Thursday, January 22, 2009

Social Security Death Index

Believe it or not, it is often easier to get information from the dead than from the living. Much of my research is concentrated on death and cemetery records, census records, and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). I'm using the SSDI to support my theory that all of us have ancestors whose records are now in the SSDI. If I can link everyone named L__master in the SSDI as being related, it's highly unlikely there are those living with the name who aren't related to us. As of January 14, 2009, I have linked all 93 Lowmasters in the SSDI. There are eight Loumasters; all connected. There are 45 Lawmasters and I have connected 43 of them. I am still working on the remaining two. I will admit, I'm not sure where those two fit in.

UPDATE 1/22/09: There are six Laumasters in the SSDI of which I connected two. I must add these to the list and bring them into the fold as well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Worst Family History Book Ever

In 2001, my uncle, Lloyd Lowmaster, spent $40 on a book called The Y2K Lowmaster Family Yearbook. I absolutely hate to see people ripped off.

UPDATE --- FEB 9, 2006: The Colorado State Attorney General reached a settlement with Morphcorp for deceptive advertising. Details here.

Other user experiences are listed here as well:

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter GenForum

The Lowmaster Y2K Family Yearbook is one of the most poorly written and researched histories and yearbook that I have even seen. I thought the company in Bath, Ohio, which promised a family history was the worst, but with the advent of computers for ease of printing and the Internet for ease of gathering information, people and companies use these methods to make a cheap product for the unsuspecting.

The inside cover page shows a picture of a family of seven, presumably a Lowmaster family, however there is no identification as to this family and the authors were wise not to try and pass these people off as Lowmasters.

They claim it is published by the Lowmaster Family News, a company that doesn't exist. The second page claims “My wife and I have been researching the Lowmaster family (and other related families), genealogy and history since 1986.

“We would like to thanks (sic) the reader of the Lowmaster Family news who sent in piles of family information which made the publication of this work possible.

“This Crest is a graphic artist’s interpretation of the Lowmaster Crest. Its (sic) of greater value as a work of art, then (sic) as a genealogical or historical document.”

Spelling and grammatical mistakes abound on this page. Certainly this is not a professional effort by anyone.

No one sent “piles of information” and I can demonstrate exactly where all their information comes from.

The Lowmaster Longevity Records

This section is not a section on longevity but merely a filler to take up space and create the illusion of research. This information is readily available, for free, from a variety of sources, all of which come from the public records of the Social Security Death Index.

Certainly, if one were to include longevity records, they would have to include those who have lived 99+ years and are still living, however, this information only known to true researchers of the family.

Lowmaster Baby Name Records

This section is not a section of baby names at all and the dubious claim that they researched these for naming their children is preposterous. Using the same Social Security Death Index, they merely arranged those names and added a count to them.

Lowmaster Book of Locations

This section is nothing more than a search of public records (i.e, telephone records) with a total by state.

Lowmaster Marriage Records

One record? Need I say more?

Lowmaster Birth Records

This section is merely the birth portion of what is contained in the SSDI. The index does not contain the location of the birth but the state that issued the Social Security Number. Thus the state is not necessarily the birth place and this book listed Virgin Islands where Virginia should be.

The Lowmaster Book of Deaths

This section is the death portion of what is contained in the SSDI. However, this section is full of errors. By my count only 16 of the 61 records are accurate. The reason is that most death records in the SSDI only contain month and year but not day. This book chose to fabricate death dates merely by making them the 15th of the month. In addition, they listed some people named LOMAX in this section.

The Lowmaster Book of Residents

A public search of phone records will result in this section.

The Lowmaster Census Book

There are very few records listed here. True researchers have at their disposal census records through 1920. This appears to have been lifted from a search of census records.

The Lowmaster Phone Book

Same as the book of residents, only this time the phone number has been left in.

Lowmaster Cousin Records

Lowmax is not a relative to Lowmaster. Lawmaster, Laumeister, Laumaster, and Loumaster are.

Lowmaster Believe it or Not!

This section is mostly a listing of business under the Lowmaster name.

The Lowmaster Jokebook

An insult to research.

The History of the Lowmaster Family

This is a joke. Contrary to the history, there are no Lowmasters in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) from the 17th century. There are no listings for Lowmaster in "virtually every European country." This “history” is written to be so generic that it applies to any family, such as Smith or Jones, but we know the derivation of the Lowmaster name and it didn’t start in Europe. It was an Americanization of the German “Laumeister.” And further, Christopher Columbus did not show up in 1942, my history teaches it was 1492.

My years of research do tie together everyone named Lowmaster. And Lawmaster. And Loumaster. I hate to see people falling for such hoaxes as this work. -- Barry Sherry

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last of the Laumasters?

Today I found an obituary for W. Fred Laumaster. That came as a surprise but probably shouldn't have. I have been following the Lowmaster, Lawmaster, and Loumaster lines and conveniently ignored the Laumaster line. The last (of six) Laumasters in the Social Security Death Index died 25 years ago and it was easy to assume that the name had died out. Especially if one never went looking.

W. Fred Laumaster, died Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at the York Hospital. He was the husband of Betty T. (Finerock) Laumaster. Fred was born January 10, 1924, in West York, a son of the late Elsie B. (Shepp) and William Fred Laumaster, Sr. There were no descendants named Laumaster mentioned. He is survived by a daughter, Kim A. Giuffrida, wife of Tony of York; and two grandchildren, Toni Neiman and James Giuffrida, both of York; an aunt, Louise Shepp Hamme of York; and two cousins, Albert Hamme and Margaret Gartland.

It's always hard to contact someone out of the blue but I did send a message to the granddaughter, Toni, using the message feature on Yes, it's very tacky but these guestbooks are only up for 30 days then they are gone. I hope to heard back from her although I doubt that I do. It may well be that Betty, Fred's widow, is the only remaining Laumaster. I hope not and hope that someone in this family help us track this branch.

Source: York Daily Record & York Dispatch on 1/15/2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sorry Your Grandmother Died

Except she didn't.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying "'The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." And I guess I did that tonight.

I was doing a Google search for obituaries I may have missed and received the following result:

Obituaries - August 2, 2008:

Aug 2, 2008 ... Guila Elmore. Martha Johnson. Most read stories in obituaries .... Anna
Gobert ( Bloomington, IN) Esther Lawmaster (Bedford, IN), ... -

There in black and white was the name Esther Lawmaster. Esther is pushing 90 and it is not out of the realm of possibilities that she died last summer.

Of course I couldn't accept this snippet as proof and clicked on the link to read more. And it was a link to nowhere. It offered me the chance to buy a one day pass for $4 to search the site but I decided instead to send my sympathies to her grandson.

Lee Lawmaster was surprised and I hope not insulted when I asked him if he had his grandmother's obituary. She is alive and well.

The obituary notice was, in fact, for her brother and her name was printed that day -- as one of his two sisters still surviving.

Lee sent me his great-uncle's obituary and I sent him an apology. And many years of healthy living for his grandmother.