Saturday, December 31, 2011

Genealogy Review of 2011

Happy New Year's Eve and Happy New Year to everyone. I don't make resolutions but I do plan to lose at least 10 pounds in the next month. Some of you may think that's too big of a goal, but it's okay because I'm pregnant and will welcome my new bundle of joy in a few days. Here is a review of 2011, genealogy-wise.

Personal genealogy: My goals were to finish my husband's Mayflower application and start my and my husband's DAR and SAR applications (respectively). I did make progress toward my husband's Mayflower application but it's not done. His line has not been done before, so it is quite a task. I did make progress in my Sickmon and Regnier families as I found a contact in Monmouth, Illinois who did some research for me. Recently (last week) I have made progress with my Hanks family as I found his immigration record; he was recorded under his step-father's name which I didn't know until recently.

Volunteer genealogy: My goal was to finish photographing the Osceola Cemetery and putting it on Findagrave; I haven't finished this yet but I made A LOT of progress. At the end of 2010 I had one block photographed, and now at the end of 2011 I have over 14 blocks photographed. I only had one block online, and now I have about 11 blocks online. I still have many photos to add and a few names, plus I am updating the records as I go.
I wanted to update my Kearney County Nebraska GenWeb site monthly; I'm not sure I've updated it in the last year. I did get a burial listing for one cemetery in Kearney County which I have worked on, and need to do more with this. Monthly was probably too often; I should've said quarterly.
I wanted to keep up with obit transcripts, which I didn't, and I have now quit doing those.

Research and Organize: I wanted to continue to research and look into records where I have less experience. I did do some of this as I looked into land records on the Bureau of Land Management's web site. I wanted to organize my genealogy life for 1 hour each week; I did get better organized thanks to a purchased bookshelf but I probably didn't do an hour a week.

Writing: Writing is not my strong point, but I wanted to keep up with my genealogy blog, doing two each month or 24 for the year. I came close on this one, as I wrote 21 blogs in 2011. Oh make that 22 blogs counting this one to post today!

It's always hard for one to accomplish their goals, and I usually set too many, so I don't get bored. Plus I have a house to run and a child (soon to be 2 children) to take care of, so genealogy sometimes doesn't get as much time as I want. Okay who reading this would rather clean the house than do genealogy? None of you probably.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I post my 2012 goals. Since I didn't accomplish everything in 2011, there's still plenty for 2012. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bloggiversary & Veteran's/Binary Day

Today is 11/11/11. A day that represents three things:
(1) My first bloggiversary: I started my blog a year ago today. Thanks for all you who read my posts.
(2) Binary Day: I graduated with a math major and use computers a lot. There are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don't. I'm the first, although sometimes it takes me some time to calculate it out.
(3) Veteran's Day: I am thankful for all who served so I can live in a free country. God bless America!

In my direct ancestry, I have at least two veterans.
My Civil War ancestor is Jesse Fields. I have researched him quite a bit. I have his gravestone photo, death certificate, and records of immigration, as well as his service records. It helps that I have chatted with one of my Fields cousins, who happens to live in the UK. What is frustrating with this ancestor is many trees I have seen have the wrong death date for him. It would take me too long to message them all, so I'll just say "oh well" on that one. Jesse was born in 1828 in England, and served with the state of Wisconsin in the Civil War. He died in Nebraska in January 1918. He is my ancestor through my paternal grandmother (my dad's mom, etc.).

My Revolutionary War ancestor is Gurden Chamberlain. Gurden is my ancestor through my maternal grandmother (my mother's mother's line etc.). I have found a distant relative's SAR (Sons of American Revolution) application on, so hopefully when I get started on my DAR application it won't take long. On that app, it states that Gurden served from the state of New York as a private in Captain Abner Horley's company of Colonel Peter Van Ness regiment of Albany county militia. There is a date of October 28, 1781 and I'm not sure what that represents now.

My husband also has a Revolutionary War ancestor and a grandparent who served.

We are fortunate to live in a free country, the United States of America! Now let's hope the current politicians don't ruin it. (LOL)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Charging for Genealogy Research?

We had a small genealogy meeting last night, but I was encouraged to possibly become a "professional genealogist" or at least a genealogist for hire. The county historical society occasionally gets requests, as well as the library. Plus I have gotten a few of my own. So I have questions for my fellow genealogists.

1. How much do you charge? Per hour? And do you charge if you don't find anything? I have no qualifications yet, so I was thinking $10 an hour or so.

2. I do quite a bit of research out of kindness; how do you know when to charge? I know for this one individual, if he bugs me for anything more, I am going to charge him. I have helped him locate a marriage and my gravestone photos are already posted for free. I did not order the marriage license, and I won't unless he pays.

Then for me, I need to decide whether to keep specific hours, and therefore might need some daycare or just to fit it in. I didn't think I was going to start this for a couple years, when at least one of my children is in school.

