DNA Ethnicity Surprises

Ancestry.com has again updated their DNA Results Summary.  Sure, it’s only as accurate as the number of people who have tested.  What my latest results tell me is that Ancestry has had a whole lot more Swedish, German and Slavs testing and not many Balkans.

I know this because the updated results show I am 42% Eastern European and Russian and 41% Germanic Europe.  

In Ancestry’s last update, I was considered French; today I am of German ancestry. 

My paternal line would not have thought much of that finding; with a name like Leininger they would have accepted the Germanic Europe as fact.  The truth is more complex – the ancestors that were forgotten most likely would have been livid with the designation as they considered themselves French. My two times great grandmother was christened as Marie Marguerite not the Germanic Maria Margarette.  Her spouse was christened Jean Leininger and not Johan.  They resided in the Palatinate, the region that flipped several time between what is now Germany and France. They wisely spoke both French and German. Funny that the land has stopped switching but the ethnicity indicators haven’t.  Ancestry would be smart to have a Palatine region noted instead of moving ethnicity results every update.

Interestingly, the results do include 5% of an ethnicity estimate as French and the region is the Riviera, where my Lamphere’s (Landfairs) did reside in the 1600’s prior to fleeing France for London and then Ireland and then Virginia.  It appears they intermarried with relatives and others who fled with them and that is somewhat supported in that I now have no Irish identified.  Well, that’s not quite true, either…

My Irish is encompassed under my Scottish designation.  

I also find it interesting that I have Welsh separated from England (which encompasses Northwestern Europe now).  I am most definitely Welsh with my people moving to Cheshire for a time.  That is shown in the map, along with the northwest section of France.  That is also correct as I have some William the Conqueror folks originating in that French region.  

My maternal line, though, would have my grandmother in requesting her money back.

Family stories shared by my grandmother say her side moved to the what is now the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia around the time of Christ because of overpopulation on the island to the south where they once resided.  That would most likely have been Kos Island, part of Greece today.  The now defunct National Geographic project did route my ancestry on that trail.  Grandma said my grandfather’s people had already been in the Zagreb region when her people arrived and they had been Gypsies. National Geographic’s results showed that, too.  Using records, I can show that my maternal line was in the Zagreb region as far back as the 1600’s.  Based on a title the family was awarded, I can show some were in the region as early as the 1100’s.  For 900 years, they resided in a small area in what is now known as Croatia.  According to Ancestry, I’m 3% Balkan.  

Explaining to my grandmother how Ancestry obtains their results would have been maddening.  I’m sure some of you are going to have to try with an older relative.  I send you good thoughts in doing that!

I am quite impressed, though, with Ancestry and their Swedish results.  Look above as I have shown how Southern Sweden is shown by region.  I have worked very hard to get most of my husband’s Swedish lines identified and they are from the area Ancestry identified.  I’m looking forward to someday seeing a trend like this for my other ethnicities.

Ancestry has also released a section called StoryScout.  It’s housed under DNA and includes information that you may have provided in a tree.  I didn’t spend much time on this but I did take a look and it reminded me of something that is important to do and I honestly fail at it.

The section is based on census and military records from the 20th century.  Sure, I’ve saved those records to my ancestors 20 plus years ago.  I know where they lived, who they lived with, blah blah blah.  What gave me pause, however, was that it correctly showed my maternal grandfather and noted that his income was nearly twice that of an average man at the time.  He made $1400.00 per year when the average was in the mid $700.00’s.  Wow.  This explained to me why my immigrant family could afford a car in the 1920’s, a phone in the 1930’s, travel to California in the 1940’s and to Europe in the ’60’s.  Now I understand why grandma, when babysitting me, would drag me to the nice stores and dress shops and had her hair done each week.  Duh!  They never flaunted their wealth and dutifully shipped supplies several times a year back to the old country.  Thanks, Ancestry, for taking one small data point in the census and giving me an insight I hadn’t he thought about.  Try it, it might work for you, too.

More Tech Safety Suggestion

Last week I blogged about my Evernote account being hacked.  I reached out to some tech savvy colleagues for advice and wanted to share something with you that might be helpful.  

An IT engineer recommended that I check my email accounts for hacks by visiting https://haveibeenpwned.com

That’s not a typo – it is pwned and not owned!

