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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Text Analyzer at JSTOR Labs

This came across my Facebook account this morning (scary how they know I am gearing back up for school) and it caught my attention.  Of course the cute little video that went along with it helped. 

JSTOR Labs Text Analyzer looks like a great tool for researchers and writers, no matter your level.  It looks very simple to use too.  Simply upload your document or book and the tool with analyze the key words (people, places, and things) which allows it to pull up other publications that have the same topics.  A slider bar allows you to adjust what you want to look at and how important it is in your search. 

I am still playing around with it but can see how it could have great possibilities for all of us.  Especially if we are doing research on a time period or place and need more information about it.  If you try it let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Year 2, PGDip here I come

On Friday I start back to school for my 2nd year in the Strathclyde 3 year MSc program.  I have been on pins and needles waiting impatiently for it to start back up again.  So, yes this your warning...I am going to go dark for months on end as I tackle another year of graduate school.

That being said I still think that this was one of the better things I decided to do.  Yes, the first year was very hard for me.  Simply because I had to educate myself more on record sets that I did not grow up with.  Literally and in the genealogical world.  I studied hard, I read a lot, and I passed.

Over the last year people have asked me my thoughts on the whole program and I am always honest with them.  It is also not like any other genealogy course I have taken from anywhere on line.  I think those who struggle are not truly expecting a rigorous graduate level course.

As an online class I was very nervous about keeping up and really learning about the subjects I needed to learn.  If you don't know I am a bit of a distracted person.  It happens easily and for no reason.  Constant mind wandering to say the least.  If you are like this a strict schedule and routine for an online course is key.  Or at least it was for me.  I had weekly dates with the local library and my neighborhood coffee shop as my "class" time.  Just like I was attending classes in person.

I have heard that this 2nd year will try my patience and organization skills.  Guess I will find out on Friday!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Chasing after my Dutch ancestry

Every so often my kids ask me again about the Anneke Jans story. Which of course makes me want to look into my New Netherlands Dutch ancestry again.  While out this morning I learned that the New Netherlands Institute is putting A LOT of information online! Stand up shout for joy and do a happy dance.

First, the online publications list is extensive and appears to be growing.  I have bookmarked Minutes of the Court of Albany, Rensselaerswyck and Schenectady, 1668–1685 to trace the few ancestors I know who were in trouble with the government. 

Of course the amount of history that is out there is nothing to shake your leg out. I spent half a day on this and the historical timeline of The Netherlands and Scandinavia in North America.  Really, who doesn't love a timeline?!

If you have New Netherlands ancestry go check this site out!!  Then, if you find it very worth while, think about joining.  I know am seriously thinking about taking that plunge.

Look out for posts in the near future about what I discovered on this site!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Recording trauma for posterity

I woke up at 5 am this morning, rolled over grumbling, and then turned on the news. Shock, horror, and disbelief was what I went though for the rest of the morning.  Maybe you have listened to or watched the news on and off during the day listening to the story unfold.  For me, I turned to my black notebook. The one where I store my feelings and thoughts on what could be considered important dates in history for a variety of reasons.

When I was newly married I attended the traditional holiday dinner held at a local restaurant for my mother's family. I had not attended in years.  College was in the way. I had, you know, stuff to do.  This time however I was living in the area again and a new mom who really needed to get out of the house. 

The conversation turned to asking the older members at the table where they were on certain days in history.  Pearl Harbor, JFK's assassination, the moon landing and etc. My great aunts and uncles spoke about the events, and one of them spoke about how important it would be for future generations to document OUR stories on the events we live through for our posterity. How else would our descendants learn about or know us better? These words have stuck with me.

While you may not create a black notebook of doom (as I secretly call it) you may want to think about recording your thoughts and feelings on various events that have occurred during your lifetime. I mean, we are the best people to record our own history right? Even if it is hard, one day it may bring us perspective, or closure, on events.

I have written my views, thoughts, hopes, and prayers today in my journal. In my gut I know I am going to be writing more over the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Family History Month 2017

It is October again which means pumpkin spice flavored everything and family history month! My mission (and I have decided to accept it) is to post each day this month in honor of the month's celebrations.  Even if you do not have a blog, there is no reason why you couldn't celebrate your family this month too!

Here are a 10 activities you can do over the next 31 days to celebrate your family history:

  • Take a webinar on a topic you know nothing about
  • Call a family member and ask for some stories, preferably ones you have never heard before, and added them to your family tree files
  • Visit a site that holds a connection to your family
  • Write a bio a day about various people in your family tree
  • Gather together family recipies and make a cookbook
  • Start (or finish) that digitization project you thought about
  • The holidays are right around the corner, create a family heritage gift(s) to give away
  • Volunteer at a genealogy center
  • Help with an indexing project
  • Take a virtual road trip (if you can't get out) using Google Maps and Google Earth to see where your family lived, worked, and traveled

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Press Release: The Washington House Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony George Washington's Ferry Farm


Date: September 26, 2017

The Washington House Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
George Washington's Ferry Farm

Saturday: October 7, 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.;
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Celebrate the construction of the Washington house at a special Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony – beginning at 1:30 p.m. – featuring decorated speakers discussing George Washington’s upbringing at Ferry Farm as preparation for his important role as the first Commander-in-Chief. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION highlighting the speakers is forthcoming at

Leaders from the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge No. 4 – who count among their early members George Washington and Fielding Lewis – will present a historical ceremony in acknowledgement of the construction of the Washington house.

