Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Anton Hablawetz

This Sunday's obituary is for my 2nd great grandfather, Anton Hablawetz.  I wish I knew what paper the obituary had been published in, but up to this point, I've not been able to determine that.  The obituary was published on May 21, 1909.  Apparently, the obituary was written by Rev. J.H. Crouse, as it was written in the first person by the individual whom Anton had asked to "preach his funeral."

Anton Hablawetz Obituary
The obituary is to say the least, a touching tribute to a man who was apparently quiet, kind and very hardworking.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Surname Saturday - Paessler

Herman Julius Paessler - date unknown
The Paessler family name is one of my "primary" surnames that I actually know the least about.  My great grandmother, Clara Augusta Paessler, was the daughter of Herman Julius Paessler and the entire family came to the United States sometime prior to Clara's birth.  I have yet to find any immigration records short of one possible note on a passenger log that matches Clara's mother, Theresa, as far as birthdate and a possible misspelling of the surname (Passler vs. Paessler).  Beyond that, this is one of my genealogical brick walls...and probably the one that I am most enthusiastic about breaking down.

Surname: Paessler

Variations: Not many known to date... Passler, Paesler and Pasler are the possibilities I have seen so far.

Origins:  I have confirmed that my great great grandfather, Herman Julius Paessler, was born in 1839 in Altenburg, Saxony Germany near the Czech border.  Beyond that, I have not been able to trace the name back any further.  The only records I can find of the family up to this point, are of them living in Wyandot county in Ohio, so at this point, I am working under the assumption that this was where they first immigrated to.

Challenges:  The Paessler surname will be the one that most likely is my first "international" research effort since it is one of two that are the closest to me as far as immigration into the United States.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Genealogy DNA Testing

I've been reading and hearing a lot lately about genealogy and DNA testing.  The idea is that we can utilize modern DNA tests to help trace where our families are from (ethnicity, region, etc.), make new connections on our family tree through DNA matches with others, and in some cases, help to confirm lineage.  If you would like a full explanation of what the tests can provide and , here is a great article that explains the process very well.

There are several companies that are offering this testing, and a variety of levels of the tests apparently.  The three big ones that I have seen so far are:

Ancestry.com - Ancestry offers a test for $99 for members and non-members alike
FamilyTree University offers
another great article on DNA and
genealogy

FamilyTree DNA - This site has the widest variety of offerings out of the three I have looked at so far
23andMe - This site offers not only ancestral testing, but apparently a health related test

I haven't done any of the tests from any of these sites, and I will freely admit that I am still looking at incredible marriage of modern technology and genealogy!  The implications of what DNA testing and sampling could do for modern genealogy is absolutely staggering.  I do, however, have to admit that I am somewhat skeptical of the full usefulness of the testing primarily out of concern for the scientific reliability of the results and the size of the DNA database that results are being compared to.


I'm curious to hear what experience others have had with DNA testing and genealogy.  Please share your thoughts and experiences.

Genealogy, Family History and Family Stories

Last week, several thousand genealogists from around the country attended the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be one of them, but I was able to watch some of the live streaming sessions.  The overall theme of the conference was story telling which has really gotten me thinking more about my genealogy research and how I approach it.

Up to this point, I admit that my work has been mostly a "factual" research - names, dates, places, events, etc.  I have run across and recorded a few stories of my ancestors' lives, but those stories have been few and far between.  The sessions at RootsTech have made me re-evaluate what I am doing and I am looking much more seriously at putting together the stories of not only my ancestors' lives, but also my own. 

I have read some amazing posts over the past week that have highlighted resources for storytelling and taking all of the "facts" to weave together the narrative and I can't wait to dive in and start using some of these.  As I undertake this narrative project along with my other research, you can expect to eventually see more stories here on the blog.  I don't promise that there will be any significant results quickly because as with any project, I'm first sitting down to set my goals and organize my methodology.  Hopefully, within the next few weeks, I will be able to start sharing some of these results.

