Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Time is Here

The FamilySearch Blog has listed additional information re 2015 Conferences.  If you are looking for an event to attend in 2015, check out their links.

Holiday Highs and Lows:  

  •  Just a day or two ago, I connected with another family history researcher who lives in Arkansas, (I live in Florida).  It's always exciting to know that there is another link in the chain we are building on the Givens Family Tree.  Or, should I say it's not so much a chain as a circle?  Chains are a little heavy, come to think of it.  Still, you get the drift.  Many hands make the work of research lighter!
  • Always around the Christmas Season, you will find that software companies will offer discounts in price for their family history programs.  You can find these offers in your e-mail box and online at genealogy websites.  Keep an eye out or prepare next year to take advantage of this.  
  • So far, I mentioned the good news but there are some who suffer from ill health, the flu, pinched nerves, and more and somehow, that seems inconsistent in our minds with what we would like: a Holly Jolly Christmas for everyone.  If you or a friend find yourselves in this predicament, remember that life is imperfect.  Take your meds, get plenty of sleep, and drink lots of fluids.  It's never too late to celebrate the overall goodness of love, families, friends, and other blessings.  And there is always Facebook to get your Christmas greetings sent out!  I've received several nice family photos already!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Time Flies

2014 is quickly rushing to an end and pretty soon, we'll slam right into a New Year! 

Yes, I know: it's not even Christmas yet.  And yet, I find myself thinking ahead to the many fine things that will be taking place in the New Year.  Especially, for genealogists and family historians. 

Spend a few minutes between now and New Year's Eve thing about 2015 and what it will mean to you in terms of your journey down Ancestor Avenue.

Consider, for example:
  • What's in store event-wise?  
    • Genealogists who love history will want to scope out what's happening in 2015 to commemorate and build appreciation of the history side of family history.  There's an App for that?  I'm not sure about whether there's an app, but using your search engine should give you an edge.
      • Possible Christmas Gift?  A Boxed Calendar created by The History Channel: People, events, and fascinating events to remember and celebrate in 2015!
      • Lincoln Funeral Coalition Re-Enactment.
      • Waterloo 200. (Be sure to check out the "Descendants" tab).  1815-2015 A.D.
      • Destination Gettysburg.  (Ten Events)
      • There are so many other events to check out in this category.  Don't forget state, regional, and local calendars for more possibilities.  Genealogy, 21st Century Style, includes and depends on historical perspective for understanding our ancestor's lives.
    •  In the genealogy community, you will hear much about the national conferences if you read any of the genealogy blogs that are the staple in our diet of education and news.  However, don't forget that state and local societies also have websites with calendars, also.  Here is a sampling of what's out there:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hope you enjoyed having time off (from the regular duties of your life), yesterday, and also hope you took a moment to reflect on your life--the half-full cup angle. My own Thanksgiving Dinner began with a blessing on the food said by my oldest son. Saying thanks to God for so many good things in life is a regular Thanksgiving tradition in my life.

Speaking of good things, did you ever wonder where all the databases (records from, come from? Most of us realize that there are microfilms stored in a "granite" mountain and that those are being processed so that they can become digital items. Part of that transition includes an indexing element so that the database is "searchable", online, for free.

The FamilySearch Blog shows us that the old microfilms are just the tip of the iceberg.

Take a moment, a moment of thanksgiving, and read this article, "Where do indexing projects come from". You'll feel even more thankful after you read it, for many helpful hands have had a hand in this process. Their commitment is stellar!  And we thank them!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Attention Class! These are links for You!

Does DNA Matter 2 You?

Obtaining a DNA Test: Are you prepared for possilbe life changing results?

  • Here are some thoughts and links that might help you make up your mind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

RootsTech2015: Keeping up with the Jacobs

Wildly successful and laugh-out-loud family reunion organizer to appear at Rootstech2015.  Is he related to you? 

The FamilySearch Blog is keeping us posted as they release the "happenings" that are going to take place at this popular conference in January.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lifelong Learning

Every conversation needs a "starter"; sometimes that's a bit of news, sharing a personal experience, or showing baby photos!

Today's sharing has to do with a presentation I created at Google Docs for my "Beyond Basic Genealogy" class at the Center for Lifelong Learning.  I hope as we review together, some of the things we've discussed over the course of this session, we will stay on task with our family history reseach even after the course ends.

Here's the presentation, or at least I hope I can post it here! 

Be sure to click on "Present" in the upper right corner and it should come off as a slideshow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Contents of 1901 Boston time capsule revealed | Deseret News

Contents of 1901 Boston time capsule revealed | Deseret News

Thoughts about this article:
  • Family Reunion Activity: Create, put together a family "time capsule" that can be retrieved in fifty to a hundred years?
  • What would you include (of all your "stuff") in a family history "time capsule" that would fit in this size container?  
 Other thoughts about this article and how it might pertain to "family history"?

Monday, October 13, 2014

WikiChicks: Calendar of Genealogy Events

WikiChicks: Calendar of Genealogy Events

Here's an Idea!  Can there be too many bloggers or virtual sources letting us know what's going on and where in the genealogy community?!  List your society's "event" here and check out the Facebook version.

Friday, October 03, 2014

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair: October 28, 29, and 30, 2014

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair: October 28, 29, and 30, 2014:

I love YouTube, and watching the presentations at that venue will be technologically a breeze!  To access the list of classes/lectures, access this site.

What we can find with the help of Federal records will give our ancestry hunt a big boost.

