Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Geneealogy To Do List Recap

It's finally the end of January. Just need to get through February and March and probably April to get to some spring weather. Let's see how I did on my genealogy to do list.

For January I wanted to:
  • Start resourcing BASCOM line. I am going to start by breaking this tree in half (BASCOM and HILLIS) because it is about a big as the rest of my tree combined. I'm going to begin fixing the source citations in the HILLIS line. I'm not sure how far I can get this month, but want to finish this side by the end of March (hopefully much sooner). I was actually able to finish the HILLIS side because of a lighter work schedule and no new research leads.
  • Finish two years of the Vevay Newspaper Index. Surprisingly I finished 5 years in January. I went back to making myself work on the index while watching television instead of playing games on my computer. I also really want to finish the index and move on to another project, so I was committed to working on it. There are 13 more years to go.
  • Work on National Institute of Genealogical Studies course (US: Migration Patterns). To be finished in February (if not before). I was able to finish this course today.
I also posted the beginning to an index I am working on for PERSI articles in Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland counties in Indiana. I am amazed how many mentions of my ancestors are in these genealogy articles, but their surnames were not included in PERSI. You can read more about this project here.

I was very productive this month. Of course I still haven't allowed myself any new research and it's starting to show in my work ethics. Hopefully the film I order from the FHL will come in soon and I can start something new.

Check back tomorrow to find out my goals for February. I need to start adding more if I can accomplish this much in one month.

Sentimental Sunday - Great Uncles and Their Farm

A Sentimental Sunday post written by my dad:

Remembering some of my maternal great uncles by Jim Eiswerth

My grandfather (Eugene Jerome Eck) had several brothers that lived close to us when I was growing up. As their first home, my mom and dad rented a small house that was owned by my mom’s Uncle Clyde Eck. The house was located on the North side of Uncle Clyde’s produce farm which was located within South Williamsport growing residential area. From our back window we could see Uncle Clyde’s big red barn, his home and several out buildings. In a larger house on the West side of the same farm, another one of my mom’s uncles lived. Their house was maybe a block and a half away from us --- around the corner and up the street. Uncle Wally and his wife Aunt Eleanor along with Aunt Mame, all lived there. When my mom was having her next child, Aunt Mame or Aunt Eleanor spent a lot of time helping out at our house.

Uncle Clyde and his wife Aunt Marg ran the truck (produce) farm. Uncle Clyde was a really sharp business man and everyone always said he could plan and see money coming 10 years out. On his farm they grew all kinds of vegetables, and sold them at the Williamsport Market located on what else but Market Street. In their barn there were 2 milk cows that Uncle Clyde milked twice a day. I’m not positive but I think we got a lot of that milk when we were little kids growing up. When we were a little older, we got to spend more time up on the farm. We would help pick vegetables, and since Uncle Clyde and Aunt Marg didn’t have their own kids running around, they would try to teach us different things. Uncle Clyde really liked my brother Wayne, and Wayne followed him around like a puppy dog. Wayne must have paid attention, because his investments over the years all worked out.

Aunt Marg was a big woman who was always happy and talkative. I can still remember her grinding up horseradish for the market while carrying on a conversation with us. Grinding horseradish by hand is not fun. The fumes make your eyes water and your nose run. Aunt Marg would look like she was crying her eyes out, while telling us funny stories and jokes. At Christmas time when we visited them, she was like Mrs. Clause and we would pile up next to her to share her cookies.

Uncle Wally was always pretty quiet. When mom walked us kids over to their house, you almost always found him on the front porch reading the newspaper or something. He would chuckle at us kids, but it was always Aunt Eleanor or Aunt Mame that would fuss over us kids. With 6 kids and a 7th on the way, my mom was always so grateful to Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Mame being close by and for all their help.

I think when we finally moved from South Williamsport to the house that my dad built near our grandparents in the East End of Williamsport, that the farm got a lot quieter. The cows were gone too. During summers in grade school, my dad would drop a couple of us kids off to help Uncle Clyde and Aunt Marg bring in crops, like sweet corn, onions, tomatoes, string beans, … I even got to cry along with Aunt Marg as I turned the grinder while she bottled fresh horseradish.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow Friday: Genealogy Gems Podcast

This week my Follow Friday recommendation is the Genealogy Gems podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke.

Lisa does a great job with the podcast. She gives a mix of industry news, research strategies, technology, interviews, blogs and more. I always seem to learn something new from each podcast.

Episode number 79 came out this week and it was great. Lisa did a LIVE podcast during the banquet dinner at the Mesa Family History Expo. It was recorded and then released as a podcast. Lisa discussed with the banquet attendees many of the benefits of blogging about genealogy. I hope to see more genealogy blogs popping up as I am sure her enthusiasm was passed on to those listening. Her guests for this episode were:
If you are already a regular listener to Lisa's podcast, I hope that you will have a listen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 4 - ILL

This week's topic for the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy is:

Week 4: Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service.

