Monday, March 28, 2011

How To Care for Family Photographs - View workshop online

Yesterday, I posted a summary of a workshop I attended on Saturday on caring for your family photographs. You can view a condensed version of this workshop via the Nebraska State Historical Society's YouTube page.

View videos here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Sarah Roughe Bellinger

Mrs. Sarah Bellinger, 90 years and 7 months old, died last night at her home northeast of Chanute near Leanna. The funeral will be conducted tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock by the Christian minister from Humboldt. Burial will be in the Leanna cemetery.

Source: Chanute Tribune, Chanute, Kansas, August 16, 1910

Relationship to me: Sarah was my great great grandmother.

Notes: Sarah Roughe was married to John William Bellinger, circa 1847 in Indiana or Kentucky. Their children were Charles A Bellinger, Mary A Bellinger (Atkinson), Elnora C. Belllinger (Landon), John William Bellinger (my great grandfather) and Joseph Daniel Bellinger.

How to Care for and Identify Family Photographs - workshop highlights

The Kelly Brothers
Paul "D.R" and William
William was my grandfather
circa 1900
On March 26, the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS) hosted an encore presentation of Picture Perfect and Beyond - How to Care For and Identify Your Family Photographs. The workshop was held at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. About 50 people attended the presentation given by Karen Keehr, curator of the visual and audio collection at the NSHS and Kay Cynova, director of interpretation at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska.

This was a day packed full of great information on the care and handling of your personal family photo archives as well as providing hints on how to determine the approximate time frame when a photograph was made.

Karen discussed the history of photographic images. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the process behind daguerreotypes and ambrotypes.

Tintypes (also known as ferrotypes) became popular during the Civil War. Because they were sturdy, these photographs were easy for soldiers to send home and they wouldn't be damanged in the mail. Photographers kept a supply of props on hand to be used in photographs. Karen pointed out that a uniform being worn by a solider may not be an indication of his rank - it may be a costume in the photographer's wardrobe collection.

Not all archival products are created equal.

There are many storage products on the market for your family photograph collection. Karen explained that there is no uniform standard for the use of the word "archival" on a product. She emphasized that storage products should meet the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). She shared different examples of products that should be used to protect your collection.

Always look for acid free, lignin free and unbuffered in archival products.

Best places in the home to store your collection

Perhaps you already know to avoid the following: attics, basements, garages, barns. Under a bed or interior closets are the best locations in your home. It's also important to not save old newspapers with your photographs. Newspapers are very acidic and can damage your photographs.

Labeling and identifying photographs
  1. Write on the back, not on the front.
  2. Write on the edge of the back of the photo.
  3. Always use pencil (loud gasps from everyone in the room at the mention of the word Sharpie!)
  4. A woodless graphite pencil should be used; it will write on coated paper (like modern photographs). Use soft or extra soft.
  5. Print the information; do not use cursive writing style.
  6. Don't use labels; eventually the glue will dry, fall off and leave a yellow stain on the photograph
  7. Photo albums are fine as long as they meet the PAT standard.
If you want to display a historic photograph, get the best copy possible to display and keep the original protected and out of sunlight.

Digitizing Your Collection

Karen emphasized that if you plan to digitize your collection, realize that this is a long term commitment. You will have to keep up with the technology each time the medium changes. For example, computers that will read five inch floppy disks are out of use today.

When scanning photographs, she recommended scanning a master file at 600 - 1200 pixels per inch (ppi). Images should be scanned as an uncompressed .tiff file which will retain all aspects of the scan. Do not alter this master scan. Back these up and store them separately. You can then make low resolution copies at 150 ppi (web and PowerPoint) and 300 ppi for printing. You can make color adjustments and editing on the copies - never on the master scan.

The Ears Have It

When trying to determine if two photographs are of the same person, look at the ears. Karen said that everyone's ears are unique to them and are the best facial feature to use in identifying people in photographs once you have confirmed an image as a specific person.

Backup! Backup! Backup!

Your digital collection must be backed up with duplicate copies stored offsite or via remote web storage ("the cloud").

A summary of Kay's session on identifying the age of a photo will be shared in a separate post.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Follow Friday - Around the Blogosphere - March 25

As usual, there have been some great posts on the genealogy blogs this week. Here are some of the ones I enjoyed reading.

Genealogical Standards - Building Blocks of the Profession by Carolyn Barkley on

Brenda Leyndyke reminisced about the movie, Funny Girl, in her 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and Family History post. Apparently, there were quite a few of us who had a crush on Omar Sharif that year.

Dear Myrtle advises us to take off those rose colored glasses when it comes to researching the lives of our ancestors.

Frances Elizabeth Schwab is a relatively new blogger at Fantastic Electrisoil. Her post this week about her Dad playing an exhibition baseball game with Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean caught my eye because I had seen an episode about this very subject on PBS' History Detectives a few months ago. She has the newspaper clipping to prove it!

