Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, January 30, 2017

I'm Not Cornish, But ...

Saturday, DH and I were watching Rick Steves' Europe, a travel show that we've enjoyed for many years. We caught a 2016 episode of his trip to Cornwall. In a portion of the show they highlighted the tin mines and Cornish pasties. That is pasty with a short a.

Now, neither DH nor I are Cornish. But we are from Michigan. And many years ago, we tasted this wondrous thing called a pasty. You might know them as meat pies. There was even a placed within a couple miles of our house that made these. How I miss that here in Tennessee. When I saw that episode, I immediately cranked up my tablet and found a recipe for a Cornish Pasty. DH and I braved the cold wet, snowy weather and went in search of the few items I didn't have, the beef, any carrots and I was sadly lacking in baking powder. Well, I had it, but it was really old.

I will literally use any excuse to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It really does the part I hate, mixing up the dough. I rolled it out and made 4 nicely sized pasties and invited the daughters to partake of this delicacy. I served with gravy, because the original pasty is somewhat dry due to miners having to eat them with their hands. I'm sure they weren't too warm either by the time they got around to eating them. All I can say, is that they were delicious. Since I had extra filling, I made some and froze them.

Disclaimer: Now, the pasty is indigenous to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the ones I recall having either had turnips or rutabaga in them. I'll have to search for those in the local stores here. DH and I lived in the Lower Peninsula.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, January 28, 2017

What a Week!

I've been very happy to get back in the genealogy groove again. It seems like its been a long time since I've consistently entered data. And of course, entering data isn't just putting in the dates. For me, it also includes seeing daughters' mentioned as Mrs. John Doe, and knowing there were more than one daughter in this family and not knowing who married whom. Consequently, time is spent looking for marriage records for these Mrs. John Does and sorting out which is which. Then finding a Find-A-Grave Record for the husband, but not the wife, and his place of residency is in Kansas and not Missouri.  Or for the husband who is buried in Missouri, but no wife in the cemetery, where all her family is buried. And all this stems from an obituary for the women's father, where you discover he died in Chicago and that's why you can't find a Missouri Death certificate for him.

I felt I was on a roll. Then the rest of the week played out.

Let's start with the minifridge. We've had this minifridge since 2008, when we moved into our house, but our full size fridge was on special order and we were told it would be a week or so. We bought a minifridge that also had a freezer. Well, Tuesday it died. It was such a tight fit under the counter in my craft room that hubby had to crawl on the floor to unplug it and remove the legs and the hardware involved in holding the legs on. And the fridge doors also had to be removed. and that still didn't help. Hubby got a mallet and we pounded the sucker out of the space. And that was it for that day. With hubby pounding and me pulling, we got our workout.

Wednesday, I happily got back to some research, again working away until it was time to print out my recipe for dinner from my recipe program only to find there were only 4 recipes in it and none of which I wanted for dinner that night. Talk about panic. Now I do have this program on my tablet and phone, but they don't print from the apps. Luckily, I still have the cookbook I took the recipe from. A set of 5 paperback books from 1976 from Betty Crocker. Or maybe I should say had. In the middle of measuring out something, the liquid mess spilled all over that book. To be fair, the book is a much used paperback that is beginning to crumble. Hubby, the sweet one, took pictures of the cover and verso page (the copyright page for you non-library folk) and found it on Amazon. Whew. Dinner, however, was delicious. It's a family favorite called Waikiki Meatballs. I make it more tropical with tropical fruit and pineapple. I made so much we had leftovers the next day for lunch and I had the last of it on Friday for a snack. Cold. The software company helped me sort out my problem. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve my recipes. A glitch caused the program to delete my cookbook while I was syncing it.

Thursday was spent taking the old fridge to the recycling center. We got halfway there and realized we did not have the doors, too. Headed back, got the doors and disposed of all. We also bought a new beverage fridge (no freezer) and haven't installed it yet.

