Monday, December 17, 2012

OH, Well, It's been fun while it lasted

Dear Readers,
It's time that I face the facts.
I'm not keeping this Blog up-to-date anymore and I am going to stop trying. I've just gotten involved in other things and my genealogy searches continue but I've not had anything worth sharing lately.

I appreciate all of your time and I'll leave the past posts online because they have links and hints that are still valid.

Kathleen Libbey

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm never moving again!

I have not abandoned this blog or genealogy research - REALLY!

I moved. This meant packing, pitching, sorting, unpacking, donating, pitching, etc.

I think of our ancestors who came to this country with a trunk or suitcase and hope and marvel at their resilience. I'm really tired after just six weeks of upheaval. We were blessed, though, with selling our existing home so quickly but that meant packing ourselves and moving most of it in under a week to a new home. We still live in the Myrtle Beach area but not in the city limits. We'll miss the tourists and their enjoyment of the Grand Strand but it's so nice to be where the population is more stable. I can appreciate the Little Italy's and Chinatowns, and German enclaves of our ancestors. The need to be in a community of common languages and churches helped our ancestors feel "at home" in their new country.

So - when looking through the census records for your ancestors don't forget to just browse the pages for more relatives. It's easier if you look at the country of origin columns for a quick feel for the neighborhood.

I'll be back on the weekly track now in my quest for ancestors and desire to help you find yours.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Genealogy Scavenger Hunt

I was looking for a way to "recharge" my genealogy enthusiasm. I've found that as my life gets busier, genealogy tends to take a back seat like some forgotten glove that has slipped between my car seat and the center console. I know it's there but somehow don't remember to fish it out. So I decided to go on a genealogy scavenger hunt.

What's that? Well, I have a lot of online genealogy websites bookmarked and even a fair number of subscriptions out there for sites like,,, etc. So I picked an ancestor - Robert Hugh Montgomery 1830 (Ireland) -1905 (Maryland) and decided to find everything I could in an hour for him that did not include Federal Census records - which I already had.

About 30 minutes in, I had discovered his headstone at, his military burial card for Arlington National Cemetery at, his son's death certificate at, and his marriage record also at I also discovered from these records that he was a retired US Army Major who served in the Civil War. So it was on to to see if I could find a pension record - YES! It's there!

Then I took a few minutes to write this post but you'll fogive me if I cut this short to return to my scavenger hunt. Hmm - maybe an hour isn't enough. The laundry will have to wait. My husband just brought me another cup of tea and I feel the Internet calling.

So, if you find that you are uninspired while researching your family history, try something different. You may just be surprised.

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Being More Focused on the Internet

Hi, all, I don't know if you have the same problem I do but I've spoken to some of my friends and they do. So, if you open the Internet to do some genealogy research and when your first page (home page) opens and you find that 20 minutes have gone by before you remember what you were there for ... you are not alone. Recent research has shown that the average side trip on the Internet lasts twenty minutes.

I have a solution for you and it will be easy to implement and may take some time to get used to but it is worth it. Change your home page to BLANK. This means that when you open the Internet there IS NO HOME PAGE. By opening to a blank page, you are forced to type in a website address to see any content; even if it's just This prevents some insistent link for the latest new wrinkle treatment or auto insurance rate break or miracle cure from catching your eye. It also helps you focus on why you opened the Internet in the first place.

I'm not suggesting that you should never just peruse the web. That's why I use two browsers. I have Internet Explorer set to open to a blank page and I have Google's Chrome browser set to open to my custom home page with all the distractions and latest news and weather.

Oh, you want to know how to set the home page to blank? EZ

First, so you don't swear at me later. Record (write down) the website address for the page(s) that currently open when you start Internet Explorer. This is to insure that you can revert to this page later if you don't like opening to a blank page.

Each browser has a set of tools available for setting how you like to see things on the Internet. In Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser the setting is called Internet Options. One of many ways to get there is to click the gear button (tools menu) at the top right of the IE window. The keyboard shortcut to open this menu from inside IE is Alt+x.

