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Family History Detective: A Step-By-Step Guide To Investigating Your Family Tree

fnw2There are many beginner genealogy books, and guides, and workbooks, and reference sheets, etc. Many are well written, some personable, and others just plain fun. No one book is best and no one author is better or more knowledgeable than the rest. So, when yet another newbie’s guidebook comes across my desk I don’t just assume it has nothing more to offer than the last one. For that matter, it is ok to own and reference more than one book. There may be some crossover, but there is always something new to learn, a new perspective from which to view your research. Thus, I review a book with its own beginner’s twist to researching your family history,  the Family History Detective: A Step-by-Step Guide to Investigating Your Family Tree, by Desmond Walls Allen.

Usually, when I read the words step-by-step, I think of a how to book that literally walks the reader through a process, like filling out a family group sheet, step-by-step. Not so with this book. In these pages steps are more like topic areas. Some should be covered and practice before others, but not all must come in the order presented. Instead, the researcher should read this book to understand each of these key areas in order to become an overall better genealogist.

The book was written for all age groups to easily understand, making genealogy fun and exciting. According to the cover, you will find inside the book:

  • Tips on how to find family history information in scrapbooks, journals, photo albums and other sources in your own home
  • Websites, resources and techniques for online research
  • How to locate and effectively use census, courthouse, and church records
  • An overview of library and archive research
  • Instructions on how to plan, record, and organize your research

I personally like the fact the book starts with what I consider to be the two most important elements to successful research. First, to think like an investigator, or as the author calls it, “Playing Sherlock Holmes.” The other key step is to start with yourself. This means both looking for what evidence you have in your possession or can identify in your own characteristics as well as collecting your own documents and stories to leave behind for future generations.

Each step, or chapter, offers up a selection of examples and ends with a boxed listing of “Key Clues” which nicely summarize each step.


Table of Contents


Step 1 – Where’s You Get Those Eyes?: The Why, What, and How of Family History

Step 2 – Playing Sherlock Holmes: The Genealogist’s Skills and Goals

Step 3 – Beginning at the Beginning: Your Family History Starts With You

Step 4 – Raiding the Refrigerator: Searching Home Sources for Information

Step 5 – A Place for Everything: Keeping Records

Step 6 – Branching Out: Beginning Research Online and in Libraries and Archives

Step 7 – You Can’t Have One Without the Other: History and Genealogy

Step 8 – Taking Names: Finding Census Records

Step 9 – Your Days in Court: Research at the Courthouse

Step 10 – Putting it All Together: Sharing Your Family History

Appendix A: Guide for Sources Citations

Appendix B: Resources

Appendix C: Forms



You can get a copy of Family History Detective: A Step-by-Step Guide to Investigating Your Family Tree from Family Roots Publishing; Price $16.65.

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No – Family Roots Publishing isn’t Pushing Viagara

It seems that we got hacked last night. Someone, somehow, hacked into our Genealogy Newsline account and sent out Viagara ads to our Genealogy Newsline subscribers. So…, we’re dealing with it now.

The message line was: Do not crush or chew it.

To all those who got this unwanted trash, please understand that I really like genealogy, my lifetime hobby, and won’t be switching to selling Viagara.

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Family History Expos Will Not be in St. George or Mesa in 2014

Family History Expos
A few days ago, Holly Hansen announced that Family History Expos will not sponsor their annual conference in Mesa, Arizona or St. George, Utah this next year. This came as a surprise to me, as I had thought that these were the more profitable of the Expos, being closer, and with traditionally large crowds. In her announcement, Holly stated that the RootsTech Conference, which takes place about the same time, played into the cancelation of the Expos. That makes sense to me, as many genealogists have just so much money to spend on conferences, and RootsTech is clearly the leader in this area in the USA – drawing huge never-before-experienced crowds. I’m sure that the high cost of the venues for the Mesa and St. George Expos also played into the decision to not attempt to compete for the dollar with RootsTech.

This weekend, Family History Expos is having their midwest conference in Kearney, Nebraska. Although Family Roots Publishing will not be in attendence, Billy Edgington stopped by on Wednesday morning to pick up books from us that will be displayed and sold there.

