Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Artwork by
Jane Williams Cutler Taylor

I have arranged this "village" using a tree I bought at an estate sale. The wooden houses were painted by my mother. Some houses are covered with snow, a common occurrence in Central New York, where she lived. Others have flowers, which she dearly loved. Her work is fun and folksy and always makes me smile.

Monday, May 27, 2013


ince it is Memorial Day, I thought it appropriate to share with you my thoughts on a presentation by Craig Roberts Scott at the National Genealogical Society conference last month. Mr. Scott is an entertaining speaker, so you should keep that in mind when you are faced with numerous choices at a genealogical conference.

I must confess. I don’t know much about the military, despite coming from a long line of veterans. That is why I chose Craig Scott’s lecture entitled “Basic Military Research.”  In his talk, Mr. Scott emphasized that you first need to ask yourself questions when doing military research, such as whether your ancestor was a volunteer or a regular, an officer or an enlisted person. (An officer had to be able to read and write.) There were more questions but I don’t want to give away all Mr. Craig’s secrets.

The next step would be to see if your ancestor received a pension.  He emphasized that you should also look at the pension files of your ancestor’s friends; their record could very likely contain information about your ancestor.  Our ancestors generally joined the war effort with neighbors. I know this was true for my 2nd great grandfather, Aaron M. CUTLER, who died in the Civil War. See my previous blog post “Finding Family with Worldcat and the Library of Congress” (  Aaron’s wife, Esther SPAULDING, collected a pension, and the record is available on Fold3. In this lengthy file there are many letters from neighbors and friends, some of whom were my ancestors. Here’s a screenshot of the end of a letter written by Joel CUTLER, my 2nd great grand uncle, and his wife, Wealthy A. SPAULDING, my 2nd great grand aunt.

Pension files, if you can find them, contain valuable information.

If you have “deserter” ancestors, you may be in luck, at least from a genealogical standpoint, because deserters, according to Mr. Scott, caused more paperwork and photographs/descriptions were necessary in order to try and locate them.  Also, deserters sometimes got pardoned so they would be able to vote. I also learned that sometimes people donated cows to the war cause, as a form of service. Also, you might find records about young drummer boys.

Mr. Scott discussed the role of militia in the military. My ancestor Sampson SPAULDING was a militiaman in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. For more on Sampson, see my blog post entitled “Google Alerts: Sampson Spaulding” (

The third step recommended by Craig Scott is to find the microfilmed index to Compiled Military Service Records. He said that it is important to track your ancestor through the whole war because he may have transferred to another unit.

A final step is to see if your ancestor applied for bounty land. You might find information at the Bureau of Land Management (

This is just a bare bones sketch of what Craig Scott covered in his lecture. Military research is complicated, and a thorough search would involve visiting NARA.  You can purchase Craig Scott’s lecture on CD from JAMB Incorporated ( I find CDs really convenient because I can listen to them to and from work—it’s a way to learn while performing life’s mundane activities.

Craig Scott’s presentation was an excellent introduction to military research, but I know I have just glimpsed the tip of the iceberg.  I plan to take classes on military research at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies ( and perhaps one of the classes given by Family Tree University (  One cannot do comprehensive family history research without understanding military records.

Some of the links I have found helpful for learning about military research are:
Here's a shot of my father in England during World War II:

Thank you, servicemen, past and present, for fighting for our freedom!


Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Civil War Illustrations, 2003.

Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, American Historical Illustrations and Emblems, 2001.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time cuts and Ornaments, 2006.


(1) Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War Veterans ca. 1861 – ca. 1910, Esther L. Spaulding, widow’s pension application no. WC40526, for service of Aaron M. Cutler (New York Light Artillery, Regiment 1, Company A), Record Group 15, Fold 3 publication year 2008; National Archives Catalog ID 300020 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service); digital image, Fold3 ( accessed May 27, 2013). 

Sunday, May 26, 2013


ecently I received my Genealogy Search Tip of the Day—Almost Every Day ( from Michael John Neill. The tip was to search Google’s patent search ( if you have ancestor who received a patent for an invention. (1)
My husband’s great grandfather, Arthur Leonard HALEY, was an inventor of many items including the Wall Seat Wall Bed. Here is a screen shot of what it looked like.


In addition, there is some biographical information on Arthur Haley:


This screen shot shows what appears to be Arthur Haley’s signature. Notice how neatly he printed.


