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!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ancestors from New York: Celebrate!

If you have ancestors from New York and access to today could be your lucky day. There are many indexes to NY censuses that recently came online. Some have been there for ages but I did not go looking for them because I did not know they even existed. I don’t want you to suffer the same fate.

So here is the direct link to all the cool NY stuff at

: basically it’s a query result from the home page. I’ve written before (Better Search Results) about how important it is to search specific card catalog items instead of always doing broad searches. This collection of NY databases is a treasure trove of information. I’ve posted a partial list below from the link above.

Specifically the NY census databases include – drum roll please – 1890 and 1892! The 1890 police census is for NY City residents (not inmates) and is almost complete and the 1892 census is for the whole state. For those newbies out there the issue is that the Federal 1890 census was destroyed and only small fragments remain. This means that there is a 20 year census record gap between 1880 and 1900 if you only use the Federal Census records.

I have a lot of NY state ancestors and finding these databases has been wonderful. I used to wish all my ancestors had lived in Missouri (with their huge online repositories of vital records) but now I can be grateful that many were from New York.

I hope you find your ancestors spent some time in the Empire State, too.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Clean-up

It’s summer clean-up time in my family tree. It’s HOT outside. OK, yes, I know it is summer but that does not change my original statement. HOT for me means southern hibernation: like winter hibernation without the layers of wool and hot chocolate. It also means it is a good time to review how my family tree data has grown so far this year and fill-in some blanks.

As you know, I use Family Tree Maker 2012 but this should work in all other programs. What I’ve been doing in those little bits of time between other home projects is perusing my tree for missing information that should be relatively (Sorry about the pun – it just happened) easy to find without opening the front door.

Starting with myself and working back in time; I’m checking each of my entries for Birth, Marriage, and Death dates. I’m also checking each family I know well for missing kids. I can’t believe that I forgot to add my aunt, entirely. I also noticed that I don’t have a maiden name for one of my favorite aunts. Then I realized that I don’t even know it! Cue phone call!

I’m not making a big production with this work: it’s more like busy work but valuable. I’m still working on more concentrated family history searches but this summer clean-up is great for those bits of time that show up while waiting for the dryer to buzz or while waiting for the air conditioner repairman.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Online

Finding supporting documents online is easier if you know some dates and use them. I have spent many hours online looking for birth, marriage, and death records (BMD.) I know that they aren’t all online but I am surprised at how many are and by combining three particular websites I’ve been filling in gaps in my documentation this week.

I use Family Tree Maker 2012 for my genealogy software but this hint works with any of the products. The three websites I use are: – and make sure you sign-in because there is a new feature – the source records – that is like’s shoebox. – I know it’s not free but it’s cheaper than lots of road trips and they have so much. – also not free but less than a premium cable channel and often on sale.

OK, now that you’ve done this.

Go into your records in your genealogy software and for each BMD you are missing do specific date range and place searches with the given and surnames at each of the above sites. In fact, now that I think of it, try LAST. You will often find what you need at the other two sites before you get to Surprised? I sure was but does not have 6100 newspapers and has digitized records in addition to the indexes.

I even found that I could leave out the given name and just use the surname, state, and date range and find whole families at these sites. This works best on US records since Genealogy bank only has US papers and records. has a new interface for members and it is much nicer and for some reason faster than the old interface. If you go to and are not sure which interface you are looking at, there is a link at the top of the page. If it says “go to old site,” then you are using the new interface. If it says something along the lines of ‘try new site;' DO THAT. Also, be aware of a quirk with, the surname is FIRST and then the given name.

So, sometimes, genealogy is like using a dictionary. If you know some specific information first, it’s easier to find more information.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

May All Your Ancestors Live in Small Towns

I am blessed that some of my ancestors stayed in small towns! When I look at the meager death notices from papers like the NY Times and even the Brooklyn Eagle I am envious of those researchers whose ancestors hailed from little burgs like Mount Carmel, PA.