Creating new Genea-Words was the parlor game many of us were playing in the chat room last Friday night during Thomas MacEntee's Geneablogger Radio show. Randy Seaver took this up for his Saturday Night Genealogical Fun. This post by Chris Staats at Staats Place on Mis-defined Genea-words is fun and entertaining.

Since dusting off the transcription of my great-grandmother's autograph book a couple weeks ago, I've been tuned in to posts about diaries, journals and other writings left behind by our ancestors. This week, the Traveling Genealogist wrote about transcribing journals and diaries.

I always learn about "new to me" Nebraska resources from Ruby Coleman. This week she wrote about the historical maps in Hall County, Nebraska on her Nebraska Roots and Ramblings blog.

Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist provided some great examples on creating a timeline for our female ancestors.

And it's countdown time until tonight's episode of Geneablogger Radio - about four hours from now. Be sure to sign into the chat room and say high. Also join the geneabloggers who will be live tweeting during tonight's episode of Who Do You Think You Are on NBC - tonight featuring Steve Buscemi. On Twitter: #wdytya

Other recommended reading

Other bloggers also offer their recommendations and weekly highlights. Check their recommended reading lists:

Randy Seaver's Best of the Geneablogs on Geneamusings.

Greta's Follow Friday on Greta's Genealogy Blog.

Elizabeth O'Neal's Best Bytes on Little Bytes of Life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lost and Found

Omaha World Herald
November 27, 1920


LOST - Two gold rosaries and a wedding ring; one rosary has name of Mrs. Chauncy Abbott, Jr., on it; the wedding ring engraved "C. A., jr., to M. L. G. F. P. D., October 13, 1909." Were in very small leather pocketbook. Lost on Thanksgiving day, either in Omaha or Lincoln. Liberal reward. No questions asked. Chauncy Abbott, Jr. 840 First National bank building, Omaha, Nebraska.



"M.L.G.F." would refer to Chauncy's wife, Mary Lillian Geraldine Fitzgerald. I don't know what "P.D." would stand for. Any ideas?

October 13, 1909 was their wedding day.

News article about their wedding

Two weeks later, Lillian took her own life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

About this DNA thing

A few weeks ago, I submitted a saliva sample to 23andMe for DNA testing and the possibility of finding potential related individuals.

This week I had my first glimpse at the information about people with whom I share a portion of DNA. My initial reaction was a bit disappointing. The individual I was most closely matched with showed that we share only .42% DNA. That's less than one half of one percent. The percentage of shared DNA goes down from there.

There are several of us "DNA Testing Buddies" who are discussing our experiences on a Facebook group. I'm not the only one who was a bit disappointed in the initial results. However, our DNA guru, Joan Miller of Luxegen Genealogy, is doing her bit to keep us upbeat and pointing out that this is a long term process.

The original results in the Relative Finder on 23andMe  showed I have 386 potential relatives. It is now at 387. 23andMe permits you to contact five of these people per day. So far, I've initiated only the first five inquiries. I've received correspondence from about half a dozen potential relatives, and for most of them, we did not find any familiar surnames.

One of my correspondents pointed out that the connection could definitely be from siblings of our direct ancestor or any of the various descendants. This probably requires posting more than the surnames of only the direct line ancestors.

Another correspondent and I found we both have the Kelly surname in the United States. His family was in the eastern United States around 1790. My family immigrated circa 1850. I brushed off the connection. He pointed out that the possibility exists that it may have taken decades for the members of the family to complete the migration pattern. I was reminded of this again over the weekend during Lisa Alzo's webinar on tracing female ancestors. Patience. Patience.

Where do I think I come from?

It was not surprising that my DNA results show these origins of my ancestors. I've learned that I am in the maternal haplogroup J1c.

This is still a relatively new aspect of genealogy. It's not going to replace research by any stretch of the imagination. And I shall do my best to remain open minded about the entire process. Just sit back and wait and see what happens.

Read all my posts about my DNA testing journey.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend - will brick walls become a thing of the past?

Last month, released this information regarding trends in online family history. There's not a lot of surprises in the trends, but it seems like some of the numbers presented are staggering.

Source: graphic created for public use by
The online sites showing the greatest growth from December 2009 to December 2010 are,, My and and appear to be remaining steady. Why the surge in and Are the TV ads working? How about the hour-long infomercial Who Do You Think You Are? on Friday evenings? I say that tongue-in-cheek, but Ancestry does a nice job of product placement in the TV series, in addition to being one of the paid sponsors. Can a television show spike online usage? Apparently so.

But how does one explain the 182 per cent growth at It's a subscription based site as well. The annual fee is considerably less than Perhaps that is what makes it attractive to some users.

The demographics of users wasn't surprising either - mostly female, and an older demographic than the typical internet user.

What I found more interesting was the increase in select Google search terms between August 2007 and December 2009. There is a definite burst between December 2008 and July 2009. What triggered the increase?

But the really exciting numbers are at the bottom of the chart - the number of digital images that are becoming available.

