Jul 092011
 

Those researching their ancestors in Pennsylvania know that county boundaries changed frequently in the years since 1682. To make these boundary changes easier to see, I animated them.

I used portions of the “Genealogical Map of the Counties” available at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I simply snipped the individual images in their sequence of state maps that show county boundaries and made a short flash animation.

Unfortunately these maps do not show cities and towns, but if you know the county you are interested in, you can see when it was created and how it changed over the years.

View an animated history of Pennsylvania Counties.

May 082011
 

My mother had many words of wisdom.  When I was in the seventh grade, my religion teacher wrote a comment on my report card.  My mother’s response to her has remained with me all these years and I still think of it occasionally.

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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.

Apr 032011
 
Brickwall

Brick by Brick

This is another post in a series about finding the ancestors of my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Voisin (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.

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Apr 012011
 
Brickwall

Brick by Brick

I’ve reached an impasse trying to find the ancestors of my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Voisin (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.

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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.

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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.

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Feb 262011
 
Joseph Voisin

Joseph Voisin, about 1907

If great-grandfather Joseph Voisin had an iPod, one of those tiny music players, what would he be listening to? His iPod has survived, and on it I found this song:

 

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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?

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Jan 262011
 

The most important aspect of organizing a collection of digitized photographs and documents is the naming convention used to reference each item.

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