Saturday, May 31, 2014

Volunteer for Find a Grave

Are you a volunteer for Find A Grave? Today in my email inbox I got a request to take a photograph of a gravestone in a graveyard close by my house. The requests do not come that often but when they do I always get excited to help another fellow genealogist or family historian.

If you have not set up your Find A Grave account to be a volunteer it's quite simple. Go to your Profile Page. If you don't know how to get to your profile page then look on the homepage and in the far right corner when you are logged in you will see your name. Click on your name and it will take you to your profile page.

Once you get to your profile page click on the tab Contributor Tools. There you will see a box labeled Photo Volunteer. There are two choices. You can either request near your home which you put in your local zip code (that is what we call it here in America) location or request near your current location.

With the new Find A Grave App on your smart phone this is a great option. When you're at a cemetery let's say on vacation you just open your Find A Grave App then click local cemetery and then check to see if there are any photo requests. If there are just go take a picture and then upload. What's great about this is you get credit for that photo request and the good feeling of knowing you helped someone and hopefully someday someone will help you when you need a photo request. I think they call that good karma but I call it loving your neighbor as yourself.

If you are already Photo Volunteer I'd love to hear about some of your adventures. Please click on the comment link and tell me all about it. Thanks.

Until next time, happy hunting!

Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Simple Steps to Organize Your Genealogy in a 3 Ring Binder

picture from Bowl Full of Lemons website

Wouldn't you love to be this organized! I was on Pinterest the other day and I saw this beautifully organized family history center. When I saw the three ring binders I thought that's what I want my genealogy organization to look like. I know it's going to take some time because I have a lot of information to organize. I know I cannot organize everything at once so I've decided to start with the McIntire's

My goal is to write a family history on my McIntire's so now is the time to get all the stuff I have accumulated on them organized.

I have my research spread out all over the place: on the computer, file drawers and boxes. Just everywhere! I have two family trees for the McIntire's. I have Family Tree Maker which is on my computer hard drive and I also have an tree. I have photo files of the McIntire's and I have document files for the McIntire's. Some of them are on my hard drive and others are in my file folders.

So it's time to get all the stuff organized!

First I got a three ring binder with dividers. Dividers now come larger than usual so that they stick out beyond page protectors. I love them.

Second I labeled the dividers with the heads of the household starting with my first male McIntire who is Charles J McIntire.

Third I placed the family tree of the McIntire's (the pedigree chart) in the front of the binder.

Forth the first thing in each person's tab is their family group sheet.

Finally I'm going through all of my records and putting them in page protectors and then inserting them behind the correct male McIntire. If a record is only in digital form I am printing it out including photos.
Hopefully when I have this all done I will have a better understanding of what information still needs researching and then ultimately I will be able to write that family history book!

Do you organize with 3 ring binders?  I would love to hear what you have to say about them.  Just let me know in the comment box below.  Thanks.

Until next time, happy hunting!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mount Olivet Cemetery 2014 Memorial Day Service

Each year I attend the Memorial Day Service at the Mount Olivet Cemetery with my chapter of  the Daughters of the American Revolution.  It is always a beautiful and moving service  It is also usually held outside next to the Dough Boy and GI statues in the center of the cemetery.  This year however it was held inside in the chapel because of the threat of a terrible thunderstorm.  Welcome to Texas.

I always love the presenting of the colors followed by the singing of our national anthem.

The service is like most with an invocation and welcome then the Mayor of Fort Worth presented the Certificate of Appreciation and Proclamation to the cemetery director.  This was followed by a beautiful arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic sang by the choir from First Christian Church of Fort Worth.

And before the placing of the wreaths Captain Gilbert Miller, Commander NAS Fort Worth JRB gave the keynote address.

I grew up in Fort Worth as did most of those in attendance and we will always think of the Navel Air Station and Joint Reserve Base as our beloved Carswell Air Force Base.  Capt. Miller retold the story of Major Horace Carswell who the base was named after.  A native of Fort Worth and graduate of Texas Christian University, Carswell died 26 October 1944 while on a single-aircraft night mission against a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea.

He elected to make a second low-level run over a thoroughly alerted convoy and scored two direct hits on a large tanker. His co-pilot was wounded, and his aircraft had two engines knocked out, a third damaged, the hydraulic system damaged, and a fuel tank punctured. He managed to gain enough altitude to reach land, where he ordered the crew to bail out. Eight did, but the bombardier's parachute was too badly damaged to use. Instead of bailing out, Carswell stayed with the bombardier and the wounded co-pilot, and attempted a crash landing. The badly damaged aircraft crashed against a mountain, and all three aboard were killed. *

Our speaker then told us a second story and that was of his friend and comrade, Aaron Cranford that died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.  And ever since that day thousands have died fighting for our freedom and protection.