  • Number of books scanned for Google Books: 15 million
  • Obituary pages on 7 million
  • Records from the 1940 Census to be released in 2012 from the National Archives: 130 million
  • Records indexed by in 2010 alone: 160 million

These numbers are staggering! At this growth rate, in 10 years will we be looking back and saying, "Oh yeah, remember back when everyone used to have brick walls? Genealogy used to be so difficult."

Even with all of these millions of documents, it certainly takes some skill to know how to dig into the deep web to find exactly what you're looking for. Is the day coming that all of our genealogy research will be done online?

Please offer your opinions in the Comments section below

Using Adobe Professional software for genealogy

Let me be honest - I am involved in a new and exciting love affair. It leaves me dancing on air and giddy much of the time. The source: Adobe Professional software. It's not quite like the love affair that I have with my Flip-Pal scanner, but the contributions this product makes to my genealogy life are incredible.

No doubt you are already well acquainted with the Adobe Reader and Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Adobe Professional is a software product that is used to create and manage PDF files. Big deal, you say.

For this paper-loathing digital diva, yes, it's a big deal. I became acquainted with this software because I use it every day on my day job. I've been amazed at what I'm able to do with Adobe Professional and I became quite frustrated that I did not have it for use on my genealogy projects.

Cost vs. Convenience

The major drawback for personal purchase was its cost. List price is around $450. About a month ago, I ordered the Student and Teacher edition for $119. It arrived with the warning about the type of educational institution you must be affiliated with to be able to use the software. A photo ID of you and your affiliation had to be submitted to be able to unlock the registration. Alas, my type of educational institution did not meet the criteria, so I had to return the software.

I knew that this software was going to contribute greatly to managing my digital files and research, so I arrived at the solution of purchasing the old 9.0 version which was about $240. That saved me about $200 of the cost of the new X version. The price for 9.0 has jumped up to about $300 since I bought it a couple weeks ago. One of the tech guys at work made a great suggestion. Buy the old version of software at a closeout price, then later on purchase the upgrade for the newest version. You can shave off a pretty significant amount of cash by doing so.

If you happen to be a student or teacher at an accredited educational institution, the $119 for the Student-Teacher version is a bargain!

What will this product do?

First of all, the basic use of this product is to create PDF files and packages. Yes, the Microsoft Office suite of products has the "print to PDF" feature, so why is this different?

In Adobe Professional, you can create a PDF file or package from several different files. If you are publishing family histories or genealogies, compiling handouts or workbooks for speaking engagements, this is a miracle worker. You can select the files you want and begin assembling them in the order they will appear in the final product. Let's say for example, you have one file of a narrative history, another file of a pedigree chart, another file of photographs. All of these can be assembled in the order you want. Then you can add headers, footers and page numbers for the completed document. All of this can be done without doing any editing in the original file.

Genealogy uses

I am a huge fan of Google books and have downloaded several PDF files of family histories, county history books - you name it. I like to have these resources available for use when I want them - and at times when I am not connected to the internet. The problem with downloading some of these PDF files is that once they were downloaded, the search feature no longer worked in many of them.

Enter Adobe Professional. You can select the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text recognition option and the software will go through the entire book, recognize words and turn it into a fully searchable document. This process took about four hours for an 800 page county history book that I worked on recently. This process can be accomplished in the background while I'm working on something else on my computer. What a time saver.

This also works well if you are saving full newspaper pages from Once you download the file, it is no longer searchable and it's nearly impossible to find that reference to your ancestor without looking through the entire newspaper page. Run the OCR text recognition and you can find your reference instantly.

That's not all. I can highlight the text that I'm interested in and also add "sticky note" comments. At the moment, I have a library book checked out and wanted about 20 pages for my research. One of the pages refers to an endnote in the back of the book. I knew that I might need to view that original source at some point, so I inserted a comment that included the information from the endnotes.
Example of highlight text and inserting a comment
From scans to a searchable text document

I scanned the pages of this book that I wanted for my research into high-resolution JPG files. In my photo editing software, I cropped the extraneous space on the scan and margins. Then I added each image to a PDF file. Once all of the images were added, I used the OCR text recognition feature and the software converted all of the images to searchable text. Not only does it do the OCR scan, it also realigns the page if my book was not properly lined up in the scanner. These features alone make the product worth the price.

Then I am able to take notes, annotate the document, and easily find what I'm looking for - fast.

Other handy features

As with Adobe Reader, Professional has a snapshot tool so you can capture just one portion of an image. For example, you may have saved a full newspaper page from and you want to save an obituary in a file by itself. You can do it with this software.

Perhaps you have become proficient at the Control-PrintScreen feature to capture images from your computer screen. Then you have to do touch-up and cropping in your photo editing software. Adobe Professional will extract all images in a PDF document for you easily. I have to record the steps here so I can find how to do it the next time I need this feature! From the menu bar: Advanced - Document Processing - Export All Images. It automatically creates a jpg file of the images recognized in the document.

