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Monday, January 30, 2012

Part 3 of 4 from Family Tree Firsts

I wanted to let everyone know that my next post on Family Tree Firsts is up!  Not much of a back story to add, I think I actually covered it all in my short and sweet post. 

One thing I will add is I am always asked about why I call irises "flags."  To be honest... I didn't know the flowers weren't called flags until I was in college.  Everyone I knew called them flags.  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that the bearded irises are also known was flags!  YAY, I am not crazy! 

I would love to know if anyone out there has a term they use no one else does!

*Image by: Koshyk

Friday, January 27, 2012

Part 2 of 4 is up on Family Tree Firsts

Hello out there, just wanted to let you know that the next post is up on Family Tree Firsts, over at Family Tree University.  Hope you enjoy!

I have to tell you that searching the census records was painful.  To make it work, and to find every possible person I was looking through I spent about 5 hours reading entire enumeration districts over multiple censuses.  However, what I learned was priceless.  I got a real feeling for where everyone was located, who their neighbors were, and how the family units formed and moved.  It also showed me where other ancestors were at the same times, many of them literally right next door.

This will be a part of my research from now on I have to admit.  Before I just trusted the indexer and actually didn't know you could scroll through the images until I learned it in one of my classes.  I have a feeling I will be going back through a lot of records!

Of course, why I just didn't go out to google to begin with I will never know...but hey, I got a great story out of it.  Just wait!

photo credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week 4 of Abundant Genealogy

Week #4 – Free Offline Genealogy Tools: For which free offline genealogy tool are you most grateful? How did you find this tool and how has it benefitted your genealogy? Describe to others how to access this tool and spread the genealogy love.
Family, plain and simple.  They tell you the most wonderful things, help you uncover history you never dreamed of, and give you stuff they don’t want anymore.  Without them you wouldn’t have a family to research and do genealogy studies of! 

I am shy, and reserved which makes it very difficult for me to just pick up the phone and call people.  Even contacting my aunts and uncles that I have known all of my life on occasion seems like a daunting task.  The butterflies in the tummy never go away, but I realize that if I don’t take that initiative and call the answers will never be found.  Too many missed opportunities have already happened, no more are going to be allowed to pass without a fight.

So take a moment and thank your lucky stars for the family you have.  Then go grab a notebook, pen, recorder (video or audio) and talk to your relatives before it is too late!  Maybe they will give you a box of stuff as a “favor!”

photo credit: zen via photopin cc

Today not Tomorrow, the other meaning of TNT family history

I knew that my great aunt Margaret (or Mickey for many of us) had done a lot of research into the family history of her parents immigrant ancestors.  My aunt died in December 2009, several years before the genealogy bug finally took hold of me.  On a hint from my dad's sister I called Mickey's son and asked if there was anyway I could get copies / have / see her stuff.

There was silence on the line...

"Oh, I am so sorry.  No one came and took it so I threw it all away about 6 months after she died.   I had to sell the house and clean it up."

To say that I almost cried is an understatement.  I was speechless and all I could muster was an "Oh my."  He told me he would look through the house and see if anything was kept, but essentially I shouldn't get my hopes up.

I was not able to make it home for her funeral due to extremely bad weather there and here.  Many of you may remember the 2009 -2010 winter as especially bad in the Mid-Atlantic States.  We spent several days buried in snow without power.  My dad could not make it due to my mom being very ill.  If I had only known...

My first phone call after this revelation was to my father, who of course swears that he was never contacted by his cousin.  Dad is a historian, and a pack rat.  He would have driven the 20 hours to Indiana from his home in the southwest and cleaned out the rooms himself to save the files.  Of course dad now wonders how much of his mom's research, that was given to Mickey, is now gone forever too.

Morale of the story:  act TODAY and not TOMORROW on your family history artifacts, others in your family may not have the same longing for knowledge that you do.

photo credit: jana shea via photopin cc

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Genealogical Serendipity, Edward Harvin not Arvin was the name

My post at Family Tree Firsts has had me in a correspondence flurry with two new found “cousins” on my Arvin side.  I have been reading and researching since last night and have a feeling that my skimming is going to be replaced by a very thorough reading of the Arvin Biographical Website. 

