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.

Foliage Fun (Part 2)

This week I am writing a blog post mini-series about the fun trees I see on my walks.  Read the first post at Foliage Fun (Part 1).

#5 - When you live in Northern California you can always spot some Redwood trees.  There is a grove of them up a nice hike at the western edge of my town.  This tree, like the families of the pilgrims, has been around for a long time.  I call it the New England Family Tree.  The coolest part is the base is about 5 feet in diameter.

#6 - This funny looking tree is the ultimate brick wall!  None of the branches grow vertically.  It looks like someone has done an immense amount of FAN research but cannot find the next generation.   I will never grow a tree like this in my yard.  I would not want to jinx my research with this tree.

#7 - The neighborhood where my home is located used to be a walnut tree orchard.  Most houses still have one or two on the property.  Many trim them each year to nubby branches at the top of the trunk so that walnuts do not grow on the branches.  Each year small branches grow with the leaves on them.  Almost all of these trees end up with an almost perfectly balanced, round top.  I see these trees and think of the organized researcher.  All of the data in their software is cited and the originals are filed correctly.  There are no piles of research that needs to be digitized or entered in software.  When we moved into our house, our walnut tree had to go because it was ruining the sidewalk.  Good thing,  I would not want anyone to get the idea I was super organized!

#8 - This tree represents the researcher who has carefully pruned their tree so that it looks like they want it too.  They have snipped off all of the skeletons and not so positive stories.  They do not want anyone to think badly about their family.  What they are left with is a freaky looking tree.  It is kind of like some of the women you see in reality TV.  They have so much makeup and plastic surgery that they end up looking odd.

The conclusion of my mini-series will be up in a few days.  Join us for Part 3!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foliage Fun (Part 1)

Last month I read a great blog post on  The post, written by Chris Staats, is entitled Researching Collateral Lines: A Visual Aid.  The visual aid is a photo of a tree he took on a walk near his home.  It really helps to drive home the point of how working "sideways" can aid your research.  

When I read the blog post, I could not help but laugh at myself.  I walk all over my town pushing my kids in a stroller in a bid to keep fit.  I, like Chris, look at trees while walking and think of genealogy.  I used to look at trees to identify one that portrays my family tree.  Now I look at trees and make up a story about what kind of family they belong to.    

I have decided to write a  mini-blog post series inspired by the blog post on  It will capture a sampling of some great trees I see on my walks.  Warning : You are now entering the mind of an obsessed genealogist!

#1 - This palm tree represents a family that does not use birth control.  Each branch of the family has A LOT of kids as shown by the number of leaves on each branch.

#2 - This is what can happen to your research when you blindly copy other people's trees off of  Rot creeps into your tree if you do not verify sources.

#3 - There is a home in the front left portion of this multi-acre orchard.  I am positive that a professional genealogist lives here.  Each tree represents a different family that he/she has researched for a client.  They must be one of the best paid researchers out there because there are a couple hundred trees on the property and they are all mature, large trees.

#4 - I think the tree growing in my front yard is a Japanese Maple.  It has these crazy branches that shoot out as it grows each year.  This tree is a perfect visual of a night that I get on a roll and stay up all hours to work on a suddenly expanding branch of my family tree.  You know those nights - your research log gets thrown out the window so that you can quickly jump from website to website as new ancestors throw themselves at you from digitized records.   

Come back for more foliage fun - the next post will include a photo that represents the worst brick wall I have ever seen.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leaving My (Water)Mark On Social Media

Blogging is like anything else in life.  You have to invest in continuing education.  Genealogists are usually really good at this.  You take the time to learn about different techniques to break down that wall, read history books to create context in your ancestors life, and attend conferences to learn even more.

Helping to evolve the family business, my husband has become a social media addict.  Acknowledging that the yellow pages are not what they used to be, he spends about an half hour a day writing blogposts, twitter & facebook updates, pinning work photos to Pinterest, etc, etc, to advertise in the digital world.

We tell each other what we learn about blogging.  I mostly learn by reading other blogs.  My husband has had other opportunities such as working with a digital media consultant.

We have been talking a lot lately about how far and wide your data can travel in the digital age.  The discussion came up after my mom who lives on the East coast starting re-pinning photos my husband was posting of windows and doors.  The terms of service for Pinterest puts the responsibility on users to follow copyright law.  It also asks that you follow pin etiquette and credit your sources.   All of that being said, Pinterest is still a playground for copyright issues.

In order to be sure that we receive credit for our photos, my husband and I agreed that we both need to start putting watermarks on the photos we post to our respective blogs.  Not only will this help discourage people from blatant stealing but it can also push traffic back to our websites.  I know that a watermark will not stop a true thief so I am also going to include my information in the metadata for each photo.  

We recently purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 10.  It is so much fun and there are so many cool functions.  I have been playing with some photos the last couple of days to figure out how to use the software.  The picture below was one of my test photos.  It was taken on a family weekend in Truckee this past winter.  Riley, my dog, is waiting for the next snowball to come her way.  I have figured out how to create a watermark using a text layer so I am now in business.

Now I need to continue my education and sign up for a Photoshop class!

My sweet girl Riley

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - John F Flock and Amner C. Flock

The post I wrote last week about Matthias Flock's family helped me realize some holes in my research on the family.  I am not sure how but in the early 2000's I found information that John Flock might have lived in Enid, Oklahoma at the end of his life.  My early research was not always done well.  I know now the importance of using citations and research logs!

I did not have death information for John F Flock or his wife, Amner Caroline Flock.  I decided to follow up on the information that I already had about the family and see if I could confirm my earlier research about Enid, Oklahoma.

I started by locating Amner Flock in the 1910 Federal Census.  She is living in Enid, Oklahoma and listed as widowed.  This is a good start, especially since I know that John's brother and mother are both buried in a nearby county.

I then followed up with a search on of Enid, Oklahoma.  When I searched for Flock in the Enid Cemetery, I found Lillie Flock Janeway.  The genealogy hairs on the back of my neck stood up because John and Amner had a daughter named Lillie.  The birth date for Lillie on her gravestone matched the information I have found for her.  I was unable to find an entry for John and Amner when using the search term Flock.