Enter your email address on the page and click pwned?

I have several email accounts and I entered all of them to check.  I was surprised to find that one had been breached.  It was a government site from last summer that I use for genealogy research.  I changed the password on that site and just to be more secure, changed my email password.  

While changing my password I had another “Aha!” moment; I never took the time to really check out my email Security settings.  The devices I have connected to the email are shown but I had to pause at the Third-party apps with account access.  My bad for not reading the small print and clicking “I accept” when visiting an organization’s website!  I had given permission unknowingly to two retail organizations to have access to my calendar and contacts.  It was quite easy to disable that!  I’ve begun my holiday shopping so after I’m done, I plan on rechecking my email account to see if I somehow give permission for access that is unwarranted.  

Just like covid, behind the scene activity to your tech tools can maliciously effect you!  Take a few minutes to check it out and stay safe!

Evernote Info to Keep Your Info Safe

I haven’t used Evernote in awhile, so imagine my surprise this morning to receive an email that someone with a Mac in India signed on to my account 7 hours earlier.  Definitely wasn’t me or anyone I know!

Being somewhat paranoid, I tend to not click on links sent to me in emails.  Instead, I used my current Kindle to go directly to Evernote online as I haven’t downloaded the ap to that Kindle.  

Another surprise – I was unable to disable the device as my account was accessible only from the Kindle that I had the ap downloaded to.  I’m really not understanding that since the hacker didn’t have the Kindle with the ap on it!  Unfortunately, I’m not tech savy enough to figure out how to access my account on a different device so I then spent time on a Kindle hunt to find the device with the ap.

Took me a few minutes to figure out where the old Kindle was and to fire it up.  After getting through the ad to purchase more Evernote services, I clicked on Settings and Devices.  Sure enough, there was the hacker’s device.  Clicking “disable” hopefully blocked the hacker from having some afternoon fun with my account.  

The hacker didn’t find anything useful as after taking notes, I transfer them to whatever computer I’m using as soon as I’m done with a meeting or archive visit.  I keep nothing on Evernote.  That practice wasn’t established because I didn’t trust Evernote to keep my documents safe; it was my process to use Evernote in settings that aren’t conducive to paper and pens/pencils, such as in a library stack or outside at a cemetery with the wind blowing.  Now I’m glad that was how I used the ap!

I decided it would be wise to change my password.  I’m a little miffed with Evernote as you cannot easily do that.  The directions online say to go to Account Settings and click Security Summary.  I don’t have that, possibly because I never purchased an updgrade package.  My only option to update a password is to email them and then they send me an email and then I go back to their site and change the password.  All this for a device I don’t even use any longer.

So, adieu, Evernote.  I’ve uninstalled the ap on the old Kindle after clearing the cache and signing out of the account.  I won’t be downloading it to my new one, either.  When the pandemics over I’ll be using the note ap on my cell instead.  

Time Sensitive – Saving Your Ancestry.com Messages

With only 3 days left before Ancestry.com pulls the plug on your access to old messages sent to you in their system, you’ll need to follow the instructions below soon or your old correspondence will be lost.

It’s quick and easy but times a wastin’!

First, after logging in, click on the envelope icon on the right side ribbon next to your sign on.

Next, you’ll see swirling circles while the page loads.  On the bottom left the following message will be displayed:

Click the green button “Download Folders”
It doesn’t take long.  Underneath the button your messages will be downloaded to your computer as a zip file:

Clicking the zip file will display any folders you may have created to save correspondence.  Mine looks like this:

It is saved to your computer’s download file.  Go to the Download Folder on your computer, find the file and drag it to where you want to save it.  For the purpose of this blog, I just moved it to my desktop but will be placing it in a Cloud.  

To view a message, simply click on it.  In the Baines folder, the message will be saved to look as follows:

Yes, just like the comedian “Mr. Bean,” I have Beans in my family!  

This simple task will take you less than 5 minutes.  Why would you not want to save information from far flung family members?  It’s also a good way to go back through old correspondence as a missed clue may be unveiled.  Many of my messages contain email addresses and if I haven’t written to the individual in awhile, I might not be able to locate the address quickly if I need to in the future.  Since you just never know where genealogy is going to take you, I’d rather be safe then sorry by saving the data today.

