Saturday, March 29, 2014


Because I live in Michigan, I have the good fortune to be able to visit the Henry Ford complex in Dearborn ( whenever the urge strikes. However, anyone can view its online collections at And, no, it is not all about cars. There is much, much more.

You can browse the “expert sets,” such as:

You can also enter a keyword and search the collection. Want to envision the kitchen of your ancestors? Search for “kitchen” and see photographs of aqua-colored stoves from the 1950s, pie safes and more.

Here are some of the fascinating items I found:

There are also many historical resources available on the Benson Ford Research Center page:

If you go to the Research Library page, you can search the collection. Under the Artifact Collection, I found Digital Dress: Henry Ford Historical Costume Collection. I searched within this collection for “1810” and found photographs and information about typical clothing worn by people in that time period.  There are other costume collections at partner institutions that can also be searched.

So, you have found some ancestors who lived in the 1800s. Create a vision of the world of the children by viewing toys they played with. See:

Do you want to know what kind of vehicle an ancestor may have driven? Check out

There are hundreds of historic photographs and images on the Henry Ford website. On the Detroit Publishing Company page, I found links to photographs of Cityscapes, Everyday Life, Foreign Views, Getting Around, Michigan Views, Nature and Workplaces. I especially liked the Workplaces section because it showed various occupations across the country such as logging in Michigan, railroad workers in New York, fishermen in Louisiana, fruit growers and packers in California and cotton gin workers in Mississippi.

There is also a very informative page entitled “Caring for your Artifacts” ( Here you will find Preservation Fact Sheets to help you protect your historical items.

Learning about our ancestors is more than collecting names and dates. Discover the world they lived in—their clothing, occupations, toys, furniture, jewelry, vehicles and more. The Henry Ford Online Collection can help you paint a picture that will flesh out your ancestors and make them truly feel like family.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Victorian Goods and Merchandise," 2006.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "East Meet West Art Deco Motifs, 2010.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes," 2002.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014


n important genealogical habit to acquire is that of making daily research logs. For anyone who is not familiar with research logs, here are some links that will help you understand their purpose and design:

I confess that at first I balked at doing research logs. It seemed to me that stopping to note every search performed would slow me down and spoil the fun of the hunt.  However, if you don’t keep track of your research, you are very likely going to repeat searches you have done before and thus waste your precious time.

I have solved my dilemma by using Snagit®, a screen capture program (  This is one of my favorite tools and is worth the $49.95 price for a full version license. It is a one-time purchase with no annual fees.  The software works on both PC and Mac. (I am not getting credit for promoting this product—I just love it and want to share it with you.)  Snagit® has many uses, but today I am just addressing its use for research logs. You can read and see demonstrations of its many features at

Today I did research on my Marsh and Park lines. As I found useful items about either surname, I would capture the relevant portion of the text, click SHARE and under the drop-down menu under WORD, I would click NEW DOCUMENT. This automatically sent my research to a new Word document. You will see a little box pop up on the bottom right of your screen that says “Capture successfully sent to [the name of the Word document].”  I then went to Word and named the document (for example, Park research 22 Mar 2014). This document was ready to receive more research.  As you continue your research, you can create new documents for other family surnames or topics.

When I am capturing research, I am careful to also capture the information necessary for a citation (URLs, titles, authors, copyright information, etc.). At the end of my research session, I save my Word documents. I can then add comments to my research, transcribe information, craft proper citations and discuss any conclusions drawn.  I may or may not elect to print the documents for filing in their appropriate binders.  Using Snagit®, I can zoom along in my research, archiving information as I go. The flow of the “hunt” is not inhibited. 

