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23 September 2017

Help Me Return These Hurricane Harvey Photo Survivors - Lost & Found

Lost Photos of Gary George Ladue Grandparents

As many of you know, I live in Houston (and actually grew up here). Hurricane Harvey beat us to a pulp when he visited the Gulf Coast, but we shall rise again. However, I have need of your help. I have found two photos that I'd like to return to their descendants but I have little to go off of.

While mucking out home, Andy discovered two photos in mint condition. The fact they survived flood damage is a miracle. However, we know very little about the photos besides this:
  • Photos of Gary Labdue or LaDue'
  • Gary George Labdue or LaDue died March 2017 probably in Houston

That's it. That's all we know. Not much to go on. However, miracles happen and we'd love your help tracing the possible grandparents.

20 September 2017

Register for Desperately Seeking Female Ancestors Webinar - Flood Relief Conference

Finding Elusive Female Ancestors Webinar

Women in the past not only took on their husband's surnames in Western Civilizations, the seemed to have hidden in plain sight in records under names such as Mrs. Robert Comfort or wife of John Moote.

How do we find documents pertaining to our female lines when we don't have much to go on? Amy Johnson Crow has some search strategies that will help you track down your women and their stories.

Register to participate in the Back 2 Research eConference on 23 September 2017,


The eConfernece will start at 8:30 am CST and end at 4:00 PM and will feature Amy, along with 3 other presenters. The best part of this conference is the live chat feature during Amy's presentation and during a 5th-hour live panel discussion with conference participants.

For complete conference schedule and class details, visit

Other topics include:


Learn more below

Cost: $15
Date: 23 September 2017 (live)
24 September - 23 October 2017 (replay)

If you can not attend live on 23rd September, you can watch the replay for up to 30 days and still have access to handouts. You must register before the event starts.

To register visit, and click on the REGISTER NOW buttons. You'll pay with PayPal first and then complete the final Webinar Jam registration page.

Genealogy eConference for Hurricane Harvey Flood Relief


Members of The Humble Area Genealogical Society had the flood waters from Hurricane Harvey damage or destroy their homes. Our conference was originally going to use proceeds from this conference to help our chapter's preservation efforts. However, our board feels the funds donated will best serve our community best by helping the impacted society members recover.

As such, this eConference will give 50% of each registration to the relief of these members. Register today and provide aid.

Amy Johnson CrowAbout Amy Johnson Crow:

Amy is a Certified Genealogist and holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. She regularly speaks at genealogy's top events throughout the year, as well as state and regional events. Amy blogs regularly at her site

19 September 2017

Why Should You Add Historical Context To Your Writing?

Add historical events to your family history project

Your relatives lead boring lives, right? Do your dead ancestors have nothing worth writing about?
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, I have two words for you.


You ancestor's life sketch or biography instantly becomes more fascinating when you add a little historical context to the mundane facts for their existence.

In my book A Recipe for Writing Family History, Step 6 focuses on adding Fun Facts to the documented details of an ancestor's life. Historical context, such as weather, local and world events, pop culture references, and economic averages add flavor to an otherwise bland retelling of the genealogical details.

Good stories have a clearly defined setting, but if you can't describe the physical view of a location, what's the next best thing?

Many of us cannot describe the landscape, sounds, and seasons pertaining to our ancestors. We can't visualize what they saw, heard, smelled, or tasted. We certainly can’t imagine what worried them or excited the local town chatterboxes. But if you add the historic events from their lives to your writing, your stories magically transform.

Imagine if your ancestor was living in England when Napolean escaped from Elba. Do you remember what year that was? Did you know it’s the same time period of General Andrew Jackson and the campaign against the American Indians? Oh, and it’s the continuation of the War of 1812 between America and Britain. It’s also about the time that Jane Austen published “Emma”. Suddenly, your ancestor's wedding or the birth of their child in America, France, or England has new depth and dimension?

