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.