New(er) Genealogy Resources For Your Toolbox

I’ve been consumed with my Hollingsheads for the last two months so I’ve not blogged about a few awesome resources I’ve come across that may benefit you.  Some are free, some are not.  Here they are:

  • MyHeritage Photo Enhancer is a wonderful tool not just to fix blurry photos but also get a better view of fuzzy documents.  I tried this out in June when I was having difficulty transcribing handwriting from a Quaker document.  I also tried it on an extremely blurry group photo I had of my husband’s Harbaughs but the original photo was too small so it didn’t work well.  You can read more about this here.
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society began Beta testing in March their new online collections.  I was not a participant due to other commitments though I did use it briefly in June and July when I was in need of New York records.  Here’s more info about the update.
  • Want to attend a training/conference/Zoom/GoToMeeting, etc. session but know you’re not available at the day/time it’s being presented?  No worries – most organizations will record and make the session available for viewing later.  Go ahead and sign up anyway.  You’ll probably get an email with a link to view later.  I had to miss an APG Virtual Chapter meeting in June and an American Ancestors class in July but was able to watch what I missed at my convenience later.  So, go ahead and sign up for the event even if you can’t attend!
  • Academia.edu is a new tool in my toolbox and I honestly couldn’t have analyzed my Hollingsheads in Barbados as I did without it! There is a membership fee, ballpark about $50 annually, that I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth in the last two months.  The site allows you access to unlimited journal articles and papers by educators on a wide variety of topics.  I selected history and the Caribbean in particular to learn more about the time period I was researching (1650-1750).  That allowed me access to archaeological studies recently done to gain a better perspective of what life was like then, historical works revisited (so I could easily find primary sources), and opportunity to contact social scientists with questions directly.  The site is not just for history enthusiasts but that’s the only part I’ve used.  Membership also provides you your own website, which I have not set up since I already have my own, but it’s a nice feature and looks like it’s quick and easy to use if you’re new to webdesign.  If you’ve used JStor, this is similar but I’ve found that it contains more info if you’re focusing on a sliver of time and place.  
  • Don’t forget YouTube and your local Genealogy Society!  I recently watched a wonderful video about River Pirates.  I had no idea there was such a thing in the Midwest, nor was I aware of some of the terror that reigned in small communities due to deranged families. It also never occurred to me that there was poor workmanship back in those days that resulted in lives and supplies being lost.  I heard about the topic from my local genealogy society; one of the member’s brother was the speaker and I’m so glad I viewed it.  Hubby and I went to school in Indiana and that topic was never addressed in the curriculum!
  • Last but not least, and probably more important than everything mentioned – if you haven’t noticed Ancestry.com has updated their messaging system.  Gone are the folders you may have previously used to save correspondence with other members.  You can download it so you don’t lose anything.  I strongly urge you to do so TODAY as it will be gone this month.  I don’t know what they did yesterday but I had 11 messages.  I had recently reached out to several folks who had some Hollingsheads in their trees but it wasn’t 11.  In reviewing the messages, I discovered most were not new (9) and the two that were were old – one was from November 2019 and the other from June 24, 2020.  Guess they got lost in cyberspace but it did make me look bad as I try to respond within 48 hours!  Check out this feature to see if the update they did before dawn’s early light this past week affected your messages.

Finding the Family Jewels – Bibles, Included!

