Grammar? I went to school for that!

For the record, I didn’t attend a “grade” school.  I attended a “grammar” school where we learned, among a myriad of other subject, grammar.  Anyone who writes anything may be confronted with issues of “grammar.” Since I have been known to write a thing or two, I felt compelled to watch these videos for a quick review. I found these little vignettes to be oddly entertaining.  Maybe I need other distractions!

See what you think… They’re all very short and to the point; you may be able to binge watch the entire season in a little over 10 minutes. That’s easier than taking the totality of “Game of Thrones!” She even talks about the implied diaeresis. And, by the way, that’s not an intestinal disorder!

Here’s the link: The Comma Queen, Series Premier

I hope she’ll cover commas and quotation marks in an upcoming video.  Do they go inside or outside?

More “exciting” news from

Here’s a quick post regarding Loretta Gillespie’s blog, this time about

Are you a subscriber? I have been a “faithful” customer for over 10 years. Lately, they’re a little more difficult to keep track of. For example, their newest membership packages are a little confusing. We discussed it today on a Google Hangout (which all of you can participate in) called “Mondays with Myrt.” Click this link to Loretta Gillespie’s blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” It’s worth a look.

This was a large part of the discussion today on Monday’s with Myrt.  If you’re interested, it’s a great place to listen to all things genealogical.  Check out That link will take you to DearMYRT’s Google Community. All are invited to join the Hangout every Monday at noon eastern, 11 AM Central and 10 AM Mountain time. I’m on the “panel” nearly every week, but an unlimited number of people can watch through her Community page.

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

Old Bones Genealogy of New England


Sure, wants to share my health report with everyone! Well, no thanks!

Ancestry Health? Yes, Ancestry Health

This is a little bit disturbing in my opinion.  Maybe even creepy.  But is diving into the health data field which, on the surface, sounds a bit like what the FDA prevented 23andMe from doing, at least in its original form.  But that’s another story!I refer everyone to the most excellent DNA blog by scientist and genealogist, Roberta Estes.  If you have any interest in DNA whatsoever, her blog provides an excellent resource.  She speaks “English” in her blog rather than “Scientist.”  Well, she does for the most part!  Some of the entries get a little long and have a tendency to cause my eyes to glaze over, but I’m always able to get the gist of her knowledge and manage to read most of the information.  Then there’s the comments…hundreds of comments from researchers everywhere.

But I digress!  Here’s the link where she explains with reasonable clarity the ins and outs of the beta program: DNA-Explained which should be a heads-up for anyone who may be tempted to jump right into the Ancestry Health pool.

She also references Judy G Russell, a very accomplished genealogist who happens to be a lawyer, a former prosecutor in fact.  That’s another blog I would strongly recommend.  You can read and subscribe to her clever, informative, sometimes personal and often humorous words published daily at The Legal Genealogist.

Needless to say, I subscribe to both.  Some posts I have no interest in reading but most of the others and their comments are an education in and unto themselves.

Happy researching!

In closing, I had to share this Father’s Day “card” from my kids.  Matthew, Mark and Kimi collaboratively colored this cartoon for a long ago Father’s Day sometime around 1995.  They’re a prescient group as I recently discovered through 23andMe that I am, in fact, 3% Neanderthal!

neanderthal-dadThanks kids!


English: Old print in Darłowo Castle with gene...

English: Old print in Darłowo Castle with genealogical information about King Eric the Pomeranian of Scandinavia, as released by image creator Ristesson; Place: Darłowo, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re all talking about NERGC here in the North East.  NERGC?  So what’s NERGC?  It’s the acronym for the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium.  NERGC orchestrates a biennial conference at strategic cities here in New England.   Now it’s not RootsTech..nowhere near the size.  I believe RT had approximately 30,000 registrants this year, give or take 10,000.

No, NERGC is quite a bit smaller but of no less significance or importance to the genealogical community here.  Speakers, sponsored luncheons and dinners, workshops, society meetings, exhibitor hall with unopposed exhibit hours, speakers with national, regional and local recognition… NERGC has it all.

I can tick off a list of reasons why I took 4 days out my own very busy schedule to attend.

First, the opportunity to network with people who I know well, but only via social media: Facebook, Google Communities, Webinars, Google Hangouts on Air, the whole spectrum! I can tell you that it’s one thing to communicate virtually, but there’s nothing like looking across the table with a genealogy friend and sharing a meal or just a cup of coffee.  It’s what I would call a mini-conference.  There were mini-conferences going on all day, every day.

