Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Yellowstone Trail

During our annual visit to Waupaca, WI we attended a talk given at the local historical society about Waupaca's early filling stations and the city's connection to the Yellowstone Trail. The talk was given by John Gunnell, a local resident who had spent most of his working life writing articles for the automotive magazines published by the Krause Publishing Company in Iola, WI. He was particularly fond of the Oakland automobile and when he learned that one of the car dealers in Waupaca sold them during the 20s and 30s, he bought the original building. He then learned that building had been one of the designated stops on the Wisconsin portion of the Yellowstone Trail.

The Yellowstone Trail was the first transcontinental auto route through the northern tier of states. Begun in 1912, it ran from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound with a spur running south from Livingston, Montana to Yellowstone Park. The Yellowstone Trail Association helped to support the idea that the country needed better roads.

The surveyors and planners evidently chose a good route, because many of today's interstates follow a similar path (for example, along Interstate 80 in the East and Interstate 90 in the West). You may have already traveled parts of this old transcontinental highway without realizing it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Research in Germany

The publishers of Internet Genealogy and Your Genealogy have produced another edition in their "Tracing Your Ancestors" series. The club now has a copy of "Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors," which you will be able to use during the coming season.

The main topics include how to locate your ancestors' village, German maps including surname maps, passenger records, online resources, locating German parish and civil records and German census records. There is a great deal of useful information in each article.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another Brick Wall Success

Whitey Hoehn had learned that his ancestor Lewis Fitcher was originally Alois Pfitscher, but could only trace that family to Winnebago County, Wisconsin. Since we spend July there for the EAA convention, I had a chance to visit the local library's genealogy section in Oshkosh. An "A. Pfitscher" appeared on an 1862 plat map in Black Wolf Township. This was exciting: my Swiss ancestors and their neighbors had passed through, visited relatives and in some cases returned to be married by the Swiss pastor in that section of Winnebago County. Because of that, I knew there was a translation (at the Oshkosh library) from the German of the New Elm Church located there. Sure enough, Alois' children were all baptized in that church. The records gave the wife's maiden name, her place of birth in Switzerland and her burial record after the final child's birth. The last record found was Alois' second marriage.

Brick Wall Lesson: Find someone who is familiar with the local records! Use RAOGK, USGenWeb, or just Google the county, township or village name.

Friday, August 5, 2016

101 Best Websites

The upcoming issue of Family Tree Magazine includes their annual list of the "101 Best Websites of 2016." According to their Insider column, there are 35 new websites that have not been listed in the past. If you are curious, take a free look at the sites at

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Webinars

August 3: Thomas MacEntee will be talking about "Getting Started With Power Point." If you have an interest, you can catch this presentation for the next week or so at

August 10: Beth Foulk will present "The Battle for Bounty Land: War of 1812 and Mexican-American Wars." For intermediate researchers the discussion will focus on military pension and other land purchases following these wars.

August 12: Bernice Bennett will discuss the "Homestead Act of 1862" by presenting a case study of four individuals that served as witnesses and acquired land in Livingston Parish, Louisiana.

August 16: Shellee Morehead will present "Another Kind of Navigation: GPS for Genealogy." In this case GPS stands for the "Genealogical Proof Standard." This lecture describes the 5 steps of the Genealogical Proof Standard to establish proof of identities and relationships. See how reasonably exhaustive research, accurate citations, analysis and correlation of data, the resolution of conflicting data and a reasoned, written conclusion was used to identify the parents of a Civil War soldier who shaved 10 years off his age and complicated the search for this relationship. For intermediate and advanced researchers.

August 17: Amy Johnson Crow will talk about "Successfully Applying to a Lineage Society."

August 24: Brian Donovan is presenting "Using FindMyPast to Unlock Your Irish Ancestry." For beginner and intermediate researchers, Brian will talk about how to use the millions of Irish records now available on FindMyPast.

August 26: Luana Darby will present "Finding French Ancestors." She will cover resources and techniques for French research.