Category Archives: blogging

Midwest Geneablogger Get Together

We talked about it, we tweeted about it and it is finally planned.

The midwest area geneabloggers will be having a get together on 24 Mar 2012 and we hope you will be available to join us. For this get together, we will be meeting in Fort Wayne, IN. You can spend the day researching in the ACPL and the evening having fun with all your genea buddies!

The evenings festivities will be hosted in the home of Tina Lyons of Gen Wish List and her husband, the plan is a pizza party and I believe we agreed to a price of $5 per person to share the cost. If you would like to bring something to add to the party (dessert or drinks), that would be greatly appreciated as well.

If you are looking to stay the night or even the weekend, I have secured some rooms at Hampton Inn – Dupont Road, from 23 Mar – 25 Mar. Right now, the rooms secured are all 2 queen size beds, that will sleep up to 4 adults. Pricing is $87.12, tax not included, per night. For two nights, including tax, it would be $198.63. If you share the room with 3 other adults, the room would be $49.66 each. Not bad! With the room, there is free wifi (woo hoo, we can blog, tweet and check facebook) and free breakfast.

If you are not interested in both nights, that is ok. To book a room, call me at 773-589-0198 or you can also email me at A credit card is needed to hold the room.

To get the room at this great rate, we must have you booked by 29 Feb, otherwise we lose the price. Also, when calling to book, it would be helpful to know if you have a group that will be staying with you and who will be a part of that group.

I hope that you will be able to join us, it’s never a dull moment when you get a bunch of genealogists together.

A special thanks to Tina for opening her home to this group, we greatly appreciate it.

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment on this post, email me at above email address or you can email Tina at


Tuesday’s Tip: Getting Organized in Research

I have never been an organized researcher. I go from one clue to the next with no rhyme or reason. I go where ever the clues lead and I do not track my searches. Aghhh! How can I be so unorganized when it comes to something so important to me.

If you knew me, really knew me, it makes complete sense. When I managed in the retail field, I had an associate tell me that I must be so organized at home, because I kept our back room (which was office and product storage) so organized. And, if I had to be completely honest, it was more of the product storage. I planned time each week to organize the desk/office area. After the holiday season, we would go straight into sale and that is always the best time to clean up the back room. I worked for Bath & Body Works and let me tell you the mess that shower gel can make on a cement floor. Especially, if it was someplace that you did not notice and had to clean it up at a much later date. Anyhow, I loved sale time! It was time to get rid of the dust as the shelves emptied out and before all the new product came in.  I had a good laugh at this associate because, I am so not like that. I have never been organized at home, not really. I grew up in a house where the dining room table was the catch all for my father, though he always blamed us. When I moved out on my own, I had a chair that was my catch all. It held the baby bag, coats, gloves and my purse. How do I stop this madness?

Well, I am starting with my genealogy this year. I am going to be going through my files, reorganizing them, pulling out magazines and adding them to my library and finally trying to get a little ahead of the game with tracking my research.

I have started making forms on my computer so that I can try to really think about what I plan to do in my research. I let some of my family lines get ahead of me because I do not think about what I want to do, I just do. I am hoping to stop that with my forms.

Research Planning Worksheet on John and William Jonas

I have utilized this form for a few of my research problems and the next step will be researching the documents listed. Maybe I might start using a research log as well. Only time can tell.

So that’s my tip for today, get organized. In the end it can only help you out.

Follow up Friday: January Goals, Week 1

This week I have only just begun to work towards my goals. The only one I have worked on so far is the organizational goal. I needed to get all of my genealogy “stuff” into one area, and for the most part that is done.

My small genealogy library.

Though I have not really worked towards my goal on the supposed Mayflower line, I have been giving it some thought on how I want to proceed with it. I hope to make some progress with it in the coming week.

Stay tuned, because I might post more of those pictures later today/tomorrow.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts

I started blogging on 2 Nov 2008, so just over three years. When I originally started my blog, it was on Blogger. Originally it was titled Climbing The O’Connell Family Tree. When I started to blog it was to keep track of my research which was mostly on my O’Connell line. After five months of blogging, it was obvious that my research was not going to be only on my O’Connell line. If I did, my genealogy life would probably be non-existent at this time. This line has been the hardest for me to research.

So, I decided to make some changes. First, I moved the blog over to WordPress because I liked the crisp look it had. Then I changed the name of the blog, because I was searching for more than O’Connell family members. That is how Finding Our Ancestors was started. Today, I will share the 10 most popular posts since I have started blogging.

