Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cleaning Up The Letter B

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

I have 7 main family lines filed under the letter B, plus a ton of my relatives married people with B surnames. The letter B took a while to get through, but it did not disappoint.

Here are just a few of the gems I found in the Bs:
  • Found the obituary of Catherine Bank, wife of John Weis in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania newspapers. I was also able to track them down in the census and city directories after I found their address in the obituary. Thanks to Leslie Lawson for the obit lookup.
  • Realized that a family history had spelled a woman's first name incorrectly. It's Ursula Barrows, now Visula. Then I was able to find her marriage to James Madison Washburn and track the family through the census.
  • Found marriage records for Margaret Bascom's daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Smith, which led me to finding Margaret in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses, Indianapolis directories and a second husband. Still need to find the second marriage though.
  • Finally put together everything I had gathered on Fanny Bascom and was able to follow her children around St. Louis, Missouri after her death in the 1840s.
  • Found the marriage of Philo Dibble Bates and Ann Magdalene Whitmore in Ontario. Then I found Ann's death in British Columbia.
  • Tracked the John Bower and Maria Katharina Schilling family in census records and found John in the same cemetery as his wife. Imagine that!
These are just the highlights from the B surnames in my tree. Only 24 more letters to go!

Other letter cleanups:
Unknown surnames
Letter A

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Genealogy Resolutions - Review Time

It's the end of the year. So it's time to review last year's resolutions. Here were my 2011 genealogy resolutions:

Research Goal: Collect more original records. Included in this goal is ordering more microfilm from the Family History Library, visiting the Indiana State Library and visiting Switzerland County, Indiana. I also hope to visit Lycoming County, Pennsylvania again this year in order to improve my writing goal.
I started ordered microfilm of probate records in Indiana and then got bored with them. So I'll have to come back to them at some point. I was able to visit the Indiana State Library, Switzerland County, and Lycoming County this past year. I found lots of records to help me find my ancestors and hope to visit more repositories in 2012.

Writing Goal: Write a book about my surname line, Eiswerth. I was finally able to connect this family in Pennsylvania together and find them in Germany. This year I hope to gather the German parish registers, more tombstone photos, and other original records and publish them as a coffee table book for my family.

The prelimary edition of the Eiswerth family book was published and shared with family in August. I have since added more German church records, agricultural records, and photos to the book. I am waiting for the 1940 census before I decide if I want to make hard copies or keep it alive as a PDF.

I also started a book on my grandfather's military service. I just need to add some history to it and it should be done soon. Of course it would have been done awhile ago if I could find some motivation to finish it.
Scanning Goal: Scan all of the slides in my grandma's house. I knew that my grandpa had made a ton of slides, but I underestimated how many were there until I actually looked at them in December. There are 3 shelves full of slide boxes. I took home just the first shelf of 14 boxes. I'd like to turn each box into a video slide show and put them on DVD.
I never want to see another slide again. I finished all the slides at my grandma's house and then did all the slides that my parents had. I then organized all my photos and hopefully I will be able to find them now.

Education Goal: Continue National Institute for Genealogical Studies courses. I should be finishing the intermediate courses soon and then it's time for the advanced courses.

I finished the intermediate courses and all but one advanced course. 
Conference Goal: Although I want to go to every genealogy conference, I will definitely be attending the Indiana Genealogical Society conference in Indianapolis on April 16 and the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois in September. I have decided to skip the Ohio Genealogical Society conference in Columbus, Ohio because I wasn't too excited about this year's program lineup and I think a trip to the Indiana State Library is a better use of my time and money.

I had so much fun at FGS again this year. I'm working on the husband so I can go to Birmingham for FGS 2012. I was also able to attend the IGS conference and the Kentucky Genealogical Society's seminar with Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Blog Goal: Write more about my ancestors and start blogging about my husband's ancestors (more on that soon). I need to get into a better routine about writing up my genealogy finds before I continue my research.

 I started the Mr. Gen Wish List blog and scheduled a bunch of posts about his ancestors. So that side is taken care of for a while. I haven't found a good routine for writing about my ancestors yet but maybe that will change with my crazy organization goal for 2012.

So that's how I did on my 2011 genealogy resolutions. How did you do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cleaning up the Letter A

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

I didn't find anything exciting by reviewing the letter A surnames. But I was able to find more family histories that needed the source details added. Although they weren't "A" surnames, I still found:
  • That I forgot to do the last generation in a family history. I stopped with my common ancestor and forgot about the extra entries for a few of her children. Then I was able to find:
    • The middle name of one woman
    • That one man in my database was actually 2 men. The woman had married cousins with the same name. Then I was able to find the 2nd marriage record and detangle the two men.
  • In another family history, I found that they mixed up the woman's maiden name and first married name. Then I was able to find her first husband, obituary, and burial place.
I also went through a family history that was created for my maternal grandmother's side of the family in the late 1990s.  Everyone wrote in with their own stories of the family. When I ask my grandmother about her life, she tells me that she doesn't remember. But 15 years ago, she was ready to write those stories and share her memories so that her children wouldn't forget. Luckily the person who put the book together, recorded who wrote most of the stories. So every time it said that something was written by my grandmother, I transcribed it and put it into a Personal Historian file for her. So now I have the stories, even if she won't tell me them herself.