Using Lillie's FindAGrave page, I requested assistance to find her parents whom I suspected were nearby.  I received an email the next day from a volunteer in the area named David Schram.  He let me know that there was in fact a memorial page already set up for John and Amner and that he had gone and taken a picture that morning.  He is a genealogy angel!  With the memorial numbers I was given, I was able to find the FindAGrave page for John and Amner.  I am going to follow up with an email to FindAGrave about my search parameters and how they did not work for something that was really there.

Transcription - 

Our Loved Ones

Amner C.
His Wife
Born Nov. 29, 1840
Mar. 4, 1933

John F. Flock
Died Amy 30, 1909
Aged 68 Yrs, 4 Ms & 10 Ds


A few holes in my research have been filled this week.  I also did an updated search at to see if there was any new information available.  There is a picture of John and Amner Flock on Ancestry!  I have emailed the person who posted the picture to see if I can use it.  Hopefully, I will have another post to show you who my g-g-g-grandparents are!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mappy Monday - The Many Moves Of The Flock Family

Matthias Flock is my 4th great grandfather.  (me->my mom->Roberta Mitchell->Opal Strickler->Effie Flock->John Flock->Matthias Flock).  He was born about 1813 in New Jersey.  He died between 1860-1870 in either Appanoose County, Iowa or York County, Nebraska.  He married Margaret Fankboner in 1835 in Tuscarawas, Ohio.  I have documented 11 children born between 1835 and 1860.

One of the things that really sticks out to me about this family is how much they moved during their lifetime.  I created a timeline in excel to get a better idea of when and where the family lived.  As they moved from place to place, they seemed to leave a couple of kids behind in each location. (Not Literally! The kids would stay in a town after they married.)

Using the information I had gathered in the excel sheet, I created a google map to get a better visual idea of how the Flock family moved around the United States.  First they moved west, then South.

The excel sheet was pretty long so here is a quick snap shot of the family's moves:

about 1813 - Matthias Flock is born in New Jersey
about 1815 - Margaret Fankboner is born in Pennsylvania
1835 - Matthias and Margaret marry in Tuscarawas County, Ohio
1835-1850 - The Flock's live in Tuscarawas, Ohio as seven of their children are born
1850-1854 - The Flock's live in Coles County, Ohio and have 2 more children
1855-1865? - The Flock's live in Appanoose County, Iowa and have their last child
1865?- 1878? - Margaret now a widow, lives in York County, Nebraska.  One of her son's remainded behind in Iowa and did not make this move.
1878-1884?  - Margaret moves in with son John and his family in Washington County, Kansas.  She has left another couple of sons in York, Iowa.
1884- 1904 - Margaret is no longer living with John.  She is found again in 1904 in the Cemetery in Ringwood, Oklahoma.  One of her sons, Charles, is also buried there with his family.  It is possible that she lived her last years in Oklahoma with him. An interesting note is that another son, John, died in Enid, Oklahoma.  Enid and Ringwood are only 21 miles apart.  For this family, that is a small distance.

When my ancestors moved in the mid and late 1800's, they were definitely part of America's great Western Expansion.  I took a look at the BLM website to search for any land patents.  I was amazed to see that most of Matthias and Margaret's sons applied for patents in Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  I will have to spend some time learning more about the Homestead Act of 1862 and my ancestors roll in populating the west.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Census Sunday - Dudley Mitchell Household 1940 Federal Census

Dudley Moses Mitchell is my great-grandfather.  I found Dudley and his family residing at 630 19th West, Hutchinson, Kansas in the 1940 Federal Census.  During a research trip to Kansas in 2010, I took photos of many city directories in Hutchinson spanning the years 1937-1958.  This made it easy to find my family.  I also found a collection of index cards for Sanborn Insurance including photos on the back of each card.

The 1940 census finds Dudley (64) living with Opal (wife, 49), Raymond (son, 19), Elbert (son, 15 - real name Delbert), Kenneth (son, 13), Roberta (daughter, 9), Robert Newby (grandson, 5), and Richard Newby (grandson, 4).  The census shows that everyone in the household was born in Kansas and had lived in Topeka, Kansas in 1935.

Dudley rented the house pictured above for $18 a month.  Dudley worked as the store manager of a grocery store in Hutchinson.  He only worked 6 weeks in 1939 and shows in income of zero dollars.  His sons, Raymond and Delbert also worked in the grocery store.  Raymond was in the meat department and Delbert worked as a clerk.  Raymond work for 40 weeks in 1939 and had an income of $350.  Delbert only worked 14 weeks and made an income of $112.  I believe that Delbert only worked 14 weeks since he was also in school.  

My grandmother has always told us that she grew up without much money.  This census enumeration documents that there were 8 people in the household living off of $462.  Times were not easy.  Most of the families on other pages in Hutchinson had an average of 4 people in the household and were making $800-1000 a year.  

I found Loretta Mitchell Cogzill living nearby with her new husband, Grant Cogzill, at his parent's house.  Loretta is the mother of Robert and Richard.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Down In The Roots

I believe that reading other genealogy blogs teaches me a lot.  Not only do I learn about all things genealogy, I have been learning about blogs themselves.  Just by observation, I see what things I like about blogs, what I do not like, and things that I am willing to put the time in to learn about.

As I scanned the list of new blogs posted by Geneabloggers last week, my interest was peaked by a great name - Pardon My Redundancy.  The blog is focused on Anecdotal Blogging.  RHarrisonScott writes posts that memorialize his memories.  This is a blog that is done in a great way and speaks to my style.

I had a moment of brilliance while reading many of the posts at Pardon My Redundancy.  Although I have tried to write down my memories and feelings about current events, I generally fail miserably.  Then I had my DUH moment. Duh, I do not write in a journal because it is not a habit that I cultivate.  I realized that I need to write my memories down in a way that incorporates habits I already have.  I am in the habit of completing digital chores (email, facebook, blogging).

I have made the decision to create a second blog where I can write my memories down as blogposts.  Since this blog is about my ancestors who live up in the branches of my family tree, I am calling my new blog Down In The Roots to indicate that it is about me and my memories.

You can access my memories by pressing the Down In The Roots page button at the top of this blog.

