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.

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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. []
Mar 262013
 

google-earth-00In a past posting I described how I located the homestead of my great-grandparents Albert and Mary Pohl near Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.  I’ve since found that Google Earth is another tool to further visualize the location.  It is helpful in modernizing old maps to better understand where my ancestors lived.

What I did is add an overlay of an old map to the modern world shown in Google Earth.  This allows you to see precisely where a road, building or property once stood in relation to what’s there now.

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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.

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
May 252007
 

It is helpful to use a numbering scheme when referring to the ancestral families in your family tree. Referring to a family by the names of the spouses is problematic. Their names might change as new information about them is discovered. A number is also easier to reference in a filing scheme for paper documents or index cards, as well as for computer files and Internet web pages.

Here is a method for numbering families (not individuals) for your direct-line ancestry. First, notice that an ancestor or pedigree chart is actually a “binary tree,” meaning that each node, or family, in the tree always has exactly two ancestor nodes. Each of the two nodes can therefore be assigned a unique number. This includes even the “missing” nodes, or families that you have yet to discover.

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