Sunday, October 23, 2016

Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes

We are so fortunate to have talented friends and genealogy colleagues! Another new book I wanted to bring to your attention is by Shannon Combs-Bennett, Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes.

This write-up is from the book’s website: If you have ever wanted to research and document your family history the right way, then Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is for you! Authored by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, this genealogy book explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching your family’s origins. While many people assume genealogy research starts online, Combs-Bennett shows the importance of starting a family tree using documents that can be found in your own home!

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that avoids complex jargon. There are lots of examples, case studies, and advice that can help would-be family historians quickly get up to speed.

In addition to listing best practices for conducting genealogical research, Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes also warns readers about the many pitfalls of family research, from “brick wall” mysteries to time-wasting online searches.

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is not a comprehensive guide. Nevertheless, in a single reading you will be able to understand some important research basics that will serve you well as you embark on a journey to figure out the origins of your family. Creating a strong family tree will not only satisfy your own curiosity, but will also serve as a record to share with relatives and future generations!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The new We’re Related App by Ancestry

I became aware of Ancestry’s newest offering by way of Judy Russell’s The Legal Genealogist blog. The “We’re Related App” is Ancestry’s attempt to get the younger generation interested in genealogy. The app is free and is advertised as such: Find fame and friendships in your family. We’re Related is a free app that helps you discover if you are related to famous people and your circle of friends.

I’ve never had a desire to be related to someone famous, but I guess there are people out there that are. Obviously there are enough people for Ancestry to come up with this app. Case in point, when we first embarked on our genealogy research our daughter wanted us to find we had some American Indian heritage. So far she’s been disappointed.

Before downloading this app, please read Judy’s article. Although reluctant to connect her Facebook account with Ancestry, for the sake of her readers, she went through the steps and debunked every connection claim that was made between her family line and a famous person. Consequently, the title of her article is: No, actually, we’re not related. After reading her article, then scroll down to the thirty-five comments. Some folks found a way to get around the FB/Ancestry connection. Others felt the research was sound. Judy’s point, however, is this is not genealogy. We may be connected to a “famous” person, but we need to do the solid, documented research.

Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past

I am excited to tell you about Marian Burk Wood’s new book, Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past. This book contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare your genealogy research materials for the next generation.

We put so much time and effort into researching our ancestors. We back-up our files regularly, we organize by family line through binders, folders, etc. We travel to family home sites, cemeteries, town clerk’s offices, all the while saving our notes and documenting. But who is going to take over when the time comes? And how well preserved are your photos, original documents, etc.?

This book will help answer all those questions. The book is available on Amazon in trade paperback form and well as Kindle.

Learn about Marian’s PASS system from starting to sort your materials to writing a genealogical will. You can follow Marian on her blog: Climbing My Family Tree.  []

Bottom line: Every family historian needs this book close at hand. And remember Marian’s advice:
“Inch by inch it’s a cinch!”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holt and Foust Family Lines – A Genealogy Detour

A couple weeks ago a neighbor sent us an email asking if we could help him locate a repository for a packet of old documents he had inherited from his mother. We said we would be happy to look at what he had and depending on what was there, maybe we could, and if not, we knew people that could do an evaluation.

We arranged a time when we both were free and he brought his packet to us. We asked our neighbor to write down his parents’ names, birth and death dates and where they were from. After he left, we sorted the documents on our dining room table. Once sorted, hubby went to his computer and started a family tree using our Reunion software. I grabbed the laptop and created abstracts of the deeds.

In the black packet with the label “Compliments of The Pocomoke Guano Co., Manufacturers of Fertilizers, Norfolk, VA, Double your crop by using Pocomoke Fertilizers, It means a full pocket book,” were indentures (deeds) for Michael Holt, Jr. dated 1760, indenture for Thomas Mathews dated 1775, indenture of James Rogers to John Holt dated 1796, land transfer from Benjamin and Ann Tyson to their infant grandson, Henry McKenzie dated 1805/1806, with private examination of Ann Tyson to make sure she was okay with the transfer. These deeds were all in the Alamance County/Orange County, North Carolina area.

Besides the Holt documents, we had many items of the Foust family, including the will of Marie Foust, Alamance County, North Carolina dated 18 April 1881. Canceled checks and receipts of Marie’s son, Thomas Foust. A War Ration book with stamps of Gina S. Holmes.

I Googled Alamance Historical Society and got their museum’s website. I sent them a note, and then followed up with a phone call. The museum is located in the country home of Michael Holt, III, built in 1790, so yes, they were very familiar with both the Holt and Foust names. I offered to send a list of the materials that were on our table, plus the abstracts, and I did that on Sunday.