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Prepare for Genealogy Glogging Sometime Later This Year or in 2014

Google Glass is to be introduced to the public later this year or in 2014. One of the uses you can count on will be Glogging – the use of Goodle Glass to blog, or vlog, as the case may be. Google Glass is integrated with Google+, and video footage, and/or images taken using it will be automatically added to one’s private Google+ photo section. The user can then choose to share the media or post to sites like Twitter and Facebook. From what I understand, the user will also be able to embed the video or image into a blog post.

One thing that looks like fun, but is also frought will lack-of-editing danger for the glogger, is the ability to launch an instant Google+ Hangout directly from Google Glass. The Glogger will be able to share what they’re seeing as it happens.

There are all kinds of applications here for genealogists. I will probably tend to use Glass for edited Glogging, but you never know. It looks like fun.

Read a lot more about Glogging at

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The National Institute for Genealogical Studies Introduces the New Professional Development Certificate

The following is from Louise St Denis:

To help their students meet the expectations of a growing genealogical consumer community, The National Institute for Genealogical Studies announced on August 19 their new certificate program in Professional Development.

“This certificate fills an important niche for the genealogy community” says Louise St Denis, Managing Director of the National Institute. Louise adds, “After 15 years of providing genealogical education we felt it was time to expand our offerings to include an eleventh certificate especially designed for those working in the field of genealogy.”

Of the certificate program, National Institute instructor and professional genealogist Melanie D. Holtz, CG stated “Having a solid foundation in professional genealogy is key to your success, whether you are just beginning your business or seeking ways to expand your knowledge and experience. The National Institute for Genealogical Studies’ new Professional Development Certificate is unique in that you reap the benefits of the knowledge and experiences of multiple genealogists who have walked this road before you. The new Professional Development certificate with numerous in-depth skill-building courses, will bring strength to the learning experience.”

Professional Development Certificate
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers eleven Certificate Programs including the Professional Development Program. Courses in this new program include, Transcribing, Abstracting, & Extracting – Career Development: Choosing a Niche – Creating Programs for Adults & the Younger Generation – Organizing a One Name Study – Lecturing – Forensic Genealogy – Genealogy and Copyright – Palaeography – Document Analysis – DNA – Marketing – House and Farm Histories – One Place Studies – Analysis and Skills Mentoring – Methodology

To learn more about The National Institute’s Certificate Programs, see their website at
Gena Philibert-Ortega Appointed Director of Professional Development
Gena Philibert-Ortega has been appointed the new Director of Professional Development at the National Institute. In her new position, Gena Philibert-Ortega will be reviewing, updating and overseeing the addition of courses to the program.

St Denis commented “We are excited to have Gena Philibert-Ortega’s involvement in our Professional Development program. Gena has had a successful full-time genealogy career for over 12 years and her experience will assist others as they transition to professional work or continue in their careers.”

Gena said “I’m excited about this opportunity to bring courses designed for those interested in professional genealogy. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow the program to meet the needs of the genealogy community.”

Gena Philibert-Ortega holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, women’s studies and social history, Gena has spoken to groups throughout the United States as well as virtually to audiences worldwide. Gena is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines including FGS Forum, APG Quarterly, Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle and Family Tree Magazine. Her writings can also be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. She is the author of the books, From The Family Kitchen (F + W Media, 2012), Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) and Putting the Pieces Together. Gena is currently the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s journal Crossroads. An instructor for the The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, Gena has written courses about social media and Google. She serves as President for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is a board member of the Utah Genealogical Association. Her current research interests include women’s social history, community cookbooks, signature quilts and researching women’s lives using material artifacts.

Everyone at The National Institute welcomes Gena Philibert-Ortega to her new position and looks forward to the growth of the Professional Development Certificate.

Enroll Now for a Special Offer
Enroll now in the Professional Development Certificate and receive 10% off your course package. Use code FGS2013 or call 1-800-580-0165 to receive this discount. Hurry! This code expires September 30, 2013. Payment plans are available.