I live in a somewhat rural area, so I'm not sure I will have loads of business. However my idea that I've had for about a year is incorporating genealogy with another business, which for me would be taxes. I am good with details and numbers, but then again, I don't have qualifications for tax preparation either.

Any suggestions or comments are welcome. I thank you in advance. If you don't want to comment, you can message me on Twitter, Facebook or email.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Census Confusion

Yesterday evening, I went to my local genealogy meeting. While we were there, a friend asked to look at this census for her.

It's the 1910 census for a family. It looks like the parents are Jim and Sue Evans, and they have children: Henry Evans, Claude Futrell, Clyde Futrell, Bettie Futrell, Virginia Futrell and May Futrell. Hopefully at least some of you go "what"? Does this make sense. Pulling up the image, we see the Futrell children at the top of page 27A, so going back to 26B we see the three Evans family. Okay, let's look closely at the places of birth and relationships.
Jim Evans, head, born in Kentucky
Sue Evans, wife, born in Missouri
Henry Evans, son, born in Tennessee, dad born in Kentucky, mom born in Missouri.
Note at the top left the Evans are on Moscow Avenue.
That all makes sense. Now back to page 27A for the Futrell children:
Claude Futrell, son, born in Tennessee, dad born in TN, mom born in TN
Clyde Futrell, son, born in TN, dad born in TN, mom born in TN
Same thing for the three daughters, all born in TN with dad and mom born in TN.
Also note on the left the enumerator is on Holly Street.
So where are their parents? Because Jim and Sue Evans don't seem to be the Futrell parents.
Well scroll one more page forward to page 27B and scroll clear to the bottom.
There are the bottom are J. G. and Carrie Futrell. J. G. was born in Missouri (okay, I would've expected Tennessee, so this may not be correct), and Carrie born in Tennessee. Look up at the top and the census taker is again (still) on Holly Street. So here are our choices:
A. For some reason the Futrell children are living with the Evans in 1910.
B. Page 27A and 27B got switched by the census taker, and really the Futrell children are where we would expect, with their parents.
At first my friend thought choice A was correct, as she had heard maybe Carrie was considered "idiotic" in a previous census, so perhaps she was unable to take care of the children.
After I showed her this, she now agrees with choice B. It looks as if the census taker got these pages switched.
It turns out that "idiotic" comment was about a different relative.

Lessons learned: (1) Always look closely at the people (and sometimes pages) around your people on the census. (2) If something doesn't seem right, have a genealogy friend take a look at it. A fresh set of eyes can bring a new perspective.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 38 of 52: Hobbies

From Geneabloggers challenge, "52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and Family History"

Week #38 – Hobbies

Week 38: Hobbies. Did you have any hobbies as a child? Which ones?

Intro: I haven't done any of these challenges. I've read a couple of them, which must not have seen interesting to me at the time. Today I thought I'd do this one. I needed a blogging idea, as I'm behind on my blogging goal. 
Yes I had hobbies as a child. My brother and I played some board games growing up; I remember playing Monopoly for a LONG time one day with him. I think he beat me, and we either had lots of snow or it was pouring buckets that day. I READ A LOT! I would ride my bike to the library 2-3 times a week to get books. The librarians knew me well, and even though there was a limit of 2-3 books, they'd let me take 4 or 5 and know that I'd have them back in 2-3 days. The times I had to go from Tuesday afternoon til Thursday afternoon when the library was open meant I had to stock up, plus on weekends I stocked up. My mom used to ask me to do a chore and I'd say something like "In a little bit, I'm at a good part." She learned to respond "Well you'll still be at that good part when you get back". It didn't work, but good try, Mom. 
My dad collected stamps, so I tried collecting stamps for a short while. I found it boring. I listened to music as a pre-teen, sitting by my radio on Friday or Saturday nights listening to the weekly Top 40 (with Rick Dees). That was 80's music. I would try to tape certain songs off on my cassette when listening, wishing the DJ wouldn't talk over the songs much. 
As a family, we used to play cards with our grandparents. My mom's side played 10-point pitch, and Dad's side usually played rummy. When my brother went to college and Grandma lived in town, my parents, my Grandma and I would play bridge on Sundays after church and lunch. We usually had lunch with Grandma at the retirement home. My brother didn't like bridge and didn't learn it much, so if he was there, we played call-your-partner 10-point pitch. 
Of course now I still enjoy reading and music. My music taste has changed some. Plus genealogy is now my favorite hobby! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review of 2011 Goals

Well 2011 is more than half over so I thought I'd see how I'm doing on my 2011 goals. So first relisting my goals, and then how I'm doing:

Now to plan for 2011, here are my goals, in no particular order:

1. To finish my husband's Mayflower 

2. To finish photographing the Osceola Cemetery and put it on Findagrave and possibly start another one

3. To have a sizable (at least 20) group attend our event March 28 with Megan Smolenyak

4. To write a blog at least twice a month (24 times a year)

5. To update my Kearney County NE GenWeb web site at least monthly

6. Organize: Set aside 1 hour each week to organize, whether it be my computer or papers

7. Look into the NGS Home Study course

8. Research: Continue to research, and hopefully into records with which I have less experience (land records, probate records, etc.)

