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Last year, I told my husband that I wanted to expand my dream of inspiring and educating others about genealogy and family history by cre...

29 December 2016

What Are Your Genealogy Goals?

Setting Genealogy Goals

What do you want to accomplish when you do family history?

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what you hope to accomplish? Probably not. Many people, regardless of how long they have done genealogy, start collecting and researching without any particular goals in mind. It's no wonder that many people become frustrated and give up too soon. Others are addicted to piling up copies of documents that record their ancestor, or potential ancestor,

Before you do anything else related to genealogy, define what your goals are. Begin with the end in mind.

27 December 2016

Pusecker Declaration Discovered

Pusecker Declaration Discovered

Previously, I shared in a post "How Many Ways Can You Spell Pusecker?" twelve ways this name has been spelled and now I have another variation. Let's add Boesecker to the list.

The Pusecker family traveled with my 2nd great-grandmother Caroline Mack Geisßler Billmann to America together from Gillersheim, Hannover, Niedersachsen (Germany). Caroline's brother married a Pusecker daughter and joined the families by marriage.  So, this record for Charles Boesecker, is believed to be Karl Pusecker (1808-1886), the elder Pusecker in the immigrant family.

Declaration of Intention.
Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County Ohio.
The State of Ohio, Franklin County, SS

Be it remembered that on the 9th day of August of the year eighteen hundred and fifty-six, PERSONALLY APPEARED before me ALBERT B BUTTLES, Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, within and for said County and State, Charles Boesecker an Alien, a native of Hanover who being duly sworn according to law, on his oath doth declare and say that it is bona fide his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State, or Sovereignty, whatever and more particularly all allegiance and fidelity to the King of Hanover whose subject he is.

Attest: A B Buttles, Clerk
by M M powers, Dpy

22 December 2016

What Kind of Interview Should You Conduct?

Types of Family History Interviews

Interviewing relatives infuses genealogy with a wealth of stories and clues that are waiting to be harvested. However, not all interviews result in the type of information the interviewer had wanted when they coerced their relative into a painful audio recording ordeal. Okay, perhaps all the researcher had to do was ask but why did they not gather the gems of genealogy from their relative? The key is knowing which type of interview will produce the results you are seeking.

20 December 2016

Dear Genealogy Santa

Dear Genealogy Santa

My online buddy Elizabeth Swanay O'Neal has a blog party this month asking what do we want the Genealogy Santa to bring this year. My Roots-Tech buddy Randy Seaver, who traded blogger beads with me so that I could have maroon & white (Texas A&M colors) of which I still wear regularly, also wants to know what we want from dear old Saint Nick. I made a video to accompany my Christmas letter.

Dear Genealogy Santa Claus,

This year has been so fun and blessed, I'm not sure if I could ask for more. I've taught beginner genealogy classes at a local library, served at a local family history center, accepted the role of vice-president for my local genealogy society. In return for my service, I have taught at the Clayton Genealogical Library in downtown Houston, the Texas State Genealogy Conference in Dallas, and have been accepted to teach at RootsTech 2017. My wish list to teach and educate has been granted in 2016, along with breakthroughs in two family lines. So, what would I possibly ask for?

Here's my list in no particular order:

  1. The entirety of the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch digitized, indexed, and available in one source (be it,, or Chronicling America)
  2. The photo album in the home of the ex-husband of my distant cousin that belonged to my grandmother to magically appear in my mailbox
  3. The opportunity to teach at the BYU Family History Conference
  4. More love for editing my writing so I'll finish the narratives
  5. More subscribers for the YouTube Channel
Hey Nick, if you don't have time to read, I made this video especially for you!

Click the video to play

I'll understand if anything on this list isn't yet possible. I already have everything I want for Christmas, a wonderful husband, five amazing superhero children, a lovely house, and thousands of ancestors on my family tree. I will consider any gifts from you a delightful bonus.

Take Care,

Devon Noel Lee

PS Thanks for helping me complete my memoir, From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown. My children love it, and so does my mother-in-law.

