My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 and a Good Laugh

After almost 10 months of not being an subscriber, I bit the bullet and signed on for the Limited Time Offer of a one month subscription, at a 20% savings, for the grand total of $15.95. My only reason for signing up was to reply to queries pertaining to my Ancestry tree on their site. (Even though I wasn’t a member, the tree remained for anybody to see.) I had about eight letters from people, sent through Ancestry, of which I couldn’t send a reply, since I wasn’t a “member.” I wonder if the writers ever received a notification that I was unable to reply.

Two things I learned were: if I ever write to somebody through Ancestry (if as a member), I will type my email address in the first sentence and tell them to write me personally. If your tree is on Ancestry’s site, like mine is, I will keep my email address in the first sentence where I describe me or the tree. This works, because several people have written write me directly. The other thing is, if I write somebody and they don’t reply back, I won’t take it too personally, as they may have let their subscription lapse. They have no way of contacting you. In other words, if you reply or write through Ancestry, I think your email should be in the first line.

I immediately received a response to one of the emails I sent. Well, this is a funny email and I thought I would share it. I know you all get them; ones that don’t make sense are really funny. I have no idea about the weather thing.

“Hi Barbara,

It's been long enough since we communicated, that I can't remember the HARVEY connection and whose family I was working on to need it.

Can you refresh me?

Meantime, we now have addresses for each other.

We had a beautiful autumn morning in central Michigan, but now it's clouded over again. Guess more rain is on the way. On which day did you have summer in your part of the world? Here, it was from 8 - 12 am, August 25.”

We never communicated, I sent him my first email yesterday giving him my email address and apologizing for not replying sooner, and told him not to go through Ancestry, of course he did. What is he talking about?  I am not sure if I will reply to him, but if I want another laugh, maybe I should.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday -- Anne Dudley Bradstreet

Anne Dudley Bradstreet, America's First Poetress
My 8th great grandmother
First Burying Ground, No. Andover, Essex Co., Massachusetts.

It is assumed that Anne Dudley Bradstreet was buried in this cemetery, and the memorial stone was placed here on September 16, 2000. It was in honor of her 350 yr. anniversary of her birth. I was invited to attend, by the No. Andover Historical Commission, and there were about 50 of us there.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New York Public Library Adventures

The last time I went to the New York Public Library (NYPL) at Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd was in May 2001. My husband and I took a day bus trip from the Boston area to NYC. I had been to the city about 20 times previously, so there wasn’t much sightseeing to be done; my goal was to spend time in the Library Once we arrived in the city, we did a few quick things, had lunch, and then split at 1:00 to do our own thing. Our plan was to meet at the Library around 3:00. Of course, I trotted over there immediately. Imagine my surprise when I ran into a genealogist friend, Jim, a good friend at that. We acted surprised, but I don’t think either of us was really. He lives in NYC. After all, isn’t this where we genealogists hang out, at a library? Back then, we hadn’t discovered Google, and online genealogy material was just emerging big time. Libraries were hot!

My previous, and also my first trip to the Library was the year before. A girlfriend and I took a bus trip there, and I mentioned I wanted to stop in the Library to check out a book (no, you can’t really check them out, but I mean to look at one). The Library has closed stacks, so if you want a book, they have to retrieve it for you. Well, no problem, but I really got to test my patience….like one of the lion statues guarding the Library. “Patience" and "Fortitude" are quite well known. We waited a long time, then found out that the conveyor belt was broken, the lines at the counters were long with frustrated people, like me. I was so sure I was going to lose my friendship with my friend, a non-genealogist, but she was patient as well, and said we could wait a little longer. Here we were, in NYC, sitting in the reading room for three hours. When I got the book, they wouldn’t even let me copy it, as it was considered rare! However, I opted to let them copy it when they had time, and within a week, I had the book (abt. 50 pages), at an extremely low cost. I was finally happy. But, I didn’t suggest any other day trips with my friend, until last year. I know she hasn’t forgotten the Library, nor have I.

Update: In March  2012, a great, simply great video  has been making the rounds on the internet. This was filmed at the New York Public Library, and I hope you watch and enjoy it.
UPDATE: In April, I went back to the New Your Public Library and wrote a blog report on the History and Genealogy Room. You might enjoy seeing the photos at;postID=3051348979015926333;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=51;src=link

Friday, October 23, 2009

"My Scrambled Eggs"

One of the nice things about having your information out in cyberspace is that somebody may find you. With unusual names, especially those spelled many ways, this hope and pray method might help me connect with somebody searching the same line. In the past, I have posted names on Message Boards, and Surname Boards, both have been around many years. I received a few inquiries, but not many.

