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!