day department in 1947, the USBGS maintains standardized uniform geographic naming practices throughout the United States Federal Government. In partnership cooperation with federal, state, county and local administrations the USBGS is a central databank for uniform geographic names.
A search at the USBGS Internet site will render a list of cemeteries within the county of the chosen state. Click any one of the cemeteries listed and up will come a page of data regarding that particular cemetery, including its geographical elevation in feet and map coordinates. The coordinates work well with GPS devices.
+ Locating Funeral Homes.
A funeral home can be a treasure-trove of hidden information. Long-standing funeral homes often have records regarding the history of the town, prominent citizens, historic events pertaining to death, such as disease epidemics, unusual crimes, and natural as well as man-made disasters.
Additionally, a funeral home will have a funeral file on a decedent and that record often provides more information than a death certificate. Typically, a decedent's funeral file will include:
Full legal name of decedent.
Date and place of death and birth.
Next of kin.
Doctor's name of who certified the death.
Place of funeral service, including church when applicable.
Cost of funeral.
Use the Funeral Home Finder site to locate addresses and contact information for funeral homes in any area of the United States.
+ Historical Funeral Practices.
In essence, a funeral practice covers a broad spectrum of ideas and actions. Ideas pertaining to what happens after death and preparation for that eventuality are at the core of funeral practices. Innumerable issues impact and form the basis and ideology of funeral practices, including religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and technology as it is applied to the mechanics of burial at any given time and place.
When researching a ghost, it is advisable to understand and appreciate how the physical body was prepared and buried in accordance with the wishes of the family. An old saying claims that funerals are for the living, not the dead rings true when one takes into consideration that a funeral is an act of closure that intimately reflects the culture and beliefs of the family and friends of the decedent.
In this section, the Internet site of a prominent funeral home director provides a quick and concise tutorial on funeral practices such as:
Mortuary Beliefs of Early People.
Medical Embalmers and Anatomists.
Rise of the English Undertaker.
+ Funeral Customs.
Would you know how to behave at a funeral service outside your own cultural and religious community? Often we are not aware that customs and traditions can be exceptionally different from what we know and have experienced. Yet, at no other time in attending a life mark event is it as necessary to handle our behavior with dignity and respect as it is at a funeral rite of service.
The decedent may have belonged to a cultural group quite different from your own and/or different from the present-day frame of reference. Knowing how the decedent was laid to rest and the meanings behind the ceremonial act of the service is critical to understanding the decedent, his or her lifestyle and well as the culture of the community in which he or she lived and died.
In other words ... you need to be funeral wise, and you will become so at the Funeral Wise site with quick tutorials regarding funeral customs of:
Other Religious Groups.
Other Funeral Customs.
Inter-faith and Multicultural Funeral Rituals.
+ How to Read and Decipher Grave Art and Tombstone Markings.
You've found a grave and other than the expected information regarding the decedent's name and death date, there are symbols and artwork on the gravestone you do not understand. Or maybe, the gravestone is weathered and hard to read, but you can discern certain telltale aspects about the stone, such as its material and shape. What to do now?
The Association of Gravestone Studies, "AGS" is an organization of immense knowledge and it has the answers you are looking for.