The family I am researching is SCHRAMBLING OR SCHREMBLING. It is also the SCRAMBLING, SCRAMLIN and SCRAMBLIN. In addition, many other spellings have been applied to this family. Census takers took much liberty with this name! The family was at times very easy to trace, and difficult other times.

They settled in New York in 1710, along the Mohawk River, then migrated to Michigan. Much like many other families. The family is well documented, and my ancestor was a Revolutionary War patriot. What made research difficult was, there were too many Hendricks, Johns, and Jacobs. So I began a file called, "My Scrambled Eggs" because each name was just a tad different from the other, although it was the same family. As they branched out, I thought it would be fun to trace the entire family. Unresolved censuses were printed out and put in the new paper file, as well as every other bit of information with this name. My hope was to connect the entire family. I now have over 700 with that name.

Now, many years later, and with great assistance from and Google alerts, I have very few unsolved ends, but there are some. Fortunately, too, many cousins have contacted me over the years and valuable information was exchanged. One person met me in Oneonta, New York to show me where my ancestor, Hendrick Schrambling was buried. About 10 have written, two sent me information, and one sent a huge wall chart. So I have had help.

It has been months since I have received any new information, and that is ok. But, I do enjoy seeing the younger generation, posting things on various social sites, which appear through my Google Alerts. I doubt I will contact them, but it brings a smile to my face, as I have spent so much time on their family history. I already feel like I know them. Who knows, maybe one will google their last name and find me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Genealogy: Tips for Finding Females that Matter to You

Julie Miller, Enterprise columnist
Posted: 10/17/2009
(Permission was granted to me, Barbara Poole, to publish her excellent article)

Identifying females is one of the hardest challenges genealogists face.

It might be that only the first name and married surname are known. Or perhaps a daughter disappears from census records and it is not known whom she married. The biggest obstacle when researching women is that their name changed when they married. This is compounded by fewer records. Before the 20th century, women did not have the same rights as men and, therefore, they generated considerably fewer records. Although few research problems are as difficult as finding the identity of females in our family history, there are records and strategies that can be used to overcome the challenges.

Often the answer to identifying a woman can be found in the records of her husband, son or brother. Men owned the land, they ran the businesses and their lives were recorded in more detail than women`s. Look for clues about women in the records of the men in their lives.

Records relating to a child`s birth, marriage and death will often give the mother`s maiden name. Even a child`s name can be a clue about a mother`s maiden name. Children are often named after grandparents, uncles and aunts. A clue to a maiden name might be in a child`s unusual first or middle name when the name is typically a surname.

Women can be found as witnesses on records. Marriage, baptismal and other legal documents are all examples of the types of records a woman might have witnessed. Making a connection between the woman witnessing the event and the names in the documents can lead to finding a woman`s identity.

Some records that can be useful in finding female identities are:
1. Marriage records are the most obvious place to look for a maiden name and names of parents. This could be a civil marriage license or bond, a church marriage record or marriage announcement. If the name of parents is not included, be sure to check the marriage records for all known siblings, since they might have information not included in the record for your direct line.

2. Death records usually include the maiden name of the deceased. They also might include the mother`s maiden name. Again, checking for all the siblings of your direct line will increase the odds of finding the names of parents.

3. Church records usually list the maiden name of the mother in the baptismal record and the maiden name of the woman in a marriage record. A closer examination of church records will reveal that women were often witnesses for the baptisms and marriages of close family members.

4. Land records frequently show the passing of land ownership from one generation to the next. These records provide the names of wives and married daughters, and in some cases, the names of the daughter`s husband.

5. Wills and probate records are one of the most useful records when looking for a woman`s identity. Parents usually named each child in their will and it is common for each child to receive a portion of the estate. A woman also could have been named in the will and probate of grandparents and other relatives. Married names are usually used, and the name of their spouse also might be listed.

6. Pension files might include the maiden name of a pensioner`s wife. They also can include affidavits from close family members who might be related to the wife. Widow pension files should have the maiden name in the proof that the woman was married to the pensioner.

7. Obituaries frequently list the maiden name of females or give the names of their parents. Additionally, a married name will be given when a woman is listed in her the obituary of her father, mother or sibling.

8. Letters and diaries can be a source of information about females and their families. These are usually found in family records, either immediate family or that of a collateral line. If you suspect letters and diaries exist for a female in your genealogy but have not located the items, perhaps they have been donated to a repository. Check for these treasures in the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), which is available online.

9. Census records are easily accessible and are full of information on female ancestors. Although census records do not ask for a maiden name, they give many clues about a woman`s origins. It is common to find children living with parents directly after they marry and for parents to live with married children as they age.

10. Cemetery records might list maiden names and they often hold clues about a family. People often bought cemetery lots close to other family members or bought lots large enough to accommodate extended family members. Look for the relationship between the deceased and the owner of the cemetery lot, which may be listed on the cemetery record.