Friday, we had a service call by our favorite electrician to replace a switch that controlled the disposal. He is always nice and tries to fit us in to his busy schedule. Then in the afternoon I finally had my pedicure which I had postponed from last week. I wonder sometimes, how we ever made time to work.

Here it is the weekend already. A person could feel exhausted by the events of the week. I didn't accomplish nearly half of what I set before me at the beginning of the week, but I did manage to get a little Missouri Death Certificate 1966 transcription done. And I think that is what I will aim for today.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Time Flies and Then Bedtime!

I can't believe how fast time goes by lately. I've been trying to work in my office, but things keep getting in the way. By the time I do manage to squeeze some time in, I look at the pile on my desk and get discouraged.

Last night, I did manage to be somewhat productive. I made some notes on a record of my second great grand aunt, Catherine or Katherine "Kitty" McDonald nee Maitland. I had never seen her name spelled Katherine before. It's not a big deal, unless you are looking for her by her first name.

Kitty died in Colorado. Yeah, not willing to pay the research fees for her, her husband and daughter to get the death certificates. Maybe in my lifetime, Colorado will put their death certificates online.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Just Can't Jump Start It Today - And, What? A Project?

Just can't get too excited about doing data entry today. There is something else I can work on though.

It's that time of year and the Missouri State Archives have the 1966 Death Certificates loaded for the volunteers to index. I am and have been a volunteer on this project for several years. I was so excited when they opened it up to the public for indexing. It just helps everything come online faster.

Then a few years ago, the powers-that-be thought it would be a good idea to index parents and spouses too. Oh fabulous. It takes longer, but I have found things searching by parents' names. This is especially useful for female lines.

Think you might be interested in helping out with this project? Here is the link for signing up to be an eVolunteer.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, January 13, 2017

Check, Check and Check

 I finally got the images transcribed and linked from our last research trip to Lexington, Kentucky. My former research buddies know that I often came back to the room after a long day at the library and entered what I found into my database and prepared for the second day.

Well, those days are long gone. When going on a research trip with the hubby, we would hit a microbrewery and have a beer or two. By the time we got back to our room, I wasn't doing any data entry.

After finally entering the 7 items from my to-do list, I looked at the last one I entered and realized I didn't have information on one of her sisters. I was able to find the sister's Find-a-Grave record, which also gave me her husband's information and voila, now I just found his obit. Time to transcribe and link some more. Unfortunately, it added more paper to my pile. Not that I'm complaining. She was after all, my fourth cousin three times removed!

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sarah Laudeman Parker Where Are You?

Sarah Laudeman married my kinsman, John Parker on March 26, 1846 in Lexington, Kentucky. Unfortunately, Sarah died on December 24, 1850 at the age of 36. And herein lies the question.

Where was Sarah buried? I find no record of her in the Lexington Cemetery where her husband and at least his second wife are buried.  It's possible she was buried in a family burying ground, but most burials from the Parker family are in the Lexington Cemetery. I have records of many of my kinsmen and women who were moved from the family burial plots on their land into the cemetery.

My curiosity was aroused when a few years ago I found the headstone next to her husband of his second wife, Joseph Ann Parker. Until a year ago, I had no idea what her maiden name was. Further research revealed that John Parker did what so many widowers did, he married his first wife's sister. When I found that headstone for Joseph Ann, I had no idea he had been married to her sister, no idea who his first wife was and when she died. Thanks to local Lexington, Kentucky newspapers, I now have his marriage to his first and second wives and their death announcements. Maybe I'll stumble across Sarah's headstone some day. And yes, it is worth another trip to the cemetery to see if she is there.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jump In, Part Two

Yesterday I preached about not procrastinating on starting your genealogy journey. I think one of the reasons people waited to research was because they physically had to travel to courthouses to find records. It's not confined to courthouses anymore.

Here are things to get you started.