A huge THANK YOU to RHarrisonScott for giving me the inspiration for starting my own anecdotal blog.    

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - William H Gamble Death Certificate

William H Gamble is my great-great-grandfather (me ->my dad->Mary Dempsey->Amelia Gamble->William H Gamble). He was born August 18, 1872.  He married Eliza P Lahey about 1891.  They had three daughters, Mary Alice, Amelia Josephine, and Faith Dorothy Mildred.  They lived in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania.

Certificate of Death
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics

File No. 110204
Primary Registration District no. 02-41-21
Registered no. 216
1. County of Allegheny, Borough of Sharpsburg
2. Full Name: William H Gamble
a. Residence : 30 Bridge
3. Sex: M
4. Color: W
5. Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced: Married
a. Husband or wife of: Eliza P Lahey
6. Date of Birth: Aug 18, 1872
7. Age: 64 years, 3 month, 23 days
8. Occupation of Deceased: None
9. Birthplace: Penns.
10. Name of Father: John Gamble
11. Birthplace of Father: Penns.
12. Maiden Name of Mother: Alice Wise
13. Birthplace of Mother: Penns.
14. Informant: Eliza P Lahey (wife) 30 Bridge Street
15. Filed: Dec. 14, 1936 John L Huge?????????
16. Date of Death: Dec 11, 1936
17. Cause of Death: Cerebral Apoplafy?? Contributory factor: Myacardial Degeneration
18. No operation, no autopsy
19. Place of Burial: St Mary’s Cemetery 
20. Date of Burial: Dec 15, 1936

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday - Where did Frank go after San Quentin?

Frank Gingg is my husband's maternal great grandfather.  I have written a previous post about the crime that lead him to spend some quality time in San Quentin (Black Sheep Sunday - My Dad Lived In San Quentin).

I have known since a vacation with my husband's family in 2001 that Frank lived in Alaska.  We enjoyed a cruise of the Inside Passage including a stop in Ketchikan.  I remember Grandma Shirley pointing out the newspaper office.  She told us a story of visiting her dad one summer and coming to the paper where he worked as a printer.

What I did not know at the time of the cruise is that Frank had spent at least six years in San Quentin starting in 1933.  I have been wondering since my previous research what was Frank's life like after prison.

Last fall I was contacted by a new cousin who had read my original blog post about Frank.  This cousin is the son Frank adopted after getting remarried in Alaska.  For privacy I will call this person Cousin L.  Cousin L has been wonderful sharing information about his memories of Frank and a cd full of photos.

The digital files I received included a obituary from the newspaper in Ketchikan.  The obituary states that Frank had lived there for 15 years.  This puts his approximate date of arrival as 1942.  We know that Frank was sentenced to at least 6 years in prison in 1933.  It is more likely that he was in San Quentin for 8 or 9 years.

I know that Shirley spent at least two summers with Frank after his arrival in Ketchikan.  Shirley married in 1947 so I am guessing these summers took place about 1943-1945.

After Frank arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska he made contact with a childhood friend named Cecil.  Cecil was had two children from a previous marriage.  Frank and Cecil were married February 26, 1953 in Alaska.  Frank adopted both of Cecil's children.

Frank, Cecil and the kids 1954

Cecil and the kids moved to Ketchikan where they resided at 1200 Millar Street.

View from 1200 Millar Street

Frank, Cecil and the kids enjoyed life in Ketchikan.  Frank worked as the mechanical superintendent at the Daily News in Ketchikan.  He was in charge of all the printers.  The family used to swim in the summers and ice skate in the winters at Ward Lake.  Cousin L has many warm memories from this time in Alaska.

Frank Gingg circa 1957

In October 1957, Frank and Cecil drove to California for a visit with Frank's family.  He would visit his mother, Belle; daughter, Shirley; and sister, Catherine.  This would be the first time that Catherine and Frank would see each other in many years.  It would also be the last.  On the drive back to Alaska, Frank would suffer a deadly heart attack in Weed, California on October 26, 1957.  His body was taken back to San Francisco for funeral services.  Frank is buried at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Follow Friday - "Timeline of Their Lives"

There was a wonderful post this week at Adventures in Genealogy titled "Timeline of Their Lives."  Deb Ruth shared that she would be presenting a talk about timelines at her local library this week.  Although Deb Ruth will be giving her talk to a local audience, she shared the great resources she would be detailing to the rest of us in the genealogy blogosphere.

I checked the websites out and they are a treasure trove.  I have already added them to my genealogy favorites in my web browser.  I have written posts before where I wonder how life impacted my ancestors.  Timelines are a great way to put some context into the picture you are building of your ancestor.  


Friday, June 1, 2012

How Genealogy Can Be Inspired By Creativity

I have a stack of magazines next to my bed that are mostly a few months old.  I try to keep up with my reading so every so often I pull one out at random to read.  Last night's winner was the May 2012 issue of Real Simple.    I really enjoyed the article "Can You Get More Creative" by A.J. Jacobs.  The article follows the writer's quest to "reignite" his creative juices.  One of the big take aways from the article I read is that you need to let creativity hit you from all angles.  You need to nourish creativity and seek it out.

The left hand column of the article contained "7 Habits of Highly Creative People."  As I read each habit, I was struck how these same ideas could be useful for genealogy research.  Life lessons always seem to overlap many facets of your life.  So here is the list and how I would apply it to genealogy:

1.  Play - take time to flip though your genealogy paperwork or browse your digital file.  Just enjoy the stories of how your ancestors lived.  Take out your family treasures.  While you enjoy them, let yourself feel inspired.

2.  Borrow Ideas - Read genealogy blogs to get ideas for further research.  There have been many times that I have found a new repository or research technique from reading other blog posts.

3.  Sleep On It - When you hit a brick wall, it is always good to take a step back to re-evaluate what you know.  Looking at something fresh the next morning can open you to new ideas.

4.  Collect Every Seed Of An Idea - Keep a research journal.  Write down ideas about how to attack a research problem.  Make lists of repositories that could be useful.  Capture ideas for future blog posts.