Females make up half of our ancestry, yet they are often neglected. Be sure you don`t shortchange the females in your family just because the research takes a little extra effort.

Julie Miller is a certified genealogists. She is a genealogy researcher, lecturer, and writer. If you have a genealogy question, send it to

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Year Goes by Fast -- Salt Lake City

In October of 2008, I spent a week at the Family History Library (FHL) at Salt Lake City. It took me several months to prepare for that 3rd visit. Had a great time, and it was in the 70s every day, a very unusual heat wave, which I loved.

But now, I am complaining because I still haven't completed entering sources on what I found. While that trip was far more organized than the others, and I made copies of far less material, it is taking me way too long to go through it and enter into the genealogy software that I use. I am afraid, that if I don't complete this task soon, I will be looking up the same stuff next year when I go to Salt Lake City for the National Genealogical Society's (NGS) annual conference in May. See: One thing I don't want to do, is double research! Would you?

I thought a few pictures would help get me motivated. The above were taken from my room.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Corresponding with a New Cousin

On one of the darkest, coldest and later a snowy October day, my world brightened when somebody found my genealogy tree posted on Now, I hold my breath when I open emails forwarded from Ancestry to me, because I am no longer a subscriber. The people writing me, do not know that, and as a result, I can't reply back to them.

But, today, Brad thought to include his email, so I was able to reply to him. After a few back and forth emails, we determined that we share the same common ancestor, SAMUEL GRIFFIN, born February 10, 1738/39 in Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut and died July 27, 1808 in Essex, Chittenden Co., Vermont. It was indeed nice to share what we have with each other.

As the year is nearing to a close, I am happy to say that over 75 people have contacted me during the year because they saw my tree either on Ancestry or on RootsWeb. I get a lot of satisfaction when I help them, and I love it when I get little bits of information in return.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900

When the site had a notification, in the late summer of 2009, announcing that they now had the New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900, now online, I almost fell off my chair. These records are currently located from the Search Records Tab, then drop down tab, Record Search Pilot at the main page of the Family Search site, and a few more steps. To make it easier for those search these records, the direct link is:;c=1542861 .

I don't have many direct lines in New Hampshire, but do have a lot of names of those born in the state. They are mostly siblings or others somehow related to my ancestors. I think the state of New Hampshire has a very confusing method of putting their records on microfilm. It is not in alphabetical order, that's for sure. No matter how many times, I asked the staff at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) how to find a name, I never was able to grasp the method in the wonderful world of discovering birth records from New Hampshire. I soon gave up with that state.

Back to almost falling off my chair. Once at the New Hampshire site, I did one quick entry of a first and last name, and instantly, it brought up the person I was interested in. Simple and so easy. Getting the results was something I never thought I'd be able to get from the microfilm. Quickly, I did a custom report through my Family Tree Maker data base. There were about 150 names of those born in New Hampshire. Sure, I was able to cross off those born after 1900, but that amounted to about five people. With my list of seven pages, I got right to it.

Finding a record not only allows you to view the actual record, but also copy a modified transcript of the record directly to your data base. This includes the name, date, and location of birth, parent's names and film number. I am now done entering 105 sources for my New Hampshire lines, and am patiently waiting for the marriages and deaths for that state. I truly thank the volunteers who tackled these records.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are Distant Cousins, Lucky Me

On October 6, 2009, the New England Historic and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) issued a statement that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were 10th cousins, once removed. Immediately, I was interested, because of all my New England ancestors, I thought there could be a chance I shared a name or two. Locating their common ancestor, William Knowlton, I realized that we were all related. Ben and I are 10th cousins, and Matt and I are 9th cousins, once removed. Wow, really kissing cousins.

The NEHGS chart site is located at:

Of course, I put their lineage into my tree, and a statement as to why the names of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are listed.

I won't get too excited about this, as years ago, when I discovered I had John Alden and Priscilla Mullins as direct ancestors, I was almost bragging. That was until somebody told me, there were over one million descendants to that Mayflower family. That did it, and that fact brought me down to reality.

Oh, I almost forgot, Randy Seaver and I are also related, probably 10th cousins. Should I add Randy into my tree? He wrote about his new found cousins, on his blog, see:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Backup Options

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guest Blog Article From Barbara Poole-Backup Methods
An online friend I have from a genealogy class and ongoing group site we share, informed me she had some additional information regarding Back Ups. I asked her if she would like to prepare something that I could post on my blog, which she has agreed to do. Some of you may remember seeing other guest posts from her on Steve's Genealogy Blog. I welcome and thank Barbara Poole as a guest poster to my blog! Please read her article below!"