Our ancestors lived on Earth at a time and a place. That time and place impacted the decisions that our ancestors made and the lifestyle that they lived. 

Don't believe this to be true. Let's use an example.

Who was Elvis Presley? 

If you said "The King of Rock and Roll," either you grew up listening to him or hearing your parents talk about him. If you said, a famous singer, then you're a little too young to remember who he was BUT Google and YouTube have you covered in learning more.

Once you can picture Elvis's music, hairstyles, and clothing, you have a reference point. You can now connect movies and fashion trends to that time and place. Granted, you need to define whether you're talking about Jailhouse Rock Elvis (the younger years) or Moody Blue (his last album) but once you know the time and place, you can then picture the other controversies surrounding his days.

In his early years, he appeared on black and white television attempting to shake his hips. Part of his body is cut off during the broadcast because hip shaking was so frowned upon by older members of society.  Those two facts tell us a lot about the society that our ancestors lived in at the time of Elvis. Would your ancestor likely be a hip-shaker or a parent who said the youth of the country are losing their souls (or some such thing?)

The Moody Blue Elvis wore disco, skin tight white jumpsuits with sparkles. He seemed depressed, and so did the country as it was finishing its engagement in Vietnam, and the drug culture was on the rise (as it took his life).  Would your ancestor be involved in this cultural fads or be impacted by it?
See, one piece of historical context and you can help someone know the time and place and the current events in the minds of your ancestors? See how knowing the past events might help you understand why a migrated to another country?

Historic events also help you picture the technology of the day and how that technology impacted your ancestor’s lives. Imagine how the cotton gin began to transform the southern states of America. Imagine how the railroad changed the landscape of England or continental Europe. Imagine how the invention and use of rifles and pistols changed military campaigns throughout the world. But the invention of the washing machine, microwave, or the radio also had dramatic impacts on your ancestor’s lives as well.

Why add historical context to your family history writing?

Adding historical events adds multiple senses to your ancestor’s lives just by naming what happened, who the leaders were, and what technology was spreading throughout the land.  These factors add drama to your family histories. Don't forget to add local, national and global context.

YOUR TURN: What historical context do you like to add to your stories? What resources do you have for finding the context? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(By clicking the links for this book, you're clicking an affiliate link.)

18 September 2017

Get Your Genealogy Organized In Short Bursts

10 Quick Genealogy Organization Tips

Are you tired of being disorganized when it comes to family files and genealogical records? There are a number of tasks that you can do to become more organized any time of the year, instead of always waiting for “spring cleaning.” The best tip is to be clutter. There is no point in organizing outdated, wrong, or duplicate information it just takes up more space than necessary so declutter, Declutter, DECLUTTER!

16 September 2017

Expanding Family History Fanatics With a Booth - BYU Conference Recap (Part 4)

Family History Fanatics Booth 2017

Andy, Caleb, and I are constantly trying to expand our reach as the Family History Fanatics. We’ve decided to invest in having booths at the conferences we attend. Though I have a degree in marketing and worked conference booths before, it’s something entirely different when you participate as an entrepreneur.

14 September 2017

Will In-Person Genealogy Conferences Die? - BYU Conference Recap (Part 3)

Are genealogy conferences dying?

Are in-person genealogy conferences dying? That's a question Amy Johnson Crow posted in 2016. After a recent round of complaints following the FGS conference in early September, I reviewed my own thoughts on the topic in light of the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy I attended in July 2017.

My answer is brief: I hope not.

13 September 2017

Meeting Genealogy Buddies in Provo - BYU Conference Recap (Part 2)

Meeting Up With Genealogy Friends

Warning: This post might bore you, the reader, as I get a little 'fan girl' or 'groupie.' I can't write about my experience at the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy and not mention the speakers that I met. The next post in this series focuses on the attendees!

My first people highlight was catching up Melissa Finlay and Nicole Dyer. These are my Family History for Children Blog Link Up buddies. (To learn more about #FHforChildren, click here.)