Merry Christmas Daddy

Merry Christmas Daddy

Christmas is a great time to be with family and a perfect time to remember family no longer with us. It is a great time to share family legends and make new memories. It's also a time to flip through the family photos and reminisce.

70 years ago, my father was born to Bob and Helen Geiszler of Columbus, Ohio. A few years ago, I received these photos of my daddy at Christmas time. Though the photos didn't arrive on Christmas Day, I remember thinking, I don't need anything for Christmas this year.

15 December 2016

Stop Messing Up My Family Tree

FamilySearch Family Tree Changes

Admit it. You don't like FamilySearch Family Tree because it's open edit. For a few years now, FamilySearch thinks people should play nicely in the genealogy sandbox. But man oh man is it irritating to see changes to MY family tree by clueless wonders!

Do you have similar thoughts? Have you heard anyone with these thoughts? If so, then Andy Lee has a few tips on how to deal with people making changes to the family tree.

Click the player to view the video.

Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts in this video? Let me know in the comments below. And if you like the video, share it with your friends! 

13 December 2016

Capturing the Crown

Photographing a Shiny Family History Treasure

At RootsTech 2016, Thomas McEntee passed out blogger badges to hang from my nametag holder. I naturally gravitated toward the sparkles! The first one I saw was "Diva." I offhandedly remarked that I would love one that said "Princess." Thomas didn't miss a beat and quickly pulled out a black strip with a sparkly "Princess" in script font!

Why do I prefer princess over diva? I was a princess!

Actually, I was a teenage beauty queen with dreams of being crowned Miss Teen USA. When I was in my early 20s, I won another pageant title and moved one step closer to the Miss America title. As such, I have two rhinestone treasures on display in my home that recall the times I turned for the judges and became a princess.

If my children and future descendants are going know the story of how I became Miss San Jacinto Teen USA, they are going to need to focus on my pageant years. And what is a beauty queen without a crown?

08 December 2016

You Need to Make a Heritage Scrapbook

Make a Heritage Scrapbook Today!

On December 10th, it will be 4 years since my mother passed away. But two Christmases before her death I gave her a gift that she treasured the remainder of her life. It was a heritage scrapbook. And if you were anywhere near her house, you would have to stop and take notice of the gift I gave her.

07 December 2016

Self-Publish Your Genealogy

Self Publish Your Genealogy

Do you have a story that needs to be shared with an audience beyond the walls of your home? Are you hoping to sell your educational or research material to earn a side income (or potentially replace your income)? Considering self-publishing your manuscripts.

01 December 2016

Do You Have Charlemagne DNA?

Genetic Genealogy and Charlemagne

Have you had a DNA test taken with AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA or 23 and Me? If you haven't you should! Now. Today! While you're at it, you should purchase and deliver tests to your oldest living relatives. While the test results come in, it's important that you understand a little about inheritance. Not the inheritance of property, titles, or money, but of genes.

Andy Lee, my amazing husband, discusses DNA and how it is passed down through generations. The key is that when you reach your 7th generation of ancestors, you have 128 direct ancestors. Of your 5th great grandparents, you are only related genetically to 120 of them. You are related to all of them genealogically. So, you could change out 8 of your 5th great grandparents with anyone else in the world, and you'd still have the same DNA makeup that you have today.

Is your mind blown?

Check out Andy's video that further explains whether you may have a genetic relationship to Charlemagne flowing through you.

If you want to have Andy answer more Genetic Genealogy questions, leave comments and question below on this blog or in the comment section on our YouTube channel.

And if you haven't ordered a present for Christmas, purchase a DNA kit today. It makes a gift that keeps giving for decades!

29 November 2016

Grab A Camera And Preserve the Artifacts

Grab A Camera And Preserve the Family Artifacts

Family history can be found the artifacts that belonged to our ancestors and that are in our homes, or those of older living relatives. Do you have a digital camera that's sitting in a box somewhere and you're afraid to use it? It's time to grab that camera and take some beginner shots of your treasures.