After the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, for the first time, guests are invited to view the Washington house! Hear from archaeologists and artisans about the period trades involved in building George’s house. Walk the historical landscape and talk with educators about new programs at George Washington's boyhood home.

Ferry Farm opens to visitors at noon on Saturday, October 7.

PLEASE NOTE: PARKING for the event is off site at the VRE Fredericksburg Park and Ride Lot G at the corner of Prince Edward Street and Frederick Street. Buses will transport guests to and from Ferry Farm—traveling from the VRE lot to Ferry Farm on a regular schedule from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Bus transportation will pause during the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. The last bus will depart Ferry Farm at 5:15 p.m. Limited handicap parking is available at Ferry Farm. A map with event parking information is available at

The Washington House Ribbon-Cutting Celebration is a free event and RSVPs are not required. No pets, please.

Learn more about this comprehensive project at and on the Lives & Legacies blog.   

The Foundation is charging forward with its multi-year venture to physically develop George Washington’s Ferry Farm into an outdoor living museum. The first phase of the project includes building an interpretive replica of the Washington house on its archaeological footprint, reconstructing the kitchen and outbuildings, and recreating the period landscape. Moreover, the Foundation is establishing a new entrance to the museum property, erecting a maintenance facility, and completing necessary infrastructure.

Employing building methods of the period, artisan masons laid the foundation for the Washington house using hand-cut Aquia sandstone in an oyster-shell mortar. Next, timber framers joined massive wood beams to create the frame of the home. Carpenters covered the roof with traditional, hand-prepared wood shingles and installed skillfully-crafted exterior doors and window sashes, as well as beaded weatherboard siding painted a traditional, deep red “Spanish brown” color.

The masons are completing the brickwork for the three chimneys, each set in an English bond interspersed with glazed headers, while the carpenters are fitting paneled doors with hand-wrought iron hardware and fabricating interior features such as an elaborate staircase in the center passage.

Accomplished plasterers are currently installing a traditional lime plaster, strengthened with animal hair, on wood lath across the walls of the Washington house.

Noted cabinetmakers are crafting furniture for the home, following a plan conceived by The George Washington Foundation’s Collections Committee and curators. A corner cabinet produced by Colonial Williamsburg’s joiners shop, was installed in the parlor in February. Additionally, a “scrutoire” – or desk with bookcase – is on view in the Ferry Farm visitor center until it will be placed in the hall of the Washington house.

Constructing the Washington house and the first phase of improvements at Ferry Farm is a funding priority for the Foundation as part of The Future of Our Past Campaign—a $40 million dollar comprehensive fundraising initiative in support of efforts across its two National Historic Landmark sites: Historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Ferry Farm.

George Washington moved to Ferry Farm in 1738 with his parents, Mary and Augustine, his sister Betty, and their siblings, purchasing the site from William Strother III, a prominent colonial Virginian. Young George lived at the farm from age 6 to 22. Referred to as the Washington home farm in George’s day, the property is later known as Ferry Farm—a historic ferry adjacent to the Washingtons' house once linked it to the city of Fredericksburg via the Rappahannock River. The site was the setting of some of the best-known stories related to his youth, including tales of the cherry tree and throwing a stone across the Rappahannock River.

George was eleven when his father died in 1743. Augustine left Ferry Farm to George, for him to inherit when he reached majority. Mary Washington continued to live at Ferry Farm until 1772, when she moved to Fredericksburg to live closer to Kenmore and Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.

In 1996, Ferry Farm was saved from commercial development through the hard work and determination of the Regents and Trustees of The George Washington Foundation (known then as the Kenmore Association), a long list of individuals, and several organizations.

The Foundation announced on July 2, 2008 that its archaeologists had located and excavated the remains of the long-sought house where Washington was raised. To date, over 750,000 artifacts have been unearthed at Ferry Farm. Ongoing research suggests that George’s experiences at Ferry Farm were influential in shaping the man that he would become. 

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, the Foundation broke ground on the Washington house and the first phase of construction at Ferry Farm, forever preserving this remarkable landscape and providing a powerful stage to tell the story of young George and his family. Doris Kearns Goodwin, renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, was the keynote speaker for the Groundbreaking Ceremony.

The George Washington Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. The Foundation's mission is to enhance the public understanding and appreciation of the lives, values, and legacies of George Washington, Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis, and their families. Please visit and for more information on its two National Historic Landmark sites, George Washington's Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore.

