31 March 2009

Tombstone Tues

This is a beautiful headstone placed for Louis Siuwheem. A Cour d'Alene Indian of the area. One of the first Indaians baptised a christian. This must have been placed in recent years. There use to be just wooden crosses marking many of the burials, like this one. The image depicts her life as a teacher of religion to the children and an apostle to her tribe. She Cataldo mission is also in the image. It was being built when she died. The Cataldo mission is the oldest building in Idaho.

I'll have to visit there again this summer. It's been a few years since I've been up there.

30 March 2009

Madness Monday - Jerry Roe born abt 1861

Jerry Roe is my great great grandfather. It was only through finally finding my great grandfather Frank Roe and his brother Piere in the 1910 census that I finally knew his name.
1910 United States Federal Census

about Jerry Rae

Name: Jerry Rae
[Jerry Roe]
Age in 1910: 49
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1861
Birthplace: Iowa
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Indiana
Mother's Birth Place: Illinois
Spouse's Name: Rachel
Home in 1910: Otoe, Noble, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Jerry Rae 49
Rachel Rae 46
Piere Rae 14
Frank Rae 11
Jaybird Rae 7

This is all I could ever find on the family. I can find the boys in 1920 and 1930 and more information on them, but nothing else on Jerry and Rachel. This is the only place I can find them. I have searched using ROE, ROSE, ROW, ROWE, ROWS, and nothing.

From this census though I learned that Jerry was born about 1861 in Iowa. His wife and mother of boys is Rachel. They are living on the Indian reservation in Otoe Twp, Noble, OK. Jerry is not Native American, but Rachel is half and the boys are a quarter Chippewa Indian. Rachel was born in Canada. Piere in MN, Frank in MO on 1 Nov 1898, and Jaybird in Kansas. This family was all over the place, and I can't find any records of them in these places, though I don't really know what counties to start looking in.

Frank and Piere moved to MO by 1920 and married girls there. Jay stayed in OK and in 1930 was in a state hospital. My Aunt thought she had heard something about him having TB. But I find nothing more.

I think my best bet is if I can find a death record, obit or probate record on Rachel or Jerry. It may give me something to go off of. But I don't even know when they died, though I assume they stayed in OK.

I certainly would like to learn more about Rachel. We didn't even know that Grandpa Frank was Native American, though you can see it in him with the dark hair and he was said to have an olive complexion. Black and White photos don't do justice for skin color.

This photo is of my Grandpa Von Joseph Roe (son of Frank Roe) and Great Grandpa Frank Roe on the left holding the basket of fish. It was their favorite pass time.

Frank married about seven different times, but did end up in Modesto, CA where he died Apr 1971 and is buried by his son.

28 March 2009

The Organized Genealogist, Part III

I posted this in the past, but I'm bumping it back up again because I know there are a lot of knew researcher out there. If you haven't already you'll soon discover that you must stay organized. If not you'll find that you waste more time searching through your own records and notes then looking for new information on your ancestor.

Now it's time to organize all the paperwork you have that pertains to your family history. You will need a file cabinet or files boxes, hanging file folders, and manila or colored folders. There are three ways you can choose to organize your files.

  1. Surname: You can choose to organized based one each surname in your family. Create a hanging file for the surname and then create a manila folder for each family group, using the head of household's name (and possible birth year if the name repeats).

  2. Location: File everything based on the state then subdivide by county or even city. This maybe useful if you have different surnames from different locations and you do most of your searches based on location.

  3. Document Type: File each record based on the type of record. Keep marriage records together or death records together. Then assign a sequential number to each item and write it on an index at the front of the folder.

Next decide on the system that works best for you. For me I choose to use the surname system, but I took it one step further, by color coding the files. First assign a hanging file for each surname. Next I created a file folder for each family group with in that surname. Last I created a color chart and color coded the folders. My chart looked something like this:

1) Ancestors of James Shannon Crooks (my hubby)
a) Earl Porter Crooks
b) Ruth Ann Ward
c) Sam Clifton Riddle
d) Estelle Connor
2) Ancestors of Amy Christine Woolsey
a) Albert Lee Woolsey
b) Olivia Joyce Jenkins
c) Von Joseph “Rusty” Roe
d) Mary Ellen Hayes

Then I applied my chart to all of my folders. All folders that pertained to my husband family had a thin blue highlight across the top, and for my family it was pink. Then the four ancestors below our name represented our four grandparents and their family lines. So that each file has one color at the top to represent mine or my husband’s line and then the rest of the tab was color coded according to the family line that the file belonged to. I will say this method has worked wonderful for me. When I research I generally stick to one person or one particular family. With this method I can go to my file pull out the family I want to work on and set down at my desk with out spending time digging through stacks of papers. All of my notes are there in the folder. I can also glance over at my file drawer and quickly see all the other surnames that are a part of that family. If I’m going to the library I may take out a few families I hope to find information on and take with me. With this method it is neat, organized, easy to use, and easy to transport.

