Tuesday, June 30, 2015


In the last blog post on D.I.R.T.'s summer hiatus I mentioned the "get reacquainted" party on 9 Sept. That party has been scheduled for 23 Sept - so mark your calendars!  

Summer Hiaitus

Summer is here!  It's a time when all of us are busy spending time outdoors, entertaining family and friends and enjoying the beauty of Seabrook Island.  So we have decided to to temporarily suspend our workshops and classes for July and August.  D.I.R.T. will still meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in July and August, but the meetings will be informal and we will spend time working on brick walls, research challenges, organization questions, or any other genealogy related things you bring to the meetings.  We will have the computer projector hooked up so we can work together as a group. We will also suspend Citation Saturdays and Movie Mondays on the blog during that time - but will continue to post things of interest that pop up during the summer.  We will kick off our first September meeting on the 9th with a "get reacquainted" party to give all of us a chance to reconnect and maybe draw some new genealogists into the fold.

So come and hang out with us this summer and bring along your questions and research challenges!

Linda and Denise

Monday, June 29, 2015

Movie Mondays - Using Name Variations To Find A Record

Yep, names change.  Spellings especially.  Just because your name, or that of one of your ancestors, may have been spelled one way, it may have started out another way, and evolved through a whole bunch of variations over time.  Spend some time with Jessie Davis and Chris Canfield to unravel name changes and how to use them to find more records and break down a few brick walls.

Click below for the:
Pastable Link:  https://stage.familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/5-minute-genealogy-episode-10-using-name-variations-to-find-a-record/334

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Citation Saturday - The Citation Police

This Citation Saturday post will be the last one until September.  Since the D.I.R.T. group has decided to lay low for the months of July and August and spend our meetings working through brick walls and research issues together, I thought it might be a good idea to spend that time posting fun and interesting genealogy-related stuff and give everyone a break from citations. That being said, I decided to use one of Elizabeth Shown Mills' recent blog posts to conclude our Citation Saturdays for the summer.

As you all know, Elizabeth Shown Mills is the quintessential expert on genealogy citations - and lots of other genealogy stuff.  On 11 June she published one of her "Quick Tips" posts on working together to produce better work and it is worth sharing with all of you.  Hope you find it interesting and informative.

You can read the post by clicking here.

See you in September!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

77 Places To Look For Family History Information

A couple of years ago, Geneaology and History News published a list of 77 places to find information about your family history.  The original post can be found here.  I thought it might be useful to all of you to re-post it here.  Never hurts to get a new perspective on places to find stuff.

As posted by Alona Tester on 19 Sept 2010:

So you’ve embarked on the super-exciting journey of  family history … the journey where you discover not only who your family is and was, but in many instances yourself as well.

You’ve started off by writing down all the information that you currently know about yourself, your spouse, your children, your siblings and your parents (names, dates, places etc).

The next step is to look for items that are likely to help you with more information. Everyone knows about the birth, death and marriage certificates as a source of information. But had you thought of looking in your baby book, on X-rays, or your drivers licence … all of these have valuable information about the person they relate to, so all are sources.

So if you thought you had looked EVERYWHERE … think again. I guarantee that this checklist has at least a few possibilities you hadn’t considered before.

– Adoption Record
– Baby Book
– Birth Certificate

– Anniversary Announcement
– Marriage Certificate
– Wedding Announcement
– Wedding Book

– Papers

– Death Certificate
– Funeral Book
– Memorial Cards
– Obituary
– Will

– Awards
– Graduation
– Honour Roll
– Report Cards
– Year Books

– Achievement Awards
– Apprenticeship Records
– Business Cards
– Income Tax Records
– Membership Records
– Resume
– Severance Records
– Retirement Records

Everyday Life
– Autograph Album
– Bills
– Biography
– Diary
– Letters
– Newspaper Clippings
– Passport
– Photographs
– Scrapbooks
– Telephone Books

– Bible
– Bulletins/Newsletters
– Coat of Arms
– Genealogies
– Histories

– Hospital Records
– Immunisation Records
– Insurance Papers
– Medical Records
– X-rays

Household Items
– Dishes
– Engraved Items
– Needlework
– Quilts
– Silverware
– Stitched Sampler
– Tapestries
– Other Heirlooms

Land and Property
– Estate Records
– Financial Records
– Land Grants
– Mortgages
– Tax Notices
– Title Deeds

– Business
– Drivers
– Firearms
– Occupation
– Professional

Military Service
– Discharge Notices
– Medals and Awards
– Nominal Rolls
– Personal Service Record
– Roll of Honour
– Unit Histories

– Blessing
– Baptism Record
– Christening Record
– Confirmation Record
– Ministerial Record
– Ordination Record

Monday, June 22, 2015

Movie Monday - Using Indexes To Find A Record

Brick walls!  We have all encountered them.  This episode will show you how to use indexes to expand your research, find more records and help you navigate your way through and around brick walls.  Jessie reminds all of us that not all records have been indexed and therefore, are unavailable online.  All of us can help by volunteering through the FamilySearch indexing program.

