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2020 Census - Oh, Dear!

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It’s Census Time and here’s my take on the 2020 U.S. Census. I’m not impressed.I got the mailer the second week in March when we were all busy trying to make plans for the unknown.I put it in my to do pile for Spring Break.One of my adult children, who lives 4 minutes from me in the same town never got the form.My other adult child, who recently moved back to our home and has mail forwarded from the last address, never got it either.Hmm, not good if you’re trying to locate everyone.Definitely not good when everyone is housebound but the census takers aren’t out and about because it doesn’t officially open until April 1, 2020. Next problem was I tried to complete the form online.I was halfway done when the doorbell rang and the roofer came to try to find why my kitchen window was leaking (because the window installer insists the window isn’t the problem).When I came back it had timed out and I had to start all over.Seriously, they couldn’t have put a Save button on that.(Happily, it w…

More Shelter in Place Genealogy Ideas

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Part 2  Last week my blog was a whole lot longer than usual but I figured now that you’re housebound, you’ve got time to read.I have seven additional ideas to work on since you can’t run down to your local archive or call a library to access a record.Now is a wonderful opportunity to…
1.Review what you have on that brick wall ancestor.Take every scrap of evidence and spread it out on your workspace.Now arrange it in chronological order and study it.Next arrange it by connections, such as every document that has the spouse’s name, too.Do you see any missing time frames?Maybe there was a marriage certificate for 1842, a deed in the same county for 1852 but one of the individuals isn’t mentioned in the 1860 U.S. Federal census but shows up again in 1870. That’s a clue to figure out where the individual was in 1860 – maybe they were ill and placed in a sanitarium, perhaps they were visiting an adult child in another area, the person may have had to find work elsewhere or attend the funera…

Alternative Spring Break Genealogy Ideas

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Like the rest of the world, my Spring Break plans have come undone.Flexibility is a great trait for genealogists so I’m looking at this bump in the road as a way to help me grow.Seriously!Stick with me and I’ll give you some ideas. First, I’d like to apologize for my last blog being posted late. I didn’t realize until Wednesday it hadn’t been published.Typically, I write on Saturday mornings and post immediately.The week prior, I thought I would be working on Saturday so I wrote two blogs with the intent of publishing the second before I left for work the next weekend.Except, my weekend gig was cancelled.I decided Saturday to alter my routine.After the crazy week of trying to wrap up client requests in the event that my local archives closed (and they have) and making plans to relocate my educational job to home (which also came to be), along with trying to prepare our home for shelter in place, I decided to take Saturday to spend outdoors all day.Our yard looks fantastic! On Sunday,…

Colorizing Old Photos

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You may have tried the new MyHeritage tool that allows you to upload a black and white photo that will be transformed into color.  I spoke with a colleague at a genealogy conference last month who gushed about the magic of the results.
I finally got around to trying it and decided the true test would be with one of the photos in my collection that were of a known relative so I could compare results with memory.
I selected a photo of my great grandmother, Anna Grdenic Kos[s]:

I recall this photo was taken Christmas 1961 or 1962.  I remember the dress and that my grandmother, Mary Violet Kos Koss, purchased the corsage and it was worn to the church service.  I even recall where they attended, St. Joseph's Croatian [Roman] Catholic Church in Glen Park, Gary, Lake, Indiana.  I didn't go with them because the mass was in Croatian; instead, my mother and I walked a block to attend services at St. Mark's [Roman] Catholic Church.

Here's what the colorization looks like:
This w…

The U.S. National Archives Update

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I love researching at NARA!  Sure, some of the records are available online but holding that original document in my hands and knowing that my ancestor once touched it is a feeling like no other.  The staff has always been accommodating and when I get all teary eyed when I've made a new discovery, many have patiently listened and shared in my joy.

It's time for us to step up and see to it that the agency gets the funding they need to continue to do the job for us.  The tentative budget provides less than the amount allocated in 2010 yet the demands for archiving have risen.  We must contact our Congressional representative by Tuesday, March 11th, to make them aware of the importance of adequate funding.

Dear Readers, I've only asked you once before to contact your representatives when the 500% proposal to raise the fee by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service in December was announced.  I try very hard to not be political in my blogs.  I don't care what side …

Only 180 Photos to Go

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Just 75 years ago this spring, WW2 came to a close.  The Faces of Margraten project, spearheaded by the nonprofit Fields of Honor Database in the Netherlands, is attempting to locate 7500 photos of U.S. service personnel who sacrificed their lives to end the conflict.  Between May 2-6, 2020, at the American War Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, the photos will be displayed at the gravesite or the Memorial Wall for those who were missing in action. 

As of today, the organization is only 180 photos short of their goal.  Do you know of a family or community member who was interred in Margraten?  If so, you can send a photo of the deceased to info@degezichtenvanmargraten.nl.

I became involved last summer when I received an email from the organization inquiring about a distant relative found in my Ancestry.com tree.  I didn't have a photo but after checking out the organization, decided I needed to help.  All it took was an email to the hometown library and a request to check a loca…

Beneficial Conference Take Aways You Can Use, Too

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Every conference is a learning experience and today was no exception.  My local genealogy society sponsored four presentations by Dr. Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA and one break out session by a local genealogist. 

I've lost count of how many in person and online presentations I've attended given by Tom.  In every one, he always makes the most difficult scenarios seem easy to resolve.  I enjoying following his logic in drawing a conclusion based on the records he has or has not found. 

The program today started with the beginner level, progressed quickly and then ended with an upbeat - you can (and should) do this approach.  Here's my four biggest take aways that can help your research:

Tom lamented that he wasted nearly 20 years at the beginning of his family history career by not reading genealogical journals.  I made the exact same mistake.  If you're a newbie, you will benefit from reading articles published by the National Genealogical Society, The American Gen…