A Unique Genealogical Find on Christmas Night

I absolutely adore those unexpected finds, don’t you?!  During my two week hiatus I decided I’d try to solve a John Duer (1801-1885) mystery.  I wasn’t able to do that yet but I have made some tremendous progress and want to share how I came to put the pieces together to answer my question – Why is it written on Mary Jane Morrison Duer’s 1866 tombstone “Wife of John Duer” when John was married to Margaret Ann Martz Searight Duer at the time of Jane’s death? I have never found a marriage record for the 2nd marriage nor have I found a divorce record for the first wife.  Was there more than one John Duer? (Yes, there are many!) Was John polygamous?  (Could be but I haven’t found that in the Duer line.  They were Quakers, Presbyterians and then Independent Christians.) 

John and Jane are my paternal third great grandparents.  No one ever mentioned them but in all fairness, I was not close to my father’s side of the family so I never got much family information about anyone. Duer cousins I have connected with have no information, either.

I love researching the Duers for several reasons – 1.  They are complex in that they reuse the same names every  generation – John, William, Thomas, and they all have large families so separating who is who is a wonderful mind puzzle.  2.  Records are scarce – they don’t leave many records and they just disappear in thin air.  3.  Somehow, every time I go back to working on those lines a strange event occurs to help me find the information.  That kind of happened again Christmas night which I think was the most perfect gift I received.

The week before Christmas I re-analyzed all the information I had on the family and began to sort out some anomalies.  I discovered that a Find-A-Grave memorial for a John Fred Duer is in error.  I’ve written to my distant cousin to have it corrected.  The mistake was in plain site on the page and I’m embarrassed I didn’t catch it years ago.  The memorial shows that the man was 102-3 when he died – possible but unlikely.  Looking at the individual who requested the tombstone, I realized that two Johns – John Fred and John B. had been merged.  The birthdate for John B. was entered with the death date for John Fred.  The tombstone does not provide a birth date.  

John B. was John and Jane’s son; John Fred[eric] was the son of Charles Edward and Almeda Buckmaster Duer.  Charles Edward was the son of John and 2nd wife Margaret Martz Duer.  John Fred’s mother had requested the military tombstone for her son who had served in World War 1.  John B. was dead before World War 1 and too old to serve.

I can understand how the mistake happened – most of John and Jane’s children are buried in Kessler Cemetery, Mercer, Ohio.  John B., however, is not – he is buried in Backestro Cemetery, Adams, Indiana.  John and Margaret lived in Adams, Indiana so you would think they would be buried there but Margaret, Charles Edward and John Fred are buried in Kessler.  No one knows where John, husband of Jane and Margaret, was buried.  My guess is Kessler in an unmarked grave.  I’ve checked with those who oversee the cemetery and there is a depression next to Jane’s grave that was possibly an interment.  My guess is that the family didn’t pay for a tombstone.  More on that in another blog sometime.

My working theory is that some of John and Jane’s children were not wild about  his second marriage to Margaret.  Hence, they would put the “wife of John” on Jane’s tombstone to validate their mother’s marriage to their father.  I wanted to narrow down the time period of when the couple split and try to determine how John met Margaret since she was in the next state.  I’ll write more about that another time, too.

My thought was to check out, in detail, all of the players – meaning looking more closely at all of the children of the two couples and their spouses.  I used Excel to list all of them, the date and the place where I had a record they could be found.  I realized there was a lot I did not know.  I’ll be writing in the next few weeks about some of the interesting and sad finds I made but for now, back to the Christmas night find.

I was using FamilySearch.org image feature which I highly recommend.  If you haven’t used it you must because almost all of the wonderful information I have compiled lately on this family is from this unindexed, convoluted place.  You must try it! Images do not mean pictures as in photos. Images mean they are a picture of a document.  They look just like the other microfilmed documents that are indexed on the site.  The images are not always orderly, meaning you might find a death record next to a marriage consent.  You must take it slow, examine closely and click away.

