Serendipity Day

** Did you help with the FamilySearch Indexing Marathon?

** Black Dutch; Somehow A Slur

** Finding Family Bibles

** Heaven Is (for Genealogists)

In mid-July, all of us genealogists had a great opportunity to help “Pay It Forward.” FamilySearch organized an Indexing Marathon and know what? The outcome was 10,447,887 records were indexed during those three days with 116,475 new people/names added to the searchable database. I did one batch; how about YOU?? Stay tuned for there will be a next time and we both might-could-should-will do better.


 In, 1997, Vol. 12, No 1, Page 17, was an explanatory article titled “Black Dutch As 19th Century Slur.” This term has been around since the late 19th century and it has always meant something negative. “The guileless and unphilological,”  often classed with the “ignorant Irish,” and “they are like a drove of bullocks..where one leads the rest follow.”

“The term originally meant all speakers of German in the broadest sense. Specifically, the Schwarze Deutsche, or Black Germans, were found along the Danube River in Austria and Germany, in the Black Forest….have dark hair and eyes, unlike the fairer people north and south of them.”

This last comes from the website, (for real, no @).  Managed by Mike Nassau, this site is a good read but has not been updated for ten years.

Continue reading “Serendipity Day”

Bundle of the NEW Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors & German Census Records 1816-1916 – on Sale for 20% Off thru Aug. 3


It was just announced that my new booklet for Moorshead Magazines, titled Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors, is now shipping. We’ve been shipping Dr. Roger Minert’s new German Census Records 1816-1916 for six weeks, and have good stocks of the volume in both soft and hard bindings.

So – we’ve decided to create a bundle of the two new publications, and discount the bundle a full 20%. The bundle is valued at $44.90, but is on sale for only $35.92 through Wednesday, August 3, 2016. Click on this link to order. P&h would normally be $10 if purchased separately, but is only $5.50 as a bundle for this promotion! So that’s a savings of $13.48! Again, click on the link – or the illustration – to order.

You may also purchase either of the publications separately at 15% off during the promotional period. Click on their individual links to purchase.

Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors, by Leland K Meitzler
German Census Records 1816-1916, by Roger P. Minert, Ph.D., A.G.

Would you like more information on these books?

Click on the following links to read in-depth info on each of them, including their Table of Contents, and other details.

German Census Records Blog Post – July 28, 2016

Tracing Your Germanic Ancestors Blog Post – July 28, 2016

Click on this link or on the illustration to order the bundle of the two new books.

Fifteen More Years of the Raeford News-Journal Posted at DigitalNC

The following is from the Digital North Carolina Blog:


15 more years of the Raeford News-Journal are now available on DigitalNC! With this addition, more than 1,000 issues of the paper are now online, dating back to 1943.

Local newspapers served an important role in the life of small communities, detailing happenings in town, including milestones in the town’s growth and development. For example, the issue pictured below from October 1972 describes the plans for a new shopping center in the area. Researchers interested in genealogical research or community development over several decades of the twentieth century will find these local papers useful. Check out all of our digitized community newspapers browsing the North Carolina Newspapers Collection.

Read the full article at:

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

New Bedford Whaling Museum Compiles 127,000 Man Seafarer’s Database


The following excerpt is from an article posted in the July 28, 2016 edition of the Boston Herald:

BOSTON — A digital list of the tens of thousands of men who embarked on whaling voyages out of New Bedford, from 10-year-old boys to a 70-year-old sailor who drank himself to death in South Africa, is a valuable resource for anyone researching their family’s seafaring past. Just be warned: You might not like what you find.

One man who found an ancestor’s name in the database went to the ship’s logbook for more information and got quite a shock, said Mark Procknik, the librarian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which compiled the list of more than 127,000 men who set sail on whaler ships from 1809 until 1927.

When the ship made a stop at Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific, someone sabotaged the vessel by boring holes in the hull. It turns out the villain was an ancestor.

“They threw him in irons, and when the ship reached Peru, they threw him off,” Procknik said.

Read the full and very interesting article.

Initially, I could not find the list online – but one of my reader’s did. Thanks, Nancy! See her comment below for links and directions on finding the listing. According to the AP article, the searchable list includes the sailor’s name, age, and job title, as well as his home state or country. Now and then, physical characteristics, including skin and hair color are listed. The database includes men from 33 states, 2 United States territories and over 100 foreign nations!

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Serendipity Day

*** YouTube: A Great Bet for YOU!

*** Reform School: Did Your Ancestor “Attend?”

*** Naps Restaurant, Hamilton, Montana

*** Is There Doukhobor In Your Ancestry?

*** Red Plush: Story of the Moorhouse Family


“Are you taking advantage of all the videos posted on YouTube related to genealogy and family history research?” This question was asked in the UpFront with NGS blog back on June 8th.  Did you realize that just like TV channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) you have genealogy channels on YouTube…… you have LOC (Library of Congress), NARA (National Archives), LVA (Library of Virginia), FamilySearch and Ancestry, just for some examples. The NGS posting-person continued:  “Something I like about videos is that I can listen to them in the background as I am doing other work. Then, if something catches my ear, I can pull up the viewer, rewind and then actually “watch” a segment of interest.”   Something new for us to consider.


Did you have an ancestor who was sent to Reform School?  According to Wikipedia, “In the U. S., a reform school was a penal institution, generally for teenagers.”  In the United Kingdom such places were termed Industrial Schools. “Social reformers in America in the late 19th and early 20th century found fault with the ten-usual practice of treating juvenile offenders the same as adult criminals.” And so a system of Reform Schools was instituted and lasted well into mid-century. Bottom line, states the Wikipedia article, “for the most part, these institutions were custodial.”  Meaning, there was no effort at “reforming” a young person.  Did you have an ancestor who was sent to Reform School? We’d love to hear your story!

Continue reading “Serendipity Day”

Serendipity Day

*** Free Online Webinars

*** Do you suffer from MyTreeitis?

*** Prologue, Publication of NARA

*** Red-Haired People

*** British Census Records

We all like learning, right? And we all like free, right? How about FREE WEBINARS ONLINE? Such wonders are offered several places:

  • FamilySearch Learning Center
  • Legacy Family Tree
  • Southern California Genealogical Society
  • Illinois State Genealogical Society
  • Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
  • Utah Genealogical Association

For more information on these and other free online webinars, check out Gena Philibert-Ortega’s website: (GeneaWebinars).


Do you suffer from the malady known to genealogists as MyTreeitis?  Ron Tanner came up with this term and Ben Baker provided the definition:  “Mytreeitis is an inflammation common to many genealogists. Symptoms include extreme anxiety over others modifying their extensive genealogical research, possessiveness of ancestors, unwillingness to work in collaborative family trees and disregard for others when removing erroneous persons from their family. This condition usually occurs in more mature adults and is rarely seen in those under 40.”

Tanner and Baker conclude that “learning to effectively use FamilySearch Family Tree has been shown to be an effective treatment for this affliction.”



PROLOGUE is the publication of our National Archives. One can subscribe but better yet, the indexes and many back issues are online to peruse and download for free.  When you Google-click to the website, and then click to Genealogy Notes, you’ll see a 25-item list of topics from American Indians to World War II. Will this give you ancestors’ names? No, of course not. But Prologue will give you marvelous background information on your ancestor’s life and times.



“The ScotlandsDNA research team ( has launched a project to find out how many people in Scotland carry the gene for red hair. Less than two percent of people worldwide have red hair, but in Scotland the figure is around 13 percent. The team believes that as many as three times that could carry the gene, and has launched a test for members of the public to find out at a cost of 25 pounds.”  (Your Family History, Feb 2013)

Cyndi Ingle told us that red-haired people are called “gingers.”  I asked “Grandma Google” and found this answer:  A lot of ginger-flavored food has a reddish tint and might be why are redheads called gingers. Consider ginger cake, gingerbread, and ginger snap cookies. All of these foods have a rusty, red color to them.

***Did not have a red-hair person pix (my family is NOT Scottish) so I treat you to my red little doxie, Tika.


Another article in this same magazine (which I picked up on a freebie table) gave a step-by-step Guide to Census Returns 1841-1911. “You can easily trace your family back ten years at a time with these vital records” and so you surely can. The magazine article gave a family example….. following one family through these ten years.

Being curious about these British census records, and wondering if the questions asked each decade were much different from the questions asked on our U.S. censuses. FamilySearch to the rescue!  Click to, and then to the Wiki and then “English Census” and you’ll have that answer for your reading pleasure….just as I did.


Back when insults had class:  “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”  (Winston Churchill)   “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”  (William Faulker, about Ernest Hemingway)  “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”  (Mark Twain)













Ancestry Opens New Headquarters in Lehi, Utah

For many years, Ancestry has operated out of facilities located in Orem, Utah. I’ve visited there many times. This last week they moved into new 35 million dollar buildings in Lehi, just a few miles north of where they were located for so long. The facility is near I-15, and located on 10.5 acres. With over 1000 employees working in Utah alone, and with recent expansions and success, new digs were in order.

See an article posted in the Deseret News, with photos, for more details.

Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry, speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company's new headquarters in Lehi on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry, speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company’s new headquarters in Lehi on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

New Partnership Between the California State Archives & the Google Cultural Institute

The following is from the California Secretary of State’s website:


June 28, 2016: Today Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced a new partnership between the California State Archives, a division of the Secretary of State’s office, and the Google Cultural Institute.

This partnership will make State Archives exhibits available to a global audience online. The first three exhibits highlight the history of California state parks, the California Secretary of State’s office, and showcases campaign materials created by the nation’s first political consulting firm, Campaigns Inc.

Click here to view the California State Archives’ exhibits available via the Google Cultural Institute.

“The historical treasures of the State Archives belong to the people of California, and they should be easily viewable,” Secretary of State Padilla said. “Our partnership with the Google Cultural Institute will allow us to use materials from the State Archives to share stories about the rich history of California. These stories deserve to be shared with the world.”

“Preserving history, art, and culture is crucial to remembering where we’ve come from and who we are as people. Google is thrilled to partner with Secretary Padilla and the State Archives to bring archive collections onto the Google Arts & Culture platform and make them accessible the world over,” said Mufaddal Ezzy, Google’s California State Manager for Government Relations.

“State Archives staff has worked diligently to compile and digitize rare photographs, personal correspondence, videos, and other original documents to showcase and share via the Google Cultural Institute. These exhibits allow us to view the colorful history of the Secretary of State’s office, the creation of our state parks, and the campaign work of the nation’s first political consulting firm,” Padilla added.

As part of this partnership, the State Archives will continue to digitize exhibits for inclusion on the Google Cultural Institute. “This is only the beginning of our partnership with Google. We look forward to sharing more digital exhibits in the months and years to come,” Padilla added.

About the California State Archives:
California’s first legislature, meeting in 1849–50, charged the Secretary of State to receive “…all public records, registered maps, books, papers, rolls, documents and other writings . . . which appertain to or are in any way connected with the political history and past administration of the government of California.” The California State Archives, a division of the Secretary of State’s office, continues to serve in the spirit of those early instructions, providing a repository for the state’s permanent governmental records as well as other materials documenting California history.

About the Google Cultural Institute:
Since its launch in 2011, the Google Cultural Institute has worked closely with museums, foundations, archives, and others—from Carnegie Hall to the Musee D’Orsay in Paris to the British Museum in London. The Google Cultural Institute now has more than 1,000 partners from over 70 countries making a total of 6 million artworks, photos, videos, manuscripts and other documents of art, culture and history accessible to all online and by doing so, preserving it for future generations.

All German Census Records 1816-1916 books are shipped!


I’m thrilled to announce that all the German Census Records 1816-1916 have been shipped. All orders placed through June 16 for pre-pub copies, as well as all orders received since that date have gone out – the last shipping this morning. They are shipped by USPS media mail.

Included in shipments going out yesterday afternoon and this morning were orders received for both the German Census Records volume & Jim Beidler’s new Trace Your German Roots Online received from June 13 on.

Serendipity Day


Counties of Washington

Ethic Population Density in Pre-1850 America

Black Sheep in YOUR Family?

