20 April 2016

Civil War Beefcake - You're Welcome.

The San Joaquin Genealogical Society will be installing a display in the glass case located in the foyer of the Troke Library in Stockton, California.  The theme is military.  Our speaker for the May 19th meeting is Craig Manson who will talk about military records.  So keeping this in mind we decided to use each of the 4 shelves to depict a different war. 

In my searching for things Civil War-ish, I came across photos at the Library of Congress website of Civil War soldiers.  

I have to share some of the photos that made my heart go pitter-patter.  I know it sounds a little cougar-ish (and it probably is) but these young men are so handsome.  I defy you to disagree!

So here a few pieces of eye candy.  You're welcome.

















22 March 2016

ESM QuickLessons Study Group With Dear Myrtle



I am excited to be a part of a study group discussion panel led by Dear Myrtle.  This time around the subject of our discussions will be the QuickLessons by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  Over on ESM's website - Evidence Explained - there are 22 QuickLessons that teach us about historical analysis, citations and source usage.  The panel will explore each of them every Wednesday for the next 22 weeks.  

The panel members are:









The 60-minute sessions will be held Wednesdays as follows:

Noon Eastern US (New York)
11am Central US (Chicago)
10am Mountain US (Denver, Salt Lake City)
9am Pacific US (Los Angeles)

To view the Hangouts, click over to Dear Myrtle's site for instructions.

Each panelist must complete a homework assignment each week before the discussion takes place.  We are to read each QuickLesson and then share an example from our own research and how it relates to that particular lesson.  

The value in participating in a study group is that everyone brings something different to the table and we can learn from each other's viewpoint.

My homework for week #2:

Sheri Fenley
Homework for 23 March 2016

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof,”
Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-2-sources-vs-information-vs-evidence-vs-proof : [accessed 19 March 2016]).

“When we have conflicts between sources, we cannot count how many sources agree and how many disagree, then go with the “consensus.””

A recent DAR application I submitted was put on hold due to the requirement of complete dates of birth and death for the first three generations. The issue was a complete date of birth for Elmer Garrett who is in generation three - all I had provided was a year of birth.

The death certificate of Elmer Garrett gives only his age at death - 39 - giving him a birth year of 1878.

There is no birth certificate for Elmer Garrett because the State of Indiana vital records don't start until 1882, statewide registration wasn't required until 1907 and general compliance wasn't until 1920.

Alternative records that might give an exact date of birth for Elmer Garrett were searched:

1) WWI DRAFT REGISTRATION - Elmer Garrett died in 1917 and therefore did not register for the draft. A search was done anyway and no record was found

2) MARRIAGE RECORDS - Elmer Garrett married Mabel Bilby on 2 December 1907 in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. The document only gives his age at the time the document was created - 29 - giving him a birth year of 1878.

3) CENSUS RECORDS

In the 1880 census for Pleasant Township, Coffey County, Kansas Elmer Garrett, age 3, is found residing with his parents giving him a birth year of 1877.

In the 1885 Kansas State census for Shellrock Township, Greenwood County Elmer Garrett, age 9, is found residing with his parents giving him a birth year of 1876.

In the 1895 Kansas State census for Shellrock Township, Greenwood County Elmer Garrett, age 18, is found residing with his parents giving him a birth year of 1877.

The 1900 U.S. census gives the month and year of birth of all persons enumerated. An exhaustive search has been done for Elmer Garrett in this census without success. The most likely places that Elmer would have resided in 1900 would be near his parents who were found residing in Shellrock Township, Greenwood County, Kansas or near his future wife Mabel Bilby who was living with her parents Oscar and Fannie Bilby in Township 26, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma Territory . A page by page search was done for Greenwood and all adjacent counties - Lyon, Coffey, Woodson, Wilson, Elk, Butler and Chase - and a page by page search for townships adjacent to Township 26, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma Territory for Elmer Garrett and was not found. A search for Elmer Garret residing anywhere in the 1900 census was done using every conceivable spelling variation and still he was not found

In 1907 a census of Indian and Oklahoma territories, comprising the proposed state of Oklahoma, was taken. However, only the schedules for Seminole County exist.

