Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Vintage aerial photos- 1950's to 1990's

Check out this awesome website for aerial photos. Neat way to document where your family lived.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Using YouTube for Genealogy

In researching my family for over thirty years I have learned that you never learn all you can in researching your family. Often times the key to resolving a problem in your genealogy is learn from others that have experienced the same problem. With the creation of the Internet you can gain free access to thousands of web presentations on a variety of subjects related to genealogy. One of the best out there is the website YouTube.

The website is very easy to get to because its name is the link to the website. Once you get to the website you need to decide what you are going to look for or learn about. Your first search could be the word Genealogy. When I did my search there are over 106,000 videos. In our situation let’s narrow it down a little smaller by subject. Now let’s try Genealogy Ohio. This brings us down to 1,930 videos. All having some mention of the state of Ohio and doing genealogy.

Unfortunately when you go to Genealogy Ohio Lucas you start to get things that do not relate to genealogy at all, but to the county Lucas. From what I can see there is no way to get the correct results when doing this search.

When you select a video you want to use just click on the box. My suggestion is watching it on the site rather than download it. Depending on the speed of your internet connect it could take a while to download. Now when you click on the video it takes you to the actual page where the video is located. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the page. Where the video is there is a small arrow that is pointing to the left. You can start the video here but you can stop and start it by clicking on the video itself. There is a speaker icon to adjust the sound of the video. The next item is the running time of the video. It can vary from seconds to hours. Time is based on subject and video.

You can also save the video for later viewing. This can be done by clicking on the clock. The next icon of importance is the square that appears as an open box. You can enlarge the video by clicking on this icon and the video will go to full screen. This can be reduced by just clicking on the screen.

The last thing is the button that slides from left to right and shows the running time of the video. You can point pointer on what looks like a button and move it from left to right. At anytime you can change to point you are watching in the video. This is excellent when you have missed a point and need to do review.

The wonderful thing is you can watch almost any aspect of genealogy research. Some of the topics covered are Brick walls, naturalization, military and vital records. The videos are almost endless and it is constantly being updated.

Remember YouTube is free. Learning is important in genealogy. As always remember to have fun. The worst that could happen is you learn something new. We all know that is important.

Questions please contact me a

This is going to be published in a upcoming Newsletter for the Lucas County chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Toledo Area Genealogical Society

Monday evening- Sep 9 2013
Speaker- Derek S. Davey
Topic- Researching your War of 1812 ancestors
Toledo Area Genealogical Society
Common Space- 1700 N Reynolds Rd, Toledo, OH 43615-3628
Time- 7:00 pm

OGS- Huron County Ohio

Monday evening , September 23
Speaker- Derek S Davey
Topic- Elusive Maiden Names
Ohio Genealogical Society- Huron County
Firelands Historical Society Meeting Room which is at 9 Case Avenue, Norwalk, Ohio
Time 7:30 pm

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Researching your Civil War Ancestors- Lakeside, Ohio

Fri Aug. 23 10:30 am-
12 pm Researching Your Civil War Ancestors
Derek Davey
Professional Genealogist

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 9- Continued challenges.

Week nine was cut short by traveling for four days bringing a friend's mother in law back to Ohio from Florida. Reminds me the importance of family and the difficulties and challenges that can be created due to the distance that we are often apart.

Continue to do client work and work on the probate case. Need to get them done. Going to be a short week this week due to FGS. Hope to see some of you there. Thank you for all your comments and support.

Anonymous Poster

Thank you for your insight. I will be more careful in the future. Tend to rush my writing. By the way surprisingly I have never gotten a client from my blog.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Civil War Prisoners of War-Not Always What You Thought

This is a guest post from my friend Debbie Carder Mayes. Enjoy!

When we think of Civil War prisoners of war, the images we see in our minds are men so starved that they look like living skeletons and the other horrors that took place at prisons such as Andersonville. What we’ve been taught is not the whole story. Yes, Andersonville and other such prisons did exist and shouldn’t have. Like anything else, the dreadful news is played up-sensationalism sells.

I’ve been a history lover since childhood and a Civil War buff ever since I had the good fortune to have a high school history teacher who also was and brought the Civil War alive within his classroom. However, I never heard of the other side of the coin until I discovered that my great, great grandfather, John Mahlon Carder and his brother-in-law, Nelson F. Dobbins were captured by Confederates near Nashville on August 18, 1862.

During my quest to learn about their experiences as prisoners of war, I discovered that the abominable prisons we’ve heard about did not exist until the latter half of the war. As any student of the Civil War or anyone who has seen the opening scenes in Gone With The Wind can tell you, no one expected the Civil War to last very long. Both Northerners and Southerners expected to whip the other side and be done with it in a few months so no plans were made by the Union or the Confederacy as to what would be done with captured soldiers. Informal exchanges of prisoners were made on the battle fields at the discretion of the commanding officers. This, of course, created more problems. It was time-consuming. Some officers discriminated against some of the captives, not being equally fair in making the exchanges, and some officers were jsut downright uncomfortable about exchanging prisoners with no approval or guidelines from the government.

President Lincoln refused to recognize the secession of the Southern states. In his mind, all of the states formed only one country, the United States. He did not want to put Americans in prisons and label them, “traitors” so he set up an exchange system. He was able to convince Jefferson Davis to agree to use this system. Davis mainly agreed because the Confederacy did not have the money to keep prisoners nor feed them. The system worked by trading one Union prisoner for one Confederate prisoner. Neither soldier could take up arms and return to their regiments until their counterparts were paroled and the exchange was officially made.

A formal agreement was put in effect on July 22, 1862 containing a set of regulations for making the prisoner exchanges. This agreement was called the Dix-Hill Cartel after the Union general and the Confederate general who negotiated and wrote out the articles of agreement.

The cartel itself is interesting reading. The first three articles state what is consoodered an even exchange. An even exchange was not simply one prisoner exchanged for another, but was based on the branch of the military the prisoner served in and his rank. A general was to be exchanged with another general, a private with another private. Knowing that this would not always be possible, Dix and Hill created a list of equivalents. The first item on the list reads, “A general commanding in chief or an admiral shall be exchanged for officers of equal rank, or for sixty privates or common seamen.”

One of the main points of the agreement were that no prisoners would be held for more than ten days. They must be paroled by the tenth day. When captured, the prisoners would be taken to designated prison camps; the main ones being Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio and Vicksburg and Port Hudson in Mississippi. On or by the tenth day, the prisoners had to be paroled. they were then place in special paroled companies. My great, great grandfather, John and his wife’s brother, Nelson were sent to Camp Chase where they were placed in Company A, a paroled company. While in these companies, a paroled soldier was allowed no contact with his regular company, was not allowed to serve in any active military duty, and was not to bear firearms or weapons.

The camps had not been established to be a prison. Camp Chase was a training ground for new recruits. The camps did not have the facilities nor the supplies to keep prisoners for any length of duration. So, what did they do with these paroled prisoners? They sent them home to wait for their exchanges to be made. They were told that they would be notified when their exchanges were made and when to report back to their regular company.

The exchanges involved a lot of paperwork and red tape. The generals on the front complained that they were too busy filling out the papers to plan and fight the battles.

The other big problem was that the men on the battlefields knew that paroled prisoners got to go home. The exchanges took months, frequently close to a year. They caught on. Many soldiers let themselves be captured so that they could go home away from the enemy fire on the battlegrounds and be with their wives and children.

The prisoner exchange system wasn’t working. On May 25, 1863, the system ended. All exchanges were stopped by April 17, 1864. After this date, capture soldiers were sent to the atrocious prisons made famous by the suffering and inhumane conditions in these places.

But the story doesn’t end here. Years later, when the veterans of the Civil War were old men no longer able to work for their incomes and government acts were passed to provide them pensions for serving their country, many of these men discovered that their records stated that they were absent without leave and deserters. The records were mostly muster rolls that only showed whether they reported for duty on given days. The records stating that they had been prisoners under the prisoner exchange system had either been misfiled or stored away in some forgotten place in Washington, D. C. Many of these old veterans spent years repeatedly applying for pensions and having them denied while their lawyers pushed to have clerks in Washington put to work to find the POW records. Some of the veterans probably never livved to see their pensions granted.

My own great, great grandfather, John M. Carder was shown as "absent without leave" on the muster rolls without his knowledge. The record was not corrected for nearly twenty-five years. He applied for his pension on October 1, 1881. It took him nine years and repeated attempts before his claim was granted on December 8, 1890 when he was allowed medical disability pay of twelve dollars a month.

And this, my friends, is the other side of the story of the prisoners of the Civil War.

© 2013 Deborah A. Carder Mayes All Rights Reserved.