9. To do a better job at keeping up with my obit transcripts, to have each month done by the 10th of the following month

10. To keep up reading my emails better, to get no more than a month behind in reading the GenWeb ones.

11. Work on my husband's SAR and my DAR applications. 

1. Still working on it, so not gotten much, if any further than I was several months ago (not good).
2. Working on it, I have 7 blocks photographed and almost 6 blocks of memorials online. (fairly well)
3. DONE! We had unexpected bad weather so we only had around 30 people come but for our small town, that was great! I think we would've had a few more if weather was better. 
4. Doing pretty good, I think one month I only had one post, but made up for it the month before or after. 
5. Doing horribly on this one, haven't updated it since I wrote the goal. 
6. Doing okay, got my genealogy mess by my computer organized into a bookshelf. Could always do more and better on this one. 
7. Done a tiny bit on this one (so not good).
8. I have done a little research online with land records and found one of my great-great-grandfather's homestead info. Started this goal but would like to do more. 
9. I have pretty much quit on the obit transcripts; the webmaster decided not to do the paper I was doing anymore and she offered me another one but I haven't done it. 
10. Up until last night I was a year behind on those emails, so now I'm about 11 months behind, so not doing well on this one either. 
11. Haven't done anything on these either. 

Well this means I still have lots I can do for the rest of 2011. Although no excuse is a good one, I did get pregnant so have been extra tired with less energy for at least 3 months. I seem to be motivated for only certain things, or bounce around from one to another, but so far, this is just a hobby for me, although some day I would love to get paid for doing something I love. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family Reunions

Apparently July is the time for family reunions, and after many years of gathering at Christmas, three years ago my mom's side of the family decided to gather in the summer instead. Weather being what it is in the Midwest (Kansas and Nebraska) and having many teachers in the family, summer seems to work better.

The first year was a bit of a trial run, so we also organized it around a surprise birthday party for my mom's 65th birthday. We didn't plan many activities but mainly figured out where 30-40 people were going to eat a couple times a day and where we were going to stay. Year two took us to Kansas for several activities and some down time for naps for kids, socializing and swimming. Year three we were back in Nebraska which included a trip to the cemeteries to visit some ancestors, and I brought (some of) my genealogy info to share. Now my immediate family is in charge for year four, so we will see what that brings.

Some things to consider with a family reunion:
1. Location, location, location (for food, activities and hotels we find a good-sized city is needed)
2. Activities for all ages: we've had swimming, shooting guns, shopping, bowling, cemetery tour, roller skating
3. Some down time: several of us still have young children who "need" naps, plus usually we just want to talk and catch up with our family
4. Traditions: Our family would be disappointed if my mom didn't bring chocolate angel food cake, I didn't bring mint brownies, and Aunt Mary didn't bring her sugar cookies.
5. Date and duration: Some people stick with the same weekend each year. We tend to try to find a weekend that fits with most of the family. Some reunions are just a few hours around lunch or dinner; we usually do most of the weekend, Saturday morn through Sunday noon. People usually don't have to take much time off work then.

That's about all I have. Feel free to add your suggestions. We don't have a very large family reunion, although we now are over 40 members if everyone attends. I think each year there has been one family not come, which is disappointing but the schedule doesn't always work for everyone.

Hope you take some time this summer to enjoy your family and have fun together!

Friday, July 8, 2011

What's in a Name?

How did we get our name? What is the most popular first name in your family tree (program)? Have you found any unusual names in your research or other research? How did/do you select a name for your kids? These questions recently came to me, so I thought I'd jot them down to discuss.

My first name is Beth (not Elizabeth, just Beth). I am not sure exactly how I got my name (maybe I should ask my mother), but my conjecture has been that since my mother's name is Betty, they picked Beth because it is similar. Yes, we both get asked if our full name is Elizabeth. Neither of us is Elizabeth. Sometimes I wish my name was Elizabeth, because then I would have nickname options. Not many nickname options for Beth. 

We selected the name Kirk for our first child because we like it, and after a Christian evangelist (and former child actor) Kirk Cameron. My husband also likes Captain Kirk of Star Trek, and I kind of like Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN so it seemed like a good name. We chose his middle name after my dad; my son has my dad's middle name. So now (if you didn't know) I am pregnant with our second child, and we have to select names again. We have two girl names in mind, but are having trouble with a boy name. My husband has a couple of ideas on boy names, but I'm not sure I like them. You are welcome to leave suggestions in the comments. We don't like "popular" names; we'd like him not to have the same name as several others in his class (or our town). It needs to be slightly unusual, but not extra weird if you know what I mean. One name my husband likes is Experience, which is the name of one of his ancestors. I don't like it, so there's very little chance our child will have that name. When I was pregnant with Kirk, he liked to tell people we were going to name him Abimelech, which means "my father is king".

