German Genealogy Hints

Graphic by AI

Last week I wrote about solving a genealogical newspaper translation mystery with the help of my extremely knowledgeable cousin Gerhard. Gerhard gave me more useful information when doing German genealogy that I’d love to share with you.

First, he provided me with a resource that would help me transcribe older German alphabet letters. This resource is online here but I never used it. Old handwriting is difficult to read even in English so when I came upon a German document, I simply found someone else to transcribe and translate for me. Gerhard encouraged me to give it a try using the resource which I plan to do.

My family was from the Palatinate region which today encompasses Bavaria. Because that region was torn apart by war for years, the records were sometimes written in Old German, French, and Latin. It even belonged to Austria at one point in time. That’s a lot of customs from lots of regions! What I never understood was the meaning of the word Pfalz. I thought that was a county in Germany. Gerhard explained that Pfalz simply means Palatinate. Duh!

I had used FamilySearch for my German family church records but I wasn’t aware that FamilySearch also contained civil records from the region to the 1880s. Since my folks were here long before that time period, I will be exploring civil records to add to their vital info that I have already discovered.

Tracing Roots: An Afternoon with a Distant Cousin Exploring German Genealogy

Gerhard and I 23 May 2024

Last year I blogged about meeting a distant cousin through Whova, a conference ap. I also mentioned it in the lecture I presented for the National Genealogical Society in May. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with your disconnected relatives. We are 7th cousins. Definitely not close but we have been able to connect through a share German great grandfather Kettering.

On May 22, Gerhard and his girlfriend, Rita, visited my home. It was a wonderful visit! In the morning we visited our local farmer’s market, toured my town, went for brunch, and then returned to my home where we spent hours doing genealogy together.

Gerhard looked over my online family tree and corrected the many German name misspellings I had, particularly regarding locations. I have terrible trouble with diacritical marks!

He brought me updated tree info with sources found in German archives that are not accessible online. I agreed to create a tree for his colleague who found an old genealogy that claimed that some of his family emigrated to Indiana in the 1800s. I confirmed that indeed, they did, after stopping first in Kentucky. I was able to find living descendants for the colleague to contact.

The best part of our genealogical afternoon, besides spending time with a new cousin, was his explanation of a mystery newspaper article that I have written about previously. I had a dickens of a time initially getting native speaker consensus on the word “birthshaus.” I used a German teacher who was born and raised in Germany, some of my family members, a Facebook posting, and a posting to a genealogical group I belong to and received the translation as tavern or coliseum. I have even tried AI and gotten the same results. Clearly, there was no coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1834.  I did find a tavern so I selected that word to use in the lineage society application I was submitting.

Gerhard laughed when he saw the word. He explained a better word usage would have been “beer house.” I was confused so he explained German culture from that time period. After church on Sundays, the ladies would congregate together and spend the day chatting. Their husbands would retire to the house next door to the church that served beer. There, they would drink the day away until their wives came to get them to go home for dinner. Gerhard did not know that the culture had been brought with the immigrants to the U.S. Apparently, it had in Ohio, all because of the newspaper article I found and Gerhard’s knowledge of the customs of people from the home region.

In the United Kingdom, a public house where beer was sold and consumed was known as a beerhouse (Beerhouse act 1830 (11 Geo. 4 & 1 Will. 4 c. 64). That would have been the best term to use in the translation.

Having someone who was knowledgeable about the language, customs, and culture was what I needed to solve my genealogical mystery.

Next week, more helpful hints from Gerhard!

Disappearing Genealogy Books

AI Image

Are books disappearing from your local library or archive? I’ve heard concerns locally from several patrons and I do share their concerns. The books are showing up at library book sales and even Goodwill.

I asked a local librarian why this was occurring and was told that the books weren’t being used. I asked how would they know if the books were being used or not since they were all reference books not available for check out. Didn’t get an answer.

Last month I spent the day at the Indiana Historical Society. I asked Suzanne Hahn, VP of Archives and Library and Bethany Hrachovec, Director, Education and Engagement if there was a trend towards purging genealogical tomes. There is for the following reasons:

  1. They are a duplicate copy
  2. They have been digitized (though not necessarily by the library who is purging it)
  3. There is a copy at a larger library. In northeastern Indiana that would be Allen County Public Library, Indiana State Library, Indiana Historical Society, or a university library.