About The National Institute for Genealogical Studies
The National Institute, leaders in online genealogy education, have been offering genealogy and history courses for over 15 years. Helping genealogists and family historians build a foundation for research excellence, The National Institute offers over 200 courses in genealogical studies to help enhance the researcher’s skills.

For those looking to acquire more formal educational training, The National Institute offers eleven Certificate Programs in the records of Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and the United States, as well as a General Methodology, Librarianship, and now Professional Development.

For more information please visit our site at or call us toll-free in North America at 1-800-580-0165 or email us at

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FamilySearch Adds Over 260,000 Indexed Records Images & Images to Collections from Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand & the USA

The following is from FamilySearch:
In a smaller update, FamilySearch has recently added more than 260 thousand indexed records and images from Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 102,461 images from the new U.S., Indiana, Naturalization Records and Indexes, 1848-1992, collection, the 45 images from the Italy, Mantova, Mantova, Censuses (Comune), 1750-1900, collection, and the 36,417 indexed records from the U.S., Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957, collection . See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at

Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877-2008 – 46,255 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Italy, Catania, Catania, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1929 – 0 – 3,135 – Added images to an existing collection.

Italy, Mantova, Mantova, Censuses (Comune), 1750-1900 – 0 – 50,245 – New browsable image collection.

New Zealand, Probate Records, 1848-1991 – 0 – 1,600 – Added images to an existing collection.

U.S., Indiana, Naturalization Records and Indexes, 1848-1992 – 0 – 102,461 – New browsable image collection.

U.S., Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957 – 36,417 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Maryland, Baltimore, Airplane Passenger and Crew Lists, 1954-1957 – 16,952 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935 – 3,528 – 688 – Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

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Background on the Trisha Yearwood Episode on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Trisha Yearwood
I’ve been a Trisha Yearwood fan since I saw her at FanFair in Nashville in 1991. Her big hit, which launched her career was “She’s in Love With the Boy.” It had a catchy tune to it that made it one of those songs, that once heard, made it one that stayed in your mind, day after day! So I was pleased to see that she was one of those celebrities featured on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are? last Tuesday night. The episode is currently available online at:

The following is a bit of background about the making of the episode from Matthew Deighton at

Trisha Yearwood’s 5th great-grandfather, Samuel Winslett, died in 1829 in Georgia, the patriarch of a large family. Our research showed that over the years he received multiple land grants in Georgia, including in 1769 before the Revolutionary War. But as we searched for Samuel Winslett in Georgia records before 1769, we did not find him there.

So where did Samuel come from?

One thing that helped our research was the uncommon name “Winslett.” We searched 4.8 million names in early American immigration lists before the mid-1800s for every instance of the name Winslett and found only two listed: John and Samuel, who were both deported from England to the colonies in 1766.
Since the Winslett surname did not show up in America until 1766, we also checked records in England, looking for all men named Samuel Winslett who fell into the right age range. It turns out the Winslett surname is also relatively rare in England and we did not find any likely candidates other than the Samuel who was deported.

Our expansive searches of other broad colonial databases and indexes failed to uncover any other Winsletts living in North America at the time. Knowing that three years after he arrived, Samuel was granted land in 1769, and that a John Winslett in Maryland in the 1770s was the only other person in the colonies with this surname lent further support to these two men being the deported brothers. There simply was nobody else who fit the bill.

Sometimes, gathering every single mention of a surname is the only way to narrow down your list of possible ancestors.

And if you’re really lucky, the list is short….

To read more behind the scenes research visit

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Dick Eastman Given Prestigious New Award from The Society of Genealogists

Congratulations go out to my friend, Dick Eastman. He’s one of three people and one archive to receive the new Certificate of Recognition from the Society of Genealogists. He certainly earned it – and continues to do a terrific job.
The following is from Else Churchil, with the Society of Genealogists.