Hope you are all racking up those points!

Click below for the:
Pastable Link:  https://stage.familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/5-minute-genealogy-episode-9-using-indexes-to-find-a-record/333

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Free Printer Ink!

Who doesn't like something for free!  If you have an HP or Canon printer that uses any of the cartridges listed below, Chad Droze at Compu-Experts (at Freshfields Village Post and Computer Store) has some brand-new, unopened printer ink cartridges (listed below) that he is happy to give away to someone who can use them. Anyone who is interested can stop by the store and pick them up.  They really are FREE!

HP 02 Black and Color

HP 20 Black

HP 28 Color

HP 56 Black

HP 57 Color

HP 98 Black

HP 935 Blue

Canon 250 Black and 251 Cyan/Magenta/Yellow

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Citation Saturday - Gravestones

Bet you never thought that one day you would have to know how to write a source citation for a gravestone!  If you are working to find at least three sources to confirm your research results, then you will probably find a tombstone on your list at some time or another.  

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills* makes it simple.  The basic format is:

Cemetery (Location), Item, data collection info, date photographed.

Now let's assume for a moment that you didn't take the photograph yourself, but rather, found it on Find-A-Grave.  The format for a reference note would be:

Find A Grave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com: accessed: 12 December 2014, photograph, gravestone for Mary Jane Smith Thompson (1884-1974), Kansas City, Missouri.

See how easy it is?  

Keep citing those sources!

*Source: Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained : Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Movie Mondays - Find A Record

Once you know the name of an ancestor and where they lived, finding a record becomes a whole lot easier.  This week, Jessie Davis of the Family Tree Leaning Center takes you on another 5-minute genealogy lesson about finding the records you need.

We hope you are saving all the useful handouts for future reference.  FamilySearch has done a great job of making it interesting to learn how to dig into our roots and their on-page summaries are a great way to remind yourself of the key points.

Click below for the:
Pastable Link: https://stage.familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/5-minute-genealogy-episode-8-find-a-record/238

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Additions to Resources

The following documents are now available on the blog.  Just click on the Resources tab and look for the following:

  • 8 Simple Tips for Genealogy Source Citations
  • Tracing Your New Jersey Ancestors:  Onlne and Offline Resources
  • Travel Checklist For Your Genealogy Trip
  • Soundex
  • Soundex Imaging System
  • How to Use American Soundex to Search U.S. Census Records
  • Soundex (Wikipedia)
  • Find Out What Kind Of Cousins You Are In Four Steps
  • Internet Archive:  A Gold Mine for Genealogists
  • 10 Types of Apps Every Genealogist Should Have
  • Fun Tips for Getting Your Children Involved in Genealogy
  • Interfamily Intermingles (When Cousins Marry)
  • The Fate of the 1890 Population Census (Parts 1 and 2)

These ought to keep you busy for a while!  Have a great weekend!

-- submitted by Linda Mecchi

Citation Saturday - Newspaper Articles

At one point or another, all of us will end up finding some useful piece of information in a newspaper.  It may be a primary source or may serve to corroborate something you found somewhere else.  There are lots of different ways to cite a newspaper source, but the simplest is, in my opinion, always the best.

So if you are citing an obituary, for example:

Charles G. Ferris obituary, Van Wert, Ohio, Van Wert Weekly Bulletin, 21 September 1888, pg 4, col. 3.

This is really all you need.  If the source was located on microfilm, and you want to be very thorough, then you can add:
Accessed 12 Sept 2004, Van Wert Public Library, Van Wert Weekly Bulletin, Microfilm for 1886-1889, Reel No. 15. 
The date you accessed it is important because by the time someone else is looking for the information it may be in another form.

There are a lot of ways to cite a source like this - and there is a genealogy standard that you are expected to adhere to if you are a certified genealogist.  But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that the source can be found again, either by you or someone else, with just the information provided in the citation.  Don't make it any more complicated than necessary, but DO cite the source.