To use images, sign into Familysearch.org, on the ribbon click “Search” and the “Images.” Under “Place” type whatever area you are researching.  In this case, I was looking for a deed record for Mercer County, Ohio because John and Jane were last found together there in July 1860 in the US Federal Census.  I entered in Place “United States, Ohio, Mercer” and clicked Search Image Groups. When I try to duplicate that search today, however, it will only let me enter Ohio, United States.  Don’t know why it’s been changed but no worries!  On the left hand side of the screen “Places Within” is a drop down so I will scroll to Mercer [County]. There are 321 record types to look at – woo hoo, that’s a lot of info that may or may not be relevant.  

The 1860 US federal census showed John and Jane living two residences away from their married daughter, Maria Duer Kuhn, in Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio. Liberty Township should have been where I was looking for a record of the deed for the property but I didn’t find that township specifically.  (I first tried the Mercer County, Ohio property appraiser site and did not find the record there).  With the options limited, I clicked on FamilySearch.org on Celina, Land Record 1834-2003, etc.  I was thinking that Celina was the county seat and that’s where the deed may have been recorded. 

Remember, these images are not indexed so I decided I would open the page to as full a view as possible (meaning I clicked the > on the right hand side and was just mindlessly clicking image after image zeroing in on the years 1850 (when I last knew the family was in Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio based on the census and 1866 when John and Margaret had their first child together and Jane died. Sometime in those 16 years perhaps there was a deed in Mercer and I wanted to know which wife was on it.) Turns out that wasn’t correct but that’s another story…

It was a very good practice that I had first become familiar with children and their spouses.  After just a few minutes, on image 130 of 1112, I discovered the record at the top of the page.  Look at the second from last entry above for Grantees Ceraldo, John F. & Mary Ceraldo.    

John and Jane’s daughter, Mary Ann, has been elusive and here I found a deed record for her and her husband in 1887.  I about jumped out of my chair!  

All I knew of Mary was that she had married twice, to a James Furman in July 1875 and to John L. Ceraldo in April 1879, both in Mercer County, Indiana.  I can’t find her in the 1860 or 1900 census. There is a child, Daniel, listed with the couple in 1870 US federal census, however, it must be from a previous relationship of John’s.  That is the only record for the child I could find. No marriage record for a possible first wife.  No burial records.  Nada!

John Ceraldo was a naturalized citizen having been born in Mexico and serving in the cavalry for the Union during the Civil War.  He could not read nor write so his name is spelled in multiple ways in the few records found.  The couple eventually ended up in Michigan where Mary died in 1909.  Sadly, John, the informant, knew John Duer was Mary’s father but did not mention Jane as her mother.  The mother space is recorded as Unknown.  Jane, having died in 1866, probably never met John but why didn’t Mary ever talk about her?  This seemed to be a pattern with the younger children of John and Jane as James William and Angeline’s death certificates list an incorrect first name or record unknown.  More Duer mysteries!  Why was Jane forgotten by her youngest children?

What was so awesome about this find was that I wasn’t looking for it.  I also was able to place the couple in Ohio as they had not yet relocated to Michigan. The gap between 1880 and 1900 is large so any find in that period is just wonderful.  I also discovered they continued living in Jefferson Township, since at least 1870, and not Liberty Township where siblings had settled.  

I don’t know the relationship of Daniel Webster, also listed as a Grantee, is to the couple.  That’s another clue I have to pursue.  

I’m looking forward to more Duer finds this year.  Since my top 10 blogs from 2020 showed that my readers love the unexpected, I thought you might enjoy the following article in the Washington Post (3 Jan 2021) Near the End of life, my hospice patient had a ghostly visitor who altered his view of the world, by Scott Janssen, originally published in Pulse – Voices From the Heart of Medicine.  If only John or Jane would give me a visit!

Have an Enslaved Mystery? This New Online Site May Help.

On Tuesday, a new FREE database became available – Enslaved:  People of the Historic Slave Trade lists 500,000 individual names of the once enslaved.  You may browse by entering a person’s name, place, event or source.  I gave it a whirl yesterday and although I didn’t find what I was looking for, think it’s a wonderful source to add to every genealogists’ tool kit.

