Friday, October 28, 2011

Power of Ancestry Family Trees

Today, I received notification of three new possible record matches for people in my Huskonen-Dingman-Van Court-Scheppelmann Family Tree. The new records are for three individuals in my wife's Van Court line, and include one death record and two birth records. These records gave me more precise information that I didn't have for these individuals. The appearance of these records on Ancestry.com indicates that Ancestry has added these records recently to the record sets "West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973" and "West Virginia, Births Index, 1853-1969."

The Births Index was extracted from microfilmed copies of various Virginia and West Virginia birth records created by Family Search in 2008-2009. West Virginia seceded from Virginia and became a separate state in  the Union in 1863.

The Deaths Index also was extracted from  microfilmed copies of various Virginia and West Virginia birth records, and likewise was created by FamilySearch.

I know that the West Virginia Division of Culture and History has been putting many vital records online, and I have used that resource for vital records for other individuals from West Virginia. These databases do not yet, however, include the records for the three West Virginia individuals in my Ancestry family tree.

One final note: all I had to do to add the new information to each individual was to click through from the email notification to the actual record in Ancestry. When I selected "Save," the new information--and the citation--were added automatically.

Monday, October 17, 2011

OGS Tries a Different Approach to Genealogy "Training"

On Saturady, Oct. 15, 2011, I attended the Ohio Genealogical Boot Camp at Camp Isaly, aka the OGS Library in Bellville. I served as a "civilian advistor" to attendees who were learning genealogy in a "military setting" during the all-day session.
The boot camp staff included Drill Instructor Margaret Chaney, Master Sargent Jean Barnes, and Battalion Leaders Sue Zacharias, Dot Martin, and Marlene Applegate. A total of 34 "recruits" signed up for the event and filled the OGS Library conference room almost to capacity. They were divided into three battalions for "G R Duty" (Genealogy Research in the library and computer lab) in between training sessions.
The training sessions covered Vital Records and Courthouse Research, Census Research, and Researching on the Internet.
It was remarkable to see the enthusiasm, especially among some of the recruits who were brand-new to genealogy research.
A selection of photographs is available at the OGS Blog at http://ohiogenealogicalsociety.blogspot.com/2011/10/photos-from-2011-ogs-genealogy-boot.html.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FamilySearch to Launch 1940 Census Indexing Effort on Apr 2, 2012

FamilySearch has issued a news release about the 1940 Census and its efforts to provide an index. It says, in part: 

"On April 2, 2012, NARA will provide access to the images of the 1940 United States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.

"Upon its release, FamilySearch and its partners will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online for free and open access."

For the complete news release from FamilySearch, with interesting details about the 1940 census, click here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How I Am Preparing to Research in the 1940 Census

The National Archives will release the 1940 Census on April 2, 2012. A countdown clock and background information about the 1940 Census are provided at the following link:
The release date is 72 years after the official census date for 1940. The 72-year delay in making the census available to the public for research is mandated by law.
The Good News: The 1940 Census will be available for online searching free of charge.
The Bad News: The 1940 Census will not have a name index when it opens on April 2, 2012. Indexes will rolled out later by Ancestry.com and perhaps other database providers.
What to do to get ready: In order to locate a “person of interest” in the 1940 census, I will  need to know his or her address and the Census enumeration district in which that address was located.
When the digitized images of the 1940 Census are made available on April 2, 2012, I will be able to go right to the appropriate ED number and then browse for my person of interest's census entry.
Making My 1940 Census Persons of Interest List
1. I have started a list of the people I am interested in looking for in the 1940 census. This is  my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List. I am thinking broadly--ancestors, their siblings, cousins, etc.--anybody to whom I am related.
2. I am collecting addresses for all the people on my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List. Sources that I am using for addresses include:
• City Directories. Some city directories are available online and many libraries hold local directories.
• The 1930 Census. This is useful for people who did not move between 1930 and 1940.
• World War II Draft Records. Ancestry.com and Ancestry Library edition offer the Old Man’s Draft registration records.
• Naturalization Petitions or Declarations of Intent. Those filed close to 1940 are useful. Many of these are available online.
3. Then I am identifying the enumeration district (ED) in which each address was located.  I am adding that ED number to my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List.
There are currently several ways to do this. The NARA website provides maps and enumeration district descriptions for this process, but I have found that another website makes accessing these resources a bit easier:
One-Step Website with Helpful Tools and Info for 1940 Census Research
• www.stevemorse.org
• Overview Essay
• Tools to help determine E.D. numbers, particularly for urban areas
• Quiz to step you through the process of determining and E.D. for each ancestor/relative. Go to http://stevemorse.org/census/quiz.php
Identifying EDs Using Steve Morse One-Step Tools
1. In some cases, I have a 1930 Census ED for a family member and he or she resided at the same address in 1940. In these cases, I use the One-Step 1930/1940 ED Converter Utility. Go to http://stevemorse.org/census/ed2040.php?year=1940
2. Some of my family members lived in a large city, so I am using the utility, Obtaining EDs for the 1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities). Go to http://stevemorse.org/census/index.html?year=1940
3. I also am searching the 1940 Census Maps for Enumeration District Numbers. Caution: Not all towns will have individual maps. Go to
http://stevemorse.org/census/arc1940edmaps.html
In the search results, I click on the map to see a larger version of the map. Using the address of an ancestor from 1940, I locate where the address falls on the map and then look for the enumeration district number for that address. I have found that the map may have many other numbers on it. The ED number is a two-part number separated by a hyphen. The first number represents the county number and the second number the number of the enumeration district within that county. Save the enumeration district number for each family member you are researching.
4. Yet another approach is to use the 1940 Census Enumeration District Descriptions. In this approach, I go to http://stevemorse.org/ed/ed.php?year=1940
This is an important utility for rural areas where you know the state and county.
With my 1940 Census Persons of Interest List in hand, I will be able to efficently research the 1940 Census as soon as it is launched on April 2, 2012.
A Final Note
Ancestry.com has committed to creating an every-name index to the 1940 census, and will roll it out as it is developed. Ancestry.com will make the 1940 Census available FREE for home use until end of 2013 when it expects to have all of its indexing completed. BUT I don't want to wait until Ancestry puts up indexes for the states I am interested in. That's why I am doing the homework outlined above.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

From Finland to America: How the Evert Huuskonen Family Traveled to Ashtabula County, Ohio

(I wrote this piece a few years ago. Except as noted, the links in the end notes still worked as of 2011.10.06)--WDH)
By the time I first became interested in genealogy, my paternal grandparents, my parents, and all my aunts and uncles had passed away. There was no one to ask about the rustic wooden trunk in our attic. When my mother gave it to me, she said only that Grandma Huuskonen brought it from Finland.

