Friday, December 27, 2013

FREE until Dec. 29th, 2013

*Visit to find select Canadian and international records available for free on until December 29, 2013, 11:59 p.m. (ET). To view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. Once you have registered we will then send you a user name and password to access the records. If you haven't already, you will be prompted to register once you start trying to search and view the records. After December 29, 2013, you will only be able to view these records using an paid membership.

Merry Christmas and all the best in 2014,

Friday, December 6, 2013

WWI Canada Military Research

There is a helpful article to take you past the WWI Attestation Papers at

Happy Searching All ... and I'll continue spending my hours in front of the TV watching the Roar to the Rings curling!! You can take the kid out of the old-time-small-town-how-we-passed-winter, but you can't take the curling out of us. :-)))))) Hurry HARD ............

Cheering Hard,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Google Search Wizardry - Tips & Tricks

Become a Google Search Wizard

After you've exhausted basic Google Search techniques, it's time to tap into Advanced Search. This will help you search with more precision and hopefully even better results.

Here are some great advanced techniques to try:

"+" Search

Google ignores common words and characters such as where, the, how and other digits and letters which slow down your search without improving the results. However, if a common word is essential to getting the results you are looking for, you can include it by putting a space and then a "+" sign in front of it.

Here's how to add the digits "III" in a search for John Smith III:
John Smith +III

Quotations Marks

When you want to find an exact phrase in a web site, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example:

"U.S. Federal Census"

will bring up websites with that exact phrase and no variation.

Alternative to NOT

A quicker way to eliminate a particular word from your search results list, rather than typing the word NOT before the word in the search box, is to type a minus sign and the word. For example, you might be searching for the surname Lincoln but don't want to get inundated with results for Abraham Lincoln.

You could search on:
Lincoln -Abraham

the word Lincoln but NOT the word Abraham will be returned in your search results. This works great for eliminating a word that is commonly linked to your search term but has no bearing on your research.

Quick Definition Search

Have you ever come across a term in your research and you were unsure of its meaning? For example, you see the word cooper in the occupation column of the census but don't recall what a cooper does. Simply type the following in the search box:


With one click of the Search button you'll have the answer: a maker or repairer of casks and barrels.

Words Apart Search

Sometimes the words that you are looking for won't appear next to each other, even though they normally do. For example, you may be looking for a city directory and normally you would expect to see the two words together as a phrase: city directory.

However, by using an asterisk to set them apart, you may find the perfect result that searching for them together or with quotation marks around them may have missed.

City * directory
Results could include city phone directory, city telephone directory, city and county directory, etc.

Synonym Search
If you want to search not only for your search term but also for its synonyms, place the tilde sign (~) immediately in front of your search term.

For example, to learn more about an industry your ancestor worked in you can search for train history and railroad information like this:
~train ~history

This would then give you railroad history, railroad past, etc.

Numrange Search

A Numrange search delivers results containing numbers in a given range. Just type in two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces into the search box along with your search terms. This would be an ideal search if you are unsure of an exact year.

For example: George Crandall 1850..1860

Link Search

Let's say that you find a terrific genealogy website all about your specific family line. Wouldn't it be nice to know who else out there on the Web is interested in that family line?

By doing a search using the search term link: you will get a list of pages of web results that have links to that web page. For instance, if you found a great website about your saxophone-playing uncle on the Crandall Family Web Site, you could try the following search:

Note there can be no space between the "link:" and the web page URL.

Related Search

Similar to the Link Search, the Related Search will list web pages that are "similar" to a specified web page. The following search will list web pages that are similar to the Crandall Family Website:

Note there can be no space between the "related:" and the web page url.

Allintitle Search

If you start a search with allintitle: Google will restrict the results to only pages that have all of the search words in the title. For example, to get only documents that have Minnesota, railroad, and history in the title:

Allintitle: Minnesota railroad history

Allinurl: Search

Have you ever tried to remember a website address for a great genealogy website and although you couldn't remember the exact address, you recalled some of the keywords in the address? If you start a search with allinurl: Google will restrict your search results to only those that have all of the search words in the URL address.

For example, if an ancestor worked for the Oregon Pacific railroad and you knew that the words Oregon and Pacific were in the URL address, you could do a search on:

Allinurl: Oregon Pacific

And the results page would include the Oregon Pacific Railroad Company web site at

Note: punctuation will be ignored in this type of search. Oregon/Pacific will ignore the slash and give you the same result as no slash at all.

Thanks to FamilyTree University.


Northern Ireland Placenames - origins and meanings

This is a very cool site! Any of us with Irish ancestry has probably struggled with figuring out the meanings of the associated placenames ... all those 'bally' names for instance really do have origins.

Oh yeah, and don't miss the associated maps!! Very cool, and totally FREE!! Note: this is for Northern Ireland placenames only.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pedigree Collapse = Royal Ancestry For Us All

From Dick Eastman's recent blog - where he talks about how we are all 'suffering' from inbreeding :-) - is a pretty good article, although I suspect we'd all rather refer to this as the more acceptable term of 'Pedigree Collapse'. Anyway it's certainly worth a look, and it explains how we are all related to royalty, so have a look at it

Here's to all my, and your, Royal Ancestors!! hahaha

Thursday, November 28, 2013

50 Free Apps WE're Most Thankful For

I don't use all of these, but the ones I do use are awesome!! Have a look, choose what interests you, and enjoy!!

Have Fun!!

75 Best US State Genealogy Websites 2013

For those with USA ancestors, this is an awesome help. Just one word of advice, you may want to make a note of the URL somewhere other than your bookmarks, or bookmark the linked website(s) that are of interest to you as I've seen links like this from FamilyTree disappear or become a dead link.

Happy Searching and Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA friends, relatives, and blog readers!!

Advice on How to Research Family History - part 4

Here is Elizabeth Shown Mills final article, with her usual great advice

I always use the FAN club, and was glad to see Ms. Mills talk about it.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Legacy 8.0 Available Now

So the long awaited newest edition of Legacy genealogy software is now available. I'm never in a rush to fix things that ain't broke, but I'll be buying this one. They've really done a great job with all the new and enhanced features. Read about it for yourself at and you can still get it two ways - either the Deluxe, or the Standard which is free. Take the free 'tour' and decide for yourself.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Irish Lives Remembered - FREE magazine

I have mentioned this free magazine before, but thought it worth doing again for anyone who may have missed it. I look forward to reading through it each time it arrives, and you can search through the back issues (link on the top of the page) at

AND congrats to the Riders!! Finally we have a Grey Cup won on our homefield!!

Cheers all,
BTW, one month today and Christmas 2013 will be over! YIKES!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Genealogy Search Engine

I've talked about this lots, and have included it in numerous conference syllabus entries, but I was just playing around with it again and it is soooooooooooooooooo much better than earlier versions. You really should try it out, and don't forget to read through the site as there is lots there.


Four Free Websites to Find Old Maps

OK, here goes the rest of your week guys!! Some really good links thanks to the Genealogy Insider

Stay Warm!!

Writing the Family Story

Some good leads here

Guess what Step 1 is???? Sort & organize your piles of files!!! Haha That's where my Organizing Your Papers class comes in handy. And am I finished organizing? Shoot NO! ;-)


Advice on How To Search Family History - Part 3

Here is the 3rd installment of Elizabeth Shown Mills articles, with links back to Part 1 and 2.