Source for info on POW exchanges: Civil War Prisons and Prisoners (website title) "The Photographic History of The Civil War", Volume 4, Soldier Life and Secret Service, Prisons and Hospitals. Article by Holland Thompson.
The Dix-Hill Cartel: Wikipedia/Dix-Hill Cartel (

The actual text of the Dix-Hill Cartel: Wiki Source/Dix-Hill Cartel (

There is also an excellent book on this topic. It wasn’t published until I had already done all of my research, however, that’s a good thing because I may not have dug as deeply as I did, if it would have been.

The book is: Roger Pickenpaugh, Camp Chase And The Evolution of Union Prison Policy, (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 2007).

(Roger Pickenpaugh is a fellow Ohioan.)

The sources above are only the ones I used for this article. I’ve read and researched a lot more on my great, great grandfather’s POW experiences and have written that section of my family history book (if I ever get that done) and developed a lecture on it called Prisoner of War Experiences of Two Union Soldiers.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week 8 Back to a normal week

Well after last week and being in North Dakota my goal this week was to get back on track. This week would involve shorter trips to complete project for clients.

The first visit this week was to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library Local History and Genealogy room at the downtown branch. This is the library I started doing my research at when I was thirteen years old. When I first started my interest in genealogy I thought I would come here tell them my name and they would hand me my genealogy. Boy was I wrong. Thirty years later I am still working on family history, but oh how many wonderful journeys of discovery I have been on since the beginning. So many happy memories. Still one of my favorite genealogy departments. Love how they still keep adding to the collection and the area to do research is wonderful.

The reason for my visit to the library was to work on a local Probate case that I have been asked to work on by a local lawyer. This is a new exciting avenue for my to research. Interesting thing in this search is to not be so concerned about tracing back as it is to trace to current times. Makes for a completely different type of search. Time period is normally from the 1930's till now. Your primary tools of research are the 1940 census, vital records, newspapers and city directories. This can be a heavy challenge due to restrictions on records. With using the multiple sources you are able to piece things together.

On Tuesday I spent my time reviewing my work from the day before. It was also spent identifying the gaps that I still had with the Probate case. It made me realize that I would need to travel to Findlay, Ohio to retrieve a obit. Collecting all the pieces of the puzzle is important to making a clearer picture. Talked with a client as well about the Civil War pension and service records we got back. They were a big disappointment, because they did not provide the information we were looking for concerning as yet confirmed relationships to suspected family members. Will have to identify a new path to get what we are looking for in our search.

Wednesday was spent creating research research plans for three projects that I was going to have to do the next day in Ft. Wayne. Preparation for me makes the research process very quick and systematic. Knowing what you are going to be looking for in a library as big as Ft Wayne is so important so you don't waste time. One of my goals is to go paperless. Job accomplished on my flash drive.

Thursday spent my whole day in Ft Wayne researching on three clients projects. It reminds me sometimes of a bad day of fishing without the sunburn. Results were mixed with the majority of the time learning very little on the families histories. Amazes me some days on how you find tons and others where the well is dry.

Friday was spent answering emails and doing planning for the Irish trip. Traveled to Findlay to retrieve the obit I needed. Very well organized library. Was in and out in less than five minutes. Back to more preparation for the upcoming week.

Next week will be broken up by a trip to Florida. Traveling with my brother in law to help with moving his mother in law back up to Ohio. Don't like taking breaks from genealogy, but this has to be done.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Second Quick Guide on Probate

Please share this with your friends.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

North Dakota follow up

Got some great pictures of the whole trip. Love to add new clients information.

Week 7- Learning new things

Week 7 of my journey was really a journey. Left the Toledo train terminal on Monday morning with my son heading for North Dakota for some client research. Worked from a remote site trying to still handle all my internet responsibility.

I have been planning this trip to go meet with a client in North Dakota for weeks. Thought wow what a great idea to take the train. I have spend time in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Wanted to see it in a different way. Well my first big clue should have been the fact that the train left early in the morning. I did not pay attention.

The train was two hours late leaving Toledo. Luckily we did not have to be in Fargo at any particular time since my work did not begin until Tuesday. What was suppose to be a six hour lay over in Chicago ended up being only a short period of time. We left for Fargo on time and saw some beautiful scenery on the way. The bad part was we got there in the middle of the night with no ground transportation and had to walk to the hotel. Great time hauling our luggage and dealing with a unhappy teenager. I did not see this in my job description when I started this job. Live and learn.

My first appointment on Tuesday was to meet with the client. Would be the first time to speak face to face, but this became delayed. I decided to visit some of the libraries and archives that I had scheduled for my research. Luckily the main library in town was located just a block from the hotel. Walked up there to check their resources out. Unfortunately most of there records were unindexed newspapers. So went to plan B. The suggestion of the librarian was to go to the regional archives that was located up by North Dakota State University. Would need to visit the German/Russian collection that was located in the schools main library. Short walk he said to get there. I walk all the time so I thought no big deal. I have a map.

Well I started out on my journey. After about three miles of walking I was able to find campus. Unfortunately after talking to a gardener, librarian and IT guy I found out it had been moved north of campus. Short walk they said. So I walked the two miles and managed to find the library. It was a gold mine and I managed to find a great deal on my client's family. All states should have these types of libraries that cover a wide section of the state. We have them in Ohio. Needless I called my clients personal assistant to come and pick me up. Enough exercise for one day.

Once I got to the clients wonderful office I was presented with three boxes full of family information. Oh my this is a genealogist dream. Turns out my client had been collecting things for decades with the intent of getting all written one day. The next best thing his personal assistant had scanned everything. Wonderful!!!

Met with the client and seemed to really connect. Went over the plan for my visit and answered his questions. First step was for us to travel out to his Mom's home to do a oral interview. He had his reservations on how well this was going to go. Said his Mom can be a challenge. Five hours later she was wonderful. The stories were incredible. She had a great deal of contact with some of the family that had come from Russia. One of the highlights for me was explaining the importance of food traditions in genealogy. This was her hot button. She started to talk about all the recipes and even showed me the summer kitchen she had. It was located in a building outside the home. Walked in with the idea that I was going to see a regular kitchen. It was set up to cater banquets. Amazing.

We had spent a long time talking to his mother so I said we would be back the next day. Spent the rest of the day till about 2 in the morning going through the mounds of information he had given me. It was only then that I learned the fascinating stories of his families journey to North Dakota from the Odessa region of Russia. The family was of German origins and had moved to Russia during the reign of Catharine the Great. Needless to say I was jazzed for the next day. My plan was to head up to the German/Russian collection in the library and then return to the clients mothers.

Luckily the personal assistant was able to pick me up and take me to the library. This collection is designed to tell the history of the many Russian/German families that had located to North Dakota in the early 1900's. It was clearly one of the best collections I have ever been in that covers a particular region. The librarian could not do enough to help me find resources. She kept coming back with books the whole time I was there. Made my job so much easier. After about three hours of research I knew I had to get back to the client's to see his mother. I would need to return to the library.

The original idea today was to bring in sandwiches and interview the clients mother. My client informed me that his mother had cooked a five course meal for us with all the original family recopies. He said for his mother this was a big thing. Needless to say two hours later with great food and excellent family conversation I was thrilled. The highlight of my visit was when she brought on pieces of clothing that had been worn by the original immigrant ladies. Shivers went up my spine when I saw the initials of the GGG grandmother sewn into the fabric. This was a wonderful moment. My client and his mother were crying. This was genealogy gold!!!

This was a great day. This is why I enjoy helping others research their families. My client told me afterwards that this had been a very emotional day for both of them and they appreciated my ability to bring their families to life. Energized me to continue working through the boxes for more clues to our search.

Next day was spent interviewing the client, researching back at the German/Russian archives and going through the files. In three days I had spent close to 36 hours working on this project. Not much time for sleep, but I had work to get done. Now for the trip back.

Our train was suppose to arrive in the early hours on Friday. It was delayed by six hours. Once we got on the train my son and I went to breakfast. We sat with a gentleman who explained to us why the train was late. The track had shifted. It was all the result of fracking. The new way to get oil. He proceeded to educate us on the damage that we are doing to the earths crust. From a high to a low in just twenty four hours. We finally got into Toledo at 6:30 in the morning the next day. No more train rides.

In September I am going to be flying a plane to visit with the clients in laws. I am hoping for some more genealogy gold. Got a lot to do this upcoming week.

Upcoming talks for Debbie Carder Mayes

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, I’ll be presenting Finding Eliza Jane's Family for the Montgomery County Genealogical Society in Dayton, Ohio. The next day, Sunday, August 11, 2013, I'll be zipping to the other end of the state to Fremont, Ohio to speak for the Sandusky Kinhunters. The program, 2 x 2 = 4 x . . . is a new one I'll be doing for the first time. Hope to see some of you. Debbie Carder Mayes

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Week 6 a week of doing business

Well I am now into my sixth week of traveling the Genealogy trail as my business. Some exciting things happened that will play important parts in my long term plans.

