Apr 242013
 

WPA Propery InventoryIn the late 1930’s the Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted property inventories of rural Michigan. This project was in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Treasury. I was able to locate the homestead of my great-grandparents, Joseph and Mary Voisin, near Beal City, Michigan. It is interesting to learn about their home and farm.

Continue reading »

Apr 022013
 

My fourth great-grandparents, John and Margaret Stewart, were two of the first settlers in what would eventually become Buffington Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. John Stewart married Margaret McFarland in 1788 and by 1796 they had a son, my third great-grandfather, James Stewart.

I describe here how I used records available at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)1 and Google Earth to pinpoint the location of the original Stewart homestead.

Continue reading »

Footnotes
  1. Pennsylvania, “Copied Surveys, 1681-1912,” database and digital images, Pennsylvania State Archives, Land Records (http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_archives/2887 : downloaded 9 December 2009), RG-17, Series #17.114, Copied Survey Book C-206, Page 221 and reverse, John Stewart, http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/Books%20C1-C234/Book%20C206/Book%20C-206%20pg%20441.pdf; Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History. []
Apr 232011
 

Another of my hobbies is shopping at garage sales and estate sales.  It’s fun to find little gizmos to fix up, clean up, and reuse.  I especially like technology and mechanical items.  Most people have no idea what many of these items are.  That means no one else buys them.  They are also very cheap, on the order of 25 cents for items that can retail for $10 to $50.

Sometimes I come across items of genealogical interest.  I once bought a stack of hard-cover genealogy books for 50 cents each.  Perhaps saddest are the old portraits of unnamed and unknown ancestors that probably graced many a farm house.

Today at an estate sale I noticed a banker’s box on the top shelf marked “Genealogy.”  I thought boy oh boy, what treasures can I save from destruction and loss to hopefully find a better home.  I anxiously brought the box down, set it carefully on another box, and lifted the cover.  Oh no!  Shreds upon shreds of paper, as if the contents had been through a paper shredder.  A family of mice had at one time made their home in this box.

All of it ruined.  Hand-written notes, Xeroxed copies of records and certificates.  Nothing but strips and fragments.  Nothing salvageable.  It was obviously someone’s careful work from the time before computers, when everything was done by hand.

The lesson:  Store your genealogical paperwork in rodent-proof containers.  Avoid attics and garages.

Apr 032011
 
Brickwall

Brick by Brick

This is another post in a series about finding the ancestors of my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Voisin1 (1858-1916). This is a brick wall I haven’t been able to get beyond for several years. Here I chip away a few more bricks from the wall in hopes of discovering a clue.

Perhaps you can help. If you found this post while searching the Internet, chances are there’s something here that piqued your interest. That means you might know something I don’t know. If so, please post a comment. No matter how small, most any information can provide a clue.

In this installment I’ll remove four bricks from the wall.  See also Bricks 1 through 10.

Continue reading »

Footnotes
  1. For source citations and images of the evidence discussed here, please see the Family Group Sheet for Joseph Voisin. []
Apr 012011
 
Brickwall

Brick by Brick

I’ve reached an impasse trying to find the ancestors of my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Voisin1 (1858-1916). It’s a brick wall I haven’t been able to get beyond for several years. If I remove one brick from the wall at a time, I may discover a clue.

Perhaps you can help. If you found this post while searching the Internet, chances are there’s something here that piqued your interest.  That means you might know something I don’t know.  If so, please post a comment.  No matter how small, most any information can provide a clue.

In this installment I’ll remove ten bricks from the wall.  See also Bricks 11 through 14.

Continue reading »

Footnotes
  1. For source citations and images of the evidence discussed here, please see the Family Group Sheet for Joseph Voisin. []
Mar 032011
 
Albert and Mary Pohl

Albert and Mary Pohl, about 1909

Who would have thought the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) could answer questions about family history?  I used NOAA to help solve a mystery about the immigration of my great-grandparents, Albert G. and Maria “Mary” (Pittner) Pohl.

Continue reading »

Mar 012011
 

Source Templates is a feature that some genealogy software programs now offer. When you create a citation to reference a source in your genealogy research, the source templates tool prompts you for the necessary information.  You simply fill in the blanks, and it constructs the actual source citation.  Citations are then complete, and in standard format.

But should you use Source Templates?  I say No! The reason?  Most if not all genealogy programs have yet to get their source templates feature working properly.  Besides minor problems with formatting and punctuation, the most serious issue is:  You will not be able to use your source citations outside of your genealogy program.

Continue reading »

Feb 262011
 

Part of the fun of genealogy is discovering your ancestors.  And part of that process is uncovering old records like baptism and marriage records.  One record leads to an older record, and so on back in time.  What is the oldest record you have ever discovered related to an ancestor?

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm
Nov 012010
 

It is increasingly easy to obtain digital images of evidence used in genealogical research. More online databases now provide images of actual records. It is also easy to scan photographs and documents, or even record them using a digital camera.

I have already begun the process of digitizing the genealogical evidence I accumulated over the years. In the forthcoming series of blog posts entitled “Digital Evidence,” I will describe the system I use to generate, manage and display my collection.

As always, comments and feedback are welcome, especially if you have a better idea!

 Posted by on November 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm