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Check out 50 Gifts for Genealogists this Christmas

Sunday, 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

Sunday, 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.



Genealogy resource – check the weather on any day in history

Monday, 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” is a handy tool to keep on hand, just in case.

Great-Grandma Bertha’s death and newly confirmed facts

Sunday, 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, 1912.

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…

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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!

Back to my roots

Tuesday, 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…

Work work work

Friday, May 20th, 2005

I worked on the site for about 5 hours today and it is beginning to shape up. I renamed all 250-some pictures with a good organizational scheme. I made a navigation bar that I’m happy with, after alot of trial and error. I updated every page and renamed them all.

I’m very excited about the revamped site, because I’m sure it will be much simpler to update. This blog will help me keep track of records that I discover. It may also be a good research journal.

I’ve thought of a few things I’d like to accomplish…
Update all the trees. I need to remember to keep information about living people out of the published versions. I also would like to add the 50 or so great pictures I’ve gotten for various families.

I have scads of birth and marriage records now from Scotland and Cornwall that I could scan and include. I also have many more census records.

Tonight, after I was worn out from all the re-organizing, I decided to see what has added to their records. They now have the WWI records for Virginia. I found Rick’s great grandfather, William “Matthews” Palmer, living in Suffolk, Nansemond, Va. (which is where I found him in the 1910 census. I still haven’t found him in 1920. He may have been in Michigan by then, meeting Iris. I found Robert Felix — I believe this is Mac’s son.

Another distant Palmer cousin wrote me about a month ago. I believe I found his great-grandfather, Virgil C. I must email him to see if he has access to or if he’d like me to get a copy for him.

I also need to remember to get together all the records that I found for Gene Dunnuck. I MUST get them in a large envelope and send them on to him. I keep intending to organize and report how I found each new record, but, at this late date, I think he’d be happy to get a big messy pile to sort through himself!

Another reminder: get a short report and copies of census records, etc. to Gary. I found a lot of his Missouri family and it will give him a great boost for his own research.

4:30 a.m. – I’d better get to bed if I’m going to be any good putting up drywall tomorrow.