I recently started reviewing an old file folder of information that had various copies from over the years. I needed to see what information I already had on some of my ancestors. I’ve mentioned this technique previously when referring to the depth of information available in census records.

It’s not that I’m not observant; it’s just that when I obtained the obituaries, originally, I was looking only for my direct line ancestors. Now, that I have some “brick walls,” I’m spreading out into collateral lines to work around the walls. I also find that I’m becoming more interested in what the family structure was and who these people were.

Don’t forget while doing your family history research that your experience grows at the same time your tree grows. Information may be buried in your own archives.

Here is what I discovered in some obituaries that I already had from a small town paper’s obituary.

Mrs. Thomas Magee (not McGee, like I had) was formerly Helen (not Ellen) Fairley (I had this) from Scotland (I had this.) She settled in Branchdale and stayed there for 40 years (not quite accurate but confirmation of what I had) and resided in Mount Carmel for ten years (news to me.) They’d recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary (handy to know.)

Now, here comes the good stuff:

“The deceased is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Lewis Gottschall of this city, and an adopted son Robert Magee, of Rhode Island. There are fourteen grandchildren. Her brother John resides in the West, and brother Alexander in town. She was a sister of the late Mrs. Thomas Wardrop.”


First, I was not sure how the girls in the family were related. Now, I see that one might well have been a sister and not a daughter. I’ve since found some additional evidence of this.

Second, I have confirmation that Robert was not her biological son and the information that I had saying he was in Rhode Island was not erroneous.

Third, she had additional siblings here in this country! I had no idea! I even have the name of a spouse.

Now, to be fair, obituaries are also not primary sources of information and some of it is wrong. “Shortly after her marriage to Thomas Magee the couple came to this country” – WRONG!

She married in 1854 in Pottsville, PA.

Had she died in New York City, I would have had a death date (maybe) and some idea of funeral arrangements but because she died in a small town I have so much more.

May all your ancestors live in small towns.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

There is no time like the Present!

As I was looking at my own family tree this morning I realized that I had not completed the family tree information for my own generation. I have my information in but not the information for my first cousins. This information will be very difficult for the next two generations to complete unless they have genealogist or packrats in their immediate families.

More and more libraries are closing, more records are online only, more families are moving away from hometowns earlier and more often. When you combine these trends with privacy concerns; the chances of obtaining accurate information for the current generations, in the years to come, becomes less likely.

Take time NOW to complete the vital records sections for your generation and for those who came after you. Include pictures, notes, and remembrances. It’s likely that anyone in your family who knows you ‘do genealogy’ assumes you already have all of this information “filled in” and also expect that you will provide it to them whenever they or their children need it.

I did not fill this information in, yet, because it’s all in my head. Well, the older I get, the more I realize that that’s not as reliable as I would wish.

So – now is the time to fill in the current events. Your descendants will thank you. (keep in mind that you should not post information on living individuals. and Family Tree Maker will privatize any posted trees to help prevent your accidentally posting this private data.)

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Helping others while helping yourself

I’m working with some other genealogy club members on a local figure’s family history project. I did not think I had enough time to do my own research to make time for yet someone else’s genealogy but I was wrong!

Working on another family’s genealogy has already (in two weeks) taught me a lot about my own family research. First – I assume too much when doing my own research. Second – I need more maps. {I will include other observations in future BLOGs.}

Specifically – I found that in my own family research I’m too quick to assume that a family with the same surname and many of the same givennames in the same colonial town is mine. When I am working on the project’s family: I want PROOF! I should be as picky with my own family.

In my own family I know where the places are that are in my line. In the project’s family – I did not know the counties. I went to a few places in addition to Google Maps to find historic county lines. Don’t forget that many, many records are only available at the county level so knowing which county someone lived in at the time they lived there is critical. I also went to some other sites to find historical county lines.

Boy was I surprised to find the reason I could not find some records was because the county did not even exist for the time period I was researching. I should have checked this information FIRST!

