Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas! DAR and Letters

I visited my grandmother a few days before Christmas and she gave me a letter and two sets of Daughters of the American Revolution documents to keep. The letter was one her own grandmother wrote to her right before she got married. It details our family tree back multiple generations and confirms much of the research I have done on my own. I even learned a few middle names that I never would have uncovered otherwise.

The DAR applications she gave me were her own and her mother's. I'm not sure if they will be helpful in straightening out the DAR issue I wrote about here, but either way it is neat to have copies of them.

Also, I mentioned that I received my 23andMe testing kit a few days ago! I will make an entry specifically about that when I have some free time in the next few days.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Receive, spit, send back

I received my 23andMe testing kit today (ok, fine...yesterday since it is after midnight)! My sample is already on its way to the lab.

More thoughts on this soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

23andMe on the move

My 23andMe testing kit left the USPS facility in Oakland, CA today!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On this day...

Today is December 19th and my family tree contains two deaths.

On this date in 1899 my 3rd cousin 3x removed died and in 1933 the husband of my 1st cousin 4x removed did.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

3 and 365

3 is the number of hours I spent in a cemetery on this lovely warm afternoon.
365 is the number of photos I took.

I'll post my favorites soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Genealogy Kindle Books for under $5! (part one)

Earlier today I wrote a post about my frugal start into genealogy. Continuing with this are links to very inexpensive kindle books on a variety of family history topics you may find interesting!

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More coming soon...

My frugal entrance into genenalogy

I became interested in genealogy while I was still a student. Living in a little 10th floor apartment I spent many hours gazing at the skyline to rest my eyes from the strain of writing a thesis (and, of course, exploring my family history). To say my financial means to delve into the world of genealogy were modest is an understatement. I am a frugal person and I was hesitant to immediately purchase a membership to any of the online genealogical resources. (What if I don't find anything?!) I think I waited nearly 18 months and then my grandmother gave me a gift membership to

Online Memberships (you don't always have to pay right away!)
During that initial 18 months I gathered a lot of information (Ok, not finding anything seems doubtful now...). Some of it was handed to me in the form of stories, old photographs, and already completed research. The rest was the result of what I like to call 'frugal detective work' and building a base to explore from.

Ancestry allows non-subscribers to search and see some of the information contained in a record. For example, right now I have let my membership lapse while I physically move myself and then spend some time organizing what I already know (then I will be back!). As a guest I am able to search for one Nancy Williams and see that she appears on the 1880 census. I can also see her age, approximate birth year, birthplace, home in 1880, race, gender, relationship to the head of household, marital status, spouse's name, father's birthplace, mother's birthplace, and the names & ages of other people in her household. Not too shabby!

Documentation is an essential part of genealogy, so the major downfall to this type of research is you don't have the ability to examine the actual document that is supplying the above information. There may be transcription errors...and plain old errors...and you may not catch them. Another drawback is you don't have the benefit of viewing other information such as your ancestor's address. I had no idea until I was perusing my grandfather's childhood neighbors that he lived next door to his own grandparents in 1920. This also helped me pinpoint how old other family members were. I have also been able to take census addresses and locate residences that are still in existence many many many years later (see my blogger and twitter icon for an example!).

Genealogy books can be expensive. I have my eye on one that is hundreds of dollars and I doubt I will ever see a copy of it. Over the last few months I have discovered the wonderful world of free and cheap Kindle books. I am working on a future post that organizes the ones that I have found that are under $5. So far, I have really enjoyed the ones I downloaded and since you don't need a Kindle to read them I think many people would find them interesting.

[Another frugal tip - I often purchase my Kindle books with gift cards I earn from swagbucks which makes many of them free. If you want to learn more about that you can use my link to their website here or go directly to].

Social Networking
Twitter is also a great free resource. In the few months I have been using my account I have made numerous new friends! Reading other blogs and learning about how other people organize their searches can be very helpful - especially for newer genealogists. Who knew the genealogy blogging community was so vibrant?! This afternoon I also starting searching YouTube for ideas and to meet other family historians.

