Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31 - Linkpendium

May 31 – do some one-stop Web searching for surnames and localities on linkpendium

I just quickly browsed this website and found it has a wealth of other links. Not all of the links still work, but this site is worth a visit. Take a little time out and see if you can find anything new you didn’t already have access to.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30 - Occupational Directories

May 30 – Occupational directories – listings of people in a particular profession, may give you clues to relatives’ daily lives. Look for them at your local library or historical society.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29 - look for old postcards

May 29 – Look through boxes of old letters for postcards. They may show your ancestors’ favorite places, or if they’re photo postcards, your ancestor’s themselves.

I like going to thrift stores or antique shops and looking at the old postcards. My husband may roll his eyes, as I sift through them seeing if any are of places that my ancestors might have lived or visited. Even if they are not my ancestor’s postcards, I can get a snapshot of what the area looked like when they lived there. Sometimes these can be picked up quite reasonably.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28 - Memorial Day

May 28 – This Memorial Day, visit the grave of a family member who served in the Military. if you like, leave a note to unknown cousins who may be paying tribute to the same person.

I’m sure my husband will want to visit his father’s grave this weekend, we happen to be in our home town on a visit fixing up our 2nd home. His father served in WWII and I even sent for his military records through the NARA website (see May 26th). I had to fax them a form that my husband signed and many weeks later we received a letter in the mail stating all the awards he had received. Much to my surprise they even stated that they would send duplicate metals to our home. I am looking forward to putting those metals into a shadow box with his military picture and hanging this in our 2nd home. The metals are to arrive late October.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27 - Foreign Word List

May 27 – Does your research involve records from other countries? Get a handy foreign word list from FamilySearch: on the home page, click guides, then word list, then find your country.

Again, these directions are out of date, since a lot has changed since 2006. Try out the following link to find your word list for your country:

Today is my husband’s birthday. Happy Birthday sweetie, Thank you for the wonderful life you have shared with me. I hope we have just as many more ahead of us. That is if I don’t kill you with my “honey do list”.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26 - Military Pension records

May 26 – Veteran ancestors or their widows may have applied for military pensions, depending on the war, records may be at NARA <> or in State Archives. Consult the October 2005 Family Tree Magazine for help finding them.

I requested my great-great grandfather’s Civil War records and found the proper spelling of my great-great-grandmother’s maiden name. I also found that she filed for widows pension before her husband had died. They were separated, he lived in Wisconsin and she lived in Illinois. She collected for about a year until he filed for the disability benefits and she was cancelled and he started collecting. Then after he really died, she had to re-file all the same paperwork. The file is quite large and some of the information is duplicated because of her filing twice for widow’s benefits. I’m surprise that they paid her the second time, I would have expected the benefits would have been held for about a year, since she collected those previously.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25 - search online death record indexes

May 25 – Search for your forebears using Joe Beine’s directory of online death-record indexes

This link was from 2006 and is out of date, the new link is as follows:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24 - Overlooked records

May 24 – The often-overlook records of city, county or town councils could lead you to business licenses, petitions or minutes bearing your ancestor’s name. Records may be at municipal or state archives or public libraries.  

If you are trying to figure out what your ancestor did between the “dash”, this might give you a glimpse of what they did or what was important to them. Oh for those of you who are wondering what the dash is, the dash is what appears on a person’s gravestone between their birth year and death year. The dash represents their life.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23 - Continue from last month's PERSI search

May 23 – Take your article citations from last month’s PERSI search and head to the nearest genealogy library. If the library doesn’t have a publication you need, ask to borrow it through interlibrary loan.

This is a great way to bring the articles to you. While at the library, ask about interlibrary loan for any books you might want access to. It’s worth asking, the worst thing they can say, is that the library doesn’t loan out that book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22 - Is your computer hard drive a mess?

May 22 – Is your computer hard drive a mess? Look into software that organizes your documents, such as PaperPort or Clooz

Before spending money on software that organizes your documents, read up on articles about organizing your hard drive as it relates to genealogy documents. You might find a software package such as one listed above very helpful. I found that once I develop a computer filing system such as a main file folder labeled “genealogy”. Then I have folders under that folder, labeled: Books, Charts, Database, Export, Forms, History, Import, Photos, Programs, Records, Research Trips, Templates, Timelines. then under the Photo Folder, I created more folders labeled: Family Portraits, Gravestones, Individual, Weddings. I can add more folders if I need to. The actual file name in each of the photo folders, list the family name, or individuals in the folder.

Under my records folder, I have divided it first into my three databases, my family, my husband’s family and my half-siblings family. Under each family I have the same folders of: Birth, Books, Census, Deaths, Immigration, Land, Marriages, Military Service, Newspaper Articles, Occupations, Wills and Estates. These folders are where I scan documents and store them in their proper folder by databases.

Also, under the Census folder I have more folders for each Census year. Then I store the proper census in the proper year. For example: the 1900 US Census from Courtland, Columbia Co, Wisconsin would be saved as: 1900USCensus_WI_Columbia_Courtland_pg5A.jpg. This way I can quickly verified that the proper census is in the correct folder and I have them sorted by state and county by the way I labeled the file.

