Research to identify your ancestors

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#6

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

.... A Project...If You Have Taken Lots of Fun Trips ....

We all take trips....some more than others, .......some more fun than others!

A very interesting legacy that you can leave for your posterity is to write about your trips. Make it something like a travelogue and put the story of each trip into a 3-ring binder or album. Also include photographs of your trip. Leaving something like this tells more about you and where you liked to go and the sites you enjoyed.

When I was 18 years old, I traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles with about six college girls. We took two cars. Most of our trip was along the old Route 66 Highway. We had such a fun time. I would write detailed letters back home telling about each days journey....what area we covered and what we saw. Boy, would I give anything if I had those letters today!!! But, they were not kept...they do not exist any more. Those letters were part of my life and I shared something of myself through them. Maybe this is a good reminder to save all letters. Someday they will help tell a story of someone.

That is what leaving a legacy of our self for our posterity is all about....leaving bits and pieces of our life, our self, for others to know us by.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#5

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

----- A Project....If Your Hobby and Talent is Woodworking -----

I have two sons that have a side business and talent of making furniture and other items out of wood for people. They followed certain steps, which gave me this idea for a project you can leave for your family:

1) They sketched a picture of the item they were going to build.

2) Periodically as they were building the item, they would take photographs of it.

3) When the item was completed, they again took photographs of it from different angles.

4) They put their sketches and photographs of each item they built, into an album.

So, if your talent and hobby is creating things out of wood (or metal, or whatever).....follow the steps above and form a nice keepsake album of your work. Leaving an album such as this for your posterity will enrich their understanding of you and the talent you were blessed with. Maybe one of the items you make will become a family heirloom some day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#4

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

----- Make a "Book of Remembrance" -----

A "Book of Remembrance" is a collection of personal and family records and happenings that you regard as sacred. They may be put into acid free sheet protectors and into a 3-ring binder or something similar, that is acid free and archival safe. This book could contain the following:

* A Pedigree Chart including as many ancestors as you have been able to trace.

* Family Group Sheets for husbands and wives on the pedigree chart, including their children's names, dates and places.

* Certificates of any family members, such as birth, blessing, baptism, marriage, death, and copies of patriarchal blessings, special blessings, father's blessings, etc.

* Personal information about any individual on the family group sheets such as occupations, schools attended faith-promoting experiences.

* Impressions at baptisms, ordinations, or marriages; special experiences.

* Summaries of blessings...blessings of children, confirmations, ordinations, blessings when we are set apart for various callings in the Church.

* Items related to spiritual blessing and heritage.

* Family histories.

* Selected accounts from the personal journals of family members.

* Family photographs with explanations (names, date, place, occasion, relationship to you).

* Our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#3

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

----- Prepare an Ancestor Photo Album -----

If you are like me, you have lots and lots of photos in envelopes and boxes. Now for this project, I not only consider my grandparents and great-grandparents as "ancestors", but I contemplate ahead and consider my parents and my siblings, also (hold-on)........for one reason. In not too many years from now, my children will be looking at photos of my parents (their grandparents) and my siblings (their aunts and uncles). They will show and hand down these photos to their children, making my parents their great-grandparents, my siblings their great aunts and uncles. Get the picture?

For Christmas of 2006, I made each of my children an ancestor photo album. I used a large, 3 inch, 3-ring binder (D-ring). Every sheet in the binder was put into an acid free sheet protector. The sheets within the sheet protectors were all back to back. The following steps are how I put my binders together. Perhaps these steps may inspire you to make your albums differently. Be creative and have fun with it, like I surely did.

1) The title of the binder was "Photo Album of the Ancestors of (my full name including maiden and married). I also made a binder spine insert of the same title.

2) Next, I made an index sheet listing all the different family sections in the binder. The first section was "The Photos in This Album Tell a Story...." The second section was "(my name)'s Parents"...third section was "(my name)'s Siblings"....fourth section was "(my name)'s Nieces and Nephews"....fifth section was "(my name)'s Grandparents".....and the last section was "(my name)'s Aunts, Uncles, Cousins"

3) In the first section called "The Photos in This Album Tell a Story...", I wrote a little story about each of the other family sections. For instance, the second section is my I told a little bit about my parents and my feelings about some things that might have happened. Next, I wrote a little bit about the next section which was about each of my siblings and my feelings. I did this for each of the remaining sections. All these stories were kept in the first section and I added a fancy border around these pages.

4) Between each of the family sections, I made a title sheet of that section and added a little bit of clip art to fancy it up.

