Thursday, November 16, 2017

FamilySearch Will Soon Require You To Sign-In

Beginning December 13, 2017, FamilySearch.org will begin requiring all visitors to sign in with a free account in order to search records. They say the reason is because some of their partners require their source documentation to be accessed in a safe and secure environment. Look at it this way, if you were a church or other organization that had the personal details of their members, do you want anyone at all on the Internet to access this information? While it's true that even scammers can create accounts on FamilySearch, it is unlikely they would actually go through this trouble to do so. In addition, FamilySearch wants to create a more personalized experience for you. In order to do this, it needs to know who you are when you are on their site.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Was My Unknown Great-Great-Grandfather a Philanderer?

Looking at my Family Tree DNA matches, trying to track down some Irish cousins and ancestors, I'm coming to the conclusion that the unknown father of my great-grandfather may have been a 19th century Lethario.

Why do I think that? When I look for matches that do not match my mother, of course, they must be on my father's side. Then I look for people with Irish ancestors that don't match my Kelly cousins. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that they are related to this great-great-grandfather, but it does narrow it down. They could be related on my Doran line or they could be related on my Kelly line but just don't match my Kelly cousins. However, these are the only matches that have common matches like this.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cracks Beginning to Appear in the Fanny Dunzinger Brick Wall

Using the Family Tree DNA results of a second cousin of mine, I have sniffed out a clue that could lead us to the maiden name of Fanny, the wife of Andreas/Andrew Dunzinger. In previous posts, I discussed the 1855 New York State Census showing the family of Andrew Dunzinger and his wife Fanny. Here is the image again:


Friday, October 6, 2017

FamilySearch.org - Viewing Scanned Microfilm

The big news recently is that Family Search has stopped allowing people to order microfilm of family history records to be sent to local family history centers. This has been the way people have done a large amount of genealogical research over the past few decades. So now that they've stopped, what do you do now? Well, most of these microfilms are still available to you and most of those that are not available now, will be in the next couple of years.

So, let's say I wanted to do more research on my Brandstetter family in Renchen, Baden, Germany. Before last month, I could go to the Family Search catalog, order the microfilm, pay a $7.50 fee for the shipping and wait a few weeks for it to be delivered to my local LDS church, where it would stay for a couple of months so I could look through it. Now, what would I do? Pretty much the same thing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Marking Unmarked Graves

I stumbled upon a company that makes ordering stones for unmarked graves simple and very affordable. I haven't used their service yet but it sounds very interesting. Mark Every Grave allows you to order small granite headstones (6" x 9") starting at $25.99 for 6" x 9" x 1/2" stones up to 24" x 12" x 1/2" for $250. You can select an image to have engraved in addition to names and dates for a small amount more. There is also an option for a custom image. Their web site notes that shipping is free.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Autobiography of Agnes Panther Miller

My sister called me and said she had a box of Mom's stuff for me. I went over and found a small box of things that she thought I'd like. I thanked her and we talked about some of the papers I had recently digitized. I mentioned that if she ran across any additional paperwork or photos, she should let me know. I'd scan them in and return them to her.

She went and found a spiral notebook and handed it to me. She asked me to scan it in but she would like it back. I opened it and saw an amazing thing. It was a short autobiography, handwritten by my mother to her two oldest grandsons in about 1990. These were the only two grandchildren that had been born by that time. It appears she wrote it up for them but then stashed it in a drawer. I don't know if she forgot about it or was unhappy with the way it turned out.

I gladly took it and got it scanned in that same day, all 13 pages. Thirteen pages doesn't sound like a lot but for one person to write it out longhand, that's pretty impressive. There is no real new genealogical information and the information about her grandfather, Aloys Panther wasn't correct. She said he came through New York when he actually came through New Orleans. Regardless, it provides more detail about her early life that I didn't have.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Passing of Ronald Fullenkamp

Early this past Saturday morning, my uncle, Ronald (aka Ron or Ronnie) Fullenkamp passed away. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer ten months ago. My wife and I were sad to hear the diagnosis and between ourselves, we didn't expect him to last long. A lung cancer diagnosis, in our experience, ends with the person passing away pretty quickly afterwards. We were pleasantly proven wrong. Uncle Ronnie lived another ten months in which he shared his love with his family and his family was able to share quality, loving, family time with him. We didn't want to intrude into the last times the family would be able to share together but from what we can tell, he felt pretty good, albeit tired, up until the last few weeks.

