Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 231

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 231
with Lisa Louise Cooke
July 2019

Listen now, click player below:

Download the episode (mp3)

In this episode:

  • The latest tech news from Google Earth, FamilySearch and MyHeritage
  • Alice’s Story – genealogy research with blogger Julianne Mangin
  • Cemeteries – both for ancestors and their pets

Download the show notes PDF

Please take our quick PODCAST SURVEY which will take less than 1 minute.  Thank you!


Google Earth News

Jennifer in California sent me a fascinating item recently , and she says “Thought you might get a kick out today’s blurb from Google, where they pat themselves on the back for what can be done with Google Earth. No argument from me; it’s amazing!”

So, what can be done with Google Earth besides all the family history projects that I teach here on the podcast and in the Premium videos? Well, Peter Welch and Weekend Wanderers in the UK are using Google Earth to find treasure!

Read all about it here
Visit the Weekend Wanderers website

FamilySearch Adds Audio, the free and massive genealogy website from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  has added a new way for you to add more memories to your tree.

In addition to photos you can now add audio both at the website and the FamilySearch FamilyTree and Memories apps which you can download from your mobile device’s app store.

So now as you’re selecting and uploading family photos to familysearch, you can also gather and record the stories that go with those photos. It’s sort of like being able to write on the back on the photograph, but in an even more personal way.

Your voice, and the voices of your relatives can now be part of your family’s history.

Read the article about adding audio

From the FamilySearch website: “Photos and audio attached to deceased ancestors can be viewed by other users on the FamilySearch Family Tree. To protect privacy, photos and audio attached to living people can be seen only by the person who added the memory unless that person shares the memory or album with another user.”

MyHeritage App update

Among the newly introduced features are Family Timelines, the ability to view family trees that you’re matched with, the ability to choose which information you extract from Smart Matches™, an improved research page, and more. Read all about it here



We received lots of great feedback on the article 3 Shocking Discoveries I’ve Made While Searching Cemeteries by Joy Neighbors

From Craig: “After finding my Paternal grandfather and great-grandfather, I looked for my Paternal GG Grandfather in the same area. No luck. I went to the R.B. Hayes library in Tiffin, Ohio and started looking at every page in the burial listing for the township I thought he would be in. And there he was – last name misspelled! (The “A” was changed to a “K”.) I was able to drive over to the cemetery and located his stone – still readable after his burial in 1885. I plan to go back to the area this summer to look for his wife, who was buried elsewhere (they were separated.) I wish I could get someone to update the lists with the correct spelling, to match the gravestone and census papers, but that seems impossible to do.”

From Ann:
“My brother Ray says we have visited more dead relatives than live ones. Trying now to visit the relatives above ground!”

From LeRoy:
Spent many hours walking, crawling, pushing through brush brambles and briers just to find and take pictures of tombstones. I regret only one such adventure. If I may. My sweetheart and I went to a small cemetery in New Jersey to gather family names and pictures for Billion Graves and our personal records. While I was taking pictures, my wife was clipping brush and bushes from the stone that identified her families plot.

We had a great day. I filled two clips of pictures and my sweetheart did a magnificent job on that stone. It was only a few hours later, when she started itching that I really “looked” at the pictures and realized that the brush that she cleared from that stone was poison ivy. Wouldn’t have been so bad, but when she found that I’m not affected by poison oak, ivy or sumac. She was not happy.

From Shirley:
I have recently started doing ancestry research and have been astounded at what I have found. No creepy tree stories. However, it is nice to know that some ancestors took special care to by buy family plots even though they knew eventually the girls might marry and want to be buried with their husband. I found it interesting that both my grandfather and my grandmother are both buried with their individual parents.

From Patsy:
Shirley’s  story jogged my memory. My mother died in 1934 when I was 4 years old. She is buried in her father’s plot rather than my paternal grandfather’s plot. I have wondered for years why the burial was arranged that way and imagine all sorts of situations. Were the families feuding? Was one family more financially able to foot the bill. Did my paternal grandfather not like my father? Hmmmm………

From Sharon:
I checked out this book from the local library about a month ago. Decided I needed my own copy. All genealogist should read it. It is very informative & entertaining.

From Marinell:
About 5 years ago I found the farm on which my gr great grandparents were buried. The tall granite marker with the parents’ names had been knocked over, the foot stones stacked and several large rocks were around the monument and it was in the middle of a field that was being planted and harvested. We made contact with the owner and received permission to have it raised.

In the meantime, I found an obituary for a son who was buried on the family farm. I also found an article about a woman who did dowsing, contacted her and she agreed to come perform the dowsing. I was videoing it when my phone went totally dead! I had never had that happen and it was charged. Thirty minutes later it came back on mysteriously!

She found 2 adult women, 2 adult men and three toddlers. After further search I found another obituary for a grown daughter buried there and 3 toddler grandchildren who died in 1882. She said that the large rocks would have marked the graves. Sadly, they had totally desecrated the family cemetery. But I was excited to learn all I did and was startled by the phone totally dying.

