Monday, April 7, 2014

Genealogy Reading - Collecting Free Material

Most genealogists are on a budget and ordering genealogy publications from societies is usually limited. Many of us belong to societies that do include ordering the publications of magazines, newsletters and quarterlies from various resources. The main problem with this is that our time in the society research facility is usually restricted to classes we attend or direct research of an ancestral line. We usually do not or are unable to take home with us copies there for member use. Today it seems many societies are removing these publications from their collections as they are out of space and/or the publications may be found online for easier access.

Genealogists are collectors of family artifacts, pictures, books both related to our research or how to books to improve the research that we do, and some publications. Last Saturday while at our local society, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, they had a large collection of such publications on the free table. Remember, free is a very good price!

Looking over what was there several copies piqued my interest. With my large genealogy bag in tow, every empty crevice was filled with the selected copies. Mind you the free collection left behind was much larger than the few in my now very full bag. When returning home someone else had to be enlisted to carry the bag up the stairs. Then the fun began when extracting the publications and organizing them into an orderly pile for future reading.

Below you will find a list of some of these items that were read this spring. My main goal is to read and discard those that do not meet future research needs. In reading them there is an interest in how they compile the publications and also the chance occasion of finding information on one of my research families. There may come a time that a change in my office space will also dictate how many of these publications can be kept. After reading a copy that stays in my collection there is a small X made in the upper right hand on the cover. The most important issues are the ones in which one of my articles is published.

It is interesting to read about other societies and their members work. The nationally well-respected major publications offer the opportunity to review the work of professional writers or those with experience in particular types of research. By reading the cast offs of others it helps in determining the publications one might want to subscribe to in the future. What are you reading and which types of publications are you subscribing to?
Spring 2014 Reading – 26 Publications

British Connections, The Journal of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History – 9 quarterlies

Children of the American Revolution Magazine – 8 monthly issues, very old

Clark County Genealogical Society (WA) – 2 monthly newsletters

Fairfax Genealogical Society Newsletter (VA) – 2 newsletters

Family Chronicle Magazine – 15 bi/monthly issues

Family Tree Magazine – 2 monthly issues

Genealogical Journal, An International Genealogical Publication of the Utah Genealogical Association – 2 quarterlies

Genealogical Reference Builders Newsletter (IL) – 1 quarterly

German Life – 1 bi-monthly

GSNJ Newsletter, Genealogical Society of New Jersey – 12 quarterlies

Heraldry, The Augustan Society, Inc., California – 1 quarterly

Illinois State Genealogical Quarterly – 1 quarterly

International Society for British Genealogy and Family History – 2 newsletters

Lycoming Lineage for Lycoming County Genealogical Society – 1 bi-monthly newsletter

NGS News Magazine for National Genealogical Society – 2 quarterlies

NGS News for North Carolina Genealogical Society – 3 quarterlies

Ohio Genealogy News – 1 quarterly

Oregon History – 1 quarterly

St. Louis Genealogical Society (MO)– 1 quarterly

The Godfrey Update – 1 quarterly

The Heraldry Gazette, The Heraldry Society, England – 14 quarterlies

The Hoosier Genealogist (IN) – 5 quarterlies

The Mayflower Quarterly – 6 quarterlies

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register – 3 monthly issues

The New York Researcher (The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society)– 2 quarterlies

The Review of Dupage County IL Genealogical Society – 2 quarterlies

Monday, March 31, 2014

Serendipity at the Cemetery

When first beginning my research in family history, my grandparents and great aunt and uncle took me to Lone Fir Cemetery to show me where the burial sites are for my great great grandmother and some of her children. What was odd at the time is we did not know where her husband was buried. Later in my journey of discovering the family story we returned to this cemetery and went to the office to see what other information they might be able to provide. At that time they were very liberal about sharing the information from the two files on this family.