As always, Ms. Mills offers sound professional advice. So this is something to do on a severely cold day.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Advice on How to Research Family History, Part 2

Here is Elizabeth Shown Mills second installment and it's great, as always!

If you missed Part 1 of Ms. Mills articles, or any of my other previous postings, scroll down the right side of my blog until you see the topic(s) that interest you.


Website Updates from the IHGS

Website Updates as reported from IHGS - the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. The following are great reminders for those with subscriptions, or perhaps a reason to buy!

Electrical engineering apprentices from the company Metropolitan-Vickers,
Manchester 1902 and 1934
Australian Capital Territory Marriages 1930-1938
Australian Capital Territory Deaths 1930-1983
South Australia remote deaths 1851-1965
South Australia lonely graves 1837-2005
South Australia unregistered deaths 1840-1970
South Australia Boer War Contingents
South Australia Boxer Rebellion Contingent
Passengers to South Australia on board Buffalo, 1836
Calais Lacemaker immigrants to South Australia, 1848
South Australia immigrant agricultural workers, 1913-14
South Australia cultivators, 1840
Victoria Births 1836-1913
Victoria Deaths 1836-1985
Victoria Marriages 1836-1942

British Newspaper Archive
Birmingham Gazette 1876
Chester Chronicle 1893
Dundee Courier 1952-1953
Gloucester Journal 1888-1889, 1905, 1907, 1918, 1920, 1950
Kent & Sussex Courier 1900, 1902, 1904-1905, 1913, 1915, 1918, 1923
Middlesex Chronicle 1870, 1896-1897
Newcastle Journal 1872, 1882, 1898, 1916
Northants Evening Telegraph 1902
Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser 1870
Reading Mercury 1881
Southern Reporter 1925
Sunday Post, The 1915-1950
The Belfast Morning News 1857-1882
The Belfast Newsletter 1828-1900
The Cork Examiner 1841-1926
The Dublin Evening Mail 1849-1871
The Freeman’s Journal 1820-1900
The Sligo Champion 1836-1926

TNA RG37 ‘Removals of graves and tombstones’
Boosbeck Cemetery 1931 - 2010
Brotton Cemetery 1936 - 2010
Eston Cemetery 1963 - 2010
Guisborough Cemetery 1873 - 2010
Bradford-on-Avon Cemetery, Holt Road, Bradford-Upon-Avon.
Hilperton Cemetery, The Knap, Hilperton.
Holt Cemetery, Gaston, Holt.
Melksham Cemetery, Western Way, Melksham.
Trowbridge Cemetery, The Down, Trowbridge.
Warminster Cemetery (also known as Pine Lawns Cemetery), Folly Lane,
Westbury Cemetery, Bratton Road, Westbury

Ireland, Guinness Archive Index, 1824-2002
Ireland, Census, 1901
Ireland, Census, 1911
Canada, GenWeb Cemetery Index
Canada, Peterborough, Onatrio jail register 1860–1905
Canada, Saskatchewan, Birth Index, 1875-1908
Canada, Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register, 1828-1910
Canada 1921 Census fully indexed
New South Wales, Australia, Index to Deceased Estate Files, 1923-1958
New Zealand, Notices of Deceased Estates, 1880-1950
Manchester area parish registers
Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941added indexed records to an existing
Canada, Ontario Marriages 1869-1927
Canada 1911 census indexed
Denmark, Church Records, 1484–1941
Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg, Eberswalde, City Directories, 1890-1919
Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg, Landkreis Ostprignitz-Ruppin, Miscellaneous
Records, 1559–1945
Italy, Campobasso, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1918
Netherlands, Limburg Province, Church Records, 1542-1910
U.S., Iowa, State Census, 1905
Militia Lists 1781 and 1782

1920 Valuation Roll
New County Monaghan records

Irish Genealogical Research Society
New index to its journal
The Irish Genealogist

Allen’s Indian Mail 1871 and 1872

Epidemics Timeline

This is an interesting work that shows major epidemics throughout the British Isles. Even those without British connections may find help here as even Eastern Europeans passed through [mostly]England by rail on their way to British ports that transported them to the New World, Australia, or South America.

This site got me thinking, wondering what other epidemic timelines could be found online. So, I Googled it and found

Isn't the Internet incredible?? Possibly the best invention of ............... hmmmmmm .............. I don't know, but life would be terribly different without it!


The Canadian Great War Project

Here is an amazing new opportunity to search for your WW1 ancestors. It's set up differently from other sites I've used, and while it's a work in progress, I think it's worth a look ... now and as it progresses. You might even want to help?

Pat [basking in the sunshine and warm temps of this Nov. 13th, 2013]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Advice on How to Research Family History

I'm guessing the first article is indicative of how tremendous this is going to be!! Elizabeth Shown Mills is doing an "Ask An Expert" series for the New York Times and the articles will be available free, online, beginning here

So part 1 deals with all kinds of questions, but the one that I really appreciated was her explanation regarding a question about DNA: "The differences between various DNA tests are easier to understand visually. We often see family trees depicted as a fan chart. On this kind of chart, if we put a point in the middle of the bottom centerline and write our name there, our Y-line is the flat base line to the left. Our mitochondrial line is the flat base line to the right. In between, we have many other ancestral branches that fan out and stretch farther than any piece of paper can show."

So simple!


Friday, November 8, 2013

European Maps Showing Origins of Common Words

This is very interesting, at least to me. "Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going."

Read more:


Thursday, November 7, 2013

For You CRAFTY Genealogists

Have a look at Pinterest - Family History Crafts & Gifts. I am super UN-crafty, but I know there are lots of very talented people reading this that may find some inspirations, maybe ever for Christmas! Happy crafting at


Ancestry Offers Free Canadian Military Records

In honour of Remembrance Day, if offering free access to their Canadian Military Records from today, Thursday 07th Nov. - 12th Nov. 2013.

From at
Our Canadian Military records include details such as rank, home address, salary and more, and can connect your family to the frontlines of Canada’s most historic wartime battles. With these records that date back to as early as 1710, you may follow an ancestor’s journey from enlistment, to their post overseas, to awards received and, in some cases, to their final resting place.

NOTE: *Free access to all Canadian military collections for free until November 12, 2013, 11:59 p.m. (ET). To view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. Once you have registered we will then send you a user name and password to access the records. If you haven't already, you will be prompted to register once you start trying to search and view the records. After November 12, 2013 you will only be able to view these records using an paid membership.

Happy Searching!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Heartbreak & Hope: submit your Ellis Island Story

This could be quite wonderful, and what a great opportunity to share your family stories of ancestors arriving at Ellis Island!! Have a peek at

Derryloran Tyrone Ireland - FREE baptisms & confirmations

Oh you lucky lucky person(s) if you happen to have folks from this area!! Not me, sadly, but I had to pass this along. I've looked through the transcriptions, just in case , and marveled at the tenacity of one individual to have given so freely of his time in transcribing alllllll these marvelous records. Have a scroll at

Wishing you some good craic [fun]
Pat - who is feeling very tri-lingual at the moment!! Hahahaha

Meyers - Orts

This is a link for German researchers looking for a most wonderful gazetteer. Before you run out and purchase this truly wonderful series of books, check locally to see if it happens to be in your own area ... like at a library, or your genealogical society, or at Google books [hint hint]! The original article can be read at

Gern geschehen (It was my pleasure)

1921 Canadian Census - more ideas to overcome index errors

Sounds like I am in very good company regarding transcription errors in the 1921 Canadian census. A former student and friend, told me her father's name was Philip, but he's indexed as 'Shitat'!! That's amusing, once she found him. Thanks for sharing Lois!

