Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living....

Surnames: Calaway, Dunn, Evans, Johnson, Lindsey, Rollins, Short & Williams

States: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Genealogy Angels....

I'm sitting here trying to come up with what to post about today, & though several things come to mind, I think I'll write about those folks who I call "Genealogy Angels". What are genealogy angles? I bet it is pretty safe to say that most of you have had one or two experiences with one. They are those kind hearted folks who have read one of your post on a genealogy message board(s), one where you inquired about a relative &/or a brick wall. Not only do they read your inquiry, but on their own do a bit of research to help you out & find an answer for you.

I'm not sure but I have a feeling a lot of our genealogy angels out there, have time on their hands & most of their own genealogy we all know, one's genealogy is "never" finished/completed....& they've come to love the excitement of busting through those pesky brick walls, wanting others to experience the same thrill. :-) For me, they are the best of the best & I will forever be grateful they are out there.

Here's my story with my own genealogy angel: To give a bit of back story first. Back when my Dad passed away & the family was all just sitting around in the living room chatting, my Mom looked at my aunt (Dad's sister) & made the comment, "You do know you have a 1/2 sister out there somewhere, right?" WHAT? Talk about grabbing everyone's attention, that is definitely one way of doing it. :-) My aunt was stunned to say the least.

Seems like several years earlier my Dad got a letter from a lady who said she thought they were related, as her father's name was William Dodds Evans....same as my Dad's dad. She was going to be in the area & would love to visit with my Dad. Well, he didn't take to kindly to this lady claiming she was related to him, he wrote her back telling her in no certain terms that they were NOT related & he didn't want her to bother us ever again.

You need to know that Granddaddy had a reputation of being a bit wild back in his younger days, such as taking a nip now & then. Then there is Grandmother who was very religious & wouldn't hear of anything that might soil her views.

Notice that my Mom didn't mention that Granddaddy had been married before, just that there is a 1/2 sister out there somewhere. So we're all thinking, especially my aunt, he was a bit wilder than just taking a nip here & there. Ever since Mom dropped that bombshell on us all, I've tried to find his 1/2 sister. My Dad passed away 12 years ago & my Mom could no longer remember any of the particulars since it was so many years ago when they got the letter.

After my Mom passed away last year, I thought maybe, just maybe, she had kept the letter. Yet after going through everything of her's, I found nothing. I guess it was about 6 months ago when I was talking to my older sister about not having any luck on finding Daddy's 1/2 sister, when she gave me another piece of the puzzle. Seems like when she was a teen, & all of the family had gone out somewhere, she got to snooping (as kids do) in Grandmother's (she was living with us at that time) room & found, hidden in a drawer, a divorce decreed for Granddaddy! was not expecting to hear that. Though it doesn't surprise me that Grandmother never mentioned it, there is no way she would want it to be known that he had been married before. Divorce was a BIG no-no back then.

Now I'm thinking I'll have better luck in my research on him. Yeah, in my dreams. I never could find anything about his 1st marriage or child. And being that, due to my life nowadays, I had to let my subscription go at Ancestry, which hinder my search even more. I didn't give up though! My thoughts were, most likely Granddaddy's 1st child had passed away by now, but maybe she had a family of her own & they are looking for us as well. I do what we all would do & leave a post on all of the genealogy boards that I knew of, inquiring about Granddaddy & his first family.

This is where my genealogy angel comes in. She lives in Kentucky & loves to help those with Kentucky inquiries, which mine did. On her own, she found a marriage license for Granddaddy, as well as few other things. But the ultimate find was, she spotted on their marriage license, this wasn't his "first" marriage, it was his second!!! So here I am jumping for joy to have their marriage license, as well as trying to wrap my head around the fact that he was married not twice but THREE times! Cause of my genealogy angel, I have found an obituary for his second wife, her father's name, her siblings & their child's name. I have yet to find anything on his 1st wife though. No matter, my genealogy files have been so enriched by this wonderful lady who just wanted to do a kind deed in helping someone else.

My genealogy angel has no ties what-so-ever to my family, but she took time out from her own life to help me. Dorann not only used the computer in her research, but she also spent time on the phone, for 2 or 3 days, to the court house. I will forever be grateful to her & all of her help. Thank you Dorann!!!

May you all be so lucky to have a genealogy angel in your life one day, if you haven't already. AND hopefully we'll all take a page out of her book & help someone out when we can.

Later, Deb

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Census Cards....

Census cards? What the heck are census cards? I've never heard of them! Me But I was getting tired of when I did need to re-view one of the copies I had on file & not being able to read most of them. (((NOTE: I'm not going to say it was necessarily because of my "old" eyes either! lol))) Most of you will find, if you haven't already, the copies of census' on-line aren't the best copies, plus you have to factor in the bad handwriting as well. Seems like my ancestor's always got the enumerator who was deemed to be a doctor, because they definitely had the bad handwriting part down pat! Or if there was a copy of a census that was blurred or it darken as it went down the page (to the point where you couldn't read it), then you can bet your bottom dollar that was my folks listed at the bottom of the page. ***sigh***

What's a person to do, right? Luckily I do have a decent graphic editor program that I can manipulate the copy enough some of the time to a some what readable stage.....not always, but fairly often. For those census' that nothing can be done to improve, I have to do a bit of detective work to figure them out. How? By getting the previous/next census for that family & compare them, see if I find a pattern & figure out who is who.

