Monday, September 24, 2012

A Reminder That I Have Moved!

I have moved my blog to a new location.  You can now find me at  I would love it if you would join me at my new home so I can share more genealogy adventures with you!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Website Surprise!

I recently watched the four part webinar series about WordPress that is in the webinar archives on DearMyrtle's Genealogy Blog.  I watched the first part of the series out of curiosity about WordPress vs. Blogger.  I was immediately hooked and watched all of the webinars.  A huge 'Thank You' to Myrtle and Taneya Koonce for the wonderful webinars they did together.

After watching, I went to to see if was available.  Unfortunately, someone else already has that website.  I was not defeated because I had learned in the webinar series about  how works if you have your own domain name.

I spoke with my husband that night and told him that I was going to look into the costs of getting my own domain name.  The next day, I was completely surprised when he called to say that he had just purchased the domain name  Major husband bonus points and a few gold stars for him!!

I have spent the last week creating my new website and transferring my blog there.  Please join me at my new home -!  If you have an RSS feed set up for my blog, you will need to update it with the new domain name.  Thank you so much for reading my blog and I look forward to seeing you at my new website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Importance Of Analyzing A Document

I recently received a death certificate for Amner Caroline Flock.  She is my g-g-g grandmother on my maternal line.  Amner Caroline and her husband, John are both buried in Enid Cemetery, Enid, Oklahoma.  Using the information from their headstone, I ordered death certificates for both of them. 

I sat down yesterday and proceeded with my document "intake" process.  I first scanned the death certificate.  I then added a source citation to the meta data for the digital image and filed it under the proper surname. Next, I opened a word document and transcribed the death certificate.  This was also saved to the correct surname folder.  I also added facts from the death certificate to my genealogy software and linked each to a source citation.

After I transcribed the death certificate, I noticed two items that needed further analysis.  The first was the birth date for Amner Caroline.  It was listed as 1841 on the death certificate.  This did not match with the date of 1840 I have in my software.  The next box on the death certificate listed that she would have been 92 years, 3 months, 4 days old at death.  I also noticed that my genealogy software said Amner Caroline would have been 92 years old with a death date in 1933.  I found an online date calculator and input the death date and subtracted the 92 years, 3 months, and 4 days.  Sure enough, the answer it calculated was 1840.  The person who filled out the death certificate made an error in the birth year.

The second item that caught my attention was the informant's name.  It is listed as Addie Thorp.  I wanted to know more about this person and how she would know the particulars of my g-g-g grandmother's life.  My first step was to check Amner Caroline's 1930 federal census.  I did this for two reasons: 1. to check to see if she lived at the same address 3 years earlier and 2. did Addie Thorp live on the same street.  To my surprise, Addie was listed as living with her mother, Amner Caroline.

This find created another "who is that?" moment.  I did not have a daughter named Addie in my research.  I do have a daughter named Martha who was born in the same year.  I tried a search at for Addie Thorp and Addie Flock.  Neither of these resulted in any major finds.  Next I tried a general search for the last name Flock (Addie's maiden name) and a spouse with the last name Thorp.  This did not find any great results either.

I went back to the 1930 census and looked at it again.  I noticed this time that Addie's last name was transcribed as Tharp.  I went back to and did another round of searches for Addie Tharp and the last names Flock and Tharp.  BINGO!

I found a marriage record index listing in Oregon for Addie Flock and Frank Tharp.  I also found online family trees that listed this particular daughter's name as Adeline Martha Flock.  It appears that the same person who filled out the death certificate for Amner Caroline made a second mistake and misspelled Addie's last name.

I need to now order a death certificate for Addie Tharp to confirm her parents.  This is still a great find because Addie (Martha) was another woman who seemed to vanish in my family.  Finding married female ancestors is always exciting for me.

I thought adding this death certificate would only take 15 minutes.  I ended up spending much more time than that as I worked through the process and confirmed additional information.  It is so important to take the time to analyze a document when you receive it.  If you don't, you just might miss a female relative hiding on the page.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Registration Happy Dance

Why am I doing a Happy Dance?  Because I am going to see Tom Jones speak this Fall at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society Fall 2012 Seminar!

With two small children at home and not a professional genealogist, I don't get to attend seminars, conferences, etc. very often.  My wonderful husband has agreed to keep the kids alive for a full day while I go get my genealogy geek on.

Tom Jones will be the second genealogy super star that I have had the privilege to hear speak.  My first star was a day long seminar in Sonoma county many years ago where Elizabeth Shown Mills was speaking.  In fact, it was my first seminar to attend.  I was in my mid twenties and  just getting serious about genealogy.  I started citing my sources that very same day!

Tom Jones will be giving four lectures during the Same Mateo event.  The topics range from creating biographies to Genealogical Proof Standard to finding elusive ancestors.  It should be a great day with lots of information to bring home.