The free podcast is sponsored by RootsMagic


Julianne and her momGEM: Genealogy Research with Julianne Mangin

We first talked to Julianne last year  in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 219. In that episode we explored the tragic story of Julianne’s ancestors, the Metthe family. It was a riveting case study of the twists and turns that genealogy can take us on.GEM: Checking in with Julianne Mangin

Julianne had originally been a bit of a reluctant genealogist. But after a 30 year career in library science, including 14 years as a librarian and website developer for the Library of Congress in Washington DC, she could couldn’t help but try to find the truther in the piecemeal stories that she was told by her mother.

Julianne has continued to research and write at her Julianne Mangin blog, and I thought it would fun to check back in with her and see what she’s been up to.

Her latest blog series is called Alice’s Story. It follows the path of discovery she followed to uncover the story of a previously unknown aunt.

  1. Alice’s Story Part 1
  2. Alice’s Story Part 2the Exeter School
  3. Alice’s Story Part 3Final Resting Place

The research began where most good genealogical research begins: at the end of Alice’s life and her death certificate.

Institutional Records – But with few records and no first-hand interviews available, Julianne turned to researching the institutions themselves to dig deeper into Alice’s experience.
Genealogy Gems Premium Video: Institutional Records (membership required)

State Census Records can help fill in the gaps between the federal census enumerations.  Search for “state census” in the card catalog:

Ancestry State Census

MyHeritage State Census

The free podcast is sponsored by MyHeritage


State Censuses at the FamilySearch Wiki

“Copies of many state censuses are on microfilm at the Family History Library. The Family History Library’s most complete collections of state censuses are for Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. However, censuses exist for the following states also: 

ArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIndianaLouisianaMaineMarylandMichiganMissouriNebraskaNevadaNew MexicoNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOklahomaOregonRhode IslandSouthCarolinaSouthDakotaTennesseeTexasUtah
VirginiaWashington and Wyoming.

State, colonial, and territorial censuses at the Family History Library are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under “STATE – CENSUS RECORDS”

Old Postcards are a great resource for images.
Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 16 and episode 76 feature strategies for finding family history on ebay. (Genealogy Gems Premium Membership required)


Become a Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning Member
Gain access to the complete Premium podcast archive of over 150 episodes and more than 50 video webinars, including Lisa Louise Cooke’s newest video The Big Picture in Little Details.
Learn more here

Institutional Annual Reports – Julianne searched for annual reports to the Legislature for more details on the various institutions where Alice resided.
Library of Congress Catalog
Google Books

Old Newspapers offered a counterbalance to the annual reports.

“The institutions were like characters in the story.”

Also mentioned in this interview:
The Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission
Julianne’s Pet Cemetery Stories blog
Rags, War Hero


You worked really hard on your family history – protect it with the Cloud backup service that Lisa uses:

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 219


Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 219

In this episode, Lisa shares the stories of Julianne Mangin, who has explored the tragic and twisted stories of her ancestors, Graziella and Philippe Metthe.

These stories caught Lisa’s eye: “The tragic tale with its surprises along the way was tantalizing enough, but the real intrigue for me was from a genealogical point of view ? the confusing records and the fascinating news accounts that help shed light on them.”

Download this episode




Julianne Mangin is a retired librarian and web developer who took up genealogy in 2012, hoping to make sense of her mother’s brief and disconnected family stories. After five years of dogged research, she has written down her family story in the form of a memoir in which she pieces together the family saga and writes about how the experience changed her. She hopes that she can find a publisher for her completed manuscript. She maintains a website at where she posts articles about her genealogical discoveries and insights.

Family Stories? We all have them. Passed around the dinner table, over the phone, and in hushed voices around the corner of a doorway. When we are children they come from the mouths of our elders, which cements them firmly as told. No deviations, because after all, they were told by grownups.

And some of those stories aren’t really stories at all. Just fragments really. Juicy pieces of gossip or bottom lines that are meant to explain away the past, and firmly place a period at the end. No more discussion.

Julianne Mangin had heard stories like these all of her life, mostly from her mom. The stories of how her grandmother and grandfather married in 1922, and then 2 months later Grandma left Grandpa. And then Grandma’s 10 years committed to a mental institution. Yes, they were fragments really more than complete stories.



GGP 219 Julianne Mangin julieMomGenGem_0670

Julianne Mangin with her mother. Image courtesy of Julianne Mangin.

Julianne’s mother was the family historian and when pressed for details, it was a bit like pulling teeth.

Oh, and yes, there was the story about Julianne’s great grandfather abandoning her great grandmother, and then she was committed to a mental institution, and then they pulled out all her teeth!

Julianne’s mom was the genealogist of the family and by all appearances had all those census records, birth certificates and other dry documents firmly in hand. (And as for asking for more details on those unusual and mysterious stories, that was a bit like pulling teeth, too.)

Julianne’s family history was an entangled web of lies, pain, loss and madness. On her website, she describes it “a Dickensian tale of immigration, poverty, mental illness, family betrayal and ultimately redemption.”