We all know how time consuming a reasonably exhaustive genealogical search can be. Snagit® can help us document where we have been so we can plan our future moves. You can get a free 15-day trial at

If you don’t have the funds to expend on Snagit®, you can do your research logs the old-fashioned way. Here are some links for research log forms:
Whether you use Snagit® or some other method, it is important to maintain research logs.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Victorian Decorative Letters," 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s," 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes," 2002.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I recently learned that my husband’s 2nd great grandfather, Isaac Spencer Carter, was a sheriff in Randolph County, Illinois. It is such a pleasure to find ancestors who did something other than farm for a living.  With gusto, I began to research records on sheriffs. One of my findings was the Sheriffs of the Past listings on

This free online source is filled with links to sheriff records across the U.S. Although there were several links for Illinois, Randolph County was not listed.  Nonetheless, I wanted to share this site with you in case you too are searching for a sheriff.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, 2003.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I sometimes think that I pay for too many subscriptions to genealogy databases, but a discovery on has made me rethink a tightening of my budget.

The other day I was working on a brick wall for my husband’s family.  I had been searching in vain for the true parents of his second great grandmother, Adema Jane Jeffrey Carter.  On, I found her, age 14, listed in the 1860 US Federal Census living with William McClelland Jeffrey and his wife Elizabeth in Randolph County, Illinois. However, it appeared that Adema was too old compared to the other children. (1) I suspected that William had had a prior marriage, and Adema was born during that marriage. Many of the children who were listed on the 1860 census eventually relocated to Azusa, California, which is where Adema died.

After failing to find the 1850 census record for Adema on, I logged onto my MyHeritage account.  I don’t use MyHeritage too often because I am not used to its setup. I searched for Adema in the 1850 U.S. Census and there she was listed as Adema J. Geoffrey, age 4, in Randolph County, Illinois, living alone with William M. Geoffrey. (2)  Bingo! For some reason, MyHeritage retrieved the record with her misspelled last name right away.

I then checked the public trees on MyHeritage and found a tree with William McClelland Jeffery married to Jane Jeffery (born Gray) in Randolph County, Illinois on 3 May 1845. (3)  Adema’s middle name was also Jane. Adema’s birth date was about 1846 (4) or 1847. (5) Jane may have died young, because William married Elizabeth Barnfield on 5 Feb 1852 in Randolph County, Illinois. (6) A divorce is also possible.

I then went back to and located the marriage of William M. Jeffrey to Jane Grey on 3 May 1845 in Randolph County, Illinois. (7)

The MyHeritage tree does not indicate that Jane and William had children, but that does not mean Adema was not born to this couple.

I know that you can’t rely on online family trees too heavily in your research, but they sure can give you wonderful clues.

This exercise proved to me that, even though the cost of subscription databases can add up, it is not a bad idea to subscribe to more than one if possible. Their search engines work differently, and you have a wider field of trees and other sources to review.

I now need to:
  • Locate a birth record for Adema Jeffrey.
  • Locate a death record for Jane Grey/Gray.
  • See if there is a divorce record for Jane's marriage to William.
  • Investigate whether there were other children born to the marriage of Jane and William.

Action plan:
  • Contact the MyHeritage tree owner to compare notes.
  • Check early newspaper articles in Randolph County, Illinois for clues.
  • Investigate the microfilm holdings for Randolph County, Illinois in the FamilySearch Catalog. Church and probate records, in particular, might be helpful. 


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Old-Fashioned Silhouettes," 2001.

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


(1) 1860 U.S. census, Randolph County, Illinois, population schedule, Township 8 S Range 5 W; Roll: M653_221; Page: 1012; Image: 570; dwelling 3126, family 3136, Adena J. Jeffry; digital image, ( : accessed 14 Mar 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls; imaged from FHL microfilm 803221.

(2) 1850 U.S. census, Randolph County, Illinois, population schedule, Town of South Range 5 West, Family 929, Image 378; dwelling 924, family 929, Adema J. Geoffrey; digital image, ( accessed 14 Mar 2014).

(3) Gray Web Site, REGray, owner, Family Trees, MyHeritage Ltd., copyright 2006-2014 ( accessed 14 Mar 2014).

(4) Op cit., 1860 census.

(5) Entry for Adema J. Carter, California, Death Index, 1905-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: California Department of Health and Welfare. California Vital Records-Vitalsearch ( The Vitalsearch Company Worldwide, Inc., Pleasanton, California.