Today I came across another researcher who has some wisdom to share. Read it at

One of the things I stress in my classes is this: If you have an apple, and I have an apple, together we have one apple.
But if you have an idea, and I have an idea, and we share them, together we have TWO ideas!!

I believe in sharing. How about you?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

1921 Census - FREE?

There seems to be much confusion regarding searching the indexed version on Ancestry. This is the most recent info. that I *believe* is correct! This was posted to my friends blog titled Shannon's Genealogy Friends.

"This piece of info from OGS (our Ontario Genealogical Society) newsletter. Hope this helps some of you.

Fully indexed 1921 Census available for free to all Canadians

On Tuesday Oct. 29th, 2013, officially launched the fully indexed version of the 1921 census. In accordance with their agreement with Library and Archives Canada, the indexed census is available for free to all searchers using a Canadian IP address (ie. sitting at a computer in Canada). will ask users to set up an account (email and a password of your choice) before granting access but payment will not be required

So give it a try folks!! Hope it works and you find what you're looking for.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Successes in the 1921 Census

So I figured I should let you all know it *is* possible to find your ancestors in this census. Several of my current students have been emailing me with their wonderful stories of how good the index worked. All I can say is 'lucky bums'! :-) It's not that I didn't WANT to use the index, it's just that the surnames I was searching for were so badly mangled in the index it was useless to me. Oh yes, and the handwriting! WOW!! Interestingly, it was the British Isles names that had been 'mangled' the most, at least in my searches. My GILMOUR family was indexed as GIBERSON, as an example. Sheesh!!

Anyway, I have now located all the family members I was looking for, but it was not once done using the index. The methods I was able to employ were still far better than how we 'old-timers' had to search before the days of the Internet and all the wonderful indexes and database searches we now accept, and .... expect!!

Before I get all "we had to walk, uphill, both ways" hahaha, I just wanted to say that there still is nothing wrong with using all those wonderful methods we've learned in the past to help us figure out the most appropriate locations to search. So things such as land records, voter's lists, directories, maps/atlases/gazetteers, previous or later censuses, and often just 'browsing' through the census - page by page - will lead to successes and sometimes the most amazing surprises. And you know what? Once I've found what or whom I was looking for, it's still those long, difficult searches that I feel the most triumphant about! Either I'm a glutton for punishment, or I'm just a serious researcher who enjoys a good challenge ... or maybe a bit of both. Still, once in a while I'll be grateful for a index match first time round. :-)

And how are you all doing?

Wishing you many successes!!


How to Enter a Correction on 1921 census

Thanks to John D. Reid of Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections for the following tip:

"From the original census page image click on Index in the bottom left hand corner. It will open up a panel beneath the image. Click on the item you want to correct and fill in the form."

Man this could turn into a full time job for me!! :-))))


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Organizing Boxes on SALE

Anyone following my Organizing Your Papers system may be interested to know that Staples has The Really Useful boxes on sale until Nov. 12th .... 30% off!!

Thanks Marion for telling me about this!!


There are Teachers, And Then There are Educators!

Not genealogy, just an interesting way of teaching? :-))))))

According to a news report, a certain private Catholic school was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine provided it was of a natural or neutral skin tone, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the maintenance man would remove them; and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally, the principal, Sister Mary, decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses).

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, Sister Mary asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
There are teachers...... And then there are educators!

LOVE it!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1921 Canadian Census - Indexed on Ancestry

OK, so we've all been waiting anxiously for this to happen. This morning was the morning!!! So I tried searching for my parents, my grandparents, my husbands families - all in Saskatchewan - using the indexed version, and ..................... I did not find even ONE person!! I must admit I am not surprised, just VERY disappointed. I'll keep trying ...........will now resort to browsing as I know exactly where they *should* be.

Hope you have better luck than I did!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Immigrant Ancestor's Project


Published date: 21 October 2013

Family history majors at Brigham Young University intern at various repositories of European countries and obtain copies of emigration registers, passport applications, and other records that contain hometown information for each emigrant. These records are indexed in the Immigrant Ancestors Project (IAP). After ten years of consistent work, students have created a database containing over 480,000 entries. A significant number of the indexed records are located at The National Archives. This talk will inform about the use of the IAP database to help locate original records of interest. The IAP database is online at and is available at no charge.

Jill N Crandell, MA, AG® is the director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, where she enjoys working with approximately 20 student employees each semester. She has been teaching family history courses at the university for nine years. Jill is an Accredited Genealogist and holds an MA in history and a BA in family and community history. She is currently serving as the chair of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).

Sponsored by the Friends of The National Archives.

Happy Searching Friends!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MAJOR Collaborations Announced

There were 3 major announcements this weekend, all of which *should* prove beneficial to genealogists!! Have a read


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The following is taken from the Ancestry Insider.

This story of serendipity comes from Leroy Kelly. I share it in his own words.

"Back in 1976 I found myself in New Orleans for a conference. I started thinking. My father's family came through Louisiana in the 1800s. My great, great grandfather was born outside of Alexandria. At the same time my grandmother was born in Pea Ridge, Kemper County, Mississippi. I realized that I was meant to be in the area to do some family history.

I rented a car and started to Alexandria. Due to three, very inconsiderate semis I was not able to make the necessary exit. I decided, what the heck, I'll just go to Mississippi instead.

Two hundred and thirty miles later I pulled into DeKalb, Mississippi. I went to the local library where a friendly librarian helped me. "Pea Ridge? Oh my goodness, it hasn't been called that since I was a girl. It's Cleveland now."
I drove out to Cleveland and discovered that it was not a town, but a country store, complete with local post office, feed store, one gasoline pump, and groceries.

I introduced myself and asked if they could tell me anything about the TERRY family who had once lived in the area. They thought for a while, and told me no. As I was nearly out the door one said, "Tell ya what, you go across the street to Miss Maudie's house. She's lived here all here life. If anyone could help you it's gonna be her."
I knocked and presently the door opened a crack. I heard a voice. "Yes?"
"Excuse me ma'am. I'm looking for information on the TERRY family who used to live in this area. I was wondering if you ever heard of them?" "No, never did, I can't help you."

The door closed and then opened almost as fast. "Young man, there was a TERRY family in this area a long time ago. There was a church that they used to call Terry Hill on account of the Terry family. There's a house and there's an old burying ground just up the road a holler and a jump, on the right hand side, just past the big oak trees."
I thanked her and drove up the road. I found the old church and the house beside it. I stopped and talked to the inhabitants, asking them about the house, but they could tell me nothing. I drove back down the road and pulled off in front of a gate that guarded a patch of the greatest jungle of briars and weeds, guaranteed to be the abode of myriad snakes, spiders, and who knows what else. Amongst all that growth I could see tombstones.

