Nothing Like Good Ole Legwork

Today I’m on a mission to locate a living relative for a client.  The person was born in 1930 after the 1930  U.S. Federal Census was taken.  So where do I go next.  I tried the county websites for the  last known address, which was in 1980.  Nothing popped up on the website, but I called the local historical society and they told me about a county website that has government records on line.  They had nothing on the family at their society.

When I went on line for the government records, I located a marriage record, but they did not put the complete information on line, such as dates of birth.  I called the courthouse and located a person who was willing to look on microfilm at the original record.  This gave me dates of birth for the bride, my target person and her new husband.  He was born 1919, she was born 1930. They were in western PA when married in 1980, so next I started looking on for any people with the same last name, living in that same general area.

I located a number of families with that same last name and started calling them.  On the second call I found a nephew of the husband of my target person.  Through this person I found that the husband died some years ago, but the wife maybe still living or her children.  Now it is just a matter of following up further with her to connect my client with her cousin.

One-Name Study Course

Today starts my Pharos course on One-Name Studies.  I have registered my Duart family name with the variants of Dewart, Doward, Dhu-Ard and Duard.  This should help me reach out to others researching the family name.  It is a fun course, from England, done entirely on computer.  I’m excited to get started and will keep you posted on the outcome, but keep an eye on my One-Name Study – Duart website.  You can reach it by clicking on the One-Name Study emblem on my front page.

On another note.  The TV program “Who Do You Think You Are?” begins again on NBC on Friday, Feb 4th at 8:00 pm.  Last year’s program was a great success and brought lots of people into genealogy.  Beware of how easy they make it look.  They had hundreds of people and research hours to bring you a 3 minute segment.  It is still pretty amazing what you can find on your family, if you just look.

Search and share

I work on many lineage society applications, so do research  on the NSDAR website and am amazed what connections I find in my research for others.  Today I need to send a birthday card to a “daughter” in my local DAR chapter, looked her up on the NSDAR website  and lo and behold, she was from the area where I grew up.  Many of her ancestors have similar last names to my ancestors.  Today will be spent researching our possible connections. Is there another supplement in the works here?

I’ll begin my research on the Bradford County (PA) website that Joyce Tice hosts.  This is the best county website I have ever found.  All the folks in Bradford County graciously offer historical records and their own research, to Joyce, for the website.  If every county would be so generous, we would have so much more information available and so many records would not be destroyed.

On another similar topic, that I have mentioned before, don’t hoard those records you find, share them with a local historical society or submit them to the web for your local county site.  You can find a good repository by going to and click on your State and county.  You will find many volunteers ready to help.

Genealogical Education On Line

Last week I got an email about a complimentary webinar from Legacy Family Tree.   I thought I’d try it out.  I have taken other course through webinars and found them fun and informative.  It was Google for Genealogy web products. What an amazing search engine you can use for so many functions.  Google has 155 products and many are easily adapted for genealogy.

I have been on line for Google searching, Google Books, Google Maps and Google Earth, but if you travel frequently for research, Google Calendar, Google Voice, and Google Transcription would be very handy.  For working at home, Google Alerts would keep you on top of what is added on the web about your family, Google Translate would help with those German records you can’t decipher, and Google News Archives might help you locate that obituary.

There are so many records on line, try to locate them first through a search engine.  You might be surprised with what you find.  With Google, you need to have an account.  It is free to sign up.  There may be some costs to certain products if you want to order maps, etc.

I’m looking forward to more Legacy webinars.  Check them out on line at

Historic Preservation is everyone’s job

I began my preservation career as the first Chairman in the State of Pennsylvania for the historic preservation committee in NSDAR and in the first year we had the first ever Historic Preservation Project Contest National, Regional and State winner.

Our local DAR chapter began our own project of documenting homes that were originally occupied by a Revolutionary War patriot, that are still in existence.  We were documenting ownership, photographing the property and making a list of these homes.  We hope the entire State will join our efforts and send information on their local patriot homes.