Therefore, & as I said at the first, I was getting tired of when I needed to go back into my census' & having to start from scratch in trying to read the darn thing. That's when the idea of making up "Census Cards" came about. I took out my handy dandy 5" x 8" index cards :-) & made a card for each census I had a copy of. I realize 95% of you will not find the need for doing such a thing or think it would be worth your time/effort....but it sure has been handy for me to have them & I thought I'd share it with you all.

Below I have given examples from 3 different census years so you can see what I put on them:

Not only will these cards be nice whenever I need to go back & look at a particular census, but they will be easy to take with me on any research trip I make in the future. Another good thing about having census cards, you can make any addition notes on the back.....such as their neighbors, the value of their property, etc. I do not write on my copies of the census' but I don't mind a bit in doing so on these.

NOTE: I came up with these census cards for myself, it is not something you have to do for your own genealogy by any means. I just like sharing different ideas on genealogy....& in doing so, you might find something useful for your own genealogy.

Later, Deb

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Organizing Your Genealogy Files/Records....

For those who have been in genealogy for a while now, did you ever think you'd acquire the amount of paperwork you have? I know I didn't. Or if you are new to genealogy, be prepared to have mountains of paperwork staring at you! :-) Oh I knew there would be some but nothing like what I had a few days ago & taking up any & all available space in my room. heehee If I knew then what I knew now, & that is how much paper is involved in genealogy, I would have bought stock in printer paper & ink cartridges! lol

The big question is, how the heck do you keep it from taking you over....even worse, some of it getting lost? The answer to that is to get it all organized. Yeah, I know you are rolling your eyes at me & thinking "Well, DUH!", you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out! :-) But the question is, just how many of you "do" have all of your genealogy records organized? That's what I thought....nice thought, easier said than done & all that right? Sadly, most of us don't give it that much thought, figuring we'll do something about it down the road, especially when we start out, till it "does" become a problem. I was just as guilty, had it somewhat organized, but the majority was just willy nilly here & there. Though 9o% of the time I could find what I was looking for, even if it might take me a while to find....I knew others wouldn't have a clue as to where to find something.

The other day, I decided to quit making excuses & just do what was long other words, get them sorted, put in ordered & filed. Problem was, what would be the best way to organize it once you had it all separated? If you've done any research, or read any genealogy tips on filing systems, you found there are about as many ways to set up your files as there are genealogists. OK maybe not as many as that, but enough to confuse you as to which would work best for you. I know, cause I've been there.

So what do you do? I finally said the heck with it all & decided I had to start somewhere. First I pulled up my genealogy file on the computer & printed out the records I hadn't done so yet, then gathered up everything I had stored in boxes/files & composed one big pile. Then just took my time, going at my own pace, & started separating the "big" pile into smaller categories. You'll find, as you go along, the categories will decide for themselves with what you have. Once I had gone through the original pile, I went through the individual piles & doing any further sorting that needed to be done. My next step was to take each pile & highlight the name the document was for. (((NOTE: Only mark/highlight copies, never mark an original document!!!))) Finally I alphabetize each sorted pile. It took me 2 or 3 days to go through it all, working on it for a couple of hours each time, till I had everything sorted out into the following:

  • GENEALOGY TOOLS...I keep maps of counties, a list of state abbreviations, samples of handwritings, etc. NOTE: I keep this file at the beginning, as it is something I get into more often than the others
  • BIRTH....certificates, records, announcements
  • CEMETERY....on-line I have found databases of family buried in cemeteries & I keep those here, as well as records/photos of headstones that I have pulled from "Find-a-Grave" website
  • DEATH/OBITS....certificates, records, obituaries
  • DIVORCE.....certificates, records
  • DRAFT CARDS - 1917/18.....copies I have pulled from Ancestry's military database
  • DRAFT CARDS - 1942.....copies I have pulled from Ancestry's military database
  • E-MAILS/NOTES....e-mails containing family stories/memories, notes containing information not pertaining to any of the other categories
  • FAMILY GENEALOGY/ GED files & trees that I have received from other family members, as well as family information pertaining to non-blood related family
  • LAND GRANTS/PROPERTY....deeds, warranties & such
  • LETTERS SENT OUT.....copies of the original letters sent out to others to gather information. NOTE: A note is posted on the original when I get a reply back & it is placed in the appropriate file, depending on what info I was inquiring about. But I keep the original letter here
  • MARRIAGE.....certificates, records, announcements
  • MILITARY....service records, records pulled from Ancestry
  • MISC INFO....any records/information, such as schooling, interests, occupations, etc. that I have on individuals
  • NEWSPAPER ARTICLES.....articles on family, places of interests, etc.
  • PENDING DATA....self explanatory
  • SHIP LOGS....logs/manifest of family members
  • SSDI/STATE.... records pulled from Ancesty. NOTE: These could be placed in the "DEATH/OBIT" file, but I have acquired so many of them, that I wanted them separate
Now the above files are what works best for me with the type of records that I have accumulated, most likely you would need to adjust them to fit your's. Also, the files can easily be added to, combined or re-arranged to fit your own genealogy needs as you go along.