I also plan to cut up those stories into small parts and send them out to my family over the next year. That way they can build on the stories and also help me to identify which child was causing what trouble.

So even though I didn't find anything exciting in the letter "A", I still was able to find gaps in my database and fill in more blanks.

Other letter cleanups:
Unknown surnames

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cleaning Up My Genealogy Database

Last month I wrote about the amazing finds that I had made in my research just by cleaning up my database. I said that I was going to write about my process, but then I never did. So today I will share what I am doing to make my family tree database better.

First thing I did was to create a list of all the people in my database. I could have kept this as a digital file and highlighted within it, but I wanted to use my pretty highlighters and I get some odd satisfaction out of actually crossing things off a list. This list will help to make sure that I get everyone. I've found more people to add to my database, but I've decided not to add them to the list. I'm trying to add them and all their details properly the first time (and they'll get their turn the next time I decide to do this).

For each person in my database I am:
  1. Checking that all facts have sources.
  2. Making sure that all sources have source detail to tell me what the source said and why I added it to each fact. Nothing annoys me when I am trying to figure out who was in a census with someone and it's not in my database. The record is there, but not the transcription. I like being able to see the information I want quickly and not having to waste time trying to decode someone's awful handwriting for the 10th time.
  3. Research for person in online databases. So many new databases have come online recently. I keep pretty good track of what is new, but I will never remember all the places that family members lived. So it's is good to go back through everyone and see what new resources are available to find them.
  4. Check Find A Grave. Add person if not listed. Request photo if not found. At one point, I thought I would just visit and take all these photos myself. But that is not realistic, especially for all those collateral lines. Now might not be the best time to request photos with the snow and cold weather, but I've already gotten 5 photos back. Plus my requests will be waiting when someone wants to take a walk through a cemetery on a warm day.
  5. Compare RootsMagic database on my computer to my online tree on Ancestry. I love my Ancestry tree and all those little leaves. Probably because I'm smarter than those leaves. I don't just add everything it suggests, I evaluate the sources and add them if they fit. But I love those leaves because sometimes they find sources I would never cross my mind. Keeping my Ancestry tree current with my research should help to get more leaves that fit my tree.
  6. Make a list in Evernote of sources to check at the Allen County Public Library on my weekly research trips.
So why am I taking the time to do this? There are 2 main reasons. First, my research skills have improved tremendously in the last 3 and a half years. It's time to go back and use my improved research skills on my own tree. Second, I'm bored with my research. I've been stuck with my research and have been ordering microfilm and other records. Which is good. But sometimes I just want to do some good old fashioned census research. I thought that I had finished that within my own tree, but I am amazed at how many people I lost track of and have now been able to find. I'm still going to order microfilm, visit repositories and request records, but I like having something I can do at home and online.

My goal is to do 5 people a day. There are over 1800 people in my database, so I'll be able to finish this clean up before the end of 2012 if I keep doing a little every day. I am skipping all the people in one branch of my tree that I think has a bad connection. Whenever I finish a surname letter, I'll write a blog post on what I found. I've written about the unknown surnames already and will post about the letter A tomorrow. Currently I'm working on the Bs which will take a while since there are 6 main family lines under that letter.

What are you doing to improve your database?

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Maiden Names, 1 Divorce, and 30 Deleted Ancestors

This week I started a new project focused on cleaning up my genealogy database. I'll explain what I'm doing in another post next week. Since that post was starting to get out of hand, I thought I would share what I found so far.

This week I went through all the people in my database without surnames. I also started adding source details for family histories that I used. Here's what happened:

I found the maiden names of 7 women in the following sources:
  1. Burial record with parents' names.
  2. Obituary citation on Find-a-Grave that led me to newspaper images on Ancestry.
  3. Texas marriage index.
  4. Published Massachusetts vital records.
  5. Marriage record already cited in database, but never recorded her maiden name.
  6. Ohio marriage record.
  7. Bible record that was again already citing the marriage but I never recorded the name.
I also:
  • Found divorce index for my great grandfather and his second wife.
  • Deleted one woman because I'm not sure if the will I have for her husband is actually for the right guy. Too many men with the same now in the area.
  • Deleted 29 names and my Mayflower connection when I realized that the "proof" in the family history was an old lady remembering a name in a book her grandmother had. I guess it's good that I found out before Thanksgiving.
It's amazing what you can find about your ancestors when you look at them again. Stayed tuned to hear the details of my new project.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brick Wall - Where did Joseph Hillis originate?