I pushed, shoved, and pulled for the greater part of an hour finding full grown trees growing over graves, tombstones broken and littered all over the ground. I was looking for JOHN TERRY but found no TERRY graves at all. Finally, hot, tired and more than frustrated, I started back to the car. In my walk I stumbled and fell into the briars and vines of a very large and nasty bush. There I was on my bleeding hands and painful knees, when I saw a footstone with the initials JT. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I didn't get up, I couldn't have because of the vines and brush. I crawled around to the front of the grave. There it was: JOHN TERRY, 1825 - 16 May 1895. I found him! I have been doing this work now for years and have had some marvelous experiences but I can honestly say that was the first time I heard the sound of angels singing. Beside him I found MARY his wife and two of their children. I have to admit that I cried.

After taking pictures and gathering every inch of information I could, I started back into DeKalb. As I came back to Miss Maudie's home I stopped to thank her. She opened the door, a bit wider this time, and asked if I had found what I was looking for. I told her what I had discovered. She opened the door and invited me in for lemonade.
In the middle of our talk she suddenly stopped, looked at me and said, “Miss Louise was a TERRY.” A few minutes later I was talking to my grandmother's first cousin. I drove into DeKalb to meet her. In the middle of talking Miss Louise looked at her son and said, "Lee, why don't you take him out to grandpa Gideon's grave."
I left DeKalb, Mississippi with sixty eight names, copies of forty pages from family bibles, four generations of the TERRY family, a quilt that was made by and belonged to my great, great, great, grandmother, a whole mess of cousins and friends, and memories that are precious and sacred to me. Now how is that for serendipity and three trucks that wouldn't let me make the exit to Alexandria, Louisiana."

"Thanks, Leroy!
If you have a story you’d like to share, send it to
Source: Leroy Kelly, [e-mail address withheld for privacy,] to, e-mail, 13 September 2013, “Do I Have a Story?” privately held by the author."

Serendipity DOES happen, but we have to put the work in first!! I, too, have had some wonderful experiences ... so just keep on keeping on everyone. :)

Happy Searching,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Out & About - new course

I have just finished confirming all the new and wonderful searches we are going to learn to do at the Saskatchewan Archives Board next week. This is part of my Out & About Course. I am really excited as this is going to be cutting edge and I've got a great group of students going with me!!

Oh yes, and my life just got a whole lot more exciting this morning ... I made ten bucks doing laundry!! Finder's keepers, right? Ha ha ha


Friday, October 11, 2013

15 Things the Internet Has Killed Off

Seems my class is right on target with what many are finding interesting these days!! Of course I always knew what a smart group they are!! :) This morning I found the following list recently compiled

So what do YOU think of this list?
1. Faxes
2. Rolodex
3. Answering machines
4. Disposable cameras
5. Encyclopedias
6. CDs & cassettes
7. Public telephones
8. Teletext
9. PDAs
10. Buying or reading newspapers
11. Planning road trips on paper maps
12. Newspapers
13. Lining up to pay bills
14. Yard sales [oh say it ain't so! :-)]
15. Physical copies of the Yellow Pages

I JUST THOUGHT OF A NEW ONE ... personal cheques!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One of my students [Thanks Donna!] sent this very funny picture to me and it has prompted my class to begin looking at, and thinking, of all the 'things' we come across that also had ancestors. So what can YOU think of? Have fun guys!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Successful 2013 Moose Jaw Conference comes to an end!

Once again the wonderful group of volunteers from Moose Jaw branch of SGS pulled off yet another super duper conference!! GREAT job Marge, Wendy, and everyone else. I dare not mention too many names as I'm bound to forget someone.:) And a personal Thank You to those who sponsored my presentations. It is much appreciated. And always soooooooooooo good to see so many old friends, not least of which are my many, many students ... former and present. Keep working, keep having fun, and as always Happy Searching Everyone!!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Course Offering dates Fall 2013

WDYTYA? Translation: Who Do You Think You Are?

Every person is a part of history. Why do you have your own last name, and not someone else's? Why do you speak the language you do? Why do you have brown hair, or blonde or red? Are you predisposed to certain illnesses? The answers to these questions have to do with the lives of the people who came before you - your ancestors - and the records created by them and about them. Perhaps your ancestors didn't realize the choices they made would effect so many people. Just by living their lives, they created history. What about you? You, too, are creating history, even as you live it. While you are a descendant of the past, you are a parent of the future.

Records are history's best storytellers. It is therefore necessary to develop research skills and become a good 'detective'. It is also a great deal of fun! These classes are designed to develop your research skills & teach you to think like a researcher. The classes enable you to decide what records to search for, why you need each of these records, and how to find them.

Have you been watching the television series of the same name? Pretty interesting isn't it? Well I can't promise you within an hour you'll have the same results as the celebrities who appear on this show have!! Let's be honest - those results took thousands of hours of research by numerous professionals to achieve. BUT, it is possible to trace your families throughout history AND you can do the research yourself. In a one hour TV show, probably more like 35 mins. when you factor out the time spent on commercials, they have only been able to show one or two ancestors for each celebrity. Each of us have many ancestors, each with their own stories.

Fall of 2013 Courses
Unpuzzling Your Past
You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!! What if you had to prove a major event in *your* life? How would you do it? With records. Your ancestors also created records. They did many of the same things you do. Later in their lives they may have married and had children. Some of them hunted for gold, others worked in mills or farmed, still others left their homeland to make a new life in North America. If you had to prove your ancestors had these experiences, that they actually lived, how would you do it? Well, you would become a family history detective.

This class is suitable for beginners and the advanced who’ve hit that ‘brick wall’. This is a good 'starter' class, and the one you should start with, but it is also designed to assist more experienced researchers who are at a stand-still with their current 'brick wall'. I will say again - You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!!

For most us the great fun of genealogy & family history research is in the thrill of the chase - the search for new details. We gather reams of photocopies. We have copious numbers of binders full of hard copy. We have too many notes scribbled on too many scraps of paper, and we carry impossible numbers of facts/dates/locations in our heads. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the amount of information we have collected or inherited. Sometimes we have nothing. Obviously the more we know, the more we have to work with. BUT, I started with only my parents and grandparents names, two possible locations, a few unconfirmed dates, and that was it!! It *is* possible.

This course has been thoughtfully developed to help those with too much or too little information. If your research has progressed over a long period of time, do you still have some spaces you've had to leave blank? Learn how to start, organize, document and source properly. Discover those missed clues or miscellaneous errors, and learn about new sources recently made available to the public (including many on the Internet). Learn how to do all this in the most cost effective manner possible! There are times when you must pay for an official search. There are many *more* times when you can perform that search yourself, if you just knew how. This course will teach you those 'how's'.

Experienced genealogists
Take a look at all the work you've done or inherited and think of what you might yet accomplish! Is part of the reason you do family history research so it will be preserved, passed on and added to? Is your work clear, concise and presented in an organized, understandable format? Will the next person who looks at, or inherits it, be able to understand exactly what you found, and exactly where you found it? Will they be able to, and want to, continue your work? Do you have any recorded information, but are unable to remember where you found it or who told it to you? Have you been given any names, dates, locations but you have no idea where that information was found? If you knew, you could go back to those records, double check for accuracy and perhaps add some new details the original researcher, or story-teller, missed, misread or misinterpreted!