Monday started out with contacting folks that I met with on Saturday that are serving along with me on the Ohio Genealogical Trustees board. Talked to one local group about setting up a Google+ hangout for a upcoming event. Very easy to do and will bring folks that may not otherwise be able to attend their local chapter meetings. Finalized my latest Quick Guide and set it off to the editor. It covers the subject of Probate and how it effects the genealogist.

Tuesday I spent some time mentoring a guy that lives in San Antonio who will be teaching some genealogy classes this Fall. Offered him some advice from my ten years of doing the same thing. Hope to help moving into the future. This aspect of genealogy is very important to me. Made a connection with a group of Irish librarians back in Ireland that are dealing with Genealogist every day. Hoping to have it help my tour next year as well as lead to some business here in the states. See what happens.

Wednesday was spent gathering the information for my next Quick Guide. This release will be dealing with Maritime history in the Great Lakes and what resources are out there for Genealogist. Amazed after doing this to learn how much information is out there. Quoted some new projects and hope that I can keep the client funnel full.

Thursday was spent writing the Quick Guide. This is the first one that I really feel I am getting the hang of it. This is good since I have two due in a few weeks. Spent part of the day finalizing up some old projects.

Friday finalized the editing of the Quick Guide. Rest of the day was spent finalizing for the trip to North Dakota. Should be a very interesting trip. Working on the husbands family this time around and will be working on the wife's after that. Should be a very large project. Taking the train. Should be interesting. Made a connection with a local lawyer to do some probate/genealogy work. Very exciting stuff. Finalized the press release for the Irish tour next spring.

Stay tuned next Sunday for my recap on my Genealogical trip to North Dakota. Here we come Fargo.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 5- Collection of new things.

Well it's time for another recap with my new career. Let's just say that this trip has amazed me with the variety of new things that happen every week. It continues to keep me motivated. Here are some of the highlights of my past week.

On Monday I initiated dialogue with the people running the Lifelong Learning Program at Lourdes University concerning trips to Ireland with a genealogy and history twist. They were very interested and have agreed to run information on it in their monthly newsletters. Contacted the Tour company and they are coming up with the release. Spent the rest of the day working on a research plan to Sandusky, Ohio to complete some client research. Preparation is the key to a successful trip. Yes, you can find a lot on the computer, but the majority of records are still offline. First Quick Guide on Migration patterns was approved and published.

Traveled over to Sandusky to do some research for a client at the Erie County Public Library in Sandusky, OH. They have a wonderful collection. My plan was to identify a timeline that would show when this family moved into the area and when they possibly left. The resource that I was using was the city directories. This is a resource that I could only get at the library. Started back in the 1850's and up to today. Used the online census records prior to going so had confirmation that the family was there in the 1870's. Death certificate for the person we are looking for indicated he was born there. I was not able to locate the family through 30 years of city directories. Library had a great collection of birth and obit records. Turned up nothing. Was a very disappointing day, but tells me something must be wrong with the information I had to work off. I have not given up.

Wednesday I had to travel up to Northern Michigan to meet with a client for a wedding genealogy that I am putting together for them. They came up with the idea that a wonderful gift would be the gift of a family genealogy for the new bride and groom. I have completed the pedigree chart portion of both sides of the new family, but now need to fill in the personal stories. This is what really brings a family to life. The client is up in years so by the time I got up there they were ready for naps. Client suggested I spend the day scanning pictures to include in the Genealogy. They have a wonderful summer home on the lake so spent time swimming and boating. The temp that day was up in the 90's. Left the rest of day to prepare for the oral history interviews the next morning.

Thursday was up and ready to go. Completed individual interviews with the client and her husband. There son was there listening and he said they were telling stories that he had never heard them talk about. This is why I do what I do. Prior to everyone waking up I was looking around the house for my laptop. While looking I saw a sword propped up against the wall. Since I am a Civil War nut I was drawn to it like a magnet. From looking at it I could tell that it was a cavalry saber. Showed it to the client. She told me that it was a family heirloom on her family, but did not know where it fit in. Well during the interview and with the miracle we call the internet I was able to identify the ancestor that the saber belong to and the Pennsylvania cavalry unit that he served. Now to order the pension and service records. The interviews were wonderful and the things identified this day were wonderful. Identified a trunk and powder horn as well. This place had lot's of treasure they were not aware of prior to my visit. Later in the day we headed back to Ohio after a short swim in the Lake.

Friday I spent listening to the oral interviews that I had recorded yesterday. Everything turned out well and looking forward to including them in the genealogy. For this project I will have to travel to Cleveland and then back up to the Detroit area for some final interviews. Love working with great clients. Came back to a email box that had a new project. I have managed to get six new clients, plus one large one. Very good stuff.

Saturday I traveled to Bellville, OH for to the Ohio Genealogical Society Trustee meeting. This was a wonderful sharing and networking day. Had some new opportunities pop up during the meeting. I came back to the press release on the Irish tour. Need to work on that in the upcoming week. More on this moving into the future. What a great week.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Got published.

Please help spread the word. Thank you in advance.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Upcoming Events

Lakeside Ohio- Speaking on Civil War Ancestors- 23 August 2013
Toledo Area Genealogical Society- Researching War of 1812 Ancestors- 9 Sep 2013
Huron Genealogical Society- 23 Sep 2013

Week 4 Updates and Progress

Well week four was another busy week for me. Struck by the many surprises that happen in the week that I did not even expect on Monday, but here goes. Looking forward to the events of this coming week.

Monday spent doing retrievals at the courthouse. Not sure that this is going to fit into the long term picture of my business. Decided to resign. Got a lot on my plate and this will free up more time for client research.

Spent the day on Tuesday writing up three research plans for trip on Thursday to Ft Wayne to conduct research. Find this time to be very rewarding and really help improve the efficient use of my time while I am in the Library. Continued working on my Quick guide on Migration Patterns for Legacy. Thought I knew a lot about migration, but learning so much more.

Wednesday, my deadline for my latest installment is here for the Sylvania magazine. Luckily I have most of this stuff in my brain. Just needed to put it down on paper. Found out today I was elected as a Trustee of the Ohio Genealogical Society. First meeting a week from this upcoming Saturday. Looking to see what fantastic things I will learn from this new opportunity. So exciting.

Thursday, Was spent in Ft. Wayne Indiana. Worked on research for a family that lived in Washington DC and Fredricksburg, VA. Surprise of the day here was they had the original birth and death records for Fredricksburg on microfilm. Helped me learn where the family was not. Second project was spent looking at Iowa and Nebraska information. Makes me appreciate the shear scale of the collection in this library. Learned not to bring a fifteen year old to the library with you. He started early and kept up until we left. Then he sleeps in the car all the way home. He was not even doing the work. Did not get the second project or third project done. Will be going back next week. No teenager this time.

Friday spent time finalizing the Quick Guide. Don't like that deadline clock ticking in my head. Got it done and submitted. Now to hear about the editing part. First one so I am expecting to get hit hard. Talked to the travel agent about the Ireland and European tours next year. Starting to fill the content on the website. Hopefully will have things up and running soon.

Saturday spent the day giving a talk up in Michigan on Brick Walls. Beautiful day for a drive and met with a great group of people. Enjoying teaching and learning from other a great deal. Quick guide was approved with some slight changes. Next deadline Probate.

Well that is enough for now. Need to feed the Social Media animal. Looking forward to the week ahead. Got to keep working towards the goal.

Please leave your thoughts. If you would like a response please include your email. Have a great week.

Sunday, July 07, 2013


Folks if you want answers please leave your email. Thank you.

Week 3- Short week

Now I have moved into my third week of business. Got my paperwork from the State of Ohio. It is official I am business in the eyes of Ohio. Worked on record retrieval at the courthouses. Work is steady, but does not pay the bills. Set up web domain for travel business. Should have more on that in the days ahead. Speaking in Norwalk, Ohio in September. Did some preliminary research plans for upcoming week and trip to Ft. Wayne. Bought my tickets for FGS in August. Had my first computer glitch this week. Was only a three day week..

Here is my hope to a more successful week coming up. Please contact me if you need research help.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Social Media thoughts on my business-Recap week 2.

Here are some thoughts on my use of Social Media and genealogy. Includes a recap of week 2.

Seems like a tremendous amount of work, but the payoff hopefully with going full time it will generate more leads. I have dabbled in all forms of Social Media at one point or another for the past two years. Here are my thoughts.

Facebook- I have used this site probably the longest. On Facebook I am the administrator for Family Search in their Indiana, Michigan and Ohio research communities. My Davey Associates page is on here as well. Have not really gotten anything from these Platforms, but have made a few contacts recently.

Twitter- There are things on Twitter that I find no where else. Has not done a lot to develop business, but the information I find on here is excellent. Feel this is more of a vehicle to keep me up to date on things in the Genealogy World. Don't get me wrong I have many followers, but not seen any real results. Do a tremendous amount of Tweeting and Retweeting. All genealogy related.

