Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30 – Half the year is done

June 30 – You’ve passed the halfway point for the year. Update and reprioritize your to-do-lists and review your research logs.

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29 - Help plan the family reunion

June 29 – If you help plan the family reunion, Family Reunion Organizer software may be just what you need. Also see Reunions Magazine

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28 - World War I

June 28 – The assassination of Austria’s Franz Ferdinand on this day in 1914 triggered World War I. Borders in Europe changed, making old towns hard for you to locate. Consult maps and gazetteers such as those from ProGenealogists

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27 - Clean your desk

June 27 – Neaten up your desk and put away the papers languishing in your to-be-file pile.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26 - Turn your research upside down

June 26 – Turn your research upside down and print out a descendant tree chart from your genealogical software program. Note gaps to fill in.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25 - Research Virginia

June 25 – Virginia, which became a state today in 1788, was the first permanent English Colony in North America. Search land, military, vital and other online records at the Library of Virginia

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23 - use NARA's Access to Archival Databases

June 23 – Use NARA’s Access to Archival Databases <> to search WWII Army enlistments, Korean and Vietnam War deaths, and other records.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 - Sandborn fire-insurance maps

June 22 – Sandborn fire-insurance maps, often found in genealogical and university libraries, can give you detailed descriptions of family homes. Learn how to find and use them at

June 21 - Relationship Calculator

June 21 – Use a relationship calculator or chart (you’ll find both of these tools at to figure out how you’re related to the Internet Cousin you met last week.

My genealogy software package does this for me. Whenever I make contact with a new distance relative, I always ask they are related to a common relative. Then I check our relationship to each other. It puts a personal touch on our conversations and quickly answers the question, “How are we related?”.

June 20 - restore a damaged or faded family photo

June 20 – Find a damaged or faded family photo you’d hate to lose. See the April 2004 Family Tree Magazine to learn to digitally repair it yourself or consult a professional. Look for one in the yellow pages under Photo Restoration or Photo Retouching, and be sure to ask for references.

I have one such photo, my luck the crease it right over my father, who happens to be about 2 years old and squirming on his mother’s lap.

June 19 - Back up your genealogical data

June 19 – Yep, it’s that time again. Back up your genealogical data.

Don’t put this task off. I now use Dropbox to backup my data. I store all my genealogical databases on Dropbox and thus I have it not only in the Cloud known as Dropbox box, but on all my devices that I have accessing my Dropbox. This means my desktop, my laptop, my iPad, and my phone. As for all my other genealogical information, I use only hard drives for those backups. I had removed them from my old computers and placed them into external drive cases for about $10.00 each. These drives are not real big, but for $10.00 I have three 40 mg external drives for backups. Each month I back up (copy) all my files to one of the backups. I use drive one for Jan, Apr, July and Oct. I use drive two for Feb, May, Aug and November and drive three for Mar, June, Sept and December. I wipe out the drive and then back up my data, therefore my information goes back three months.

June 18 - Examine maps

June 18 – Examine historical, topographic and road maps of ancestral locales. Then consult your research and see if you can pinpoint where relatives loved, worked and attended church.

I like to use old plat maps and compare then against newer plat maps. If I find relatives on the old plats maps and then compare them to the new plat maps to see who is on the old homestead. Sometimes, I find more relatives still living on the old homestead. Also, it is a great way to find forgotten little cemeteries. They may be listed on an old plat map with a little cross and not be recorded on a current plat map. You might even find that long lost relatives gravesite.

June 17 - Happy Father's Day

June 17 – Observe Father’s Day by focusing on your paternal lines. And don’t forget to call Dad.

Well I can’t call my Dad because this will be the 2nd father’s day without him. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t call your brothers who might be Dads, or perhaps your uncles or cousins. Wish them Happy Father’s Day and see if they are any new additions to had to your research.

June 16 - Study memorabilia for clues

June 16 – Study souvenirs, trophies, ribbons, pins, matchbooks and other memorabilia for clues to family members’ hobbies, favorite hangouts and social clubs.

This tip reminded me of a matchbook cover I found among my father’s belongings of a picture of parents on the cover of the matchbook. I don’t know why they were on the cover, but the picture was a treasure to find of my parents when they were younger and out together.

June 15 - Choose an ancestral state

June 15 – Choose an ancestral state. Do a Google search to find its historical or genealogical society Web site, and look for publications, research guides, pioneer registers and more.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14 - Flag Day

June 14 – Immigrants who applied for citizenship may have had to answer questions about the US flag. Today, Flag Day, investigate naturalization records you can get a quick lesson at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13 - orphan ancestors?

June 13 – Got ancestors who lived in orphanages? Start tracking them down at the Orphans’ Home Web site <> and Cyndi’s List

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12 - Old address books.

June 12 – Page through old address books for names of past generations’ friends and neighbors. Then look up the surnames in a modern telephone book and see if you can find descendants to call or e-mail.

I don't even keep my own old address books. I am always updating my address books and removing deceased relatives. I wish I had known this tip when my mother died, and perhaps I would have such a valuable address book.

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11 - Start explorying your British roots

June 11 – In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert set sail toward St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he would found the first English colony on North America. Start explorying your British roots at

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10 - Look for wills and estate papers.

June 10 – Look for wills and estate papers of wealthy local residents. You may find bequests to friends, relatives or neighbors, as well as names of debtors and outstanding bills for services. Check county, state and federal courts.

I wish some wealthy local resident had bequests to my relative!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9 - Have any pack-rat ancestors?

June 9 – A pack-rat ancestor may have left an envelope or shoebox stuffed with old receipts for purchases, bills and bank deposits. Put on your gumshoes and find out.

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8 - Browse Ethnic Toolkits

June 8 – Browse the resources in our online Ethnic Toolkits covering your family’s cultural backgrounds.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7 - National Genealogical Society's annual conference

June 7 – Today’s the first day of the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference in Chicago. Not going? Attend a local genealogical society meeting instead. (This is from 2006).

The annual conference will be  held at The LVH-Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mark your calendars for 8–11 May 2013. This is in my neck of the woods. I will have to put this on my calendar, I would love to attend the conference.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6 - Visit a Museum

June 6 – Visit a history museum in your ancestor’s hometown. If there’s no museum, look for local histories at the library.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5 - WWI draft registrations

June 5 – The first of three WWI draft registrations took place on this date in 1917. Search for registrations cards at or Cyndi’s List

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4 - Attend an ethnic festival!

June 4 – Celebrate your roots at a church’s or social club’s ethnic festival. Pick up a newspaper or community bulletin to find one near you.

June 3 - Find newspapers annoucing your ancestor's graduations.

June 3 – Consult your timelines to see when ancestors graduated high school and college. Study historical newspapers for announcements and exam-passing lists.

June 2 - Reading Materials

June 2 – Load up a tote bag with genealogical journals, magazines and other reading materials for relaxing at the beach, the park or in your own backyard this summer.

June 1 - USGenWeb

June 1 – Fluctuating county borders can make locating records a challenge. Look on your ancestral state’s USGenWeb site for historical maps that show which counties existed when.