Friday, August 31, 2012

Aug 31 - Gone with the Wind

Aug 31 - The Civil War Battle of Jonesborough, Ga., began today in 1864. Take a break and watch Gone With the Wind

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aug 30 - Federation of Genealogical Societies

Aug 30 - Take a genealogy class—especially if it's at the 2006 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, now through Sept. 2 in Boston. Call (888) 347-1500 or visit <> for details.

Okay that was 2006; here is the information for 2012. The FGS 2012 Conference will be held in Birmingham, Alabama; 29 August - 1 September, 2012 with local co-host the Alabama Genealogical Society check out for details.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aug 29 - Death Records

Aug 29 - Search the death records at <>. And consider sharing information from the cemetery listings, funeral cards and death certificates you've researched.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aug 27 - Civil War ancestors

Aug 27 - Read about the Civil War as your ancestors did: Peruse the articles in the Historical New York TimesProject <>.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug 26 - Military Gravesite locator

Aug 26 – Search the nationwide Gravesite Locator <> for military ancestors buried in Veterans Administration cemeteries.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aug 25 -

Aug 25 – Most everyone has a WWI, WWII or Korean Ware relative. search American Battle Monuments Commission database of burials in commission cemeteries or names on the Walls of the Missing.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aug 24 - Search Engines

Aug 24 – You’re missing out if you always use the same Web search engine to find relatives’ names. Try a new one such as A9 or AlltheWeb

This is something I teach in my beginning genealogy class. I even point out those that seem to produce the same results. I have each person type in their own search on the various engines and to compare the results. Then I tell them to add the search engines that produce different results to their favorites or bookmarks on their browsers. This way they don’t have to remember what those search engines are. I use about three,, and There are so many out there, check them out and see what happens when you type in your search.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aug 23 - Mac Genealogy software

Aug 23 – Do you feel left out of the family tree software loop because you use a Macintosh? Stop by Mac Genealogy

Remember this tip is from 2006 and I am amazed how much more is out there for Mac users. I like asking what platform people use for their genealogy and in a group, you will always find some that are Mac users. I use an iPAD and this is where I learn about a lot of Mac software, even though my computer is not a MAC. Look for genealogy software reviews on-line and they will have a separate comparison for MAC software.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aug 22 - Overseas connections

Aug 22 – don’t overlook overseas connections when searching pedigree databases. Scour UK-based Genes Reunited for British ancestors.

I made an overseas connection with a researcher from Ireland and even had the opportunity to visit her. It was quite exciting. Even though we haven’t made the official tie, I was hoping she might have her husband do a DNA test, she share information and leads all the time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aug 21 - Your email signature

Aug 21 – Leave your own genealogy trail – add the surnames you’re researching to your e-mail signature.

This is really a great idea. Keep in mind, in Outlook you can control when you put an automatic signature on your emails or just click it to add it. You will have to determine if you do more genealogy emails or regular emails where you might not want all the information on it. Of course if you created a dedicated email just for genealogy, it will be easier. However, I didn’t learn about that trick, so my email account does double duty, but I just “add signature” when I want my surnames added to my e-mails.

Aug 20 - Y-DNA test

Aug 20 – If you’ve gotten a Y-DNA test (or a close male relative has), use the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy foundation database to compare your results with thousands of genetic profiles.

I asked my father to do the Y-DNA test years ago and now that he passed away in January 2011, I am grateful that I asked for this test. Therefore I decided to check out the site. I am awaiting an email to continue my registration.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Aug 17 - Home research

Aug 17 – Explore the history of your childhood home or an ancestor’s house. Check deeds and tax assessments in the local courthouse or county office.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16 -

Aug 16 – Looking for answers about surnames, family hometowns and old words? Go to the search engine and type in your questions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aug 15 - Adoptions

Aug 15 – Ancestral adoptions can stop your research in its tracks. For help, see and .

August 14 - social security death index

Aug 14 – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law this day in 1935. You can search several versions of the Social Security Death Index for free using the tools at <>

If you haven’t already heard, some sites have removed their Social Security Death Indexes from their sites due to the fact they contain social security numbers. But when you do find this resource you will find it helpful on figuring out death dates or even birth dates.

I read an article yesterday about how congress wants to “ban” this type of information from the internet or have it delayed a certain number of years before being published. The article went on to state that if we would only force companies and government agencies to check against the social security files to verify the numbers would work better than just banning the information. I have to agree. The article even stated that Social Security itself doesn’t check their own files before awarding monies. I find this hard to believe because when my father died, my two mentally disabled sisters’ benefits increased. Just like minor children who share on a parent’s survivors’ benefit, they too get survivors benefits. So something must have checked that. But anyways, we need social security numbers checked at the new hire stage, at applying for government funds whether it’s welfare, Pell money or anything else.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Aug 13 - Search for ancestral town names

Aug 13 – Search for ancestral town names. In the United States, use ePodunk In Central or Eastern Europe, try the ShtetlSeeker

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug 12 - Research in-laws, friends, neighbors

Aug 12 – Scrutinize your immigrant ancestor research for in-laws, relatives, friends and neighbors who may have been traveling companions. Their trails could lead you to your ancestor’s hometown.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Aug 11 - Follow-up your favorite message boards

Aug 11 – Go back to your favorite message boards and look for new postings.

