Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday Stuff

A newsletter from FindMyPast contained this question. What would you tell your ancestors if you could travel back into the past? Three of their answers:

Please, stop lying about your age. We get it, no one could really check and it could be useful socially to be loose with the truth, age-wise. It makes things very hard for us now though, so stop it.

Tell everyone everything that you do. New baby? Announcement in newspaper. Marriage? Same. Business? Get it in a directory. You may think it's unimportant, but we do not.

A little imagination wouldn't hurt, please. John Smith is a strong name, it really is, but 4 generations in a row? Work with us here, would you?

Thanks for the chuckle, FindMyPast.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Genealogy Mistakes

I had a chance to watch one of Legacy's December webinars last week. James Baker talked about "The 6 Big Genealogy Mistakes." He had examples from his own research for each item. See if any of the following are familiar from our discussions on Tuesdays.

1. Trusting data from our family historians: it's important to prove or disprove family myths and stories that have been handed down through the generations.

2. Connecting the wrong people with the same name: not only names like Smith, but other names are more common than you might think.

3. Failing the "reasonableness" test: are your ancestors having children while still children themselves? Look for impossibilities in dates and places.

4. Trusting the genealogy snake oil salesman: many family history books have incorrect data.

5. Trusting in old-time long-time data: there have been mistakes made with Mayflower descendants, Jamestown descendants, DAR and SAR submissions.

6. Trusting the original record for accuracy: transcribers and indexers make errors, newspaper obits contain mistakes, and death record informants don't always know the right answers.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Recent Success Stories

Jan has been contacted by a nephew after submitting a DNA sample. Her father had remarried and the families had lost touch. She has since learned more about his second family and has been communicating with her "new" nephew. Congratulations, Jan!

Dick has been working on the Family Tree section of the FamilySearch website. He is using the "watch" feature and received an email notifying him that someone had changed information on his great grandfather's line. He sent a message asking about the reason for the changes and is now in contact with a cousin in Germany whose ancestor is a brother to Dick's g.g. grandfather. The world family tree works!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

New Year's Resolutions

For the December 19 workshop, members were asked for a genealogy-related resolution. A promise was made that no names would be attached! It was gratifying to hear suggestions and advice from the group for some of the "brick walls" mentioned. Here's our 2018 list with some general goals and a few very specific tasks.

1. Get a family tree from a cousin and work on mother's line.
2. Research maternal lines on both sides.
3. Learn more about a g.grandmother from Scotland.
4. Get my documentation updated.
5. Start working on research in Ireland.
6. Develop a family website.
7. Learn about an English grandparent.
8. Attend genealogy meetings!
9. Get organized!
10. Plan to work on genealogy every other Monday.
11. Work on cousins and related families.
12. Locate an uncle's poetry book supposedly written after the war.
13. Find death records and grave sites in Sweden.
14. Find marriage record of mom and dad in Mexico.
15. Continue research on g.g.grandparents.
16. Contact archives in Lithuania.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 12 Workshop

Annie demonstrated how to develop a research plan from a few pieces of family information. The plan was then used at the Family History Library to discover birth, marriage and death records that had been microfilmed. Adding a probate file to the mix helped to prove the relationships. Finally, the two families were discovered in census records.

It is interesting that the microfilms we used in the past have now been digitized and can be accessed online on FamilySearch. Everyone should check the locations of their family surnames to see whether this is true for their research.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pinal County Genealogy Workshop

The 15th annual Pinal County Genealogy Workshop is scheduled for January 27, 2018. All information is now available at Just click the link for the 2018 workshop. Registration form and syllabus have been posted. Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 8, 2017

December 5 Workshop

The workshop webinar was called "The Importance of Checking Original Records." Several examples showed how names and places could be misinterpreted by an indexer. It was also interesting to see that extra notes on the original record added information to an ancestor's story.

Today was the monthly genealogy talk at Vista Grande. Unfortunately, it was cancelled because the building had lost power: no school, no library, no speaker! If the presentation is rescheduled, I'll try to let everyone know.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December Webinars

Visit for more information on registering for these free webinars.

Wednesday, December 6: "Finding Your Roots in Catholic Records" by Lisa Salinas. Beginner, Intermediate

Wednesday, December 13: "I Thought He Was My Ancestor: Avoiding the Six Biggest Genealogy Mistakes" by James Baker.  Beginner, Intermediate

Friday, December 15: "Finding Your Nordic Parish of Birth" by Jill Morelli. Beginner, Intermediate

Tuesday, December 19: "The Law the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search" by Judy Russell. Intermediate

Wednesday, December 20: "South Carolina for Genealogists" by Rorey Cathcart. Beginner

Wednesday, December 27: "Problems and Pitfalls of a Reasonably Shallow Search" by Elissa Scalise Powell.  Beginner, Intermediate

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November 28 Workshop

The subject of the mini-topic was Using FamilySearch and Ancestry efficiently by narrowing a search to a specific place or database. We also looked at ways to overcome a complicated Polish surname during census research.

Maureen mentioned two of our club library's many resources. These can be used during workshops or checked out for two weeks.

Moorhead Magazines occasionally publishes magazines that deal with a specific place or type of research. Included in our club library are "Tracing Your Ancestors: Beginner's Guide," "Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors," "Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors," "Tracing Your Italian Ancestors," "Tracing Your Female Ancestors" ( 2 volumes), "Tracing Your Eastern European Ancestors" and "Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors." All articles in the magazines contain information on those specific subjects and include many useful websites.

We also have a useful group of "Quick Guides" on various subjects. These are laminated sheets that are generally four pages in length. Topics include immigration research, English genealogy, migration routes, Scottish genealogy, finding female ancestors, Irish genealogy, Ellis Island and German genealogy.