My name is Maggie Champion, and I am the sole proprietor of Maggie’s Genealogy Service.  I am a professional genealogist, and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

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You have reached my Blog page.  My blog had its first post on Tuesday, 31 January 2012!

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Maggie Champion

Ever able to carve out a 15-minute time slot to do some genealogy? What can you do in 15 minutes?

Well, I know that there are things that I don’t generally take time to do. So, when I have 15 minutes or so, that is when I do them. Actual research takes longer than that – or, just as I find something I am researching, it is time to quit!

When I have 15 minutes, I file papers, transcribe a will or probate record, do the citation for a record which I will be using, take a look at upcoming webinar possibilities, or review the information I have for possible other research to be done. These are just a few suggestions. I am sure you can think of more!


I have been communicating often with my father’s first cousin.  She and I send photos and stories back-and-forth.

In a letter I received last year, she included in the letter a photo of a painting she has had for many years.  The photo is shown below:

photo of house front








It is a wonderful photo to me!  On the back of the photo is written:  “Photo by Louise Franz Morgan 6-29-12  Painting by Elizabeth Sage Lyon of their home in Burrville TN probably 1870s or 1880s”.

Here is the history as I know it (from talking with my grandmother Lyon and letters that she wrote to me):

The Daniel and Elizabeth Sage Lyon family were from Vermont.  Daniel Lyon was in the bakery business in Hoboken, New Jersey.  For some reason, about 1887, Daniel and Elizabeth decided to move to Morgan County, Tennessee, near the town of Burrville.  Daniel purchased 2500 acres of virgin timber there.  He and Elizabeth lived there for a few years.  They ended up moving back to Hoboken and their bakery.

While living around Burrville, Charles, son of Daniel and Elizabeth, found a new friend, Martin Babcock.  Martin’s sister, Jennie, married Charles, and they are my great-grandparents.

While Daniel and Elizabeth were there in Burrville, Elizabeth painted this picture of their house.  The original painting is in the possession of the cousin whom I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

What a find!


Whenever I encounter a new location for an ancestor, or a new time-frame in an old location, I research the place first.

Where was the place the ancestor lived – find it on a map! Has the county changed since the ancestor lived there? Did the county change while the ancestor lived there? What were the roads like when your ancestor lived there? Was the area used for farming, or was it a town/city? Did people live in houses or apartments? What was the language that was spoken? When was one required to have a birth certificate? A death certificate? When were newspapers available for the area?

If these things are looked at first, much frustration can be saved – why look for a death certificate when they were not required as yet?


Continuing to go through items from the Champion household:

Found this business card:

Doc Gatesman frontDoc Gatesman back


Who would have thought so much could be learned from a business card!

Apparently, A. H. Bringe (Albert Henry – my husband’s grandfather) sent this to one of his brothers.  On the card, it mentions that he had “got this to day.”  Which means he probably went to visit the doctor that day.  And, he mentions that “Minnie and Ester got the Thiford fever”.  The only Minnie known to my husband was Minnie Burr, the wife of Albert’s half-brother, John B. Bringe.  And, Minnie and John had a daughter, Esther.


When you find a birth record, or have someone tell you the information that would be in a birth record, how do you know that it is correct?

If the birth person is telling you the information, how do they know? Do they have a copy of their birth certificate? Or, do they “know” where they were born because of what their parents have told them over and over again?

I was interviewing someone once, and she told me where and when she was born. This was an older person, and she wanted me to find her birth certificate – she did not have a copy. So, I searched and searched in the city of her birth – no search birth could be found.

So, I looked in areas around the city. There it was! The woman had been born in a small hospital outside of the larger city. She was correct as to her birth date, but the place was incorrect!


While going through more items from my husband’s parents’ house, I came upon a letter written 20 August 1909.

The letter is from “Your truly Brother C F Bringe” to “Dear Brother Martin”.     A lot has been learned from the letter.  Apparently, C. F. (Frederich C.) was writing to his brother, Martin.  C. F. had had an operation that involved removing a bone.  And, he is healing whether well – there are two places that are not healing, but the doctor wants to wait awhile longer.  C. F. asks Martin is he is still living in Gibsonburg (Ohio).  Also, C. F. says that the folks by him are all well.  Anna is well, but the children have whopping cough.  And, C. F. and Martin have mutual friends Butok Esslinger and Fred Schwan – and these two have a “sloan” (saloon?)  at 711 Summit Street.

As I mentioned, much was learned from this letter.  Until this letter was found, it was not known that C. F. had ever lived in Toledo, Ohio, or that Martin had lived in Gibsonburg.  Also, it was not know that Anna (maybe their sister?) had children that had whopping cough.  Another neat thing about this letter is that it is the only one that we have that was written to Martin.  Martin died in 1918.

It will be interesting to now try to find Martin in a census in 1910 – maybe Gibsonburg!

Here are scans of the letter and envelope:

20 August 1902 letter envelope front20 August 1902 letter envelope back






20 August 1902 letter page 120 August 1902 letter page 2












You have looked and looked for the marriage record for your ancestor. And, it just isn’t where you thought it would be! They lived in the county before they married, so why can’t you find the record?

It could be that they did not get married in the same county in which they lived. If you are having a difficult time finding where they married, why not look for the marriage of some of the others in the county? It could be that it was a “custom” to go to the next-county, or next-state, to marry.

I had been looking in Putnam County, Indiana, for marriages. The couple just didn’t get married there! But where did they marry? So, I checked on a few of the other couples in the county. And, I discovered that it was not unusual for couples to travel to Edgar County, Illinois, to marry! I don’t yet know why they would go there, but they did. So, I checked to see if “my couple” went there too. And, they did!!