My filing system allows me to quickly find my sources and documents. It took a little while to set up the system and I am sure there is room for improvement. However, the time I took to sort my files has saved me more time when I want to find file again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21 - Did you miss a genealogical conference?

May 21 – If you missed your favorite genealogical conference last year, order the syllabus and lectures on tape from the group’s Web site.

This is a great way to learn new things. You can set aside a day to listen to the tapes and pretend you are actually at the conference and make sure you don’t get interrupted.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20 - Update your blog

May 20 – Update your blog and see what’s new at Genealogy Blog.

I learned something new about my blog. There are "Post Settings" where I can schedule my blog to post on a specific day and time. I wish I knew that when I went on my cruise. But at least I learned it before my trip back to Wisconsin to work on the 2nd home which is where I am today and before I go to Peru in June because there I won't have internet access.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19 - seek out funeral home records

May 19 – Seek out records from your ancestors’ funeral homes. Check obituaries and death certificates for the name, then contact the homes or look for their records in historical societies and libraries.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18 - Conduct an oral history interview

May 18 – Conduct that oral history interview. No elder relatives? Consider talking to family friends or neighbors, or use this day to write down your reflections about a favorite family member.

I have a hard time interviewing relatives. I feel like I am intruding on their personal lives. But I have found that even those people will say they don’t know anything, they manage to tell me a lot. The thing to remember, is don’t spend a lot of time interviewing someone, it wears them out. Have a few questions prepared but let the conversation go where it might lead you. Don’t forget to tape the interview; most laptops have the ability to record conversations. Get permission first. Get the relative to first talk about themselves, where they were born, when to school, met their spouse, where they lived. Then maybe they can share a favorite memory of another relative, such as their parents, their grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17 - Convert old videotapes and films.

May 17 – Have old videotapes and films? Find services that will convert them to digital format in the yellow pages under video Tape duplication and Video Production Services. See the December 2005 Family Tree Magazine for more information.

Okay that was the tip from 2006 and we have come along way in 6 short years. It used to be an expensive project to undertake doing yourself. I purchased a device that converts VHS to DVD and states that it is a powerful and effortless video conversion solution. I spent $60.00 but haven’t taken the time to do this project. This will be one of my summer projects to do this year. It shows taking your old VHS player (I saved one of mine) using RCA to RCA video/audio cable which is included to the device and then USB back to your computer (also included). It states it does support an S-video input.  I have some home movies that I want to convert from VHS to DISC. I hope this all works!

I had my son last summer start scanning the large slide collection that I inherited from my parents. I haven’t done anything with those slides yet, but that is another big project I need to do. I guess I need to set aside a day a week or a half a day a week to start tackling these projects.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16 - Brainstorm

May 16 – Brainstorm clubs, fraternal organizations or trade associations your ancestors may have belonged to. See the June 200 Family Tree Magazine for details on researching these records.

Monday I finished up working on the descendants of Adolph Kuehn and Marie Thielke. I added 19 more people and changed 6, created 45 citations and changed 1 and added 3 media items. Next will be the descendants of Frank Gerbig and Amanda Minnie Thielke. I don’t know if they had any children, so this might be a quick branch to do. Then I will need to do the descendants of Clara Thielke and Oscar Ruden and I know they had a lot of descendants. This one might take a while.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15 - Use a source citation guide

May 15 – Browse the ProGenealogist Internet site for a source citation guide, international research resources and more.

Don’t forget to cite your sources. Even if you don’t plan on sharing your research, citing your sources can save you time. First of all, by citing your sources you will know where you found information and thus might not waste time looking in the same place. Be consistent in your sources. Use a previous citation as an example for your future similar citations.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14 - Check out the supplement US Census

May 14 – Supplemental US census covered manufacturing, industry and agriculture for various census years from 1810 to 1880. Order them from the FHL or check repositories that have the regular census.

I have even found some listed on-line. They list the homeowner’s name, so if you can’t find someone in the regular census but you find them on a Supplemental census, use the neighbor’s names on the supplemental census to see if you can find them on the regular census and thus the person you are looking for.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13 - Happy Mother's Day

May 13– It’s Mother’s day – the Perfect day to research your maternal lines. Then call your mom!

It’s my maternal line that I am researching for the descendants of John Thielke and Wilhelmina Buss.  It’s my mother’s paternal line. But’s it’s my maternal line. This line I haven’t really researched before, and I am enjoying finding all their descendants.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12 - Have your day in court

May 12 – Have your day in court. Never researched in a courthouse before? See the May 2005 Trace Your Family History, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine, for advice from a first-timer.

