29 November 2006

Mae West on the Queen Mary in 1948

Mae West made a trip to Europe in 1948 and returned on board the Queen Mary. This manifest shows her listed.

28 November 2006

Clement C. Moore--Twas the Night Before Christmas

There is some debate about whether or not he is the true author, but Clement Moore is credited with writing "Twas the Night Before Christmas, " and giving all of Santa's reindeer (except for Rudolph) their names. Clement Moore was living New York City in 1850 and 1860 and we have posted a page for him with links to his census entries in those years.


Trip to Salt Lake City--May 2007

I am really looking forward to our second annual research trip to Salt Lake City in May of 2007. We are at the Family History Library from a Wednesday to a Wednesday. Part of the trip package includes pre-trip planning. Trip goers are encouraged to send me summaries of their research problems as soon as possible before we leave so I can have time to review their material and make suggestions in advance of our trip. This is to give us time to clarify and problems and to get records from outside sources before we are in Salt Lake. Our goal is to have everyone with lists of books, films and other materials to access upon their arrival in Salt Lake.

We choose Wednesday to Wednesday for our trip because the library is closed on Sunday. This gives trippers a time to relax, regroup and get ready for three more days. We have found that six days of straight researching is not a good idea for many. Trippers last year spent Sunday sight-seeing and recouping before we were back at the Library and hard at it on Monday morning.

There are presentations by me on a variety of topics yet to be determined each morning.

I am in the library at least 8 hours a day for questions and answers and trip goers are encouraged to sign up for consultations during our library time or drop by and ask me questions during time I am not in a consultation.

More information on our trip can be found at:

We'd love to have you join us.


Greta Garbo and Walt Disney in US Passenger Lists

We have added a few passenger manifest entries for actress Greta Garbo and Cartoonist Walt Disney to our site. More are enroute and suggestions for additions are welcome! I wasted time looking for Garbo under her "birth name" only to find her under Greta Garbo. Had to hit myself on the head for that one!


When I posted the information about Ancestry's new extension of the Immigration Offer, I accidentally used the wrong year...the error was noticed just as soon as it went up. It is now correct. Michael

Ancestry Extending Free Immigration Records Access to end of 2006

Ancestry.com today announced it is extending free access to the most extensive immigration records collection online through the end of the year. The link below will take you to the collection.
The picture below may say November 30th, but it is not right, it is December 31st.

25 November 2006

Gloria Swanson in Passenger Lists 1903-1950

We have found actress Gloria Swanson in several US passenger lists between 1903 and 1950. The first one has her arriving with her mother in the United States from Puerto Rico. The others are return voyages from trips to Europe.



Birth and Death at the Poor Farm

You might be surprised to find your relatives in the county poor farm---locating the records is the problem...

The Poor FarmThe county poor farm (or almshouse) was a fixture of many eighteenth-century counties in the United States. These tax-supported institutions were places where individuals who could not support themselves could go. Generally residents were required to work if they were able on the farm that was usually a part of the property (hence the name "poor farm".

Some individuals might find themselves in temporary dire circumstances and remain at the farm a short time, as did some of the individuals in the example that follows. Others may stay longer. Illness, injury, loss of job, death of parents, or a variety of other circumstances may have resulted in your ancestor knocking on the door of the county farm.

The rest of the article has been posted on our website.

New Famous Ship Images

We have added the following names to our "Rich and Famous" manifest pages:

Jerome Kern in 1928
Knute Rockne in 1928
Helen Keller in 1929
Georgia O'Keefe in 1924
Ty Cobb in 1929
Grant Wood in 1924
Groucho Marx in 1931

Images can be seen for free at:


23 November 2006

Elizabeth Taylor listed on Passenger Lists

Elizabeth Taylor was born in England of parents (Frances and Sara Taylor) who were American citizens. According to US manifests for Elizabeth, her parents (and she) made three trips from England to the United States between her birth and the entry of the United States into World War II. Their address is listed as New York City or California, depending upon the manifest.

She and her mother must have made one trip to Europe by themselves in the 1940s and there is a manifest with her and husband Conrad "Nicky" Hilton and Michael Wilding.

