Eagle Scout Project at Gailey-White Cemetery

Prospective Eagle Scout, Jonathan Garula has chosen cleaning and restoring the Gailey-White cemetery as part of his project. He and his volunteers have replaced both bridges, removed a large tree, filled groundhog holes, righted and cleaned the stones.

Jonathan did this project this August and is now at college in Boston. We always need our mother’s help and his set up a “Go-Fund-Me” page that raised enough for the project and a donation to the scout troop. Thanks, Mom!

A big thank you to Jonathan and his volunteers for a job well done. Also, thank you to Henry Holman and his son for continuing to mow the walkway to the cemetery. They have kept the cemetery open for many years. Now is a good time to visit our ancestor’s graves.

Looking for Living Charles Family Members of Pennsylvania

I am working on a project for the Hiram Charles family of Lancaster County, PA and would like to hear from any members who are willing to provide a DNA sample for family research.  Depending on your family relationship, a DNA kit may be provided.

This project will use Autosomal DNA, so you won’t be excluded because of gender.  The results may be uploaded to GedMatch, but would not be identified with any of your information.

For further questions about this project, send an email through this website.

Thank you,


George Eckert and Samuel Milliken/Milligan

On the hunt for more Revolutionary War ancestors after my visit to Yorktown, VA.  I have now submitted two more on the White side of the family.  They are George Eckert and Samuel Milliken/Milligan.  Now the wait is on for the year it will take before they are reviewed by NSDAR.  In the meantime,  I’m trying to find a woman in my ancestry that may have assisted in the Rev. War.  Always a feather in your cap if you have one of the ladies proven.

Yorktown is a wonderful place to visit.  They have an American Revolution of Yorktown Museum that is worth the trip.  They have an encampment that is very interesting.  This includes a kitchen, medical facility, supply hut and very knowledgeable staff.

Inside of the museum there are many artifacts and movies.  Both are helpful in following the war.  This is a State of Virginia museum.  Kudos to Virginia for such a wonderful asset.  The museum is designed with many areas that flow one into another and they seem to go on forever.  It is truly an amazing place to visit.

Yorktown Victory Monument

The battlefield at Yorktown is also very interesting.  Suggestion – don’t try to drive your motorhome around the battlefield.  We found a couple of areas we couldn’t access because of the bulk of this RV even though it is small by comparison to most.  We saw the redoubts taken by the Patriots, the digs that the soldiers did in the middle of the night to surprise the British, the National Cemetery,  the Yorktown Victory Monument, and lots of wildlife.

The Moore House is especially nice.  It is fully restored and historically is the home where the terms of agreement of surrender were worked out.  It is not the house where the British signed the agreement.  Still worth the visit if you like old homes.

First Families of Pennsylvania

I finally have time for my own research and have decided to work on First Families of Pennsylvania through the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP).  My initial family was Sarah Shoemaker who arrived in Philadelphia in 1686 and purchased 200 acres.  Her husband, George had died on the way over from Germany or before she had left so it was that she landed in Philadelphia with seven children.

From further research, we know that Sarah’s son, George married Sarah Wall, whose family was already here in 1682.  I will work on the Wall/Waln family for my supplement to First Families of PA.  There is an abundance written about the Wall’s, but I haven’t found EVERYTHING, so if you are researching the Shoemaker/Wall connection and have some records not available on line, I would love to have a copy.

The next families will be the Richardson and Levering families.  It is a challenge to get them listed in the oldest division of First Families –  Colony and Commonwealth: 1638–1790, but how fun to see how much information is available from that time period at GSP and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia.

Happy hunting to those who try.

Genealogy Has Lost a Treasure

I was sorry to receive a notice that a premier Pennsylvania German researcher has passed away. John T. Humphrey, author, researcher and friend died in Washington DC on August 12, 2012. I have no further details yet, but am really feeling the loss of this wonderful man. John was a prolific writer. Anyone who has researched in Pennsylvania has used his birth records books or his Pennsylvania Research: County and Township Records book. The most recent program where I heard John speak was at the National Genealogy Society meeting in Cincinnati in May. He was so knowledgeable about German research and a terrific speaker.

While talking with a friend from the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, she made the comment, “if you think of Pennsylvania German research, John was who you pictured”. I agree. He will be greatly missed.

The Countdown Continues – 13 days

Ladies and Gentlemen, only 13 days until the release of the 1940 United States Federal Census records.  There are many options to help index these records, so join up through the Associate of Professional Genealogists or FamilySearch or Ancestry.

If you are from Pennsylvania, this is a really big year.  The Bureau of Vital Statistics released birth records from 1906 and death records 1906-1961.  With this and the 1940 census, this could advance some of your research a few more generations.

And don’t forget to watch Who Do You Think You Are? this Friday at 8 pm.  Helen Hunt is the featured descendant.  This is a great show, but it isn’t as easy as it looks.  I’m always surprised when they bring out the really old southern records.  I thought they were all burned in the war.  It is mostly knowing where to look.