Many find organizing their files up to this point would work for them & not have to go any further. For me though, I think I having each record filed under the name of the person for which the document/record was for will be the way I'll have my system set-up. Therefore, my last step will be to get 3-ring binders & file each record/document under the appropriate name, using plastic sleeves & dividers. At least for now, my files are separated & in alphabetic other words the hard part is over with & I can find any document within seconds.

From going to thinking how much I dreaded even starting such a project, I found by going slowly, doing it in baby steps & working at my own pace, it wasn't nearly as hard or bad as I thought it would be. I made myself a promise at the beginning that I wouldn't let it overwhelm me or get to me....& I kept that promise.

So get out there & get those files organized! :-)

Coming up next.....Census Cards

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Family Group Cards, Part 2......The Personal Information Sheets

I thought I might expand a bit on my Family Group Cards (a.k.a. FGC). As you will see, on the cards I use, there isn't a place for any "Personal Information" you might have acquired for a person. And I'm sure you all are just like me & would love to have a quick way to look up what you might have on someone. The question for me was, what would be the best way? Well, I thought about that for quite a while & I think I have solved my problem here. I thought I'd share it with you, in case it might be something you could use in your own genealogy records.

I've written up a list of 16 items (at last count) that I believe I will be able to find on members of my family. Believe me, I know I won't have each item filled out for everyone & some information I will only be able to get for those who are still living....but the list I've come up with should cover most everything.

My Personal Information List Consists Of:
  1. Weight/Length @ Birth
  2. Hair/Eye Color
  3. Weight/Height (this would only be filled out once they are adults)
  4. Physical Traits/Marks (((such as scars, tattoos, wears glasses/contacts, etc)))
  5. Medical Conditions
  6. Disabilities
  7. Cause of Death
  8. Name/Place of High School
  9. Name/Place of College
  10. Degree(s)
  11. Cities/States Where Lived
  12. Occupation(s)
  13. Religion
  14. Hobbies
  15. Club Membership(s)
  16. Military Service
Of course, this list is very flexible & workable to fit your own preferences. You can list what is important to you to include on yours. Just keep in mind, what you can fill out, will be pretty limited the further back you go in your lineage. I know I'm not going to know what my ggg grandfather's hobbies were most likely, but I should know my grandfather's, my siblings, their children, etc. And 50 years from now, whoever might take over the "Genealogy Baton", will be ever so thankful to know what I listed/gathered today. :)

Another thing, if you want to cut costs, you can very easily work this list up on notebook paper. I haven't decided whether to go to the expense of writing the sheet up on the computer & then printing it out or not yet. I can see advantages doing it both ways. :) I'm kinda leading toward printing it out myself, instead of using notebook paper. My reason? Time saving for one & second, I know my hand would like not having to do all of that writing. :)

Finally, I've got a 3-ring binder(s) that I have (w/tabbed dividers for everyone) that the "Personal Information Sheets" would be filed in.

FYI: Being as there are only 16 items to be filled out, you "could" just add a 2nd card to the FGC's if you wanted. Just remember, that would add to the amount you'd have to store in your index card file box. As well as, being as there are only 17 lines to a card, you'd have to squeeze things up if you needed any extra lines.

Later, Deb

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Genealogy Supplies.....

Just a quick friendly reminder to you all, that this is the time of the year to stock up on a lot of your genealogy supplies. What with all of the Back-to-School sales going on right now, you can get your pencils, pens, folders, paper, etc. so much cheaper than what you'd pay during the rest of the year. Just cause its been many a' year since I was in school, there's no reason why I can't take advantage of those sales. :)

Later, Deb

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Group Cards.....Part 1

For someone new to genealogy, they will find several different layouts for a Family Group Sheet....a.k.a. FGS. And I'm sure they, as I did, looked at each one, trying to find "the" one that would suit them best. And maybe even try to work up their own FGS, taking a bit here & there from all of the other examples they found. I know, cause I did the very same thing -- matter of fact, over time I probably made over 5 different ones & wasn't crazy about any of them that I came up with. So what is a person to do? Keep on trying...... Believe me, one day you will get something that is just perfect for you. Just remember, what works for you is not necessarily going to work for many others.

Turns out my final FGS isn't even a "sheet" but a 5" x 8" index card. I really like the index cards vs an 8x11 sheet of paper. For me they are: 1) Easier to handle, 2) Easier to take out on a research trip, 3) Take up less storage, being I can fit about 300 in a storage file box, 4) I can get quite a bit of information on it....even if it is only a 5" x 8" card

Here is a copy of one:

As you can see, in this blank example pictured above, I have the vitals listed that I should be able to find/get the information on each person......hopefully. There will always be an exception here & there. :) NOTE: Yes, I did use abbreviations, but in the front of each file box, I keep a "key" listing each of them that I used.

Also, you will notice that I have a "c:" below each vital, this is where "citing" your information/sources comes in. I can't stress enough for anyone new to genealogy, to cite ALL of the information/source/records they acquire for a person. As any seasoned genealogist will tell you, yes what you might remember today for a fact, is not necessarily something you are going to remember 10 years from now & will wonder where you got that bit of information. Plus, if you ever share any of your genealogy with someone, 99.99% of the time, they are going to want to know what your sources are & how it was verified. It's all & well that great grandma remembers her grandparents got married in Your Town, State, cause as she told you, that is just where they were born & lived all of their lives. But come to find out, later on someone sends off for their marriage record & discovers they actually eloped to another town/state to get married! You just never know..... Moral of Genealogy? Citation, Citation, CITATION!!! :) Believe me, you'll be glad you did later on. For myself, I like to have at least 2 forms of citation for my vitals, I just feel more comfortable knowing I've got 2 different sources saying the same thing for a piece of data/vital. But if the only form of citation you have is what your great grandmother told you, put it down.....that is still better than nothing & you can always add any additional citation(s) that you might acquire as you get further in your research.

