28 December 2012

My Sister Rocks the Family History Gift

Not one, but two of these lovely mugs were presented to me by my thoughtful sister.

17 November 2012

Mailbox Goodness and How to Save a Search on Ebay

We did not check the mail yesterday. Today we had a large bundle, which included two goodies.

The first was the Full Civil War Pension File for my great, great, great grandfather, Charles Everett Burr:

2012-11-17 10.18.44

The second was a recent ebay purchase, the Stonington CT High School yearbook for the class of 1927. Inside? My grandfather, Stanley Lamb Brainard.

2012-11-17 10.17.582012-11-17 10.17.36
How much would you pay for your grandfather’s high school yearbook? I paid $9.99 plus shipping. More than worth it for a family heirloom, don’t you think?

How to Save a Search on Ebay

Have you set up searches on ebay for your family artifacts? It’s super easy. Just go to ebay and enter a search for either an ancestral surname (if unusual) or an ancestral location.


I found this yearbook in the search results for Stonington CT. You will get more results if you search for items originating in your ancestors’ towns, instead of searching for specific surnames with towns. On your results page, look for the Save Search bookmark. image

The Save Search dialogue box will open and you will have the opportunity to rename your search and choose whether or not you would like to be emailed daily when new items are listed.

After you have discovered how easy it is to set up searches on ebay, try alterations on your subject. You might try Stonington alone, although you will get more results from the same named towns in Illinois and Maine. You can try Stonington Conn or Stonington Connecticut. Another possibility would be a street name with town as in Stonington Main Street.

Now it’s your turn. Received any mailbox goodness lately? Have you had success with saved searches on ebay? Tell us about it in the comments below. Every family historian should be taking advantage of this method of finding lost family heirlooms.

Happy Hunting!

Scrappy Gen

Let’s Remember!

Technorati Tags: ,,,,,,

14 November 2012

POW-MIA Memorial - Portsmouth NH

In 2011 for Veteran's Day, I posted the names, birth and death dates and service information for soldiers who died during World War I and who are memorialized here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My fellow blogger, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, inspired me then and continues to inspire me now with her Veteran's Day Transcription Project, a digital memorial of the men and women from New Hampshire who have served our country. This is my contribution for Veteran's Day 2012. 

On the corner of South Street and Junkins Avenue there is an often overlooked memorial here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is tucked away a bit downhill and toward the back of the small park.

The stone toward the front is dedicated 
"to all who served."
On its top are medallions for the different United States service branches; Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force.

POW-MIA You are not forgotten.

"This stone is dedicated to all 
POW/MIA's from New Hamphsire 
from all wars and acts of aggression 
against this great country."

Following are all names listed on this memorial:

Alloway, Clyde D.
Badolati, Frank N.
Burnett, Sheldon J.
Ganley, Richard O.
Hemlich, Gerald R.
Mulleavey, Quinten E.
Page, Albert L.
Pearson, William R.
Sullivan, Robert J.

Korean Conflict

Ackley, Phillip W.
Ashley, Francis A.
Bostford, Phillip A.
Brennan, John C.
Buckley, Arthur D.
Bullock, Elmer T.
Charles, Madison F.
Curley, George A.
Dick, Myron G.
Dubay, Gerald L.
Dunham, Leland R.
Flanders, Henry C.
Fleming, Frederick E.
Fletcher, Robert S.
Frazier, Reginald E.
Griggs, Benjamin J.
Hamlin, Elmer R.
Hedman, Robert S.
Hesseltine, Herbert A.
Hill George N.
Jordan, Paul H.
Kelley, John M.
Kendall, Warren O.
Labonte, Arthur R.
Leblanc, Ronald L.
Ledoux, Theodore W.
Robert H. Malloy [sic]
Mills, Bruce R.
Morin, Fernand, A.
Pelletier, Joseph N.
Richard, Elmer P.
Ritter, Wallace F.
Robillard, Joseph A.
Russell, Ernest F.
Sidney, Alfred H.
Smith, Harry S.

At the bottom of the memorial:

"The only thing that's worse 
than being a POW/MIA 
is to be a forgotten POW/MIA."

Dedicated by Squadron #6
Sons of the American Legion Portsmouth
November 2004

You are not forgotten!



If you have any questions, or would like a larger version of one of these images, please leave a comment or email me at jshoer [at] reconnectingrelatives [dot] com. 