Isn't that what genealogy should really be all about - telling our family history?  History as it is written in text books and commercial books is more than just names, dates and places - it is about the narrative of those facts.  It's time for me to start making my family history research about the same thing so that future generations can see more than just the data.  First stop....my own personal life story (or some of them).  This should be fun!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Wilmington No. 13 School House

Wilmington Township School House No. 13
I know it may seem a bit odd to feature an old one room school house in a "Those Places Thursday" post, but that one room school house actually has an interesting family connection.  The old school house stood at the corner of State Road 1 and County Road 44 in DeKalb County.  I can remember driving by the old shell of a building at least once a week as a young child, and then once I was Jr. High and Sr. High School, I passed it every day on my way to school.  I had always heard my father refer to it as the "Hablawetz School," but I never understood why.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday's Child - Lillie Washler (1883-1887)

Lillie Washler (18 Feb 1883 - 24 Oct 1887)
Lillie Washler was, for a brief time, my grand aunt.  She was born in 1883, and a passed away just four short years later in 1887.  The cause of Lillie's death is still somewhat of a mystery to me at this point.  In the official records that I have been able to find, there is no mention of her birth or death.  The only real clue that I have to her death is that one of my aunts remembers a story that Lillie "died from drinking out of a horse trough."   To this point, my best guess is that young Lillie contracted some sort of disease from drinking contaminated water.  However, as we all know, stories get distorted with time, and it is quite possible that Lillie actually drowned in said horse trough, or her death had absolutely nothing to do with the story.

Lillie's story, and the story of her older sister, Leonora, who was born and died before Lillie ever came along, are both goals that I have in my research.  One day, hopefully, I will be able to tell the stories of my grand aunts who lived such short lives.

Tombstone for Lillie Washler

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mistakes of a Rookie Blogger

Wow, did I ever just make what is probably a huge rookie blogger mistake!  I realized that my posts were getting numerous enough that I was suffering from not doing something on my blog that I should have done from the beginning - attaching labels to my posts so I could sort through them.  Sooooo...me being a rookie, I thought I would just go back in and add tags to the previous posts and that would be that.  OUCH, was I ever wrong.  Apparently, in that process, I managed to update posts so that they no longer appear with their original publication date or in the order they were originally posted.

I apologize to any readers that this caused problems for, and I thoroughly have egg on my face.  Mark this one up as a lesson learned!

Surname Saturday - Washler

For my first "Surname Saturday" post, I thought I would start off with the surname that started me on my quest...

Surname:  Washler

Variations: The Washler name actually has just a few variations, but the root of all of the variations is the original German: Wuerschler.  The other German variation that I have found is Wörschler.  From the originals, the variations that have developed are Washler, Warshler, Wastler and most prevalent - Warstler.

Origin: The furthest back that I have traced the name is to Johann Andreas Wuerschler (1620-1665) in Germany.  Much of the information that I have from the German roots is sketchy right now, but the name came over to American around 1752 with Johann Heinrich Wörschler.  The name first appears in Ohio in the Stark County around Canton.

From Stark County, the Wörschler/Washler/Warstler family has spread to several counties in Ohio and Indiana.

Sunday's Obituary - Isaac Farver

This Sunday's obituary is for my Great Great Grandfather, Isaac Farver (1827-1893).



The source of this obituary is somewhat of a mystery to me.  I was sent a photocopy of this obituary many years ago by the "official" DeKalb County historian, John Martin Smith.  Unfortunately, he was not able to tell me what paper this came from because he too had been sent a photocopy of the record.    All I can say for sure at this point, is that it was published sometime after September 14, 1893 and is followed by a letter of thanks from Isaac's wife, Mary Ann (Myers).