Only you know how much time, expertise, money, frustration, and intense happiness you will or have invested in researching and preserving your family history. Wouldn't it be terrible if it was all disposed of because it's value was not readily apparent? It happens every day. How many precious old photos, books or other memorabilia have you seen in second hand shops or garage sales? Your talents and your hard work need to be preserved and your descendants will thank you - after all, how much would you appreciate even one piece of well documented research?

If you are just getting started, congratulations, as you have no bad habits to break and this class will teach you all the good habits. For those of you whom have spent decades doing research, isn't that research worth the investment of a little more time in order to preserve it for future generations? Do not despair if you're body of work needs attention - you are certainly not alone - but Do Not Delay any longer. Get into this class - quick! Student enrollment is kept low to accommodate student/instructor interaction. Students work on their own family research.

This is the course you should start with – whether a beginning genealogist or a seasoned researcher. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing until you begin using the most up-to-date methods I teach! Locate reliable records – many available for free on the Internet – once you learn where to find them and how to use them. This is a fun, exciting course that helps you: build your solid foundation, avoid common errors, begin finding and using dozens and dozens of free and trusted genealogy web sites, or even break down some old brick walls! It also supplies you with the knowledge to progress to the next level of courses. Students work with their OWN family research. No matter how much, or how little, you have – do NOT underestimate the importance of this course!! Extensive Internet usage.

Pat wants you to enjoy the classes, ask questions, laugh, learn, and take part to the fullest without having to take notes. After each class Pat writes up extensive notes of everything covered, including the links to each website discussed with full instructions on how to use the websites, and emails the notes to each student. You will end up with a book of professional information that you can refer back to ... forever!

Pat Ryan is a professional genealogy instructor and researcher as well as an experienced genealogy conference speaker who has presented from Whitehorse Yukon all the way to Scotland. She is a 1st generation Canadian who has found THE most amazing things and will help you do the same, no matter where your ancestral roots lie!! AND you’ll have tons of fun and meet like-minded people!! For full details about this course and additional courses, keep checking here, or email , or phone [cell] 306-533-3941 or [office] 306-695-2241.

Instructor – Pat Ryan

Tuesday September 17, 24 October 1, 8 7:15 – 9:15pm @ Arcola East Community Centre [Jack McKenzie School, 3838 Buckingham Drive East, Regina SK].
Cost - $160.00

In this second course we begin to delve deeper into the most useful record types we all need. Two of the classes will be held on-site, and two classes will be held online.

Saskatchewan Archives Board Regina
The Provincial Archives has a long history of providing assistance to genealogists. Unfortunately, researchers often arrive at the archives believing there is one big file or a giant computer database that will tell them everything they want to know about their ancestors. In fact, researching at the archives may involve consulting a number of different sources, and usually involves considerable time and effort. The answer lies in knowing what is available; how to locate each record; and then how to use the information gleaned from one record to move onto the next - each step taking you closer to the answer(s) you seek.

People sometimes think of the archives as an intimidating place to go, or that there is nothing there for them. The SAB holds vast amounts of genealogical materials, although the majority of these materials are behind closed doors, seemingly inaccessible to the public. So, how do you request a file when you don't know what is available? This is what these classes deal with. You will learn about some of the resources available. Things like old Saskatchewan newspapers, directories, photograph collections, ships passenger lists, Saskatchewan census, maps, school, rural municipality, church, citizenship, military, land, sound recordings, government records, and private collections.

Land records are some of the most valuable record types available. Western Canada & the USA were settled primarily by homesteaders – often including not just 'wanna-be' farmers, but also teachers, ministers, shop keepers, and town folk. A file was created about each homesteader including former residence(s), family content, dates, buildings, types and numbers of livestock kept, acres of crops planted and harvested, signatures – plus often big surprises. There is so much more here than meets the unknowledgeable eye! These files may lead to unknown locations, family relationships, special maps and more! Lessons on US land & property research included in your notes.

Pat has also arranged for a Private tour of the Sask. Archives ‘hidden’ records for the students of this course. We will be taken behind the locked doors, where few have ever been, and led through those wonderful records led by a very knowledgeable Provincial Archivist who will explain the contents.

There is extensive Internet use in this course. The class size is limited, and is Not suitable for beginners. Completion of Unpuzzling Your Past would be MOST beneficial.

The second part of the OUT & ABOUT COURSE
O’ Canada! Making Sense of the Canadian Census 1666-1901
The census is the first, and possibly the most valuable, resource every genealogist should use – but there are pitfalls!

Scrawled upon some of Canada's historical documents are your ancestors' names, along with personal data about them. Perhaps you have never thought of the federal census records as historical documents, but they certainly are. They also are invaluable to genealogical research as they were taken every 10 years - in Canada since 1666. The recently released 1921 federal and special* (for the Prairie Provinces only) censuses are available (microfilm and/or FREE on-line); however, some are only partially indexed and you cannot search the films by family surname.
* The 1906 & 1916 Censuses are a "portrait" of a region that, at the time, was rapidly changing as hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe and other parts of Canada were choosing to settle in the Prairies. The provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta had just been established one year before the 1906 census was taken. Late in 2013, we have finally gained access to the 1921 census.

The evening of Nov 6th we will meet at the Prairie History Room at the Regina Public Library head branch downtown Regina. PHR is our genealogical treasure! Learn what’s in this world renowned collection, not just for the Prairie Provinces, but other parts of Canada and the world; then how to find and use these resources. Do not prejudge what is available! Local/family histories; newspapers; immigration; directories; vital records; indexes; maps; hands-on use of Canadian censuses. We will have a fun working tour designed for you to learn the collection, how to locate what you need, and how to search it from your home!

Emphasis is on hands-on research, with professional guidance, of your OWN family across Canada. Extensive Internet use. Class size limited. Not suitable for beginners. Completion of courses Unpuzzling Your Past + Sask. Archives would be MOST beneficial. We must learn how to read and understand legal land descriptions & associated maps before we can use the Canadian censuses. This is why I teach the Saskatchewan Archives course first. You will end up with a rather large 'book' of notes, instructions, examples, along with tons of hints, tricks, and tips that you can use forever as your personal, professional guide book. Pat Ryan

Emailed lesson [teaches land records and begins your online land searches] Oct. 16th
Saskatchewan Archives, 3303 Hillsdale St, Regina Oct. 23rd morning
Emailed lesson [teaches free census searches online] Oct. 30th
Regina Public Library Prairie History Room [downtown branch] Nov. 06th evening
Cost: $200.00

Questions and registration available by email or by phoning 306-695-2241 or 306-533-3941.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Genealogy Conference Moose Jaw 2013

I seriously encourage you all to try to attend this years Saskatchewan Genealogical Society's Conference. This years event will be held in Moose Jaw Oct. 4, 5, 6 and promises to be spectacular!!! Read all about it here

Hope to see you all there!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fall 2013 Classes

I am pleased to again be offering two courses this Fall through Arcola East Community Association. The first one will be "Unpuzzling Your Past - using the Internet" which will begin Tuesday Sept. 17th and run every Tuesday until Oct. 8th.
This is the course you should start with – whether a beginning genealogist or a seasoned researcher. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing until you begin using the most up-to-date methods I teach! Locate reliable records – many available for free on the Internet – once you learn where to find them and how to use them. This is a fun, exciting course that helps you: build your solid foundation, avoid common errors, begin finding and using dozens and dozens of free and trusted genealogy web sites, or even break down some old brick walls! It also supplies you with the knowledge to progress to the next level of courses. Students work with their OWN family research. No matter how much, or how little, you have – do NOT underestimate the importance of this course!! Extensive Internet usage. Pat Ryan MCCSG is a professional genealogy instructor and researcher as well as an experienced conference speaker who has presented from Whitehorse Yukon all the way to Scotland. She is a 1st generation Canadian who has found THE most amazing things and will help you do the same, no matter where your ancestral roots lie!! AND you’ll have tons of fun!! For full details about this course and additional courses, keep checking here, or email , or phone [cell] 306-533-3941 or [office] 306-695-2241.