A Thank You to my friend Val for passing this along.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Seriously, You Should Think About Going!

RootsTech Conference Salt Lake City Feb. 12-14th.  I encourage you to read through the list of classes (over 200).  You might do something like this only once in your lifetime, but you'll have the memories forever!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County October Program

We call it, casually, "G-Soc[k]"; it's the Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County, (FL).  The Society is over 30 years old and has been faithfully providing monthly education programs for area genealogists all that time!  That takes dedication from the officers and committee chairs and over a period of time, the faces change, revolve, and disappear.

One such person was our friend, Florence "Flo" Lembeck.  She served as President of the Society in 1988 and again in 1992.  She was active in many ways in her community (Crestview) and in her County.  I have posted a link for her obituary, here, for those of you who knew or knew of Flo's contributions.  She was instrumental in  transcribing records and helping with the publications of the society, publications which preserve the records of Okaloosa, Santa Rosa County, and Walton County.

Flo was my mentor and a friend; she encouraged and inspired me.

October 11th Meeting (Second Saturdays, always), 2014:

Mr. Bert Blackmon will be the guest speaker for the October meeting at 10:00 am at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. His presentation will be "Researching Military Records" and will focus on the many kinds of records available for persons who served in the military and where to look for these records. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stumbling Books...Part 2

  • If I have searched for an online publications (digital book, article, etc.) and haven't located the information for which I am looking; what's next?  Answer: Search the online catalogs of libraries, for their holdings.  Think university libraries, private libraries, regional libraries, periodical libraries, etc.  Look into library acquisitions and "collections".  Do the WorldCAT thing.

  • If I take a research trip to Utah to visit the Family History Library, what do I do first and what choices do I make for maximizing my time? Answer: This answer is multi-faceted.  
    • Before you ever leave home, and this goes for any repository that you are visiting, you want to become familiar with the holdings of that institution.  Much information is available online. 
    • People are your best resource for some things.  At the FHL in SLC, there are "guides", classes, etc., for free.  Know which lectures/classes are being given the week that you are there.  Ask for a guide/volunteer/Family History Missionary, especially if you need translation help or research guidance.  Again, before you leave home, research the way the library is set up, when it's open, etc.
    • Head for the book shelves, which are located, last I checked, in a separate building across the street.  You know already what is there because you've looked at the catalog.  Look for the things you need that are not available elsewhere, such as books and family histories that are under copyright.  
    • Finally, check out this "TipList" for visiting the Library.  
      Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah

  • If I visit a local or regional library, how do I locate a book that will be helpful to me in building my family tree?  Answer: Again, most, if not all libraries have an online catalog.  Categories you might check for family history:

Here are some suggestions:

Most, if not all of the physical repositories that we might visit, employ a reference librarian (also called by other names--"adult librarian", etc.).  This person is put there to serve your needs.  If after consulting an online catalog, you cannot locate the source you are looking for, be sure to ask for help.  Get a map of the arrangement utilized in this particular library.  It is possible, and probable that that what you need may not be in the reference section, may not be catalogued according to the Dewey Decimal system.  If you do decide to ask the librarian for help, be as specific as you can in what you are needing.  Be polite and gracious, patient and appreciative.  For more info, Google "Ask a Librarian" and the state in which you are researching.

When looking for books online, please don't forget to search Google Books. 
Here is an example of what I found:  My search parameters were Loftin genealogy "North Carolina"; I clicked on the first "hit", North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register.  There were twelve references in this digitized publication and I looked at every one.  What I saw was land transactions, lots of land transactions.  Still, I find names, dates, and places of direct lineal ancestry!  Better yet, I found the same for people who may have been related to Leonard Loftin, who may have been in his "cluster"; I recognize some of those surnames as some of those that I already, with which I am familiar.

If you can't find your ancestors in the 1700's and back further, you will have to search old books, online or in person!

Stumbling Books Part 1

Stumbling?  The inveterate reader and messy person leaves books stacked by the bed, on the floor by the recliner, tucked into already heavily laden bookcases.  It's okay to be messy as long as you are a genius, right?!  As long as you don't stumble, trip, or land on your head, put your books wherever you can.  Dick Eastman, popular blogger, is an advocate for scanning those books that are irreplaceable.

Are you stumbling to find sources for your favorite hobby, genealogy?  Are you able to find virtual sources online that have the beauty of being searchable with a keyboard, mouse, and a click?  Can you locate genealogical information (stored in a physical book) via the Internet? 

The modern solution to these and other challenges is: combine the power of digital with the power of physical repositories.  Get the best of both worlds, realizing that there is still so much published data not yet scanned, not yet digitized, and not yet available on the Internet, and the work of getting that done is still a mammoth project!

How did we find the books we needed for genealogy before the Internet?  We used bibliographical guides and we used card catalogs, right?  On the Internet, we actually have "virtual" card catalogs.  They are found at, a portal is provided at, at and a searchable option for books at  There are webistes, now for most physical repositories whether large or small. 

Search the Library of Congress to see what has already been published about your family names (the wheel doesn't always need to be re-invented). 

Loveliest of all, perhaps, is WorldCat, a catalog that can find the book you are searching for, combined with the ability to tell you just where copies of the physical book reside in reference to your location.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Family Stories That Bind Us — This Life -

The Family Stories That Bind Us — This Life -

Gathering places, like the dinner table, for example, can be a meeting place for stories, as well.  Not just the pleasant recollections but also the not so pleasant ones.  For example, in the last days of my mother's life, my sister and brother and I shared our remembrance of bad times and good.  Our thoughts always came back to how my mother had brought the family through those times, how she always seemed to be the glue that held us together.  She was a survivor and she dragged us with her, forward and upward.