Multi Media

I have yet to explore the multi-media functions, but there are options for creating and managing Flash, sound and video in this software. I have seen interactive presentations created with this software. I can imagine this would be a valuable tool for anyone who is creating multi-media family history projects to share with other family members.


For me, the primary benefits of the product are to be able to search and index huge volumes of information so I can find something very quickly later on. I know I have only scratched the surface in using this product for genealogy. As with any new love affair, I'm looking forward to learning more.

Purchase options

Adobe Acrobat X Professional Student & Teacher Edition

Adobe Acrobat X Professional

Adobe Acrobat Professional 9 [old version]

Please share your experiences in using this product in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This is an independent product review for which I received no compensation or consideration from the manufacturer. I'm merely a very satisfied customer. Links to the product may provide a small commission through my affiliate link.

Sunday's Obituary - Bertie Burr Dawes

NEWARK, O., Feb. 8 - Mrs. Beman Gates Dawes, widow of the founder of the Pure Oil Co., died today in her home at the Dawes Arboretum six miles south of here. She was 86. She was a sister-in-law of Charles G. Dawes, vice president under Calvin Coolidge.

Mrs. Dawes devoted most of her later years to developing the 400-acre arboretum, which she and her husband founded "for the pleasure of the public and the education of youth."

A native of Lincoln, Neb., she was a friend of William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic presidential nominee, in her youth. Bryan's first law desk was in Mrs. Dawes' father's office.

When Mrs. Dawes was 19 she received the U.S. Treasury Life Saving Medal, one of the highest civilian awards for heroism. She had saved two girls caught in the Blue River near Crete, Neb.

She was one of four women who have received the medal.

Her husband was a U.S. congressman from Marietta in 1896.

Mrs. Dawes is survived by four of her five children, Beman Gates Dawes Jr., of Cincinnati, Carlos Burr Dawes of Columbus, E. Cutler Dawes of Newark, and Henry Dawes of Hartford, Conn.; 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, February 9, 1958

The back story

Bertie Burr Dawes isn't exactly one of those relatives I would have gone looking for. We're really not even related at all. Through the magic behind the scenes at, I see that she is the aunt of the wife of the husband of my first cousin, twice removed. She doesn't even qualify as shirt-tail kin. But I found her story and her family interesting.

Recently, I received a message from another Ancestry user who noticed we shared some of the same family members in Nebraska. My correspondent is new to genealogy and not sure of the direction to proceed. I said I would dig around a bit to see what I could come up with on her line.

Digging in to that family got me hooked. I will admit that Focus is not one of my best research qualities. That journalism blood continues to flow through my veins and I still tend to go after a good story line rather than remain focused on my direct lineage.

My research on Saturday afternoon took me in some fascinating directions that I never would have imagined. I was looking into the Burr family - barely related at all. One of the Burr women was the second wife of the man who had been married to one of my kin (he was a widower after his first wife committed suicide). I'd already gathered that these people traveled in the well-to-do social circles of Lincoln, Nebraska in the 1920s and before. A plethora of society page articles from newspapers describe their galas, parties, weddings and overseas travel.

I already had Bertie's father in my Ancestry tree: Carlos Calvin Burr. I did some searching on him and it didn't take long for me to learn that he had been the 12th Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska between 1885 - 1887. Then I discovered that the man he beat in the election was John Fitzgerald, the brother-in-law of my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly. Only a few hundred votes separated the two candidates.

I discovered marriage and cemetery records on various members of the family by using the wonderful database of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. Then I discovered many of the family members are buried at Wyuka Cemetery here in Lincoln. Shouldn't every cemetery have a searchable database of all interments? I added some memorials to FindAGrave when I found confirmation of the burial locations. My next outing to Wyuka will include photographing at least a dozen tombstones.

V.P. under Silent Cal

I continued reading various news articles and information I found on the web about Bertie Burr. She married a man named Beman G. Dawes. The Dawes name has historical significance in Nebraska. Beman Dawes' brother was Charles G. Dawes who practiced law here in Lincoln. The Dawes Plan for World War I won him the Nobel Peace Prize and he served as our nation's 30th vice president under Calvin Coolidge. Bertie's husband, Beman, served two terms in Congress and became head of a large oil company. Always looking ofr a political connection, I discovered from Ancestry that the former vice president is the brother-in-law of the aunt of the wife of the husband of my first cousin 2x removed. In other words, not really related!

Back to Nature

Bertie Dawes
Tree Dedication
June 1929
Perhaps the most interesting discovery in this family saga is that Bertie and Beman Dawes founded the Dawes Arboretum near Newark, Ohio in 1929. Today, it covers more than 1,800 acres and has more than 15,000 living plants. It is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is . . . Free. One of the articles I discovered indicated that the couple is buried in a private mausoleum on the grounds.

I know that I certainly enjoyed learning more about Bertie Burr and her family - and learning some more about Nebraska and national political history in the process.