Happy citing!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Every Census

Sounds like a whole lot of stuff, doesn't it?  Well, we aren't going to go into every nuance, but there are some basic things you should know about each census before you go off wandering through them on your own.

First, you should know that just about every one of them (there have been 23 since 1790) comes at the concept from a different perspective.  Yes, the general idea is to find out, more or less, how many folks live(d) in the U.S. at any give time. But sooner or later they figured out that, as long as they were out there pounding the pavement and doing the leg-work, they might as well find out a few more things as well.

So before you grab some information out of a census, take a look at a blank form sheet and read through the column headings to see just what you might expect to find, should you happen upon a relation or two in your journey.

Some interesting general facts about the history of the census follow:
  1. 1790 - taken on 2 Aug 1790 - population 3,929,326
  2. 1800 - taken on 4 Aug 1800 - population 5,308,483
  3. 1810 - taken on 6 Aug 1810 - population 7,239,881
  4. 1820 - taken on 7 Aug 1820 - population 9,638,453
  5. 1830 - taken on 1 Jun 1930 - population 12,866,020
  6. 1840 - taken on 1 Jun 1840 - population 17,069,453 - The census estimated the population of the United States at 17,100,000. The results were tabulated by 28 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.
  7. 1850 - taken on 1 Jun 1850 - population 23,191,876 - The 1850 census was a landmark year in American census-taking. It was the first year in which the census bureau attempted to record every member of every household, including women, children and slaves. Accordingly, the first slave schedules were produced in 1850. Prior to 1850, census records had only recorded the name of the head of the household and tabulated the other household members within given age groups.
  8. 1860 - taken on 1 Jun 1960 - population 31,443,321 - The results were tabulated by 184 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.  This was the first census where the American Indians officially were counted, but only those who had 'renounced tribal rules'. The figure for the nation was 40,000.
  9. 1870 - taken on 1 Jun 1970 - population 39,819,449
  10. 1880 - taken on 1 Jun 1880 - population 50, 189,209 -
    This was the first census that permitted women to be enumerators.
  11. 1890 - taken on 1 Jun 1890 - 62,947,714 - Because it was believed that the frontier region of the United States no longer existed, the tracking of westward migration was not tabulated in the 1890 census.[13] This trend prompted Frederick Jackson Turner to develop his milestone Frontier Thesis.  The 1890 census was the first to be compiled on a tabulating machine, developed by Herman Hollerith.[14] The introduction of this technology reduced the time taken to tabulate the census from seven years for the 1880 census to two and a half years for the 1890 census. The total population of 62,622,250 was announced after only six weeks of processing. The public reaction to this tabulation was disbelief, as it was widely believed that the "right answer" was at least 75,000,000.  This census is also notable for the fact it is one of only three for which the original data is no longer available. Almost all the population schedules were destroyed following a fire in 1921.
  12. 1900 - taken on 1 Jun 1900 - population 76,212,168
  13. 1910 - taken on 15 Apr 1910 - population 92,228,496
  14. 1920 - taken on 1 Jan 1920 - population 106,021,537 - This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 100 million.
  15. 1930 - taken on 1 Apr 1930 - population 122,775,046
  16. 1940 - taken on 1 Apr 1940 - population 122,775,046 - This is the most recent Census where individuals' data has now been released to the public (by the 72-year rule).
  17. 1950 - taken on 1 Apr 1950 - population 150,697,361 - Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2022.
  18. 1960 - taken on 1 Apr 1960 - population 179,323,175 - Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2032.
  19. 1970 - taken on 1 Apr 1970 - population 203,302,031 - This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 200 million. Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2042.
  20. 1980 - taken on 1 Apr 1980 - population 226,545,805 - Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2052.
  21. 1990 - taken on 1 Apr 1990 - population 248,709,873 - Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2062.
  22. 2000 - taken on 1 Apr 2000 - population 281,421,906 - Because of the 720year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2072.
  23. 2010 - taken on 1 Apr 2010 - population 308,745,538 - For the first time since 1940, the 2010 Census is a short-form-only census, as the decennial long form has been replaced by theAmerican Community Survey.  This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 300 million. Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2082.
 "United States Census." Wikipedia. Accessed April 29, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Census.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Movie Mondays - Records, An Introduction

This week's episode of 5-Minute Genealogy covers the different kinds of records and what they contain, where they may be found, and how to use them to find even more information and new records. Once again, Jessie makes learning fun.