About nine years ago, I got the trunk out of the attic and took a close look at it. I could see it had several travel stickers, one saying Cunard Line Steerage Baggage; another saying New York, and yet another saying Aurania. Could these be clues to Grandma Huuskonen’s trip to America?
When I mentioned the trunk to my brother, Walfrid, he answered that he had obtained some information about the Huuskonen emigration from Finland while attending FinnFest 95, an annual gathering of Americans of Finnish descent. The information came from a database called the Emigrant Register, compiled by the Institute of Migration of Turku, Finland.
The Institute is funded in part by grants from Finnish-Americans and the Emigrant Register includes passport application records and passenger records of the Finland Steamship Co.1 Today, the Register has grown to include some 450,000 records of Finns who traveled from their Nordic homeland to America, Canada, Australia, and other destinations around the world between 1892 and 1950, and it is available in English on the Institute’s website.2
The data Walfrid retrieved in 1995 showed that Ida Maria Huuskonen emigrated from Vesanto in Kuopio Province with children Edith, Emil, Wilma, and Mary in July 1903.3 The passenger records further specified that mother and children boarded the SS Polaris on 29 Jul 1903 bound for England, and that they would continue their travels to New York on the Cunard Line’s SS Aurania.
The price of the tickets for Ida and the four children was recorded as $27. The fact that the price is quoted in dollars rather than Finnish markka suggests to me that the tickets were paid for in America by Ida’s husband, Evert Huuskonen, who emigrated the year before. The tickets were for travel to Houghton, Michigan, which is a hint that Evert may have been working in Michigan when he purchased the tickets.
The website of the Finnish Genealogical Society (www.genealogica.fi) explains that the Polaris was operated by the Finland Steamship Co.,4 which had a monopoly on transporting emigrants from Hanko, a port at the southern tip of Finland, to Hull in eastern England. The website also provides the following information on the Polaris: Gross tonnage 2,018, top speed 13.5 knots, 250 ft long by 35 ft wide. Passenger capacities were 80 in first class, 18 in second class, and 167 in third class.
Once the Huuskonen family arrived in Hull, we can assume that they followed the usual transmigratory route across England. A website specializing in Scandinavian emigration provides background on this route.5 “Most of the emigrants entering Hull traveled via the Paragon Railway Station and from there traveled to Liverpool via Leeds, Huddersfield, and Stalybridge (just outside Manchester). The train tickets were part of a package that included the steamship ticket to Hull, a train ticket to Liverpool, and then the steamship ticket to their final destination -- mainly America.” The website further mentions that immigrant trains usually left Hull at around 11:00 a.m. and arrived in Liverpool between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
            Upon reaching Liverpool, the Huuskonens probably were housed in dormitory-type facilities owned by Cunard until they could begin the next leg of their journey on the SS Aurania. This ship, I learned by consulting The Ships List website, was rated at 7,269 gross tons.6 It had a top speed of 16 knots, measured 470 ft long by 57 ft wide, and had accommodations for 480 first class and 700 third class passengers. Built by J. & G. Thomson, Glasgow, it began service from Liverpool to New York on 23 June 1883.
            My brother ordered a copy of our grandmother’s passenger manifest record from the National Archives, using the date and destination he obtained from the Emigrant Register. It  listed Ida Maria Huuskonen, age 40 [?]; female; married; housewife; able to read and write; nationality, Finnish; last place of residence, Hango [Swedish spelling for the port city of Hanko]; destination, Jester, Ohio; possessing a train ticket; paid for by husband; possessing $10; joining husband, Evert Huuskonen, address Box 12, Jester, Ohio; in good health. It also listed the four Huuskonen children: Edith, 8; Emil, 6; Wilma, 4; and Marie [sic], infant. 7
            Ida apparently had a traveling companion available to assist her with baggage. Nestor Karhu, age 28, male, single, a laborer, is listed on line 18 of the manifest, immediately following lines 13-17 listing Ida and her children.8 He was traveling to the same destination as Ida, and was also planning to meet Evert Huskonen [note alternate spelling], described as a friend. A search of the Emigrant Register reveals that Nestor was from Vesanto, as was Ida, and that he obtained his passport on 29 Jul 1903, the same day that Ida received hers.9
            The manifest also stated that the Aurania departed Liverpool on 4 Aug 1903 and arrived in New York on Thursday, 13 Aug 1903. By doing some additional sleuthing, I learned some more details of the trip. In its daily Maritime Report for August 13, 1903, The New York Times  stated that the Aurania made one stop in Queenstown, Ireland, on August 5, after departing Liverpool on August 4.10 The newspaper item further reported that the Aurania “arrived at The Bar at 9:56 p.m.” on August 12. The Bar was the entrance to New York’s vast harbor area and was considered the official end of an ocean voyage. In addition to passengers, the Aurania carried merchandise for Vernon H. Brown & Co.
            According to the Times, the weather on August 12 was cloudy with a moderate breeze. The temperature hit the high 70s during the day, but dropped to 66 by midnight. Weather conditions were about the same the next day, when Ida and her four children rode a ferry from the Aurania to Ellis Island for processing as immigrants. From there, they probably went to Hoboken, New Jersey, and board a train for the trip to Ohio.
            To find where Jester, Ohio, was, I consulted Julie Overton’s Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900.11 This excellent reference book published by the Ohio Genealogical Society explains that Jester was a hamlet on Lake Erie, just east of Conneaut. With that information, I was able to locate on the Internet a topographical map produced in 1906. It showed Jester in the very northeastern corner of Ashtabula County, halfway between Conneaut and the Pennsylvania boarder.12
            Since their destination was in the vicinity of Conneaut, Grandma and the children probably were reunited with Grandpa at that city’s train station.