My registration and check is officially in the hands of the United States Postal Service as of today.  Now I just have to wait until November 3rd!

To read more about the day long seminar visit the San Mateo Genealogical Society's webpage.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Census Sunday - The 1940 Indexes Are Here

Most people know that the 1940 U.S. Census was released on April 2nd.  At the time of its release, there was no index for the census.  You had to search by enumeration district to find your family members.  I was able to find most of the family on my 'most wanted' list.  There were a couple of families on my husband's side that had to wait for an index because they had no known address for 1940.

After the census was released, I helped with transcribing efforts by participating at  This was the crowd-sourcing effort to index the census for free.  There was also a simultaneous effort taking place at  The indexing at was outsourced to several companies located outside of the United States.

This week and both announced that the transcribing has been completed.  FamilySearch has most states up and ready to search.  The remaining states are completed and will finish a quality check before they are posted to the Internet in the next couple of weeks. has all states ready to search on their website.  Both sites offer free access to the 1940 census.

I took a spin yesterday on the index in an effort to find my husband's Chicago area relatives.  Up first was the Radvany family living in Whiting, Indiana.  I searched using the last name and the location.  They were the first family listed in the search results.  I will post their individual census record on another Sunday.

The second family I wanted to locate includes my husband's grandmother.  I knew this search would be a little tricky.  Gwendolyn (June) Fuller and her mother, Loretta, moved to Chicago after Loretta divorced June's father.  Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Loretta was married a second time to Alexander Fraser.  I knew that there could be a lot of last name variables when looking for this family.  I was unable to locate the family by searching for a mix of first names and last names.  I then tried using variations of Fraser but still no luck.  My next plan of attack was to search using the first names for mother/daughter or spouse/spouse.  Bingo!  Using the location and first names only for Loretta and Alex*, I found them transcribed with the last name Troger.  I have already added name variations to this family.  I cannot fault the transcriber for this entry.  The census enumerator did not have very clear handwriting.  In fact, if I had transcribed this page I would have gotten it wrong also.

I will be interested to see how Grandma June is indexed in  Illinois is one of the states that still needs to be posted on that website so I will have to wait a couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Foliage Fun (Part 3)

This week I am writing a blog post mini-series about the trees in my town.  Read the first two installments at Foliage Fun (Part 1) and Foliage Fun (Part 2).

#9 - This tree has little clusters of leaves that are growing at the ends of the branches.  It looks like the person researching this tree has found ancestors and attached them to their tree without proving the intermediate generations.  I do not recommend this style of research.  You need to start with what you know and work out from the trunk of the tree.  It is time for this tree to apply the Genealogy Proof Standard!

#10 - The most abundant tree in Northern California has to be the mighty Oak.  Every hillside you look at has at least one oak growing on it.  I love this Oak tree by my sister-in-laws house.  It is HUGE! My guess is that it is easily 60-70 feet tall.  Looking at this tree makes me think of the researchers who have thousands of people in their genealogy software databases.  You have to be a strong tree to handle that kind of genealogy weight.

#11 - We went to Yosemite last week to visit with my husband's brother and his wife.  They are so lucky to live in such an amazing place!  Walking across the meadow near the Swinging Bridge, I noticed this tree because of the two branches it has at the top.  I have no idea why this tree has grown this way but it looks nothing like any trees near it.  It reminded me of the the research I had to do regarding Pietro Ciardonei (I wrote about it in (2Matteo + 2Lucia) - Pietro(Teresa/Antonia) = ?!?!).  A quick recap is that there are two men named Pietro Ciardonei in Cossano Canavese, Italy in the late 1800's. I had to figure out if they were the same person and if not, which one was I related to.  I had to build two separate trees going back a couple of generations because both sets of parents were named Matteo Ciardonei and Lucia Avetta.  The answer was in the third generation.  Gotta love naming conventions!

#12 - This is my favorite tree in our neighborhood.  It also happens to be in my in-laws front yard.  Yes, my in-laws are three stop signs away.  I also have a sister-in-law that lives about 2 miles away.  It is convenient, especially since they all work together at the family business.  I digress, back to the tree.  I don't know what kind of tree it is but it stands about 35-40 feet high.  When the wind blows, which is often, it makes a gentle rustling sound.  It is very relaxing.  The tree is tall, strong, and has many branches and leaves.  I hope that someday our family tree resembles this tree.  I have a few huge brick walls to tackle first!

Thank you for joining me on a tree trip though my neighborhood.  If I come across some other interesting trees that make me think of genealogy I will be sure to share them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - The Publish Button Is Important!

I meant for my Foliage Fun mini-blog-series to run every other day this week.  I made a mistake and forgot to click on Publish after setting up the scheduled time.  I posted the next installment today and have rescheduled the final post (Part 3) for Thursday.

So please feel free to learn from my mistake and always remember to push the Publish button when you are finished writing a blog post.