Start Looking

The Portable Genealogist: Massachusetts State Census

ne35Here is the third Portable Genealogist reviewed I promised last week. This time, I will be looking at the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s publication The Portable Genealogist: Massachusetts State Census. Specifically, this guide examines the 1855 and 1865 state censuses.

Like all the Portable guides so far, this one is a two-color, four-page, three-hole-punched laminated guide, folded to 8.5″ x 11″. In addition to the core contents described below, there are added tips and a list of recommended resources.

Each guide is written by a genealogist at NEHGS. This guide was written by David Allen Lambert

Here’s what you will find in this new guide:

Page 1 begins coverage with information about the census and reasons for using the census. There is also a chart show which towns listed “exact” birthplaces for the 1855 and 1865 censuses.

Page 2 provides a complete list of Family History Library call numbers for the microfilm containing the digitized images listed by county and group of town on each roll.

Page 3 helps the research use the state census. There is information on “how to piece together information” along with an example page.

Page 4 offers an overview of the Massachusetts census, beginning with a chart showing information provided on the 1855 and 65 censuses. There is also information about statics provided by each census showing an aggregate of information collected that year.


Order The Portable Genealogist: Massachusetts State Census and many other popular laminated guides from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $6.81

Leave a Comment

Laurel Delaware Public Library has Terrific Genealogy Collection

The following teaser is from the Sept. 18, 2013 edition of
LAUREL [Delaware] — Searching for cemetery records, census information, old deeds or probate abstracts? Your quest ends with the Laurel Public Library’s little-known but highly regarded Delaware Collection.

Sixty years strong with 2,376 print and non-print items, the collection is housed on the second floor of the library at 101 E. Fourth St. and represents the largest historical and genealogical compilation available in western Sussex County public libraries.

“We’re trying to reach people who don’t know about our collection,” says Norma Jean Fowler, the library’s Adult Services Librarian. “These resources are intended for researching local Delmarva history, culture and genealogy.”

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

Genealogy Roadshow Playlists

The Genealogy Roadshow will be showing on Monday evenings on PBS. The episodes were filmed in a number of cities, Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco, and Austin.


Every great story needs a soundtrack. What’s yours?

As PBS prepares to hit the road in the new series GENEALOGY ROADSHOW, premiering Monday, September 23rd, we thought this cross-country trip needed some music to go with it. Discover these playlists, inspired by the cities you’ll visit on the show, on Spotify.

Check out the playlists at:

Check out the Genealogy Roadshow website, with trailers, previews, etc.

Leave a Comment

Queen Latifah Agrees to be on Who Do You Think You Are?

The following excerpt is from the September 23, 2013 edition of

QUEEN LATIFAH has agreed to research her family tree for genealogy show WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? after producer LISA KUDROW revealed the singer/actress previously turned down the chance to appear on the series.

Kudrow was a guest on Latifah’s new TV talk show on Friday (20Sep13) and the two women chatted about the series, in which celebrities trace their roots – often leading to emotional and heartbreaking discoveries about their ancestors.

The former Friends star told the host she was on the producers’ wish list for the very first season of the show, but Queen Latifah was too busy.

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

Salt Lake Christmas Tour……………. Week’s Peek

P1060019 (480x640)



In my classes and conversations, I am often asked, “Which is really better, Ancestry or FamilySearch?”

I usually answer back with a question, “Which is yummier, a hot baked potato or a ripe juicy orange?”

“Well, those are different!” comes the answer. “Not really,” I reply. “They are both food, nourishment for your body. And they are both good food, each good for you but each with different nutrients.”

That’s how I explain the difference between Ancestry and FamilySearch. They are both sources of documentation; they are both good to use in pursuing your family history; they each have differences. They are both good.

My favorite way to teach about Ancestry and FamilySearch is to show this photo of a Ponderosa Pine tree. It grew as one trunk and then divided itself into two trunks or branches. One trunk, two parts, make one whole tree.

Both FamilySearch and Ancestry are equal parts in the opportunities you have for finding documentation and answers about your ancestors.

One family history (one trunk with roots going deep), nourished (revealed) by two branches or sources of information.

To me, Ancestry and FamilySearch offer equal opportunity to find information about the ancestors I am seeking. I find lots of “maybe” information in both places and much “for-sure” documentation in both places. I teach that you really should use both sources equally.