LinkedIn- I have used this site for a long time. It has been very good from a professional learning point. This is one site that I have paid to be a full member. Unfortunately it was a gigantic waste of time. One thing that irritates me is many of the groups are run for the benefit of the person running the community. Extreme amount of editing. Since they have changed their policy of contact by having to know the persons email the collaboration feature has become very frustrating. Still visit it on a daily basis, but out of the sites I visit this one I would have no problem in dropping.

Google+- I have made a lot of great contacts here. Much more open format in following people. Since going full time I have attempted to build this feature. I enjoy the information that you can find in the genealogy groups. Since going on to Google + I have gotten new business and speaking gigs. Google Hangouts in my plan have not really hit my interest. Limit of 10 people in my room seems to be very limiting. Hoping to see some changes with this site.

Blogger- I have maintained 3 blogs on this site for over three years. Primary goal for me was to build an audience and drive traffic to my website. Traffic is up and down. For the amount of writing I do does not seem worth it, but I have continued to do it. Since allowing posts to be put freely on the website there have been a lot more comments. I know I have gotten talking gigs and a couple of projects from this activity. This is a great way to share genealogy articles that are within mainstream media and the genealogy companies. Find it a great way to expand audience. This is relatively new in my strategy, so early results are inconclusive.

All these sites have allowed me to meet some wonderful people and help others. Recently many of those contacts have stepped forward to help me. Signed a contract just yesterday to do five Quick Guides. Could be some decent money which is rare. Made connections with a couple of research bureaus that has been very helpful. One of them I have gotten 8 lead and two that have converted to business. Third was in in the process of starting.

Website- I have had a website for over four years. This is where I get the majority of my business. Use the Social Media sites to drive potential customers to the site. Conversion rate is low, but still worth while. This is an area where changes are going to take place as I move forward.

Started preliminary planning for group tour to Ireland next spring and Germany Austria in the fall of 2014.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Beginning of my Professional Genealogy Journey- Overdrive

Many of you know I have been involved in genealogy for over thirty years. Started out at a very early age researching my own family. The bug had bitten. What started out with a interest in identifying my Civil War ancestors has turned into a lifetime passion. As of last week I took a giant leap of faith and started to do genealogy on a full time basis. This is a recap of the first week of work.

The first Monday for me was spent creating a LLC with a lawyer. I am not normally a nervous person, but for some reason this made me nervous. Things went smoothly the lawyer had done an excellent job of preparing the papers prior to my arrival. I was glad I did this, because it opened my eyes to issues that will be important as I move forward with my business. So many details and each one so important. It also helped that she was interested in genealogy.

For me a integral part of running my business is marketing through Social Media. A great deal of my morning is spent with my blog and tweeting stories about genealogy. Linkedin, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Scoopit are daily stops with my work. Sometimes though I question their worth, but this week I made some great contacts.

Tuesday started out with me doing my court retrieval job. I enjoy it because it involves retrieving records from a courthouse. Duh I am a genealogist. It does not make a lot of money, but I am convinced my pie is going to have lot's of small pieces.

Later that day I was contacted by a gentleman about putting tours together to Europe. He had several clients that are into genealogy and would like one to travel with them. This was something I had toyed around with for the past few months, but is was on a smaller scale doing trips to Ft. Wayne (Allen County Public Library). This moving forward will be a very pleasant part of my business. Found it interesting though that it happened during my first week of doing business full time.

Then later that evening I was contacted by a group out of Utah that needs a genealogist in the Upper Midwest. Since I agreed to do it I have three prospective clients. This was a wonderful surprise to me that I hope as time goes by will grow. One of which has agreed to move forward.

Wednesday was spent doing the Social Media thing. Along with this I wrote some entries for my blogs. Later that day I gave a talk up in Michigan on "Elusive Maiden Names". I enjoy the talking and teaching aspect of genealogy, but have never pushed my genealogy research part of my business. This would be the first talk where I spoke about it. Needless to say I was able to add five prospects for business on my list and made a contact with a women that is very active in Michigan genealogy. She agreed to help me find clients. Her interest is speaking and not on doing research for others. Yeah!!!

Thursday for me was a recovery day. After spending five hours in the car and speaking for an hour the five hours sleep from the day before was just not cutting it. Needless to say it was catch up time. Did confirm an appointment with the travel agent for next week to detail the tours and our relationship proceeding forward.

Friday, I woke up to a email from another group in Michigan. They were a neighboring county to the one I had spoke to on Wednesday night. The lady had seen all the kind words on Facebook about my talk and wanted me to speak to their group in July. Needless to say we are booked once we worked out the details.

During the day I also received my fall schedule for teaching. The faculty has agreed to add a third class on using the computer to do your genealogy. Very exciting. I feed off the passion of others with their own family histories.

Finally when I thought my week was done I was contacted about writing a series of Quick help guides on various subjects that genealogist have to deal with. Needless to say the week ended on a high note. First week done can't wait for week two. Been a while since I have looked forward to the next work week.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Have you stopped by to check out the Rootsweb genealogical site lately? The majority of the site continues to maintain free status even though it was purchased by Ancestry a few years ago. The site allows you to do two primary things. Share your research and communicate with other genealogist.

As we all know with the creation of the internet one of its primary advantages for the genealogist is to provide the ability to share our genealogical work with other researchers that we would never be aware of otherwise. Rootsweb allows us a way to share with others in several different ways. First it allows us to submit records about our family, geographic region or group. It also allows us to download GEDCOM versions of our genealogies on their site for collaboration with other researchers. This has been the primary function of this site for a long time. Finally it has the ability to allow us to specifically post information on a particular surname.

The other primary feature of this site is it allows us to communicate through a variety of methods with other researchers. Mailing lists both surname, geographic location or occupation specific offer excellent ways to share information. All of these allow us to be very specific to communicate with others on a particular interest. Lucas County has a mailing list where people that are subscribed to it are conducting research on families in our area. Surname lists like the one on Davey allow me to communicate with others that may share my common line. You have the ability in this area to have the postings sent to you in Digest or individual form. My suggestion is to do it in Digest form, because this will greatly reduce the amount of emails you are getting.

Message boards have proven to be very helpful when posting information about our family. Here rather than getting the information sent to your email box you actually post it in a surname or geographic area specific message board. The chances of you locating a common interest researcher are very strong on the message boards. The comments and communication on the boards is very good. You have the ability to have response to your postings sent to your email address.

The one draw back on this site is it’s ownership by Ancestry. Although you can access a great deal of information for free on this site it is constantly trying to drive you to the Ancestry site. Another draw back to it is that the site has been around since the late 80’s. It was one of the first sites for Genealogy on the internet. The archive portion of the site is enormous and can prove very valuable for your research. Remember like all things with genealogy do not include the information into your genealogy until you have properly documented it.

Please send your comments to

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Are you doing research on Quakers? They were all over Ohio and the East Coast. Had many in my own family. Excellent record keepers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Genealogy Podcasts

Have you listened to any of the wonderful programing that is on the Internet that are called Podcasts? You can watch them live, but they are also archived and you can watch them later. Here are some links on sites that you can take a look at. For these two links make sure to type in the word genealogy once you get to the site. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Olive Tree

This is a great site that his been around for a while. Deals primarily with resources concerning the United States and Canada. Lot's of primary information that you will not find anywhere else.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Native American

Everybody has an Indian Princess story in their family tree. Is it really true? Here is an excellent site for learning how to trace our Native American Ancestors.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Quit the 9 to 5 job to become Professional Genealogist

Ended my career as an Industrial Sales Manager. Moving into the genealogy world full time. Going to be completing clients research,tours speaking and writing. Would love to work with you if I can or anyone that you are able to refer to me. Thank you in advanced and you will see my blog frequency and quality increasing as well.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Thsi is a search engine designed specifically for the genealogist. Does an excellent job to records that may be older in age on sites like Rootsweb that you can not find on the Rootsweb site. Happy hunting.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Here is an excellent site that covers the whole country. Constantly being updated. Items are seperated by state and then county. Provides excellent links to mostly free sites. Happy hunting.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kentucky Vital Records

Are you researching family in the state of Kentucky? This was a common migration point for people coming up from the south to Northern Ohio. Some of the vital records realted to this commonwealth are located here. Please check it out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jewish Genealogy

Jewish genealogy has been a priority in the Jewish religion for thousands of years. Keeping an oral and written history of their families can help in discovering a fascinating genealogy history. Here is a link to a site to check out for locating Jewish ancestry.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Irish genealogy

One of the most popular ethnic groups in the United States is the Irish. My family includes several lines that trace their lineage back to the Emerald Isle. Irish research can be a real challenge to the average researcher.