On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, Msteri wrote an article about Back Up Methods. This is in reply to her column. There were a number of comments about the topic, and I thought some of the readers might be interested in learning that the January 2009 issue of Smart Computing has a rather large section on backing up your data.If you are interested in reading about back ups from this magazine, I suggest you check it out at a newsstand, library or subscribe to it. The link for this magazine is Two days ago, when I began this article, the January issue showed, but now it is the February issue. The chapter Did You Really Back Up has the following articles: Backup 101 Prevent A Data Disaster; Backup Media Make Your Data Impervious To Crashes; Backup Software Automatically Archive Your Data; Online Backup Options Services For Safeguarding Important Data; Vista Backup & Restore Center Set It & Forget It and Recovery Software & Services Lost, But Not Gone Forever.I have been subscribing to this publication for about 16 years, back when the title was PC Novice…so glad they changed the title to Smart Computing (nobody wants to be a novice for 16 years!) In my opinion, it is a top notch publication with very little advertising. There are a lot of great glossy pictures, many topics that range from fixing problems, wireless networks, new products & reviews, Q & A, software lessons (Word, Adobe, Excel, Browsers, etc., all with clear instructions), and many more subjects. I think everybody would benefit from at least checking it out, there is something for everybody. They often give genealogy software reviews as well. For the bloggers, there is an article Use Word As A Blog Composer. In addition, there is free computer support, full access to their sister publications and other benefits."Barbara has informed me of this magazine before, and for some reason I had forgotten about it. I will make sure to check into it this time! Thank you so much for sharing this information with us Barbara! I am sure it will be a great help to many genealogists and bloggers, a real benefit to us all!

Direct Ancestors (First Blog)

As I play around with setting up a blog and way before I do any posting for others to read, I decided to post a listing of all my direct ancestors.  It is quite long, 52 pages.  It opens up in Google documents.
Ancestor Tree (October 2009)

Now I can check my names anywhere, and don't need a genealogy software program installed on the computer to see what I have.

Well, I can see this isn't a very exciting post. I sure hope I can do better.

Cutting Back on Spending?

Cheryl Palmer wrote: "Many thanks goes out to Barbara Poole for writing another great article to post to my blog! Now that I am unemployed I will be taking some of her advice! What timing for this article, Barbara, thank you! Please read and enjoy, you too may find some of the suggestions she offers may be helpful for you! Are some of you trying to cut back on spending? There are many hints of how to do that in the papers, magazines and on TV. But how do we cut back on our genealogy needs?"

Barbara's Guest Post:
Many of us, who own computers probably subscribe to one or two expensive genealogy databases, such as or the New England Historical Genealogical Society at These subscriptions cost $75 and up per year. If you want to drop your subscription, it doesn’t mean it has to be permanent. A short break from one of them could be a nice change for you.

Several ideas on how to scale down are addressed below.Many local libraries offer the two above subscriptions for the public to use. In addition, they may offer other databases such as HeritageQuest and obituary databases. Prior to going to a library, figure out exactly what you need to look up and bring genealogy group sheets or notes with you. You will need to be prepared, as some libraries limit your time on their computers. If you can go when school is in session that would be a plus, but don’t go during school vacation. Perhaps you could even call the library prior to going, and ask the librarian if it is crowded. In addition you could subscribe to a much less expensive genealogy subscription or a society.

Recently, I joined the Ohio Genealogical Society for $32, they have 6,000 members and have a website with several databases I couldn’t find elsewhere. Subscribe to Dick Eastman’s weekly newsletter at , it is free (there is a plus+ edition that costs $20 a year). Quite often, he mentions new databases, or activities of different genealogy societies, you could check out those sites, maybe something will interest you. In October, Dick mentioned the genealogy resources at the Rochester, N.Y. Library. After checking it out, and seeing 15 records I wanted (but at $10 per copy, I couldn’t afford), I contacted a researcher who was listed on the Library site and I emailed the necessary information to her. In conclusion, she went to the library the following day, got all 15 newspaper articles (marriage and death notices), as well as three legal documents from the Surrogate’s office, all for $45 (and we couldn’t decide on a price, so I sent her that amount), she would have taken less! Fast service and a great price. I would never have found that information on one of the expensive genealogy subscriptions. So if your subscription ends soon, why not let it and then search out new methods for getting information. You may not need several expensive subscriptions at the same time. And, of course my favorite free methods of research are with, (FHL) and Google. If you haven’t used these sites in a while, you are in for a nice surprise.

