Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Happiness

What makes you happy during the holidays? Like others, I enjoy having some of my family around, watching them laugh and hearing them tell stories, share a little gossip and eat like it's their last meal. I also recall memories of loved ones. Some are very close to my heart and mind and others are names and events in my family files. They pop up on my computer like robots. Wouldn't it be nice is we could turn them into human beings for just one moment?

If you were given one minute of conversation with an ancestor, what would you ask? I would quickly ask about their parents, particularly if I'm missing that vital link. You have those in your family tree, don't you? Would you ask something personal? Maybe that is why I treasure old photographs, drawings and paintings of my family. It's a glimpse at that special ancestor in the family file. They become more than robots!

A year ago my granddaughter, age 11, told me I should make ornaments for the Christmas tree out of old family photographs. I wouldn't use the originals but scan and print off ones that could be placed on some kind of ornament. The rest of the story along with photos of the tree is at my blog, You Go Genealogy Girls.

It was a fun project, but even more fun looking at the photographs. I never tire of studying them. Last night my granddaughter was staring at the tree and commented, "He is pudgy." Indeed that ancestor had pudgy cheeks. The other day I was looking at an old uncle on the tree who was born in 1792, but lived long enough to have a photograph taken in about 1870. Then I realized that he knew my 3rd great grandparents. They died long before photography and were undoubtedly too poor to set for a painting. Looking at his eyes I knew that he had seen my past and his mouth had opened and spoke to my ancestors. He had witnessed wars and celebrations. He had lost children and relatives and wept. The Ancestor Tree has brought them alive, just in time to bring Holiday Happiness.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are going, do it with care and a happy heart. But, always remember your past and realize what your ancestors have given you to enjoy today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reading Old Script

One of the obstacles in doing genealogical research is reading old documents. It's a game of out guessing the clerk or scribe who put words to ink and paper. This is further complicated by the variations of style through the years. Foreigners who arrived in America often had their names and information slaughtered by an Anglo clerk who had no clue how to spell or write foreign names.

The complications of reading old script become heightened when we begin researching records of a foreign country, such as Germany, France and Italy. That's when we think it's time to go back to school.

Help is available! Script Tutorials, Resources for Old Handwriting & Documents presented by Brigham Young University, is just what you need. They offer guidance in deciphering manuscripts and other old documents. The languages include English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. By clicking on a specific language, you will be guided with preparation techniques, alphabets and sample documents.

These tutorials have many links that will take to study. However, they are definitely worth the time spent. One word may be all you need to solve the puzzle. It's usually that one word you cannot read. With the help of Script Tutorials, you might be able to get over the brick wall.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NGS Video Presentation

Whether you are a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) or not, you need to watch their new video, "Paths to Your Past." It takes close to twelve minutes, but it is worth every minute. This well done video gives you some insight into how other genealogists think about research, along the way telling about NGS and the benefits of membership.

So, what are those benefits? Check out the NGS web page. Their mission is to serve and grow the genealogical community. In doing this they provide education and training and foster increased quality and standards. They also promote access to and the preservation of genealogical records. They have been doing it for many years as NGS was organized in Washington, DC in 1903.

They sponsor an annual conference along with other events throughout the year. The next annual conference will be "Follow Your Ancestral Trail" to be held 28 April - 1 May 2010 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Membership brings the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and NGS Magazine to your mailbox. Both are excellent. In addition, they have book discounts for members. With membership you receive a free online course, Family History Skills. You can also pay and take their NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course.

This is a great support group for genealogists. It is worth every penny you pay for membership. Watch the video and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free U.S. Military Databases

One of the best web pages which links to a wide variety of free military web pages, is ShoeString Genealogy: Free U.S. Military Databases.

All in one location you can link to a variety of databases, such as The Veteran Ancestor Registry, U.S. National Cemetery Administration Nationwide Graveside Locator, 1820 U.S. Pension List and more. The nice thing about ShoeString Genealogy's link area is that each link has comments which supply more information.

The topics are general and then break down into various wars, beginning with King Philip's War (1675-1677). Under the Revolutionary War you will a variety of records, including the British, German and Loyalist Officers in the American Revolution, along with the Valley Forge Muster Roll and more.

The links continue through the Vietnam War and conclude with some miscellaneous databases. It is certainly a great place to explore and further your knowledge of the various types of military records. I hope that you hit pay dirt and find what you need in your search for military ancestors.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Diggin* in Land Records

Land records may at first appear to be uninteresting documents of land transactions, but they can hold numerous clues to your ancestry. Not only do they allow you to sketch out migrations of your ancestors, but piecing together the information will show family relationships. They point the way to probate research, both testate and intestate. The sale of land reveals the marital status of the grantor (seller), along with the given name of the spouse, if married. In some cases, the former residence (at the time of the transaction) of the grantee will be shown.

If you think your ancestor purchased land in the public land states from the federal government, you need to visit the web site of the Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office. Be sure to read before you research. The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) area is particularly helpful. To better understand the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), be sure to read about it here.

There is a good selection of states that have land records online. One of these is the Kentucky Land Office. There is a variety of records that can be searched, so read and study your search options.

The Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales database contains information from land sales of the public domain that were transferred to the Illinois State Archives in 1957. The database contains information on about 550,000 land sales in Illinois.

Numerous online records, including land records, are indexed on the South Carolina Department of Archives and History web site. These include the plats for state land grants, 1784-1868, which include 51,809 items.

If you have ancestry in Pennsylvania, be sure to check the Land Records available at the Pennsylvania State Archives. You will be ahead of the game if you read the explanations of their records.

Be sure to explore the Texas General Land Office databases. There are several ways to search, so check all of your options. It is also helpful to browse the Texas General Land Office web page for information.

There are many more land related web pages on Internet. Try using Google or your favorite search engine to find them. There's nothing more fun than diggin' in the dirt ... I mean land records!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Researching With Maps

Maps make your family history come alive. It is impossible to understand the lives of ancestors without consulting maps. There are many online that are helpful and can be downloaded or purchased.

The Library of Congress offers maps collections. Two of my favorites are the Civil War Maps and the Railroad Maps. Use the Civil War collection to enhance your ancestor's military information. The railroad collection will enable you to visualize the growth of the system and in so doing understand your ancestor's migrations.

One of my favorite web sites is Color Landform Atlas of the United States. You can view maps by selecting from the options of shaded relief map, black and white map, county map, satellite image, 1895 map or PostScript map. The shaded relief map is not only colorful, but allows you to see the mountains or hills, along with rivers and valleys.

Another extensive collection of maps on Internet is the David Rumsey Map Collection. Here you will find over 20,000 maps and images of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Determine exactly where your ancestor lived in 1895 by using the 1895 US Atlas. Here you will find population statistics, an index of towns and cities and map of the state and county as it appeared in 1895. The 1914 County Maps by State provides similar information only for 1914.