My Advice:  Go online and see what hours they are open. Plan on arriving in the morning, they seem to be less busy. Verify the hours if any they might be closed during lunch. Have all your information with you, so you know who to research.  Most courthouses have security, so plan on removing your coat and running your bags through the scanners. Be humble, I found that the clerks are friendlier when you are friendly and ask for help instead of being a know-it-all. Remember to say thank you and please and don’t bore the clerks with your family history stories. We might be excited, but they have real work to do and don’t have time to listen to your stories.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11 - Prepare for a research trip to the courthouse.

May 11 – Prepare for a research trip to the courthouse. Call or look online to check record holdings, hours and visitor regulations. List records you want to find.

I always do my best to be prepared for all my courthouse research trips. I will print out information that I might find online such as on Birth, Marriage and death indexes. I will use these printouts as a guide to what records I am looking for. The indexes don’t always give me enough information to verify that this is the proper person. Therefore, I like to look at the actual birth, marriage or death certificates to record the additional information that I will find on them, such as recording the person’s parent’s information.  Currently I am working on my application into DAR (Daughters of the American Revolutionary War) and I need to obtain the Birth, Marriage and Death certificates of the first four generations. Since I am generations one, I have those, and my parents are generations tow, I have those too. But these indexes help me to determine which courthouse might have the records that I need. Being prepare helps to utilize your time and keep you focus on your research.

I worked a little more on my Thielke project and added 21 new people and made changes to 16. I added 56 citations. I didn’t realize how large this family is, considering I knew very little about this branch.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10 - go back to your local FHC

May 10 – Go back to your local FHC to continue viewing or ordering microfilm.

Today I worked on the Descendants of John Thielke and Wilhelmina Buss.  I started working on their daughter Maria Louise “Mary” Thielke and her husband Adolph Kuehn. I added 17 people and changed 14. I added 63 citations and changed 1.

May 9 - look into Coroner's records

May 9 – Coroners’ records may contain clues to an ancestor’s untimely death. Or at least make for interesting reading. Availability is spotty. Try the FHL catalog and contact the coroner’s office to ask where old records reside.

There are several relatives that I would be interested in looking at the coroner’s records.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8 - Town anniversary booklets or county history books

May 8 – Check libraries and historical societies for ancestral town anniversary booklets or newspaper accounts of centennial celebrations. They usually include retrospectives and early residents’ biographies.

I have found a few relatives listed in the biographies. Keep in mind that the publishers of the anniversary books charged to have your biography listed in the book. Thus this meant usually only those more prominent residents paid for this option. Plus, they wrote their own biography and even those names and dates might be accurate, the rest might be a little more embellished.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7 - search archives

May 7 – Search the archives of the electronic mailing lists you belong to.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6 - National Genealogy Society

May 6 – Subscribe to one of the National Genealogical Society’s special-interest online research forums at

Well that tip came from 2006 and I could not get this link to work. I found the blog site of . They have a facebook page. Check out their site at and you might consider becoming a member.
FYI - I have had 501 views of my blog since I started. I am amazed. Thank you for reading my blog.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5 - Cinco de Mayo

May 5 – Happy Cinco de Mayo! Visit Somos Primos  to learn about Hispanic and Latin American culture and ancestry.

Today is my cousin's Tracey's birthday. She doesn't read this blog, but I thought I would wish her Happy Birthday just the same. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRACEY!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4 - Search for immigrant ancestors' passport applications

May 4 – Try searching for immigrant ancestors’ passport applications. You’ll find passports from 1795 to 1925 at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC – see . The FHL has some indexes, too.

Today is my best friends birthday. Even though she doesn't read this blog, I'm going to send out another Happy Birthday to my friend Alyson! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3 - Do a good deed

May 3 – Do a good deed:  Purchase an orphaned family Bible or photo form a flea market and track down its rightful owner using Web sites such as and Dead Fred.

This makes me think of a story one of my fellow members of my genealogy society told us last week. When he was a kid and he was fishing with his father, a military plane crash up in the hills near where his family lived. No one survived the crash and the military came and buried the wreckage.  After they left he and his father went to the site and found some items including dog tags of one the victims. This happened either in the late 20’s or early 30’s. He wants to find the family and return the dog tags. We all said he needs to share the information from the dog tags with all of us, so we all go try to find the family.

May 2 - Look for ancestors in other list than US passenger list

May 2 – Maybe your ancestor isn’t on US passenger lists because he came via Canada. See the August 2004 Family Tree Magazine for on border-crossing records called St. Albans Lists.

Today would have been my mother’s 85th birthday. She has been gone for 10 years and I still miss her every day. I wish I could share my genealogy finds with her or pick her brain for some little bits of information. I guess my conversations will only be through my dreams. Happy Birthday Mom, I hope you are looking down on all your descendants and are smiling.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1 - Increase your genealogy know-how

May 1 – Increase your know-how at a family history workshop. A nearby public library may host one or you can chose from the Genealogical Speaker’s Guilde schedule.

I sometimes look for free webinars on-line. Legacy Family Tree offers many free webinars and I enjoy listening from the comfort of my home. The last one I attended was on Google Plus and I would have never tired signing up for Google plus if it weren’t for the webinar.