The site is definitely a work in progress but then, so is every genealogical database.  The goal is to enter as many names/places/events that documented an enslaved individual.  With many records held in private hands, that has made the endeavor all the more difficult.

It’s been estimated that there were over 10 million Africans who survived the passage to the new world in bondage.  The majority were transported to South America, Brazil in particular.  

The enslaved who resided in Roman Catholic areas were often Baptized.  Hence, names are more likely available. Unfortunately, that was not always the case.  Entering the search term “Brazil” in the database provided me with 45,753 responses but the majority do not provide a name for the enslaved.  Instead, a name of the seller or purchaser is given with a date.

I have been trying to identify the names of the enslaved individuals who were probably brought from Barbados to the New Jersey Colony by my 7th “great*” STEP grandmother, Thomasin Hassell Holinshead about 1720.  Thomasin’s father was a sugar planter in Barbados.  No records have been found of his death or the sale of his plantation although the location has been discovered on island maps.  

Thomasin’s husband, my 7th great* grandfather, Daniel Hollin[g]shead was not a man of means but happened to marry for the second time the sugar heiress’ daughter.  Within four years of the marriage they had relocated to New Jersey where Daniel sold vast tracks of wilderness.  He died intestate (of course!) in 1730.  

I only know of the enslaved individuals from Thomasin’s will of 3 Jan 1757 made in Somerset, New Jersey.  She interestingly selected her youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to serve as administrator.  Records exist that Thomasin was not pleased with her oldest son, Francis, who had served as administrator for his father, Daniel’s estate as he squandered most of the funds. Thomasin left him and her other surviving children 1 shilling, about $15.30 in today’s money.  Says alot!

The clip above shows the part of the will that provides me the clue that Thomasin had enslaved individuals.  I do not know:

  • How many?
  • Ages?
  • Gender?
  • Names?
  • How long they had been with her?

I have tried to find a will for administrator Elizabeth but her life is sketchy.  Mug books mention that she married late in life and had no children.  Her husband’s name has been recorded as Thomas Dean of Abington but that, too, is odd.  Elizabeth’s brother, William, had relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and named a daughter Elizabeth.  That Elizabeth was the second wife of Thomas Bean of Abington.  I’ve seen dates of birth for Thomas Bean ranging over 20 years so maybe there was more than 1 as there was more than 1 Elizabeth Hollinshead.  No record for a Dean was ever found.  

I tried the enslaved database to see if I could find any sale for a Holinshead (with multiple spellings) for New Jersey or Pennsylvania.  Zilch.  Then tried for New Jersey which lists 78 people and Pennsylvania, showing 244. None were in the areas I was looking for – Somerset County, New Jersey and Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.  

Although I wasn’t successful I applaud the site for it’s compilations so far, ease of use and making it free which ironically, lists all those who weren’t.  

*NOTE – clearly they weren’t so great enslaving individuals and other records found show Thomasin wasn’t so great to my 6th great grandmother, her only stepchild, but that’s another story.  

2020 Genealogy Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays around the corner and the zingers of 2020 impeding the typical holiday shopping spree, I’m providing my guide early this year to insure the shopper stays safe and the receiver gets the gift on time.  

Most of these items can be purchased locally so do try to support your small businesses and organizations.  Others can be purchased online but please buy soon so that the chain of folks that helps you get the item aren’t stressed even more than they already are.  Let’s show some gratitude we’ve survived this wretched year and spread the kindness!

My gift guide includes items for a few dollars and up into the hundreds as I understand it’s been a tough year financially for just about all of us.  As my mom used to say, “It’s the thought that counts.”  

1.  A comfortable desk chair – Hubby and I purchased two in May as we were spending so much time in ours and mine refused to let me adjust the height.  We had it delivered and assembled ourselves but if that’s not an option use NextDooor to find a local handyperson who can do the assembly on the porch. Your genealogist’s back will thank you. 

