Showing posts from January, 2017

Access to Preserved Records is Being Threatened!

There's been a lot of discussion on several genealogical lists that I follow regarding proposed cutbacks that would greatly impact accessing records that are vital to anyone looking into their ancestor's past.

I am advocating that records remain open and accessible.  If you agree, than please read the following and take action:

A New U.S. Budget Blueprint May Affect Genealogists by Diane Haddad

Help Us Nip Efforts to Defund NEH in the Bud

I use newspapers found in Chronicles of America at least weekly.  I have found so many genealogical gems in those old papers I couldn't even begin to count!  The NEH does a whole lot more - go to their home page and type in your state name in the search box on the top right.  You'd be amazed at how many grants they've awarded for record preservation in your area.

Thank you, readers!

Privacy and the Genealogist - Part 2

My last blog was about ways to find the living who might have the genealogical information you need without making them feel threatened that their privacy had been invaded.  Today, I'm thinking about how much more private our lives are then in the past.  Thomas MacEntee mentioned this, too, in an interactive webinar he recently did. If you don't believe that, check out an old newspaper and you just might find something like this:





These are just a few of the times that George Harbaugh was noted in three local papers between 1900-1909.  From the first notice we know that there were two individuals who were professors who traveled together to Missouri.  Today, a notice like this would alert burglars and the professors might return home to find a break in had occurred.
The second item confirms that George was an educator.  Did they send junk mail back in the day? He's fortunate that there were no big box office supply stores sending him ads based on his job description.

Privacy and the Genealogist Part 1

Have you ever Googled yourself?  If not, take a moment and do so.  If you have, then you know how much information about you is readily available at the click of a few keystrokes.
I understand why many people are greatly concerned that their personal information is "out there."  In the uncertainty of today's world, we've all heard horror stories of identify theft and Craig's list murders. It makes us more cautious and fearful.
Recently, I took an interactive webinar by Thomas MacEntee about finding living persons.  Why would you want to find the living?  It's the best way to make contact with folks you are related to that may just have the information you are seeking.  I though it very interesting and I totally agree with Thomas that using snail mail is the most effective way to make initial contact.  People are more apt to respond to you if they have the time to process the contents.  Additionally, the distance between you and them provides a sense of secur…

Viva Volunteers! A Unique Opportunity for You

I've just learned of an organization that does something unique in the genealogical field and I wanted to share it with you. Unclaimed Persons is an organization that unites families with deceased kin whose remains have not been claimed from the Coroner.  Unfortunately, this is a situation that is occurring frequently as families relocate and lose touch with an elderly relative that remained behind. was founded by Megan Smolenyak in 2008; more than 400 people have been aided but there is more work to do!  You can help by volunteering your research skills from the comfort of your own home.  Check out the FAQ on the website, visit the FaceBook page for open cases and put on your Super Sleuth hat to begin.  Remember, "A good deed is never lost!"

Saturday Serendipity

Last Saturday I attended a local genealogy workshop hosted by Thomas MacEntee.  While he was in Chicago and we were in Florida, my serendipitous encounter happened regarding Trumbull County, Ohio.  I've blogged often about my mysterious Duer family who left scarce records behind.
About once a month since August, out of the blue, some small item shows up which gives me a clearer picture of the family.  The first weird event occurred in August when I made a call to a reluctant Trumbull County Clerk asking for help in locating cemetery records.  When she told me I wasn't going to find anything she actually meant she wasn't going to look, as access to the original books were restricted to the general public.  I told her the connections I've made on this line and how family history has seemed to repeat (see my blog Circular Migration Patterns - How History Repeats Itself).  She was hooked and agreed to try to find the cemetery records, though she warned me I might not hea…

My Grandfather's C-File Has Finally Arrived!

I've blogged before about the long wait for my grandparent's US citizenship records that I requested last May and I finally received my grandfather's on Monday.  The best part was the Declaration of Intention which provided a picture of him at age 48.  I have his engagement photo from 1916 and his marriage photo from 1917, a few in the 1920's but none from about 1930 through 1950 so this was a real treat!  He's in a suit and tie looking quite dapper. (Tried to scan and post it here but I've got to work on the resolution settings - too grainy!)
The biggest surprise was to see his signature.  This is the only time I have ever seen his handwriting. By the time of my birth, my grandfather was legally blind so he never wrote anything.
There were a few errors in the document.  The first was the spelling of my mom's name.  Instead of Dorothy she is recorded as Dorty.  I laughed at that!  My grandfather spoke perfect English but he had trouble with the th blend a…

Improving Your Genealogy Skills Semester II

Now that the holidays are behind us it's time to look ahead and schedule some genealogy training. What would you like to learn more about this year?  Maybe it's finally understanding DNA or getting serious about writing that family history you keep putting off.  Perhaps you're stuck on a few lines and need some fresh ideas.  Whatever you hope to learn, there are wonderful webinars that you can view in the comfort of your own home.  Let's start with the free ones first!

Legacy Family Trees 2017 offerings are now available and you can register for multiple webinars at once. It pays to register so you can get the syllabus.  If something comes up and you can't attend, no worries!  The tape is available for the first week for free. The Board for Certification of Genealogists offers monthly webinars on the Legacy site, too, so don't miss those offerings

Like to participate as you learn?  Then become a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and take pa…

Genealogy Resolutions

There's no better time than the start of a brand new year to fine tune genealogy habits.  Need some ideas?  How about:
Spring Clean Now!  That's right, in the dead of winter.  Sort your loose papers into 3 piles.  Pile 1 is for whatever you view as most interesting to pursue.  Pile 2 is interested but can't do right now, such as searching records at a repository outside of your area.  Pile 3 is your trash pile.  Put that immediately in File 13 (your trash bin) or your fireplace.Calendars Count - It doesn't matter if it's the one your dry cleaners gave you, a special holiday gift received or electronic.  What does matter is that you block time out now for family reunions, research, trips and conferences.  Resolve to Rule Your Routines - We all have some bad genealogical habits.  I do a great job of making a plan when researching for clients but not so good when I'm working on my own tree. I plan on improving in that area this year.   Lighten Up - Nope, this has …

Perseverance Amidst Adversity - The Ancestry of Three George Harbaughs

Happy New Year!  I started the year off by completing one of my resolutions - to publish an eBook. Perseverance Amidst Adversity - The Ancestry of Three George Harbaughs (ASIN: B01N7O2NOE) was submitted for publication about an hour ago.  It will be available on within 72 hours at the bargain price of $3.59.  Extensively researched, this true story follows three generations of Georges and their loved ones during a time of tumultuous change in the United States.  Perseverance is the background story for the next eBook I'm writing, Thanks to the Yanks, which will detail the experiences of an Indiana farm boy during World War I.  I also plan on indexing a diary and then publishing it as an eBook which will be the 3rd in the series.
I plan to continue blogging twice weekly and will be a guest blogger for several genealogical organizations, too.
I'd love to hear your goals for 2017.  If you haven't identified them yet, no worries - I'll give you some ideas in …