Many libraries are now moving to a theme – only railroad books, for example, or only books for their particular county. Could be but I’m seeing books meeting the purported theme also removed. I’m also not seeing communication between libraries so one removes a book that would be a great addition for another library’s theme. Instead of contacting the library it goes to the resale bin.

Which gets me to the current situation I see in my local library. Too many books for resale and not enough storage so they are giving the books to Goodwill. If they don’t sell they are then disposed of. So very sad!!!

There are people who cannot read digitized books. Perhaps they don’t have the tech or their eyes will not handle it. I see no sense in removing a book that has been digitized, especially not by the entity that was purging it. How do they know that book will stay available to the public? Think about the recent law suit with Internet Archives! The case is back in court again but that doesn’t mean that Internet Archive will survive their appeal. What a loss that will be for all of us.

Maintaining only one regional copy is also problematic. When it starts snowing here people stop driving, especially older folks. Having to travel up to two and a half hours to look at a book that used to be available five minutes from your home is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

If shelf space was at a premium I could understand thinning the ranks but in most cases, it’s not. If the library had funds to purchase new materials I could understand it but that’s not happening, either.

If this situation is occurring in your region speak up. Complete library surveys to voice your concerns. If you have the funds and space, purchase the volumes. Perhaps a genealogy club or society can scoop up the works and create their own check out system. Genealogy books need to be treasured and available to future generations. Help make that happen.

Parles-tu Français?

Image courtesy of Chat GPT

Later this summer I will be presenting at an international conference in Boston. One of the requirements is that my Power Point Slides be in two languages, English and either French, German, or Spanish. The problem for me is that I’m presenting on what was the Austria-Hungarian region, particularly what is now Croatia, so I already have two languages on most of my slides – English and Croatian. Adding a third language makes the slides overly filled with text but it is a requirement so it is what it is.

The next issue is I don’t write well in any of the languages so I decided to use AI to help me out.

I had learned at the National Genealogical Society conference that Transcribus was an excellent source to use for translation. Funded by the European Union, it was used throughout Europe.

I created an account easily but had extreme difficulty in getting it to work. It is in English but I didn’t find it to be intuitive to use.

I first tried to upload my .ppt but it can’t read that as Chat GPT can. I then typed the text I wanted translated into Word to upload. It wouldn’t take a .doc so I had to convert to .pdf. It uploaded fine but when I tried to get the AI to learn it I received a message that I needed to add more pages, at least 20. Sigh.

I had little time to watch a YouTube video, not even sure one exists, so I decided I would upload my .pdf to Claude, Gemini, and ChatGPT. Interestingly, I received some very different translations.

As I said, I don’t write in French so I couldn’t be sure what I was getting was correct. Since the syllabus was due I didn’t have the luxury of having a human translation. Plus, to be honest, I didn’t want to spend the money on it.

So, I decided to try to rationalize the correct responses. Here’s how I did that:

The first difference was in translating the English word JOURNAL – as is a professional magazine. I received Revues and Journaux as my choices. I selected journaux as a revues is mostly associated with theatre.

Another difference was translating the term Coat of Arms. I received Blason from Chat GPT and Armoiries from the two other AIs. I went with Blason because it means heraldry and that was what my intention was. Armoiries can be a symbol or design varying from a crest to a family badge to a coat of arms as we think of in English.

Now I would not have thought I would have gotten diverse responses for the request to translate “Thank you for attending” but I did. Attending was the problem word – the responses were assisté (no, no one was helping me), votre presence (for your presence) and votre participation (no, no one was participating unless you consider listening as participating). So, I went with votre presence. Thank you for showing up.

We don’t really think about meaning when we are speaking. We know what we mean and just say it intuitively. AI has helped me realize that the words I use may not be the best choice in getting my message across. I believe in working to perfect the AI prompts so that I obtain exactly what I want. I believe it has helped me to improve my own speaking and writing skills. Not what I would have ever expected could be considered as an AI bonus!

The Great Chicago Fire

Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

While touring the Chicago History Museum it suddenly occurred to me that my husband had two sets of several time great grandparents that had experienced the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Adding historical perspective to your family narrative is important and I completely missed this event!

What I learned was that over 100,000 people became homeless. Using old tents left from the Civil War, they were set up along the Lake Michigan waterfront while new homes were being built.

I also had completely missed the fact that there were many aid organizations from around the world that sent funds to help the displaced. I was interested in finding a list of organizations and if they had any records of who they had helped.