10. Matthew Brodrick and Episode 4 of Who Do You Think You Are? – He is a star and heck its all about the episode of WDYTYA

9. How my Brick Wall Came Tumbling Down – We all want to know how to break them down

8. My Last Grandma – A post about losing my last living grnadparent

7. What Kind of Neighbor Are You in The Genealogy Neighborhood – A serious question for all genealogists

6. Top 10 Genealogy Websites – Everyone likes to see what websites other people like, these were my favorite when this post was written

5. Genealogy Technology – Genealogy and technology, our favorite things

4. Non-Tech Vendors Not Allowed – RootsTech did not want non-tech vendors to be a part of their exhibit hall. After all the hoop-la Rootstech changed their mind.

3. December 3, 2009, Christmas Tree Ornaments – Pretty, shiny things to look at.

2. Top 10 Things I learned in Breaking Down my Brickwall – Every day we learn something new

1. Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock and The Mayflower Society – My visits to these places

Top 10 Posts From 2011

The following is a list of the top 10 posts read at Finding Our Ancestors from 2011.

10. Wedding Wednesday – Fred and Ella Jonas Marriage license of my paternal great greandparents.

9. Wordless Wednesday, Hot Springs, Arkansas A day spent in the Hot Springs area, I captured a great picture.

8. Finding Our Ancestors Website – My genealogy website

7. 2012 Genealogy Goals – Self explanatory, just hoping I can meet them all

6.  SNGF – 16 Great Great Grandparents – Listing of my 16 great great grandparents, or cousin bait

5.  My Last Grandma – Spending the last days of Grandma’s life

4. December  3, 2009 Christmas Tree Ornaments – The ornaments that we hang on our Christmas Tree

3. Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower Society – My visit’s to all these places

2. What Kind of Neighbor Are You in The Genealogy Community? – Not everyone plays nice, I hope after reading this everyone will remember to be nice to their neighbors

1. Non-Tech Vendors Not Allowed at RootsTech – The genealogy neighborhood bans together and lets RootsTech know how they feel about the slight of different companies at their upcoming conference. The good news is, as a group we were heard and the situation was rectified.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, it seems obvious to me why some of these hit the list of top 10 posts that were read in 2011. Stay tuned, in the next few days, I will be posting a Top 1o list of all time.

Motivation Monday: January Goals

Here we are, the first week of the new year and I plan to start the year off right. At the end of last month, I wrote my 2012 Genealogy Goals, I hope to break them down month by month to make sure I come somewhere close to achieving them by the end of the year.

So, for the month of January I am going to start with two of these goals.

1. Researching my Richmond line. This is the line that I seem to make the most family connections with and I want to get it straightened out. Some say that this line goes back to Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower, so I want to reanalyze all the information I have, 1 generation at a time. I am going to start by making a chart for each generation. On this chart, I plan to mark off all of the records that I can find, such as birth, marriage, death, and census, you get the picture. This will probably take me some time to do, so I want to get on this right away.

Organization – My genealogy stuff is scattered throughout my house. Some in my bedroom, some in the living room and some in the basement. I need to get it all in one are where it will be accessible at all times. To start this project off, I am going to move all genealogy into the basement (which is where my office is). That should only take me a few hours to do. From there, I need to get all books on one book shelf.  As of right now, I have a small rolling book shelf  (think wooden library cart on wheels) that will be perfect to use. From here, I want to start cleaning my one file box that I have for genealogy. Each year I pull a file and it never makes it back into the box. Some are on my desk, some in my briefcase, again I am sure you get the picture. I procrastinate.

As for other things I would like to accomplish this month are making it to the Irish American Heritage Center at the end of the Month for their genealogy meeting, I am also planning to go hear Tim Pinnick speak (I think that is January 10) and then I also have planned to meet up with Jen Holik-Urban of Family History Research, for a day at the archives and another meeting about Italian ancestry. Lots planned for the month. I will be posting on Friday’s about my progress.

My genea buddy Steph has her monthly goals up here.

DNA Test Has Been Received

On 10 November, I wrote a post about Taking my DNA test, which was mailed out that same today. Yesterday, I received an email from Ancestry advising that my DNA sample had arrived at the lab. Wow, thats a long time to get there, 1 month and 6 days.

