Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30 - Organize your obituies and funeral cards

April 30 – Organize your obituaries and funeral cards. Sort them by family, alphabetize them and place them in clear sheet protectors (the ones made for baseball cards work well).

Since my filing system is sorted by family groups, and I don’t have many funeral cards, I just keep them in the proper family group folder. Also, I have scanned many of the obituaries or saved them in digital form via the internet and file them in a folder labeled, “obituaries”. I give the file the name of the deceased person along with the year they died. The year helps in case I have multiple people with the same name then I know which one to look at.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29 - Share your discoveries

April 29 – Share your discoveries. Have you identified photo or found your great-great-grandfather’s military record? Send a copy or scan to a relative.

I like to save my ancestor’s documents to my computer. I have shared many of my documents with relatives, especially those that I work with on common ancestor’s lines.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28 - use google's site search function.

April 28 – Use Google to search Roots Web: go to and type your search term plus

I teach this to all my students in my “Finding Your Roots Online” class. When I cover Google search I love this feature for any website that doesn’t have its own search engine. I use the example with These pages are volunteered run and may not have its own search engine; however they contain a wealth of information. Imagine having to go to each page of a website and using the “find” command to find your information. This would take a lot of time. Let the computer do the work for you! Therefore, after going to, go to the state level then the county level page, it does work with the state level too but you might end up with too many hits. Type in your search such as: surname site:

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27 - Search for grave information

April 27 – Search for transcriptions of your ancestors’ gravestone information on .  See Cemetery Junction for more links.

I have always used for my gravestone information, but I will keep this in my list of look ups to see if I can find more information.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26 - Brick Walls

April 26 – Note your brick walls. Identifying research roadblocks on paper can help you think through steps for smashing them into bits.

Today I attended a DAR workshop at my local genealogy library. I was told that my ancestor is a Revolutionary Patriot, and a gentleman by that name is indeed a Patriot. But I need to prove that I am related to that Patriot. I can get easily to his grandson, but then it’s the final two steps that I need to prove.

For those of you that don’t know what is required for DAR, you start with yourself and you go back to your Patriot. For the first 3-4 generations, you need to have a birth, marriage and death certificate for both spouses. So even though it’s my ancestor, I need to supply a birth certificate for my spouse along with our marriage certificate. Good news, it doesn’t have to be certified. Therefore, I photocopied the documents that I have. I was able to easily do myself and husband along with my parents. But then I don’t have all the documents that DAR needs. For the remaining generations, I just need to prove child/parent relationships and only need I document. So I have decided to obtain each generation before worrying about the generations that I haven’t proved yet, but was told to be true. So I guess this is how I am going to try to break through my brick walls.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25 - Search surnames in PERSI

April 25 – Search for your surnames in the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to thousands of genealogical journal and magazine articles back to the 1700’s. It’s available through’s US Records Collection subscription and HeritageQuestOnline, which many libraries offer free remote access.

Well, I happen to do this today and I found lots of leads and even links back to genealogy societies that would give me copies of the pages that it pertained to. This was kind of interesting.

April 24 - dig up your roots in Central and Eastern Europe

April 24 – Visit the Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Web site (especially the map room) to dig up your roots in Central and Eastern Europe.

Today at the Genealogy Society Share Session we talked about the 1940 US Census and sharing our successes or failures.  The challenges we face is not knowing where our ancestors lived. The success is knowing where they lived.  It was funny hearing how someone was complaining about the district had 34 images and that we had to scroll through those images. Boy are we spoiled. I remembered when I had to travel to the area that the census was taken and visit a local library. I had to pull the microfilm and load the machine. Then it was a matter of scrolling at lot more than 34 images to find the people we were looking for.

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 - Church records

April 23 – Focus on your ancestors’ church records see the February 2004 Family Tree Magazine for guidance.