The Allen County Public Library system allows interlibrary loan with all of the libraries in the county. But the Genealogy Center at the main library does not participate. They want their materials available to anyone who may come to the library and don't want their collection to get lost or damaged. I would hate to travel all the way to Fort Wayne (if I didn't already live here) and find out the book I really needed to break down a brick wall was checked out or at another facility using ILL. So it makes perfect sense.

According to the borrowing guidelines on their website, ACPL does have ILL with other libraries. I did not know about the website that they use that allows you to request books, articles, and book chapters over the web. I'll have to try it out sometime and see how well it works.

The other great thing about ILL in the Genealogy Center is that I can get FHL microfilm on loan. I requested a film for the first time 2 weeks ago and can't wait for it to arrive! Ohio county, Indiana death records here I come.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Susanna ECK

Daughter of
Joseph & Mary Eck
June 1, 1850,
Aged 19 yrs 4 mos
& 20 days

Susanna ECK marker, Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Bastress (Lycoming), Pennsylvania; photo taken by DKE, 2009.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Remembering Uncles

A Sentimental Sunday post by my dad:

Remembering my maternal uncles by Jim Eiswerth

My mom was the 3rd in a family of seven children. Funny but that is the same position I am in with my brothers and sisters, and we both had 3 brothers, and 3 sisters. I thought I’d share a little bit about what I remember of her brothers, my maternal uncles.

After having 3 girls in a row, my grandparents finally had their first son. Of course they named him Eugene after his dad, my grandfather (Eugene Jerome Eck). Of all the Eck brothers, Uncle Gene looked the most like his dad. He was tall and always thin, and seemed to have a lot of penned up nervous energy. His oldest sister, Maggie, told us he had a bit of a temper and because of that he got picked on in school quite often. He served in WW II in the Air Corp and was on a bomber that got shot down. The crew was able to parachute, but took a long time on a circuitous route with the underground support to make it back to England. My grandparents got a telegraph that he was missing in action from the War Department. I can only imagine how happy they were when they found out he was back in England. After the war, he married Arlene and started his own family. Of all the Eck siblings he had the most children. I can remember visiting their home around the holidays and seeing at least one or two of his kids still sitting at the dinner table --- they weren’t allowed to leave until they finished their vegetables. When Uncle Gene and my dad finally retired they took up golf together, although neither was that great at it. Also Uncle Gene and Aunt Arlene are my sister Elaine’s godparents.

Next to arrive in the Eck family was Paul. He was always the joker in the family. I don’t know a lot about his early days, other than my mom’s comments that Paul was always the quick talker and funny man. Growing up we only saw Uncle Paul and Aunt Dorothy’s family infrequently. Paul worked in the textile business and was transferred to Canada, and so we only saw his family when they made a vacation trip to Williamsport. His daughter, Diane, would stay with us on those visits. Uncle Paul is my brother, Bernard’s godparent. They were a perfect match as both talk fast and we often said they should have been used car salesmen. Uncle Paul got the full dose of my grandfather’s humor, and was always fun discussing most any subject. I remember one of their family visits when we were taking pictures. Just before the camera went off, he jerked Aunt Dorothy’s skirt up to expose more of her legs. Uncle Paul was definitely the trickiest member of the Eck family, and fun to be around.

The last to arrive in the Eck family after another daughter, Dorothy, was their seventh child, Joseph. Joe was much younger than his oldest sisters. They were off getting married and having kids while he was still in school. His sister, my Aunt Catherine, and her husband, Norbert Bower, bought an adjoining property and built their home right next to my grandparents. Uncle Joe and my oldest cousin, Jerry Bower, practically grew up together. Uncle Joe was the tallest of the brothers and like them always thin. He joined the Navy after high school and became an electronics technician. In the Navy, he traveled the world too. My grandparents would get postcards from him whenever they made port. I think he like the Mediterranean area the best. After that, he used his Navy electronics training and went into an appliance business. He worked mostly the repair side, and his buddy the sales side of the business. When I was in late junior high, I worked summers for them as a delivery man for new appliances. Nothing like having to lift a refrigerator up to a 3rd floor apartment to help you concentrate on your studies when school started in the fall. When my grandparents passed away, Uncle Joe moved into their house and finished raising his family there. This past summer (2009) they had an Eck family reunion with tents set up in the side yard of Uncle Joe’s house. They also celebrated the same birthday (August 3) of my mom, Evelyn, of Aunt Maggie, and of Uncle Joe. When asked how the three had the same birthday, my grandfather always said “I’m just good at math!” I’m sure lots of great Eck memories were exchanged that day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Follow Friday: Shades of The Departed Magazine

This week's Follow Friday recommendation is for the Shades Of The Departed Magazine. If you have not come across this magazine, you are missing out on a free, online, high quality, informative creation on all things photography related. It is a collaborative work of many authors all put together by the wonderful FootnoteMaven. In the past, Shades Of The Departed was just a great blog about photos, but with the creation of the magazine, it has become something even greater.

The Shades Magazine is a fairly new creation with only 3 issues:
Check out these great issues and learn about photo restoration, history, scrapbooking, preservation and so much more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary A LEUZE EISWERTH

Mary A LEUZE was born in 1881 and died in 1969. She was the wife of John Edward EISWERTH. She is buried in the St. Boniface Cemetery in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Mary A EISWERTH marker, Saint Boniface Cemetery, Williamsport (Lycoming), Pennsylvania; photo taken by DKE, 2009.

Monday, January 18, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 3 - Access Yourself

This is week 3 of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy. This week's topic is:

Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

So I brought myself up in my genealogy database. Here is what I found:



All unsourced.

How do I source "because I said so"? I have my birth certificate and marriage license in the house, but I have never added them to my database. I guess I should add where I went to school and when I graduated. I have my old report cards and other school memorabilia that should be added, but I've never taken the time to scan them.

So I guess I have something to add to my to do list. I did take this opportunity to add in my high school graduation in 2000, college graduation in 2004 and master's degree in 2005. I'll have to go through the box of things from my childhood that I "rescued" from my parents' house and see what else I can add.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ancestry Unenhanced Images

I love that Ancestry has been adding enhanced images for the US censuses. As I am resourcing my family tree and organizing my digital files, I have been redownloading the images that I need.

But I'm having a problem. The 1860 census is now washed out in the counties that I am viewing. These counties include Gallia county, Ohio, Jackson county, Ohio and Hancock county, Illinois.

Here's an example:

1860 Census - The town of Jackson, Jackson county, Ohio

Old image (downloaded spring 2009)

New image (downloaded Jan 17 2010)

If you click the images, you can see a larger image.

What a difference a few months makes! I am glad that I had previously downloaded these images, but how can Ancestry say that they are "enhanced images."

Is anyone else having this same problem? I have only seen the degraded images for the 1860 census. Leave a comment or send me an email to

Sentimental Sunday: Horses and Baseball

Another Sentimental Sunday post by my dad:

My Dad’s Love of Horse Racing / Baseball by Jim Eiswerth

My dad is Joseph Francis Eiswerth. He was the only child in a farm family where he grew up with a strong German culture around the Bastress area of Pennsylvania. On the farm his dad, my grandfather, Edward Charles Eiswerth, had large horses to work the cultivated areas of their farm. However, Edward developed a good sense for the best horses, and liked to follow the development of thorough bred race horses. He posted pictures in their barn. He bred some horses on the farm for their use of for sale. My dad and mom still like to watch the Triple Crown races on TV, and my dad will comment on what he learned from his dad about horses, although my mom is better at picking the winners.

Now for baseball, it might be hard to imagine my dad as an only child on a remote farm being exposed too much to baseball. Well it turns out that his spinster Aunt Agnes, worked for an influential doctor who had ties to a baseball team in Williamsport. She arranged for some of the ball players to visit my grandfather’s farm to take a break from their normal routine. One of the biggest drawing cards for the farm visit was to taste some of the home-made wines that Grandfather Edward made as a hobby. Well the ball players always brought along their gloves, bats, etc. After a glass or two of wine they would start goofing around. Often, they would take my dad out to one of the fields and start teaching him how to pitch or bat. Eventually the word got out about the wine, and more players would come, until they had enough players for a fun Sunday afternoon ball game. They got to know my dad, and as it turned out, when my dad joined the Navy in WW II, he had an opportunity to go to a major league baseball game in Boston. One of the pitchers for the game was a frequent visitor to their farm when he was in the minor league at Williamsport. He recognized my dad, and took him and dad’s other sailor friend out for dinner after he won the game. When we were growing up, my dad took us to lots of Williamsport ball games, and he still likes to attend them when my brother is available to take him. He also took us to all the major league ball parks around our area – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, and New York. Dad still likes to talk baseball players when we chat on the phone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Follow Friday: AnceStories

In this week's Follow Friday post I would like to highlight Miriam Robbins Midkiff's AnceStories. Miriam offers great tips and resources for all genealogists. Her Online Historical Directories and Online Historical Newspapers sites deserve their own Follow Friday posts for all the great resources that she has collected in one place.

Here are just a few of the great things you can find on Miriam's blog:
  • Her series "Getting More Traffic to Your Blog" highlights great tips for getting more readers on your blog.
  • She has started a series for 2010 called "52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases." She has already highlighted online resources for Alabama and Alaska. (I can't wait until she does Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania where most of my ancestors lived.)
  • Miriam hosts the Scanfest where everyone can come together to scan their photos and discuss their finds. I hope that these continue in 2010 and that I can find some photos to scan so I can finally participate!
Go check out AnceStories for yourself. I can't wait for the new series of tips called "Frugal Genealogy" that is coming soon. (I know we can all learn some tips for saving money!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Reel to Reel Home Movies

My grandfather always had a love for photography. He took lots of photos during WWII when he was stationed in Alaska. He helped to turn a tar papered shanty into a photo lab with some other men. When he bought his new house, he had to build a dark room before he could move the family into the house. He had lots of camera equipment and negatives and photos all through his home.

