Saturday, February 27, 2010

This Blog Has A New Home

I have officially made the leap and moved my blog over to a hosted website.  You can find the new home of this blog at - and I encourage you to go over there for all future articles.

I will however keep all previous articles here.  I have a copy of them over at my new blog home, but just in case anyone is referred to this blog they can still find me and all of the posts that I've written.

I want to thank everyone for their continuous support and friendship that gave me the courage to take the next step and make my blog even better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are There Common Traits All Genealogists Share?

After reading What Does It Take To Be A Successful Genealogist on the Genoom Blog, I started thinking about what I considered to be the traits that are needed to be a successful genealogists.  I decided that patience was a much needed trait to be mentioned (read my comment at the bottom of the post if you'd like to see exactly what I said).  As I was writing a comment with my thoughts, I began to contemplate whether I shared any of these traits.

I began to realize that I am not always patient in my research by choice but rather by force.  I am forced to wait until the microfilm comes into the library.  I am forced to wait for the 1940 census to be released before I can gain more clues about my grandparents.  I am forced to wait for the record that I ordered to come in the mail.  I am forced to wait until June for a good time at the Jamboree.  If I had things my way I am sure that I would choose things to be much more instant.

I also realized that I am a perfectionist in my research.  I want my research to be perfect.  I want my citations to be perfect.  I want my pedigree chart to be filled in completely with just the perfect font (Oh yes - the details do matter).  I want detailed notes on each person in my database.  Everything relating to my own research must be perfect.

(Just to clarify real quick - this isn't to say that my ancestors must be perfect or fit into some neat little box.  Rather, my research techniques and the way that I display my ancestors must be perfect)

I am also a busy body.  While your family tree is just something that is never complete, I am always one who is willing to jump from one ancestor to the next.  When I finish one ancestor I do not take a break - I dive right into the next ancestral adventure and continue looking for clues.  I am always on the search for the next story of a black sheep, revolutionist, non-conformist, courageous immigrant, proud patriot, loving mother, etc.  Each ancestor has a story that I am desperately searching for and anxious to share.

But after reflecting on myself, I began to realize that there are other researchers who I believe share some of these traits.  How often am I on Facebook reading about another genea-friend wishing for more hours in a day?  How many of us genealogists are frustrated about finding an incorrect source citation in our database?  How many of us are always searching for further clues to discover the story of the next ancestor?

It isn't to say that any of these traits are bad.  If anything they have made me a better genealogist.

So what do you think?  Do you share any of these traits?  Or do you believe there are other traits that genealogists share?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Featuring A County From USGenWeb: Cattaraugus County, New York

This week's featured county webpage from USGenWeb is Cattaraugus County, New York.  I often use this webpage when researching my Downer line.  It is full of useful details, hints, and helpful resources.  The team that works on this webpage (and yes, it truly is a team) has done an incredibly job.

To the left is the top of the webpage.  It has a map of the entire state of New York that points out where Cattaraugus County is.  It also has a clickable map of the towns in Cattaraugus.  When you click on a town name, you will be taken to a new webpage devoted to that specific town.

To the left is a screen view of an incredibly useful feature for genealogists: The search feature.  This search box is made of search the entire county webpage.  You can enter surnames, key words, occupations, etc and see a list of results that apply to the search terms - it is just like a regular search engine, except that it only searches the Cattaraugus County webpage.

The webpage also features a section of helpful starting points.  This is a must read for any new genealogist or anyone who is unfamiliar with the county website.

The webpage also highlights the very helpful mailing list and query boards.

The webpage also lists resources that are helpful when doing research in this county.

The webpage also features two biography books that are fully searchable.

Anyone with ancestors from Cattaraugus County should be using this webpage.  This is one awesome county webpage made possibly by a team of dedicated genealogists with interests of providing helpful resources for free.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Going For The Gold!

Are you excited?  The Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games are back!  I am so happy to compete and get some real genealogy work done.  These games are a lot of fun, brings the GeneaBlogger community closer, and makes all of us a bit more efficient for the month of February.

I will be competing in all of the competition categories:
  • Go Back and Cite Your Sources
  • Back Up Your Data
  • Organize Your Research
  • Expand Your Knowledge
  • Write, Write, Write
  • Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness
My goal is to get a minimum of gold in each of the above categories.  As long as my excitement stays up, it won't be too difficult to get a gold in each category.

My flag that I will be carrying for these games is a representation of my heritage.  On the bottom, a small German flag and a small United Kingdom flag represents the heritage that I've inherited from my ancestors.  The top half of the flag is the American flag because above it all, I am a proud American.

