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.  Since 2005, I have been researching families – hoping to find a way through brick walls, and also, hoping to find “new” families, for my many  clients.  Please see Research for more information.

You have reached my Blog page.  Please feel free to read and comment!

Maggie Champion


When accessing a database that is found online, make sure that you know what is included in the database.

When looking at a database at, one usually finds, along with the database, a description of what is included.

Recently, when searching for the death record of someone who died in Indiana, I read the description of the database, and discovered that the database would not have the information that I was requesting – I wanted the death record for someone who died in a county that was not included in the database.

Do not assume that, just because the database is labeled something like “Indiana Deaths, 1850-1940”, every county in Indiana is included in the database.


Have you stored family photos on CDs?

You were told to download your family photos to CDs – this was a good thing to do!  However, how long has it been since you tried to access those photos?

CDs do not last forever.

I have many CDs of family photos, and family papers too.  Every six months, I access the CDs and make new CDs.


There are two types of family trees – Genealogical and Genetic.

Your genealogical family tree is the family tree that contains all of your ancestors that had children, that had children, etc. It is the family tree that you probably spend most of your time researching.

Your genetic family tree is the family tree that contains some of your ancestors – they contributed their DNA to your DNA.

Your genetic family tree overlaps your genealogical family tree, but does not contain everyone in it.

This is part of my genetic family tree – my mtDNA tree. I have included individuals in my genealogical family tree, with those in my mtDNA tree highlighted in red.


When someone has done something “genealogy” for you, don’t forget to thank the person.

There are many times that I have done a quick look-up, made copies at the courthouse, or given information about the history of Greencastle.  All at no charge to the requester.  And, sometimes I receive a “Thank You” from the person.  However, most of the time, I receive a return email, such as, “I received the copy”.  But, no “Thank you” or “Thanks” is included.

Should I have spent the time when the information is not worth being acknowledged with a “Thanks”?

Remember to thank those that help you!


When taking photographs of your ancestor’s gravestone, don’t forget to also do a quick survey of the gravestone location.

Take photographs of the location of the stone – include landscapes and other gravestones.  This will make it easier when you want to return to view the stones.

Also, make sure that when you photograph the gravestone, that you are down at “ground level” for the photograph.  Pull the weeds that are obscuring the lettering on the stone.

And, do a quick diagram of your ancestor’s gravestone, and the other stones close to it.  Later, when researching for more family names, you may discover that your ancestor was buried close to other family members. If you have your diagram, you will already have the information!





You have been discovering your ancestor in various census information.  All of a sudden, some of the children are not in the family – and the children are too young to be married.  Where are they?

It could be that some of the children are living with a relative.

Maybe the relative needed some help “on the farm” for a while, or maybe the children were visiting a relative on census day.

Don’t assume that the child died – this may be the case, and it may not be!


Have you checked out the new “Genetic Communities” at

If you have your DNA results at, you will now have “Genetic Communities”.

I recommend the webinar, “Exploring AncestryDNA’s New Genetic Communities” by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., available at Blaine explains the new service in an easy-to-understand way.

While you are at Family Tree Webinars, check out the other webinars that are there.  There are many available for a monthly subscription rate of just $9.95 (yearly $49.95), and also many available for Free.