  1. Even if all you do now is get family members to fill out family group sheets, do it now. Our memories are not perfect. Even if siblings fill out the forms differently, there may be a reason for that.
  2. Get copies of family photos. It is so much easier now than when I was starting my genealogy journey. Find out the who what when where and why of the photo. My family collected photos but rarely, if ever, labeled them.
  3. Start a filing system. File physically and digitally. I've linked thousands of images to my family. Over the years I've discovered the best way to name my files, mainly to avoid duplication. I wish I had been able to start 30 years ago by adding the census image to each person. I've been slowly adding this over the last 10 years. 
  4. If doing anything digital, BACK IT UP! Probably those are the most important words anyone can say to you. Find a friend, son, daughter, or anyone who doesn't live with you to keep a copy of it for you. Save it in the cloud. If you back up at home, and everything is destroyed in a fire, you have NOTHING.
  5. Take a Genealogy class. Even now, I learn things from classes. Ancestry has some wonderful online classes. Legacy Family Tree has weekly webinars that are free. It is even worth it to pay to subscribe for a year (less than $50) and have access to ALL their webinars and syllabi.
  6. Have your DNA tested. Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, 23 and Me, all offer DNA testing for very reasonable fees. One of the benefits of DNA testing is that it will link you to other people with whom you share DNA. Maybe it will link you to someone on a line on which you are roadblocked.
Most importantly, don't wait. Clear a little time each week or month, whatever your schedule will allow and work on it. Once you start adding family members to a database and putting in all your proofs (birth, marriage, death certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles, census, etc.) I guarantee you will get hooked. 

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jump In

Yesterday, I patted myself on the back for finally getting to a point where I can do data entry again. Deservedly so. Sometimes you get so busy with life, that things you enjoy doing get pushed aside.

So now the sermon. Thirty plus years ago when I started researching my family, I would hear people say: "I'll get started when I retire." I would tell them, "Don't wait, start now!" People would look at me like I was crazy. I am going to give some good reasons to some of you younger readers why you shouldn't wait.

  1.  This is the big one. Will you be able to retire? Will you live that long? Don't laugh. Retirement age is no longer 65. I was lucky and was able to retire at 54. By then though, so many of my ancestors were gone, including my dad.
  2.  Speaking of ancestors, the younger you are, the more likely you'll be able to speak to your ancestors. These include parents, grandparents and if you are really lucky, great-grandparents. Don't forget aunts, uncles and cousins. My father died before I retired. My birth grandmothers both died when my parents were children. I never got the genealogy bug as a child, but fortunately, my uncle sat down with his father (my maternal grandfather) and interviewed him about the family. 
  3. Family stories. The more people whom you can ask about your family origins, the more you have to work with. My dad always thought his Bowman line was English or Scots. We were both surprised to find out his Bowmans were Baumann. There were clues there. Such as his grandmother Bowman making sauerkraut on a regular basis. My mother's father always said the family was French. They were from Alsace which was like a ping-pong ball. French-German-French-German-French. They spoke German. My immigrant ancestors were born at a time when Alsace belonged to France. They left in the 1830s. On the census where it asks what language is spoken in the home (in the 20th century censuses) they said they spoke German in the home. This was my great-grandfather, the only child born in America. My mother learned to cook from her aunt Rose. Rose knew how to cook German dishes. Unfortunately, my dad hated German cooking, so we didn't get to eat stuff my mom learned to cook from her aunt.
Think about these. Tomorrow, tips on what to start now.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Clean and Organized - Mostly - Jumping In Nonetheless.

After a few days of cleaning, finishing up Christmas project (yes, in the new year and wasn't even ready for New Year's day) and organizing (somewhat) I am ready to tackle the stuff on my desk and get it into my genealogy program. For those of you who may be interested, I am using RootsMagic. That in itself is a story.

I started off with my very first genealogy program, which was a DOS program by the name of Genealogy on Display. A friend used to call it GOD. It was an apt acronym, because you had to get the information in right the first time. Editing it was not easy.

Then I found out about Brother's Keeper. It too was a DOS program. By the time it got to BK v 6, it had limited Windows capabilities, but it was the first program I ever worked with that allowed you to add photos.

