"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Good Bye Family Tree Maker?

Today I received an email from Ancestry.  They have announced that as of December 31, 2015 they will no longer be selling Family Tree Maker.  They are going to continue their efforts into the website.
I find this interesting.  It must have been a hard decision to come to.  I personally respect Ancestry's decision.  I will continue to use the website for my own research.  But I can also understand the frustration from it's long time users.  My best of luck to Ancestry and all it's followers through these changes.

For more info directly from Ancestry check out their Blog.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Moving with Genealogy

Hey all!
Well big news on my horizon.  I'll be moving next month into a new house.  So one of my projects will be to pack up all my genealogy work and move it safely to the new house.  Fortunately this move is going to be only across town and I don't have to worry about my work travelling long distances in boxes and crates.  But this led me to think about how I'm going to move with my research safely intact.
My first task I did was an internet search on moving with genealogy....guess what?!?  I didn't actually find a lot of advice on how to move your genealogy.  I found a lot of information about moving away from researching in one type of documentation and on ancestors moving.  All good information and advice.
So lets start a new trend topic.  How to safely move your genealogy to a new house.

I look forward to sharing this new genealogy adventure with you all!

Happy Hunting!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

If these Items could talk!

Recently, I was with my mom and dad at a local antique store where we spent a great deal of time looking around. It's quite a large store we were at and I really enjoyed looking at all the items the different vendors who have areas in the store have for sale. My mom and dad were looking to add to their own collections respectively, while I just browse through the shelves. This got me thinking while I was there about the stories that some of the items in the shop could tell. This also got me thinking what a perfect tie into family history that some of these items may have made at one time. We've all heard of family air but do we all have the stories that are behind them. For example I have my great-grandmothers wedding cake plate. But I don't know much more about it. And currently there are few people left who would. No don't get me wrong, this is an item that I cherish dearly, and how much fun would it be to know a little bit more about the plate. Another example I can think of are the silver pieces that my mom has collected. Now as far as I know she is just a fan of silver pieces and of course many of them are very beautiful to look at and very ornate. However, I don't really know why she decided to start collecting silver. This I think would be an important element in the family history part of my research. An important story that I could document in my files to share with future generations when no one else is around to share the story.

So while I have not discovered the collectible that I have to have proudly displayed in my home, this leads me to think that we should all be documenting the stories behind our family's treasures. I'd love to hear your stories with your family treasures. Please share them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from all my followers.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Trends in my Blog! AKA Confession of a Geneaholic is on You Tube!

So recently I had a great idea for my blog. As we move into the next level of online communication and blogging, I have decided video recordings. However I find that I cannot upload video recordings teaching genealogy, after some thought I have created my own YouTube channel called Confessions of a Geneaholic where you find the videos I will be creating of genealogy videos in addition to my blog about genealogy as a hobby as well as provide education for everyone out there who wants to learn about researching their genealogy as well as those of you that don't think you might have not have the time to actually research on genealogy. I'm going show you how to start, how to keep going, and how to squeeze a little bit of time into your day for research.
I'm also going to explore sharing genealogy with my children and hopefully even with their classmates as the year goes on. The kids were five and nine years old are both becoming interested in genealogy. In fact you can only guess my joy when I discovered that my nine-year-old had found a blank family group sheet and started filling in her name her birthday, her brother's name, her brother's birthday and mine and their fathers names like every proud genealogy mama I have that for hanging up on my wall and I'm excited to learn about projects to show my children and hopefully grow their interest in genealogy.
Another plan I have for all my blog followers out there in my future YouTube channel followers is to record my genealogy vacation I have planned coming up in the next year to you all can follow my adventures on trying to break down my biggest brick wall.
I can't wait to hear your ideas on what you like to hear me talk about and what you'd like to learn about in the genealogy world.

Happy hunting!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Random Acts has Returned!