2.  A Second Computer Screen – If your genealogist is using only one screen it’s time to add another; I’ve had two for years but I honestly could benefit from more.  Sometimes I put the laptop next to my work area for a 3rd view when needed. Sure, we know how to change the size of what we’re viewing but with old documents, sometimes we just need the whole screen.  Your genealogist’s eyes will thank you!

3.  A Magnifying Glass – If the To Do list includes going through boxes of old family letters or photos, a magnifying glass, with or without a light, is a must.  Think Sherlock Holmes, here – the smallest clue might be missed that could solve the mystery so an inexpensive magnifying glass might just save the day.  

4.  Assorted Coffee/Teas or a reusable water bottle – whatever is the preferred non-alcoholic drink is a well received gift for anyone but especially the genealogist who needs a quick caffeine jolt or calming tea.  I stress the non-alcoholic for a reason – your genealogist needs clear analytical reasoning so skip the booze. A reusable water bottle with a tight fitting lid is also a great idea to stay hydrated without risking a spill.  

5.  A foot massager – which can fit nicely under the work area.  If it has a heat feature it makes it even better on those long cold winter nights of researching.

6. An elliptical for sitting – When in the researching zone, we often forget to get up and move.  This handy exercise device allows for individuals to sit and move the lower legs.  I love to see how many “miles” I’ve gone without leaving my desk.  If your genealogist has a standing desk, the device still works. Until we’re able to go back to running up archive stairs or parking in remote and walking to the library, the sitting elliptical will get a lot of use.

7.  Gift Cards – to your genealogist’s local restaurant, grocery or office supply store.  If you aren’t sure what your favorite genealogist’s office needs are, know they have to eat!  Less time cooking means more time researching and you’re supporting the local economy which makes this a win-win for all.

8.  An annual subscription to a new site – This year I joined Academia.edu and I absolutely love it!  I was trying to research Barbados in the 1600’s  and there isn’t many records that I found useful.  I wanted to better understand what life was like there and Academia.edu helped me with that goal.  Journal articles are available on a wide range of topics and the site also hosts members to have a webpage so others can connect with them.  JSTOR.org is another awesome site that provides journal articles and books that may be of interest. Plans start at $19.50.

9.  Donation to a local genealogy/history society – with long term closures and the deaths of members, many organizations are suffering.  If your genealogist says – “Don’t get me anything!” then follow their directive but give in their name to an organization that they support.  Typically, I’m a doer and not a donator but this year I have given to several organizations that I wasn’t able to support in person.  

10.  Last but not least – Give the recipient time by listening.  I’m serious.  Although this monetarily costs nothing it is probably the most valuable gift that can be given.  We know you could care less about your fourth cousin twice removed who married your third cousin once removed.  Just try to look like you care.  Back in the day when the world was “normal” we could attend conferences and meetings to share with others the great discoveries we made. Simply listening is a wonderful gift to give!

The Mysterious Byrd Family

Skipped blogging last weekend because I was consumed by work from my other job – lots of teaching units were cut in my district and I was tasked with making new schedules for students.  Planned on blogging yesterday and got attached by wasps so my hand is swollen and I’m typing with only one hand now so this will be short!

Did the Tombstone Cake work in helping me find new info on my brick wall ancestors?  Sort of!  I ended up selecting Hannah Byrd, one of my paternal 4th great grandmothers, who was born in New Jersey and died in Ohio.  

With all the way to spell Byrd – Bird – Burd – Berd, it’s always made the search difficult.  

My mistake was thinking that she was born in Sussex, New Jersey as that is where her husband’s family was from.  I decided to research the only other Bird that lived in Trumbull County, Ohio at the same time she did and discovered he was born in New Jersey but not Sussex.  Looks like his father was born in Sussex but moved shortly after marrying to southern New Jersey.  So I’ll be following the trail to see if I can connect the two as they are about the same age and could be siblings or cousins or not.  

Funny, though, I decided to randomly pick a Kindle free book for October and chose Spellbreaker, a fiction story about a young witch in London who does not cast spells but breaks them.  Sort of like a female Robin Hood who helps the peasant farmers when the Baron claims they never paid rent and have to repay.  Had to laugh as one of the main characters just happens to be from Barbados.  My goodness, those Hollingsheads just won’t let me move on!