Does that make sense to you all?? Do you agree?

Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next peek.


Leave a Comment

World’s Oldest Man Dies at 112 Years of Age

This happened a week ago, and I meant to post a blog about it then, but didn’t get to it. So am doing it now. Better late than never… The following teaser is from an article by Hannah Dreyfus that was posted in the September 15, 2013 edition of

Salustiano Sanchez Blazquez of Grand Island, New York, died on Friday at age 112. He had been named the world’s oldest man by the Guinness World Records after his birthday in June. He passed away quietly at a nursing home in Grand Island according to Robert Young, senior gerontology consultant with Guinness World Records.

The super-centenarian stepped into the title when his predecessor, Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, died on June 12 at age 116….

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

British Columbia Man Finds 107-year-old Message in a Bottle from Bellingham, Washington Man

The following excerpt is from a fascinating article by Jim Donaldson posted in the Sept. 17, 2013 edition of the Bellingham Herald.

Steve Thurber, 53, of Courtenay, B.C., was walking along a beach south of Tofino last Monday, Sept. 9, when he discovered a glass bottle with a crusted cap lying in the sand, according to the Times Colonist of Victoria, B.C.

Through the murky glass, Thurber could see cursive handwriting on the outside of an envelope, signed by Earl Willard of Bellingham and dated Sept. 29, 1906. The envelope also said the bottle was thrown into the ocean 76 hours into a steamship voyage from San Francisco to Bellingham aboard the steamer Rainier.

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

Ohio Needs to Give ALL Their Adoptees Equal Rights

I’m fully aware of the issues on both sides of the adoption-reunion debate. On a personal level, I believe that all adoptees should have access to their birth records. The Ohio House recently passed a bill to give adoptees access to their records. Now it’s up to the Ohio Senate. We will see if the Ohio Senate leaders bring Senate Bill 23 to a floor vote… It’s up to them…

Following is teaser from a great adoption reunion story that made me cry… It was written by Regina Brett for the Plain Dealer, and published September 14, 2013 at

For years Carol worked with Adoption Network Cleveland to find information about her birth records. In March, Adoption Network found a document that revealed Carol’s full birth name. Her birth mom named her Beth and gave her the middle initial “I”. The birth mom was an unmarried 18-year-old.

Carol went on the internet and found a woman on Facebook who bore the same last name and was 68, the age her birth mom would be. (I’m not sharing the woman’s name, since she lives in a small town in Ohio, has a unique name and hasn’t told all those close to her that she placed a baby up for adoption.)

Carol found the woman’s address on the White Pages and sent her a letter full of questions. Carol wondered about her medical history, her genealogy and what the initial “I” stood for in her middle name. Three days later, Carol got an email.

The subject read: “The I is for Irene.”

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

Dictionary of Americanized French-Canadian Names: Onomastics and Genealogy

cf8465Let me start with a simplified, and probably more than you will ever need, introduction to Dictionary of Americanized French-Canadian Names: Onomastics and Genealogy. In short, surnames of 17th and 18th century colonists have changed over 400 years. This dictionary provides a brief, yet thorough, explanation of these linguistic changes along with a substantial list of surnames with their meaning and/or origin. Entries also provide some or all of the following information: the name of the first French-Canadian bearer of the name, the name of his parents, his place of origin in France, the name of his spouse and the names of her parents, and the place of his marriage.

That synopsis should just about cover it for most people, but for those who like big words, here is the advanced version, in the words of the author:

“Some 400 years later, it should come as no surprise to find that important differences, both linguistic and distributional, have developed between the surnames found in France and those of its erstwhile colony. Indeed, there are enough such differences to make francophone onomastic research in North America a field of study unto itself, one that, surprisingly, has received very little serious attention when one considers how much time and effort have been invested in the genealogical study of these names.”

The author goes on to explain the division, or categorization, of ‘Canadian French’ surnames, along with subdivisions and types. The subsequent 12 pages go into detail about how and why names change. Coverage include topis like orthographical changes and phonological changes. There is also coverage for foreign names; English, German, Basque and Breton names and others; which are found in the same area of Canada. The discussion also covers French-Canadian surname modifications in English Canada and the US, with coverage on types of anglicization, direct translations, partial translations, near translations, and mistranslations.