Instructor – Pat Ryan

Tuesday September 17, 24 October 1, 8 7:15 – 9:15pm @ AECC.
Cost - $160.00

The next course will be totally 'hands-on' where you will be searching for your own families through various record types. In this course you will have the opportunity to do instructor-led research at various repositories in the city of Regina as well as online. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn the proper protocols as well as many of the tips and tricks that professional researchers employ. You will also be treated to a behind-the-locked-doors tour of one of the locations we will research in - the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives! This course will run Wednesdays from Oct. 16th - Nov. 6th, with two of those dates being online lessons ... so you don't even have to leave your home to receive your lessons with full instructions on how to conduct the specific research projects geared to helping you find answers about your ancestral lines. All web sites used will be free, and totally trustworthy. You must have completed the above course "Unpuzzling Your Past" before enrolling in this course as you will need the knowledge learned there to advance to this course.

I'll be posting additional information about these courses soon. For anyone wishing to pre-register, or requiring additional information please feel free to call Pat 306-533-3941 or 306-695-2241, or email

These courses usually fill very quickly, and I keep the number of students low to ensure I have time to interact with each of you. I always look forward to meeting new genealogists and helping them on their way to success!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

RootsTech Lectures

I've blogged about this before, but the lectures for 2012 and 2013 are again online, in video, FREE, but not sure for how long. Have a look when it's too hot to go outside, or too rainy, or too windy, or you're just in need of a good dose of summer genealogy!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Confused about DNA? Here are the answers

The following link will take to you a very well written explanation of DNA, what it can do, what it cannot do, and the differences that abound. Before you spend you hard earned money buying one sort of DNA kit or another, be informed!! Thanks to Peter Calver from LostCousins. His DNA artices are here and if you are not a member of LostCousins have a look here His newsletter is always interesting and it's free! There is lots you can do here besides subscribe to his newsletter.

Happy Canada Day!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sign the Petition to Release the 1921 Canadian Census

Thanks to Lew Lockhart for making me aware of this petition from Olive Tree Genealogy!! Let's do this and make our voices heard!!

If clicking on the above link will not work, copy and paste that link please.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Political Humour

As disgusted as I am right now with our politicians I just could not resist posting this.

Last Tuesday Prime Minster Harper arrived in his helicopter in front of the
Parliament Buildings - carrying a baby piglet under each arm.

The squared-away Mountie guard snapped to attention, saluted and said: "Nice
pigs, sir."

The Prime Minister replied: "These are not pigs. These are authentic
Arkansas Razorback Hogs. I got one for Minister of Defense, Peter MacKay,
and I also got one for Senator Mike Duffy."

The squared-away Mountie again snapped to attention, saluted and said:
"Excellent trade, Sir!"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

1921 Canadian Census - need help NOW

Elizabeth Lapointe posted the following in her Genealogy Canada blog:

Breaking News - 1921 Census of Canada
A reliable source from the LAC has just phoned me to ask that I inform my readers, genealogists, and others interested in their Canadian families, that the 1921 Canadian Census has already been digitized, and has been ready for release since last Wednesday, 12 June, but it is being held back by the federal government before it is released.

So if you want the census released NOW, it has been suggested that you write the Heritage Minister, The Honourable James Moore, and ask that the 1921 Canadian Census be released now.

Minister Moore’s mailing address is: The Hon. James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6.

His telephone number is 613-992-9650, and his fax number is 613-992-9868.

He can also be reached online at, or by direct email at

Remember, there is no postage required for sending snail-mail to Members of Parliament in Canada from within Canada. "

I have just emailed and I hope you do too!! I chose email because Parliament is about to be sent on their usual 3 month holiday!!!! I am sooooooooooooooo sick of politics and politicians.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stay Focused!!!

Stay Focused ... or, in this case, do as I say NOT as I do!! Good grief. I sat down to work on my McNIECE line originally from Ireland early 1840s. I've worked on this family for 20 years and have finally begun to have some new leads and some new breakthroughs so it's been more interesting as of late. So, within less than an hour I had found the ships passenger list showing my husband's grandmother coming to Canada from England in 1911. GREAT discovery .... BUT how the heck did I get so far off track in such a short time???? Truthfully I have no idea. It just happened, and now it's 1:30pm and I'm still working on his grandmother's family lines. Oh well, sometimes we just have go where we're led ... I guess.

Enjoy your weekend all,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

US & International Military Records - FREE

Beginning tomorrow at midnight, Thursday May 23 until midnight on the 27th, is making their entire collection of Military records FREE!! You will need to register, but even that is free.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What's New at

Have a look at this YouTube video (free and safe to view)at

Nice way to show us all the new stuff and cool hints to get the most for our search dollars.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Genealogy Karma

This is from Mocavo, designed to replace RAOGK [Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness] - some of you heard me speak about this at recent conferences I've presented at. The site is still growing, and will remain FREE!! Perhaps you'll find some help here ... and perhaps *you* will volunteer to help others. Karma can be a very good thing!!

Best of luck and Happy Searching!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Edmonton 2013 Conference - A SMASHING Success!!

Just got home last night from another fantastic conference in Edmonton. They set records for attendance and that is a fact that is quite astonishing as most groups are struggling, worldwide. Edmonton is obviously doing lots and lots of things right! Maybe Shannon and all her awesome helpers should be organizing all conferences?? GREAT job folks!!

As a speaker, [and a huge "Thanks" to all who saw fit to invite me back],I can tell you that Edmonton goes out of their way to make speakers feel appreciated. It starts with the initial invitation to submit proposals, continues throughout the entire process, and culminates with the large attendance in a lovely venue. Most important to me is all you wonderful folks who come up to me throughout the entire conference to share your thoughts and questions, your exciting new finds, and to just say "Thanks"!! It certainly makes the long long hours, that turn into months, of working on the presentations ... all worthwhile. "Thanks" right back at you!! I LOVE the Edmonton conference, always have, always will.

Now, once laundry is done and I get some sleep , I'm anxious to dive into the syllabus and see what new things I can learn! Speakers seldom have the opportunity to hear any other speaker as the odd half hour available to us is spent fine tuning our *next* presentation for the group.

Cheers Guys!!
Pat xo
Oh yeah, I also have to add that it was SUCH a pleasure to not be surrounded by 4 freakin' feet of snow for a few days! I'm so ready to golf and garden. This year I should be living in the North I guess.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Top 40 Genealogy Blogs 2013

Thanks to FamilyTree Magazine lists the following blogs as their top picks for 2013. Click through to be taken to whatever interests you from

I'm off to the Alberta Provincial Conference tomorrow. This year it's held in Edmonton and I LOVE LOVE LOVE speaking there!! Besides which it's warmer way up north ... well warmer than it is here.


