Monthly Archives: December 2008

Murder and Mayhem in the Family Tree

This may seem like a strange topic to post so close to the holidays, but it deals with some information that I have just recently found. It was on my mind, so I decided to post it now rather than later.

For the most part my ancestors and their relatives led very normal, ordinary lives. Most of them were law-abiding, upstanding citizens. Not to say they were perfect. Naturally, there were some scandalous behaviors and skeletons in the closets. There were children who were born (or at least conceived) out-of-wedlock. There was also the 2x great uncle who died of exposure when he fell down drunk coming home late one cold winter night and was not found until morning! Tragic, but not criminal.

Every once and a while, however, I actually do come across someone in my extended family tree who finds themselves on the wrong side of the law. My latest discovery happened just a few days ago. I was looking through an online newspaper collection for obituaries from the late 1940′s when a headline about a murder arrest caught my eye. I was pretty sure the person being arrested was in my database, and sure enough he was. He was my Dad’s second cousin! Continue reading

“Scrapping” Vintage Photos

I am one of the people lucky enough to have a box of old family photos, some dating from the late 1800s. But, as is generally the case, my luck only goes so far. Most of the photos are loose and have no markings or labeling as to who is pictured.

There was one photo in particular that really drew my attention. It’s a group photograph containing an elderly woman, some children, and several other family members – mostly women. There were a couple of faces that just looked sooo vaguely familiar. It nagged at the back of mind for a while, until I finally had a eureka moment! Continue reading

Resource – Family Search Pilot Site (Revisited)

For quite a while I’ve been meaning to write a follow-on post to my earlier one on the Family Search Pilot Site. This one is going to focus on using the Philadelphia (PA) Marriage Index. As the name suggests, this collection is images of the Marriage Index Books, not the marriage licenses or applications themselves. There is no search feature, as this collection has not been indexed. The process here is much more like flipping through the book electronically – or possibly going through microfilm a frame at a time. Warning: This process requires downloading the images that correspond to the pages in the index book. I have a high-speed, fiber-optic broadband connection and it can still be a little slow. I really can’t imagine using this collection extensively on dial-up or even the slower variety of DSL connections.

To use this resource, you start by picking a year range, then the letter of the alphabet corresponding with the surname you are researching. Note that you can look-up the surname of either the bride or the groom since both are in the index book you will be viewing. Continue reading

Obituaries – A Great Genealogical Resource!

I love reading obituaries – particularly old ones! Okay, in terms of the general population, I guess that’s a little strange. But for the average genealogy buff/family historian, it’s probably normal. In fact, if you visit my genealogy website, you can find many obituaries that I have transcribed for my various family lines.

Obituaries written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are often very different than the ones written now. I love the phrases they used – “worthy and useful citizen,” “interesting child,” “much esteemed,” and the somewhat jarring “[insert name here] is no more.” Continue reading

Merry Christmas!!

Well, the Holidays are quickly approaching and I am not even close to being ready. Instead of shopping and decorating, I’ve been continuing to play with my PaintShopPro program. I am one of the yearbook co-editors/advisors for my youngest’s elementary school and the yearbook cover is due shortly. I’ve been designing it in PSP using some the features I’ve recently been learning. I took a break from all that and worked on a “Christmas Card” to post on this site. I used a template and green pointsetta scrapbook kit designed Sabre. You can find both the template and the kit  here.

So anyway, Merry Christmas everyone! I will be posting more genealogy-relevant posts soon.

Christmas Card

Christmas Card