We've linked to all of Elizabeth's manifest images on a separate page on our site.
Anyone finding additional references is encouraged to email them to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

Actress Lillian Gish in US Manifests

We have found actress Lillian Gish in at least three passenger lists, making a return trip to the United States. Her mother and sister are listed with her on at least one of the passages shown below:

Ancestry.com free for Thanksgiving

If you've got a little free time on your hands this Thanksgiving, Ancestry.com is offering a free three day pass to all of their databases. Click here for more information and GOOD LUCK!


More Ship Manifests of the Rich and Famous Added

We have added the following to our Rich and Famous in Ship Manifest page:

Jesse Owens in 1936 returning home from the Olympics
Richard Burton (twice)
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Alfred Hitchcock
Henry Kissinger


21 November 2006

More Famous Manifests Added

We've added some new manifests to our rich and famous pages.
Cary Grant
Nelson Rockefeller
F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
Desi Arnaz
William Faulkner
Humphrey Bogart


More are on the way---suggestions are welcome.


Some of my favorite books

These are three books that are sitting on my "nearby" shelf for ready reference. Maybe Santa can get you one for Christmas.

This is a really helpful guide to county and local sources and provides an overview of genealogical information on each state. I co-wrote five chapters, including the ones for Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

I've had each edition of this tome and have always been well pleased. There is a wealth of information in this book and one can pick it up and start reading in any chapter.

Land and Property Research
Land records are one of my favorite sources--they can reveal a great deal of information about your family's comings and goings as well as various inheritance relationships.

18 November 2006

Genline for Swedish Research

My wife is 1/8 Swedish and when I know I'll have some time, I subscribe to Genline.com (http://www.genline.com) and access what I can. Genline provides online access to Swedish church records, from the earliest records until the 1860s. There are abstracts of birth records for the latter part of the nineteenth century and this source is a wonderful boon to those with Swedish ancestry. The nice thing about Genline is that there are several options under which you can subscribe, 30 days, 60 days, a year, and they are every so often offering discounts, etc.

As time goes on, we'll be posting some of my experiences with Genline and Swedish records here. The families I am working on are for the most part from Ostergotland, particularly in and around Tjarstad. Of course, one of the last names is Johnson (Jonsson)--but then if you are Swedish and don't have Jonsson ancestors, there's a problem somewhere!


17 November 2006

New Famous Manifest Postings

We've added the following rich and famous to our manifest page:

Woody Guthrie
William Faulkner
Audrey Hepburn
Humphrey Bogart (twice)


More are on the way---suggestions are welcome.


16 November 2006

Milton Friedman in 1920 and 1930

We have added 1930 and 1920 census images links for Milton Friedman, the Nobel prize winning economist who passed away recently.



The handwriting on the 1920 entry is particularly easy to read. Wish that person had taken more censuses.

I have been de-spammed by Google

Google (actually their blogger site) declared my site to be spam.
After nearly a week, I have received confirmation from blogger that I am not spam.
This is a big relief, because I have never managed to fit myself into a small can and was concerned I would be unable to close the lid.

14 November 2006

Remember the free lookups

There are times when a quick lookup is all you need. The US GenWeb page for Butler County, KS had an offer to do lookups in a series of published cemetery books. My great-grandfather's first cousin, James Neill, lived in that county from 1900 until 1930, according to the census. I emailed the contact person his name, year and state of birth, and last known date alive. In a few days I learned the cemetery where he was buried and his year of death. Armed with this information, I can get a death certificate and other information. We will post updates as we have them.


More Famous Ship Manifest Entries

We have added the following individuals to our rich and famous on US ship manifest collection:

1951 Julia Child

1955 John and Jackie Kennedy

1924 Fred Astaire

1930 Albert Einstein

1933 Albert Einstein

1932 Fred Astaire

1933 Orson Welles

1938 Cary Grant

1945 Frank Sinatra

1947 Cary Grant

1947 Kirk and Michael Douglas

1951 Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner

All can be linked to from our main manifest page at: http://www.rootdig.com/ships/famousships/index.html

Feel free to send us suggestions for additional names to add. We'll post them here as we add them, but updates are not done every five minutes..;-)

Thanks to those who have sent suggestions and their comment. It is appreciated.