Sometimes being a hero, being a brave soldier, and being the one who holds on is more about staying in the race rather than winning it.  As the holidays descend upon us, let us use those "gathering times" and "gathering places" to tell the stories, both good and bad.  They will make us stronger and chase the shadows away for our children and/or grandchildren.

Headstone Symbolism | Symbols on Headstones Demystified

Headstone Symbolism | Symbols on Headstones Demystified

Here, at this site, you will find items that were utilized as symbols that reflected the life and/or death of the individual and the mindset of those left behind.  The list is kind of lengthy or I would have printed it out.  Still, I think that it will be a propeller to drive you in your search of cemeteries.

Campfire stories may have sparked early societal learning - LA Times

Campfire stories may have sparked early societal learning - LA Times

You will find that this article has been picked up by a number of publications.  What theme do you see presented in the article?  How does it remind you of some personal experiences you may have had in the past?

Firelight Talk Of The Kalahari Bushmen Helped Human Culture And Thought - Science News - redOrbit

Firelight Talk Of The Kalahari Bushmen Helped Human Culture And Thought - Science News - redOrbit

How have campfires enriched your cultural traditions?  I remember that long ago (I am so old, now!), as I was growing up, bonfires on the beach were a well-established practice.  Now, they are illegal.  Extending the light of the day after a glorious sunset was bonding experience for teenagers, families, groups.  I also remember going to Girls' Camp in the LDS church.  Our campfire was the connection that drew us into a circle of hopes, fears, and love. 
Camp Fire

Now, can you think of other lights that gather and warm your heart, that promote the exercise of imagination and the pull of gathering?  A fireplace is still a good thing in the homes of those who live in Northwest Florida.  Our homes get cold in the winter, believe it or not; some tease that we are really in Southeast Alabama.  Our winter was extremely cold.

Whether you have a fire pit or a fireplace or only hold candles--tell the tales of your ancestors, tell your stories.  Reflect the light of those who went before and draw closer to family members and friends in the cold months ahead.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Want to learn about your genealogy? A Virginia man compiles area resources. - The Washington Post

Want to learn about your genealogy? A Virginia man compiles area resources. - The Washington Post

After reading this article, here are some key themes I latched onto:
  •  The interaction between generations: A man helps his son with a homework assignment and discovers an avenue of interest for life.
  • Where would we genealogists be without volunteers, without those who've gone beyond their own research to compile resources for a community and beyond?
  • The "Virginia man", Harold McLendon, has affiliated with a local genealogical society.  He has become a valuable member of that society; the association has been good to him and he has reciprocated.  
Read the article and let me know what you get out of it.  Are there people like this in your community?  How does your commitment to genealogy enriched the life and research of others?

Friday, September 05, 2014

I Love Family History Research in the 21st Century

As I age, sometimes I get a little grumpy, but just so I'm really clear, I love doing family history research in this age of technological wonders!

I know that I complain sometimes and I'm impatient, occasionally, for everything on the Internet to be just like I want it, not in good time, but now!

However, when technology and technologically-savvy folks get together, there is absolutely nothing to do but get out of their way and let them perform their marvels.  I cannot say too much tonight (okay, it's early morning hours), about how satisfied and pleased I am with two of my favorite Web sites: and

I'm as happy as a baby with an ice cream cone! 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Library Notes: Search your family history at library - Evening Sun

Library Notes: Search your family history at library - Evening Sun

What is your favorite library for family history research?  I enjoyed reading this article because libraries don't often get enough attention for the role that they can play in family history resources.  Do you think that library trips are a waste of time or that everything is online, nowadays?

While it's true that there are these amazing projects to digitize written records and books and so forth, the truth is that there are still a lot of "written" records, books and other publications that still in print, in the traditional sense.  Here are some good reasons, as brought out in the article, and from my own experience, to visit a library.

  1. Libraries provide a dedicated area, (almost always), where you can spend an hour or more, working on your family history files.  Whether you have those files on your computer or in a notebook or whatever, sometime you just need a place and a time where you will not be disturbed, so that you can review and assess what you've already accumulated.
  2. Libraries (the physical repository) have online catalogs.  You can visit this catalog from home and plan what sources might be interesting or helpful for your genealogy journey.  Learn how to utilize the search option by playing with it.  Try entering surnames, topics, places, etc.; follow suggestions listed at the library catalog website and read the description of the items you locate.  Is it a book, a digital file, microfilm or what?!
  3.  Libraries have choices:  there is media of different types.  You can log onto their computers to access the Internet, but there are other options, too.  They often have access to "electronic" resources.  Some of these are subscription databases such as or Heritage Quest.  Other databases may be for magazines, articles, and periodicals.  Don't neglect the video offerings, either.  Many are of an educational nature, such as historical or travel related.
  4. The best resource in a library are the people who work or volunteer there.  A reference librarian or the head librarian has received training and knowledge on helping the public find what they are looking for.  They often know the history of the area, can help you find organizations like genealogical societies, and can point you where to go for what you're seeking.  Always be clear, concise, and specific in your requests.
  5. Check to see if your library sponsors classes or seminars in genealogy and family history.  Do they  know local people who can help with your research?  What other repositories can they suggest?  Look for brochures and pamphlets on how to use the library, local museums, local historic features, etc. 
  6. Does your library have a system for acquiring books that belong to other libraries?  
These are only a few of the many good reasons to visit a library in your home town, as you travel to other places, etc.  Below, you will find some links to other sites for this topic.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (OCLC)

Additional Infor:  LINK: (Category: Libraries)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What I'm doing this summer...