Here are some of the resources I used:

And the most fascinating was:

I started with then “interactive map” for the area we are researching. You need to spend some time with the interface and make sure you refresh the map after you change selections. There is supposedly a way to download the shape file of the historical boundaries for a specific year and overlay a Google Earth Map with the data but I’ve not figured that out, yet.

I found the files – I’m just not certain how to use them.

This site also has county chronologies and historical boundary dates for existing and extinct counties.

In the meantime, though, helping on this project has given me insights into my own family research so the time I thought I had given to the project actually was time well invested – not spent!

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ancestry Adds New Census Viewer

I'm in love. Ancestry has introduced a new census viewer. Just this week I was lamenting the difficulty of following a census line across a page and easily finding my place as I scrolled. I also had to refer to other documents or screen in order to see the census headings. Ancestry came through!

Remember those rulers with the highlighted areas for focusing on a computer print out? Well, Ancestry has added that function to the census viewer! It even puts the yellow bar in the center and the blue/green bars around it. Then if you pause your mouse over a cell the full contents are typed out including the column data. You can even browse to other lines in the same record and the search result stays highlit and the browse line highlights in pale red for easy comparison. Now I just need the same tool for my computer and I'll be a happy camper!

Happy Hunting!
click on "Try Now"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Proofreading your genealogy

Proofreading something you have written is a matter of checking for spacing, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and clarity. Proofreading your family tree is more complex than that.

I have some paper records for my family trees but most of my information is in Family Tree Maker and has been about 6 years. Somehow (little gremlins using my computer at night) errors have crept into my records. I’ve noticed the same problem with other family trees that I’ve seen.

What problems? Well, I have an ancestor that had children after she died and one that had a child before she was born. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are mistakes in there, somewhere! I also have one family that I created from some census records and now that I have more information from some online resources, it looks like I’ve combined two families with the same name. The clue was that the children were born in very diverse areas that did not make sense. Yes, some families move around a lot but not every 2 years into 3 different states without some further proof.

What do I plan to do about it? Well – I tried breaking it down on the computer but what really ended up working was to break out the paper and create manual family group sheets and correct the entries. I even had to delete a few people! That’s a tough decision, though, so I documented my thought process and am keeping that along with the family group sheets, in case I have to go back. I will also keep notes in my software.

I’m sure all YOUR family trees are not subject to these errors but you may know someone else who could benefit from a little family tree proofreading.

Happy Hunting! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Organizing Bookmarks and Favorites

Keeping track of the websites I use for genealogy has become a real PAIN. I tried setting bookmarks and favorites but if I were not at my home computer, then I did not have them. Some browsers let you synchronize the bookmarks across multiple computers but not all computers I use have Google Chrome or IE 10 or Firefox and I don’t want to risk leaving my information on public computers.

I tried an Excel spreadsheet and then stored the spreadsheet in the “cloud” but that required me to login in there and keep that up to date, also. At least with Excel, I could organize the sheets by topic. Word lets me keep track of things but not sort them. Then I figured OneNote (my 2nd favorite application) would do the trick. It’s easily searchable, I don’t have to manually sort things, I can leave notes for myself and it’s available on my computer, the cloud, my phone, and my tablet.  At least Office 2010 lets me synchronize my results automatically to my computer so that part isn’t such a big job. Then I thought – why bother keeping them on my computer at all! Why not use an Internet based solution!

That got me thinking. What is available that is accessible from anywhere online and easy to keep up-to-date? I thought about my own BLOG – the one you are reading now – but that’s too cumbersome. I could e-mail myself lists at my Gmail account but that’s not elegant. I could use one of the free website builders but that’s tough to keep up-to-date. I cannot be the only one with this issue. Greater minds than mine must have surely solved this problem already! AHA – Google to the rescue – AAARGH – there are hundreds of them! Now what!

