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...

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.