When I visited my grandma last month, I went searching for more goodies. I came across two metal boxes containing old 8mm film rolls. These films contain home movies from when my mom was a child.

Here comes the big question: What do I do with them now?

I know what I want the final product to be: a DVD. But how do I get there?

I am seeking any advice from fellow genealogists who have undertaken a similar project. Did you convert the movies yourself? How did you do it? Did you sent them to a company? Which company? What were the results? Did you find a local provider?

I'm so afraid of damaging them, that I don't know what to do. Plus I don't want this project to cost too much money. So I am asking the people that I trust to give me great advice: geneabloggers!

Please leave me a comment with your experiences or send me an email to Thanks for any help you can give.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

52 Weeks of Better Genealogy - Week 2 - Local History

It's Week 2 of 52 Weeks of Better Genealogy. This week's topic is:

Go to your local public library branch again. Examine the local history, archives and/or special collections section. Ask a librarian if you don’t know if your library has special collections or where they are located. Be sure to check the reference section, too, as many of the newer and more valuable books are held in that area. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s local history and special collections.

So once again my library is the Allen County Public Library. Second largest genealogy collection means tons of local history books. Since the only one in my family who has ever lived in Fort Wayne or even northern Indiana is me, I decided to highlight some of the books from the counties where I do lots of research.

There are 13 books for Switzerland county, Indiana history. 12 books of Ohio county and 14 for Dearborn county. Of course I wish there were more, but not much has been published on these counties. Plus the fact that these are all available in one place with tons of other resources is just great (now if I can only get all the microfilm, then I'll be in business).

History of Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland Counties, Indiana : From their earliest settlement, containing a history of the counties, their cities, townships, towns, villages, schools, and churches ... biographies : ... history of the North-west territory, the state of Indiana, and the Indians (1885) has helped me a lot in my research on these counties.

One of the great things about the ACPL catalog is that it will link you to books that they have digitized at Internet Archive. (Or at least it did because I can't make it come up on any books.) You can check out all the books that ACPL has digitized here. I subscribe to the RSS feed so I know as soon as new books are available.

Wordless Wednesday: WWII Russell Williams

Another post in my series of my grandfather's WWII photos from Alaska.

Russell Williams

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Computers and Dropbox

After Thanksgiving, I finally got a new computer. And then finally over Christmas break, I got around to moving all of my files and actually using my new computer. I took my time because my new laptop runs Windows 7 and I wanted to get a feel for it before I moved my "life" onto it.

I still have to use my old computer. (HAVE is probably not the right word, but I still use it for many tasks.) I have been continuing to do my newspaper indexing on the old laptop. I also still have Family Tree Maker 2009 on my old computer and am still in the process of organizing all my oddly named files as I add the media links to Roots Magic 4.

I have found that Dropbox has been a great utility to transfer my files between computers. I am using the free plan, which includes 2 gigabytes of storage space. This is more than enough space for me because as I find a file that needs to be on the other computer, I only need it in my Dropbox for a short time.

If I want to share files between two or more computers (or even my iPhone) I just put the file that I want to share into a folder on my computer named "Dropbox". Then Dropbox will sync that folder with the same folders on other computers. It is very easy and fast (as long as you don't add a very large file, like my husband does.) You can even add folders within the Dropbox folder to keep your files organized. I find using Dropbox to be a lot faster than putting files on a USB stick and moving them between computers.

You could use Dropbox as your online backup system, but I don't recommend it due to the price. You can get 50 GBs for $10 a month or 100 GBs for $20 a month. It is much cheaper to use another service for your backups. I use Mozy and it is only $5 a month for unlimited backups. I also don't recommend Dropbox for your online backups because you need to put all files you want backed up into the Dropbox folder on your hard drive. If you want everything on your computer to be made available on multiple computers, then this might be a good choice for you, but it is not how I want my files organized.

Disclaimer: I was not contacted or paid by Dropbox for this review. But if you click on this referral link and sign up, we will both get an extra 250 MB of free storage space.

Tombstone Tuesday: John Walton ECK and Eleanor M HAEFNER

John Walton ECK was born 15 Oct 1895 in South Williamsport, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John Jeremiah ECK and Theresa BANK.

On 1 Feb 1940 he married Eleanor M HAEFNER (the sister of his brother's wife).

Eleanor was born 21 Feb 1895 in South Williamport to Frank Alselm HAEFNER and Eva Catherine BLITZ.

Eleanor died on 5 Dec 1972 and John Walton died on 23 Jul 1975.They are both buried in the St. Boniface Cemetery in Williamsport.