Today we received an email from the Alamance County Historical Museum, and they are indeed interested in the packet of documents. Our neighbor is going to be thrilled when he learns there is a repository that cares about and will preserve these documents.

In the meantime, hubby’s a bit frustrated that he could not find a connection between our neighbor’s mother and the Holts or Fousts. Maybe the museum folks can solve that mystery for us. In the meantime it was fun taking a genealogy detour, having documents from the 1700s in our hands, and coming up with a happy ending for everyone.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Doolittle Family Has Returned Unscathed

It continues to surprise me when family historians say their family trees are only online. This situation was brought to my attention again this week when hubby gave his Researching with Google presentation to our community. When asked what future topics they wished covered, the resounding vote was for what is the best software program to use. Hubby asked what people were using, and besides us who use Reunion for Mac, only two others responded and they were using very outdated, no longer supported, software.

Besides developing a written genealogy (in Word) of my family, I also enter my data into my Reunion software. I run off hard copies of my Word document, and backup my Reunion onto a thumb drive. And it is backed up daily onto our Time Machine. When I have time . . . I enter my family tree into

And that is where a problem arose.  A couple of weeks ago I received an email from FamilySearch that 76 changes were made to my Upstate New York Doolittle family line. The Doolittles are not a direct line, but I had done a fair amount of research on Mary Jane (Tucker) Doolittle and her husband, John. They had six children, and I had entered all these folks, plus spouses, children, sources and in some cases obits into this online family tree.

After receiving the notice from FamilySearch, I went to my tree and realized John and the children had disappeared. Someone – someone who didn’t take the time to check out the family – merged this line with parents living in New Hampshire.

Hubby, who faithfully attends the FamilySearch training sessions each month rolled his chair over to help rescue my family. After an hour . . . he suggested that I should just start over.

I didn’t like that response. It shouldn’t be me spending hours recreating this online family tree. I appealed to one of our genealogy society members who volunteers at the Family History Center and has contact with Salt Lake City.  Today, she and hubby worked hard to bring my family back to my tree. When hubby got home, he showed me there is a tab to the right of the screen that says, “recent changes.” Click on that and there should be a “restore” button. It looked easy enough, but the fact that it took two “experts” so much time to retrieve my family tells me there is more to that story (smile).

I’m thankful my Doolittle family is back with their rightful wife and mother, and I’m thankful for my FamilySearch guardian angel, Julie, who made that happen.

I hope my story will give pause to anyone who only posts their family tree online. You should have a genealogy software program on your own computer. All that research is valuable and should be treated that way. Ancestry is a privately owned company. There is no guarantee that it will continue or continue in a way that best serves genealogists. Their track record supporting Rootsweb is a good example. As my story attests, FamilySearch also has issues, and I'm certain any online service is going to have its foibles. 

Bottom line: Take control of your data. Future generations will thank you for it. 

p.s. I wrote to the person who merged my family into the wrong line and asked her to be more careful next time and double check in the future before merging.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Olive (Beardsley) Darling

Olive Beardsley
Since I mentioned the photo request for Olive Beardsley (b: 1894) in my previous post, I thought it was only fair I share that cute photo of Olive. At this point in my research I don't know a lot about Olive and her hubby, Raymond Darling, but I'm happy to share what I have so far.

Olive was the third child of Frank J. and Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley. Carrie was the older sister of my great-grandmother Jessie (Tucker) Agard.

About 1917 Olive Beardsley married Raymond H. Darling (b: 24 July 1897) of Mecklenburg, New York.

Raymond H. Darling was the son of Andrew S. Darling (b: 1867) and Ida M. Darling (b: 1875)[1] In the 1910 Darling household was Andrew’s father Hiram F. Darling, age 73. Hiram was a widower. Andrew and Ida stated they had been married seventeen years.

Olive and Raymond farmed the land, first near his family in the 1920s, and then by the 1930s they owned their own farm next door to her parents, Frank and Carrie Beardsley in Hector, Schuyler County, New York.

A year after their marriage on 22 October 1918 Raymond registered for the World War I draft. That document states he was born in Mecklenburg, NY on 24 July 1897. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair. Olive was listed as his nearest relative.[2]

Olive and Raymond had three children: Ruth E. Darling (b: 1922), Stanley M. Darling (b: 1925), and Helen M. Darling (b: 1930). 

I have since learned that this family line can also be spelled as Beardslee. It is interesting since every document I have for this family line, the name is consistently spelled Beardsley. The fun (and challenge) of genealogy is you never know what new and different information is around the corner. That's why we need to cite our sources!

Have a great day!

[1] Birth dates for Darling family are from 1910 federal census.