Now that you have the system that works for you it’s time to start filing. In each file I also made sure to include a family group sheet and at the front of each surname file was a pedigree. However you may not yet have that. First you need to just start filing. As you add more generations and families to your pedigree you will also add more files.

Photo copies; there are certain things like newspaper articles, documents, and scraps of paper that you will want to photo copy as you go. Newspapers will yellow and crumble over time, as will old documents, so it is a good idea to have a photo copy as a back up. Place your originals in an archival safe sheet protector to keep them from unnecessary damage. All those scraps of paper you have been write notes on photo copy them on to 8.5”x11” paper so that your files stay neat and don’t bulge with little sheets of paper, also there is a greater chance of loosing the little pieces of paper rather then the full sheet.

Once you have photo copied and filed all your documents, letters, and notes you will be on your way to a much more organized and less stressful search for your ancestors. The next step is to begin searching. Until then you may want to consider other areas of your desk, office and work space that may need to be organized to make you search more efficient, such as a card file for contact information, holder for pencils, pens and highlighters, all of which you will need, a shelf for books you will buy to improve you methods of searching, and last a few files for articles you will collect about genealogy, areas you are searching, and history for time periods you are searching.

Of course don't forget about your computer either. It's important that you organize your files there as well. I simply have a "genealogy" file under "My Documents." In that file I have a separate file for ever surname that I have digital copies or photos for. You may want to go a step further and put two files inside the surname file, one for photos and one for documents. I have yet to do that step.

I also highly recommend that if you don't already you should get a genealogy software to help you organize your ancestor information. This can be helpful in keeping you organized, quicker searches, not to mention all of the reports you can make and print with software.

26 March 2009

Falling Walls Friday- A Continuation of Madness Monday

I'm going to do a sequel to the Madness Monday. I don't know if I'll gain enough information to continue this on a regular bases, but when a brick wall falls for me that I have posted in my Madness Monday I plan to post the person's found history on Friday.

I was shocked to find that literally as I was posting my Madness Monday post this past Monday about Mary Jane Vest I was finding information about her. It was amazing!

Mary Jane Vest 1868-1965It started last week when I received an email from a woman who saw my post on Dead Fred of some Vest/Hayes family photos. So I drug out my file and began to do some searching, but just as so many times in the past I really had nothing to go on and kept going in circles. I was told that Mary Jane Vest was Germany and also that she lived to be 104 or somewhere around that age. The problem was I didn't know when or where she was born or when she died. I knew she died in OK, but every SS record that I found just did not fit. I knew her son, my great grandfather Martin Hayes was born in 1907, but he wasn't the oldest and I didn't know how much older the other children were, so I couldn't estimate her birth year from that. Her husband James Martin Hayes, I knew when he was born and died but that didn't help with finding information for her. The other problem was I was completely unable to find the family in a census record at all. I found that unusual. I have many families that I can't find them for one of the census years, but to find no census at all was unusual.

The light bulb went on. I realized that I hadn't searched records with a different spelling of the last name. I knew Hayes could be spelled Hayes or Hays, but for some reason I had not researched it as Hays. Well that put a huge hole in my wall. I found them in the 1910 Census living in Black Dog, Osage, OK. In this census I see that Mary has been married more than once. The children from her second marriage are still with her, Annie born 1892, Nannie - 1892 and Charles- 1897 and their last name is Knott. So this gives me a last name for her other husband. Also with them are James and Mary's three children, Pearl - born 1904, Opal - 1906 and Martin (my great grandfather) - 1907. So she had six children, but wait the census says she has seven children. So are we missing a child, or is that a mistake? The family only knew of five of the six listed here. This also told me that Mary was born about 1868-69 in Missouri. What she wasn't born in Germany? Okay so family myth number one is crushed.