So I tried a few. I like because it’s been around for some time and I can browse other bookmark lists that other people have shared and uncover some additional genealogy links that I would not have known about, otherwise (over 33000 of them!) also allows me to TAG bookmarks with categories which is much more powerful than organizing them into folders. Some bookmarks are useful for multiple categories so TAGGING makes more sense than duplicating the entries in multiple folders. The search feature also lets me see other possible TAGS in use.

I also like for its annotations and Android app but there are fees involved for the full functionality. Diigo also has extensions for the Chrome browser that let you send parts of pages directly to your Diigo account with automatic sharing to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I’ve not made up my mind, yet, which I will stay with but both of these options are much better than what I was using before.

I hope you try one of these services and …
Happy Hunting!

Friday, April 27, 2012

NGS Conference - online connections

I can’t be there but I’ll be thinking about all the wonderful happenings at the National Genealogical Society Conference starting next week in Cincinnati. If you are going – congratulations! Last year’s conference in Charleston was wonderful.
Whether you are going or not don’t miss out on the web activities that will accompany the event. There is a daily blog at
Additional social media connections are: (from their site)
·        Follow us on Twitter (@ngsgenealogy).
·        Friend us on Facebook (
·        Send us a tweet @ngsgenealogy for general information or use the hashtag #ngs2012 for Annual Conference-related tweets.
The hosting organization’s website has member’s only areas in addition to free areas that include videos on genealogy in general and information on their well respected home study course.
·        Paths to Your Past (88MB)
·        NGS & NARA (21.4MB)

So, think about attending some of the conference social media connections and as always,
Happy Hunting! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just when you thought this blog had gone dormant, I’m back! In reality, it’s just two more weeks until weekly blogs resume. I appreciate your taking time to read my blog and I thank you.

I have been teaching for Coastal Carolina’s Osher Lifelong Learning program and my last few weeks of classes have required more of my time and genealogy has had to wait. By May 1st, though, the semester will be over (for me) and I can return to my genealogy on a regular basis.

It’s odd that I call it “my genealogy” when it’s truly my family’s genealogy. I wonder why it is that only one person every few generations really feels the call to delve into the family history in the USA. I had the privilege of working with a graduate student from South Korea and he was shocked that I did not know my lineage and he was even more shocked when I did not know the meaning of my name! He explained to me that in his culture it was very important to know both. I’d never even thought about the meaning of my name. I knew who I was named after but not the meaning of my name, itself.

So for those of you with the curiosity I had – can help you discover the meaning of your given and family names. There are also links there to other sites for more ethnic names that do not often appear in many English based resources. Of course, you could use Google or Bing or some other search engine, too. The site I mentioned, though, showed me the meaning of my given name in four different nationalities. For me, the meaning did not change but I’m sure that is different depending on the name. There were also links for specific genealogy sites based on my family name and, of course, the requsite advertisers of family crests.

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don’t forget the newbies among us!

Don’t forget the newbies among us! I attended a genealogy special interest group meeting recently and there were some newbies there. Don’t forget to help them along. They may find that they are related to you and may have the records you are looking for. Most of the experienced researchers were very quick to gloss over the “standard” websites we tend to use and I noticed that the newbies were scrambling to write these down.
For those of you who might also be new:

Some of these sites require a subscription for access to all of the data but even those that do have free areas – so don’t count them out.

One of the nicest things about this latest meeting was that we had no speaker, no computer, and no PowerPoint slide show. What we did have was discussion! I don’t recommend this format for every meeting but it was refreshing to get to hear the stories and research tips from each participant. We were also able to access the experience levels of some of the newest participants to help format future meeting segments.

So – this week’s lesson – go to local genealogy meetings and if there isn’t one – START ONE!

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preview Your Many Files

Hi, Welcome back, thanks for your patience. I've been teaching a lot of new material and preparing four new 2 hour classes each week has taken a lot of my time. Not an excuse but an introduction to today's topic. 

I don't know if this information pertains to Mac computers at all so apologies there. On PC's, though, I've noticed that most students do not know how to preview their file contents without opening the files. We genealogists tend to accumulate lots of great information and we spend time filing it neatly in well-structured digital files. The problems arise when we are not quite certain what a file contains.

