Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cleanout failure

I've been cleaning out my genealogy library over the last few days. I hadn't read Buzzy Jackson's "Shaking the Family Tree" for about 4 years - and was intending to clean it out.
Needless to say, it won't be leaving. In deciding whether or not to keep it, I did another read through. "Shaking the Family Tree" is a solid introduction to genealogy. The author dove into her own tree from all directions, touching upon both her father's colonial Virginia and her mother's Jewish heritage. She researched her tree using interview techniques, DNA, and far more. Jackson offers solid tips for beginners while presenting her own successes and failures.
If you have a family member who doesn't quite "get" your obsession with genealogy, "Shaking the Family Tree" might just be the place to start.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's a "real daughter?"

I wish this question had come up under slightly different circumstances, but we can’t always choose! A Connecticut facebook writer noticed the damage done to the gravestone of a “real daughter.” You can read more about it here… and hopefully offer to help.
So, what is a “real daughter?” Real daughter is a term used by the Daughters of the American Revolution to identify a member who was a biological daughter of a Revolutionary War patriot. All members are called “daughters.” The statement is simply more accurate for these members.
Real daughters can be, and often are, honored by DAR with memorial plaques. If your “real daughter” hasn’t been honored, consider contacting your local DAR chapter to find out how to get a grave marked.
Why do you care? If you find one on an ancestor’s gravesite, you may be able to skip a few steps in your research. Their connection to a Revolutionary War patriot is likely document in the DAR library.
Happy research!

Middlesex County Resources updated...

Clinton has been added to Middlesex County Resources on the new site. Here's the link:

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gradually migrating to a new blog...

Announcing For Us the Living ( , my new  blog and webpage. The migration is happening slowly. Expect some double posts for some time. Please let me know your thoughts!

Your ancestors are American... Right?

 In doing research recently, I've run into the same circumstance over and over again: American families crossing the Canadian border, or vice-versa. If you've been raised in New England, it's not something you necessarily expect. We have a mentality that all New Englanders were Puritan settlers who remained here from their first settlement.

That's not always true. Families from northern New England or eastern Canada migrated across the border in search of new jobs or new opportunities. They may have stayed for years or just months.  Sometimes their descendants forgot that they were anything but American.

Why do I raise the issue? Simply to challenge how you think your research. It's very easy to fall into a pattern of just looking for records in one area. If we assume a family was from Maine, we tend to focus on our work there. By doing so, we may miss the ancestor's actual records, just over the border in Canada. Always do an open-ended search - just in case!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are you sure you found everything?

Because my home area is heavily immigrant, Catholic church records are a huge source of information.

 Most of us remember the typical: baptism, marriage, and burial. The records should be checked even if you have already located civil records. The Catholic records required sponsors or witnesses, often when civil records do not. These names may turn out to be an unknown sibling, aunt, or uncle.

But you shouldn't forget other sacramental records! Early on, Confirmations did not take place on a regular basis. They occurred only when a member of the church hierarchy visited the area. That meant individuals of all ages were confirmed when St. John's was the only church in the area. Yet, if you are searching for a Connecticut record after 1900, they should appear every year or two at the most. Sacramental records can be used to estimate age when other documents do not exist. I've even used them to estimate marriage records.

Catholic-non-Catholic marriage? In the early 20th century, one individual had to convert or the marriage had to receive a special dispensation from a member of the church hierarchy. That dispensation can provide additional information about the couple's life at the time. In my family's case, it should the applicant's ties to his home diocese - even though he was living across the country

Don't just stop with the baptism records. What you need may be buried deep in another document.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vintage photo crafts

If you've been following me for long enough, you know I'm a little... okay, a lot... photo obsessed. But I've started trying to channel it. I'm experimenting with different kinds of photo crafts. Most of these will be available through my genealogy business. But in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy the pictures!