Of course I and at least my mom and my sister-in-law are hoping we have a girl so then the boy name won't matter. My husband wants another boy, which might be easier as we already have boy clothes and toys. I think my two nieces (one almost 9 months old and one going to be born in September) need a girl cousin to play with. My closest girl cousin in age was over 3 years younger than me, which is not a big deal now, but when you're growing up it seems bigger. 

In certain cultures, they use naming patterns. For instance I learned in Germany they often use the same first name and then go by their middle name or one of their middle names. I have found several Johanns (Johns) in my family tree. Sometimes a child is named after a relative. Often they name the first son after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather, the third after the father, etc. That makes for confusing family trees. Also I learned just because he is John Jr. does not mean he is the son of John Sr. He may be the younger John in the family. 

Hopefully you learned something from this post or it at least got you to thinking of your names. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ways I Use One of My Favorite Sites, Findagrave

10 WAYS I USE ONE OF MY FAVORITE SITES, FINDAGRAVE is one of my favorite genealogy web sites; it probably is the one I use the most. I am by no means an expert, but having been a member for almost 10 years I have explored it quite a bit. 

1. Check Findagrave before going to a cemetery anywhere for requests. I am a photo volunteer; I take photos anywhere in my county and sometimes a bit beyond. However even when travelling, if I go to a cemetery, I check Findagrave before I go for photo requests. I have fulfilled requests all over Nebraska. I have been known to spontaneously stop at a cemetery and check the requests on my phone.

2. Virtual Cemeteries: I use virtual cemeteries to split up my families. I have one for my dad's line (Jorgensen), one for my mom's line (Seggerman), one for my husband's dad's line (Sparrow), one for my husband's mom's line (Patterson), one for my step-mother-in-law's family, one for one of my uncle's family. I may use more. You can put anyone's memorial into these and divide however you like: by family, by location, by military service, etc.

3. Transcribing cemeteries: I am working on photographing ALL the cemeteries in my county and putting them on Findagrave. Currently I have about 5 done. I started this 3 years ago when my son was little in an effort to lose weight. Well it's been fun, but the weight hasn't gone anywhere. You can put your info into an Excel template and then submit it, or you can submit one-by-one. I don't like to duplicate memorials that are already there, so I go one-by-one. A bit more time consuming, but worth it I think. I also periodically download my transcriptions to a tab-delimited (Excel) file. Under your contributor tools, you can download data from any cemetery saved as "My Cemeteries" or any Virtual Cemetery to a tab-delimited file which then you can open in Excel (or some other spreadsheet or possibly database).

4. Request photos: I live in the middle of the USA and rarely (if ever) get to either coast. Therefore I make photo requests for relatives so someone closer might fulfill them. Gravestones can have valuable info on them besides DOB (birth date) and DOD (death date). Some have place of birth, relationship to others, military service, time of immigration, etc. If I don't have (or don't think I have) a photo, I try to request it right away while I am on that memorial; otherwise I may forget. Also if another person has already requested one, you cannot also request so you may want to review all your memorials periodically in those cases. I wish there was a way you could request it too, so Findagrave would also notify you and the original requester. Maybe if they read this, they will. (Hahaha)

5. Obituaries from newspapers you receive or peruse online: Usually by the time I get to checking, someone else has already posted the obituaries on a memorial on Findagrave. There are a few of these people who seem to do this VERY quickly. It's still a good idea if you subscribe to a newspaper or read one regularly online to check to see if there is a memorial on Findagrave, and if not, create one and put the obit as the bio. Note: I don't include the survivors listed in the obit on Findagrave for privacy reasons; you can suit yourself. Some people do NOT want their info online, especially if this might include their mother's maiden name, etc which might be used as security questions. NOTE 2
: I NEVER EVER use mother's maiden name as a security question and would advise that to everyone else.

6. Famous people: When visiting a cemetery, I also click on the famous people to see if their gravestone photo has been added. If not, I go look for it. I have added gravestone photos for 3 "famous people" that I can remember, and possibly more. There are many things you can do under the Famous Grave section on Findagrave's homepage. You can search born on this date, died on this date, interesting monuments, interesting epitaphs, etc. I have seen the one interesting monument in Nebraska in person, and it is deservedly in that category.

7. Suggest a correction: If you have more info on a person or want it transferred to you, I suggest using this feature. I (personally) have over 5000 memorials so I don't remember them all, and I am NOT related to them all. (See above about transcribing cemeteries.) I am not in the top contributors, so there are people with more than that. Findagrave's policy is that a relative have a memorial if possible, however do not go into great discussion with your 4th cousin whether you should have it or they should. Then use the Virtual Cemetery feature and let by-gones be by-gones. However if the memorial is your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent then you or a close relative should have the memorial. I am happy to transfer to a relative or add info. When I request I usually say, please consider transferring if this is not a relative and then I state my relationship to the person. Most are considerate about transferring.