(6) "Illinois Marriages, 1815-1935," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Mar 2014), Wm. M. Jeffrey and Elizabeth W. Barnfield, 05 Feb 1852; citing Randolph, Illinois; FHL microfilm 975009.

(7) Entry for William M. Jeffrey; Source: Dodd, Jordan. “Illinois Marriages to 1850,” accessed 15 Mar 2014; Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Illinois.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


f you have Welsh ancestors, then you should definitely explore the Wales-Ohio Project ( This site digitizes Welsh Americana for Ohio held at the National Library of Wales. (1) However, it is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in Welsh-Americans. There are thousands of images of manuscripts, letters, maps and photographs. Some of the material, such as Hanes Cymry America (A History of the Welsh in America), covers states in addition to Ohio. For example, there is a chapter on the Welsh in New York State.

Winifred Owen Williams

My great grand aunt, Winifred Owen Williams was born in Wales on 25 Dec 1858 (2) and came to this country as a young lady. In 1884, she married John T. Williams in Trumbull County, Ohio. (3) She died on 29 Oct 1915 in the village of Mineral Ridge, Trumbull County. (4)

Under the Trumbull County portion of the Wales-Ohio Project, I found a section devoted to Mineral Ridge. There was a link to Hanes Cymry America, where I learned that Mineral Ridge was a small agricultural village with a few houses and stores. Coal and iron mines were also located there along with blast furnaces. (5) Some of the workers were contractors and others were bosses. (6) A John Williams was listed as a boss. (7) This could be Winifred’s husband but, because of the common Welsh names, I don’t know for sure.  However, in John Williams’ 1925 obituary, it states that John’s father was a coal miner and his son learned the same occupation. (8)

Hanes Cymry America also discusses the churches and ministers in the area. The obituary stated that John was a member of the Congregational Church of Mineral Ridge. (9) Hanes Cymry America gives the names of Congregational minsters in Mineral Ridge: the Rev. D. Thomas, the Rev. Thomas Evans and the Rev. T. Edwards. (10) I love learning this type of detail because it gives me a possible lead to church records.

There are other books to explore under Trumbull County in the Wales-Ohio Project website, such as The Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties (1898-1922). Here I found a copy of the handwritten register of the original people in that area containing their names, residence, age, emigration year, original home in Wales and occupation. You can also click a link and get a transcription of each page. What a wonderful resource for genealogists! I enjoyed browsing the occupations of the residents. There were miners, clerks, farmers, machinists, bankers, sod busters (11) and chicken dressers. (12)  According to Merriam-Webster, a “sodbuster” is, not surprisingly, “one (as a farmer or plow) that breaks the sod.” (13) When I looked for a definition of “chicken dresser,” I found a definition for “poultry dresser” on They perform duties such as slaughtering foul and dressing them for marketing. (14) It appears to be a grisly occupation.

Some of the other goodies available on The Wales-Ohio Project are:

In addition, the website contains digitized images of "The Cambrian: A Magazine for Welsh-Americans: 1880-1919". This was a favorite magazine of Welsh Americans during that time period. Among the many treasures in this magazine, you will find:

There is so much more. Check it out. You will be captivated for hours.

* * *


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

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Full-Color Old'Time Vignettes," 2002.

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


1. The Wales-Ohio Project, 2007, National Library of Wales, : accessed 8 March 2014.

2. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death no. 57606, Winnefred Owen Williams, 29 Oct 1915.

3. "Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Mar 2014), John T. Williams and Winifred Owens, 21 Feb 1884.

4. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics.

5. Thomas R.D., Hanes Cymry America: A History of the Welsh in America, (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1983) ( : accessed March 8, 2014), p. 117, image 138.

6. Ibid., p. 118, image 139.

7. Ibid., p. 118, image 139.

8. “Death of John T. Williams: Former Resident of Mineral Ridge, O., Expires in Pittsburgh,” Druid, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 15,, 1925, NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society, 2004, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

9. Ibid.

10. Thomas, R.D., Hanes Cymry America, p. 118, image 139.

11. Entry for Arthur Edwards, Transcription Image 35 of 154, Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Mahoning Valley and their descendants (1898-1922) ( : accessed 8 Mar 2014)

12. Entry for Louis Luckey, Transcription Image 56 of 154, Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Mahoning Valley and their Descendants (1898-1922), p. 106-107 ( : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

13. Definition of “sod buster,” Merriam-Webster, an Encyclopedia Britannica Company, Copyright 2014 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated  ( : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

14. Definition of "Poultry Dresser,", Copyright 1997-2013 ( : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


ast weekend, I attended the Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference. It is a fabulous event that you can participate in from home at your convenience. One of the chat sessions was titled “Translation Tools and Tips” with Lisa Alzo. During this chat I learned about the American Translators Association ( where you can hire experts to translate foreign documents.  I have two newspaper articles written in Welsh that I have been eager to have translated, so I searched on this website and found someone. I then e-mailed her and, not long afterwards, she responded. After some preliminary discussion regarding pricing, I forwarded my “mystery” articles to her for translation. I am hoping the translation will help me put some more branches on the Welsh part of my family tree. 

If you have documents written in a foreign language and you don’t know that language, then by all means contact the American Translators Association.


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

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I love libraries devoted to genealogy, such as The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library and the library at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Unfortunately, many of these specialized libraries are far away. I sometimes forget about my local public library.

The public libraries in my area differ greatly in their genealogy holdings.  If you don’t see what you want in your library, you can usually order the book you desire through the library website or with the help of a friendly librarian. Many libraries are networked with several other libraries. 

West Bloomfield Township Public Library
West Bloomfield, Michigan

The other day I decided to go to the West Bloomfield Township Public Library ( and see what genealogical and historical material I could find.  Here are a few of my discoveries:

1.                   Periodicals

I regularly purchase genealogy magazines, and some of them are pricey, especially the ones from England.  At the West Bloomfield Library I found the following items of interest:

American Spirit

BBC History Magazine

Michigan History

On the library’s website, cardholders can access Gale PowerSearch, a database containing articles from periodicals and other sources. In this database, I found the following magazines I regularly purchase:
  • American History – index coverage:  Jun 1994 to current; full-text coverage:  Feb 1998 - current
  • Family Chronicle – index coverage: May 2000-Jan. 2015
  • Family Tree Magazine – index coverage: Jan 2010 – Dec 2014; full-text coverage: Jan 2010 – Dec 2014
  • The Writer -- index coverage: Jan 1977 – Oct 2012; full-text coverage: Jan 1993-Oct 2012
  • Writer’s Digest -- index coverage:  Jan 1977-current; full-text coverage:  Jan 1994-current
  • Your Genealogy Today -- index coverage:  Mar 2015 - current

You can also search within these publications if full-text access is available. 

2.                   Maps and Atlases

You need to learn about the location of your ancestors. Maps can give you ideas about where to search for records. Boundaries changed, and your ancestor’s records might be in an adjacent town, which is now in another county.  The boundary lines of countries moved also, so be sure to check out the map collection at your local library. It will help you in your research.

These are a few of the publications I found:
  • Historical Atlas of the United States 
  • Michigan Cemetery Atlas          
  • The Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe
  • Patrons' Reference Directory from the 1908 Atlas of Oakland County, Michigan

3.    Biographical Compilations

Perhaps your ancestor was talented—a musician or a sports figure. There are plenty of reference books about famous people.  Some of the books I saw were:         
  • Artists of early Michigan : a Biographical Dictionary of Artists Native to or Active in Michigan, 1701-1900
  • Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
  • Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science
  • The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of all Time
  • Merriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionary
  • Michigan’s Biographical Dictionary
  • Notable Black American Women
  • Notable Asian Americans
  • Notable Native Americans
  • Notable Women in World Government