Last week I wrote about my brick wall in the KAVCIC family. I never thought I was going to get anywhere with that family, so it was exciting to find most of them in the passenger lists. Finding them in Austria/Slovenia is going to be a whole other thing though.

While I was looking for them, I was supposed to be working on a blog post about Joseph Hillis. I like to pick one ancestor who is being a pain and make them my #1 brick wall. The last one I had was Joseph's son, George. I couldn't find the names of George's parents anywhere. But then I found a death date for him and that led me to his death certificate and that held the names I was seeking. I found George with his parents in Boone County, Kentucky. I found his mother's parents and grandparents and great grandparents. But I couldn't find anything about Joseph.

Here's what I know about Joseph:
  • He was born 29 April 1832. (obituary)
  • He married Susan Brown MORSE on 12 May 1856 in Ohio County, Indiana. (Indiana Marriage database)
  • On 25 May 1857, son George was born in Rising Sun, Indiana.
  • In August 1859, son Valorous was born in Indiana. (He is named for his maternal grandfather.)
  • In 1860, Joseph and Susan are living with their two sons, George and Valorous, in Spencer County, Indiana. (1860 census)
  • In 1863, Joseph registered for the civil war draft. He was living in Ohio County, Indiana.
  • On 28 January 1864, daughter Mary Francis is born in Rising Sun.
  • In September 1865, daughter Lizzie is born in Indiana.
  • In 1880, Joseph and Susan are living with their children, Valorous, Mary and Lizzie, in Boone County, Kentucky. (1880 census)
  • In 1900, Joseph and Susan are still in Boone County. (1900 census)
  • Joseph died on 25 February 1907 in Boone County. (obituary)
  • He was buried in Rising Sun, Ohio County, Indiana according to his obituary. (obituary)
  • His occupation was fisherman.
Now the problems:
I have never been able to find the family in the 1870 census. This could be attributed to the family moving around the Ohio River.

There is no one birthplace listed for Joseph. Gathering all the census records for him and his children, his place of birth is listed as:
  • Ohio - 2x
  • England - 2x
  • Pennsylvania - 7x
  • Virginia - 1x
  • West Virginia - 1x
In 1880, the census enumerator wrote that Joseph's father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother in France. In 1900, it is written that his father was born in Ireland and his mother in Pennsylvania.

George named his first born Joseph Mills Hillis. His father never used a middle name or initial, but the Mills name might be from his family.

I was able to find his obituary 2 weeks ago. The Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky has an newspaper index on their website. I found an entry for Joseph and received the obituary in my email in a few days. So now I have some other places to look.

Here's my plan:
  • Search the Rising Sun, Indiana papers for mention of his death and burial. 
  • Search the family files at the Ohio County Historical Society. They have files on Hillis and Morse.
So it's road trip time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chipping at Brick Wall - Mary and Helena Kavcic passenger list

Yesterday I wrote about finding Apolonia Kavcic, wife of Enos Kavcic, on a 1893 passenger list. While writing the post, I started thinking. Where were her two daughters? One of the reasons that it took me so long to find Apolonia was that I kept searching for the family. I went back to my research and realized that Apolonia and Enos were living in Pennsylvania with their American born children in 1900. But their two Austrian born daughters, Mary and Helena, were no where to be found.

Then it was time to redefine my search criteria. Instead of searching between 1890 and 1900, when I thought the girls had arrived, I searched for them between 1900 and 1910. And of course they came right up. Again the surname was indexed as Kaveic.

They arrived on 14 December 1902 in New York City and were headed to their father living in East Palestine, Ohio.

Of course in the time it took me to go to the grocery store and get around to my new search, Linda Swisher over at Round Tuit Genealogy had already found the daughters. But since I didn't check my email until after I found the girls, I can pretend that I found them first.

Linda also found a potential candidate for their father's passenger list. Janos Kavulzis fits the June 1892 immigration date that Enos Kavcic gives on his immigration. The ages also match. He was headed to Ohio, another match. But I'm still not sure about the surname. It's a little too different for me. Janos also lists his occupation as a joiner. The only occupation I have for Enos is coal miner in 1900. 

So I am now 3 for 4 in finding the Kavcic family on ships and I have some hints for the last guy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chipping at Brick Wall - Apolonia Kavcic Passenger List

I've been looking over some of my brick walls in order to write some blog posts. Originally I thought I could just write up where I am stuck and hope that someone searching the internet would have an answer for me some day. But then I started chipping away at them and have made progress on my own.

The last few nights I have been searching for the KAVCIC family on passenger lists. I know they were in the United States by the time their son Charles was born in September 1894. I also know that they were still in Austria when daughter, Helena was born in 1891. Last night I searched the Philadelphia passenger lists on Ancestry and finally found them!

Well actually I only found one of them, but it was still progress.

Apolonia Kavcic (indexed as Apolenia Kaveic) left Antwerp, Belgium on 29 November 1893 aboard the S. S. Pennsylvania. She arrived in Philadelphia on 15 December 1893. Her husband paid her fare and was living in East Palestine, Ohio. [Or at least near it since I find the family living in Darlington Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania in 1900 and 1910. Just over the state border.]

Her last residence was Sairachberg. It was Austria, but is now Slovenia.

So now I have to go back and try to find the passenger lists for her husband, Enos Kavcic, and their daughters Mary and Helena. Enos states on his naturalization papers that he arrived in the United States in June of 1892. But of course I haven't been able to find him yet. The girls aren't listed in the 1900 census with the family, so they might have immigrated between 1900 and their marriages in 1907 and 1909.

At least I have some more clues now. I also need to contact the church in East Palestine and see what records they have on the family.

Interesting note: Apolonia arrived on 15 December 1893. Her first child born in the US, Charles, was born on 6 September 1894. I guess Apolonia and Enos missed each other while they lived apart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indiana Genealogical Society - Always A Hoosier Project

The Indiana Genealogical Society has a project called "Always a Hoosier". This project is all about user submissions. If you have ancestors who was born before 1930 and is buried in Indiana, you can contribute information about them. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and prove that they are buried in Indiana. Include a photograph of your ancestor or their gravestone to liven up the entry. All entries are printed in the IGS newsletter along with the contact information of the submitter.

If you ancestors lived in Indiana, but were buried somewhere else, you can record information about them in the IGS project "Once a Hoosier".

IGS publications are all digital. But they are printed and preserved at the Allen County Public Library and other libraries in and out of the state.

It's a great way to preserve the story of your ancestor and find new cousins. I just submitted a bunch of ancestors along with the gravestone photographs that I found on my trip to Switzerland County back in the spring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Current Project - Recording My History

Over the past few years, I have research my family history, recorded family stories, scanned family photographs and shared what I have found with others. But there has been one area of my genealogy that has been lacking: the part about me.

I've scanned photographs of myself growing up. I've recorded the important dates of my life in my genealogy program. I've recorded a few of my memories.

One of the problems with recording my own history is that I took all my personal history items from my parents' house when I starting getting involved in genealogy. So then when I scanned what my parents had my stuff wasn't there. Of course there were photographs, but no report cards, no awards, no baby book, no yearbooks, no Puffalump. All of my stuff has been buried in my closet. I knew I wanted it. I knew I need to preserve it. I just never did anything useful with it all.

So now I am on a mission to record "my history". I pulled everything out of my closet so that I could get to the good stuff. I am scanning photographs, photo albums, yearbooks, report cards, and everything else I forgot I had.

Here are my tools:
Hopefully this won't take too long. I mean there is less than 30 years of history to record. And I'd really like to be able to get to my bookshelf without tripping on all the stuff that should be in my closet.

Disclosure: Amazon affiliate links were used for the tools I am using.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - William and Lucetta ECK

Feb. 20, 1823
Oct 5, 1900

Aug. 26, 1826
Mar. 6, 1905

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Watching Someone Analyze Your Blog Is Weird

Last Thursday I went to the Allen County Public Library to crash my friend Melissa's class on genealogy blogs. (You may remember Melissa from FGS. She was the one causing trouble and blaming it on me.) She told me on Wednesday that she was using my blog in her presentation. Very cool! The class discussed the different blogging platforms, where to find genealogy blogs, how to read blogs and what to write on your own blog. Melissa did a great job and hopefully inspired some new genealogy bloggers.

What I didn't realize was how weird it is to have someone discuss your blog. Melissa didn't just show my blog and say how awesome I am and move to the next blog. Oh no, she analyzed all the features on my blog. Here's where you can subscribe to Tina's blog. Here's where you can follow Tina's blog. Here's where you can see all the categories on Tina's blog. Here's the surname page on Tina's blog. Here's the archive on Tina's blog.

Looking at my blog and all the features of it on the big screen got me thinking.
  • Why was my archive set up on a weekly basis? That was find back in the beginning when there wasn't much time elapsed on the blog. But it makes more sense to set the archive by month now. 
  • Should my categories by listed by frequency (as they are now) or in alphabetical order? Or in a cloud (even if Melissa isn't a fan)?
  • When was the last time I updated my surnames page? And why haven't I set it up like on my husband's blog with the area where they lived?

So I went home from the class and did a little blog tweaking. Even the crasher learned something.

[It is also really fun to tweet while crashing a genealogy blog class. Then the presenter gets emails asking her what she's doing with other people's blogs.]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Organizing my Digital Photos with Lightroom

One of my genealogy goals this year was to digitize all the slides at my grandma's house. I knew that she had a lot, but I didn't realize that it would take 3 trips and months to finish just the scanning of the slides.