Here is a four generation photo of Mary and possibly her daughter Pearl. The girls are possibly Pearls daughters (believed to be twins) and grandchildren.

Details of the photo provided by Paula "Seated in "Little Grandma". The women left to right are Opal Hays Hale, Mary Agnes Hale McCarty (her oldest child) and JoAnn Hale Phillips Kyle (her 4th living child). She is holding her oldest son, Joel Phillips and the little girl is Aunt Mary's oldest daughter (still living)." Thank you Paula :-)

By 1920 I find them in Hominy, Osage, OK. This time it's just James, Mary and their three children in the home. The others are grown and gone.

Armed with this information I began another search. So I started looking for a Mary Jane Vest born 1868-69 in Missouri as well as using her married names Hays/Hayes and Knott. I still have yet to find her with the last name of Knott. I think that by 1900 Mr. Knott may have already been killed. Oh wait I'm getting ahead of myself. In my second search I found a distant cousin. Not only did I find a distant cousin, but I found the one cousin who is a descendant of the one missing child, Aria Clayton....Clayton? Wait another surname. It turns out that Mary was married three times. She married her first husband, John Charles Clayton, at the age of 15. When Aria was just a toddler her father was involved in a shoot out with the town Marshall and lost. His brothers then got involved in the fight and seriously wounded the Marshal, Tom Allen, but the story doesn't say if he lived or not. Well after the death of John it turns out that the family of John wanted to raise Aria since she was the only child of John. Mary was only about 18 at the time. She may have saw it as a better life for her daughter, whom she was still a part of her life, but it allowed Mary to start her life over. She then went on to marry Mr. Knott and have a family.

By 1930 it's just Mary and James in the home in Hominy, Osage, OK. Also living near by are two other Hays families, possibly James' sibling and not to far away James' 83 year old father Thomas Hays (who lived to be 100 years old) and mother Caroline.

No one is clear as to what happened after that, but somehow Martin and James end up in Turlock, CA where they both died and are buried and where Martin and Lillie Luticia Hoard Hayes raised my grandmother Mary Ellen Hayes and her brothers. Mary continued to live in Hominy, OK. In the end she lived in a rest home in Pawhuska, OK where she died on 11 Apr 1965 at the age of 96.

Finally I had accurate historical data that I could began to really search with. Through emails with the cousin and much more digging I learned that Mary was the daughter of Andrew Jackson Vest and Nancy C Rush Vest. In the 1870 census I find the family living in Greene Township, Polk, MO. There is Jackson Vest - 34, Nancy - 35, Henry J - 4, Mary J - 2, and John - almost 1 yr old. Also living with them is a 60 year old Margaret Rush. I bet I will find she is Nancy's mother. In 1880 I find the family again in Jefferson, Polk, MO. This time however Jackson is not with them. Is he dead by this time? But Nancy, Mary, Henry, and John are in the household as well as an eight year old Emaly Vest and two sons James Simmands- 20 and Thomas Simmands - 18. So was Nancy previously married?

Now that I have broke through the brick wall of Mary Jane Vest Clayton Knott Hayes the paths are leading in all directions and many more questions will arise. But for now I am very happy that I now know about the life of my great great grandmother Mary Hayes. Sometimes you just need to throw the family lore out the window and follow the evidence. Sometimes it's also necessary to play with the facts and change them in order to find incorrectly recorded historical records. I'll keep digging. I'm sure I'll find more now.

24 March 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This one is a sad one to me. These are all children of J.C. and M.E Adams. There are five children, Alameda, Clifton, Alva, Lowren, and Edgar. The oldest was eleven years old. Four out of the five children died in the year 1869. The last died in 1872. I can only imagine a mother's sorrow over loosing that many children in a short period of time. Burial:: Sierraville Cemetery Sierraville Sierra County California, USA

23 March 2009

Madness Monday 1st edition

Well here is our first edition of Madness Monday. Click on the title to see all the criteria, but Thomas summed it up best with “mad ancestors or elusive ancestors that drive us mad”

Mary Jane (Vest) Hayes

I have chosen for this edition to write about my maternal 2nd great grandmother. She is a serious brick wall I am trying to break now and I have been for four years. Really she is a brick wall because I have almost no information to start with. Believe or not I have NO dates for her other than the date her son, my great grandfather Martin Hayes, was born. And only through photos and his birth certificate do we know her name. That's it! (well that was until about 30 minutes ago when I tried a different spelling of the Hayes name (Hays) and found them in the 1910 census. Hey it's a start!)