John W and Eleanor M ECK marker, Saint Boniface Cemetery, Williamsport (Lycoming), Pennsylvania; photo taken by DKE, 2009.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy 101 Award

As I am sure many of you have seen, the newest Geneablogger award has been making its way across the blogs. The "Happy 101" award has been given to me 5 times over (well technically they all gave it to "Tina's Genealogical Wish List" before I changed the name, but I think it's okay to give it to "Gen Wish List".) Thank you to those who sent me this award:
Here are 10 things that make me happy:
  1. Genealogy
  2. Blogging
  3. Finding old family photos
  4. Getting the old family stories out of my ancestors
  5. Sleeping
  6. Finding new cousins to collaborate on family lines
  7. Penguins
  8. Cookies
  9. Substitute teaching
  10. Fellow bloggers
Since this award has made its rounds and lots of people have already received it, I am going to pass it on a different way. Here's what I want you to do:
  • Go to the Genealogy Blog Roll at the Geneabloggers website.
  • Click on 10 new blogs and check them out.
  • If you find a new one to enjoy leave a comment so that we will all know what we are missing out on!
Thanks again to everyone who sent me this award! (I hope I didn't forget anyone.)

The Changing of the Blog

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2010 was to figure out the direction for this blog. When I started this blog at the end of June 2009, I wanted a place where I could voice my ideas about the genealogy industry. I titled my new blog "Tina's Genealogical Wish List" and started blogging some of my ideas. I started off strong and then decided to go in another direction.

I felt that with two genealogy blogs I was neglecting one for the other. I started mixing up my family research into my "industry rant" blog. I wanted to participate in more genealogy memes and didn't know which blog "deserved" the posts more. As I try to get more readers, I feel that it is time to change my focus.

One of the things that I have enjoyed and have gotten a lot of comments are my to do lists each month. With this in mind, I have decided to simplify the name of the blog to "Gen Wish List" (plus it matches the URL) and change the motto to "Where Genealogy Goals Meet Reality".

I think that the new motto will serve this blog well. Any place where what I want to do with my genealogy research and reality don't match will find a place on this blog. This includes but is not limited to:
  • my own research goals
  • online databases
  • genealogy software
  • libraries
  • societies
  • technology
  • ancestors who do not want to be found
As for blog posts, you probably won't see any changes (except hopefully more posts as I try to add some priority to the blog). When I want to discuss something in the genealogy industry, I will. When I want to talk about my own research, I will. When I want to pester my dad until he gives me more stories, those will also be posted.

To simplify my genealogy presence, I have also changed my twitter account name. You can now follow me @genwishlist. I also created a LinkedIn profile.

I hope you like the changes here and aren't too confused by the name changes. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts or send me an email at

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Remembering Eugene Jerome ECK

Another Senitmental Sunday post from my dad:

Remembering my maternal grandfather by Jim Eiswerth

My maternal grandpa was Eugene Jerome Eck. We always called him Pop-Pop. I think that was because my mom always called him “Pop”, and when we were real little learning to talk, Mama, Dada, and Pop-Pop all came easier. I’m sure he fostered that name too, because all his grand kids called him Pop-Pop.

The Eck family worked a vegetable truck farm but as the children grew up, some continued to work the farm, and others branched out into other things. My Pop-Pop eventually became a mail carrier serving Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He built a nice big house on Woodland Avenue to raise his seven kids. They had a big side yard, and always had a big vegetable garden and fruit trees. Pop-Pop always made his own sauerkraut, and dabbled in some homemade wines too. Pop-Pop was very well read, and a kind of jack of all trades. He would plan projects, draw up the blueprints, and then build it. When I was going off to college, he gave me his drafting set (t-square, triangles, compasses, etc.) that I needed for my mechanical design classes. I used them in college, later at work, and I still have them in my desk at home now.

When we were growing up, Pop-Pop and Grammy Eck would often be invited to our house for the big Sunday noon meals. They only lived a block or so away from us so we visited each other quite often. Pop-Pop was tall, always thin and stood ramrod straight. His appetite was good, but he always made sure he saved room for those sweet desserts. Grammy usually brought a pie. At the table he liked to sit near the meat tray, and would portion our seconds especially to my brothers Wayne and Gary, who were and still are meat hounds. When desserts were finished, we would all still be sitting there listening. He was so funny, and liked to play tricks on everyone, so we all enjoyed listening to his latest stories. The entire Eck family has a great sense of humor, which I’m sure was developed by Pop-Pop.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Follow Friday: We Tree

This week my Follow Friday recommendation is the We Tree blog by Amy Coffin. Amy's blog is a mix of her own genealogy research, professional development and fun. Not to mention her Rock Star status. Amy has a very clear, down to earth writing style that is very enjoyable to read.

Here are just a few of the reasons you should be following We Tree:
  • Amy is the creator of many great blog topics for individual genealogy bloggers and genealogy society blogs. Her "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" are weekly blog topics hosted by Geneabloggers for 2010. Each week Amy will present a new topic to enhance everyone's genealogy blogs. I don't know how she comes up with all these great topics, but I can't wait to follow along and find out what the next topic will be.
  • Amy's series "Anatomy of a Military Pension File" is a fascinating look into the civil war pension file of one of her ancestors (all 103 pages of it). I'm so jealous of all the wealth of information that she is obtaining from this file. NARA can't find one of my ancestor's pension files and the other is just full of medical records and requests for pension increases.
  • Amy has done a few genealogy book reviews and I hope that she does more. Her latest review was on George G Morgan's How To Do Everything (With Your) Genealogy. She gives an honest take on what books are worth your money.
  • Amy is a Blogger of Honor for the Mesa Family History Expo. I'm sure she will wear the title well and keep us all informed of her experiences.
If you are not already following the We Tree blog, hop over there and find out why I think it's a great blog to spend some time reading.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Estate records of WASHBURN sisters

Ever since I heard about the Hamilton County (Ohio) Probate Court's release of digital documents, I have been scouring it to find mentions of my ancestors. Earlier this week, I wrote about finally obtaining the marriage certificate of my brickwall ancestor, George E Hillis. Although I didn't find any new information in this document, it was something that I had been meaning to find.