I'm sure some of you, as you looked over my FGCard, are wondering "Yeah, but what about listing physical traits, schooling, employment, etc.?" I agree, I would LOVE to have a sheet/card with everything listed on it....but truly, how real is that? Knowing I won't have physical traits/etc. on everyone in my family, what do I do? The answer for me is to list anything else I might have on a person in a 3 ring binder (w/tab dividers) under their name. Doing it the way I am, I will have their vitals on the FGCard to take with me for when I do research. And then I have their personal info &/or memories/stories in the 3-ring binder.

One last note here.....on the very last line, I have "Census" listed. What I use this for is as I come across a census' for this person, I list the year/state here. I don't know how many times I've been searching for someone, find them on a 1910 KY census' & get all excited. Only to find out later that I already had that particular census' for them in my files. It is just a quick reference for me to check as I'm working.

Just like I said earlier in my post.....I know the way I do my FGS won't work for everyone, but it might will give you some new ideas about your own FGS & how you do yours.

Later, Deb

Monday, February 23, 2009

Plan a Trip to a Cemetery.....

If you are like me, you have a few favorite venues that you like to do your research in....such as the Federal Census', Military Records, Death/Birth Certificates, etc. And we tend to get in a rut, so to speak. Being a creature of habit, we search the same records over & over again it seems. Which isn't a bad thing by any means....goodness knows I will spot something new in record's that I've looked at a million times before. Yet, as I said we get in a rut & tend to not spread out as much as we should in our research, tending to overlook venues that are just sitting there holding loads of useful information.

One of those venues that some will overlook is a cemetery! Hard to believe, but visiting a cemetery, that you have kin folks buried in, can be a genealogist dream. Those of you who have been a genealogy junkie for a while, will know what I'm talking about. And maybe any of you who are new to the world of genealogy will have a new venue to check out now. You can find birth/death/marriage dates, full names, spouse's name, parents names, children names, etc. Not that you are going to find all of that on each/every headstone, but some have been known to have all of that on them.

Just a couple of months ago, we made a trip down to one of the cemetery's that we have family buried in & couldn't believe all the "new" information I was able to discover that day. Plus, I don't know how to say this without it coming out as I'm a morbid type of person (which I'm not, by the, but I kinda felt closer to the relatives by being there. Up to then, most of them had just been a name I had down on my family tree. Now they were more real to me by me being with them at their last resting place.

Also on that trip I learned a couple of things that I wanted to pass on so you don't make the same mistakes that I did.

1. You'll definitely want to take your camera to capture a photo of their headstone. One thing I learned is to take the biggest/highest resolution of a photo that you can with your camera. I thought I would play it smart & take a small photo so I wouldn't run out of space on my camera's memory card. Big Mistake.... As I said, take the biggest/highest resolution photo that you can. You can always re-size a photo down but you can't always re-size a photo up!

2. Take your laptop with you if you are lucky enough to have one. For two reasons this is a good idea. One is, if you "should" fill up your camera's memory card, just download your photos onto your laptop -- then delete those off of your memory card & carry on. Second reason to take your laptop is, if you should run into a situation where you need to do a look-up of a relative, you'll have your genealogy program with you.

3. Another good idea to do is to take a few tools/supplies along. By that I mean, a pair of gardening hand clippers would be good to case the cemetery hasn't been taken care of & you need to clip back some of the growth/grass that might be covering up a grave marker. Also, take a soft brush (like a big paint brush) along. Many graves will have dirt & such on them & you'll want to brush it off to take your photo. A large garbage bag is good to have in the event the ground is wet & you need to get down on your hands/knees for cleaning the headstone or to take the photo. Don't forget to take a bottle of water, for drinking or to wash off a tombstone. One more thing that might come in handy is a big golfer's umbrella, if the sun is bright that day, you might need a way to block it from glaring on the tombstone. A lawn chair believe it or not. This will come in handy for taking some photos when you need to be at a certain angle. A spray bottle of water, this will be good to wet down a headstone (to bring out the engraving) if it is hard to read. A first-aid kit is always a good thing to have. You might be stung by a bee/wasp, cut yourself on one of the headstones, brush up against poison ivy.....just a lot of possibilities that might call for a first-aid kit. Roll of paper towels....they are always good to have along. FYI: Be sure & be on the look-out for Fire Ants! They are fast becoming a danger in our area (& the rest of the country) & are not to be messed with. I discovered several mounds of them up against the headstones in the cemetery I went to on my trip a while back.

4. If the cemetery is in a small town or way out in the country, think about taking a sack lunch. Believe me, you might be there longer than what you think. A trip to a cemetery is one that you don't want to rush through & take a chance of missing someone. Plus, taking a break to eat your lunch will give you time to re-evaluate your game plan & check to see who've found or haven't found yet. I wish I had done this on that trip we took. I could have sat down & took a closer look at the photos I had taken & discovered that some of them were out of focus & needed to be re-taken!!!

