Win a RootsTech Pass as We Celebrate Our YouTube Anniversary

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 March 2016

Should I write that?

Family History Writing Tips


If you are blessed with an avalanche of information for a particular ancestor, do you include every last detail in their life story complication?

When I worked on my mother's scrapbook, I had a pile of resources to work with sheets of her journal, a life history that she started but never finished, a personal history form, labeled photos, and other sources of information. At that time, she was also still living. So, I could keep building my source material.

Did you think a genealogist would ever have too much information to use?

28 March 2016

Joseph Geissler: Is Adam Really Albert on Naturalization?

Adam Nortlick

Our initial attempts at researching are not always productive. I think that is the case which searching for clues about witnesses on my 3-times great-grandfather Joseph Geißler's naturalization proceedings.

On October 11, 1858, in the Franklin County Superior Court, Joseph completed the steps necessary to become a US Citizen, along with 75 other immigrants. Each new citizen had to bring with them a witness who could attest that they had lived in the county for a specified length of time and that they were of good character.

Joseph Keizler naturalization October 1858 Franklin County Ohio
Naturalization registration with the Franklin County Superior Court
Autumn 1863 Term, date: October 11, 1858


22 March 2016

How do you research naturalization paper neighbors?

After my initial attempt at researching names I discovered on a court docket for naturalization proceedings, I wondered how one should go about researching these names. You only have a name and a place of origin on the records from the 1850s. Without any relative or age details, how could you piece together someone's history?

Rob Boudreau, a willing participant in crowding sourcing genealogy, offered his recommendations that I thought were worth sharing.

21 March 2016

Joseph Geissler: Naturalization Page Neighbors

Naturalization Paper Neighbor Analysis


In Examining Naturalization Dockets for Joseph Geißler's, I featured the court docket when my three times great-grandfather officially became an American citizen. I noted that several individuals from Baden, Joseph's home country, also became citizens the same day. I had the ambitious goal of learning more about these men in hopes of finding a family or traveling companions to my ancestor. The initial results were difficult to obtain.

Do you have the patience for genealogy?

Are you patient enough for genealogy


Have you ever been around a three year-old who is anxious to have something put together but is having trouble waiting for that thing to be assembled?

Oh so many years ago, my daughter was this exact age waiting for her daddy to put together a tricycle. She helped him get the parts out of the box. She attempted to help him select the right tools for the job. She even tried her hand at putting screws into what she thinks were the correct holes. Soon, the process was taking too long and she laid on the carpet certain this tricycle would never be built.

impatient three year-old
"This take too long!"

Are we like a three year-old awaiting their tricycle when we approach genealogy? We want the discoveries now! We try to lay cousin bait. We make contacts to family members and repositories. We clean up our trees and look for records online. But, it sometimes feels like we'll never have a family tree that's built.

15 March 2016

Tech Tuesday: Index the Records You Most Want

Family Search Indexing Pilot


Have you wanted to index records that are most important to your research? Do you want to get your family involved in family history through a project that directly benefits your family? FamilySearch has a new indexing pilot that you'll want to investigate. 

Truth be told, I have been a little burnt out from church sponsored indexing goals and have nearly dropped out of the indexing service pool. That is until I discovered this pilot while at RootsTech. In fact, I almost didn't make the discovery at all.

A Family Search convention hall staff member and I were visiting about how much I love FamilySearch Family Tree. Somehow we started talking about how I wish I could index a few of the pages before and after the probate records I find for my ancestors. If I'm already in a collection that's not indexed, I wouldn't mind spending a few moments indexing a few paper neighbors while I'm there.

I was personally walked over to the "Indexing on the Fly" booth in Innovators Alley and a new discovery was made.

14 March 2016

Joseph Geissler: Examining Naturalization Dockets

Naturalization record for Joseph Keizler [Geiszler]
Naturalization record for Joseph Keizler [Geiszler], in the family record
collection of David G Geissler of Columbus, Ohio


As discussed in Joseph Geisszler: An American Father, Joseph was born in Baden and immigrated to Franklin County, Ohio prior to 1858. He received a naturalization certificate which was passed down through the family and is currently in my distant cousin's possession. Had he not had the original certificate hanging on the family wall in his home, I would not have considered that the last name Keizler as a variation for Geißler. Incidentally, this record lead me to the discovery of Joseph signing the 1863 Civil War Draft record in Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio, in June 1863, a month prior to his death.

My previous post briefly mentioned when Joseph became a naturalized citizen and how that fit into his life story. This post will examine naturalization process with more detail.

09 March 2016

Heritage Scrapbooking: The Making of a Layout

Making a Heritage Scrapbook Layout


There is a method to the madness of creating a heritage scrapbook layout. But, what's great is that the madness is not difficult to learn. The first step is to identify your challenges and then work through achieving that goal. Let's walk through my recent layout that's part of my 80s theme scrapbook about myself.