Watching YouTube: ----------------------------------------->>>

2.  Playing games with my Family Tree at FamilySearch! The name of the game is "Relative Finder"Granted you can't play until you upload your family tree and of course getting an account is FREE.

3.  Brushing up on Family Tree at FamilySearch. 

4.  Getting excited about my upcoming class at the Center-for-Lifelong-Learning. 

5.  Reviewing the Basics (so I can teach "Beyond Basic Genealogy")!

6.  Doing crosswords to keep my mind from degenerating.  You will find a sample on my website, today!

7.  Staying Cool:
YMCA: Oleans, NY 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ancestry Home Page

Ancestry Home Page 

  • Valerie Bertinelli on WDYTYA? Wednesday, @8p.m. Central Time on TLC network)
  •  New Records at Ancestry
  • My Shoebox
 The above list  are "items of interest" that appeared on my homepage at; today.    Occasionally, I'm in such a fever to search that I kind of rush past the news and announcements section. When I do take the take to review the page, however, I pick up information that is helpful and relevant to my ancestors.

For example, it is evident that some of the genealogy community enjoy and follow the series, Who Do You Think You Are?.  So, I appreciate the reminder that Wednesday is the night I want to tune in.  How does this help me in my genealogy?  For one thing, it reminds me that documentation is the by word of family history and that even for celebrities, there are some dark corners and closets that are uncovered, as well as records that record bravery and dedication.

 Are there newly acquired record collections at Ancestry that are especially relevant to my search objectives?  Is there a new feature that will become the tool I need to discover sources and data?  The Ancestry Home Page is the place to look for that.

My Shoebox: I love that has provided a "file" for things I stumble on but can't immediately relate to an ancestor. My Shoebox is where I put stuff until connect the dotes, "cold cases" , if you will.  I need, on occasion, to review that file and see if I can bridge the gap between my discoveries and my family tree.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Genealogy in Northwest Florida: Societies

 This is the place to tap the amazing collection of databases gathered by the genealogy community in Bay County, Florida. 
If you want to know the news and events of the local genealogical society, link to this page .

 The program for August will feature George and M. Legge, the Family History Center directors for the Fort Walton Beach Family History Center.  Open the GSOC web link for more information and to preview the web site central to the Family History Center's purpose, travel on over to the FamilySearch site.

  Topic: What’s New and How to Use It Speaker: Elder Balling and Elder Blair, from the LDS Church
Presentation will include new records and features of Family Search; how to search, create a pedigree fan chart, share photos, build a family tree, chat with a live person for help, and use Puzilla to “find our cousins.” WFGS member Mrs. Lee Scott will also be available to answer any in-depth general questions. is a free website with many genealogy records to access, and WFGS library volunteers have recently been trained to assist visitors in using its resources.

Note: this is the program originally scheduled for June, which we had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances. Members and guests are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be available at 9:45. Meeting begins at 10:00 A.M. Point of contact is Charlotte Schipman, 850-477-7166, email

This society has spent many hours in accumulating acquisitions for the Milton Library in the Genealogy Department.  They also hold their monthly meetings in the library on 3rd Saturdays at 10a.m.  For more information, contact one of the board members listed on page 2 of the PDF Document Link above..

Summer Explorations

  • BillionGraves Q&A  I am not yet a part of the Billion Graves project; but I love what they are doing to ease my path in locating interments.  Due to the immense learning curve standing between me and GPS photograpy skills, I have been slow to get on board!  So what is BG and what are they doing that hasn't been done before?  This website offeres Frequently-Asked-Questions in the "Q and A" format so that we can all be in the know. 

What websites and resources do you use to find or locate your ancestor's graves?  Here are some of the ones I've utilized:
  2. Family Search Catalog:  Microfilms, Books, locality resources, etc.
  3. FamilySearch Search Your Ancestor!
  4. Find-A-Grave
  5. USGenWeb
  6. Publications of genealogical societies which are housed in libraries: Check Library of Congress and WorldCat or the library catalogs of individual repositories.
  7. Periodicals (See PERSI), available at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as well as at some other locations (Your local library may have Heritage Quest online).  Read more about Heritage Quest at Dick Eastman's Encyclopedia.
  8. Newspaper Obituaries:  Wherever you can find digitized or archived newspapers and obituaries, is where you must go.  I would recommend you look at Cyndislist because this is a comprehensive category that may pop up in a number of places.
Other ideas?  

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Local Programs in the Northwest Florida Genealogical Community


Our speaker for the July 12 GSOC meeting will be Amy Raley. Raley, who is the historian associate at the Local History and Genealogy branch of the Mobile Public Library, will speak on early immigration routes in the "old Southwest", and "The Federal Road." 
Is this the "old Federal Road of Alabama"?  Come and Find Out!
The Genealogical Society meets on second Saturdays of the month at the Vapariso Heritage Museum at 10 AM. Join us for dutch treat lunch after the meeting! See you there!!!!

