Check out 50 Gifts for Genealogists this Christmas

Written by Katherine on December 1st, 2013

Do you have relatives who want gift ideas?

Check out this blog by Diane Boumenot, One Rhode Island Family. Great ideas!

50 Gifts for Genealogists this Christmas



The best little scanner in the world – Flip Pal

Written by Katherine on August 11th, 2013

FP7-with-shadow-450wideAbout a year ago, I discovered the Flip Pal. I knew right away that this would be a wise purchase. I ordered one and and decided to invest in an Eye-Fi card to go with it.

It was one of the best investments I’ve made.

I keep getting sidetracked, but I have made pretty good progress scanning the thousands of photos I have gathered over the decades. The Flip Pal is the most convenient tool for scanning that I’ve come across in years.

I can sit in my living room, watch a movie and scan, scan, scan. I can easily travel with it in a little case I purchased separately.

Within a few minutes, the pictures I’ve scanned hit my digital Eye-Fi folder and an email announces that I can access them for a few days. I save them to a folder on my iMac or to a Dropbox folder so I can access them from anywhere.

And, if it weren’t enough to be able to scan quickly and easily, I was touched to learn that Flip Pal has a “Flip Pal Cares” team that went to hurricane-ravaged New Jersey. They scanned and posted photos found in the Hurricane Sandy debris so they won’t be lost forever. Hopefully, the photos will be united with their owners. I can’t imagine losing all my family history information and historic photographs along with all my other possessions. You’re doing a good thing here, Flip Pal.

I bought mine from Amazon. I didn’t buy the case, since I thought it was a little pricey and always seem to have extra pouches, cases, and carryon bags around my house.




Interesting obituary

Written by Katherine on March 24th, 2013

In my opinion, the obituary is one last chance for others to know we were here. It’s thrilling to me that one can easily access information about our ancestors and others who have gone before us through a permanent record of our lives, loves, and foibles on the internet.

A friend sent me a link to a really obituary yesterday. I enjoyed reading about the life of this obviously colorful man.

If writing obituaries is an art (and I think it is), then the author of this one for Harry Weathersby Stamps deserves a prize.



Genealogy resource – check the weather on any day in history

Written by Katherine on March 18th, 2013

In my last blog, I told about the story I had heard years ago about the death of my great grandmother, Bertha. As she died, in May 2012, there was a freak snowfall in Michigan.


This site actually confirmed the story. I simply selected the area, the year, and the date in question, and the weather report of that day appears.

Although probably not typically thought of as a genealogical tool, this handy resource could help confirm or disprove memories of events or possibly even assist with confirming a date in a picture or journal.

The National Weather Services website’s “This Day in Weather History”┬áis a handy tool to keep on hand, just in case.


Great-Grandma Bertha’s death and newly confirmed facts

Written by Katherine on March 17th, 2013

My grandma Ariel often talked of her mother, Bertha, and her death at age 30. Her mother had suffered through several pregnancies and early deaths of her children. I know there were at least 10 pregnancies, and seven live births in a 12 year period.

Grandma was never quite sure what caused her mother’s death. She knows there was another pregnancy, and an abusive husband may have been involved.

Today, my husband and I were driving home from snowy upper Michigan, we were discussing how late it could possibly snow in this state. I remembered that it snowed once on my son’s birthday, the year I gave him a sandbox. He was born on April 29th and I have pictures of him at age 3 or 4 playing in his new gift in the snow.

watsons_1912_aI remembered the story of my great grandmother Bertha’s death. She was in bed, close to death and her mother arrived from Canada to be with her at the end. At one point, my grandma (who was 12 at the time) remembers that the doctor looked out the window and told Bertha that it was snowing. Bertha didn’t believe him, so he went and scooped some snow off the windowsill and took it to her to show her as she lay her bed.

Bertha Estelle Watson, nee Rushton, died on May 15, 2012.

As I told my husband the story, I realized that the internet holds many records that would never have been easily accessed in an earlier era. Tonight, I googled, “Detroit weather history May” and this is what I found in seconds:

This Day in Southeast Michigan Weather History …

On May 13, 1912, Detroit reported a record for the latest snow accumulating an inch or more. The snow was measured at 1.5 inches.