Will you be participating in the games?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Featuring a County From USGenWeb: Carter County, Tennessee

As part of a new series, every week I will be featuring a county website from the USGenWeb Project.  I feel that it is important to spread the word about this helpful and free resource (free is my favorite price).  I will not feature every county, but instead feature the counties that I find to be the most useful.

What is The USGenWeb Project?

The USGenWeb Project is a collection of free webpages that are created and updated by volunteers who are willing to post helpful genealogy information.  The website is divided up by state and then by county.  Each county and state has different amounts of information and the quality of information really varies.  The more involved the genealogy community is to share information on the county and state webpages, the better the webpages will be.  To read more about the USGenWeb Project, click here.

Featuring... Carter County, Tennessee.

This week's county website is Carter County, Tennessee.

The webpage may look plain but don't be fooled.  It is so full of useful and helpful information.

Possibly one of my favorite resources is the "Carter County Pensioners - 1835".  It is a list of the men that were recieving this pension and living in Carter County.

The webpage also has the free census indexes for the 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860 Federal Census for Carter County.

Another feature of the Carter County, Tennessee USGenWeb Project webpage is the Query section.  You can either view Queries or you can submit a Query.  It is a very good idea to submit a query because it gets your genealogy research out there.  It also gives prospective cousins and other researchers a chance to find you and send you some information.

While this is not all of the great features that the Carter County, Tennessee USGenWeb Project webpage offers, it is a great start.  I highly suggest that you check out the this website if you have ancestors that lived in Carter County.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Big Step: I've Written My First E-Book

When I started this blog in July of 2008, I had no idea where it would take me.  My main goal was to share my family history knowledge and hope that someone would read it.  I never expected to be surrounded by so many wonderful people, learn so much, and have so much fun.  I want to thank all of you for the support, your honest comments, and the love that you've shown me that has enabled me to grow as a genealogist, a blogger, and a person.

All of that love and support is what gave me the courage to dream big and reach for the stars.  With the success of my Organizing the Paper Mountain series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I realized that this was a topic I wanted to talk more about.  So I dreamed big: an e-book on the topic of organization.  I decided right then and there that I would have to sit down and focus only on writing to avoid the doubting side of me from talking me out of it.  So I did just that.  I immediately sat down and wrote.  Whenever I felt my doubting side taking over, I meditated and pictured the book doing well.

The journey took a total of three days to complete.  I knew that if I stopped working that I would second-guess myself.  At the end of the three days I did nothing but editing and formating.  Then I popped it up on the internet in hopes that someone would like it (sounds kind of like how I started my blog...).

In the end, I have created an e-book that I am very proud of on a topic that I am very passionate about.

The e-book is in two parts: Part one is about organizing your paper files and is similar in style to the Organizing The Paper Mountain series that I did on this blog but more in-depth.  Part two is about organizing and protecting your paper pictures.

Here's all the information you need about the book:

Title: Conquering The Paper Monster Once And For All
Format: Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf)
Price: 3.99 plus 40% off when the coupon code is entered during check out.  The discount is good until February 12th.
Coupon Code2Y6933W2
Refund Policy:  I will not refund any money unless you did not receive the book.  The reason for this is to keep things simple and easy on my end so that I can focus on creating more interesting articles on this blog and videos on my Youtube channel.

Note: I don't want to pressure anyone into buying anything.  This blog will always remain free.  However, if you do decide the purchase the e-book just know that I am forever grateful for your support.

If you would like to purchase the e-book, please click the "Buy Now" button below to be taken to check out.  Remember to enter the coupon code to get your savings.

Buy Now

If you have any comments, suggestions, critiques, or anything else to tell me about the e-book, please email me.

Update: There have been some problems with the coupon code.  To make everyone's life easier, I have applied the 40% discount to the purchase price so instead of the price being $3.99, it is now $2.39.  There is no longer the need for the coupon code.  Once again, I just want to thank everyone for their continued support and patience as I try to make things as smooth as possible.

Update (Again): Is anyone having trouble buying the book?  Everyone getting the download link?  Any problems whatsoever?  I want to make sure everyone is getting what they paid for in a timely manner.  Please let me know if there are any troubles.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Showing Same-Sex Marriages in RootsMagic 4

After reading George Geder's blog post, Legacy 7.4; Same Sex Marriage Workarounds on his blog, Geder Genealogy, I became curious as to whether or not my program of choice, RootsMagic 4 would be able to show same sex marriages.

So I checked.  To be honest it took me a while to make it work.  But for the most part, I got it to work.

As you can tell, I made it so that Mark and Miles are married.  However, on the Family View of the screen, Mark is still listed as "Mother".

