Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn.
In this episode I share viewers’ family history displays, answer your questions about my genealogy organization method, and show you how I file my genealogy digital files. (This series on genealogy organization began with Elevenses with Lisaepisode 6.) Scroll down for all the show notes for this episode.
As you’ll remember I launched this show after the first week of the stay at home recommendation in March. Back then my first “PSA” was to resist the temptation to cut your own bangs. Well it turns out that if you have scotch tape, then you’re good to go!
From the Newspapers: Cutting your bangs with scotch tape!
Betty’s Family Tree Wall
“I feel like we are besties even though we really don’t know each other like our friends and neighbors so much. You are so open about your family and life. Thank you!
Here’s what I have done in my basement with the family pictures that have fallen into my lap over my 67 years. It is a dream come true and being out of the light, the pictures won’t fade as some have done in the past. I had to restore a few on the computer in Paint.
Thank you for showing us how to do things like Google Earth for Genealogy in simplified ways. It’s actually incredible how you do that.”
Thank you for sharing this inspirational photo display with all of us!
Betty’s family tree photo wall
Maria’s Wall of Photos
From Maria: “I’ve been an avid listener of your podcast, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching Elevenses every Thursday. It’s something I look forward to each week as we’re going through the stay-at-home order here in NYC.
After seeing the great photos on the wall behind you in your videos and the picture you enlarged to hang in your music room, I was inspired to do some family decor of my own.
I’ve been scanning family photos bit by bit as I was passed down albums from my great-grandparent’s and have been going through and labeling them with my grandparents, and decided to get some copies printed so I could enjoy them while keeping the originals safe in archival photo sleeves.”
Here is Maria’s gallery of photos on the wall by her desk providing motivation for continued genealogy research:
Maria’s family history photo wall
She says “They include ancestors from all sides of my family tree, with the earliest photo here dating to 1915. Thank you again for all that you do.”
Thank you for sharing, Maria!
Q: Do you still plan on attending the FGS conference, in Kansas City this fall?
A: Yes, as of now it’s still a go. I will be there with bells on unless I hear otherwise.
Answers to Your Genealogy Paper Organization Questions
Q: My question from last week is I wonder why you start with death of each ancestor in your notebooks.
A: Because we do genealogy backwards. Remember, our goal is NOT to have a piece of paper for every event in a person’s life. Our goal is to have a safe place to keep the most precious paper that we want to archive in person’s life. Everything else is digital on our computer and backed up.
Our goal is to go as paperless as possible
Q: So if you start with a man’s birth, does he not ever show up in his father’s book?
A: As a reminder, the father would be a new tab, not a new notebook. If you decide to start from birth while using my system, birth to marriage would still be under his father.
Q: What are you really keeping paper copies of?
A: I keep things like original documents, postcards, letters…I even have a doily in one of my books!
Debby commented to Kelli in the chat that she leaves a page in his father’s binder indicating which binder to look in for his complete story. In my system, not every “father” gets a binder, and the notebooks are not the complete story. They are simply the paper archive for the story. The full story is in your master genealogy database software.
If you’re struggling with tossing some of your paper, it can help to ask yourself, do my descendants REALLY want a piece of paper for every single thing I found even if it was just a print-out of a digitized (non-original) document?
The answer is, NO!
In fact, the more paper you store, the more in jeopardy you put your family history research. Future generations may feel burdened by it, and likely won’t have room for it all. If it is an overwhelming amount it is less desirable for your descendants to try to hang on to it. Also, printer ink is expensive.
Q: Do you 3-hole punch items that really don’t need a sheet protector? Like a census or something easily retrieved or printed again?
A: Occasionally, but usually only if it’s a Pending item. Otherwise I don’t print it out in the first place.
Q: If you’re going to archive a digital file, would it be as effective to save it in your master software vs. a separate digital archive on your computer? Is there a benefit to having duplicate files?
A: I don’t attach files to my database. It’s not because it’s not a good idea. But because I started back when you couldn’t do that. And that made me very reliant on having an excellent digital filing system. If I see a marriage in my database which is sourced, I know exactly where to go on my computer to find the source document.