A special Certificate of Recognition has been newly created by the Society of Genealogists to recognise exceptional contributions to genealogy by individuals and institutions worldwide. In the first year nomination forms were made available to Fellows of the Society for their suggestions and four candidates have been recognised by the newly formed awards panel for the new Certificate in 2013. The successful candidates were:

Dick Eastman for having the vision to promote family history through the CompuServe Genealogy Forum and by founding and maintaining the daily Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Dr Hugh Kearsey for actively ensuring a wider availability of materials enabling others to pursue family history in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Rosemary Cleaver for her continuous back-room contributions to all aspects of the West Surrey Family History Society over many years.

The Polish Archive of Przemyślu in recognition of outstanding maintenance of local family records, particularly appertaining to Akcja Wisła*, and in the efforts to making them accessible to researchers from far and wide.

Formal presentations will be arranged over the coming months.

Nominations for 2014 are now open the public and forms (along with nomination guidelines) are available from the Chief Executive, June Perrin at

*Akcja “Wisła (Operation Vistula) was the codename for the 1947 forced resettlment of post-war Poland’s Ukranian Minority carried out by Soviet controlled Polish Communist Authorities.
The Polish archives of Przemyślu holds and makes available information on the communities and families affected drawn from identity cards and other documents.

Comments (1) & FamilySearch to Collaborate, Making Another Billion Records Available Online For the First Time

This could be the most important development of the year – if not the decade. If Ancestry is helping to get records from the granite mounain vault digitized and indexed – and makes 60 million dollars available to do so, we’re going to see many more records available to us than ever before. It’s great to see the cooperation between these two powerhouses of genealogy. It wasn’t that many years ago, it was just the opposite!

The following news release is from Matthew Deighton at

Groundbreaking Agreement to Deliver Valuable Historical Content Over the Next Five Years
PROVO, Utah, September 5, 2013 – and FamilySearch International (online at, the two largest providers of family history resources, announced today an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault.

The access to the global collection of records marks a major investment in international content as continues to invest in expanding family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.

“This agreement sets a path for the future for and FamilySearch to increasingly share international sets of records more collaboratively,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of “A significant part of our vision for family history is helping provide a rich, engaging experience on a global scale. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring to help benefit the family history community and look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch to identify other opportunities to help people discover and share their family history.”

The organizations will also be looking at other ways to share content across the two organizations. Both organizations expect to add to the already digitized records shared across the two websites in addition to new record projects to be completed over the next five years.

“We are excited to work with on a vision we both share,” said Dennis Brimhall, President of FamilySearch. “Expanding online access to historical records through this type of collaboration can help millions more people discover and share their family’s history.”

This marks a groundbreaking agreement between the two services. But the two organizations aren’t strangers to working with each other; hundreds of millions of records have already been shared and are available on and The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.

About is the world’s largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 11 billion records have been added to the sites and users have created more than 50 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands, including, and, all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,800 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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

Since our annual December Salt Lake rendezvous is only weeks away, I thought you’d enjoy reading this post if you hadn’t already….. we knew about Family Tree last December but by this December the dust will be more settled with this new feature…. and we plan to offer you an in-library class on the Family Tree feature on the tour.


CEO Corner: Finding Ancestor Records

Directly from Family Tree

August 20, 2013 By 
Dennis Brimhall--Formal Portrait

In my 18 months at the helm, I’ve been excited about all the new features we have been releasing here at FamilySearch. However, we have a new search function that is one of the most effective new tools that FamilySearch has ever created: search records within an ancestor page in FamilySearch Family Tree.

I have yet to see anyone who tries this amazing feature who doesn’t find huge research success. Searching for records from within an ancestor page in FamilySearch Family Tree is a great new way to find historical records you may not have found in your previous searching.

Login to, and go to Family Tree.

  1. Click the name of a deceased person in the tree, and click Person to go to his or her Person page.
  2. Click the new Search Records link. FamilySearch searches our historical records using the person’s name and first vital date.
  3. The search results open in another browser window and show records that match for the person. Click a record to see the details of the record or to see a copy of the original record.
  4. The full record will be displayed. To add the record to the person on Family Tree, click Attach to Family Tree. You can also click Add to My Source Box to add the record to your source box.
  5. If you click Attach to Family Tree, a box will appear with the name of the person to whom you want to attach the record. If the box does not appear, click History List to show the list of people you recently viewed in Family Tree, or clickSearch Family Tree to begin a search for the person to whom you want to attach the record.
  6. When you click History List, you will see a list of people you viewed in Family Tree or people you set as a root. The History List remembers the last 50 people you put at the root of the tree or whose personal details page you looked at. When you find the person you want to attach the record to, click Select.
  7. Verify that this is the correct person. Fill in the reason the record is valid for this person. Then click Attach.

Keep in mind that this search feature may not find all the records that are in the FamilySearch database. The records that are found are based on the ancestor information used for your search. That information consists of the person’s name and the earliest vital date (birth, christening, death, or burial) on the person’s record. The automatic search will find a lot of the records in the database, but it may not find everything.

If you think more records may be available, try other search strategies to find all available records. For example, if the record contains a woman’s maiden name, you won’t find records about her that show her married name only (such as census or death records).

The new Search Records feature on ancestor pages in FamilySearch Family Tree searches for vital dates with a range of plus or minus two years. Previously, it only used an exact year date. This date range is useful for finding records such as census records in which birth dates may have been calculated and may be slightly off.

I am sure you will be delighted with how this great new feature makes it easier to find records you may have missed that are specific to an ancestor or records that have recently been added to the FamilySearch online collections.

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Looking Back – On Our 45th Wedding Anniversary – Sept. 1, 2013

Goodness… How time does fly. This Sunday, September 1, 2013, will be the 45th Anniversary of the wedding of Patty Sue Daffern and Leland K. Meitzler. Yes. That’s us. And it’s really hard to believe that 45 years have gone by.

We were married at 2 pm, September 1, 1968 in the Puyallup, Washington Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pastor who performed the ceremony was Pastor Larry Kurtz. He actually led out at the Enumclaw Seventh-day Adventist Church, but consented to come to Puyallup and perform our wedding ceremony for us. The Puyallup church was our home church, Patty and I both having attended there, along with our parents, since we were children. Yes – I’ll admit, we were nearly children when we married, both of us being but 18 years old. However, we’d been best friends since we were 12, so it’s not like we’d just met the week before. The church where we were married was new at that time, but has since been out-grown, and sold, with the congregation now meeting at a new church on Shaw Road.

The Shaw Road property was purchased about 1960, encompassing several acres where they built the Nelson-Crane school, and shortly thereafter a gymnasium, where our reception was held following the service at the church. The school, as well as the gymnasium have all now been removed, making space for the new Northwest Christian School, as well as the new church.

My brother, Neil Meitzler, and my mother, Virginia Cornett Feller Claussen Meitzler, decorated the church, and made the flower arrangements, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Neil was really good at that kind of thing, being a life-long artist. As I remember it, my mom got the flowers, and materials from her good friend, Mrs. Benton, who ran a floral shop called Benton’s Twin Cedars Floral in Puyallup. My parents were in the greenhouse business, so they had connections that most folks wouldn’t have had.

Patty made her wedding dress, and the bridesmaids all made their own dresses. The wedding party was made up of 12 of us. We have a picture, one of many taken by budding photographer, Steve Brown (again – a classmate at Auburn Academy) that I’m including here. From left to right are:

  • Clinton Hubbard – candle lighter (my nephew)
  • Beverly Garrett – bridesmaid (friend and classmate)
  • Karen Zaugg – bridesmaid (Patty’s cousin)
  • Beverly Hubbard – matron of honor (my sister)
  • Lori Hubbard – flower girl (my niece)
  • Patty Sue Daffern – bride
  • Leland Keith Meitzler – groom
  • Doyle Hubbard – Bible boy (my nephew)
  • Harold Garrett – best man (my classmate and friend)
  • Terry Phillips – groomsman (friend & brother of Patty’s brother-in-law)
  • Steve Meitzler – groomsman (my brother and still my best friend)
  • Kevin Hubbard – candle lighter (my nephew)