            As we indicated earlier, Evert Huuskonen immigrated in 1902. Tracking down his passenger manifest record proved to be another learning experience because he followed a different route than we expected. In his Emigrant Register search, Walfrid learned that in 1902 our grandfather obtained a passport and a ticket to travel from Hanko to England on the SS Acturius, operated by the Finland Steamship Co. According to the Finnish Genealogical Society website, the Acturius was similar to its sister ship, the Polaris.
            Walfrid’s search further revealed that Evert was to sail to America on the SS Tunisian. I looked for records of his arrival in American ports during a trip to the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, but came up empty. I posted a query on The Ships’ List about ports that received passengers from the Tunisian. Sue Wiggins, co-owner of the list, responded that because the Tunisian was owned by the Allan Line of Canada, its North American home port was the Canadian city of Quebec from May to mid-November.13 Also, passengers traveling to America via Quebec City were listed on manifests collected by immigration officials operating out of the St. Albans District, headquartered in New Hampshire. With this additional knowledge, I found Grandpa in the St. Albans District records at the National Archives in Washington.
            The manifest for the S.S. Tunisian, sailing from Liverpool, 16 Oct 1902, and arriving in Quebec, Canada, 25 Oct 1902, lists Evert Huuskonen, male; married; age 29; occupation, laborer; able to read and write; nationality, Finnish; last residence, Wauper [?]; final destination, Ashtabula, Ohio; had ticket to final destination; paid for ticket himself; in possession of $20; joining friend, Vieko Pietihani [spelling?], whose address is Box 115, Ashtabula; in good health.14
            The Ships List describes the Tunisian as a 10,576-gross-ton ship built by A. Stephen & Sons, Glasgow in 1900 for the Allan Line. It was 500 long by 60 ft wide with one funnel and two masts. Its top speed was 16 knots.15
            While scanning the Tunisian’s passenger manifest, I noticed that Kalle Hytonen also was traveling to join Vieko Pietihani in Ashtabula.16 This was interesting because his surname was the same as my grandmother’s maiden name. How he might be related to our Grandma we still haven’t figure out yet. He may have returned to Finland because I’ve found no other references to him in U.S. records.
            The Nestor Karhu who traveled with Grandma Huuskonen, however, is another matter. According to the 1920 census, he was living in Conneaut, married to a Finnish girl, and raising a family of four children.17 The census even revealed that he was a repairman for the Nickel Plate Railroad.
            So how did Grandma Huuskonen and the four children travel to Ohio? Some more historical detective work suggests the probable route was a train trip that would last for more than 14 hours.
            The website of the Liberty State Park in New Jersey describes how new arrivals in America would continue their journeys. After being processed at Ellis Island, the website explains, immigrants took steam launches for a short trip to the New Jersey shore and its several railroad terminals. There, the immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains that would take them to their new homes.18
            Railroad maps of the period show two competing railroad routes for travel to Conneaut in Ohio. One route would be on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western (D L & W)line from New Jersey to Buffalo, New York, and continuing along the Lake Erie shoreline on the Nickel Plate line to Conneaut. If the Huuskonens followed this route, they would have headed for the Hoboken Terminal of the D, L, & W Railroad to board the train that would take them to their new home in Ohio.
            In fact, a timetable in the 1910 Guide to Railroads lists three daily Nickel Plate connecting trains traveling this route.19 The 1903 timetable probably would have been similar.
            Separate cars would have been provided to carry immigrants from Ellis Island to destinations along the route, including those throughout Ohio, and in Indiana and Illinois, and on to Chicago.
            The first leg of the trip, between Hoboken, New Jersey, and Buffalo, in western New York State, was scheduled to take 12 hours and 30 minutes. At the end of this first leg of the trip, the train would wind its way slowly through a complex maze of rail lines, because by 1900 Buffalo was recognized as having one of the greatest railyard facilities in the world.20 The train would pause at the D, L & W passenger station in downtown Buffalo to let off passengers and to take on new passengers heading to points west. The Huuskonen family, however, probably would continue its trip to Ohio in the same passenger car.
            From Buffalo, the train would travel 115.7 miles along the Lake Erie shore, through Erie, Pennsylvania, to Conneaut, their destination just inside the Ohio border. The final leg of the trip, according to the schedule, would require 2 hours and 20 min.
            Another route would have been on the New York, Lake Erie & Western line that avoided Buffalo and headed more directly across Pennsylvania to Ohio. The Huuskonens would have transferred to a station in Jersey City, NJ, to board this train. The railroad was later known as the New York Central Rail Road.
            We can imagine the happy scene when the train pulled into the Conneaut station and Grandma Huuskonen and the children were reunited with Grandpa Huuskonen.
            They no doubt were happy to see him after nine months of separation. They also would be happy about completing a trip that began approximately three weeks earlier and covered more than 4000 miles by railroad in Finland, England, and America, and by steamship in Europe and across the Atlantic.
            Researching the immigration routes that my Huuskonen ancestors followed in 1902 and 1903 has been very rewarding. I was particularly glad I had undertaken the first steps in this investigation before I visited Ellis Island five years ago. I was able to imagine my grandmother--with three young children in tow and carrying an infant--shuffling through the long inspection lines with other immigrants, and keeping track of her wooden trunk with all the family’s possessions.
            I believe Grandma Huuskonen would be pleased to learn that her trunk, now more than 100 years old, has been moved out of the attic and into a corner of our living room, where we use it to store photo albums and family memorabilia.

End Notes
1. Institute of Migration, online <http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/index.php>, background information on the Institute downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
2. Passport/Passenger Search, Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, online <http://www.migrationinstitute.fi>. The search function requires payment of a modest fee for an annual subscription..
3. Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland, passport and ticket data for Evert and Ida Maria Huuskonen and children, extracted by Walfrid E. Huskonen at FinnFest 95, Portland, OR. Copy in possession of the author.
4. Emigration, Finnish Genealogical Society, Helsinki, Finland, online <http://www.genealogia.fi/emi/indexe.htm>  information on Finland Steamship Co. downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
5. 100 Years of Emigrant Ships from Norway, Norway Heritage, online <http://www.norwayheritage.com/ships/hull.htm>, information on transmigration from Hull to Liverpool downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
6. Ship Descriptions, The Ships List, online <http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/descriptions/ShipsAA.html>, entry for SS Aurania downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
7. Entry for Ida Huuskonen and four children; SS Aurania Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. I, Lines 13-17; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, 1897-1942; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, roll 382.
8. Entry for Nestor Karhu; SS Aurania Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. I, Line 18; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, 1897-1942; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, roll 382.
9. Emigrant Register, Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland, online <http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/>, passport and passenger entries for Nestor Karhu downloaded 21 Jul 2003.
10. “Maritime Report,” The New York Times, New York, 13 August 1903, page 11. From microfilm at the Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library.
11. Julie Minot Overton, with Kay Ballantyne Hudson and Sunda Anderson Peters, editors, Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900: A Location Guide (Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 2000), page 191.
12. USGS 1900 Era Ohio Index, online <http://www.railsandtrails.com/usgs1900/oh/ohindex.htm>, Conneaut Quadrant, 1906, showing Jester, Ohio, downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
13. Sue Wiggins, “Re: Query about Allan Line,” e-mail message from <swig@ns.sympatico.ca> to author, 29 Jan 1998.
14. Entry for Evert Huuskonen, SS Tunisian Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. E, Line 22; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication M1464, roll 15.
15. Ship Descriptions, The Ships List, online <http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/descriptions/ShipsT-U.html>, entry for SS Tunisian downloaded 22 Jul 2003.
16. Entry for Kalle Hytonen, SS Tunisian Passenger Manifest, 13 Aug 1903, p. E, Line 15; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives Microfilm Publication M1464, roll 15.
17. Nestor Karhu household, 1920 U.S. Census, Ashtabula County, Ohio, population census, City of Conneaut, ED 30, Sheet 5-B, 131 Garden St., dwelling 80, family 102; National Archives Micropublication T625, roll 1345.
18. Liberty State Park, New Jersey, website <http://www.libertystatepark.org/>
19. Photocopies of the relevant timetable pages of the 1910 Guide to Railroads were supplied to the author by Robert Gillis, Denville, NJ.
20. Milestone Dates of Buffalo New York Central Terminal website. <http://ah.phpwebhosting.com/a/mem/photo/time.html> [As of 2011.10.06, this link is no longer working.]