Various states have maps online that are historical and helpful. Historical Maps Online from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a great place to look for topographic maps of Illinois, but they also have maps of other locales. Virginia County and State Maps is great for that state.

An extensive collection of links to maps is Historical County Lines (USA). You can locate a county of interest online at County Boundary Map. It's easy to link counties together and see the towns and cities.

The New York Times hosts an Interactive Map Showing Immigration Data Since 1880. You can select a foreign-born group to see how they settled across the United States.

Search for maps online by using Google or checking out map categories on Cyndi's List.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Illinois Goes Digital

Get out of the rut of researching Internet's gigantic genealogy databases. They are extremely worthwhile, but there is much more to explore on the Internet. I have discovered many great web sites for Illinois. They offer digital images.

The Illinois Digital Archives is worth checking. I recommend that you begin by clicking on the Collection Directory. This will give you an idea of what is there, then you can browse and search. There is also a help site if you have questions. Some of the collections include Illinois Veterans History Project, Illinois State Highway Maps, Illinois Historic Aerial Photographs and collections of various state historical societies and libraries.

Another great digital collection is the Illinois Historical Digitization Projects from the Northern Illinois University Libraries. Some of the projects include Illinois during various periods, such as the Civil War, 1861-1865, The Mexican-American War and Illinois Civil War Newspapers.

Be sure to check out the Illinois State Archives. There are many links to information about doing genealogical research in Illinois, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD), and online databases. Their holdings include digitals of the Federal Township Plats of Illinois.

There are many databases to check at the Illinois State Archives. These include Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre-1916 and Illinois Statewide Death Index 1916-1950. There is a listing of records in IRAD, plus lists of veterans. I particularly like the Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database.

If you have Chicago ancestors, be sure to check out the Chicago Public Library Digital Collections. Another interesting web page is Chicago Ancestors.org from The Newberry Library.

There's more out there, so be sure to Google for your areas of interest in Illinois and include the word "digital."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bury My Bones Where They Won't Stink

A year ago I was roaming the streets of London and riding the Tube to my favorite destinations ... cemeteries.  Churchyards were the first burial places and it is apparent that many of those no longer survive, but London natives and visitors walk over them not realizing that bones lie beneath.  

Under common law, every parishioner and people who inhabited a parish, had a right to be buried in the parish churchyard or burial ground.  While you may see a few gravestones in churchyards, there are many unmarked, unknown graves.  A good example is the churchyard of St. Martin-in-the Fields which is estimated to have 60,000-70,000 burials in the churchyard. That suggests one on top of another in layers.  

Kensal Green, with 79 acres, was established as London's first public cemetery in 1827.  Many followed within the next few years, such as Highgate in 1839.  They were commercial ventures and in the 1850s urban churchyards were closed to burials.  Bodies were also being buried under the floorboards in chapels and school.  As they decayed the stench was overcoming.  A public cemetery would be a better choice for burial. 

Landscaped cemeteries were common in Italy, Sweden and France.  They were adopted in England as public cemeteries in the Victorian period.  The public cemeteries are extremely interesting with various types of stones plus styles of mausoleums. 

The first on my list of "must-see" was the Highgate Cemetery in northwest London.  There are two sections to the Highgate Cemetery, both different and interesting.  The west Highgate Cemetery is only open to tours.  Visitors climb a few steps to be greeted by dank darkness. Adjusting to it, there are gravestones that seem to perch on top of each other, covered with undergrowth, vines, moss and bushes.  A musty, earth smell hangs among the gravestones and only a true cemetery lover breaths deeply to enjoy it.  

Less overgrown cemeteries, such as Brompton Cemetery created in 1840, also contain gravestones that run into each other with barely room to wedge a foot between them.  Ravens perch on statues and the tops of stones, faithfully looking for pieces of food left by passer-bys.  

All of these are peaceful settings.  If you stop long enough to ponder the past, imagination takes over.  You can envision a funeral party, all attired in black, with a horse drawn hearse passing down the path in 1845, bringing a body for burial.  What has happened through the decades to their descendants?  Do they realize where their own are buried?  Or do they care? 

Someday I will return to London to explore more cemeteries, stop and pay respects to those who have gone before.  I may walk through a former churchyard and absorb the feeling of comfort that only comes to those who are obsessed with places of burial.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chasing A Migrating Ancestor

Do you know where your ancestors were going when they gathered up their belongings and hitched the horses to the wagon?  They were not out for a joy ride.  They were most likely out for a long, difficult ride and one that was planned and calculated in advance.  Neighbors, family and friends may have joined them. 

If you like maps and enjoy the study of migrations, you'll enjoy the Migration Trails web site. It opens to a rather simple format with a few options. 

Begin by clicking on Migration Trails and you will quickly be staring at a colorful, large map of the United States.  Trails are drawn in red and numbered.  The largest portion are in the eastern United States.  The numbers on the map are identified with the names of the paths, roads and trails, some of which I am unfamiliar.  If you click on the name of a path or trail, you will be taken to further information, such as a time frame for the trail and the primary nationalities who traveled it.  There is also a listing of counties, with web pages, that are within the trail area.  This is particularly helpful when looking for records left by ancestors in their migration.  Perhaps they stopped off briefly in a county along the way when somebody died. References are also listed which can be helpful in your research.  

From the home page, click on Who Traveled the Trails?.  You can select the nationality that interests you, such as Irish.  The immigration period, favorite port of entry and migration facts are listed, along with references.  Easy, but thorough reading! 

You can also order custom migration maps through the web site.  Knowing the counties along the most likely route that your ancestor traveled may break down research brick walls.  The maps are sent by e-mail.  

I hope this web site grows with the addition of more trails, particularly west of the Mississippi River.  It's a fascinating study and one worth the time in preparation for research.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Free Databases for the Genealogist

It looks simple and plain, without any headers or footers or shocking colors and graphics.  Free Databases for Genealogical Searching is limited to just that ... FREE databases.  Stephen van Dulken who maintains the web site indicates that some of the databases are incomplete or a project in the works.  He is of London, UK, so there is heavy emphasis on British sources. However, you will find plenty of links for the United States and other countries.  The topics you can click on are ... 

Archival search engines 
Crime, poor law, litigation
Electoral rolls, poor tax, etc. 
Emigration/Departing passengers 
Immigration/Entering passengers
Telephone directories 

Don't by shy ... start clicking!  I clicked on Burials and discovered many links.  How about a link to European graves in India?  It's right there with Los Angeles County Burial Permits and more. 

Take the time to explore all of the topics and you may find gold ... genealogy gold!  

