Finding Lucy

Lucy Duglus/Duglass and Janie Cresswell Lamar



Photo, taken around 1851, with the writing on back of it Read More…

Pets and Personal Pedigree

Pets and personal pedigree, Caerbert, Helen - washing cockersOne thing is for certain, pets are part of our family tree.  No, they are not “blood relatives”, but they are part of our identity.

Through history, different animals have played a close part in the lives of those they are near.  At times, a man’s horse was part of his identity.  Great examples are: General Lee and his horse Traveller or Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger.

Other animals are known well, even if we can’t think of or even know what family they lived with – Lassie (really named Pal – and did you know that 10 generations of Pal’s direct descendants have portrayed Lassie in film and on television from 1943 – 2007?), Rin Tin Tin, Elsa the lioness from the movie Born Free and many, many faithful military or service dogs.

Every time I do a family history search I always find a photo or story about someone in the family with a dog, cat, horse or other animal they deeply cared about or who worked with them.  Even the Mayflower is said to have had a Mastiff and a Spaniel on it.

Pets and Personal Pedigree and your ancestryMy point here is that while being an ancestry detective, you can come up with a dry story and just raw family facts or you can find your family tree full of life, love and character.

In honor of the fact that many animals have made our lives fuller in so many ways – and in order to help and protect those animals in need, I plan to work closely with several non-profit rescues and/or shelters.  I will be donating 20% of what monies I am paid from my work as a genealogist.   In fact, this has already started and the first donations have gone out.   The specific names will be revealed when I have their permission to do so.

While you find your ancestry, why not help those who cannot always help themselves at the same time?

Whether you are just looking for help to build your family tree, getting a debug as an ancestry detective or for research of your surname history – your payment to me will be shared with an animal rescue activity.

Let’s work together to make a difference.

Find Your Family Tree the Simple Way

When you first start out to find your family tree, you’ll probably find that you’re asking yourself, “Who are MY ancestors?”   You may even start to look and quickly find that you get overwhelmed with all the different pieces of information.

Didn’t things used to be simpler before the age of the internet?  It seems now that when you ask a question you get so much information that you end up getting answers to questions you never even thought to ask. You know what I mean?

Well, to be honest, it really is simpler to find your family tree now then it used to be, but you just have to be a bit of an ancestry detective to get the information you want and make sure that it’s correct.

charts help you find your family tree. Read More…

Build Your Family Tree – Errors in Dates

It sometimes takes clever work to build your family tree.

Building a family tree takes patience.

This is another post in the series designed to help you build your family tree.  This is the fourth in the series that started on 1 Jan 2014 with Tracing Danish Ancestors.  I hope these prove useful to you in your family history search.

When you set out to build your family tree you’re going to run into incorrect dates and dates that make no sense.  Understand that any dates you find should be looked upon skeptically.  Know that you should not trust them until you verify they are correct.  Only then should you use them to verify other facts.

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Family History Search Advice: Use the Facts

Churches are a great place to look for your family history search.

Churches often have great facts for your research.

This is another post to help you with your family history search.  It probably should have been the first one in the series, which started with the post Tracing Danish Ancestors,  as what I cover pertains to the others as well, but there you go.  I hope you find these posts useful for what to do and what not to do when you’re trying to build your family tree.

When I first started my personal family history search I often needed help with my ancestry.  I would get stuck and then go off on all sorts of tangents trying to get going again.  After much trial and error, and a lot of helpful advice from others, I’ve found ways to get around many barriers that are prevalent when you start delving into the past, where records are sometimes scarce and hard to verify. Read More…

Find Your Ancestry: What’s in a Name?

To find your ancestry often requires searching ship manifests.You have to realize that when set out to find your ancestry and build your family tree that you are going to get stuck occasionally.  It’s almost certainly going to happen, so I thought I would write some posts and give you some tips on what you can do to get going again.

One of the first things that you should do is to look for variations in the spelling of the names and even variations in the names themselves. Read More…

Tracing Danish Ancestors

Tracing Danish ancestors back to Denmark can certainly be challenging. Realize that up until 1826, when the use of patronymic surnames was legally abolished, there was quite a system in use. If you study the diagram below, you can see the pattern of naming that was used. Consider Jens Sørensen to be the father and Kirsten Mortensdatter to be the mother. You can see that Jens’ last name is a combination of his father’s first name, “Søren” + the Danish word for “son” – “sen” = Sørensen. Kirsten takes her father’s first name for her surname but it is a combination of his name, “Morten” and the Danish word for “daughter” – “datter” = Mortensdatter. This is simple.

For Jens and Kirsten’s children, the names are a combination of the grandparents and parents names, depending on if you are first born or not. First-born children get the paternal grandparent names and second-born children get the maternal grandparent names.

Tracing Danish Ancestors chart

I have been tracing Danish ancestors of a family and I will give you some of the things that I have run into and how you can find the answers if you let your imagination create possibilities. So, although this was a system in use, there were always exceptions like everything in life.

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Ancestry Detective Work


 August Caerbert and family @ 1908

Sometimes it takes a great amount of patience and ancestry detective work to actually know you are onto the right ancestor.  There are so many people who have the same or a similar name, are from the same place and the same time.  So, how do you know you’ve got the right person?  You have to be open to looking and weeding through what is being said in documents and census listings.  The best way is to look at as many documents as possible.  Look at everything you can find about the person, their spouse, their siblings, children, parents and even other relatives. Read More…

Finding a Brother After 58 Years

Who are my ancestors

She was born in 1955.  When her mother and father left the hospital after her delivery, they went home without her.  She had been given up for adoption.

On the other side of town, a childless couple had been waiting for three years for a little girl.  At long last, here was a precious baby girl who needed a home.  It was love at first sight.  They paid the adoption agency $300 and took her home.

Growing up, Julie knew she had been adopted.  She had been told a bit about her birth parents.  Father was French, mother Norwegian.  They were older.  They could not afford financially to keep her.  She thought the last name was Corday.

As Julie had loving and kind adoptive parents, she never had a need to find out about her real parents, who after all, did give her away at birth.  Sometimes, though, she would day-dream about who her real parents were. Read More…

The Gift of Good Times

It is all good and well to search and find, through ancestry detective work, long-lost friends or relatives – and it IS exciting and very rewarding – but what about those you care about here and now?

A good friend just retired from many years of dedicated service in a Veterinary Hospital.  We decided to make something that will evoke memories for her that she can cherish while at home.

Another friend and I collected up all her scrub shirts, cut them up and made a quilt, a pillow and a bag to hold them in.  On the back we wrote out who it was from and thanked her for her work.  It brought tears to her eyes when she received it.  She can now sit in her living room, on her couch and just look on her lap and remember the good times and camaraderie.  It also keeps her warm and comfortable – what more could you ask? Read More…