Q: But if I am organizing my archive for donation to a library, should not I have an index? The library won’t have a copy of my software.
A: When donating, ask about their requirements and provided the needed documentation. Options include providing a printed index, a copy of your gedcom file, or other reference material.
From C Davis:
Q: You have to turn on your computer before you use a binder? Your computer boots fast? My RootsMagicdoes not start in a minute.
A: I leave my computer on all the time. It just goes to sleep. And in fact, turning your computer on and off a couple of time a day can actually shorten it’s life span.
Typically I leave RootsMagic up in the background while I’m doing research. But even if you don’t have it open and you were just looking at your online family tree, you typically know:
1) which surname and therefore which binder
2) which generation based on the age of the person (and therefore which tab to look under.)
Again, notebooks and paper are archival only. Most times I’m turning to my digital files for the backup documents.
I also received great questions about cloud backup. As I mentioned in the show, I use and trust Backblaze. Please use this link to get the best deal at Backblaze. Using this link helps support this free show. If you make a purchase we will be financially compensated for referring you at no additional charge to you.
Q: Can you back up multiple computers on Backblaze?
A: You need one account for each computer. However, you can plug an external hard drive into your computer and the subscription for that computer will also cover that hard drive. This is very handy if for example you keep your scanned photos on a separate hard drive so that they don’t use up precious space on your computer.
Q: I use a laptop and move it around the house and outside the home, and (use the) battery, so will a system like Backblaze work?
A: Yes. All you need is an internet connection. If you are temporarily not connected to the internet, Backblaze just picks back up on backing up when you reconnect.
From C Davis:
Q: Backblaze works with old computers?
A: According to the company, they support back to Windows 7. Click here for the complete list for both Windows and Mac. Please use this link if you would like to get Backblaze for your computer.
Carbonite now backs up video. I just activated it. It may come automatically now but just check if you start a new subscription.
A: I should clarify that it backed up video back when I used it but ONLY if you manually selected the video to be backed up. I discovered that many of my files were not backed up. According to their website: “**Video files are backed up automatically with the Plus and Prime plans. They can be added to your backup manually on any other plan.”
How to Organize All This Digital Genealogy Stuff!
My system is based on two foundational genealogical record types: the census and pedigree charts (just like my paper system). The folders are organized by head of household, typically the male head of household (just like the census.)
Overarching Folder Logic:
Families are divided by head of household.
Children (direct ancestors) are filed under their head of the family (Father) until married.
After marriage, men (direct ancestors) become a head of household and women are filed under husband (if they are direct ancestors or if there is enough paper to warrant it.)
Create a new folder on your hard drive called Genealogy.
Within the Genealogy folder, create general topic subfolders such as but not limited to:
Charts (family tree charts)
Countries (general history)
Database (genealogy software files)
History (for background material pertinent to your research)
Research Trips (maps, planning worksheets, and to-do lists)
Surnames(this folder is very important)
Heirlooms (can also be included under Surnames if you prefer*)
Photos(can also be included under Surnames if you prefer*)
Templates (ex. forms you use routinely)
*I find when working with photos it is easier not to dig into each surname, but rather to have all photos in front of me and then dig in deeper from there. The Surnames folder is heavily focused on documents.
In the Surnames folder create a folder for the surnames you research most. Don’t worry about adding a folder for every surname right now—you can add more as you research. I started with my closest lines, organized as I researched, and then scheduled organizing time to catch up on the rest.
Inside the first surname folder, create folders for the various types of genealogical records such as (but not limited to):
Locations (includes land records, postcards of towns and streets, maps, etc.)
Letters and Cards
Wills and Estates
Keep a “template” set of these folders. Copy and paste these record folders into surname folders as needed. File your existing record files into the appropriate Surname > (Record Type) folder. Feel free to add an additional layer of folders by heads of households if you want, particularly for families with a lot of digital records. I do this within the records folder.
How to File Genealogy Documents
Record websites typically provide the option to save the record to your computer. Click the Save button and navigate your way to the appropriate folder on your hard drive:
Genealogy > Surnames > Jones > Census. Name the file and click OK.
How to Name Your Computer Files
Name files with the year, head of household, and location.
For example, the 1920 U.S. Federal Census for the Robert M. Moore family file name would be:
This method allows you to quickly spot the census record within the Surnames > Moore > Census folder.
Since you are filing the record by surname and by record type, you don’t need to include those in the file name. By placing the year first, your files will automatically appear in chronological order in the folder.
I files the Photos folder under the Genealogy folder, not the Surnames folder. The reason for this is that typically when we are working with photos (perhaps for a book project or presentation) we want and need access to all of them. We don’t want to hunt around in our genealogy files for them.
There are several full length video classes with downloadable handouts in my Genealogy Gems Premium membership that will help you take your organization even further. In fact membership includes over 50 video classes (including 6 on all aspects of using Evernote for genealogy), and an exclusive podcast just for members. Learn more here.
The Genealogy Gems Podcast is the leading genealogy and family history show. Launched in 2007, the show is hosted by genealogy author, keynote presenter, and video producer Lisa Louise Cooke. The podcast can be found in all major podcasting directories, or download the exclusive Genealogy Gems Podcast app to listen to all the episodes and receive bonus content.
We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Genealogy Gems app. We blazed a new trail back in 2010 when we launched the app – apps were still really new back then. I loved the idea of having a way to deliver exclusive bonus content to you as well as the audio, the show notes and best of all an easy way for you to contact me and the show.
It’s more popular than ever, and as far as I know we are still the only genealogy podcast app available. If you haven’t already downloaded it just search for Genealogy Gems in Google Play or Apple’s App Store, or get the right app for your phone or tablet here.
In this episode I have two interviews for you on very different subjects. First up will be a follow up to last month’s episode where we focused specifically on the New York Public Library Photographers’ Identities Catalog.
Well, in this episode we’re going to talk to the genealogy reference librarian at the New York Public Library, Andy McCarthy. And as you’ll hear, there are a massive amount of resource available there for genealogists everywhere.
Then we’ll switch gears to Scandinavian genealogy with David Fryxell, author of the new book The Family Tree Scandinavian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Click here to visit the New York Public Library’s Online Catalog.
While they subscribe to many genealogy databases, they don’t host many. Use the catalog to determine what’s available, and what to ask for. See if what you’re looking for exists. Pay close attention to subject headings to identify resources.
#3 The Digital Collections
Click here to visit the Digital Collections at the New York Public Library.
City Directory Collection up to 1933.
Manhattan is the largest and is coming soon. This collection was only available previously on microfilm. It is a browse-only collection (not keyword searchable)
The 1940 Phone Directory is online.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map collection is digitized and online.
The Map Wharper which is a crowd-sourcing project providing for historic map overlays, and super zooming in views.
They also have a massive collection available in house of books, pamphlets, newspapers, etc. There are research and photo copying services available.
#4 Research Guides online
Click here to view the New York Public Library’s research guides.
Before you go:
Definitely reach out before you go.
Provide them with specific questions and they can help you identify what to focus on while you’re there.
Visit the Milstein home page. They also have many public classes. Check to see what will be available during your visit.
One of Andy’s Favorites Collections
The Photographic Views of NYC Collection. Arranged by cross streets
David is an award-winning author, editor, speaker and publishing consultant. He founded Family Tree Magazine, the nation’s leading genealogy publication. As a writing expert, he wrote the Nonfiction column for Writer’s Digest magazine for more than a decade and served as director of the famous Maui Writer’s Retreat. He has authored countless articles for Family Tree Magazine, and is also the author of additional books including Good Old Days, My Ass and MicroHistory: Ideas and inventions that made the modern world.
Author David Fryxell
Here’s a brief outline of my Q&A with David Fryxell on his new book and Scandinavian genealogy research:
To understand the ties between the Scandinavian countries, and why countries like Finland and Iceland aren’t included, we have to learn about the cultures and languages, right?