8. Virtual Flowers: I don't leave many virtual flowers and usually just on my family, but this is a nice feature by which one can remember a lost loved one. Some people "randomly" leave virtual flowers on many memorials, which somewhat annoys me, as if they leave one on mine, sometimes I check later to see if that's a relative that I need to offer to transfer the memorial.

9. Link relationships: I love this feature and love when they added it. I remember the older days of Findagrave it wasn't there. This is great when tracing a family. If you know a person's parents or children, try to link them with the link relationship option. Sometimes I will be tracing a family and when those links are there, I can get 3-4 more generations back. If I am not sure, I don't add the relationship. Most times when two people are listed on a gravestone and one is/looks male and one is/looks female, they were probably married. However as soon as I "guess" on that relationship, I will probably guess it wrong, so I just don't connect them. If someone who knows the family or has the info via an obit or other source contacts me via the suggest correction, I am happy to add those relationships.

10. Questions?? I am by no means a Findagrave expert but I have been a member for nearly 10 years, about as long as I've been doing genealogy. If you have questions, first I recommend checking the FAQ (frequently asked questions), then contacting Findagrave by email.

Hope you enjoyed this and that it may have helped you in some way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review of NSGS May 2011

May 15, 2011
Should probably have posted this last week, but I just didn't get around to it.

Last weekend I went to Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS) annual meeting and conference in Nebraska City so I thought I would summarize my weekend.
I arrived in the nick of time on Friday morning as I rushed out of my house that morning to give last minute instructions to my babysitter (my mom/his grandma). They were just beginning the conference.

First up was a welcome and we had a short history of the remarkable building, the Methodist Church in Nebraska City, which is the oldest Methodist church in the state. Then they introduced the main speaker, Gail Blankenau and she began speaking on German parish records. Almost every attendee had German ancestors so this was very pertinent. I learned a few German words and more about how to research my German line, and a few good web sites. Next was a break for wonderful treats and to visit the (5) vendors! Okay maybe it was a few more than five, but there weren't many. Then we had an overview of what's available at the Nebraska State Historical Society Library in Lincoln. Check out their web site to check out databases and records. Then we had a wonderful lunch, and a few awards were presented.

After lunch, we tried to Keep Up with the Jones....and Smiths...and..... We learned techniques for researching common names. Two useful tips were researching the WHOLE family and remember LOCATION! Much easier to research a Rufus Smith than a John Smith! Last on Friday, we were graced by the presence of Barbara (Kagi) Mayhew, an early settler of Nebraska City. That was quite informative and interesting, but probably not of interest to anyone reading this. We were done by 3:30-ish. Many of us went to check in, and a few went shopping. Later than evening at 6 pm we took a tour of Wyuka Cemetery in Nebraska City, the oldest cemetery in Nebraska. Prior to the tour I spent about an hour walking around the cemetery, taking photos. The tour was very interesting and my favorite part of the weekend. At 7:30 pm I was ready to leave the cemetery and get some supper and rest.

Saturday Gail spoke 3 times on Using Land Records, Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors and Dating and Identifying your 19th century photos. We also had Dean Podoll speak about Notable Nebraskans During the Civil War. Gail remarked how land records have helped her when many other records give dead ends.

It was good to talk and socialize with others who enjoy the same thing I do. I learned a lot and had a good time. This would be a long post if I summarized everything I learned. Now I am excited to get back and research and try to identify some old photos. Next year we will be in Grand Island May 2012.

The most interesting gravestone in Wyuka Cemetery, Nebr City
(It is correct in my files but gets rotated when I upload to my blog.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday (Night) Genealogy Fun

It's not quite "night" where I am yet, but I am doing this Saturday "Night" Fun by Randy Seaver (

1)  Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

1-2. I am using The Master Genealogist; I went up to Reports and down to Distribution of people. My trees are also online on and so I could try there and see if they have reports.

3.  I have 2 databases/projects: one for me and one for my husband's. There are a few people who overlap in both. I could not find how many surnames are in either database, but I know how many people and how many people with each surname.

MINE (total of 620 people):
1. FOSTER, 51 people, 8.23%
2. JORGENSEN, 40 people, 6.45%
3. REGNIER, 33 people, 5.32%
4. (empty, blank), 31 people
5. FLORA, 22 people
6. HOWLAND, 19 people
7. SEGGERMAN, 18 people
8. ALLISON, 13 people
9. KIRKPATRICK, 13 people

HUSBAND'S (total of 990 people):
1. THOMPSON, 66 people, 6.67%
2. SPARROW, 51 people, 5.15%
3. FORESMAN, 42 people, 4.24%
4. (empty, blank), 25 people
5. SMITH, 25 people
6. PATTERSON, 23 people
7. WHITACRE, 23 people
8. CAPRON, 20 people
9. RAMSEY, 17 people
10. RICHART, 17 people

Interesting that #4 in both is people with no last name. Guess I need to work on finding those out, probably women that I don't know their maiden name. If you recognize these surnames, please contact me if you are interesting in comparing info.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Family Recipe Friday: Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Family Tree Magazine is publishing a book of family recipes with stories. (I can't find it on their web site now so go to this blog site for more info.)