It seems in my husband’s family’s case, the families relocated on their own.

I always knew that Drusilla Williams DeWolf Thompson went back and forth between her birth location of Lansingburg, Troy, New York and Chicago. After marrying her first husband in 1850 Calvin DeWolf (not to be confused with the famous lawyer of the same name at the same time in the same place) the couple left for Chicago. I have not found where Calvin was buried but while in Chicago, I was able to discover where early residents of Rock Island were interred. I’m hoping those clues will lead me to his burial site.

Dru remarried widower Thomas Coke Thompson in Chicago in 1857 and the couple had three children. Well, four if you are looking at the 1880 US census which lists child Nellie, born in 1869. Nellie does not appear with the family in 1870; instead, she is living in a household in Rock Island with a different family. I suspect that Dru knew the family from her time living in Rock Island with her first husband and took over as Nellie’s guardian for a time. I haven’t found adoption paperwork or what became of Nellie.

So, where was Dru when the fire roared through town in October 1871? Likely, Chicago as she was found there in the 1870 census. Interestingly, she was next discovered back in Lansingham in 1875 in the New York State census. Dru evidently went back to her birthplace once she lost her home in Chicago.

I blogged a few weeks ago about Mary O’Brien and her husband, John Cook. Both of those individuals were in the Chicagoland area when the fire broke out. The problem is they are not found in the 1870 US census. By 1880 they were found again in Chicago. Were they one of the displaced? Until I discover their address in 1871 I won’t know that. Since there are so many John and Mary Cooks in the area during this time this will take a bit of work. I’m saving this one for next winter.

My Swedish Dilemma #2

Lovisa Carlsdotter Johannesson

While in Sweden I hoped to discover more about my husband’s maternal great grandmother, Lovisa Carlson. Her father was Carl Gustaf Johannesson, a widower, who emigrated with Lovisa to Chicago in 1887.

Lovisa is something of a mystery even in Sweden as several genealogists could not understand her movements in the country. She was born in Gränna, Jönköping but followed her sister to live in Ostergötland. That was according to church records in Gränna, however, she never shows up in Ostergötland church records.

Lovisa’s mom, Stina Jonsdotter, died in 1866. Lovisa’s sister returned home and Lovisa followed her in 1867. Lovisa is found living in her father’s household until they both decided to depart Sweden from Jönköping on 11 May 1887.

By this time Chicago had a very established Swedish district so it is not surprising that they relocated there. Probably they knew of others from their area who had gone before them.

The problem is where did they live and what did they do while in Chicago? I was hoping to find church records as there was only one Lovisa Carlson in city directories during this time but it wasn’t my Lovisa, the other woman was a widow.

Two years after arriving Lovisa married in Chicago widower Anders Johannesson. I have the original church marriage record with the pictures of the couples sadly removed. The problem is that she was recorded as Miss Lovisa Johannesson. All other records show her as Carlson. Also missing on the record is the name of the church. I do have the pastor so I had hoped to link him to a church and possibly discover more info. The governmental records provided no answers.

The couple then moved to Porter County, Indiana where Anders had been living with his children from his first marriage.

So many mysteries, so little time!

My Swedish Dilemma #1

An estate near Sjohester, Sweden

When my husband and I went to Sweden in April we visited the family home and church for ancestors who were on both his maternal and paternal sides.

Kris and Mangus, of, mentioned they were intrigued by how early Samuel August Samuelson and his parents had emigrated to the US and settled in Chicago – 1851! I never thought much about that date but knew from a mug book account that the family only remained in Chicago for one year and then relocated to Porter County, Indiana.

I discovered in Sweden the reason they first went to Chicago. Sam’s older half-brother, Carl Gustaf Johnson, had left Sweden for Chicago in 1849. Why? Samuel Eriksson was a tenant farmer who had married Anna Elisabet “Lisa” Torstensdotter after she had birthed Carl. The family stayed together working for an estate for years but in 1849 the estate let the family go as it appears that the property was sold and the new owners had their own tenants that they wanted to hire.

Samuel, Lisa, and their four surviving children moved to work at a smaller estate as tenant farmers. Perhaps there wasn’t room for Carl or he decided to set off on an adventure in America. According to Kris and Mangus, this wasn’t the time that most Swedes left the country. Only those who believed there was nothing left for them in Sweden took the long and dangerous route to North America. This was the era of sailing ships.

