August 2013

Bibles. The older ones usually contain a wealth of information. How does someone find the family Bible?

I was searching for information about an ancestor. Information for this ancestor “came up” in my search. However, my ancestor lived in Kentucky, and the record was in Missouri. And, the source for the information was a family Bible. How did my ancestor’s information get written in a Bible in Missouri? He never went there – he was born and died in Kentucky. So, I began researching the ancestor’s children. And, there was a daughter who was in Missouri! One of the children had married and moved to Missouri. And, this child had taken the family Bible with her!



Digital newspapers are a real help in genealogy research.

Google Newspapers Archive is a tool that connects with digital newspapers that match the search term. Nothing new has been put in GNA since May 2011, but everything before that is still there. For some of the newspapers, the entire article will be visible. For some, though, a payment will need to be made before seeing the article. However, if it is something about your ancestor, the payment will probably be worth it!

Another possible source for seeing digital newspapers is a college or university. The university in my town, DePauw U., is in the process of digitizing all of the Putnam County, Indiana, newspapers. The website is: So, check out the university close to your research area – they may have digital newspapers there!


Google Patent is a handy “Google” Tool. It may be that you don’t think that your ancestor had a patent. However, you may find a surprise! It could be that your client created a patent and you don’t even know it!

My ancestor, William McCormick, patented his Stave-Dressing Machine in 1882 !


I have used other map-creating software, and I always come back to Google Maps. For me, this is the easiest to use.

When a client comes to town, I create a map of every place that I am going to take them. It is easy, and I can save the map. I print out the map – one for me and one for the client. I also print out the “Street View” for the exact locations which we are going to visit. That way, if my client decides to revisit the location, landmarks will be shown for easy identification.

I have created a Facebook page for Maggie’s Genealogy Service. Check it out! I appreciate all of your comments!


As one gathers information about an ancestor, many types of documents are discovered – birth, marriage, and death records, land records, letters, Bibles, photos, etc. How is one to keep track of it all?

An Excel (or equivalent) spreadsheet is a good way to organize the information by date. Type in the document/artifact in one column, and the date in the next column. Then, sort by the date. Now everything is in chronological order – now it is known what happened in the correct order! And, this is very important!


In my genealogy business, I search for information on ancestors all over the world. However, I cannot travel all over the world in search of the records! There are times that I have needed to make contact with a “local” person – someone actually living in the local of the ancestor’s residence.

I would like to relate one of these experiences.

I was researching my husband’s mother’s father – he came to the U. S. from Germany in the 1880’s. I had some letters written from Germany to his family, and the location of the writer was included in the letter. I looked on a modern-day map of Germany, and none of the locations were listed! The names had all changed over time. So, I contacted (via a message board) someone living in the probable area of Germany. I asked this person if he had access or knew where to get access to older maps of Germany. He lived very close to a library, and offered to look for the locations on older maps.

I waited and waited, and did not hear from the person. I thought that I was never going to hear! And then, one day, an email arrived. Attached were hand-drawn maps – he had drawn them himself!! He had the “old” name and the “new” name of each place about which I had asked! The reason he had taken so long was that he had drawn the maps himself!! He said he didn’t want to charge me for copies and postage, so he decided to draw them himself. He was an illustrator who lived in the same area as the ancestors!

So, don’t hesitate to contact someone in your ancestor’s area – you may be surprised what you can find out!


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