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Technology and the Genealogist

Is the Internet never really at your finger tips?  Maybe you will be interested in Wearable Internet.  That's right!  Wearable Internet is possible, but it is now in beginning stages. Perhaps ten years or less, it will be available.  

Earlier this year, Pattie Maes from the MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces Group presented a wearable system.  It is mind boggling.  Users will be able to display and interact with Internet on any surface which includes the human body.  No longer will you need to take the camera to the cemetery ... just hold up your hands in the traditional square box and you've got it.  Forgot your watch (which my sister-in-law usually does) just draw a circle on your wrist and presto you've got the time.  Make phone calls from your hand!  

This unique system is referred to as a "sixth sense."  So how would this assist genealogists in their research?  If you are a traveling genealogist, the possibilities are endless.  You could locate libraries or information on books on the fly.  Looking for a cemetery, there would be no need for a phone call to a cemetery office or WIFI location to access your laptop computer. Once you start thinking about wearing your computer, the possibilities are endless. 

The current system is rather bulky with a person wearing a webcam, 3M projector which is battery-powered, mirror, phone and colored finger caps.  In the future the system that is wearable may be something as small as a watch.  Now where did I put my watch?  

To learn more about this, read the review The Wearable Internet Will Blow Mobile Phones Away.  Be sure to watch the video presented by Pattie Maes.  It's only about eight minutes long and will blow your mind.  Then start dreaming about the possibilities for genealogists to use Wearable Internet!  

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Life of a Genealogist

It is so sweet ... being around people who speak genealogy!  That's a separate language and one that you know ... if you are a genealogist.  I am at the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY.  We arrived late yesterday afternoon.  The You Go Genealogy Girls are bloggers of honor.  However, at this point I'm doing all of the blogging and tweeting.  

The keynote address by Barry Ewell was very inspiring.  He is funny and yet serious.  Sharing some of his insights into the research process, he firmly believes that our ancestors want to be found.  I know that because some of the time I'm lost.  My next session was to hear Arlene Eakle lecture on Scottish Marriage Records.  I did not know there were so many ways a Scot could get married.  Some of them sort of carry over to the United States also.  Her lecture makes me want to hurry home and jump right into my Scottish research.  

We'll fuel up at lunch before too long and then start in again at more lectures.  Somebody has to do this grueling stuff ... so it had best me us.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Traveling to Wyoming

Tomorrow morning I leave for western Nebraska to pick up my side-kick for the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY.  We are the You Go Genealogy Girls and she's my sister-in-law.  You won't want to miss any of our genealogy thrills, antics and travels we report on our blog.  

We are honor bloggers at the Family History Expo.  Look for us to blog at You Go Genealogy Girls.  We will give you all the tidbits of what is going on at the expo.  We will also be on Twitter.  You can follow me on Twitter @GenGirl1.  My sister-in-law is on Twitter @GenGirl2.  

Check out the Family History Expo website to see the list of vendors, speakers and topics.  It promises to be a great function.  

Thursday, July 9, 2009

NEW -- GenealogyWise

Do you socialize on Internet?  They are more than places to chit and chat.  Genealogists love to blog, share ideas and comments.  Many of us belong to Facebook.  If you aren't to that level yet, look around and ask genealogy friends about it.  It's fun!  Some of us tweet on Twitter.  They are all different and worth exploring or joining. 

FamilyLink has launched a new site just for genealogists called GenealogyWise.  It is buzzing with activity.  I was on it almost all day yesterday.  It was amazing to see it grow by the hour and almost by the minute.  It's similar to Facebook, but devoted only to genealogy and genealogy topics.  

You join GenealogyWise (free), create your profile, find friends, set up or join groups and invite people to be your friend, to events or discussions.  Along with the discussion forum, there blog and video areas.  If you click on Genealogy Search, it takes you directly to the subscription site of World Vital Records.  In addition to all of this, there's a chat site.  

Yes ... there are genealogy groups on Facebook.  They now have some competition.  Personally I am enjoying GenealogyWise because it is so totally devoted to the genealogist.  It's easy to use and also fun.  Plus, I'm learning and connecting along the way.  Try it out!  Become a genealogy social butterfly.  

Friday, July 3, 2009

FamilySearch Wiki

The FamilySearch Wiki is a large, on-line library containing thousands of articles and how-tos about doing genealogical research.  Because it is a wiki web site, you can add to existing articles or write new articles.  

If you are new to family history research, be sure to check out Getting Started.  For more experienced researchers, be sure to check out the Research Analysis section on the Getting Started link.  

On the main page begin your search by typing in something that interests you into the query box.  This is a quick way to learn more about where and what you are researching.  For example, a query entry into the research box for "Iowa Probate Records" will explain everything from Dower Rights to Wills.  There is basic information on Iowa probate records, along with information on how to find probate records in the Family History Library and catalog, in Salt Lake City.  

There are helpful videos on using FamilySearch Wiki, particularly if you are interested in contributing articles.  Another interesting area is the FamilySearch Wiki Community Meeting which you can attend remotely.  In these meetings everything pertaining to the wiki are discussed, such as site design and technical issues.  

The FamilySearch Wiki is worth exploring.  You will undoubtedly learn something new by taking the time to look around on it.  

Friday, June 26, 2009

A New Way to Search

Live Roots is a great research experience that you won't want to miss.  Their second release has just made it to Internet.  There are changes between the original release and this one.  A search result will bring up results from the partner services within Live Roots.  This may be anything from results in books/microfilm in the Family History Library Catalog to auction items on e-Bay.  They also show subscription database connections.  

Basically this brings up a number of resources and links that you would possibly not find directly on Google and also have to spend a good deal of time searching web site by web site.  

The second release adds project management tools for registered members.  You can view recent activity, profiles of your brickwall ancestors, related resources, research history (a very dynamic research log), availability to catalog your own private genealogy library, a research notepad and more.  

One web site that does it all?  Yes!  Begin with the first release and explore Live Roots.  To access the second release you have to become a Team Roots member.  This is a free service with password protection.  

While you are exploring Live Roots, take a tour around GenealogyToday.com.  Incidentally, I write a monthly article, Tracing Lines, for them.  Add it to your list of monthly reads.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Genealogy Events

Ah ... summer!  It's that time when we love to travel, go to family reunions, locate cemeteries and go to genealogy events.  There are many great genealogy conferences, jamborees, seminars, and expos being held between the last days of winter and the return of winter.  Sometimes it is difficult to work all of them into a busy schedule.  

It would be nice with one click on Internet to locate a listing of ALL genealogy events. However, if you are traveling and want to take in something of interest, here are some hints. The USGenWeb Genealogical Events Project has a few states with listings, contacts and links. Search the GenForum Upcoming Genealogy Events Forum for something of interest. 

The National Archives in Washington, DC offers many workshops throughout the summer of 2009.  These pertain to anything from military and land records to beginning research in the National Archives.  

