Saturday, November 28, 2015


For any of you who have been considering using's DNA testing - there is a 30% offer valid until 30 Nov at Midnight.  Normally $99, the kit is on sale for $69.  Very good deal! Click here to go to the website.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday for Genealogy

Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas shopping season is officially upon us. If you are a genealogist and want to buy yourself a swell gift this Christmas, Lisa Lisson just published her Genealogy Gift Guide 2015. Whether you are buying for yourself or for someone else, this is a great place to start shopping.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dead Ends and Brick Walls

FamilySearch recently posted a great piece on new ways to approach a research problem, entitled Stories That Inspire: Dead Ends and Brick Walls - Some Tips and Trick That Just Might Help.  There are some good ideas for working around those frustrating research enigmas.  Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

So - You're Stuck - What Now?

Thought you all might find Amy Johnson Crow's post on what to ask when you are stuck.  All of us have gotten stuck - probably more than once.  Those brick walls can be daunting.  I recently spent five hours over two days just trying to locate on newspaper article.  But it can all be framed simply and the problem can be attacked methodically.

Read Amy's blog post for more information.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cemetery Field Trip

Charlene Barker, Jo Merrill, Denise Kotva, Robert Stroupe and Linda Mecchi
(Denise Doyon behind the camera)

Sometimes its a good idea to get out from behind your computer, put down your research files, leave the library and go out and get some fresh air with your fellow diggers. After weeks of very wet weather and flooded roads, we were blessed with an absolutely perfect day to wander around some of Charleston's cemeteries. Along the way we encountered one groundskeeper with interesting stories to tell, the gravestones of numerous Charleston personalities, politicians, soldiers and statesmen, and more than a few ghost stories. Unfortunately, we did not encounter a single ghost.  

We toured the St. John's Lutheran and Unitarian Church graveyards before lunch. These two cemeteries are separated by a gate and could not be more different. The St. John's cemetery is neatly mowed - all the bushes pruned and well kept. The Unitarian cemetery, on the other hand, appears to be running wild, except for the meticulously maintained pathways. A chat with the grounds keeper revealed that many years ago, after touring the neighboring Lutheran cemetery, a member of the Unitarian Church thought that their neighbors graveyard made her feel sad - all those tomb stones neatly arranged and appropriately maintained. And so the Unitarian churchyard is allowed to grow somewhat wild, with plants and vines creeping along the ground and winding their way around the gravestones. The Unitarians have adopted the more natural, back-to-nature approach to groundskeeping.

We then continued on the Gateway Walk to Meeting Street where we stopped at Eli's Table where we were joined by Jeannine McGrane, and chatted about genealogy, cemeteries and a bit of Seabrook gossip over a lovely lunch. After we were well fed and rested, we continued on to tour the cemeteries of the Circular Church and St. Philips. 

We encountered gravestones that gave an almost complete biography of the deceased - still legible after hundreds of years!  Most frustrating were the large number of stones that were completey illegible. Made one want to get out there and start scrubbing away at the dirt, grime and lichen in an effort to learn about the person buried beneath. We found that a great many tombstone inscriptions begin with the phrase "Sacred To The Memory Of", many widows were noted as "relicts", and more than few wives were referred to as "consorts".

Many thanks to St. John's for accommodating us with two, free parking spaces for the day and to everyone who joined us and contributed to a very interesting day downtown!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dear Myrtle

For those of you who are not familiar with Dear Myrtle, she has a genealogy blog that is well worth visiting on a regular basis.

Each week she publishes a list of upcoming education events - many of them offered FREE of charge. You can find this week's list here.

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I attended a webinar this past weekend that is basically going to change the way I do my research going forward.  It's not the first time I attended a webinar that changed my approach. You just never know when and where you will find something you can use.

There is a LOT of stuff out there on the Internet. Hope you will explore some of the things that interest you or can help you with your family history research and please visit Myrtle's blog!

Getting Organized

For those of you who aren't familiar with Barry Ewell, he writes a fabulous blog entitled Genealogy by Barry. His blog is all about getting organized and staying organized with our genealogy research. Especially for all of you just beginning your family history journey, Barry's blog is full of useful information.

He recently posted about tips for getting and keeping your genealogy organized. It is a great post and one that all of us could benefit from reading. If you are going to invest time and money in digging into your roots, it pays to do it right the first time. Having an organized system for keeping track of your research is the best place to start.

Monday, November 9, 2015


This is just a reminder that there are no D.I.R.T. meetings in November.  This Wednesday is our field trip through four of Charleston's most interesting cemeteries.  We have cancelled the 25 Nov meeting so all of us can prepare for Thanksgiving.  Our next scheduled meeting is on Wed 9 Dec.

Where To Find What

Over the weekend I attended a webinar hosted by the Southern California Genealogy Society. The webinar was given by Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi's List fame. It was a great webinar on building a digital research plan.  For those of you not familiar with SCGS, they periodically host free webinars that are chock full of useful information. If you would like more information, and a list of upcoming webinars, please click here. There aren't many left for 2015, but I am sure they will soon be posting their 2016 series. As I said before, attendance is free, but you need to register in advance. They typcially run for one hour followed by Q&A. You can submit questions and comments during the presentation. The best part (besides being free...) is that I attended from the comfort of my desk at home. Education that comes to you ... doesn't get much better than that!

One research tool Cyndi shared in her syllabus - and is freely available to anyone on her website - is a Records Coverage Table.  (You can see a larger version by clicking on the link in the previous sentence.)

For those of you who are beginning your research and are wondering where is the best place to find certain records - I think you will find this resource valuable. Cyndi also reminded all of us that she has a library full of research and other genealogy-based templates available on her website that you can access here. Although Cyndi uses Evernote for her research, all her templates can be copied into any other format you choose (OneNote, spreadsheet, Word doc, etc.).

The Internet is teeming with resources - a great many of them for FREE.  Don't be afraid to explore!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gateway Cemetery Walk

Just a reminder to those of you who signed up for - or still want to sign up for - the Gateway Cemetery Walk on 11 November.  Click here to get the agenda for the trip.  Please let Denise know ( if you are planning on attending - if you haven't already.

Many Thanks!