If my travels ever take me to Ohio again, I know that I'm going to want to spend some time at this beautiful oasis created by Bertie and Beman Dawes.

If any of my blog readers have visited the Dawes Arboretum, please share your comments below. I'd love to read about your impressions of what seems to be a beautiful area.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Movies

Week 12 Challenge: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

Joyo Theater
from the Joyo's Facebook page
This week's challenge for this series is a topic near and dear to my heart - movies. 

I grew up in the suburbs of northeast Lincoln, Nebraska. It's a cluster of the small communities of Havelock, University Place and Bethany. Everyone who grew up in these predominantly blue collar neighborhoods spent nearly every Saturday afternoon at the Joyo Theatre at 6102 Havelock Avenue.

At the time, the Joyo was the only indoor neighborhood movie theater in Lincoln. After movies had their initial run in downtown Lincoln, they would find their way to the Joyo a few weeks later. I wish I could remember the price of a movie in the early 1960s - but I am quite certain it was less than a dollar.

The Joyo was a safe place for parents to drop off their pre-teens for an afternoon double feature. Mainly, I remember seeing nothing but Disney films for years - The Absent Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Pollyanna (I didn't just love Hayley Mills, I wanted to BE Hayley Mills!), The Swiss Family Robinson (James McArthur before he became known for 'Book 'em, Danno'),  Babes in Toyland (oh, yeah, I also wanted to BE Annette!), The Castaways, Summer Magic (did I mention that I loved Hayley Mills?), The Moonspinners. Of course, I saw all of Disney's animated features as well.

I've pretty much defined my life in two segments: Before The Beatles and After The Beatles. This era began in Feburary 1964. That summer came the much anticipated release of their first feature film, A Hard Day's Night. This film opened at the Varsity Theater in downtown Lincoln. Advance tickets were sold for the premier weekend. My friends and I bought tickets for the first and second showings on a Saturday afternoon. At age 13, we were the typical screaming teenyboppers. We had seen the kids screaming while the group performed on the The Ed Sullivan Show, so even though the lads were only performing for us through the magic of film, when it got to the concert portion at the end of the film, we were screaming as loud as we could, girls were throwing jelly beans and pennies at the screen. By the time we stood in line for the second showing, I had no voice left. I wasn't able to talk for a couple days. I never heard a word of dialog. The Varsity was torn down many, many years ago, but the Joyo still stands.

My friends and I laughed about when we would be old ladies and A Hard Day's Night would be shown on TV and we could tell our grandkids about it! The film showed up on TV much sooner than that. And, a few weeks later, the film made its way to the Joyo and we went to see it a couple more times. Since then, I know I've probably watched it well over 100 times, and I don't think 200 would be an exaggeration.

Then there were the series of Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette. I saw all of those as well. Frankie performed at Lincoln's Lied Center a couple years ago and as he stood about three feet from me as he sang from the aisle, well, it was still pretty exciting.

From this basis formed a life long love affair with film. I am from the generation that still thinks movie musicals make sense. I thought nothing of the knife wielding thugs from the gangs of West Side Story breaking into ballet moves on the streets of New York. My collection of original soundtrack and Broadway cast albums came from this love of musical theater and film.

These days, the majority of my film viewing is from the comfort of my own home, where I can rewind if I missed part of the dialog or display closed captioning if I want to.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am proud to be from Nebraska. I have developed a special interest in the role of Nebraska actors and actresses in the entertainment industry: Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Montgomery Clift, Robert Taylor, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, all the way up to Marg Helgenberger from CSI. So much is my fondess for my fellow Nebraskans - and the movies that were shot on location here - I have created a web site devoted to Nebraska on Film.

So, I guess you could say that film has had a pretty big impact on my life.  

About 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Amy Coffin of We Tree Genealogy has created a third year of blogging prompts for genealogy bloggers. The theme for 2011 i52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History. These are shared on the web site, hosted by Thomas MacEntee.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lovely Blog Award

You may have noticed a new award making the rounds of the genealogy blogs over the last couple of weeks. I was honored and humbled to have been the recipient of the One Lovely Blog Award from several different people:

Polly Kimmitt of the Pollyblog

Georgia Tim of My Georgia Roots

Frances Elizabeth Schwab of Fantastic Electrisoil

Joan Miller of Luxegen Genealogy

Update: This award was given to Long Lost Relatives from Janeen at They Came in Ships on March 21.
Update: This award was given to Long Lost Relatives from Marian Burk Wood of Climbing My Family Tree on March 23.
Update: This award was given to Long Lost Relatives from Susan D of Family History Fun.

My thanks to these fellow bloggers for the recognition. It's always nice to know that someone besides me is reading what I'm writing.

