Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Ends and 2015 Begins

This has been an incredible year for our family. It started out right with attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, which I am repeating this year. Most of my mother's estate has been taken care of except for the sale of her home and some cemetery issues. My genealogy work continues to evolve and there was some work for other people. There were twenty four classes taught, for a total of 167classes taught in twelve years or 83 in the last three years. For this blog there were 277 posts written and this makes 278. For the last few months my posts have been less frequent and over the holidays there was some down time from computer work altogether.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cleaning Up Your Genealogy Files

The ongoing process of cleaning up genealogy files will be never ending. No matter what you do today there will always be changes to the formats used and information requirements involved. Thomas MacEntee is currently embarking on a program called a Genealogy Do-Over. This is something I have done for several of my family lines from time to time. Creating clean files, especially within online genealogy family trees, is critical to our ongoing research. Using a systematic format of recording information is the basis of researching.

Today I discovered that someone has extended my Tidd family back several generations. The changes are recent and yet there are no sources or notes to indicate how the information was accumulated. In hopes of starting a dialogue about this family information an email was sent to the contributor. The chance of a response is about 50/50. Within five hours there was a response and it was very interesting. The responder noted that they are only related by marriage, but "simply put all the pieces of the puzzle together that were already there." The person is "an unofficial full time volunteer who tries to fix things when I can." They, "put much effort into this, and it is refreshing to receive thanks instead of hate mail for their efforts."

While some of the new information included birthdates in the 1500s, it is probable that the information either came from parish registers, probate records or other community records. Some of these records were microfilmed years ago, but recently were digitized and provided online to researchers. There were records from Norfolk, England for the family that were recently noticed on These more recent ones are from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England also from Now it is important to go back and compare the information from both locations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calendars and Journals

Yesterday I finished reading the last of my mother's calendars and journals. Thirty-two years of her life are documented in her own handwriting, from the ages of 46 to 78. The journals cover from 1980-1983 and 2000-2013, while the calendars fill in for the years 1986-1999 and 2006-2011. The main difference is the calendars are in small squares with more detailed information, while the journals share more of her feelings about the events in her life. Sometimes she would go on for pages about some days, while other days she would not write anything.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Preserving Right to Access Public Records

I recently received this important notice about preserving access to genealogical records and felt it was very important to share with all of you. The message is copied here below:
Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrating 45,000 Blog Views Research Review

 In celebrating reaching 45,000 blog views yesterday, in less than five years, I want to share my latest completed project results. This project started in mid-August of this year. See previous blog post, Caught Up in the Research.  In less than three months the extended family comprised 322 people and 99 marriages. While there are additional people and marriages, the project focused on the direct line families. This may seem like a small database of names, but there were 134 documents copied, many others indexed only information, and several online family trees accessed. The concluding thirty-four page report included ten pages of document information.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween Haunts in Courthouses

There is probably not a more scary, intimidating or spooky place than a county courthouse. In the past sixteen months my experiences in these repositories of government records have proven very rewarding after I got over the initial feelings of intimidation. What is it that draws up these feelings within us? Is it the security search before entering, the forgetting to leave our camera in the car, the long lines just to talk to someone, or the people who linger there waiting for hearings?

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.

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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Genealogy Fest - Genealogical Council of Oregon Conference

My bags are half packed in anticipation of leaving in about three hours to drive to Eugene, Oregon, the location of the 2014 Summer Genealogy Fest sponsored by both the Genealogical Council of Oregon and the Oregon APG group. These bi-annual conferences are a wonderful opportunity for genealogists on the west coast to connect and share in some wonderful learning opportunities.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Turning Sixty - Let's Celebrate

Turning sixty is a monumental event. One reward is the eligibility to receive the senior discount. Yes, some places do start this reward before and a few after, but overall this is the age of getting a price break for enduring to the end. Several of my friends are also achieving this landmark birthdate this year as well. We join together in honoring and sometimes consoling each other on our life's journey.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sharing Life's Simple Pleasures

Sharing life's simple pleasures entails spending time with family members doing things that build on our memories together. One of my new goals since completing the recipe collections is to spend more time cooking, especially with my grandchildren.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recipe Boxes and the Stories They Tell - Part II

Today is the one year anniversary of our mother's passing. To honor her, this is a continuation of part one which was posted earlier this week. First is the list of her recipes and then four of her favorite recipes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recipe Boxes and the Stories They Tell