Ever wonder what happened to an object that was once held in high regard in your family but has since disappeared?  Maybe you aren’t sure if there ever was such an item but you’d like to explore the possibility.  This blog is for you…
When I began internet genealogy back in the 1990’s we still had dial up service.  Remember that?  Going through your home phone line to connect resulted in no one being able to get a phone call while someone was surfing.  With all the junk calls I get daily, I’m thinking that wasn’t such a bad option, but I digress.
Back then, my husband would joke that it was okay he couldn’t make a phone call because I was hunting down the family jewels.  Clearly, our families never had much jewels but I did wonder whatever became of the muskets or hoop skirts or Bibles.  Most likely, the muskets broke and when the hoop skirts were no longer haute couture they were either repurposed or trashed.  The Bibles, however, never went out of style so what happened to them?
Your first step in locating the long lost item is to research if it ever was.  Start by asking your oldest living relative.  I know that no Bible was brought from the old country by my maternal side because I asked my grandparents, who were the gateways, if they brought it with them.  Both said they brought one suitcase filled with clothes.  Case closed, pun intended!
I never asked my paternal grandparents that question, though, because my grandmother died when I was a child and my grandfather remarried, moved away and we never had contact again.  My father then became the oldest relative and his reply was, “You’ll get the book when I die.”  Huh?  I questioned further and he meant there was a family history book that had been written in the 1970’s and he intended for me to have it.  Except that didn’t happen. Since my step-mother would not give it to me, my second step became casting a wider net.  I had two aunts but neither responded to a letter I wrote (this was before wide use of email) so I posted on a genealogy website that I was looking for a copy.  Two people responded that they had copies and provided me a look up.  One even reached out to the author who was living in Europe and he sent me an electronic database of his book.  Today, you can easily accomplish this by messaging distant family members who have online trees that contain the ancestor whose information you’re seeking or you can check worldcat, Google Books, Hathi Trust, Internet Archives and Archive Grid to see if the whereabouts of what you’re hunting is listed there.  Facebooks’ Family Treasures Found would be another site to check.  One of my aunts eventually responded and sent me her copy.  Patience is key here for lots of reasons; perhaps the site you messaged isn’t used much by the recipient or life just happened to get in the way.  In my case, my Aunt wanted to check with her two daughters to make sure they had no interest in the book.  They didn’t so that’s how I ended up with a copy.  Actually, I ended up with two copies because my step-mother took pity on me after my mother died and gave me the book.  So now, I have two – one for each of my kids or for another family member that may sometime in the future contact me with the same request.
Getting the information through look up was wonderful, however, if what you’re seeking is a one of a kind item then this approach may get you closer but not really fill your need.  Step 3 will save you time and it’s quite simple – just go online and research if what you’re seeking is documented to have existed and if so, when and where was it’s last location.
If you’re following me, you know that I’ve been working all summer on my Hollingshead line.  In my research to verify the identify of Daniel Hollingshead in three locations (England, Barbados, New Jersey Colony) I looked everywhere online and emailed numerous archives to check for information that hasn’t been digitized.  It was during the online portion of the research that I discovered Daniel had brought a Bible with him from England as it was noted in old biographical books highlighting descendants in the late 1800’s.  To aid in keeping the whereabouts of the Bible’s locations known, I went to Step 4, I created a timeline.  For simplicity here, I’m not including the source citations but my timeline in Excel notes exactly where the information came from so I can analyze it later:
1683 Leicestershire, England – Daniel’s birth as reported in 5 books (1965, 1911, 1900, 1886, 1882)         Lancashire, England – Daniel’s birth place as reported in 2 books (1870 & 1857)1686 Leicestershire, England – Christening record for the 2nd Daniel born (1st  Daniel 1679-1685)1688 Bible printed in Oxford, England
You can clearly see the problem with the conflicting place and dates. Further research shows no Daniels born in Lancashire during this period.  Only two Daniels were born in Leicestershire during this time, both to the same parents.  Probably every book is wrong with the birth year as there would be no reason for the family to name a 2nd child Daniel until the first one was deceased.  Yes, some families do that but this line hasn’t shown that to be the case although they often reuse names when a child dies.  More likely, Daniel 2 was born between 1685 (1st Daniel’s death) and 1686 (christening record).  Typically infants are baptized soon after birth but that might not have been the case.  A family member may have seen the 1683 recorded but was really written was a sloppy last digit that should have been a 5. 
Here’s another problem the timeline unveils – the published date of the Bible would be AFTER Daniel’s birth, no matter what year is correct.  Still, I want to locate it as it would hopefully confirm the birth location and would have been the next closest document made to Daniel’s real date of birth.
Here’s the next problem – The Bible mentioned in some of the books state that Daniel brought the Bible with him when he came to New Jersey. I need more info to further develop the timeline.