The rules of acceptance for this award are:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered or just love so much.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
I wondered how on earth I was going to narrow this down to 15 blogs to pass this award on to. Because of the name of the award, Lovely Blog, I've decided to pay it forward to the blogs that, in my opinion, are lovely. That means that I've been impressed with the graphic design and layout of their blog, a creative header or background image, as well as providing interesting content.
So many of us subscribe to the blogs by email or RSS feeds that I wanted to recognize the blogs that make it a visual treat to visit their site directly. My selections are:
Above the Trees - Renee

Adventures in Genealogy - Deb Ruth

Adventures in Grave Hunting - Lisa Burks

Amanda's Anthenaeum - Amanda Perrine

Family Stories - Caroline Pointer

Family Tree Writer - Sherry Stocking Kline

Finding Josephine - Dionne Ford

Footnote Maven - Footnote Maven

Kindred Footprints - Sharon

Letters from World War II -

A Light That Shines Again - Lisa/Smallest Leaf

Memoir Mentor - Dawn

Nolichucky Roots - Susan

Sassy Jane Genealogy - Sassy Jane

It is up to the individual recipients whether or not they choose to post the award.   Folks are busy and I completely understand if recipients choose not to participate.

Follow Friday - Around the Blogosphere - March 18, 2011

Here are some of my favorite posts from the genealogy blogs from the past week.

The Reno County Genealogical Society shared some information about resources available at the Midwest Genealogy Center near Kansas City.

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings wrote about using PERSI to find genealogy related periodicals.

James Tanner of Genealogy's Star wrote about anonymity and privacy in the world of genealogy. Another excellent post from James was The impact of e-books on genealogy.

Greta Koehl of Greta's Genealogy Blog reflected on RootsTech and its impact on genealogy now and in the future. You'll also enjoy Greta's humor on Top 10 Scenes I'd Like to see on "Who Do You Think You Are."

Ruby Coleman, one of the You Go Genealogy Girls wrote a fun piece that we "older" genealogists can relate to with Trying to Remember.

Since I have some Paltine ancestors, I enjoyed this article from the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.

Creating an Electronic Index on Technology Tamers offers some tips on getting a handle on your digital information.

The blog from the Nebraska State Historical Society wrote about the Irish in Lincoln and featured the brother-in-law of my great grandfather - John Fitzgerald.

John Gasson of the Wandering Genealogist provides asks some relevant questions in RootsTech: Am I the only one that wasn't interested? Check out the comments - it would appear that RootsTech did not necessarily grab the interest of the entire genealogy tech community.

Margel of 2338 W Washington Blvd also poses some questions for reflection in Ponderings on Blog Posts. Be sure to leave a comment about your reasons for blogging.

Other recommended reading

Other bloggers also offer their recommendations and weekly highlights. Check their recommended reading lists:

Randy Seaver's Best of the Geneablogs on Geneamusings.

Greta's Follow Friday on Greta's Genealogy Blog.

Elizabeth O'Neal's Best Bytes on Little Bytes of Life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society reschedules meeting for April 3 2011

A program on Cluster Research will be presented by Marcia and Bob Stewart at a newly scheduled meeting of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. This presentation has been rescheduled from the February 8 meeting that was cancelled due to weather.

April 3, 2011
1:00 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 South 14th St
Lincoln, Nebraska

Marcia will suggest ideas for using clues we may have overlooked that can be found in readily available records and saved items like post cards or letters. Bob Stewart will bring some of his postcards, valentines and other collected items. Guests are welcome.

Visit the LLCGS website

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Nellie Welch Tibbetts

Mrs. F. L. Tibbetts
Dies at Age of 89

Mrs. Nellie E. Tibbetts, 89, died yesterday morning at her home, 3225 South 11th street, following a long illness.

Born at Litchfield, Conn., she had resided in St. Joseph since 1885. She was a member of St. Joseph Cathedral.

Survivors include her husband, Frank L. Tibbetts, of the home, and a sister, Mrs. Agnes Garrigus, haddone [sic], Conn.

The body is at the Heaton-Bowman mortuary where the parish rosary will be recited this evening at 7:30. Services will be tomorrow morning at 10 at St. Joseph's Cathedral with the Rev. Patrick Tobin officiating. Burial will be in Mount Olivet cemetery.

source: St. Joseph (MO) News Press, April 29, 1956, Page 4
note: Agnes Garrigus lived in Haddam, Connecticut

The back story - a brief case study

I found this obituary online last evening while looking for something else. Nellie and Agnes were sisters of my great grandmother, Minnie Welch Kelly. These daughters of Mark Welch and Sarah Conneally were on my mind after writing about Minnie Welch's autograph book in the Fearless Females series.

From time to time, I will go back to an online resource and repeat a search, since new information is added to the internet daily. Last evening, I went to the Google News Archive and typed in "Agnes Garrigus." Her name showed up in a 1956 obituary from the St. Joseph News Press in Missouri. I knew there was a family connection in St. Joseph, but did not know who it was.

The obituary, posted above, indicated that Nellie Tibbetts was a sister of Agnes Garrigus. Nellie Welch!

As mentioned in the article about her sister Minnie's autograph book, I also have the autograph book that belonged to Nellie Welch. I didn't know if she had remained in Connecticut or if she had moved to the Midwest, either with Minnie or later. Now I knew that Nellie had moved to St. Joseph, Missouri and I had her married name!

My next step was to enter the information about Nellie and her husband, Frank L. Tibbetts, into my tree. It was there that I found them in the census records for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930. There were never any children listed in their household, but Frank's father, John Tibbetts, lived with them as he grew older.

One of the best pieces of information discovered on Ancestry was the couple's marriage license from the Missouri marriage records database. The couple was married in St. Joseph on September 20, 1893. This was five years after her sister, Minnie, married my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly, in Nebraska.

Finding the death certificates

Since Nellie and Frank lived in Missouri, my next step was the Missouri Digital Heritage site. This is a wonderful online resource, especially if your Missouri ancestor died in the state between 1910 - 1960. Images of death certificates are available on the site.

I searched for Tibbetts and found Frank's death certificate, but not Nellie's. Frank died just 11 months after his wife died. I tried searching under various spelling variations of Tibbetts to locate Nellie's death certificate with no results. Then I searched by her first name only. There I found her, with her last name recorded as Tibbets.

Her last name was spelled incorrectly on the death certificate, but her husband's name (the informant) was spelled correctly.

My next step was to visit FindAGrave to see if there were memorials for the couple at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Being none, I created them and posted a request for photographs of their headstones.

The Tibbetts home in St. Joseph, Missouri

Perhaps you've had a photograph, a newspaper article or a document gnaw at you. It's providing you with a little information, but not everything that you want to know. There are several photographs in Minnie Welch Kelly's photograph album that show people in front of a brick home in St. Joseph, Missouri around 1905. The address of the home is written on at least one of the photographs.

The house still exists today, I learned from doing a search on Google Street View a couple years ago. While driving home after the Family History Expo in Kansas City last summer, I even considered doing a drive-by of the house, but I didn't.

The Tibbetts home in St. Joseph, Missouri
Here is a cropped photograph of the Tibbetts home in St. Joseph, Missouri. I am not posting the address since the home is still occupied.

The address written on the photograph matches the address of Frank and Nellie Tibbetts in the census records.

Even in the early 1900s, I thought this appeared to be a beautiful home, made of brick, with intricate detail in the masonry.

Oh, to be able to identify all of the people in the photograph. I've deduced that the young boy is Alfred Clarence Garrigus, since he is identified in other photographs and wearing the same clothing.

I can only speculate that the women are the Welch sisters. The gentleman - perhaps this is Frank Tibbetts? Or perhaps it's Mr. Garrigus.

Based on newspaper articles and Minnie's photo album, I've learned that the Garrigus family made a trip to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and likely visited Agnes' sisters in St. Joseph, Missouri and Greenwood, Nebraska on the same trip.

Brick Masons

As I looked over the census records for the Tibbetts and also discovered Frank's entry in several city directories for St. Joseph, why was I not the least bit surprised that both Frank and his father were brick masons! There was something about this beautiful brick house that had been gnawing at me for a long time. I just never came across any photographs of family homes that were anything but frame. So for the Tibbetts to live in this beautiful brick home made complete sense.

I'm sure this research saga will continue because I still want to be able to make positive identifications of all of the people who were photographed in front of the home in St. Joseph.

Will I make that side trip to see the home on my return trip from the Family History Expo this summer? What do you think?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fearless Females: Ruby Pecht Baker

Lisa Alzo, who writes The Accidental Genealogist blog, has brought back a 31-day series of blogging themes called Fearless Females, in honor of celebrating March as Women's History Month. I hope to participate in as many of these blogging prompts as possible this month.

March 8 - Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do?

Ruby Pecht Petersen Baker
My father's mother, Ruby Luella Pecht Petersen Baker, worked consistently through her life until retirement.
After graduating from high school, she became a teacher herself in Hardy, Nebraska. Around 1928, she moved to Lincoln with her first husband, Otto Petersen, and their son (my Dad), Kenneth.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression left a lifelong impact on this family. My father tells of how his parents both worked to earn money to support the family during this decade. Ruby would take in ironing that she would do during the day. In the evenings, she would bake fresh rolls and my grandfather would go door to door selling them for pennies.

I don't think there was ever a time that anyone in the family wasn't working. In August, 1944, Dad commented in a letter home from boot camp, "Dad tell everyone at Cushman’s hello and don’t you work too damn hard and Mom you better not work too hard either."

Stanley Home Products Convention
The woman in the hat (with glasses) on the left is my grandmother, Ruby Luella Pecht Petersen (later Baker). The second man from the left, standing, is my father's father, Otto Petersen. My mother, Patricia Kelly Petersen is in the middle (I'm not sure if that's a foo-foo in her hair or if the guy behind her is holding a dusting product). My father, Kenneth Petersen, is to Mom's left, with glasses. All of the Petersens were selling Stanley Home Products in the 1940s!