I also searched through the estate records. There was nothing on George (who probably died in Indiana) or his wife Mary WASHBURN (who died a widow in Cincinnati in 1919). They probably didn't have any property in Ohio and could possible have estate records in Indiana. I also didn't find any estate records of Mary's father, Francis Marion WASHBURN (one of my civil war ancestors).

What I did find were the estate records of Mary's sisters, Sylvia Cynthia WASHBURN and Myrtle Iona WASHBURN WATERS. These records were rich in family details.

Sylvia was a spinster. She left her estate to her sister Myrtle and her nieces and nephews. Myrtle had one son and the rest of the heirs were all HILLIS children (well they weren't children by then, but you know what I mean). My great grandmother Alice HILLIS BASCOM was to receive $800 dollars after Sylvia died. I wonder if she got her full inheritance. I'm sure it would have been a great help in 1934 during the depression. Sylvia also left money to her niece, Sylvia CLEMENTS. This was the first time I encountered the married name of Alice's sister Sylvia (probably named after her mother's sister).

Myrtle's will set up a trust fund for her only grandchild (her son had already passed away when Myrtle died in 1951). In the case that her grandson died before he could inherit the trust fund and he left no heirs, the money was to be paid to various relatives and institutions. Among the heirs, she named my grandmother, her sister and brother. She also named 3 CLEMENTS children. As far as I know my grandmother never received this money, so Myrtle's grandson must have survived or produced heirs.

Armed with Sylvia's married name and the names of 3 of her children, I was able to find them living in Kenton county, Kentucky in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. Sylvia's husband Sidney Sayers CLEMENTS died in 1940. I have not found a death record for Sylvia yet, but at least now I have some more information about her. Hopefully, her information will help me break down my brick wall.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week One - ACPL

Amy Coffin has done it again. 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy is her series of weekly blogging themes for 2010. I can't wait to see what the year will bring.

Week 1: Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection.

So I kind of feel like I am cheating this week. I mean I live in Fort Wayne and the only library I ever go to here is the main library branch of the Allen County Public Library and it just happens to hold the second largest genealogy collection in the United States. So making note of every book in the collection that I could use for my research would take WAY too long. Instead, I have decided to post some items in the collection that I really need to check out.
  • 1890 Genealogical Census Reconstruction, Ohio Edition by Sheirda K. Eddlemon (There are also editions for Tennessee, Missouri and Mississippi.)
  • Finding Indiana Ancestors: A Research Guide by M Theresa Baer
  • Research in Indiana by John D. Beatty
  • Ohio Genealogical Guide by Carol Willsey Bell
  • Guide to Genealogical Resources in Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Ohio compiled by Connie Stunkel Terheiden & Kenny R. Burck
  • Genealogical Dates: A User-Friendly Guide by Kenneth L. Smith
Another benefit of the Genealogical Center are the resource guides that they compile. The guides are available as you walk in and include state guides, ethnic group guides, military guides, immigration guides and more. These guides are a great way to point you in the right direction as you start your research at the library as they include both general reference material on the topic and specific compiled books on a topic.

(And of course I already have an ACPL library card because I need it to get out of paying the parking fees!)

Wordless Wednesday: Earnest Owens next to Bridge

Another post in my series of my grandfather's WWII photos from Alaska.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Catharina BLITZ


I do not know who this Catharina BLITZ is. My ancestor, Valentine BLITZ, had the only BLITZ family in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It may be his mother who immigrated from Germany with him, one of his children or one of his grandchildren. There are no dates to point me in the right direction.

Catharina Blitz marker, Saint Boniface Cemetery, Williamsport (Lycoming), Pennsylvania; photo taken by DKE, 2009.

Volunteerism: My Vevay Newspaper Index Project

The first Carnival of Genealogy has been posted for 2010. The topic for the 88th COG is volunteerism. Thanks to Jasia at Creative Genes for another great topic!

I know that many of us have volunteered our time indexing for FamilySearch and Ancestry's World Archives Project. I found these projects a great way to work on reading old handwriting, but I also had trouble finding projects that included my ancestors. I liked helping others find their families, but I was looking for something that would help researchers where my ancestors lived.

That's when I found that the Switzerland County (Indiana) High School had digitized 50 years of the local newspaper. The images were all TIFF files and there was no OCR scans to search. I began looking at the dates in my database and trying to find obituaries for my ancestors. It was time consuming to download the all the images and try to find the page with what you were looking for (if it was even there).