Monday, August 14, 2017

FamilySearch Microfilm Ordering Being Discontinued

The latest big news in the genealogy world is that Family Search will no longer be sending microfilms to local LDS family history centers. This is really big news. If I hadn't been able to obtain the microfilmed church records from Moesbach and Ulm, Ortenaukreis, Baden, Germany by going down to the local family history center, my Panther family research project would never have happened. I would have had to make a trip to Salt Lake City to view the microfilms there. Add in the fact that I ended up scanning in every page from these films and there is absolutely no way I could have accomplished this.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Spur of the Moment Trip to Iowa


My wife and I decided to drive to southeast Iowa at the last minute. While there, I decided to stop by the Fort Madison public library to see if I could find the obituary for my great-grandmother, Philomena Bixenman Miller. When I found it, I looked for others I may have overlooked previously. Would you believe that I didn't have the obituary for any of my Miller grandparents or great-grandparents? We also made it over to Carthage, Illinois to look for records and look around the town. Here's a time-lapse video I took of the Carthage Jail while looking at records at the Hancock County Historical Society:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Unbroken Line of Headstones

What is your longest unbroken line of headstones? This idea came from Linda Stufflebean's blog, Empty Branches on the Family Tree. She got the idea from Genea-Musings. In Linda's example, she had 7 confirmed headstones in her largest unbroken line of headstones. I can only manage five. That's what you get when your earliest immigrant to America came in 1834.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Composing a Good Online Help Query

There are many resources available for genealogists today to post questions to online communities and most are filled with a good number of experienced people willing to help. Older communities, while not used as often, include message boards such as the ones at Rootsweb. Rootsweb boards include hundreds of different subjects from boards about specific surnames to countries, states, counties and other localities around the world. Facebook pages are easily the most used online genealogical communities.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Photos - More than First Meets the Eye

Of  course, everyone loves old photos. At first glance, they're pictures of your ancestors. Your mother's family, a family gathering at some special occasion. You figure out who's in them and when it was taken and add them to your database. How often do you go back and look at them? I mean really look. In your mind, look at them as if you've never seen them before. Look in the background, at the expression on people's faces, at things that are not the focus of the picture. Do this and it's possible you can figure out things that were really going on. Here are few examples from my collection.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Scanning Photos

After Mom's funeral, I volunteered to take her photo albums and boxes of photos, scan them in to the computer so all of her children could have a copy. Finally, after nearly four months, I finished scanning in over 1400 photos. Then I purchased six USB thumb drives, copied the photos onto them, along with a copy of my genealogy database and all documents associated with my genealogy work. While I don't expect all of my brothers and sisters to be interested in browsing the family tree, if all they have to do is hold on to a thumb drive, they won't mind acting as my emergency backup. Never forget to back up your data and put it at a location away from your main computer.

I've already posted some interesting photos from her collection. Here are a few more that I found interesting.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Biography of Johann Heinrich Kempker

Johann Heinrich Kempker was born on December 31, 1797, likely in Fürstenau, Kreis Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, in what is now Germany. It is unknown who his parents were. In 1830, at the age of about 32, he married twenty-nine year old Mary Anna Nichting. On September 9, 1831, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Maria Anna Kempker. His wife died the following year of unknown causes.

In 1833, he married twenty-nine year old Maria A. Hillman. On June 6, 1834, she gave birth to a son, Gerhard Heinrich Kempker.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Genealogy Conferences

I recently attended two genealogy conferences. Other than the local LDS family history day, I've never attended a conference before. So, what did I think and what are my thoughts about conferences in general?

If you had asked me prior to these conferences, I would have told you, "I'd like to get to some conferences but I just haven't had the time or opportunity." Now that I've gone, which I'm glad I did, my general thoughts about conferences are, "If you really want to meet any of the speakers, or if you have a definite interest in the exact subject of one or more of the sessions, or if you know others in the genealogical community and you'd like to interact with them, then it's worthwhile."