Floods, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Etc. Part of Your Ancestral History?

All regions across the United States and other countries around the world have experienced numerous natural disasters over the years.  It is not a nation’s government affected as it is the individuals – the families who must then struggle to put their homes and lives back together after any disaster.

A unique online site known as GenDisasters attempts to provide insight to such disasters and the effects it had on your relatives. It is not just natural calamities, but also accidents with man-made vehicles such as trains, ships, cars, busses or airplanes that could have altered a family.

The site has several methods to search for such events. On the left site of the homepage is a search box. Placing the name of a town or city along with the state’s name will produce all the disasters available on the site that occurred in that city. For example, placing the name “Miami, Florida” resulted in 110 different disasters, ranging from 1889 with a large hotel fire to a bus crash in 1937 to an airline crash in the Florida Everglades in 1963.

A brief description and date is first provided. Clicking on the listing gives more details. It is produced with one or more transcribed newspaper articles about the event. What can really help the researcher will be the names of individuals in bold print, making locating of possible relatives very easy. Names of not just victims, but also those were provided aid, such as firemen is also listed.

Besides using a location, the search allows you put in a surname or a person’s full name and search if anything is listed. Using the surname “Kershaw” produced eleven articles related to disasters.

In addition to the search engine, there is a navigation section where you could browse by looking for certain disasters, by individual states, by a certain year or also disasters that occurred in Canada.

The types of disasters covered include accidents in different type of vehicles, buildings collapsing, mine explosions, drowning, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, storms and tornadoes. With the roster of states, all states are listed along with the District of Columbia. For Canada, it is divided by the provinces and territories of the country. For dates, there are just a few listings for certain years prior to 1820.  After that date every year to 2011 is covered.

The site continually is adding new articles about additional disasters. There is also a complete view list of all the disasters on the database no matter when or where they occurred.

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