So why would you want this book? The names. Remember, most of this book serves as a dictionary of names. Here is a sample entry taken from the author’s own ancestry, showing the value of common entries in this book:

“Picard, from Picard, the nickname of a native of Picardie, a former province in France. — Amer. Peacor, Pecor, Pecore.

— Philippe Destroismaison dit Picard (Adrien and Antionete Lerous) from Montreuil in Pasde-Calais (Nord-Pas-de-Calais) m. Maritine Crosnier (Pierre and Jeanne Rotreau) in Chateau-Richer, QC in 1669.”

Let me go back to simple. Many surnames have changed with time and this dictionary will help trace your ancestor’s names through history.

Get your copy of Dictionary of Americanized French-Canadian Names: Onomastics and Genealogy from Family Roots Publishing; Price: 21.51

Leave a Comment

Indiana Source Book Vol. 2; Genealogical Material From “the Hoosier Genealogist” 1967-1972

ihs026In my recent article, Indiana Source Book Vol. 1; Genealogical Material From “the Hoosier Genealogist” 1961-1966, I introduced this four volume series on historical Indiana records of genealogical value.. The editor, Willard Heiss, extracted in full the previously collected abstracts as printed in The Hoosier Genealogist, a journal of the Indiana Historical Society.

This volume takes from the years 1967 to 1972, having the full title, Indiana Source Book Vol. 2; Genealogical Material From “the Hoosier Genealogist” 1967-1972. Heiss had this to say about this second volume:

“Dorothy Ricker was the editor [of The Hoosier Genealogist] during this period. It will be noted that the quality and quantity of material is much improved. Dorothy did much of the transcribing and copying of the various records.”

Most of the records covered in this volume cover the early to mid 1800s. Read the following contents list to get a good idea of the records available herein:



School Enumeration Pike-Gibson Counties, 1844-1846

Abstracts of Early Wills o f Harrison County, 1827-1832

Marriages Performed by Elder John Wilson, Washington County

James A. Wilson bible Records

Owen County Marriage Records, 1819-1834

Census of Brookville, 1827

Woodruff Death Records

Delaware County Wills, 1831-1845

Martin County Marriages, 1820-1840

Bartholomew county Marriages, 1821-1832

Bartholomew county Probate Records, 1821-1829

Revolutionary War Prisoners Living in Indiana 1835

Indiana Residents on 1835 Pension Rolls

Burkhart Cemetery, Brown County

Tombstone Orders and Inscriptions of Wabash Valley, 1865-1866

Abstracts of Laporte County Wills, 1844-1871

The Bowen Family

Members and Friends of Little Pigeon Baptist Church, Spencer County, 1816-1840

March Cemetery, Jennings County, Indiana

Notes from Vermillion County Commissioner’s Record, 1824-1826

Hancock County Marriage Records, April 3, 1928-January 7, 1941

Cemetery Records in Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library

Patterns of Migration in the Colonial Period

Patterns of Post Revolutionary Migration

Parke County Wills, 1833-1841

Parke County Wills, 1842-1849

Voters in Deatborn County, Indiana Territory, August 3, 1812

Decatur County Marriage Records, 1822-1829

Decatur County Marriage Records, 1929-1837

Purchasers of Lots in the Town of Vernon, Jennings county, September 7-8, 1815 & June 17, 1817

Gibson County Marriage Records, 1813-1822

Children’s Indentures, Tippecanoe County, 1832-1835

Gibson County Marriage Records, 1823-1832

Crawford County Marriage Records, 1818-1835

Morgan County Marriage Records, 1822-1835

Masonic Mutual benefit Society of Indiana-Mortality Records, 1869-1877

Shelby County Marriages, 1830-1849

Indiana Post Offices, 1816-1825

Reminiscences of George Lowe, A Pioneer of Boone county

Posey County Marriage Records, 1814-1831

Land Purchases in Harrison County, 1807-1810

Students of Wolcottville (Indiana) Young Ladies Seminary, 1851-1853

Spencer County Marriages, 1818-1835

The Apprenticing of Children

Reminiscences of John Barner of Frankfort, Indiana

Franklin County Taxpayers, 1811

Dekalb County Marriages, 1837-1857

Fayette County Taxpayers, 1829

Washington County Marriages, 1815-1833

Abstracts of Ripley County Wills, 1819-1839

Index to 1840 – Census of Marion County, Indiana

Excerpts from the Lawrence Burg Oracle, 1820-21

Records of Vernal Baptist Church, Monroe County, 1817-1850


Order Indiana Source Book Vol. 2; Genealogical Material From “the Hoosier Genealogist” 1967-1972 from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $15.00

Leave a Comment

The Portable Genealogist: Problem Solving in Irish Research

ne34A couple of days ago I mentioned the New England Historic Genealogical Society had recently released a number of additional laminated guides, part of The Portable Genealogists Series. Here is the second review of the three, on The Portable Genealogist: Problem Solving in Irish Research.

Like all the Portable guides so far, this one is a two-color, four-page, three-hole-punched laminated guide, folded to 8.5″ x 11″. In addition to the core contents described below, there are added tips and a list of recommended resources.

Here’s what you will find in this new guide:

Page 1 introduces the topic along with describing ‘common brick walls’ the research may face. Strategies are suggested to help avoid pitfalls

Page 2 helps the reader look beyond their own direct ancestor, or rather to find their ancestor, by looking for relatives. A chart lists records sources/types along with ideas of what to look for

Page 3 suggests the researcher gives greater consideration to the context of a search. For example, the chart on this page suggest looking at U.S. and state census records for clusters of Irish name, as well as other such details.

Page 4 reminds the reader to not makes assumptions. In this case, in relation to Irish research, the reader should not assume their ancestors were poor, that their ancestors came alone and had no siblings, nor assume that oral history cannot be wrong.

For those researching their Irish ancestry, this guide makes a lot of sense. It is easy to carry and review, and is full of information on just a few well organized pages.

Order The Portable Genealogist: Problem Solving in Irish Research and many other popular laminated guides from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $6.81

Leave a Comment

Grave-Recording Project Underway in Northeast Arkansas

JONESBORO (AP) — Two women are eager to record every cemetery grave site in a 17-county region of Northeast Arkansas.

Dr. Julie Morrow, an archaeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the Jonesboro Research Station, and Debbie Sterbinsky, historic cemetery research consultant and genealogist, held a planning session Monday to review previously recorded information and decide how to proceed.

“We want to get every single cemetery and grave into a database,” Morrow said.

They plan to start with Craighead County. Other counties where they will record grave sites include: Greene, Poinsett, Randolph, Lawrence, Jackson, Mississippi, Clay, Cross, Independence, Izard, Sharp, Fulton, Crittenden, St. Francis, Woodruff and White.

Read the full AP article in the September 2, 2013 edition of the Courier

Leave a Comment

Grundy County, Missouri Newspapers Being Digitized

The following is from the September 19, 2013 edition of the Trenton Republican-Times

The Grundy County Genealogy Society, with the assistance of the Grundy County-Jewett Norris Library, has begun a project to digitize the entire microfilm collection of newspapers on file at the library. The microfilm collection dates back to 1894 and is used extensively in genealogy research.

The digitalization process allows for a more permanent way to maintain the old issues as microfilm does have a useful life and some of the rolls have reached the end and are beginning to deteriorate. Another advantage is the digitized files are available from any internet connection and location and the database can be searched within seconds.

Thirty-one reels have been digitized so far with 356 reels remaining…

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment

One Millionth Photo Received on New Free Family Photo Preservation Service Online

The following was received from FamilySearch:


FamilySearch International, Salt Lake City, September 19, 2013 – Meet Ephraim Mecham. On September 10, 2013, this portrait of Ephraim Mecham became the one millionth photo uploaded to by contributors! And FamilySearch is pleased to announce with this major milestone that Ephraim’s photo, along with the other million photos, will now be preserved forever for free online at

The Photos and Stories features on were introduced to the public on April 16, 2013. Since that time, thousands of people have participated in the exciting process of uploading, tagging, and linking their ancestors’ pictures to the Family Tree, along with their genealogies and stories.

The accomplishment of one million photos highlights the powerful opportunity this website offers. It is unique as one of the largest collections of family history photos in the world. It is completely free, and, most importantly, it offers endless preservation of these photos. Some other features of the website’s photo preservation and sharing services are:

The photos are public and can be seen without signing in. An invitation to see a photo can be shared socially through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and email. By clicking on a shared link, the visitor is taken directly to the photo for viewing.