There is so much out there. Recently, I found out about a book at the FHL and really wanted it. A search on showed that only nine libraries had it. I wrote to four of them to see if they loan out the book, one did, Rutgers University. I filled out an inter-library loan request at my local library and am waiting to hear when the book comes in. I am not sure if there is a fee, but boy, if you really want a book, a small charge is worth it, I think. To get ideas for book titles, go to any library catalog, for example,,, or even Google. If you aren’t aware, there are now 26,000 Family History Library books online, they are digitized and you can read the entire book from home.

Genealogy Magazines

Genealogy Magazines
Thursday, November 16th, 2006

At the September meeting of my local genealogy society, I brought some magazines I had received free from the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) Conference held in August, in Boston for 4 days. All 4 magazines were current editions and were familiar to me, but none of which I subscribe to. Some of the club members enjoyed looking through them and even pulling out the inserts to order a subscription. When I got around to reading them recently, I realized how different they were from one another. The magazines were Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Family Tree Magazine, Ancestry and German Life. I thought I would give a little input on how the first three differ from one another.

Everton’s Genealogical Helper, has been around for about 50 years, had over 176 pages of articles, queries and surname index. What I really liked was the large print, a calendar of upcoming genealogy events throughout the world, a Beginner’s Corner section, review of books, and the major topics are on the cover with page number. Their website is and you receive 6 issues a year for $27. This is a little less than the cost in 2000. This is an old publication with a new editor and the Heritage Quest magazine has been combined into the Genealogical Helper.

Family Tree Magazine (not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software) also comes out 6 times a year for $24. Their website is The two state research guides are nice (for Texas and Rhode Island), but at that rate, it will take years to complete this series, or maybe not, since I don’t know when the series began.

Ancestry Magazine was very impressive, and I will subscribe to it. The glossy pages, nice color pictures, articles (although rather short…maybe to hold your attention), and few advertisements are the pluses. The contributors are well known in the genealogical community. Their web site is and click on store tab; I had to type magazine in product box. Their price is similar to the others, 6 issues for $24.95. I especially enjoyed the article on the Evolution of Family History, a 10 year history. Some interesting things that began in 1996 were: there were 100,000 websites and 14% of Americans using the internet;,, and Cyndi’s List began. Other milestones during the 10 year span to date were included, now jump to 2006 where there are over 11.5 billion web pages and 77% of Americans are now online.

Recently, I found some old copies of three magazines (1994-2001), they were Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Heritage Quest, and Genealogical Computing. Obviously some of the articles are outdated, but some still pertain today, such as: Source Documentation: Is it Time to Change the Standards (pertaining to the internet); Genealogy Made Inexpensive; State and Federal Census articles. I wish I had seen the 7 page article about Albany, NY area Churches and Synagogue Vital Records many years ago, what a useful source that would have been for me. I also wondered what happened to a Lexington company that in 1994 made Quinsept, a “software that works for generations. The most exciting genealogical research system available.” Sure glad I didn’t buy that!

There are now two new genealogy magazines focusing on using the internet for research. In a past newsletter, I discussed Internet Genealogy magazine (where you can download a free copy). My fourth issue arrived a few weeks ago. I continue to like this magazine.

However, I love Digital Genealogist, a magazine that just came out. Digital Genealogist will be in PDF format, so you print what you want. They are offering a free issue, and it prints out at 42 pages. Go to and check it out. I loved the first issue of Digital Genealogist for a few reasons. First, it is very easy to read; is colorful and second, it is nice to know some of the writers personally. So now you can download free issues of two different genealogy publications, or print just the pages that interest you.

Internet Genealogy and WorldCat

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Barb Poole has written another article for today’s Blog. Someday Barb and I will have to actually meet each other! Here’s Barb’s GuestBlog:   (Note:  Steve and I have met twice.)

I wrote a piece about a new genealogy magazine in Steve’s blog of May 20th, in which I wrote, “A new genealogy magazine has arrived on the scene; it is Internet Genealogy and can be ordered as a hard copy or downloaded from the internet (different prices for each). To order go to and you can see the specifics as well as download a preview issue.” This is an update, which may be beneficial to some, whether you subscribe or not. The editor/publisher of that magazine asked for suggestions from the subscribers as to what they wanted in the magazine.

One suggestion was to have all the websites listed in that issue of the magazine to be on one page, so you could go to that page and see all the links listed, and not look all around for them. However, the magazine went one step further and now has on their website all the links that were mentioned in that particular issue. If you go to the site listed above, you will see a section listing the links for each magazine (both past and current issues) and the link will take you to that webpage. No more typing out the addresses. And, these sites give you an idea of what the magazine has covered thus far. In addition, if the links change, the company will change them as well on their homepage. So far, there is a pretty impressive list of genealogy sites.

