Showing posts from June, 2016

Genea Wishes- Wouldn't it be nice if these genealogy tools were available...

Was looking over some hints on Ancestry the other day and thought - wow, wouldn't it be great if:
You could designate your guesses in some way - perhaps a color like yellow for caution - meaning that I'm not really sure yet and just checking this out so please don't put it as fact in your tree.  I realize that this is most relevant for people like me who make their trees public so that others won't just grab the guess as true.  Those that have their tree private, though, could also benefit as it would allow them to see what areas needed more analysis.Use color to separate lines - make my Duers' blue and my Leiningers' green and my Koss' purple, for example.  Then, when I was looking at a descendant I could easily identify their lineage.  I know there is supposed to be the actual connection listed but mine comes and goes:           See, it's missing. It should say relationship unknown but it says nothing.  Kate's line does not           link to my kno…

Righting History

I've been following the interesting series of articles published by the New York Times and Washington Post regarding Georgetown University's history of selling slaves to keep the school financially solvent.

Finding records in the old south is often difficult but for the former enslaved, it is even more so.  The links to the three articles below provide helpful hints on how to identify the paper trail:

272 Slaves were Sold to Save Georgetown.  What Does it Owe Their Descendants?

A Million Questions From Descendants of Slaves Sold to Aid Georgetown

Georgetown's priests sold her Catholic ancestors.  Then she found out in an unexpected way.

Of course, the articles were not written to help newbie genealogists learn how to discover records of enslaved individuals.  Besides discussing reparations, they highlight the emotions that families experience when a discovery of unsavory findings from the past is brought to light and the journey the families face as they move forward with th…

Death and the Genealogist

My friends and colleagues like to kid me about my genealogy passion and my organizational skills by asking if I’ve already written my own obituary.  My reply is always, “I haven’t – yet!”  I really will, though, and just might get a start on it this summer.  Although I wish my kids would write one like the son of a recently deceased woman's did: “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday,” theobituaryread, which was published in theRichmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday, May 17.”[1]  I’ll spare my children having to come up with something clever and will do it myself.  I plan on keeping it short but definitely not like this obituary, the shortest ever published:  “Doug died.”[2]  Perhaps a genealogists nightmare as there is so little information provided but it is telling about the gentleman's personality. I think it’s important to be prepared so that my …

Just Two Tiny Words

Last time I blogged about the discovery of one of my husband’s great great grandpas wearing some type of insignia in an old photo I had not previously noticed.  I intended to work towards identifying it this summer when out of the blue, a descendant of that two times great grandpa emailed me. The cousin believes it may be Masonic so I’ll be exploring that angle soon.  In the meantime, her email had me in a tizzy!  Cousin wanted to know if I was the Ancestry tree that had placed the same grandfather’s first wife as the sister-in-law of his second wife.  It wasn’t my tree that she was referring to but when I investigated the owner of that tree I noticed he had borrowed the photo I was now hanging on my office wall and a Bible page that I had posted.  There were no source citations as to the marriage.  I emailed him and although he’s had a tree for a number of years and was on the site recently, he didn’t respond.  I haven’t researched that line in at least 6 years so I went back over my …

Photographs Unveil Information in a New Light

I’ve had a very strange week – genealogywise!  It started with this recent family photo tree purchase:

I always wanted to place family photos on the wall in my office but I couldn’t decide which pictures to use or how to group them.  I saw the photo tree concept online but the reviews weren’t good; some said it was difficult to put together and others complained it wouldn’t stay up on the wall.  The trees were pricy, too, and I didn’t want to waste time and money on a product that would frustrate me. A few weeks ago I found the tree pictured above offered through Books R Fun locally.  The reasonable price and the easy directions worked for me!  Within minutes I had the tree up and then it hit me – why not use couple photos.  I could display more people that way and since my husband and I share an office, it would serve as a nice reminder of our many grandparents.  I didn’t think it was going to take me long to finish the project as I sort of knew which photos I would select.  First prob…

Mosquito Epidemics, Oh My!

After picking up all the soggy Spanish moss in my yard after Tropical Storm Colin I started thinking about mosquito epidemics.  Well, this was how my thought process ended up on disease caused by skeeters:

1."I hate Spanish moss because it's everywhere after a storm"

2. It can be useful.  The early settlers used it for comfort by stuffing their mattresses with it and if you're lacking water in the woods, you can suck on the inside."

"Chiggers - I hope there's no chiggers in this stuff cause I've feeling itchy!"

"OMG, I just got bit and I hope it was a chigger and not a mosquito!"

All that rain has produced a bumper crop of mosquitoes in my area.  I tend to use natural products so I've been dowsing myself with Skin So Soft even though I hate the smell of it.

I don't know if Zika is causing concern in your area like it is here; the Avon lady told me she completely sold out of Skin So Soft the week before my purchase.  Understa…

Random Genealogy News

Maybe due to the recent passing of Tropical Storm Colin through my area my thoughts are fairly random today! Several days of heavy rain and wind is pushing me to get outside and do some cleanup yard work so this will be brief!

First up - did you know that Family Tree Maker is back.  They have a newsletter that will keep you updated as to when they are going to start synching again with  If you're a faithful reader you know I gave up on them about two years ago but now I'm thinking that maybe the problem was that I had the 2012 version and when they moved to the 2014 version it interfered with the synch. Neither FTM or Ancestry ever asked me what version I was using when I repeatedly called which says a lot about their customer support.  Anyway, the software is now owned by mackiev which used to make really good products, like Kidspics that my own children loved back in the day.   For $29.95 they'll sell you their latest version of FTM at a discount if you had…

Pursuing Genealogy on a Shoestring Budget - Part 3

This is the last in a series of posts about keeping the costs down on our very expensive practice.  Our running total for the frugal (accumulated in Parts 1 & 2) is less than $100.00 per year. Granted, that sum is based on using your local library for much of your research which could be problematic if your facility limits your time, has shortened hours due to budget cuts, and is difficult to reach, transportationwise.  That amount also does not include costs for renting microfilms from Familysearch or obtaining vital records.  Those two prices are set and non negotiable.  The best way around that is to find others who are researching your lines and are willing to share what they have found.  You may even get lucky and find that some kindhearted researcher has scanned and posted the vital you needed, thus saving you time and money.

The sites below are FREE and are good ways for you to connect with others who share your interest areas:

Ancestor Cloud - although it costs to hire th…

Pursuing Genealogy on a Shoestring Budget Part 2 - Genealogical Websites

Last blog we looked at ways to cut costs on genealogical memberships.  We'll keep a running tab of expenses; for full membership in genealogical organizations the cost would be about $409.00 annually and on a limited budget, less than $100.00.  Today we're going to explore how to cut costs for those must have online databases. is a database offering "hundreds of millions of valuable records."  For home access, the cost is $89.95 annually but it is free through many public libraries.  Check out the link I've provided - it's to the 453 databases in the collection.  I have found this site very useful for my New England and Long Island ancestors but if you aren't researching those areas or are on a tight budget, save by using it at the library. is most likely available at your local library, too, but I must caution you that not all records are available on the library edition.  It is also only available for use in the library …