Monday, April 15, 2013

London's 2013 "Who Do You Think You Are" - free handouts!

This is just awesome!! SoG, the Society of Genealogist's, has just made available handouts from the speakers presentations at the Who Do You Think You Are held in London Feb. 2013. Not all speakers are represented yet, so check back, but the ones that *are* there are spectacular!! More good reading during the 'winter with no end' in our part of the world!!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Facebook clues can reveal your secrets

"Researchers from Cambridge University have discovered that simply by analysing Facebook 'likes' it is possible to make highly accurate predictions about people - from the colour of their skin to their gender, orientation, political allegiance, and much more. Combine those inferences with what people explicitly tell you about themselves, and you could know more about someone than their own relatives!

Other research has found that by collecting relatively innocuous information from a variety of online sources you can build up a far more detailed picture of somebody than they ever intended - be very wary of choosing the same user name at different sites.

Have you tried searching for your own name using Google? Or for your email address (put it in double quotes)? Or for your user names? You might be surprised at what you find!"

Thanks to Peter Calver for the above article. Peter runs the LostCousins website. Have a look at You can sign up for his free newsletter from this site.

I tried the double quotation searches and discovered a potential problem with one of my user names!! Yikes!! I have been guilty of re-using names and even passwords. I know we're not supposed to, BUT there are just tooooooooooo many needed to create new ones each time you sign into a new website... and then try to remember which goes where! Anyway, for your own protection, give those searches a try guys. Forewarned is forearmed?

Pat (at least today sunlight is streaming through my windows ... improving ones mood, however slightly)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

First Name Abbreviations

In many historical documents, first names were abbreviated. There is a free listing at

Happy Searching!
Pat ..........who is sitting here most unhappy with what she sees out her window. Bloody snow ... again ... and it's 07th April. ENOUGH!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FREE Genealogy Sessions

Lucky you!! Sit at home and attend FREE genealogy sessions being presented at the RootsTechIII Conference happening in SLC. I can't as my bandwidth is insufficient & expensive. Enjoy!!

The following times are Eastern Standard times so adjust accordingly.

Thursday, 21 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote – Dennis Brimhall, Syd Lieberman, Josh Taylor
1:00 PM The Future of Genealogy - Thomas MacEntee and panel
3:45 PM Tell it Again (Story@Home) - Kim Weitkamp
5:00 PM The Genealogists Gadget Bag - Jill Ball and panel
6:15 PM Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web - James Tanner

Friday, 22 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - Jyl Pattee and Tim Sullivan
11:45 AM Researching Ancestors Online - Laura Prescott
1:00 PM FamilySearch Family Tree - Ron Tanner
3:45 PM Google Search… and Beyond - Dave Barney
5:00 PM From Paper Piles to Digital Files - Valerie Elkins

Saturday, 23 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - David Pogue and Gilad Japhet
11:45 AM Using Technology to Solve Research Problems - Karen Clifford
1:00 PM Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points - Denise Olson

Start at ""

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Women's History Month - March

To celebrate women's history month, my old friend Lisa Also has added a section she's named Fearless Females. She has also offered 31 prompts to help you along. Have a look at

Happy Searching!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finding German Ancestors - 4 tips

The following is [mostly] from Family Tree University.

4 Tips for Finding German Ancestors
Not finding your ancestor in genealogical records? The name you've been searching for may be wrong. Your ancestor may have changed his surname after immigration, or English-speaking clerks may have translated it. In colonial America, Bentz evolved to Pentz and eventually Pence; Zimmermann became Zimmerman or was translated to Carpenter; and Schwarzwälder became Blackwelder. As many as a hundred names could be derived from a single German surname. Here are some hot tips for fighting through German name changes and translations.

1. Watch for regional customs. If you have ancestors from northern Germany around Ostfriesland, you may find a pattern of changing last names. This area used patronymics-surnames taken from the father's given name. For example, Peter Hansen's offspring would have the last name Petersen. Ancestors from around Westphalia may have based their surname on farm ownership. A telltale sign is when a man's surname changed at marriage-his wife was heir to a farm.

2. If an immigrant's name is different in US records than in those of his homeland, the change happened after he immigrated. Ellis Island officials didn't write names, they merely checked the passenger list that was created at the port of departure. Rather, your ancestor may have adopted an American-sounding name as a way to identify with his new home and avoid anti-German sentiments.

3. Don't use census records alone to conclude an ancestor changed the spelling of his or her name. People didn't write their own names on censuses. They (or a family member, or even a neighbor) stated their names to the census enumerator, who wrote them down. One census enumerator may write Müller, another Mueller and another Miller. Even within the same document, such as a will, you might find a name spelled different ways. Note all name variations you find and don't limit your research to the most common spelling.

4. North Americans typically use our first names. Looking at the name Johann Peter Schneider, we'd see Peter as just a middle name. But in Germany, people were often given saints' names (common ones were Johann, Maria and Anna) as first names and were called by their middle names. Your safest bet is to look for both Johann and Peter in records.

[My own east German families that immigrated into the USA in 1879 were all listed in the ships passenger lists by only one of their 'first' names - which turned out to be their saint's names, which was different than the names they were called by their families. Oh what a tangled web they weave!!]

Whether it's from difficult translation or hard-to-read fonts, we can all agree that trying to decode German records is a pain in the posterior. Gothic typeface and crazy cursive handwriting can lead to hours of squinty suffering.

Happy Searching Everyone!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Edmonton Conference Apr 2013

I am very honoured to be again presenting at the upcoming Alberta Genealogical Conference in Edmonton, April 20 & 21st, 2013. This is a fabulous conference with some really great speakers this year - a few locals, a few 'imported' Canadians, and a few from the USA ... all experts in their fields. The conference is held at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre and Hotel - an awesome venue for sure!! I love, love, love this conference ... and you will too!!!! It is always so professionally managed and run by their organized and fun group of volunteers.

Check it out

When you're there, be sure to say "Hi" to me please?


Thursday, February 28, 2013

British Slave-ownership

Here is a very unique website, totally free, that may open a few eyes!! Did you ever think about slavery being part of the good ole British way of life? I spend winters in the Dominican Republic, and admit I have never given a great deal of thought as to how these beautiful Caribbean Islands were all not-so-beautiful to some of our ancestors! Read, learn, and search!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nickname History

Here is a pretty cool website that lists lots of nicknames. Hope it helps you! If you don't know who you're looking for, how do you find them? I had one great grandma who went from being Ann on her wedding registration, to Nancy on the births of her children, to Agnes in all available censuses ... AND my father [her grandson] listed her name as Mary!! Took me three years to figure it out. Best of luck guys!!

Copy and paste the following

BTW, if anything I post helps you, *please* let me know? Many times I feel like I'm talking to no one other that cyberspace ... and a big Thanks to those of you who *always* send me an email!!

Pat xo Hotter than Haydes here in Bavaro Dominican Republic. Am I losing weight? Oh I wish!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Quack Doctor

What a funny website billed as "Historical remedies for all your ills". Today's post is about the "barbarous insanity of kissing" in 1900. Archived articles linked down the right side. Enjoy.