Until the snow flies, these are some genealogy events you might want to consider attending.  

July 10-11  Lincoln, Nebraska  A Genealogy & Land Records Symposium; Homestead National Monument and Southeast Community College 

July 16-19  Lufkin, Texas  13th Annual Genealogy Conference; Steps to Success, sponsored by Angelina College 

July 17-18  Sheridan, Wyoming  Family History Expo (You Go Genealogy Girls will be attending; don't miss our blog!)  

July 18  Waltham, Massachusetts  The Massachusetts Genealogical Council's annual seminar 

July 18  Tucson, Arizona  one day seminar on locating immigrant ancestors; Arizona State Genealogical Society  

July 24-25  Milwaukee, Wisconsin  Annual Seminar of the Federation of East European Family History Societies and the Society for German Genealogy of Eastern Europe 

July 28-31  Provo, Utah  Conference on Family History and Genealogy sponsored by BYU; Strengthening Ties That Bind Families Together Forever

August 2-7  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  29th Annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy  sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia 

Aug 26-30  Orkney Springs, Virginia  Land Cruise sponsored by Wholly Genes, Inc.  

Aug 28-29  Sandy, Utah  Family History Expo

Sept 2-5  Little Rock, Arkansas  Federation of Genealogical Societies and Arkansas Genealogical Society; Passages Through Time 

Sept 11-13  Spokane, Washington  Washington State Genealogical Society Annual Conference

Sept 25-26  Springfield, Missouri  Ozarks Genealogical Society Annual Conference 

Sept 26  Bangor, Maine  Maine Genealogical Society Annual Conference

Sept 26  Naperville, Illinois  Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual All-Day Conference "Colonial Connections"  

Sept 26  Tampa, Florida   Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) Fall Seminar 

Oct 2-3  Neenah, Wisconsin  Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Annual Fall Seminar 

Oct 10  Winchester, Virginia  The Virginia Genealogical Society and The Shenandoah Valley Genealogical Society Conference 

Oct 16-17  Redding, California  Family History Expo 

Oct 26-31  Salt Lake City, Utah  Family History Expos sponsored Family History Library Research Retreat

That's it folks.  The snow starts flying by the end of October here in Nebraska!  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Love Those Obituaries

Genealogists love obituaries, or obits are they like to call them.  This has been a week of locating interesting obituaries.  

Earlier in the week I was reading my hometown newspaper online and discovered that a friend of my late father's had passed away.  This is one of those online newspapers that requires a subscription to read the entire obituary.  However, I knew that the local radio station's web page also posted obituaries, in full.  Clicking to that I started to read the obituary.  Not far into it music began to play.  I was startled and thought perhaps my iTunes had strangely began playing on its own.  Instead I recognized it to be from the jazz era and music that my father also enjoyed.  He and the friend had served in World War II ... my father in the Pacific Theatre and the friend in the European Theatre.  They both survived and lived long lives.  My father also played trumpet in professional jazz bands.  The tune was "Memories of You" being performed by Benny Goodman.  The obituary and the music brought back memories.  Then I realized that genealogy is about memories ... our own memories and those of our ancestors and even friends.  

While in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City I discovered a book that indexed newspaper obituaries and death notices of the Rushville Times, Rushville, Schuyler Co., Illinois.  These were from the early 1900s.  I was somewhat startled to see the name of an old uncle, W.W. Tharp who died in 1904, I thought in Oregon.  He was buried in Latah Co., Idaho next to his wife, Lucy.  The index entry made mention of Eldon, Iowa which is in Wapello County.  As soon as I got home from Utah, I wrote to the Schuyler County Historical Jail Museum and Genealogical Center in Rushville, Illinois.  According to their web page, they have the Rushville Times and will do research.  Within a few days I received a photocopy of W.W. Tharp's obituary.  He had been living in California, Oregon and Idaho since the 1850s.  Shortly before his death on 18 December 1904 he visited relatives in Schuyler Co., Illinois.  After traveling to Eldon, Iowa to visit his younger brother, George W. Tharp, he became ill and died. Good lesson ... never assume where your relatives and ancestors may have died.  

Browsing through obituaries on NewsBank Inc., America's Obituaries and Death Notices for the surname Zehring in Indiana, I spotted one for a lady who passed away on 31 May 2009. Because the surname is unusual, I thought perhaps I could figure out her connection to the family by reading her full obituary and then trying to retrieve records.  Using census and Indiana marriage records, I began the task of determining the father of her husband and then progressing backwards.  The husband's father was born in 1882, but eventually I discovered his parents.  In the process, I located many marriages and census enumerations for other Zehring relatives.  One obituary can lead to many discoveries ... it just takes time to find them! 

Incidentally, if you are interested in NewsBank Inc. and other subscription databases, you can use all of them with an out of district library card from the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri.  You don't need to go there, just research the databases at home on your computer.  The out of district card is $20 annually and a good buy.  Of course, if you want to go to the library, that's okay, too!  

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Laramie County Library-Cheyenne, Wyoming

The Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming is a great place to stop and stay.  I was there a few weeks ago doing some research on my way to Salt Lake City.  The genealogy section is extensive and contains not only Wyoming materials but for other areas east of the Great Plains, such as New England and Virginia.   

2200 Pioneer Avenue 
Cheyenne, WY 82001 
Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
Friday, Saturday  10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Sunday  1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

This excellent collection, including microfiche and periodicals is cataloged on WYLDCat (Wyoming Libraries Database catalog).  Their surname index is also cataloged.  Some of the highlights of their genealogical collection: 
microfilm from the Family History Center (indefinite) 
10,000 volumes of books and periodicals 
state, county, town histories 
probate, land, church, vital records and cemetery records 
census film 
family histories and newsletters 
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 
Rhode Island Vital Records 
The War of the Rebellion series 
American Genealogical and Biographical Index
Massachusetts Vital Records  

Their microfiche collection is extensive and consists primarily of University Microfilm's Genealogy and Local History collection.  They have thousands of titles, which include family histories, local histories, periodicals and vital records from the thirteen original colonies.  On microfiche they also have the Boston Transcripts.  

The library has ample parking and easy access.  If you are traveling I-80, take a break and visit the library.  Or plan a special trip there.  You will be glad you stopped!  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Enjoy the Family History Library

My sister-in-law and I are back from one week in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  It was fun and fast paced.  We drove so could take what my little car would hold.  While there we stayed next door at The Plaza Hotel.  This is convenient to the library and also Temple Square and other places in downtown Salt Lake City.  The TRAX stops at the Plaza, so you can easily take breaks and go to outlying areas.  

This was her first time at the library.  While I have been there numerous times, it is always a delight to return.  For those who have not been at the library, maybe some of these ideas will be helpful.  If you have been there, send me comments with your tips and ideas.  