In the 1910 census a search for Elmer Garrett found him in the household of his parents T.J. and Susan Garrett residing in Ward 5, Ponca City, Kay County, Oklahoma. He is age 32 which gives him a birth year of 1878. However his name has a line drawn through it. The instructions given to the enumerators state that only persons residing full time in the household are to be listed. Elmer most likely was visiting his parents and the enumerator started to list him as residing in the household. The enumerator only listed Elmer's name and age and then stopped and drew a line through it indicating the enumerator was in error. A page by page search was done for all of Kay and adjacent counties - Osage, Noble, Grant and Garfield - as well as Cowley County, Kansas for Elmer Garrett with no success. The parents of Mabel Bilby Garrett, Elmer's wife, resided in Red Fork Township, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma and a page by page search was done for Tulsa and adjacent counties - Washington, Rogers, Wagoner, Okmulgee, Creek, Pawnee and Osage - for Elmer Garrett and was not found. A search for Elmer Garret residing anywhere in the 1910 census was done using every conceivable spelling variation and still he was not found.

4) LAND RECORDS - A search was done at the Bureau of Land Management in Oklahoma with no results for Elmer Garrett. A search was conducted at the Oklahoma State Historical Society again with no results. A search was done at the Oklahoma State Archives and Library with no results.

5) NEWSPAPERS - a search for an obit or mention of Elmer Garrett in newspapers was done at the following websites: Newspaperarchive.com, Genealogybank.com, Obitarchives.com, Newspapers.com, Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, The Gateway to Oklahoma History and none was found.

6) PROBATE RECORDS - A document from the 1912 probate file of T.J. Garrett (Elmer's father) states that Elmer is age 35 at the time the document was created - 1912 - giving him a birth year of 1877. A search of the probate records of Tulsa County and Kay County, Oklahoma was done for Elmer Garrett and none were found.

7) CEMETERY RECORDS - The death certificate of Elmer Garrett states that burial was in Ponca City, Kay County, Oklahoma but does not give the name of the cemetery. There are seven cemeteries in and near Ponca City, Kay County, Oklahoma and none had a record of burial for Elmer Garrett:

Blaine Park Cemetery of Cross
Odd Fellows Cemetery
Oak Grove Cemetery
Grace Episcopal Church Columbarium
St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery
Longwood Cemetery
Resthaven Sunset Memorial Park

8) ONLINE WEBSITES - The following websites were searched for Elmer Garrett and nothing was found:
Pioneer Genealogical Society - Kay County, Oklahoma
Ponca City Library
Kay County Oklahoma GenWeb
Tulsa Genealogical Society
Tulsa City-County Library
Tulsa Historical Society
Tulsa County GenWeb
Oklahoma GenWeb
Oklahoma Historical Society
Oklahoma Genealogical Society
University of Oklahoma Digital Libraries

“. . . we often find the roots of our problem by thoughtfully considering three things—source by source, line by line: the quality of each source we used, the quality of the information taken from those sources, and the nature of the evidence we drew from the information we found. “

In this particular case I didn't resolve the conflict regarding the year of birth, much less locate a complete date of birth. I don't know what other document I could have tried to find that would resolve this problem. From the records found the year of birth ranges from 1876 to 1878.

The DAR application was verified after I submitted a report showing that I had done reasonably exhaustive research to locate a complete date of birth and had not found one.



30 December 2015

It's Time To Get Organized!



Way back when, about 2004, Dear Myrtle published monthly checklists to help genealogists organize their stuff.  Many people, myself included, found these checklists very helpful.

Well I have some good news for you - Dear Myrtle is bringing the checklists back in a weekly format and designed with the beginning to intermediate genealogist in mind. 

She has big, big plans for this and you can read all about it HERE.

I'm Doing It!  

27 December 2015

I Am Attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy - Are You?

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is a week-long intensive educational experience that takes students deep into their topic of choice. Students attending SLIG have the opportunity to advance their education with renowned genealogy experts during a week-long experience, network through special events, and tap into the wealth of resources at the nearly Family History Library.  

Each course offers twenty-five hours of in-depth genealogical instruction over a five-day period, with the exception of the Problem Solving and Advanced Practium courses, which are structured to focus on research with two hours in the classroom daily. 

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
When:  January 11-15, 2016 
Where:  Hilton City Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost:  Tuition for week long course =  $485

As of  December 27th 11:40 pm Pacific Time the following courses still have seats available IF YOU HURRY.

