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, 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 - 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."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning About Their Lives

While I am, like all genealogists, thrilled when we discover the name of a new ancestor, one thing that has always made me smile is learning about actual events in their lives. Having the pertinent information down on paper helps you learn the facts about the events, but pictures allow you to really get a feel for what happened.

While going through my mother's photos, I found one photo album that contained some pictures I don't think I've ever seen before. I tend to believe it was the photo album that belonged to my grandparents, given the time-frame the photos were taken and the things in the photographs. Among the photos were a few from a sale my grandfather had when he sold off all his dairy cows.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Family Tree DNA MyOrigins

Family Tree DNA has revamped their MyOrigins. At first, I thought it was just in the way they present it. In actuality, it appears they've recalculated their formulas. Previously, Family Tree DNA MyOrigins told me I was 45% Scandinavian, 39% British Isles, 12% Southern Europe and 4% Asia Minor. I understood that to be telling me that my German genetics was actually due to the migration of population between Western Europe, British Isles and Scandinavia, as in the Anglos and the Saxons. The Southern Europe would be due to some Europeans migrated northward out of Italy and Greece through the centuries. Some of the British Isles would be from my Irish ancestry and the Asia Minor was the surprise of my yDNA haplogroup.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What's Happening

I realize I've been quiet on the blog for the past month. This is because I just haven't felt up to trying to come up with a subject and none have just come to mind. What have I been doing? I've been busy working, scanning in some of Mom's old photo's, thinking about her, and have been busy with family. I suppose all the distractions are good for me at the moment but I look forward to getting some down time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Old Miller and Doran Photos Scanned

I'll take this moment to remind you of the importance of scanning in your old family photos, especially if you don't know who they are! A cousin of mine had several old family photos, several of which she didn't know who was in the photo and one just made my day when I saw it. Here they are.

First, does anyone know who the lady in the fur collar is? The closest resemblance I can find is Grand-Aunt Crescence Miller. Crescence is shown in the hat. Are these two fashionable ladies the same person?

Known photo of Crescence Miller
Is this fashionable young lady also Crescence?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview Your Elders

With the recent passing of my mother, I find a bit of solace in the fact that I spoke with her in the past few months regarding things she remembers about growing up in southeast Iowa. I encourage all genealogists to please, (Please!) set up a time to speak to the elders of your family. You never know how long they will be with you and they will almost definitely have more information about the era of their childhood than you know.

After my mother broke her hip back in August and she was on the road to recovery, I was reminded that as indestructible as she seemed, she would not be around forever. I asked her if we could spend some time talking about her memories. She was hesitant, but only because she didn't think she had anything important to say. In this case, she couldn't have been more wrong.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Passing of My Mother, Agnes Catherine Panther Miller

This past Saturday, at 12:20pm, while I held her hand and family gathered around, my mother passed away. She knew she was near the end and told everyone she could that she loved them. When the doctors detected a problem with her heart, they sent her to Lincoln to see a cardiologist. When she found out the news and she returned to Brookestone center in Columbus, Nebraska, she told the nurses who greeted her that she was back, but that she hoped it would be a short stay. Less than 24 hours later, she left us. She was a cheerful, fun, helpful and outgoing lady. Everyone that met her commented about what a neat lady she was. Her funeral services are scheduled for this Saturday, February 18. I expect the church to be filled with people who loved her to pay their final respects. Who was my mother? Let me tell you....

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Biography of Thomas Doran

There are three Tom Dorans in my family tree. This is the story of my great-grandfather.

Nancy Doran had come to America from Ireland some time in the previous ten years but did not arrive with the rest of her family. In 1850 she was living with her parents, brothers and sisters in Havorford Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Her occupation was listed as weaver. Nancy was an unwed mother when Tom was born somewhere between 1853 and 1859, likely in Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Müller Orphan Train Connection

The distant cousin that helped me with the discovery of the Müller family connections mentioned that he received some information from a Barbara Heise Grooman from Asheville, North Carolina. He didn't have an email address, physical address or phone number for her. I did a web search for her name and town and found snippets from two books on Google Books. The books were "Train to Red Cloud: A Small Boy's Journey" and "Journey's End: An Orphan Train Rider's Story". I found In the Journey's End snippet a good copy of the Müller family photo that I had only a poor copy from the Bixenman family history book.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Locations in Old Photos

I had this old photo of my parents and my two oldest brothers. Given their ages in the photo, I'd estimate it was taken in 1958.
So where was this photo taken? I see the house number of 3602. Unfortunately, that doesn't tell me much. Had I truly thought about it, which I didn't, I may have been able to find it. I recall my mother talking about how they lived for a time on 18th Street in Columbus, Nebraska. I just never bothered thinking about where this was taken.