By 1850, Samuel had to move on to another tenancy. From visiting it became apparent that the family was on a downward slide. Each home was smaller, the land surrounding it was tiny, and the estate where they worked was not as prosperous as the former ones. It is no surprise that the family decided in 1851 to join Carl in Chicago.

But where in Chicago? Carl does not appear in the 1850 federal census. Samuel and family arrived after the census. I searched city directories for the time period but they are not found. I stopped at the Swedish Museum hoping their archive might hold some clues. Unfortunately the archivist was not in so I had to follow up with an email. Got a response that she was busy with setting up a new exhibit and would get back to me when she had time.

I then asked at the Chicago History Museum if they knew of Swedish churches in Chicago during that time period. There weren’t any as there were too few to form a congregation.

So, this mystery remains – where did they live and what did they do for the short window when they lived in Chicago?

What I did finally understand was why Samuel’s son, Samuel August Samuelson, volunteered as a Union Soldier and became a lifelong Republican (not to be confused with the current party’s belief systems). Samuel had experienced life as a child of a tenant farmer. He likely empathized with the enslaved which resulted in his joining the Civil War. I would never have figured this out unless I had stood in his former homes and saw for myself what the family had experienced.

Next week, I’ll write about another Swedish mystery that I’m still working on.

Asking the Right Questions on a Cemetery Visit

Yes, it is the time of the year to visit cemeteries. Recently while researching in the Chicago area I decided to check out Mt. Carmel Cemetery located in Hillside, Cook, Illinois. Purportedly, my husband’s second great grandparents, John and Mary “Mollie” O’Brien Cook were interred there. No one had made a Findagrave memorial for them so I stopped at the office first to ask for the location of the graves. I was the first one there when the office opened so they weren’t busy. The clerk could not readily find them. I had their birth and death info and various spellings (Cook and Cooke) but she insisted there were too many Mary’s and didn’t find John by his death date. Then it hit me! John had originally been interred in Calvary Cemetery in Evanston when he died in 1894. Some of his children had him moved to Mt. Carmel in 1918. The clerk found him with that burial date that had been entered as his death date. The clerk said she found no one on the record besides John which I found odd as I would have thought his wife, Mary, was buried by him.

I was given the printout you see above. Interesting that there was a QR Code to use to find the stone. Except, it wasn’t. The QR supposedly took you to the cemetery section. I got confused following it on my phone as it wanted to take me out of the cemetery. This turned out to be correct as the cemetery is so large that it continues across a main street. I had entered a different way and did not see that initially.

After 10 minutes and discovering that GPS wanted me to drive across grave stones, I found an alternate route and arrived at the correct section. It was a large section and I wasn’t sure of the alignment because I couldn’t be sure I was facing south. I thought I was and decided to use the compass of my car to double check.

I started at the first row and went up and down and moved on to the next, and so on until I was midway through the section. Something wasn’t right. The Cook family was Scotts Irish. John had been born Protestant in Scotland before emigrating to the US. Mary was born Roman Catholic in Ireland. They met in New York City, eloped in New Jersey and took the train west to Chicago.

My father-in-law loved to say that all of his side were raised Protestant. Except, after his death, I discovered they weren’t.

Molly, according to one of my husband’s aunts, made a deal with her husband John. All boys would be raised Protestant and the girls, Roman Catholic. What no one in the family had discovered (but me!) was that Molly had gotten the boys baptized Roman Catholic, too.

What a gal! Takes a special kind of woman to do that back in the 1850s.

Part of what I was trying to discover in Chicago was which church John belonged to. I wanted to see if they had membership records that included the boys as the family tale states. Haven’t found that yet.

I know the church where Molly had her children baptized, Old St. Mary’s. Her sole daughter, Mary Ellen, married James Hanlon at Old St. Pat’s Church on 26 May 1880. But I digress! Remember the Hanlon name because I’m going back to the cemetery story.

I quickly realized that 95% of the section I was looking at contained Italian names. This could not be right. There was no stone for the Cooks anywhere. The grass hadn’t been cut and I was getting dehydrated and exhausted from bending over flat stones trying to remove dead grass to read the names.

After an hour of this I returned to the office. Quite an interesting experience when I returned. The clerk who had helped me was waiting on someone who was screaming at her that the customer’s mother had been buried in the wrong lot. This conversation was not going well.