Course 1: Intermediate U.S. Records and Research, Part II
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Course 5: Early U.S. Church Records
Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG

Course 9: Solving Problems Like a Professional
Michael Hait, CG

Course 11: Writing A Quality Family Narrative
John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA 

Course 12: Problem Solving
Luana Darby, MLIS

Course 13: Advanced Evidence Practicum
Angela Packer McGhie

26 December 2015

Hand-Drawn Family Trees

A couple of months ago, I wrote  some articles about some unusual family history records.  One was about  Frakturs which are hand drawn, elaborate certificates of birth and marriages.  I also wrote a post about mourning paintings that memorialize a deceased loved one.


I recently came across yet another fabulous source - hand-drawn family trees that are also "Works of Art."  I can only imagine how long and painstaking a process this must have been to create the trees below:

A Victorian hand drawn family tree - "The Baker and Aufrère Families" dated 26 June 1869 by Thomas Birch, London, England

Unknown family tree found on Pinterest


Genealogy of Henry II from the Nuremburg Chronicle



Albero Family Tree



Unknown family tree found on Pinterest



Sigmund Family Tree



The art form has evidently carried forward to present time.  There are several artists who will custom draw or paint your family tree in anyway imaginable.



The drawing above is by an artist from England who sells custom drawn family trees on ETSY and you will find her site HERE.


This hand drawn family tree with painted portraits of family members is from M.L. Mural Arts


This family tree is from an artist in Rio Rancho, New Mexico


This beautiful family tree is from a website called Genea Murgia from Sweden








19 November 2015

More Great and Free Educational Opportunities


Thank you to Shannon Combs-Bennett for mentioning "The Educated Genealogist" in her article "Keeping Up With the Ancestors: Self-Education."  You can find Shannon's article in the latest issue of the FGS Forum:
FGS FORUM • Volume 27, Issue 3 • Fall 2015

For more information about the Federation of Genealogical Societies - FGS - click HERE.


So yes, having my blog mentioned in the FGS Forum has guilted me into writing a post about more educational opportunities.  

The following are not necessarily about genealogy, but are great towards increasing your knowledge about the time era your ancestor lived.  You have to know what was going on during the time your ancestor was living to know what kind of records were created and why they were created.

A few of the courses mentioned below are to improve upon or learn other skills needed to becoming the best genealogist you can be.

All of them are FREE so what are you waiting for?

Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer free courses online.






Canvas Network offers free, open, online courses taught by the world’s leading educators everywhere.





Free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.



Free, open online courses.




Offering high-quality, free courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere.





Free courses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology











08 October 2015

Your Genealogical Education



It is that time of year when I get that back-to-school frame of mind.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to think about all the opportunities that are out there for genealogists to get educated.  

This post will deal with opportunities that will cost some dollars but well worth the education you will receive.

The ProGen Study Groups are organized to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
18 month course
Cost:  $95

Offers a certificate of completion and the have an Associate of Arts Degree in Family History Studies.  Instructor is Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA.
Cost:  Currently $46 per unit, each course is 3 units


Held at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
June 26th to July 1st 2016
July 17th to July 22nd 2016
Tuition is $450 for each week-long course


January 11-15, 2016 at the Hilton City Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Tuition for week long course:  $485
As of  October 7th 11:00 pm Pacific Time here is the status of the course offerings for January 2016:
Course 1: Intermediate U.S. Records and Research, Part II - 12 seats open
Course 2: Researching New York: Resources and Strategies - 2 seats open
Course 3: Swing Across The South - course is full
Course 4: Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy - course is full
Course 5: Early U.S. Church Records - 8 seats open
Course 6: Advanced Research Tools: Land Records - 6 seats open
Course 7: Beginning Genetic Genealogy - course is full
Course 8: Advanced DNA Analysis Techniques For Genealogical Research - course is full
Course 9: Solving Problems Like a Professional - 13 seats are open
Course 10: Advanced Genealogical Methods - course is full
Course 11: Writing A Quality Family Narrative - 10 seats open
Course 12: Problem Solving - 1 seat open
Course 13: Advanced Evidence Practicum - 4 seats open


March 10-12, 2016 at the Menger Hotel at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas
Registration is $445

Certificate of Completion is offered.
American Genealogical Studies series - all prices are non-member prices.  Member prices are of course discounted.
The Basics - $65
Guide to Documentation and Source Citation - $65
Bundle of The Basics and Guide to Documentation - $100
Beyond the Basics - $200

They also offer courses that are more advanced in their Continuing Genealogical Studies series


15 week online course for $2695.00
Certificate is awarded upon successful completion
They also offer a 4 week online course - Genealogy Essentials for $775