If anyone has any notion of what paper this may be from or where to find that information, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Since the picture is a bit small, below is the transcription of the obituary and the letter that follows:


"Isaac Farver

Isaac Farver was born in Ashland county, Ohio, March 28, 1827, and died Sept. 11, 1893 at the age of 66 years, 5 months and 13 days.  The funeral was at Rehoboth church near his home, at 10 a.m. of Sept. 14, and the interment was in the cemetery at Spencerville. The services were conducted by Rev. W.W. Lineberry, of the M.P. church.
The circumstances of Mr. Farver's death were briefly these.  He went up to visit a nephew, Isaac Farver, in the northeast part of Steuben county, on the 7th, and the next evening while unharnessing the horse, was kicked, the blow being in the bowels, and it is supposed there was serious internal injury, though at first he did not think his injuries serious.  But he soon grew worse, and in spite of all attempts at relief, died on Sept 11th.  He was brought back home for burial.  Mr. Farver was married in Ashland county to Miss Mary A. Myers, July 29, 1851.  In 1855, they came to DeKalb county, and settled at Spencerville, where he worked at shoe-making till 1867, when he moved to the farm in Jackson township that has since been his home.  He leaves a wife and three sons and two daughters to mourn for him.
Mr. Farver was a man who commanded universal respect, was a worthy citizen and good neighbor.  His death leaves a marked gap in the neighborhood that has known him so long.

Card of Thanks

We desire to thank the kind friends and neighbors who so heartily assisted and cheered us during the sad hours of our recent bereavement, the death of husband and father.  It will never be forgotten.
Mrs. Mary A. Farver
and the Children"

Mappy Monday - Jackson Township, DeKalb County

Every genealogist knows that land ownership maps can provide a wealth of information on where ancestors lived and clues as to how they lived plus innumerable other benefits.  When I pulled up the 1860 Landownership map for Jackson Township in DeKalb County, Indiana, I was expecting all of the above, but what I wasn't expecting, was perhaps a clue as to how my great grandparents met.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Isaac Link

Sometimes, it is something as simple as an obituary that can help correct bad assumptions on our part or clear up a mystery for us or, worse yet, create a new mystery for us.  The obituary of my great great Grandfather, Isaac Link, was one of those for me.  And the ironic part is that his obituary did all three!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday

My fiancee and I are combining households and as anyone who has tried to do that knows, it lends itself well to the process of going through stuff and getting rid of a lot!  This past weekend, as I was going through one of many boxes, I stumbled across a small treasure (or set of small treasures) that I had forgotten about.

About six years ago when my mother passed away, all of us kids had to get together and go through a lot of miscellaneous personal items and divide up the important ones between us.  One of the things that came into my possession was the set of lighters pictured here.  While they may not look like much to most, these four lighters are somewhat of a "family heirloom" as they all belonged to my maternal grandfather.  Two of the four are not particularly unique as they are pretty much the standard "Zippo" lighters from the mid 1900's. (One is actually the Zippo brand while the other is a Wind Master.)  The other two, however, are somewhat unique in design and function, or at least they are to someone like me who has no real knowledge of lighters from that era.  The one that I found most interesting is the bottom center.  You can't quite tell from the picture, but it is designed to fit around the end of a pack of cigarettes and even has a clip built in that slipped down inside the pack.  I have a vague recollection of my mother telling me that that one was the one that her dad used when he worked on the railroad, and the black one was the one he used when he was "dressed up."

My next task with these is to see if I can find new flints for them and see if they still function.  Now wouldn't that be a treasure - to be able to use the lighters that my grandfather used!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - GPS and the shaky leaf syndrome

We've all been there...you log on to Ancestry.com and there they are...just waiting for you and taunting you.  Those amazing shaky leaves!  Just like the commercials say...just click here for another clue and another ancestor.  Click them and you will build your tree!  Unfortunately, as a lot of family history researchers have found as they gain more experience, those shaky leaves can just as easily spell doom for your family tree if you don't employ some standards in your research.  Enter, the GPS - Genealogical Proof Standard.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Motivation Monday - Finding the key

"Motivation Monday" is a blogging prompt from Geneabloggers that is supposed to prompt us to write about our goals or our own motivation for doing our family history research.  After my post yesterday about the age gap in genealogy, I decided to use this Motivation Monday as a continuation of that discussion and talk about how we get younger generations motivated to want to do family history research.

