Monday, December 31, 2012

Online Webinar Presenters

After posting the article on the upcoming 2013 webinars, I thought it would be interesting to note who the presenters were for the past several years and upcoming year combined, as posted on the websites of the top three organizations. For the three combined organizations, Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS), Legacy Family Tree (LFT), and Southern California Genealogy Society (SCGS), there were a total of eighty-two speakers. SCGS has forty-four speakers from 2012-2013, with most speaking one time. Legacy Family Tree has forty-one speakers from 2010-2013, with many speaking multiple times. ISGS has 22 speakers from 2012-2013, with all speaking one time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Historic Novels and Genealogy Serendipity Moments

Sometimes we just need a book to read that we can escape in, to explore a different time and place. Historic novels written by authors who go to great lengths to explore information about those times and places are exceptional. One of my favorites is the author David McCullough and especially his book, 1776. The first time reading it I borrowed a copy from someone, as I was not sure if I wanted to purchase a copy. By the time the book was finished there was a deep desire to have my own copy. Fortunately one was found at a local book sale in our community, hardback for $1. This book was about the time and place where our ancestors lived and helped me to understand the experiences that were a part of their lives.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Birth of One Child - Religious Affiliations

How is it possible that the birth of one child has so profoundly impacted our world for over 2,000 years? Were it not part of recorded history by humble disciples years later, the spirit of Christmas would be unknown today. Earlier this year I developed a lecture on power point entitled, Religious Affiliations and Their Records. For genealogists the use of religious records in our research is profoundly important no matter where we are researching in the world. According to wikipedia there are 2.2 billion Christians within the world population of 7 billion. On this Sunday before Christmas 2012 I thought I would share some thoughts about this part of my family history.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amos Tidd Family Revolutionary War Patriots Update

A few months back I posted the page for the Amos Tidd Family Revolutionary War Patriots, which is an article I wrote for the Bulletin, the quarterly of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. Due to the length and footnotes I prefer to post these articles as individual pages. Ever since I wondered why no one ever viewed this page and today discovered that it never posted properly. Just a short time ago this was corrected and the page is available for reading. It is one of my favorite family history stories of my favorite ancestral family.

This family had seven sons and at least six and possibly the father served in the Revolutionary War. Two sons died at Valley Forge. Abijah died March 30, 1778 and Nathan died October 28, 1778. The oldest son Amos and/or the father served in 1775. John, Oliver, and Daniel my direct ancestor, were serving for lengthy periods and all received pensions. Thaddeus the youngest son was only about ten at the time and does not appear to have served.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Webinars for 2013 A Great Educational Opportunity

Webinars are one of the best educational investments for genealogists, as most of them cost nothing to attend. For the 2013 calendar there are now over thirty four available for registration. They average three per month and there are certainly more to come.

The two hosting groups that have posted the upcoming webinars are Southern California Genealogical Society and Illinois Genealogical Society. For both of these groups if you miss the webinar you must be a member of their society to access the archived webinars. The annual membership is quite reasonable and offers additional benefits. One of my other favorite groups is the Legacy Family Tree group and their 2013 schedule is to be posted soon. With this group you may often view the webinar for a short time after it is presented, but to receive the accompanying handouts one must purchase the CD of that webinar.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Discovering Uncomfortable Things About a Family

On Monday I went to a Christmas party luncheon with several friends. While we were driving home I shared with them a little about the books I have been reading. The titles are the same, Sometimes God Has A Kid's Face, by two different authors, Father Bruce Ritter and Sister Mary Rose McGeady. The books are profoundly moving accounts of young people who turned to the Covenant House in New York City for aid in turning their lives around.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shopping for Books, Unexpected Surprises

Recently I resigned from several city boards, including the library board. Serving on the boards was rewarding, yet stressful. With my health concerns I no longer felt I could give this service. Besides I am moving into more involvement in the genealogy field. The library board sent me a wonderful card of appreciation along with a gift card to Barnes and Noble. The closest store to us is at the local major shopping mall, so I went on Tuesday to spend this generous gift.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Office Cleaning - BYU Class Materials

The last few days I have been going through the course materials for the classes I took from Brigham Young University seven to ten years ago. Some of the material was pretty dated at the time of the courses, so now it is even more outdated. The materials of most interest to me are the submissions and writings I created as part of the courses. In my office there was an entire shelf filled with fourteen notebooks, one for each of the genealogy related courses. Today I have only six notebooks left and eventually may decide to discard even more.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Talarski Family and Gorczyca Family in Poland

With the email, from the researcher in Poland, my client is again left struggling to find his ancestors who lived in Olsyzmy, Parish of Kadzillo, Lomza Diocese, Ostrokeka, Poland. So, we decided to share the known family from Poland who arrived in the United States, Jozef in 1904 and Marianna and the children in 1906. Since they came before World War I and II, they escaped the wars, but much of the records for them in Poland were destroyed in the ensuing military conflicts and infiltration of the Russian Army.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Catching Up After A Busy Couple of Weeks

It's been nine days since my last post. Things have been hectic, with Thanksgiving at our house for fifteen, and watching our granddaughters most of the week, I am a little behind. Today I was talking on the phone with a friend and she asked me if I was enjoying a quiet house. Until that moment I had not realized I was home alone for the first time in many days. While working in solitude I can make enormous progress on genealogy projects. That is why I often work late at night, so my train of thought can flow freely, uninterrupted.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Inquisitive Minds Part III Corrections

After viewing the notes today I discovered that I had overlooked the Long Family in the third post on this work. Working too long on one project can lead to mistakes, but I am pleased to say this is corrected. That is the beauty of writing a blog versus posting on facebook, I can make corrections. Please refer to the original post and look for the Long Family.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Addendum for families not listed on the map.

There were thirty-four others who were not on the map, but were listed in the "Charlestown Immigrant Origins 1630-1640" in the book, From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692. They are as follows:

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know - Part III

By now you are probably wondering if Part III of this series is ever going to be posted. Rest assured that this inquisitive mind has been hard at work comparing the families who settled in Charlestown, MA by 1640. Twenty-three of them are on the map of the town created in 1638 and are the focus of the study.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guatemala Earthquakes 1976 and 2012

This is about a personal serendipity moment that occurred this week. On November 7, 2012 a 7.4 earthquake struck in the regions of San Marcos and Quezaltenango. On February 4, 1976 an 8.1 earthquake struck in the regions east of Guatemala City at 3am while I slept in my bed on the third story of a cinder block house in the heart of that city. Now the news today has altered the power of that quake to 7.5, according to wikipedia. I still have the newspapers from that event and at the time it was reported that 30,000 people lost their lives, while today it is reported that the total was 23,000 people died.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know Part II

Charlestown, Massachusetts – Comparing Compiled Data

In the book from Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692 author Roger Thompson (2012) shares four items of special significance.