First, a gentleman named Tim Arvin left me a comment on my post that led me to see that my suspected ancestor Edward Darnell ARVIN has a Revolutionary War Pension file under Edward HARVIN.  Sure thing, I found it on Fold3.  His file number is S18014 if you would like to go check it out for yourself.  The description of his four years as a soldier and the accounts of the battles he fought in were very impressive.  On the Loudoun County USGEN website the transcription is listed under Revolutionary War Pension Records.  You can view his here.   The Map at right is Loudoun County in the early 1860's.

After that I knew I had to find the gentleman who wrote these webpages.  His name and copyright information was listed at the bottom, but no email or contact information that I could find.  I was very lucky that the Google-Fu was with me last night and one search later I found him on a rootsweb forum and sent him an email.  Excited is not a descriptive enough word for how it felt!

Bob and I have corresponded today, and I hope to pick his brain some more in the future when I have stumbling blocks.  He even pointed out to me that there is a picture of my 3rd great grandfather Augustine Arvin with his oldest son on the website, taken at Rutherford Township, Martin County, Indiana.  You can check it out here.  Plus, he gave me the tip that the original application for benefits he made is in the basement of the Loudoun County Courthouse. 

Looking over his pages again, I saw many images from my past.  The St. Martin Parish Church has seen many Arvin / Armstrong reunions in the past 2 decades.  My dad's younger brother even lives behind the church about 1 mile, my grandmother lived about 5 miles south on US 231.  Makes me want to go home for a visit.

Loudoun County is just under 2 hours from me… if I find a sitter I can make it up there and back between the time I drop my oldest off to school and have to pick him up again!

*Image:  Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Loudoun County, Virginia [186-?].

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rootstech from your couch

Just sat down to do some reading on my Google Reader and just saw this post from Thomas McEntee on Geneabloggers.  He lets us all know that some of the conference will be streamed live!

Thomas states that all keynote speakers, and sessions taking place in room 155 will be streamed from the conference live to your computer.  Check out the schedule here for times and speakers.

I didn't know about rootstech until it was over last year, so I think I will pop on in and see what it is like this year.  Maybe I could get lucky and go next time!  Hey... it could happen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daniel Chamberlin Author and Teacher

I received an email this afternoon from a cousin on my husband's side of the family.  It appears that the elusive Daniel Chamberlin was an author.  Cousin Jean's daughter in law found a book he wrote while he was a teacher.  It is on WorldCat under the following information (available on microfilm at the Library of Congress!):

Natural System of English Grammar Introductory Course
Daniel B Chamberlin
1900-1983? English  Book  :  Microform  55 p. ; 18
cm. New York : Scribner,

Of course once I got this email I went straight out to Google... wouldn't you?  That is when I found several Google ebooks that are catalogues of books published in 1871, and this publication is listed among them.

FTF Post is up!

The next post from Family Tree Firsts has been posted tonight. This will be a four part series on my adventures in genealogy. I promise, the ending will be well worth the wait!

I talk in my post about my desire to find the parents of Henry Arvin, from Port Tobacco, Maryland. I think his father was Edward Darnell Arvin, but I am having problems proving it to myself completely. This will be one of those instances where I have worked myself to the point I need to take a field trip.

In fact, my family did take a field trip to Port Tobacco last summer. It is just over an hour from our house when you take the 301 bridge over the Potomac River from King George County Virginia to Charles County Maryland. I had a plan, I was in search of the family homestead, graves and names, and I was not going to come home until I found them! We actually had a grand day wandering around graveyards from the colonial era, visiting the Port Tobacco historical town center, reading historical road signs, and exploring the state park where I think the family home may have been.