Meanwhile, another clerk was helping an older woman and what was likely her daughter understand the cemetery rules. I had other places to go that day so I was impatient but it was nice and cool in the office so I chose to wait.

Eventually, I was called by the second clerk. I showed the paperwork and explained I had walked the section for an hour, knew I was oriented correctly but could not find the grave stone. I explained I had left at 4:45 AM to get to this cemetery, traveling for over 4 hours and I really needed help in locating the graves. I also mentioned that the first clerk insisted that there were too many Mary Cook’s and she couldn’t find the one I needed who had died in 1901.

I’m not sure what magic the second clerk used but he readily told me that Mary was indeed buried next to John, along with several members of the Hanlon family. This explains why John’s body was moved from Calvary. Mary Ellen Cook Hanlon must have wanted her parents buried with her and her husband so John the Protestant, long dead, had no way to object to being moved to a Roman Catholic Cemetery. I’d love to know if Molly ever confessed to him that she had baptized their sons. Something I’ll likely never discover.

Anyway, it turns out the reason I could not find their tombstones is because they don’t have any. Memo to self:  Next time ASK IF THERE IS A STONE! This would also explain why the memorials were never created on Findagrave. Whoever transcribed this section of the cemetery without records would not have known they were buried there.

Speaking of records, I also mentioned to the second clerk I would like to get the records corrected since the cemetery had John’s death date wrong. He told me there was no way to correct the records. He also informed me I could not see the original burial records as that was not allowed by the Diocese. Wonderful, not! They have wrong records they won’t correct and family members aren’t allowed to see the records. What a policy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

The second clerk, however, kindly told me who the family was buried next to the Cooks. I was able to find that stone quickly and took a pic of the lot to upload to Findagrave.

Here’s reminders for the future:  Sometimes you have to ask more than one person at the site to get the full story. Always ask if there is a stone. Allow for more time as the unexpected could throw off your schedule.

I notified family that there was no stone as that was news to me. None seemed interested. If I ever win the lottery I will be spending the winnings on purchasing stones and restoring those that are there. Next week, I’ll be writing about my Swedish dilemmas.

Verifying a Family Story in Pullman, Cook, Illinois

After returning from Sweden, I spent four days researching in the Chicagoland area. Both my maternal side and both of my husband’s sides lived in Chicago for a time and the Swedish trip unveiled some new mysteries that made me want to find answers there. Nothing online so boots-on-the-ground was needed. The next few weeks I’ll be writing about my discoveries and the steps I took to get the answers.

Today, I’ve shared the photo above that was taken in Chicago circa 1919. From left to right is an unnamed  neighbor of my family, Great Uncle Joseph Koss, Maternal Grandma Mary Koss, and my mother’s Godmother, known as Kuma. The little girl is my mom. The photo was undated but I know it is from the spring of 1919 for several reasons.

First, my mom is standing on her own. She was born on 14 April 1918 so she is likely about a year old. My grandmother was pregnant in the photo but barely showing; her second child was born in November 1919 in Gary, Lake, Indiana. The family moved shortly after the photo was taken. By the way they are dressed, it is spring – no heavy coats but long sleeves and my mom in a little jacket.

My grandmother had told me it was taken outside of their Pullman apartment building in Chicago. The family story was that both my great grandfather and his son-in-law, who was to become my grandfather, emigrated separately from Dubranec, Croatia with the intent of settling in Pennsylvania where they had heard there was work in the steel mills. When they arrived, however, the mills weren’t hiring so they became employed by the Pullman Company. (This is problem #1 – Pullman didn’t hire in Pennsylvania). They worked on the lines all the way to California and when the job ended, were shipped back to Chicago to work on the canal. (Problem #2-Pullman only hired for working on the cars, not on the lines). It was at that time when my great grandfather sent for his wife, Anna, and two children, Mary and Joseph, to come join him in America. The story goes on to say since he was employed by Pullman he was able to take the train to New York to meet his family and escort them back to Chicago. (Problem #3 – nothing shows that this was a perk of working for Pullman). Well, Gary, actually. He was afraid the big city would intimidate them so he moved them for six months to Glen Park, which eventually became part of Gary so that they could learn English. My grandmother finished 8th grade, the family reunited and lived in Pullman housing in Chicago until they relocated back to Gary because there was work at U.S. Steel in 1919.

