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Showing posts from 2017

Extreme Genes Interview

I am honored to be included again on the Extreme Genes podcast. I was interviewed about the NextGen Genealogy Network and how I got involved. Welcome new readers!




Ch-Ch-Changes in the Genealogy World

There have been two major announcements in the genealogy world over the last few weeks. First, FamilySearch will be ceasing microfilm distribution. Second, Ancestry has made the decision to not allow users to manage multiple DNA kits under their account.

FamilySearch Discontinues Microfilm Distribution

Microfilm is getting more expensive to create copies from FamilySearch' vast collection out of the Family History Library and Granite Mountain vaults. Users can rent the microfilm for $7.50 but the cost to FamilySearch is more prohibitive. Amy Johnson Crow blogged about this recently. My tips to get through the next 3 years while digitization efforts complete:

1. Request microfilm before the August 31st deadline for anything pressing
2. Talk to your local Family History Center on microfilm rented out to see if they will send back after the deadline or hold onto it indefinitely.
3. Contact other societies that have microfilm loan services. Some organizations may be able to email you o…

Francis Dougherty and Catherine Clerkin: My Early Canadian Ancestors

Yesterday was Canada Day, the 150 birthday for our northern neighbor. In honor of the occasion, I'd like to celebrate some of my earliest paternal ancestors who came to Canada and eventually to the U.S.

My 3rd great grandfather Francis Dougherty and 3rd great grandmother Catherine Clerkein/Clarkin/Clarke) (depending on which document you're reviewing) were born in County Monaghan, Ireland. They married on Valentine's Day (February 14th) 1828 in Tydavnet, County Monaghan. They had 4 sons while they lived in Ireland (Michael, Peter, Owen and Bernard). They immigrated to Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1839 and settled in Lot 58 as farmers. They then had 5 daughters (Margaret, Mary, Bridget, Catherine, and another Bridget). In 1888 Francis emigrated to Dickinson County, Kansas to join his son Peter  and his wife Margaret (Cairns) to homestead (you can read about my family homesteading here). Their daughter Margaret also left for Dickinson County, KS ahead of her parents after…

Preserving Our Past

“Let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.”

This quote is from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Ebenezer Hazard in 1791, where Thomas Jefferson returned two manuscript volumes about the history of the colonies. Thomas Jefferson was concerned about the original copies held in public offices and how war has impacted these papers in addition to time and accident. This holds true today across the globe where historical papers are destroyed via fire, flooding, and even war.

Across the United states (particularly in the south) we hear about courthouses burning down and records lost. The most famous example is the 1890 census. Most people think the fire that broke out in the Commerce building in Washington, DC destroyed the documents. Yes, there was a fire that broke out but it was the water damage that the fire…

Why The Shamrock?

I've been trying to attend more genealogy conferences as of late. I recently attended the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) in SpringField, MA and RootsTech in Salt Lake City, UT.  I started giving out business cards with my blog information to help get my name out there as well as include details on my family on the back for "cousin bait".






The comment I hear the most when I give out my cards is "Oh shamrock. You do Irish genealogy". It is true that I embrace my Irish roots, which is my father's line.  I've had the most genealogy success going back to Ireland so the shamrock seemed like a good symbol to use.

The shamrock is typically associated with St Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. It didn't become popular until the 19th century where the shamrock and Celtic harp were used as national symbols. During the Victorian Age it was viewed as an act of rebellion to participate in the "wearin o' the green".

I've ne…

Road Trip to Springfield, MA: My Recap of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium

This past week I attended the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (http://www.nergc.org/) in Springfield, MA. It was my first solo road trip to Massachusetts and was overall a great conference.

Here are some highlights from each day:

Wednesday (Pre-Conference Day)
Springfield Genealogical Bus Tour - we visited the Forbes Library to see the presidential Calvin Coolidge collection, lunch at the new Irish Cultural Center, a visit to the Springfield Armory and then a quick drive by the Springfield cemetery. Very fun tour - only wish we had more time to see more.

NextGen Meetup - we had a happy hour meet and greet with a few members and discussed genealogy.

MOSH Reception - meet and greet reception at the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History and Archives. There was also a tour of the local archives and library held at the museum.

Thursday 

Opening session with Mary Tedesco. She discussed how genealogy research has evolved over time from the earliest genealogical soci…

Tracing My Prince Edward Island Ancestors Through Newspapers:

Several generations of my father's family immigrated from Ireland to  Prince Edward Island, Canada before ultimately coming to the United States. One of my favorite web sites to research my ancestors is http://islandnewspapers.ca. It's a web site managed by the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island. Newspapers are digitized back to the early 1800's through the early 1990's. My favorite newspaper to find obituaries and other articles is The Guardian. It contains a wealth of information, including information about current events going on at that time throughout the world.