When I look at the details box for Miles, you can tell that I can change the labels from "Father" and "Mother" to "Partner" and "Partner".  The new labels show up when I create reports.

But I haven't been able to figure out how to change it on the family view.  Maybe this is a question for Bruce Buzbee?

I'm really curious to hear how other genealogy programs handle this situation.

Update: I have received an email from Bruce Buzbee, informing me that the labels will be fixed in an upcoming update of the program.  Every program has bugs and needs updates and I know RootsMagic is a company that will fix what they say they will.  Don't expect the update out tomorrow because it might take some time to fix, but it will be fixed

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Mystery Lady

This is my mystery woman.  The name on the photo says "J.A Rogers" on the bottom left side and "Bedford, Ind." on the bottom right side.  However, in my database I don't have any Rogers' living in Indiana in m database.

On the back of the picture, my grandma Nancy Rogers wrote "My beautiful Grandmother who died too soon and too young from cerebral hemorage.  This about 1900."

But this doesn't lead me any closer to figuring out who this mystery woman is because I don't know the names of  Nancy Rogers' paternal grandparents.  I don't even know where they lived.

However, I do have in my database a line from Nancy Rogers' maternal line that lived in Bedford, Indiana.  But that line has the last name of Frank and Morris.

My theory is that the name was added much later to the photograph and that there was a mix-up about the last name, especially because there is a woman named Josephine Frank who did live in Bedford, Indiana and is Nancy Rogers' grandmother on her maternal side.  I don't know Josephine's middle name, but I feel like this could be her.

But until I am sure, this picture will remain the picture of a Mystery Lady.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finally! The "Who Do You Think You Are" is Coming On March 5

Note: This article is not very grammatically correct.  There are a lot of run-on sentences and such.  But the reason is because this article is full of emotion and I don't believe that the message I am trying to send will come across if I write the way my English professor would like me to.  So please forgive me and I hope it makes sense to you.  Well...enough explaining - you'll see what I mean when you read it!

Genealogists have been desperately waiting for the release of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are.  NBC, the television network that the show will be on, has been toying with our emotions over the last year and a half or so. But the wait is finally over and the show will air on March 5th on NBC.

The website is officially up that have information and clips from the show.  Each clip is so wonderful and always moves me to tears.  Watching the emotional roller coaster that each of the seven celebrities goes through is so moving and it is exactly what I feel every time I search for the stories of my ancestors.  The joy and the pain and the surprise is all something that we can relate to.  It is exactly the same rush that I feel every time I make a discovery.

And to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why it moves me to tears.  Maybe it is because it is something that every person can relate to - genealogist or not.  Every person on this planet tries to find the definition of how their fit into this world and watching these celebrities (who really look more like everyday people on this show) reshape their definition of themselves is an incredibly exhilarating experience.

Maybe it is because those images are the definition of why I research my family history.  I've always struggled trying to put to words why I love to research my family history.  Watching the previews that are on the website, I've come to realize that it isn't something you can put into words.  Watching the excitement of Susan Sarandon finding a clue on a roll of microfilm, watching the nervousness of Lisa Kudrow as she makes a call to a possible cousin, watching the pain of Emmitt Smith as he walks where his slave ancestors probably walked, and watching the awe in Mathew Broderick's face as he discovers the story of an ancestor who fought at Gettysburg - that is why I do genealogy.  It isn't something you can put into words.  It's something that only images and feelings can express.  It's emotional and spiritual all at the same time.  Discovering the stories of your ancestors and learning about their accomplishments and troubles and the struggle and the pain and the joy and the happiness and the adventure that our ancestors went through.  And all the while, knowing that all of those journeys went in to make us and that those journeys effect who we are on a much deeper level than can be defined with words.

(Wow - I hope that last paragraph made sense...)

And now comes the hard part: If we want this show to continue on for a second season, then we need to prove to NBC that it is a show worth keeping.  So that means spreading the word to everyone you know (I literally mean everyone - from your friends to the checkout lady at the grocery store) to watch the show.  That means telling people on Facebook, Twitter, email - by every way possible.  We have to market this show if we want it to last.

And of course it means that we have to watch the show.  But then again - I don't need to tell you all that because as genealogists I know you'll all be watching it without me having to tell you.

Also, this is a great opportunity for the genealogy societies to throw a viewing party for the show.  Genealogy societies could make this into an opportunity to raise some money by selling popcorn and candy at the viewing party.  Come on genealogy societies - it is time to go all out and party.

So what do you all think about the show?  Are you excited?