4.    State and Local History

Understanding history is crucial to learning about your ancestors. Public libraries are filled with books about the towns and counties in your state.   Here are some books that I discovered:
  • All aboard!: a History of Railroads in Michigan
  • The Bicentennial History of Ingham County, Michigan
  • Detroit's Historic Places of Worship
  • History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan; a Chronological Cyclopedia of the Past and Present
  • Lumberjack : Inside an Era in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
  • Michigan Place Names : the History of the Founding and the Naming of More than Five Thousand Past and Present Michigan Communities
  • Mining in the Upper Peninsula from Michigan Pioneer & Historical Collections, vols. 1-40
  • Out of Small Beginnings : a Bicentennial Historical Sketch of Oakland County, Michigan, 1815-1976
  • State of War : Michigan in World War II

I also found bicentennial histories of numerous U.S. states. 

5.    Cemetery Records

We all know how important cemetery records can be. I had no idea that our library kept cemetery records. Here are a few I unearthed:
  • Cemetery and death records, W. Bloomfield Twp., Oakland County, Michigan
  • Cemetery records, Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan
  • Commerce Cemetery, Commerce Township, Oakland County, Michigan  
  • Michigan, Oakland County, Southfield Township Cemeteries
  • Oakland County Cemetery, Oakland County, Michigan

6.    Genealogy Books

Much of the genealogical material I found was in the reference department. However, we all like to check out books and read them in the comfort of our home. These are just a few of the “take home” books I located:
  • In Search of your European Roots : a Complete Guide to Tracing your Ancestors in Every Country in Europe
  • Managing a Genealogical Project
  • Professional Genealogy : a Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians
  • Your Guide to Cemetery Research
  • To our Children's Children : Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come
7.   Genealogical Databases

The West Bloomfield Township Public Library has free access to the following paid or library-only genealogical databases:

In addition, there are links on their website to several free resources you can access at home such as:

I was not familiar with some of these databases, so I am glad I explored the library’s online catalog. 

8.   Newspapers

There is a lovely reading area in our library with a fireplace and cozy chairs. You can browse through a nice assortment of local and national newspapers.  In addition, you can use one of the library’s many computers to explore the InfoTrac Custom Newsstand. This database is a collection of about 900 full text newspapers.  There are also databases for the Detroit Free Press, Observer & Eccentric and the New York Times. Maybe you will be fortunate and find an obituary or wedding notice about a family member.

9.  E-Library--Digital Collections

On the West Bloomfield Township Public Library website you can find numerous historical and genealogical collections in their eLibrary – Digital Collection ( such as:
  • Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society – a collection of old photographs from our area
  • People of West Bloomfield – historic photographs of West Bloomfield residents
  • StoryCorps Digital Collection -- community members share their stories
  • West Bloomfield Memoirs – handwritten and typed memoirs from the 1800s to the 1970s
10.  Ethnic Publications

There were several books on specific ethnic groups such as:
  • African Americans in Michigan
  • Chaldeans in Michigan
  • Hungarians in Michigan
  • Italians in Michigan
  • Jews in Michigan
  • Latinos in Michigan
  • Mexican and Mexican Americans in Michigan
  • Scots in Michigan

11.  Baby Name Books

Census enumerators and other transcribers often butchered our ancestors’ names. It is helpful if you consult books containing lists of popular baby names throughout history. This can give you ideas on the possible name of an ancestor.  There are dozens of books to choose from. These are a few:           

  • The Baby Name Bible : the Ultimate Guide by America's Baby-naming Experts

  • The Best Baby Names in the World from Around the World

  • The New Jewish Baby Book : a Guide to Your Choices

  • Proud Heritage : 11,001 Names for your African-American Baby

12.  Miscellaneous Reference Material

In addition to the many other resources I have mentioned, our library has the following books in their reference section that are useful for family research:

  • The DAR Patriot Index
  • First Land Owners of Oakland County, Michigan
  • Michigan, Oakland County Genealogical Society Surname Directory, v. 1-3
  • Oakland County Directory : 2013-2014
  • Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories and Vital Records

While compiling this article, I actually surprised myself at the many genealogical resources available right in my home town. I’m sure there is much more that I did not mention. Take a stroll over to your local library and see what discoveries you can find.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, 2003.