1.  Take breaks in your research.  I cannot over stress this.  The library is open (except on Mondays when it closes at 5 p.m.) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Those breaks are necessary as your brain can turn to mush and your legs to rubber.  We took a break one day to walk to the Deseret Bookstore which is about three blocks from the library.  Other times we returned to the hotel room or walked around Temple Square.  Keep in mind when walking that the blocks in Salt Lake City are longer than a normal city block.  

2.  We took a large paper punch which stayed in the room.  This really wasn't necessary to bring as each floor near the photocopying area has a paper punch, stapler, paper clips and rubber bands.  Of course, if you need the paper punch in the middle of the night, it might come in handy to have one!  

3.  Not everybody is honest, even in the Family History Library.  We went prepared with locks for our computers, but were amazed at the number of people who did not have locks with them.  Buy one before you go and learn how to use it.  

4.  Keep anything of value on your person.  My sister-in-law wore a fanny pack and I had a light weight, very small bag (from L.L. Bean) that went across my shoulder and mid-section.  It has one larger zipper pocket, small zipper pocket for cash and a velcro pocket.  I kept my room key card and the photocopy card inside the bag.  On the sides where there are metal loops I attached the key to my computer lock and a flash drive.  It was large enough to hold other items, but not inconvenient.  

5.  If you need to check something on the computer that requires your password, be sure you either remember it or bring it.  I use a Mac computer and have Password Plus on it.  This requires remembering only one password and once into the software I can locate all of my other passwords.  

6.  Turn your cell phone off or on vibrate.  I turned mine off.  When I arrived home there was a note in the kitchen from my daughter ... "Tried to call you, but your cell was always off!"  Actually we did talk on the phone several times.  As can be expected, there were people who had their cell phones on.  Even if answered quickly, they can be annoying.  You can use the cell phone in the area around the elevators, in the bathrooms or outside.  

7.  The library was not overly busy while we were there.  The morning that I was using the British film, the area was busy.  Normally we were able to make photocopies non-stop.  If the library is busy, you are limited to five copies at a time.  There are a variety of photocopiers available.  One I particularly liked was the binder minder copier which allows you to copy books that are tightly bound.  The photocopy machines seemed to be more in use in the evenings.  

8.  And speaking of photocopies ... keep track of your card.  You can purchase a photocopy card for 60 cents, leaving 40 cents to use.  The machines will not take the newer bills.  You can add to your card with $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills.  If you need to exchange the new bills for older ones, go to the access office on the main floor.  It is a good idea to sign your card on the line provided on the back.  While I never left my card in a machine, I did find other people's cards and turned them in.  My sister-in-law reported that while making copies a man next to her left his card in the machine.  A woman proceeded to use it, until he returned for it.  Copies are 5 cents a page, but that can add up.  

9.  You can use your flash drive to make copies from microfilm, microfiche or books.  Instructions are posted, but to get started I recommend that you ask for help.  Remember to disconnect your flash drive when finished.  And take it with you!

10.  Always ask if you have questions.  And ask again!  We both had books that we could not locate.  After asking, sometimes twice, we learned that they were in high density.  You have to sign for the books and they are retrieved for you to use.  I was also told that some of the film numbers or call numbers might not agree with the Family History Library Catalog because they are re-cataloging some items.  If a book is being scanned for the digital project, it will not be back on the shelf.  

The most important thing is to make the most of your time at the Family History Library, go prepared, but also have fun.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Genealogist At Work ... Do Not Disturb

WARNING:  This blog may be quiet for a few weeks.  The genealogist is at work!  Should I find time to blog in my busy schedule, it will be a nice bonus for you the reader! 

I am leaving in a week to begin a research trip that will take me and also my sister-in-law to Salt Lake City.  Need I say more?  You will be able to read about our trip and experiences at the blog, You Go Genealogy Girls.  That's us ... two grannies who still consider themselves to be girls.  

In preparation for this big trip, we have been working on research notebooks for months.  First we determined which ancestors or lineages were in need of our assistance.  We both have many so then they had to be prioritized.  From there we looked through our information, notes and sources to determine what needed to be done.  

The next step is a big one.  Since we will be using resources in the Family History Library, we began using the Family History Library Catalog online to see what we would need to use while there.  We located books, microfilm and microfiche in many resource categories.  Each segment of information we found online was printed.   Once in print, we marked the film or call number that we would need, along with notations as to why we needed it.  

Our notebooks are divided by floors (five of them) at the Family History Library.  Each print out is placed on the appropriate floor section in our notebook.  Special notes or reminders were also placed after each printout.  We added some basic maps and instructions.  At the front of the notebook we have a basic outline by floor telling us in one quick glance what will occupy our time and which ancestors are asking for help.  We will be able to organize our time by seeing which floor will require more of our time.  

Does it sound like a lot of work?  We began working on our notebooks in November.  Nothing last minute about us!  If you go prepared, success cannot be far behind.  Hope we don't leave our success somewhere in Wyoming on our way to Deseret.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Red Cross Records of War Casulaties

A relative/genealogist in Arizona called this to my attention.  I think it is great news for genealogists.

The original Red Cross records of World War I and some of World War II casualties have been found in Geneva, Switzerland at the Red Cross Headquarters.  For many years they have been in storage. 

British historian, Peter Barton, was commissioned to research the identities of World War I casualties that were discovered in a mass grave at Fromelles in Frances.  He was allowed into the basement of the Red Cross Headquarters in Geneva and there discovered the records. Barton estimates there could be 20 million sets of details, entered on card indexes or written into ledgers.  

These records deal with the capture, death, or burial of service men from over 30 nations that were drawn into the conflict.  They include the personal effects of the soldiers, home addresses, along with grave sites.  Before the information was sent to the soldiers' home countries, volunteers logged the information by hand.  

According to the Red Cross Headquarters, Peter Barton is the first researcher who has asked to see them.  The paper records he discovered will be conserved and digitised, beginning this fall. More than 2 million pounds has been set aside for the project.  It is estimated that the digital phase of the project will cost around four million Swiss Francs.  The Red Cross hopes to have the archive of information online by 2014 which marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  

In addition, Barton discovered that careful record-keeping extended through World War II and to more recent conflicts.  He viewed rows of metal shelves containing millions of personal stories and more index cards in boxes.  

With the opening of dusty cardboard boxes and the use of modern technology, we may eventually know who these soldiers were and where they are buried.  We should be thankful that the Red Cross painstakingly recorded the information and more so that they did not destroy the records with time and age.  You can read the complete story about this in the BBC News.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do You Have A Genealogy Section?