We found more than family history that day too. It was the middle of June, and the flags were still on the graves from Memorial Day. Flags were there honoring soldiers from the Revolutionary War on, and confederate flags for those who had fought for the south in the Civil War. That sparked an interesting lunch time debate with my son about honoring your ancestors, learning from the past, and how people move on and learn from those lessons. He has an interest in military history, which means these conversations are always a learning experience for him at 11 years old.

One place we spent almost an hour was St. Ignatius Church.  It is the oldest active Catholic Church in the United States.  The grounds have amazing views of the Potomac and the rolling vista's of Charles County Maryland.  My husband dutifully helped me scouring the cemetery for any surname that may have been linked to my family:  Darnell, Arvin, Montgomery and Padgett.  I found one in this cemetery who may be a cousin; just need to do some investigation on that line.

My son's favorite bit of information from that day was learning that Port Tobacco had a connection to the assassination of President Lincoln. The civil war is his hands down favorite war to read about, but what can you expect from a boy who lives on a battlefield in Virginia?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Civil War Research

This morning a simple search out of curiosity has turned into another marathon reading session.  How does this always happen?

I am currently enrolled in a class through Family Tree University called “Civil War Research: Find Your Ancestors in the War Between the States.”  It is two weeks into the four week class and I am quickly filling in the holes of my education on this subject.  Of course my eldest child (who is fascinated with the Civil War) is just in awe that I am taking a class on this subject.  We do homework together at the dining room table each night; I think purely so he can watch me and ask questions.

In the class we are introduced to the National Park Service site “Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System” as well as several other excellent resources.  My husband and I have five known direct ancestors that fought in the Civil War.  There are several other uncles and cousins, but I haven’t got to all of them yet.  Out of pure and simple curiosity I started to one by one enter their names into the database…and whoa!  I spent the next several hours running back and forth between the CWSS, Fold3, and Ancestry checking, double checking, and looking for various ways to prove and validate what I was seeing. 

It ended in a decision that I have to make a trip up to NARA… sooner rather than later. 

**I found out there is a problem with the CWSS links below. It will take you to the database but I can not link directly to each of the regiments histories. If you want to read about the history of these regiments, I encourage you to explore the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors site.**

Here is a summary of what I found today: 
·        Harry Coad aka Henry C Thompson (husbands 2nd great grandfather):  His middle name is most likely Clay.  I found information on the 5th Missouri and 66th Illinois infantry regiments he fought in.  No information for the 14th regiment that he served in.

·        Kelley Family:

o   I found the following names at Find-a-Grave:

§  LA = Lemuel A Kelly

§  JH = James H Kelley

§  WH = William H Kelley

§  These are ½ brothers of my 2nd great grandfather Charles Morgan Kelley

o   They were all in the 14th Indiana Infantry Company C

o   There were several other Kelley/Kelly’s that similar names (even Lemuel) that may be related.

·        Combs Family:

o   Charles Combs Jr:  70th Indiana Infantry, Company C and possibly the 27th regiment, company B.

o   Found the draft books for Charles’s Brothers Silas, Byrd, James (my 3rd great-grandfather), Pleasant, and John Joseph.  (US Civil War Draft Registration Records, Ind 7th, vols 1 and 3)

        o   Silas was in the 145th Indiana Infantry, company I.

·        Francis Marion Bline (3rd great grandfather) was in the Harrison Cavalry, Mounted Hoosiers 6 Regt, Indiana Legion.

      ·        I learned what the three regiments Button Gwinette Cody (husbands 3rd great grandfather) was assigned to participated in.  8th Indiana Cavalry (Private), 6th Indiana Infantry (Captain), 10th Indiana Cavalry(Quartermaster Sargent). 

I would say it was a productive day yes?

*Image is that of Charles Combs Jr, provided by Cousin Debby.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week 3 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?

There are quite a few free sources out there that are used literally everyday by members of the genealogy and family history collective.  Family Search pops into my head first, but so does Google.  Both are fantastic for the job they were created for.  However, the free tool I am most thankful for are the libraries.  Not only am I thankful for my regional library, but The Library of Congress (shown here) especially. 
If you haven’t been out to The Library of Congress website and poked around you need to.  The wealth of information is amazing!  You can search the catalog, listen to music, watch an old film, browse the picture archive, map out a route, and so much more.  More importantly, for those that live in the area or who are planning a trip, there is a genealogy reading room.  The possibilities for uncovering a piece of history associated with your family are endless.