5. Be sure (& this is the most important hint of them all) to take someone with you! NEVER go along, sad to say nowadays it is never a good idea to go to a remote area by yourself. As well be sure to take a cell phone with you. Just as important also is to let someone know where you are going, the time frame you expect to be there AND the name/address of the cemetery. Play it safe...................

Hope any of you who have never been to a cemetery in your research, will plan a trip on some nice day in the future. I think you will be surprised in what you'll find & believe it or not, its a fun trip to take.

Later, Deb

One Last Thing....
One very important note to remember....never EVER do anything that might harm the cemetery &/or headstone(s). And please be respectful of where you are & act accordingly.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

A fellow Blogger, Terri ( The Ties That Binds ) awarded my site the Kreativ Blogger Award! WOW....I so was not expecting to be nominated for any award -- it totally took me by surprise, I swear. I just started my genealogy blog a short time ago & never expected to have many, if any, to actually read it, much less find what I had to say useful. Needless to say, it made my day & made me feel good that it has been helpful to some. :)

I'm supposed to nominate 7 other blogs for the award, but sad to say, I haven't been blogging long enough to follow many other blogs. I would like to nominate one though & that is R-Mary's Life in a Cordwood Cabin.

RULES: The rules are fairly simple.....
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate

Later, Deb

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feel Lost & Need Help?

Ever get to a point where you wish you could just ask a quick question & get a bit of help? Or you found (finally) that death certificate on Great Uncle George that you've been searching for & now that you have it, you can't make out the writing on the "cause of death"? We've all had moments like this & would love to be able to post about them & receive some help, right?

Now I know there are several sites out there offering such help. But it is always nice to know about another one I think. A couple of years ago, some old friends of mine all got accounts on "Live Journal" as a way to keep up with everyone. Live Journal is basically like Blog, My Space, Facebook, etc. I'm not particularly a fan of My Space & I don't have an account on Facebook, so I can't say yah or nay on it. But I do use LJ (Live Journal). One of the cool features for LJ, is they offer special interest communities to join.

One such community is called "Searching for Our Ancestor's".....I love it! Everyone is very nice in their replies back to you, no matter how stupid you think your question might be (lol) & they have been very helpful to those in need.

You don't have to be a member of "LJ" to view Searching for Our Ancestor's community but (if I remember right) you do need to be a member to post. Joining either LJ or the community is quiet simple, it's free & worth the look see. Here is the link to their profile, Searching for Our Ancestor's . Take a trip over there & look at some of the questions/answers to get a feel for the community.

As I said, the community has some very nice folks on it & I'm always learning new things from others & their posts. I have to admit, it makes me feel good when I am able to help someone in their quest. :)

Later, Deb

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Letter to the Editor....

So you've searched the census', death certificates, birth certificates, cemetery records, other words, just about everything you can think of. Yet, you still are having problems in finding some of those darn elusive relatives! Well, I might have a venue for you to try that you haven't thought of before. And before you think that I came up with this particular hint, don't! lol I found it in Ancestry's Magazine back in December of 2007. (((Ancestry Magazine, Nov/Dec 2007, page 10, "Reaching Out with a Letter to the Editor", author: Dr. Ann David)))

And basically what the hint is, writing to the editor of the local newspaper of the town your relative(s) is from, asking for some assistance in your genealogy research. Of course, this idea wouldn't work for a large populated city, but for those small towns, you stand a very good chance of receiving some feedback from relatives/friends still living in the area. It would at least be worth a try, right?

You're not guaranteed that the editor will print your letter, but as a whole, small towns are friendly & usually willing to help others. Dr. Ann David said she wrote her letter & after it was printed in the newspaper, she had her first reply back within 10 days. A long missing relative gave her information going back 5, 6 & 7 generations past. Now how many of us wouldn't "love" to get such a reply back with all of that info? :)

Dr. Ann David had part of her letter that she sent to the editor, as well as gavivg 4 things/hints to keep in mind & I quote those parts of her article here:

Quote -- Letter from Dr. Ann David to the editor....
Dear Editor,
For the past year, I've been trying to trace the earlier members of my family. In searching for the Allens, I've come to a standstill in Overton County, Tennessee, & more specifically, in Livingston.
If you know anyone who might know where these people are buried -- or anything at all concerning these people -- & would enlist their aid in my behalf, I would be most grateful. Anything at all would help.
Thank you in advance for your time. I hope to hear from you or possible relatives or friends very soon.
Unquote Letter...

Quote -- Hints from Dr. Ann David:
1. Choose small community newspapers. Large cities receive an overabundance of letters -- printing your plea may not be a high priority. Small community papers, however, could be pleased to print a letter from an outsider who is interested in their community, its heritage, & its inhabitants.

2. Send the information you'd like printed. Newspapers can't print what you don't send. While odds are good that they'll pare down the letter for space, the paper I contacted printed everything I sent. The paper you contact may do the same.

3. Respect respondents. Begin by thanking the editors -- you may need their help again. Then be sure you're cooperative with your new found family. When you receive replies from people who can't help, thank them anyway. They may later happen upon just the source you need.

4. Write more letters -- electronically & by hand. Senior family members may prefer handwritten letters, while other generations may prefer e-mail. Always remember that you're asking strangers to share their time with you. Be accommodating, understanding & appreciative of everything they offer.