Death and Birth Records Now available for PA

The house bill has been passed to allow access to death records prior to 1961 and birth records prior to 1906.  This is wonderful, but we have yet to hear how, when or where they will be available.  The records are to go to the Pennsylvania Archives, but what does this mean?  Will they be on microfilm? On computer?  Will Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org make them available on their websites?  How many birth records will be available since Pennsylvania only began officially recording them in 1906?

This is a lovely start, but we still have a long way to go to make me jump for joy.  We will still have to wait 5 months to receive a death certificate.

GSP & Ancestry.com PA Family History Day

Yesterday was Family History Day sponsored by The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com.  I always come home ready to break down those brick walls and to take on new challenges.  They had wonderful speakers from across the US.  I heard renown speaker, Curt B. Witcher, Manager of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN speak on “The Changing Face of Genealogy”.  He is so entertaining and really hit the head on the nail about genealogy.  Since I began so many years ago, we have gone from trips to the library to search microfilms (and pray you would stumble across your ancestor) to type their names into Ancestry.com and viola –more information than you can possibly absorb in one sitting.

Most of my research is in Pennsylvania, so I never miss John Humphrey speaking about those PA Ancestors.  If you are researching in PA you really must purchase his book “Pennsylvania Research:  County and Township Records”.  I am constantly pulling it off the shell to see what records can be found in a new county where I’m working.  He has oodles of books that every serious genealogist needs on their reference shelf.

The next speaker I heard was Susan Koelble on “Formation of the Pennsylvania Counties”.  She has published a companion book that goes with her talk.  For the price, I couldn’t resist purchasing one.  I have a software program, called Animap, that is also very helpful for other US County Boundaries and is also an historical atlas.  If you are having difficulty find a record in a county courthouse, you just might want to see if that town/township fell in another county at the time of the event.  Pennsylvania counties did not necessarily share their records when the county lines changed.  From the 3 original counties of PA, we now have 67.  You can imagine how many times those county lines changed in the 110 years it took to finalize the present boundaries.

Our lunch time speaker was DearMyrtle (Pat Richley), who is from Salt Lake City.  “Let Them Eat Jam” she says and went on to describe the many flavors of jam.  If you think this is a talk on food, you would be mistaken.  Jam in this case is whatever “floats your boat” or that you get excited about.  If you like genealogy you know not EVERYONE else does.  Have you ever been to a genealogical society meeting and been bored to death by that guy who just has to tell you all about the research he has done so perfectly over the past umpteen years.  Take note –boriiiinnnng.  Don’t you fall in this same trap.  Families are a potpourri of jams – photographers, teachers, travelers, etc. and everyone likes to share their stories.

Ancestry.com provided some excellent speakers.  I attended Juliana Smith’s talk on “Finding Your US Military Heroes on Ancestry.com”.  I have been a member of Ancestry from inception and still learn lots of things about the website with every meeting.  A word of advice — open up those little areas under the boxes.  Try looking at the default settings under First Name or Last Name.  You have many more options and will make your searches more defined.

The final speakers I heard were Aaron McWilliams from the Pennsylvania Archives and Kathleen Hale from the Pennsylvania State Library.  Both are excellent and always willing to help you find that hidden gem at the Archives or Library that will advance your search.  Aaron worked with “Who Do You Think You Are?” produces to help actor Steve Buscemi find his PA connections.  We were told there will be a season 3 of this show, so keep an look out for the advertisements.

Can you tell I had a great time?  I never miss a chance to visit the vendors either.  I have a Nook, but still love holding those old books and adding some meat to my barebones research.  And always looking for a new piece of software to help with my research.  I’ll get back to you on the program I purchased “Gen Detective”.  It is supposed to tell you what you don’t know and what you need to find.  I also heard the count is 149 days until 1940 Census is released.  And finally, please write to your Representatives about voting in favor of putting birth and death certificates on the web.  If you need gr. grandma’s death certificate from 1910, it just may take an act of congress to get a copy.  It is presently taking about 4 months.

Bill Jackson on Emma Jane Foster, RN with the Flying Tigers

Today, Derry Seniors in Hershey, heard Bill Jackson, former owner of The Sun of Hershey and Hummelstown, speak on Emma Jane Foster.  Emma Jane was a nurse who supported the Flying Tigers while they were in China fighting the Japanese.  Emma is one of our own “Notable Women of Pennsylvania” being born in Bellefonte, PA.  It is a fascinating story that will make any woman proud.

Emma was a woman ahead of her time, but very humble about her accomplishments.  If you want to hear a captivating speaker, get in touch with William S. Jackson of Hummelstown.

Lancaster County Historical Society / LancasterHistory.org


Lancaster County’s Historical Society
will be closed to the public from
September 6 to 24, 2011

In preparation for the upcoming construction at LancasterHistory.org’s headquarters, Lancaster County’s Historical Society will be closed to the public from September 6-24, 2011. We will reopen at our interim location in Lancaster City on September 27 at 9:30 am.

The historical society will operate from 4 West King Street, Lancaster (right off Penn Square, see below for a map and directions) for approximately fourteen months. During that time, our operating hours will be 9:30 am- 6:00 pm, Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 am-4:30 pm Saturday. Wheatland will continue to operate as normal. Our contact information will remain the same.

Researchers take note of this relocation and remember the Archives and Lancaster Mennonite Society are still open for research