The question of how to motivate someone to do something that is, quite honestly, hard work, is a difficult one at best.  Let's face it, every experienced genealogist has probably at one point or another found themselves staring at the mountain of research and wondered just why they keep doing this.  In the article I mentioned yesterday, the author says that to be successful at family history research, the researcher must have a high level of internal motivation because there just aren't that many tangible rewards in this "hobby."  I both agree and disagree with that assessment.

Internal motivation is a huge key in family history research without a doubt.  There has to be something inside of us that drives us to keep going forward when there doesn't seem to be any other "goal" in sight.  However, that is true of any past time that is hard work whether it be genealogy, sports, or anything else.  The real challenge is not to find the internal motivation, it is to find that external "jump start" motivation that gets us going and keeps us going.

The possibilities for external motivations for the younger generations are as limitless as the stories we run across doing our research.  As a matter of fact, it is those stories that can be the motivation.  Find an intriguing story about one of your ancestors (such as the story I have posted before about my ancestor who fought in the American Revolution) and pass it down to someone younger.  What teen or young adult wouldn't be fascinated and intrigued by finding out that they are related to someone who fought in the American Revolution?  Or in my case, you should have seen the looks in my daughter's eyes when I told them that they were related to President Dwight Eisenhower.  Or pass on a family "legend" that you are seeking to prove or disprove.  Again, telling someone from the younger generation that they may possibly be related to Mary, Queen of Scots is a pretty fantastic motivator!

If there aren't intriguing stories in your family history (which I seriously doubt that many of us have no stories), then find out about the past times of your ancestors and relate those to younger generations.  Or talk to them about how their ancestors would have viewed the current events of their time.  Imagine talking to someone younger about what their great great grandfather thought about the Lincoln assassination or what their ancestors thought about slavery or the War of 1812.

The possibilities for motivating younger generations to get involved in family history research are limitless.  It will, however, take some hard work on our part to relate to younger people, find out what might provide that spark and then dig into our vast resource of family history stories and share the one that will spark them.  After all, isn't genealogy really about passing on those stories and keeping our family history alive?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Genealogy Age Gap - A "youngster's" perspective

I just read a post entitled "The Genealogy Age Gap - How do we expand to include youth?" written by James Tanner at Genealogy's Star.  The premise of the article intrigued me because I started my genealogical research at a relatively young age (20ish).  I didn't really get very serious until the past few years, so I was interested to see what others were saying about how to get younger generations truly interested in doing family history research.  Unfortunately, Mr. Tanner's article painted an amazingly bleak picture and seemed to place the problem squarely at the feet of younger generations and not actually offer much in the way of constructive suggestions for getting younger people involved in genealogical research.

Since I fall just outside of what Mr. Tanner calls "older young adults" (his age range for that ends at 35, and I am 41 now), and I have two teenage daughters who have shown a genealogy spark, I thought I would offer a counter argument from a "youngster's" perspective.

Mr. Tanner's conclusion was:
It is only when the youth start seriously considering their relationship to the greater human family and particularly to their own relatives that the desire to discover the details of this relationship can begin to grow and prosper. Meanwhile, we need to recognize that many youth do not acquire and have not acquired the basic skills that would allow them to pursue genealogical research. You cannot plumb a dry well.
I think that this simply short sells our youth and young adults.  I have worked with hundreds of local youth through various volunteer organizations including Junior Achievement and a local organization called Chain Reaction, and I have found that the vast majority of them are quite intelligent, very computer literate (beyond simply playing games and working a remote as Mr. Tanner says), and given the chance, most have the patience and research skills that would help them to excel in genealogical research.  Instead of tearing down our youth and young adults, let's look at ideas for how to ignite that spark to take an interest in family history.

First and foremost, let's look at terminology.  I know that the formal name for the study of families and their lineage is "genealogy," but if you were to ask a young adult or someone in their teens if they were interested in genealogy, most would give you a blank stare and tell you they weren't.  However, if you were to ask that same person if they are interested in finding out who their great grandparents were and finding out where their family really came from, I have the feeling that the response would be much more positive.  I have heard a number of youth and young adults discuss the TV show "Who Do You Think You Are" in very positive terms.  The show sells genealogy in terms that younger people will relate to.

