Google Books - Conrad Auth  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , , ,

I am drowning under the amount of information and keep finding more and more methods to find additional sources. I'm not even sure how I got there, but I found a video of Miriam Robbins Midkiff talking about using Google Books in her research.

So I open up the site and plug in the first name I can think of, Conrad Auth. Conrad was my wife's 2nd-great-grandfather, was born in 1832 in Germany. He married Elizabeth Bannantine, born in 1839 in England, and lived with his large family in Pittsburgh, PA. I have very little information on Conrad and his family outside of what I could find in census data and a GEDCOM file I received from another Auth. The 1880 US Census lists his occupation as Glassblower.

I got 20 results for my search of "Conrad Auth". The first book in the list was:

Sons and Daughters of Labor: Class and Clerical Work in Turn-of-the-Century Pittsburgh
By Ileen A. DeVault
Published by Cornell University Press, 1995
ISBN 0801483077, 9780801483073
194 pages

I clicked on the link and found the following section in the book (I used OCR to get it in text instead of the screenshot I took, but many books actually have a plain-text version as well):

Charles Auth entered the Commercial Department in 1900. His father, Conrad, was a Pennsylvania-born glassblower of mixed German and English heritage and national treasurer of the Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association (GBBA). Glassblowers like Auth made up almost 3 percent of the skilled workers represented in the Commercial Department. Conrad Auth, his English-born wife, five sons, and one daughter lived in a house with a fully paid mortgage near the glasshouses on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Charles was the youngest son. His two oldest brothers held manual jobs; one was a glassblower like his father, and the other was an unspecified "steelworker." During the year ending with the federal census taking of June 1900, Conrad Auth and his glassblowing son had both been unemployed for twelve full months. Even as treasurer of his national union, Auth, Sr., did not receive a salary, although he did sometimes receive per diem payment and costs for time spent on union business. Auth`s steelworker son had been unemployed for seven months of 1900. Faced with this dramatic experience of the precariousness of the skilled trades, the Auth family switched to a new plan for their three younger sons. When fifteen-year-old Charles entered the high school's program, his other two brothers worked as clerks, one for a plumbing business and the other as a grocery clerk. Unlike their older brothers, neither of these young men employed in white-collar jobs had any periods of unemployment in 1900. Since the family had paid off the mortgage on their home, their economic situation had not always been so bleak as it was in 1900. Nonetheless, the pattern of employment in the family demonstrates a change in strategy for the sons' futures over the course of the 1890s.

WOW! Look at all this information! I love it! This kind of data breathes real life into our ancestors. It takes them from a bunch of census data and source citations to an actual family, living in times of hardship and persevering. I would have had to dig deep to find out that Conrad was the national treasurer of the GBBA. And this was just the first link!

I kept going through the list and found out that he testified in the tariff hearings before the Committee on Ways and Means, First Session, Fifty-third Congress, in 1893. There was a lot more information but I was already completely overwhelmed. I tried a few others and kept finding more and more.

So obviously this is a huge resource that I will use in the future. One of the things that's kind of annoying is that not all the books have full view. Some only have snippets and point you to where you can buy the book. But even these snippets can be extremely valuable.

Some of you veteran genealogists are probably snickering at my ridiculous newbie discovery. But since I have no formal genealogical training and I haven't even read an "Idiot's Guide To Genealogy" book, this is still a big deal to me.

Any more 'WOW' tips out there? I sure hope so!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:06 PM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Amir, this is fabulous! One thing about the snippets. If you find a book you want to read and only see it in snippet view, look in the right hand margin and find the link for "Find this book in a library." You may also want to do a regular Google Search for the title of the book to see if it's been transcribed online at a genealogy or history website.

You can order many books through Inter-Library Loan. I just did this a week or so ago when I found a reference to my ancestor, Uzza Rob(b)ins. He was mentioned in a county history of Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania, and I could not find the book anywhere online. I ordered it through ILL, and it is at my local library branch, where I do and check out names and make photocopies. I have use of it at the library for a month. Sometimes, some ILL books can be brought home; it all depends upon the policy of the lending library and your own library.

Happy Hunting!

P.S. Jennifer of Rainy Day Research has compiled a wonderful list of county histories and biographies and city directories available in full view at Google Book Search.

And Tom Sowa, technology columnist for my local paper, The Spokesman-Review, posted my Google Book Search Primer here.

August 6, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Thanks again for the tips Miriam. Jennifer's list is a great find!

I find it funny that now, when I do a regular Google search, I keep waiting for Soundex results :-)

I wonder when they will add that option.

August 6, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Hello there,
I would like to make a suggestion re: Book Sourcing:

When a book is found (not a purchase) in a library, historical society or person... with the citation data put the name of library or place; town, state etc.. on the card; with call number, date of event, surname with page number. If or When you return to that 'place' (or are seeing the book at a new 'place' elsewhere)you can check your file to see if you have or have not reviewed the book.

Also note if you made photocopies from the book and pages. In case you err by missing a page. Perhaps you have learned something since this time so be sure to date the citation. Maybe you will know a new name and you can review the data and find new family to photocopy he _page_ for. OR buy the book as I recently did as by the time I made 40+ pages I could buy the book from Yes, I did, in fact do that.

Also keeping a card file of the books / films is a secondary good thing to do. For being able to check to see IF you did find and use this book elsewhere. There is software or Excel you can use for a database to keep on your computer. I plan to put this info in my Genea-Blogger Contest site. ;) Brenda

August 11, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Thanks for stopping by and leaving these valuable comments. Everything you said makes complete sense and when I start citing books I will now know exactly what to do.

August 11, 2008 at 7:20 PM

;) thanks abba-dad!
I have a bit of a better explanation on the Contest blog:

My first time at using FB and the contests etc but I am having fun!! Later Brenda

August 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Hello: Are you still researching the Auth ancestry? I have been doing genealogy research for 35 years, and I have considerable information about the Auths who emigrated from Hessen to Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Illinois. I have visited the archives at least 6 0r 7 times in Fulda, Germany. My family inter-married with the Auths a few times in the German villages, and one of my friends is a German native who is an Auth, and a third cousin of mine. Let me know if you are still interested and the lineage between you and Conrad Auth. Good luck.

February 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Post a Comment