Click here for the:
Pastable Link: https://stage.familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/5-minute-genealogy-episode-7-records-an-introduction/206

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Citation Saturday - The Family Bible

A bible can be a great source of information about your family.  As is often the case, it can be incorrect or misleading.  But it can be verified by other sources, and if that turns out to be the case, that bible handed down to you can serve as an excellent reference.

If you are going to cite your family bible as the source of your family history research, the citation should include the information on publication and its provenance (names and dates for people who have owned the bible).  Here is an example:

1. Family data, Dempsey Owens Family Bible, The Holy Bible (American Bible Society, New York 1853); original owned in 2001 by William L. Owens (put mailing address here). The Dempsey Owens Family Bible passed from Dempsey to his son James Turner Owens, to his son Dempsey Raymond Owens, to his son William L. Owens.

See - and you thought it would be complicated.  If there is a place in the bible you want someone to look in order to substantiate a specific piece of information, you can add the page number. As always, I want to reinforce that the point of all this is for you, or someone else many years from now, to be able to find this specific source.  Whatever you have to write to make that clear, is up to you.  

This just gets easier all the time!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

More Vital Record Alternatives

Posted by Lindsay Fulton on Alta Brevis, 28 Apr 2015
To read the original post, click here.

Bible record for Ebenezer Berry Family, 1835-1936, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, NEHGS.

These alternative records can be especially beneficial when an index to the civil vital records is unavailable. Using these alternatives, you can then contact the appropriate authority to provide a copy of the original vital record.

However, what do you do when a vital record simply does not exist? It’s a common problem, especially when documenting older generations, as each state legislated its own vital record compliance. Luckily you can consult several vital record alternatives that can be used to prove birth, marriage, or death. (Most will be accepted as proof by a lineage society.) Here are a few examples:
  1. Probate records. Probate records, such as wills and administrations, can provide the names of a deceased’s heirs and sometimes the date of death (or an approximation based on the date a will is probated). NEHGS maintains a large collection of New England and Atlantic Canada probate on microfilm. Additionally, several U.S. town and county probate collections are available digitally at FamilySearch.org or on microfilm at the Family History Library.
  2. Deeds. Sometimes deeds identify specific relationships between the grantor (seller) and the grantee (purchaser). This can be especially helpful in identifying the first name of a grantor’s spouse. Most deed records for the New England states are available on microfilm at NEHGS, while other U.S. land records are available digitally at FamilySearch.org or on microfilm at the Family History Library.
  3. Military records. From draft cards to pension records, these records often provide very specific information about a soldier’s birth, marriage, and death. In fact, pension records can even include pages that were torn from a family Bible. Some military records are available at fold3.com; Ancestry.com; and FamilySearch.org
  4. Cemetery records (tombstones or burial records). Be sure to check with a local genealogical/historical society for cemetery transcriptions, as the stone may have been removed or damaged. Also, some national cemetery databases include:findagrave.com; billiongraves.com; and MooseRoots.
  5. Church records. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funeral records may have been recorded with the church, and not registered on the local or state level. To locate a church record, you must first identify your ancestor’s religion and/or congregation. Some records are still maintained by the original church (or church archives), while others may have been microfilmed or published. NEHGS maintains a large collection of compiled church records from across the United States, and theFamily History Library has some church records on microfilm.
  6. Bible records. Although rare to find, Bible records can be significantly helpful when available. To locate a Bible record specific to your ancestors, contact the local historical society, archive, or genealogical society associated with the family. NEHGS maintains a large collection of bible records in the Stanton Avery Special Collections.
  7. Published genealogies and local histories. Often unacceptable as proof for a lineage society, these published resources can at least provide an approximation of birth, marriage, and death. NEHGS has a collection of 30,000 published genealogies and 40,000 local histories. Also, several sites have digitized material, including theNEHGS Digital Library and Archive; Internet Archive; Google Books; and Family History Books.
  8. City directories. Like census records, city directories can be used to approximate a person’s date of death, as the person may disappear from the record altogether, or their spouse may be listed as a widow. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the directory will identify a specific date of death. NEHGS maintains a large collection of city directories, as well as ancestry.com.

    A page from the 1850-51 edition of the Utica City Directory
Again, these are just a few of the alternative records available. In fact, if you have a favorite alternative resource, please include the information in the comments below. Every suggestion helps!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Movies - Locate Where Your Ancestor Lived

Next up in the 5-minute genealogy series is about locating where your ancestor lived.  Not always as simple as it sounds.  As usual, the Family History Learning Center makes it fun and walks you through the steps.

Click below for the

Here is a link you can cut and paste: