28 March 2008

Computer Genealogy Workshop-Carthage, IL 26 April 2008

Carl Sandburg College in Carthage, Illinois, will be sponsoring a genealogy workshop on April 26 on "Free Genealogy Online."

The workshop will be held at the Education Commons in Carthage at 641 Buchanan Street.

The topic will be "Free Genealogy Online" and I will be making the presentations.

More information is available on our website.

27 March 2008

Links for Princeton

Sometimes it can be difficult navigating the Ancestry.com site, so I've posted here links to the databases I'll be discussing at the monthly meeting of the Bureau County Genealogical Society in Princeton, Illinois. Remember that in most cases, these are linnks to the "generic" search page and box for a set of records. It may be more practical to search a specific database by scrolling down on the page and searching separately.

Births, Marriages, and Deaths

Immigration and Emigration Records

Passport Applications

Family and Local Histories (scroll down to browse the alphabet)

UK Census Collection

Bureau County Books at Ancestry.com

We'll be discussing more than just these databases, but this should help you move around.

Famous Person A is Related to Famous Person B

While I love genealogy, I am to the point where I could not care any less who a politician is related to. Many news organizations cannot even get the details correct, often times refer to the living person as an "ancestor" instead of a descendant, continue to act surprised that African-Americans oftentimes have slave ancestors, and occasionally reprint ancestries that have long been proven incorrect. When genealogists can easily find errors in these news stories, it makes you wonder how many errors there are in other stories?

While I am interested in my own genealogy, I have little interest in that of Obama, Clinton, or McCain. And while I find genealogy inordinately interesting, I wish the media would spend a little more time reporting on real problems and issues this country faces. Social security and medicare are ticking time bombs, health care is a disaster, and the price of gas is out of this world. And we are worried about who descends from Robert the Bruce? Methinks too many descend from Wodulf the Simpleton.

Frankly I'd be happy if I weren't related to any politicians. I'm not certain it is anything to brag about. I'd rather be related to people who were not constantly trying to spin everything and position themselves for the media.

I'm off my soapbox and back to genealogy.

26 March 2008

2010 Census Computer Troubles

CNN is reporting serious difficulties with the PDAs being used for the 2010 Census.

As long as they have a handwriting requirement and archival quality paper, we'll be ok.

18 March 2008

Newspapers at Footnote.com

Footnote.com has added more newspapers from Chicago during the 1870-1877 era. The Chicago Tribune is the paper currently being added.

Users of Footnote.com have been viewing the images and some have noted pages of marriages show in the newspaper, such as this one from 1880. The nice thing is that the newspapers have OCR search, so a full-text search is possible. Keep in mind that Footnote.com is still adding newspapers and that their collection is incomplete.

Of course, if one finds a marriage referenced in a newspaper, the actual civil and religious record (if applicable) should be searched. If the civil record indicates the officiant was a justice of the peace, then looking for a record of a religious ceremony is ill-advised.

I've been searching the Chicago Tribune for some of my wife's Frame family, but so far no luck. Part of the problem is that the last name "Frame" is more difficult to search for since many references are to frames, being framed, etc. But if anyone finds references in the paper to a Thomas or Elizabeth Frame, please forward them off to me.

Newspapers are a wonderful source and the more they are converted to digital format, the easier they will be to search.

17 March 2008

3rd Annual Salt Lake City Research Trip

Our early bird registration deadline for our trip has passed (March
15), but we still have openings for registratants on our trip to Salt
Lake City's Family History Library.

We are in Salt Lake for a week, with plenty of time at the library and
Sunday off to recoup in between, or regroup, or just relax before
three more days at the library.

For more information about our trip, visit our website at:

or email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Footnote.com workshop in St. Charles, MO 12 April 2008

There is still room in my workshop on using Footnote.com on 12 April 2008 at the community college in St. Peters, Missouri (suburban St. Louis). Attendees will have access to the site for the duration of the workshop and there will be time for searching and self-discovery.

Registration is limited and more information is available on our website.

14 March 2008

Uploading Your Own Content to Footnote

I've been playing around with uploading my own content to Footnote.com. The marriage license for Asa Landon and Mrs. Mary Sargent from 1849 in Winnebago County, Illinois, was something I added to Footnote.com a few days ago.

Of course, I can make annotations for names and places, which I did. Comments can also be added. Site users can interact with uploaded images just like other Footnote.com content. Uploaded images can be viewed for free, even without an account. If you want to "interact" with user uploaded content, or upload your own, you'll need an account.