Then there are the blogs; nine different ones to choose from.  You can keep up to date on what is going on at the Library, in the news, in the law, and around the world.  Pick one to follow, or follow them all, you will not be disappointed.
For the fun of it I searched for the county seat of where I am from, Washington, Indiana.  There are currently 5,699 items related to this search term!  Not all of those are the actual town, but still I was impressed.  In the search results I did find this picture, which I just loved.  It is titled "Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana" and was published in July 1941.  My dad would have been 2, and I can just imagine him dressed like that sitting in a pick-up truck eating an ice cream on a hot summer day.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and go explore The Library of Congress; I promise that it will be well worth your while. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

29 Days of Family History

The Armchair Genealogist has a new challenge out "Write Your Family History in 29 Days." During the month of February anyone who wishes to participate is to write each day about your family history. By the end of the month you should be well on your way to a good chapter/book/memoir of your history.

This is a great idea. Many people will take the time to write about themselves and their lives, I hope, while the memories are still fresh. Maybe I can get my parents and in-laws to write with me; get their memories down for the grandkids.

I will not be publically practicing what I preach; sorry don't know you all well enough to write personal details about my past. On this blog I will dedicate one post each day to the objective, but I am not sure yet what the subject for the month will be. If it turns out great, maybe I will do it again the next month.

All right, opinions, what should I write about? Here are some ideas floating around in my head:
·        A main surname:  Arvin, Combs, Bennett, Mills
·        A history of a place an ancestor was from (in the US or Europe)
·        Migration pattern of a family from the east coast to the west coast
·        Military service record (pick a US conflict I bet one of us has a relative that served.)

I have 2 weeks to get a good plan together before the first writing session.  Plenty of time right??
photo credit: Olivander via photopin cc

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week 2 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 2 – Paid Online Genealogy Tools: Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?
I have taken my time thinking about this question, and since I only have 1 place that I subscribe to it made me think… what am I missing?  There are probably a ton of “tools” I could be using that I am not aware of… is the only thing in my arsenal that is a paid tool; simple one stop shopping for the most part.  I can do general look-ups on people, I can scour the card catalogues, I can connect with cousins I didn’t know I had… for what I pay a month that is quite an accomplishment!  No it isn’t perfect, yes I do get frustrated sometimes, but you know what?  It is a lot easier than having to fly across the county to try and look up a record that may or may not be there. 

In fact, it has led me on some of my greatest genealogical adventures to date.  Got me started on paths I may not have thought about and kept the ball rolling with a continuous stream of ideas and possibilities.

*Image from

FTU Spring Virtual Conference

I am so excited to see the announcement today from Family Tree University on the next virtual conference.  There was a wonderful post today on genealogy insider by Diane Haddad explaining what it is and links to look at the one held last August.  I did not get to participate last time and was so jealous reading about everyone else's experiences.

Look for me "in class" this March as I will be there this time around!

*image from Clipart Pal

Family Tree Firsts Post is up!

The next post at Family Tree is up. Hope you enjoy!

My time at Indiana University was wonderful, but don't get the wrong impression. I was not a brilliant A student. To say that I was an average student would be fair; I got my degree which means I was able to pass my courses for the most part. However, I am very stubborn and the worst thing you can tell me is that I am not able to do something (I can tell myself that all I want, but you can't). It was made clear to me by a professor the end of my freshman year that I wouldn’t last as a Biology major... I now had a clear goal in mind. There is a diploma on my wall stating that I have a Bachelor's of Science in Biology… that means I won.

