Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30 - Evaluate your progress

September 30 - Evaluate your progress. Still stumped on a family line? See the 2006 Genealogy Guidebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine,for a dose of brick-wall busting advice.
From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine

Remember you can always order back issues from Family Tree Magazine and I have all the issues from their very first issue through last year on CD. I use to have every paper issue too, but had to decide to free up the physical space and thus purchased the CD. When the new CD comes out, I buy it and then I share my old issues with someone who is just starting out with their Genealogy. What a great way to promote this hobby or passion or obsession.  What you call it all depends on your level of commitment

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29 - Do you have your flu shot?

September 29 - Time to get your flu shot-and investigate how the influenza pandemic of 1918 affected your ancestors. See <> and search historical newspapers for lists of those who died.

I remembering talking to my dad as I was going through a cemetery with him and commenting on how many people died in 1918. He reminded me that was the Spanish Flu and many died, especially the ones you would have thought were young and healthy. I found out later, it was because they were the ones helping the sick and became sick themselves. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28 - Work in pairs

September 28 -  Share a research problem with a genealogy buddy—sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can see a solution invisible to you.

This is always a good idea. Don't have a genealogy buddy, then join a genealogy society or visit a genealogy library or research center. The volunteer's are there to help, ask them if you can just share your problem with them and perhaps they will have a solution or suggestion on what to do next.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27 - Be a Genealogy Journalist

September 27 -  Thought about writing an article on your genealogical search? It's a great way to find out who else is climbing your tree. Order Be a Genealogy Journalist by Carole Osborne Cole .

Since these tips are from 2006, this book is probably out of print. So you might have to do an internet search to see if you can purchase it anywhere. There might even be new books out on the subject matter and you can always try to search for those too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26 - Pick an Ancestor to research

September 26 - Select someone in your family tree you haven't researched. See how much you can find on him or her using just the Internet — you may be surprised.

I like doing this with my brick wall ancestors. I try to pick one day a year for each brick wall ancestor and try searching for stuff on the internet. I have broken through several brick walls because others who are researching the same person might have finally posted something on the internet for me to find. Or new records are updated or added to sites that have my ancestor in them. 

Never give up on your brick walls, but taking a break from them is very useful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25 - Monthly Genealogy Maintenance

September 25 - Continue your monthly genealogy maintenance: File papers, revisit message boards and repeat online database searches. Remember to check for spelling variations of your ancestors' names.

I find that genealogy involves a lot of revisiting what we already have. First of all, you might know more today than the first day you collected the information. I have re-read obituaries, and discovered more family or was able to identify which female sibling is Mrs Robert Jones. Therefore based on whether they were preceded in death or survived by, I am able to limit Mrs Robert Jones death date.

It's also a good day to set aside and clean up some more of your files, by filing them into the proper place, or sourcing them into your computer program. Perhaps you only have a few days a month to do genealogy, don't skip the maintenance in order to do more research. Some times you need to take one step back to more three steps forward!

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24 - Transcribe your audiotapes

September 24 - Dust off those audiotapes of oral history interviews or your now-grown toddler singing nursery rhymes. Transcribe them or convert them to digital files with a utility such as Digital Media Converter <>.

It's always good to update or modernize your research. I had stuff on old zip tapes that I am unable to access. Every few years I do a little more research to see if I can get my new computer equipment to talk to my old computer equipment. We need to make sure they don't become obsolete and lose valuable research or sources.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23 - Germany Ancestors?

September 23 - If your ancestors departed from ports Lu such as Antwerp, Belgium, or Bremen and Hamburg, Germany, you may be able to find their departure records.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22 - Enjoy the nice autumn weather

September 22 - The autumn weather's nice, so think outdoor genealogy: cemetery visits, walking tours of ancestral hometowns and similar excursions.