And then I had an idea...

Why not put together an index of all the BMD information in the newspapers? It shouldn't take too long or be too hard right?

So that's how I began downloading all the newspaper images, scrolling through them, finding BMD information and compiling an index. It was easy at first when the paper had only 4 pages and most of it was ads (which were fascinating to say the least). The part that I am currently indexing is 8 pages long, so it takes more time analyze. Plus it's hard to only look for BMD information. I want to know everything that was happening to the people who lived near my ancestors.

The project is currently 31 of 50 years complete (I use a blog to keep others posted on my progress). Not too bad for having started last February. I hope to have this project finished by the end of the summer (hopefully much sooner). I have also added an index to a Ohio county, Indiana cemetery book (because it drop me nuts trying to find my ancestors without an index) and am currently working on collecting articles found in PERSI on Ohio, Switzerland and Dearborn counties and creating an index to the names in those (I have found lots on my ancestors that was not included in surname searches in PERSI).

I hope that I have helped other researchers to find their ancestors in the Vevay newspapers and that I will continue to find projects that bring my own ancestors and the ancestors of everyone out in the open.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Marriage of George E HILLIS and Mary S WASHBURN

My #1 brick wall ancestor has been George E HILLIS. I have not found any original sources that list the name of his parents and I haven't wanted to leap to conclusions too fast.

I found the marriage of George HILLIS and his wife Mary Susan WASHBURN in an index of Hamilton county, Ohio marriage records months ago, but never too the time to obtain the original. This changed last week when the Hamilton County Probate Court announced that they had digitized over a million documents.

Armed with the volume and entry number of their marriage record, I easily found it in the database. Did it give me any new information? No. But I was pretty sure that it wouldn't tell me the names of George's parents in a marriage record from 1886. But now I have the original document and KNOW what it says and doesn't say.

It's great that I finally have this document (and have been finding other great information on my family from this website) but there is one problem. Once again I find myself thinking that if I just wait long enough everything will be online and I shouldn't have to order any microfilm now. I just need to keep reminding myself that I don't want to wait to further my ancestral lines (and keep my new year's resolutions).

If you know more about the George HILLIS family, send me an email to and let's see what we can find together!

Sentimental Sunday - Remembering Angela Catherine COUCHIE EISWERTH

One of my new year's genealogy resolutions was to obtain more family stories. Thomas MacEntee must have known just what I needed to accomplish this goal, since he instituted a new geneablogger theme. Sundays are now Sentimental Sundays.

So why am I posting this on Monday? Yesterday I emailed my dad and asked him to write stories for my blog from his own memories. I really enjoyed the stories that he gave me for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and I hoped that he would continue to feed more stories my way. This morning I found a great surprise in my inbox: 3 stories from dad.

Here is the first one:

Remembering my paternal grandmother by Jim Eiswerth

My paternal grandmother was Catherine (Couchie) Eiswerth. She was a relatively tall woman about 5 feet 10 inches in her prime, and even though my dad, Joseph, was relatively short at 5 feet 8 inches during his prime years. Everyone says I got my 6 feet 3 inch height from the mailman or Grammy Eiswerth’s side of the family. Her brother, Charles, was also fairly tall, although her sister Anna was much shorter and more like my dad.

There are several things that I remember most about my Grammy Eiswerth. She loved us grand kids and liked to teach us different things. She had tremendous patience. Having lived on a farm, she loved to garden and grow things, and she would work with each of us kids to plant, weed, and eventually harvest. You name it we grew it in a big garden next to our home. Also when we were young, she would take us kids for a week vacation to where she worked as cook/housekeeper for St. John’s parish church in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. That was about a 3 hour ride from our home town. All summer long she would drive back and forth to swap kids for their rotational week with Grammy. We got to meet Grammy’s friends, played bingo at the church hall, and when we were a little older we got to help count church collections and even go to Binghamton, New York, to go shopping.

She had this maroon colored Ford Fairlane car that I think all us kids took our driver’s test. It did not have power steering, so the wheel was the size of a truck steering wheel. Although we had to take Driver’s Ed in high school, only Grammy was willing to actually let us drive her car to practice. Instead of yelling at us when we goofed up driving, she would laugh, and tell us when she was learning to drive their first car, a Model T, she drove it right through their front yard and over a stone fence into a corn field, because she forgot where the brake was. She became a good driver, and drove their farm produce to the Williamsport markets for sale. She must have been a good teacher too, because I don’t think any of us kids ever caused an accident.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What I Found When I Organized my ECK line

Way back in July, I started fixing lots of the source citations in my database and organizing my digital files so that I could find them. I split my tree up between my 4 grandparents. I finished the SUCKLING line in August and the EISWERTH line in October. In mid-December, I finished the ECK line, but never posted my findings. So here we go...