We have not had any additions to our local list, but as I travel around the State, ladies are occasionally giving me leads of homes to be recorded.  We are making these records so that these homes are not destroyed by people who are not aware of the history behind the home.  We hope that making more people aware of the existence of these homes will also give the present owners a sense of responsibility to maintain these historic buildings.

Do you know the history of your home?  Do you know how to go about finding out the history.  I can help you research your home, just contact me for a quote.

Follow Up With Your Relatives

New Years is a good time to follow up with those relatives you haven’t heard from in awhile.  Did you get a Christmas card from them that just had their name.  What a waste of a stamp and card.  It only confirms they are still alive.  Give them a call.  You can check for their phone number on Switchboard, White Pages, etc.  then call them.  Give yourself lots of time, because once you have found them, they may have lots of family information to share. Make notes about your conversation, so you can follow up later on some of the stories they share. Then record them in your database.

Years ago my Aunt told me we were related to Carson Long of Carson Long Military School in New Bloomfield PA.  So I wrote to them and got a letter back saying, no, we were probably not a direct descendant because he was 16 years old when he died.  They did give me a name of a fellow, Harry Lenig, who could probably help.  I got in touch with Harry and he had been tracing my family for 40 years.  He shared lots of family information with me.  I thought I had hit the mother lode with all of his research.  When Harry died, he left all of his information with The Perry Historians.  If you have never been to visit The Perry Historian library in Newport, PA, you are missing a great treasure trove of information about Perry County people.  Needless to say, I’m a Life Member and find new information every time I visit.

Descendants of Malachi and Susan Shoemaker

I have the Shoemaker Reunion book that was kept from 1882, when the family of Malachi and Susan Shoemaker first met until 1969.  The book has some interesting facts that I will share from time to time.

The first entry in the book is “1882 – October – First Shoemaker Reunion at Sara Spauldings.  Sara Spaulding  daughter of Malachi and Susan Shoemaker died Dec. 11, 1893 at the age of 62 years.”  Obviously someone did this book in retrospect.  The following few pages list the years and place of the reunion.

Page 7

Shoemaker Reunion – Descendants of Malachi and Susan Shoemaker.  Malachi Shoemaker buried in Alba, PA cemetery in South West corner.

William Shoemaker – son of Malachi died July 2, 1901 at 84 years of age.

Sara Spaulding – daughter of Malachi died Dec. 11, 1893 at the age of 62

Elizabeth Fenton – daughter of Malachi died July 1, 1901 at 75 years of age

Mrs. Rachel Shoemaker wife of Late Payne shoemaker died Dec. 1, 1892 at the home of her daughter (Mrs. Eva Moore) at Estella, Sullivan County age 79 years.

Until the next installment.  Happy New Year

What do you do with your genealogy if nobody cares

I was talking with a friend recently, about what to do with family information such as bibles, ancestral charts, family histories, etc. if you don’t have children or family that cares about family history.  There are so many genealogical societies clammering for this kind of information about families in their area.  Don’t let all of your and previous generation’s hard work go to waste.  Look for a library, genealogical society, or archives that will accept your collections.  It is a matter of going on line to Google, or similar search engines and locating an appropriate repository.  Type in a county and add historical society.  You will be very surprised to see what pops up.  If all else fails, contact Historical Society of Pennsylvania, if your family is from this State, and work with them to get your collection.

Telling family is not enough.  Put it in your will.  While you are at it, you should also make a record of all your holdings and where they should go when you are gone.  If you take a walk around your home and look at those bowls from great grandma Grace that you definitely want to keep in the family, WRITE IT DOWN.

Carnaval glass bowl in dining room china closet was from great grandma Grace and is to go to Aunt Martha Jones when I die.  Add information about the value of the piece if it has been appraised.  Add some history about the item, if you know anything and put this all in a notebook with photos.  Grandfather clock in living room on desk.  The clock was a wedding present to grandpa and grandma Green in 1921, was given to son, Paul and wife in 1963 and was presented to daughter, Suzy Smith in 1985, at her wedding.

Too many times we have not planned for keeping heirlooms and genealogical information, so it gets thrown out or put up for sale, to be lost to that family forever.  Plan ahead, we all gotta go sometime.