5.  Embrace Constraints - I have ancestors from a 'burned' county in Virginia.  Instead of stopping my research into that family, I learned how to use new record types to get around some of the missing papers in the county archives.

6.  Commune with Nature - Get out and visit a cemetery.  Some of my husband's ancestors are buried within an hours drive.  It is time to get in the car, go pay my respects, and take a few good photos for my genealogy collection.

7.  Compete - Set a goal with yourself or a research buddy.  See who can complete that goal first.  You might be surprised what can get accomplished.  I compete with myself all the time.  I set a timer and see how much I can get scanned and entered into my genealogy software during the time limit.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on Monday

I have been missing from my blog the last couple of weeks.  Although I try to plan ahead and have posts written for when times are busy I did not get ahead of the 8 ball this time.  Instead of worrying about it, I have been having fun living life.  My younger daughter had her first birthday, my dog had her fifth birthday,  my parents came and spent time with us, we went to the first stage of the Tour of California bike race, attended the wedding of my husband's cousin, celebrated at a baby shower, and my brother-in-law received his MBA.  It has been a great couple of weeks around our house!

When I read Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge, I thought it would be a great way to get back into the blog swing of things.

I was surprised to find that I can get all the way to number 41 on my Ahnentafel Report.  Number 41 is the unknown wife of Edward Dempsey.  She is also the mother of James Dempsey.  James is the grandfather of my paternal grandmother who immigrated to the United States from Scotland with the surname Dempsey. My grandmother's maiden name is Dempsey.

I have to admit that it has been a long time since I looked at this branch of my family tree.  According to James' death certificate, he was born in Scotland on 15 April 1864.  He passed away 13 April 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh.  I have found James in the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 Federal Census enumerations.   Depending on which census you look at, James immigrated from Scotland in 1883, 1885 or 1888.  Due to the birth of his first child in 1887, I believe it is more likely he immigrated between 1883-1885.  James became a naturalized citizen in 1903.  I have received a copy of the naturalization paperwork but it really could be any James Dempsey in Pittsburgh as there is no identifying information included.  James married his wife Mary Ann O'Neill about 1885.  They had five children all born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I found James' father's name on his death certificate.  His mother's name is listed as unknown.  Looking at this branch of the family tree makes me realize that there is still a lot of work to do here.  I need to do additional research on my grandmother's grandparents.  The first item on my to do list is to call my grandma and see if I can jog her memory for any further family information.  Another first step is to find an obituary for James Dempsey.  I definitely need to spend some time working on a research plan for this side of the family.(That sounds like a great follow-up blogpost!)

A huge Thank You to Randy Seaver for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge.  It was fun to do and has me excited about researching a side of my family I didn't realize I was neglecting.  It is also wonderful because it gave me a minute to appreciate how much research I have accomplished in the last 15 years.  I really have found so many stories about my family and love every single on of them!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - Marriage Record of Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero

Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero are my paternal great-great-grandparents.  They lived their entire lives in Cossano Canavese, Piedmonte, Italy.  This is a small town outside of Turin in the foothills of the Alps.

Pietro was born about 1845.  Antonia was born 4 February 1859.  They married on 20 March 1872.  Their marriage produced at least 7 children.  Three of their first four children died before reaching the age of three.  My great grandfather was the first son to survive childhood.  I can only imagine what difficult times Pietro and Antonia faced losing so many children so young at the start of their marriage.

My favorite part of this record is the signature for my g-g-grandfather.  Although I am not very surprised, it still makes me a little sad that my g-g-grandmother could only mark her name with an "X."

I have been able to research my Italian ancestors because Family Search has a microfilm that contains the church records from their small town.  Below is a digital copy of Pietro and Antonia's marriage record.

With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole and Google Translate, a very rough translation is:

Act of Marriage
Number 12
Ciardonei, Pietro – Ciamporcero, Antonia

The year one thousand eight hundred seventy two the 20th of March of publications made in the church of St. Stefano, dispenses ??? presented to the parish priests ??
Marrying according to the rite of S. ?? Ciardonei Pietro, twenty seven, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, son of the deceased Matteo,  son of the late Domenico and son of the living Avetta Lucia, daughter of the deceased Antonio.

And Ciamporcero Antonia, twenty three, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, daughter of the living Stefano, son of the deceased Domenico, and daughter of the living Ciardonei Maria, daughter of the deceased Stefano.

Present as witnesses: Ciardonei Antonio, son of deceased Stefano and Maglione Lorenzo, son of living Giovanni

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Commentary on Comments

One thing I enjoy about blogging is the concept of comments.  When I read other blogs, I leave comments when a post speaks to me.  I also am thankful for those who leave comments on my blog.  I have received amazing support and encouragement from family and the genealogy community through the comments on my blog.  

This week I have been grappling with what to do when you receive inappropriate comments on your blog.  A not so Anonymous person has used my blog to express her personal problems.  This is my blog so I have removed the content.  I respect Anonymous' 1st Amendment Rights to free speech so I am going to suggest she start her own blog to tell her story.
I have to admit there is a part of me that just wants to put this not so Anonymous person on blast.  When it comes down to it, I just really don't care to reciprocate the hate I have read this week.  I want to teach my children to be kind, truthful, and tolerant of others so I must lead by example.

I have the comments on my blog set up to make it as easy, inviting, and accessible as possible.  I do not want have a feeling of censorship on my blog but I feel that the best solution in this situation is to start moderating incoming comments.  I promise to stay on top of my blog and post your comments as soon as possible.  

Last night I realized that the inappropriate comments are also a genealogy lesson.  I need to be sure to find as many sources of information about my ancestors as possible . It is important to remember that a story may be biased in a positive or negative direction depending on who has told the story.  I continually strive to do my ancestors justice and portray them accurately.  I know that this involves telling all stories from the happy to the scandalous and everything in between.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Walter Radvany and Gwendolyn Fuller

My husband's maternal grandparents are Walter "Wally" Radvany and Gwendolyn "June" Fuller.  They married on June 4, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois.

June and Wally Radvany right after the ceremony.