That is what today is all about, remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Capt. Miller also encouraged those who have stories to tell them so they won't be forgotten.  The children need to know who the real hero are and it our responsibility to tell them.

At the end of the service several Veterans and Patriotic organizations come forward and place of memorial wreath in honor of our fallen vets.

And then my favorite part, the bagpipes.

And finally the 21 gun salute and Taps, the benediction, retreat, retiring of colors and adjournment.  It really is a beautiful service and I love going every year.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

World War II and my Great Grand Uncle Frederick Martin Jr

"The greatest casualty is being forgotten"

I'm not sure who said that but I always hear it this time of year.  Memorial Day Weekend.  A three day weekend that kicks off the summer for some, a day of sorrow and pain for others.  This Memorial Weekend I want to add to my already annual Memorial Day service at the local cemetery by writing about one of my ancestral veterans and I've chosen the one that I know actually died while serving this great country.  He is of the Greatest generation and the one my father is named after.

Frederick Joseph Martin Jr

Born 1908 Brooklyn, NY
Died 26 Oct 1944 Germany

I actually don't know much about him but that he died in Germany during WWII.  I called my dad today to ask what else he knows and he informed me that "Uncle Freddie" was exhumed from France and brought home where he rests in Quincy, MA today.  I tried to find him on Find A Grave and Fold3 but no luck.  Dad did know that Uncle Freddie's son-in-law is still alive and suggested I call him.  I got the answering machine, left a message and hope to hear from him soon.

I would love to know who he fought under and what other battles he was involved in.  To be honest I don't really know that much about WWII, just the basics.  So I have made a vow to myself,  for the memory of my great grand uncle to learn the history of WWII and never forget those who gave all.

I do know a little about him but like I said not much.  I know that he is my paternal grandmother's brother.  I am named after his mother Victoria Lindstrom Martin.  He was married to Alice Marchand and left behind a little girl named Karin.

In the last course I took on the basics of genealogical research I learned a lot about family interviews.  I look forward to talking to Uncle Freddie's son-in-law. But until then...

Thank you Uncle Freddie.  You would never believe what America is like today.  Some say great some say a shame.  I say I'd be speaking Germany if it wasn't for you.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

American Genealogical Studies: The Basics

I have taken another step on my journey to becoming a certified genealogist.  I completed my my first course in the National Genealogical Society's Home Study.

In this beginner's course I got a great overview of :

Family Groupsheets and Pedigree Charts
What is involved in Creating a Research Plan
How to cite Home Sources
Whether a family story is a Theory or Hypothesis
Help with Interviewing Relatives
Connecting with Social Media

Citing a Source is my biggest challenge and so I've ordered my next course called Guide to Documentation and Source Citations

Until next time, happy hunting!

Monday, May 19, 2014

My First National Genealogical Society Online Course

So I am using the Board of Certified Genealogists educational preparations suggestion and signed up for the first course at NGS called The Basics.  Wow its amazing how much I thought I knew until I started taking the quizzes.  As I was reading the material I was thinking to myself "oh I know that, I know that"  But when I started the quiz I realized I should have paid more attention.  They ask very detailed questions.  However they give you multiple tries to take the quizzes.  I have passed the 5 quizzes I've taken so far.  There are 7 total in this first course.  It is a great course to firm up your foundation in family history research.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about family research whether they want to get certified or not.

Until next time, happy hunting!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday ScanDay May 18

There is a facebook group called Sunday Scanday created by Caroline Marshall Pointer author of the blog Each Sunday she creates an event on her group page and we all join in for an hour of scanning.  The consistency of an event like this is great to get those endless piles of old family photos, letters or proofs scanned that you have been meaning to get around to.

My grandfather, James Newport King of Portsmouth, VA wrote to my grandmother Thelma Foster almost everyday and sometimes twice a day when he was on business trips back in the 1920's.  I had put these letters in page protectors years ago but now I'd like to have digital copies so my brothers and sister can have copies of the letters too.

James Newport King
b. 19 Feb 1896 d. 7 Dec 1958
Portsmouth, VA

Friday, May 16, 2014

Manchester, NH keeps changing its name.