Scandinavian countries are really tied by language. And at one point all the countries were united. Borders change. The records reflect these various changes.
What’s the timeline of Scandinavian immigration?
The First Wave, 1825–1860
The Second Wave, 1865–1880
The Third Wave, 1880–1924
What value do you think DNA testing provides, and what should we keep in mind if we do test?
DNA results are most helpful to find other relatives who may be able to assist in your research.
Let’s say we know we’ve identified the ancestor who immigrated. What else do we need to know before we can jump the pond and start digging into Scandinavian records?
In the case of Scandinavian ancestors, you may not have to find the U.S. passenger records. They have excellent passenger departure records.
Tell us about the census in Scandinavia. Is it consistent among all three countries?
Norway and Denmark have good census records. You can find them at:
Monday, January 13th. Today is the anniversary of the first radio broadcast to the public. It took place 110 years ago in New York City, engineered by Lee deForest, a radio pioneer and inventor of the electron tube.
The 1910 broadcast wasn’t made from a purpose-built radio studio, but from the Metropolitan Opera house. DeForest broadcast the voices of Enrico Caruso and other opera singers. A small but impressed audience throughout the city gathered around special receivers to listen with headphones.
Today, 95 percent of American households have at least one radio.
One-hundred ten years after deForest’s lonely effort, some 5,400 radio stations employ about 92,000 people.
In this episode we take a look at a subject that is difficult, and yet ultimately faced by all genealogists: Downsizing. Whether you need to help a relative downsize, or it’s time for you to move into a smaller place or just carve out more room in your existing home, this episode is for you. You’ll hear specific action steps that you can follow to the make the job of downsizing easier and more productive.
Also in this episode we’ll cover the latest genealogy news, and take a quick look at the 1830 census.
Please take our quick podcast survey which will take less than 1 minute. Thank you!
New and Returning genealogy-themed television Shows:
A New Leaf on NBC
A New Leaf will be included in the Saturday NBC morning programming block called The More You Know beginning October 5, 2019.
From the Ancestry Blog:
“Each week ‘A New Leaf’ will follow people on the cusp of key life inflection points, who using family history, genealogy, and sometimes AncestryDNA® analysis will go on a journey of self-discovery and learn from the past while looking to the future. In partnership with Ancestry, Fuentes will join families as they learn the importance of appreciating and understanding their family history and ancestors in order to make important life decisions. ”
“Genealogist-on-Demand: Legacy Tree Genealogists Launches Virtual Consultation Service Offering Access to Family History Experts, Any Time, Any Where.
Legacy Tree Genealogists announced today the launch of a new service—45-minute, virtual one-on-one consultations with a professional genealogist. At only 100 USD, these consultations provide users with a cost-effective resource to have their research questions answered in real-time by a professional genealogist, from the comfort of their own home.
Users have the option to schedule either a DNA Consultation with a genetic genealogist who can explain their DNA test results, or a Genealogy Consultation with access to one of their worldwide researchers with expertise in regions around the globe, including England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.
Tailored to your specific research questions, the one-on-one consultations are conducted utilizing screen sharing technology that allows the user to share documents, records, or DNA results with the genealogist in a secure, virtual environment.
Legacy Tree will continue to expand its consultation offerings to include additional regions in the near future in order to continue to serve the global genealogy community.”
In the past I’ve told you about the incredible work that Larsen Digital did for me getting some of my old home movies digitized. Well, they’ve just launched a new service where you can send them your old negatives and they will convert them into beautiful high-resolution digital images that you can use. We’re talking 4000 dpi images!
I’ve had boxes of negatives in my closet that I inherited from my paternal grandmother. She had negatives for all sorts of pictures that are either long since lost or the photo album went to someone else in the family.
I really had no idea what these old photos would turn out to be, but I ended up with wonderful images of my great grandmother, my grandparents, my Dad when he was a kid, and countless relatives.
The service is called Value because it’s less expensive than the Pro which includes restoration. It’s a great way to get all your old negatives digitized. Then you can decide if there’s further restoration you want done on select images.