The two things you'll need is a lightbox and a light source. I have it easier to photograph my smaller treasures in this fashion. Now. in these photos I show the power of a DIY lightbox, though you can purchase a lightbox from Amazon for about $40.

Depending upon the season where you live, your first attempt may involve natural light. I placed my light box on a bed beside a large window on a Sunday afternoon. I turned off my flash and switched my Canon Powershot to it's macro setting. On a dSLR, you should use the AV setting.

For these photos, I read my owner's manual to learn how to set the white balance. There is a reason to keep your owner's manual handy, and the white balance configuration is one of them.

Finally, place your camera on a tripod and your object inside the lightbox. Now, I'll walk you through what is possible when you're just starting to use your camera. How do I know this? Because this is me starting to use my camera with limited photography training. If I can do it, you can do it.

22 November 2016

Genealogy Gratitude for Online Options

Genealogy Gratitude for Online Research

As 21st Century Family Historians, we have so much to be thankful for. The one that top my chart is online genealogy.

I have the opportunity to work as a volunteer at a local Family History Center. My children are older and my eldest two are old enough to watch the others while my hubby and I serve together. However, many individuals are not this fortunate.

Career, childcare, and other commitments prevent many individuals from using Family History Centers or genealogical libraries. As such, having the ability to access so many important records online is such a wonderful blessing. Any time, any where access to archives enables amazing discoveries to occur by those who are younger and younger. Otherwise, genealogy would have to be reserved for only the retired or stay-at-home mothers with all their children in school the entire day.

Additionally, online access to record sets makes genealogy more affordable. You don't have to be independently wealthy or have a surplus of cash to access records. Ordering microfilm at $5.50 a roll in the hopes of discovering one or two names is exorbitantly expensive. Today, for about $14.00/month for or $20/month for (check for current subscription prices as they may have changed), you can access numerous record collections and store your tree online. For those where this is still not affordable, is free and has access to all those microfilm records are digitized!

There still is a need for boots-on-the-ground genealogy but, now our research trips can be focused on the harder to access record collections (like church and court records). As ecclesiastical and government archives realize the value in digitizing the collections, more may be placed online and that's something to truly be thankful for.

Someone will quip that, “Not everything is online you know.”

Reflexively, I'll respond,“You're right. It currently is not online. But, I can't wait for it to be.”

What are you most thankful for in genealogy today that has improved from 5 - 10 years ago?

15 November 2016

Family History for Busy Lives: 8 Gift Ideas

Family History Themed Gift Ideas

Do you have family members who have the urge to preserve their family history but their lives are too busy to accomplish anything?

Well, plan ahead for Christmas and buy a few of these projects. If you're really an awesome relative, you could 'catch them up' by adding a few photos that you have to the collection so all they have to do is write. In fact, you could offer a date night to couples or a mother/daughter combos to complete some of these projects. See... there is a way to get those reluctant relatives to play a part.

Our Wedding Anniversary Memory Book by Rae Wakelin
Purchase at

Happily Ever After: Our Wedding Anniversary Album
by Nick Beilenson
Purchase at

These two albums are so simple, and they don't have to be for brides to be. Add a coupon for a free date night for the couple, and pre-print a photo of the couple through the years of their marriage to catch them up. All they need to do is to add a few lines about where they lived that year and a few highlights of that time period. What a great anniversary or Christmas gift.

My Baptism Memories BookDessert Books SKU 4913571

My Baptism Remembrance Bookby Mary Martha Moss
Purchase at

My First Holy Communion Keepsake Journal by Avril O'Reilly
Purchase at

What a perfect parent/child gift for someone special in your life who celebrates a religious rite. Present the book, again with some printed photographs for easy assembly. If you live nearby, add a coupon for a parent/child date night and create a can't-miss opportunity to capture these memories for the future while the events are still fresh. Many of these projects can easily be completed in a few hours.