By the time I came along, my grandmother was working at Gold's Department store in Lincoln. She worked in the baby and toddler department. All of the ladies in that department wore white uniforms, white hosiery and white "old lady" shoes.

As her first grandchild, I was well outfitted in clothing from Gold's. It was always a pretty big deal to go to downtown Lincoln from the suburbs, and we always stopped to see my grandmother in the baby department, followed by lunch in the Gold's cafeteria, which made the best tuna fish sandwiches on rye bread that I've ever had in my life!

When I became a teenager and my friends and I took the bus downtown, I'd always stop to see my grandmother at Gold's. Not that I was motivated or anything, but Grandma would usually slip me a five dollar bill and I'd head off to Gold's record department to get a couple new 45's. 

It's no wonder that I have a strong work ethic today. It's something that is definitely in my genes.

Open Discussion Weekend: Ancestor Overload - Good or Bad?

This has been a rather amazing week for me in genealogy. It's been such an amazing week that I'm peddling as fast as I can to get caught up on my blogging.

Why so amazing? The ancestors are coming at me from all directions!

When I first started blogging, my purpose was to post some queries in hopes of finding descendants of affiliated and related families. 15 months later, a second cousin, twice removed, responded to my very first blog post, indicating she was descended from the woman whose family I was trying to trace.

Last weekend, the California line of a related family was all together scanning and uploading photographs and documents to their tree on - I could barely keep up with everything they were posting. After this line of the family being elusive for so long, it's like the gold rush of family history!

A few days ago, another "cousin" sent me another batch of zipped folders with photographs of the various Petersen families. And they did not have small families! I have to have my charts handy to keep track of all of them. This took me back to the Danish Demographic Database once again. In a short time, I took my line back one more generation for certain, and possibly one more beyond that. These census records are beyond compare if you have ancestors from Denmark.

Then, last evening, the DNA results from 23andMe showed up, which may lead to potentially hundreds of more kin out there!

Open Discussion

Have you ever had a week like this? How did you handle the overload of incoming information? Did you jump around from ancestor to ancestor, euphoric about everything coming your way? Or did you methodically develop a plan for processing all of the new information and documents? How did you set your priorities for evaluating new information?

Genealogists often talk about our frustration with brick walls. What about frustration over Ancestor Overload? This is a good thing, right?

Please post your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to reading what you have to say.

You've Got Mail! - er, DNA!

Last evening, I received a long-awaited email from the DNA testing lab and web site, 23andMe, with the subject header: Your Genetic Profile is Ready at 23andMe!

Last fall, 23andMe offered genetic DNA kits and lab testing at a reduced price, so I thought, "Why Not?" Several of my fellow geneabloggers and I took the plunge, ordered our kits, spit in the tube and mailed in our samples to the 23andMe lab.

Many of my DNA testing buddies started the process much sooner than I did. Once I mailed the sample to the lab, it took about five weeks to receive the results. At this point, what I know is that I am a member of the J1c maternal haplogroup. Already, I'm confused! No doubt I'll be turning to my buddy, Joan Miller of Luxegen Genealogy, for advice as more information becomes known. Joan knows all about this DNA stuff, you know!

23andMe indicates that it will be a few days before the Family Finder feature starts churning out my Long Lost Relatives for me to be in contact with.

In the meantime, I'm glad to know that I am no more at risk for a variety of health issues than the public at large. Although, the results warn me that my habit of drinking a full pot of coffee every Saturday and Sunday morning might not be in my best interest. Perhaps my abstaining from coffee during the week will balance out my risk?

Read all posts about my DNA testing journey.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Follow: Friday - Around the Blogosphere - March 11

Here are a few of the posts that I enjoyed from the genealogy blogs this week.

Ordering tombstones from the Sear's catalog - check out this ad posted on Escape to the Silent Cities.

Dave discusses pruning your family tree on the Digicopia blog.

Using land records to solve genealogy problems was a topic on The Turning of Generations.

Here's a step-by-step description of using the FamilySearch extension in the Google Chrome browser. This is a nifty tool that lets you search while on a person page on This has been working fine all week, until today. The developer indicated it may be an issue with FamilySearch - and will keep an eye on things to make sure the extension continues to work as intended. The post is from John on the Currach blog, whom I thank for bringing this add-on to my attention.

Another great post from James Tanner at Genealogy's Star is about online privacy.

The list is a little short this week - I've had the pleasure of ancestor overload this week with a LOT of new information and photographs coming my way. I've actually been working on my family history research rather than reading the blogs! That's a good thing, though, right?

Other recommended reading

Other bloggers also offer their recommendations and weekly highlights. Check their recommended reading lists:

Randy Seaver's Best of the Geneablogs on Geneamusings.

Greta's Follow Friday on Greta's Genealogy Blog.

Elizabeth O'Neal's Best Bytes on Little Bytes of Life.