DIY: You can do color correction and repairs yourself with a simple free app like Adobe Fix. See my book Mobile Genealogy for much more on using this and other apps for genealogy.
Negatives can deteriorate over time just like photos. The sooner you get them digitized the better condition images you will have.
Larsen Digital is offering Genealogy Gems listeners a great discount on both the new value service and the Pro negative digitization service, as well as 35mm negatives & 35mm Slides. Visit the Genealogy Gems page at Larsen Digital here and use the coupon code GENGEM.
Here are a few examples of old negatives that I had digitized by Larsen Digital.
My Dad with this family’s first TV set!
Never before seen image of my great grandmother (seated), her daughter and grand daughter. Watch the video that autoplays on this page to see how I restored this photo after receiving the digitized image.
It’s really kind of amazing to think I’ve sat on these negatives for so long. I’ve been sending the pictures to my Dad and he’s been emailing me back not just the names and dates, but the stories behind many of these photos.
Findmypast Now Supports Tree to Tree Hints
Long gone are the days of having to search for genealogical records all alone. When you have any part of your family tree online on any of the “Genealogy Giants” websites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch) they do a lot of the hunting for you. They deliver hints that have a good chance of matching up with your ancestors. Your job is to carefully review them and determine if they are your ancestor’s records.
(Genealogy Gems Premium Members: Listen to Premium Podcast Episode #175 devoted to hints at Ancestry that includes a bonus download guide on Genealogy Hints at a Glance.)
Up until now, Findmypast offered hints on birth, marriage and death records. Now they are joining the other Genealogy Giants in offering hints based on other user’s family tree on their website.
Lisa Louise Cooke uses and recommends RootsMagic family history software for her master family tree. Visit www.RootsMagic.com
GEM: Downsizing with Family History in Mind with Devon Noel Lee
Get your copy of Downsizing with Family History in Mindhere. (We hope you enjoyed the interview. Disclosure: Genealogy Gems is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thank you for supporting our free podcast by using our link.)
Click the image to order your copy.
At some point we all face downsizing. Whether we are helping our parents downsize to a smaller house, or we need to downsize our own belongings to carve out a spare bedroom or just make room in a closet. it’s never really an easy task. And I think it’s safe to say it’s even more difficult for the family historian, because we collect a lot of paper, photos and other things that are often near and dear to our hearts.
Devon Noel Lee and her husband Andrew Lee of the Family History Fanatics YouTube channel have taken on this challenge themselves and they’ve written a new book called Downsizing with Family History in Mind. Here to help you make the tough choices and clear the clutter is Devon Noel Lee.
There are many reasons for downsizing:
To move to a smaller place
Absorbing inherited genealogy
To free up space in your own home
Downsizing the sentimental items is the hardest part of downsizing.
Question: A lot of us just think, well it’s a Saturday morning, I think I’ll just do some decluttering. But you say in the book that decluttering doesn’t work. Why is that?
“There are three things that experts teach us that are absolutely wrong:”
We don’t give ourselves enough time for nostalgia.
We’re really bad at evaluating what’s going to last for the long term
We use the wrong boxes when decluttering – all the experts say to use Keep, Sell and Donate.
Devon recommends the following boxes:
Giveaway (combining sell and donate) – to family, societies, archive, university special collections, libraries, etc.
Trash (or recycle)
How to “process”:
Process the information in your binders and get rid of the binders if no one wants them.
Sad to say, most people don’t want your family china. Give yourself permission to use it and enjoy it now. Make memories with it!
Let your children play with things.
Four Basic Downsizing Principles in the book:
Reduce: Divide things into the boxes.
Preserve: This is when you’re going to digitize the things in your process box. Photograph objects. Transfer your genealogy into software and online trees.
Reclaim: Take everything out of the process box after processing, and divide into Giveaway, Trash and Keep. Don’t put things into storage!
Showcase: Put on display what you found worth keeping so it can be enjoyed. Transform what you have into something that is easier to pass on like videos, podcasts, scrapbooks. Focus on story-based items.