Ever since the internet entered my life (was that 1998?) I have enjoyed reading forums - about sports, animals, careers, schools, movies, travel, photography...and genealogy! In addition to the forums I also joined's Gen Forum as I began my research. The message boards are searchable by last name, geography, and other topics.

I have had mixed luck with these types of ventures. Some of 'my names' seem to be interesting to a lot of other researchers (fun!) and with other names I question whether or not I am the only person in the entire world looking for information (not as fun!). Either way, I like getting emails from the forum when other people add to discussions I have participated in.

I love hearing other tips for making genealogy a cost effective hobby so please feel free to share your own!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Time to take a step back and organize what I have.

Yesterday while visiting the Hollywood Cemetery my friend and I started talking about the Daughters of the American Revolution and how we are both eligible to become members.

I came home last night to look up the information that my grandmother, great aunt, and great grandmother had used to join back in the 1950s. I was disappointed to see in lovely red letters..."PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED WITH AT LEAST ONE PREVIOUSLY VERIFIED PAPER". Since I am not yet a member myself it will be interesting to see what will be required to rectify this. I need to call my grandmother and ask her what she knows.

I also noticed that my Ancestry membership subscription has expired so I can't currently look up new records. I am going to renew it, but in the mean time I'm going on an organization spree. The number of records, documents, photos, stories, and people that I have accumulated over the last few years is overwhelming. Overwhelming is an understatement.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

History Tourist. Cemetery. Hollywood. Vampires.

I have been all over the place this weekend. Today my friend and I ended up exploring some of the historic areas of Richmond, Virginia including Hollywood Cemetery.

The grounds are huge and seemingly endless. I was struck by how hilly the land along the James River is and how many individuals were laid to rest right on these steep slopes. The foggy, dark, and dreary day created an atmosphere perfect for exploring the unique and intricate memorials to the people buried here.

The cemetery is home to two United States Presidents, the only President of the Confederacy, Civil War soldiers, individuals famous for various reasons, and numerous other people who don't fall into any of those categories!

Sons of the American Revolution

Home to the Richmond Vampire?

The Church Hill Tunnel collapsed and buried a train on October 2, 1925. A few people were killed and at least one was injured. This survivor (Benjamin F Mosby) was badly burned before he emerged from the tunnel. His frightening appearance may have given way to the legend of a Vampire fleeing through Downtown Richmond, over the James River, and into the Hollywood Cemetery. Though Mr. Mosby was taken to Grace Hospital and later succumbed to his burns, the legend concludes with the vampire hiding in the vault of a Mr. W.W. Pool.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Learning new vocab: Erenagh

  • "keeper of church lands", "handed down from generation to generation" (citation). 
  • "responsible for receiving parish revenue from tithes and rents" (citation).

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Free Kindle Books

I mentioned in my previous post that I am moving and as of yesterday all of my books are now in boxes. I am someone who loves how books feel (ask my mom about our toddler trips to the library and my love of 'little books with the shiny pages') and will never completely give up reading and buying actual books. I do love my kindle too, in a different and just as important way.

The frugal side of me is loving these free history and genealogy books.

Happy reading.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

GeneaBloggers, blog organization, and updated tree stats!

A very big thank you to GeneaBloggers for linking to my blog :) I was very honored to be accepted into the GeneaBloggers blog database this week.

I added a link to the top bar with my AncestryDNA results. I really enjoy learning about other people's results, so I thought this was an easy way for people to find mine if they are interested. I'm excited to see what new results/data are going to be released after the first of the year.


These next few weeks are going to be very busy for me. I am moving and have started the seeming insurmountable task of packing...

Here is a rundown of what I discovered over the last few days:

  • A quite distant branch of my family was kidnapped by the British during the American Revolution and the whole family was held hostage in Canada for a period of time!
  • Another distant relative in the same branch has a middle name of Elmo!
  • I have been working on a project to display my family tree. While doing this I determined that I have 10 branches that I have traced back further than 7 generations.
  • In comparison, my shortest branch goes back 3 generations.
  • I re-discovered the Green Hills Pioneers website (one of the first places I started researching!). It's a great resource if you have lines that trace back to North-Western Missouri.

Tree Stats

1629 people. 2630 records.
3729 more hints to look through...