FYI: If you don't know the local newspaper for a particular area/town, you can look in my sidebar of "My Favorite Genealogy Links" & there you'll find a link to the "US Newspaper List" web site.

I hate to say this, but I have yet to try any of this myself. As I said, I found it back in December of 2007 & my time has just not allowed me to do much genealogy research of that type. Time is finally starting to free up for me & I will most assuredly be trying this for some of my elusive relatives. :)

Good Luck!!!!

Later, Deb

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Photos & Scanning....Part 3

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to create a Blog strictly on "Photos & Scanning", but I keep thinking of things that I would like to speak on this particular subject. I promise after this post, I'll try to switch it up a bit & pick a different subject in genealogy. :)

What I was interested in saying this time around, are my thoughts on digital vs. film photography. Now personally, I love the new format of digital photos! It's easy, convenient, space saving, etc...a wonderful invention. Yet, how much of a guarantee do we have that 50+ (heck, make that 10) years from now, we'll still be able to have access to them? Think about it for a minute. Technology nowadays is constantly changing, while they are coming out with the latest version of something, they are already in their laboratory's improving it for the next/newest release. Remember the floppy disk? Where is it now? (((I'm just saying....)))

Don't get me wrong, I don't think we need to chunk the digital format & go back to film processing necessarily. I have family photos over 70 years old & I'd just hate for the future generation to lose all of the digital photos being taken nowadays....just because 70 years from now, they can't access their old photos. So what is the answer? Maybe it would be a good idea to get your digital photos printed out professionally, so you'd at least have a physical copy for future, instead of just sitting on your computer. I say professionally printed out, such as by Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc.....don't depend on your home computer printer for that keepsake photo. The ink used by home printers just isn't as long lasting as what a photo processor uses. I know you can get a CD disk copy of the photos you have developed nowadays, I wished they could/would also offer a set of negatives as well. Now that would solve the dilemma all around in my opinion.

HINT: If you do have a digital camera & have your photos saved on your computer, be sure I really need to say it? Back-up....Back-UP.....BACK-UP!!!! lol Put them on a CD, an external hard drive, flash drive -- or even doing all 3 wouldn't hurt.

HINT: Now that you've backed them all up & have them on a different device, make 2 or 3 different copies & store them in different places. Such as a safety deposit box, at work, at a relative's house, might consider mailing them to someone in a different part of the state you live in.....heck even someone out of state wouldn't be such a bad idea. And the reason on that, like in my home state (Arkansas), we are known for having tornadoes, where disasters can happen over a wide range of an area. Maybe I sent my copies to my sister in the northern part of the state & a tornado comes through, traveling the 60 miles between us leaving destruction along the entire way. You never know....

HINT: Quick note on editing your photos. If you do any editing, you might want to consider making a copy of the original & do your editing on the copy. Keeping the original as it is, is just good practice, but as I mention above, technology is always changing. What you might correct on your original today, could be done much better with the latest software in the future. Yet now you've edited your original & won't be able to get the better results. Besides, it is just good practice to keep the original as take your chances of messing it up for good by using the original.

Later, Deb

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Photos & Scanning, Part 2...

I got to thinking that it would be nice if I showed you examples of what I was talking about in my previous post on labeling photos. Basically I label them three different ways, just depending on what the photo is & the number of people in it.

In the example to the left here, here I had enough room to be able to place each person's name on their bodies. By doing it this way, there is no chance of any mistake in identifying each person.

With this photo, there would not have been any way I could place a name on each individual. To work around that, I just placed a letter (or you could do a number if you preferred) on each individual. Then I made a list of names in the open space over their heads.

In this example, if you would rather not place the names on the photo, cause of a too busy background, not enough room, whatever reason, you can do what I've done in this example. In your graphic editing program, make a new background & paste your photo on top. List the people below the photo, in the new/extra area that you've just made. Once you've done that, then you crop out all of the extra blank space.

HINT 1: Something else I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that concerns female names. As you will notice in examples 1 & 2 above, I've listed the females maiden name & married name. This, believe me, will be less confusing for everyone in later years.

HINT 2: Also, something to remember, as you'll see in the 2nd example, is if you have a person who isn't related to you in the photo, it is nice to make a note as who they are. In that photo there is a Mr. Pat Murphy who is not related to us. He was a family friend & a part of Murphy Oil Company in Arkansas.

HINT 3: I always try to use a color on the font/lettering that will stick out. And to make that stick out even more so, I will "outline" each font helps making it stick out even more.

HINT 4: And no matter how much you want to use that new fancy font you just downloaded.....DON'T!!! You want to use a plain simple font that is easy to read for everyone! I prefer "Comic Sans" myself, but you can get even plainer than that. And also to size the font to a size that is readable, but not so large that it takes over the photo.

Hope this will help those just starting to scan all of those precious old family photos!

Later, Deb

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Photos & Scanning, Part 1...

What to do with photos that you don't have a clue as to who is in the photo? I started a project a couple of years ago in getting all of the old family photos scanned. But before I started doing that & before my mom passed away, her & I sat down & we went through all of the family photos....with her identifying those that she knew. Of course, there were several she didn't know who they were & I've asked around, but sad to say, no luck in really getting them identified. :( Not a good thing. I only have one elderly aunt still living & other than her, there's no one left to identify these people. So what do you do with them....the photos? Keep them? Throw them away? (((Don't worry, no way would I do that!))) So just what do you do with them? I guess I'll put them away with a note saying what is going on & hold on to them for now.