MyHeritage is a Rising Star in the Genealogy Community[Press Release]

Note: This is a press release that I received by email from MyHeritage.  The company is expanding, having acquired multiple international genealogy websites.  Plus, the company is improving it's family tree viewer program and more projects are in the works.  Read below for more information. Acquires Major Family Network OSN ( to Accelerate Building the World’s Family Graph

With 13 million family trees, 47 million members and 530 million profiles, becomes the largest international site dedicated to families on the web

Hamburg, Germany, London, UK and Tel Aviv, Israel – February 3, 2010 – MyHeritage.comthe company that connects families to their past and to one another, today announced a significant expansion of its global family network through the acquisition of the Hamburg-based OSN Group, which operates a network of 10 market-leading family sites, including (Germany), (Poland) and (USA). has established itself as the trusted home for families on the web. By integrating these market-leading services into a single international platform, we are taking a great step towards realizing our vision of connecting families around the world,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of and the father of three children. “We’re thrilled to welcome millions of new families from some of the Internet’s most important markets to our platform. We look forward to offering our new members an effortless migration which preserves their privacy, and we will deliver the best that our combined network and technologies can offer to support them in exploring their family history, sharing important memories and staying connected”. now holds a formidable international registered member base of 47 million, and offers its services in 35 languages. The acquisition helps build on its existing strength in the USA, UK, Canada, France and Australia while making significant inroads into key European markets such as Germany, Poland and the Netherlands as well as many major Latin American markets.

Combining these services into a single international platform expands the size of’s unique user-generated family graph to 13 million family trees including 530 million genealogical profiles. The increased scale of this privacy-enforced family graph provides instant value to families, making it even easier for them to find long-lost relatives and discover more about their unique family histories. This will help, for example more North American members connect with their European relatives and ancestors. As part of the acquisition, will be establishing an office in Hamburg where experienced OSN team members will be based.

“Facebook has built an amazingly useful graph of our social connections and LinkedIn of our professional connections, and is building a uniquely valuable graph of our family life, both past and present”, said Saul Klein, board member at, partner at Index Ventures and the father of two children. “By extending the scale and geographic reach of its family graph and offering a private place online for families across the world to securely share photos, important events and explore our family history,'s service has the potential to become part of the fabric of our online lives.” offers a powerful suite of tools and technologies for managing family connections online, including:
·        Award-winning free downloadable genealogy software,
·        Powerful Smart Matching™ technology that connects family trees across different languages, pronunciations and spellings, and
·        Advanced facial recognition technology that auto-magically tags family photos

New technologies from OSN will be integrated into, starting with the Family Crest Builder, which will go live on this week.

"We’re really excited to be able to combine the best of OSN and’s services to bring even more value to our members” said Daniel Grözinger, co-founder of OSN Online Social Networking GmbH. "Since 2007, we have built our services into market leaders in key European and Latin American markets and we’re excited to work with Gilad and his team to make it easier for families to keep in touch and bridge gaps of geography, language and time. Our members' family trees are now safely and securely migrated to where they can continue to enjoy the service for free and benefit from many additional features of the combined platform, such as Smart Matching and photo tagging technologies".

About was founded by a team of people who combine their passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. Since launching in November 2005 has become the world’s leading international online network for families and the second largest family history website. The fastest growth rates in the industry combined with the acquisitions of Pearl Street Software (2007), (2008) and OSN (2009) have made the home for 47 million family members and 530 million profiles. The company has offices in London, UK; Hamburg, Germany; Boulder, Colorado, USA and Tel Aviv, Israel. has received funding by Accel Partners and Index Ventures. For more information, visit

About OSN Online Social Networking GmbH
OSN’s website group --,, and,, and,,,, and -- has been among the fastest growing family social networks worldwide in the last two years. OSN was founded by the experienced Internet entrepreneurs Daniel Grözinger and Sven Schmidt. The two have cooperated successfully in the past on, an online ticketing site; the FIFA Soccer World Cup Ticketing Center and, a portal for yellow pages. Recently, they have been involved in Farbflut Entertainment GmbH that runs Germany’s most successful web game, OSN is funded by Germany-based VCs Hasso Plattner (co-founder of SAP) Ventures and Neuhaus Partners. For more information, see

For more information, contact:

Julie Blane, Sparkpr for (UK)
+44 207 253 9897
Twitter: julieblane

Rebecca Fuller, Sparkpr for (US)
Twitter: becca_1k

Mario F. Ruckh, Director of Marketing,
+44 7726 454833
Twitter: mario_knd

Eran Davidson, Managing Partner, Hasso Plattner Ventures