Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Politics For Your Descendants

We all know that current events effect our lives. Such events can make important decisions in our lives - or at least change our perspective. As we hunt to find our ancestors, current events are always something to think about when we are considering why our ancestors did something (like move to another state or suddenly have a new job)...And maybe, we can do our descendants a favor and make it easier for them to figure our how current events changed our lives.

This election year has been a big (and exhausting!) one. No matter which candidate wins, it will be historical: Either a black man will be president or a woman will be vice president. What an exciting time!

But it isn't just the candidates that are the big deal. People are so incredibly passionate and they are participating like we haven't seen in years! In our information age - people are spreading their support/opinions/dislike for their candidate and the issues on so many channels: Blogging, newspapers, rallies, coffee shops, bumper sticker, yard signs, fundraisers, volunteering...etc.

The bottom line is this: Maybe you should be considerate to your descendants by making sure there is something that is saved that shows how you felt about this election - and maybe even how it changed your life. Maybe save that newspaper editorial you wrote or print out the blog post you wrote about your favorite candidate. You could save your yard sign or pin. Even a simple letter that explains your feelings on the issues would work.

Please, whatever your political party or feelings - give your descendants a bone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Using Genealogical Society's To Find Information

I was surfing the web today, reading different blog articles. I love to do this because there are so many interesting stories out there, not to mention all the great stuff you can learn.

I read one article that discussed the St. Louis Genealogical Society and the website they have. Since I have some ancestors from there, I decided to click on the link and get some more information about it.

Sure enough - this websites has some great databases and it gives information on how you can order records from that particular area.

I figured I'd give it a shot and do a quick search - because it couldn't hurt. Well...guess what I found?

I found my great-great grandfather's naturalization record. Now, mind you - I've been scouring's databses for ages, along with many other popular websites.

And sure enough - there was the record that I was looking for - or atleast the index for it anyway. It gave me all the information I needed to order a copy of the actual document, and I can't wait to do that next month!

So the lesson here: Check the websites of local genealogical society's in the areas that you research. They might just have a couple of databases up that you can search, or they might know where you can find what you are looking for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Setting A Family History Goal

As I sat down with my computer durng my few moments of free time this week, gigantic cup of green tea in hand, I began scouring the many blogs that I read on a regular basis.

Over at the 24/7 Family History Circle sits a great article that, while a basic concept, is one that we genealogists often forget.

It was suggested that we should take time during this month (family history month) to create goals for ourselves regarding our family history.

I just wanted to expand on this idea, and give some tips that apply to goals in general as well as family history goals:

  • Make your goal clear and precise. A goal that is too broad or vague has a much smaller chance of being achieved because there is nothing to serve as a benchmark, determining if you have accomplished your goal or not. A good goal is specific, such as, " I will sort the pictures by surname that are sitting in the box Aunt Maggie left for me, placing each category of pictures into archival safe boxes".
  • Give yourself a deadline. Some people like myself, need a deadline to make things happen. I work better under pressure and it keeps me from being able to put it off for too long.
  • Have two goals: One really fun goal and one goal that just needs to be done. For example, a fun goal would being making a shadow box highlighting a particular ancestor. A goal that just needs to be done could be something like filing or backing up your materials.

Good luck everyone - and I'd love to hear about your family history goals.

Some Basic News...

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the delay in posts. I've been super swamped with school and with throwing a wedding shower for my boyfriend's cousin. But the good news is that I am back and I have a bit more of a free weekend.

Since my last post, I have also been busy working on a new blog that I just recently joined. The blog is entitled The Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee. The basics of the blog is that it promotes the preservation of cemeteries. I have this blog because I am a Charter Member of the Graveyard Rabbit Association. You can find my new blog here: and the website to The Graveyard Rabbit Association is

You will also notice that I added a cool little gadget to this blog called "This Day In History". It is towards the bottom of the blog and it is just a cool little gadget that I thought was interesting.

Alrighty - I just thought I'd give you a quick update on that. I promise I will be back to posting this weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I've Been Tagged (Meme)

Wow - can this genea-blogger community speed up much more? I mean the number of blogs out there seems endless and it is growing every day. It gets difficult to get to know everybody - but little games like this one keep us all talking and meeting eachother.

I was tagged in this game by Janet over at

So here we go:

10 Years Ago I:

  • Was 9 years old
  • Living in Kent, Washington near Lake Fenwick
  • practically lived on my bike
  • enjoyed visits with my older cousin Genese who lived in a small cabin on Lake Martha and rescued was my doggy heaven
  • Begged my mom to get my ears pierced, finally convinced her, we went to the mall to have it done, the nice lady pierced one ear and I started crying begging her not to do the other one. But since my mom had paid for two ears to be pierced - two ears were pierced.