I hope to discover places and dates for all the vital events in her life, birthday, marriage and death. Heck I'd even be happy if I could find her and the family in a census record. No I haven't even found one yet!

What I do have is this:

  • According to the 1910 census Mary (Mollie) is 42 years old, so that would put her birth at about 1868 and it states she is married in MO.
  • James Martin Hayes married Mary Jane Vest about 1899 (this is based off of data from 1910 census.)
  • 1907 - Martin Hayes is born to James Martin Hayes and Mary Jane Vest on the April 4th in Homeney, OK. He is my great grandfather.
  • 1910 the family is in Black Dog, Osage, Oklahoma. They have her name as Mollie, not Mary, but the rest of the family fits and I was able to determine that for both James and Mary this is a second marriage. (children listed below for Mary)
  • Martin has three sisters, Gloria, Pearl, and Opal. He also had three step siblings, Anna Knott, Nannie Knott and Charlie Knott. So Mary was first married to a man by the last name of Knott.
  • According to my Aunt Mary Jane (yes who was named after Mary) and my Aunt Dawna, Mary lived to be about 104 and died somewhere in OK in the 1980's.
Research I have done that doesn't fit her is:

  • I've looked in the Social Security Index on line for and Mary hayes that died in Oklahoma, only to find none of them wer 104 years old and many of them where born too close to the time her son Martin was born therefore ruling them completely out.
  • I've searched the census records for her husband (and her) from 1900-1930 in OK, TX and CA. If they were in any other states I don't have that, but I also did search nation wide just in case. Until about 30 minutes ago when I spelled the Hayes name as Hays and finally after four years found them in the 1910 census as James and Mollie Hays. Mollie is either a nickname or a mistake.
  • I posted her photo on Dead Fred and recently had a possible hit from a Vest family member who thinks Mary looks a lot like her family. My draw back is that they are from AL and AR. We were told that she was German. I'm thinking now that means she is of German descent. But still I have her as born in MO, her father born in IN and mother in KY (all from 1910 census). So I still don't see a conection at least not yet.
  • I've looked on Find-A-Grave for a burial/headstone, but no luck there either.
  • I've looked online for a marriage records of her marriage to James Martin Hayes, but no luck.
  • I do know that Annie married a Clark (ironicaly there is a Clark family on the 1910 census. I'll pursue that later), and that Opal married a Haile, but I know nothing more of their family or spouses.
Research that I still need to do but haven't done:

  • My Aunt Dawna is looking for a funeral card that she believe was in my grandma's things for Mary Jane Hayes. I hope that will lead to more informaiton, especially around her death.
  • I will now go back and research other records using the alternate spelling of Hayes as Hays.
  • I need to find Mary's first marriage as well to Mr. Knott, and I'd like to find James' first marriage that I didn't know about until now.
Well this went from a complete brick wall to one that is crumbling just in the time it took me to type this up. I hope some of you have just as much luck.

22 March 2009


Wordle: UFR Blog

This on is of my blog as of Mar 2009

Wordle: Surnames

And here is my family surname wordle.

Saturday Night Fun - True Confessions of a Genealogy Junkie

I couldn't resist playing this question game by Randy at Genea-Musings. This could be fun.

1. When did you start genealogy research? Jan 2005

2. Why did you start doing research? It's a funny story how I got started. First I always had an interest but never knew where to start or how to find the time. Then one day just after my daughter was born I was watching "Little House on the Prairie" I had read all the books as a child and still watch the reruns today. But I got curious as to what was on the web about the real Laura Ingalls. So I started looking. Before I knew it I ran into and advertisment for ancestry.com about finding my own history. So I signed up for the two week free trial and then spent endless hours on the phone with my mother-in-law, and some with my mom and her twin........ and here we are today with lots of happy new discoveries and many more to come.

3. What was your first big success in research? The day I found the family of my husbands grandmother as well as where her mother was buried. It was her only wish that she be able to know more about her mother, her family and visit her grave. We were able to make that dream come true for her a couple summers ago.

4. What is your biggest genealogy regret? That I didn't start this before all my grandparents were gone. The last one died in 2004, Olivia Joyce Jenkins Woolsey. She is the one that a credit for planting that little seed of curiosity and yet I never took the time to find out more from her before she became ill.

5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world? My willingsness to volunteer and help other when ever I have the time.