Leland Meitzler & Patty Daffern Wedding Party. From left to right are: Clinton Hubbard - candle lighter (my nephew) Beverly Garrett - bridesmaid (friend and classmate) Karen Zaugg - bridesmaid (Patty's cousin) Beverly Hubbard - matron of Honor (my sister) Lori Hubbard - flower girl (my niece) Patty Sue Daffern (Bride) Leland K Meitzler) (Groom) Doyle Hubbard - Bible boy (my nephew) Harold Garrett - best man (my classmate and friend) Terry Phillips - groom's man (friend & brother of Patty's brother-in-law) Steve Meitzler - groom's man (my brother and still my best friend) Kevin Hubbard - candle lighter (my nephew)

The service was pretty typical of any church wedding. A friend who we went to school with at Auburn Academy, Faith Humphrey, sang “Whither Thou Goest,” a song made popular by Perry Como, George Morgan, Les Paul and Mary Ford, and others. My sister-in-law, Shirley, somehow got her hands on my shoes, and wrote in white on the soles – just ahead of the heels where it wouldn’t rub off – “HI MA.” When we knelt for prayer everyone got a look at my shoes. I wondered what everyone was giggling about. Kneeling for prayer isn’t usually a laughing matter. See photo below.

Leland & Patty kneeling for prayor

After the service, we went over to the Nelson-Crane Jr. Academy gymnasium for the reception. My best man, Harold Garrett, drove us over. We did the typical reception line, cut the cake, and opened gifts. Opening the gifts seemed to take forever, as we got a lot of loot…. Before leaving the gym, Patty tossed her bride’s bouquet, with Cindy Nicholas catching it. She was just a kid, so I’m sure she didn’t marry for a while. Folks that helped out at the reception are pictured below. From left to right, they are Belva Sears, Oral Sears, Sarah Brown, Miss Ferguson (Jim Ferguson’s daughter), Ethyl Hubler, Jacki Hubler, Janine Brown, Wendy Layer, Betty Hanks, Vivian Zaugg, Lucy Torrey, Trista Nicholas, and Peggy Green.

Meitzler-Daffern reception, Puyallup1968

The following photo is of the cake cutting. Patty and I still have that tiny bride & groom that was on the top (a wedding cake tradition continued from Patty’s parents, Homer & Neta Daffern). The cake was made by and decorated by Clara Miller Lively, who had been my 6th grade teacher at Nelson-Crane.

Leland & Patty Cake Cutting

Following the reception, Patty and I walked across Shaw Road to the Garrett home where we changed clothes and where our worn-out 1957 Chevrolet was locked up in the Garrett garage. Beverly Garrett got her hands on the garage keys and I chased her out Leo Garrett’s front door in my attempt to retrieve them. The only problem was that I didn’t get the screen door opened in time and pretty-well destroyed it when I went through. Once we got the car out of the garage, we left for the Meitzler family home outside of Orting, Washington, where we packed the car with all those gifts, and said our “goodbyes.” We finally got on our way to College Place, Washington about 9 p.m., arriving at the Vet’s Apartments about 4 in the morning. The Vet’s apartments were student housing for Walla Walla College students. A few days previously, we’d loaded up my parents old International Metro (a retired milk truck), and along with our friend, Elaine Kuester, we had taken most of our “stuff” to the apartment. The apartments were very old, and not the Hilton… But we didn’t notice.

On Sunday, September 1, we will be celebrating our anniversary along with our sons and their families. In honor of this milestone anniversary, Patty and I are doing something we’ve never done before at the Family Roots Publishing Co. website. We’re offering a Labor Day Weekend/45th Anniversary sale of 20% additional off on all products on the site. To take advantage of the offer, just put the number 45 in the Offer Code box at checkout. Please remember to put “45” in the Offer Code box. Otherwise you won’t get the additional discount! This is a FamilyRootsPublishing website sale only. We’re not taking phone orders, and purchase orders are not allowed for this sale. Credit card sales only. We’re doing the sale this way as we’re letting the computer do all the work. We won’t be working! Instead, we will be celebrating! Items purchased will be shipped on Tuesday through Thursday, dependent on sales volume. The sale starts now, and runs through Midnight MDT, Monday, September 2.

