Showing posts from July, 2016

Research Tips

I spent the past two weeks researching in several states.  Each archive I visited had different policies and procedures but there were commonalities that helped me use my limited time efficiently.  On a visit to one of the libraries I had a co-worker tag along and she asked me to share how I found so much so quickly.  Since she's a dear reader, per her request, I'd like to share how I plan my research trips.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - Your time is valuable and you don't want to waste it!  The only way to make to the most of your visit is to PLAN AHEAD.  How do I do that?  As soon as I know I will be arriving in a distant area I identify who is in my tree that lived in the area I'll visit and what additional information for that individual I'd like to find.  I look at the sources I have and focus on what's missing.  I next go to and do a search for archives I may be interested in visiting to quickly plan the visit.   Here's an example from my rece…

Lighting A Fire

A former client informed me today that she thought about me all night long.  I could be flattered by that but the reason why was unsettling.  It's summer in Florida and during this time we experience torrential storms.  Last evening was over the top with lightning and thunder and subsequently, one of my client's neighbors home was hit and caught fire.  Thankfully, the fire department was able to extinguish the flames but the home sustained much damage.
Why my client thought of me at that time was due to my insistence a few months ago that her family documents be scanned and saved in several places.  She never got around to it.  Typical excuses - work, family, vacation, and it's not fun to scan.  I'm not saying that those excuses aren't valid but last evening she realized how quickly everything can be instantly destroyed.
First thing this morning she contacted me asking for help in cataloguing and scanning her documents and photos.
Please, readers, no more excuses!…

I Hate to Admit that an Unsourced Tree was Right!

I do not want to start a genealogical war but I have to tell you about my recent experience with unsourced family trees and serendipity. I know it's a touchy subject, the unsourced trees, I mean.
Years ago - perhaps 16-20 - not even sure the exact time period I trusted what I found on the internet without checking sources.  In my mind, why would anyone put out fraudulent information?  I knew mistakes could happen but I really believed that everyone else was more knowledgeable then me so whatever was posted had to be mostly correct.  That was until late one evening as I was happily clicking back on one of my husband's lines and in the early morning hours, about 2 AM, I realized what  was on the screen couldn't be correct.  There is no way that he was the grandson of Viking gods and goddesses.  That painful lesson - painful because it took me quite some time to delete all of it - woke me up to reality.
Unfortunately, there were other lines I had added information to prior …

Remembering the Past

I'm at NARA waiting for my military record pulls  so I'm taking  a break to blog.  Read an interesting article about a way that World War I soldiers participating in the Battle of the Sonne that began on 1 July 1916 were recently memorialized throughout Great Britain recently as reported in The Guardian.  Regarded as the largest battle of WWI, between 1 July and 18 November 1916, it was actually a number of battles in three phases.  Best said by Friedrich Steinbrecher, a German officer, “Somme.  The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word” casualties were high on all sides; estimates of 485,000 British and French and 630,000 German soldiers was made at the Chantilly Conference on 15 November 1916.  But the war continued….
Please read the moving way that these lost lives were memorialized.  

Hoping to make it home tonight.  Can't wait too share my latest research finds.

More About Will

In April, I blogged about my dear cousin Will, aka, William Shakespeare.  A new study has just been released and you can read the New York Times article by Jennifer Schuessler (30 Jun 2016, p. C1) for details.
Written by historians hungry for any tidbit of evidence about Will’s life the document found by Heather Wolfe of the Folger Shakespeare Library regarding Will and his father’s attempt to obtain a coat of arms unveils much more than the supposition that the Shakespeare men were social climbers.  Way more!
I interpret the direct evidence that Will followed up on his father’s request in 1596 and confirming that Will was the son of John and that the two were close.  If Will had been estranged from his father he would not have taken up the fight to have the arms granted to the family.  Although being a social climber may have something to do with it, I again point to the ancestors of the family who had been socially important back in the day.  Historians are neglecting at looking at…

Another FAN Consideration

I definitely enjoyed the following article, Letter of Recommendation, written by David Rees, that was published in the New York Times Magazine recently.  He identified with his grandmother, who he never knew, based on reading excerpts from her diary.  I have experienced similar emotions after reading the diary of a 2 x great aunt of my husband.  I think the major message here is that the more things change the more they stay the same. Although technology and societal changes continue to occur, people really don't.  Rees' read a diary written about 100 years ago and I read a diary that was written 130 years ago - both individuals had experiences and reactions that were basic to humanity today.
Rees’ article saddened me as he had no connection with his ancestors before coming across the manuscript.  I have a very small family, too, but the connection with my past was strong.  In hindsight, I guess I can attribute that to my grandmother, Mary Koss, who as the family matriarch, i…

Love Those Records Found Online? Here's How You Can Keep Them Coming!

Remember the days when you had to physically go to a location to find a record?  Or contact someone who lived close to where you needed to hunt and HOPE they would respond via snail mail?  And plan for months to get some ancestor hunting in when on a vacation or business trip?
Seems like years ago but it wasn't.  How far we've come in this fast pace world with having information available at our fingertips whenever and wherever we are.

I'm not sure where the source of the statistic that I keep seeing that claims that about 10% of all records are posted online.  Whatever the number, I think we can all agree that  the benefits of surfing in the comfort of our home far outweighs the small costs we might have to pay to "belong" to an organization to access the records.

But being greedy, I want more!  I long for the day that I can click on any link on and instantly bring up a filmstrip.  Wow - not having to order, wait (and wait and wait because my l…

Adding Flexibility to the Genealogists Repetoire

It's a benefit to genealogists to be flexible.  This post will be short because of my necessity to be flexible today.

Yesterday evening son asked for a ride to the airport for a business trip he was taking today.  No problem!  Then I learned he needed to be there by 5 AM.  So I'm now operating on little sleep.  Coffee can be a genealogists best friend.  I'll be back to the airport tonight late to pick him up.

I got home and thought I'd start the day with some light reading before I started on an article I plan on submitting to a journal so I opened my email.  Bad news!  Sidengo, which provided my website template, has changed their policy effective August 1st so if I stay with them I'm going to have to start paying.  That led me to find Canvas, which is free, that my webhost, Namecheap, can work with.  I just spent the last 3 hours between Namecheap and Canvas as there was some glitch with my transaction going through.  I then had to rebuild the website.  Got ever…

No Headstone? Here's Some Ideas

“Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.” Elie Weisel

Hubby and I went to the cemetery last week - not to check a record, take a picture for a memorial request or to honor an ancestor.  Instead, we went to check on space availability for what would become our final real estate purchase.  It was a very weird experience.

We grew up with the Jackson 5, literally.  There are some historical moments that most Boomers claim to remember for the impact that it made on the world and to them personally  - where they were when the Kennedys and MLK was shot, the moon landing, and 9-11, for example, but one of the most pivotal moments to me was the death of Michael Jackson.  Seriously.  I grew up about a mile away from the Jackson family household in Gary, Indiana.  As a student council representative as a freshman in high school I was placed on a committee to select a band for an upcoming dance the organization would be sponsoring. That was how I first became involved with the Ja…