By the time v 6 of BK came out, we had moved to a Windows computer. And I moved to Family Origins. I think I started out with version 2 or 3. That was the first program I remember that allowed you to add more than one photo per person. And it got better and better as the years went by.

Eventually, Family Origins morphed into RootsMagic. I continued with that program through version 6 and being unhappy with some of the features tried Legacy, starting with the Deluxe version of 7.5. I used that through version 8, and still have it on my PC, but switched back to RootsMagic and bought version 7. There are just some things I kept trying to do in Legacy that were RootsMagic keystrokes. I am a very heavy keyboard user. I would much rather use the keyboard than the mouse. And for most things in RM, it works for me.

All in all, I've used genealogy programs since about 1987. But, I digress.

I find if I have a pile of stuff to add to my genealogy - and I always have piles - It's best just to dig in. My problems start when I go to prove information someone else has supplied. Mostly it's because they haven't included the source material. I spent hours the other day when sorting through, just trying to find census records, marriage records, etc., for one family. Since I was told they were married in New York City in 1853, and their children mostly appear to have been born in Buffalo, New York, I guess I have to dive into the LDS films for Buffalo. Right now as I think about it, I neglected to add the rest of the children. But before I do that I will add a to-do list item reminding me to work on the verification of facts. If I add the children now with that family to-do list item, I will know that there is work to do on the family and by adding info now I won't have to go to my "problem folder" to check names and dates.

The message here? Jump in. Get started. Research, verify, add.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, January 6, 2017

Where Are They?

Last year, I found some information on a line of my mother's that came to the US that I didn't know about. This was maybe a month or so after I discovered another one with a similar spelling. The more recently found one involves the descendants of her paternal great-grandfather's sister. I have the names of this sister's children and the spouse and children of one of her daughters.

Too bad the only information I can really find involves their deaths. I found a death record abstract for him and their monument in the cemetery in Iowa where they are buried. I can't find them on the census. Only him in 1915 state census. It really makes me wonder how badly their last name was butchered by the census takers. 

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Yesterday, I blogged about being late, getting distracted. I think I whittled down my stack of paper by three sheets. Arghhh.

In the afternoon, hubby and I ran some errands, came home, and after closing the garage door, discovered that the spring on our garage door broke. Fortunately the car is outside. That's the good news. The bad news is that the repairman can't come until tomorrow. The worse news is that we are expecting snow overnight. If we get snow he won't be here until next week.

In the meantime, I am trying to sort through the paper. I must enter information from the paper, file the paper, shred the paper, or recycle the paper.

And it's the time of year when I am inundated with health care stuff from hubby's former employer. Now, he was an employee of this company for 17.5 years. Then they sold the division he worked for and he worked for them about 15 years. The said division went belly up and was bought by a foreign entity after hubby retired. He ended up working for that company about 3 years, part time. So we get the bulk of our retirement and benefits from the original employer who dictate how we live. The rest we get from the US Government, since they took over bankrupt company's pension. But since this is a banner year for me, I no longer need to heed the original company's mandates. They know this, but still send me crap. So I was surprised to see a COBRA notice. Really?

At least for now the phone calls from health care companies have stopped. When you spend your day dealing with all these idiots who call repeatedly even after you tell them to stop, you don't get much done.

I'm going back to work on my pile. NO INTERRUPTIONS, please.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year - 2017 - So I'm a Little Late

2016 started off great. The middle part was ok as we anticipated our above ground pool installation. From September on, things went down hill.

Finally, 2017 started on an up note. And I tell you everyone in our family here in town was glad to see the new year start.

So here I am, on day four of the new year, finally trying to get my office organized and get back to working on my family history. It really took a beating last year except for the short trip up to Lexington, Kentucky. Parts of my family have been there since the 1770s. Maybe even slightly earlier?

But I am easily distracted, hence this post. Or playing with my cat, Mouse, who adores the tennis ball I bought for our daughter's beagle. I may just buy dog toys for her from now on.

As I get back to my tasks, I wish you all an organized, productive New Year!

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes