Tuesday, May 31, 2011

March, No April, No May Genealogy Goals Reviewed

I made some genealogy goals back in March and they didn't get done. So I made the same goals my April goals, and then didn't get done. So I made them my May goals, and for the most part I actually got them completed! For May, I broke all my goals down into tiny goals so that I could complete something everyday for each task. I did pretty well until I finished all but one of my goals half way through the month and didn't want to do it by itself. I guess I should have made some more goals.
  • Finish scanning the slides that I borrowed from my grandma. This will allow me to get more at the beginning of April when I visit her again. Finished in April!
  • Work on adding metadata to my digital photos. Finished for the slides and photos from my grandma. Will continue to add metadata to everything else I have.
  • Work on husband's family lines in Alsace, France. This was the goal that got left behind. I did one transcription/translation a day for a while (sometimes more), but then I got tired of doing them. And I would have finished, but I kept finding siblings and more records to add.
  • Work on my Norfolk, England ancestors. FamilySearch added more Norfolk images online and I need to search through them for my ancestors. Apparently I forgot about this goal. I think I need to order some FHL microfilm to get this research done.
I was also able to order some FHL microfilm on my Eiswerth line in Germany and some Switzerland County, Indiana church records. I also took a trip to Switzerland County and photographed two cemeteries, plus a few more stones and family files at the library.

Plus I read some great genealogy books (with Amazon affiliate links):
Disclosure: Books are linked to my Amazon affiliate account. I got a small percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you. Dundurn sent me a free copy of A Better Place for my review.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Donate to the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project This Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day and to honor my ancestors who served, I made a donation to the "Preserve the Pensions" Campaign. The Federation of Genealogical Societies is raising money to digitize the War of 1812 pension files. Over 5,000 documents are already available for free at Footnote.com.

I chose to make my donation through the Indiana Genealogical Society. They are matching donations up to $10,000. Donations through IGS have surpassed $6,000 so far, which means that at least $12,000 will be donated to FGS. Their campaign runs until the end of June.

I have yet to find any War of 1812 veterans among my ancestors. But I have found a few of their siblings who served. I hope that their pension files will add to their families' stories.

Consider honoring your ancestors with a donation.

In full disclosure, I am currently the Vice President of IGS.

Monday, May 16, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

I haven't been posting my responses to Amy Coffin's wonderful weekly prompts for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History. But I have been sending the questions off to my parents to get their answers. This month I have finally gotten around to saving them all to my computer and taking the time to read them. I have also answered the questions myself. But it's not really interesting for you all to read when I still own my first car. I have learned a lot about my parents' childhoods though.

From my dad I learned:
  • He once had a fever and hallucinated that the room was closing in on him and his mom put ice packs on him.
  • The bunk beds in the boy's bedroom (there were four of them and 3 girls) had wagon wheels on the ends.
  • He sat in the middle of the dining room table and was exposed to all the types of food offered.
  • He really did take his dog to a farm when my brother was born.
From my mom I learned:
  • The family's 3-legged dog slept at the end of her bed. 
  • She watched the clouds starting to swirl before they became the F5 tornado that his Xenia, Ohio. Her dad was mad that they didn't take any photos.
  • My grandfather would fall asleep and snore during movies. Drive-ins were wonderful for the other people watching the same movie.
  • She's not looking forward to her own obituary.
I have printed all the questions to give to my grandma for homework this weekend when I visit her. Hopefully I learn some interesting things about her life too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review - A Better Place by Susan Smart

I had the opportunity this past week to read and review a new genealogy book. A Better Place: Death and Burial in Nineteenth-Century Ontario (Amazon affiliate link) by Susan Smart is describes the funeral practices in Ontario from pioneer days to the early 20th century. Susan Smart describes the book as not just focusing on death and dying, but on the aftermath.


The first part of the book shows how burying the dead has changed over time.  This includes a detailed look at a pioneer burial, Victorian funeral customs, cemetery evolution, funeral ettiquette and more. In the second part, the author gives some clues about researching the death and burial of your ancestors.

Many of the overall themes of the book are the same in Ontario as they are in England and the United States. What set this book apart is the details that relate to Ontario alone. The author uses first person accounts taken from family and county histories to illustrate the times. One such story details how a man died in his home miles from the nearest neighbor and how the wife had to find a way to bury him in the middle of winter with only 2 small children to help. I had never thought about how difficult this would be.

Speaking of winter, I knew that it was very difficult to dig a grave when the ground was frozen. Many had to store their dead until the spring. This book details a unique feature of Ontario cemeteries: the octagonal shaped tombs that stored caskets in Ontario cemeteries until the ground thawed. The author states that this design is only found in Ontario.

The book uses many black and white photos to illustrate funeral details. Many of the photos were taken at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas. The photos are of the displays at the museum. I would have liked to see photos of Ontario women wearing mourning attire, instead of using a photo of mourning outfits on display. Other photos are of churches and cemeteries in Ontario as well as funeral memorabilia. 

As previously mentioned, the author uses lots of family and county histories to give an inside look at Ontario's past. The bibliography at the end of the book is filled with these sources. It also states which ones are avaiable thorough Internet Archive (at the time the book was written). I downloaded a few that give details of where my ancestors lived. In the second part of the book, the author gives some hints about how to research the death of your Ontario ancestors. I found a few new websites in this section and a few more ideas to help break down my brick walls.



This book gave me a great history of burial customs in Ontario and how they were influenced by the traditions in England and the United States. The resources included in the book will ensure that I continue to learn more about my ancestors' lives.

If you have ancestors from Ontario and want to know more about their burial traditions, consider picking up a copy of this book. Even if you don't have Ontario ancestors, this book can provide you with a better understanding of the ever changing funeral customs.

Disclosure: Dundurn sent me a complimentary copy to write a fair review. Amazon affiliate links give me a small portion of your purchase price with no extra cost to you.

Check out more genealogy books that I have read and recommend in my Amazon store.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tombstone within Grandparent's Honeymoon Photos

My grandparents were married in 1949 and went to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. My grandfather, Roy Suckling, was born in Niagara Falls, New York. His parents had been raised across the border in Ontario.

Among the photos of their trip is the tombstone of Roy B. Secord. A man who shared my grandfather's first name, but is not related to my family.

Roy B. Secord
1891 - 1918
CORP. Co.K 307th INFT

I'm not sure if this stone was found on the US or Canadian side. I searched Ancestry and found Roy B Secords on both side of the border. None matched the 1891 birth date.This man may have died while serving in the First World War.

If only my grandfather had taken photos of all the gravestones of his family buried in the Niagara area. It would have been nice to find a whole set of slides of cemetery photos.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Recommendation - Journey Takers

Yesterday I finished reading The Journey Takers (Amazon affiliate link) by Leslie Albrecht Huber. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in family history to read this book.

Leslie takes readers on the journeys of her immigrant ancestors. I love to how she combines the facts she has about her ancestors, the history of the time and her own visions of what her ancestors were like. It's a great example for anyone thinking about writing a book on their own family history.

But here is the part I liked the most: She tells about how her own life interacted with her genealogy research. She walks the reader through trying to get research done at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City with a small child. She writes about taking her children on a trip along the Oregon Trail. Anyone who is trying to juggle families and genealogy should definitely read this book.

Check out other books I recommend in my Amazon Store.

Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I purchased this book for myself. If you purchase the book through the links above, I will receive a small percentage of the price at no cost to you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Genealogy Goals

I had such high hopes for genealogy in April. Although I had a week off for spring break, I worked every day but one the rest of the month. And I only got out of working that day because I didn't have a car.  So once again I am going to use my March goals for May. May is likely to be insane since everyone seems to take off at the end of the school year.

I had hoped to make a research trip over spring break, but it was rainy and cold most of the time. So instead I'm going to do a trip to Switzerland County, Indiana in the middle of May. And my husband has to take me if he wants to go to the Dayton Hamvention. Hopefully the cemeteries won't be swamps.

Here were my genealogy goals for March and April 2011:

  • Finish scanning the slides that I borrowed from my grandma. This will allow me to get more at the beginning of April when I visit her again. Finished! Will get more later this month hopefully.
  • Work on adding metadata to my digital photos. This is something that I haven't really done yet and it needs done. I'm going to research a few metadata software choices and start working on this. Still haven't worked on this.
  • Work on husband's family lines in Alsace, France. (I found them in France, but I have to be in the right mood to deal with records in French. Two weeks of being sick in February didn't help.) I worked on getting the information about the family after they immigrated into my database. It's not like my husband's cousin didn't send it to be in January or anything. I'm also going to set up a goal to do one French record a day since I have to really focus on them.
  • Work on my Norfolk, England ancestors. FamilySearch added more Norfolk images online and I need to search through them for my ancestors. I looked at some of the Bishop's Transcripts, but it's still missing some of the parish where my ancestors lived. But I think I did find one of my lines. I just need to do a more detailed search.
Hopefully you accomplished more of your genealogy goals in April than I did. What are your genealogy goals for May?