Friday, February 15, 2013

A Very Personal SAD Note

One of our dearest friends passed away Sunday, Feb. 10th, 2013. We were fortunate enough to have been part of a group of 8 for 30 some years .......... monthly dinners, trips, fishing, golfing, cards,music concerts, and just being best friends, and now it ends and we are 5000 miles away and not able to be part of the 'end'. It's really tough. But the phrase that keeps resonating with me is this "Life is what happens to you as you are busy making plans".

And another dear friend also passed due to an travel accident on Tuesday. It's been a very tough week here in 'Paradise'.

RIP Ricky DOROSH and Danny MARCE, both of Regina Saskatchewan.

Best to all,
Pat xo

Ancestry offers free Canadian Marriages

To commemorate Valentine's Day (yeah, I *know* it was yesterday!), is offering free (until Feb. 18) access to its collection of historical Canadian Marriage records. Records in this collection date as far back as 1621 and contain key information about the newlyweds and their parents; information that can help expand an existing family tree and allow you to better understand the love birds in your family’s history”.

Go to

Happy Searching All,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ancestor's in western Canada 1916? FREE census search

As we all know the census is one of our most valued searches!! There were Special Censuses taken in Manitoba, Sask, and Alberta in 1906 and 1916. These have been available, indexed, on Ancestry for some time, but LAC has just now released a free searchable version (courtesy of Ancestry). One word of advice ... my grandparents were in Sask. in previous censuses but are absent in 1916 - both versions - so don't believe everything you find, or don't find!!

Still, it's hard to beat FREE?? Have a go at

PS. I LOVE hearing from you all - good, bad, or ugly!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Someone is WRONG on the Internet

This is a must read!! It was written by a blogger that goes by the name of Persephene. It is full of good advice. Copy and paste the following URL


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Missing Scots - to Canada

If your Scottish ancestors emigrated to Canada then the country's national archive, Library and Archives Canada, has posted a link in its blog to a dedicated page at

which itemizes sources that might help with your research.

There are some real gems there, for example, a huge series of Immigration Branch: Central Registry Files (RG 76), with items such as returns from the Glasgow Juvenile Delinquency Board - Girls Industrial School, Glasgow (RG 76, volume 119, file 22468, microfilm C-4782) which includes a list of children sent to Saint John, New Brunswick, between 1895 and 1906. Many, many other examples - well worth a look.

Thanks again to Chris Paton for the update.

Happy Searching All,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Irish BMDs Just Doubled in Cost

I am sincerely hoping you took advantage of my last post and were able to use the free day on findmypast.

At present it is possible to order birth, marriage and death records in Ireland from 3 sources. From 1845 to the present day you can obtain records for what is now the Republic of Ireland from the Irish GRO in Roscommon ( This also offers records for the north from 1845-1921. The beauty with this site is the fact that you can order photocopies for genealogical research for just four Euros each, if you know the details of when and where an event happened. You can also get records for the north from 1845 to the present day from the GRO for Northern Ireland in Belfast, but at a whopping £15 per certificate.

There is a third way to obtain records, if you wish to do so online, and that is through the Republic's Health Services Executive site at Coverage is partial however - all Ireland births from 1864-1921, and from the Republic from 1922 onwards; all Ireland marriages from just 1920-1921, and for the Republic from 1922 to the present day; and deaths from 1924 for the republic only.

Unfortunately, both the HSE and the GRO in Roscommon have just DOUBLED the costs of their official certs to 20 Euros each. In Sterling that is £16.94 each - even higher than Belfast's costs of £15, the highest in the UK. However, the GRO's 4 Euro charge (£3.39) for an uncertified and photocopied extract remains the same.

Is this just blatant profiteering to coincide with the launch of the Irish indexes for such records on FindmyPast? Who knows - but never has a photocopy looked so beautiful...

Thanks to Chris Paton for the above.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Irish BMD Free Searches - tomorrow only

Thursday 24 Jan, 2013 [tomorrow]

Search FREE on the above date only. Not sure about exact times, but you might to take into consideration the time difference ... there to where you are.


Top o' the morning to ya!!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Writing YOUR family history - help & challenge

So you've meaning to do this right? Get your research written to share, or keep private. But you just have never managed to get going! A group of professionals are here to help.

Lynn Palermo writes, "I am calling on all my fellow genealogist, family historians, beginners and advanced alike, to pledge to begin to write your family history during the month of February. Welcome to The Family History Writing Challenge."

The following was also written by Lynn:

The Family History Writing Challenge returns for the third year of motivating family historians dedicating daily time for writing their family history stories.

Family historians wishing to take up the torch of writing their stories are encouraged to put down the microfilm and pick up the pen for the month of February, and start writing their family history stories.

Upon signing up for The Family History Writing Challenge, participating members are invited to declare a goal in the form of a word count and to commit to completing that word count during the 28 days in February. In exchange for the commitment, Lynn Palermo (The Armchair Genealogist) host of the month long challenge will send out daily newsletters that include motivational messages, writing lessons, along with instructional guest posts by leading genealogists, published authors and editors.

Lynn Palermo states, “by committing to a daily word count my hope is for all participants to make substantial headway in their family history writing goals and to create long lasting writing habits that will carry them forward throughout 2013.”

Lynn encourages members to sign up early to take advantage of the January newsletters that will help participants organize themselves to begin writing on February 1st. A forum for the event is available to participants who want to exchange ideas, struggles and successes in a more intimate atmosphere.

Special guest authors include certified genealogist, author and writing instructor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack from and author, speaker, genealogist and writing instructor Lisa Alzo from The Accidental Genealogist. Guest posts also include writer, educator, historian Biff Barnes Editor at Stories to Tell Books, author and writing coach Tami Koeing from Your Story Coach and Mariann S. Regan, author of the family memoir Into The Briar and Patch and blog. Lynn Palermo suggests participants should watch for future developments in coming weeks, as this list was not complete at press time.

Family historians who wish to participate in the challenge can sign up or learn more about the challenge at The Family History Writing Challenge website. The event will run from February 1st-February 28th.

Go to [copy and paste]. Best of luck! You will never be sorry you started.

Pat [in Punta Cana Dominican Republic]
Thanks to Dick Eastman for the above information.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ancestry's "old search"

I have been asked about finding the "old search" on Ancestry, which many still prefer. I've just learned how to find it.

When on Ancestry home page, click on the Search tab, and choose Search All Records. Once there, on the upper right side you now how the option of clicking on "Go to old search".

Hope this helps!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 100 Genealogy Websites

The Genealogy in Time newsletter has issued what it considers to be the Top 100 genealogy based websites, based on traffic statistics from Alexa. The biggest story is the rise in dominance of corporate vendor sites, particularly those owned by Ancestry, MyHeritage and Brightsolid. The list includes each of the individual country domains for sites such as Ancestry, e.g. and, as well as other sites owned by the parent corporations - on that basis, Ancestry has 14 of the top 100 slots, My Heritage has 12 and Brightsolid has 5.

The full list, with analysis, is available at

Copy & paste the above URL.

Thanks to Chris Paton for sharing this with me. Now I've shared it with you!!

Happy Searching,