Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Obituary Website

The other day Patty Foley shared a new website that might interest club members. It's called Obit City, Social Networking for the Dead. I haven't spent much time exploring yet, but it's worth a try for those of you who are looking for obituaries. Check out the website at http://www.obitcity.com. A clip from their home page follows:

This is Obit City, a free online database of obituaries.

That's right, folks...free obits.

If you're looking for free nationwide obituaries, you've definitely come to the right place. If you're looking for the old "Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Obituaries" site, you're also at the right place. All of the obits that were on that site are still here (with many more having been added), but now all 50 states are represented.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Message From Our President, Rick Wood

I have been remiss in not writing an email to everyone in regards to my wife Darlene and our current situation. As you know I am not usually short on words but I will try to be brief.

I had decided that this year our trip south for the winter would include a trip east first to Ontario. I wanted to spend a couple of weeks doing family research at the Library Archives in Ottawa, Ontario Archives in Toronto and explore the parts of Ontario where my ancestors lived.

En route via the US, on October 15, my wife had a very bad stroke and we ended up in Marquette, Michigan. We were stuck there until October 31 as they could not get us a hospital bed in Alberta! As bad as that was, Marquette General Hospital did a great job taking care of her. Darlene is now in the Fanning Centre in Calgary which is a rehab centre for people who have suffered a stroke. Darlene lost all use of her right arm, right leg, and her speech. Since then, she has been recovering at a very good pace.
Through physical therapies and speech therapy, we are very hopeful of a full recovery and all signs point that way. Who knows, I might just make it there for the last meeting.
I spend 11 hours a day 7 days a week with my wife. I have done no research but still try to keep on top of what is happening out there in the real world. Dick, Annie, and Maureen have been keeping me informed of the events of the club. Another great start to a new season. Great sessions and informative speakers. I wish I was there. 

One thing this has taught me is that how precious life is and how quickly it can change. I can not stress enough that you work on documenting your family history. Talk to your relatives, especially the older ones, as that valuable source may be gone in a flash.

I will close with thanking you all for your well wishes and prayers. I wish you all the best for this holiday season and nothing but success in your search of those elusive ancestors.

December 16 Workshop

We had an interesting roundtable session during our last workshop of 2014; all attendees shared one or two holiday traditions that had been passed down in their families. Fruitcake (English) and oyster stew (Irish) were the two mentioned most often, although not everyone who remembers having oysters during the holidays was of Irish extraction! One unusual tradition mentioned was hanging a silver spider on the Christmas tree.

Meetings will resume in January with speakers scheduled for January 6 and 20. Workshops will be held on January 13 and 27.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Genealogy Club News

Our final workshop for 2014 is scheduled for tomorrow night, December 16. Since it is close to the holidays, we will have a roundtable for sharing a family holiday tradition and its country of origin, if known. Following the roundtable there will be time for genealogy work such as filling in pedigree charts, tracking ancestors on the census, adding info to your software programs, or just getting answers to any questions.

Today we received a notice that there will be a delay in the reopening of the Mesa FamilySearch Library. Here's the scoop:

"A construction problem at the Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library will delay our  scheduled January 5, 2015 reopening date.  The reopening date could be as late as the 3rd week of January.  As soon as we receive the new firm date, everyone will be notified.

Any patron films affected during this time will be adjusted so that all will receive the full 90-day rental."

Legacy Webinars

Wednesday, December 17, Mary Kircher Roddy will present a talk on searching for living relatives who might be able to help you find new information. Roddy says her talk is suggested for intermediate and experienced researchers and describes her presentation as follows:

Bagging a Live One - Connecting with Cousins You Never Knew You Had
"Bagging a live one is often a bigger rush than finding the dead ones. Bagging a live one who knows something about family history is gold. In this webinar Mary will show how you can find distant relatives, perhaps ones you never knew existed. Rather than trolling surname or location lists for other researchers with a common interest, you will come away with the skills to identify specific people to look for. These people may not be active researchers, but might be the ones who inherited the family bible or box of photos, or maybe they can pass on some stories Grandma told them. Collecting and organizing the bits of data – a birthdate, a location, a maiden name – will help you connect with a “new” cousin. If you are as lucky as Mary has been, some of these new cousins will soon become old friends."

Last week Legacy presented a webinar specifically for those interested in North Carolina research. This webinar will be available for viewing at your leisure through Wednesday, December 17 and was geared toward beginning and intermediate researchers. Description follows below.

Researching Your North Carolina Ancestors  

"Understand the geographical and migration patterns that make NC hard to find. Learn which records will lead you to answers and how to find alternate records. Discover the records, repositories and the resources you need to find a tarheel ancestor."

Visit www.familytreewebinars.com to register or learn more information about the presentations.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Craft Fair Volunteers

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for the genealogy table at the Craft Fair last Tuesday. Jean, Sandi, Ray, Nancy, Anne and Deenie all took turns encouraging Palm Creek residents to join our club and begin chasing ancestors.

Deenie and Anne

Sandi and Jean

The table seems to have been a success, because we had several new members at Tuesday night's workshop, and they were able to begin working on pedigree charts with Carolyn. Some of those who joined last month are already having success with census research--sometimes finding surprises. A few have also purchased genealogy software so that they can start recording information.

Welcome to all of those new members! It is also great to see many fellow genealogists returning to the club this year.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 9 Workshop

Tuesday night we will spend a bit more time talking about the census. We'll have a case study showing how census research can can be used to solve a family puzzle. The handout from last week's class will be available, along with several other census help sheets.

Tomorrow morning several of our club members will be volunteering at the craft fair genealogy table helping to encourage Palm Creek residents to join our group. You can always bring a friend to the meetings if they have an interest in chasing ancestors.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mortality Schedules

At last night's workshop we discussed tips for successful census research. We briefly mentioned the mortality schedules that were part of the 1850-1880 census, giving information about people who had passed away during the year previous to those four censuses. These schedules usually included the date and cause of death.

You might try the free website http://mortalityschedules.com to see whether the place your ancestors lived is included. The site is incomplete. For example, of the 72 Wisconsin counties, only a few are available at present. When you can click on a state, it brings up a small group of states with a list of counties for which the site has information. The information is in all types of formats, some posted by U.S. Gen Web, for example. Some sites include all the data found on the original mortality schedule, while others have only the date and age. But you never know when your ancestor is waiting for you.

There is also a link saying "click here to search the complete schedules for free at Ancestry," but I am not sure this is the case. Someone could report if they had any success with that link. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2 Workshop

We will be concentrating on census research during the first part of the workshop, providing some tips for using census records. There will be census checklist forms available for both the U.S. and Canada, and you can also pick up a form that shows all the column headings for our U.S. censuses. You can look at examples of some of the special censuses that were taken along with the populations schedules. 

Time for reading, research, discussion and beginner help will follow.

We could still use a few more volunteers for next week's genealogy table at the craft fair. Thanks in advance if you have an hour to spare.