12 November 2006

Immigration Databases at Ancestry.com--free til 30 Nov

I've been playing around with the immigration databases at Ancestry.com--a really great way to spend a little spare time and much more fun that watching HGTV in my opinion. Ancestry is offering free access to their immigration databases until the end of November.

More Famous Ship Image Updates

We have added more famous ship manifest images to our site. The following were uploaded in the last update:

1873 Thomas Edison
1896 Franklin Roosevelt
1911 Thomas Edison
1912 Henry Ford
1913 Harry Houdini
1910 Theodore Roosevelt
1928 Amelia Earhart
1928 Ira Gershwin
1923 George Cohan
1927 Katharine Hepburn
1931 Charles Lindbergh
1937 Charles Lindbergh
1937 Ernest Hemingway
1947 Charles Lindbergh
1950 Clark Gable
1954 Katharine Hepburn
1950 Ira Gershwin


Suggestions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

10 November 2006

More Famous Manifest Postings

We have added a few more famous ship manifest entries to our site:

1914 Theodore Roosevelt
1920 Harry Houdini
1931 Franklin Roosevelt
1924 Dwight Eisenhower
1928 Henry Ford


More are enroute and suggestions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

09 November 2006

New Famous Manifest Entries

We've added the following to our well-known ship manifest page:
1873 Thomas Edison
1896 Franklin Roosevelt
1911 Thomas Edison
1912 Henry Ford
1913 Harry Houdini
1910 Theodore Roosevelt

All can be linked to from

More are in the works. Suggestions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com
Apparently Harry didn't always hide from the guy creating the manifest.


Ancestry Immigration Databases Free til 30 Nov

Ancestry is offering a free subscription to its immigration databases until the end of November. I use Ancestry.com on a regular basis, but remember to make your decision by 29 Nov so you can contact Ancestry.com if you wish to NOT continue the membership.
The link below will bring up the free trial offer.

08 November 2006

Famous Census Contests Returning...

For those who have asked, our famous census search contests (with prizes) will be returning in the next week or so. Stay tuned for details.

Our Most Famous Famous Census Pages

For reasons that make completely no sense to me...June Carter Cash is our most "famous" of the famous census pages.

Here are some of the most popular famous census pages on our site:

June Carter Cash in 1930
Marilyn Monroe in 1930
Al Capone in 1930
Al Capone in 1900
Abraham Lincoln in 1850
Helen Keller in 1920
Thomas Edison in 1880
Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1880

Who knows why they are the most popular?

Gustavius Swift (the meat packer) also appears in the top twenty...go figure.


Santa Clause in 1930

This is one of our more popular pages: Santa Clause in 1930.
Of course it's too far south to be the REAL Santa...this one is in Missouri.
Those who are interested, can take a peak:



05 November 2006

Immigration Articles

We have updated our list of immigration articles on our website. Immigration is always an interesting topic, at least to me since over 75% of my ancestors were not in the United States in 1850!



Talk About it

Talking about your research problem may be just what it takes to get a new idea to "hit you in the face."

On one of my brick wall lines, I realized while talking about it in a lecture on Saturday that there was a first cousin of my great-grandfather who died with no descendants and whose siblings also had no descendants. That meant that the estate would have gone to his first cousins, who in this case may have been spread across the globe. It took talking about the family for this option to "pop" into my head.

Just goes to remind us that talking about a problem (or writing about it) may be enough to get us to notice something that we just keep overlooking when silently studying.


04 November 2006

Ft. Wayne, Indiana Research Trip 30 May-3 June 2007

We are in the final stages of planning our annual research to Ft. Wayne, Indiana's Allen County Public Library--sponsored by the St. Charles County Genealogical Society and St. Charles Community College. This will be our eighth annual trip. More information will be posted to our site at


The St. Charles group is an excellent one to work with. We always have a great time and have an unofficial contest to see who makes the most copies while at the library!

You can also send me an email at mjnrootdig@gmail.com to be sent more information when it becomes available.