Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caught Up In the Research

Do you ever get on a roll in doing family history research and you can hardly make yourself stop long enough to take a breath, or eat, or sleep? That has been me the past couple of weeks, but Sunday night was the most challenging yet. So here is a walkthrough of what happened in the research for a client project.

The spouse asked for me to research the family as an anniversary gift in August. With limited time before the anniversary the work was concentrated on the mother for whom we had the most information. For her direct line ancestors information was found going back six generations. The individuals showing on the pedigree chart were located in all pertinent census records and almost all of their burial information was located on through the fourth generation. The marriage records for each couple were located on the Missouri Digital Archives website, as well as most of the death certificates. Information was also found for six of the nine couples in the fifth generation, with birthplace information indicated for all eight couples.

This research yielded fifty-one census documents, nine marriage records, fourteen death certificates, two family trees, two family trees, and some information from There are twelve Civil War documents, one WWI registration card, and one military headstone record. Of the fourth generation grandfathers, three are noted to have fought in the Civil War, two for the Union and one for the Confederates. Other finds include one land record and one prison record. The prison record has been ordered and should be here soon.

Following the review of work done on the mother's ancestors the family provided some documents to help resolve questions about the father's information. The family knew very little about the father and he was really the focus for the research. Their documents included two birth certificates, a birth registration, an envelope with the address of the parents and some family information compiled through interviews of relatives. The family ordered the birth certificate of their father, the son of the man we are researching. When it was returned it unfortunately was a recently typed certified copy and we may have to pursue a copy of the original.

The third phase began on Sunday and it is still hard to believe the serendipity moments experienced in that and the following days. For the father's direct line ancestors information was found going back five generations. Finding the father's death certificate was the first great moment. Having an uncommon middle name helps to distinguish him from others of the same first and last name. While some information was questionable, it appeared to be a great match. The address listed was very close to the one on the envelope from the family. From there the search was on for possible parents. The first family was not a good fit, so after spending some time on them, the research presented a more appropriate match. Following this family generated twenty-five census documents, one marriage record, four death certificates, another family tree and two family trees. There was another WWI draft registration card, a land record, and a ship passenger record.

The real discovery came with a family tree showing a very good connection with the family. In thoroughly reading through the file two great sources were shared. The most important source was a book written about the family in 1956. Going to it was found that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a copy and it is available in digital format. This is a most remarkable book, produced by a family historian. All 262 pages relate to the particular family being researched. There in the middle of the book are listed these very parents, noting their children and siblings, with dates and places that were known to the author. They were unable to locate the person we are working on, but knew they had been married four times and listed the names of the spouses.

The client was emailed with the pertinent information about this book and encouraged to download it, print a copy and enjoy their family history. There may be mistakes in the book, but with the prior research most of the information appears to be accurate. How easy it would have been to overlook this publication and yet it is crucial to understanding this family. Much more is shared about how this family settled in America and moved across this country. Even on there are some fantastic stories shared. Now these records and information need to be compiled into an easy to use format for this family to have and enjoy. Interestingly, on, one family who the census indicated the mother had thirteen children, showed only eight children under one part of the family and under another part of the family showed only the other five children.

Time for me stop writing and get back to work writing a report on this project. It is an honor to work with families in discovering their heritage. What will the prison record tell us? Possibly it is someone else, but if not it will be part of the story. There are sure to be more land and military records as we look into other records. Then there are newspapers to explore. How far will the client be willing to go in this pursuit? They did agree for me to use the material in my writing, teaching and applying for accreditation. It is the serendipitiy that propels me on in this research.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Putting Off Writing Blog Posts

Sometimes one does not feel like writing or things get in the way of getting the words to flow in writing a post. Lately I have been doing a lot of reading, more as a distraction from dealing with my mother's probate and the selling of her home. Even though we are working with a potential buyer and have had several offers, my anxiety is running rather high. Over the weekend I spent about three hours re-doing the power point presentation for this week's class.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Eightieth Birthday Mom!

While you may not be here to help us celebrate, today we honor your dedication and courage in being our mother, grandmother and great grandmother. With four children, twelve grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren you have an impressive group of heirs who inherit so much more than material things. Thank you for all the hours you spent encouraging us in our endeavors and guiding us in our life choices.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Genealogy Reading Update

Five months ago my post on Genealogy Reading listed a collection of magazines and other publications that were waiting to be read. There were one hundred overall and today there are twenty-one publications left to read. The feeling of almost completing this task is wonderful.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tom Jones - Alsace Lorraine and Bavarian Connections

While preparing for the Genealogical Council of Oregon Advanced Workshop on August 1, 2014 with Tom Jones, that had a limit of twenty-five attendees, there was some required reading we were asked to do ahead. Some of this "pre-homework" was the same as what is in his book, Mastering Genealogical Proof, and the other was new material.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writer's Blog Tour


Judi Scott invited me to participate in this Writer's Blog Tour.
Judi and I enjoyed working together over the past five years as part of a team of editors for the Bulletin, a quarterly publication of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. We also traveled to several genealogy events and conferences where we were presenters of classes or attended classes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Respecting Personal Boundaries in Genealogy and Life

How many times have you had someone you don't know call on the telephone or knock on the door, expecting you to allow an intrusion into your life? Maybe as we age we become more sensitive to such people who assume that we are open to discussing with them our lives and the lives of our families. When doing genealogy and family history research these same personal boundaries are subject to intrusive questions from complete strangers.