When I travel, I enjoy stopping at libraries and exploring their genealogy sections and collections.  Usually I go online first to determine if they have a web page and then find anything listed that pertains to genealogy or local history.  You can easily do this by going to Google and then entering the name and state where the library is located, along with the name or the library or just library.  Another place to look for libraries with web pages is at LibrarySpot.com.  

Using Internet is also a good way to determine the hours and location of a library before you get there.  If they don't have a web page, look to see if the town, village or city has a web page. Sometimes their library will be listed on that. 

Yesterday I was traveling and decided to visit a library that I had visited about five years ago. At that time they had a nice genealogy collection, not overly large, but with items that pertained to the genealogy and history of the area.  Sometimes small town libraries have genealogy items that will surprise you! 

The library building is new and modern.  There are labeled pendants above the various sections of the library, such as  Fiction, Young Adult, Non-Fiction, etc.  The shelving units had been turned a different way since my previous visit.  By looking at the pendants I saw a state history section.  Lots of interesting books were there, but nothing significantly genealogically related. 

Finally I asked.  What happened to your genealogy section?  The librarian pointed to about five books behind the desk.  Then at the state history section.  With more visiting, I did learn something else.  All of the genealogical correspondence addressed to the library, plus family materials, are filed in a filing cabinet in the library office.  Those are not listed on their web page and had I not asked, I would not have known of their existence. 

They do have microfilm of old newspapers and indexes of marriages and other vital records, which can be extremely helpful.  The librarian told me that all those other things no longer there were not useful to the genealogists.  She said people just want to read microfilm.  Who made that decision? 

If your library wants to dump their genealogy section, be sure you speak out about the value of the collection.  This can happen when library administration changes.  If the personnel are not interested in genealogy, the library may have a sparse to practically no collection.  Where those "no-longer useful" books went, I have no clue.  Perhaps they were sold at a book sale!  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feeding Genealogists

If you feed them, they will come.  Of course, it depends on what you feed them.  While genealogists enjoy food, they also survive on research and information.  

My local society, The North Platte Genealogical Society (North Platte, Nebraska), met last night at the Family History Center in the LDS Church.  It was a typical Nebraska windy day and evening with gusts up to 43 miles per hour.  But, they came out in it because they wanted to learn. 

While many genealogical societies are faltering, ours is surviving.  We provide interesting meetings and programs which makes them WANT to get out in just about anything but a Nebraska blizzard to attend.  They don't go home empty handed.  At each meeting they are given handouts that pertain to the program, research tips and news items about doing research. 

After a brief business meeting last night, we took groups of four people at a time into the room that houses the Family History Center.  Some had been there and others had not.  They learned how to use the Family History Library Catalog and how to order microfilm and microfiche. The new FamilySearch was demonstrated and they learned about the readers and printers.  They were shown the indefinite microfilm and the microfiche that remains there.  We presented a world of research materials there and that can be ordered through the center.  

In case you haven't noticed, there are three video lessons on the Family History Library Catalog web page.  They are great for learning more about using the catalog.  

Will they come back to order microfilm?  I hope they do return to the Family History Center.  If we keep feeding them, they will most likely attend the society meetings.  This means our society is alive and well.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reading Genealogy Blogs

If you are a follower of genealogy blogs, you probably realize they come in a variety of appearances, format and at various time intervals.  You can usually subscribe to them, being notified when there is a new post.  Personally, I prefer to read my blogs daily (and sometimes more often) with my morning cup of tea.  

Following blogs will not only be entertaining, but also rewarding in the way of genealogical ideas, tips and news.  Some of the blogs are more family oriented and others are more on the commercial side of research.  Regardless, they all serve a purpose for the genealogist. 

One of my favorites that updates almost every day and usually several times a day is Genealogy Blog written by Leland Meitzler.  If his name sounds families, it should ... he's the editor of The Genealogical Helper.  Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter by Dick Eastman is another daily update worth reading.  You can also subscribe to his Plus Edition, gaining more information.  

Others I think you will enjoy are Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings.  In his words, "Genealogy Research Is really FUN!"  How true!  Michael Neill of Illinois has two informative blogs.  Rootdig.com and Genealogy Tip of the Day are good reads.  

Professional researcher, Arlene Eakle, offers three blogs.  Her main blog, Arlene Eakle's Genealogy Blog always contains interesting and helpful research information.  She has recently added Arlene Eakle's Tennessee Blog which focuses on researching in that state.  For those researching in Virginia, don't miss out on Arlene Eakle's Virginia Blog.  

If you have not met Ol' Myrt, you must stop by her blog and read her posts.  Follow her at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog.  If you teach genealogy or if you are a Family History Consultant, be sure to check out Teach Genealogy Blog.

Some blogs have a definite theme, such as Ben Sayer's blogs for genealogy software.  If you are a Mac user, be sure to follow his MacGenealogist.com blog.  He also writes PCGenealogist.com which focuses on applications for Windows.  

I always enjoy reading The Ancestry Insider blog.  Just who is that guy anyway?  He provides clues that he works for one of the big genealogy websites and is a staff trainer at a family history center.  He does work in the computer industry and you won't want to miss his vital information.  

If you subscribe to Ancestry.com, be sure to read their Ancestry.com Blog.  The posts are written by people behind the scenes who know and understand their product.  Family Tree Magazine hosts the blog Genealogy Insider which contains a lot of links to web pages of interest to the genealogist, plus a lot more exciting information. 

What or who is the Graveyard Rabbit?  Check it out!  From this you will link to the rabbits' blogs.  There are plenty of rabbits blogging.  Here's just a few.  Be sure to read the March 30th blog at The Mount Timpanogos Graveyard Rabbit.  It is quite amusing how they ordered pizza to be delivered to the cemetery.  Others that are fun to read include The Graveyard Rabbit of Northern Virginia and the Jewish Graveyard Rabbit.  

Then there is my family ... we keep genealogy all in the family.  I have two blogs, Genealogy Lines (which you are reading) and Nebraska Roots and Ramblings.  My daughter writes Growing Up Genealogy in which she expresses her thoughts on having a Mom totally devoted to genealogy.  My sister-in-law writes Those Old Memories, sharing family episodes as well as research ideas.  Together my sister-in-law and I write the blog, You Go Genealogy Girls.  Be sure to read about our research trips and antics!  

Can't get enough of those blogs?  You can find listings of them at geneabloggers and Genealogy Blog Finder.  You will be surprised at how many there are on Internet.  