To take advantage of the additional 20% off on all products (making many discounts add up to 22 to 40% off), click here. Have a great weekend! We plan to…

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Take An Additional 20% Off All Products at the Family Roots Publishing Co. Website This Weekend


On Sunday, September 1, Patty and are celebrating our 45th Wedding Anniversary along with our sons and their families. It just happens to also be Labor Day Weekend.

In honor of this milestone anniversary, Patty and I are doing something we’ve never done before at the Family Roots Publishing Co. website. We’re offering a 45th Anniversary/Labor Day Weekend sale of 20% additional off on all products on the site. To take advantage of the offer, just put the number 45 in the Offer Code box at checkout. Please remember to put “45” in the Offer Code box. Otherwise you won’t get the additional discount!

This is a FamilyRootsPublishing website sale only. We’re not taking phone orders, and purchase orders are not allowed for this sale. Credit card sales only. We’re doing the sale this way as we’re letting the computer do all the work. We won’t be working. Instead, we will be celebrating! Items purchased will be shipped on Tuesday through Thursday, dependent on sales volume. The sale starts now, and runs through Midnight MDT, Monday, September 2.

If you wish to read about the wedding that took place 45 years ago, click here.

To take advantage of the additional 20% off on all products (making many discounts add up to 22 to 40% off), click here.

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The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors

fnw4Every author has a pedigree. Yes, they all have a family history, but I mean a work pedigree. Each has a resume of work and life experiences that are echoed in their words and teachings. These words, these guides and books can help lead the student, the reader, the researcher, down new roads to greater success. However, when it comes to an author’s, a professional’s, experiences, few can match the curriculum vitae of Marsha Hoffman Rising, author of The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors. There are many books designed to help genealogists get over difficult research problems, and most serve their purpose well. Few, however, come with the pedigree of experience Rising had when she wrote this book. She was very well prepared indeed to help others find answers to their research questions.

Here is just a portion of Marsha Hoffman Risings bio:

“…a professional genealogist who specialized in problem solving related to nineteenth century research…She served as”:

  • Vice President of the American Society of Genealogists
  • Vice President of the National Genealogical Society
  • Board Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists
  • Board Member for the Certification of Genealogists
  • Board Member at the New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies

She was a lecturer, and taught the Advanced Methodology class at the Institute of Historical Genealogical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She also received many awards, including:

  • The National Genealogical Society Award of Merit
  • Elected Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Society
  • The FGS George E. Williams Award
  • The National Genealogical Society Award of Excellence
  • the FGS Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award

Why do I bring up all these credentials? I merely want to show the type of experience and caliber of problems solving skills you will encounter when reading The Family Tree Problem Solver. Even though the author died just before this revised copy went to print, her life experience is captured in her work.

In this book you will find:

  • “Ideas on how to find vital records before civil registration
  • Tips for finding “missing” ancestors on censuses
  • Instructions for investigating collateral kin to further your pedigree
  • A look at advanced court records and how they can help you find answers
  • Work-arounds for lost or destroyed records
  • Techniques for correctly identifying and researching ancestors with common names
  • Methods for finding ancestors who lived before 1850
  • Case studies that show how to apply the author’s advice to real-life research roadblocks
  • Strategies for analyzing your problem and creating a successful research plan”

Rising considered hitting the proverbial brick wall as the fun part of genealogy. Her positive attitude is revealed the pages of her book. You too will find answers as you learn from this master of research.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack


1 The First Step: Analyzing the Problem and Planning a Strategy for Success

2 Finding Births, Marriages, and Deaths Before Civil Registration

3 Why Does the Census Taker Always Miss My Ancestor?

4 Consider the Collateral Kin: Genealogical Research in the Full Family Context

5 Your Day in Court

6 What to Do When the Courthouse Burned

7 Give Me Land—Lots of Land

8 Sorting Individuals of the Same Name

9 The Critical Connection: Finding ancestors Who Lived Before 1850

10 Ten Mistakes Not to Make in Your Family Research

11 Analysis of Evidence

Appendix A – Finding Your Ancestors Online by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Appendix B – DNA Facts and Common Myths by Lauren Gamber

Appendix C – Glossary of Genealogy Terms from the editors of Family Tree Magazine

Appendix D – Research Logs and Charts



Order The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $24.49.