[2] Registration State: New York; Registration County: Schuyler; Roll: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frank J. and Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley

I was recently asked for a photo of Olive Beardsley, and was happy to comply with that request. I then thought about her family and decided I should post more about the Beardsley family.

Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley (b: 10 Jan 1866) is my great-grandmother’s sister, and the first child of William Lanning Tucker and Fanny Adelia Hosner. Carrie married Frank J. Beardsley (Nov. 1864-1938) in 1886.[1] Their children were Herbert W. (b: 23 February 1888),[2] Mabel E. (b: April 1890), and Olive A. (b: January 1894.)[3]

Besides keeping house and raising her children, upon her mother’s death in 1916, Carrie helped care for her father. In her free time Carrie stayed busy with the Mecklenburg Grange and Study Club.

Frank Beardsley earned his living as a blacksmith in the Schuyler County Town of Hector, New York, near Mecklenburg. In 1920 he was proprietor of a garage, and then by 1930 at the age of 65 he was helping on a nearby farm.

In his memoir, Mecklenburg resident Alton Culver remembers Frank Beardsley. Mr. Culver states: “He was a big powerful man and ambitious, and had the ability to turn off work like nobody’s business. He built wagons and he could do most anything. He was a good blacksmith, too. He was still running the shop when the model T Fords became quite prevalent. Beardsley got the reputation of being able to fix these Fords so they wouldn’t shimmy.”[4]

Obituaries for Carrie Tucker Beardsley

            Mrs. Carrie Beardsley passed away on Wednesday at her home. She had been ill several months. Besides her husband she leaves two daughters, Mrs. Mabel Carman of Jacksonville and Mrs. Olive Darling of Mecklenburg and six grandchildren. The funeral was held on Saturday at her home, the Rev. K. M. Walker of Chittenango officiating. Burial in Mecklenburg cemetery. [5]

            The death of Mrs. Carrie Beardsley, aged 66, wife of Frank Beardsley, occurred Wednesday, December 7, 1932, at her home in Mecklenburg, following a long illness. Besides her husband she is survived by two daughters, Mrs. C. Owen Carman of Trumansburg and Mrs. Raymond H. Darling of Mecklenburg; also three sisters, Miss Addie Tucker of Asbury Park, NJ, Mrs. John Rightmire of Trumansburg, and Mrs. Arthur Agard of Willow Creek; and six grandchildren.  She was an active member of the Mecklenburg Grange and Study Club.  The funeral was held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 10th from the home with Rev. K.M. Walker of Chittenango officiating. Interment in the Mecklenburg cemetery. [6]
Obituaries of Frank J. Beardsley

            Frank J. Beardsley passed away suddenly at his home on the Smith Valley Road Wednesday about 5:00 p.m. [abt. 23 September 1938]. The funeral services were held at the home Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and burial was in the Mecklenburg Cemetery. Rev. Asa A. Nichols, his pastor, officiated. He was born and lived his life in this community and had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church over 51 years.[7]

            Frank Beardsley, 73, Dies; Rites Saturday. Services will be held at the home near Mecklenburg at 3 p.m. Saturday for Frank J. Beardsley, 73, who died there Wednesday. Although he had been in failing health for the past two years, his death came suddenly. Rev. Asa Nichols, pastor of the Federated Church of Mecklenburg will officiate. Interment will be in Mecklenburg cemetery. Mr. Beardsley is survived by two daughters, Mrs. C. Owen Carman of Trumansburg, Mrs. Raymond H. Darling of Mecklenburg; three sisters, Mrs. Elzy Jones of Yonkers, Mrs. Charles Benson of Mecklenburg, Mrs. Homer Rappleye of Penn Yan. Six grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.[8]

[1] Marriage year from 1900 Federal Census where it was stated they were married fourteen years.
[2] WWI Draft Registration Form,, accessed 2 Oct 2012.
[3] Children’s birth dates from 1900 Federal Census.
[4] Culver, Alton, Mecklenburg, NY, recorded abt 1993, edited by Calvin Culver, October 1998, copy held by Harvey Paige, Yellow Springs, OH.
[5] “Carrie Beardsley,” society note, The Watkins Express, 14 Dec. 1932, p. 9, col. 2. []
[6] “Carrie Beardsley,” obituary, The Watkins Express, 14 Dec. 1932, p. 3, col. 1. []
[7] “Frank J. Beardsley,” obituary, The Watkins Express, 28 September 1938, p. 2, col. 1. [ accessed 22 Jan 2013]
[8] “C Owen Carman,” obituary for Frank J. Beardsley, Syracuse Journal, 23 September 1938, p. 1, col 2. [; accessed 23 Jan 2013]