If you’re wondering why I would need to know where the Bible was kept that long ago it’s simply because if it is found, I need to understand how it was passed along.  Since I don’t know if the Bible contains any genealogical information as many Bibles exist and families don’t record vitals in them, I need to know where it’s been so I can validate the information it contains, if any.
Ship manifests haven’t been found for him so it’s not known exactly when Daniel emigrated.  The books mention he, along with several brothers, were in the Battle of Blenheim.  So, did Daniel take the Bible with him in battle (August 1704)?  No clues there.  Did Daniel return to England after the battle?  Don’t know! At the time of the battle Daniel was not the oldest son so the Bible would have likely been in the possession of a brother who died in battle.  If the Bible had been brought to Blenheim, Daniel would have assumed ownership of it at that time.
It’s probable he did return to England after the battle and took the Bible with him when he decided he was permanently leaving England so that would have been between 1705-1711.  The last date is when his first child was born in Barbados; since he met his wife in Barbados he probably arrived between 1705-1710.  So my timeline continues:  
1705  Battle of Blenheim (now Germany)1711  Daughter born in Barbados1714  Wife dies in Barbados1715  Daniel listed in Barbados census1716  Daniel remarries in Barbados1717  Daniel purchases land in New Jersey Colony1717-1718  Two children born to second union in Barbados1721  Beginning of numerous land sales in New Jersey Colony1730  Daniel dies intestate in Somerset, New Jersey Colony
Step 5:  To determine where the Bible went after Daniel’s death is to expand the tree to include all of Daniel’s children from both of his marriages.  You also must keep in mind customs from the time period. Understanding how the family thinks is key to finding the current location of the item.
My line follows Daniel’s first child, Mary.  She would not have inherited the Bible for several reasons – she was from the first union and she was a female. Clearly she was not a favored child by her step mother as she was not named in the will.  Daniel had older sisters in England so if the family was unconventional for the times, an older sister and not Daniel would have kept the Bible after the oldest sibling died.  I know that Mary did not have the Bible as there was no documentation found in her line to ever note she had it.  There is no documentation that any of the female children ever had it. 
Daniel’s eldest son, the second child, would seem the person to have inherited it but that does not seem to be the case.  Numerous books and documents show that Francis did, as the oldest male, manage the assets after Daniel died intestate and quickly lost them.  From the will of Thomasin, Daniel’s second wife, she acknowledges his ineptitude by naming one of her youngest daughter’s as administrator to her estate and gives each of her adult children only a shilling.  Her manumitted slaves receive most of the proceeds from the remaining estate.  You may think that the administrator would have received the Bible, since she was given the responsible task of handling the final paperwork, however, she had married late in life and had no children so she did not get the Bible.
Two of Daniel’s male sons had died before his second wife.  They had no children so we can eliminate them from the hunt.
That leaves one line – 6th child, 3rd son William.  Oh joy, William had 9 children.  This may seem overwhelming but following what we know – most likely to be passed to a MALE with CHILDREN, we can quickly eliminate who got it.  It appears that son James inherited it as books from 1882 & 1886 state his son, Stroud Jacob’s wife, had the Bible in her possession after Stroud died, along with “old family papers.”  So now I want to find both the Bible and the papers.  
First, I want to understand why Stroud had the Bible.  He was the third son and fourth child.  The eldest died with no children, we can skip the female (sigh) and the next son left to go out west and never married.  Makes sense why Stroud would have it.   
Fast forward to 1900 when the Bible was known to be in the possession of one of Stroud’s grandchildren, a Jeannette Jackson.  WOW!  How did a female get so lucky?  Times were a changing and it seems everyone of the now fewer children got something.  Harriet, the oldest, had died but her oldest daughter was Jeannette who got the Bible.  Stroud’s second child had died childless.  The third child, James’ son received a breast pin that was passed down to Edgar Pinchot Hollingshead.  The eldest, a daughter, received a painting on ivory of one of Daniel’s sons, William (same line).
Now this should be easy, right?!  1900 wasn’t that long ago and so we just need to track Jeannette and we’ve found the Bible.  Not so fast…Jeannette died unmarried and childless in 1923.  Two brothers predeceased her.  Her sister married but had no children.  Now we’re at a dead end.  Not!
STEP 6 is to research further in new areas.  Since we’re looking for a record from less than the last 100 years newspapers are the way to go.  Thanks to a “cousin” helping me with the search, a record was found in a Pennsylvania paper (and the Bible came to New Jersey first, remember!) that said an Elizabeth Malvern Hollingshead was going to “loan” the Bible to a local historical society in 1924 for an event that was to be held.  Loan is the key word here but still, I reached out to the historical society to see if a) they still have it on loan or b) they reborrowed it sometime since and know where it is.  Alas, they do not but they do have the “old family papers.”  Bingo!  I’ve at least traced part of the missing items.  I’m awaiting their lookup for confirmation of vitals.
Now it’s time to go back to Step 5 and trace Elizabeth’s line to the present.  That was done and the most likely candidate was emailed at his work email.  He hasn’t responded.  I know he’s reading his work email because it was an interesting system – it notified me that he had been on the site the previous day to my email. 
Finding a long lost heirloom is a matter of patience and persistence.  Keep notes, enlist others to lighten the load and you will hopefully find what you seek.  Happy Hunting!