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The Genealogist’s U.S. History Pocket Reference: Quick Facts And Timelines Of American History To Help Understand Your Ancestors

fnw1I have always enjoyed trivia games and books with lists or facts. I call these books bathroom readers. However, they often contain very useful information, much of it historical. However, it never really dawned on me how useful such a book could be to a genealogist until I was given a copy for review of The Genealogist’s U.S. History Pocket Reference: Quick Facts And Timelines Of American History To Help Understand Your Ancestors. This small facts book contains a wealth of information useful to researching one’s ancestors.

This guide “outlines the major political, military and social events in the United States from the colonial era through 1940. It also includes immigration trends and census dates to help you narrow your research focus and find genealogy records faster.” Inside these pages the reader will find timelines, charts, lists, and maps for events and people. Military events and major wars are covered, along with more mundane but popular subjects like food, songs, books, and more for each time period. There are also many genealogically oriented topics covered, like censuses and immigration data, including major points and countries of origin.

The author best describes how to use this book in your genealogical research:

“When you are trying to find an ancestor in a specific era, consult the chapter on that era. The events of the era may have directly impacted your ancestor. Wars create service records for soldiers, but also may have displaced your ancestors if fighting took place on their lands. Disasters and disease also displace people. Additionally, you’ll find listing of census records in online databases…”

Both useful for research, as well as simply fun to read, this is a great little guide. The book also makes a great gift.


Order copies of The Genealogist’s U.S. History Pocket Reference: Quick Facts And Timelines Of American History To Help Understand Your Ancestors for yourself or as a gift from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $14.69.




How to Use This Book

Chapter 1 – Colonial America to 1763

  • About the Era
  • America Before the Europeans
  • Exploring the Continent
  • First Settlements in America
  • Formation of the Original 13 Colonies
  • Important Documents of the Era
  • Events That Shaped the Era
  • Colonial America, 1689-1783 Map
  • The Puebloan Revolution
  • The Witchcraft Trials
  • Wars of the Era
  • Inventions
  • Famous People of the Era
  • English Monarchs in America’s Early Colonization
  • Social Classes in Virginia
  • Life Expectancy 1640-1700 (For a Person Aged 20)
  • Mortality
  • Medical Treatments
  • Epidemics
  • Books of the Era
  • Colonial Colleges
  • Songs of the Era
  • Popular Foods of the Era
  • Recipe From the Era
  • Most Popular Names
  • Colonial Churches
  • Population in the 13 Colonies
  • Population Percentages
  • Immigration
  • Slaves as a Percentage of the Population
  • The Economy and the Triangle Trade
  • Colonial and Territorial Censuses of the Era

[Read the rest of this entry…]

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The Portable Genealogist: U.S. Naturalization

ne30New England Historic Genealogical Society has joined with many others in creating a new series of 2 to 4 page laminated guides. The NEHGS series is called The Portable Genealogist. In the third installment of this new series to be reviewed here, we will look at The Portable Genealogist: U.S. Naturalization, by Rhonda R. McClure, Genealogist at NEHGS.

What you will find in this new guide:

Page 1 opens with a brief introduction followed by a chart indicating naturalization information gathered in the federal census, by census year. The bottom of the page begins looking at naturalization records and information, beginning with colonial resources.

Page 2 continues colonial resources with the Oath of Allegiance followed by examining Naturalization Records, 1790-1905; which, includes a chart covering eligibility and the process for the years 1790, 1795, 1798, and 1802.

Page 3 continues looking at Records through 1905, with example records, then continues with Naturalization Records, Post 1906.

Page 4 examines Women and Naturalization with another chart and sample records, then finishes with some Recommended Resources.

Contents also include a few tips set to stand out in their own colored boxes. This is a two-color guide, four-page laminated guide, pre-punched three hole for easy insertion into a binder.

Order The Portable Genealogist: U.S. Naturalization from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $6.81. Don’t forget these other available titles:

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