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Showing posts from May, 2016

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…

To-Do Tuesday: What's on Your List?

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I had intended to write something for Motivational Monday, but the day got the best of me. Since I'm getting back in the saddle again, I think I'll take stock of where I am and make a list.

1.  Number one of all things is to finish my book, "Lost in the Homeland:  German Genealogy for Beginners."  I'm getting close to being done; I need to write a chapter on German sources beyond the ones I use in Case Study #2 (about my great- grandfather, Maximilian Langer) and a conclusion, and after that I can ship it off to my two expert readers.




2.  Once this is done, I need to round up some novice German genealogists to read an advance copy of the book and to give me some feedback (if you're interested, leave me a comment, though there will be an official request soon). 
3.  I have some branches of the tree I need to be working on.  One of great interest is that of Amanda Sells Manson -- I so want to find out what became of her.  Had she died, as her scalawag husband …