My second recent find is a site called WorldCat, which I got from a message board, out of Canada. It is the first I have heard of it, but is a site I will use many times over. This is what I received, ” Google is easily accessed, but WorldCat’s locations of 1.3 billion items in 10,000 libraries around the world previously have been available only through institutional access. It’s become available to the public here and now. It’s FREE and simple to use. Just type in a book name or author and it shows which library holds that book. Just go to: .”

On a personal note, I put in titles of three books and not only did they appear, but it gave the name of the library and the distance from where I live (Massachusetts). For an example, I put in the book title New England Marriages prior to 1700 and there were 381 hits. The closest library that has the book is the library in Lexington, 13 miles away, and the furthest is Alaska, all of 3,349 miles away from me! With this information, you can either go to or contact that library or see if you can get it through the inter-library loan process.


Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Today, I’m pleased that Barb Poole has written another GuestBlog for this site! Thanks again for your contribution Barb!

Podcasts, what are they?

Ok, let’s get the definition of Podcast out of the way first. According to my question to, I wrote “What does Podcast mean?” They reply was short and to the point. Podcast means A sound file distributed by a podcasting server. I don’t think we need to worry about the server, but a sound file I do understand. Just be sure to have your sound turned on!

Googling the words Podcast + genealogy, generated 400,000 hits on June 24, 2006. I suspect that list will grow as time goes on. This does not mean there are 400,000 separate podcasts; some of the more popular sites are mentioned in different blogs or web pages, so the same podcast could be mentioned several times. To find a more specific site, you can add more words in your search engine, subjects such as Italian, Canadian, organizing, filing, or Polish (the words podcast + genealogy + Polish will give you Steve Danko’s blog.

I am only going to discuss two of the well known genealogy podcasts. The first one listed below has been around for quite a long time, and the second much more recent. Each is uniquely different. One has just the sound of the speakers; the other has visuals to go along with the lecture. There are many other podcasts out there; you should be able to find some which meet your needs.

A very popular podcast is in which George G. Morgan and Drew Smith discuss news items, have interviews and answer listener’s mail. There is also a short advertisement from their sponsor. The two interact well with one another, and a discussion outline is provided as well. Their voices are soothing to listen to, and it is a joy to listen to them while doing something else, either at the computer or away from the computer.

One of the first podcasts I listened to was through the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS) web site: The lecture was called Who Was Your Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s Mother? by Julie Helen Otto, a genealogist at the Society. This is a free lecture, and technically is a Macromedia presentation, not a podcast. Listening to this was like being in a lecture hall, as there were slides & graphics, as well as an outline and the length of time shown for each topic (you always knew how much time was left). In addition, It is very easy to press replay or skip a topic. On another note, I know Julie personally and was very impressed with her lecture, I must tell her that. If the icon for this lecture is not on the home page (it will probably be removed when the next new lecture is posted), just go to the Education Center tab and you will see archived lectures, including several for Getting Started in Genealogy.

I am thinking that this might be the future for some genealogy seminars at conferences. Instead of purchasing the lecture on a tape cassette, you would pay for the lecture when you download it. The last large conference I attended, I ordered a set of 9 cassettes (you normally can’t attend each lecture you want to hear as there are too many being held at the same time), and so buying them was the next best thing. The worst thing was having to wait around after the lecture for the cassettes to be copied. Then you had to carry them home in an already stuffed suitcase!

It should be noted that Podcasts are not just for genealogists, people in other professions use them too, but of course we like to think they were developed just for us, as were blogs, emails, message boards, chats and computers!

Publishing Your Family Tree on the Internet

April 19th, 2007

Barbara Poole, who has contributed several articles to this blog in the past, presents today’s article. She offers her experience in publishing family trees on the internet. Thanks, Barbara!

Should you publish your genealogical information on the internet for others to see? I pondered that question many times before I submitted my GEDCOM to about five years ago. Since that time, I have received a number of inquires via snail mail, as I had given my address (I don’t think email addresses were used then). Even now, I receive letters with a question or two, and am amazed that these people took the time to write. One even tracked me down using my address in a Google search and found out my phone number and called. But I didn’t mind, as I know what it is like to really want to contact somebody immediately. These people are kind and I’ve never had a problem.

Because of an article in the NEHGS eNews of January 3, 2007, called "Drawing Attention to Your Book or Article" by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG, I went a step further by submitting my tree to RootsWeb. I listen to Helen, as I’ve known her about 10 years and know she wouldn’t say something she didn’t mean. In her article, she mentioned that she submitted to RootsWeb a GEDCOM with a lot of members of her Peter Mills line (she had just published a book on this family). Because she submitted this GEDCOM to RootsWeb, her book sold out.

