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