I finally finished working on the descendants of Otto Dauffenbach and Helen Thielke. I know I don’t have everyone’s name, but I am happy with what I have for this branch. Today I added 67 people and changed 14 people. I added 127 citations and only changed 3. Whew! Good Day.
Tomorrow will be a shared session at my local genealogy society library. I never have been to one and I will let you how it goes tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22 - Subscribe to a newsletter

April 22 – Subscribe to the free, biweekly Family Tree Magazine Email Update newsletter for genealogy news and research tips.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21 - Visit your FHC to view the microfilm you ordered in January

April 21 – Visit your FHC to view the microfilm you ordered in January. Take the opportunity to search Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest Online and other subscription web sites for free.

Okay that was back in 2006, I thought I ancestry dropped FHC as a place to use their library edition. I could be wrong. But in my town, the local community college offers ALE and HQO for free and in my classes I promote this. If a person has a library card, they can use HQO from home!

Today I went to my very first DAR meeting as a guest. They are having a workshop on Thursday and I can find out more what is required to apply for membership. It seems as if they do a lot of fund raising and to be honest, I don’t like groups like that. I understand some fund raising, but to keep asking members to donate to this and donate to that turns me off to organizations like that. I want to join a group like DAR and learn more about history and such. I understand and support our veterans so I can be made about that, but how much money do you think I have.

April 20 - any black sheep ancestors?

April 20 – You’re perfectly law abiding of course, but an ancestor may have done some jail time Get hints on researching court and institutional records from the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogist <>

Well I haven’t found a direct ancestor by I have found at least one in a collateral line. The person threw his wife down a well and went to the bar he ran. Someone happens to go by the farm and heard the wife screaming and she was helped out the well. He was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years. He contested and in his second trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years. This was around 1900. A couple of years ago, I found an article that showed he was married before the well wife. His first wife died mysteriously. The news article stated that he came home and found her died on the floor. She had bruises on her body. The inquest determined that the bruises were caused by the fall that caused her death. I wonder!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 - Castle Garden

April 19 – Castle Garden was New York City’s first immigration center, processing more than 8 million passengers from 1850 through 1890. Search a free passenger database at <>

Today I found some time to actually continue my genealogy project of finding the Thielke descendants. Today I worked on Otto Dauffenbach and Helen Thielke. I managed to add 42 people and changed 7 people and added 1 new source and changed 2 sources and created 75 new citations and changed 2 citations.
Happy Birthday greetings to my Niece Melissa, my Sister-in-Law Mi-Son and my former boss Barbara.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18 - San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

April 18 – A great earthquake struck San Francisco just after 5 am, 106 years ago. Peruse historical newspapers to find out more about this and other disasters your ancestors lived through.

April 17 - Tax Day

April 17 – Let’s hope your tax return is well on its way to Uncle Sam. Your ancestor’s tax records make good substitutes for missing census records. Use the links at to start searching.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16 - Read 101 inspiring roots-seeking stories

April 16 – Read 101 inspiring roots-seeking stories in Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s In Search of Our Ancestors (Adams Media Corp., out of print).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 15 - 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic

April 15 – Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Check out the list of passengers of the Titanic. Look at your local newspaper archives and see if any one local might have been on the ship. I did this many years ago and was amazed to find a very prominent family from my home town was passengers. It was a Doctor and his wife. The doctor did not survive but his wife did.

Just a reminder, that today is not tax day. Usually it’s the next business day, but for some reason it is Tuesday, April 17th. Don’t wait until the last minute; opps too late, it’s already too late.

April 14 - check the Stephen P Morse website

April 14 – Visit One-Step Webpages by Stephen P Morse and use the powerful search tools there to scour immigration databases, the Social security death index, vital-records indexes and more.

I haven’t ever looked at this website until today. There seems to be a lot of links on the website. I think this will take more than one day to fully explore.

April 13 - Learn more about your Jewish Roots

April 13 – Passover begins today. (Okay that was in April of 2006). Learn more about your Jewish roots by surfing the 350 Years of America Jewish History Web site

April 12 - Search for Civil War ancestors

April 12 – The Civil War began at Fort Sumter back in 1861. Search the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System and follow the links at

My husband and I visited Fort Sumter a few years ago when my son who is in the Navy was stationed in the area. The fort was a very interesting thing to see. Check out more at .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11 - Stumped by unidentified photos?