The second major factor in getting the younger generations involved in genealogy is the use of technology.  As I said earlier, I started my research almost two decades ago.  When I started my research, almost the only research that could be done on the computer was "World Family Trees" that could be accessed only through FamilyTree Maker, and some very limited records.  Beyond that, technology was barely used in genealogy.  It has only been in the past ten years or so that utilizing technology for family history research has started to become truly viable.  Whether we like it or not, our youth are technology oriented.  If we tell them that the only way to do family history research is to go to courthouses, I can pretty much guarantee that they will turn up their noses.  However, if we show them how they can use technology to get started (Ancestry.com has done a wonderful job of doing this!), we will bring them into the genealogical past time.  As anyone who has done this for very long knows, once you get started and find the interest, going to a courthouse to do research is the equivalent of going on a field trip in school - you can't wait to go again and again!

The final factor in getting younger generations interested in doing family history research is more problematic.  Mr. Tanner is correct in saying that younger generations need to have a connection to their families and their family history in order to succeed at pursuing family history research.  The problem is that our culture has changed so much that we, as parents and grandparents, have no frame of reference to understand the incredible tidal wave of stimuli that our younger generations deal with on a daily basis.  Young people are bombarded by every stimulus imaginable that competes for their attention, and inevitably, connection to their family suffers as a result.  In many, many cases, parents that grew up in the 60's, 70's and 80's have learned to let TV, homework, and electronic stimulation take their child away from the family.  We need to learn how to relate to teens and young adults in ways that are on their terms and spark that interest in family.  We cannot just say that youth have to start "seriously considering their relationship to the greater human family" if we are not helping them to understand and appreciate that relationship.

I don't believe that the age gap in genealogy is insurmountable or even that difficult to overcome.  But I do think that it will take all of us examining how we relate to younger generations and how we portray and promote family history research.  Let's continue to improve the use of technology; increase the number of records available electronically, and let's take a moment to stop and relate to the younger generation and find that story in your family's past that will intrigue someone younger.

Basics of Genealogy - Paper Organization

Paper organization....ah, the subject that all genealogists know we need, we all strive for, and you can learn to dread if you haven't started with a system or started with one, but just couldn't maintain it.  The key to an organization system, whether dealing with genealogy or any other type of organizing, is to find a system that works for you and that you enjoy using.  If you simply try to take someone else's "system" and force yourself to use it, you are most likely doomed from the outset.  What I offer below is my own personal system and a few suggestions for changing it. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Surname Saturday - Nicholls (A path to royalty?)

This Saturday, I'm highlighting one of the family Surnames that I know the least about so far, yet it has the possibility to be one of my more interesting roots - if I ever get there.

Surname: Nicholls

Variations:  Really the only variation that I have found so far is Nichols, though I imagine that I am going to find more before this hunt is over.

Origins:  As I said earlier, this surname is the one in my family that I seem to know the least about.  I have traced it back as far as my 3rd great Grandfather, John B. Nicholls (1791-1858).  Having said that, I don't have enough evidence to say I have a definitive connection to John Nicholls.  Assuming that connection proves to be solid, the family appears to have started out in Maryland in the United States.  From there, they migrated west through Virginia and Ohio and finally settling in Indiana (at least my branch of the family).  The family "legend" says that the family came possibly from Great Britain, but as I said, that is purely "legend" at this point.

Legend to be chased:  The most interesting family "legend" that I have found so far relates to the Nicholls family.  According to one of my Aunts, somewhere back in the line of my Great Grandmother, Nettie Nicholls, the family line can be traced back to royalty.  The story says that somewhere back through the roots of the Nicholls family, we are related to Mary Stewart, also known as Mary, Queen of Scots.  I have no doubt that once I begin following that line, it should be easy enough to prove or disprove a connection to such a prominent line.  Only time will tell!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Following Friday

I thought I would share a few of the genealogy blogs that I follow on a regular basis.  With blogging becoming so popular, there seem to be a lot of them out there with quite a few that get started and never seem to update again or update so infrequently that it's barely worth checking more than once a month.  The ones below are just a few that I follow who do a great job of updating regularly with great content.