Here is what I hope to submit for my entry. The photo at the bottom is me, my grandma and my mom at my wedding about 5 years ago. My grandma has since passed away.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake
My grandmother, Pamelia (Regnier) Seggerman, made this recipe and it is legendary in my family. Then my mom learned to make it. Consequently through my family genes, I had to learn how to make it. One week about 8 years ago or so, my cousin from New Mexico visited and she and her dad had THREE chocolate angel food cakes that week made by THREE generations.
My mom's version is a bit different than my grandma's, and I think my mom's is better. Here are both of them:  
Grandma (Pamelia) Seggerman

3/4 c. cake flour

5 T. cocoa

3/4 c. sugar

1 3/4 c. egg whites, room temperature

1/2 tsp. salt
1  1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sift cocoa, flour and 3/4 cup sugar at least 5 times. (The more you sift, the better the cake.) Beat egg whites and salt till frothy. (Use electric mixer.) Add cream of tartar and beat until egg whites stand in stiff peaks. Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time and fold in after each addition. Add vanilla. Sift flour mixture over top, 2 tablespoons at a time and fold in lightly with rubber spatula. Bake in ungreased tube pan in 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Invert and cool overnight. Frost with Yummy Frosting.
Yummy Frosting:
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/2 c. shortening (Crisco is okay)
1 egg
1 1/2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients together in electric mixer and beat thoroughly until fluffy. Frost cake.

(My Mom), Betty Jorgensen
3/4 c. cake flour, sifted
1/4 c. cocoa
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. (12) egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
Sift flour with 3/4 cup sugar and cocoa 4 times. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar, salt and vanilla until stiff enough to form soft peaks. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, while still beating until stiff peaks form. By hand, fold in flour mixture (1/4 of the mixture at a time), continually turning bowl and using up and down folding. DON'T STIR. Bake in ungreased 10-inch tube pan in 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Cracks on top of cake should be slightly moist. Invert pan to cool before removing. Frost with Chocolate Satin Frosting. Serves 16 pieces.
Chocolate Satin Frosting:
3 1/2 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 c. sifted powdered sugar
4 1/2 T. hot water
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 c. soft butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Melt chocolate over hot water or in microwave. With mixer, blend in powdered sugar and hot water. Beat in egg, then butter and vanilla. Place bowl in ice water and continue beating until of spreading consistency. Frost top and sides of cake. If there is leftover frosting, use on graham crackers or cookies. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review of Cold Cases via Skype by Megan Smolenyak

March 29, 2011

Last evening we hosted Megan Smolenyak live via Skype. We had about 27 people in attendance, and we think the weather may have discouraged some from attending. Who knew we'd have snow at the end of March in Nebraska? We thought we'd probably be okay weather wise.

Megan's topic was Cold Cases: Unclaimed Persons and the FBI. She talked about how she got started with Unclaimed Persons. For those of you who don't know, an unclaimed person is a deceased person who has an identity but the family cannot be located. She started using reverse genealogy to find living family members of a few cases. At first coroners were hesitant to work with amateur genealogists, but after about 5 years they now consider them a valuable tool. She described three particular cases to us and techniques she used. Unclaimed Persons is now a group of over 500 volunteers all over the country who have solved about 240 of the 310 cases they have received (77%). If you are interested in Unclaimed Persons, you may search for the Unclaimed Persons--Private group on Facebook. There is also more information on the web site

Megan pointed out that most of the family members are grateful and relieved to know what happened to their family. Some family members have just lost track of their unclaimed person because of a small dispute. So the moral of this story seemed to be to keep in contact with your family. Send a Christmas letter each year, or give someone a call each Thanksgiving, etc. There are many ways to stay in touch especially now with cell phones, email, social networking sites, etc. (I know some of my family has dismissed other family members because they "aren't interested" but I make an effort to keep in contact at least once a year.)

Megan mentioned now she works with the FBI, NCIS and the military locating family members of their unclaimed. She even has an FBI code name! Did you know there are over 8000 Korean soldiers who are unclaimed persons? She also mentioned several TV shows she has worked with, including Who Do You Think You Are? and more recently Top Chef. About 300-500 hours of research are done for each 42-minute segment of WDYTYA? Sometimes she traces celebrities for these television shows, which she says is harder than your "average Joe".

After her talk which lasted approximately an hour, we had a question and answer period which was very valuable. We learned more about her and about genealogy and research techniques. Someone asked about her favorite web sites, so she then told us several. She mentioned she keeps 15-20 internet tabs/windows open at once! I thought only my husband (a network administrator) had that many. Someone asked how a newbie to genealogy should get started; she recommended starting at home and talking to your living relatives. She mentioned one of the best web sites for International records is

Overall, we were very pleased with the presentation. I heard many good comments after her presentation and a few people asked when we could do it again or who else we could get to speak. I would highly recommend Megan Smolenyak as a speaker. For more information about having her speak, visit her web site I know I'd love to go to Denver tomorrow to see her, but it's just not going to work this time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another mystery gravestone

Need suggestions on this one. Lillie May died as an infant, but I don't have dates or a last name. I think the info might be on here; it's just very hard to read. Anyone have suggestions of how to clean the moss SAFELY. Or a suggestion for a SAFE rubbing. Thanks. I have a directory for this cemetery, but all they have is Lillie May (infant).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Irish, Are You?