In saying all of that, I've preached to everyone to "
L A B E L" those photos they have sitting around & do it NOW before it is too late. Sad to say, I don't think many have follow that bit of advice. Everyone looks through their photos & just know that they will never forget that the baby in such & such photo is little Tom. Yet they will, give them about 20 years & they will kick themselves for not making any kind of notation on the back of the photo.....cause they now don't have a clue as to who that baby is! lol My uncle used to tell me to always label them with the name of the person, the date (at the very least the year) & the location. Good advice if you ask me. I have to admit, even I haven't gone through all of my recent photos & labeled them. Bad me!!!!!

Anyhoo, I have gotten about 90% of the family photos scanned now. I say about 90%, cause I'm still finding old photos. Since I've been cleaning out the spare/junk room, I'm finding them stuck the number of old photos is ever increasing. :) And the ones I've scanned, I've been, every so often when I get the chance, making a copy of the new digital format & labeling all of the people in the photo. That's taking quiet a bit of time. This way, a person will have the original scanned photo & a copy of it identifying the people in it. Once I get them ALL done, I have plans on making a CD copy for anyone in the family interested in having one.

HINT ON SCANNING: The way I have found to make scanning photos easier & quicker, is to scan several photos at a time. It is definitely quicker doing it that way. Then you can either keep them that way or if you don't have a gazillion photos like I do, you can cut/paste out each photo. Letting each photo stand on its own.

HINT CON'T: What you name each scan is, of course, up to you. What works for me is to just start naming each scan numerically. I started with #1, #2, #3, etc. And since I made a copy of each scan (so I could label the people in the photo), I named those #1z, #2z, #3z, etc.....corresponding with the original scan.

HINT CON'T: If you like, you could make a "Master List" of your scans & list who is on each photo. Such as Scan #1 = Paul Johns, Mabel Lockes, Tammy Smith. Could even go further & have a listing for each scan that a person is included in.

OK, I think I've done enough gabbering for today! lol

Later, Deb

Original Post From 03 Feb 2009

We have four bedrooms in our home. One is for my brother, second one is mine, third one was for my Mom (before she passed away) & the last one was "supposed" to be a spare bedroom, for when guests came to spend the night. Notice I said "supposed"....cause it slowly turned into (how do I put this?) oh OK, a BIG ol' JUNK room, its that simple. Seriously! While we were moving in two years ago on the 2nd day, we just gave out on moving boxes & trying to get them organized. So of course, what better plans than to stick those boxes & such, that we knew we didn't need to get into right now, into the spare bedroom. My heart was in the right place, I was always going to tackle the room & finish unpacking everything & put everything where it should have gone. People that was over two years ago & as of a couple of weeks ago, it still looked the same! No, I take that back, it looked worse.....cause over time, I just kept sticking things in there. It finally got to where if I put much of anything more in there, you wouldn't have been able to close the door! lol I laugh but it's sad.....

Anyhoo, Mom passed away in October & I felt bad that I never really got the room ready & had unpacked some of her stuff. And it's been weighing on my heart that I didn't do that. Like I said earlier, within the last few weeks, I've been just taking it a day at a time & slowly going through everything. Some days I might work a couple of hours & other days I really get on a roll & work for 4+ hours on it.

Now in saying all of that, you're probably are wondering just what does that have to do with genealogy? Don't worry, I'd be thinking the same thing myself if I was you. heehee

The way all of this ties into the subject of genealogy is finding old family photos that I didn't know about. As well as finding Mom's certificate from when she graduated (in 1937) from high school & her autograph book she had when she was in school. (((Oh I bet she would have loved to have seen that again & could have gone down memory lane one more time))) I've even found a wooden box that was full of letters, postcards & Christmas cards. When I first started going through it, all I was seeing are letters written to a lady that I had never heard of. Back when my Dad was alive, he used to go to auctions & buy all kinds of stuff & I just figured this wooden box was one of the things he acquired. But in going through everything in that box, I found a few postcards written by Papa (my mother's dad) to his 2nd wife & some written by her to him. Among the things was also a card from Social Security to my granddaddy (my dad's dad) letting him know his SS#. Now I don't know who the box originally belong to, what with it having a few things from both sets of grandparents. Definitely a mystery there.....hopefully once I get a chance, I can do a bit of detective work & find out who this other lady is & if she is related to us or not. If it turns out she's not related, I'm hoping to at least find some of her relatives & pass them on to them if they are interested.

My mother learned how to crochet & knit at the age of 8 years old. In going through some of the things in the "junk" room, I've found several old pieces of work that she has done over the years. Looking at a few of them, I'm even thinking that my grandmother (my dad's mother) made some of them. That is a wonderful treasure to discover!

So yes, even though this started out as "I so need to clean out that junk room" type project, it has definitely had its rewards along with doing it. Not only finally getting it all organized, but finding some wonderful genealogy treasures. :) I'm hoping there's still some more treasures to be found, as I have several more boxes & such to go through. Well, you never know, right? :)

Later, DebJo

(((Note: I started this new Blog for just my genealogy I went to my old blog & copied this original post (dated: 03 Feb 2009) from it.)))