Wally Radvany
June's best friend, June, and her stepfather, Al Fraser before the ceremony.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel Tuesday - A Must See County In Ohio

One of the great moments on this season of Who Do You Think You Are was in the Martin Sheen episode.  Martin Sheen found information that one of his great grandfathers tried to put one of his great grandmothers in jail.  In a twist of irony, the two sides of the family came together in marriage several generations later.

Today I found out that I might have my own "Martin Sheen" moment.  It is not as dramatic but still exciting for me.

I have documented my mother's paternal line (Lawbaugh) from Kansas back to Illinois then to Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  The family moved to Ohio in the early 1820's and stayed there until 1853 when my line moved to Illinois.  The Lawbaugh's lived in the Bucks and Sugarcreek areas of the county.

Today I received an email from a volunteer angel who did a look up for me in Tuscarawas County.  He confirmed that on my mother's maternal line (Flock) Mathias Flock married Margaret Fankboner in Tuscarawas County in 1835.  The 1840 Federal Census places the family in Oxford, Tuscarawas, Ohio.

The Lawbaugh family lived approximately 20-25 miles away from the Flock family in the same county.  Although I know this was a far distance for travel in the early 1800's, I have to wonder if there was ever a chance that these two families ever met?!  Did they know each other or of each other?

It would be wild if they knew each other because 4 generations later my grandmother would marry my grandfather in Kansas.

I need to do more research about the area and what records are available.  I also need to add this county to my "visit places my ancestors lived" genealogy goal for sure!  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Census Sunday - Ida Austin Household 1940

The biggest news in genealogy this week was the release of the 1940 Federal Census on Monday, April 2nd.  The week started off with a few bumps but has largely been a success for me.  One of the positives about living on the west coast is that when I woke up on Monday, news was already spreading about the insane number of people trying to access  I decided to wait until Tuesday to take a peek at my ancestors.  This plan was somehow communicated to and they loaded the states I needed first (Haha - they did a great job getting all 3.8 million images loaded).  I am extremely happy to say that I have found 7 out of 8 grandparents (I was looking for my husband's grandparents too.)  The only one missing is a grandparent that lived in Chicago at the time.  I do not have an address for her and Chicago is way to large to just scroll through the images.

I plan on using the Census Sunday theme to share my finds in the 1940 Federal Census.  I will start this week with the Ida Austin household in San Francisco, California.

Ida Austin is my husband's great-great-grandmother.  She lived at 25 Fair Oaks Street, San Francisco, California.  Also listed in the household (in order) is Alfred Pope, Althea Pope, Joyce Pope, John Pope, Louis Richards, and Sophia Richards.

I laughed out loud when I read that all of the people listed had a relationship as lodger.  All of the other families on the sheet have more conventional relationships listed such as wife, daughter, step-son.  Althea is Ida's daughter.  She is living with her husband and two children in her mother's home.  Sophia is Ida's sister and Louis is Sophia's husband.

I would love to peek into the past to see who answered the questions of the enumerator.  No one in the household is marked with the X in a circle.  It is possible that one of the neighbors answered the questions for this family.  Since everyone in the household is listed as living in the same house in 1935, they obviously have been living as an extended family for some time.

Ida Austin owned her home and it was valued at $8000.  She made $1470 the previous year and appears to be the only person in the household working.  This is pretty amazing since her age is listed as 65 in 1940.  Grandpa John tells me that his grandmother worked at Columbia Outfitting Company.  Alfred is listed as a laborer but he did not have any income.

The education column is also interesting to me.  Alfred Pope is listed as having only 4 years of education.  When I asked Grandpa John about that, he told me that his father took classes at UC Berkeley.  This might be another indication that a neighbor answered the questions about the family.

Monday, April 2, 2012

One Entire Year!

I did it!  Today is my one year anniversary for this blog.  To celebrate, I created some memories with my daughter while making a blog anniversary cake.  It is chocolate with cream cheese frosting, green sprinkles, and brown sugar.

As I cross one of my genealogy goals off the list (write a genealogy blog for one year), I embark on a new goal to continue this blog to my five year anniversary.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who reads my blog!  I never expected that I would have so much fun telling my genealogy stories.  I have been overwhelmed at the support and comments from the genealogy community and family.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Write Down Important Pieces Of Today's History

Last week the publishers of The Encyclopaedia Britannica announced that the 2010 edition will be the final 32 volumes available in print.  They will be fully digital at for all future editions.

This was another one of those moments that I had to stop and take in.  It hit me that my children will probably never open an encyclopedia at the library.  When I was a kid, this was the only option. No one had a home computer let alone access to the internet for research.

I will always remember the smartest boy in my fifth grade class (Maybe not his name, I am horrible with names).  One of the reasons he was considered the smartest is that he read the entire encyclopedia for fun.  He was full of knowledge about just about everything.

I keep having moments where I wonder about what life was like on a daily basis for my ancestors.  How did they do their daily chores?  What tasks did they complete at work each day? What did they think about the major stories in the paper?  What did they do for fun on a day off?  What things became obsolete during their lifetime?

It is important to remember to write down today's history for your descendants.  If we don't, our kids (grandkids, etc.) will not know about things that effected our childhood like The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Accidental Bigamist

"Woman Finds Out She Has Four Husbands"

This is the headline that screamed out to me on on Sunday night.  Of course, I immediately hit the link to see what this was about.  The genealogist in me was chomping at the bit to hear more.

The article summarized another article that appeared in the New York Post on March 17th.  Basically, a woman goes to get a marriage certificate.  The request is denied by officials because they say she is already married twice.  It turns out that her birth certificate was stolen and used fraudulently.  The best part is that the woman was served divorce papers by one of the men that she was "married" to.  What! Even better, she found out that even though she has been married to her husband since 2004, another fake marriage has cropped up.

Here is the link for the full story:

Qns woman 'married' to multiple men in immigration scams

This story makes my marriage dates look simple.  Yes, I married the same man twice within a week.  My story is not scandalous though.  We planned a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  To make things easy, we got legally hitched with our parents as witnesses in the United States almost a week before our wedding date.  We celebrate the day we spent with friends and family in Mexico as our official anniversary date.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Family Fun With My Flip-Pal Scanner

As many of you know, I bought myself a Flip-Pal Scanner as a post-Christmas present.  I love it for so many reasons.  This past weekend was no exception.