Baby Book Keepsakes (There are so many varieties at

For many people they dread keeping up with a baby book. For others, they are such a simple way to preserve a few quick memories of a new life. Find a book that fits the personality of the person you are giving the gift to. And a print gift card so there are no major obstacles to accomplishing the goal. If you life close by or have a close relationship with the busy mother/father, set up a monthly appointment during the first year of life where you can talk about the pages in the book and help them complete them.

How to Save Your Life - One Chapter at a Timeby Tom and Alison Taylor
Purchase at Pictures and Stories

The Book of Me: A Do-It-Yourself Memoirby Nannette Stone
Purchase at
These last two options are for folks who are busy but ready for something a little more robust. They're a great way for someone to begin curating their personal history, so that you the genealogist  can have more fodder for your research.

08 November 2016

What is Your Recurring Lesson in Genealogy?

Growing Personally Through Genealogy

Many of us will have a recurring lesson that we learn while doing genealogy. Some of us find our lessons deal with the importance of organization. Some of us learn to cite our sources (or rather, we learn we should be citing our sources). What is the recurring lesson I have to keep learning? I'm so embarrassed to admit it, but for my readers I'll reveal the skeleton in my closet.

I guess I'm so persnickety that genealogy is constantly teaching me more and more about patience that I hadn't learned prior to starting my blog 5 years ago. One lesson that keeps coming up involves trying to ask someone to help me retrace their steps in acquiring pieces of genealogical evidence.

31 October 2016

Beware the Deflating Genealogy Statistic

Beware Genealogy Statistics Horror

This Halloween I'm going to scare you and depress you with a genealogy statistic. One that even professional genealogists can't seem to overcome. It can haunt your sleep and make you dash under the covers, cancel your MyHeritage subscription and never attempt another genealogical discovery ever again.

What is this heart stopping detail? It's your genealogy score. Your genealogy number.

(Insert your own blood curling scream with dramatic horror film music)

25 October 2016

Will William's Grave Site Ever Be Found?

Will William Webb's Grave stone be found

Have you revisited the research trips you took and the things you left undone? Four years ago, I took a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit cemeteries, especially Green Lawn Cemetery. Green Lawn Cemetery in massive and is said to be the fifth largest in Ohio.

At the time, was on the hunt for a collateral relative in Selection L. At the time, I couldn't find him.

18 October 2016

Resource to Find Published Genealogies and Possible Leads

Find Published Genealogies and Possible Leads

Many people have a printed family history book in their home, or discover their family names in a book at a genealogical library and set out to do research from this starting point. What if you don't have such luxury? Are you out of luck? Were there no previous ancestors who crafted a family history to bless the lives of others?

Maybe, but maybe not.  There is a place that you could find out. It's generally not going to be quick or easy, but it's worth investigating.

11 October 2016

How Many Ways Can You Spell Pusecker?

Pusecker Name Variations

When growing up, I was insistent that you spelled my German last name with an S-Z. Any other variation was wrong and I believed that anyone who spelled it differently would not be my relative. I was alone in thinking spellings for last names was fixed. I only correct people when they pronounce my first and middle name incorrectly.

Having learned from a variety of sources about the need to generate a list of name variations, I have attempted to create such a list for the Pueseckers who are members of my Maeck FAN Club.

04 October 2016

Brick Wall and Inferential Genealogy

Inferential Genealogy a Bridge Over Brick Walls

The mystery of my 5th great-grandfather Effingham Townley, likely of New Jersey in the mid to late 1700s is giving me a headache. He's a brick wall tracing my line back to him as a descendant. However, a will for an Effingham Townley dying in 1828 and naming a son John Townley is the brick wall from him tracing down the family line. Could inferential genealogy bridge the gap?

Inferential Genealogy is giving me a headache. Anyone willing to help me examine a situation?

I Love City Directories But

City Directories and the OCR Problem

City directories are an easy to understand and amazing resource for finding your ancestors and relatives. When they are searchable, you can quickly find hundreds of relatives over decades with a simple mouse click. You gotta love those computer programmers who made it all happen.