While some blogs change frequently, others may not.  Keep in mind that people are busy ... after all they should be doing their genealogical research!  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting Out of the Rut

Are you stuck in a rut doing your research?  Do you consistently check databases such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch and others?  They are all great, but there's even more.  Start searching for databases that are on library, historical society and genealogical society web pages.  There are some amazing things you will want to explore!  Here's a sampling: 

downloadable guides in PDF format
Ohio Death Certificates 1908-1953
Cleveland Necrology File (pre 1975) 
Cleveland News Index (1975 to current) 
Inventory of City, Criss Cross and Telephone Directories 

Illinois During the Civil War 1861-1865 
The Mexican-American War 
Illinois Civil War Newspapers 
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society .... and more 

Index of Local Birth, Death and Marriage Announcements from newspapers 
Local Cemetery Records 
Wyoming Genealogy Resources 

Census, Directories, Tax Payers and Voters 

Obituary Notebook Index 1896 to present (over 32,000 entries) 
Family Surname Index (over 4,400 entries)

Cemetery Index and List 
Obituary Index 1866-2000 

There's a lot more out there, so start Googling for libraries and societies that have web pages and check them out.  

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bragging Rights

In January I blogged about my resolution to clean up all of my genealogy files on the computer. Since I am a Mac and Reunion user I found some tips about doing this on the Mac Genealogist blog.  Ben Sayer does an excellent job of explaining things that the Reunion manual pretty much leaves unexplained in detail.  His video demonstrations can be played and replayed until it soaks in.  It was there I thoroughly learned how to create place lists and begin the clean up process.  

Beginning in January, with 20 large files, my goal was to finish them in six months, but satisfied if it took all year.  Do you enter information and think eventually you'll return to it and add a county or check the spelling?  Then you never do?  Yes, I'm guilty of that, too!  I used a variety of sources to determine the locations.  Because of county boundary changes, I had to consult books such as Redbook American State, County and Town Sources edited by Alice Eichholz and also Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1920 by Willam Thorndale and William Dollarhide.  

I also checked places through Google searching and maps.  Another helpful source was RootsWeb Town Search 1.0.  This is a quick way to determine the location of a town, city, village, but county boundaries and formations need to be checked.  

Once the places were cleaned up, I began checking the notes and unlinked people.  There were other odds and ends that I discovered.  I didn't always use Reunion, so some old data had been transferred wrong.  One thing I learned early on was not to merge somebody's data into mine. Even with match and merge features it can be a nightmare.  Their data entry may not match and then the work begins again to clean up the files.  

Overall it was a great learning experience.  The final tabulation ... I cleaned up data on 228,774 people and 44,774 places.  Whew!  Now I can move on to another project.  However, looking back at the time spent on this, I resolve to always take the time to do it right when I enter information into my genealogy files.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Granny's Letters

A tribute to my maternal grandmother, Nanne Lewis Horne, born 1 March 1889 in Ashe Co., North Carolina to Rev. Harvey Lewis and Mary Caroline "Callie" Miller.  On 13 June 1909 she married Samuel Stephen "Steve" Horne at Ashland, Ashe Co., North Carolina.  They lived most of their married life in Sprucie Hollow, Johnson Co., Tennessee.  She passed over on 30 October 1965.  

It was the summer of 1959 and very hot and humid in northeast Tennessee.  My clothes clung to me from morning to night and chigger bites between my toes reminded me that I should not have gone barefooted.  I was 16 years old, visiting my maternal grandparents who would soon be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  We arrived early from Nebraska to help with preparations.  In addition to my parents and another set of grandparents, there were relatives from others states ... cousins, aunts and uncles.  

For someone with a budding interest in genealogy, the vast array of relatives, all eager to visit and share stories and information, was an added bonus.  My mind filled with questions and my hand quickly wrote responses as I visited with my grandparents and others.  Not only was I learning generations of names and events, but stories to go with the names. 

One morning the men went to the tobacco fields and the women prepared for a trip to town.  My 17 year old cousin and I had eagerly awaited this day.  Somehow we convinced our mothers that we should remain behind at Granny and Grandpa's house.  Our story must have been convincing and the timing was right.  As soon as the cars pulled away and rounded the curve, we put our plan into action.  

In the corner of a bedroom there was an old trunk piled high with neatly folded quilts.  One by one, we lifted the quilts and placed them carefully on the bed.  Lifting the trunk lid we saw small bundles of letters neatly tied with delicate blue ribbons.  Our fingers anticipated the joy of reading something old, perhaps secretive and revealing, as we united the bows on one bundle of letters. 

They were written in 1908 and 1908 to Grandpa by his sweetheart who eventually would become our Granny.  Line by line she wrote about her love for him and how she wished they could marry.  Her father, a Baptist minister in North Carolina, had concerns about the marriage.  He opposed it because Grandpa had been living in the "wilds" of Oregon herding sheep.  

Another letter spelled out Granny's plan.  They would elope.  Grandpa was living in Tennessee and would come to get her in North Carolina so they could run away and marry.  Yet another letter sadly told how somebody had heard of her elopement plan and told her father.  

Watching the clock we realized that the reading of Granny's letters would resume at another time.  The men would be in from the fields and the women would soon arrive from their trip to town.  Carefully we put the letters back into a bundle and tied them with the blue ribbons.  The quilts were placed on top of the trunk.  Then we realized what we had read ... OUR Granny had wanted to elope. 

We wanted to read more letters.  Excitement over what we had read led us later that day to confess to our mothers about our foray.  They were also interested in the letters, but thought we should have asked Granny's permission to open the trunk.  One of the mothers told her what we had done.  She was unhappy and eventually removed the bundled letters from the trunk and burned them. 

Fortunately I did not witness the burning of the letters in the wood stove.  I did not see the pain in her eyes as she realized that her privacy had been invaded by her granddaughters.  We never spoke of that event again.  The letters were burned and gone forever.  

The anniversary celebration took place as planned.  People gathered to eat and laugh and wish Granny and Grandpa many more years of married life.  They smiled and held hands and occasionally Granny would wipe tears from her eyes.  Afterwards we all went back home to our own families and lives.  

Recently a cousin, going through her late mother's possessions, found a letter that Granny had written about the anniversary celebration.  In the letter Granny told about their gifts and people who attended.  She described their cake as being two layered with two white bells and gold clappers in them with a "50" on top.  In her words, "Me and Pa cut the cake.  It cost $30.00 some dollars and I fed him a bit and he fed me a bit.   ... Pa and me got a bite of a wedding cake.  Had to wait 'til our children furnished it for us."  

Times change through the years.  At their anniversary I would have thought it amusing that they had no wedding cake at their wedding.  Today I find it sad that they had to wait fifty years to celebrate the life they had planned to have together even if it meant eloping.  

Through the years Granny wrote letters to me.  The two letters that I kept are very special.  She and Grandpa agreed on about everything except which state they preferred and politics.  Granny was born in North Carolina, but preferred Tennessee.  Grandpa was born in Tennessee, but preferred North Carolina.  Granny was a Republican and Grandpa was a Democrat.  They hashed these issues over and over.  In the spring of 1964 Granny wrote to me about voting and how special it was for a woman to be able to vote.  She also stressed that I should vote for Barry Goldwater who was running on the Republican ticket for President. 