Many Irish came to the United States under unique circumstances. In my own lineage I had an ancestor that came to Colonial New England as an indentured servant. The short version of this status is his trip was paid for by someone that he worked for seven years. Upon completion of this he became a full member of early New England society. This would be a trend in Irish immigration to the United States way up into the 1840's. Poor conditions in Ireland forced people to immigrate to the United States.

Here is an excellent link for all things Irish.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

House Histories

This I find to be a fascinating aspect in genealogy that brings in a totally new way to gain insight into our ancestors past. Have you ever stopped to think about where our ancestors lived? When traveling in a area where my family lived I always make a point of locating the houses that they lived in during their time. It has led to some very interesting surprises.

While traveling the back roads of Putnam county Ohio where my ancestors lived for over 100 years there are many physical landmarks that I have come across. One in particular is the Prowant farm that had been in the family for many years. My mother remembers traveling to this farm from Michigan as a child. When I was in my teens it was one of the first places that we traveled back to when we were in the area. My mother was talking to the current owner of the farm and they mentioned that they had a cemetery on the property. Yes, I have been interested in them for a long time. They proceeded to take my family out into a field that was being used by sheep. Fenced off in the middle of the field was a well kept cemetery located along the Blanchard river. Once I started looking at the cemetery stones I realized it was family. One of the persons happened to be one of my original ancestors to the area. This event would be followed up by me in later years doing a full history of the house and it's many owners. Great stuff.

Here is a link to how to go about doing your own house histories. Don't leave any stone unturned.

Friday, June 07, 2013


This is one of the oldest sites on the Internet. It falls under the category of message boards. You are able to post queries about your ancestors in specific surname boards or geographically. The majority of the information on this site is not sourced, but offers major clues to our families history. In my own research I have found clues here that have helped me in making major breaks on my families history. It makes the brick wall a little easier to get over.

The length that the site has been around results in difficult collaboration challenges due to people changing their emails. The information though is still priceless.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Family Search

This is by far my favorite site. I have written about in several other articles. It is constantly changing at the pace of almost 5 million records per week. The site is completly free. Now for some tips on using the site.

The most important one when you first visit the site is to register. If you fail to do this you will not be able to get the full impact of the sources avaliable on this site. Scanned documents for example will not be able to be seen with out registering.

Although many records are being added every day the church still has millions of records that have not be transcribed from microfilm and put on the site. You can still order the microfilm. It can be sent to your local Family History Center or your participating library. They have a list of both on the site. They do charge a small fee for the mcirofilm to cover postage, but it is an excellent way to do research on distant relatives at a local facility.

Finally be sure to check out the many books that they have scanned. They have digitized thousands of books that are located in several libraries. It allows you to be wearing your fuzzy slippers drinking your favorite beverage at 2 am. Ah what a world.

Please check out this site. It offers tons of free records. The site is constantly changing.

See my other article on the Family Search on this blog.

Toledo celebrates Latino heritage Saturday; Hispanic war veterans to be honored - Toledo Blade

This is important to reach an understanding.

Toledo celebrates Latino heritage Saturday; Hispanic war veterans to be honored - Toledo Blade

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Ellis Island

Ellis Island is located in New York harbor and was a major entry point into the United States during it time of operation. The Island was used from 1892 to 1954. This covers a major immigration peak in US history. By no means the only port of entry during this time it was the most popular. It was set up to handle large amounts of people.

This site was created as a result of funding drive that occurred in the early 1980's and was headed up by Lee Iaccoca. It was two fold in creating this database and improving the physical structure of it's buildings.

Similar to the Castle Garden site be sure to use wild cards when doing your searches. Quality of hand writing can vary and the interpretation of the transcriber can also lead to challenges. Still and excellent place to locate your ancestors if they came to our country during that time period. The website is

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Distant Cousin

This is a one stop spot on the Internet for links to historic sources of a genealogical nature. At last count they had nearly links to 10 million genealogical records. The links are split between general resources and vital records. Records listed on this site are free and offer another resource for finding records on our family members. The link to the site is Happy hunting.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Castle Garden

The immigration point of Castle Garden was located in New York harbor and predates Ellis Island. Castle Garden was active from 1830 to 1890. Although the primary port of entry to the United States at this time it is a good place to check if you suspect this to be where your ancestors entered the country. This site is very similar to the Ellis Island site.

Be sure to use wild cards when doing your search. The print quality of the records in some cases can be poor and the hand writing can be a challenge. Variances in the spelling from the name you know to how they are written abound. The website is

Remember to make copies for your documentation.

British History Online

One of the most successful ways of understanding our ancestors lives and factors that may have influenced their thought making is timelines. An excellent site for those that do not have PhD's in British History is the This is an excellent way of seeing what was going on in the country when your ancestor lived. It will offer clues to what was influencing their decision making at a particular time.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


Might as well start out with the largest website dealing with genealogy on the Internet. This is a fantastic website in many respects, but buyer beware of the shaking leaf. Not all that is seen is true on this website.

A large weakness with Ancestry is their inability to police and monitor their content. They do a fantastic job with adding new sources to their website on a weekly basis. Where they fall short is with the shaking leaf system. Be sure to check before downloading. I am sure they do offer some success with this process, but I have found more errors than good personally. You should make sure things are correct before adding it to your family tree.

The many family trees that have been added to the World Tree project is endless. Problems occur when they are totally undocumented. Here again you need to check everything. Trees with out sources abound on this website. Many errors occur. Example would be following a family tree back into the 1700's and then all of a sudden the tree goes wrong. A person born in Virginia who lived his whole life there does not have parents who lived their whole lives in Massachusetts. Mistakes like this are all over this website.

Primary sources on Ancestry are great. Those submitted by other genealogist when undocumented are dangerous. The myth you can trace yourself to King John in 2 hours is not reality. It still takes a lot of work to have a great documented genealogy.

Threat of demolition looms for Michigan's iconic Irish Hills towers - Toledo Blade

Another icon of Americana looms in front of the wrecking ball.

Threat of demolition looms for Michigan's iconic Irish Hills towers - Toledo Blade

Exploring almost forgotten gravesites in Ohio

Always an interest to genealogist.

Exploring almost forgotten gravesites in Ohio

Friday, May 31, 2013

Open date

Do you have ideas for stories? Pleas share.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Are families can sometimes seem like animals at the Zoo, but they are our family. Be appreciative of where you have come from and work to improve the future.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This is a very important topic to me. The future of genealogy lies with the young people. Groups and individuals need to reach out to the younger people to spark their interest in researching their families history. Leaving this legacy is important for our future and understanding where our families came from.

For me this has been an important part of my genealogy journey. I had always been fascinated with history and understanding where my family fit into it was so important to me. It has only allowed me to gain new insights into the events of history. Understanding our families lives also has helped me understand so many more things in history. Occupations, migration, war, and immigration to name a few.

Now I enjoy teaching others my love of genealogy. This has been an important step in my appreciation of genealogy. We should all be working every day to pass that love on. How are you going to involve the next generation?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The ability to copy something from a book onto a piece of paper has been done by all of us in our genealogy journey. With the creation of the computer our dependence on this process has been greatly reduced and we can capture computer images of most documents.

Unfortunaltely we have obtained a great deal of paper. Purchasing a low cost transportable scanner is an excellent way for you to reduce your paper and be able to store it in a format that lasts. The process of doing the scanning is a long one, but is necessary for sanity and our genealogy. Take the time to investigate this process and then do it.

Monday, May 27, 2013


In this day and age we have no excuse to not learn about subjects that will help us with our genealogy journey. One of the most fascinating developments are the webinars that are available on a almost daily basis.

All the major sites are adding content in this area and offering you the ability to learn new techniques in the comfort of your home. Make sure to check out these exciting learning opportunity. You can not afford to not learn when doing your genealogy. As in all things education is key.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


As genealogist we have so many chances to help with making records available to others. You can start with your local libraries genealogy room, historical society and as a transcriber online.

Local libraries are constantly looking for genealogy helpers. One of the large advantages is you learn so much about their facility. Try volunteering on a Saturday to help those patrons that are new to the libraries genealogy collections. Maybe writing is your thing and there are tons of records that the libraries that have yet to be identified to the general public. Start by asking they would love to have your help.

Historical Societies especially in rural counties tend to be the main place for people to donate their historical items. Much of this is very important to the average genealogist. The sad part is these organizations to not have the manpower to help make these records available. This is where we all can offer a helping hand. Creating that bridge between the Genealogy and Historical community is so important to both sides of the fence.

You can also volunteer in your own home by helping with the transcription projects on both Family Search and Ancestry. Did you realize that records are not able to be put on the internet with out a human putting the old records in a format that the computer can understand? This is where we can all help. The sooner we are able to get records transcribed the sooner they will be available on the Internet.

Look for you genealogy volunteer opportunity and let me know how you do.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flag volunteers honor deceased veterans - Our Town Sylvania

Honoring our vets on memorial day.  Great volunteering!!!