Then I took another trip to visit my dad's side of the family in Pennsylvania. There I was able to scan a few photo albums. I also scanned all the photos at my parents' house while I was there.

By the end of the summer, I had tons of digital photos from many families and across many decades. The problem was that when I wanted one to add to a blog post or for my family history books, I couldn't find the one I knew I had. If I couldn't find the ones I remembered, imagine trying to find the rest.

Over the summer, I used a few different software programs to add metadata to my photos with varying degrees of success. In the end, I decided to purchase Adobe Lightroom.

Lightroom lets me import all my photos. It allows me to add tags and copyright information during the import process. I can add tags in batches or tag individual photos. I can add captions. I can move photos between folders within the program. I can rename groups of photos using a variety of their preset naming structures or create my own.

I love being able to sort the photos in a variety of ways. User order is my favorite. Since I have photos from a variety of collections for the same event, I was able to put them in order. Lightroom also lets you compare two photos and decide which is best. You can then delete the other one or rate the two photos. For example, these features came in handy when I was trying to organize a group of family photos taken in 1991. My grandfather liked to take a large family photo, then photos of each of his daughters' families, then just the grandchildren and so on. I had scans of photos from my grandma's collection and from my parents. I really didn't need 4 copies of the same picture, so I organized the photos by who was in them and then compared each photo. Then I could just keep the best ones.

Lightroom was just what I needed to organize all those photos. I haven't even discussed the photo editing side of the software. I haven't used it much yet, but I plan to use it more now that everything is organized.

The next photo project? Scanning and organizing all the photos in my closet. Good thing my husband got me a Flip-Pal at FGS.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. The links above are Amazon affiliate links. I get a small percentage of your purchase price at no additional cost to you. I do not see or fulfill your order.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Michael F DINCHER

Michael F.
Born Jan. 18, 1825.
Died Nov. 2, 1897
Aged 72yrs. 9 M. 14 D.

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Show Mills - Book Recommendation

Everyone knows that Elizabeth Shown Mills can write an epic book on source citations. But how many of you are aware that she can also write an epic historical fiction?

I just finished reading her book Isle of Canes. Never before have I seen a fictional narrative include source citations at the end. Elizabeth Shown Mills takes all the sources that she has found while researching the families that lived in the Isle of Canes in Louisiana and interweaves the facts into a captivating story.

The Isle of Canes is a region between the Cane River and the Little River in Louisiana, south of Natchitoches. This region was settled by blacks who gained their freedom in the late 1700s. The mixing of the races (white, black, Native American) and the languages (French, Spanish, English) creates a whole new culture for the citizens on the Isle. These free blacks became enterprising men and women and owned vast plantations and even slaves.Throughout the book, the family lives through slavery, freedom, war, and reconstruction.

Little has been written about this minority of blacks that gained their freedom and became the masters. ESM does a wonderful job of bringing their history to life. I highly recommend reading Isle of Canes.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review in any way. The above links are Amazon affiliate links. That means that a small percentage of your purchase will come to me. You do not pay more and I do not see your purchase.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Maria SCHILLING DINCHER

wife of
Michael F Dincher
Jan. 6 1829
Died Nov. 2, 1903
74 yrs 9 M & 26 D

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Anthony ZWEIER

Anthony Zweier
Dec. 23, 1858
In the 68 year
of his life

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Elizabeth ZWEIER

Wife of
Anthony Zweier
Feb 1 1863
65 Yrs & 7 ds

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary BAUER ECK

To the Memory of
Mary Bauer
wife of Joseph Eck
Who Departed This Life
May 1 1848
Aged 58 years and 6 months

Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Bastress, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Photo taken by Tina Lyons, July 2011

FGS 2011 - Husband Edition

Special thanks to my husband for allowing me to drag him to Springfield and the FGS 2011 conference.

Apparently touching Lincoln's nose is actually good luck because the husband was in a good mood for the whole trip. Here is a list of some of the things he did for me during the conference:
  • Attend the Old Fashioned Prairie Social (and let me have ice cream for dinner)
  • Take photos at the press conference
  • Drive me home late at night
  • Pick me up lunch
  • Pass out membership forms at the IGS table
  • Talk to genealogists
Now I have to let him get a sword at the Renaissance Festival. So maybe Lincoln didn't have anything to do with it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Will of Valentine Blitz

LAST WILL OF Valentine Blitz

I, Valentine Blitz of Williamsport, County of Lycoming, and State of Pennsylvania, being of sound mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills by me at any time heretofore made.

First: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses shall be paid by my Executors herein after named, as soon after my death as convenient.