There were more inventions too, such as the Combined Standing Rocker and Morris Chair:


Thank you, Michael, for the great tip!


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.


(1) Neil, Michael John, “US Patent Office Patents at Google,” Search Tip of the Day—Almost Every Day, May 24, 2013 (

(2) Arthur L. Haley, Wall Seat Wall Bed, Patent No. 956,340 (April 26, 1910), Google Patents ( accessed May 26, 2013), original source United States Patent and Trademark Office.

(3) Ibid., Arthur L. Haley, Patent No. 956,340.

(4) Ibid., Arthur L. Haley, Patent No. 956,340.

(5) Arthur L. Haley, Combined Standing Rocker and Morris Chair, Patent No. 927,234 (July 6, 1909), Google Patents ( accessed May 26, 2013), original source United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Friday, May 17, 2013


ne of my favorite moments from the recent NGS conference was when I met Lisa Louise Cooke ( I have been listening to her genealogy podcasts for over a year, and I have purchased all of her books. I love her upbeat attitude and technology know-how.  Lisa has a personality that makes you like her instantly.  She was as warm as she could be. I felt like a groupie meeting a rock star! She even complimented me on my jewelry.

My husband and I attended her presentation entitled “Google Search Strategies for Common Surnames: Quality Results in Less Time!”  Time is so precious, and Lisa has some great tips for preserving it using Google! While waiting for her presentation to start, I shared my admiration for Lisa with one of the ladies sitting next to me. She was in complete agreement.  It is her personality! She’s vivacious, energetic, friendly, down to earth and informative. The packed session went by quickly. Lisa is a natural when it comes to public speaking. 

If you haven’t listened to Lisa’s free podcasts (, you are missing some helpful information. You can wear your headphones while walking or doing chores.  She’ll keep you up to date on all things genealogical.  You can also read each show’s notes for free.

If you really get hooked, you can subscribe for a small fee to her premium podcasts, which contain additional information. See  I am, of course, a premium member. Lisa has also written several books. Be sure to check them out at

Also, be sure to read her blog: In addition, she is on Youtube. See

Genealogy should not be intimidating. It is okay to have fun while you learn this great hobby, avocation or career.  Lisa’s presence was a blessing for first time attendees to the conference.

Thanks, Lisa, for being part of the genealogical community!


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1100 Pictorial Symbols, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


enealogy research requires an enormous amount of time, so I take every opportunity I can to maximize my time. Using Google alerts ( is one way to do this.  I have numerous alerts set up for assorted towns and surnames. Weeks can go by without alerts of interest, but today was different. Today I received an alert about an article entitled “Memorial would mark Tewksbury's 1775 Patriots 2.6-mile Line-of-march Memorial” by Katie Lannan ( This article talks about the Tewksbury Historical Society’s quest to set up posts and historical markers along the route through Tewksbury that its citizen militia marched on April 19, 1775. (1) According to this article, Dave Marcus, Historical Society President, stated, “That was the day the United States was made.” (2) The article also shows a picture of the Rev. Sampson SPAULDING Homestead; Sampson was my 6th great grandfather. Sampson had a son, Sampson SPAULDING, who was my fifth great grandfather. The younger Sampson was one of the Tewksbury minutemen. See Please note that "Sampson" is spelled "Samson" at times.

I am definitely going to contribute to this project!

If you are interested in more information on the Spaulding family, see my previous posts

If you aren’t using Google Alerts, you are missing a great tool. Let Google do the work while you attend to the other thousand items on your genealogy to-do list.  If you need help setting up a Google Alert, see


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, “1200 Ornamental Letters," 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "American Historical Illustrations and Emblems," 2001.


(1) Lannan , Katie. "Memorial would mark Tewksbury’s 1775 Patriots 2.6-mile Line-of-march Memorial.", May 13, 2013. (accessed May 16, 2013).

(2) Ibid.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


just returned from the NGS conference in Las Vegas and, oh, what a week! I met new friends, heard speeches by renowned genealogists, bought numerous books and CDs and enjoyed the Las Vegas sunshine and glitz. In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing with you some of the knowledge I have gained. 

Tonight I am simply going to list some of the genealogical publications I purchased at the NGS booth:

First, I was able to obtain a copy of the fresh-off-the press Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones (  I understand that this book will become a bible for genealogists everywhere.

