Thursday, April 1, 2010

Natural Disasters and Geneology

I recently read an article in Family Chronicle that talked about the natural disasters that left well-remembered landmarks in the lives of many of our ancestors. It got me thinking about a significant disaster that is part of my family story. My grandfather, Joseph George Burghardt, traveled to the U.S.A. from Russia via Germany. His arrival in Galveston was shortly after the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. His first introduction to this country was helping clean up the bodies from that disaster. Over 8,000 people died in that hurricane which destroyed most of the Texas port city. It has definitely been a landmark for me. Because so many records were destroyed, I've never found any record of his arrival on a particular ship. (I'm still looking.) I believe that many of our family stories are related to some sort of natural disaster. Below I've listed some sites that might be helpful in filling in details of our ancestors' stories.
This site has 52,000 tornado maps of storms dating from 1950 to 2008. Search by date, state,and county.
This site lists major winter blizzards beginning in 1888.
This is the site map for Weather Doctor, and its Weather Diary lists notable snowfalls and extreme temperatures over the past centuries in the US, Canada, and the world. It is arranged chronologically and sorted by month.
This site gives an overall listing of disasters. Browse for reports by date, type of disaster, and state or Canadian province.
This site has a collection of links regarding natural and man-made disasters.

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