6. What is your professional status in genealogy? Not certified, though that is a dream of mine. For now I enjoy doing pro-bono work from friends and family, and learning something new all the time.

7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement? Not only finding hundreds of my husbands ancestors (who were unknown to his parents, they didn't have or know their history) as well as my own family (which was partially found by Aunts), but also for helping a few other family put together their family history who wanted to know, but just didn't have the time, know how, patients or the money to make it happen.

8. What is the most FUN you've had doing genealogy? All of the other fellow genealogist that I meet and especially the new family members that pop up and say "hey I think we are related through........" I love getting those emails.

9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book? Two really, Dead Fred has one on his site you can download and was a big help to me early on. The other one is The Organized Family Historian by Ann Carter Fleming It has helped me so much to get organized so I can acomplish more of my goals.

10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday? Megan Smolenyak

There you are - talk about yourself for a change! Go forth and blog about your True Confessions of a Genealogy Junkie! Or write a comment to this post.

20 March 2009

Madness Monday

I would like to start a new meme for those of us researching our ancestors. This is for every Monday. Let's call it Madness Monday for, as Thomas MacEntee put it "mad ancestors or elusive ancestors who drive US mad."

For mad ancestors, maybe you had a black sheep in the family that drove everyone else mad. How about the ancestors that were called mad because of their eccentric personality? Maybe you had an ancestor that lived through the horrors of the old insane asylums. Maybe you have a funny one about an ancestor that just went off on a rampage because someone inflicted temporary insanity. I'm sure you can come up with other stories of madness. The more creative the better.

Now of course there are those ancestors who drive "us made." These are the ones that the family lost contact with. No one knows anything about them or where they disappeared to. Or maybe you know the last part of their lives, but not where it began. Tell us about your ancestors that are a triple layer brick wall. Post what you know, what you've heard from family, and what you suspect may be the truth. But please differentiate each category
because what you've been told may not be fact, or what you suspect may not pan out either. So help your readers to help you separate fact from fiction in order to solve your puzzle. Posting about our brick walls may help bring some sanity back to our research.

I would like to ad a bit more to this post, so I hope some of you come back to read this. Ambar was the first person to respond to this post when I launched this and she pointed me to a fabulous fellow genealogist and blogger. I had the previlidge of meeting Miriam Midkiff about two years ago. I try to follow her work, but since I have had to go back to work I often don't get around to reading her posts. I only visit on occation, and I'm sad to say I missed this one. So thank you Ambar for bringing this to my attention.

Miriam is a genealogist blogger and one of her blogs is AnceStories: The Stories of my Ancestors. In this blog she wrote a wonderful article,
Who Are Our Brickwall Ancestors, and Why Aren't We Blogging About Them Regularly? The reason I want to direct your attention to her blog is not only does she ask a very relivant question that has brought me to launch this meme, but she goes much further than I did and writes a template that will be very helpful to all of us to use when posting each of our article about our brick wall ancestors.

Here is part of her post:

1. A title [in this case "Madness Monday", but you can follow it with] "My Brickwall Ancestor: [Name], [dates, if known]"

2. List what we want to know: "I want to discover solid evidence of who Levi E. McCLELLAN's parents and siblings were, and when and where he died and was buried."

3. A chronological list (timeline) of known information. For instance:
1850 Federal Census - living in China Twp., St. Clair Co., Michigan as the head of the household. Levi "McCLENAN," age 27, laborer, born in New York.

The following were also living with him:

Probable wife Clary McCLENAN [Clarissa Mary CLEVELAND], age 18, born New York

Unknown household member Elizabeth FISH, age 14, born Canada

Probable mother Rachel McCLENAN, age 53, widow, born Ohio

Probable niece Emy McCLENAN, age 5, born Ohio, attended school within the year

Probable brother Rubin [sic - Reuben] McCLENAN age 28, laborer, born Ohio

I could then go on to list other census information (1860, 1870, 1880 Federal Census; he's deceased in 1890 Union Veterans Census) or documents (1862 Enlistment in Co. C, 27th Michigan Infantry; 1866 Civil War Veteran's Pension Index Card; 1880 Detroit City Directory) in which I've found Levi, in chronological order and with details.