Some of the other items I snagged were:
  • Creating a Winning Family History by Carmen J. Finley
  • Genealogy and Genetics, A Theme Issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 93, no. 4, December 2005.
  • Understanding and Using Baptismal Records by John T. Humphrey

In addition, I bought four books from the NGS Research in the States Series (
  • Maryland by Patricia O’Brien Shawker
  • Michigan by Shirley M. DeBoer
  • New York City, Long Island and Westchester County by Laura Murphy DeGrazia
  • Tennessee by Gale Williams Bamman, revised and updated by Charles A. Sherrill

Now, I need a vacation to read all these books. 


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, 1200 Ornamental Letters, Electronic Clip Art, 2007.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013


ast night I attended the annual Lock-in event sponsored by the Waterford Genealogical Society and Waterford Township Public Library in Waterford, Michigan.  For details see my prior post at

Attendees were allowed to choose three classes on a variety of topics.  One of the classes I attended was called “Michigan Roots: Genealogy Research in the Great Lakes State” by Kris Rzepczynski, Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan in Lansing. I have heard Kris speak before so I was eager to hear him again. His presentations are fact-filled, humorous and fast paced. He knows how to keep the ball moving.

Kris said that the genealogical records in Michigan are “bountiful” compared to many states. For example, Michigan, unlike many states, conducted its own census. For more information on census information in Michigan see


Kris’ presentation started with a discussion of how many of the Michigan town and city names reflect where their inhabitants came from.  I am from New York and know that New York has a Troy, Utica, Ithaca and Rochester. Well, so does Michigan. Michigan has a Genesee County and so does New York (see,_Michigan).  It makes me free right at home.   Of course, Michigan was populated by other states too (Pennsylvania and the New England states, for example).


Then Kris discussed the importance of the opening of the Erie Canal in New York in 1825 ( This allowed people to more easily move west into Michigan and other states. I grew up in a town located on the Erie Canal, and my ancestors lived in Utica, also on the Erie Canal (see


Kris went on to talk about the various industries in Michigan—the lumber industry in Northern Michigan, the mining in the Upper Peninsula and the furniture industry in Grand Rapids.  And, of course, everyone knows about Detroit and the car industry.  He said that if your ancestor was from one of those cities, it is very likely that they were involved in the local industry.


Kris brought to our attention the importance of the Michigan Pioneer programs. These programs encouraged people to apply for a certificate of lineage by virtue of their having descended from an early settler of Michigan. The applications and supporting documents are a goldmine of information for people seeking genealogical information.  Kris noted that there were three state level programs: The Michigan Sesquicentennial Pioneer Files (you must show lineage from 1837), the Centennial Family Certificates (you must show lineage from 1876), and the Michigan Pioneer records (vaguer date guidelines on this one). He emphasized that you should check the records from all three programs.  For information on reviewing these files, see

See a discussion of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections at the Michigan State University website ( Links to the digitalization of the multi-volume set can be found at  and

Many counties in Michigan also have pioneer programs.  These are a few I found through a Google search:

I also found a few of the county pioneer records online:


Kris went on to talk about vital records in Michigan. We are lucky here because mandatory statewide record keeping started in 1867, earlier than in many states. For more information see


Kris said that Michigan City Directories can be of great assistance in helping you learn about your ancestors.  For more on this topic see,2351,7-160-18635_51181-117864--,00.html.


There were book recommendations. Here are a few Kris mentioned:
  • DeBoer, Shirley. NGS Research in the States Series: Michigan. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2008.
  • Dunbar, Willis F. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
  • McGinnis, Carol. Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005. (I have this book and concur that it is a wonderful source.)


For a list of the 50 best genealogical resources in Michigan see,2351,7-160-18635_51181-50180--,00.html.


You’re probably hoping by now that you have Michigan ancestors.  Don’t despair if you think all your ancestors were from other parts of the country. As you drill down deeper into your history, you will very likely find someone who migrated to Michigan. I now have at least 50 known Michigan ancestors, and I was not born here.


I would like to extend a big thank you to the following:
  • Waterford Genealogical Society
  • Waterford Township Public Library
  • Kris Rzepczynski
  • Archives of Michigan

There were many more speakers and organizers, but they are too numerous to mention. The Lock-in was a fabulous event, and I look forward to attending it again next year.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Old-Fashioned Nautical Illustrations, 2002.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1565 Spot Illustrations and Motifs, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Decorative Silhouettes, 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.