There was not a separate degree for genetics; but there were a ton of classes in the field.  My advisor said I could concentrate in that by taking those classes to fulfill my requirements, and then when I went to graduate school I could put this as my “emphasis” on applications.    I took every last one of them too: General Genetics, Human Genetics, Microbial Genetics, and all the labs too.  It was not easy, in fact I thought at one point I was never going to make it out of college.  More than once people suggested I should take an easier major, or switch to a BA, but stubbornly I pressed on.  Gee, I wonder where my kids get it. 

Genealogy just flowed naturally right into all that; I have been doing pedigree charts for years!   I have a knack for retaining unusual and seemingly random bits of information.  This comes in handy for the research that I have been doing on my family; it wasn’t so handy in school.  Flow charts and doodles dot my notebooks as I trace lines and make marginalia commentary.  That would be the artistic genes of my parents showing through.  Side note: my mom has been known to draw the anatomical images for the medical papers she has written, as well as birds and still life.

I was more than a little disappointed, as I stated in the FTF posts, about having a completed sample for my dad.  He has had some health issues lately, and once we get all those sorted mom has said he wants to get this done.  Dad is just as curious about his family as I am, thank goodness.   So fingers crossed and all that!

*Image: some of my books and articles on genetics

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cool App and Software Issues

I found another app that I like.  It is called Oganizer HD, and it closely resembles the paper organizer that I gave up to go digital.  There are also lots of bells and whistles that allow for maps, pictures, and voice memos to be added to your daily dairy.  The program also syncs with google calendar and my calendar that is from the iPad attached to my home server.  Still playing with it, but so far I really like it.

Being a thirty-something that is not tech savvy feels like a disgrace.  My husband is the techie in the family and I constantly ask him for help with some piece of software or program I am interested in.  The one thing that is all mine is my family history software.  He did help me set it up, but I have been proud at how much I have done on my own.  That is, up until recently.  Over the last month I have more than once wanted to throw my computer out a window over the frustration it has caused. 

I started using Family Tree Maker through Ancestry right after I began doing research last year.  Everything has been grand, right up to the point where I updated the software so I could sync all of my trees (online, iPad, and desktop).  In December I even spent 3 hours (no kidding) on the phone with tech support trying to figure out what in the worled was going on.  Thought I had it all solved too.

Yesterday I discovered that half of my image files were no longer in my database.  There was an odd thumbnail instead and a link broken message.  I found them, luckily, in an old back up (ALWAYS back-up) and now have to go through the process of fixing it all.  So while I am at it, I may as well make sure everything is correct and up-to-date.  I feel a large project coming on...

If anyone has any tricks, tips or advice about using the program I would love to hear it.  Sometimes I get very frustrated with the way it wants me to use their source citation prompts if anyone has any clues on exactly how to make that less scary I would be grateful.

*Image from Clipart Pal, eve picking from the tree of knowledge

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Charles Combs Surry County North Carolina to Monroe County Indiana

I have been able to trace, with relative ease, my father’s line back to the man who started it in Indiana.  Primarily I have been using census and birth indexes from Indiana.  The records from North Carolina have been the major stumbling block.  I have found the Combs & Family website extremely useful in the search of my Combs ancestors.  However, even they do not know where to go after Charles, beyond the fact that my line is not among those listed in The Combses Genealogy (Combs, Josiah H, PhD. The Combses Genealogy. Talahasse Florida: Rose Printing Co., 1976.).

Below is a synopsis of the information I have on the earliest known Combs in my line:
Charles Combs, born 2 July 1793 in Virginia and died 28 February 1866 in Indiana Creek, Monroe County Indiana.  He had 2 wives that I know of.  First, and from whom my line descends from, is Abigail Reavis Brassfield.  She was born 13 Aug 1806 in Surry County North Carolina and died 16 May 1859 in Indian Creek, Monroe County Indiana; daughter of Jesse Brasfield and Mary Prichard Reavis.  His second wife was the widow Anna McLaughlin (married name), born 10 Jun 1819 and died 12 July 1892 in Monroe County Indiana.