Practicing What I Preach About Organization

Hello, Dear Readers!  Didn’t blog last weekend because I was trying to do what I recommend everyone do – organize your genealogy. It is NOT fun!
Let’s start with the negative to get it out of the way…
It resulted in my allergies going bonkers from the dust (and the Sahara Dust Storm further put me over the edge), bags of refuse for the trash collectors to have to heave away in the intense heat (we’ve had advisories for a week now) and a field day for the cats who were running through the piles knocking them to the floor just to see paper fluttering.  Why do cats do what they do?
On a positive note:

  • I can find everything I need quickly
  • I have a lot more office space
  • I have a much healthier environment
  • I found a few personal genealogical gems
  • I feel great that I am well on my way to completing the task

I would love to tell you I started this major undertaking because it was the right thing to do but that wouldn’t be honest.  Two weekends ago, we had a generator installed since I’ve got a freezer full of food that I typically don’t have at this time of year due to the ‘rona.  In Florida, summer is the lean times, meaning we grill and eat lots of quickly made cool foods right from the fridge.  Open a can of kidney beans for a salad, mix up a can of tuna with some mayo and you have a sandwich, you get the picture.  Since our groceries were in such short supply of canned goods and charcoal from the break in the supply lines, I didn’t stock up as usual and instead, had to rely on frozen items.  I don’t want to lose all that food when the power goes out, which it does in our area frequently, so we decided to buy a generator and have it installed.  
That meant we had sporadic electricity the day it was installed so I didn’t blog.  I had all intentions of doing that the following day but, I was bored so I decided I would just go through one of four tubs I keep in the office where we store our warranty receipts and other important papers.  That project consumed me for the next few days so the blogging didn’t happen.
I may have mentioned in past blogs that my family and I have been fortunate so far escaping covid which is spreading like wildfire in my area (well, we think one of our kids had it in late January and the other in early February but it was mild compared to what could have been and hubby and I didn’t get it, although we were in close proximity to both of them at their sickest. One kid tested with the results of no immunity so we have no idea what they had but it matched all but one of the symptoms.  Hmm.)  
I don’t know what “virus” infected our appliances but in the past three months, the following has needed repair:  refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave (still waiting for parts), toaster, coffee maker, iron, sewing machine, vacuum, pool vacuum, pool heater, laptop power cord, cell phone, blow dryer, flash light, water softener, ceiling fan, chain saw, pole saw, blower, jet ski battery and then, there was the well guys cutting the lines so we had to have the internet and phone cables reinstalled and they broke several sprinkler heads so there was more fixing needed.  Luckily, most of those items were under warranty (which says a lot about how items are made these day). Although that saved us tons of money, it resulted in my constantly pulling out the four tubs to find the necessary paperwork to contact companies to arrange repairs. The organizational system quickly became a mess and I knew I had to devote time to cleaning it.  With the electricity off it seemed like a great time to devote to it.
You may be thinking – why does she keep this stuff in tubs?  Simply because I live in a hurricane state.  After losing everything in Hurricane Elena in 1985 I learned that file cabinets aren’t the way to go here.  Put stuff in tubs and you can easily transport in your car when you flee and have the documentation to prove to FEMA when you return.  Plus, no bugs get in and it does cut down on dust somewhat.
I got the brilliant idea to change the file folders from “Small Appliances”say, to the room in which the item is held.  That meant making new labels; I love my Dymo but that’s starting to act weird, too.  Any item we no longer owned went into the trash and those remaining went into a pile on the desk based on the room they were housed.  That’s where the cats had a field day.
My reorganization left me with space in the tubs so I decided I’d tackle an attic niche where we store tax returns.  I had taken Judy Russell’s APG seminar earlier that week and according to her, I only needed to store the IRS documentation for 7 years.  I’ve had much more saved and although I hated the thought of pulling it all down and going through it, decided I  had to do it.  That’s where I made my personal genealogical discoveries that are meaningless to everyone but my husband and I.  I found his very first tax return from the 1970’s when he worked part time at Pepper Pot Pizza.  I found my Work Permit signed by my guidance counselor and school nurse for my first job while in high school (it was for a summer job as a “basket girl” at a local pool – I became a mole that summer, standing for hours in a dark room that was a partial basement handing patrons baskets to put their belongings in and then retrieving them when they were ready to leave.  It smelled of chlorine and sweat.  Yuck!  But I was making $2.00 a hour so all way good.)  I found paperwork for family members who were deceased that my husband and I served as administrators.  Looking over some of the medical records reminded me of things I once knew about the person but had filed away somewhere in my brain and wouldn’t have been able to retrieve had the documents not jogged my mind.  
Tossing all that stuff out felt great and now everything is together!  You’d think I’d stop there but I was on a roll so I next decided to clean a small tub that I place in person conference syllabuses.  I decided to pitch what wasn’t important to me and scan what was.  I am in the middle of that project now.
I am leaving two shelves of genealogical gems to clean out when I retire someday.  They once were housed in the attic (hence the dust) but when we cleaned the attic out a year ago I moved them to an indoor storage area.  I seriously hate the thought of going through that stuff and figure it will take me a few months to get all that organized – it’s WW2 diaries, notes from older family members, letters, etc.  What does one do with old film, negatives, camcorder stuff?  We’ve digitized all of it to DVDs and some to the Cloud but what should I do with the original?  It’s probably deteriorated and no longer viewable even if I had the device to see it.  I actually was ready to pitch it but hubby said no which is surprising as I’m the one who usually hangs on to stuff.  Let me know if you’ve faced this situation and how you resolved it.  
So, for the remainder of today, as I look out at the milky white sky, I’ll be scanning my dwindling pile of syllabi.  Think I’ll get another cup of coffee first.  Have a great weekend!