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It seems like this day always has me thinking of my Irish ancestors. I am 1/8 Irish, as my great-grandmother was full Irish. My great-great-grandparents came over from Ireland, although not together it seems.

My great-great-grandparents James Dacy and Bridget (Crahan/Crane) Dacy are one of my brickwalls. I have photos of their gravestones, although James' was erected by a grandchild many years later and not where he was buried. James Dacy was born about 1839 in Ireland (Clare County?) and immigrated to the States some time later. One source has he immigrated with his parents and brothers in 1841 when he was just a toddler. I wonder if the potato famine from 1845-1852 didn't have something to do with their emigration. Lucy Bridget Crahan/Crane was born about 1838 in Ireland. They were married about 1860 probably in Missouri. They had many children, ten I think. I descend from one of their younger daughters, Katherine. James died in March 1891 in New Mexico; his gravestone says he was a "pioneer railroad grade builder at Clayton, NM 1885". Bridget died in 1890 in either New Mexico or Oklahoma.

If you are able to help me with these people, I would appreciate it. If you are related to them, please contact me. If you can help with records in Missouri or New Mexico, I would appreciate that.

This photo is of Bridget Dacy and I don't know when it was taken, but it looks like it was taken in Kingman, Kansas.
Thanks for reading! Hope everyone has a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day (whether you're Irish or not)!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The -ologies: Genealogy & Technology that is

In my circle of genealogy friends, I am the one people turn to about their technology questions. Maybe it's because I'm almost always the youngest, being under 40 years old, or maybe it's because my husband is a network administrator (a fancy word for computer tech although he focuses on networking). At any rate, here is my 2 cents worth a genealogist should know and do. Most of you probably already know this and try to do it.

1. Have an adequate computer with internet access, a decent digital camera, printer and probably a scanner. You decide what is adequate for you; I prefer a laptop (we recommend a business line). I like Canon PowerShot cameras. Plan to replace your computer and camera every 4-5 years. Printers and scanners usually last longer, maybe 7-10 years.

2. BACK UP, BACK UP, BACK UP! Back up your files every month if you're an avid genealogist to thumb drive, external drive, CD/DVD or online. If you are less dedicated to genealogy, you can probably back up once a quarter (Jan, Apr, July and Sept.).

3. Use a genealogy program. There are several from which to choose. I use The Master Genealogist (available from; the most popular and readily available is probably Family Tree Maker. Others include Roots Magic, Brothers Keeper, Legacy Family Tree, etc. I am sure I forgot some. Some have free downloads either for a set amount of a time or just with a few options. Get comfortable with your program. Know how to import and export a gedcom.

4. Put your tree(s) online. I have had my tree(s) online almost since I started in genealogy. I've been doing this a mere 10 years so the internet has always been available to me. There are a couple sites you can use. I first put my tree on World Connect ( and more recently on I have had many distant relatives contact me this way. It is one of the best ways to meet your distant (or even not so) distant cousins. I found my SECOND cousin this way, realized we lived a mere 2 hours away from each other and we met in person a while later.

5. Use social media, find some genealogy friends. Use Facebook or Twitter to find genealogy friends and follow more "famous" genealogists. Genealogists are very helpful by nature. Check your local library or newspaper to see if there are local meetings you can attend. Attend a state or regional conference if your budget and schedule allows. Start a blog!

6. ORGANIZE! This is the one where I'm probably the worst. Use file folders to organize your genealogy files. I have pictures organized by cemetery or family, and most other files by family. Then it's much easier to back up, just copy that file and paste it over each time.

7. Have at least 2 email addresses. You may want to use a separate email address for genealogy, or you may want to organize your emails into folders. There are several sites that have free email, such as Yahoo, Gmail, etc. Make sure to check your spam folder regularly.

8. Use bookmarks/favorites to save sites. You can also make a genealogy folder in your favorites to separate these. Some of my general favorites are,, and (especially the SSDI part).

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure others will think of more. Feel free to comment.
Happy searching!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love and Marriage

February 26, 2011

Well it's a good thing I did extra for January because now February is almost done and I don't think I've posted a thing. I had a post ready and then didn't do it for personal reasons.

Who read my title and starting singing the theme song "Love and Marriage" from "Married...With Children" with the Bundy family? It was a popular show when I was in college, at least among my friends.

February is Valentine's month, so everyone probably thinks about love at least once this month. So who in your family tree was married the most? And how many times? Do you have any Larry Kings or Elizabeth Taylors in your tree?