Second: I devise to my daughter Anne, her heirs and assigns my house and lot on Hughes Street, in the City of Williamsport, said County, which said lot is bounded on the South by said Hughes Street, on the west by lot sold by me to Charles Snyder, on the North by Roberts Alley, and on the East by lot of Mrs Zeviesell. This devise is made upon condition, that she, the said Anne, pay to my other six children each the sum of one hundred twenty five and 57/100 dollars, within two years after my death, without interest for the first year, and with interest at four percent, for the second year. These payments of one hundred twenty five and 57/100 dollars to each of my said six children are hereby charged upon the above described real estate and herein devised to my said daughter Anne.

Third, I give all my household goods to my said daughter Anne, as she has earned a good part of the money with which many of articles of these household goods were bought. But she shall give to my son Adam any one of the beds with bedding which may be in my house at the time of my death, whenever said Adam shall get married. And the said Anne shall also give to my daughter Maria any one of the beds with bedding, which may be in my house at the my death, whenever said Maria shall get married.

Fourth: My son William owes me the sum of nine hundred and fifty dollars, which sum less one seventh of the same he is to pay to my executors, and of the six sevenths so paid to my executors, he is not to have any share in the distribution of the residue and remainder of my Estate.

Fifth: All the residue and remainder of my estate, real, personal and mixed of whatever kind or nature, or wherever situate, I give and bequeath to my seven children, share and share alike, except that my son William is not to have any part of the amount to be paid by him to my executors, as provided in paragraph “Fourth” hereof.

I hereby appoint my said daughter Anne and my son-in-law Frank Gaus, executors of my last will.

Dated at Williamsport the 9” day of December A.D. 1897.
Valentine Blitz {Seal}

Signed, sealed, published and declared by Valentine Blitz the testator above named, as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who in his presence, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, have hereunto set our names as witnesses.
F. Deedmeyer
D. J Durwachter

Valentine Blitz (1898), Will Book: volume 9, page 153-4; Lycoming County Genealogical Society Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

FGS 2011 - Day 4

Saturday was the last day of the FGS 2011 conference. The first session I attended was "The Parish" with Audrey Collins. Usually questions during sessions annoy me, but not with Audrey. The questions answered were just as good as the presentation. Maybe it was just the accent.

Next I went to "Porkopolis to Bonanza Farms: Midwest Historical Geography for Genealogists" presented by J. H. Fonkert. This session looked at lots of maps to show how agriculture, weather and technology affected how the Midwest was settled.

The sessions before and after lunch were a workshop by J. Mark Lowe entitled "Developing a Basic Research Plan." These two hours went so fast. It was nice to get some hands on work and start thinking through research plans. Of course I think that I'll use Evernote instead of Mark's index card strategy to keep my research plans organized.

During lunch, I sat at the Indiana Genealogical Society's table. Lunch on Saturday was the most traffic that the exhibit hall received except for right after it opened. All the Ancestry Day attendees were there and it was a good time to be manning the table.

I skipped the last two sessions and when the exhibit hall closed we headed back to Fort Wayne. I made sure to thank Paula Stuart-Warren and Josh Taylor on my way out for an awesome conference. Paula's already thinking of ways to put me to work for the FGS 2013 conference in Fort Wayne.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FGS 2011 - Day 3

Day 3 of FGS 2011 started with Linda Woodward Geiger's "US territorial Papers, 1789-1873: Records of the Frontiersman." I'm going to check on these records when I return and see what I can find that relates to my ancestors in Indiana before statehood. Then I attended "Pioneer Genealogy: Tracing Your Ancestors on the Midwestern Frontier" with James Hanson. There was no projector set up and I realized when he started that there were no slides. But he had plenty of information to share and was engaging even without visuals. I'm going to look for some records on Indiana units in the Indian Wars soon. Next was Tim Pinnick's "Maximizing Your Reach: Research in University Libraries." This was an excellent talk that made me want to check what is available in university libraries in my area. A good tip is to become a friend of the library with a donation and take advantage of longer borrowing times and Interlibrary loans. After a quick lunch with my husband, I went back to the exhibit hall to check on the IGS table. My husband sat at the table while I wondered to the bloggers in the media hub. I kept checking and some people stopped by the booth. So I migrated back and saved hubs from their questions and got a few more members. Then I attended "Using Correlation to Reveal Facts That No Record States" by Tom Jones. I skipped the next session and hung out at the IGS table and talked to more potential members and also fellow board members. The last session of the day was Debra Miezala's "Lessons from a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates." She had many case studies that showed how to track down your ancestors by looking at those around them. Best part of the day: seeing my high school Spanish teacher. She followed me into the first session and asked if I had been her student. I didn't recognize her right away and checked her name badge. I went to school in Ohio and her name badge said she was from Indiana. So I figured she thought I was someone else, but then she mentioned Lakota and I remembered her name and face. Small world.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

FGS 2011 - Day Two

This morning started with a breakfast and panel sponsored by The discussion was about getting youth involved in genealogy. Dear Myrtle and Josh Taylor were on the panel along with 1000memories co-founder Jonathan Good.