There were two plots purchased, one in 1889 and the other in 1928 by H.O. Brown the son of Ola A. Brown and Helene Hendrickson.
Ole A. Brown died 1 May 1889 and the burial is recorded in the cemetery records as D&H buried Ola A. Brown in center of N 1/2 Lot 65-B25, H. O. Brown Lot. There were three other family members buried in two plots within this lot: his daughter, a nephew and a granddaughter. When Helene his wife died 29 March 1928 their son H. O. Brown purchased lot Sec 35, Lot 178 and she is buried there with two of her children, their spouses and one grandchild.

The question is why were the parents buried in separate locations in the cemetery? My belief is that at the time of the mother's death the family members may have forgotten where the other burial site was, or they simply wanted more space so they could be buried by their mother.

The next step in the research was to locate the descendants of Ole A. Brown and Helene Hendrickson. They had six children, of which two had no children, one had three, two had two and my great grandparents had seven. My pursuit at this time was for the one who had three and the two who had two, or seven descendants. For these three family groups there are letters and pictures that it would be nice to share with them. Another hope is that they might have information on the origination in Norway where this couple came from.

In 2005 contact was made with the family of H. O. Brown. Their mother was the only child of the daughter of H. O. Brown.  Their contact information was found online and a call was made to the likely brother living in Oregon City, Oregon, not far from my home. He put me in touch with his sister. We enjoyed a lively exchange of emails. Then as is natural we lost contact.

Then about a year ago there was an article in the Oregonian newspaper about the problem of Lone Fir Cemetery selling old plots that were not connected to living relatives. In working on the cemetery records it was obvious that there was an unused plot for our family and to me it was important that the family claim this as their grandmother was the last relative to have ownership transferred to her. First contact was made with the cemetery, explaining an interest in the known plot, at which time they informed me of three other plots at the second burial site.

After examining the information the cemetery informed me that the family did have the right to claim ownership. Then the family was contacted using an email address that was eight years old. As one can imagine, a prayer for a miracle was uttered. The miracle occurred with a quick response. The family was interested and would discuss what to do about the four plots that were available. The five of them decided to give two plots to their brother living locally and that the other two would be given to me. They gave me the choice of which plots and I chose one at each burial site so the brother could have two adjoining plots.

It was a lengthy process to have the documents drawn up and then signed by each of the six individuals in front of a notary where they live. When the package came to me in February 2014 it was an incredible feeling. The package included the two Certificates of Internment Rights with my name on them, copies of the lot sheets with my name added, and copies of the affidavits signed by each of us. Forty years after first visiting this cemetery I now own these two plots. Even better is my connection with the new branch of our family tree.

By coincidence I also connected with the person owning the plot adjacent to the lot of our great great grandfather and I could possibly be buried next to him some day, though we are not related in any way. Oregon recently changed the laws regarding the reuse of cemetery plots and shortened the time required to wait to 75 years. An article in the Oregonian dated 19 June 2013 clarifies the details. Cemeteries are wonderful places for connections and serendipity moments, but we must keep abreast of the changes in the laws regarding them.


Sunday, March 23, 2014 - Thinking Outside the Box

Did you ever watch Ken Jennings play on Jeopardy? How did he out think the computer and his competitors? He played seventy-five games and won over $3,000,000. Even playing against the computer "Watson" he held his own though he did not win. Recently another contestant Arthur Chu won almost $300,000 in twelve games. People were upset that he did not play using normally expected strategies, but was able to think outisde the box of ways to play. In today's world one must be mentally prepared to think outside the box and especially the computer box.

For genealogists who are working with online providers of materials in searching out ancestors for themselves or others, they must be prepared to adapt when these providers change formats for researching. While the material in their database collections is the same, getting to the information in a timely manner will require some ingenuity and creative thinking.

A friend recently suggested that it would be interesting to see how the search results have changed in the searches performed on Last year at this time one of my new class power point presentations focused on using in both the new search and the old search. Today these searches can be performed in the primary search and the advanced search. At the present time the results of those searches are not exactly the same as what happened previously, but they are coming closer every day. Working out the glitches is the job of the computer programmers. Computers only do what they are programmed to do.

Over the past two weeks while helping our daughter and her family move, watching the granddaughters in the process, working on my mother's probate estate and doing some client genealogy research there has been limited time to play with the new format at One thing that seemed to help in searching under the advanced search is to enter only the surname and the place where they lived. When entering a first name as well often no results are found.  Like the old format there are four categories available for searching: Historical Records, Stories & Publications, Family Trees, and Photos & Maps. This search is done with exact results and historical records checked.

My ancestor Daniel Tidd is the name used in most of my demonstrations as there are very few people found in the United States with that name. He is one of my favorite ancestors and there are only two others that come up in the census results, one being his son.  I actually named my first son after him. So in advanced search his first and last name and the place of Massachusetts are entered for the first trial in exact search. There are 143 results, the same as what was found under the old search.

The results for Daniel Tidd in Massachusetts include:
Census & Voter Lists 20 results - 1800, 1830-1880, 1900-1910,  Massachusetts State Census 1855&1865, Iowa State Census 1895
Birth, Marriage & Death 92 results
Military 6 results
Schools, Directories & Church Histories 17 results
Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills 11 results
Reference, Dictionaries & Almanacs 4 results

Searching just for the last name Tidd in Massachusetts the results include:
Census & Voter Lists 1,423 results
Birth, Marriage & Death 4,709 results
Military 291 results
Schools, Directories & Church Histories 4,210
Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills 285 results
Reference, Dictionaries & Alamanacs 91 results

While the individual databases may allow for a second search with both first and last name, this can slow down the process. The search results now appear to include some spelling variations. The shortcut keys at the bottom left side seem to allow for highlighting the next or previous record, which helps the researcher to identify those databases that have been reviewed. By clicking on Collections on the left side allows for searching in a particular country or ethnicity.

In two week's time the search process has improved to the point that the results more clearly reflect the old search format. For those who never used that format this will be a new method of researching. There are videos, webinars and other instructional tools to use in learning how to make the system work. Working within the search parameters we must learn to make the system work for us to achieve the results quickly, concisely and incorporating the thinking outside the box system. There is no wrong way to search, but there are some great suggestions to make it better.

Wishing everyone the best in exploring and Both have a wealth of materials to use in discovering our family histories. Please share any search ideas that you may have discovered. Serendipity can be found among the gems located at these websites.

Monday, March 10, 2014 and Adapting to Change

This week during a break from tending our granddaughters there were a few minutes to work on some research at In doing so on Thursday, March 6, an odd thing happened. For the first search in my typical fashion using the "Old Search," which was my favorite, the results seemed very much as those of the past. Then when going back to change some of the criteria of the search there appeared suddenly an entirely different type of search results. Although we had been forewarned that the "Old Search" function would disappear, nothing mentally prepared me for encountering the new functions randomly in my every day work.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog Posts and the Oscars

Today marked 35,000 post views for this blog. In April will be the five year blogiversary. This is my 250th post and it is amazing the variety of topics that they cover. With seventy followers and many others who are reading, it is an honor to know that there is interest in what is written. Tonight I watched the Oscars, which is not something that I normally would do. It was entertaining and thought provoking.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New England Books by Roger Thompson

This past year the opportunity to read New England books written by Roger Thompson occurred several times. Roger teaches at the University of East Anglia in England during the school year and often spends time in New England to explore the early settlers. His book, Divided We Stand, Watertown, Massachusetts 1630-1680, is a phenomenal history of a place and time where at least eight of my early ancestral families lived. Even though it only has 201 pages of the actual text, there are an additional 50 pages of end notes. This is followed by an index of ten pages, which does not appear to include the end notes.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Week Reflections

This has been an amazing week. A week ago we were snowed in and home bound entertaining our youngest granddaughter. Then when we exchanged this granddaughter for her older sister after the great thaw began, it was on to a week full of genealogy happenings.