Saturday, October 22, 2016

A common ancestor?

I just had a thought. Like this is strange, right? It happens a lot, out of the blue, for who knows what reason.

I really don't know what made me put this thought together in my head, but then most of the time I refuse to be responsible for what happens between my ears and behind my eyes.

It has recently been called to my attention by a movie, The Internship, that if you want to work at Google you need something called googliness. I can believe this, but then I live in a village in Ohio.

So my question is this - Is googliness inherited? Is it in a person's DNA? Do the employees at Google all descend from a common ancestor? 

Ya gotta wonder.


Monday, September 12, 2016

I guess I am not alone

I am amazed at the number of people who were interested in my post about genealogy being a dangerous hobby. The hits on my blog multiplied before my eyes. It made me think that maybe this is a subject that needs to be examined.

I know that recently I have seen warnings in articles about DNA testing. Basically it says that you must be prepared to see results that you didn't expect or might be upsetting. 

So maybe the world of genealogy isn't as squeaky clean as we would like to think it is. We tend to see our ancestors as the most wonderful, loving people on the face of the earth. After all we are their descendants, and we have inherited all of their wonderful characteristics.  

As genealogists, we come across family folk lore all the time and we treat it as a clue to a documented fact, but maybe the rumor is more accurate than the actual vital record. 

A birth certificate only proves that the mother and child are related. If the mother is married the husband becomes the child's father, whether it is true or not. Once his name is on the birth certificate he becomes the father. 

See not everything is cut and dried. So once again we have the danger of genealogy research, but this time it is not because we have a group of people who don't want to be connected to their ancestors.

Instead we have a family member who might know the truth about a situation in the family and doesn't want to expose those family secrets. And how far will that person go to protect the family?

So do you expose those DNA results or not? 

Sometimes genealogy can be dangerous hobby!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Genealogy can be a dangerous hobby!

Oh Dear! It has happened again. I began researching what I thought would be a interesting topic for a genealogy lecture. The more I read about it the more fascinating it became. A friend of mine was also very interested in the subject matter and she started reading what was available online. And then something rather strange happened. It started to be a bit scary!

So you have to ask yourself "How can genealogy research be scary?" Trust me, I know the answer. There are people out there who do not want to be connected to their ancestors. Most of us find this hard to believe because we love those skeletons in our closets. They add a little something to our family trees. 

The group of people that we were researching were amazing, but extremely private and their descendants do not want anyone delving into their past. It didn't take long for us to get the message. Back off!! It is a shame, but we will respect their wishes. This brings up the question of how far can you go when researching your family?

Every family has problems and eventually you will be faced with them in your research. The skeletons in your family unfortunately leave the most records. Do you expose them or do you just pass over them with basic vital records like they had no "dash"? I guess it depends on whether or not you feel threatened. I know someone who was researching my mother's family who was threatened and dropped her research. 

We don't think of genealogy as a dangerous hobby or profession, but some times it can be. When you are threatened, or when you are asked to leave a cemetery and followed to make sure you do, or when the staff or maintenance workers at a cemetery clam up and refuse to talk about their "guests" it is time to drop that research and move on.

Will that family ever be found? Perhaps. As we move from generation to generation and further away from the problem memories fade. What once was a disgrace no longer seems so bad. Maybe a few years down the road this fascinating group of people will be the subject of may lectures. As for right now, I don't think so.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ohio Tax Holiday Weekend

Just a reminder to all Ohio genealogists looking for "school supplies." September always seems like the beginning of genealogy season to me. Most groups take the summer months off so members can travel to places their ancestors lived, attend conferences, and visit repositories. So now it it time to get back to school (because we are always learning something new in the world of family research).

This weekend in Ohio all items that qualify as something needed for school are tax free. No customer will pay state or county taxes. And don't forget to hunt for coupons before you go.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

To my great grandaughter - The glass ceiling has been broken; the sky is the limit!

On June 24, I became a great-grandmother. I felt so lucky and so blessed that I was able to see the beginning of a new generation in my family. It was a rather strange feeling. It felt like a new beginning in my life and I couldn't stop smiling. As a mother in labor, you pray to see your child born. At that moment when you see your child, you see the next generation but you don't think about that. 

You don't think about generations to come, even if you are a genealogist.

And it takes years before you start to think about the possibility of grandchildren. Some moms don't want that day to come. They will be perceived as old. Some can't wait, regardless of their age. And there are ways to get around the problem of being called grandmother. You can make up a name like nana, mawma, and a hundred other things I have heard. But when the fog of birth disappears you are still grandma.

It is crazy but I don't have any friends who object to being called great-grandmother. It is like a badge of honor. 

A few days after my great-granddaughter was born I was getting ready to meet up with friends at a local Mexican restaurant. I caught my reflection in the mirror. I sure didn't look like a great grandmother. As I drove down Crissy Road on my way to Loma Lindas I thought about my own great grandmothers. Should I look like them? No way! And then I started thinking about all the differences between all of us.

All of my great grandmothers wore long skirts. The had long hair. And they were all different. One was a pioneer in the Great Black Swamp. Another immigrated from Prussia. Yet another was an abolitionist and had three sons who made it home from the Civil War. The last died young and never got to see her young children live to adulthood, let alone see her own grandchildren.

And here I was off to celebrate with the girls (other grandmothers) at the local Mexican Restaurant. No horse and buggy. No restrictions. No one looking down their noses at us. 

If we wanted to we could party like it is 1999. I doubt that Grandma Perkins or Grandma Rochte could have partied like it was 1899. Although from what i have heard Grandma Rochte might have tried. She was a neat lady. 

My great grandmothers did not have the right to vote. But my great granddaughter has the right to be President of the United States of America.

End of discussion.  


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Frugal Tips!

It is Father's Day in a little more than a week. That, of course, means bargains and savings that will benefit the genealogist. - 10% off on DNA kit for Dad. $89.00 

And my favorite - Kroger. 4X fuel points on gift cards. 
  If you are going to a conference this summer or planning a research trip these gift card specials can help your budget in many ways. Purchase the cards you will need for your trip. Save money on gas with the extra fuel points.

And let's not forget - Back to school coupons! are only a couple of months away. Genealogists still use school supplies and this is your chance to stock up. 
Great prices on supplies and coupons in the Sunday inserts. 


Oh dear, where has the time gone. Half way through the year already? So what makes time fly by so quickly? 

Well, my own research, of course. And then there is helping other people break down brick walls. And lets not forget those newbies to genealogy research. They need to be nurtured and encouraged. That is so important. 

And then there is that conversation during dinner. Someone innocently mentions something about a great-grandparent with an "interesting" past and you can't wait to get home and dive into ancestry and family search. 

Or you find an old yearbook while volunteering at the library and it opens up a whole new research opportunity. 

I have come to the conclusion that genealogy never gets old. Even though technically it really is older than dirt. 

Hundreds of years of research. 

Thousands of people to meet.

Millions of memories to discover.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

So many lectures; so little time!

You have received your syllabus for the OGS conference  and you are trying to figure out how to be in two or more places at once. Not a problem. Relax. There are solutions. 

If this is your first conference, you will want to see, hear, attend, and buy everything. Three and a half days of lectures, shopping, banquets, networking. Unless someone came with you to drive you home after the conference you cannot possibly do everything. I literally walked the soles of my shoes off at a conference in Cincinnati. I am sure I left a sole train (sort of like Hansel and Gretel) everywhere I went. I pitched the shoes in a trash bin on I-75 on my way home. I probably should have brought them home and buried them in the back yard as a tribute to my ancestors.

So what do you do? Pace yourself, pick and choose. This is where your syllabus comes in. You will see that there are five lectures scheduled for every time period, and you can only physically attend ONE. Chances are that you will not want to attend all five. Maybe two or three. You want to look in your syllabus for the handout that goes with each lecture. There will always be some that will give you the basic information you need. The process of elimination will take you to the lecture you need to attend.  

As for banquets and events, once again pick and choose. Pace yourself. Remember that a conference can become a four day marathon if you are not careful. There will be other conferences so don't try to attend every lineage society banquet. But, do attend the society luncheon and business meeting. 

As for over-shopping in the Exhibit Hall see the previous post. 



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tracking Your Ancestors at Great Wolf Lodge.

The time is almost here for the annual Ohio Genealogical Society Conference. This year the event will be held at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, on 28-30 April 2016 with per-conference workshops on Wednesday, April 27. Remember to register by April 18.

I went back through some of my original posts about attending a conference in the Cincinnati area. Since this is the land of many of my ancestors, I have spent a lot time in Clermont and Hamilton Counties. There are so many tips that I can not include all of them. I would suggest you go back to the beginning of this blog when I attended my first NGS Conference in Cinci. 

Take a trip along the Ohio River on Route 52. It is a beautiful drive and the view of Kentucky is breath taking. Since it is a fairly long drive, you might want to add another day to your trip, but it will be worth it.

Kroger Fuel Points save gas money. Another $$ saving tip is share a room or transportation. Bring your own drinks, snacks, breakfast. Especially breakfast - it saves a lot of time in the morning. See exhibit hall $$ tips below.

You are going to walk a lot.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. This is not a runway fashion show. Rest, pace yourself. You will get tired. Wear your fit bit and chalk up the steps! 

Don't forget that cellphone.  Turn if off in the lecture room unless you like to call attention to yourself. Don't take pictures with it. What is on the screen belongs to the speaker. 

Expressway traffic in Cincinnati can be crazy. NASCAR comes to mind. 

Good Morning Cincinnati! Channel 12. Bob Herzog. Unfortunately due to time and expense Dance Party  Friday is not a weekly thing any more. However, you might want to check this out just in case. If conference is not a good time to catch Bob singing the weather, you can still watch Just Don't Go on you tube. It is the famous musical advice for bad weather in Cinci.

Exhibit Hall. This is the place where you will be encouraged to spend a lot of $$$! My advice is - don't buy anything during your first trip to the exhibit hall. Instead make a wish list. And leave. This will prevent compulsive buying. Go over your list in the safety of your room and select what you really need. Go back to the hall with a shopping list and just buy what is on the list. 

Conference Overload. This is what happens when you don't follow the exhibit hall advice above. Elevators stop between floors at genealogy conferences. The main reason is genealogists with books. Too many books! I've been there; I have even caused it to happen. It can be embarrassing. Another result of conference overload is multiple trips to your car when you are packing to go home. That could also involve an elevator emergency. 

Experience Cincinnati  cuisine. Try the chili. Dive into some Graeter's ice cream, and definitely get a bag of those little bombs of indigestion, White Castle. Just don't do it all on the same day. 

And remember, especially if this is your first conference. Learn. Network. Shop. Have fun!! 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Scandal on Who Do You Think You Are tonight!

Two actors from the television series Scandal will be featured tonight on Who Do You Think You Are. One of the things I love about this show is that past episodes also run during the current season. Tonight two actors from Scandal will air on TLC.

At 8/7c, Tony Goldwyn will discover his mother's side of the family and his ancestors' involvement in civil rights activism. He also finds an advocate for westward expansion. 

At 9/8c, a new episode will feature Scott Foley. The preview sounds extremely interesting. Scott will find an ancestor with a link to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Then he will travel further back in his family history to the Salem Witch Trials. Sounds like we will be going to Massachusetts and Washington DC. And possibly find a parking spot right in front of the DAR Constitution Hall.

Get your WDYTYA bingo cards ready! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are off to a good start in the new season!

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are is off to a good start. I did play the Bingo game and filled many of the squares, but not 5 in a row. There are squares that you can absolutely count on -  "researcher uses", "celebrities says they are traveling to ....", and my personal favorite "there is an open parking space in front of the archive". If you have never played this, you need to get your WDYTYA bingo card.

Before I watched the new season premiere, I watched a couple of former episodes, Bryan Cranston and JK Rowlings. They were similar in the sense that they illustrated how families seem to follow patterns. In Bryan's case the men deserted their families. In JK's family the women were single mothers. As Bryan Cranston put it, the men in his family "were born with suitcases in their hands." In Rowlings case, her 2X great grandmother successfully overcame many obstacles in her life, as did Rowlings herself. Think Harry Potter!

Is there something in the family DNA or do they just pass habits from branch to branch on the family tree. Probably a little bit of both. When you really start looking into the "dash" of a person's life you can get a feeling for the family values that are passed from generation to generation. Or not!

I found that I related to JK Rowlings more because her family, as well as a branch of mine, was from the Alsace Lorraine area. I also picked up an important bit of information that applied to my own research and might help me understand why my grandmother's family left Prussia. This is a perk of this show - getting a hint, or as Ancestry likes to call it - a leaf.

In the first episode of the new season, Aisha Tyler, discovered the dash of her 2X great grandfather. When she first found him in the census records he was a 5 year old living in a boarding house. He came to Oberlin, Ohio, with his mother and brother, who eventually died, leaving him alone. He was more than likely born a slave. Records indicate that his father, John Hancock, a Congressman and white supremacist watched over him and his family to a certain extent. 

This was finally a life story of someone who overcame his beginnings and his father's lack of values. Hugh Berry Hancock eventually became a Republican delegate to the convention that nominated McKinley for President. And his home is now a historical landmark in Texas. Aisha must be very proud.

These three episodes of WDYTYA illustrate how good and bad is passed along the family tree. The mysteries, the folk lore, the traditions, the habits. Have you ever looked at a picture of an ancestor and seen yourself? And then, wondered - am I like that person or do I just look like her?                               


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Genealogy is the never ending story with never ending records!

Genealogical research never gets to a point where you can say,"And they lived happily every after."  That only happens in fairy tales. In the real world life goes on. And on, and on, and  on! And records are created over and over and over. 

Do you really think that our ancestors had us in mind when they created the records we use today to find them? No, of course not. Do you think that that they  ever imagined that we would come looking for them? Did they care? Probably not. They were  too busy trying to stay alive. By staying alive I mean providing a safe place of shelter for themselves and their children. And occasionally in the process, they created records.  

Have you ever wondered if you could have survived in the world of our early ancestors? Could you set out for the unknown with just the possessions that would fit into a covered wagon. Travel through dense forests and mountain terrain? And in the case of northwest Ohio, through the Great Black Swamp. I can honestly say I don't think I would last a day! And I would have created very few records!

One branch of my family tree crossed the Ohio River shortly after the Treaty of Greenville was signed in 1795. At first they lived on the river bank and later moved inland to where the town of Amelia now sits in Clermont County, Ohio.
Within a few years my 3X great grandfather was killed by a falling tree leaving his widow and his young children to survive. As a result land, death, church and guardianship records were created. And a will was recorded.

When you read the history of that area one thing that stands out is the number of people who didn't survive. A birth record could, and many times did, create other records. And once again survival was involved. Many women did not survive childbirth. A death record of some sort was created. The child may have also died creating another record. Eventually most men remarried. Another record! The family would change on the next census with people missing and people added.

When a family moved to a new frontier, land records and tax records were created. The location of census records changed. Children were born and grew up creating school records and eventually marriage records. And the cycle of life's records  moved on. 

Day to day living on the frontier was a matter of survival. The husband left the homestead in search of wild game. Would he return? And when he returned would his family still be there to welcome him home? Wild animals, Indians, weather, highwaymen affected the lives of the early pioneers. And more records were created. 

Since these records were not created by our ancestors as a genealogy research source for their descendants, what was the purpose? Who really cared? The government! The government wasn't nosy. It just needed to count, tax, and represent our ancestors. There are reasons for all those little boxes on the census forms. The fact that these records are great sources of information for genealogists is purely coincidental. Every minute of everyday new records are created.

I have seen this statement many times - "When looking at a record you need to know why the record was created." I suppose that could be true. I prefer to look at an ancestor's life and ask "What records could they have created because of what was happening to them?" Be a detective. Look for the clues. The clues are the records that your ancestor might have created.