Local Programs in Northwest Florida Genealogy Community


West Florida Genealogical Society     

Meeting Date: August 2, 2014
West Florida Genealogy Library. 5740 N. 9th Ave, Pensacola, FL
Time: 10:00 AM
Topic: What’s New and How to Use It
Speaker: Elder Balling and Elder Blair, from the LDS Church

Presentation will include new records and features of Family Search; how to search, create a pedigree fan chart, share photos, build a family tree, chat with a live person for help, and use Puzilla to “find our cousins.” WFGS member Mrs. Lee Scott will also be available to answer any in-depth general questions. is a free website with many genealogy records to access, and WFGS library volunteers have recently been trained to assist visitors in using its resources.

Note: this is the program originally scheduled for June, which we had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.

Members and guests are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be available at 9:45. Meeting begins at 10:00.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Online Tutorial


Found this through FamilySearch.  The free course was developed at Allen County Public Library, in the Genealogy Center.  I hope that you will take a look at it, (we all need reminders, from time to time), and I hope you will pass it along to a friend, a grandchlld, a companion.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How Do I Begin To Document and File Family History?  An Introduction

How Do I Begin To Document and File Family History?  An Introduction

If this is an introduction, then it is quite comprehensive.  It is a site rich in thought content.  No pretty pictures, no design candy, but chock full of theory, principle, and links.

Take some time to read (yes, I said R-E-A-D) and digest the information.  Perhaps, you could write your own thesis, using what you have learned in your genealogy experience as a basis for a discussion and sharing.

And do not get overwhelmed.  This is a lifelong pursuit you have begun.  You will move from one step to the next, progressing in your knowledge and skill, growing progressively, up the ladder of realization and accomplishment.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flickr Search: family reunions | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Flickr Search: family reunions | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Yahoo account?  Take a look at the search box--it can be your key to the power of photography.  I chose as my search phrase, "Family Reunion"; it was wonderful to look through these smiling faces, loving families, and who knows, if you search your family names, you might find  your own family reunion photo!

Friday, May 30, 2014

MAP OF THE WEEK: Native American Nations | This Land Press

MAP OF THE WEEK: Native American Nations | This Land Press

I love this map stuff and this link showed up on my twitter page!  I'm not surprised.  After all, I follow genealogists, I follow genealogy organizations, and I search for genealogy everything.  What have you got in your twitter "box", lately?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Person Details for Lucinda Harper in household of David Harper, “United States Census, 1850″ — | GenQuestDiary

Person Details for Lucinda Harper in household of David Harper, “United States Census, 1850″ — | GenQuestDiary

The chore of the genealogist/Family Historian is to find a document, read the document, evaluate the document, and pull out information that seems to agree with other information gathered previously.  Or, perhaps this is the first historical document on which you will see your family.  In that case, you will want to investigate other sources such as other census info, death and marriage information, land records, etc.  You won't really know the value of the first piece of evidence until you have compared it with other pieces.

The reason that a census page cannot be primary source in and of itself:
  • We don't know who was home the day that the enumerator came round.  It may have been an older child or an old aunt who was visiting.  Even if mom or dad was there, they may have been illiterate--as many people were back in the day--literacy took a back seat to survival!  I know that "illiteracy" doesn't equal stupidity, but if you are illiterate you may not have paid quite as much attention to exact dates, exact spellings, etc.  Comments, anyone?  Agree?  Disagree?
  • The enumerator was a human being and made very human errors.  He may have had terrible penmanship or the best possible handwriting.  He may have been hot, tired, and hungry and in a hurry.  He may have been hard of hearing?  The list of maybe's is a long one.
  • Family members may have become separated, married off, or deceased, so don't expect it to show the perfect record on the census.  Families were very much on the move in rural American and their lives weren't static models.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Lot of Nonsense | Florida State University Special Collections and Archives

A Lot of Nonsense | Florida State University Special Collections and Archives

Are you in touch (via twitter, facebook, etc) with your university's digital collection?  Search at Twitter and/or Facebook for "state name" + university library + digital collection.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Genealogy's Star: Why must you prove your genealogical case?

Genealogy's Star: Why must you prove your genealogical case?

 Genealogists have only quite recently recognized the need for a systematic methodology for establishing genealogical facts. Until the early to mid-1900s, ideas concerning the need for sources and a proof standard did not exist. The current standards owe their origin to genealogists such as Donald Lines Jacobus, who began to establish a more scientific method of research based on primary source documentation.

My reaction to the article:  Bravo!  The world has become, with every passing year, a complexity of statements, opinions, articulations, and data.  Fabrication and fictionalization pose as truth in supposed publications of infallible reputation.

But, don't take it personally.  Wanting to be accurate and prove the truth of a matter, whether it's your own genealogy or from a database online has a great deal to do with our soaring admiration for our history. 

A familial affection for our ancestors as we uncover the forensics of who they were, where they were, and why they were is the product of our love for things as they are, not things as we would like them to be or as others think they are.  Most of my ancestors were farmers, but it was never that simple.  They moved, relocated, and commuted to work, in search of a job, in search of a life that would be better for them and their families. 

Maybe I pontificate too much.  All I'm really trying to say is that searching for humanity is a search for dignity and something worth memorializing.  Though I doubt that I will ever have the whole story of my ancestors, every fragment makes them more real to me, more dear to me.  Why would I not want to document them?  It's a step toward knowing who they were and a big step toward knowing who I am.

Friday, May 09, 2014

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.4 Million Images to Collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States |

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.4 Million Images to Collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States |

This is some great news, friends!  I strongly encourage each of you to look at the FamilySearch Indexing project...without this vital ingredient,  these images and others like these will not be searchable and easily  accessed.

