Saturday, January 13, 2018

Top 10 Blog Posts

In the five years I've had my genealogy blog, I've had over 50,000 visitors. While I'd love to be a super-popular writer, I'm pretty satisfied with how popular the blog has become. So, what posts are the most popular with my readers? Here they are.

1. German Church Record Basics - Part 1 - German Records - Coming in first place is my post about how to read German church records. It contains images of common words found in German church books and what they mean. I'm very happy that this has become the most popular post. This means that my blog is making a difference and really helping out people that need assistance.
 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Warsaw, Illinois Newspapers Online

I found a site, http://warsaw.advantage-preservation.com/, that has many Warsaw, Carthage County, Illinois newspapers online to browse and search. You might already know that I love old newspapers. Having the ability to browse and search the old newspapers of a small town my ancestors were from is a fantastic opportunity.

I hoped to find a large amount of information about the Hugh Kelly family, which is the only family of mine that actually lived in Warsaw but I found just a few mentions of him. What I found more of is news about that darn Doran family in neighboring Carthage. As is typical, you don't find much in the newspapers about modest, law-abiding people but you find much more about the trouble-makers.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Security Breach at RootsWeb

There has been a security breach on RootsWeb, which is now owned by Ancestry. You can read more about it in this blog post. A security researcher notified Ancestry that he found a plain-text file containing 300,000 username/email address/password combinations. In response, Ancestry "analyzed" the file and found that 55,000 individuals used the same username/password combinations on both RootsWeb and Ancestry and are notifying those individuals. They are not notifying anyone who did not use the same credentials on both sites.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Homes for the Holidays

How many ancestral homes do you have photos of? How many are still standing? I collected photos of all of the known homes from my family's history. As far as I know, all of these homes are still standing except one.

First up is the house in Columbus, Nebraska that I and my siblings grew up in. This is the house my mother lived in until she passed.
It has been sold to a family friend and I understand his young daughter loves her new home.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Descendants of Thomas Doran, Outlaw of Kimble County, Texas

I've been searching for descendants of Tom Doran, the gunslinger that killed James Deaton and James Lewis Temple in Junction, Texas. I was hoping to track down living descendants of his so we could use DNA to confirm whether or not I am related to him. Despite the fact that his headstone suggests he fought for the Confederate army and therefore is a different Tom Doran than is related to me, I have documentation that, if accurate, proves he fought for the Union and is related to me.

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.