We attended a baby shower hosted by my in-laws this past Sunday.  After the shower, my 3 year old came upon some old photos that had been put in the drawer of a side table.  It was fun to sit as a family and look at the photos and hear some stories.  Since we live only 3 stop signs away, I ran home and grabbed my Flip-Pal Scanner.

When I came back, I was surprised to watch my daughter pick up the photos and put them into the Flip-Pal Scanner.  I quickly realized that she was into helping me so I showed her what button to press and let her have fun.  It was great!  While I got to document who was in the photos and the story behind them, Julia was scanning away for me.  Julia did need some supervision since she is so young but the Flip-Pal Scanner is so easy to use that it didn't take much.

We had a fun afternoon looking a pictures together and commenting at some of the hairstyle and clothing choices from earlier years.  The stack of photos we found even enticed some photo albums to make an appearance for more great pictures.

Tuesday's Tip - Involving children can be fun in unexpected ways.  My daughter started with wanting to play with the scanner but ended up learning about family.  She learned faces, relationships, and even a few family stories about her dad and his pony.  (My personal favorite was when she exclaimed,"What do we call Great Gramps' dad? Great Big Gramps?")

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mystery Monday - Where did Catherine Bradley die?

I am still on the hunt for the death records and probate for Catherine (Carey) Bradley.  She is the mother of Mary Eugenia Bradley, my great-great-grandmother.  There is a family story that states Catherine is not the biological mother of Mary.  I have been trying to prove or disprove this story.  You can read my previous posts: Mystery Monday - Who was Mary Bradley's Mother and Mystery Monday - Mary Bradley Update

My last plan of action was to:
  • find death records including death certificate, obituary, and probate records for Catherine Bradley.
  • research Mary's siblings (Walter, Norbert, and Charles)
  • search the 1870 census to identify any Udell's living in LaSalle County, Illinois
Since that last post, I have done some research in the first two bullet points.  I thoroughly searched the Cook County, Illinois death records on,, and the Illinois State Death Index for variations of Catherine or Kate Bradley.  There were many results but none appear to be my Catherine.

The last place that I can identify Catherine as living is the 1910 census.  She is living with her oldest son, Walter and his family in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  Her age is listed as 70.

Since I hit a another wall, I moved on to locating more information about Mary's brothers starting with Walter.  Unfortunately, Walter passed in 1912 from a brain aneurysm.  I tried to find his wife, Hannah, and their 4 children (Eugene, Margaret, Walter, and Bernadette) in the 1920 census but have been unable to do so.  I have been playing with just listing first names and relationships but this has not worked yet.  I do not know if Hannah remarried after Walter's death.  I would like to find the family to see if Catherine was still alive and living with them in 1920.

I moved on to Mary's younger brothers.  I believe that I have found them living in Texas and Nebraska in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census.  Catherine is not listed as living with either of them in these census enumerations.

So where did Catherine die? and when did she die?  In order to help myself see the bigger picture, I created a timeline for Catherine with all of the information I know about her.  I am glad to have the timeline but it did not produce any "wow" moments.  Catherine had lived in Chicago for 25 years at the time of Walter's death.  It is hard to imagine her moving but you never know.

My updated research plan is to find an obituary for Walter Bradley in 1912.  Hopefully, it will list more information about his immediate family and if his mother survived him.  I will also try to locate a marriage record for Hannah Bradley to see if she remarried.  

The search continues...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday - William H. Lawbaugh

This is a picture I received from my mom's cousin from her collection of family photos.  William Henry Lawbaugh (1861-1911) is one of those ancestors that I would love to be able to peer back into history to see more of his life.  He was an artist (literally and musically) that came from a family where everyone was a farmer.  He had a wonderful obituary that I posted (Sunday's Obituary - William H. Lawbaugh).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Surprise Genealogy Time

I am able to grab a few minutes today while both of my kids are taking a nap.  This hasn't happened in months, I am giddy with excitement for a little bit of surprise genealogy time! 

Tomorrow night is the monthly meeting for my local genealogy society, Marin County Genealogical Society.  I am really excited because Steve Morse is coming to our meeting to present "Getting Ready for the 1940 Census: Searching Without a Name Index."  I am really looking forward to this.  I have been to two Steve Morse presentations before.  He is a great presenter and I can't wait to learn more about his One-Step web pages for the 1940 census.

I am going to spend my "surprise genealogy" time this afternoon making a list of the ancestors who were alive in 1940.  If the kids sleep long enough, I will try to pin down locations for each person too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

(2Matteo + 2Lucia) - Pietro(Teresa/Antonia) = ?!?!

I have jumped deep into researching my Italian line the last couple of months.  I have been slowly combing my way through baptism, marriage, and death records to piece together my family line.  I am still working on these records but want to share an interesting story of analysis of a portion of my goldmine.  I warn you now that everyone has the same name.  Proceed with caution!

The story begins with my great-grandfather Matteo Ciardonei.  Baptism records show he was born to Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero.  Additional baptism and death records show that Pietro and Antonia had at least six children as follows (records for this microfilm end at 1898 so there may be children born after that date):

  1. Matteo Stefano Pietro Ciardonei born  27 July 1883, died 14 August 1883
  2. Lucia Vittoria Maria Ciardonei born 30 June 1886, died 21 April 1888
  3. Matteo Ciardonei born 11 February 1889, died 14 March 1921
  4. Lucia Maria Antonia Ciardonei born 28 December 1891, 22 June 1894
  5. Silvinia Maria Ciardonei born 2 October 1894
  6. Stefano Sarino Ciardonei born 16 September 1898, died 21 June 1934
There was also a baptism record for a Matteo Claudio Ciardonei born 8 November 1875 to Pietro Ciardonei and Teresa Salarano.  My first inclination was to think that this was a first marriage for Pietro.  

I next went on to find the marriage records for Pietro & Antonia and Pietro & Teresa.  A quick glance had me thinking that these were the same person.  When I arrived home and analyzed the documents a few days later, I was not so sure.  The only thing that was for sure - I was immediately thankful that almost all of the church records listed a person's father, his father, and sometimes the person's mother and her father.  In addition each name indicated if the person was alive or deceased.