After all the years of doing my genealogy, I wanted to share my information with a wider group of people and with people who could contact me immediately via email. Submitting a tree is rather simple; and, if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use a pseudonym as a contact name. I used my real name. Why use a pseudonym like Smith, if I want to touch base with a Poole? In my case, I use a separate email account just for the RootsWeb site, so mail about my genealogical information on RootsWeb is sent to a separate email account, not to my primary email account.

With RootsWeb, you can choose whether or not to allow others to directly download your information into a reader’s file, but I decided not. If someone wants my information they’ll need to enter it into their file manually. Also, I didn’t include information on living relatives, and I didn’t include notes. You can remove your tree or update whenever you want, and I do so weekly. Very little effort is involved in updating my information, and I know my tree is pretty much up to date. Not only will the information you upload to RootsWeb be incorporated into Ancestry’s WorldConnect database, but others can find your information on Google.

In the past, I found information published by other people; now it was time to give back and share what I have. Many people are unwilling to share their information. Sometimes, I wonder why they are even doing it if they are unwilling to share.

I’ve recently had several, unresolved problems with Family Tree Maker (FTM), and so I decided I also wanted my information available to me. Now, when I’m at another computer or location, it is easy to access the information I’ve uploaded. Photos included in my file did not upload, but all the data transferred beautifully. Because of my RootsWeb site, I have been contacted by at least 1-2 persons a week. All have either asked for a little information or shared some really valuable information I didn’t have. Most people want to share accurate data about the lines they are researching, and this has all worked in my favor. The positive outweighs the negative. Actually, I can’t think of a negative and that is probably why RootsWeb is so popular. Granted, you have to sift through the databases to find what you are looking for, but heck, the information is free, and is even more valuable if the submitter included sources.

Recently, I discovered another place to keep my information - Personal Family Trees on I uploaded the same GEDCOM to that I had previously uploaded to RootsWeb. The features of Ancestry’s Personal Family Trees are really nice, and you can either keep this tree to yourself or share it with others. For now, I restrict access to my Ancestry Personal Family Tree to myself. The ability to upload a Personal Family Tree on Ancestry is a free feature for subscribers, and I was able to upload all 30,000 names in my database. The Personal Family Tree feature is being updated, as it has only been available since July 2006. According to Ancestry, “1,000,000 members started a tree (March 2007).” I love the automatic timeline feature in Personal Family Trees that automatically calculates the age of a person at the time of each life event entered. Researchers can also upload photos to Ancestry’s Personal Family Trees, but not to RootsWeb. Notes uploaded to Ancestry Personal Family Trees may only be viewed by the submitter. As with RootsWeb, you can view your tree from another location or computer by logging on to your account and then clicking on the My Ancestry tab. Your information is right there, no need to open up FTM, if you didn’t want to.

If you have ever worried about a hurricane, major storm, flood, or other disaster which could wipe out your genealogy data, storing your data on RootsWeb or could be a life saver. Granted, many of us backup to CD’s, but often they are near the computer and could be destroyed along with the computer in a natural disaster. At least the information on RootsWeb and is stored on servers many miles from me.

The other day, I was merging information into my file and I was quite confident in what I was doing. While merging, I noticed that the parents of one of the people in my file were missing. I thought I really messed up the merge process and inadvertently deleted some data. I quickly went to the tree I had uploaded to, pulled up the records for that individual, and sure enough, I never had his parents in the first place! Fortunately, I only had to worry about 2 minutes before I knew I was OK and the merge was fine. If I hadn’t submitted my tree, I would still be trying to figure out who James Mead’s parents were.

The FGS Conference and a Surprise for Steve Danko

September 3rd, 2006

Today’s article is written by Barbara Poole, who kindly offered to write about her experiences at the FGS Conference, and then surprised me with the report that my Blog was featured in one of the lectures at the conference!

I, myself, will be attending the Annual Meeting of the Polish Genealogical Society of America later this week, so I’ll be taking a few days off from writing this blog to get ready for that conference. Enjoy Barbara’s report!

As a favor to Steve Danko, the owner of this site, I am giving him a break for a day or two by writing about the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference held in Boston last week. This is my 3rd guest blog on this site and the FGS Conference was the 3rd large genealogy conference I’ve attended. I know from personal emails that Steve has been anxiously waiting for this report and I know he will be surprised at some of the things I am sharing here.

The annual FGS Conference was held in Boston beginning August 30, 2006 and lasted four days. Because this conference was held close to where I live (over an hour commute), I wanted to take advantage of attending many lectures and volunteering as much as possible. On Tuesday, Aug. 29 (the day before conference), I spent much of the day at the convention center spending assembling conference materials and inserting them into the black canvas briefcases for the attendees. These briefcases were strong enough to hold the syllabus, a four-volume set of about 1200 pages - a volume for each day. My bag, books & printed materials weighed 8 lbs., so I built up some muscles during the convention.