And as much as I LOVE city directories, there is one thing I don't care for.

28 September 2016

How to Create a Blog Title Graphics

How to Create Blog Title Graphics

When a reader asks a blogger a question and a challenge presents a deadline, the stars align so that I can put on my teaching hat (the one I love best to wear).

Dana Leeds, The Enthusiastic Genealogy, posed the question "How do you create your blog post graphics?"

Initially, I wanted to answer Dana's question through a step-by-step long-form written tutorial with screenshots showing every step of my process. The teacher in me felt this was not the best way to answer her question. Recently, I discovered how to create video tutorials so I could talk and walk others through my process. It was so easy I wish I had attempted this skill earlier. Perhaps sometimes a teacher has to become a student in order to better teach?

27 September 2016

Fall in Love with City Directories

I Love Historic City Directories

Are you a beginner research who wants to take the 'next-step' in researching your family after discovering them in census records?  City Directories are your next stop on the genealogical research journey to fill in the gaps between the census records or to extend a person's life after a record trail ends. is my go-to resource for City Directories online. I have accessed city directories in state repositories, which is great. However, there's no reason to make an in person visit to a library to access a bound book if a digitized version of that same book is available online.

Do you have a relative who disappears from census records 10 years after your last record of them?  Follow them through city directories and you might discover within 1-2 years when they left that location. You won't know where they went, but at least you know when.

Do you know when a particular ancestor changed residences? Following an ancestor through city directories can help you determine which year your family may have purchased a property. That knowledge helps narrow your land records search for deeds of sale or purchase.

Do you know when your relatives changed occupations? By following an ancestor through city directories, you might discover they weren't always the milkman. Perhaps they did a stint as a bar tender or an ice delivery truck driver.

In the post Sherman Brown and the City Directories, I detail exactly how much information I gleaned from the records and how amazing the discoveries are. Read that post (here) and then go find your ancestors in the directories!

20 September 2016

Lewis's Death Record Finally Rises

Lewis Pusecker Death Record

Going from an index to an original source often takes a little detective work and a lot of patience. And sometimes, it takes learning the right combination of search terms for the record to finally float to the surface.

That's the case for Ludwig Puescker son of Karl Puesecker who was a traveling companion to my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline Mack Geiszler Billman. I had tracked Ludwig, who became Louis in many records in Franklin County, Ohio, until the 1880 US Census. Then, I discovered a death date of 14 May 1905  in the Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997 death index collection on FamilySearch.  The index was derived from many sources, but I needed something more than a small clue to determine where his record was hiding.

13 September 2016

Have I Found Martha's Death Record?

Martha Gordon Death Record?

While searching the Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001 with the search terms "Martha" "Brown", "Franklin County, Ohio" for the death place and "1901" for the death year, I got a hit. I wanted to start doing a genealogy happy dance saying I finally found her death record. But did I? Can I really prove it?

11 September 2016

Scrapbooking Photobook Company Experiment

Ever read a photo book company review and think they are not going in depth enough? They'll tell you the quality is great but not tell you why the said quality was so wonderful. Then you print out a scrapbook and wonder what went wrong? If you said yes, or if you're just curious what I think, then this review post is for you! Four part video series discussing how I select a photo book company, my 20-page experiment, a little talk about packaging, and finally the comparison of my final selections.

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips on how to prepare your scrapbook pages better?

Or, what scrapbook topics should I include in a future video on Family History Fanatics? Leave a comment below and be sure to support my new venture by subscribing to my YouTube Channel, sharing the videos you like or giving a "Thumbs Up."

06 September 2016

10 Ways to Share Your Family History

10 Ways to Share Family History

Who doesn't want to generate more interest in their research among their family members?

For years I've contacted different family members asking them to share family photos, documents, and stories with me. They seem willing and ask, "what do you want to know?" Those seem like golden words, but they're not. Or at least, I sometimes fail to converted a willingness to help into the desired outcome.