Of the twenty-three surnames indicated on the 1638 land map of Charlestown Town Center on page 100, all of them show up in later town records. Some individuals held positions of governing responsibilities, while others were dedicated to their occupations. Their financial standing is also indicative of their place in the community. This map was published in A Century of Town Life: A History of Charlestown 1775-1887 by James Frothingham Hunnewell, which includes a chapter on “The Village in 1638.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know - Part I

Are all genealogists slightly crazy? Well, maybe not crazy, but truly those that dig are very inquisitive and maybe a little obsessive compulsive. We push for details that the average person would not even consider the possibility of finding. Like digging in old post office records for months to find tidbits about ancestors and their neighbors. This includes doing the FAN type of searching for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors, as first taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Tradtions

Tomorrow is Halloween and we have been anxiously awaiting it with our grandchildren. For the grandsons in Provo I sent a box filled with decorations, cards, Halloween treats, storybooks, workbooks, toys, etc. Then when it arrived at their home we shared their opening it on Skype. It was so much fun to watch their excitement in discovering their gifts.  For the granddaughters we worked together to decorate our home, read stories about Halloween, made cookies, helped them dress in their costumes and went to their ward Halloween party. This is so much fun for us as grandparents.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thirty Days of Gratitude - Serendipity Moments

On Tuesday I began posting thirty days of gratitude.
For day one I posted: My days begin with looking at a picture of my four grand children on the computer screen. Can't wait to have them all together again. So very grateful for my husband who put it there.
For day two I posted: Today the sun came out and beautiful blue sky shown above. I am so grateful to live in Oregon with all the beautiful scenery, especially from our windows.

Friday, October 19, 2012

APG - Association of Professional Genealogists

Tomorrow is our fall meeting for the Oregon group of APG. In joining APG on the national level as part of my college class for Professional Genealogists, it became apparent the importance of this national group. Since 2004 this organization provided some of my greatest learning experiences. Within my computer document files under my name, then family history, and finally under APG is the history of my interactions with the group. While the annual  membership fee of $65 a year seems costly, it provides some of my best client connections. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Findagrave Information May Need Corrections

Some time ago I requested that corrections be made to the information on my great grandfather Harold Hamilton Straw. Everything in red or brackets are the changes that needed to be added. These changes were made to the first listing created by Colette Harrison, record added: Sep 27, 2010, Find A Grave Memorial# 59273744, but the second listing created by Daphane Hoover, record added: Nov 27, 2010, Find A Grave Memorial# 62217435 has not been changed. The collection my grandmother Zella Straw Olsen, his daughter, passed on to me includes pictures, personal letters and other documents, including letters from his third wife listed below. To ensure that this correct information is available to future researchers I am posting a copy on this blog. It is what was forwarded to the persons maintaining the memorials, along with my contact information.

Oregon Historical Society on a Dark and Stormy Night

On Friday night October 12th, the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm, the Oregon Historical Society hosted a reception for their members to preview their new exhibit: The Mightiest Wind, The 1962 Columbus Day Storm. This storm is noted to be one of the worst natural disasters of all time for Oregon. Last year there was a request for articles about personal experiences that occurred during the storm from OHS in the Oregonian newspaper, so I decided to share an article that was posted on this blog. It can be found under the label Columbus Day Storm. On Tuesday they sent an odd email as sort of an invitation to attend the event and it said I could bring guests. After calling OHS to confirm that yes, this was an invitation; I called some friends to see if they were interested in attending. Valerie was willing to accompany me on the dark and stormy night. Driving into Portland was not too bad; we even found a parking spot on the street corner where the building is located. Returning home it was rainy, breezy and so dark that one needed to be very alert to see the lines on the road.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reading is Addicting for Genealogists

This year I read some very interesting books. First I read, Albion's Seed, by David Hackett Fischer, published by Oxford University Press, 1989, 946 pages. Then I read  From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692 by Roger Thompson, published by the New England Historical Genealogical Society, Boston, 2012, 593 pages. These two books helped to expand my knowledge of how the United States came to be and I highly recommended them. The more I read the more I want to know and understand my own heritage. The first book I borrowed from the Genealogical Forum of Oregon and the second book I purchased from the New England Historical Genealogical Society.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ten Steps to Getting Your Genealogy Right

Ten Steps to Getting Your Genealogy Right

  1. Collect documents and information from within your own home.
  2. Collect documents and information from your living relatives.
  3. Input information into a computer database.
  4. Source every detail on every person to validate documentation of the facts.
  5. Print a pedigree chart to use as a road map.
  6. Do census research on every couple on your pedigree chart.
  7. Create a timeline of events in each couples lifetime.
  8. Do online research for documents that are needed.
  9. Research every location where a couple lived to prepare for onsite research.
  10. Research collateral lines to substantiate your main line.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Lovely if Surreal Conversation

Thank you!  Had a lovely if surreal conversation earlier this evening…

This day I was blessed to witness serendipity at it’s finest. A birth mother who gave up a precious daughter over forty years ago had a lovely if surreal conversation with her child. It actually was surreal for both of them. The first conversation though, was between the daughter and me, to set up the phone call between the birth mother and her daughter. Their phone call was a private conversation between the two of them, so they could become acquainted and establish the beginning of a relationship that will enhance each of their lives. I anxiously waited for my friend to call me with the details of how it went.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BobBoston Fills a Findagrave Request for Joshua Tedd

Less than twenty-four hours is all it took for BobBoston of to fulfill my request for a picture of the grave marker for Joshua Tedd. The original information on findagrave was limited. It showed: his birth as unknown, his death Sep. 15, 1678, buried in Phipps Street Burying Ground in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA, in plot 4L47, created by BobBoston, record added Apr. 15, 2010, findagrave memorial number 51164287.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fascinated by Charlestown, MA and the Tidd Family

When studying the Tidd family, who seem to have first come to the colonies in about 1637, I reviewed the works of many authors. Recently I purchased two books relative to the town of Charlestown, Massachusetts where they are known to have first inhabited. The first book is From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692 by Roger Thompson, published by the New England Historical Genealogical Society, Boston, 2012, 593 pages. The second book is Charlestown, Mass. Vol. 1Vital Records to 1850 by Roger D. Joslyn, published by the New England Historical Genealogical Society, Boston, 1984, 919 pages.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Beautiful Fall Day at Rose City Cemetery