In case you missed the previous installment, you can how I created the Elementary in the 80s layout.

The Challenge: 

  • Feature my aunt's trip to San Antonio with poorly cut photos without those images becoming a distraction.
  • Do it quickly because I'm a busy family historian
  • Choose a color scheme that compliments the photos, even if it's not a 'traditional' 80's color palette.

07 March 2016

Joseph Geissler - Was Analyzing the Surname Helpful

Joseph Geißler Descedants
Growing up a Geiszler meant that I had a somewhat unique name. There was no question of who someone was talking about when they referred to Devon Geiszler. No true if your name was Jennifer or Jennifer Smith.

Additionally, there were few, if any, Geiszlers in Texas compared to Jones, Davis, or Martinez. The only other Geiszler's I knew of were in Columbus, Ohio. So, if you ran into an Ohio Geiszler and asked if they had relatives in Houston, Texas the answer would be yes. Not, "Well, there are a lot of folks with the last name Lee..."

Now, there were others with the last name Geissler, Gusler, Gutszler, and so on in Texas and Ohio. Naively, I couldn't believe these folks were even remotely related to me. Additionally, I automatically assumed someone with the "z" in their name must be kin.

Once I started doing genealogical research, I discovered that there were more Geiszler spelling variants. I could not rule out the possibility of a relationship if someone did or did not use the "z" in their last name or if it wasn't entirely spelled the way we've adopted our spelling.

By only looking for the 'correct' spelling variation I was not accessing records of use to my ancestors. While discovering many name varieties, I thought researching the origin of the Geiszler name would assist my research.

RootsTech Review: Conference Feedback for RootsTech 2016

RootsTech 2016 Feedback and Review

Guest blog by Andrew Lee

Less than a week after RootsTech, I received the emails from the conference requesting feedback emails. I completed the request but I thought I would share some of my thoughts. Remember it was my first time at this particular conference, but not at conferences in general. I've attended many for work, family history, and in college.

06 March 2016

RootsTech Review: My Heritage After Party

MyHeritage After Party Andy and Devon Noel Lee
Relaxing and having fun at the After Party!

Guest post by Andrew Lee

Having given my presentation I was all out of words. Devon says I only have about 5,000 words each day and one presentation can use that up. So normally I would be ready to go back to the hotel and relax for the rest of the day and not interact with anyone.

But I went to PowerTripAnalytics computer lab and it was awesome! (Did I say that already?) So maybe that pumped me up enough for the MyHeritage After Party.

05 March 2016

RootsTech Review: Audacity the Power of Audio Editing

Audacity The Power of Audio Editing at RootsTech

Guest blog by Andrew Lee

Yes my class was one of my favorites as well. The topic (software program Audacity) was sort of a last minute thing. I had made up my draft proposals for three other classes in May. At the same time I was editing an audio cassette that my aunt had sent to me. About a week before the proposal deadline I threw together one for Audacity. As I mentioned in my class, I have been using Audacity for about 15 years to edit audio files.

04 March 2016

RootsTech Review: What Were The Best Classes Not Streamed?

Classes you missed at RootsTech

Guest post by Andrew Lee

I'm not heavily involved in the greater genealogy community, but I have been doing family history for over 20 years. Thus, what were the best classes at RootsTech and who presented them in the eyes of an unknown presenter?

I had better luck than my wife with my selection of classes. There weren’t any that I didn’t like. There were a couple that I would have liked better if they had more substance to them. In a nutshell, I like show and tell classes better than just tell. Rather than give me 10 examples of spreadsheets, show me how to create 3 really useful ones.

Another thing is if the class is just a regurgitation of the syllabus, then what is the point of the class (hence why I like show and tell better)? With 295 classes to choose from, I can download all of the syllabuses and read them. If the class doesn’t give me any more depth than what is on the syllabus (i.e. it doesn’t go into more detail or provide examples of application of principles) then I don’t want to sit in the class. If the class is being streamed and I can watch it later, then I don’t want to sit in the class.

With that out of the way, here is what I liked...

03 March 2016

RootsTech Review: Through The Eyes of an Unknown Presenter

RootsTech 2016 from a speaker point of view


Guest post by Andrew Lee

RootsTech 2016 is over and while it is still fresh in my mind I thought I would do a guest blog for my hot wife whom you know as A Patient Genealogist. This was our first time attending the event and we had a great time, both at the conference and away from our kids. Thanks Mom & Dad!

Andy and Devon Noel Lee at RootsTech
Me and the Hot Wife!
So to begin let me go over the things I didn’t do, so don’t ask me for an opinion on them or expect a review later in this series.