Cold Case: Timothy H. Martin, 1835-1902

Heritage of Pierce County, Washington

Scottish Ancestors from the Lowlands


Of course you know that there are 39 counties in the Evergreen State but can you name them? And do you know the logistical history of them (when formed, etc.)? I didn’t either and so Googled “List of counties in Washington State” and good-old Wikipedia came to the rescue. The largest (in population) county is King; the smallest is Garfield. The largest in area is Okanogan and the smallest is San Juan. Any idea where each of our counties got their name? Each of those 39 counties has a county seat…… how many can you name? That Wikipedia article will teach you!  I found it most interesting.


Want to know how many English and Welsh folks lived in the U.S. in 1790? How about Germans in 1790? Or slaves in 1810? An interactive map series on the Ancestors website will show you. Remember the Ancestors shows on public TV?  The show was produced by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is still airing (check with YOUR local station). Click to their website,  (yes, a second “b”) and on the left you’ll see a list of topics which, when clicked, will take you to an episode where that topic was addressed. You’ll find those ethnocentric maps under “Online Tools,” and then “Maps.”

Where, in 1790, would you have guessed that most of the Scottish immigrants settled? Would you have guessed central and western Pennsylvania?


Black soc

Have you a Black Sheep ancestor? Did you know there is an International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists? (Or at least there was; website was last updated in 2011.) Browsing through, I found a link to an article “Ten Things to Know: Black Sheep” from a UK Pinterest board. (Cyndi finds everything.) Here is the list of those ten things: (1) who is the black sheep in your family? (2) Black sheep often have deep paper trails.  (3)  What’s in a black sheep’s name?  (4) Family stories are comfortable homes for black sheep ancestors.  (5) Other people may have written about your black sheep in their own histories. (6) Certain geographic locations attracted black sheep. (Like the American west.)  (7)  Black sheep on the lamb (meaning to run).  (8)  Everyone has a mother, even black sheep.  (9) Even the government tracked black sheep. (10) Other members of the family may not want to talk about the black sheep. If you wish to read this 4-page article, Google the title I bolded above. If you want to contact the IBSSG (International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists), Google that too.


I love working on genealogy cold cases! Wandering in Fairmount Cemetery (Spokane), I spotted this tombstone for Timothy H. Martin:

Timothy 1

Once home, I quickly clicked to our Washington State Digital Archives ( and looked for Timothy and there he was!  The poor fellow, born in Ireland, son of Jerry Martin, had died of pulmonary edema in the state asylum in Provo, Utah…and yet he is buried in Spokane and his death return is from Spokane County.  There’s got to be a good story here. He was a mason by occupation and had been in the state asylum for four years but before that he lived in Park City, Utah. There’s got to be a story here!  I did quickly click to Ancestry and did not find him on the 1850, 1880 nor 1900 censuses. (His tombstone says Timothy H. The death certificate says Timothy S.)

Anybody missing a Timothy H. Martin in their family tree?? Would so love to find his family.


The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society’s annual conference partnered with the Washington State Genealogical Society and hosted Paula Stuart-Warren as the speaker on Saturday, June 18th, 2016. Since I planned to attend (an easy 290 mile drive west on I-90; two potty stops and the outlet mall J ) I wondered what else there was to do in Pierce County. So I asked Grandma Google (who knows most everything) and found the Heritage League of Pierce County and their website listed two pages of libraries, historical societies and museums. I’m going to have a difficult time choosing where to spend my afternoon! Do I want the Tacoma Public Library, the Washington State Historical Society, the Washington State History Museum or venture further to the Sumner Historical Society, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, or Native Quest (“a cultural center for honoring the heritage of all peoples”).

This proved a big thing to me: no matter where you go visiting, for whatever reason, there are libraries, historical societies and museums in that place that are worth your visit.


Your Genealogy Today is a dandy-fine magazine published by Moorshead Magazines (  In the March-April 2016 issue there was a 4-page article on “Researching Your Ancestors in Scotland’s Lowlands and Borders.”  Sher Leetooze writes that “Scottish records are fairly complete; some parishes go back 1000 years and some 800 years.” Scotland is a totally different place than England and they did things differently up there, Sher writes. She mentions several websites that she uses but her favorites are “A Vision of Britain Through Time” ( and GENUKI (

The problem or “trouble” with Scottish research, she writes, is that beginning in 1843 there began to be lot of dissention within the Presbyterian ranks. Scots being Scots, and “stubborn as a day is long,” the congregations split and split and split again……….. this event is referred to as “The Disruption.”  This makes finding those old parish records harder and harder.