Original Post From 25 Sep 2008

Yes I know, it's been forever & a day since I last posted......shame on me, right? lol I just never know what to write in these things. So today I thought I'd write a few things about genealogy & where I'm going with it. Or I should say where I would like to go with it.

Here in the very near future, I'm going to have to let my subscription go to & I hate that. I've been quite lucky in finding so much useful information on there. But I look at it that for years I didn't have it & was able to do things to further my research & I'm sure I can do it again. The new information just won't be as fast coming as it has been for the last couple of years.

Since I won't have the subscription any longer, I thought this would be a VERY good time to get all of the information I have a lot more organized. What I have so far isn't too far from being organized, nor is it in bad is just that it could be in a lot better order & now would be a good time for me to do it. I know I have bits of information sitting in my files that I haven't recorded yet, so in a way I'll feel like I'm still doing vital research. lol

Also, I've been thinking about re-doing my Family Group Sheets. I originally started out writing all of the data on a regular Family Group Sheets, but I never was too crazy about it. So I got the brainy idea of doing them on the BIG index cards & I really REALLY liked doing it that way. It was much easier for me to find someone when I needed to see their info & plus they were easier to handle. Then I got to thinking I would like to have this or that included on the cards. So with what all I wanted to include, well it just wasn't going to be very feasible to use an index matter how big the thing is. The other day I made my own Family Group Sheet & I think I'm going to print those out & use them. To transfer all of the data for each family member will take me quite a bit of time. It will definitely keep me busy. :)

One of the things I wanted on the Family Group Sheet was an area where I could list what records I had for each person. It would make it so much simpler for me to know when I found a 1910 census with Uncle So & So on it, if I already had it or not. As well as birth record, death record, marriage record.....well you get the idea.

Then I would like to fine tune my Family Tree. Make sure I have entered all of the notes I have on everyone keyed in. Be sure I have a photo posted for those I have a picture of. Things like that.

Something I noticed the other day & everyone else might already know this but it was one of those "DUH" moments for me. I have posted on Ancestry's Surname Message Boards for my 4 great grandparents hoping to hear something back from someone. (((so far nothing, but I haven't given up yet))) Then I discovered that Rootsweb also has the surname message boards too. Great! Figured I needed to post over there & increase my chances of someone answering, right? lol Dummy me, finally realized that both message boards are the SAME THING! No wonder I see some of them double-posting.....I bet they didn't know either. At least I figured it out before I did any posting. And here I thought I was pretty smart on genealogy -- I mean I've only been at it for the past 13+ years!!! heehee

Later, Deb

(((Note: I started this new Blog for just my genealogy I went to my old blog & copied this original post (dated: 25 Sep 2008) from it.)))

Original Post From 20 Sep 2007

Hello to anyone reading this. :) I finally decided to start my journal on what is going on with my family's genealogy project. First off, I guess I need to admit that as much as I love genealogy, it also drives me crazy.....but in a good way. lol Sometimes it can confuse me like nothing else does, then there are the times when I feel like I have just discovered gold or something. But isn't that the way genealogy is supposed to be?

Anyhoo, a few months ago I was able to find a second cousin that everyone in the family had lost touch with for over 30 some odd years. And believe me, that was a wonderful feeling. I was doing a search on one of his uncles in the obituary database, when I happen to run across my 1st cousin's wife's name. In pulling up the obit, I found that in fact it was my cousins & it listed all of their names & where they were living at the time of her death. Which was only about 4 years ago. I took a big chance & looked them all up in a phone directory for that town. Though by this time only one of the kids was still listed as living there. Then I took my 2nd big chance & wrote him a letter....after 2 weeks of not hearing back, I just figured I had it either all wrong & it wasn't our kin or he wasn't interested in making contact. Life has a way of playing with you, cause right then I had decided that was a lost cause, when lo & behold, the very next day I get a letter back from him! To highlight what happen....we exchange phone numbers & talked for hours. Then he came down for a visit, he was so anxious to meet his great aunt. After that, we talked a few times, but now it has been several months since I've heard from him, so I guess it's back to not having him in our family. ***sigh***

OK, I think I'll stop there for now. Maybe I'll put another story about one of my finds on here. If anyone should actually read this & they know of others that are interested in Genealogy, please let me know how to get in touch with them. I have an account on LJ (Live Journal) too & they have "communities" where you can join those that share the same interests as you, does Blogger have anything like that too?

Later, Deb

(((Note: I started this new Blog for just my genealogy I went to my old blog & copied this original post (dated: 20 Sep 2007) from it.)))

Original Post From 10 Jan 2007

What I hope to achieve here is to have a place to expand on my hobby of genealogy. I've been interested in genealogy for about the last 13+ or so years. I got a new Family Tree Maker program a couple of months ago but have yet to really in-put any data yet. We moved back at the 1st October & I'm still going through boxes, so it might be awhile before I can get everything keyed in. I'm quite looking forward to when I can get back on it, I love digging & researching my family history. Heck, right now I'm thrilled when I find anything on my 1st cousins. Seems there are quite a few of my Aunt Helen's kids that we've lost contact with for years (too many years to count, sad to say) & I think it is harder to find stuff on people in this generation. At times it seems easier to find people the further back you go, but when it is on someone who might still be living it is almost impossible.

(((Note: I started this new Blog for just my genealogy I went to my old blog & copied this original post (dated: 10 Jan 2007) from it.)))