Saturday, December 31, 2016

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2016

Geneablogger Jill Ball, of GeniAus, suggests that genealogists celebrate the positives for the past year. My 2016 successes are listed below:

1. An elusive ancestor I found was (collateral relative) James J. H. Brown, a first cousin 4x removed. See his obituary here. With a name like James Brown, I never thought I'd find him!

2. A precious family photo I found was a daguerreotype of a first cousin 4x removed: Anna Bronson Alcott (though originally I thought it was my 2nd great-grandmother, Eliza May Wells).

3. An ancestor's grave I found was David Freeland, thanks to the online burial registry for Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. Before this year, I never knew when or where he died or where he might be buried. I still would like to find the final resting place of his wife, who died over 20 years before he did.

4. Important vital records I found were death certificates for extended Pittsburgh family in the Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964, database at I am able to put together these large Scottish-American families using information from these death certificates, cemetery records (thank you Find-A-Grave), and newspaper articles (thank you,, which has many Pittsburgh newspapers).

5. A newly found family member (second cousin Suzanne) is sharing scans of documents and photos from our common Copeland and Greeley ancestors, including photos of my second great grandfather dedicating a school in Winnetka, Illinois, and a family bible with a unique treasure inside.

6. A geneasurprise I received was an email with an image of a WWII Short Snorter with my dad's signature on it!

7. My 2016 blog post that I was particularly proud of was DNA ~ Visual Phasing (though I know it was a bit too scientific for some of my readers).

8. A new piece of software I mastered was BookWright from, which I used to write a book about the history of our family's summer house and its residents.

9. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was (and is) Facebook: It's a great place to connect with extended family and other genealogists, especially all the genealogy groups.

10. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was the second day of the MGC (Massachusetts Genealogical Council) Seminar on April 17, where I got to listen to Cece Moore, Your Genetic Genealogist, speak about DNA. I finally feel like I understand genetic genealogy.

11. A genealogy book that taught me something new was Drew Smith's Organize Your Genealogy. I will be reviewing it for organizing ideas for a long time to come.

12. A great repository/archive/library I visited was the New England Historic and Genealogical Society Library in Boston, which I try to visit once or twice a year.

13. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Spyglass File. (I just finished it and loved it.) Any of Goodwin's genealogy mysteries are enjoyable!

14. It was exciting to finally meet Cece Moore (see #11 above) and Dick Eastman, who spoke to the MSOG (Massachusetts Society of Genealogists) - Middlesex chapter in June.

15. A geneadventure I enjoyed was visiting New York City in August, where I visited a couple of cemeteries, finding some of my ancestors (Pyles and McAlpins), and some of my husband's ancestors.

16. Another positive I would like to share is that I have so many wonderful photos and I'm sorry that I don't do a better job of sharing them with my readers. The photos of my "bald" great aunt Mary just have to put a smile on your face.

Marion, Margaret, Helen Rainey Hunter (aunt of the sisters), Caroline, Mary.

Thank you, Jill, for this wonderful idea and...

Happy New Year to all!


  1. Thanks for your post! I was beating myself up for lack of progress on my big goals for 2016. After reading your post, I realize that I wasn't counting the dozens of small to medium steps I had made in various areas. I enjoy your stories and insights...thanks and Happy New Year!

    1. Glad I helped you think of your positives for the year.

      Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Wow. Not only did you make progress on many branches of your tree, you went on field trips to do research...quite a productive year. Wishing you and your family another rewarding year in 2017!

    1. I'm glad I found Jill's accentuate the positive meme - it made me realize that I did make many little discoveries this year. Happy 2017 to you and your family!

  3. Thank you Elizabeth for your responses. You certainly had a beaut geneayear. I have to now discover what a short snorter is!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm glad I got to share the short snorter with my readers and my family!

  4. Happy New Year to you too, Elizabeth. It sounds as though you had a busy year. You have reminded me that I must buy Nathan Dylan Goodwin's books via The Book Depository, because my local bookshop here in Australia seems reluctant to order them.

    1. If you enjoyed Nathan Dylan Goodwin's previous books, you'll absolutely love this one!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!