5) After each title sheet, I placed a family group sheet that pertained to that particular family section. For instance, my parents section had a partial group sheet that showed just the two of them as husband and wife. At the top of the group sheet I made a title that said "(my name)'s Parents" My siblings section had a partial group sheet showing just us children with a title above it "(my name)'s Siblings". For the section on Grandparents, I put "(my name)'s Grandparents" and also added "Her Mother's Parents", or "Her Father's Parents", to distinguish which side of the family the photos were from. I also did this for the "Aunts, Uncles, Cousins" section....I added "Her Mother's Side", or "Her Fathers Side".

6) Then I began sorting and choosing the photos that I wanted to put into the albums, according to each section. I scanned the photos into my computer then grouped them to fit an 8x10 size sheet. Some photos I cropped out people, some I enlarged, some I made smaller. Under each photo I put the persons name and the date the photo was taken. Some of my family sections had 6-8 sheets of grouped photos. This will depend on how many photos you have to begin with, how many people you have in each family section, and how large you want to make the photos within each sheet. I just printed the grouped photo sheets out on regular printer paper and made the number of copies to match the number of binders I was putting together. I was pleased with the way the photos looked with just being printed on regular paper. You can use photo paper if that is what you choose to do. I kept all the original photos in my copy of the album.

Have great fun doing this project. I had the most wonderful feelings as I was putting my albums together...many different wonderful thoughts as I reminisced. My children love their ancestor photo album and I am so very glad that I did this project for them. It is something that can be passed on to their children and their children's children.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#2

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

----- Make a "Scrapbook of Memories" -----

Come on...fess up! We are all pack rats when it comes to saving memorable "stuff". We go to a play, come home and stuff the program book and our ticket in a drawer. Right? Or we go on vacation somewhere extra fun and we save little brochures, scenic postcards and trinkets from the trip. Yes? Of course, we have to keep all our fun reminders of school years long ago, don't we?.....all those awards certificates, buttons, badges, flyers, strings, ribbons, material samples from sewing class, notes that our friends passed to us, athletic awards and letters.....right? You name it and we have it in a box or drawer....somewhere! Or.....maybe they are loose and strung out all over the house in various drawers and closets. Whatever.

Don't get me wrong. These memorable items are a very good thing. They represent our life...the things we were involved in...were a part of....and enjoyed. In a sense they kind of tell a story of our life, all by themselves.

But have you thought or even cared about what is going to happen to all your tangible "memories" when you should leave this life? If they are just laying around taking up space...chances are whoever goes through your effects will find a new home for them in the trash can, because they will have no real meaning for that person. But, if they were important enough for you to keep all these years, then they are important enough to weave into a type of story that you can leave for your family.

Here are some suggestions of how you can accomplish this project:

a) Go around your home and gather up every last shred of your tangible memories and put them into a box.

b) When you have collected everything, obtain some large 3 inch--3-ring (the D-ring kind) binders, acid free card stock (colored if you want), acid free sheet protectors, and 3x5 index cards.

c) Take an item from the box and on a 3x5 index card (or whatever you would like to use) put the name of the item and the year you obtained it. Also on the card, write some tidbits of information about the item and what is has meant to you. Attach the card to the item and mount the item onto a sheet of cardstock. Then slip the cardstock into a sheet protector and into your binder. For small items.. you can mount the item on the cardstock and write your information on the cardstock, next to the item. Each sheet in your "Scrapbook of Memories" binder should be kept numerically by year so it tells a chronological story of you. Yes, your scrapbook will be bulky.....but oh, so wonderful!! You may end up with many binders (be sure to number each binder) but all those treasures will be in one spot...telling your story.

d) For items that are way too big for the binder, label them with the cards the same way as above and fashion some kind of a fancy "heirloom" storage box. Make some kind of a label for the outside of the box with your name on it, the items inside, and what the items represent.

Have fun and enjoy this project.....your family will, because you made it with love for them as a legacy of you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Genealogy/Family History Project Ideas...#1

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

----- Write Your Personal History -----

Write your life story so that you can leave a legacy for your family. You might think that your life has not been very interesting, but I guarantee you that your posterity will absolutely treasure the things you write about yourself.

Visit one of my other blogs, titled “Writing Your Life Story…one memory jog at a time”.

On that blog, I give steps on how to get started writing your life story and also ongoing topics and statements that help to jog your memory of past incidents and events in your life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our responsibility regarding family history/genealogy

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

“We are the clean up and get it right generation.