Ferry Farm is located at 268 King's Highway, Stafford County, Virginia
Kenmore is located at 1201 Washington Avenue, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Visitors to Ferry Farm talk with educators about the Washington house, view archaeologists at work, see the artifact conservation laboratory, tour the Visitor Center with a new exhibit, The Science of History at Ferry Farm, and enjoy the self-guided iPad tour—Uncovering George Washington’s Youth.

Kenmore guests experience the restored house with its recently refurnished interior, walk through the gardens, and tour the orientation exhibit, The Patriots Lewis: What Would You Give.

George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore are open most days,
March – December—learn more at

View a 2017 calendar of special events and education programs at

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Get ready for the 2017 Webinar Subscriber Summer Spectacular!

I am an affiliate for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, in addition to being a lecturer.  If you have not subscribed yet now is the perfect time!  Below is a message from Geoff Rasmussen about how to get started. It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month. Click here now to subscribe!

It's our way of saying thank you to our webinar subscribers and inviting everyone else to preview these excellent classes! This summer we will not only have new members-only content, we will also have full in-depth series to help you take your genealogy to a new level. We'll be sharing with you five new members-only series, released every two weeks, throughout the summer of 2017.

Here's an overview of what you can expect:
Release Date
Melissa Barker
Researching in Archives (4 classes)
July 6th
Blaine Bettinger
DNA: A Closer Look (5 classes)
July 17th
Teri E. Flack  
Texas: The Lone Star State (5 classes)
July 31st
Amie Bowser Tennant
1790-1940 U.S. Census Uncovered (3 classes)
August 9th
Eric Basir    
Photo Restoration (6 classes)
August 14th
Craig Scott
Researching Revolutionary War Soldiers (5 classes)
August 28th

Researching in Archives (4 classes)
Archivist Melissa Barker is taking her professional expertise in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives and helping genealogists everywhere find hidden resources in archives, libraries and societies. 

Melissa's 4 classes include:
  • Family Gatherings: Dragging Genealogy Information Out of Your Family
  • Using Archives to Fill the Gaps in Your Ancestor's Timeline
  • Disaster Planning for the Genealogist, Safeguarding Your Genealogical Records
  • Scrap Paper and Orphan Documents in Archives
Available to subscribers at July 6, 2017

DNA: A Closer Look (5 classes)
DNA is a hot topic in genealogy but it can be a bit confusing to learn how it works. In this new series DNA expert Blaine Bettinger provides more tools to help you understand your DNA results

Blaine's 5 classes include:
  • Avoiding Genetic Genealogy Pitfalls
  • DNA Frequently Asked Questions
  • Introduction to GEDmatch
  • Begging for Spit
  • Who Are You? Identifying Your Mysterious DNA Matches
Available to subscribers at July 17, 2017

Texas: The Lone Star State (5 classes)
Texas is the second largest state in the United States and has a rich history. Whether your ancestors settled there during the Republic of Texas or after statehood, Teri E. Flack will help you find details about their lives.

Teri's classes include:
  • Fundamentals of Researching Texas
  • Finding Your Ancestors in the Republic of Texas
  • Researching Texas Land and Property Records
  • Researching Texas Probate and Estate Records
  • Texas Vital Records and their Substitutes
Available to subscribers at July 31, 2017

1790-1940 Census Uncovered (3 classes)
Amie's 3 classes include:
  • 1790 - 1840 Census Secrets Uncovered
  • 1850-1900 U.S. Federal Census Secrets Revealed
  • 1910-1940 Federal Censuses and State Census Records to Fill the Gaps
Available to subscribers at August 9, 2017

Photo Restoration (6 classes)
You loved his class "Complete Photo Restoration in 4 Easy Steps" so we've brought Eric Basir back for an entire 6-part series on Photo Restoration. Learn how to make the most of your photos from scanning to editing and restoration.

Eric's 5 classes include:
  • Scanning 101
  • Hassle Free Document Restoration
  • Bringing Faded Photos Back to Life
  • 25 Quick Photoshop Tips For Genealogists - Part one
  • 25 More Quick Photoshop Tips For Genealogists - Part two
  • Effective Image Placement
Available to subscribers at August 14, 2017

Researching Revolutionary War Soldiers (5 classes)
Craig Scott is one of the most sought after speakers on military research. In this series, Craig will help you navigate the extensive records created to document Revolutionary War soldiers.

Craig's 5 classes include:
  • The Revolution, More than just the War
  • The Participants in the War
  • Records Create by the Revolutionary War During the War
  • Records Created by the Revolutionary War After the War​ (Pensions)
  • Records Created by the Revolutionary War After the War (Bounty Land)
Available to subscribers at August 28, 2017

Not a member yet?
You still have time to sign up before the Subscriber Summer Spectacular starts!
In addition to the new summer series, you'll have access to all 529 classes in the Legacy Webinar Library including all the handouts!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:
  • All 529 classes in the library (734 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 2,464 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars
It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month. Click here now to subscribe!