Another web source she recommends, is Scotland’s People (, which is the Archives of Scotland. Sher also recommends a subscription to Family Tree Magazine ( published in the U.K. and not to be confused with FamilyTree Magazine published in America.

Serendipity Day

“A Brief History of Port Angeles” Booklet

Twin Rivers Gen Society’s Cemetery Walking Tour on July 4th

Jigsaw Puzzles: Pastime or Obsession?

TAG (Ancestry Users Group) In Spokane

Five-Generation Pictures


Did you have ancestors who lived in Port Angeles, Washington? I’m giving away a 24-page booklet, “A Brief History of Port Angeles” by William Welsh, 1941. Yes, I have checked with the Clallam County Historical Society and they tell me that they have several copies. So I’ll send this one to the first requester! (



The Twin Rivers Genealogical Society, in Lewiston, Idaho, is having a fun activity on July 4th. They are doing a Cemetery Walk! They have picked out six historical graves and starting at 9:00am they will offer several 45-minute tours. Locale is Normal Hill Cemetery, 7th Street & 15th Avenue in Lewiston, south of Lewis Clark State College. Did you know that Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian’s, parents are buried in this cemetery? (They spotlighted her last year.) For more information contact Patricia VanBuren, Perhaps this is an idea for your society?


History Magazine, published by the good folks who do Internet Genealogy, carried a great little article in the April-May 2016 issue. This article was all about the history of jigsaw puzzles which “nears its 250th birthday.”  These puzzles “can be found spread out on card tables in hospital waiting rooms, coffee shops and cottages through the world as well as on thousands of Internet puzzle sites.”  In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 puzzle manufacturers and the sales annually are in the millions. Do the math and then realize that any one of your ancestors might have been entertained (or obsessed?) with jigsaw puzzles since the 1850s. Wow thought, eh?


The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has a thriving sub-group: TAG. This stands for the Ancestry Users Group and under the guidance of Marge Mero, the group meets monthly at a local public library. We’ve used the book, Guide to Ancestry, as a basis for our exploring. At the June meeting, member Doug Floyd gave the lesson on understanding a bit about probate and finding probate records on Ancestry.


Doug explained that probate means “the official proving of (as in a will),” or “establishing the validity of (as a will).”  He quoted the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, as saying that “probate records are the best records in genealogy.” Doug explained the difference in some legal terms; testament refers to disposition of personal property while will spells out personal wishes and guardianship was not necessarily for the child but for the child’s property.

Doug directed us to the Ancestry Academy where there are two specific learning videos there for us to watch. Next he directed us to the Ancestry Card Catalog to look under the topic of “probate records” or jump to doing a locality search and see what Ancestry includes for probate records in your area of focus.

Perhaps this is an idea for a sub-group in your society? (We have a coordinator but take turns with the teaching.)


We’ve all seen those wonderful 5-Generation Family pictures. Our newspaper publishes them regularly. Likely you have sat and posed yourself in one of these photos. My second great-granddaughter, Cora Kathryn, was born on this last June 7th in Everett, Washington. Soon, I imagine we’ll be doing a 5-Generation photo……… Cora, Adam (father), Jane (mother) and then me standing at the top. And I think little Cora has five generations still with us on her mom’s side too. But here is your Sobering Thought for Today:  I remember reading a quote from Jane Fonda back in 1982 when her father, Henry Fonda, died. “It’s sobering to realize you’re next in line,” she said. It is. But with each new baby I understand it to be a sign from God that the world will go on!

Serendipity Day

Dutch Are Still With Us; They Gave Us Cookies!

Public Libraries: Worth Investigating

Southerners Who Went To Brazil After the Civil War

Uploading & Downloading GEDCOM Files on Ancestry

Do You Believe in Dowsing Rods?