Leaves for Trees has been around for a couple years and Heather not only has great content on her own research, but I have also found some of her blogging tips and such to be very invaluable!

What can I say about DearMYRTLE's blog other than WOW!  She has an incredible wealth of information and her Google+ community has actually started to convert me to a Google+ fan.

Grant over at The Stephen Sherwood Letters always seems to have great stories about his family and heritage.  I find myself getting lost in his genealogy sometimes instead of working on my own!

The Accidental Genealogist has been doing posts all month on Fearless Females and I have to say, it has been some very fascinating reading!

I'll introduce you to a few other blogs in a few weeks, but for now, enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun Genealogical Find

I was looking through a few different websites today and ran across a mention of the ancestry of American Presidents.  One of the Presidents that I looked at was Dwight Eisenhower, and quite quickly discovered that I am related to President Eisenhower through his mother!
The genealogy shown on the Eisenhower Presidential Library website shows that President Eisenhower's 4th Great Grandfather was John Jacob Link (1682-1738).  I immediately recognized the name because John Jacob Link is the grandfather of my Patriot ancestor, Adam Link!

Sometimes, genealogy really can be fun!

Those Places Thursday - Sycamore Hills Farms

Sycamore Hills Farm
"Those Places Thursday" is another daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers that I couldn't wait to write on because it gave me a chance to highlight not only a location where several generations of Washler's lived and worked, but also where I grew up - Sycamore Hills Farms.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Mom through the years

Mom at 1 year old - 1945

Circa 1950

High School years


1966

July 27, 1968


August 7, 2004


Forever in our hearts and memories


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tech Tuesday - Top 21 Websites

Last week, I ran across a great list of the top 21 genealogy websites for the 21st Century.  The PowerPoint was presented by Tom Kemp at the 2013 Family History Expo.  Take a look and check out the sites - some were new to me.



Monday, March 11, 2013

Basics of Genealogy - Getting started

About 20 years ago, I first took an interest in where my family came from and decided to do some "family research."  At the time, I honestly didn't even know it was called genealogy!  I just wanted to find out about my family history.  I started where everyone probably starts (or where everyone should start) - by asking my parents about their parents and grand parents.  Over the past two decades, that initial curiosity has turned into a full-blown passion (okay, maybe obsession) for tracing my family history and for genealogy in general.  I never would have believed back then that I would become an evangelist of sorts for genealogy, but here I am.

Along the way, I have made a great number of mistakes in my research - especially when I was starting out.  Some of those mistakes, like not getting enough information from relatives while they were will alive, may turn out to be critical.  Others, like not documenting or organizing my research correctly, were avoidable yet very correctable.  The purpose of this series of articles is to help others avoid the mistakes that I have made along the way as well as share some of the knowledge I've gained as far as tools, tips and tricks.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Census Sunday - 1940

Census Sunday is one of the newer blogging prompts from Geneabloggers, and after one of my "revelations" this week, it seemed pretty appropriate to talk about the 1940 Census.  After all, the 1940 Census is the most modern Census that has been made available to the public for research.  It provides some of the most in-depth insight into our more modern ancestors.  This Census will yield a wealth of information.  Right?

Well....only if the Census taker had good enough handwriting that the later transcriber could read the last name correctly!  And in the case of my grandparents and aunt and uncle...THAT didn't happen!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Great News From FamilySearch.org

Earlier this week, FamilySearch.org took Family Tree live on their website.  As the article below explains, this is a fantastic new resource available to ALL genealogists, not just members of LDS.  Once again, FamilySearch is proving to be an incredible resource for genealogy!

Family Tree goes LIVE on FamilySearch.org

Surname Saturday - Farver

Ah, it's Surname Saturday again!  I know you're probably thinking, "Why on earth is this guy excited about something called Surname Saturday??"  Well, for me, this topic gives me a chance to go back and look at the surnames that I am researching and look at how deeply I have dug out these roots and where the roots lead me.