Held at the National Archives in Washington, DC
The week-long course is usually held in July and tuition is around $450

Credential earned:  PLCGS - Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies
Works in affiliation with the Continuing Education Division of the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto, Canada
They offer certificates in American Records, Australian Records, Canadian Records, English Records, German Records, Scottish Records, Irish Records, Librarianship, Methodology, Professional Development
Average of 40 courses needed to obtain certificate
Average cost of 40 courses:  $3450.00


An assessed programme of ten online genealogy courses to be completed in 18 to 36 months.  Certificate awarded upon successful completion.
Cost per course:  around $70 for unassessed (not graded)and around $93 for assessed (graded)

09 September 2015

Fabulous Frakturs

Last night as I was clickity-clacking away on my keyboard looking for one thing or another, I came across something that is simply fabulous - FRAKTURS!

Courtesy of www.philamuseum.org


A fraktur  is a type of certificate, most popular from the late 1700's to around 1900, used by the Pennsylvania Dutch to document births, deaths, family genealogies, and land purchases.  The most common type of fraktur is the taufschein, or baptismal certificate. It includes names of the child, father, and mother (with her maiden name); date and place of birth; name and denomination of officiating clergyman; and names of the witnesses present. Wedding frakturs may have pictures of a bride and bridegroom as in the image above. 

From the pension file of Philip Frey

Fraktur decorations vary greatly in design and color. All kinds of flowers were used, but tulips were especially popular. Birds, such as doves, cardinals, parrots, eagles, and peacocks appear in the borders.  Also among the designs were: the sun, moon, stars, rainbows, vines, leaves, trees, butterflies, and various fruit. 

From the pension file of  Christian Nichols

These early form of record keeping became very important in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when soldiers from the American Revolutionary War applied for pensions. Most people did not have birth certificates or registration to show proof of family, location, name and age, however some had frakturs.

From the pension file of Tobias Starry

These were placed in the case files of those seeking a war pension or a bounty-land warrant. The U. S. National Archives has them scanned and you can search to see if an ancestor submitted one.

The Wikimedia Commons site has placed these images, some 219, online so you can view them easier and if you find one you want, you can download the image as they are part of the public domain.

A few other places to locate frakturs online are 
Free Library of Philadelphia  and  Frakturweb.

From the pension file of Christian Roth

Next time you are at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah you must have a look at this book:

The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans (FHL US/CAN Book 974.8 A3st) is the full title of the Fraktur art and printing collection of Klaus Stopp whose interest was in the ornate Pennsylvania German folk art and unique style of lettering. His value for the genealogical content is reflected in the indexing of some 24,000 individuals of German American heritage. The certificates were created between 1738 and 1901.

Bound in red cloth with gold embossing of “BBCs” on the spine, this valuable collection can be found in the open stacks on the third floor of the Family History Library. Each of the six volumes is about 300 pages with a surname index of about 4000 names. The index includes the name of the child (Kind), the parents (Eltern) sometimes with the mother’s maiden name, and the witnesses (Taufzeugen) often grandparents or other relatives. 

I will finish by leaving you with this gem.  This is a fabulous short video made by the NARA Conservation Lab about Fracturs:


Illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W3079, for Philip Frey, Pennsylvania.  Record group: Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007 (ARC identifier: 344).  Series: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300022).  File unit: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W3079, for Philip Frey, Pennsylvania, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300194). NAIL Control Number: NWCTB-15-NM22E19-W3079-SLIDE18.

Illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W2842, for Christian Nichols, Pennsylvania. Record group: Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007 (ARC identifier: 344). Series: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300022). File unit: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W2842, for Christian Nichols, Pennsylvania, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300192). NAIL Control Number: NWCTB-15-NM22E19-W2842-SLIDE48.

Illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File R10234, for Tobias Starry, Pennsylvania. Record group: Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007 (ARC identifier: 344). Series: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300022). File unit: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File R10234, for Tobias Starry, Pennsylvania, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300033). NAIL Control Number: NWCTB-15-NM22E19-R10234-SLIDE90.

Illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W14231, for Christian Roth, Massachusetts. Record group: Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007 (ARC identifier: 344). Series: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300022). File unit: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W14231, for Christian Roth, Massachusetts, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900 (ARC identifier: 300066). NAIL Control Number: NWCTB-15-NM22E19-W14231-SLIDE68.