Then select "Internet Options"
From there on the "General" page
Click the button that says "use blank" under the home page settings.
Click "OK"

Then, close Internet Explorer and re-open it.
See - a blank page - no distractions - focused research - no celebrity news - no dire warnings - just time to do genealogy.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

US Federal Census Is Not the Only Census

Not all census records are for the US Federal census. There are many other types of census records. In fact a search at yields 32,397 results in the card catalog with titles having the word “census” in them. A similar search of the card catalog at yields 455 results. Don’t get bogged down in the difference in record count. FamilySearch has a catalog entry for each county for many years where Ancestry has one entry for each census year.

The important thing to recognize is that there are many enumerations that are not Federal census records and your ancestors could be hiding in them. I’ve written previously in this blog about the NY state census records and many states, counties, and cities conducted their own censuses. Earlier in US history, when a territory wanted to become a state, there was also a census to prove that there was sufficient populations to warrant statehood.

Pennsylvania conducted a Septennial census every seven years for tax purposes and that index just became available on for the years 1779-1863.

For those of you not familiar with using a card catalog search; here are the steps for searching the card catalog at

Open the website.

               Click “Catalog”

               In the search box, click “Titles”

               In the “For” box type “census”

               Click “Search”

The process is similar for

Open the website.

               Click “Search”

               Click “Card Catalog”

               Type “census” in the “Title” box

               Click “search”

If you put the word “census” in the keyword box and not in the title box, you will get even more results.

It’s a good idea to browse through the titles just to see what types of census records exist on these two premier websites. There are many sites that have census records. Don’t just limit yourself to these two sites.

More next week on which sites indexed what records for the Federal censuses.

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Your Ancestors in Context

We all know that everything seems to cost more than it did last week. But you may not know how much costs have changed in a hundred years. While working through some of my family history and census records I was wondering what $600 in personal assets represented in 1900. One of my grandmothers was born in 1900 and her father listed his personal property as $600.

There are many inflation tracking websites but I wanted more specific information and found an interesting website I want to share.

This site lets you put in a date and then either choose the quick page or custom page to build a sheet of events and prices for the date you picked. This allows you to put your ancestors in context and keep things in perspective. (It's also a bit shocking)

This website is for US or UK prices and events and here is a sample of what it showed me with the quick page for my grandmother. There is a lot more information but it would not be readable here, if I included it. I tried dates as early as 1800 and there was data.

So, as you peruse those census records or think about the lives of those that went before, add some context to their lives with a time capsule entry or two.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Climbing Someone Else's Tree

First let me say - BACKUP YOUR WORK!  - my computer's hard drive crashed over the weekend. (yes, I'm asking for sympathy.) On the good side - I have a current back-up. On the bad side - It's going to take hours for the recovery. So, in the meantime, I've been working on a friend's family tree. Lorie and I sat down and created an online family tree at when she came to visit. 

When Lorie first arrived she and her family had been watching this season of "Who Do You Think You Are" and were fascinated with the process and what the stars were able to find. It was a real treat to explore her family history using the online tools at and my membership. 

After a few phone calls home, Lorie and I created a tree with about 35 known people and now, just one week later, we have over 95! When Lorie went home she and her family spent more time exploring their family history and I've spent time killing leaves.

Killing leaves is what I do when I have a few minutes in between other obligations. I just open the online trees I have at and search for shaking leaves and research the hints. Because I have the online trees synchronized to my computer based trees, it is a very productive use of time. So, when my new hard drive arrives, my family tree will not have been sitting around dormant for the week.

As I've mentioned before, working on someone else's tree is rewarding because it reinforces my practices or challenges my assumptions. It was a real treat working with a friend and explaining how we genealogists put together evidence and what things work and what things don't. 

I also had the chance to get to know Lorie better by working with her family tree and that was the real gift from our time climbing her tree.

So - help someone else get involved with genealogy and ...

Happy Hunting!