You can become an indexer and  spend a few minutes each week volunteering your energies to a project that will forever afterward make the records available online, to all and FOR FREE.  It is so easy to do a little that will mean a lot.  I even know of children who are helping to index!

Especially needed are folks with foreign language skills.  Oh, and the service pool includes many, many folks who come from all backgrounds and ethnicities, from various cultures and religions.  Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you can read and work a computer, you can join the ranks!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County meets Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the [Valparaiso] Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida

Bruce Rova, past president of the West Florida Genealogical Society, (Pensacola), will be the featured speaker.  Watch a YouTube video interview with Bruce Rova  that showcases the West Florida Society.

The topic upon which Bruce will focus on Saturday will be "Who's That Lady?".

This program will address a problem that genealogical researchers often encounter: identifying maiden surnames, parents, and other information for women in family trees when we only know a married surname.

Mr. Rova will discuss strategies and resources that can help in this process and will share practical examples of a myriad of means he has used successfully in his research: reviewing how to find direct sources and, especially, gathering and using clues from indirect sources to reveal new information and resolve such problems.

The meetings of the GSOC are open to the public and there is no charge for the regular monthly meetings.  So if you're interested in genealogy or family history, please join us.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Interest in genealogy on the rise

Interest in genealogy on the rise

The article link above correctly points to how the development of technology has changed the face of genealogy in this century.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Genealogy Quips (Genealogy Humor)

Genealogy Quips

Genealogy's Star: The State of the States: Digitization Projects by State

Genealogy's Star: The State of the States: Digitization Projects by State

I'm always excited to hear of digitization projects, especially if it is happening in a state in which I have research interests.  So, whether it's newspapers or vital event records, I'm always happy to hear of it.  Check the article out and do an Internet search to see if your "location of interest" is in the news!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography : Owen, Thomas McAdory, 1866-1920 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography : Owen, Thomas McAdory, 1866-1920 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
It's just amazing that you can search this archive from the recliner or your desk at home!  You can search and download materials and it costs nothing.  NOTHING.

Information is power.  Power at your fingertips with this web site.  In 21st
Century, genealogy is family history and all about drawing from the well of knowledge so that you can see how it was, "back then".

Wednesday, April 16, 2014



supports and shouts out to Saturday in the Park.  What is that?!  Preserve Heritage!  Show Heritage!  Come visit with us in the Vale of Paradise (Valparaiso).  Saturday, 26 April, 2014. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

In an article from the Deseret News published Wednesday, April 2, 2014, this morning, there is a confirmation that while progress is being made whereby members of the LDS church will obtain free access to certain certain databases later the is year, it is reiterated that

"Free access to two of the commercial family history websites is already available to the general public at more than 4,700 FamilySearch-owned family history centers and libraries worldwide. Ancestry and FindMyPast currently offer free access to all patrons at the centers. MyHeritage will begin granting free access later this year...".

This article came to my attention when I was getting my morning dose of Dick Eastman and his online genealogical newsletter. 

While we all dream of being able to do everything genealogy-wise from the recliner in the living room, occasionally, much good can result in getting up and out the door and going down to the local Family History Center.  

I enjoy, very much, the opportunities I have to do just that, probably because the opportunities are few and far between.  I enjoy being able to use "for-profit" databases (like Fold3 and FindMyPast), for free.  I am inspired to see others at the Family History Center who are dedicated to finding their ancestors.  I am enlightened by the staff members and their combined pool of genealogy "how-to".  The staff is eager to help and the resources at are growing every day.

As in any "breaking news", take the time to read the article, ...all of it.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding Family History Through Social Networks -

Finding Family History Through Social Networks -

Look for information on the Internet about:

Social Networking [for genealogy].  

Social Networking for Genealogists - Family Social Networks & Online Family Trees

Social Networking for Genealogists - Family Social Networks & Online Family Trees

I appreciate this article and wonder how up-to-date it is.  Nevertheless, I am a little overwhelmed in preparing for my presentation coming up on Saturday, April 12th, at the Genealogical Society and any web site that mentions Social Networking is going into my "arsenal"---wish I could think of a better word---I'm certainly not planning an attack!

Originally, I was thinking that "Social Networking for Genealogy" had more to do with Facebook, Twitter, and Piinterest; now I realize that there are many web sites that have been created for the purpose of genealogy networking, specifically.

Actually, we've had "social" networking for genealogy since the days of Bulletin Boards and "soc genealogy".  Okay, I'm totally still getting my ducks in a row, (is this a hunting reference?), and whittling down the material to 45 minutes will be a challenge!  What do you get out of social networking for genealogy?  Have you located collaborators, family members. or distant cousins?  Let me hear your stories. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Genealogy How-To Resources

Where do I turn for Genealogy “How-To's”?
Part I

You can approach genealogy in one of several ways:
  • Just Jump In!
  • Start by asking your older relatives for information.
  • Look under the bed for shoeboxes of photos or in attics for dusty old trunks.
  • Record in a notebook or on a word processor what you find.
  • Visit your local library and talk to the librarian.
  • Ask A Friend
  • Ask a friend if they know anything about genealogy, they know someone who is into genealogy.
  • Find out if there is a local Family History Center at the local LDS church. (Phone book or look online)
  • Local genealogy societies often advertise their meetings in the newspaper.
  • Go Online. The information highway is full of information!
  • Various other websites will lead you by the hand...there is information at the There is help at, and so forth and so on.