April 11 – Stumped by unidentified photos? Submit them to a photo-reunion Web site or to our Identifying Family Photographs column .

Today is my granddaughter, Austyn’s 5th Birthday. Happy Birthday Austyn.

April 10 - Browse your Local Genealogical or Historical society website

April 10 – Browse the Web site of your local genealogical or historical society (or one where your ancestors lived). Look for resources such as classes, publications, query boards and databases, and plan to attend a meeting.

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9 - join an electronic mailing list

April 9 – Join electronic mailing list that cover your family surnames, hometowns and nationalities. See the index of lists at <>

April 8 - Check out research tips

April 8 – See what research tips and digital images the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History research center has for you at

April 7 - Attend the NGS Family History Conference

April 7 – Look into attending the National Genealogical Society 2012 Family History Conference will be located at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. It will be held May 8 through May 12. Check out for more information.

If you can’t make it this year, think about next year’s conference, NGS 2013 Family History Conference, Building New Bridges, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, 8–11 May 2013.

April 6 - Call or write to set up a oral interview

April 6 – Prepare five to 10 oral history questions for a family member you’d like to interview. Call or write to set up a time to talk.

I can’t stress how important this task is. Don’t put this off, every day, people are getting older and you will lose love ones to interview.

April 5 - do a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness

April 5 – Build good genealogical karma by signing up to volunteer at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

UPDATE: As of Oct 18, 2011, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness gave the following notice “will be offline for quite awhile. Between computer problems (hard drive turning to toast) and the health of the administrator very questionable ... RAOGK, after 11 years, will cease to exist for awhile”.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4 - checkout Dear Myrtle's blog

April 4 – Visit with genealogy advice columnist Dear Myrtle to ask a question, read past columns and get on her e-mail list.

Myrtle moved to a blog format as of May 1, 2007. I use Google Reader to display a short preview of my favorite blogs. If I click on the blog preview, it will take me to the blog website for me to fully read the blog.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3 - Write and mail an old fashion letter

April 3 – E-mail’s great, but it’s rendering letter-writing a lost art. Write a letter to a new found cousin or other family member.

Your letter doesn’t necessary have to be about genealogy. I have a cousin who writes me letters. She is a little mentally disabled and since I have two mentally disabled sisters, I know how much they like getting letters. I need to make sure I respond to her because that little gesture will be a lot to her.

April 2 - Update your research to-do list.

April 2 – You spring ahead and lose an hour to Daylight Savings Time today. (Okay this was from 2006 and this has changed, we lost that hour several weeks ago.) Use what’s left to update your research to-do list.

Update your research to-do list often. I like to review it before I start researching if it’s been a while since my last research efforts. I also try to create a short to-do list at the end of my research day to leave ideas where to search next or to do next with the information that I have found. This aids my efforts the next time I pick up where I left off. I might think I will be researching tomorrow, but we all know that life happens when we make plans and I might not get back to that research project for several days, weeks, or even months. It’s has been a while since I have done actual research and I can’t remember when I last did some research or even what I was doing during that research.
Don’t forget that the 1940 US Census opened up today. Have you created your 1940 US Census to-do list yet?

April 1 - Happy April Fool's Day

April 1 – Celebrate April Fool’s Day by retelling that funny ancestral story or Grandpa’s corniest joke. Write it down to preserve the laughs for posterity.

Do you ever find yourself remembering some funny story or other memory from your childhood? Get in a habit of carrying a small spiral notebook. Write down these funny stories as you remember them. Start keeping a journal and write down small important facts from your day or funny moments.

March 31 - Catalog your family heirlooms

March 31 – Catalog your family heirlooms using Family Tree Magazine’s free, downloadable Artifacts and Heirlooms form.

March 30 - Search historical newspaper society pages

March 30 – Search for notices of engagements, weddings, births and women’s club activities in historical newspaper society pages. They’re on microfilm at many libraries; see the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine, for sources.

March 29 - check out Books we Own.

March 29 – See if any titles you need are on Books We Own list. If so, e-mail the book’s owner to request a quick lookup. Consider opening your library to other researchers through this site, too.