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NGS 2014 Family History Conference – decisions, decisions!

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Almost here!

It’s almost here!  The NGS 2014 Family History Conference, that is! Previously a California girl, I was spoiled with easy access to the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree.  I’ve missed their large conference the last couple of years, and am elated that the 2014 NGS event is within driving distance from my home in Delaware.  Now my only dilemma is trying to figure out which sessions to attend!  There are so many great tracks that I’m having difficulty deciding, and will definitely be purchasing some of the audio-recorded sessions.  However, for now, this is what I’ve tentatively planned:

Wednesday

  • 11 a.m.  Hell on the Home Front:  War-Time Damages & the Claims They Generated by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • 2:30 p.m.  New Standards or Old:  Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories, by Thomas W. Jones
  • 4:00 p.m.  My Ancestor Came to Colonial America as a Transported Convict, by Nathan W. Murphy

Thursday

  • 8:00 a.m.  BCG Education Fund:  Research Strategies That Work, by Kay Haviland Freilich
  • 9:30 a.m.   Records of the Federal Courts, 1789-1911:  Drama in Your Ancestors’ Lives, by John Philip Colletta
  • 11:00 a.m.  Oh, the Things You Can Map:  Mapping Data, Memory and Historical Context, by Stefani Evans
  • 2:30 p.m.   Using Evidence Creatively:  Spotting Clues in Run-of-the-Mill Records, by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • 4:00 p.m.  Can a Complex Research Problem be Solved Solely Online?  by Thomas W. Jones
  • 7:00 p.m.   Revolutionary Voices:  History, Genealogy, and Documentary Film Techniques, by Maureen Taylor, et. al.

Continue reading


A little more of me

book

The search for a name
The search for a date
Is a search for a person
Who breathed life into me

Those who’ve gone before
Those who are still here
We all relate
My family and me

This passion, this obsession
This thing called genealogy
Is more than just a family tree
It’s finding those who made me

They beckon me from the distant past
They beckon me from recent graves
They come to me in my dreams
My ancestors talk to me

I need to know where they lived
I need to know what they did
The color of their hair
It’s all a part of me.

This quest to know
This yearning to find
It fills a void
Deep inside me

Today I will search
Today I will find
A little more of the past
A little more of me


Are you stalking your mail carrier???

The love of the mailbox

The mailbox – another love of genealogists!

From childhood, the mailbox has always created a sense of expectancy for me.  However, genealogy has created an obsession with mail delivery.  What genealogist isn’t waiting for something at any given moment?   I will be very happy this afternoon if I receive any of the following items I’m currently waiting for:

1)  My grandmother’s social security application.

2)  The Milo Story, a book about Milo (of course!) in Piscataquis County, Maine, by Lloyd J. Treworgy.

3)  Documents from new-found cousin, including photos and a copy of a chart drawn in the late 1800s showing relationships to a common ancestor.

4)  Notification of approval of my Daughters of the American Revolution application.

5)  Notification of approval of my Mayflower Society application.

What are you hoping to find in YOUR mailbox today?


Poor Lavina: finding your ancestor’s FICO score in census records

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1860 Federal Census for Benjamin Bursley in Monticello, Wright County, Minnesota

Benjamin Bursley.  Farmer.  Real estate valued at $600.  Personal estate value $100.  Cool.  One small problem.

When first reviewing the info contained on the 1860 Federal Census for Monticello, Wright County, Minnesota, it didn’t really mean anything to me.  I had no idea how Benjamin’s estate compared to 2014 income standards, nor how his family fared compared to those living around him.  Was he rich?  Was he poor?  Somewhere in between?  I wanted to know what life was like for his 12 year old daughter, Lavina, and placing her family in context with the era in which she lived was important to answer my questions.

Using a spreadsheet (Numbers, on my Mac) I transcribed the names, occupations, real estate and personal estate values for all individuals who had this info listed on the census: Continue reading


Twenty Tips for Living with the Obsessed Genealogist

Posing for photos with tombstones is perfectly normal activity.

Me, Scooter Bug and Uncle Humphrey Stanwood in Bar Harbor, Maine – 2013.   See tip #18 below. (In case you hadn’t noticed.  I like the color pink.  And Poodles.)

  1. Once infected, always infected.  There is no cure for the genealogy bug.
  2. The ancestry.com subscription is non-negotiable.  Pick your battles carefully.
  3. Never, EVER throw away paper found on the office floor.
  4. Food.  Clothing. Shelter. Computer.  The basics of life. Continue reading

Julia Hanchet – Original Guardianship Document

This document was found while out shopping for antiques, and I couldn’t pass it up.  My attempts to locate descendants of Julia were not successful, so I’m hoping that one will find me so it can be returned to family!  The document is posted below along with the transcription:

Guardianship2

Nathan Kimball appointed guardian for Julia Hanchet

The people of the State of New York by the Grace of God free & independent – To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern, send Greeting – Continue reading


Mary Hill’s Legacy webinar “Land Records Solve Research Problems” really solved my research problem!

I’ve posted about some of my successes using land records previously, and how I was able to piece together the 18th century business relationships of my Wasgatt and Stanwood families who intermarried frequently on Mount Desert Island, Maine, by using Hancock county’s digitized land records.  (You can read my post here.)  Having dabbled in land records, I felt like I had a basic understanding of the info contained and how it could benefit my research.  However, I was still a bit intimidated by the terminology utilized in the records, so when I saw Legacy Family Tree’s webinar by Mary Hill entitled, “Land Records Solve Research Problems” earlier this summer, I decided to listen in.  (Actually, I ended up subscribing – their series of webinars is excellent!)

Mary did a superb job of explaining the various terms used in land records, the differences in assorted types of mortgage transactions, and how this info can help you in your family history.  Probably the most important tidbit I picked up was how records pertaining to multiple individuals (i.e., “et al”) are some of the most important records, as they may contain clues about relationships of the people listed and are often the most helpful in our research.  Armed with this knowledge, this past July while visiting the Penobscot County (Maine) Registry of Deeds I spent the bulk of the day happily researching the transfer of Benjamin Stanwood’s three lots located in Northern Woodville as they passed from hand to hand.  That evening, back at the hotel, I drew a diagram showing the names and dates of grantors/grantees, trying to see a pattern.  Benjamin often mortgaged the property, and the mortgages were frequently sold.  The property always ended up back in family hands (you can read here about finding my fourth cousin who currently resides on the property), but I wanted to try and connect each sale through the land records.  Some may have considered it a waste of time (why does it matter that that property was mortgaged with a sale to Hayford but mysteriously purchased back from Swett?) but I was determined to trace it’s passing from hand to hand whenever possible and headed back to the Registry of Deeds the next morning to try and find the missing link.  THANK GOODNESS I DID!!!

Deed referencing the late Benjamin Stanwood, dated 12 October 1860.

Deed referencing the late Benjamin Stanwood, dated 12 October 1860.

That one missing deed, showing the land was sold by Timothy Hayford to C.T. Bragg and William Hayford, includes a very important statement:

…being the same lots deeded to me by Benjamin Stanwood, late of said township, deceased… Continue reading


The C-R-A-P in my tree (what’s hiding in YOURS?)

What trash is littering your tree??

What trash is littering your tree??

None of us were born professional genealogists. Some of us (such as moi!!) have NO aspirations to become one. However, I love genealogy. I am obsessed with it. I strive to do a good job. I cite my sources. I attend conferences. I read books. I listen to webinars. I apply what I learn. I’m long past the stage of simply wanting to get to the next generation; rather, I’d prefer to get to “know” my ancestors better by filling in the details of their lives with information on how they lived, what they did, what they ate, who they associated with. This is what makes genealogy fun.

A few weeks ago I began drafting a short biography of my great-great grandfather, Albert J. Stanwood. I’ve been working on this line for well over 20 years, and thought it would be fun to put together something that I could share with extended family members, starting with Albert, and working my way back to HIS fifth great grandfather and colonial ancestor, Philip Stainwood, the first of the name in the United States. It should be simple I thought, since I have the usual birth, marriage, death, and land records, old letters written from one family member to another, photographs and obituaries and other interesting facts for the family. I’ve taken several research trips to Massachusetts, Maine and Minnesota where the family had lived. Everything should be in order. A tweak here and a tweak there should be all that’s needed. Piece of cake, right? Continue reading


Betsey’s five patriotic grandsons and the Civil War

Headstone of Thomas H. Stanwood

Headstone of Thomas H. Stanwood, civil war veteran

Last Sunday was quite momentous.  I actually went to the movie theater.  This was only the third time in the last eight years I was willing to give up 3 hours of my time and fork over $15 to see a film, but Lincoln was sooooo worth it!  The civil war era is absolutely my favorite period in history, so that was an added bonus.

Leaving the theater, instead of thinking about the war as a historical event, I began to ponder how it affected my ancestors, their towns and communities, and their daily lives.  Mostly, how did it affect their families?

At the start of the Civil War in 1861, both the Union and Confederate sides began mobilizing troops.   Continue reading


Determining the parentage of Jacob Meiselman

Back Row (L-R) - Herman Benjamin "Ben" Meiselman, Isador "Isaac" Miselman, Solomon Augenlicht, Louis Meiselman, Jacob "Jack" Meiselman; Front Row (L-R); Clara (Kahn) Meiselman, wife of Ben; Rosa Brown, wife of Isaac; Lottie (Meiselman) Augenlicht; Michael Meiselman (son of Jacob and Pauline); Chajcie (AKA "Ida" or "Clara" [Hackmeyer/Hackmayer]) Meiselman, mother of Meisleman brothers in back row, and Pauline (Sternburg) Meiselman, wife of Jacob and mother of Michael.

Back Row (L-R) – Herman Benjamin “Ben” Meiselman, Isador “Isaac” Miselman, Solomon Augenlicht, Louis Meiselman, Jacob “Jack” Meiselman;Front Row (L-R); Clara (Kahn) Meiselman, wife of Ben; Rosa Brown, wife of Isaac; Lottie (Meiselman) Augenlicht; Michael Meiselman (son of Jacob and Pauline); Chajcie (AKA “Ida” or “Clara” [Hackmeyer/Hackmayer]) Meiselman, mother of Meisleman brothers in back row, and Pauline (Sternburg) Meiselman, wife of Jacob and mother of Michael.

I was recently asked to research the parentage of Jacob Meiselman, and have summarized the steps in this research below.  If you have additional information on the Meiselman family, or are also researching these lines, I hope to hear from you!

In order to identify our subject’s parents, we first start with known facts, working from the most present information to the past.  Family sources stated Jacob (also known as “John” or “Jack”) Meiselman had the following siblings:

  • Izzie of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Ben, who resided in North Carolina, and who had a son named Michael, who also resided in North Carolina.  Ben owned movie theaters.
  • Herman  (research showed that Herman Benjamin [who sometimes used the middle name Bernard] is the same person as Ben above)
  • Lottie Continue reading

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