Here are some of my favorite web sites to go, no only for genealogy news, but for genealogy guidance.

  • I love genealogy “blogs”. Real people talking about stuff they know. Although even large corporations have blogs, now, you can still get educational and technical instruction at a blog. Remember the “two heads is better than one” axiom? I frequently get inspiration from a blog on new ideas to try with my research. New tools are often introduced, new resources, and new technology are discussed, as well.
  • Genealogical Societies, educational institutions, newspapers online---there is literally no end to what you can find, online, to help you get started or help you break down those brick walls.

Be sure and read past blogs of mine for more information and Part 2 of this discussion will reference specific online websites.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Ancestry Insider: RootsMapper: Another FamilySearch Family Tree Extension

The Ancestry Insider: RootsMapper: Another FamilySearch Family Tree Extension

Rootsmapper is a free web site that can connect to your Family Tree at Familysearch; it shows on a map where your ancestors were from--all this, of course, according to what you've put in the program already.  Found out about this from "The Ancestry Insider" (see link above).

Here a screenshot of my first four generations:

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Fox News - Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos

Fox News - Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos

No, I haven't gone nuts.  Showering you with a gift about "breaking news updates" and a link for "Latest News Headlines" isn't my idea of a great genealogy find.

However, genealogy and family history are in the news all the time; have you noticed that newspapers carry stories relative to the topic at hand?  And if I subscribed to all the newsletters about genealogy, and read them thoughtfully, I wouldn't have time to teach a class.

So, I am going to tell you that, (guess what?!!), there are entities on the Internet, perhaps even the NSA (National Snoops Association), who are interested in what you're interested in.  Actually, I think that governmental agencies will have to take a back seat to business, mercantile, and shopping corporations, who are driven by their need/desire to know what you're interested in.  They want your money and they are very clever about finding ways to entice you to spend it. 

This being said, should we all drop out of the system, the connected generation, the mighty and wondrous super highway of information?  Should we encrypt our e-mails, quit clicking, and go to bed? 

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Marie Curie

Make yourself knowledgeable about the facts of Internet Security, trust your own instincts, and know that you are not a fool for trying to locate your ancestry on the World Wide Web.  I've spoken about Dick Eastman and his online genealogy newsletter He is wise and learned, not just about family history, but also about technology.  Read his newsletters.  When you have an opportunity to get hold of a computer magazine at the doctor's office (Wired is an excellent example), choose to read it instead of other more familiar magazines and become more savvy about computers, web sites, and security.  

Follow bloggers in the genealogy community who also know something about how to search safely without worrying about  "Big Brother"; you don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about this or even becoming educated.  It's something we need to be aware of and be moderately cautious about, but take a lesson from those who mine the Internet for nefarious reasons: Teach yourself or gain knowledge from others on how to mine the Internet for Family History.  That will be one of the things we want to discuss on Friday at the last class at the Center for LIfelong Learning--for this session--and for the class I teach, Beyond Basic Genealogy.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

War of 1812 Pension Application Files - Fold3

War of 1812 Pension Application Files - Fold3

FamilySearch just donated $250 K to this project; these files are some of the most requested in our country.  As the files are digitized, they will appear on this site.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Google Redesigns News Archive, Makes Searching Through Newspapers Easy

Google Redesigns News Archive, Makes Searching Through Newspapers Easy

A tip that just might help genealogists is worth looking into.  [Recommended by "Susan"  aka "Sunny" Taylor-Colby at LinkedIn Group, Genealogical and Historical Research].  Thank you, Sunny and thank you Google!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Baldwin County Genealogical Society getting started guide

Baldwin County Genealogical Society getting started guide

I like short lines at the grocery store (and other places) and I like simple straightforward instructions when learning something new.

That is why I needed to post this "Getting Started" Guide.  It is simple and sweet, straightforward and SHORT!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My third great grandfather, Samuel William Settles | GenQuestDiary

My third great grandfather, Samuel William Settles | GenQuestDiary

Here's another one of my blogs; sometimes I use a blog to try and work things out on paper; rewriting your research as a narrative gives you a great setting for doing just that.  Of course, some software programs will do that for you, but you usually can save that as a document and edit it. will also "write your story for you", in the sense that they take all of the information you have put in, including facts generated by the documentation you've added in the process of utilizing the web site.

But, I promise you, whichever method you use to accomplish this, telling a story about your ancestor isn't just a tool for reviewing the research you've done, it's the end result of what we want to accomplish.  All the charts and research and relationships have to come together on a stage, on the stage of life.  I can look now at my blog about Samuel W. Settles and see, already, that I am not there, yet.  It lacks a lot!  So, back to the drawing board, folks.  I'm hoping I can pull out a rabbit or two and get a better grip on who great great great grandpa was.

West Florida Genealogical Society March Meeting

West Florida Genealogical Society

"Understanding Your Y-DNA" will be presented by Bert Outlaw, President of the West Florida [Pensacola] Society.  The program will cover:
  • Short Tandem Repeats
  • Most Recent Common Ancestor
  • Y-markers
  • What is a match?
  • Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor
  • Using and/or and comparing results from different companies.
 Regular Meetings are open to the public and free of charge.  Meetings are held on the first Saturday of the month (except July) at 10a.m. at the West Florida Genealogy Library, 5740 N. 9th Ave., Pensacola, Florida.

Monday, February 24, 2014

RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project Global Search

RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project Global Search

Look for your surname here.