This week, I decided to check out one of my families that I have been able to trace back to when they first came to America - the Farvers.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A New Series of Posts in Development

So far on the blog, I have been sticking pretty much to the daily prompts provided by the Geneabloggers website so that I could get my feet wet and begin to build a bit of a reader base with this blog, but I think it's time to branch out some.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist the genealogy pun!)

I am still going to continue to write on the Geneabloggers prompts, as well as more posts directly about the various lineages that I am researching.  In addition, I am developing a new series of posts that I think will resonate with readers of all genealogical levels.  The series is going to be much more of a "how to" series.  It will include tips for beginning genealogists such as paper organization, places to start research, and suggestions for overcoming brick walls, among others.  The series will also include a significant focus on technology in genealogy.  I want to include this technological focus for two reasons - 1) I am a technology professional by trade and 2) I have begun to utilize technology more robustly in my own research and think that my experiences will be of use to others.

Let me know what topics you would like to see in either series!

Friday Funny

Short on time this morning, so I thought I would start the day with some humor for you courtesy of Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches from Facebook.  This one hit home for me with some of my recent Census finds!




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday - I see dead people!

Okay, so my title is a shameless use of an over-used movie line, but it was definitely more attention getting than "Thankful Thursday - Obituaries online."  Then again, this IS a blog about genealogy mostly read by fellow genealogists...I guess the alternate title probably would have had just as much impact!

Over the course of my genealogy research, I've found a lot of brick walls, especially since much of my research lately has had to be online since I'm in Florida, and all of my ancestors were in Indiana and Ohio...a 14 hour drive isn't exactly a "quick trip to the courthouse."  One of the resources that I have found invaluable to me has been the proliferation of obituaries newspaper obituaries that have been digitized and put online.  Unfortunately, there are still the vast majority of them from back in the early 1900s and 1800s that are still not online.

In Ohio, I have found a resource that I will be forever grateful for....  The Ohio Obituary Index maintained by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.  This searchable index not only has nearly every obituary published in Ohio newspapers, but when you find one you need, the site has very clear cut instructions on who to contact and how to order a copy of the obituary.  Were it not for this project, I can honestly say that I would be surrounded by brick walls and have a research trip list a mile long waiting for me to travel to Ohio!

I am and always will be thankful for the Ohio Obituary Index and the people who have made that wonderful project happen!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Workday Wednesday - All Aboard!

I just couldn't resist writing on the "Workday Wednesday" blog prompt from Geneabloggers because it gives me the chance to highlight my Grandfather, Earl Link, and his career on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday's Tip

Back on Sunday, I mentioned that I had found my 3rd Great Grandfather in the 1860 U.S. Census under a wild variation on his last name and even first name that I never would have thought to look for.  Well let me tell you...finding him under that name taught me a very valuable lesson and is what prompts today's "tip" - use the whole family when searching for someone!

Let me explain what happened...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Military Monday - Adam Link (1761-1864)

Last Wednesday, in my Wordless Wednesday post, I featured my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Adam Link.  I thought that today, I would fill in the story behind the pictures.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Finds

I've been spending much of the weekend writing and doing organization/cleanup for my new focus to go back and fully document and "prove" each generation, but I have to admit that I couldn't resist the urge to go on a hunt for at least one new fact.  I am quite happy to say that my thirst for the hunt paid off....I found a new 1860 census record for my great great grandfather despite the fact that the first and last name are completely butchered (as was apt to happen for brand new immigrants in the 1800s)!  In an upcoming Tuesday Tip, I will detail how I successfully found this errant record and can confirm that it is, indeed, my ancestor.

Happy Hunting!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Following Friday - SSDI and Identity Theft

I have taken to reading a number of blogs from fellow genealogists not so much in the hope of finding ancestors, but for learning from the trials and tribulations of others.  This article, from Dick Eastman, is a very well written post about how and why the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) can be used for identity theft protection.  I actually encourage others outside of the genealogy world to read this article and do as Mr. Eastman suggests - encourage your banks and credit card companies to use the SSDI to purge their databases of Social Security numbers for deceased people.

For more from Dick Eastman's blog, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, click here.



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