Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wordless Wednesday ~ Mother's Childhood Home

Last week I attended the FGS 2017 conference in Pittsburgh. The main reason I went was because it was being held in my mother's childhood hometown and I could visit my cousin, who shares an interest in family history.

Not only did my cousin and I visit Uniondale Cemetery, where we have many maternal ancestors (see my 2014 post Pittsburgh Burials at Uniondale Cemetery), but we visited the home where our mothers grew up. We knocked on the door and the current homeowners couldn't have been nicer, letting us explore the grounds, walk around inside, and take photos. (I have since shared some of my 1940s and 1950s photos with the homeowners, some of which I previously shared at Mount Royal Boulevard.)

This photograph of the house was taken about 1958-1959 when my grandparents were preparing to sell it:

This photograph of the house was taken almost sixty years later, on September 2, 2017:

The house was originally built in 1820, one of a pair of farmhouses built by brothers. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

DNA Toolbox

I recently read a blog post (Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree) reminding me that it's useful to include a genealogy toolbox of online resources right on my blog. I have never done this for From Maine to Kentucky, but because recently, I've gotten more interested in DNA testing and analysis (and encouraging family members to test), I thought that a DNA Toolbox might be helpful for me and for my readers.

At the top of my blog, I have added the tab called DNA Resources. Right now, it includes links to my favorite genetic genealogy blogs, links to some online video resources, and links to all the posts I have written about DNA in my research.

I will add to this toolbox in the future when I find new resources for DNA.

If you have a great online resource for DNA, let me know and I will add it.

And if you're inspired to take an autosomal DNA test (where you can find out about your admixture, or ethnicity estimates AND you can see how much DNA you share with cousins and maybe even find new cousins), FamilyTreeDNA is having a Mother's Day sale where their Family Finder DNA test costs only $69. This price is good through this Mother's Day, May 14.

And once your results are in (from whatever test you have taken), please upload them to, where you can take advantage of other DNA analysis tools and find cousins who have tested at other DNA companies.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

NERGC 2017 ~ Day 3

After two days at NERGC of really exercising my brain (see Day 1 and Day 2), I decided to listen to some general-level sessions with particularly excellent speakers for my last day.

Elizabeth and Thomas
Thomas MacEntee, founder of Geneabloggers, spoke on Managing the Genealogy Data Monster, a topic that genealogists at every level can use at least some help with! Thomas is very organized, providing lots of wonderful suggestions on how to work with a research log, as well as sharing tips on file naming conventions. The main takeaway there is to just be consistent. (I've got some work to do...)  If you ever get a chance to hear Thomas speak, be sure to do so!

I then got to hear Diahan Southard speak on Your DNA in Action: Real Time, Hands-On Fun. I had interviewed Diahan for this blog in February, so it was great to meet her and see her present in person. This was a class where attendees could login to their own AncestryDNA accounts and follow along as she explained how to pose a genealogical research question and begin to answer it using the searching and filtering features at AncestryDNA. I picked up a few tips and tricks in this session that I look forward to using!

After lunch, where we heard from Jane E. Wilcox speaking about Forget Me Not: Remembering Our Grandmother's Stories, I volunteered to help out at the booth for MSOG, the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists.

The exhibit hall at the conference was free and open to the public and I could see, especially on Saturday, that there were lots of visitors who came who were not registered for the conference.

Here is the MSOG booth at a rare down time that it was not full of people, either MSOG members meeting up or attendees looking to join this great group. Even if you do not live in Massachusetts, the membership is worth it (only $25 for a year!) because of the webinar series that is offered only to members. In fact, if you join now, your membership will be good through the summer of 2018.

I had to leave the conference before the end of Saturday, knowing that I had made many new genealogy friends, as well as renewing some friendships over the subject we all enjoy.

Looking forward to NERGC 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire!

Friday, April 28, 2017

NERGC 2017 ~ Day 2

Friday was the second day of NERGC and was just as busy as Thursday. (See my Thursday summary.)

After a brief walk outside (it was a foggy morning so I didn't get to see the Connecticut River which divides Springfield from West Springfield), I started my morning with A Virtual Tour of New Hampshire's State Archives with Diane Gravel. Now I'm inspired to pursue my New Hampshire ancestors more deeply (and maybe break down my Thomas Wells brick wall there...).

Then I got to hear Marian Pierre-Louis talk about Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research. She has done this talk before, but she gets so excited sharing her finds that it's inspiring!

After some time exploring the exhibit hall, I attended the NEAPG lunch "Table Topics," where I sat at a table with others who are researching Connecticut ancestors. Now I'm excited to explore my ancestors in that New England state after hearing more about some great research repositories there.

After lunch, I heard from George Findlen, Ya Gotta Use ALL the Records, from Pam Stone Eagleson on Confronting Conflicting Evidence, and F. Warren Bittner on Complex Evidence: What it is, How it Works, and Why it Matters. These were all advanced-level sessions on understanding and evaluating evidence to come to a genealogical conclusion. My brain certainly was exercised this afternoon!

At this evening's banquet, I sat with two other eastern Massachusetts genealogists who are also taking the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research course this summer. Yes, my blogging may get even more sparse because this is going to be taking up much of my time in the next four months! The speaker was Kenyatta Berry, another wonderful host from Genealogy Roadshow.

One of the best things about genealogy conferences is meeting friends, old and new, who all share my love of genealogy! We learn a lot from each other.

NERGC 2017 ~ Day 1

I got to Springfield, Massachusetts, on Thursday in time for the opening session, which included hearing from Mary Tedesco (of Genealogy Roadshow). She is an engaging speaker.

At lunch, I finally got the opportunity to meet the founder of Geneabloggers, Thomas MacEntee, who spoke about privacy and genealogy and how the concept of privacy has changed over the centuries. (He recognized me and remembered my blogs!)

In the afternoon, I heard Carol Prescott McCoy speak about Finding Someone Who Eluded Census Records. She provided a good overview of census research and then offered some creative suggestions for finding those hard-to-find ancestors in the census (and some other census alternatives).

Jane E. Wilcox (of the Forget-Me-Not podcast) spoke about New York State Repositories, inspiring me to find out more about my ancestors who migrated through New York from New England to Illinois.

Brenda Sullivan, one of the Gravestone Girls, spoke about the history of graveyards and cemeteries (there is a difference) and what you can find out about your ancestors on a gravestone.

All of these speakers are worth learning from if you ever get a chance to hear them speak.

After supper, I joined other genealogy bloggers in an informal SIG: Special Interest Group meeting where we chatted about our blogs and encouraged a few attendees to start their own blogs. It was great to finally meet in person Marian Burk Wood of Climbing My Family Tree and John Tew of Filiopietism Prism, as well as see longtime blogger friends, Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy, Sara Campbell of Remembering Those Who Came Before Us, Cindy Shenette of Heritage Zen, and Pam Carter of My Maine Ancestry.