Wow! Isn’t exciting to find corroboration for a family story?



More catching up to do…

Written by Katherine on December 1st, 2012

There is so much to blog about – I’ve heard from a few distant cousins, I’ve found some interesting facts, and I’ve enjoyed some new tech gadgets that make genealogy more accessible and enjoyable.

What I haven’t done is keep up on this blog – but that’s about to change.

Can I make a New Year’s resolution in December? Okay, I’ve decided that I can.

I write blogs for clients and for our small business. I enjoy blogging, my vocation is writing, and I have no trouble keeping the business tasks and projects up to date. Now…I vow to keep up my own genealogy blog.

Luckily, things in my life have slowed down for the first time in about 3 years. My husband and I have spent more than the past 3 years working on renovating an income property. We did it almost all by hand. It’s sold! My time is once again my own!

I’ve been relishing the extra time, and have especially enjoyed the ways that the free time has benefitted my genealogy hobby. Of course, I still have a 40-hour a week job writing for a local engineer, and my husband and I own a web and print design company, but the home improvements we were doing IN ADDITION to all that were what put me over the brink.

Since selling the house, in the last 2 weeks I’ve caught up on quite a few things that have needed attention. I’ve also begun enjoying hobbies and other interests again. I took a few evenings and a weekend to clear out my office and files. I now have all my tools, information, and ancestor’s relics easily at hand. I’ll admit, the paperwork could be better organized, and the photos need some heavy sorting, but what I’ve done so far has made it easier to plop down in my chair any evening and pick up on research where I’ve left off.

Last night, I did just that. In fact, the results of that will be the subject of my next blog….


A nice gift from some history students

Written by Katherine on November 26th, 2011

I received this interesting email a few months ago…

Hello Gerry!

I wanted to write a quick thank you, and let you know that I’ve been referring to your resource page (at in putting together some class materials for a genealogy/family history lesson for my middle school social studies class. Thank you so much for your help!

I also thought I’d pass along a site one of my 8th graders found that I thought might make a great addition to your page. It’s a genealogy research guide that I found very accessible. if you’re interested, it’s at If you add it to the site, I’d love to show the kids! We’re encouraging them to participate and find their own voices.

All the best,
Mary Ward

I’ve added the link to the site and will add more new resources that I’ve come across this past year. Thanks for your help, class!


A new beginning in 2010

Written by Katherine on January 23rd, 2010

I just spent a couple hours updating my blog. My old one wasn’t resident on the heritage site, so I created a new one, imported my banner, and copied all the old blog posts into the new one.

Wow, were my posts sporadic! I have to set up some type of schedule to keep up on all I’ve found since these last posts.

I also made a new name in twitter, and all my new posts will automatically be posted there as well. I hope this helps distant cousins discover my site.

I have a lot of goals this year: scan all of my family pictures, reorganize and cull new facts from all the research I’ve done over the past 10 years, get together with family members who want to share genealogical info, and renew acquaintance with those I haven’t emailed in the past couple of years.

I’d also like to blog about our wonderful trip to Europe and some of the info I discovered there.


Back to my roots

Written by Katherine on October 20th, 2009
St. Breward, Cornwall church

St. Breward, Cornwall, Church

Things are finally slowing down in my “real life,” and I finally have time to move my bins of genealogy records, photos, and memorabilia into my new office. It’s really fun rediscovering old files and unfinished business.

A coworker was asking me about different free sites for his granddaughter to access for a class project. It reminded me that I need to update my resources page, and I took a look at the site. I haven’t done any updates or blog posts in over a year!

I’m putting aside one evening a week for genealogy. Don’t try to stop me, world!

More to come as I unearth records, write and post pics from my genealogical journey to Cornwall, scan old photos, and update my tree…


Updating the site in 2008

Written by Katherine on September 9th, 2008

As you can see by my last post, it’s been 3 years since I’ve blogged.

I guess I’ve been busy.

HOWEVER, I’m back. I’m working to update my site. I’ve found more information about many of my ancestors. Plus, there are lots of new web tools that I want to implement. Look for a better guestbook, revamped organization, additional photos, and–of course–this new blog.

The blog is debuting tonight. Since I’m back in the swing of things, feel free to comment or write me. I promise I’ll even answer!