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Random Encounters

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Random Encounters

Ah, I can’t help but feel good about this story 🙂


A neat new site for Connecticut

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Howdy folks!

In case you were wondering what happened to my postings this month, well I can only say that I’ve been catching up after serving as a page at the Daughters of the American Revolution state conference.

I did discover a delightful new site, thanks to Jan Franco on Find A Grave – so if you have any family in Connecticut, check out The Connecticut Gravestone Network‘s website.  They’re far more concerned with conservation than genealogy, but they have some super links on their website, and – like Jan, above – encourage others to help in the work.

To boot, the Executive Directer, Ruth called me last week.  She’s super nice, and very knowledgeable – check out her site, and let her know what you think!

Are you ready for the 1940 census?

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The 1940 US Federal Census is going to be released in 24 days, much to the great excitement of just about any genealogist with roots in America.  I receive emails daily with titles like these:

  • Are you READY for the 1940 Census???
  • Only __ days until the 1940 Census is released – will you be prepared?
  • (my favorite) Are all your Districts in a row for the 1940 Census?

The truth of the matter is that the census is not going to be indexed for an indeterminate amount of time.  Until that index is available, there will be no handy texts to reference, no searches to be done on Ancestry or FamilySearch.  Optical Character Recognition is spotty enough about recognizing type, so it really won’t be that useful on handwritten records.

But you shouldn’t despair!  Here are seven handy ways to narrow down your search.

  1. Make yourself a clear list of  the family or set of families that you want to track
  2. Start drilling down to as small of a location of where they might be living as possible – State and County are often pretty easy, towns or cities are even better.  Neighborhoods are the best!
  3. Look at the 1930 census to find out where they were living then; the family might not have moved.
  4. Look at Enumeration District maps, or the other WONDERFUL finding aides listed on the National Archives site
  5. Look at City Directories for the time (if you live in an area that’s sufficiently large enough to have had one). Washington DC and St. Louis are available at the link above, but others are available at Ancestry (fee based, but often free at your local library) and other sites that have scanned them in.
  6. Forgive me for adding another link to the National Archives, but they do have a copy of the census form (so that you know the information that you’ll be getting) and other handy resources here.
  7. Look for free classes.  Legacy Family Tree just had one yesterday, and you can often watch their archived webinars free for 10 – 15 days.  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has offered several classes on the subject.  Check with your local genealogy or lineage groups and see if they are presenting any classes or are aware of any coming up.

Good luck and Good Hunting!!!

Maureen Taylor

Posted on  This is an excellent article by one of my favorite genealogists.  Every time that I read one of her articles or hear her lecture or read her books, I leave with a head full of fun new things to explore!

Genealogy makes your computer run slower

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You think it doesn’t?  It can build up after a while! The files are sneaking up on me!

I currently have one client, and I’ve been working on 5 trees (1 for me, 2 for friends, and 2 for the Daughters of the American Revolution).  The DAR and Daughters of the Confederacy registrars have also been using me as a sort of go-to-gal for documents that they’re having trouble finding, or for transcriptions (10 years of reading physician handwriting have paid off).

In the last month, I have downloaded 846 photo files and scanned documents, 76 pdf’s, 22 Word documents (four of them were books of 100+ pages).  When you save a photo or media file to Family Tree Maker, you end up with at least 6 copies of it (the one I saved to my hard drive, the one on the current tree, and the 4 backups I made throughout the month).  I know better on the backups – ultimately, they get stored in an encrypted folder on the cloud drive, with only the most recent on my laptop – but I got really lazy on the original ones that I saved to add to FTM, and hadn’t cleaned out my temp folder this month.

All told, when I cleaned out my genealogy storage this afternoon, and emptied my Recycle Bin, it was 12.6 gig of data.  And I’m not even a full time genealogist.

My computer is not even a year old, so I don’t have any appreciable increase in speed from my monthly cleaning, but anyone with an older computer should take note and clean out your files every once in a while.  I think I will move my schedule up to every two weeks, while I’m in the busy season.

Things I didn’t know: An awesome Erie County, PA source

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I found out this handy thing today, and just had to share…

Do you have family from Erie County, Pennsylvania?  I do.  So here’s a handy source if you do:

The Erie County Public Library has an index of all the folks that have had an obituary in an Erie County newspapers, from 1822 to the present.  Yes, that’s 189 years of names, usually broken up into decade increments.

After you snag the name and date, there’s a handy form that you can email, fax, or mail into the library and the staff there will pull the obituary, copy it, and mail it to you.  The fees are very inexpensive, and you can request up to 10 names at a time.

My first pass through pulled up nine names, so I’ll let you know how much they charged and how fast they are.  I did get an email confirmation of my request within a few hours, so I’m hopeful that its going to be super fast.

If you’re doubting the usefulness of an obituary, let me assure you that one I pulled out of the Times Picayune for one of my NOLA relatives the other day had 36 different individuals named in it, each with their relationship to the deceased clearly stated.   The problem with obituaries is that you usually go to the city, they usually aren’t indexed, and you can sometimes end up paying large fees to pull them…If the local library even has the record!

Enjoy the link!!!Wicked cool library!!!

A little movement…

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If you look up the top of this lovely theme, you’ll see that I’m finally starting to build out this blog a little bit. I’ve added an ‘About’ page and one for my family (the Mullenwegs). Keep your eye on this spot for more updates…I don’t know when. I’m working on several projects at once, so that’s slowing me up, but I plan to have a scan-a-palooza this weekend, and maybe I’ll start to get some of those pictures and artifacts up here.
Do you have any suggestions, comments, or questions? Then email me for goodness sake! 🙂

Yours, CM