Pietro Ciardonei married Teresa Salarano on 20 February 1875.  Pietro is listed as the son of living Matteo (who is the son of deceased Pietro) and deceased Lucia Avetta (daughter of living Sebastiano).  Teresa parents are listed as deceased Stefano and living Maria Bonello. 

Pietro Ciardonei married Antonia Ciamporcero on 20 March 1882.  I was surprised to see that Pietro's parents were slightly different than the prior marriage record to Teresea.  This Pietro's parents are deceased Matteo (son of deceased Domenico) and living Lucia Avetta (daughter of deceased Antonio).   

Are these the same Pietro Ciardonei?  It was time to go back another generation to try to find out.

I found the marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei and Lucia Avetta on my next trip to the library.  Again, I was finding and scanning as many documents as possible and doing the analysis at home.  Once at home, I looked carefully at the marriage certificate.  This Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta on 25 July 1846.  This seemed to fit Pietro for a possible estimated birthdate.  Matteo's father is listed as living Pietro, deceased Matteo, deceased Domenico.  Matteo's mother is listed as Maria Burghesio, daughter of deceased Domenico.  I paused here thinking, "wait, did the Priest confuse Pietro as the dad?  But wait he wasn't born yet - these are his parents. O no, I have a problem. Are there two Pietro's?!?"

I went on to note that Lucia Avetta's parents were listed as living Sebastiano Avetta (son of deceased Matteo) and living Maria Franesio (daughter of deceased Michele).  I needed another trip back to the library.

On my next trip I quickly made my way back to the marriage records and started searching before 1846.  To my surprise, I found another marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei.  This time he was marrying Lucia Avetta in 1835.  Okay, now I was totally confused.  This town was Catholic to their last breath.  How is it that Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta twice?!  

The 1835 marriage of Matteo Ciardonei to Lucia Avetta is a handwritten marriage record.  Although I have been unable to translate the whole thing yet due to a change of language from Italian to Latin, I can definitely see the names written in the paragraph.  Matteo's parents are listed as Domenico Ciardonei and Maria Giandefio.  Lucia Avetta's parents are listed as Antonio Avetta and Magdelena Giacometto (daughter of Ignatio).

I also came upon a death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta.  She died 17 July 1888.  The death record states that she was 74 at the time of her death.  This would give an estimated birthdate about 1813-1815.  Her parents are listed as Antonio and Magdelena.  The spouse is listed as Matteo Ciardonei.

It was time to compile an excel sheet to figure out just what I had here.  My excel sheet included columns for date, record type, name, name of father, father's father, mother, mother's fathers, spouse, and estimated birthdate.  After entering all baptism records, marriage records, and death records the families started to shake out.

Once on paper it became clear that Lucia Avetta in the 1835 and 1846 marriage licenses was the key to unraveling this mystery.  Each marriage definitely had a different Lucia (different parents).  

I had two different Matteo Ciardonei's marrying two different Lucia Avetta's only 11 years apart.  Both of these couples had at least one son named Pietro.  Both Pietro's had sons named Matteo (about eight years apart).

The death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta helped to solidify my argument for which Matteo and Lucia marriage was mine.  If you look back to the marriage certificates for Pietro & Teresa and Pietro & Antonia, you will notice that one Lucia is living while the other is already deceased.  "My" Lucia (daughter of Antonio and Magdelena) is listed as living.  This jives with Lucia's death in 1888. The "other" Lucia passed away before 1875.

Here is a sketch of each family:

  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1889-1921)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei 
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Domenico Ciardonei
        2. Maria Giandefio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Antonio Avetta
        2. Magdelena Giacometto
    2. Antonia Ciamporcero
  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1875-1878)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Pietro Ciardonei
        2. Maria Burghesio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Sebastiano Avetta
        2. Maria Franesio
    2. Teresa Salarano

Monday, February 6, 2012

Interlocking Generations

Yesterday, I attended a 90th birthday party for my husband's great-grandmother's brother's wife.  It is okay if you need to read the first sentence again.  I did.  For the most part, the relationships got even more complicated from there.

It was a fun morning with descendants of Grandma Long (Wendla Batmastar Long).   There are some complex relationships because some families had children late, some early, and some had children in second marriages.  Grandma Long had 4 surviving children that were born between 1907-1913.

The grandchildren of Grandma Long were born across a 24 year period (1927-1951).  My husband's line comes from the first grandchild born.  This means that my husband's father was born and raised within a few years of his mother's cousin (the last grandchild born).  My husband and I are the same age as my father-in-law's second cousins.  We jokingly refer to the "extra generation" that was added to the line.

When we get together with this side of the family, I like to hang out with cousin Judy.  Although Judy is 9 years older then myself, we have some common interests (genealogy) and small kids.  I came home yesterday and powered up my genealogy software to figure out just how are children are related.  Judy is another second cousin of my father-in-law.  Her parents waited to have children a little older so age wise she is smack in the middle of generations.  Our children are 3rd cousins 1x removed.  They sure had fun playing together.

There was one contingent of the family that was missing yesterday.  They add even more fun to the generation layers in my husband's family.  They are almost the same age as their aunt (5-8 years apart).

It was a great morning visiting with everyone.  There was lots of talk about who each person belonged to and how we all fit into the puzzle.  It was fun for me to have my husband's family interested in family history for the day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Jealous Genealogist

My local genealogy society is the Marin County Genealogical Society.  I love attending our monthly meetings.  Not only do I usually learn something new from the presentations, it is fun to talk with people who have the same passion for family history.

On Wednesday night this week, the Marin County Genealogical Society had its monthly meeting.  The guest speaker was Anthony Hoskins.  He gave a great presentation entitled, "You May Not Be Who You Think You Are, or How Y-DNA Testing Broke Up That Old Family Of Mine."  As the title suggests, DNA testing shattered years of documentation he had collected.  It was a very interesting story that does not have an ending yet.

I found myself thinking of Mary Bradley during the presentation.  I have written about the search to identify her mother in two posts: Mystery Monday - Who Was Mary Bradley's Mother? and Mystery Monday - Mary Bradley Update.