If you sign in, you have the option to upload pictures to by dragging and dropping them or by browsing your computer or device to locate the photos you’d like to put on the website. You can also upload photos from your smart phone or tablet-any device with an Internet connection.

You have the ability to tag all individuals in a photo (or indicate who they are). Once a photo is tagged, you are able to link individuals in the picture to their profiles in an online family tree. If a person in a family tree has more than one picture in his or her profile, you can also choose which picture is the default one on his or her personal page. This default photo is the one that visitors will see first. If a photograph has many people in it, you can tag each individual and use it for their own profile pages.

Each photo can be given a title of up to 255 characters and a description of up to 4,000 characters, which are entered under the details of the photo. Your username will be associated with the uploaded photo, and you never know what impact you’ll have. Ninety-year-old Lois contacted a contributor of a family photo in her FamilySearch family tree and discovered a distant relative. In return, he has shared information with her that she never knew before.

As your photo collection grows, you can organize photos into albums according to families, individuals, or whatever works best for you. Maybe you have photos of people you’re having trouble identifying. Why not put them in an album labeled “help me identify” or “unknown relatives”? Nanette recently scanned and uploaded the photos from her great aunts’ collections. She was not able to identify everyone in the pictures. After a week or so, she was amazed to find that others online were able to correctly identify the unknown people in the photos right there on the website.

As you view photos of people in your collection, you can see who they are related to: parents, spouse, and children.

Currently, photos are limited to five megabytes (5 MB) in size, but photo size is planned to be expanded in the coming months.

Photo type is limited to JPEG and PNG, but it is anticipated other file formats will be accepted soon.
You can publish and preserve thousands of family photos for free.

Here’s how to get started. First, you’ll want to see what pictures are online of your ancestors. Go to the website, and click Photos at the top of the page. Click the blue banner that says Find photos of your ancestors. A page with photos will come up. Photos with a gold banner across the bottom right corner indicate photos added by others. These are your relatives!

Now it’s your turn to upload photos. If you don’t have a traditional scanner, you can use your cell phone. Just take a picture of your family photos, use the browser on your phone, and go to Then click on Photos, and proceed from there.

If you know photos that exist of your ancestors but belong to other family members, contact these relatives and ask them to publish the photos to your family’s tree, or set a date to scan or take pictures of their collection. You can also send out a request for family photos over social media to your relatives. If there are family heirlooms (photos, furniture, bric-a-brac, letters, mementos, medals), take pictures of them and upload the photos to the profiles of your ancestors in the family tree. Then stories can be added by anyone to support the photos and describe them. These photos and stories will become keepsakes for everyone to have and will be preserved freely for future generations.

Once your pictures are uploaded, they will be preserved forever. Every photo is backed up with a redundant system and preserved in state-of-the-art archive facilities. Each ancestor’s photo will now be available to every descendant that individual has or will ever have.

If you have a desire to preserve your ancestors’ photos, it has never been easier. It is fun family history! Here is an opportunity and way to get started. You’ll have it done sooner than you think. Visit today. Your family pictures can be part of the next million photos on!

Leave a Comment

Genealogy Roadshow to Debut on PBS Monday, Sept. 23


Most of us have been watching TLC’s Who Do You think You Are? Celebrity’s are visiting archives, flitting about the world from one city to another, and finding all kinds of neat things about their ancestry – all brought to us in one hour. Of course, there very well may have been 1000 hours of research before that lucky celeb was able to be filmed for television. We understand all that, and find the program very entertaining.

Now we are about to view the new Genealogy Roadshow on PBS (following the ever-popular Antiques Roadshow, of course). It will debut Monday evening on PBS stations, and is sure to be a hit. While Antiques Roadshow was made up of folks showing up with the old stuff, hoping for a high appraisal, Genealogy Roadshow is much more controlled. To get interesting episodes, PBS stations solicited genealogy-related stories and the resulting questions from viewers, and ordinary people, then had the queries researched, with the good ones ending up as part of the series.

The following is from the September 19, 2013 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune:

These are very specific questions,” said executive producer Stuart Krasnow. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, tell me everything about my roots, where I came from.’ It’s really, ‘We want to know if we are related to Abraham Lincoln,’ for instance.”

At that point, researchers and DNA experts go to work to prove or disprove family lore. “And then the stories that have, sort of, the most interesting results are the ones that we feature on the show,” Krasnow said.

Read the full article.

Comments (3)