Next was the opening session of the conference. It was announced that over 2000 genealogists have descended on Springfield, making it the biggest FGS conference to date.

Michael Maben, president of the Indiana Genealogical Society, presented a check $24,234 to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions campaign. This check included $12,117 donated to the project through IGS. IGS matched all those donations. Ancestry is matching all donations, so over $40,000 dollars will go to digitizing the War of 1812 pensions (available for free on Fold3).

Here is a photo of Michael presenting the check to Pat Oxley at the press conference that followed the opening session.
IGS board members with the check and Pat Oxley.

My first session was "The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames" presented by Tom Jones. Best part - Someone asked a question about how he organized all the research he has done on unrelated or unknown Jones lines. His response: "Poorly." I can't tell you how much applause there was to find out that Tom Jones isn't much better than the rest of us.

Then I had lunch with Melissa Shimkus, a librarian at the Allen County Public Library, and Susan Clark of Nolichucky Roots blog. Plus my husband.

Next I attended Craig R. Scott's session "Reasons for Not Serving in the Civil War." Craig is a wealth of information about all topics. I loved that he took questions before the session even began.

The last session of the day for me was "The Curious Case of the Disappearing Dude" by Debra Miezala. She was very entertaining and reminded us to search many types of records to find where else to search. I look forward to hearing more of her sessions at the IGS annual conference in April.

Then it was time to head to the exhibit hall for the Society Showcase. I worked the IGS booth with our Southwest District Coordinator, Connie. We had a lot of fun meeting potential members, current members and discussing ideas for our society.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FGS2011 - Day One

Today was the first day of the 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference. I spent the morning driving to Springfield from Fort Wayne. The trip would have been better if we didn't have to come to a complete stop on 69 for some unknown reason. The first stop of the day was Lincoln's Tomb. (Like any good genealogist I went to the cemetery first.) then we stopped at the Cozy Dog Cafe for their original corn dogs. (This was the only thing I found in Springfield that interested the husband. No moonshine here.) Then we checked into the hotel and rested a bit. Finally it was time to go to registration. I picked up my conference bag, name tag and other goodies. then I went back to the hotel and dumped out the bag, got out what I needed and ditched the bag. My husband kept saying it looked like a nice bag, but I didn't need to carry something that everyone else had. On the way to the first session, I met up with some of the folks from Ancestry that I met at Ancestry Day in Fort Wayne in July. They wanted to know where I was to collect the War of 1812 donations that morning after Curt Witcher talked about the project. Apparently the donation of $1005 that I collected from the attendees at Ancestry Day is now legendary. Then it was time for my first session: Paula Stuart-Warren's Publicity for Society Events: Simply Supercharged. Paula had some great ideas that will hopefully serve me well as a member of the Indiana Genealogical Society's 2012 Conference Committee. My favorite thing she said was "family gets in the way of family history." All those family events really take our time away from our research. Paula put us in small groups to plan out a one page conference flyer. Well, it just so happened that I was sitting next to Melissa Shimkus from the Allen County Public Library. She had shown me flyers for the National Black Genealogy Summit that Curt Witcher wanted her to pass around. So I decided to pass off those four page color flyers as our group's effort. Paula was amazed that we had brought a color printer, but said we should have made our flyer more than a month in advance of the event. Then she went back up to the podium and mentioned our group's "effort" to everyone and on the tape. Of course then we had to share our awesome publicity skills with Curt, who just gave us the look like we were crazy. Of course this was mostly my doing and I shouldn't blame Melissa too much. Melissa and I attended Amy Johnson Crow's talk called "Finding and Keeping Volunteers" next. Amy talked about the need to outline the roles for volunteers and find the right people for those jobs. She always has wonderful examples to add to her talks and this one was no exception. I especially liked the reminder to change passwords when a volunteer quits or as a last resort you have to fire them. I skipped the last session to grab a snack and take a nap. Then it was time for the Old Fashioned Praire Social. It was fun to talk to fellow bloggers and IGS board members. I am going to attempt to make a list of everyone I met later (when not writing on my iPad so I can link better.) I look forward to tomorrow's events.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - William B SANDERS

Wm B Sanders
died Feb 26 1875
aged 74 y 1 m 26 d

Bovard Cemetery
Cotton Township, Switzerland County, Indiana
Photo taken by Tina Lyons, May 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Will of Valorous Morse

In the Name of God Amen.
            I Vallerous Morse of the County of Boone and State of Kentucky being of sound mind and disposing Memory and calling to Mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with. I give and bequeath the same in manner following that is to say

1st after my death I desere that out of the perishable part of my Estate all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid

            2nd all the rest of my estate both real and personal of whatever nature or kind it may be I give to my wife Mary R Morse to use and enjoy as she may desere proper during the term of her natural life

3rd Such portion of my estate as may remain undisposed of at the death of my wife said Mary R Morse I desere shall be equally divided among my three daughters manually[?] Rachel M Simon Louisa Vanness & Margaret G Griffith which I give to them and their heirs forever

And Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my wife Mary R Morse Sole Executrix of this my last will and testament and desire no security shall be required of her.