Flag volunteers honor deceased veterans - Our Town Sylvania


It's funny but I really could not come up wih a word that pertains to genealogy that started with the letter U. Then it hit me we struggle with the unknown so much in our genealogy journey so it should be included as a a word. We have all hit our brickwalls and are alwasy searching for that one clue when trying to learn what is unknown. Hopefully in my sharing on this page you have learned some new ideas on how to resolve some of these issues.

Have a great day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tax Records the under used resource

Have you used Tax records for your research? They are a very under used source for verifying a variety of facts per 1850 during a period when you normally have so little information. Great way to identify relationships, arrival and departures.

It was becasuse of the collection of taxes that the taxman was forced to differentiate between people with the same names. Fathers became identified as Senior and the sons as Junior. We are forced though to do more research if there are multiple people with the same names.

The tax man was the first person to identify when a family arrived in a particular area. He was highly motivated to identify the family as new and collect the tax. In the same token when a family left the area his records would indicate it by not having them listed. Make sure to check subsequent years in the rolls to make sure they have left. In rare cases families were missed.

Finally tax records were normally kept in the order of household. You will be able to identify who the neighbors are in the records. Be careful though,because some enterprising tax men alphabatized the names. Finally when a new person appears in your surname group it is often a indicator of a person coming of age and being able to own land. Very common.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As some stage in the game software and the computer will be things that genealogist need to tackle. When I last went to count there was over 100 seperate programs to consider for storing your genealogy. It really comes down to your individual tastes.

The most popular program out there for stroing your genealogy is still Family Tree Maker. You have a variety of other choices like Legacy and Roots Magic to name a few. Make sure to download the trial versions and read up on the in's and out's. Like any good male I don't normally like to read directions so I wanted a program that loaded and I could use right out of the box. Both Legacy and Roots Magic fall into that category. I was looking for a basic program without all the bells and whistles.

Another trend in software is the accesories. They vary from a citation helper to map plotter. Teh choices are endless and growing. Make sure to take them all for a test drive before you buy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I feel very strongly that I need to give another shout out about Derek and his genealogical research skills. I contacted the National Archives in Washington, DC direct about my 2X great grandfather, William Gurin (1834-1916). In response, I received (2) documents in the mail. Two tiny bits of information. While I appreciate *any* information I receive as you never know what's going to give you a much-needed clue, it was *nothing* compared to what Derek unearthed for me.

To date, he has provided me with well over 200+ pages of documents from the National Archives in Washington, DC including detailed Civil War pension records, letters from my 2X great grandmother regarding William's military pension, medical records, hospital records from William's last days, including day-by-day doctor's notes about William's condition. They are extremely exciting to read, although at times heartbreaking to know what William endured from his Civil War injuries. One of the documents also included a 1915 photo of 81-year old William from his hospital records. *Amazing*

I can't thank Derek enough for the treasure he gave me on my favorite and by far (for me) most fascinating ancestor. I considering myself a pretty good sleuth on the ancestry trail, but I could *never* have discovered on my own what he found.

A link to his website is below. Highly recommend if you need assistance in your genealogy quest!

Revolutionary War Ancestors

A common quest for many researchers in their early stages is to identify if they have a ancestor that participated in the War for Independence. For us doing research of ancestors in Northwest Ohio this is a very high possibility if your are able to trace your ancestors were in Ohio prior to 1830. Why you ask?

The largest issue that is unique to Ohio is the Ohio Military lands. Here in Northwest Ohio it is the region known as the Firelands region. This area is in Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky, Lorain and Huron counties. In the past few years signs have been posted in this area that identify that you have arrived. This area was originally claimed by the state of Connecticut. The land was given to those people that had land damaged in Connecticut by the British during the War. It was given as compensation to those effected. Pay attention to the many New England names used where our ancestors lived, because they offer great clues on their origins.

Finally be careful when using lineages from the DAR. Over the years some funky genealogy has been going on and some of the lines lack the proper documentation. Always document your genealogy.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Have you found your family to be realted to royalty? Be aware without the proper documentation it does not become fact. There are a lot of suspect genealogy in this area. The challenge of proof can be dificult as a result of so many sources depending on the same bad information.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Photos are the images that actually allow us to see our ancestors as well as get clues to how they lived. Fascinating understandings can occur when you look at the clothing, backgrounds and features of the people in the pictures. Make sure to identify the people in the pictures. Start from now and work your way back.

Scanning those pictures and putting them in a format that will survive the test of time is critical. There are many scanners out on the market that make it easy to complete this part of your task. Do a little at a time and stick with it. Very valuable step in our preservation of our families legacy.

Finally for the pictures themselves remember to use archive quality sleeves to store them. Include the pictures in the family group files you have created to organize your paper files.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Do you have your genealogy paper work organized? In this day and age of electronics ant eh Internet you would think that we would not need to copy things on to paper anymore, but we still do. The mounds of paper that are still created with our research is endless. Keeping on top of this task can be a big part of our genealogical research process.

Create files for each family group. Organize those groups by generation. Use a pedigree chart as your guide. Include one of those in the first file for a particular surname. Only include items that relate to that particular family group in that file. Exception is the next generation. Example would be stuff that relates to you is in your family group file not your parents. Your parents would include their information plus your siblings.

Finally create a file for unsourced and information that has not yet been processed the family group folder. Make sure to file this information on a weekly basis. As you go to put it in the family group file make sure to include the sourcing for this document in your computer program. Maintaining organized paper files can be a large challenge, but it is a must.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 Unveils Life Lessons Slide Shows for Funeral Homes, Mortuaries and Assisted Living Communities - Houston Chronicle

Contact me if you are interested in learning more. Unveils Life Lessons Slide Shows for Funeral Homes, Mortuaries and Assisted Living Communities - Houston Chronicle


Immigrant ancestors often went through the process of becoming naturalized citizens of the United States. A couple things to remember about this process is that it took two steps. First was intent and finally was becoming naturalized. This process takes seven years.

Prior to women getting the right to vote in the 1920's they could only beceome a naturalized citizen of the United States in one way. Their husband had to be a naturalized citizen or US born. Depending on the nationallity some never became citizens. As documents go the naturilization records both the intent and the final document tend to be a little lacking in the information area. Majority of the time they only indicate the coutry that the person orginated from, but as it goes all documents as they relate to our ancestors are good to have.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


For my fellow ancestry researchers, I want to *highly* recommend Derek Davey's assistance. Derek and I graduated high school together and he is a professional genealogist, teaching at Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio. I have never had such a treasure trove of documentation as that which he unearthed for me from the National Archives in Washington, DC. Can't say enough good things about Derek!


An important element of our genealogical research is the use of maps. Often we forget to look at maps in the time periods that our ancestors lived or migrated to a particular area. Over time the landscape as it relates to maps has changed dramatically.

Here in Northwest Ohio up until the 1840's the rest of the states was very well developed with county lines and roads. Northwest Ohio was just a blank space on the early maps. A big reason for this was the existence of the Black Swamp. It provided a natrual barrier to migration through the area to both the West and North. When the German population entered the area and drained the swamp it allowed for better roads and more people to migrate to the area. Not to mention some of the best farm land in the world.

Pay attention to maps. Easy explanations can be resolved for difficult brickwalls by looking at a map for the time period our ancestors were living.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Digging Up Roots - My Journey Into The Past: Tombstone Tuesday - Samuel and Hannah Hill

Some Northwest Ohio folks.

Digging Up Roots - My Journey Into The Past: Tombstone Tuesday - Samuel and Hannah Hill


Have you been to a library to conduct your genealogy search? Please understand that the majority of stuff related to our families is offline. Books though are becoming a more popular item to be scanned in full and put on the internet.

When completing your research the local libraries where are families live often has some very unique resources that you will only find in that library. A common one is family histories. As genealogist complete their research and their families live in a specific area the finished genealogy will be given as a gift to the library. Many of my own family lines have genealogies that could find no where else than the local library where they lived. A variety of other records will also be at the library that have yet to be on the Internet. Take a look at the resources at the local libraries where your ancestors lived and plan a visit or hire a local researcher.

Ancestoring's Orphan Photos: Gertie Kilby Storms of Pioneer, Ohio

Thought this might be interesting for folks in Northwest Ohio.

Ancestoring's Orphan Photos: Gertie Kilby Storms of Pioneer, Ohio

Monday, May 13, 2013


It is always best when attempting to resolve a problem with your genealogy to work from the known to the unknown. This seemms like such a simple concept, but for a lot of genealogist they do not do this.

An excellent way of putting the know in a format that will allow you to understand the unknown is to put it into a timeline format. Starting with the birth date of the individual in chronological order identify each date that you have documented on the person. This will help you identify the gaps that you have as compared to what you know and will allow you to create a research plan to fill in the gaps. It will also force you to understand why certain records were not avaliable at certain time periods and force you to look at other sources to resolve the puzzle. In the end you should have a very clear understanding of the person once you have completed your exhaustive search.