Second, I’d have to count the sessions that were held on all aspects of genealogy, family research and technology.  As a matter of fact, the entire first day was devoted to librarians, teachers and technology.  Not a bad place to be on Wednesday!  And I know that those who attended would agree.

Next, I’d count the individual specialty programs such as the “Ancestor Road Show.” This program is well attended and by reservation only!  A busy time for the NERGC volunteers,

And on the subject of volunteers, there are dozens of devoted genealogists at all levels of knowledge and experience in every field, volunteers who spend hours and hours in the planning and execution of each conference.

The Exhibition Hall was jam packed with representatives from many vendors and societies. The

The coat of arms of the Committee on Heraldry ...

The coat of arms of the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

genealogy website  MyHeritage was represented as well as the American-French Genealogical Society, Heritage Books, Lisa Louise’s Genealogy Gems, the Gravestone Girls, New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, New England Historic Genealogical Society, citation software vendor Evidentia, and many, many more.

So now we all have to wait until April of 2017 for the next NERGC conference which will be held at the MassMutual Center

in Springfield, Mass.

See you there!

Using the “FAN” Club—This one was too easy!

Here’s a short hint regarding a search I was having some difficulty with. The family name is “LISIEWISCZ” which, as I’m sure you can imagine, has a wide variety of spelling possibilities. After all, “speeiln duzn’t cownt” right?

So the point of the search was to find the obituary for a 1932 death. The obituary still needs to be found, but in the course of the search, I was able to figure out a few things. First, the family had immigrated in the early 1900’s. Since the family is still living in the general area, it was safe to think that they should have appeared in the 1940 census. Bingo! Off to and there’s the widow (husband died in 1932) and her 4 children ranging in age from 21 down to 14. Since all of her neighbors reported that they lived in the same house in 1935, I thought there was a good chance they were also there in 1930. So, rather than look for yet another spelling variation, I did the FAN trick: Friends, Associates and Neighbors. The easiest was a neighbor.


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Typical census record, un-associated with this blog post.

All of the families on this page of the 1940 census were farmers. So the next assumption was that there had to be a neighbor listed on that street who might also have appeared in the 1930 census 2 years prior to the alleged death date of the husband and father in this family. And so it was! I didn’t have to guess about “similar spellings” or “similar meanings” of the Eastern European surname. I simply used “Reynolds.” a neighbor in 1940 and, as it turns out, also a neighbor in 1930!

I’m not done yet tracking the obituary. Here’s the part where we say, “It’s not all on the internet!” Tomorrow, I’ll be at the archives and I check city directories which should get me closer to the actual death date. From there I can go to the microfilm of the local newspaper (not digitized or published on any newspaper website) and sort this one out to a happy conclusion!

Heritage Quest – The New Version

English: Seal of the United States Census Bure...

English: Seal of the United States Census Bureau. The blazon is defined here as: On a shield an open book beneath which is a lamp of knowledge emitting rays above in base two crossed quills. Around the whole a wreath of single leaves, surrounded by an outer band bearing between two stars the words “U.S. Department of Commerce” in the upper portion and “Bureau of the Census” in the lower portion, the lettering concentric with an inner beaded rim and an outer dentilated rim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll readily admit that I have not been a regular user of Heritage Quest.  As a matter of fact, I would avoid it.  Probably because I didn’t know how best to take advantage of it.  When I did go there, it was usually at the library where I volunteer and occasionally teach or lecture on genealogy research principles.Today, however, I watched a video that introduced me to the new version that has just been released.  I think they hit a home run with this one.  Maybe a grand slam!

The style echos what will be the newest version of once they release the beta version which some of us have been able to “get friendly with” and provide feedback to Ancestry.  More on that in another post another day.  For now, I just want to encourage everyone to take a look at Heritage Quest and see all the new features.

First, it’s a little more pleasant of an atmosphere.  Maybe, for me, it’s just that it’s a refreshed website.  But the real meat of the upgrade is the collections that you will find there.

Brief rundown: The original 6 data sets are still available but PERSI and the US Serial Set will, for now, redirect you back to the original site.  Census records are now available to 1940 given the collaboration with  The census records and other sets will now display images in 256 grey scale or color rather than “bi-tonal” making them easier to read.  You will also be able to save them, download them or e-mail them in a image format.

In addition to US Census Population Schedules, images for US Territories, Military and Naval Forces records, US Indian Census Rolls 1885-1940, Mortality Schedules from 1850 to 1880, the 1880 schedules of Dependent, Delinquent and Defective classes and select Non-Population schedules from 1850 to 1880.