5 Things On Today's To Do List.

  • Finish reading the two sections of for math class (ugh...)
  • Finish another section of math homework (double ugh...)
  • Pay credit card bill (done)
  • Pick up Prescription (done)
  • Eat another Zinc Pop to try and beat this cold that wants to come on

5 snacks I enjoy:

  • M&M's
  • Gorgonzola Salad with Ranch from Marie Callendars
  • Pita Chips with Artichoke Hummus
  • Milano Cookies (Milk Chocolate)

5 places I've lived (Some longer than others)

  • San Pedro, CA
  • Kent, WA
  • San Marcos, CA
  • Torrance, CA
  • Lomita, CA
5 Jobs I've had

  • Tutor
  • Student
  • Office Assistant
  • Family Researcher (not a paid job! lol)
  • Being a Big Cousin to my little cousins

Alright - so there you go. Now it is my turn to start tagging a few here I go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thursday's Child Has Far To Go

FootnoteMaven posted a great post about an old nursery rhyme that tells of a baby's personality based on the day of the week the child was born.

If you havent guessed from the title, I was born on a Thursday at 8:59 P.M. and I weighed a whole 7lbs 8 ounces.

According to the nursery rhyme, I have far to go.

I guess in some respects it is true...I mean, I have a long way to go with school until I am able to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. I have a long way to go until I settle some of my issues with my homelife.

I have a long way to go with a lot of things I guess - and yet I am so grateful for the things I have achieved and the great people I have in my life.

There you go - just thought I'd share a small cute post.

By the way - go visit the footnoteMaven over at her blog and read the article I was talking about:

Blog Action Day - Poverty

As a kid growing up, I would never say that my family was in the poverty level, but we were definitely far from rich. We lived (and still live) like most American families: paycheck to paycheck.

Despite the fact that we still live that way, my parents have both taught me that life is always harder for someone else. "While the grass may be greener on the other side, you still need to be grateful that you even have grass because there is always someone out there who only has mud"

But my mom was smart and she taught me that no matter how hard things might of felt, there were always people who had it harder. As a kid, we always supported one family and made sure that thier Christmas was a good one. We would go out and buy a ton of food for their meal and get them toys for the kids. We would give them gift certificates so they could buy clothes or anything that they needed. And of course, we would buy them a huge tree - with a ton of ornaments.

As a toddler, this was certainly not easy for me to understand. We would walk into Toys R Us to buy toys for a little boy that we were sponsoring, and I would always suggest that he wanted a "Barbie" or an "Easy Bake Oven". But after a few years, it began to sink in and my mom had to start keeping me to a budget so that we could have a Christmas too.

Poverty is such a big deal in our world - and we must find a way to eliminate it. There are so many people who are in desperate need of help. The littlest things can make the biggest difference. You don't even have to have money to help, all you need to give is your time. Whether it is working at a soup kitchen, buying a few extra cans at the grocery store to donate to the food bank, or tutoring homeless kids so that they can learn to all makes a difference. The smallest things make the biggest difference.

Thats why I believe in the Pay It Foward theory: When someone does something good for you - then do something good for 3 other people. It'll make you feel good that you helped someone, and hopefully they'll do the same.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Wonder - Did My Ancestors Feel This Much Frustration Before They Voted?

As the election draws nearer, the fierce fight for the White House is heating up to a point of unbearable heat. Both sides are attacking eachother and the media is overanalyzing every single word that is said. Honestly - with our world in the condition it is in, can we really afford this sort of chaos right before the election?

While I am honored that I am able to vote for the first time ever in a presidential election - especially one as historic as this one - I can't help but get a huge headache every time I think about it.

Gosh - is there anyway I can elect someone who isn't a politician? Because both sides seem to have a flip-flopper and in an age where information is so easily spread, the media is going insane. Everything is dissected, words are switched around or taken out of context, and even some of the voters are saying horrific things! It's enough to make my head want to explose

In the wake of all of this, I can't help but wonder if my ancestors felt such pressure when they voted too. I wonder if they knew how important of an impact thier vote would make.

Like - look at our history...Can you imagine voting right before the Civil War? Or how about right before World War II as Nazi Germany was beginning to take hold.

Our votes and America's stance in the world does punching a hole next to the name of the candidate we want - we are making a huge decision that will affect not only our country, but the entire world.

I can't help but wonder if my ancestors felt the same way.

I also wonder if their moms made as much of a big deal about my first time voting as mine is...
She's bringing a camera and we are going first thing in the morning so that she can be with me on voting day before she has to go to work. I can't really complain, because I know I will be so excited to show my grandkids those pictures one day, and tell them about how I voted in the first election that brough either a black man or a woman VP to the White House.

Note: I understand that this is not a political blog, and I really tried to tie the topic into genealogy. I hope that I didn't offend anyone by what I said - but I do stand by my words. Sometimes, you just have to speak your mind.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can There Be Two Of The Same Census?

Why indeed - there can be two of the same census. The way this works is that the area was enumerated twice. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen and I have one such case in my family tree.

My great great grandfather Adolph Doerflinger and his wife, Augusta, lived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1880. Both had immigrated from Germany and they owned and operated a boarding house/bar. They lived there with thier only son, Max and multiple boarders.

Well, when I did the search for Adolph, I discovered two entries on Ancestry's 1880 census database. So, I began looking at their index and sure enough - both entries listed a wife as "Augusta Doerflinger" and a son as "Max Doerflinger". Adolph was listed in both entries as being born in 1851 in Germany (one actually said Baden). One said that he was a boardhouse keeper and another said a bar keeper.

So I looked at the dates of enumeration for both - and I found out that both were indeed the same person - with a lot of the same boarders listed. However - one enumeration was done in June of 1880 and the other in November of 1880.

I don't expect it happens often, but it obviously happens enough where us genealogists need to keep our eyes out for it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Appalacian Ghost Stories

This is a Carnival of Genealogy 58th Edition article - and with the spirit of genealogy it is all about those spooky stories about an ancestor. With this particular edition, you all have to guess if it is fact or fiction....and I won't reveal which it is until after October 15th (when the submissions are due)

Without further ado, here's the story:

When I was about 13, I went to go visit my Grandpa in Tennessee for two weeks with my cousin and my aunt.

My Grandpa lived in a small town called Elizabethton in Carter County. It is literally in the middle of the Appalacian Mountains in eastern Tennessee, right near the border of North Carolina. The town has one drive-in movie theatre and two ma-n-pa grocery stores. The real part of "town" is a street with a library, a small city hall, and a donut shop. People live on dirt roads and everybody knows everybody (literally). The place to be on a Friday night are at the church get-togethers or at this gigantic barn where everyone listens to country music and line dances.

So, this story starts off with the second night I was there. My Grandpa had made this delicious spaghetti dinner and everyone was sitting on the back porch talking. My Grandpa started telling stories of his teen years and I made the mistake of asking him what his parents were like. He quickly told me that he did not discuss his parents and I was not to bring the subject up again. Needless to say, I was very confused and a bit hurt but I kept to myself.

As I went to take everyone's plates into the kitchen, my Aunt Phyllis (My Grandpa's sister-in-law) took me aside. She told me in hurried whispers that she could help me fill in some of the gaps that I had in my genealogy. She offered to show me around the area and take me to where my Great Grandparents were buried.

So the next morning, my Aunt Phyllis, Aunt Deb, my cousin Jen and I went driving into the hills of Tennessee. The roads were filled with long winding roads. There were no houses, no street lights, no stores or buildings - Nothing. We finally turned down a dirt road and continued driving up the mountain. We finally reached a driveway that led up to a small one story house. It was abandoned and I learned that it had belonged to my Aunt Bet - my grandpa's sister. We walked carefully through the tall grass (we were warned against snakes) and got to the backyard. The grass was so overgrown, that you could barely see the fence. We walked into the fenced area to find a small family cemetery of sorts.

The most recent headstone was of my great grandparents - and it was one of the few that I could actually read. Everything was overgrown, and I began trying to push back the grass to take pictures. Although it was daylight, the trees and overgrowth made it difficult to see. Everyone was walking around the area, observing the stones and attempting to read them.

As I was trying to make out the letters on one plastic make-shift headstone, I thought I heard my name. I turned around to find everyone doing their own thing. I shook it off as my imagination and kept taking pictures. I was so facinated to be in the place of my ancestors final resting place.

I then began taking notes when I could've sworn I heard barking dogs. I looked around to find everyone looking nervously around - wondering where the dogs could possibly come from. There were no other houses could there be dogs. Then, my aunt screamed and we all began running towards the car. As I was running, I tripped over what I thought was a rock. As I looked down, I saw a small headstone in the ground.

I moved the grass back to find a small headstone with the words "Inf. Dau. of Monroe and Matilda Dugger". I instantly stopped and everyone began gathering around me. Everyone stared in confusion because they had never heard of an infant daughter that had died. My Aunt Deb was thoroughly creeped out and I had the chance to snap a photo before we left.

As we were driving home I noticed that my knee was bleeding. I began wiping the blood away with a tissue in the car - only to discover that there was no cut. I immediately felt the creeps.

Once we were back at my grandpa's house that night, my aunt grabbed a magnifying glass to look closer at my knee. Sure enough, we couldn't find a single cut or scrape...and no one else on the trip had been bleeding.

Alrighty - truth or fake? I think you all have some guessing to do...