This time of year is perfect for traveling. It's not too hot, so you won't melt in the car. Most of the bugs are gone because it has cooled down a little. A lot of the foliage is dying off, so finding hidden cemeteries is easier, in the spring the ground can be so soggy. Plus kids are back in school, so parks are less crowded, I usually plan a picnic lunch in one of my ancestral hometowns. I can even talk my husband into visiting ancestral hometowns and walking the old neighborhoods, visiting the some antique shops, and going to the park for lunch is always a hit with him.

If you don't want to pack a bag lunch or you are on vacation, take your fast food order to go and eat in the park. Don't forget to leave the area cleaner than you found it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21 - Public Television Shows

September 21 - Check your newspaper or <> for the public television shows “History Detectives” and “AntiquesRoadshow”—then catch an episode.

I love the "Antique Roadshow". I don't mind watching repeats, because it is so darn interesting. I love the ending where they show people with their treasures that are not really treasures. So it is not just me who has been told big fibs about family heirlooms. 

I also enjoy watching History Detectives because it reminds me of a genealogy search of sorts. Notice how often they use the FAN club (Friends, Associates and Neighbors) to track down the history of items.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20 - A banking crisis in 1873

September 20 - A banking crisis today in 1873 closed the New York Stock Exchange for the first time. Research financial records such as those of the New York Emigrant Savings Bank <> and the Freedman's Bank. (You can search a CD of Freedman's Bank records free at FHCs, or order it for $6.50 from 800-537-5971 or FamilySearch—click Order/Download Products, then Software & Databases, then Miscellaneous Databases.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19 - What do you have for future generations.

Sept 19 -  Create a permanent record for future generations: Take some snapshots of yourself, your house and your family.

What a great idea. Don't forget to take pictures of your past homes too. How nice it would be to leave this time of history for future family. I show the houses to my kids, but what about their grandkids. Will they know where their great-grandmother lived during her life time? This is something I am putting on my to-do-list immediately.

September 18 - Clean out your email inbox.

September 18 - Clean out your e-mail inbox—some programs let you export an archive file of messages you want to hold on to. You also can copy and paste messages into a word processing document.

I don't know if I really agree with this daily tip. I have tried exporting my messages by transferring them into a word processing document. But I find them more useful by leaving them in my inbox. I use outlook, so all my e-mails are stored on my computer. I can see exporting them if they are stored on an external server if you use gmail, hotmail, yahoo or if you access your email through some other internet program. 

But since I have mine stored on my computer, I have organized my emails. I have a genealogy inbox and then I have my major surnames under it. I place emails into their proper folder based on surname. I do go through my outbox, and clean that up. I leave my replies to emails in my outbox, but I haven't taken the time to create a similar genealogy outbox and major surnames under it. This would help me keep track of what I share with distant cousins. 

September 17 - Think Oktoberfest!

September 17 - Think Oktoberfest! The traditional fall harvest celebration typically happens in mid-to late September, so don your lederhosen and find a fest to celebrate your German roots. (See the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine for our suggestions). Consider joining a German genealogical society such as Palatines to America <>.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16 - Search your home

Sept 16. Search the attic for overlooked home sources such as autograph albums, address books and checkbook registers.

Even if you think you have check all over your own home, do it again. Sometimes, we forget what we have, I know when I went through my fathers papers, it was a little painful looking at everything. So I put them all in one box and I keep going back and looking through them. I pull a few new items out each time, because I see it with a brand new pair of eyes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15 - Stop procrastinating

Sept 15. Have you been putting off a particular family history task? Whether it's writing to a newfound relative or filing that stack of documents, today's the day to tackle it.

Today is my son's 25th birthday. He is serving in the Navy and I wish I could spend the day with him. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13 - Family photo postage stamp

Sept 13. Turn a family photo into a valid postage stamp at <>. Use it for all your correspondence.