Anyway, the good new is that the sample has been received and now I await the results. Once they come in (hopefully in the next few weeks) I will be posting about what I have learned and exactly what this test tells me.

Follow up Friday: December Goals Week 2

So, on Monday, 5 December 2011, I posted my goals for the month of December,  you can read that post here. Today,  I want to take a few minutes and update where I am for week 2. Week ones updates are bold and week two’s updates are italicized.

So, here are my goals for the Month of December:

  1. Visit Rosehill Cemetery and find Graves of the Felske Family Complete
  2. Visit St Luke/Lucas Cemetery and find graves of the Freiburger family Complete
  3. While at the above listed cemeteries, take pictures to add to Billion Graves  Complete
  4. Since the weather is starting to change and cemetery hunting is ending, I want to continue to transcribe for Billion Graves So far I have transcribed almost 300 stones
  5. Reread the BCG Manual for my ASM 1 class for NIGS and schedule my first telephone call. Also, read the article assigned and follow up with the live meeting required for the class. My goal was to spend time this past week and take care of all the reading. So far, I have not done this. Hopefully, tomorrow. *Fingers crossed*
  6. Continue with my blogging efforts by utilizing my list of upcoming posts to publish So far I have blogger every day of Jan., I believe 2 posts per day (except today).   So, I have only missed 2 days for the month of the December.
  7. Continue research into my Jonas and Jaeger lines Received letter in mail about Jonas line, (no connection yet) but still researching. Still researching
Obviously, I did a much better job last week working on my goals. This week, I added a new goal because of a blog post I read, to see the details of this post, click here. My new goal is to work on my website which I purchased my domain for about a year ago. I have spent the past 3 days working on this. By no means have I completed, but I am much further than I thought I could be. So far, I have added photo’s for both my maternal and paternal lines, and brick wall ancestors on my paternal line. I want to be completely done with this site by the end of 2011. 

Finding Our Ancestors Website

Almost a year ago, I purchased my own domain, hoping that one day I would get a my own website up and running. Hoping, that one day in the future I just might decide to become a professional genealogist.

Yesterday, Linda McCauley posted on her genealogy blog, You Really Should Have a Genealogy Website, on Documenting the Details. After going through her blog post, it just clicked that I needed to finish my website. Don’t get me wrong, it was up and published, I just did not utilize the space I am paying for.

Today, I spent the majority of my day updating the website be adding information, inserting family trees and getting pages set for the future. I also took the opportunity to link in my photography and travel blogs, and make a link to my business web site (with information about that as well).

In the future, I might merge my blog over there as well. Right now, weebly does not let you import your blog in. But, I am not concerned with that right now. If you click on my blog name there, it brings you here.

Please, take a moment and check out Finding Our Ancestors and let me know what you think.

Tuesday’s Tip – Utilizing Library Websites

In the month of November I ventured back into the Chicago Pubic Library. It had been a quite a few years since I had been in the library and I felt it was time. I ventured to the closest library to my house, which has been moved next to the local public grammar school (which has its own hidden code – go to library way before school gets out).

I had some problems with my library card that took a few weeks to straighten out, but while I was at the library I was able to sit at their research computer and look at obituaries in the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive. I spent about two hours scouring this site. I found seven obituaries related to my family and emailed them to myself. This way I could print a copy for my records (read I like paper copies) and transcribe it as well for my blog.

A week later, I was back at a different branch of the library and took care of the problems with my card and then I happily checked out a few books. Later that evening, I went to yet another library and spent another hour and a half research obituaries of my Chicago ancestors. Again, my search was very fruitful and I went home to more emails to print and transcribe.

Well, sense I have everything figured out relating to my library card, I am finally able to access their website. Which made me happy. I can now research from home. Oh, until today when I really looked at the site and found out I did not need to log in. The site is open for everyone to use. I even passes the website on to facebook friend, Barbara Poole, and she immediately found information on one of her ancestors.

The one thing I learned is that we really need to look at our local resources. Do you know what is all open to you? Obviously, I did not. With this find, I am cracking open my paternal German lineage and enjoying all I am learning. With each obituary comes a trip to the local cemeteries so that I can document the stones asap. If I wait, the stone will go forgotten. As it is, I will start making my list of cemeteries/graves for the spring so that I do not forget.

Since this worked for out of state friends, I ventured over to the NY Public Library site, hoping I would have the same luck. Not so much, you must log in the with a NYPL card. Boo, I was hoping to have the same luck.

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