English: A collage of American Revolutionary W...

English: A collage of American Revolutionary War public domain images. Clockwise from top left: Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery at Quebec, Battle of Cowpens, “Moonlight Battle”. Interlingua: Un collage de imagines in dominio public super le Guerra de Independentia del Statos Unite. Ab sinistra superior in senso horologic: Battalia de Bunker Hill, morte de Montgomery a Quebec, Battalia de Cowpens, Battalia de Capo St. Vincente. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The complete NARA M804 Revolutionary War pension and bounty land applications with “every name index” of pension apps and applicants. All NARA pension apps are included regardless of page count or genealogical value.

The image viewer appears in either basic of advanced view without the need for any special plug-ins.  Boolean operators are not allowed (AND, OR, AND NOT, etc.) but truncation and wildcards are (Eli?abeth or Sam*).  An exact match option appears when typing begins. You are also allowed to add life events or other family members to refine your search and use double quotation marks for specific phrases (“first edition”),

All documents are downloadable in PDF format.  The site includes several pages of tips and tricks for researchers.

Map of campaigns in the Revolutionary War

Map of campaigns in the Revolutionary War (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Map Guide to the US Census” has been moved to the new interactive MAPS

English: Map of US Census Bureau's geographica...

English: Map of US Census Bureau’s geographical regions Category:Census Bureau images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

section.  The maps have their own tabs, can be saved, printed or e-mailed using a right click for the option menu.

“The Census Book” by William Dollarhide is included in the MAPS section and includes blank census forms. You may be interested in other William Dollarhide books which include “American Migration Routes 1735-1815,” “New  York State Census & Substitutes,” or “Managing a Genealogical Project” among others.  They’re all available at


I’m not familiar enough just yet to expound on the new features or any of the improvements to what has been available for a while.  But it’s certainly worth a look!

Related articles

Switched at Birth—Really!

Today I want to share with you a blog, “The Legal Genealogist” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL who writes an amazing amount of information, all of which is useful and interesting to genealogists.  She is a lawyer, but speaks and writes in English, not “lawyer” so she’s easy to understand.  She is also a very accomplished genealogist with expertise in a variety of areas including DNA.  She lectures all over the country and is quite busy.  So I don’t know where she finds the time for all of this!

As a matter of fact, I invited her to speak at the February 2015 meeting of the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society (WMGS) in a virtual, interactive format (Google+ Hangouts on Air) which was not only very successful, but very informative.  She was in her office in New Jersey and our meeting was held in Agawam, MA.

So that’s why I’m going to recommend that after you visit this her blog, that you subscribe.

Here are the links to a remarkable story.

The Legal Genealogist: What DNA Can Tell Us

A Strange Kind of Pilgrimage 

Switched at Birth: Unraveling a Century-Old Mystery with DNA

English: The structure of DNA showing with det...

English: The structure of DNA showing with detail showing the structure of the four bases, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, and the location of the major and minor groove. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

John Howland's grave

John Howland’s grave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Page from William Bradford's Of Plimoth Planta...

Page from William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation containing the text of the Mayflower Compact (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today nearly got away from me without my recognition of a very special birthday.  I’ll give you a hint: He was born 342 years ago today (Julian Calendar!).  John Howland was a Mayflower passenger who nearly didn’t make it!  There’s a well-documented, elaborate story detailing the events.  Suffice it to say that he had had enough of the “unpleasant” atmosphere below deck toward the end of a grueling journey.  John went to get a breath of fresh air and…oops! He fell overboard.  Thankfully, the crew spotted him and were able to fish him out of the churning sea and back on board.

Yes, thankfully!  If they had lost him, you wouldn’t be reading this post!

English: Photograph of the John Howland House ...

English: Photograph of the John Howland House built in 1666 in Plymouth, Mass. Photographed circa 1921 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Kunkle Koincidence

English: Photo of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

English: Photo of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Genealogy Road Show has a lot going for it.  They are able to cover many more family stories in a single episode than WDYTYA (either US or UK) and Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Not that the others aren’t worth watching.  Quite the contrary.  I enjoy the stories and I enjoy hearing how the deep family stories are uncovered.

Tonight, I wanted to mention an odd “koincidence” that I noticed in last night’s show.