Monday, October 3, 2011

Learn Genealogy in a Military Setting at the OGS Genealogy Boot Camp


On Saturday, Oct. 15, OGS drill instructors will provide basic training for enlistees—both new and experienced—in genealogy during a day-long (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Genealogy Boot Camp at Camp Isaly, 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville, Ohio. I will be on hand as a "civilian advisor." It should be interesting.

I'm told the Boot Camp components include Basics of Genealogy, Census Research, and Using the Internet for Genealogy. There also will be time to practice new techniques using the OGS Library and its Internet access to several popular databases.

Only the first 50 to enlist will be accepted. Registration fee is only $20 and includes "chow" (box lunch).

Click here for information and online registration.

Undergo Basic Training at OGS Genealogy Boot Camp

On Saturday, Oct. 15, OGS drill instructors will provide basic training for enlistees—both new and experienced—in genealogy during a day-long (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Genealogy Boot Camp at Camp Isaly, 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville, Ohio. I will be on hand as a "civilian advisor." It should be interesting.

I'm told the Boot Camp components include Basics of Genealogy, Census Research, and Using the Internet for Genealogy. There also will be time to practice new techniques using the OGS Library and its Internet access to several popular databases.

Only the first 50 to enlist will be accepted. Registration fee is only $20 and includes "chow" (box lunch).

Click here for information and online registration.

Library Thing -- What a Wonderful Resource and Tool!

When I attended the Ohio Genealogical Society's 2011 Fall Conference on Saturday  (Oct. 1), I was reminded by the guest lecturer, Dick Eastman, to utilize the cloud computing website, Library Thing (www.librarything.com), to build a catalog of my genealogy books. I first used this resource in 2007, but I have been delinquent in keeping up with it. How delinquent? When I first created an account, I cataloged a total of 14 books. I believe that I must have about 100 now, so you can see I'm a little behind in keeping track of what I have. Hearing Dick talk about it on Saturday, I made a vow to check it out and enter some books. I had forgotten how easy is is. In less than 5 min, I was able to add 5 books to my personal library catalog. I definitely will put this on my Evernote task list to work on a few minutes every day to bring it up to date.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why This Blog?

I have been posting to my other blog, NEOhio Genealogy Blog (www.http://neohgen.blogspot.com/), for awhile now. Through it, I pass along my take on news and developments in genealogy and family history in general, and especially in the Western Reserve and Northeastern Ohio.

Now I am working on this more personal blog to chronicle my own activities in genealogy and family history. I posted about why I was doing this in my first blog, http://collectingancestors.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html, but I particularly like the reasons for doing a personal genealogy blog posted by another blogger, Kathy Reed, in her Family Matters blog (http://jonesfamilymatters.blogspot.com). With her permission, I am reproducing her 200th blog posting:

When I began writing this blog in May 2009, I didn't know how much I would grow to love it.  I worried about having enough material.  Would I ever figure out how to position images?  Would anyone even read it?  Would my family care?

I found that genealogy is never finished.  There are always new discoveries.  I learned that I am much more attracted to finding out who my ancestors were and not nearly so interested in dates and charts. My foggy idea that the blog could serve as "cousin bait" has definitely proved to be the case.  Not only has it helped me forge new relationships with my first cousins, but I've discovered third and fourth cousins I did not know existed.  Martha Darby Rutter, Betty Arnett, Barbara Pharo and the Biedermanns are just some of the cousins who come to mind.

I've become a better researcher.  In striving to tell the story as accurately as possible, I've found myself reexaming records, searching for missing pieces, and actually toppling a couple of brick walls.  I've submitted three articles to genealogical journals for possible publication.  I was just notified that my latest submission will be published in the Ohio Genealogical Quarterly making it three for three.

I discovered that I have a real interest in and love for historical context.  Thanks to my diverse ancestry, I've become much more knowledgeable about German, English, Welsh and Irish history.  Since I'm a 5th generation Jones in Cincinnati, I've become even more appreciative of the city of my birth.

Lately I've even convinced a couple of relatives and friends to have their DNA analyzed for both health and ancestry information.  I've stayed on top of some of the latest software advances such as google+ and  I am scheduled to teach a series of classes on family history blogging at our library in the fall.  I've become much more involved in my local and state genealogical organizations and now been accepted into four lineage groups and one group for Civil War ancestors.

And probably the most unexpected thing -- through Geneabloggers (a group of almost 2000 bloggers writing about their family histories) I've met new friends -- friends whose work I admire.  I look forward to every one of their posts. I'm amazed that these contacts are spread throughout the United States and beyond.  There is great diversity among our group and I've been exposed to traditions that are foreign to me.

So blogging has become a passion for me -- and I owe much of it to those of you who have taken the time to read and comment on my posts.  I look forward to the next 200 posts.


What Kathy has written in this post describes some additional reasons why I will be working on my Collecting Ancestors blog.

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