Back on Memorial Day I visited the Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery with my friend Teena. Since then I helped her to organize her collection of family history into a notebook and computer database. She shared the notebook at a recent family reunion. While the family compared notes, they came to an agreement that the family had been linked to the wrong brother in New Zealand. To further corroborate this link required a visit to Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon where her grandparents and great grandparents on her paternal line are buried. There is also another great grandfather on her maternal line.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

John Philip Olsen Family Reunion Sherwood, Oregon

Yesterday, September 15, 2012, the descendants of John Philip and Julia (Brown) Olsen met in Snyder Park in Sherwood, Oregon for the annual family reunion. For this couple, both of immigrant families from Norway, this would be an honor and acknowledgement of their valiant efforts to raise a family. All of the children were born on the family farm, Oak Leaf Farm, in Orenco, Oregon. Of the close to two hundred descendants and extended family, there are at least one hundred and six living. Twenty-five direct descendants attended this event, along with fifteen extended family members, for a total of forty people. Of the family groups (in bold below), three were represented and three were not.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reaching Out to Newly Discovered Birth Family

In the process of helping clients find their living relatives there are many serendipity moments. This is how my latest adoption research project began on August 2, 2012. As always, I am a little hesitant to get involved, but this felt like something that I should do. The following is posted with the client’s permission, while protecting the confidential information for those involved.

First email:
My friend forwarded to me your name from the Genealogical Forum of Oregon
I am interested in tracing my birth mother from her birth in North Dakota, _____
I was born in Houston, Texas.  I know details of my adoption.
I have lots of info on her, including an engagement listing in ______ with picture.
l would like to know if she is alive, sibs etc.
I do not know the name of my father.
If you are interested email me or call

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Living Life Fully in Old Age as a Genealogist

Today it has been one year since I broke my arm. While it took only four months to heal, the impact of the fall has lasted much longer. It was a very long process, from extreme pain and unable to fend for myself, to the ability to once again use my arm freely. A challenging part of recovery was I had to type one-handed with my left hand, as I am right handed. Seven years earlier, in 2004, I injured the same arm in a car accident and went through rotator cuff surgery. The blessing with the surgery is that I had a morphine drip for the first few days, followed with some other major painkillers. As fate would have it I do not respond well to the stronger painkillers and can only tolerate them for a short time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Phase Two: Updating and Comparing Your Family History Research

My research brief case has not left my office for a long time. It has been gathering dust and papers that need to be reviewed, discarded or filed in the right notebook. Now that the computer database has been updated, I am moving on to family group records (FGR). For the Tidd family there were printouts for four generations, Daniel Tidd Jr. 1824-1913, Daniel Tidd Sr. 1799-1869, Daniel Tidd R.W.1760- 1806, and Amos Tidd 1729-abt. 1800. Amos lived through the Revolutionary War and probably moved to New Hampshire. His death and that of his wife remain one of the unsolved mysteries in this family.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Interesting Blog Statistics

On June 25, 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled, "Genealogy Education - Enhance Your Research." That post has been the most viewed for some time and today it reached 500 views. That is more than double of any other post and more than the next two combined, which are, "Genealogists- How Our Brains Assimilate Information" with 231 views and "Genealogy Serendipity Moments - The Unvarnished Truth" with 205 views. The other two with more than a hundred views are, "Genealogists Shopping List" with 163 views and "Genealogy Serendipity Moments - The Rigg Family" with 153 views. These five out of 154 total written posts continue to be popular.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Updating and Comparing Your Family History Research

Back before computers made it so easy to have a database of my family history work, I relied upon a 15 Generation Pedigree Chart for researching away from home. This chart allowed me to have a quick reference of the work on my various family lines. Over the years I have gone through at least three of these, as I literally wore them out and taped them together. Today I usually just use the standard 6 Generation Pedigree Chart that I print from my database for the family line I am currently working on. Traveling with a flash drive makes that an easier task. One thing I like about the larger chart is I could see where my lines intersect and I color-coded each family group by country of origin. My ancestry is about 1/4 Norwegian, 1/8 German, 1/4 English, and 1/8 Danish.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Remembrances of the Tidd Family

By Annie Hosmer Sherk (1960)
            I am writing a history of the Tidd family, for Zella, at her request. I hope my children will find it interesting, also, so I am making copies for them.
            Daniel Tidd, our grandfather, was born at Holliston, Massachusetts, July 11, 1825. His family had been in this country for at least one hundred years before that – perhaps longer than that. They had come from England by way of Holland, and there is a tradition in the family that there was an Irish ancestor, named Sir Daniel Tidd, somewhere along the line. At any rate there was a Daniel Tidd in each generation. Our grandfather’s father was Daniel Tidd, and back as far as we know, there is a Daniel in the family. When Earl and I visited Holliston, which is a small village, we found many graves of the Tidd family in the cemetery adjacent to the Congregational Church building. This was the church to which our grandmother Tidd belonged. One grave was that of a Daniel Tidd, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. It was marked by the emblem, which is placed on the graves of all veterans of the Revolution.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Revolutionary War Patriots of the Amos Tidd Family

I posted a new page on Due to our busy couple of weeks with family I am posting articles previously written for other publications. Look for the "Revolutionary War Patriots of the Amos Tidd Family" at the top of the blog under that page.

The Moehnke Family Moves to the New World

By Mildred Wallace and Mariam Bluhm Martensen 

Gottfried and Anna Dorothea (Malnososki or Mollofskie) Moehnke came to the Sullivan area of Grey County, Ontario, Canada, with their family to find a better life in April 1858. Family records list several towns where they lived in Freidrichstein, Prussia, now in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship (Province), Poland. They are all within a short distance of each other and east of Hamburg. They sailed from Hamburg and the passenger record includes the following people: Gottfried age 46, Dorothea, wife, age 45, Carl (Charles) age 17, Michael age 14, Justine age 12, Gottfried age 9, Christine age 7, Frederich age 5, Florentine age 2, and Christian 4 months. The place of origin is Friedrichstein, Prussia and his occupation is Landmann (probably farmer).1 The baptismal record of Justine, created at her baptism on June 3, 1872 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church by Pastor Zu Brank, while they were living in Sullivan, also confirms this information.2

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Updating Family Information on

This week I have been working with for my Tidd family in Holliston, Massachusetts. They were posted with some pictures, with limited and some inaccurate information. By contacting the creator of the postings, the same person for each of the four entries, we were able to update the information on burials that occurred from 1806 to the 1850s. When he created the postings he was using the cemetery burial information, of which there are various versions. I have researched this family for over forty years and have the vital records information plus family recorded information. This process also caused me to verify some of the facts and update my database. We even added the wife of the Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Tidd. The best result of this process was the inclusion of my contact information for those researching this family.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Researching Massachusetts Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

This is an article that was published in the Bulletin, a quarterly of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, in December of 2011. August is proving to be a busy month, so I am posting articles written for other venues.