03 November 2012

A Year on a Scrapbook Page

Would you like a simple scrapbook page idea for documenting a year or a piece of your family history? Inspired by an older kit from Ali Edwards, I gathered four photos of my sister and me from 1980 and created this page about the family story of our nickname:

Let's Remember! The Story of Our Nickname
I used Adobe Photoshop Elementsto put my version together. Every Day Life, the Ali Edward's kit was paper and I used it for my dear son:
Every Day Life, kit by Ali Edwards
There were so many pictures of my cutie from 2009 that I decided to add an extra page to coordinate with the first.

If you like the simple layout with space for up to nine photos, you can download my blank Photoshop file. It's free!

The key to putting a year on a page is keep it simple and easy. Don't try to find and organize every single photo for the year, just choose a few portraying a person, a place, a relationship or....the possibilities are endless. 

If you create a Year on a Scrapbook Page, please send me a link and I will add it for others to visit. 

Happy Scrapping!
Let's Remember!
Scrappy Gen

02 October 2012

Got Your mtDNA Haplogroup?

An exciting email landed in my box early this morning. Build 15 of Phylotree was released yesterday and my husband's mtDNA, or maternal dna, has been officially documented into a new subgroup, W1h. Mark Wade of the Haplogroup W website sent me this breaking news. 

What does this mean? Immediately I forwarded the email to said husband, who responded "What does this mean?" What it means is that we are in an explosive period of genealogical DNA research. With the advent of new companies offering genealogical testing, more and more every day folk are swabbing their cheeks, spitting in cups and sending off their samples to be analyzed. As new samples are read and analyzed they can then classified according to where they fit in the phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA,  but many samples will not fit into a current mtDNA haplogroup or subgroup.[1]

What does it mean for my husband? When my husband's mtDNA results were read by FamilyTreeDNA, his mtDNA seemed most likely to fit into the W1 haplogroup, but had a couple of differences or mutations. Because his mtDNA was unique, he did not have any cousin matches through FamilyTreeDNA. While researching to better understand the results, I found Mark Wade's website and he was indispensable to my understanding of mtDNA. He explained that my husband's mtDNA would receive a new subgroup designation if at least two results were submitted to Genbank, which is the central repository of whole-sequence mtdna results.[2] 

A new subgroup is born! There is another human being, a cousin many times removed, somewhere in the world who must have submitted his or her mtDNA results because Phylotree has added a new subgroup, W1h, to the W1 haplogroup. What this means, dear husband, is that somewhere in the world, there is a human being, who shares an ancient maternal ancestor with you. 

* Update 5 October 2012: Please head over to Mark Wade's page to read his update about W1h. He added a graphic to better explain this subgroup. My husband's cousin and he are on two different branches, which descend from a common ancestor, roughly 6500 to 8000 years ago.[3]

Do you know your mtDNA haplogroup? 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[1] van Oven M, Kayser M. 2009. Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation. Hum Mutat 30(2):E386-E394. http://www.phylotree.org. doi:10.1002/humu.20921
[2] Mark Wade, Unknown Location[(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Jennifer Shoer, e-mail, 16 April 2011, "W1 haplogroup," Inbox Folder, DNA; privately held by Jennifer Shoer, [(E-ADRESS) & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Portsmouth, NH. 
[3] Mark Wade, Unknown Location [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Jennifer Shoer, e-mail, 3 October 2012, "W1 haplogroup," Inbox Folder, DNA; privately held by Jennifer Shoer, [(E-ADRESS) & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Portsmouth, NH. 

28 September 2012

Rule for Photographing Ancestral Places

view of Portage looking southeast
One thing I did not expect when we traveled to Hancock, Michigan was the gigantic presence of the Portage River. Hancock is perched on one bank and across the expanse is the town of Houghton. The Houghton-Hancock Bridge connecting the two towns is vital to the prosperity of both, but as the only land access to the northern most area of Michigan it is also indispensable to the entire Upper Peninsula called the Keweenaw Peninsula. To the south the Portage River becomes Portage Lake and to the north, connects to Lake Superior as the Portage Canal. 

location of Temple Jacob with view of Portage
Temple Jacob has made its home on the bank of this venerable river since 30 May 1912, the day its cornerstone was laid.[1] The view is spectacular and I wonder if there is another synagogue in the United States with such a setting.
Temple Jacob building and the bridge

Rule for Photographing Ancestral Places

The pictures I did not take were 1) a panorama of the river from the steps of the synagogue and 2) street views of the temple's location. I was so busy recording the building and the events that I forgot my rule: Whenever you visit an ancestral place, stand in front and take pictures down the street, up the street and across the street. Then, walk away from your ancestral place and take pictures of it from each of the three angles and from a distance; i.e. from down the street, up the street and across the street. 

