Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Blog at

If you hadn't already heard, I was hired this past spring as a content specialist for This is a wonderful new website for family history and genealogy researchers everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE.

A worldwide company, RootsBid helps to find others like yourself that are willing to do look-ups, pictures, and more for a small fee. Don't let the fee scare you. Imagine yourself being willing to drive 100 miles or so to a courthouse to help out a friend, but you can't afford the gas money. You tell this friend what it will cost for the gas and they are willing to pay it because they can't make the drive themselves.

Post a request or bid to help someone else in need. It's really easy.

Be sure to check out the site and don't forget to read the great articles on RootsBid blog. Happy hunting!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How'd She Do That?! Using Facebook to Break Through Brick Walls

I continue to be AMAZED how social media can QUICKLY give you the answers to break through your family history brick walls.

In just the last 2 weeks, I have turned to Facebook for help and was not disappointed. Here's how I did it! has created new Facebook groups. I joined them all. In the U.S., the groups are entitled "U.S. Northeast Genealogy Research Community," "U.S. South Genealogy Research Community," "U.S. Midwest Genealogy Research Community," and "U.S. West Genealogy Research Community." 

Other places in the world are not left out. "Europe Genealogy Research Community" and "Northern Europe Genealogy Research Community" are just the tip of the iceberg.

These Facebook pages, or groups, are being viewed by people like yourself. People who love genealogy and family history and are ready to help if they can.

My first experience was with the "U.S. Northeast Genealogy Research Community." After joining, I put a little message that read:
     "Hello! I am a professional genealogist, speaker, and writer of a family history blog at One of my biggest brick walls is locating where in New York my Louis Lockwood and Sabrina Robinson came from! Can't wait to ask some questions here!"

That's it. That is all I wrote. In less than 24 hours, I had the answer (and more!) that had eluded me for more than 10 years. Patricia Morrow, the town historian for Windham, New York, saw my post and quickly found Lewis [yes, there was a spelling change] Lockwood and Sabrina in the 1855 New York State census. Then, she uploaded biographical sketches of Lewis, documentation of Lewis' previous wives and tombstone pictures. I was shaking my head in amazement. That was a genealogy miracle if I ever heard one! [Note: Typically, you will want to put more information in your request for help than I did.]

In the weeks to follow, I have been able to find Lewis' parents and the parents of his wives which have been added to my family tree. Help from Patricia gave me the answer to break through that brick wall and I was able to then continue my own further research.

Yesterday, I had another wonderful experience, this time with "Europe Genealogy Research Community." While researching some Scottish records, I found a birth record that included the marriage date and location for the child's parents. Unfortunately, I could not make out the name of the town they were married in. I could read that the village was located in Ireland, but I am not familiar with that country's towns. I searched all village and town names in Ireland trying to find one that "looked similar," but to no avail.

I knew I needed help. Facebook to the rescue! I posted the image of the birth record to "Europe Genealogy Research Community" and Becky Pate took a look. "Banagher," she said. Yes! I could see it now. And wouldn't you know it was in County Offaly right next to County Tipperary where the couple's older children were born.


If you are not Facebook savvy you will need some instructions. First, go to and create your account. You will need an email address. They will also ask you for your birth date. Don't worry, your birth date will not show on your page if you don't want it to. You can fix that later.

After you create a Facebook account, you will need to confirm it. An email will be sent to you and you will click "Confirm Account."

You will be directed back to your Facebook page. You may skip the steps of adding friends and adding a profile picture if you wish. Now, you will search for the FamilySearch groups I mentioned above. [If you do not see the search field I have indicated in the picture below, just refresh your page.]

When you have clicked on the group you are interested in, you will be directed to their page where you will need to click "Join Group."

These FamilySearch Facebook groups are being monitored and managed, so you will need to wait until you are "approved." I was approved within a few hours. Once you are approved, when you return to this page, you will see that you can "write something" on their page. Others will see your post and hopefully you will get the answers you are looking for.

So join the social media movement and break through your family history brick walls using Facebook!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Best 3 Books for Genealogists and Why I Have Them

When my aunt turned over the family history to me, I inherited a lot of books. Loads and loads of marriage record books, tax roll books, and more. Surprisingly, I don't really need them. With,, and adding new digital images every day, I find the internet my go-to source for records.

But there are 3 books in my collection that I can't do without. Let me share them with you and tell you why I love them.

Red Book

Red Book: American State, County, and Town Resources is a big red book. It was edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D. and Certified Genealogist. The most recent edition is the third edition published in 2004.

The "chapters" are listed alphabetically by state. Each state chapter has a brief history and a section on where to find the following records: vital, census, land, probate, court, tax, cemetery, church, and military. The information will also tell you whether there are any loss of records you should know about. There are additional resources if applicable to the state.

But, the reason I love this book is because of the maps. Each state has a county map. These maps are so helpful when determining where your ancestors lived in relation to other counties and states. No longer do you have to find a map for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana and glue them all together. This book gives you ALL surrounding counties of each state it touches!

Ohio map page from Red Book
Lastly, each state has a table that lists the date formed and parent county or counties that each were formed from. A good example is Ashland County, Ohio which was formed in 1846. Maybe you knew that. But did you know it was formed from parts of Huron, Lorain, Richmond, AND Wayne counties? Depending on where in Ashland County your ancestor was from, there could be hidden records in any of the other four counties!

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace

Evidence Explained is a source citation Bible to the professional genealogist or anyone wanting to do the very best work. This book, authored by Elizabeth Shown-Mills, gives the methodology of citing genealogical sources and why it is important. She not only gives loads of practical examples of nearly anything you can imagine, but explains in detail why you source it "that way."

My favorite part of this book is the "QuickCheck Models." These QuickCheck Models are examples of how to cite your sources in an easy to use format. The pages are colored a dark gray and are quickly found by thumbing through the pages. 

I have given my book a little adjustment for even quicker access to the QuickCheck Models by adding labeled tabs to the items I use most often.

This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to be a professional in the field.

Genealogical Proof Standard

Genealogical Proof Standard is a small paperback book published by the Board of Certified Genealogists. It is dedicated to giving you all the key points to following a professional standard in genealogy research.

I have used it especially when learning the more advanced techniques of transcribing and abstracting wills, learning an effective research strategy, and writing reports and summaries for publications and clients.


Yes, I still have many other books on my shelves, but I have found these 3 books to be the ones I go to far more often than any others. 

What books are your favorite must-haves?