What a cool idea for postage stamps. Use it especially at Christmas time, imagine the surprise on your love one's faces to get a stamp with a family photo. Then again, I wonder how many would notice it? How fun to see who noticed that it was a family photo. This is on my to-do-list because I think this would be lots of fun!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my mothers death. I still miss her as much today as I did when I was told she died. I moved to Arizona to be closer to her because I missed her so much. She moved in 1990 and  I decided to move in 1999. I just miss talking to her, so I know what I will be using as the photo. One of the many beautiful pictures I have of my mother.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12 - Church membership books

Sept 12. Page through church membership books and newsletters at a library or historical society.

I came across a church membership book in my father's belongings from when I was in High School. There is a family picture of my parents and my two sisters and I. I think this might be the only professional family portrait of us. I have six more half siblings, from my mother's first marriage, she was a widow. But we never had a professional portrait of all of us. There a picture of my six siblings on my parents wedding day and that was a professional portrait and now this of the final three sisters. What a find, I forgot about that picture, it didn't mean much to me at the time, but it is priceless now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 - Intensive research session

Sept 11. Now that the kids or grandkids are back in school, reclaim your favorite table at the library for an intensive research session.

By now, all kids should be back in School. Here in Arizona, it has been over a month, but in my home state of Wisconsin, it has only been a week. Head out to the Library after school starts and you won't have to fight the before school traffic. Make sure to leave well before school gets out and you will avoid the traffic again. Good Hunting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10 - Remember Grandparents Day

Sept 10. Remember Grandma and Grandpa on National Grandparents Day by writing down favorite memories about them.

Yesterday was Grandparents Day, if you are a grandparent, write down some of your memories for your grandchild. Write one of you and your grandparents, one of you and your children and another of you and your grandchildren. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9 - 31st US State

Sept 9. California, which became the 31st US state today in 1850, is the subject of a vast digital photo and document archive at <>. Use an Internet search engine to find similar memory projects for your ancestral states.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8 - Railroad Retirement Board

Sept 8. In 1883, Northern Pacific Railroad workers pounded in the last stake of the coast-to-coast line. Get help tracking down rail-worker relatives from the Railroad Retirement Board <>.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 7 - Google

Sept 7 - Who knew there was a Google Commemoration Day? Google for family names and places using the Advanced Search options.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6 - Angel Island

Sept 6 - Angel Island was the West Coast's equivalent of Ellis Island, processing hundreds of thousands of immigrants, mostly from Asian countries. Learn about its history and records at <> and <>.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5 - Business Cards

Sept 5 - Buy business card templates at an office-supply store and print your own genealogy cards with your name, e-mail address, and the surnames and locations you research. Hand them out to fellow researchers at every opportunity.

I used VistaPrint ( and during one of their promotional periods, I received the backside free. I put my contact information on the front, name, address, email, phone numbers and then in alpha order, I put all my direct ancestor's surnames on the back. I purchased a box of 250 cards and whenever I make contact with distant relatives and we send (snail mail) stuff to each other, I enclosed a card. I keep a few in my genealogy stuff and my laptop bag, so when I am doing research, I can easily share my contact information with others. This box is lasting me like forever, so the cost was well worth it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4 - Occupations

Sept 4 - What did your ancestor do for a living? This Labor Day, read up on his or her occupation and check home sources for clues to an employer Read the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine for more on occupational records.

I'm a little late for the Labor Day reading, but better late than never. I have seen some strange occupations and done a quick google search to see what they actually did. Feel free to reply with some strange occupations you saw, and tell us what they did.

September 3 - Athletic Ancestors

Sept 3 - Your progenitors may have been on school, community or even professional sports teams. Read my article on finding athletic ancestors at <>.

I found a athletic cousin who played professional around the 1900's. It was cool to get a picture of him based on his baseball card. Because this person was sort of famous, I was able to confirm his parents since they had this information published on-line too.

September 2 - old yearbooks

Sept 2 - Bid on old yearbooks at eBay, or look for digitized pages at Web sites such as Dead Fred and Family Tree Connection <>.

September 1 - School Records

Sept 1 - Become a school-records genius using the resources in the October 2005 Family Tree Magazine.