And what do you do with all of those pictures? Put them in an album, photo book or scrapbook, of course!
page elements: Journey of the Heart
© 2011 Elise Hansen of Elise's Pieces Designs
Hope this helps you record and memorialize your own ancestral journeys. 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[1] Rochelle Berger Elstein, "The Jews of Houghton-Hancock and Their Synagogue," Michigan Jewish History 38 (November 1998); online archives, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (http://www.michjewishhistory.org/pdfs/vol38.pdf : accessed 28 September 2012), page 7

14 September 2012

Traveling Back in Time - Hancock, Michigan - Part I

Hello friends. How was your summer? Did you do any genealogy traveling? We spent most of our summer on the road, in the air and on the water. I have thousands of pictures, documents, memories and notes to process. How about you?

In August we traveled to my father-in-law's birthplace, Hancock, Michigan. We were a small group, but it included three generations of my husband's family. That's his Dad in the middle. He just turned 91 years young. 

We took this picture right before we had dinner at Gemignani's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant has been a landmark in Hancock for many years, but more importantly it is housed in the same building where my father-in-law was born and where his family ran a kosher butcher shop. 

We traveled to Michigan, but it was more of a journey, a journey into our family's past and into my father-in-law's memories. It was a profound gift to have been part of it and I will forever be grateful.

Let's Remember!
Scrappy Gen

15 August 2012

Family History Month at Digital Scrapbook Place

Digital Scrapbook Place is hosting a Family History Month, this month, August 2012. There are opportunities to learn, explore and create. There are challenges and a gallery of inspiration. If you have ever thought about digitally scrapbooking the results of your genealogical research, DSP is the place to go. I am not affiliated with this website and will not benefit either way, but it is a cool place to visit. The kits for sale in their store are cutting edge. I love this new steampunk kit by Nicole Young Designs. 

Happy Wednesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

19 July 2012

A Book Review Across the Pond

Summer has found this relaxed genealogist sitting and contemplating the water. This week from Cape Cod I am thinking of my ancestors, who lived across this beautiful pond in England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. If you too have ancestors from these countries, you might subscribe to Your Family Tree Magazine. Each issue offers invaluable advice and guidance for finding those elusive ancestors as well as historical background for the various times they may have lived. I particularly enjoy the sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always illuminating "Skeleton in the Cupboard" feature.

Another fun feature of this magazine are the book reviews. Occasionally one of the editors will offer a book for a reader review and a few months ago they sent me a copy of Alison Weir's new historical novel, A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower. The copy I read did not have the subtitle, but I like it and highly commend this clarifying addition. It's a large, meaty novel, fully of historical detail about the Tudors and related families, but the mystery, the secret of the tower, is the driving force of the story. As did the characters in the book, I needed to know what had happened in the tower.

My review of A Dangerous Inheritance appears in the August 2012 edition #119 of Your Family Tree. Alison Weir is a prolific author and respected historian. Next on my list of must reads by Ms. Weir is Innocent Traitor, which follows Jane Grey, sister of Katherine Grey and overlaps in time with A Dangerous Inheritance. I think I have been bitten by the royal historical novel bug!

Hope you are able to enjoy some time this summer with your close relatives and family friends. There's no time like the present for making memories!

Happy Summer!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

05 July 2012

23 April 2012

She is Strong

Look up strong on thesaurus.com and nearly every grouping describes my daughter; powerful, distinct, extreme, able, athletic. She is the one you want on your team. She is a force. 

When she headed back to school last week, it was as exciting as her first day of preschool. She is feeling much better and got permission to return to playing softball and riding horses. 

Each day feels like the first day, a new beginning. We're living in the moment. Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and words of kindness. 

Happy Monday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

10 April 2012

A Little Bit of Self Indulgence

Are you wondering where the genealogy went? Please permit and forgive this period of self indulgence. My daughter is still recovering from pancreatitis. Scrapbooking about her, about her strength, has been therapy for me. It's been one of the things that has kept me going...well, that and coffee. Lots of coffee! 

This is a flashback layout. I went through a year of digital pictures, picked my favorites and put them all together. 2000 was the first year I took digital photos. The quality isn't great, but the subject is precious to me.

Have you cared for someone who is ill? How did you get through it? Do you have any special strategies that helped?