In the past, I shared a group sheet and a list of questions along with potential items that would be of interest to me. Sometimes, I've mailed them the research I know to a certain point and ask them to fill in the gaps. A few individuals have willingly have responded and filled in gaps with amazing photos that never knew existed and stories I've never heard.

30 August 2016

One Record Leads to One Simple Story

Writing a Simple Family History Story

Some records in genealogy provide little to no information and simply certify that an event has occurred. Other records overflow with details that make writing a family history surprisingly easy.

Great Grandma Magie had a lovely photo collection that featured her siblings, one of whom is Christopher Hoppe.

I set out on a question to find Christopher's Death record and thankfully, the "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001" collection did not disappoint!

25 August 2016

What is Family History? (Video)

Video What is Family History

Budding genealogists and those discovering family history for the first time either have false concepts of this super cool hobby or don't know where to begin. In this new video on the Family History Fanatics YouTube Chanel, I answer the question, "What is Family History?"

The Family History Fanatics YouTube Channel will serve up a weekly dose of inspiration on beginner basics, preservation, and project topics related to family history. The Channel also strives to answer your questions. Be sure to send your questions to Devon Noel Lee via the contact form in the side bar, her Facebook Account, or Twitter account. (Click the links for those pages). Or leave a question below and your question could be answered in an upcoming video.  
Be sure to subscribe to Devon Noel's YouTube channel so you don't miss the latest installment. 

24 August 2016

Tracking Down Copyright Release

Copyright and Memoir Writing

When your photo collection is from 20 years ago, who owns the copyright? And if you used said photos in pageants for the purpose of promoting yourself, are these images in the public domain? If they are in the public domain, do you actually need to track down a copyright release statement?

Writing my memoir was easy compared to the worry I felt regarding the headshots I used during my quest for the crown. How would I track down men who may not be photographers any longer? If I couldn't use photos in my book about pageants then what good was the project? Pageant books need photos!

23 August 2016

Quest for Conrad Grener's Death Record

Quest for Conrad Grener's Death Record

Researching collateral lines is important. My great+ aunt Lizzie Greener is the daughter of my grandfather Joseph Geißler whom I have written about many times. Her husband was Conrad Greener b 1853 d 1905. I had hoped to find a death record for him online to support the grave markers that I have found for him.

Conrad and Mary Elizabeth Grener Large Grave Marker
Find A Grave Memorial 20274348, photo by Dave

So far, using Ancestry and FamilySearch, I haven't found a death record for Conrad, Mary Elizabeth's husband, but rather for her father-in-law Conrad the senior.

Conrad Grener Death record Columbus Ohio
Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 March 2016), Conrad Grener, 04 Sep 1899; citing Death, Prairie, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 4 p 198, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,207.

The death record for Conrad with Mary Elizabeth Geißler shares a tombstone is still elusive. I have tried various name combinations for Conrad and I keep coming up empty. The collection implies that a death record with the date 1905 would be in this collection. If it is, for now I might need to do the Browse Method to find it.

22 August 2016

The Electrifying Power of Beta Readers

The editing process is taught in school and focuses on using correct punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. In my three previously published books, I was heavily concerned with not making grammatical mistakes. When writing my memoir, "From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown," I discovered a powerful force stronger than knowing where a comma should appear.

17 August 2016

Sources Supply the Story

Sources Supply Stories for Memoir Writing

Thousands of blog posts explain how to write memoirs. The most repeated suggestion offered is to utilize memory triggers when writing life stories. Five resources helped me write my latest book From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown. The sources supplied many of the stories my heart longed to revisit and helped me successfully write the first draft of my book.

16 August 2016

Robert Weds Adeline, A Writing Case Study

Writing Family History Wedding Stories

Do you feel like you can't write the stories of your ancestors? Well, you need to stop that kind of thinking right now! You can. Let's start with a simple wedding story case study.

Let's look at the bare basics of a wedding story I wrote for my 2nd great-grandparents Robert and Adeline Zumstein of Ontario, Canada.

Robert and Adeline Zumstein Wedding
Robert Walter Zumstein and Adeline Snyder were married on 21 Aug 1894 on a farm near Smithville in Wellandport, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. They are the parents of several children including my great grandfather Robert Victor Zumstein
Adeline, the daughter of John Snyder and Caroline I. E. Lane, was born on 6 Jan 1870 in Smithville, Lincoln, Ontario.
Robert, the son of Heinrich Zumstein and Catherine Hedrick, was born 14 Aug 1868, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada.

12 August 2016

Why I Wrote a Pageant Memoir

Why I wrote a pageant memoir

"I think you should write about how you got started in pageants."

That's how the book "From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown" began.

My husband loves bragging that I am a former beauty queen. Despite the fact that I am in the throws of motherhood and would often be kidnapped by the fashion police for sacrificing style to be a mother, he loves that I have a few crowns to back up my claim. After years of preserving the history of my children and my ancestors, he insisted I record my life story. The memoir requested was how I began to be a beauty queen.

09 August 2016

Modern Genealogy Makes My Heart Sing

Modern Genealogy Makes Me Sing

Years ago, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio for a week long intense research trip to scan photo collections, meet cousins, photograph gravestones, and search in the Ohio State Archives.

One collection that I wanted to research was the naturalization records for my German immigrants who arrived in Franklin County, Ohio in the 1850s-1860s. Researching those records involved many hours multiple calls to the archive staff to locate the collection that would be most helpful and the call numbers. Then I spent hours searching my RootsMagic database to find all the German immigrants and traveling companions that fit this query for date and place.

Armed with my spreadsheet, film call numbers, and lots of hope, I made a trip to the library and relearned how to use the microfilm reader. I took photos of the records I discovered with my limited photograph skills, which made better images than the microfilm printer made. I returned home and began processing all of my discoveries.

The whole process was time consuming and so rewarding. But, I don't have opportunities to travel with out my five children to far away archives any more. I'm so happy that FamilySearch has made available online the naturalization record collection I long to revisit!!

02 August 2016

Combined Photo Collection Solves Mystery

Sometimes you have photo mysteries, not entirely because your collection isn't labeled, but rather your collection is a small part of a greater whole. This became evident to me when I attempted to determine who was in a photo with my father when he was a young child. Once I had the combine photo collections from several different family lines, I finally was able to piece together the clues that solved the mystery.

25 July 2016

Dad Would Have Been 70?

Happy Birthday Robert Paul Geiszler Jr

Have you ever run into someone you know and haven't seen them in awhile and realize they have aged. You know mentally they have aged, as have you, but in your mind you picture them from the past not the present?

Well, this year it hit me full force, my dad would have been 70 today.

70? No way! He didn't die that long ago. And he died when he was 55.

Seriously!?! 70? Let's check the math.

19 July 2016

My Indexing Contribution, Request for FS Engineers

Online genealogical databases do not function without some sort of indexing program in place, be it machine or persons. If we want to find records for our ancestors using search engines rather than in-person trips to far away libraries at great cost, we should serve as volunteer indexers.

After five years of being a volunteer, I have a decent number of records to show:

21,523 names indexed (4,300/ year)
18,551 names arbitrated (3,700 / year)

Truthfully, my activity level comes and goes as free time or interest is available. However, I have enjoyed the Family Search Indexing Pilot. I can't easily add those numbers into my indexing totals either.

To be honest, something else happened in he last five years which took my attention away from indexing. It was the ability to add photos, stories, and sources to FamilySearch Family Tree. Sadly, I have NO WAY of knowing what those statistics are. I'd love to see a celebratory number on my log-in screen for FamilySearch that says, "You're amazing. You've added ___ stories, ___ photos, and ____ sources to your family members! Thank you."

Perhaps if I could see that I've attached 4,300 sources to the tree then I would think twice about being a lackadaisical indexer. Perhaps I would commit myself to the challenge, for every 20 sources I attach to family search, I'll index 40 names (pay it forward plus).