Just finished studying (cannot say “reading” for it is a study book!) The Island at the Center of the World, the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.  U.S. history classes seem to gloss over the 150 years when the Dutch founded and shaped Manhattan and this history brings that period to life. Just for fun: on page 269 I learned that “the typical Dutch word for master—baas—would take on a different connotation in the New World and an Americanism came into being: the Boss.”  On page 270:  “In October of 1661 there was a grain shortage in the city and the municipal government issued an order to the bakers of the town to restrict themselves to baking bread and not “to bake any more koeckjes, jumbles or sweet cake.” “ This Dutch word is pronounced “cook-yehs,” which morphed into our word: cookies. Koolsla, or cabbage salad, is our modern cole slaw.  There are more “Dutch-isms” in our everyday language:  Dutch treat, Dutch courage, Double Dutch, Dutch bargain, Going Dutch, Dutch comfort……… which were all considered derogatory at the time (17th century)!  If you’ve ancestors living in the New York City area during the Dutch times, this is a great read for you. (You can buy a copy via starting at 76-cents for a used copy!)


Are you fully using your public library? Did you know that (among many other things) your library can offer you music, movies and books for free delivered to your own device???  Not to mention that most public libraries have a free WiFi area. Here in Spokane, two of our public libraries give our local genealogy society, groups and teachers free use of classrooms. We have an Ancestry Users’ Group, a Re-Focus Group, and we’ve been offering a 3-hour beginners’ workshop, all free to use the classroom and free to the folks who come. Some public libraries offer Heritage Quest online, Ancestry Library Edition and much more. Do check it out!


Did your Southern-dwelling ancestor disappear from the records after the Civil War?  Did you know that many Southerners went to Brazil to start over? There is a free-of-charge online book you may read telling more about this episode in American history.  Google Brazil, the home for southerners and the website with the full title (and content) will come up:  Brazil, the home for southerners: or, A practical account of what the author, and others, who visited that country, for the same objects, saw and did while in that empire.” By Ballard S. Dunn, 1829-1897. This book has been digitized by Google and is located in the Internet Archive.


Current sticky-wicket: Do you put your family tree on Ancestry? How do you upload your tree to Ancestry? What if you want to download it to upload it to another online tree? NO PROBLEM. Ancestry Support is there to help! The good news is that this process involves using GEDCOM which sounds complicated but Ancestry will hold your hand every step of the way. The bad news is that when you do decide to download your tree from Ancestry, any pictures, charts, books, views or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion. (Emphasis mine.) There are other websites where you may want to post your tree: FamliySearch and MyHeritage to name two. I could now copy/paste the very long web link but I advise you to Google these words:  uploading downloading GEDCOM files ancestry 2016.  I printed out the full article for my personal tutorial.




Browsed upon a website all about dowsing rods, , and learned more about the lost art of dowsing. “Although there seems to be no scientific proof for the way that dowsing or divining rods work, they have been used successfully for thousands of years. Generally, they are used to locate underground water sources. It is believed that the rods are simply reacting to magnetic fields or ions. But you can also locate lost graves and headstones….Discover Rods are an important tool for every genealogist!”  The website promises that they are “simple to use and each set includes an instruction guide and tips for locating your ancestors.” Cost is only $25 plus $5 shipping. They even have T-Shirts! Please, if you try this, let me know your story to share with others! I’m neither a believer not a skeptic but would like to learn more.



Serendipity Day

** Genealogy’s Star: A Must-Read Blog (in my opinion) & YouTube Channel

** Washington’s Colville Tribes Selected For The Next U.S. Census Test

**Insects: Future Or Past Food?

**How To Ensure All Will Be Lost



Gen Star

James Tanner crafts his Genealogy’s Star blog nearly two times per week and I read every post and learn something new each time. Back on 5 Mar 2016, he posted about the BYU Family History Library Channel on YouTube. He was discussing a new uploaded video titled, “Why You Can’t Trace Your Family Back To Adam.” Who would not want to view this video?? Here’s how: (1) Click to;  (2) select the BYU Family History Library channel; (3) Chose what you want to view from the list of over 400 videos; and (4) Click the subscribe button to get notification of new videos as they’re uploaded.