Dream a Little Dream (Cass Elliot album)

Dream a Little Dream (Cass Elliot album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First I should mention that although the surname “Kunkle” isn’t on any list of the most popular. It’s far down the list after all the “Smith” and “Jones” families.  But “Kunkle” jumps out at me simply because I know of an individual named Kunkle who lives and works here in Massachusetts.  This particular Kunkle is also related to a very famous personality from the 60’s, Mama Cass Elliot! As most of us from that generation already know, Mama Cass was a spectacular talent (IMHO) who died tragically over 40 years ago.  I can still hear her singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”

OK, back to genealogy.  Last night’s show featured an elderly woman, Emma Musgrove Dasenbrock, who was accompanied by her son, Timothy.  She knew literally nothing about her mother’s side of her family as her mother had died about a year after Emma’s birth. Mary Tedesco did a marvelous job with Mrs. Dasenbrock making her and her son feel quite comfortable as she rolled out the unknown family mysteries.  As it turns out, her mother was a descendant of the immigrant Phillip Kunkle who arrived around 1840.  Phillip and his wife Margaret had a son named Edward who married Anna.  Their daughter and Emma’s mother was Barbara Kunkle.  Kunkle…an seemingly rare if not odd name.  But a Kunkle nonetheless.

Now here’s the part I believe most people missed.  Later in the show,  as Josh Taylor was working with Julie Bryar, he displayed a 1933 Canadian Immigration document which, on line 5, showed Julie’s great grandfather, Julius Marsalko.  Who noticed the name on line 4?  It just happens to be “James KUNKLE”!!

It’s a small world after all!

FYI Both Julius Marsalko and James Kunkle were stamped “REJECTED” for admission!!

Related articles

Judy G Russell, JD, CG, CGL “Visits” Western Mass Genealogical Society

If I’ve ever prepared for a monthly meeting of WMGS, it’s this month’s meeting. It will be our 4th virtual meeting, each with an increasing level of technology and the resultant learning curve.

English: British genealogist and heraldist Sir...

English: British genealogist and heraldist Sir Arthur Vicars (1862–1921), Ulster King of Arms and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve had some high profile guests in virtual environments over the past year interspersed with local genealogists.  For example, Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, was our guest late in our 2013-2014 season.  Big success!  Great program!  We’d love to have her again!

A few months later, our next virtual guest was Dick Eastman, genealogist and publisher of the monthly Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter. You can subscribe to the basic account at no charge with a small fee for the “Plus Edition.” He spent the evening helping our members understand how far MyHeritage has grown and the ins and outs of using it as a research resource.  Very informative and helpful. And he’s right…MyHeritage has grown by leaps and bounds and through that growth is challenges the “big guns” such as

Last November, we were challenged to organize our research in 12 months with one project per month by “DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy.”  She had 12 challenges with 3 bonus challenges that were handed out at random to 15 WMGS members.  They each took the “hot seat” to be personally challenged by DearMYRTLE to tackle the project they had been handed when they walked in the door.  in addition to her genealogical community, you can visit her public Facebook page.

Keep in mind that these guest presenters were nowhere near our meetings which take place at the Agawam Senior Center in Agawam Massachusetts.  They were each sitting comfy at home while they talked to us in real time and we were able to interact with them.  What a world!

This Wednesday, 4 February 2015, our guest will be Judy G Russell, the Legal Genealogist. I’ve

Judy G Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G Russell, JD, CG, CGL

heard Judy speak many times and I’m always impressed.  She’s a trained attorney and a highly respected genealogist.  You can tell from her post-nominals: JD, CG and CGL.  JD is her law degree, “Doctor of Jurisprudence“.  CG is her designation as a Certified Genealogist, not a small feat!  CGL refers to Certified Genealogical Lecturer, another professional milestone.  I always have told my genealogy research classes that the easiest ancestor to research is a criminal.  Judy is here to prove that concept with “Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep.”  Can’t wait for this one!

She’ll be visiting with us via Google+ Hangouts on Air.  Our membership is certainly invited to come to the meeting in person, of course.  But if anyone cannot make it for any reason whatsoever, they can sit at home and actually participate live!  Most of our members belong to our “WMGS Google+ Community” as well as having paid memberships in the Society.  Only paid members will have access to the program after it is archived at YouTube.

If you haven’t experienced a Google+ Hangout or joined a Google+ Community, it’s worth

thetime…there are thousands that cater to nearly every interest.  You should take a look at the technology and the different types of Hangouts: private, one-on-one hangouts, business meetings, applicant interviews, educational broadcasts…all with FREE technology!

If you can be with us Wednesday night, great!  We’d love to have you.

One more thought:  If your in or near New England, please consider attending the New England Regional Genealogical Conference, April 15 – 18 in Providence, Rhode Island.  Get the details here: NERGC.