Happy Tuesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

03 April 2012

She's Resilient!

We've been sitting in a hospital room for a couple of days with this girl.

Thankfully she was born with a resilience that few can claim. She is working hard at getting well and I know she will get through it and be right back to riding horses and playing for her school's varsity softball team. She has an amazing strength. The physical strength is obvious to everyone, but the other strength, the one inside, the one that can't be touched or measured is even greater. 

Happy Tuesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

* Kit papers and elements from Joyful by Manuela Zimmermann at Studio Manu

02 April 2012

and Golden Starlight in Her Eyes of Blue

This little, blue eyed beauty stole my heart sixteen years and four months ago. 

"on the day that you were born
the angels got together
and decided to create a dream come true
so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair
and golden starlight in your eyes of blue"

If I close my eyes, I can remember dancing around the room, holding a snuggly girl and singing this song. It's about a boy, but I made it be about a girl. The girl, who stole my heart. 

Happy Monday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

01 April 2012

Old Photo Plus Ephemera = I Sat in the Garden

We leave behind bits and pieces of our lives. Bubba left a poem, torn from a magazine. The poem by Loretta Garing is titled "I Sat in the Garden."

Those bits and pieces we leave behind. They say something about us. What will you leave? 

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

25 March 2012

One Foot in the Present, One Foot in the Past

As I mentioned in Not Who We Thought We Were, my great, great grandfather may have changed his name from Shailer to Brainard. When I began to create this family history page, I hoped to capture the mystery that surrounds my maiden name, but as I worked the story became about the enduring draw I have, since childhood, felt from my ancestors. Although rooted in the present, part of me lives in the past and usually the quite distant past, not yesterday or last month. 

The trio of men are my three grandfathers, who brought this surname forward to my Dad. I have been thinking about them quite a lot and wondering how the story of our surname was lost, or was it purposely forgotten? In the layout a much younger me is ready to climb over the wall into the past seeking understanding of my grandfathers' lives. She is already starting her climb as if she cannot resist the pull.

Have you experienced this feeling? When did it start? 

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

Credit: Elements in layout are from "Flying Dreams, A Storybook Collection" kit copyright 2009 by Lorie Davison of scrapbookgraphics.com

24 March 2012

Not Who We Thought We Were!

It appears that we may NOT be from the Brainard family.

It happens and you should expect that when you delve into your family's genealogy, the beliefs you hold will be challenged. My time for challenge is now. My assumptions have been called into question, by just a couple of sentences in a compiled family genealogy. These sentences, a mere postscript, if proved correct, will change the historical path of our family history.

William Henry Brainard or William Henry Shailer
The Genealogy of the Brainerd-Brainard Family in America 1649-1908 by Lucy Abigail Brainard reports "William Henry Brainerd of Mystic, Conn., had his name changed to Brainerd from Shailer. He m. Harriet E. Lamb, of Groton, Conn. He was son of Henry and Elizabeth (Cushman) Shailer, 2ch.[1]

We thought his name was William Henry Brainard. We thought our family traced back through William to Daniel Brainerd in the early seventeenth century in today's Haddam, Connecticut. What you think is very different from what you know in genealogy. William, my great, great grandfather was a man of mystery, his records having reported several different places of origin. His birth record has to date remained elusive. And now, this...a few sentences adding to the confusion of his parentage.

Luckily in genealogy, when you lose one, you gain one. We may lose our Brainard pedigree, but we will gain a whole new family. It's time to start hunting the Shailers (Shaylor, Shailor).

Has one of your core family stories been challenged? Have you lost one family and gained a new one? Tell us your story.

Scrappy Gen

Let's Remember!

  [1] Lucy Abigail Brainard, The Genealogy of the Brainerd-Brainard Family in America   
       1649-1908 (Hartford, Connecticut: Hartford Press, 1908), 150; digital images, Internet 
       Archive (http://archive.org/ : accessed 3 March 2012). 

23 March 2012

Generations Publishes Kids’ Genealogy Textbooks

One of our fellow geneabloggers sent me the following press release for her new series of genealogy lesson books for kids. Not just for teachers, these books would be a great way to introduce your own children to the world of genealogical research. Check them out! 