In this episode of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, we’re going to unravel the story of how madness in a family nearly buried the truth of the family’s history. And how bringing that truth out into the light brought with it healing and created a passionate, new genealogist. Along the way, you’ll hear some of the strategies that Julianne used find that truth; methods that just may help you to flesh out the true details of one of your family’s stories.

Quote-worthy statements from Julianne:
“I had been a reluctant genealogist most of my life until I realized genealogy’s power to unlock family secrets and make sense of the stories Mom told me about her family.”

“My grandfather left my grandmother and so she became insane, and then some doctor thought it was a good idea to pull out all her teeth. End of story! And that was it.”

“It’s just psychologically better to really know where you’re really from and what really happened before you.”

How Family History Helps Create Happy Families: Genealogy Gems with Bruce Feiler

“That takes me to another one of my mother’s cryptic stories which was that she said that as a child her mother grew up in a shed.”

Julianne used Sanborn fire insurance maps to find the shed, and visited it personally.



Keep your family history research, photos, tree software files, videos and all other computer files safely backed up with Backblaze, the official cloud-based computer backup system for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. Learn more at is the place to make connections with relatives overseas, particularly with those who may still live in your ancestral homeland. Click here to see what MyHeritage can do for you: it’s free to get started.



Lisa Louise Cooke uses and recommends RootsMagic family history software. From within RootsMagic, you can search historical records on, and



GGP 219 Julianne Mangin BonneauAzilda_ca1911BW

Azilda Bonneau, ca 1911. Image courtesy of Julianne Mangin.

The Metthe family cast of characters:

BEATRICE METTHE (1901-1966) was Julianne’s grandmother. She had four siblings: Leonard, Dinorah, Joseph, and Pauline. Her parents were:

PHILIPPE METTHE (1877-1937) and GRAZIELLA BONNEAU (1878-1910). Both of them were born in Quebec. They married in 1899 in Danielson, Connecticut.

Philippe’s parents were DAVID METTHE (1851-1912) and ROSALIE LAPOINTE (Abt. 1852-1923). David was born in Quebec (Julianne’s not sure where Rosalie was born or if Lapointe is her real name). They married in Danielson in 1873. David and Rosalie had 11 children. Philippe was the second oldest.

Graziella’s parents were PIERRE BONNEAU (1853-1911) and AZILDA DAVIGNON (1855-1912). They were born in Quebec and married there in 1876. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1885 when Graziella was seven years old. Pierre and Azilda had 10 children. Graziella was the second oldest.



The mysterious 1920 U.S. Federal Census record:



  • Philippe says he is single
  • Marie says she’s the wife of the head of household
  • Family lore was that Philippe went back to Canada, but this entry is in MA

Julianne’s approach:

  • Research all the possible areas and “what ifs”.
  • Look in Quebec church records for a marriage (not found)
  • Look in MA vital records for a marriage (not found)
  • Try to find Marie E and Charles D in some other family group in 1910

She searched for Marie E and Charles D and limited their location to CT, and found them with a George Metthe (Philippes brother!):



Where is George? “This is why I got hooked on genealogy. There are now digitized sources out there that help you answer questions like that!” She found him in the newspapers.




Newspaper Research Resources:

How to use Chronicling America to find your ancestors’ hometown newspapers

How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers by Lisa Louise Cooke

Getting the Scoop from Old Newspapers: Parts 1 and 2 video tutorials (Premium eLearning membership required)

Must-search digitized US historical newspaper collections:

Chronicling America (free)

US Newspaper Archives at (search for free: subscription required to view search results)

Newspaper collections at (search for free: subscription required to view search results)



Julianne is thankful that:

Her mom’s family was from Quebec: their records are so great and detailed.

There were a lot of bad actors in her family so they showed up in the newspapers

More quotes from Julianne:

“My motivation for being a genealogist was to learn more about my mother’s curiously insensitive behavior.  But when I put it all together, one of my reactions was of relief. I was relieved because things made sense. And you know at that point in my life when I started genealogy I was in my mid-fifties and I just wanted a family story that made sense. As sad as it was, things were starting to make sense now.”

“Well one of the things that I say repeatedly is that writing this book and writing this story of my family was a way of showing how family history is empowering and also it’s got the potential to heal old wounds by bringing up the truth.”

“I would just like to say that I hope that my story helps other people, and I hope they get genealogical ideas from the little victories that I’ve had. I hope also that people who come to my blog   can see how I’ve used family history to change myself, into someone who understands more about where I’m from, and being more empathetic to people who are suffering from things like mental illness, or from trauma. I just hope that what I do helps others, even though part of me just wants to tell my story.”



Who: Lisa Louise Cooke, Diahan Southard and Sunny Morton
What: Genealogy Roots (at SeniorExpo)
Where: South Towne Expo Center, 9081 S. State St., Sandy, Utah (just 30 minutes from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City!)
When: October 4-5, 2018, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Click here to learn more!





Lisa Louise Cooke, Host and Producer
Sunny Morton, Editor and Genealogy Gems Book Club Guru
Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide, Content Contributor
Hannah Fullerton, Audio Editor
Lacey Cooke, Service Manager



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