When I say genealogy happy dance what genealogist doesn't  know that feeling?
Recently I typed in the website for the former website Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness In my search engine, looking for some information on the former website.. I wasn't expecting to find much on the website itself, however I was surprised that random answers back online. Those of you who are followers know I have always been a huge fan of the website, and was devastated when we found out that the founder had unexpectedly died.  The website was shut down shortly after her death. Recently the website has come back online!
Now to honor her memory I encourage all my genealogy friends out there to sign up and volunteer. The commitment isn't big the new creators asked that you follow through with one random act a month in more of course if you like what you the guidelines are the same as the former random acts website and I am encouraged to be using this website again soon
Myself. All the details on the website on how to volunteer and how to request a volunteer. I am so excited and thrilled that this invaluable tool is back online.
Make sure to share with all your genealogy friends out there that random acts of genealogy kindness has returned and encourage your friends to sign up as well. The website won't work without everybody's help.
I look forward to hearing about all the acts that you, my followers, fulfill and the ones that you receive. I'm even more excited to hear how these random acts will help each of you further your own genealogy research as well as to share my own experiences. And what better way to give back to our genealogy community and each other by volunteering to help someone else!!
The web address is www.RA0GK.org

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why we do it

Yesterday my 9 year-old asked me why I "do genealogy".  My immediate answer was a less than eloquent "because I like it".  Which satisfied my daughter's curiosity...at least for now, but what would I tell another adult who would likely required a more detailed answer.

So why do we do what we do?  Why do we spend hours in front of our computers tapping away? Or waiting by the mailbox for that next piece of evidence?  What drives us to hunt down the clues and piece together our ancestors lives?    

Genealogy is about the people that came before us.  We learn about their hardships and heartaches as well as their joys in life.  It's also about learning where we come from and about the lives that shaped our own lives.  Although, unless you've been there, it's hard to describe the feeling of hunting down that crucial piece of evidence and finally finding it and jumping out of your chair to do the genealogy happy dance in your living room.  A dance that normally knocks over the chair, scares one of the lives out of the cat and receives odd looks from one's significant other and eye rolling from one's children.

Why wouldn't we love it?
I love to hear from my readers.  Share your reasons why you love it in the comments below!

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spelling Doesn't Count!!!

How many times were we told in school, growing up, and in our jobs that our spelling counts???  Our kids bring their spelling lists home proudly every week to show off their scores. But what about in historical records? Not so much...
Why is there so much discrepancy with names and spelling?  There are a few things to consider here.  First is accents.  Censuses were taken by hand in the days before internet and bubble cards (those things you fill in with #2 pencils).  The person giving the family's information may have a thick heavy accent, so the way they say their information and then the way the census taker hears the information both influence how that information is recorded. 
I have also personally found some catholic records written in Latin.  I don't read Latin.  Fortunately the churches that have sent me the information have translated them for me.  And this also influences how the information is interpreted.  Different people may translate the information a little bit differently depending on how they were taught the language.
Literacy may have also played a factor in the interpretation and relaying information on records.  Another theory I have is who is providing the information.  Let's say a child of immigrants in the only one who can speak English.  The child is the one giving the information to the census taker.  The information the child is giving is only as good at the child's education.
When looking at other records, such as death records are only as good as the informant's memory or the information the institution has at the time of the decedent's death.

So what does that mean for genealogists?

Soundex is available to help search records.  In short soundex is a method of applying a code to a surname.  More can be learned by Google searching soundex or in a future entry of my blog.

Learning alternate spellings of last names and be flexible when it comes to searching first names.  Various of both can be found in records.

Always look at the original document when possible.  Even transcription errors can lead to alternate spellings of a surname or first name.  Ever look at old hand writing?  If you haven't yet, you will.  (And another good future blog topic).  Reading old hand writing can be difficult and lead to misinformation or alternative information or spellings.

Take care and happy hunting all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"We're all related to Mayflower Pilgrims"

Recently I was talking at work to a colleague and she said to me "we all come from people who were on the Mayflower".  We got into the deep discussion that all people are eventually related, but that led me to think about how many Americans, myself included at one point, think that we ALL are descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims.  Those of us who are have roots in the United State understand how that's not really true and that it's truly a treat as a genealogist to discover that one is descended from a Mayflower pilgrim....or even luckier....pilgrims.  I'm not sure I made myself very popular when I said that not everyone is descended from Mayflower Pilgrims, there were many, many more that immigrated since then and people who have no English ties at all.  Of course, it wasn't said to be hurtful, just a fact.  (For some reason I keep thinking about Greek immigrants when I think about this.)