So it all started with me browsing the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (because that is what you do when you want to prepare for Professional Genealogy Certification).  Well, I stumbled across an article titled "David Dickey of New Hampshire, Nova Scotia, and Maine" by Ellen J O'Flaherty and thought to myself "that's my guy!"  and so I started reading.  Well as I started matching up the names in the article to the names on my tree things started going awry.   At which point I thought well maybe I had some mistakes in my tree and pulled out all my documents to double check. That is when I noticed the name of the town or what I thought were different towns.  Well when in doubt "GOOGLE"  I googled Derryfield, NH and low and behold it is also Manchester, NH and as I read more I came to find out it is also Nutfield, NH.  No wonder I could not get my tree straightened out.

This is what I found out at Manchester, Hillsborough Co, NH History and Genealogy at

A Timeline of the name:

Namoskeag "good fishing place" Pennacook Indian name
Nutfield - 1719
Londonderry - 1722
Old Harry's Town - 1722
Tyngstown - 1727
Wilton, Maine - 1741
Derryfield - 1751
Manchester - 1810

Lesson learned?  You must know your geography and name changes when researching your ancestors. Yes, my 5th great grandfather was born in Manchester, NH however he called it Derryfield.

Until next time, happy hunting!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Don't Be Afraid of Your Local Family History Center

picture from Columbia, MS Family History Center

I was told when I first started doing family research that the Church of Later Days Saints had genealogy libraries all over the United States.  I thought how wonderful but I'm not going in there by myself!  So years went by and then when I got married to another genealogy addict he suggested we go see what it was all about.  That was some 10 years ago.  The closest library which is called a Family History Center was only 10 minutes away but when we arrived we discovered a small room with just a few microfilm readers and a volunteer to answer our questions.  Back then in order to have a microfilm sent from Salt Lake City you had to sit in the little room and go through catalogs to find what you wanted.  It was all a little overwhelming and we didn't go back.

picture from Greenville, SC Family History Center

Well things are a lot different now.  First of all the Catalog is now online at and you can browse it at will in the comfort of your own home in your pajammies and fluffy slippers even!  You also order the films you want to view from your home too.

picture from Fabulous after 40

So my husband and I decided to try again.  We found some microfilm we would like to see that we could not get from our own library or through interlibrary loans.  It cost us $7 for each film using our PayPal account.  We were emailed about two weeks later letting us know the films had arrived at the Family History Center close to our home.  Every Family History Center is different as far as size and hours of operation are concerned and ours is only available Wednesday days and Thursday evenings.  So on the next Thursday we went to the center and searched our little hearts out.  The films will stay at the center for about a month and then we have the option to renew then or have them sent back.  The cool thing about the renewal is that it will stay at our Family History Center until another patron requests it which could be indefinitely.

So don't be afraid of using this wonderful source of invaluable materials.  The volunteer at our center was so kind and helpful.  I can't believe I waited so long to try it out.

Do you have experience with your local Family History Center?   I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until next time, happy hunting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Association of Professional Genealogists

I joined today.  I am not actually a professional yet.  I don't take money for work but I want to be a part of the community so when I do start taking clients I'll be all set up. I joined as a subscriber and not a professional,  I also updated my LinkedIn account and I'm reading Google+ for Dummies.  There is just so much to learn about becoming a professional genealogist as well as all the things  in today's business world.

This is my journey to becoming a professional genealogist and I took another step today.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Building My Blog

So this blogging thing is not too bad.  I thought at first I would never be able to keep up with it however I found another blogger that recorded her way through a book on how to build a better blog and it is helping me too.  Tonia at Tonia's Roots started a series called "31 Weeks to Build a Better Genealogy Blog".  She implemented the ideas from Problogger's 31 Days to Build a Blog, with a genealogy twist.  I love it.

I am on Day 4 and my assignment is to analyze a successful blog in my niche.  I've decided to analyze Tonia's Blog.

In Tonia's blog I find content about her family, DNA, Evidence, Military, Brick Walls, Research and Technology.  These are her categories listed on the side.  I do not see a category for historic events or lineage societies which are things I'm interested in but that won't deter me though from reading her blog regularly. I also do not see a list of blogs she follows.

Tonia writes in first person with a story telling style.  It's like we are sitting at the kitchen table and she is showing me what she has found.  Her blog is not one of those mega blogs with thousand of followers but she has been doing this a while and it shows in her professionalism.

As I read her posts I notice that most people make comments when she shares something she has recently found but there are not very many comments if any on her personal family stories.  Most of her followers just "like" the post on facebook or tweet about it.

I like the clean and neatly organized look of her blog.  It is very easy to find her content links however her tabs cloud is no fun to look through.  Her subscribe buttons are easy to find at the top but there is not one for Pinterest.  And I love blogs with "Search this Blog" options especially when there are thousand of posts.  She does not have any advertising on her blog but does have 3 affiliates at bottom in her footer.  I get the impression she is not interested in making money from her blog which is just fine with me.

Now that I have done the exercise I have a much better idea of what I would like my blog to be like.  I would like tabs at the top for my main categories of interest and I would like people to find my surnames more easily.  Eventually I would like to promote my professional genealogy business with it but I'm not there yet.

Thank you Tonia.  Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Until next time, happy hunting!

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Journey to Becoming a Professional Genealogist

With any journey there are a few things I need to do before heading out, like knowing where I am going and what to take with me.

First I need to decide where I am going.  In other words I need a business plan.  Being a former middle school math teacher I'm not quite sure what that means.  Thankfully there are plenty of websites to help me work that out.

Making A Living from Genealogy
You Want to Start a Genealogy Business
How to Write a Small Business Plan

Second I need to pack a few things to take with me.  This list seems to get longer and longer.  My first item though is education.  I have signed up to take classes on line to not only further my knowledge in better genealogy research skills but also in becoming a better business woman.  Another thing I have packed is memberships to several Genealogy Societies and Research Websites such as

American Ancestors
The National Genealogical Society
Genealogy Bank
Fold 3

These are just a few.  It can get kind of expensive but remember the old saying "you have to spend money to make money"  These membership fees and dues are an investment to better myself as a genealogist.

This is just the beginning.  I hope you follow me as I share my adventure.  If you sign up by email in the top right hand corner of this blog you will be notified by email each time I submit a new post.

Hope to see you in the comments section.
Until next time, happy hunting.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

5 Important Things to Remember When Filling Out Your DAR application.

So you have been invited to join Daughters of the American Revolution but you are not sure what is involved or what you need to do.  First of all congratulations!  DAR is not just a lineage society.  It is an organization that started over one hundred years ago to honor and preserve the legacy of our American patriots.  Today we continue this legacy by actively supporting historic preservation, promotion of education and patriotic endeavors.  But before you can join you must prove you are a direct descendant of an American patriot.

Upon your initial invitation you will receive a worksheet and booklet giving you all the instructions to complete your application.  However it is all kind of overwhelming if you have not done any genealogy before.  So here is a quick short list to help you get started.

1 Write down everything you already know.  You are the first generation on the worksheet.  Write down your birthday and place of birth and if you are married include your husband's information. Continue with your parents and then your grandparents.  Continue through the generations until you reach your patriot.

2 Ask your family (mother, father, aunt, grandmother, cousin) They are the most logical ones to help you fill in any missing blanks you may have. Don't forget to ask them if they know anyone else in the family that might know some of the answers too.  You never know mother may have a crazy aunt who loves genealogy!

3 You must have proof.  Just because mom says it's true doesn't make it so with the verification committee in Washington DC.  You need to not only prove where your different relatives were born and died but you also need to prove how the different generations are connected.  Most of the time it only takes a birth certificate, death certificate and marriage licence however if those are not available you can use other sources such as US census records, wills, land deeds or any other document that is on the approved sources list.

4 If you need help, please ask.  Each DAR chapter has a lineage research committee whose sole purpose is to help potential member fill out their application.  They won't do the work but can lead you in the right direction to get those proofs.  With today's technology a lot of these proof records can be found online and a member of the committee can help you search that way too.

5 Be mindful of the time. Once you have been invited to join DAR the National Society allow two years to complete an application.  However a time extension of one year may be granted if the applicant requests it.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has a wonderful website too with a lot of answers to help with the application process.  You can find their site HERE.

Again congratulation on deciding to join one of the greatest patriot societies ever!

Until next time, happy hunting!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Baron von Steuben, Valley Forge and my ancestor John Koen of Pasquotank, NC

Patriot Profiles- John Koen

My favorite magazine came today!

American Spirit is published by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  In each issue there are wonderfully written articles covering such subjects as American history, historic preservation, patriotism, genealogy and education.   And this month there is an article that pertains to one of my patriots, John Koen of Pasquotank, NC.

Walter, Jeff “Building a Better Army; Baron von Steuben’s military expertise helped turn the tide of the Revolution.” American Spirit. May/June 2014: Pages 44-46

The three page article gives background on the military veteran of the Seven Years War in Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben and how he received specialized training from King Frederick II’s personal class on warfare and leadership.  It tells of how this veteran Baron von Steuben went from a privileged elite officer of Prussia to a soldier of fortune enlisting as a volunteer in the Continental Army.   Steuben arrived near the end of that brutal winter of 1778 that had taken its toll on Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, PA.