The last letter I received from her was mailed the middle of June 1964.  She told me that Grandpa was sick and that she wanted me to visit them in July.  That was the last time I would see Grandpa alive.  He died the following month.  In her letter she told me that she was also not well and that she felt a "soarness" in her chest and could hardly breathe.  That was also the last time I saw her alive as she died of a heart attack on 30 October 1965.  

This letter is treasured, as she had treasured her love letters to Grandpa.  The memories are still vivid as I recall those bundles of letters tied up with tiny blue ribbons.  This was part of a grandmother I never knew and will never know as the letters are all gone now except for the two I have saved.  I would gladly trade my two letters just to hold her hand and kiss her face and tell her that I love her.  For the time being I have to be content with only Granny's letters. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference

The Nebraska State Genealogical Society is a supportive group for the enhancement of genealogy in the state of Nebraska.  If you have roots in Nebraska, you need to become a member.  Their publications are good and the area representatives often assist people with their research questions.  

The annual conference for this group will be held in Scottsbluff, Nebraska on April 30th, May 1st and May 2nd.  It will be at the Harms Advanced Technology Center, 2620 College Park in Scottsbluff.  Click here for a map.  The featured speaker will be Julie Miller, C.G.  

Other people will present interesting programs.  Crista Cowan, indexing manager at The Generations Network will share information on the Ancestry.com projects.   Karon Harvey will speak about Orphan Train Research and Edward Loera will present training on HeritageQuest.  Travis Boley will enlighten attendees about the Oregon-California Trails Association and the new online database, Paper-Trail.org.  Barb Netherland will present information about the Paul and Helen Henderson Trail Collection which contains copies of several hundred emigrant diaries, photographs and more.  

In case you didn't get the hint, the Oregon Trail passed through the Gering-Scottsbluff area in Nebraska.  Oregon Trail Days is held as an annual celebration.  There is a lot of history in the valley and whether or not you had ancestors who went to Oregon, it is a fun time to celebrate. Chimney Rock  (see photo) is a landmark that guided them through the area.  I never tire of seeing it and always think of the pioneers.  

A pdf file of the conference can be downloaded from the Nebraska State Genealogical Society's web page.  It will be a fun time to get together with other genealogists and learn something as we traverse west.  See you all there! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photographs within Family Photograph

About two years ago genealogist and relative, Chuck Munn of Arizona, sent me a jpg of this photograph.  Who are these people?  Must be family!  But more importantly, there were large family photographs on the walls of the room where it was taken.  I tried zooming in with photo software in an attempt to recognize even one person in the photographs.  Nothing seemed to work!  Surely the people in the photograph belong somewhere in the family.  

Sometimes there is a way around unidentified photographs.  Chuck has been persistent in sharing this with family members and asking the pertinent questions.  Finally it paid off when he received information from a family member in California.  She was able to identify all of the people in the photograph, PLUS the people in the photographs on the wall.  It isn't often that we get two for one in old photographs, but we certainly did this time.

Chuck estimates that the photograph was taken around 1910-1912.  It was taken in what appears to be the parlor of the home of Ellen Josephine Beard and her husband, Perry Marvin Dady, in Nebraska.  The women from the far left are Ellen Josephine Beard Dady (1859-1936); Monna Ruth Dady Fisher (1893-1926) standing on the far left; Lorene Josephine Dady Nelson (1902-1980), the little girl between the men.  Next to what appears to be a piano is Jennie Florilla Dady Runyan (1886-1965) and seated at the piano is Myrtle Grace Dady Brand (1897-1997).  The men at the table are, left to right, Harry Leslie Dady (1895-1990); Guy Dady (1892-1971); Otis Marvin Dady (1888-1994) and Perl Spencer Dady (1885-1940).  Perry Marvin Dady (1859-1942) is seated in the chair on the far right.  

The framed photograph over the piano is of Spencer Dady II (1835-1890) and Adelaide Wible Dady (1840-1904).  They were Perry's parents.  The framed photograph on the left is of William Ennis Beard (1818-1864) and Almyra Parish Amsberry (1829-1888).  They were Ellen's parents.  We cannot identify the photograph directly over Perry Dady.  

Not only is this a family photograph, but it contains another generation of ancestors through the photographs on the wall.  If only walls could talk!  Or old photographs could talk!  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Phil, Snow and Maps

Earlier this month groundhog Phil saw his shadow.  His prediction of six more weeks of winter seems to be correct.  Here in Nebraska it is snowing today, inches of the white stuff falling.  It's pretty as long as it doesn't last too long.  By mid March maybe we will be on the downside of Phil's prediction and on our way to spring. 

It's a good morning to do genealogical research, exploring things on Internet.  I have found many wonderful maps that I feel enhance my research.  I have been looking for outline maps for a lecture that I'm presenting.  The Perry-Castaneda Map Collection has many links to useful map sites, many of which are educational maps for students.  I have also found helpful information and maps at 13 Originals Founding the American Colonies.  Part of my lecture pertains to the formation of the colony of New Jersey.  I needed a map showing West Jersey and East Jersey which I found at Where was the West Jersey/East Jersey line?.  Actually there are several maps at that site. 

Maps help your research come to life.  They help you visualize routes that your ancestors may have taken in their migrations, where their land was located on old maps, plus where it is within today's boundaries.  It's a snowy day to find more maps on Internet, so I have several hours of fun ahead!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January Genealogy

Many days, a few weeks ago I blogged about my resolutions and responsibilities for 2009.  I am well on my way to fulfilling those ... already.  It seems that my local genealogy society's books at the public library needed to once again be shifted.  Big shift!  We did this a year ago with minor shifting in the following months.  Two other departments shifted last week, so we shifted.  

It has not been a normal shift.  One shelving section was moved and repositioned to make a user friendly area for researchers.  Because we knew this big shift was approaching, we had not shelved at least 150 books in the last couple months.  These were newly cataloged and not wanting to shift twice, they were left for this major shift.  One heavily used area (Nebraska books) had gone shabby and out of order.  Both of those functions have been accomplished and today we will finish the shift project.  

I would call this my responsibility for 2009, or one of them in the genealogy world.  I have had four willing workers, one being my daughter who writes the blog, Growing Up Genealogy.  

A resolve I mentioned earlier this month was to clean up my computerized genealogy files.  I am a Mac and Reunion user.  I have picked up some great tips for doing this at Ben Sayer's blog, MacGenealogist.com.  If you are a Mac user and a genealogist, be sure to read his blog.  My genealogy files on the computer are enormous, but I have cleaned up three thus far and well on my way to four.  I have many more to go.  

Not too bad for less than one, well almost a month.  Wonder what I'll do in February?