4. List positive and negative searches in detail. Obviously, any information in the timeline would be from a positive search. But we could list where we've searched and found no information, or our attempts to trace collateral lines. In this example, I would say the following:

I've attempted to obtain Levi's death record (I know he was deceased by the time the 1890 Union Veteran's Census was taken) in the following places, with no results:

Michigan State Death Records 1867 - 1897 on FamilySearch's Record Search, using Levi as a first name and McClellan, McLellan, McCollum, McClenan, McLennan as surnames. I've also used the "Exact & close match" and "Exact, close & partial" filters. I've searched for deaths for all Levis in Michigan between 1880, when he was last known to be alive, and 1890, as well as all those with the initial L.

I would then go on to tell how I've searched online obituary and cemetery transcriptions for the area.

5. List any possible resources you can think of that you haven't checked. In the above example, I've ordered Levi's Civil War Pension Record, which I hope will provide me with more information. You can also list your suspicions. In the same Army company in which Levi served during the Civil War, there was a man named William J. McCLELLAN. I would then describe my attempts to find out more about this individual, whom I suspect is a brother or cousin to Levi.

I spoke to Miriam by email this week and she is excited about this new meme. At this time though she knew she wouldn't have the time or ability to keep something like this going. To tell you the truth....I hope I can keep this going. Miriam thanks for the input on this and allowing me to use some of your work to get this launch in the right direction. I hope you get to feeling better soon.

I'm looking forward to reading all of your posts and putting this together on Monday. Sorry for such short notice on this first one, but I just had one of those quick thoughts that took off like a wild fire.

19 March 2009

Unclaimed Persons

We are now in week #10 of the 52 blog post ideas. This weeks post was to attend a national conference and write about it. Well little miss stuck at home with no car and no money....... not an easy feat. So I went to one of my favorite places online, Roots Television to watch and learn about more research tips and ideas.

Today I chose one that also ties in with my research on the deceased. The title of this video was Unclaimed Persons. One of my favorite and very knowledgeable researchers, Megan Smolenyak was involved in working and reporting on this case.

In counties all around the United States (and I'm sure the world) there are thousands of people who are unclaimed at time of death. Now there is a difference between unclaimed and unknown. We are not talking about John or Jane Doe's who are unknown. These are people who we know their name, possibly their last residence, but their next of kin is unknown. There is no one to claim the body.

The sad thing is that after a period of time if the coroners office can not locate a next of kin to claim the body then the body is cremated and buried in an unmarked grave in a paupers cemetery, unless they left instruction specifying no cremation and in most of those cases the coroner will get special permission to bury the body in the paupers cemetery. I find this sad because these people are easily forgotten.

If you are looking for an interesting case that deserves help, check with your local coroners office. They may even have a list online, but if not go to the office and volunteer to help do some research and try to find the families of the unclaimed. They have a name, give them a chance to be given back to the family who often times have already been looking for their loved one, and just never found them.

One strong word of caution though. If you do find family to any of these unclaimed individuals, please do not contact the family. That is the responsibility of the coroners office. You may find yourself in a sticky situation that you don't want to be in if you do. The coroners office will have the details the family need about their loved ones and what they need to do to insure a proper burial for them.

You can also watch the video to see how Megan Smolenyak worked on a case that as of yet has not been solved in the case of John Aaron Leon Finch born 12 Sep 1944 in Clay Center, KS. His last known address was Vine St, Scranton, PA. His siblings are Charles Finch, James Finch, Wilburn Finch, Marlin Finch, Micheal Finch, Arlin Finch, Leslie Finch, Debra Finch, and Jerry Finch (deceased). If you have any information on this individual you are encouraged to contact the Scranton, PA coroners office.

Also included in this video is the case of an unclaimed person who died in the desert, living in his jeep in Nevada. When they solved the case he only had one brother still living. The brother talks about how the family had searched for him for many years and could never find him. All the siblings passed away with out ever knowing their brother again. But the one brother began to understand why. His brother had been living in the desert in his jeep for many many years. Literally his address was listed as so many miles out in the middle of no where.

06 March 2009

Historical Societies and Online Groups

This post was suppose to be about events at your local historical societies, but due to working nights, my family obligations, no car right now, and just life I'm not able to join any local historical societies. So I decided to take this opportunity to write about the groups online I have joined in the past or currently a member of.

My biggest commitment right now is as a Grave Yard Rabbit. I was already on this path when GYR was formed. I had began writing about the Kootenai County Cemetery aka. Paupers Cemetery near my home. So it was a perfect fit for me to join GYR as well.

