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


In 2016, I had the opportunity to travel with my cousin to the ancestral home of our great-great-grandparents in the state of New York. And, THEIR parents had homes there also, as well as many other relatives.

We spent about 10 days touring the area, hoping to discover new information on all of them!

In preparation for our trip, I made maps of the areas where the ancestors lived – they lived in a few different neighboring counties. On the maps, I recorded what was already known – probable residences, schools – any other geographic information that was already “known”.

As we traveled from historical society to historical society, we gathered more maps of the area – these maps also “placed” our ancestors in the area.

By already having the “prep” maps, we were able to travel to areas that we knew were important in our ancestors’ lives. And, the additional maps were quite helpful, too, while learning more about these important people in our lives.


Beginning with the 1850 census, the head of the household was listed along with a list of other household members.

Before 1850, the census listed just the head of the household – there were “numbers” given for the other members of the household.

Who was this “head of the household”? Was it the oldest male found in the “70-80” category?  Or, was it the male found in the “20-30” category? It could be that the head was the oldest male listed. But, keep in mind that it could have been a younger male listed since the older male could have been an aging parent or older relative and was no longer the family’s head.

Be careful.


Obituaries can tell so much information.

Some of the information probable is the person’s full name, the name of a spouse or friend (whether or not they are deceased), the birth date of the person, children’s names (and possibly other relatives), and sibling’s names. Also, the death place and date, and the burial location and date, may be given.

When the children’s (or sibling’s) names are given, it could be that children of another marriage will be given – the children may have become a part of the family when the person and spouse married.

If you know that there may have been more than one marriage for the person or the spouse, or the parents of the person may have had more than one marriage, keep in mind that the children or siblings may be half, full, or step-siblings or children.


Someone in my family immigrated to the United States in the 1880’s. I have been searching for quite some time for the naturalization certificates of those that immigrated.

I have found two certificates – and there were 7 males in the family.  Why didn’t all of the males become naturalized?

Voting was a good reason to become naturalized, but un-naturalized aliens usually could still own property.

The reason could be that the others never bothered with naturalization.



When reading about your ancestor in the newspaper, make sure that you are reading the entire article.

In the example below, the news concerning Clyde Chapman begins in column 5, and continues into column 6. In the same manner, the news concerning Miss Eva M. Wilcox begins in column 6, and continues into column 7.












Madison County (New York) Leader and Observer, 3 July 1919, p. 5, cols. 4-5; digital images, ( : accessed 2 November 2017).

You would like to visit the courthouse in the county where your ancestor resided. Before making the trip, do some planning.

Visit the courthouse web page. On the web page, you may discover some of the rules of the courthouse –

  • do they do searches before entering the courthouse
  • when they are open
  • can one bring a camera, scanner, or cell phone into the courthouse
  • are all of the records in the courthouse, or have they been moved to another county building

If you do not see the information you need on the first page of the website, you make need to call the individual office that you would like to visit.


When you are looking for information, are you looking in the correct century?

Remember, the 18th century is those years in the 1700’s, not the 1800’s. The 19th century is those years in the 1800’s, and the 20th century is those years in the 1900’s. The 1st century was those years from year 1 to year 100.

Be careful!