Old Ships A

Old Ships A

Guess which of these ships is the one that my mother's uncle served on in the War (World War II)?!  Because I was able to access a document at FamilySearch that gave the ship's name and had my relative as serving on that ship, my daughter was able to locate this site, which indeed does have the ship's image.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Census Online - Okaloosa Co., Florida Census Records - 7 Links

Census Online - Okaloosa Co., Florida Census Records - 7 Links

I found the information for my ancestor in the 1935 Florida State Census at FamilySearch, then clicked on "About this Collection" in the box where the image should have been.  

That took me to the FamilySearch Wiki, then at the bottom of that article was "related websites"--okay, it wasn't all the way to the bottom of the page.  It actually followed the "Known Issues with this Collection"  I clicked on the link and voila!  Up popped the Census Online page.  Cool, huh?

Actually, the link didn't provide the images for the 1935 Census for Okaloosa County; I went back to FamilySearch Wiki and accessed a link close to the top of the article on the topic. The link was right under the little inset box with the FamilySearch Logo; it said "Access the Records" and then there is a little link, 1935 Florida State Census.  This leads to a form at FamilySearch's "Search the 1935 Florida State Census", where you can search for anyone and everyone that should be in that census.  However, I was looking for an image of the actual page.  Unfortunately, or fortunately with limitations, I found---again at the bottom of that page, the information I was seeking:

View Images in this Collection Browse through 36,019 image

Source Information

"Florida, State Census, 1935." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Call it luck or serendipity, when someone stumbles across a genealogical treasure, he is at the right place at the right time!

Fred made a trip to the local Family History Center.  Through the special FamilySearch Portal, which offers access to a number of premium resources, he was able to bring up an "old" genealogy magazine which is now out of print.  The Genealogical Helper was an essential tool in the years before the development of the Internet, a place to post queries and sometimes, find other family members or potential collaborators.

In this resource, Fred found a reference to a a surname that was in his family files, a line which had become a "brick wall" in his research.  Amazingly, the person who posted the "ad" was still living, as Fred discovered via the Internet.  He has written this individual at the same address that he posted in the Genealogical Helper and will let me know if or when he gets a response.  There is a good chance that the man is his second cousin!

And now, Fred, for you, the lyrics of a song from the Sound of Music; I know it's a kind of love song, but I just feel like you must have been living good to receive this opportunity to link to your kinfolk.  At the very least, you had a genealogy angel watching over you!  It could also be argued that, occasionally, when you reach out for help, your investment of time and effort is rewarded in a big way!
Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth
For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood

I must have done something good
For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
Maria and the Captain:
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth
Or childhood
I must have done something . . .
Maria and the Captain:
Something good

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Use case studies to become a better family history and genealogy researcher - Springfield genealogy |

Use case studies to become a better family history and genealogy researcher - Springfield genealogy |

How can using case studies help you to become a better family historian and genealogist?  Class activity and discussion will center on this topic on Friday, the 21st.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Tree - A Genealogy Case Study

Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Tree - A Genealogy Case Study

There are many case studies available that take a particular person and show you how to step-by-step research their genealogy, using a variety of methods.  See how this plays out with Laura Ingalls Wilder and the people in her life (she is a real historical person, but her life didn't necessarily follow the character in the book all the time).

Start with what you know or can find out online at wikipedia, for example.  Then using this information, go out and find some kind of evidence for the facts.

There are case studies that have been done the "wrong way" as well as the "right way"; what kind of story can you reconstruct about your ancestros, using family tradition, the census, the clues?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

John Philip Colletta: Genealogist

John Philip Colletta: Genealogist

He wrote "They Came in Ships" .  If he'd never done anything else, that would put him in my heart!  I've heard him speak and if you ever have the opportunity to do that, you'll love him just like I do!

Check out his website!  

Friday, February 07, 2014

Ethan Stiefel Makes a New Zealand Ballet Troupe His Own -

Ethan Stiefel Makes a New Zealand Ballet Troupe His Own -  

Who, in your family, sacrificed comfort and close proximity to family members, for a higher calling?  How generous Mr. Stiefel is to share his vision with the NZ Ballet Troupe!  I'll just bet he has accumulated a lot of sky miles, going back and forth to the U.S. of A.

I think of our military serving, sometimes, thousands of miles from home.  Not only is it their sacrifice that must be noted, but those of their families, as well!

Back to the Ballet:  Maybe there is little about the art of dancing on your toes to compare with what the men and women in uniform do, but I do believe that there are occasions when the easy choice is not always the right or best choice.  I've found that the dreams that you pay for with sacrifice are dreams that bless your family and posterity and perhaps the fight for world peace.

My son lives in New Zealand.  He chose to be there where he could make a living in the field in which he received formal training.  He chose New Zealand, also, because he liked it.  Do we miss him and wish he was closer to "home"?  All the time.  However, he is broadening his horizons in several areas, starting a new family, and making a contribution. 

Our ancestors didn't stay, (some of them), in the same place all their lives.  There was always that one that chose a different life, a less traveled path.   Hopefully, they enriched their lives, the lives of their family, and the lives of those around them.  Hopefully, we can document the footprints of their "beyond the blue horizon" walk and bring them back, at least on paper, to back to the memories of those who stayed behind, or rather, to their descendants.

Kaylee, born a year ago in Auckland, New Zealand.  My son, living and working there, married a lovely girl from the Republic of China, and voila!  I am the grandmother of a sweet new branch on our tree.