We need to leave such good genealogical tracks that anyone can easily follow our Pedigree Charts, Family Group Records, and documentation trail.

No one should ever be able to question where we obtained the information shown in our records, nor exactly what it said!”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An excellent search engine for genealogical research

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

I recently took a class from a genealogical researcher a few days ago. His recommendation was to use the search engine: . He felt it was better than any other. Check it out for yourself. For information about how clusty is different, click on the "about" link on the clusty home page.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Meditation and prayer helps genealogy

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

Everyone’s beliefs are different, but I feel that prayer goes a long way in helping us with finding information about our ancestors. I also feel that our ancestors are desirous of being found.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ideas for Christmas gifts

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

As usual, Christmas seems to come very quickly this time of year. What to give who, is usually the stressful question.

Something different could be gifts in the form of easy genealogy/family history type projects. Here are links to some websites that offer ideas:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How are you coming along with your genealogy?

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

Doing genealogy is fascinating and addictive but it can become overwhelming and discouraging at times…especially when we hit a brick wall and can’t seem to go any further with a particular family line.

Please don’t allow yourself to get so discouraged that you stop researching. Just choose another family line to follow for now and down the road in time, as more and more ancestral records are made available, you will be able to find the information that you can’t right now. Investing time in doing genealogy brings many rewards and blessings.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Join Genealogical Societies

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

A county, state or national genealogical society usually allows member genealogists to profit from shared knowledge. Most societies own libraries containing large collections of journals and records of all types, such as original documents, artifacts, manuscripts, books, family papers, bibles, etc. Generally these collections provide rare access to information not available anywhere else.

By paying a yearly fee to become a member, you have the benefit of making queries to any of these societies and they will search information for you.

Join the society that is in the county or state where your ancestors lived for many years.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Genealogy Research Web Links, 6

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy). ... Census Enumerator Instructions. Reading these instructions can be very helpful in more fully understanding the records. ... Census Abbreviations. This website will help you sort out some of the more common abbreviations you will find, that in the past has been confusing to you. … Geographic Names Informations System. Ever wondered in what county a town was located? Or what cemeteries were in the county in which your ancestors lived? This site will help. Enter a town name and its state and you will be presented with a list of features associated with that town, and the name of the county it falls within. Click on a name for geographic coordinates and links to various maps and satellite views of the area.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Genealogy Research Web Links, 5

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy). …. WorldCat. Looking for a publication for any of your ancestor’s surnames, etc.? WorldCat will find it and tell you what library in your zip code vicinity has a copy. …. Wikipedia. Search for a year and get a chronology of world events from that year. These historic events might give a clue of what prompted your ancestors to pick up and leave the country they had called home for generations. Old Medical Terms for use of Genealogists. This is handy for finding out what disease our ancestors died from, in today’s terms.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Brick walls...what are they?

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

In the field of genealogy, a brick wall is when you have been searching and searching for a piece of information for a very long time for one of your ancestors. You feel very strongly that there is no other place left to look and that you are stopped in your tracks and can’t go any further…that is termed “a brick wall”.

When you feel you have come to a brick wall in your searching for a particular ancestor…do not get discouraged. Just put aside the search for that ancestor for a short while and begin your research on another family line or person. This is a common happening for a lot of genealogists.

Then as time passes, one day you’ll discover a way has been opened up and you will find the missing information for that brick wall ancestor. It happens all the time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What is a Primary source?....What is a Secondary source?

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

In genealogy research, when it comes to verifying the names, dates, and places of your ancestors lives, you want to try and locate a primary source for this information above that of a secondary source.

What are PRIMARY sources? They are documents that are first hand accounts, like a birth and death certificate or marriage license. Generally these are true sources, without error in them.

What are SECONDARY sources? They are the information about your ancestors that you possibly find in books, census records, verbal sharing, and other people’s genealogy records. Whenever someone else copies/transfers data into another form of record, it becomes a secondary source....because of the margin for error created in the transfer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Safeguard your genealogical computer files

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

We all understand that at any time our computer is at risk of crashing and we stand a chance of losing our valuable files of data, photos, etc. that we have stored on our hard drive. So, we know that it is wise to back-up copies of all our files that we deem very precious to us.

Of course, the same holds true of our genealogical files that we have been adding and storing into a computer genealogical software program. We definitely want to make sure we back-up those files as well.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hiring a professional genealogical researcher

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

There are many people that make a business out of researching other people’s genealogy lines. They will do all your research for you, or if you would rather, they will just look for records in a particular area to verify claims in your genealogy. They can usually locate the records for you and get you copies.