May I, as your serendipity teacher today, give you two homework assignments today? First click to (note the two “s”) and sign up for James Tanner’s blog. Next click to and get going with your home learning from there!


An AP blurb in our local paper by Regina Garcia Cano, and from Sioux Falls, SD, read: “The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation is one of two National American reservations selected as test sites ahead of the 2020 census, as officials mull whether to ask for the first tie about tribal enrollment.” The two reservations are Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, and the Colville reservation. “By selecting these geographic areas, we are allowing ourselves an opportunity to test our methods and procedures in areas where it is difficult to deliver questionnaires by mail,” said Deirdre Bishop, chief of the bureau’s Decennial Census Management Division.” I found this tidbit fascinating for many reasons. I’d not realized that the tremendous amount of decade-long work went into the taking of a census.

For more information on this (census taking) Google “Decennial Census Management Division.” Or “2020 U.S. Census.”  And ditto for more info on the two reservation test sites.



According to an article in the Delta Sky magazine for April 2016, the foods in our future may include insects……..bugs. Here is a link to a short video about Andrew Zimmern’s views on eating insects: from the Travel Channel. There has been plenty of buzz about “how are we going to feed the hungry millions on our planet in the future…and are insects the answer?” in the media. But I was not prepared for the picture that accompanied that Delta Sky article: a lollipop with a nice fat caterpillar inside of it! Yum??

Now, you might say, what does this have to do with family history? Let me ask you this:  Did our ancestors eat insects? I think they surely did but not in the way you think. I think poor eyesight, poor lighting in homes, and creepy-crawlies everywhere and in everything ensured that there were insects in our ancestor’s food. Yum.


How to ensure that all your genealogy, your life’s work, will be lost. Eight thoughts from Donna.

  1. Do not ever make time to take to relatives and collect their memories and memorabilia.
  2. Do not make time to share photos with relatives and get positive ID for them.
  3. Do not bother to scan in old photos and memorabilia and certainly do not bother with backups.
  4. Do not both to compile a list of who-in-the-family gets what of all the family treasures you’ve collected over the years.
  5. When cleaning out grandma’s house after the funeral, just bring lots of big black plastic bags for everything to take to the dump or Goodwill.
  6. Do not bother with transferring all the family information you have stored in binders and boxes to an online program.
  7. Do leave so much stuff stuffed in your office that your kids will be overwhelmed and not really know what to keep and what to toss.
  8. Don’t make a plan for without a plan you surely will fail and your genealogy will be lost.

Sad Facts:  Your local genealogy society DOES NOT WANT all your binders and boxes of un-organized papers and stuff. Neither does the Family History Library. And neither do your kids! They want the information and not all the stuff and they want it organized.

Serendipity Day

How many presidents have visited YOUR town?

Ancient Mohawk Cemetery in New York

Eight Critical Thinking Skills

Oregon-California Trails Association

Is there a book with my family mentioned?

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia


Blurb in our daily paper explained that Spokane has been visited by a dozen U.S. presidents plus some VPs, wives and others. Our list is Taft, Harding, both Roosevelts, Truman, Carter, Nixon, Clinton, Reagan, Ford and GW Bush. How about your town? How many presidential visits do you mark?


Cemeteries have always been of great interest to family historians. It’s always interesting to me to read about cemeteries of yore and of other cultures. In December 1634, three men set out from Fort Orange (now Albany) New York to make contact with the Mohawks to convince them that the Dutch made better trades than the French or English. They visited a series of villages, “surprising Harmen with their level of civilization. They encountered cemeteries, surrounded by palisades, ‘so neatly made that it was a wonder,’ and graves painted red, white and black. A chief’s tomb they found was large enough to have an entrance and was decorated with carvings and paintings of animals.” (From The Island at the Center of the World: Epic Story of Dutch in Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.)


Another newspaper article spelled out the “Eight Critical Skills” or attributes that teens need to become well-functioning adults. As I read it, seemed to me that even we adults could tune up our skills in these areas, especially as genealogists:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence (“a greater predictor of success in life than IQ”)
  • Values and ethics
  • Resourcefulness and resilience
  • Creative processing
  • Executive functioning, including basic social skills
  • Leadership perspective and the ability to see the big picture


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