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts for the Genealogist

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!  Tomorrow is the big day and if you are short of time or your favorite store is short on everything then here’s two ideas that might help:

1.  Genealogical.com has a 3 month special offering all of their 750 books for purchase to be viewed online.  It’s a nice idea while libraries were closed and it allows you to see if it is a book you’d like to purchase in the future. I know many in person sites will be opening soon but if you’re like me – have read everything you have at home AND are not wild about the idea of going out yet, this might be the ideal gift.

I’ve been using it for the past 2 weeks and I have found some interesting info as I’ve been researching Barbados which is not a well represented topic in my local libraries.  Have I found anything earth shattering? Not yet but I’ve obtained some clues to go forward with. 

There are some glitches with the site so I want to share that info to avoid frustration.  First, the log in is quirky.  I’ve tried Chrome, Firefox and good ole Internet Explorer thinking that might be the issue but it isn’t.  It never can recognize my password unless I sign in through my Google account.  I’m telling you this because I’ve been locked out and when you’re paying for something for a limited time that’s frustrating.

I know I’m not alone as someone else had commented that once you’re in, you often get sent to a page to purchase books.  Here’s how to get around that – Click Home and Click on Book Bonanza at the top.  You’ll be in the right area to read at that point.

Next issue is it always takes you back to page 1 of the books listed.  What would have been nice would have been a long page listing all the book titles/authors (I don’t care what the cover looks like!) with a link directly to the book.  After a few days of use I decided I would approach this as I do when I’m just surfing a shelf in a brick and mortar library – I looked at all the offerings on the site page by page and wrote down the titles of interest.  Now, when I’m back on page 1 (you get logged off if you step away for a bit so when you log back on you automatically return to page 1) I just type the title I’m interested in the search button.

Here’s another hint – the list of books I created I checked WorldCat and Ancestry and 18 were there so I will be using those sites for those books.  That way, I don’t have to feel pressure to get through all the other ones that I can’t access anywhere else.