Their services, rates, experience, and reputations are all different, so be careful when you select a professional researcher to help you. You want to find someone that has a lot of experience in the area in which you need help. I would not hesitate to ask them for a list of their satisfied customers and other references whom you could contact.

When looking for someone to do this work for you, consider this list of questions you might want to ask that person before hiring them:

* Are they certified or accredited and by what organization?
* How many years experience do they have?
* Do they belong to any professional genealogical organizations and which ones?
* What foreign languages do they speak?
* What types of records and resources do they have access to?
* What kind of experience do they have in the areas that you need help with?
* In what way do they charge for their services, what method of payment do they accept, and what is their policy on refunds in case of dissatisfaction?
* How much time can they devote on your research project?

To find a researcher, look on comprehensive genealogy websites, or on an online directory of researchers such as the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Genealogy Magazines

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

Subscribing to a genealogy magazine can be very helpful and informative. Each issue of the magazine presents to you the latest information in the world of genealogy and offers detailed articles about researching and where to go. There are stories of how other people found their ancestors, and sometimes historical articles that gives us insight into the lives of our ancestors and where they lived and the time period they were in.

My two favorite genealogy magazines are:

Family Chronicle ...

Family Tree ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Genealogy classes and lessons

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

There is so much to learn about genealogy. We can learn on the internet, take classes at a library, have a one on one with a friend, or acquire books to read about it. It is fun, exciting and more rewarding than you will ever know.

The following website is a good one for some lessons:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Genealogy Research Web Links, 4

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy). .... a good site to use in translating languages .....view U.S. and International maps of where your ancestor lived. ..... good old standby Google....for searching anything! ...... search the U.S. Social Security Death Index for an ancestor.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Make a visit to a Genealogy (Family History) Library near you

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

These are great places to visit. Inside most of these Libraries are computers for you to use; special genealogy software programs that have been downloaded onto their computers for your use; a book section containing many different family histories (according to surname); microfilm that you can order and view on their film strip machines; trained consultants who are very anxious to help you; and lots of free classes that will teach you the ins and outs of genealogy and researching.

So check your phone book or ask your local library about a genealogical library in your town. It just might be that your local library offers a special section in their building.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How are you coming?

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy).

Are you having any success with your researching? Please remember to record the information you find on your ancestors, into your computer’s genealogy software program (step 5). You will be able to keep track of all the information better that way....and it will all be in one place and be organized for you.

One thing of caution....please, please do not get discouraged and stop. Have faith, and keep pressing forward. Talk to other people who have some experience doing genealogy...learn from them too.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Genealogy research web links, 3

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy). ...... information pages for England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man General Land Office patents records ..... Ellis Island...New York immigrant passenger lists from 1892-1954 ......Castle Garden...New York immigrant passenger lists 1830-1892...(before Ellis Island opened).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Genealogy research web links, 2

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy). .... links to all states in the U.S. and includes counties. ... Social Security Death Index ... The National Archives (military records, etc).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Genealogy research web links, 1

(Note...see the very beginning of this blog for important steps on how to get started on your genealogy) site with tons of information. ..... free site...contains links to every possible genealogy site imaginable. This site is an index for other information sites. It only gives you a link to go somewhere else. This is a VERY helpful, wonderful site. site, very good

Friday, February 8, 2008

Step 6....Research

Now you are ready to begin the research process to locate information about your ancestors. There is much....very much...information to be found on the internet, as well as in books, court houses, cemeteries, and funeral homes.

Internet research is fun and easy. 1)..Try doing a Google search for your ancestors name. Put quotation marks around the name so that it will narrow down the results and not give you lots of only first name finds.

While still in Google, 2)..type the name of the town and state that your ancestor lived, adding the words “vital records” after the place. Try experimenting on Google with other types of searching similar to these.

Whenever you find some information on any of your ancestors, be sure to record that information into your computer genealogy software program (step 5).

On my future posts I will also share with you some genealogy website links to help you in your researching of ancestor information.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Step 5...A computer genealogy software program

Oh, what a wonderful and helpful tool to have to use in your genealogy work.....I am referring to any one of the genealogy software programs on the market, such as “Family Tree Maker”.... “Family Tree Builder”.... “The Master Genealogist” name a few. Just do a Google search for “genealogy software programs”

After installing the program onto your computer, you type in information such as family (ancestor) names, birth and death dates, birth and death places, marriage information, any family history notes and tidbits....anything you want at all. After your data is into the program, it will organize everything for you, link all your family lines together and you can print out pedigree charts and family group sheets that will have your family information on it....based on what you typed into your database.

