Showing posts from April, 2018

Mother's Day Ideas

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I thought of some unique ideas that don't take a lot of time that mom would really value.  Lucky you, since you're into genealogy, you've got the information to share.

This idea I got from my church - they requested a brief (meaning less than 500 words) bio of a special mom.  Note the word special; that mom doesn't have to be by blood.  I really liked that concept.  So remember those special moms on Mother's Day, too!  Not sure who that could be?  Think family friend, neighbor, teacher, or perhaps, an older sister. that you looked to for guidance.  If they're no longer living, create a Find-A-Grave memorial page or donate to a cause they were passionate about.

Now back to the brief bio idea...this only takes a few minutes to write, print and frame.  Add a picture and get some input from siblings or grandchildren.  A personalized gift was always valued by my mom and I wish I had thought of this while she was still …

Sometimes You Just Have to Pay for a Record

Not everything in life is free.  Genealogy can be expensive, however, IMHO, it has become much less expensive than at any time in the past.  Folks who don't want to spend money on a subscription can use the library edition of at their local library.  Sure, it's not the same as an individual subscription but it suffices for the hobbyist. is free to anyone who create an account.  There are lots of records available for no cost online but we are far from the day when everything is available on the web.

Last weekend, my local genealogy society offered it's family help day.  Seven of us spent the afternoon assisting interested folks in overcoming their brick wall.  Maybe because it was such a beautiful spring day, our turnout was much lower than usual.  I only assisted 2 people all afternoon.
The first woman I assisted had a lengthy handwritten letter written in the 1960's that contained EXACT QUOTES purportedly said by a Revolutionary War pa…

DNA Has Changed My Habits...and not for the good, I'm afraid!

I just came to the realization that DNA has made me a lazy genealogist.  Here's why...

I have made public several trees that are quite large.  The reason for their size is because I once did surname studies - I tried to link all of the Leiningers, Harbaughs, Duers, Kos[s]s, Landfairs and Kuhns in the U.S. from an identified gateway ancestor.  I want contact from far flung relatives as I don't know these folks personally and needing closer relatives input, I made the trees public.

Due to the many places I've placed the trees online, their size, and my weekly blog posts, I get over 500 comments weekly.  Granted, many are spam, but quite a few are serious inquiries.

Before DNA, I would go to the tree mentioned, search for the name provided in the inquiry, review what citations I had and then respond.

Since DNA, I find myself instead responding with my own query - Have you had your DNA analyzed and if so, what provider did you use and what is your profile name?

Last evening, …

Genealogy Mysteries - The Unclaimed Dead

1 Anyone who has spent even a short amount of time in genealogy encounters missing ancestor information.  Although women are more often found in this category due to changing surnames when they wed or a lack of surviving documents due to limited citizenship rights, men, too, often simply disappear into thin air.

Lately, after seeing the Disney movie, Coco, and spending last month traipsing through the Central American jungles in search of Mayan remains, when I get back to my tree I'm more driven then ever to discover why and where my disappearing family went. That's my current research focus - I've identify 10 individuals with missing death dates/places and I'm on the hunt to narrow down information.

Unfortunately, the missing continues even today.  If you're interested, a volunteer organization of which I've blogged about previously, Unclaimed People, assists coroners in reunited the recently deceased with extended family.  The organization's motto, Every …

More Nickname Identification Help

Hit a brickwall because of a family pet name?  Nicknames are sometimes the reason why we can't make progress on our family trees.  I've written previously about matching nicknames to legal names - see Knocking Down Nicknames.  

Recently, Niyi  at asked me to let you know about the site's Nickname Generator, which consists of a database of  various nicknames.  I'd like the site to create historical nicknames, such as Mary - Molly, but it is a fun place to go if you're in need of a little help in creating a new millennial moniker. Enjoy!