Note Having Made an advancement to my Daughter Susan B Hillis it is not my intentions to give her any thing more

In witness whereof I hereto set my hand this 27” day of March 1883
Subscribed as witnesses in presence of Vallerous Morse and at his request and in presence of each other
Charles H Acra
James A Dilson

Boone County, Kentucky, Kentucky, Probate Records, 1792-1977, Vallerous Morse page 187-8; "Will records, 1876-1897, Vol. 13," digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 24 August 2011).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

IGS to Participate in FGS Society Showcase

One week from today I'll be in Springfield, Illinois representing the Indiana Genealogical Society at the Society Showcase during the Federation of Genealogical Societies' annual conference.
IGS will be one of 22 societies participating in the first ever Society Showcase. The Society Showcase event will be on Thursday, September 8 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Praire Capital Convention Center as part of the extended Exhibit Hall hours. The special society tables will remain in place Friday and Saturday. 

IGS board members will be staffing the booth Thursday night and selling memberships. Stop by to talk about the society and consider becoming a member.

See the full list of participating societies on the FGS Conference Blog:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Susan ESTEP SANDERS and son Winfield

wife of Wm B Sanders
Aug 23 1864
in her 60th year
Son of Wm B & Susan Sanders
26 Aug 1864
15 y 11 m 23 d

Bovard Cemetery
Cotton Township, Switzerland County, Indiana
Photo taken by Tina Lyons, May 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Will of Michael F Dincher

LAST WILL OF Michael F. Dincher

I, Michael F. Dincher of Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, being of sound mind and memory do hereby make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills by me at any time made.

First: I direct that all my just debts and my funeral expenses shall be paid by my Executor herein after named as soon after my death as convenient.

Second: To my beloved wife Marie, shall she survive me I give the use of all my real Estate and the use of all my personal property during her natural life. I also give to my wife the interest, during her life, on all money I may have at the time of my death.

Third: Upon my death, or upon the death of my wife, if she should survive me, all my real estate and farming implements shall go and belong to my two sons, Franz and Peter in equal shares, subject, however, to the conditions hereinafter named.

Fourth: Upon my death or the death of my wife, should she survive me, there shall be paid by my said Executor to my daughter Mary Eiswerth the sum of three hundred dollars out of the money that I have at interest or which may be on hand in cash.

Fifth: I place on my real estate and upon the farming herein named, and bequeathed to my sons Franz and Peter a valuation of $2700. My daughter Magdalena Dietrich shall receive one sixth part of $2700, less the sum of $155, which has been advanced to her by me.

Sixth: To the children of my deceased daughter Katharine I give one sixth part of said sum of $2700.

Eight: To my daughter Barbara Ulsamer I give one sixth part of said sum of $2700.

Ninth: The said one sixth part herein given to my daughter Magdalena Dietrich (less the $155) shall be paid her out of money on interest or cash on hand, as far as such money or cash may reach; any balance then due Magdalena Dietrich, as herein provided, and the amounts herein given to the children of said Margaret and said Katharine and the share herein given to said Barbara are to be paid by said Franz and Peter from and hereby charged upon, the real estate herein devised to my said sons Franz and Peter, subject to the payment thereof.

Tenth: The shares herein so charged on said real estate shall be paid to the parties for whose benefit they are so charged upon said real estate within four years of my death, or the death of my wife, should she survive me, without interest for the first and second years, but with interest at the rate of four percent, for the third and fourth years. All the residue, rest and remainder of my property, real, personal and  mixed, shall be divided into six equal shares; one one share shall go to the children of said Margaret; one share to Magdalena Dietrich, one share to the children of said Katharine; one share to said Barbara; one share to said Franz and one share to said Peter.

I hereby appoint my son Franz Executor of this my last will, but he shall not charge more than $25 for his services as such Executor.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 15” day of September one thousand eight hundred and ninety seven
Michael F Dincher {Seal}

We hereby certify that we were present and saw the said Dincher the above testator, sign the foregoing instrument; and we signed our names hereto as witnesses at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other
F Deedmeyer
O W Good

State of Pennsylvania
County of Lycoming} SS:
Before me personally appeared Franz A Dincher who being duly sworn according to law, did depose and say that Michael F. Dincher late of said County deceased, died on or about the second day of November 1897 at 8 oclock A.M. at Limestone Township Lycoming County Pa.
Franz A Dincher

Michael F Dincher (1897), Will Book: Volume 9, page 16-18; Lycoming County Genealogical Society Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.