Opening each file becomes a tedious exercise. Using the search function won't help when the object of our search is a picture and we are looking for a specific one. The search function does not help, either, if the picture is embedded in a Word processing file. So - I want to share how to use Windows Explorer's file preview button.

Your PC's (Mac's, too) have a tool for managing your files and folders. On a Windows PC it's called "Windows Explorer." There are many ways to open this program. If you have Windows 7 there is an icon on the taskbar that looks like a manila file folder: that's it - just click on it to open Windows Explorer. Windows 7, Vista, and XP users can also RIGHT click on the "Start" button and click on "Open Windows Explorer."

You will then need to navigate to the folder with the files you want to preview. Depending on how you filed, these files will either be in the Documents or Pictures areas.
And then click the "show preview pane" button. Then, when you click on a file, you will see the contents of the file. This does not work for all files but it sure helps.

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flash Drives

First, share your research! I had the pleasure of spending time with a cousin that I got re-acquainted with through genealogy. We each had new research since the last time we met. Both of us had backed-up our research results (screen prints, census records, vital records, photos, etc.) on flash (thumb) drives. It was a simple task to copy the folders to each other’s flash drives using our computers. Now, we can each review lines and data that we may not have found on our own.

This brings another hint to mind. I have a bunch of flash drives. Some are physically quite small but all are just large enough for me to paste on a small return address label. This way, if I leave a drive connected to another computer or lose one, I have a chance of seeing it again. I also suggest you put a text file on each drive with your contact information. I call mine “1OwnerInfo.” This way, if someone opens the drive to see what is on it, this file shows up at the top of the list. (I’d be happier if I had a more clever name but this is what I’m using now.)

This brings to mind a caution for those people who might plug their flash drives into PC’s and Mac’s, and tablets. Make sure that you DO NOT format the flash drive with the NTFS format for PC’s. If you do not know what that means, then you are not likely to do it. PC’s can format a disk with two different formats NTFS and FAT32. The NTFS format is not readable on Mac’s and tablets. You can check which format your device is using from the drive properties.

In general, on a PC, the internal hard drives are and should be NTFS drives. Removable hard drives are also better as NTFS drives but flash drives are so portable among operating systems that FAT32 is a better choice.

Well, glad I had a chance to share this with you and thank you for your time.

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding Your Roots and other videos

I cannot believe it’s been 2 weeks since I last Blogged here! I apologize and promise to do better in the future. I know how frustrating it is to find a blog and then not get updates.

So – does this mean I have not been doing any genealogy research? NO! I’ve been catching up on the new season of “Who do you think you are” and awaiting a new program on PBS with Henry Louis Gates Jr. This PBS host is the best so don’t miss it!

This is a new 10 part series starting March 25th called “Finding Your Roots.” See a preview (33 seconds) at

I’ve also been catching up on the many new webinars at

The people at Legacy Family Tree have a webinar on March 7th on preparing for the April 2nd release of the 1940 census. I’ve blogged on this topic previously and don’t want you to miss this webinar. If you cannot watch it on the 7th it will be available for free online for the 10 days after that date and the purchase price is very reasonable if you miss the free period.

Our Grand Strand Genealogy Club had a great presentation on how to prepare for the 1940 census release. Gail Reynolds is our resident expert and leads classes for the local Osher LifeLong Learning Institute (OLLI.) So – if you are not lucky enough to have Gail in your neighborhood, maybe you have an OLLI program in your town with genealogy classes.

A list of Institutes is available at:

This is a great program for adult education. The classes offered differ by school but since genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies, there are probably classes available near you. If there is an OLLI near you and they don’t have genealogy classes, then you should think about teaching one! I’ve found that all of the genealogists I’ve met have lots of information to share about the process of finding ancestors.

Our genealogy club has a website and blog. The website is at:

And the tips blog is at:

This should keep you all busy until next week!

Thanks for your time.

Happy Hunting!