The one who comes to my mind is my great-great-grandfather on my father's side. He was married three times. What is weird/amazing is that two of the three wives were my great-great-grandmothers.
My great-great-grandfather Lars Jorgensen was born in Denmark in 1849 and married his first wife Anna in 1871 in Denmark. They immigrated some time between 1871-1873 to the United States, and then my great-grandfather Chris was born in Nebraska in 1873. Lars and Anna had a total of 6 children. Anna passed away in 1906. That's marriage number 1, to my g-g-grandmother Anna.
Then in 1907 Lars married Lena, who was also my g-g-grandmother. Lena was Chris' mother-in-law; Chris married Lena's daughter Katie. At that time Chris' mother-in-law became his step-mother! How confusing is that. Lena passed away in 1914. (Marriage number 2)
His third marriage was in 1915 to a lady named Maren. I don't know much about this marriage, or this lady.
Lars died in 1934, and I'm not sure when Maren died, so I don't know how long their marriage lasted. All of his marriages took place in the same county in Nebraska.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at love and marriage. Maybe I will try to research a bit more on Maren. Till next time......

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Similarities abound

January 30, 2011

I was transcribing this obituary for a web site, and I came upon several similarities to my life I thought I would jot them down.

The above is a link to an obit of a lady named Dorothy E. Premer. Dorothy and I have some similarities it seems.
1. We share a birthday: May 25 (not the same year)
2. We share a middle initial: E.
3. She was born in Wilcox; I had my first teaching job in Wilcox.
4. She was employed as a librarian in Bartley; I have wanted to be a librarian.
5. I grew up in Cambridge, so I know her sister and maybe a sister-in-law.
6. Lockenour-Jones Mortuary is the same one who did my dad's service (okay, it's the only one in town and Bartley doesn't have one that I know of)

I never met this lady but I think I would've liked her. Rest in peace.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Genealogy Fun

January 29, 2011

Thanks to Randy Seaver (geniemusings) for this idea. I like his Saturday fun ideas; I just don't always do them all.
1) What day of the week were you born? Tell us how you found out.

2) What has happened in recorded history on your birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.

3)  What famous people have been born on your birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

4)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

1. 25 May 1973 was a Friday. I found out two ways. A few years ago my mom told me the doctor was leaving for Memorial day vacation and wasn't going until she had her baby (me). So Mom was induced on Friday and I was born, and the doctor could now take a nice long weekend. I also just verified by internet search.

2. On my birthday (1973) the U.S. launched the first Skylab crew. In 1961, President JFK sets goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade. In 1986, Hands Across America, 6 million people hold hands from New York to California. 1977: Star Wars: A New Hope was released. I found all of these by internet search.

3. Several famous people share my birthday: Jessi Colter and Tom T. Hall from country music. I used to have a country music calendar with birthdays. Actors Mike Myers (of Shrek, etc.) is 10 years older than I am, and Sir Ian McKellen (of LOTR). Actresses Connie Selleca and Anne Heche, and also singer Lauryn Hill all share my birthday. None are the same age I am, Lauryn Hill would be the closest and she is 2 years younger.

Thanks for this idea. This was a fun history lesson brought to you by the internet.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Genie Fun

Thanks to Randy Seaver ( for this one:
1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

For me, my grandpa Alfred Jorgensen was born in May 1899, so he would be 111 years old if he was still alive. (My other grandpa Lester would be 99 years old if still alive.)
So 111 divided by 4 and rounded is 28. Person 28 in my TMG is Cole Allison.
1. Cole Allison is currently 10 years old.
2. Cole is my cousin's son.
3. Cole was the ring bearer in my wedding.
If I did person 25, that is a different cousin's son (surname still Allison).

This was rather fun, but I love math and genealogy. I think since I am younger than the average genealogist, maybe I should've gone another generation back, so I am not writing about a living person. However I don't think I said anything too much to give away too much identity to those people who like to steal that information.
Another note: Woohoo, my third post for January, so I have a bonus. If I get busy during a month, I will still be on schedule for posting.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mystery (gravestone) Monday

Monday, January 3, 2011
I wasn't even going to blog today but I got to this gravestone that I can't read and I thought well I'll put it online for some other opinions.
I have a directory for this cemetery, so even if I get get some portions of it I can check the directory. However, the directory is incomplete and not always correct. I am correcting it as I go.
I think I can read Capt. and Lee, but not a whole lot else. I hate to rubbings, and it is mid-winter in Nebraska so there's little chance I'll get to do that any time soon anyway.
Please leave comments with your opinions. Thanks!
I can't figure out how to rotate that photo, so let me know and maybe I can reload one going the right direction, too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Additional Goal for 2011

January 1, 2011
Happy New Year!

I thought of another goal I wanted to add, not that I'll get to it, but if I put it here I won't forget (or at least that's the plan).

11. Work on my husband's and my applications to SAR and DAR respectively.

Hope everyone is having a great first day of 2011. I am trying to start my genealogy goals today! Already did some on Findagrave and a few obit transcripts! SO much more to do!