Sadly the newspaper articles aren't indexed like other newspaper sites (think: Newspapers.com and GenealogyBank). I would love to help out on an indexing project for this site to help make a database available. Optical character recognition software was used to digitize the newspapers that is used through the search function. This site can be compared to Old Fulton Post Cards.…

Ancestry Genetic Communities

Today Ancestry launched the genetic communities feature for current Ancestry DNA testers.




Ancestry defines genetic communities as "groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived". My current genetic communities show below, which I previously confirmed through research to be accurate.



When you click on each genetic community, a map comes up like below showing the countries and regions where you match with other AncestryDNA users for that community. When you're on the Story tab, you can see a history overview and a more detailed timeline for the area on the left hand side. I have a genetic community in Northern Ireland, where my father's line descends from.


When you click over to the Connection tab, you can drill into your DNA matches that share that same community. I can view my matches as well as see the surname…

Irish Soda Bread: A Family Recipe Passed Down Generations

St Patrick's Day is coming up quickly this week. It's the time of year where I use the family recipe for Irish soda bread. It was passed down from my grandmother, Rose Alice Corcoran, who was passed down the recipe from her mother, Bridget Connelly. Who knows how far back this recipe has been passed down? I was taught the recipe from my aunt Rose as my grandmother passed away when I was a little girl. 

I'm reminded of Steve Rockwood's speech about family recipes at RootsTech. He shared his grandmother's rocky road fudge recipe that has become a holiday tradition. Recipes can be captured online as memories through FamilySearch at https://familysearch.org/recipes.

Here is the Family Recipe: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Sift together the following ingredients: 5 cups of flour 1 cup of sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder tip of teaspoon baking soda Mix in 1 bar of butter with fingers (try to soften the butter prior - makes it easy to mix) Add cup of ra…

RootsTech: The WrestleMania of Genealogy Conventions

I recently attended my first RootsTech in Salt Lake City, UT. It was one of the most amazing experiences I ever did. It was my first solo trip to travel across the country that wasn't for work reasons. I'm very thankful and appreciative to my family and friends for pitching in for me to go this year. I had the privilege to come in a day early to research at the Family History Library and then attend the entire conference, including some of the innovator summit sessions.

 RootsTech was held in the Salt Palace Convention Center. This place was pretty huge - you had multiple ballrooms on the main level, and then classrooms going on and on for another two floors. Depending on when your next session was, you needed to hustle a little bit to make sure you found the correct room and were able to get a good seat. The featured lunches were all the way across the convention center on the 3rd floor. You definitely worked up an appetite by the time you got there. The Expo Hall housed hund…
I am honored for the shoutout on this week's Extreme Genes episode. I highly recommend this genealogy podcast to all of my genealogy friends.

My First Trip to the Family History Library (A Genealogist's Disneyland)

Last week was my first trip to RootsTech, the annual genealogy conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. I came in a day early to get some research done at the Family History Library before I started attending classes.

Steve Rockwood, CEO for FamilySearch, was right when he calls the Family History Library "Disneyland". There were so many floors to pick from - U.S. & Canada Books. U.S. & Canada Microfilm, British Isle, and International records. I spent time on each floor as I started going through my family tree. When I first signed onto my computer, I did have the conundrum of which ancestor to start with. I decided to start on the British Isles floor to research my Irish ancestors.

My first few minutes on the British Isles floor wasn't uneventful. I needed to purchase a flash drive as I forgot mine at home. Luckily the library has one on each floor. I purchased the flash drive with no issue after inserting a $20 and receiving …

Finding Ancestors in Cemeteries

I know it's been forever since my last post. Life got in the way and then the holidays. I am going to try to be more punctual with my posts. My apologies for the wait. 
Today I am going to talk about headstones and cemetery records. I have made a lot of progress in my family tree using sites like Find A Grave and Billion Graves to fill in some gaps. 
Over the last few months, I recently upgraded to Billion Graves Plus and renew on a monthly basis. I have not regretted this decision. I was able to use the nearby family plots feature (where people with the same surname are buried) to find other possible ancestors in the same cemetery. I had the greatest amount of luck in Prince Edward Island, Canada where my father's ancestors are buried. I easily found an additional 20 plots that I didn't have in my tree. 
Through the help of some of my cousins, volunteers on Billion Graves (as well as Find a Grave), and obituary records I was able to pinpoint most of my ancestors' fina…