There was a nice group of volunteers, some of whom I already knew through the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) or through genealogy clubs. Meeting new people through volunteering is a bonus. Two volunteers were from California, and they spent time helping out when they could have been doing something fun in Boston. At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, early registration began, and attendees could pick up their registration packets and bags. There were so many people who wanted to get their hands on the goodies immediately. Fortunately, I was able to get mine early - a benefit of volunteering!!!

The conference began on the following day. Now, this was not a small conference, it was huge! It was hard to pick one lecture to attend when the choices could be as many as 19 selections for one particular hour! A total of 379 lectures were offered for the four day period!! What did I enjoy? The lectures of course, but I also enjoyed seeing people I knew, not only from my area, but from other places, as well. I saw two people I knew from Washington, DC, one of whom is a genealogist who worked at the DAR when I did, and who got me started on the hobby (I didn’t even know she was going to be there). You never know whom you will see at a conference. While on the registration desk, several people came up to me and inquired if somebody was either registered or had checked in.

On Thursday morning, while waiting for the exhibit hall to open, I saw Cindy Rowzee, an instructor for a number of online classes through Both Steve and I took several of her classes, and that is how he and I met. Cindy and I went into the exhibit hall together, heading to’s exhibit, and later I ran into her two more times, now like old friends.

The exhibit hall is the place where attendees have the opportunity to meet the vendors and find out about new products and services. I learned that ProQuest will be adding 6,000 new books to their book section of HeritageQuest next month. The booth had new books, and the authors were there signing them. Another instructor Steve and I know from the classes, George Morgan, was there signing his book, so I said “Hi!” for Steve and me. I chatted with the author of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, Dick Eastman, whom I’ve met a few times in the past. Dick was interested in seeing this blog, so I promised to send him the address this week. I also met the publisher and editor of Internet Genealogy magazine Mr. Halvor Moorshead. Since Mr. Moorshead wasn’t too busy, I told him that I loved his magazine and how I had mentioned it in my previous guest columns on Steve’s blog. Well, he checked out my articles, and was impressed. He wrote down the URL, so who knows what will happen!

It really is fun seeing what is being offered to genealogists. was there as were many other vendors, too many to name all. Some vendors were offering door prizes and attendees received 30 coupons to fill out and then decide where to place them. Among the prizes were a $50 gift certificate for Barnes & Noble, a seven-night stay in Salt Lake City, many specific books and other things. Most of the exhibiters gave away pamphlets, brochures, candy, pens, and staple removers. I was lucky enough to pick up free issues of three recently printed magazines and a free CD with a 30-day trial of The Master Genealogist software.

On Wednesday, I attended a lecture about blogs entitled Dear Genealogy Diary: Today I Made a Great Discovery by Drew Smith. As Drew was setting up his presentation, I saw that he had Steve’s blog on the screen! Steve had asked me to say “Hi!” to Drew, and with Steve’s blog on the screen, it made it very easy for me to introduce myself. As it turned out, a good part of the lecture was on Steve’s site.

If you’re interested in reading more about the FGS conference, I know Dick Eastman will have something on his newsletter at, and George Morgan and Drew Smith will be talking about the conference on the Genealogy Guys Podcast at

Even if you couldn’t attend the conference, you can still listen to many of the talks for just $1.99 per lecture by going to What a great deal! In the past, I had to buy cassettes, and the cost was much higher than this.

I hope in the future many of you can get to a conference. Every year, there are several large conferences presented by different organizations. Next year, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) at will hold their conference in Richmond, Virginia, and FGS will hold their conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. But, you don’t have to go to a large conference, since there are many smaller conferences being held all the time, all around the country. Often, the same speakers will present the same lecture at both a large national conference and a small local conference. As a case in point, Diana Smith presented a talk on Why Use Those Blankety-Blank Forms? at FGS, and will present the same talk on October 7, 2006 at the Fairfax Genealogical Society’s 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair. Since most lectures take a lot of time to prepare, the same talks are often presented at multiple events and in multiple locations.

Even though this FGS conference lasted four days, an attendee could register for just a single day or for the entire conference. Many, or I really think most, of the attendees went by themselves. Almost everybody I knew went alone. Very few people knew one another in the lecture halls; so in essence, everybody was doing their own thing alone. Dress was very casual, I began the first day wearing low flats, the next day it was sandals and the other days I was in sneakers. There was so much walking, and I have blisters to show for it. These lectures are for all levels, beginner and advanced, with a wide range of topics.

Last notes, my husband went with me on Saturday to check out the exhibit hall. The hall was free for the public, and I saw many people there, learning about genealogy. So in closing, the FGS conference was a wonderful experience, and I truly hope you will all be able to attend a genealogy conference soon.