One of the things I have know for a long time was that this line was based on many secondary sources. This was an easy part of the tree to add to my database because a family history book had been created by one of my cousins over 10 years ago. I knew about this book and obtained it from my dad early in my research. But I have found many mistakes in the book as I have furthered my research. One of the glaring mistakes is the it states that my dad was born in Cincinnati, Ohio when he and all his siblings were born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As I fixed the citation and organized the media for this tree, I realized how many original sources I was missing. A lot of this had to do with the fact that Pennsylvania vital records are not available online and I have not taken the time to try to send away for them. This is something that I really need to start doing.

In filling in the census blanks in my database, I found missing census pages missing on Ancestry. In the 1910 census, there are several pages missing from Williamsport. I originally thought that people had missed the census or had been misindexed and I just couldn't find them. But then I found a family in the 1910 Pennsylvania Miracode Index. After attempting again to find them in the census, I went page by page in the enumeration district and found that the page they were on was missing. I then went and obtained the image from Heritage Quest. This was the first time that I had discovered this problem and will remember in the future to check for this.

Since this family is well documented (whether correctly or not), I haven't spent a lot of time on it. I skip to the families that were not covered in the family history book. I had previously found the parents of Theresa Bank and ordered their probate records. They lived in Montour county, Pennsylvania. In searching for records from Montour county, I came across the Montour County Genealogical Society. I found that they would do naturalization lookups and sent an email looking for the record for John Bank. I received a quick response and it even included the cemetery information for John and Ursula. As another bonus, I was also sent suggestions of where else to search in the county records. (A great resource!) I sent away to the society for a copy of the record and received it in about a week's time. I was very happy with the quick response and kindness of the society member who helped me. It was $5 well spent.

Again, I have found lots of information by fixing my database. For this line, I have mostly learned about myself as an early researcher instead of finding new information in the records that I already had. Now I know what I need to do to improve this line's research. (I just need to get around to doing it.)

The final line to complete is the BASCOM line. Since it is so large, I am splitting it by my great grandparents Dewey Francis BASCOM and Alice Susan HILLIS. I'm going to start with the HILLIS line. One I am finished fixing my database and organizing my files I will know where to focus my next line of research.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

SNFG: Best 2009 Genealogy Moment

This week Randy Seaver brings us another great Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. This weeks topic:

1) "What was your best Genealogy Moment during 2009?" This could be a research find, a fabulous trip, a found family treasure, etc. Your choice!

It's hard to choose just one thing that was the best from a year of great genealogy. But if I had to choose it would be finding out the real father of Mary RUSSELL. Of course it didn't make sense that she was born before her parents were married. Her mother Mehitable NOLAND had a "baseborn" child with Colbert ANDERSON.

This find was great for many reasons.
  1. I didn't have to waste years of research on the RUSSELL line only to discover that Moses RUSSELL was not Mary's biological father.
  2. A cousin told me about the find with a comment on this blog.
  3. Along with a source, I was able to find the original record on microfilm of the court case where Colbert ANDERSON was required to pay child support.
  4. Other great genealogist helped me to solve the transcription of the court record. (Thanks again Lori and Sheri!)
I hope that 2010 will give me lots more finds like this and lots more collaboration with other researchers!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Follow Friday - ACPL Genealogy Center

I was going to wait a week to start my Follow Friday series. But then I found something I really wanted to recommend to everyone.

On the first of every month, the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center (in Fort Wayne, Indiana) puts out an email newsletter called "Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library". (No relation to Lisa Louise Cooke's site and podcasts of the same name).

The newsletter is packed with information about genealogy research. There are articles highlighting parts of the genealogy collection and preservation techniques. There is a calendar of events in the Fort Wayne area as well as where ACPL librarians will be speaking across the country.

If you are not already subscribed to this wonderful resource, you can find the directions and archives here.

In the January issue, it was announced that the library now has a blog "Genealogy Center" and Facebook fan page. You can find the Facebook page by searching for "Genealogy Center" on Facebook if the link does not work. I hope that both will continue to highlight the great things happening in Fort Wayne for the genealogy community and help all of us use the library more effectively.

January Genealogy To Do List

It's the first of the month, so I better plan out what I am going to do this month.

I am struggling this month to decide what I want/need to accomplish. I got myself to a nice stopping place last month and cleaned up a lot of my to do files. So this month I need to start tackling the last branch of my family tree that needed resourced.

For January I want to:
  • Start resourcing BASCOM line. I am going to start by breaking this tree in half (BASCOM and HILLIS) because it is about a big as the rest of my tree combined. I'm going to begin fixing the source citations in the HILLIS line. I'm not sure how far I can get this month, but want to finish this side by the end of March (hopefully much sooner).
  • Finish two years of the Vevay Newspaper Index.
  • Work on National Institute of Genealogical Studies course (US: Migration Patterns). To be finished in February (if not before).
That's about it for this month. I really want to get my source citations in order soon so that I can figure out exactly where to start focusing my research. I don't want to start too many new things until I can finish the old stuff (no matter how hard that may be).

What are your genealogy goals for January? How are you going to start working on your 2010 New Year's Resolutions?