For this article we are focusing on researching by location. As an example the review covers the Massachusetts state records, Middlesex county records and the records for the town of Holliston. One of the best resources for doing a place search for such records is the catalog at You will usually first search by the town, then the county and finally by the state. A useful tool when doing such a search is to print or save to your computer the index of topics found for that locality, and then make notes as to what is available, noting ones you wish to pursue.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Most Utilized Websites Found in Top 500 and Then Some

This week I received an email about the Top Seventeen Most-Visited Websites. The link took me to the following website.
Most Popular Sites 2012: Alexa Ranks The 500 Most-Visited Websites
From this information I created a list of the top twenty websites that I frequently visit or receive information from.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Willard Darling Family of Greeley, Colorado

As I pondered what story to share this week, I remembered a unique story about the family of Willard Mortimer and Abigail Stedman (Tidd) Darling. She was the youngest sister of my ancestor Daniel Tidd Jr. In the process of researching I encountered a family member who was also working on this family. Satia Turner Goff from Seattle, Washington was my first family connection and I don't even remember how we met. First of all I just loved her unusual name and second I was thrilled to find someone who had family memorabilia that she was willing to share. We shared numerous emails, mailed each other copies of our materials and pictures, but never met personally. She was the great, great granddaughter of Abigail. Unfortunately she had health problems and passed away in 2007. I was sorely disappointed not to have more time to share with her. From my database I have these notes from her:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How a Genealogy Conference Happens

Last weekend the Genealogical Council of Oregon held their bi-annual conference in Eugene, Oregon. The two key coordinators for the conference were Connie Lenzen, Conference Chair and Beverly Rice, Program Coordinator. Connie made the arrangements with the facility and kept track of progress in all areas of conference preparations. The conference was held for the third time at Lane Community College, Center for Meeting and Learning. It is a lovely venue and they included a nice lunch as part of the package. They provided site maps and a layout map for the vendor area.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Indexing Horse Race is Almost to the Finish Line

AncestryInsider has viewed the 1940 Census Indexing Project as a Horse Race, running FamilySearch against and others posting the completed states online when available to search by index. It certainly has been amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch as in less than four months the finished project is almost here. The horses or competitors should reach the finish line sometime today or tomorrow. FamilySearch is now at 98.97% and only New Jersey, at 67%, is available for indexing. Five states are in the final arbitration stages, and of the twenty not available for search by index, fourteen are at 100%. Thank you so much to the volunteers who spent countless hours making this possible.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making Family Connections with Newly Discovered Siblings

This week my family, friends, and I witnessed the discovery of previously unknown immediate birth family members for two separate people. While not all such discoveries end in happily ever after connections, just having the opportunity for these people to have some answers to life long questions is very valuable. This is not my normal type of work and I only provide leads for others to follow. With the amount of information online it is usually possible to find the people being sought. It also usually takes a combination of knowledge in doing genealogical research, DNA testing and online resources. When providing such information there is a firm and clear explanation as to the risks involved and the need to proceed with caution.

Making the Most of Local Genealogical Research Facilities

In 2004 I became an official member of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. Years before I visited on a free day when my family was young, money was tight, and my research was sporadic. Memberships in most local genealogical facilities are usually very reasonable. At GFO it is $40 a year with paper copies of the publications sent by mail. A day pass is $7 and the first Monday of every month is free. For me the membership is a means of showing my support for the organization and to help preserve the collections.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1940 Census Indexing Winding Down

This week on Friday, July 20, which would have been my grandmother's 109th birthday, I completed 25,000 records for the 1940 Indexing project. Just this month I was able to do over 10,000 records. Why would I invest so much time in this project? Because, it is a once in a lifetime experience that allows people to participate in a project that will be beneficial to researchers for free forever. The feelings of locating a record for a  family member, friend or a fellow researcher are usually a sense of connection to people that they have known intimately.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Jower Family of St. Johns, Oregon - Serendipity At Its Best

Yesterday I paused to decide what to do next with my Saturday. The Genealogical Forum of Oregon would be open one more hour and if I left shortly I could go there and pick up some books I need to review. Then the phone rang and that plan was quickly cast aside. Tony King, someone I never met, had been directed to call me by a friend of mine he met in the BYU Family Search Center in Provo, Utah. That is one of my favorite places to research in and I can easily picture him walking into the Lee Library on BYU campus, a large spacious library, going downstairs, through the heavy doors, down the long hallway and through more heavy doors, into the spacious FSC. As he entered he was met by one of many missionary volunteers who assist patrons in their research. Tony meets Gerald Kammerman a good friend of mine who moved to Utah several years ago. We often connect when I go to Utah for the BYU Family History Conference in the summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Artifact Leaves Our Home

                    Great Grandma Julia Brown Olsen's Kneading Table

Our oldest son Daniel recently relocated and moved into his own apartment. At the age of thirty-two this is his first time to live on his own other than a two year mission to Pennsylvania. Our three daughters all lived on their own for a while prior to marriage. We still have two sons at home, the middle son having served a mission in Hawaii and receiving an AA in Computer Science; the youngest attending community college. This has worked well for us, as they help with household expenses, all working to support themselves. Having older children live at home is not really accepted in today's society, but it happens quite frequently. After working on the 1940 Census, in a time period of great financial struggles, many older children lived with their parents and/or siblings; I feel that we are not so unusual. A great many of them were not married.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

At What Cost, Gaining an Education in Genealogy

Investment in Time, Understanding, Skills, Professionalism

Learning is a lifelong pursuit for genealogists. Each day a new type of computer application, database, discovery of unknown records contributes to the ongoing need of a willingness to learn.

When I was first developing an interest in genealogical research I was a junior in high school. My grandmother fed that interest by sharing the family artifacts in her possession.  Then she took me to the family cemeteries, so I could become the next generation keeper of the family history. She wrote letters to her distant relatives and took me to visit others who lived near by.  This first phase of my education in genealogy was richly rewarding as I began to compile the family data and stories that only these people had a recollection of. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Melancholy Changes and Serendipity

This week so many events occurred and I am very behind in posting on this blog. First there was the FamilySearch Indexing Marathon from Sunday to Monday that consumed a great deal of energy. Tuesday I spent time with my daughter and two granddaughters. In between our visit I went and had a mammogram, the first time in ten years. They have vastly improved the testing procedure and I was very comfortable this time. Next time I won't wait so long. My next stop was to see a dear friend who is in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. It was in honor of her that I finally agreed to have the test. Our lives change so quickly and in spite of all we can do to direct our path, the path is mostly out of our control. What we can do is take preventative measures to make the most of the time that we have.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Familysearch Indexing Legacy Marathon

This was an exciting twenty-four hours in the genealogy world. The FamilySearch indexing marathon ended at 5 PM Pacific Time, with a glorious finish of more than 10,080,334 records, 7,068,719 indexed and 3,011,615 arbitrated. More than 45,104 individuals participated. Due to wanting to post about this experience, I was waiting to write until after the final numbers were in, but they are not being posted until tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Giffen of Tennessee Part Three

This is the conclusion of the research into establishing who was probably the real Little Giffin of Tennessee. Here are the facts discovered from online resources.

The American Civil War Soldiers on list includes:
George Giffin, Tennessee Union, Corporal
John Giffin, Tennessee Union, Private
Volney Giffin, Tennessee Union, Private
William Giffin, Tennessee Union, Corporal

All served in Company A, 6th Infantry Regiment, Tennessee, except William who enlisted in Company C. There is a regimental history, including some of the battles fought found within this collection at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Who Was the Real Giffen of Tennessee? Part Two

While the family of Volney Giffin felt he was the Giffin written about in the poem Little Giffen of Tennessee by Francis Orray Ticknor, there is reasonable question of doubt that he was. In the city where Francis Ticknor lived and died there is a historical marker containing the following:

On the summit of the rise to the east is the site of "Torch Hill", home of Dr. Francis Orray Ticknor (1822-74), author of the famed war story, "Little Giffen of Tennessee". Dr. Ticknor was a physician at the Confederate Hospital on Upper Broad St. in 1861-1865.
Giffen, a 16 year old Confederate soldier, was treated at the hospital for serious wounds. Dr. Ticknor took the boy to his home where Mrs. Ticknor nursed him. Before his wounds entirely healed, "Little Giffen" voluntarily took up his rifle and returned to battle. He was never heard of again.
The Creek Indians used "Torch Hill" for signal fires, giving the hill its name.
© Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ruby M. Harvey Collection and Little Giffin Poem

Recently our Family History Center has been cleaning house. We were able to purchase some very nice books from a local genealogist and then we were given some other books, so we needed more space. Some of the books and other materials went to the FHL in Salt Lake City and others went to a local group planning to set up a major research library in the Portland, Oregon area. There were two items that I am still considering what to do with them. They are more in the line of personal genealogical information compiled by individual researchers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Week 2012

For our family this has been a very interesting week leading up to Father's Day. For my husband this week probably seems surreal. On Monday he had surgery and spent the night in the hospital, which was a first for him since birth. No matter who is having surgery, or what type it is there is always a sense of apprehension about the outcome. I am very happy to say he was home early the next day and is having a very good recovery. He slept a good part of the day. We are grateful for very nice recliner chairs and a sleep number bed, which makes it very comfortable for him to rest. The refrigerator and cupboards are stocked with food, so he pretty much has everything he needs for the next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rex McEntire Texas Attorney- Serendipity Moment

Tonight our granddaughters are coming and will be here for three days. That means that for all practical intents and purposes the genealogy side of my life is put on hold. So, last night I decided to work on a research request of my good friend who was adopted at birth through an illegal adoption. What she wanted was to locate a couple of articles about the late Rex McEntire who was the lawyer for the adoption. There is a group of adoptees, for which he was the lawyer, who are trying to find out answers about their adoptions. While I don't do research for adoptions, I was willing to help my friend with this request. In doing so I had an unusual serendipity moment.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SCGS Jamboree in Oregon 2012, My Notes

Last week Barry Elwell sent out an email notice about the webinar classes that were being made available by the Southern California Genealogical Society during the Jamboree on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 & 10. Using the link he provided I quickly signed up for all ten classes. When signing up I had no idea if it would be possible for me to view all of them. Then informing my family about attending genealogy classes online for the weekend I hoped they would understand my not being available during those time periods.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Technology and Genealogy Blessings

Today I stayed home as we were having a new furnace and air conditioner installed. With a thirty-year-old furnace and a twenty-year-old ac unit we have gotten our moneys worth out of them. Now that the new equipment is installed, it will be interesting to see just what type of savings we might enjoy. It's like buying a new car, with a nice mpg rating, and hoping to see a savings in gasoline expenses. When we recently made a trip to Medford, Oregon on a genealogy trip, we only had to fill the gas tank when we arrived and when we were home again. In the past there would have been at least another fill up in between our destinations. With the price of gas these days, it can truly impact how much we can afford to travel.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Balance and Keeping Our Lives in Synch

This week has been crazy. When the week starts with a holiday I usually feel out of synch for the week. Monday started off with Memorial Day, when we had our children, family and friends over for a barbecue. My husband and sons are great cooks, so I never touch the grill; actually I do very little cooing anymore. For the meal we had homemade hamburgers (none of the pre-formed patties), baked beans from scratch, fruit salad with all fresh fruit, corn on the cob roasted to perfection on the grill, and my mother's wonderful deviled eggs which everyone is hot to have. We even had our homemade grape juice to drink. It was a very relaxing day. After we ate we played two different card games. One of our guests had never played either of them and he did very well, winning the first game with his partner our son in law. Our granddaughters were delightful entertainment for everyone. We even visited with our daughter, son in law and grandsons via Skype, which helps when they are far away.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nancy P. Taylor, Fitting Together the Pieces to the Puzzle of Her Life

This past week I was reviewing some of my husband's ancestral lines and once again came upon Nancy P. Taylor, listed with the family of John B. and Elizabeth J. Taylor in We have a copy of the family bible page that lists the children of John and Elizabeth and there is no Nancy or even room for her in the family lineup. Their second son James D. was noted to have married a Nancy, so I felt pretty sure that is how she fit into the family.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Uno Family's Son Albert - World War I Casualty

As I sorted through my friend's family paper work to organize their family history I separated the documents by surnames, creating a collection for each. When it came to the Uno family it was obvious that I needed to create a file just for Albert, the second son by that name, who gave his life while serving in the U.S. Army in France during World War I. The collection represents a son and brother that the family did not want to be forgotten and now fills a one-inch notebook. The first item is a medal of a cross with a band above with the word SHARPSHOOTER and the second is a ribbon connecting the bar above with the name Mrs. B Uno and below the medallion 1932, Portland, Oregon, American Legion Auxiliary with a blue star. This was an emotional moment for me as my own grandfather who was just five years younger, trained in the U.S. Army at Oregon State University towards the end of the war and never had to leave this country. War certainly changes the course of people's lives and for mothers the heartache can last forever.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Uno Family at Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery

The night before last I could hardly sleep as I pondered the family of Andrew and Brita (Larsen) Uno and the difficulties that they faced as immigrants from Sweden in 1884 and 1886. The record of their marriage, dated 17 June 1886, is on microfilm at the Clackamas County Records Office. They had three children, Emma born in 1887, Albert W. born in 1891 and died in 1893, and Albert born in June of 1893. I was very curious as to the actual dates of birth and death for the first Albert, so I looked at for the family burial information. Noting that they were buried in Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery, in Milwaukie, Oregon near my home, I felt impressed to visit the cemetery the next day when there would likely be volunteers there for the Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Friend Provides an Early Morning Serendipity Moment

Sometimes I just don't feel like writing and I am not even sure why. I often get caught up in the project of the moment, losing focus on every day things. Then along comes a serendipity moment or hot topic and I can fill pages. This week I had one such experience with the Gates family. On Wednesday morning I awoke to find an email from a friend with whom I have collaborated on some New England research. This is what she sent:
"Check this out I think you will find something of interest."
Created by Scott and Kathyrn (Leedom) Ives

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family Vacations and Genealogy Experiences

This past week we took a week off from the normal routines of life to have a short vacation. Now that our children are no longer teenagers, my husband and I are able to get away with much less fuss, we just leave the kids at home. With a little envy, I have enjoyed reading the posts of Randy Seaver about his Legacy cruise with his wife. I am not sure a cruise is my cup of tea, but we might have to try one just to see. For me the best vacation includes a little genealogy research, even though my husband is not really interested he tolerates my interest in this. While at his mother's home this week I shared some of my current projects with her. Over the years I have enjoyed many family vacations, both as a child and later as a parent. We need these times to recharge our systems and they can also incorporate some history, both personal and cultural. Here are some of my favorites.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Memories of My Mother

My mother is a great blessing in my life and the lives of our family. Her family moved to Oregon in September of 1941 and she has lived here ever since. In that time she lived in Portland, St. John's Woods, St. Johns, Linton, Portland and Clackamas. Overall, for the majority of her life Portland was her home. At the age of twenty she married my father and together they raised two daughters and two sons. My siblings and I all married and settled in the Portland area. We are a close family and that is mostly due to my mother and the way she raised us. She is a great example of what a mother should be and do.

Difficult Family History Issues

No family is perfect. At marriage most of us are young and naive enough to think that we have found happily ever after. As we mature and begin to explore our family history we may become aware of details that most people prefer to keep as unmentionables. In the past people were more guarded about difficult situations that come up in some degree in almost every family. These may include adoption, divorce, spousal infidelity, child abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, mental and/or general health issues, etc. Some of these hidden secrets may be found in newspaper articles, court records, old family documents and even personal letters.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1940 Oregon Census Index Serendipity Moments

Today it became reality. The 1940 census index for Oregon went online and is fully searchable, with downloads of images. Over the past month I worked as an administrator and indexer for many hours. I actually indexed for five of the New England States - New Hampshire was already gone when I thought to do this. This is my area of specialty in my Accredited Genealogy work. These are the states that I indexed and what I completed in 5,000 Records/125 Batches:

Oregon 36
Connecticut 1
Maine  1
Rhode Island 1
Vermont 1
Massachusetts 73
Illinois 3
Iowa 2
Nebraska 5
Utah 1 
Washington 1
3 blank batches

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pro Bono Work and Volunteer Service

Today there was a survey request on the APG Members List about Pro Bono work and other volunteer service provided by the members. The following is my response. 

My volunteer work provides me with experience and a great sense of satisfaction. It is important to pace yourself when doing pro bono work and other volunteer service. This is some of the my volunteer work:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Family of Gedeon Senecal

For today's post I am sharing the story of the family of Gedeon Senecal previously published in the June 2010 Bulletin of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. As we worked on this project for the fiftieth birthday present for one of his descendants, we experienced many serendipity moments. We worked to create an accurate family history based on family information and historical documents. Please excuse any errors. If you have an interest in this family or wish to share additional information, pictures, documents, etc. we would love to hear from you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Great Events and Unexpected Challenges

Being a genealogist brings amazing experiences to one's life. This past week there were some wonderful events that help me to appreciate our family and friends. We share our lives with many people, not unlike our ancestors in every generation. Coming to know their stories can help us to face the events of our lives, good and bad.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Italian Families in America, Little Italy, the Furia Family

Yesterday, as I was working in the family search center for our local area, one of the students from my class came in for help in locating her Italian ancestors in the old country. It is interesting that often when I am working with someone we do not find a major document until they are about to leave. She shared with me the records that she found. I encouraged her to fill out a pedigree chart so we could have a road map for the research. She had one document that showed her grandfather living in a certain town. Then on we found a WWI draft registration card, he actually had two different ones, but the one named the same town as his place of birth. We then looked for online records for that locality and found that has microfilms of the vital records and church records available for ordering.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Statistics at One Year for Gopher Genealogy Blog

I am a statistics person, so for the one-year blogiversary I want to share some of the information provided for this blog through This is another way for me to record this data and track the history of who is reading the posts, where they are located, what types of search engines they use, what browsers they use, what referring sites they are coming from, and what types of posts and pages they are most interested in. While this blog has a small following, it averages about 25 hits a day, with the highest hits being about 100 for a day. For this year there have been over 8630 hits as of today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Change is Difficult, One Must Adapt

This coming week I will celebrate my one-year blogiversary. This has been a most amazing journey. When you mix in other activities of this week it is difficult to comprehend the amount of knowledge and growth my current projects require. So, tonight I go to my blog site and discover that it has been totally revamped.  I was not ready for this, and yet in a few minutes I began to navigate my way around the new format. One of the most frustrating things about using the Internet is nothing ever stays the same.

Monday, April 16, 2012

National Volunteer Week Genealogy Style

Most genealogists that I am acquainted with volunteer generously of their time, so it is very appropriate that they be recognized during national volunteer week. 
A quote from one of my friend's facebook posts this morning recognizes the importance of volunteers:

National Volunteer Week is April 15 - 21, 2012.
 "Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in." ~Author Unknown
By: Elders in Action

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Public Libraries Serendipity Moments from the Past, Present and Future

Throughout my life I have enjoyed the privilege of access to public libraries, even having a library card as a young child. When I think of the book mobile that came down our street and allowed everyone the opportunity to check out some books for a couple of weeks, I can envision the entire experience. There were two public libraries some distance from our home and we often walked, rode our bikes or our mothers took us to utilize the treasures located there. At the time I was clueless to the true investment being made by our community in financing these facilities.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

1940 Census Indexing a Phenomenal Project

As of today the Oregon 1940 Census is 70% completed and we are unable to download any other data for indexing. Who would have imagined that this could be done in six days? Delaware is 100%, Kansas is 80% and Colorado is 85%, with no more downloads available for any of them. There are a total of seventeen States available at for browsing. At the present time thirteen states are available for indexing, with less than 5% completed for any of them except New Hampshire with 13%. I realize this may seem slow to some, but I can assure you this is phenomenal. I expect the current top three, after Delaware, will be finished sometime this week.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unraveling the Story of the Mystery Urn in Oregon - Serendipity Moments

Last Saturday night, April 1, I glanced at my emails and discovered one from my friend Janice Healy. We often bounce genealogy projects off on each other for advice and input. This time she was asking for my help in locating records online about the man whose name was on the newly discovered urn at the Oregon Coast. A young man found the urn while exploring the rocky ocean shores and decided that somehow it should be returned to the family of this man. In pursuing his quest, he contacted Tom Preston at a local funeral home in Astoria. Later the next day I would see the follow-up newscast on KATU.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1940 Census - A New Toy for Genealogists

Are you having fun yet? Yesterday was a banner day for the field of genealogy. If you were not doing something with the newly released 1940 Census records, you missed out on a celebrated event. With the release of the records at of the entire census in the morning their website could hardly keep up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Search the 1940 Census

Search the 1940 Census - 1940 Census
I am in, but going nowhere. Maybe later today things will move better.

Tips on Indexing

  • Take your time getting started.

  • Avoid peak usage times (Saturday evening through Monday evening).

  • Only download as much work as you think you’ll do in an hour or two.

  • Work offline.
  • Saturday, March 31, 2012

    FAQ for the 1940 Census Indexing Project

    I want to pass along some important information about the 1940 Census indexing project. You may work on other states while waiting for your state to come up. Oregon is supposed to be released late in the first day, but it might be a challenge to log in. You may even want to download what you are working on and do it off line so the access will be more available to others. If you are not signed up for indexing please do so today.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    1940 Census - Time for Reflection

    As we prepare for the release of the 1940 Census five days from today, I spent some time reflecting on the impact of this census in my overall personal family history. On my blog page I posted two new pages and retitled two pages. You will now find the following articles: Daniel Tidd Article (formerly the Research Project), Ole A. Brown Article (formerly under Stories), and the new postings Cole Family Migration Article and Portland, Oregon WWII Article. The last two were written for publication in March 2009 in "The Bulletin", a quarterly published by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    1940 Census - Who Will You Be Looking For?

    April 2 is just a week away, and the 1940 Census will be available online.
    Who will you be looking for? In pondering who I want to look for in the 1940 census, my focus is on the people on my pedigree chart. The following people were alive at the time of this census: my parents, my four grandparents and four of my great grandparents. A key piece for the two great grandmothers is that they had both remarried, which means I am looking for different surnames. The two great grandfathers had remarried as well. This census may help me to further identify the second spouses.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Family Search Center and Microfilms and Fiche

    Today I decided to work some more on the four microfilms that I have on loan at our Family Search (History) Center. As I arrived and departed it was trying hard to snow. One day it is spring and the next we shift back into winter weather. Tonight the white stuff is falling fast and furious. I am glad I made the trip out today, as when it snows I just stay home and enjoy the scenery until it melts away. The flowers are popping out in the flowerbeds and the trees are ready to blossom. Before April showers that bring the May flowers, we usually have March madness of weather conditions.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    1940 Census Indexing - Your Opportunity to Contribute

    In about two weeks the companies sponsoring the release of the 1940 Census will make available to us not only the opportunity to view this fantastic collection of records, but also the chance to personally participate in the indexing of that collection. For a little background on what this collection means to us as genealogical researchers, let us become aware of these support companies.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Completing the Sherwood Post Office Ledger Books Project

    The last few days I pushed myself to finish inputting the information from the Sherwood, Oregon Post Office Ledger Books for Money Orders project. When I did the indexing I not only did my relative's names, but also the names for a friend's ancestors who also lived in this town. What I am now presenting in this post is the overall content of the information. Please keep in mind that a town where your ancestors lived may also have such a collection as this or other types of books providing information about residents of that locality. These ledger books do not note the residence of the individuals and they may be only visiting for a time period. What the books provide are clues to understanding where your ancestors were in a certain time period, who they interacted with in transactions, and their financial means. Money orders were listed for purchases and for redemptions. So here are some of the statistics from the research.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    100 Blog Posts Celebration

    This is my 100th Post written for this blog. I am almost to the one-year anniversary, but somehow feel that this is a milestone for me. For this 100th Post I wanted to share a little about my ancestors and where they were 100 years ago, but first I have to share the serendipity moment of this day.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moment -Roena Gates Gender Change

    Once in a while I go work in and input information about the families I am working on. Recently as I spent considerable time working on the Gates family history I returned to review their information. Roena Electa Gates is my husband's great-great-grandmother and our first link to the Gates family. She was married twice, the first time to Charles Robert Lamb in 1884 in Minnesota. They apparently had two children, Belva Mae born in Minnesota, and A. J. born in Montana. At this point we know very little about Charles and A. J. Lamb.

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Dissecting a Civil War Pension File - John L. McSweeney

    When the 120-page Civil War Pension file arrived for John L. and Eliza McSweeney, it was for a client and I was not too concerned about plowing through its contents. Then I reconsidered when it became apparent that the information could not really be made useful unless we could place it into document order according to the dates. The file actually contains information from two different pension files: #145.979 the soldier's file applied for 19 July 1869 with certificate #118.505, and #349.650 the widow's file applied for 16 April 1891 with certificate #349.650. The file we received had gone through many inspections and had not been kept in any particular order. It is kind of like playing 52-card pickup and the disorganization that often is the result.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moment - Gates and Tidd Connection

    The Tidd family of Massachusetts has been my favorite research subject over the last forty years. This week as I further explored the Gates family I discovered that not only did both families live near each other as early settlers in America; they also lived near each other in England. Through discovering some new resources and analyzing the currently discovered data, I am having many serendipity moments and I am sure there are more to come.

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    1940 Census Coordinated Indexing

    1940 United States Federal Census

    On April 2, 2012, NARA will provide access to the images of the 1940 United
    States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images. BUT NOT indexed.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Genealogy Seremdipity Moment - Ridgefield, Connecticut Post Office Ledger Books

    When I began working in the Sherwood Historic Center, in their collection of Post Office Ledger Books for the town, the wealth of information for genealogical research astounded me. Lately, I have been reading the book, "Ridgefield in Review" by The Ridgefield 250th Anniversary Committee, Inc., published in 1958, 396 pages; about Ridgefield, Connecticut. I am about halfway through the book, as I am occupied with other projects. Imagine my surprise when, on page 206, I came across the following paragraphs in relation to their post office.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    The Rewards of Military Pension Files and Bounty Land Warrants

    Well, you have finally found a military pension file for one of your ancestors, now what do you do with it? In the past year I have utilized pension files from the Revolutionary War (all accessible at fold3), War of 1812, Mexican War, and Civil War, all of which may eventually be found at fold3. Fold3 is accessible at your local family history center or you may subscribe from home.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moments - and the Gates Family

    This week I am working on several projects. The first one completed was incorporating the information from for the Gates family. This came about because when I was working on the War of 1812 article about Ardil Gates, I borrowed two books from the GFO, Frederick J. Seaver, Historical Sketches Of Franklin County and Its Several Towns, and Silvio A. Bedini, Ridgefield in Review (Connecticut). Both are fantastic works, which provide information about the locality and the people who lived in the vicinity.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    A Love Story - Mel and Eleanor Lofton

                              Mel and Eleanor Lofton 1979, with my first child.

    For over twenty years our family lived next door to Mel and Eleanor Lofton. They loved children and yet were never able to have their own. They literally became close friends to many of the children and families in our neighborhood. In their home were a number of dogs, cats, birds and other animals. This is a story of their great love for each other, the people of our neighborhood and their animals. As our lives went on, we shared many memorable events with them, but she was most happy when we brought by our newborn babies.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moment - Neppl Family Treasure

    Back on 2 September 2011, I wrote a blog post about the Neppl Family. At the time I was working on a power point presentation about German Research. In the process I spent some time working on this line of my family, which has been put off for a long time. About three weeks ago I was contacted by Lee, who is a distant cousin of ours. This has been a connection creating many serendipity moments. It is directly the result of sharing my story on this blog.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    RootsTech - As Seen From Oregon

    For three days last week I attended the RootsTech conference while sitting in my office at home. I am not a Techie person, so this conference did not compel me to go to Utah. But, when it was offered to view fifteen of the sessions online for free, I felt it was too good a deal to pass up. To the sponsors and those involved in putting on the conference I want to express my heart-felt appreciation.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    RootsTech, PMC and FamilySearch Orders

    For those currently working in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, you might want to press forward in your efforts as the cost of ordering microfilm and microfiche from the local Family History Center is increasing. When I go to the FHL I like to keep a count of how many microfilm and microfiche I use and calculate the money I saved in the process. This figure usually covers the expenses of my trip. With the increased prices it makes the trip to SLC to do research even more economical. The increase in costs to provide the service is understandable. Posted at the end of the blog are the upcoming changes.

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Encounters in the Hix Family Part II - Verify the Facts

    Yesterday we spent over three hours with Karen, going over our research and comparing notes. When we met at Sharis in Tualatin we asked for a large table in a far corner of the restaurant. We needed lots of room to spread out our notebooks, documents and a laptop computer. The staff was very gracious to us, as they accommodated all of our needs. Our first point of discussion was in resolving the death of Robert Hix. The previous post on this topic was posted last Wednesday.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Serendipity Moments - Encounters in the Hix Family

    For the past two years I worked with a new friend that I met in our family history center on the Hix family history. In the process we met several people who were willing to collaborate with us in this work. Most of our research was in the town of Milford in Iroquois County, Illinois. My friend made several telephone contacts with people of this town who were very helpful.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Genealogists - How Our Brains Assimilate Information

    Each of us has a unique functioning tool in our heads. Our brains are the power tool that helps us to process thoughts, form ideas, catalog information, communicate emotions, and many other processes on a continual basis. Yes, even when we sleep and especially when we are trying to go to sleep. In genealogical research it is a critical tool. It will determine how successful we are in solving genealogical puzzles and help us to piece together the information that we gather. We are the computer system and we can impact how that system works, yet sometimes things may get out of our control.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Received Ordered Gates Records

    Today was awesome. As I headed out to work with a genealogy friend, I stopped to look in the mailbox. I have been anxiously awaiting a response from the New York State Archives about the War of 1812 records for Ardil Gates, and his brothers David and Richard. The box was empty, just as it had been on Tuesday, which was unusual after a Monday holiday. Then I just happened to look down and saw something in our newspaper box, which we never use. The night before we had snow and during the day, today, heavy rain. It just happened at the moment I was looking in the box that it was dry outside. The mail person must have dropped it off just moments before, or otherwise it would have been wet. That would have hugely disappointed me.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Snow, Snow, Snow

    Snow is a funny thing. For people like me, who prefer to watch it fall and change the landscape to a picturesque scene of ice-sicles and fluffy white powder, it is a time to slow down and enjoy the changes. Other people who prefer to interface with the white stuff in sledding, skiing, tobogganing, and other such athletic, bone chilling escapades; they are energized by the mere thought of getting outdoors. During the Olympics they are great to watch on television. Being one-quarter Norwegian and one-eighth Danish, one would think that I might find some interest in such outdoor activities. On the last day of our stay in Oslo, Norway in May, it snowed, providing us the opportunity to see this country in its very common state of being.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moment - Dreams Do Come True

    Last September, during what became a very crazy time in my life, I began working with someone I met in our local family history center. We found some great finds for her on that first day. Later she came to work with me at my home office. She was very anxious to break down some long time brick walls in her family history research. We discovered that one of her relatives, John L. McSweeney and his wife Eliza, had a Civil War Pension file, which she ordered and found great information for this family. Then I fell and broke my arm and could not drive for two months; this limited our contact, as she does not drive. During the holidays we never seemed to connect, but finally last week we were able to meet again.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Food, Family History and Genealogy

    When I pondered on what to write for this post, I thought about how much food is tied into family history and genealogy. Yesterday we took my mother and her husband out to dinner to celebrate their anniversary, which actually was ten days ago. Since the nasty whatever bug hit most of us after Christmas we put dinner off until we felt better. Two of our sons joined us, so we had a nice family visit. We ate at McGrath's Fish and Chowder House, as they had a lobster special and my mother likes lobster. 

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Paths to Discoveries

    This week I have been working on the article for the War of 1812. In the process I did a thorough review of the pension file for Ardil Gates and decided to focus on his military experience. Again I don't want to give away too much of the story, but do want to share the serendipity moments involved in this research. Ardil served under Captain Rufus Tilden in the New York Militia. He volunteered at Malone on July 8, 1812 and served as a private and was released as a POW about December 1912. He includes this information in the pension applications, providing a bit more information in the second application. The U.S. Pension Office, stating that they can find no record of him being a POW, made me curious about finding such a record today. What I really wanted was a company record of the events surrounding his service.