GYR is a group of bloggers who write about cemeteries, graves, burial customs and anything else related to the deceased. If you are a blogger, have a passion for cemeteries and stories to share this would be a perfect group for you as well. Every week we get an email of all the posts the members have posted related to the subject and I really enjoy reading all the interesting posts and learning more about grave yards then I've ever known.

Along that same line I am also a member and contributor to Find-A-Grave. I joined this before GYR. I had planned to go full fill requests for photos of headstones, but I wont be able to do that again until my husband gets my car fixed. In the mean time though I have contributed all the data I have on the memorials of those buried at the Kootenai County Cemetery, some of my ancestors and I plan to contribute more as I have time.

What I love about Find-A-Grave is that for each person you contribute you can create a memorial to them; adding photos of their headstone, a photo of the person, a transcription or copy of their obituary, or type up your own obituary about their life. You can also ad links in their memorial that can take you to their spouse and parents. You can still do most of this even if you find a memorial that someone else already began, or you can simply ad a message, flowers or other icon to their memorial. It's a great way to visit and remember your family members, especially if you don't live in the area they are buried in. Just visit their memorial online.

Now this one I am no a longer host for, but I completely support the work they do. I just don't have the time right now to contribute to their work. Genealogy Trails is another free website, just like UsGenWeb. Both are great sites for finding information on your ancestors. They just don't have enough people willing and able to spend the time transcribing and contributing the vast number of records there are out there. But it sure is exciting when you find something on one of these sites that opens a whole new world of information and the best part is you can find it for free! If you have the time to dig up records and transcribe them for your county area both sites are always looking for help.

My all time favorite site is Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. Thanks to the effort and time of many wonderful volunteers I have been able to dig up things on my ancestors, and those of other families I have helped, that I would not otherwise be able to find. You might say I'm a poor researcher. I know that there are many records out there that aren't online yet, but I don't' have the funds or the time to travel to find them, especially since people I am looking for are often scattered all over the US. So all I need to do is go online to RAOGK and hopefully find someone in the county I am looking, willing to research the records I need searched and send them an email. I just give them the information I have and ask for help in find records related to that person(s). I don't pay for their time. These are all very generous people. The only thing they ask is that you reimburse them for the cost of copies, mailing and in some cases if they live a great distance from the source of records for mileage. The people that volunteer at RAOGK I consider to be the angels of genealogy.

All of these sites are made possible by wonderful people who volunteer their time in order to put information out there for all of us looking for our ancestors. If you have appreciated the work that others have contributed somewhere to help you and you want to find a way to pay it forward, consider joining one or more of these sites and contributing information you have as well for others to enjoy. The more we work together to put information out there for free the more we can help those of us poor researchers to find our ancestors with out going broke doing so.

04 March 2009


Back in August 2007 Ancestry.com had many of us in an uproar. They were spidering our websites that we do for free to share information with other like minded individuals, possible relatives, or to teach genealogy. I didn't mind the fact that people could access my sites through their website. What infuriated me was that they put it behind their paid only subscription, so only paying members could access that information. You can read more about the uproar in my first post Ancestry.com Nothing but Thievs and the follow up post here Ancestry.com More details!!

For some time I canceled my subscription and pulled their advertisements from my page. But that has all changed. At the time I didn't blog about this because my husband soon after lost his job and when I received the email from Ancestry I was too caught up in getting a job myself and I've been busy since. But I was just thinking today about what happened after. Ancestry sent out an email apologizing and that after all the feed back they received on the subject they decided to pull that collection from their database.

You know we all make mistakes. We do things all the time with out considering the consequences or how what we do will affect others. It's not so much the mistakes, but it's what we do to correct the wrongs that make a person. I believe Ancestry possibly didn't really think that one out and didn't realize how so many of us would feel about all of our hard work being used to charge others when we do it for free. But when it was all said and done I think they really stood up and did the right thing. They removed it and sent out emails apologizing.

I have since found the time to add their ads back to my site and I've started using them again. Thank goodness too because otherwise I would have never found a marriage certificate for my husbands great grandparents and then finally found the name of his gg grandmother who's picture I had, but didn't know her name.

Ancestry.com is a great site for genealogy research. They have an enormous about of information about our ancestors. There are other favorites that I use to as well like, Footnote, Find A Grave, Genealogy Trails, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, Roots Television Where History Meets Heritage, RootsWeb.com Home Page, UsGenWeb and so many more.