From what I have been able to piece together Charles was possibly the son of a man named William Combs, also from Virginia.  With mentions that William may have been a Revolutionary War soldier, but no solid facts on that.  Charles Combs’s name is on a roll for George L. Davidson’s North Carolina Militia during the war of 1812.    He received 3 land grants from the Vincennes Indiana office issued in 1840 for tracts of land in Monroe County Indiana.
Charles and Abigail had eight boys, and he had one boy with Anna.  If there were girls I have not yet located them in Indiana, or they may have stayed behind in North Carolina.  My line extends down through the oldest child James. 

James M (McCraw?) Combs born 25 October 1820 in Surry County, North Carolina; died 23 January in Keensburg, Wabash County, Illinois
Aaron Combs born 28 October 1825 in Surry County, North Carolina ; died 19 January 1886 in Center, Greene County, Indiana

Bryd Combs born 4 February 1828 in Surry County, North Carolina; died 18 March 1892 in Greene County, Indiana
Galin Combs born 01 February 1830 in Surry North Carolina; died 4 April 1856 in Monroe County, Indiana

John Joseph Combs born 5 October 1831 in Surry North Carolina; died 14 February 1891 in Greene County, Indiana
Silas Combs born 21 May 1836 in Surry County, North Carolina; died 1 December 1877 in Monroe County, Indiana

Pleasant Combs born 22 October 1839 in Indiana Creek, Monroe County, Indiana; died 26 February 1886 in Center, Greene County, Indiana
Charles Jr (aka Boy) Combs born 28 Aug 1843 in Monroe County, Indiana; died 2 January 1869 in Monroe County, Indiana

William Henry Combs (Anna’s son)  born 23 September 1859 in Monroe County, Indiana; died 21 February in Monroe County, Indiana

Find-a-Grave show the listing for 2 Combs Cemetery’s in the Monroe/Greene County area.  Many of these people as well as their descendants are buried at both.  At the Combs Cemetery in Buenavista, Monroe County, Indiana you find Abigail Brassfield Combs as well as her parents.  The Combs Cemetery in Cincinnati, Greene County, Indiana you find many of the children, and at least one of Charles’s Brothers.  To the left is the image of Charles Combs's tombstone.

* Land Patent image from U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

*  The Tombstone image taken by Janet Kaufman

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review of Annie’s Ghosts

Last October I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Genealogy Gems by Lisa Louise Cooke, and heard a fantastic interview with Steve Luxenberg on his novel Annie’s Ghosts.  Her two part interview (episodes 120 and 121) had me glued to the iPod and sparked more than a passing interest to find out what happened in the end.  Lucky for me I was given an iTunes gift card for an early Christmas present and I downloaded a copy first thing to read during our travels.

You can read a wonderful description of the book, by the author himself, on his website.  The press section of the website has some wonderful links to other articles that have been written about the book’s release and people featured in it.  There is a section there as well called behind the book filled with pictures and documents the author used in writing the book.  Personally, I wouldn’t read it until after you read the book; I feel it would be more meaningful then. 
So…my opinion of the book?  I loved it.  It was part history lesson, part detective novel all with an eye to find out who this mysterious Annie was.  In particular I enjoyed how he wound the background information into his narrative giving the reader the information they needed to understand where he would be taking them next in the story.  It was enlightening to read about the care of patients in mental hospitals and just how easy it was to have someone "locked away" less than a hundred years ago.  Reading the sections about escape during the holocaust were gut-wrenching; however it added poignant scenes that needed to be told for full understanding of the situations in the story.

He also gives me hope that I could one day write about all those secrets and mysteries I have yet to fully uncover in my family. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My blog has been found

TNT has been mentioned on two sites this week.  Makes feel feel all giddy with warm-fuzzies inside.  Silly I know, but hey, people are reading!

Yesterday on GenBlog I was mentioned in Julie's "New-to-Me Blogs" section.  Go check her site out, I really enjoyed it and have added her to my reading list.

Today on GeneaBloggers I was mentioned in the weekly round-up of family history/genealogy blogs.  There were 21 this week and I am sure at least one of them may peak your interest too.

If you see me mentioned somewhere I would love to know about it.  Leave me a comment or send me a message.