Tony Hoskins' discovery was a surprise and a little earth shaking for him.  He has proven that there is an illegitimate child in his direct line.  While I feel for Tony, I still felt a little jealous on Wednesday night.  I will never be able to prove Mary Bradley's mother with DNA.  That family line weaves in and out of males and females so I am unable to use the Y chromosome test.

It is back to the paper hunt for me and hopefully there is enough of it to prove or disprove who Mary Bradley's mother is.  I am still trying to pin down the death date for Catherine Carey in Chicago, Illinois.  I have too many options right now for the time frame I am looking at.  Hopefully, I can pare it down soon and find probate records that identifies if Mary was her child.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An Italian Baptism

Adele Siletto is my paternal grandfather's mother.  She was born in Cossano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy on January 10, 1893. This image was scanned from the FHL microfilm I have been researching ( Registri Ecclesiastici di Cossano Canavese (Torino), 1651-1899).

With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole, a rough translation is:

Certificate No. 1
Siletto Adele

The year of the lord one thousand eight hundred ninety two the twelfth of January was presented to the Church an infant born ten of January at ten pm, daughter of Siletto Guiseppe, son of living Stefano, native of Cossano, and daughter of Maglione Ana Stasia, daughter of deceased Giacinto, native of Cossano, of the family Siletto live in Cossano to whom the baptism was administered by ??? the delegated priest, and to whom was giving the name of Adele, the godfather being Avetta Pietro, son of deceased Stefano and the godmother Siletto Margarita, daughter of living Stefano. Represented by ? Pietro ??

The indication of the birth, with the request for baptism, was made by the underwritten father of the infant.

Signature of the person who requested baptism - Guiseppe Siletto
Signature of the parish priest - A. Banedetto

Written in the left column:
Joined in matrimony to Ciardonei Matteo 22 -12-13 (22 Dec 1913)
Last rites given 18-1x-1919 (18 January 1919)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

William Bender 1868-1902

William Henry Bender is my 3rd great grandfather.  (William Lawbaugh > Effie Bender>William Henry Bender)  He was the first child born to John Bender and Matilda Shireman on May 23, 1868.  Records show he was born in Pennsylvania.  The family moved to Kansas in 1876 or 1877.  They settled on land between the towns of  Halstead and Sedgwick which are located about 25 miles northwest of Wichita.

William had 5 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters.  Tragedy struck the family when the youngest, Leroy, died in 1884 at 6 months old.  There were more happy times as William married Mary Bradley on Thanksgiving Day in 1887 (November 24).  Mary was from several miles down the road in the town of Halstead.  On my trip to Kansas in October 2010, it was easy to imagine William riding a horse to town to see his girl.

William and Mary Bender age 19 and 18

William and Mary quickly started their own family.  Their first born, a son named William, arrived in 1888.   I have not found any death records for William but he may have died in 1889 around the same time of his Aunt Ella.  Ella was William's youngest sister who passed away just a few weeks after her 8th birthday in April 1889.

William and Mary lived in the Riverside Park area of Halstead.  This is just north of the downtown area and across the river.  We tried to find the home on our trip to Kansas but it was no longer there.  There was evidence that a home had been on the property at one time.  The 1900 U.S. census lists William working as a Teamster.

William and his wife, Mary, had 6 more children.  Benjamin was born in May 1890.  Effie (my 2nd great grandmother) was born 30 December 1892.  Walter was born 15 march 1896.  An unknown child was born after Walter between 1896 and 1898.  This child did not survive.  Charles was born May 1899.  Last was Matilda born in 1901.

William died at the early age of 34 on October 4, 1902.  His children ranged in age from 1 to 12 at the time of his death.  His obituary says that he had been 'in poor health for several months' before his death. William's headstone is located next to his parents and younger siblings at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery just outside of Sedgwick.  It reads " W. H. Bender, born May 23, 1868, died Oct 4, 1902, dearest father thou hast left us and our loss we deeply feel. But tis god that has bereft us he can all our sorrows heal."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

21COFH - How I Organize My Digital Files

The Turning of Generations blog is hosting a great series this year called the 21st Century Organized Family Historian.  Each week a 'project' will be posted that relates to organizing your family history.  Week 2's topic is Developing a Digital Organization Scheme.

I am excited to participate in this blog series.  I am in the middle of reorganizing my digital files, scanning a box of genealogy paperwork, adding citations to my genealogy software for the scanned documents, and adding citations to the meta data for each digital file.  I always love hearing how other people organize their genealogy data.  We all do it just a little differently from each other.  My scheme is all about what I can maintain and ways to find the files without too much searching.

One of my biggest problems with my old digital filing system was the files being saved in Documents and Pictures.  I found it confusing so I created a new library on my C drive called Genealogy.  I did this by right clicking on the word Library in the Windows Explorer.  Now all of my photos, documents, and downloads will be kept is one area.

Within the genealogy library I have several folders: Genealogy Education, Places, Up In The Tree, Surnames.  The Genealogy Education folder contains all of information I have collected from webinars, genealogy ebooks, etc.  The Up In The Tree stores copies of all my blog posts (I am a backup junkie).  The Places folder contains any information regarding a specific place that I am researching.  The last folder is the Surname folder.

With the folders mentioned above, there is only one file kept at this level.  My Research Log is kept here for easy access at all times.

The Surnames folder is divided into 2 sub folders, one for my side of the family and one for my husband's side of the family.  The sub folders are further divided into 16 folders, one for each surname of a great-great-grandparent.  At this point, the sub folder is divided as needed.  If a person has more than one document or photo, I create a person sub folder.  I do not create document type folders.  I put all documents within the person folder.  If there are additional surnames either further back in my line or laterally, they get a folder.  Here is an example:

Here is what an individual's folder may look like:

Information for women is kept under their maiden name.  The exception is marriage licenses which are filed under the husband's name.  If a woman has additional marriages beyond my direct ancestor, these files are kept with the woman.  

My naming convention is "Lastname, Firstname Document Type."  As mentioned above, for each file I put a copy of the citation in the meta data.  To do this, right click on the the file.  Chose properties and then click on details.  The comments section allows for text.  Any additional information about the file is also added after the citation.