Posts

How Many?

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Julie Tarr of Julie's Genealogy and History Hub asked an interesting question today, one that sent me to my tree to start counting:  "What's Your Number?" -- as in, how many ancestors of each generation have you identified?

So I did it.  A table is helpful to show me 1)  how much I've accomplished so far, and 2) how much farther I have to go in particular areas of my tree.  Here's what I came up with:


Even though I obviously have a long way to go from the 4th generation on down, I'm delighted to see how far I've come in the years I've been practicing genealogy. The table also leads me to remember how frustrated I felt at some points, in going beyond one great-grandfather on my father's paternal side, one great-grandfather on my mother's paternal side, and in identifying the mother of my mother's great-grandmother on her mother's side.  
When I think about the reasons for each brick wall, I find that in two cases, lack of a birthpl…

A New To-Do List

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I'm back; I'm really back.  The last few months have been a whirlwind -- I've left California, moved to Minnesota, bought a house, gone through the chaos of moving in, shopped for everything imaginable (from curtains to furniture to light fixtures to toolkit and beyond), had bathrooms painted and flooring replaced with hardwood, found a doctor, dentist, vet, dog park, grocery store, take-out restaurant, on and on.  It's been a busy few months with very little time to think about genealogy.


My new backyard, in winter and spring

But now, I have some time to breathe and time to return to the process of unearthing my family history.  Having been away from it for way too long, I have many things to do to catch up!  Here's my list, as I think about it today:

1. Leaves and other hints:  So very many hints on Ancestry and My Heritage!  I've dipped a tiny toe into the pool and discovered that in my absence the sites have added much information in the way of records.  One…

Big changes

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I'm undergoing some major changes in my life.  For the time being, I'm blogging over at One Woman, Reinvented.  Come visit me there!

One Woman, Reinvented

Recent post:  Reinvented Yet Again




And I've discovered a great blog that you German genealogists might enjoy:  "A German Girl in America."  It's filled with wonderful things that those of German background will recognize and enjoy.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

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Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings sets a topic every Saturday night.  Here's tonight's topic:

1)  Tell us about your "other" hobbies or interests outside of genealogy and family history research, writing, speaking, etc.  Be mindful of your family's privacy, though!


Although I am passionate about genealogy, I do have other interests.  I'm a fine art photographer, with a website here.  Here are a couple of examples of my work:






I've also been studying watercolor painting for the past few years.  I love doing it, but watercolor is a devilishly difficult medium!  Here are a couple of my paintings -- 
after a Turner painting



Beyond this, I love to travel.  In the past several years, we've gone to the UK, to Italy, and to Paris.
The Eiffel Tower after the terrorist attack

Bath, England

Florence, from the Uffizi terrace

Sentimental Sunday: Mother's Day, 2016

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We siblings have missed our mom for a very long time -- she passed away far too soon, in 1989, when she was only 62 years old.  Because her side of the family is so long-lived (her mother died at 96, her brother at 94), we expected to have her for many more years, and her passing left a great hole in our hearts that can never be filled.  There's so much we'd like to talk with her about, show her, ask her -- especially whether she's doing fine now, and is she with our dad and everyone . . .

I think this might be my favorite picture of her.  I can't quite figure out where it was taken -- it seems it might have been on an airplane, but there's a companion photo of my dad, and it looks like they weren't sitting together.  Oh well, yet another genealogical mystery never to be solved.


Waltraud Marianna Sophie Berneburg Ortman

This is what I love:  Our mom, all dressed up, hair all done nicely, looking so pretty.  What's most attractive is her look of interest in w…

Looking for a German Surname? Try Geogen.

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This morning I was contributing to a thread in the German Genealogy facebook group; a researcher had asked for help in figuring out the German equivalent of the surname Workman. One of the most useful sites I've found for investigating German surnames is Christoph Stoepel's "Geogen" sites. "Geogen" stands for "genealogical geography," and his site will help you locate possible points of origin for your German ancestors. When you put in a name, a map will show you where your family name is found today; the information is current rather than historical but still very useful, since German families tend to be a lot less mobile over the years than are families in the United States. A caveat, though:  if your ancestor's name is Schmidt or Meyer, you'll have a much harder time getting a lead because those names are so common. The less common the name is, the more luck you're likely to have.  Also, the site is most helpful if your family came…

Searching for Your German Ancestors Online? A Book Review

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As I finish my e-book on German genealogy for beginners, I am of course interested in what others are doing/have done in that area.

The cover of my e-book

Over the past few days, I've been reading a new book by James M. Beidler, Trace Your German Roots Online.  It's terrific.



Whether you're a newbie to German research or an old hand, Beidler's book will have something of interest for you.  His list of online resources is mind-boggling, and though it includes some you may well be familiar with, I'd bet cash money that you'll find more than a few you've never heard of.
A unique feature of the book is its step-by-step instructions for how to access information from various sites, from good old Ancestry.com to the new site Archion to the notoriously difficult Genealogy.net.  These detailed instructions will have you mining German sources in no time.
He also offers ingenious "Power User Tips," such as looking at the German and English versions of Genea…