Chicago, Illinois – March 23, 2012: Professional Genealogist, Jennifer Holik, of Generations publishes six new genealogy textbooks for kids. Parents, teachers, and genealogical societies looking for a how-to genealogy textbook for elementary through high school-aged students need to look no further. In Branching Out, a new series available from Generations, author and professional genealogist Jennifer Holik provides parents and educators with the tools they need to teach genealogical research skills to children and teens.
Through thirty fun and educational lessons, students will learn the foundations of genealogy and how to begin research on a level that they can understand and enjoy. Each lesson contains a clearly defined goal, all necessary vocabulary, additional reading assignments, and lesson and homework assignments to extend understanding of the concept.
The Branching Out series of books begins with six paperback textbooks which are also available as a PDF or PowerPoint download. The PowerPoint files, which were created with the visual and hands-on learner in mind, contain the same information as the textbooks with a few fun and interactive extras.
The Branching Out: Genealogy Lessons for Adults will be released in April with additional books for families, genealogical societies, and educators to be published later in 2012.

The books are available on CreateSpace in paperback form at the links provided. The PDF and PowerPoint files are available at the Generations Store at: http://www.e-junkie.com/generations

If you live in the Chicagoland area, you can meet Jennifer and purchase books at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Author Fair on Saturday, April 14, 2012. For more information visit the Generations Blog

12 March 2012

ProQuest - Not Just for Librarians

Librarians have an arsenal of database programs to help you in your genealogical work. ProQuest is the business providing these essential genealogy research tools at many public and private libraries. Before using any database for the first time, learn what it contains and how to access it. Your local librarian would be happy to help you learn the ropes, but ProQuest has also made this job easier to accomplish before your library visit. There are brief introductory videos to the following products:
Detailed guides are available for the previous databases as well as the following:
ProQuest has an ongoing series of free (Yes, free!) webinars covering different aspects of both HeritageQuest Online and Ancestry Library Edition. Want more? Check out the ProQuest Genealogy page and the ProQuest YouTube channel.

Not all digital research tools are available at all libraries. Check your local library's holdings on the library website under digital products or simply ask your librarian. If your library doesn't carry the title you seek, check other libraries in your area.

Happy Monday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

05 March 2012

How to Begin Your Genealogy Research, or How Not to

One of my best friends has renewed her interest in researching her family tree. Woo hoo!!! An in person, non-virtual friend...who is actually interested in genealogy. She has caught the bug! How lucky am I?

How to Begin Your Genealogy Research

Like many who catch the genealogy bug, my friend would love to jump ahead and collect as much information as she can, but she has been allowing me to offer some guidance and I am thrilled at all the great discoveries she has made.

Here are a few of things she has done to get started:
  1. Contacted and gently prodded family information and records from her living relatives
  2. Made a research plan of the vital records she needed to collect for her direct line ancestors.
  3. Visited the town clerks where she suspected her ancestors' vital records would have been recorded. 
  4. Joined Ancestry.com and began using both Family Search and Find a Grave. She has been learning how to do a targeted Google search and has consulted genealogies and family histories.
  5. Tramped through cemeteries all over southeastern New Hampshire. Took pictures of her ancestors' graves as well as the graves all around her ancestors' burial plots. 
  6. Bought a special notebook to use specifically for her research notes so that she doesn't end up with lots of slips of loose paper. 
  7. Started a binder with a tab for each of her direct line surnames and individual sections for each of her direct line ancestors. Began filing her documents according to surname.
  8. Created a Dropbox account to share documents with me and with her family members. 
Hasn't she been doing a great job? She gets that it is important to not give up and even has a plan to look at alternative records for proving familial relationships. Another important skill she has used frequently is an often overlooked one: ask a question if you can't find something or you don't understand something. Not only has she been asking me questions, but also those she has met in her research journey. This leads me to a question she recently asked me and to the second part of this post.

How Not to Begin Your Genealogy Research

My friend is not shy, no, not at all. Everywhere she goes, she strikes up conversations. She had a nice talk with a local historian, who told her the advice he gives to most newbie genealogy researchers. When you start out, don't bother with getting all those original records, gather information from the people, who have already shared their family trees. What?? This is not the way to begin your genealogy research!

Random copying of names, dates, places and events from books and websites is never a good idea, unless the facts are linked to sources. Books and websites without sources can and should be consulted to find clues to possible research paths. Thankfully my friend knew enough to ask if the advice was good and she gets it. What about all of the newbies, who didn't know enough to ask? What do you think will happen with their family tree?

Happy Monday Everyone!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

20 February 2012

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2013

Thinking about attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in 2013? The organized folks at the Utah Genealogical Association already have the roster of talented teachers posted. Here is the list:

This is going to be a hard decision...

Happy Saturday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...