My patriot John Koen had enlisted under Col Abraham Shepherd’s 10th NC regiment July 1777 and was at Valley Forge that entire winter.  The article goes on to say by the end of February 2,500 had died of starvation, disease or exposure and how the survivors though they had spirit and potential they were severely lacking in discipline and military training.  As temporary inspector general it was von Stueben’s job to get them ready for battle.  He was an “in your face” kind of man that these soldiers were not used to but listened to and respected none the less.   First however the camp had to be cleaned up with actual latrines and placing the kitchen on the opposite end of camp for sanitation purposes.   Drilling began with just a few of the men then as those mastered the military tactics they in turn each trained a small group until the skills spread to the entire Continental Army.    I can only image the hope and excitement my ancestor, John Koen along with the rest of the army felt as the proudly paraded May 6, 1778 to celebrate France’s alliance with America and demonstrated their newly honed military skills they had just mastered  over the last few months. 

My ancestor went on to fight in many battles after this including Monmouth, White Plains, and Charleston where he was taken prisoner.  He was then exchanged July 1782 and was marched to Richmond where he was discharged and went home.  I look forward to reading about these battles and more as I learn not only about their experiences but get a better understanding of what made them who they were and in turn a glimpse into whom I am as well.

Being a genealogist and keeper of the family history I enjoy reading about events that I know my ancestors were involved in.  It really makes history come alive.  Do you have an ancestor that was camped at Valley Forge?  I would love to hear your story.  Just click the word comments below and leave me a message.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Is There a Witch in My Family Tree?

One reason I love is the "Shaking Leaf"  feature. Well actually like most I have a love-hate relationship with Ancestry's "leaves"  But sometimes they really do help direct you to some great leads.

So last night I was going through some of my 18th century ancestors looking for new "leaves" and I came across one that said Salem Witches!  Oh how cool to be a direct descendant  of a notable ancestor with involvement in a key event in early American history.  Well like I said the "leaf" is just a hint, not a fact so I started doing a little verifying of facts.  Well I'm starting to think that my Abigail who married Anthony Bennett is less likely than not to be Abigail Somes of the Salem witch trials of 1692.  But I'm not giving up yet. More research must be done.

Here is what I have learned

Anthony Bennett of Gloucester married Abigail ___ 12 Nov 1678 MA Vital Records

C Wain of Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts writes this about his research

Notes for Abigail Somes:
The connection of Anthony Bennett to Abigail Somes, daughter of Morris Somes born 1655 is very tempting- she is not accounted for by either marriage or death otherwise in my records, and her age is perfect.  While some researchers have made that assumption, none has a source citation or made any argument that Anthony Bennett’s wife was indeed a Somes.  A review of many reference texts indicates there are no scholars or recognized genealogists who are ready to make this connection.
The primary reason is that an Abigail Somes of Salem, late of Gloucester, singlewoman, was indicted as a witch and imprisoned in 1692 (check this record from Suffolk County Court Records ).
This individual apparently died unmarried in 1733.
Babson assumes this person to be the daughter of Timothy Somes of Gloucester (History of Gloucester, p 211).  , but I am not so sure.  Abigail, daughter of Morris would have been about 37 years old and unmarried, a prime profile of an accused witch and I have seen no record of another Abigail in Gloucester or Salem who fits as well.
He is right about the ages of the all other Abigail Somes however she might not be a Somes there are two other Abigails, a Coe and Doll born around the same time.  I will need to do a little more research.

Until next time, don't give up and Happy Hunting!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Daughters of the American Revolution Awards Luncheon

Hats off to our ladies for the hard work they have done this year!  I so love my sisters in the Mary Isham Kieth chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Everyone gives 100% and is so enthusiastic  in everything they do.  And it shows with all the recognition we received at the state conference that was held back in March.  So many as a matter of fact that the awards luncheon committee decided to have a pamphlet at our place setting that listed all the awards and achievements  instead of having everyone stand for recognition.  Some of us however were verbally recognized.  We are the lineage research committee and for the year May 2013- May 2014 we have had 29 new members verified increasing our membership by 10%!  That's me second from the left.

I really enjoy helping others find their ancestors.  The more I do the more I learn which in turn helps me find more of my ancestors.  I love it.

Are you a member of DAR?  I would love to hear what your chapter is doing.  Just leave a comment in the box below.

Until next time, happy hunting