A Pedigree Chart, when filled out with all the information you know at the moment, will aid you in the following ways:

* At a glance you can follow a family line for several generations.
* At a glance you can see what information you are lacking and can begin researching for it.

Begin with yourself as #1, and work back on your family lines as far as you can go with the information you have at the moment. Take a yellow highlighter pen and mark the areas that are lacking information. This alerts you to what you need to search for and when you find the information, then write it on the highlighted area and then type the data into your program .

The genealogical program will also print out other records and lists for you. What a great way to print out your information and share it with other family members...or share on the internet with others who are researching your surnames.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Step 4...Organize

Now that you have gathered all possible documents and information for all of your living and deceased family members (Step 2 and 3) are ready to organize it. The second important word in genealogy work is “ORGANIZE”.

Setting up a filing system that works for you is vital. It enables you to have an organized place to file and store your family information and then to be able to quickly find a certain document or piece of information that you want, for a particular ancestor of yours.

There are many TYPES and STYLES of genealogy filing systems you can use. A lot of people like the color coded system....where each of your four grandparents are assigned a particular color on their file folders (along with their names) and which is also referenced on their pedigree charts and family group record sheets. Children from the family of each of your grandparents are assigned the same color as their parents.

Another style is to place a file folder with your name on it in the front of the file box, then behind it place a folder with your parents name on it. And behind that place a file folder for each of your grandparents. Within each of these folders, file away items from those 6 envelopes or boxes (step 2).

Click on the following links to get ideas and helps on the various methods, types and styles of organizational systems. Then choose one that best suits your needs.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Step 3...Asking and gathering from living relatives

Besides gathering within your own home the documents and other papers pertaining to your ancestors, it is very important to not forget that your other living family members (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins) might have ancestor information stored in their homes as well.

Approach them and let them know the genealogy project you are working on and ask them if they could please help you. Ask them if they possibly have any documents and other information on any ancestors. And ask them if they would mind if you made a copy of the items. It is wonderful that THEY have these documents....but YOU NEED to have copies of these in your home, too....for your children’s sake.

Any items you acquire from your relatives...put these also into the envelopes or boxes you have previously prepared for the purpose of sorting all documents you find around your home, etc. (step 2).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Step 2...Gather

In genealogy work, we always begin with our self and work backwards on our four grandparents family lines, following the SURNAMES. The first important word is GATHER...we need to know what family information WE ALREADY order to know what information WE STILL NEED.

Go all around your house and look in every drawer, box, closet, nook and cranny. Look in your garage, attic, basement. What are we looking for?....DOCUMENTS such as birth and death certificates, diplomas, awards, journals, diaries, individual personal histories, letters, photos, deeds, wills, personal and family memorabilia, pieces of paper...anything that gives a clue that family members really existed. Whose papers and items are we looking for?....OURS....OUR PARENTS....OUR GRANDPARENTS... and aunts, uncles and cousins.

Get 6 large envelopes or boxes. Put your name on one. Put your parents name on one. Put one of your four grandparents name on one. .......and do the same for each of your other grandparents (for FEMALES...always use their maiden name in genealogy work). Then as you find and gather these items put them, one at a time, into one of these envelopes or boxes....according to who they belong or refer to. Items belonging to children of grandparents (or others)...put with the male parent.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Step 1...Understanding more about what Genealogy is

Genealogy is researching and identifying your ancestors. It is finding names, dates, and places of your ancestors and also finding and putting together, like pieces of a puzzle, facts about their life such as how they lived their life, and the kind of people they were. It is forming your family history. Also, it is searching out information such as if they immigrated to this country, and their migration from place to place and details about the places they lived, any land they owned, information in Wills or Probate records that will give you more clues to other members in their family. It is gathering and compiling all this information you know and have about your family, present and past, and organizing and sharing it. (Wouldn't you want the memory of you and your life to be kept alive in the minds and hearts of all your future generations?). What greater, more rewarding and important work than this!

As you progress in genealogy work, you will soon realize that you want to learn much more than just the names, dates, and places. Instead you will want to learn about the lives your ancestors lived. You will desire to learn everything about them...what made them happy, and the trials they had to endure. The more you find out, the more you’ll want to know.

It is fascinating once you begin the quest to learn about your ancestors...this all brings them closer to your understanding...and your heart.