Friday, January 6, 2012

St. Louis fire records being restored

While out poking around today I found an article about the restoration of the damaged records from the 1973 St. Louis archive fire.  It was published in the St. Louis Beacon this past Sunday, and you can read the full article here.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, here is a brief history lesson.  In 1973 a fire ripped through The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.  Millions of records on military service of thousands of people were lost or damaged.  You can read more about it at the National Archives.   My family has a personal interest in this as my Grandfather had his service records stored there.  For years my mother tried to get her father’s records, but the answer was always "I am sorry they were stored in St. Louis."  Maybe, someday in the future, his records will be among the ones to be restored.  Here’s to hoping! 

*Image from Wikipedia of the St. Louis fire

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Week 1 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 1 – Blogs: Blogging is a great way for genealogists to share information with family members, potential cousins and each other. For which blog are you most thankful? Is it one of the earliest blogs you read, or a current one? What is special about the blog and why should others read it?

Wow, this is quite the question isn’t it?  I have gone from reading no blogs, to dozens in about 6 months.  Each one is unique, and helps in different ways with my family history journey.  Picking one is a real gut wrencher, so here are a couple of my favorite and the reasons why.

Daily Genealogist, by NEHGS:  This blog has been a wonderful source of current information, historical stories, happenings at the society, and editorial pieces.  I love reading the “Name Origins” articles; there have been some interesting naming practices over the years!
Genealogy Tip of the Day, by Michael John Neill:  He has wonderful little tid-bits every day that keep me coming back for more.  There is information on sources, research strategies, trips, webinars, and conferences.  If you haven’t check out his site (or his Facebook page) you should.  He has several other blogs too that might be of interest to you as well; all are listed on his blog's homepage.

GenealogyBlog, by Leland and Patty Meitzler:  Leland calls this his “free daily online genealogy nautamagazine” and it lives up to the name.  You can find a plethora of varied information here on the genealogy community.  Each day I learn something new or find out about a new source of information that I have to go and check out.
Now I challenge you to go out and read a blog, or ten.  If you have not read any of the thousands of family history blogs out there I encourage you to do so.  Start out by checking out GeneaBloggers where you can look through the listing of genealogy and family history blogs that they have had submitted to them.  Thomas MacEntee does a fantastic job with this site, and has a weekly podcast, GeneaBloggers Radio, you should check out to.  If you don't want to listen to it on the computer you can download it from iTunes after the show.

*Image from the Library of Congress, Children learn art from computers at the ArtWorks center in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama

Making a Family Tree as a gift

I never dreamed that so many people would be interested in learning how I made my family tree gifts for the family.  Due to the interest it was suggested that I share how I did it with all of you. Hope you enjoy, and I would love to hear about how your projects turn out.

In preparing for this project I went out on line and looked at a lot of different how-to sites on making family trees.  I really enjoyed the ones I found at Martha Stewart.  This one is the tree I based my idea on.  If you Google "making family trees" you will see a lot of different sites that you may get inspired by too.

Below is the description of how I made my trees.  Creativity comes from within yourself, so never feel that you have to do things exactly the way someone else did them.  Make these your own, express yourself, and show your family flavor through your creation.  Most of all… have fun!

·        Off white paper for background, I liked a textured artist’s paper I found
·        Brown textured artists paper for tree
·        Pedigree chart with the information you want to include on your tree
·        Clear glue
·        Ribbon glue
·        Ribbon, at least 1 ½” wide
·        Self-stick letters
·        Clear mailing labels
·        Place cards / card stock squares
·        Tree template/stencil
·        Decorations:  I went to several craft stores and searched the scrap book aisles for tree/nature items such as birds, leaves, flowers, animals and etc.