I love verifying family stories and I thought this one would be a no brainer. Many of Pullman’s employment records exist at the South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society in Hazel Crest. Newberry Library also has some ledgers and a box full. How hard could this be?

The librarians at South Suburban were absolutely wonderful! I had not completed a form for them that is required for lookups and I did not expect them to drop everything to help me out. There were several John and Joseph Koss’s but none were my relatives. One was Russian, the Austria-Hungarian became employed in 1925 long after my family had moved on, and another was Slovenian. Sigh.

I had shown the photo and that was when I learned that Pullman had once been its own town but over the years, became a part of Chicago. I also learned that Pullman did not hire laborers. Oh, dear, that was what my ancestors were considered. Another fallacy in the story is that Pullman was somehow involved with the canal building – the Illinois Michigan Canal – but that wasn’t the case.

Pullman did need working railroad tracks, however, and it was thought that perhaps my family had been hired by a company to maintain the rail lines. This makes sense as my immigrants would not likely have understood the concept of subcontractors.

These findings redirected my research question from Finding the Pullman Employment Records for Joseph and John Koss to Finding The Names of Company’s Who Maintained Railroad Tracks in the Pullman, Chicago Area between 1912-1919.

Apparently, no one has asked that question to the many archives where I looked – South Suburban, Chicago History Museum, Henry Washington Public Library, Newberry Library, and IRAD. So, this item remains on my to-do list!

I was also  interested in finding the location of the photo as my mother was said to have been born in that apartment house. My grandmother did not trust hospitals; she swore they stole babies. My cousins and I kidded her for years about that only to discover with DNA, that she had been correct. Too many babies had been switched at birth.

For locating the address, I turned to city directories that were not online. There is nothing like physically touching an ancient book that just might provide the answer to your burning question! Luckily, I discovered that there was a listing for Joseph Koss, laborer, who lived at 12311 South State Street in the 1917 edition. Better yet, he was the only Joseph Koss. I had been told that the whole family lived in the same apartment so by not finding John, the narrative was confirmed. In this particular city directory, only one name, typically a male, was listed per address.

Having an address was wonderful as by checking Google Maps and the Cook County Property Appraiser we quickly determined that the apartment building was still in existence and hadn’t changed much in the last 100+ years. I finally have the location of my mother’s birth! The location even ties in with the church, St. Salomea’s, where she was christened. The church wasn’t far and looking up the church history on flickr explained its need to be built in the Pullman area.

Distance from Apartment to Church, Google Earth

More work is needed to find the company that employed my ancestors. Newberry’s ledgers had Koss’ but they weren’t mine.

I have a request in with IRAD for contractors who worked in 1918-1919 on the Illinois Michigan Canal. I’d love to check out their perks, did they provide discounted train tickets? How did my great grandparent get an apartment in Pullman housing if he wasn’t employed with the company? Sometimes one find leads to more questions! Next week, I’ll tell you about what I learned at a cemetery.

Genealogy Gift Ideas

Photo by Lori Samuelson

I received the most unusual genealogy Mother’s Day gifts from one of my kids that I just have to share. The first is the game you see above – Guess Who? We had the game when my kids were young but my adult child bought a new game and switched out the faces to include the faces of ancestors. I’ve taken the cards that were made to replace the ones that come in the box and placed it on the box top so you can see the variety of family photos included.

This is an awesome idea if you are having a family reunion or want to get a head start now for a holiday gift in December. What a wonderful way to get the younger generation involved in identifying their ancestors!

The second gift I received was also unique. One of the parts of genealogy I love is uncovering mysteries. Who were these people? Why did they do what they did? How did the meet? Where are they buried? Well, the second gift is using old time snail mail to send a letter written in cursive to my home every two weeks for a year. The company, TheFlowerLetters, has several themes. The one I’m receiving is the Adelaide Magnolia Collection which takes place in England in 1817. Since I’ll be trekking to Great Britain later this summer it’s a perfect way to get me in the mood. For the genealogist in your life, the letters feature mystery, history, adventure, and romance – what more could a genealogist want?!

The National Genealogical Society conference continues today. Thank you, dear readers, for all of you who attended my presentation with six other genealogists last evening. If you missed Rapid Roots or would like to review it since it was rapid and had lots of helpful tips, please do so. Don’t forget to complete a review through Whova. You can still leave questions on Whova for the next three months or you can email me anytime at