Try it and let me know how you come out.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


One of the common brick walls that we come across when doing our genealogy research it not locating families where we thought they would be. Making certain that you know the boundaries of the jurisdiction where your family often sheds light on boundary changes that we were not aware of previously.

Our ancestors would live in the same location their whole lives, but their geographic area would fall under different jurisdictions. Here in Northwest Ohio the northern strips of Fulton, Lucas and Williams were considered part of the Michigan Territory prior to 1837. It was after that time that they resolved the actual location of the boundary and the area became part of the state of Ohio. The Land transactions in this area seemed to bounce back and forth from Ohio to Michigan prior to the 1837 date. Finally there were entries after the 1837 law that transferred the land to it's proper jurisdiction. The whole time the family had never moved.

Boundaries have changed a great many times. Previously I have posted a link to he excellent map system at the Newberry Library on the internet that allows you to see the boundaries change on a map at a specific time. It will help you tremendously with understanding the changes in jurisdiction that have occurred in areas where are families have lived.

Friday, May 10, 2013


One of the limitations of genealogy records on the internet is that it takes humans to be able to read the old documents and put them in a format that the computer will understand. One of the large tasks that Genealogy world faces when it comes to the internet is having enough qualified indexers to format the documents so they can be used on the internet.

Both Ancestry and Family Search depend on a army of indexers to read the microfilm scans of documents and put it in the format that computers can read. At last count Family Search was adding close to 5 million individual records per week. All of us can help in this process. The process is easy. Once you have indexed the document two other people index the same documents. When the document has been indexed by three different people then the results are sent to a arbitrator. This person is a skilled indexer and above average at reading hand writing. This process has resulted in much more accurate databases on the internet.

Give it a try. When we all help it allows the records to get on the Internet much faster. We have not even scratched the surface with records that need to be done.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Historical Socities

Although Historical societies tend to concentrate on the history of a particular area they are still valuable to genealogist. They are a must search when you are researching a particular area.

It has been my experience that the Historical Society is often the place where items are deposited when a family has determined that they have something of local interest. Due to the limited amount of funding and lack of volunteers though these things tend to spend a extended period of time in storage. They are normally cataloged, but the treasure is often times not identified. Look at it more as a treasure hunt. You might be surprised to find the genealogy treasurer that you have been seeking.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Genealogy Socieities

Are you a member of a genealogy society and attend their meetings? Well if you are not you should. The information that you learn from these groups can help you avoid many of the pitfalls of researching your family.

First they offer excellent programing and literature related to the area in which your family lived at one point in time. The amount of local knowledge that can benefit you in your research is staggering. You can take advantage of this even if you live far from the area by reading their newsletter and following them on the internet. Monthly speakers for many groups is a mainstay. The ability to do many of these presentations via the computer has allowed many groups to bring in National Speakers. The speaker may be miles away, but via the miracle of the internet their presentation can be broadcast to your group.

Interacting with like minded people with the same type of passion for family is very beneficial. Be sure to share your story. Talk about areas where you may be having trouble. The experience of members in the groups varies, but the insights are priceless. Identify groups in your area and go. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Family Search

One of the common complaints in my classes from students is are there any free genealogy sites on the internet. The largest by far is the Family Search site that is run by the Church of Latter Day Saints. It is a primary belief in the church to research ones family. As a result of they have compiled a massive collection of primary records that is second to none. The site is free.

In previous articles I have discussed the many facets of the Family Search site. Please check it out. They are adding almost 5 million new records a week.

Monday, May 06, 2013


Do you feel you really know a lot about doing genealogy? I have been doing genealogy for over thirty years both for myself and clients. As a result of this I thought I was pretty well versed in the various skills that make up doing research. Boy was I wrong.

Back in 2009 I signed up for an Advanced Genealogy Class at Boston University. It was a very intense process with homework and everything. We went over a lot of genealogy I was surprised to find out I had not come across in my time of doing research. The class helped me identify areas where I needed to round out my knowledge. Upon completion and graduation from the class one of the things that I learned was I would have to constantly learn new things with my field moving forward. It also has made me a much better teacher and appreciate what my students are going through.

If you are able to get into a class teaching genealogy please sign up for it. The ideas and love for genealogy that are shared in the class can be life changing. The things we learn help enrich our genealogy journey.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


One of the newest trends in genealogy is the use of DNA to identify one's roots. This does not mean you don't have to still trace out your own genealogy.

DNA test can determine things in two different ways. If you participate in a surname specific DNA test is may allow you to identify a person was back. The large size of these samplings from several persons helps build a strong case to one person back in time. You still need to figure out how you are related to the person.

The other form of DNA testing helps you in identifying national or regional origins. It does not identify a specific person or produce a lineage. Interesting component to this test is that you often find out you are not made up of what you thought you were.

It is fun to do and see the results, but it does not stop you from doing a great deal of work. Enjoy.

Friday, May 03, 2013


One of the most important aspects of doing genealogy is your ability to participate in Conferences related to the subject. They are available on both a National and Regional basis. One of the important aspects of doing genealogy is the need to constantly learn news skills and reach better understanding on the many aspects related to the subject. As we all know genealogy is constantly changing and attending conferences can help with this task.

We are fortunate in Ohio to have an excellent genealogy group know as the Ohio Genealogical Society. There annual convention is normally held in early spring and rotates it's location around the state every year. It is an excellent opportunity for learning in the many presentations that are given and meet with many other like minded individuals. They also will have many vendors selling their wears that all relate to Ohio Genealogy research.

The National conferences give you the chance to hear most of the great minds in genealogy research today. The National Genealogical Society meets annually and brings in a excellent group of speakers. For those that want to learn more about genealogy this is a must visit. Another group that meets is the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Great speakers and great vendors. For us in Northwest Ohio this takes on special meaning, because it is going to be in Ft. Wayne this Fall. Check their post and make plans to go.

Attending these types of conferences is not only fun, but will do a lot to nurture your passion in your family and history. You never realize how many people like you are interested in researching their families until you attend a conference. Make plans to go.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Blogs- What are they good for?

I started blogging over ten years ago with the idea to share knowledge on the subject of the various elements of genealogy in Northwest Ohio. It has been a learning process that I have enjoyed since the beginning. Things over time with it have changed.

Blogs tend to come in several different forms when it comes to genealogy. Almost every subject is covered. They vary from talking about the principles of genealogy, geography and specific families. All of them have value to our research. Make sure to check out the variety of blogs out there. You can find many of their posts via Google+ or Facebook. If you have a Twitter account and start following the genealogy posts it would an excellent place to start. Warning- They do get addiciting and there are a lot of excellent reads.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Have you researched your family offline in a Archives? The majority of records still exist offline. Although webpages like Ancestry and Family Search are adding millions of records every week the vast majority of records are not on the internet.

When you identify a geographic area for your family make sure to identify the archives that are in that geographic area. When doing Northwest Ohio research this is very important because Ohio has archives that are are broken down regionally. In Northwest Ohio the the archives are located on the campus of Bowling Green State University. Their collection includes old newspapers for the region as well as the majority of county records pre 1908. They have records related to the 19 counties in Northwest Ohio. Many of these records do not exist at their respective county courthouses. It is also entails a wide variety of records not normally know by amateur genealogist.

Another example in Northwest Ohio in the Mennonite Genealogy collection that is located on the campus of Bluffton University. Both Allen and Putnam counties in the early years had a very large population of people practicing the Mennonite religion. Bluffton Universities roots are Mennonite. They have a wonderful archive tucked away in the main library on campus. Excellent collection for research on your Mennonite ancestors.

Make sure to check out those Archives. The vast majority of good genealogy sources and treasurers is still located offline.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Digging Up Roots - My Journey Into The Past: Tombstone Tuesday - Alexander McCleary

Thought this would be of interest to some folks on here.

Digging Up Roots - My Journey Into The Past: Tombstone Tuesday - Alexander McCleary

Zip Code

Understand the goings on in your families immediate surroundings. Failure to look at the events that go on and the people that live around our ancestors results in failure in breaking down the brick walls. Always research the people that live around our families. Learn everything around them they often offer clues on our own family.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NGS Family History Conference: Getting Around in Las Vegas

Are you going?

NGS Family History Conference: Getting Around in Las Vegas


Understanding that yesterday was yesterday when researching our family is often the key to understanding their lives. We did not always have running water or highways. Limitations in what they have often resulted in the decisions that they made. Understand the history at the time your ancestors lived.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X Chromosone

This is one of the major identifiers when doing DNA research. Males normally have one and females have two. Understanding this can help in the study of your families DNA.