You can’t download the books – just read them – so remember where you left off.  It’s not like Kindle so you have to make a number of clicks to go back where you were.  The other issue is that the page numbers don’t appear so using the Index is difficult.  For example, in Barbados Records in Marriages 1643-1800 Vol. 1, I checked out the index for my Alexanders and derivations of Hollingshead and I find a few I didn’t know existed.  There’s no page number or book section listed so the only way to find them is to scan every page in the book (which is a list of marriage records, duh, so it’s all names) arranged in chronological order by parish to find them.  That is time intensive and yes, I have 3 months, but there are other books I also want to check out.  I used a back door to get more info on the possible relatives listed – looked them up on genealogy sites online to get a better understanding of relationships, years they were in that country (my peeps were gone by 1720 so if the others were there in 1800 I don’t need to check further), and where they originated from in England. 

Going back from a page to another part of the book is also a pain.  You can use the back arrow but if, for example, you’re looking at H’s in the index, you’ve clicked numerous times to get through the A’s-G’s so it’s a lengthy process to return.  It also loads pages slowly, maybe that’s just on my end, but it makes me crazy so now I just click the top arrow to go back to good ole page 1 of all the offerings, retype in the name of the book and then use the index to go where I want. 

So now you’re thinking – why in the world, Lori, would you recommend this as a Mother’s Day gift?!  Well, there’s not a lot out there to purchase and your dear mom isn’t gonna get the ‘rona using this.  Just show her this blog and she can hit the ground running.  I’m not making any money off this – just trying to be helpful.

2.  Next option is to sign up for a National Genealogical Society conference package.  This is what my family got me for my birthday and I’m really excited.  I’ve attended past in-person conferences and loved them!  I was unable to go out to Salt Lake this year due to my other job’s schedule so this gift is really making me happy.  On May 20th, the “live” online offerings are available from 11 AM to 7 PM.  In July, based on the package purchased, you can view up to 85 other lectures that would have been available if the conference was held in person and those are available through May 2021!  That’s more genealogical courses then you could have ever attended in person so I think this is an awesome opportunity.  Sure – you don’t get the camaraderie of being around other genealogists, the immediate answer to your question or the excitement of travel but in these times, I’m good with what is being offered. 

US Census – An Interactive Timeline

Found a wonderful site this week that I think you’ll enjoy.  Check out The Evolution of the American Census.  This interactive site allows you to compare census questions over the years.  The presentation is simply awesome!  You’ll be able to view information your ancestors were asked to provide along with what the US’s interests were over time. Quite interesting to see the direction the nation took over time.

I just wish this was available in a poster for a ready reference sheet.

My only other wish was that we could all view the 1950 US Federal census now while we were still home.  Alas, that’s two years off in the future. 

Free Sites for Genealogy in April and Onward

Run out of your regular go-to’s for genealogy research?  You are in luck because some free offerings are now available to get you out of your rut:

British History Online is a digital collection of Great Britain, Ireland and more that will be free through July.  Currently I’m using it to research the Caribbean (West Indies) but colonial U.S. information is also available.  I discovered one of my distant family members was interested in the East Indies in the 1500’s – who knew?!  Check out this blog before you get started.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is offering a free webinar from their extensive library each day in April.  If you aren’t a member, now is a wonderful time to take a look at what they have to offer.

With libraries closed throughout the world, why not go to your local or state genealogy association’s home page and see if they are still offering meetings from the comfort of your own home.  My local group has switched to using Go To Meetings for their weekly tech meetings.  Yours may be using Zoom or Microsoft Office Teams.  They’re easy to use and if you’re new here’s a few hints.  For Zoom, you can click on the upper right of the screen and change the view of attendees from a bar across the top to a grid that will take up the entire screen (like the old Brady Bunch).  Wondering why some people have a black square and no picture?  They clicked the video button the bottom of their screen to disable their computer’s camera. The host (the person who sent the invitation link or password info) has the ability to let everyone speak or to mute and then unmute attendees.  You can mute yourself on the same bottom bar if you like.  Want to ask a question but not interrupt?  Just click the message on the bottom bar and a side bar will appear.  Type whatever you like and click enter.  Your message will appear and the host will hopefully get around to answering it.  When you’re done, just click the red “Leave Meeting” button and you’ve disconnected from the site.  

Although this is not directly related to genealogy, it will most definitely help you if you don’t already have Microsoft Office.  Check out this link for details, restricts do apply.

Hope you’re staying safe and finding family!