From Lisa: It puts us back in control as to what happens to it. Making sure the right people get it.
I’m a big fan of displays. If we haven’t taken a moment to get something on the wall – to put a display together – how can we expect our family to appreciate it and embrace our family history values?
Question: Many downsizing projects are much more than a single day. When you’re faced with a really big job, where do you recommend that people start, and where should they put their primary focus?
The book includes action plans for folks who have:
just an hour
Capture what is right now:
Photograph the outside of the home.
Photograph what’s inside.
Then focus on photographing the collections in their context.
Mentioned by Lisa:
Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #21 includes a Gem called Thanks for the Memories. In it, I share an example of mentally walking through my Grandma’s house and capturing all of my memories on paper.
Get a piece of paper or pull up a word document. Close your eyes for a moment and visualize a favorite memory from your childhood.
In my case I started with a favorite place, my maternal grandma’s house. But perhaps yours is the back alley where you and your friends played baseball, or your great uncle’s garage where he showed you how to work on cars. Whatever is meaningful to you.
Now, open your eyes, and write your thoughts one at a time. Just free flow it. They don’t have to be complete sentences.
Later you can try your hand at writing more of your actual experiences or memories of a person. Again, it doesn’t have to be a novel or sound really professional. It’s just the memories from you heart.
Question: If we have piles and piles of family photos, particularly ones we’ve inherited, how to do we decide which to keep and which to toss? Or do you ever toss?
Get rid of the duplicates!
Keep 1 of the biggest and best and throw the rest away. Don’t bog yourself down with hours spent trying to track down someone else to give them to.
Get rid of blurry, overexposed, underexposed, and meaningless photos.
There will be some circumstances where you will not be able to keep them. You can’t go into debt for unlabeled photos. You want to separate them from the labeled so that other family members don’t throw them all out together.
If you have time, try to identify them by asking relatives, and posting them to DeadFred.com.
If you can, donate the remaining unlabeled photos to orphaned photo collectors, or toss.
You did the best you can. Don’t feel guilty because your ancestors didn’t label their photos.
Question: What advice do you give your readers who are faced with what to do with their genealogy when they don’t have descendants or when no one in the family wants it? What encouragement can you offer when there is no one who descends from you, or there is no one who wants them.
If you think you don’t have anyone in your family who is interested, you’re wrong.
Downsizing and organizing will increase the chances of someone willing to take it later.
If you don’t have anyone in your immediate family who wants your stuff, start looking for distant cousins actively working on a surname. They won’t want everything. You will have to divide the material. They want it organized.
Do it while you’re living – don’t leave it to someone else.
Digitize it and get it online where it can be shared.
Getting your stuff in good condition makes it more desirable.
Our collection, broken up, may have much more value to other people.
Get your copy of Downsizing with Family History in Mindhere. (We hope you enjoyed the interview, and thank you for using our link.)
The free podcast is sponsored by:
MyHeritage.com is the place to make connections with relatives overseas, particularly with those who may still live in your ancestral homeland. Click the logo to learn more.
GEM: Profile America – The 1830 U.S. Federal Census
Saturday, October 5th.
The national census to be taken April 1 next year will be the 24th time this once-a-decade count has been conducted since 1790. The fifth census in 1830 profiled a quickly expanding nation, counting nearly 13 million residents — an increase of more than one-third in just 10 years.
New York remained the largest city, while second and third places were a near tie between Baltimore and Philadelphia. Also, among the 10 biggest cities were Charleston, South Carolina, and Albany, New York.
In the decade to follow, Cyrus McCormick invented the grain reaper, opening huge sections of the Great Plains to agriculture, and Texas declared its independence from Mexico.
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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!
FamilySearch.org, 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 websiteand 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.
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
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.”
“My brother Ray says we have visited more dead relatives than live ones. Trying now to visit the relatives above ground!”
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.
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.
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………
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.
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.
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.
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. Resource: 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:
“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:
Old Postcards are a great resource for images. Resources: Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 16 and episode 76 feature strategies for finding family history on ebay. (Genealogy Gems Premium Membership required)
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