·        Depending on how much information you want to include on your tree will depend on the size of mailing labels you will need to use.  Since I only used names, clear return address labels were the correct size for me.  I printed these from my computer in dark green using a cursive style font.
·        With an overhead projector I enlarged the tree stencil to the size I wanted, sketched it onto the brown paper, cut it out, and then glued it to the background paper.
·        Using the mailing labels, create your tree.  I placed the “main person” on a white place card on the trunk of the tree to set it off.  Going up the left side I put the paternal line and the going up the right side the maternal line.  Along the bottom were their children and grandchildren making up the “roots” of the tree. 
·        Each family tree was unique, and the decorations were picked to match the personalities (and house decor) of the family receiving it.  The decorations were placed on the tree around the names to help set them off, and to fill white space.  My mother-in-law’s tree was blue metallic cut outs of flowers, bees, birds, dragonflies, and leaves.  For my father-in-law I used a fall theme of rich oranges and red with maple leaves, pumpkins, squirrels, and a rake.  The last one was for my parents; I know my dad loves dogwood trees and my mom spring flowers.  Their tree was made with 3D items that were dogwood flowers, lilies of the valley (my favorite flower), and daffodils. 
·        The title ribbon was made using a brown organza ribbon that had a satin border.  Using self-stick letters I created the titles for the tree on the ribbon.  With ribbon glue (glue that when dry will not show on the ribbon like regular glue) I bent them into a banner shape and cut the ends into pretty points.  When dry it was glued onto the background.
·        Finally I signed the pictures with the date they were created.
·        The frames I used were bought at a local craft shop, but if you have the time (unlike me) to wait for custom framing you can have a mat put on as well for more pizazz. 

Family Tree Firsts Post 4

Last night my 4th post through Family Tree Firsts was published.  Wow...what a response to it.  I already mentioned in a previous post some of the items that I discovered while on vacation.  When I am recovered from being ill, and the trip, I will start cataloging what I brought back.

There will also be a follow up post on how I made the family trees.  The one time I don't take step-by-step pictures and I get asked to write a how-to article.  I think my lesson has been learned on that subject!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Family Tree Firsts Post 3

While I was gone my third post at Family Tree was posted.  You can check it out here.  Leave me a message there, or here, and tell me what you think so far.

I did really enjoy the 2 power courses I took through Family Tree University.  They were just the right size for an evening (or afternoon) and really got you started down the correct paths.  I really enjoyed the second on on immigration with the real people examples; I am a sucker for true story things.

The iPad has been wonderful too!   If you have a favorite app, or tool, that you like to use let me know.  Slowly I am building a repritoire of items to be used with my genealogy.  In no particular order I am really enjoying:  Penultimate, Evernote, GoodReader, Ancestry, NPR, and my book readers (iBook, Kindle, and nook).  I am sure the list will grow.

*Image by Andrew Kelsall

New Year goodies

You may have noticed the badge on the page.  This is a series that I am going to be participating in for the next year called "52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy".  The idea comes from AmyCoffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog, and is the 4th set of yearly blogging prompts she has done.  Way cool!

It is my hope that this will keep me going here.  At least there will be one post a week for sure for the next year!  Over the last week I have also been looking at the daily blogging prompts from Geneabloggers.  At least now I know if I run into a brick wall on what to write I can always go out there and get an idea from a creative person.

Looking up blogging prompts was only the tip of the genealogical iceberg from the holiday.  Mom and I got through 1 of the 3 Rubbermaid boxes that I packed for her from her mom’s house.  There were some mighty awesome things in there.  Including a WWII ration book with stamps still in it!  Hubby had a good time educating the boys on what rationing was.  Lots of pictures, very few labeled…kills me every time.  Also, much to the amusement of my mom, report cards from when my grandparents were in high school.  You should have heard her talk about her dad’s grades…something like “I got in trouble for better grades than that!”

In addition to that I also spent a day, yes a whole day, scanning in photos and documents.  Mostly from my mother in law, but I got quite a few of my parents images as well.  200 scanned images in total, which means I am going to be very busy for a while.  Be on the lookout for those images to come up in future posts!

=>  After I posted this I found another set of prompts...adding to the list as we speak.  This is from Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, by Lorine McGinnis Schulze.  Called "Sharing Memories" and looks very good.

*Image from the Library of Congress, What shall I write to Grandpa