In going through my mother's things my latest adventure was delving into her recipe box. The contents surprised me as there are recipes from many of her friends, but the biggest surprise was that she had incorporated her collection into my sister's recipe box from our junior high school days. The collection of my sister is very similar to my collection created as a project with the same teacher from 1966-1968.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Enjoying Summer and the Relaxed Schedule

A week from Saturday is the actual first day of summer. With the longer daylight hours sometimes we might run out of energy before darkness even comes. As the stress of busy schedules becomes more relaxed we may become distracted from our family history work. Writing blog posts about the work being done seems to be more difficult as well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Clean House and Many Serendipity Moments

In less than one week from the day we received the keys to our mother's home we have emptied it and it is up for sale. As her personal representative it is satisfying to know that we are fulfilling her desires to have the house sold and begin the process of closing out the probate requirements. All the years of training and education in genealogy research have proven invaluable in navigating a very challenging path.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Serendipity Find

This past weekend Mocavo offered free access to their records, and having never used the website, it was time to give it a try. My test subject was Daniel Tidd, my favorite ancestor for such work. There were 223 results and looking over them page by page many were repeats or various pages from the same works. Two in particular found in NEHGS publication XIV and a Lineage Book will be investigated more fully today.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mastering Genealogical Proof - APG Discussion Group

Eight weeks ago a new educational opportunity came to me via another Oregon APG member, Judy K. Fox. Beforehand she sent out email invitations to several local APG members inquiring in their possible interest in joining a Mastering Genealogical Proof discussion group. Having already purchased the book, and knowing those who are members of the local APG group, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity. Eight of us jumped at the chance to meet weekly to discuss the book, chapter by chapter. One did have to drop out after the first week, but the rest remained steadfast, with very few missing a week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gopher Genealogy Third Blogiversary

Three years is a long time for me to be writing a blog that covers my experiences in doing genealogy which include our family, friends and clients. At times the posts may be more about family than genealogy, but many of them are about serendipity moments in which life seems to provide precious surprises of unexpected discovery. Generally the posts were written twice a week, but the past year has been very busy so the posts are about once a week. Here are some details about the posts and the readers who average about 1,000 a month.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blessings Come to Those Who Endure

This week has been very challenging for me and our family, but in the end we received wonderful blessings as we endure to the end. The particular ending for us is my mother's estate probate and especially the removal of her accumulations and collections of almost eighty years. Growing up in the depression and losing almost everything her family had before moving to Oregon, she dearly treasured all her many special items gathered over the years. Her home was not cluttered, but discretely organized so she could enjoy her things.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SLIG 2014 Part IV - Conclusion of Group Project

This concludes the summary of our group project. Last week the focus was on the census records for George C. Pollard, his father James Pollard and his son George C. Pollard. Now comes the really juicy stuff, the kind of documents that help us come to know the family members better.

Monday, January 27, 2014

SLIG 2014 Part III - Our Group Project

On Tuesday morning Paula handed out the group project information and we were all very anxious to look it over. Our group of three, the lawyer who did our data entry, the military expert and the online researcher, quickly dissected the information from the original document for George C. Pollard. It contained the following:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

American Research and Records: Focus on Families; SLIG 2014

American Research and Records: Focus on Families; SLIG 2014
Quite a group!

SLIG - Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Part II

On Wednesday our schedule was for classes all day at the Radisson. We began with two morning classes by Josh, the first Clustering and More: Maximizing Your Online Searches and second More than Just People: Lessons and Hints from Public Directories. He has a true talent for using multiple resources to extract supporting information while researching. One of my classmates and I went downstairs to the onsite restaurant for lunch. We met two ladies waiting in line to be seated and agreed to share a table with them. Our visiting was fun and we found ourselves rushing back to class.

Monday, January 20, 2014

SLIG - Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Part I

My last post was written two weeks ago, where did the time go? It flew away to preparation and attendance at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The week prior to departure was filled with all the usual life complications and obligations. When boarding the Southwest Airlines flight on Saturday, January 11, many of those things that occupy my time were left behind. There was no lap top or other electronic devises in my suitcase, and several forgotten items later required purchase in Salt Lake City. The most important resources on this trip were my two friends from Portland. One flew with me and the other met us in the Radisson Hotel upon arrival.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The New Year - Changing Priorities

Five days into the new year and time to really focus on my priorities for this year. During my life there have been significant periods of volunteer service to my church, community, schools, and genealogy associations. As my situation changes, oftentimes there is a need to slow down and allow time to focus on different priorities.