Take this even a step forward, do a google search and see if you can find postings inquiring about your family. I came across a post on USGenWeb project from 1999 about one of my family branches.  The post was quite old, from 1999 but I still sent out an email and it didn’t come back undeliverable. Now I am crossing my fingers that I am going to get a reply.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aug 10 - State Archives

Aug 10 – More and more state archives are putting birth and death indexes, military rosters and other records on the Internet. Check the archives Web sites for all the states where you research (click to them from

I have found these indexes as a great tool. These indexes can help direct you to the proper courthouse. Word of warning, just because someone doesn’t show up in the index doesn’t mean the record is not at the courthouse. Check other spelling variations or try looking up just the date of event (if known). Also, don’t rely on the volume and page listed in the on-line index, it might be different at the courthouse.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Aug 9 - Scan old 35 mm slides or negatives

Aug 9 – Dig out those old 35 mm slides or negatives and start scanning them into your computer. Or have a photo lab convert them for you.

Last summer I asked my son to scan a bunch of slides for me. I purchased a small standalone machine that you insert 3 slides and can save them to a SD card. I haven’t touched those images since and I still have tons more to go through. I need to take some time and make some fun DVD movies out of those slides.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aug 8 - Record your thoughts

Aug 8 – Do you do a happy dance when you uncover a new detail about an ancestor? Record your thoughts in your research journal or blog.

What great advice this is. Sometimes just reading how it made you feel and spark your interest again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aug 7 - Almanacs

Aug 7 – Almanacs gave your ancestors planting schedules, local event listings and weather forecasts. Look for these books at libraries and historical societies, and see what your family was up to.

Don’t forget to look in newspapers the local happenings that might list your relatives comings and goings.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aug 6 - Translate a foreign-language document

Aug 6 – Get help translating a foreign-language document. For a few sentences, use an online translator such as Babel Fish <>. Longer deciphering jobs may require help from an ethnic genealogical society or a university language department.

I know I even found a site that will translate foreign websites into English. Unfortunately I can’t remember what site that was; it was saved in my bookmarks on an old computer. So word of advice, if you find a site you like and you save it to your bookmarks, print out your bookmarks. Always remember to print out a new list when you add new bookmarks. This way you can find these sites on your new computer if your old computer dieds.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aug 5 - Create a Family History CD or DVD

Aug 5 – Sketch out a plan, or “storyboard,” for a family history CD or DVD. Look through your family files for photos, sound clips, scanned documents and videos you can include.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Aug 3 - Christopher Columbus set sail

Aug 3 – More than 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus set sail with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. What ship did your ancestor sail on? Look for information and a picture at <> and

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aug 2 - The first US Census

Aug 2 – The first US Census was taken today in 1790. Have you checked all the censuses your ancestor might show up in? If your library or genealogical society subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition or HeritageQuestOnline, you can search the census for free.

I love being able to search for census records and to actually see them. Using Ancestry or HertiageQuest is so much easier than using microfilm readers. Before, you kind of had to know where to look, but now you type in your name and perhaps some other facts such as birth year and location of the person and you get a list of matches. With you only have to hover your mouse over the hit and it will show other people in the household. This saves even more time because you don’t have to actually click the link and wait for the computer to bring up the results. You might think 2-5 seconds doesn’t matter much, but if you are looking up a bunch of records, every second saved is a second you are able to spend doing something else.

August 1 - Public Libraries

Aug 1 – Colorado’s Denver Public Library has one of the best historical records collections around. See . Explore the resources of a public library in your ancestral state.

This summer I spent time at my 2nd home in Wisconsin, my ancestral state and many of my ancestors. I wanted to obtain some records for my DAR application and knew I wanted to visit three county courthouses in Dodge, Waupaca and Winnebago County. However, I hadn’t plan on how much time I would not have to do this simple task since I had taken my granddaughter to Wisconsin with me. So I told my 14 year old daughter that I plan on leaving really early and visit a courthouse and that I would be back by lunch time.

So I traveled all the way to Waupaca and found the Marriage record of my great grandparents. Then on my way back I stop at Winnebago County. I decided to not only get my grandmother’s birth certificate and my great grandparents death certificates; I would research the family last name and identify who these people were. I was finally able to get dates of events that I didn’t know, and parent’s names of spouses.
Another day after taking my sisters to the airport, I decided to go to Jefferson County. I had many items sitting in my genealogy project folder for over a year and I didn’t want another year passing without following up on those items. I had hoped to swing by Dodge county on my way home but the home security company called and stated that they could install the system that day, so I headed home.

The next morning I got up early and headed to Dodge County and obtained my grandfather’s birth certificate along with my grandparent’s death certificates. While there I decided to look up in the indexes some other family names and found a different great-grandfather’s marriage certificate to his second wife. His parent’s names were listed on this document. I also found what might be his death certificate, but since certificates cost $20.00 each in Wisconsin, I need to do some further research to see if this is his death. I was told he died in Germany and his birth month and year matched but not the date. I hope this is his certificate because it means we share a birthday.
So today, I spent the day inputting all my new finds and source my documents. Plus I decided to research some more on my Great grandfather to see if I could find his obituary and tie it to his death certificate. I have determined that I need to do some more research next summer and visit the Library where he died. But at least I have a date to go on. Yeah!

July 31 - Land Records

July 31 – Get your hands dirty in your ancestors’ land records. Begin with the overview the Land Records Research Directory