A Strange Way to Select a Genealogy Research Project

Had a strange Sunday morning courtesy of my family.  

I got a wake up call from one of my adult kids asking me to list my top 12 dead ancestors that I needed  info on.  That made me laugh as I was thinking yesterday I need to move on from my Duer-Hollingsheads who I found a wealth of info for over the summer and now things have dried up.  Like most of the world, I’m over the pandemic and am starting to make plans for when we can travel again. While gardening, I thought I would list relatives I planned on researching by geographic region so that I could identify areas for trips in 2022 (yeah, I’m being overly cautious here.)

Within minutes I emailed my kid a list of 24 ancestor brick walls – 12 on my side and 12 on my husband’s side.  

A few minutes later I got another call that said, “Mom, you have to pair that list down to 12 total!”  Okay, sigh, 6 from each list.  

Since I was already on email I started reading and found I had two Ancestry messages over night and one email message addressed to my website.  Two were regarding Leiningers and one was Harbaugh.  People who discovered books and photos as they were cleaning and looking on Ancestry or my blog, found the named folks on my tree.  They were hoping to give the items a new home. Since I didn’t list one Harbaugh or Leininger on my brick wall list, this was personally hysterical as those two lines always seem to nudge me when I am working on other family.  

Minutes later, my kid brings over the cake pictured above.  On each tombstone is one of the names I had supplied that are a brick wall.  The chocolate pudding cake with cream cheese frosting was delicious.  The “dirt” on top is crushed Nilla wafer cookies dyed with food coloring.  Child had bought the cake mix at the start of the pandemic and said, “Let’s bury this thing and move on.” I agree!

I also got a homemade awesome Ancestor Hunter T-Shirt.  Neither of my kids have interest in genealogy but they are crafty and when the mood strikes, no telling what they’ll come up with.  

The weather was beautiful so we decided we’d have cake and coffee outside.  I was walking down the cobblestone path my husband had installed several years ago and took one step off onto the “grass.”  Unbelievably, my right leg sunk to mid calf.  My kid grabbed me as I sunk, originally thinking I had lost my balance and was about to fall. 

There is a reasonable explanation of why the ground gave way in that spot – we had a heavy rain last night and several years ago, a 200 + year old oak tree had been growing there.  We had to have the tree removed after a third of it blew down in a hurricane. The roots have been decaying for years and we guess, with the heavy rain, the ground just collapsed.  

I’ve never been stuck in quick sand but it was a creepy feeling to all of a sudden just sink into the ground.  I had difficulty pulling my leg back out of the hole.  Don’t know if my ancestors were ticked off or not but it was weird to be holding Daniel Hollingshead’s candy tombstone while I sunk over a foot into the ground. Yes, I know I need to move on from Daniel but I am still searching for his lost Bible so he remains up on the top of my list. 

We settled down to eat a slice of cake and child says, “I had real trouble with one of the tombstones. Catherine Jarvis’s keeps falling over and hitting Wilson Williams.”  Umm, Catherine was Wilson’s daughter-in-law!  They lived near each other in Long Island, however, Wilson’s “stone,” which I have blogged about in the past, is no longer in the cemetery next to his wife, Margaret Hicks.  It was this same child of mine that had discovered that at the Family History Library several years ago.  Of course, with no interest in genealogy, there was no remembrance of the names and the finding. 

If there’s a message in all this I have no idea what it would be.  I re-read my original Wilson and Margaret posts you can find here and here. They are still on my brick wall list as I need further proof of their parents.  Family lore gave me the parents’ names but I have no proof of that.  I’m thinking that’s who I need to research this afternoon, along with Catherine Jarvis.

If I find something wonderful I will definitely share it and use this unique approach again!  Since the world has certainly gone insane a novel way to research just might be what’s needed.  Consuming the name of a dead relative on a candy tombstone is weird but fits right in with the spirit of the month.  Happy Hunting!

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.