Friday, April 26, 2013


It is important when you locate a will pay attention to all the people that are listed as well as the ones that are missing. Why did certain family members get left out? Why are the people in the will mentioned and what is their relationship to the deceased? All the people should be researched.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


As we do our research it is important to verify the facts of our families. Depending on any one fact can be shaky. Always use more than one primary source to verify our research. Failure to do this can result in accurate research.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Can you make sense of the document or information that you just found? Does it help you in the understanding of your family? Often in the research of our families a certain piece of our discovery does not make sense at the time that we locate it. It is important to constantly evaluate all the information that we find. This is when we discover new facts that help us in furthering our genealogical search.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Did your family have particular tradition? Families often followed certain traditions at the holiday times that were specific to the families ethnic background. In my wife's family they had a tradition at Christmas time involving a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. The pickle would be hidden and then the children would be brought in to find the pickle on the tree. The child that found it was awarded with a small gift. This was a tradition that was common in German families.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Welcome · Digital Public Library of America

Another source for books and a variety of other documents on the Internet.

Welcome · Digital Public Library of America

Standard of Proof

With genealogy one of the biggest drawbacks is the lack of documentation in what has gone on previously reduces the accuracy of those genealogies. Documenting your information identifies what you are basing your proof for these facts on. Here are the five things necessary to follow as the Standard of Proof. 1) Exhaustive Search- Have you checked all the available sources? 2) Have you used Source Citations to document your facts? 3) Have you Analyzed and Correlated your information? Both good and bad? 4)Have you resolved your conflicts in information? 5)Do you have a written proof conclusion for each family group? Until you have met these standard you do not have sufficient proof.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Real Estate

Did your ancestor have real estate? This was a strong indicator of being able to find a paper trail. All the other factors in their lives depended a great deal on their ability to own land. If they rented or had some other living relationship they will have a very poor paper trail. Make sure to look at census records and city directories to determine the status of your ancestors living arrangements. This will help a great deal in understanding why you may or may not be able to find information.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Don't always take the information you find for face value. Every event date should be confirmed by at least three different sources. Talking documented primary or secondary sources here. Beware the family trees you find on the internet as a result of the shaking leaf. Just because 109 people say a undocumented genealogy is correct does not make it so. I have found a genealogy recently where the parents for a individual in the 1700's from Virginia had parents that lived in Massachusetts their whole lives. The likely hood of this happening is minimal for this time period. Make certain you qualify all your facts. Don't depend on what is in print or on the internet as your one source.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Pension records come in several different forms. The one that most genealogist think of are those associated with Military service, but have you looked for them when it involves their occupation? One of the biggest occupations was in the railroad especially for non English speaking immigrants. The US Railroad Retirement Board is located in Chicago. It is a excellent place to request the documents for ancestors that followed this occupation. Many occupations would have these types of documents.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Summer Camp

What are your kids doing this summer?

Summer Camp

Original Sources

Don't be a lazy genealogist. It is very important that you look at the original source for a particular record. People make mistakes. The more times a record has been put in some other form than the original the higher likelihood for error. Don't be satisfied with what you see on the internet. A great deal of information is wrong or left out. Example would be the witness on a death certificate. Always seek out the original.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Naming Practice

One of the things that I wished I had understood early in my genealogy search is naming practices. It was common to have the first born son and daughter named after the father and mother of the Dad. The second son and daughter were named after the wife's parents. Pay special attention to middle names. Names that sound more like last names than first names are often maiden names in future generations. Our ancestors were not creative when it came to naming us. That is why you find very common names when you are looking where our ancestors lived throughout time.

Monday, April 15, 2013


This document was the longest in duration with it being recorded. You will find this document when birth and death were not being recorded. Pay attention to the people that share the same last name. Check to see who they were being married by and when. Brothers and Sisters to your ancestors normally marry in very close range to yours. Are they being married by the same minister or justice of the peace? Did the father approve the marriage in the case of the girl? Where was the marriage conducted? All of these are important clues that lead you on different paths of research.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where are our ancestors buried?

A common interest is to locate and visit the grave of our ancestors. Similar to a scavenger hunt if you do not use the proper tools to locate them it will be a daunting task.

When attempting to locate our relatives final resting place in a rural setting it is important first to do a little searching for land records and a death certificate. The land records will help you in locating a local cemetery to where your ancestors lived at the time of death. In most cases people would be buried close to there last home or in a place where other relatives are already buried. You will find many generations of a family often in the cemetery. Most of these rural cemeteries can be located identifying on a current map like on Google and identifying cemeteries that would be candidates in the neighborhood.

Prior to 1860 though it can be a challenge, because many people are buried in the backyard. In my own family everyone from one family is buried in the sheep field that is right along the Blanchard River. It is a beautiful spot, but it really took some looking to find it. Identifying the location of the family through land records helped identify the farm that was the best candidate for it's location. It was not identified on any maps. Over thirty people were buried there. Make sure to first locate the most likely location and talk to the locals.

Another place for rural cemeteries to check it with the township office. Here one of the members of the township board or what they call a sexton will have a list of the cemeteries in their area. Make certain to see if they have interment records as well. These provide excellent information on where people are buried and specific information that may not be reflected on the stone. It is also a great way to locate folks were stones may have been damaged or destroyed.

Urban cemeteries are a completely different search all together. The key identifier here is what it says on the death certificate. Look for the information where it says the body was located. I had a instance where I could not locate a individual in the city and found out that the body was transported to a cemetery that was almost sixty miles away.

Once you have found the cemetery office to locate where the grave is actually located. If you go out looking for it with out this step it will be like locating a needle in a haystack. Most staff are very helpful. Knowing the religion of the deceased is will also help you in identifying the correct cemetery. Pay attention to the workers in the cemetery, because they often can help reduce your hunt.

A recent addition to the cemetery hunt is the website Find A Grave. Although it often does not list everyone sometimes you get lucky. Many cemetery censuses are located on line or in the local library to where your ancestors lived. Make certain to check those out. The local funeral homes will also be of great help. Good luck in your hunt.

Researching Newspapers - The Free Google News Archive - YouTube

Check this out.  Very informative.  Applies to Northwest Ohio.

Researching Newspapers - The Free Google News Archive - YouTube

Kinship Continued

More on kinship.  Making it Easy


Home | Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project

This is a excellent site for understanding the fluid motion of the boundries of our country.
Home | Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project

Saturday, April 13, 2013


What relationship does the location of your ancestor in a particular point in time have with where they were prior and may have gone in their future? Does the area they live have a common name. Ex. Norwalk, Danbury, Springfield, Fairfield, etc., etc. Our ancestors were not creative when it came to new names. That is why many cities and towns exist in several different states. Have you researched the migration trail that was followed by people to get to your ancestors area? This will help you in understanding where they came from. Where did the neighbors come from? The early you go back in time the higher likely hood that your people are living around people they new in the old location. There was strength in numbers and you did not want to travel out into the wilderness with out people you could rely on in time of need. Lastly why did they move to where they did when they did? Study the history of the area not just the names of our ancestors. The more understanding of the history of a particular area the more you will understand on what influenced your ancestors.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Just because your family shares the surname with many people it does not mean they are related. Look at those people that lived close to your ancestor to determine potential relationship. A common belief among amateur genealogists is if you have the same last name you are related. Love people that are doing name studies. Lot's of work with very little fruit. Thank heavens DNA tests prove a love of this out.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Did your ancestor serve time in jail? It did not matter if the time was short or long. Depending on the type of incarceration and the severity of the offense you be able of find information. The local police force or county records would be the place to check. Criminals have very good paper trails even though they are not the best of trails.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


When traveling to the cemetery or better yet it is important to determine if the cemetery has interment information. In urban locations where the cemetery may be very large this will be located in the office or maintenance shed of the cemetery. Rural locations are a little trickier, but the records are often kept with a township trustee or a sexton. It is the common practice of cemeteries to keep these records. Often our ancestors are buried in a particular cemetery, but were unable to afford a stone. Checking the interment records is the best way to find their information.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

FGS Conference News Blog: Become an FGS 2013 Ambassador

Please check this out and help spread the word.  This is happening this August in Ft. Wayne.

FGS Conference News Blog: Become an FGS 2013 Ambassador


Paying attention to the hospitals are relatives got there care in plays a important way to understand our families. Hospitals became more popular in the latter half of the 19th century. Many medical events in our ancestors lives occurred outside hospitals. As medical care improved the hospitals became the place to go. Many hospitals are releasing older records for the public to review. Documentation of relationship will be necessary for review. Another item to look at is the affiliation of the hospital. Church, city, etc. This is a modern feature of research.

Monday, April 08, 2013


The search for guardianship in probate records is often a overlooked resource for your genealogical search. If the male died with minor children still in the household still under the age of 18 in most cases their will be guardianship records. Understand there is normally not a tie in between the distribution of the estate and guardianship in probate. These records were done very early in our countries history. The courts would check in on the children once a year so the file can be very large. In the event the children were moved for care in the other county you will have a link and it will be important to review the records in both locations. These records are kept in probate at the county level.