There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower when she sailed the Atlantic in 1620 and a crew of 30 to 50 men.  Sources are conflicted, but they do agree that the crew all returned with the Mayflower when she returned to England.  Half of the passengers died during the 1st winter in Plymouth Colony.  So thinking about Mayflower research, what is available out there for the genealogist to research their Pilgrim Ancestors?

 A quick Google search of  the term "Mayflower Genealogy" returned 385,000 hits.  Some sites that I've personally used include Mayflower History, Sail 1620, The Mayflower Society, Plymouth Ancestors.org and The Alden Kindred of America website which is specific to John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden as well at the most common major genealogy websites like Ancestry and Family Search.  A Google search of the some of the other surnames and the word genealogy shows that there are independent websites for most of the other pilgrim travelers with genealogy information available.  This is not an all-inclusive list by any means and there are many other wonderful websites out there to help with your research, these are just some of the websites that I've personally used.  Remember to always give credit to wherever you find your sources....nothing is more irritating than someone else stealing your hard work...not to mention the potential legal issues you can create.  (But that's a topic for another time.)

I've shared in the past my discoveries (and woes) related to my own Pilgrim ancestry.  The wonderful thing about these sites is that once you gather your research and supporting documents linking into these families there is a wealth of knowledge available online.  One thing I must remind you all....and myself....is to NOT forget offline research.  We feel so lucky that we have all this information available online to us, but there is SO much more available off line to aid in our research.  Of course make sure you always cite your sources. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Computer Woes...Day 2....At least it doesn't sting as much

It's day 2 of recovering my files...and my pride....since my laptop ate my files.  Okay really the bios apparently crashed and wiped my hard drive.  I took it over to Best Buy today to see if they could retrieve my data....no such luck....well okay maybe if I had them send it off to "the lab" and let them try to recover my files. Did I mention that it would cost $500 plus.  Okay there is one other place in town I'm going to try at the recommendation of a friend. 

So on the research front....
Today I listened to a webinar presented by Legacy on researching 17th to 19th Century Irish records present by Judy Eccles Wight.  Judy has 8 webinars now in the Legacy collection online.  Unlimited access to members.  I highly recommend a subscription to Legacy's webinars.  There's over 200 webinars available online.  (And no Legacy didn't pay me to say that....I just love them!)  There are topics from beginner to advanced and for so many localities.  Check them out at www.familytreewebinars.com. They also presented a bonus webinar on Irish genealogy available to members only.

I spent part of the day repairing and relinking my research together.  My records generally are all there, just not it once piece.  All my sources are still in my file...save one or two recent additions....again just not attached to everyone. So I continue to repair my research while any new researching will have to be on hold.

Once again, right now, GO BACK UP YOUR WORK!!! Especially if you didn't do it yesterday!
Happy Hunting all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Computer Woes

Hi gang!
I hope you're all enjoying green beer, attire and being Irish for a day!  Today has been a touch difficult.  My computer went into Bios mode today (I'm currently using a loaner).  Apparently one of two things are wrong....either my hard drive has gone bad or my OS has gone bad.  I'm praying it's my OS and my hard drive contents can be saved.

SO?!?!?!?!  What does this have to do with genealogy?  All my files were on that computer.  Photos, newspaper clippings, GEDcom files, legacy files....need I go on?  While most of my files are backed up onto my thumb drive....not everything is.  My last upload to my website was in January.  Okay. Again most of my research is saved, other that what I've done over the past few days....which is several hours worth.  Fortunately I take good notes and I've been utilizing Evernote more and more effectively for my research.

So my problem is that my file I downloaded from Tribal Pages doesn't have anyone linked to anyone else!  Yes that's what I said....no one is linked to whom they belong to....4486 people need to be linked back together to their family members.  I'm just about to cry! 

I have one last hope....I'm sure I made a copy of my file and copied it onto my mom's computer. I'm waiting for mom to call me back to see if I have or not.

In the meantime, I'm hoping that my hard drive will be saved and I'm emailing a cousin to see if I sent him a copy of my file.  ****SOB****

Okay guys, how many times have I told you guys to back up your work and back it up often?????  Don't we all hate it when this bites us in the rear? 