Those who want to see the Sargent-Landon marriage license on Footnote can do so here. It provides a nice overview of how one actually views and interacts with the site's content. And the nice thing is that if someone does a search for Asa Landon on the site, the image I loaded will be pulled up. If they are related to Asa, hopefully they will contact me.

Mary Sargent was the mother of an Ira Sargent (born. ca. 1845 in Canada). I am thinking this Ira Sargent may be the same as my Ira Sargent who first appears in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1880.

13 March 2008

Partial Pedigree Online

I have posted part of my children's pedigree charts online. As I viewed the charts, I realized that there are blanks where I do have information. These blanks are most noticeable in my ancestors from Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany and my wife's French-Canadian ancestors, but there are some others.

The pedigree charts are online at:


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

Making Connections at Footnote

I've been playing around with Footnote.com and am especially impressed with the connecting and networking capabilities this site offers.

One of the neat things you can do at Footnote.com is to connect documents with other documents on Footnote.com, either documents you have uploaded or records already on the site.

I found Elam Blain's pension records from the American Revolution when he was living in Ohio. After some searching, I found him on a muster roll in New Jersey, the state from which he served. I can link one document from the pension file to the muster roll. There does not appear to be one way to link his whole pension to the muster, but if another genealogist comes across page 56 from Elam's pension, they will see that document has been connected to another document. And if someone locates that page in the muster roll, they will see it has been linked to the pension file. Really neat. Imagine when more connections have been made.

I've posted a screen dump in this blog entry of the connection as shown (above) on my profile page at Footnote.com. Footnote.com members with a paid subscription can see the images using their account. Others will get a sign-in screen.

Footnote.com members who come across the muster roll for Elam will note that someone has made a connection with that page. This can be seen in the image of the roll, where to the right of the word "connect" you will notice the number 1, indicating one connection has been made. Neat.

Playing with Family Tree Maker's websearch

I have been playing with the websearch on Family Tree Maker 2008. The websearch is best used for locating new clues or easily capturing things you have already located. I NEVER automatically upload a "hit" from the websearch. The image should always be viewed if available and the information analyzed to determine if the correct person has been located.

That said, I am still playing with just a few of my ancestral families to see the matches FTM 2008 gives me. One was potentially helpful.

I had forgotten (or maybe never even knew in the first place) that my Grandma Neill's brother had lived in Keokuk, Iowa, during the 1920s. FTM2008 pulled up the reference to Elmer Trautvetter in the 1925 census, which I had not thought to search for myself.

The 1925 Iowa State Census provides places of birth for the parents, their ages, and their place of marriage. Grandma's mother (Ida Sargent) is one of my brick walls and this was another location to potentially obtain a clue as to her origins. Interestingly enough, the listing shows her mother as "Ida Sargen." I'm still pretty certain her maiden name was Sargent; however, this provides me with a potential clue as to how the family pronounced her name and an additional spelling variant. Her age is off by almost ten years as well.

12 March 2008

Merging on Family Tree Maker

I've been playing with Family Tree Maker.
I do like the ability to "merge" sources from Ancestry.com into my Family Tree Maker database.
I though only merge sources I am 100% certain are the same person and only merge census records, passenger lists, SSDI entries and other entries coming from actual records. I do not merge GEDCOM files, or any other sources of that type. I'm VERY selective about what I merge, let's just leave it at that.
This is the screen that came up when I started to merge my grandfather Neill's SSDI entry with his entry in my Family Tree Maker database. I had his birth as 29 Oct 1903 in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois. The SSDI provides the same date of birth, but no place of birth. I wish Family Tree Maker did not originally suggest to "add source only" in this instance. The reason is that the SSDI indicates the date of birth is 29 Oct 1903, but it does not provide a location. Adding the SSDI as a source for the birth of 29 Oct 1903 in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois, implies that the SSDI provides the place of birth, when it did not.
I'm going to choose "make alternate" on this date of birth for Grandpa, even though it is the same date I already have. I never want to indicate a source says something that it does not or that it is more complete than it actually is.

Asa Landon marries Mrs.Mary Sargent 1849

A search of the Illinois State Marriage Index indicated Asa Landon married Mrs. Mary Sargent in Winnebago County, Illinois in 1849.

This copy of the marriage license was obtained from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

The date agreed with the entry in the index. This was not a copy from book I, as referenced in the index, as that is the marriage register entry and this is the actual license.

Hiram Lake was a neighbor of Asa Landon. Lake purchased property in the same section as Asa Landon.

I'm still trying to connect Mary Sargent's son Ira, with my Ira who first appeared in the 1880 census in Hancock County, Illinois.

New York Vital Records Index Lookups

I've been reading Dick Hillebrand's blog about obtaining copies of vital records in New York. Yesterday he posted an update to information he blogged about earlier in regards to free lookups in the indexes.

Those who are interested in the lookups are highly encouraged to follow the directions he has posted from the library on the website. The directions are clear and easy to follow and the librarians are offering this service on a voluntary basis. Do NOT send them a request for a search of "all Smiths" from 1900 until 1930.

I sent my request in Monday, as soon as I found out about the Onondaga Library's service. I was looking for Louis Demar, a Clinton County, New York native who after living in Chicago for 30 years, returned to Clinton County. I actually forgot about my request, but today in my inbox was the response:

"There seems to be a match in 1935 - here is the listing as it reads: Louis Demar 6 Oct 1935, Saranac, #60631This is a confirmation that there is a record. If you contact Saranac they should assist you with getting a copy! "

A BIG thanks to the library for providing this service. I appreciate it.

Now, I'm off to get a copy. We'll be posting updates as we get them.

11 March 2008

Genealogy Computing Week 2008 and 2009

Thanks to all who attended our 10th annual week of computer genealogy classes at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. We had attendees from across the state of Illinois and even one from Louisiana!

Our week has been set for 2009. Mark your calendars for 9-14 March 2009. We will announce topics later in the year as they are developed. Those interested in our program can email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list or with suggestions for presentation ideas.

Our 2008 schedule can still be viewed at http://www.rootdig.com/sandburg.html. We will leave it posted until our 2009 schedule has been finalized. Thanks.

Postcard from Johann Ufkes

My cousin has sent me three more letters written by my great-great-grandparents. This time a penny postcard is included that was written by Johann Ufkes (1838-1924). He wrote it to his brother-in-law, who at the time was living in Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois. The address is included as a part of this post.

John's signature on the back of the letter is very difficult to read. There is no "real" postmark, rather the postmaster in Basco, Hancock County, Illinois, wrote the town and the date across the stamp.

The "postmark" is clearly not John's writing as the "I" John uses in the address is not anywhere close to the "I" used in the postmark.
I'm working on getting the letters translated and we'll be posting an update.

10 March 2008

Accessing New York State Vital Records

Upstate New York Genealogy Blog has posted an entry on "Accessing New York State Vital Records," with some commentary about the locations of microfiche indexes to these records, which start in the late 1800s.

I've put off getting vitals on my wife's Clinton County, New York, relatives but might start now--particularly Louis Demar who lived in New York state for several years, moved to Chicago for approximately twenty years and apparently returned to Clinton County after the 1930 census.

09 March 2008

5 April 2008 Omaha, Nebraska

I'll be presenting at the Greater Omaha's Annual Conference on 5 April 2008 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Topics are:

  • Researching the Entire Family

  • Beginning German Research

  • Land Records

  • Researching on a Tight Budget
More information is available on the society's site, including a downloadable registration form.

DS on Nancy Reagan's 1954 Voter's Registration List

Nancy Regan's 1954 Voter's Registration entry for Los Angeles County, California indicates she is registered as a "DS." The "R" and "D" are Republican and Democrat. I'm uncertain what the "DS" is referring to---I doubt it means Democratic Sympathizer. Blogger is not letting me post the image. The California Voter's Registration lists 1900-1968 can be searched at Ancestry.com. If I can get blogger to upload the image, we'll post it.

07 March 2008

Map Links

There are the map links from our discussion in our Family Tree Maker session today.

Hargrett Rare Maps Library

David Rumsey Map Collection

Perry Castaneda Map Collection

Railroad Maps at American Memory Collection at Library of Congress

04 March 2008

Civil War Pension Card Question

A participant in our workshop today on Footnote.com noticed the following Civil War pension index card.
I'm curious about the reference to "father" in the class of pension. Any thoughts?

03 March 2008

Still room in Genealogy Computing Week 2008

We have started our tenth annual week of genealogy computer related classes at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. We still have openings in the days yet to come:

· Using Footnote.com—Tuesday 4 March 2008
· RootsMagic---Wednesday 5 March 2008
· Family Tree Maker 2008—two days---6 and 7 March 2008
· Using Ancestry.com---Saturday 8 March 2008

For more information, visit our website www.rootdig.com/sandburg.html

Registration can be done onsite.