I challenge you all to do this: GO BACK UP ALL YOUR STUFF RIGHT NOW!

Happy Hunting and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Major Mistake????

I've been working diligently, although not making much progress, on my research and I have made a possible major mistake in my research.  I'm working on my Wheeler line for my Great Great Great Grandparents and I'm unable to find any records that support the information that I have right now.  So here's the scoop, Ira Wheeler married three women, Phebe Wiley in 1846, Hannah Bird in 1852 and Helen Brown (My line) in 1863.  According to family bible pages Ira was the son of Thomas and Experience Wheeler (shared here).

I then have Experience as the daughter of Randall and Experience (Alden) Wheeler.  He's the deal....The information doesn't match up!  The problem is I cannot find where Randall and Experience's daughter named Experience that married Thomas Wheeler.  If this is the wrong Experience Wheeler....which I'm afraid it may be, then my entire line to the Alden's is incorrect and I may not be descended from Pilgrims after all....this would be sad news indeed.  I really loved learning the story of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins as well as John Alden Jr accused of witch craft during the Salem Witch Trials.
So for now I press forward researching my information and determining if it's right or wrong.
I'll keep you updated!!!!
Happy Hunting!

Monday, January 5, 2015

RNA...Royal Neighbors of America

Over the summer I was in a local cemetery with my parents and we came across this marker in the cemetery.  This wasn't one that we were familiar with so we decided to do a little research.  (Thank you smart phone!)  We discovered that this particular symbol stood for Royal Neighbors of America.  (We also decided that discussing these markers would make a good blog series.)
So what is Royal Neighbors of America?  In short it's a life insurance company.    But there's more to it than that.  It was a company founded in 1895 by nine women at a time when women could not vote (which we know didn't come until later) or purchase life insurance.  The company still exists today.  They continue to provide life insurance as well as support communities.  It's still a woman-led company and offers financial education, scholarships, legal support, health and wellness discounts, and fraternal benefits, as well as other services.  So check them out online at their website.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Recently I viewed a webinar on Legacy's website on Evernote presented by Lisa Louise Cooke.  Evernote is a cloud based program which allows you to take notes, capture webpages, photos, etc and organize your research.  It also allows you to tag the notes you take and manage your genealogical projects. I took the challenge that Lisa presented in her webinar and tried Evernote for a week....now I'm hooked!  My favorite feature of Evernote? The fact that I can use it on all my devices or online if I don't have my own devices and it all syncs to my cloud and all the information is available from whatever I access Evernote on.
Here's an example to explain what I mean.
Yesterday I was at the library with my mom.  While I was working I wanted to photocopy a picture of the John Alden house from the Mayflower Silver book.  Instead of going to the copy machine and creating another piece of paper, I snapped a photo with my phone from Evernote and synced my photos from my phone.  I was able to sync the photos and the information f

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 2015!

Another New Year is here!  Can you believe how quickly 2014 went by!  I'm taking some time during these few days off from work to reflect on  my genealogy research and what my goals are from here.  I'm continuing to follow up leads from my Fitzgerald research and making the leap "over the pond".  I've also been reading up on Irish history and learning about the events that shaped Ireland in the time that my Fitzgeralds immigrated to the United States and why they may have come here.  During my research an interesting fact that I learned is that the Irish did not have clan tartans.  That is strictly a Scottish thing.  Some clan have registered a tartan with the Scottish office that handles that, but Irish kilts were generally a solid color.  I registered for a website called Fitzgerald Clans.  It's part of the Irish clan network.  There's lot of information as well as a store that clan items, like the clan's Aran sweater pattern, can be purchased.  One project I have planned for this year is to knit myself my own Fitzgerald Aran sweater, maybe as a sweater dress. 
My main goals this year is to work towards some of my brickwalls.  I am also considering application to the Mayflower Society. My one genealogy goal this year is to write for my blog more consistently as well.  2014 brought some major changes to my life and took time that I would have normally devoted to my research and writing.  Now those obstacles no longer exist I have my time again.
I'm off to research!
Happy Hunting!