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52ancestors

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small issued a challenge to the geneablogging world recently: to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, etc. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Mary Dickinson Arbuckle is my fourth great-grandmother. She was Franklin Blazer‘s maternal grandmother. She was born April 4, 1784 in Greenbriar, Virginia to William Arbuckle and Catherine Madison (cousin of President James Madison). Mary was the second child, preceded by oldest daughter, Margaret Thompson Madison born in 1762, and followed by William Jr., Fannie, Nancy, Frances Littlepage, James Madison, Elizabeth, and Catherine Brown. On May 22, 1806 at the age of 22, she married John Griffith Nelson, who was born in Charles, Maryland on January 19, 1777. The couple were married at Point Pleasant, Virginia – now West Virginia. There are some online trees that list a whole brood of children – but as with any online tree, sources must be found, and the only source that mentions the number of children is a newspaper article. Those children include: (William) Arbuckle, Thompson and Eliza Jane (twins), John (who died at age 1), Mary Ann (my 3rd great-grandmother), Catherine, Elizabeth, Nancy, Frances, John William, Susan, Agnes, and Maglin. They moved to Madison county, Indiana where they spent the rest of their life.

The June 8, 1953 edition of the Anderson Herald (Anderson, Indiana; page 1 and 8) says in part:

DAR TO HONOR GRAVE OF SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER

The grave of Mary Arbuckle Nelson, only Revolutionary War Soldier’s daughter known to be buried in Madison County, will be permanently marked Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony conducted by Kik-the-we-nund Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the burial site in the Gilmore Cemetery, near New Columbus. Mrs. Nelson was the great-grandmother of Mrs. L.V. Mays and Mrs. Morris Lukens, both of Pendleton, and both members of the DAR unit. The grave is one of the few daughters of Revolutionary soldiers in  this part of the country.

Mrs. Nelson was the daughter of William Arbuckle and Catherine Madison Arbuckle. Her father, after serving in the American Revolution, explored the Northwest Territory with the first expedition of George Rogers Clark. He later became commandant of Fort Randolph, Point Pleasant, in Virginia. His daughter, who was named Mary Dickinson Arbuckle, was born while her father was in charge of the Fort.

Mrs. Nelson died Sept. 23, 1847, and was buried in Gilmore Cemetery beside the grave of her husband, John, who died March 4 of the same year. Many of their descendents survive and have been, or are, prominent citizens of their communities.

Mary’s grave with the DAR marker can be viewed on Find a Grave. I have not been to her grave and someday I hope I’m able to visit it.

Items that I need for documentation include: further news articles about Mary and her husband John, their marriage record, corroborating documentation on their children, and land or deed records.

How I’m related: Mary Dickinson (Arbuckle) and John Griffith Nelson > Mary Ann (Nelson) and John Blazer > Franklin and Melissa (Goul) Blazer > Katie J (Blazer) and John Lafayette Johnson > Glen Roy and Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson > my mom married my dad > me.

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New Year, New Goals

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll notice that I have listed some goals at the beginning of each year – fully intending to complete at least a few of them. Unfortunately, by the time February comes around, I have other things that take my time away from blogging. I know this year won’t be any different. Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Maybe if I start with 12 Ancestors in 12 months I might be able to stick to writing. Stay tuned to see if I can accomplish that!

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Mom & I, 1969

I have many names and titles:

  1. Mom/Mother/Momma/Mommy/that Woman – I have been called one of these or a variation of (and sometimes not in a good way) by one or more of my four adult children from the time they were born.
  2. Nana – the name my grandsons call me because they know better than to call me by the other “G” name (shivers!)
  3. Honey/Sweetheart/Babe/Darling/Bride – these and similar words are  what my wonderful husband has called me since we’ve been married.
  4. Sis – this is what my brother always called me or our sister and since his death, what my sister and I call each other.
  5. Mike-Wendy – It has to be said really fast and the person has to pretend that the first part hasn’t been uttered.  I was many years younger than my sister (Mike) so growing up, my mother – who only had one daughter for a long time – always called me by my sister’s name before realizing I had my own name. I even have caught my Dad calling me the same thing!
  6. “Aunt” – I put this title in quotes because my niece and nephews and I all grew up together as opposed to being born after I was either an older teen or an adult. One child calling another slightly older child “Aunt” was just too ludicrous to consider so now whenever one of them says “Aunt” – you can hear the quotes around it! However, the quotes come off for my 2 great-nephews and niece and for the children of my husband’s nieces and nephews.
  7. Daughter to my parents.
  8. Sister to my brother and my sister and the name some of my friends and I gave each other as we were growing up.
  9. Granddaughter to my maternal grandparents.
  10. In-law (daughter-, sister-, granddaughter-, cousin-, niece-) to all those in my husband’s family.
  11. Mother-in-law to my sons-in-law.
  12. Cousin to many.
  13. Niece to seven aunts and uncles and their spouses who were living at my birth.
  14. Friend to many.
  15. Wendy – the name given me at birth.
  16. Student – I became a student again (after high school) after my youngest daughter was born for a short time and then again four years ago when I returned to college for a few years.
  17. Woman of faith – Though there were a few years during my young adult life that I was not a member or regular attendee of a church, I have always had a deep faith and have relied on prayer and my relationship with God through most of my life.
  18. Waitress/Clerk/Publications Specialist/Typesetter/Paste-Up Artist/Graphic Artist/Technical Illustrator/Customer Service Rep/After Market Sales Rep/Administrative Assistant – these are all titles I’ve had through my varied employment history.
  19. Girl Scout Leader/Troop Coordinator/Cookie Mom – The different “hats” I wore when I was involved in Girl Scout Leadership.
  20. Group Coordinator/Treasurer/Public Relations Coordinator – More volunteer titles during my seven years with ToughLove International.
  21. Christian Education Board member, Cemetery Board member, Sunday School Superintendent, Board of Deacons member, Women’s Fellowship Secretary, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, kitchen worker, usher, greeter, refreshment volunteer, and many more – the types of volunteer activities I have participated in at my church as an adult.
  22. Student Council Secretary and Youth Fellowship President – offices I held at my Junior High School and in High School at my church.
  23. PTA Board member and Room Mom – volunteer activities I was involved in when either my kids or my grandson was in elementary school.
  24. Band / Choir Mom – cheering on from the sidelines at all the performances.
  25. Webmaster – for my ToughLove International group and my high school class many years ago, and presently for my church.
  26. Scrapbook artist and designer – a hobby that I loved until I ran out of room or time or desire to participate in.
  27. Digital scrapbook artist – what my “paper” hobby grew into!
  28. Family Historian and amateur genealogist – A “hobby” that I am quite passionate about because I love to seek out and solve mysteries, help others in my family learn new information, and to learn more about those who came before me.
  29. Blogger – I tried a journalistic type of blog many years ago after reading several types of “mommy” or “woman” blogs but I soon realized that not everything in my life is blogger material. For one thing, I don’t need to write about every aspect of my life and for another, I’m not as comedic as the ladies whose blogs I really enjoyed. I didn’t have that X-factor type of material to bring traffic to my blog. On April 19, 2008 I wrote the first post for this blog and “officially” became a member of Geneabloggers!  Participating in genealogy memes, carnivals, and other blog prompts, helped drive traffic to my blog. Those looking for a surname would find my blog. I realized that what I was doing was also “cousin bait”!  What a great feeling it is when a distant cousin contacts me and lets me know that I have given them information that they’ve been searching for over a long period of time!
  30. Cook/cleaner/laundress/chauffeur/referee – Cooking for a large family, cleaning up after children and grandchildren, chauffeuring kids and grandkids to their respective activities or even to their jobs, and refereeing arguing children or a neighborhood squabble.
  31. Dreamer!
  32. Wannabe writer/actress/teacher – growing up my “real” career field was always going to be teaching elementary school but my “dream” careers were always being a best-selling author and actress.
  33. Me!

Whew! That list makes me very tired! Have I really worn all those hats? Some I still try to balance. Yet, if it wasn’t for all the strong women who came before me, I may have never had the possibility of doing some of those things. For instance:

mom_xmas8Mary Helen Johnson Amore
Born to Glen R Johnson and Vesta C Wilt in September 1921 a year after women won the right to vote, she had never know what it was like to not be able to vote for the person of her choice. The first president she voted for was FDR during his second run for the White House, and he was her choice the following two times. I believe she only voted for one or two Republicans in her lifetime because she was a Democrat through and through. Mom worked from the time she was old enough and most of her early adult career was spent in civil service and then in middle age she engaged in hard physical labor sewing draperies or cargo covers for a company contracted by the military. In her later life she worked in accounts receivable and in office environments. The only time she wasn’t working outside of the home was after I was born until I was about nine, a few times when she was laid off and looking for another job, and when she finally was forced into retirement at the age of 70+. My mother also did a lot of volunteer work for Girl Scouts during my sister’s younger years and when I was in Brownies, for her church, for her Parents Without Partners group, for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, and for school and community programs. She was opinionated, blunt to a fault, loved deeply (and consequently was hurt deeply many times over the course of her life), and was a brilliant seamstress and homemaker. When she was in high school she was on the girls’ basketball team and enjoyed watching sports of all kinds. Before she died, I found a photo of her on stage in her school’s drama production. Color me amazed as I didn’t know that she and I shared the love of theater. Divorced twice – the first time as a very young adult with a small son to support – she learned to “do” for herself and not depend on someone else. She loved to travel but wanted to put down roots where she grew up. And my mom was always right – always! That was just something those of us who loved her knew. She was the main caretaker for her parents in their last few years. Many things I learned from my mom, I learned from her example (well, except sewing – she will always be the best in my eyes).

wilt_vcVesta Christena Wilt Johnson
Her parents, Martha J Stern and Joseph N Wilt, divorced when in 1909 when she was just over 10 years old. My grandmother knew what it was like to be a child of divorce so as I struggled during my parents’ divorce when it seemed as if all the other kids I knew didn’t know what it was like, my grandmother would offer me words of love, support, and encouragement. She really never held a job except to help her step-father run his store when she was an older teen and before she married. One thing I ended up with in her honor was her grandmother moniker of “Nana.” She was the only grandmother I knew who did not go by “grandma” (that is until my own mother became a grandmother – she was “Grammy”). Each time one of my grandsons say “Nana” – I think of her – so that means I think about her about 100 times each day! And when I introduce them to her via her photo on a table in my living room, I tell them that she was my Nana and she is their Great-Great Nana!  And she was pretty terrific!  Nana was loving and patient. My cousin recently expressed that she remembers the “unconditional love she showed to us” and that was true. I don’t think there was anything any of us could have done to make her withdraw her love and affection for us. During some of my darkest days as a teenager, she always made sure I knew just how much she loved me and was in my corner. I think that was one of the reasons I didn’t go completely off the rails. Nana kept a very neat home. She had oodles and oodles of “stuff” but everything had a place. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of living through the depression, was the tendency to keep everything. Recycling, upcycling or re-purposing items are wonderful and frugal. But saving every piece of wrapping paper – even ironing it to make sure it folded nicely to be used the next time – is a little much. Saving every dry cleaning bag she ever had was also a little much. But that added to who she was plus it gave some of us stories to tell. As the wife of a military officer, she learned to live wherever my grandfather was sent. From being a girl from a small town in Indiana to a world traveler, entertaining other officers and their wives, she made the transition seamlessly. She was always concerned with the impact she had on others. When she was ill and hospitalized, she was always “sorry” to interfere in everyone’s lives and take away their time when they visited her in the hospital. When she relied on others to drive her and my grandfather somewhere, she felt like she was putting others out. But her loved ones and friends gave willingly because she had given of herself so effortlessly and willingly.

clawson_mjMartha Jane Stern Wilt Clawson
My great-grandmother – whom everyone called Grandma Clawson – was born to Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor in Hamilton county, Indiana in 1872. I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet her as she died five years before I was born. What I know is that she did what she could when my great-grandfather up and left her and six children – the youngest was about three. When she couldn’t get financial support, she went to court. Her oldest son, Clarence, was an adult and her second son, John, was living with his paternal aunt, Sarah Wilt Hofherr and her husband, John. The next son, Jesse, was living in another family’s home and on the 1910 census he was listed as “orphan” which was not true but makes me wonder what the thought process was in order to put that down. My mother had told me that John and Jesse had been “farmed out” by Grandma Clawson because she couldn’t provide for them. However, by 1910, she had married her sister’s widower, W. Frank Clawson, so I am not sure why Jesse and John remained living apart from the family. She and Uncle Frank managed to keep the other three children – which included my grandmother, her younger sister Nellie, and the baby of the family, Clifford – under their roof. However, my Aunt Nellie was asthmatic (according to what my mother told me) and the doctor had suggested that she should go “out west” in order to help her pulmonary problems. Finding Nellie in the 1920 census living with friends of the family in Oregon (they had known them when they lived in Indiana), before my great-grandmother also relocated to Oregon, gave me pause as I wondered how Grandma Clawson felt having her 17-year old daughter living so far away. Other things that I know about this woman include the fact that she wasn’t in the best of health herself. She had diabetes and my guess would be that she developed Type II diabetes in adulthood. She died of congestive heart failure due to arteriosclerosis. She spent the last thirty years of her life a widow and with her sons, John and Clifford, living with her in Oregon.  She never had to bury a child as they all outlived her, but she did have to live through the years that her son, Jesse, was away in WWI and in the hospital after he was injured with mustard gas. She met at least five of her grandchildren and eight to nine of her great-grandchildren. I don’t know if she ever met her son, Jesse’s four children or any of their children. I have one of her recipe’s and several pictures.

nancycaylorNancy Caylor Stern
Born to Abraham Caylor and Susannah Miller in 1840, she lived in an age where women didn’t vote and rarely worked outside of the home – especially in any field that men dominated at that time. She and my great-great-grandfather, Emanuel Stern, had eight children, and they all outlived her – almost a rarity to have that many children without a loss in infancy or early childhood from a disease, epidemic, or accident. Around 1898 (just about the time her granddaughter – my Nana – was born), she and her husband divorced. She moved in with her son, Samuel, where she lived until her death in December 1900. My two times great-grandfather was known for wandering around town with his potions and “medicines” and a local paper ran a poem about him called “Doctor Stern” so I wonder if Nancy was fed up with his potion-pushing. I have a picture of her with some of my grandmother’s brothers so I know she loved her grandchildren.

Susannah Miller Caylor
My three times great-grandmother was born to Joseph Holzafle Miller and Catherine Botafield at the turn of the nineteenth century on June 12, 1800 in Dayton, Ohio. She was the oldest of nine children. Until she was an adult and married to my Abraham Caylor, she remained in the Montgomery county area. Then the couple moved to Hamilton county, Indiana during the early part of their marriage where they remained until their deaths. They had eleven children and minus two that I don’t have death dates for, it appears they all lived to adulthood and outlived her.  That tells me that she and her husband probably kept a clean and (as much as possible) germ free home and environment for their family. They lived on a farm so if there were any farming accidents involving the children, they weren’t fatal.  I don’t have very much information about Susannah. When her husband died in 1855, she was entitled to one third of his estate or the sum of almost $346. Since she made her mark in acknowledgement of receiving the money, I believe that she could not read or write. (Source: transcription of Probate in Probate Order Book, Hamilton county, Indiana and posted on Rootsweb)

Catherine Botafield Miller
I don’t know hardly anything about my four times great-grandmother. She married Joseph Holzafle Miller in Pennsylvania about 1798 when she was about eighteen years old. They moved from their birth place of Pennsylvania to Montgomery county, Ohio before their oldest daughter, Susannah, was born in 1900. She and her husband both died in Tippecanoe, Indiana. Joseph died in 1833 and Catherine followed 22 years later. From her move from Pennsylvania clear to Indiana in her lifetime, I would imagine she was a strong and capable woman and prepared to endure whatever hardships that came her way. She was living in a “new” America as she was born soon after the Revolutionary War. Catherine is the last female I’ve been able to trace on my matrilineal line. She was the “mother” of many strong women. She and Joseph are buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Tippecanoe county.

These six women, their life experiences that were passed down to the next, helped to forge the person that I am and will be, whether it was due to the daughters doing opposite of their mothers or by doing the same. Just as I know that these woman and I also have created the people my three daughters are and will be. They will do some things the same as I, some that they will do completely different, and other things a combination (in their minds “better” than I did it).

This was written in honor of these women – Mom, Nana, Grandma Clawson, Nancy, Susannah and Catherine.

(all photos – original and/or digital owned and in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)

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To Be Completed:

  • Two blog posts – right now they are sitting in my draft folder waiting on me to finish them.
  • Attaching Media Files – Slowly and methodically I am attaching media files (images of censuses, newspapers, vital records, and photos) to individuals in my Family Tree Program.
  • Sourcing – I have tons of sources that need to be entered correctly (do I hear a collective gasp from my fellow genea-bloggers and Elizabeth Shown Mills at the same time?!) Before anyone hyperventilates, let me explain. Yes, it’s true that most of my documentation is not sourced according to Mills’ Evidence Explained – but they are all sourced in such a way that anyone can find the source. Using FTM 2011, it’s sometimes not very easy to figure out exactly what template to use for the source (I know, it’s an excuse but I was busy researching!)
  • RootsMagic – I downloaded the free version of RootsMagic Essentials. After reading so many positive reviews about this software – especially when it comes to sourcing, I wanted to try it out. It is a very slow process because after each fact, I am listing the sources correctly!  I may never make the switch from FTM, but I will be able to list the sources correctly by the time I’m done!
  • Organize – I have a four drawer filing cabinet that needs serious reorganization. Several file folders are filled with paper reports that are out of date and since I want to lessen the amount of stuff in there, I need to add them to the circular file!
  • Scanning – Tons of photos need to be scanned and metadata added to them.

Accomplished:

  • Found a 1931 letter written by my grandfather’s foster sister, Eva (see this article that I wrote about her). The letter was written to my grandparents detailing how she met her father for the first time. The story can stop there, but it doesn’t – I scanned it & emailed it as quick as I could to Eva’s daughter – the daughter she gave up at birth just as she had been given up.  Now perhaps my cousin can knock down some of her own brick walls!
  • Well – wasn’t that enough for the week?

 

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Each Saturday evening, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings challeges other geneabloggers to participate in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Tonight, the theme is Ancestor Fun. The mission (should we choose to accept it!) is to pick a great-grandfather, divide his birth year by 100 and round up to the next number. Then, go to the ancestor on the ahnentafel list and find the ancestor with that number and give three facts about that person.

I chose my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Napolean Wilt (father of my maternal grandmother), who was born in 1869. After dividing his birth year by 100 and getting 18.69, I rounded up to 19.  I use Family Tree 2011 as my genealogy program. I am the home person so I clicked on Publish at the top, then under “Charts and Reports” I clicked on Genealogy Reports. I chose the Ahnentafel Report. After the report came up, I scrolled to number 19 to see which ancestor I would write about. It was my 2nd great-grandmother, Louisa Bookless.

The line from me to her is as follows: my dad, his dad (Lloyd William Amore), Lloyd’s mother (Mary Angelina Werts Amore), “Annie’s” mother was Lousia Bookless. She was born to David Bookless and Mary Cartmell on April 13, 1834 in Muskingum county, Ohio. She married William Washington Werts (my 2nd great-grandfather) on August 24, 1852 in Coshocton county, Ohio.  I found the marriage entry on FamilySearch.org in the database – “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994″ and downloaded the digital image. Louisa married a second time after William died to John Simon on April 28, 1861 in Coshocton county, Ohio. Louisa died of “apoplexy” on July 26, 1912 in Coshocton, Ohio and was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Coshocton.

Three facts about Louisa Bookless:

  1. Most of the documents I have found concerning Louisa, has her maiden name spelled “Buckless” – especially census records.
  2. Louisa’s parents died when she was young, so she is found living with relatives in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. In 1850, Louisa and her older brother, William, are living in the James Rice household in Franklin Twp, Coshocton county, Ohio. I have not discovered if he was related to Louisa. In the 1860 census, Louisa is living with her late husband’s sister, Susannah (Werts) Shirer and her husband, Quincy.  The two children she had borne while married to William Werts were living in other households which seems to indicate that Louisa did not have any means of supporting her children and needed to rely on family for support.
  3. Louisa’s first husband – my 2nd great-grandfather, passed away five years after they were married. Their oldest child, George Wesley Werts, was born five months after their wedding and my great-grandmother came along two years later. Four years after William’s death, Louisa and John Simon married.  They became parents of a daughter (Sarah Ellen Simon) three years after they married.  I did not realize my great-grandmother had a half-sister until I kept coming back to the census listing her in the same household as Louisa and John as their daughter. When I checked the newspaper account for a reunion held at my great-grandparents, I discovered that Ellen’s family came to that reunion.

louisa_b

Louisa’s Death Certificate

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For the last several days, Denise Levenick of The Family Curator has been on a whirlwind blog tour for her book, “How to Archive Family Keepsakes”, and like many other geneabloggers, I’ve been reading the posts. In the back of my mind I wondered just when I would have time to organize and archive all of the “stuff” I’ve ended up with. The “stuff” being letters (years and years and years of letters), photos, ephemera (brochures, tickets, etc.), and knick-knack type keepsakes (not to mention wall plaques, clothing, books, and dishware). The hours in the day barely give me enough time to do what I’m supposed to be doing (organizing, cleaning & decluttering regular stuff around the house). Then it hit me – all of this “stuff” IS part of the regular items in my household. How would I ever put a dent in organization and the clutter if I DIDN’T work on archiving and organizing the heirlooms! (What a concept, Denise!)

Yesterday, as I was weeding through the stacks of paper and magazines on the kitchen bar area, I decided that as I was dusting the knick-knacks, that I should start an inventory of those items via digital photos. I took 45 pictures!  Some items I took 2-4 photos each depending on the item. I wanted to make sure I was able to see details on each side as well as inside (if there was something there) and the underside – especially markings.

The item above hung on my grandparents’ wall in all of their homes for as long as I could remember. I was probably almost a teen when I made it known to my grandmother that I sure would like to have that item. Every time I saw it, I asked my grandmother to wind it for me (it plays music). (As an aside, I also enjoyed the musical Christmas Bell they had and now it belongs to me!) At some point before my grandmother’s death, she put my name on the back of that plaque. I also think I ended up with it because I was the “baby” (by 14 years) of the grandchildren and most of the other granddaughter’s (there are 5 of us and 3 grandsons) received items like crystal stemware, jewelry, and silver. I feel lucky that I even received a miniature German tea set just like the other girls. My grandparents must have had enough foresight to buy just one more when they lived in Germany!  They bought the item (above) in Garmisch (in Bavaria), and luckily I have the letter written to my mother that detailed their trip to Garmisch and the purchase of that piece!

It may take me some time to document everything I have received but I feel good that I’ve started.

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In the last few days, Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers made two announcements. The first was a brand new genealogy mailing list (and before you groan and think “not another one!” – just remember that this new one will be filled with “news not just for bloggers or ‘technies,’ but will include something for every member of the genealogy community.” UPDATE: The website is back up – so go to Geneabloggers and look on the right hand column.   The other piece of news from Thomas concerns the Geneabloggers website – you can read the article at Open Thread Thursday: How Do You Handle Change?.

If you want to create a report for your sources, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted several articles this week: Creating a Specific Source List Report in RootsMagic 5, Creating a Specific Source List Report in Family Tree Maker 2012 (and the update to that post is found here and here, and Creating a Specific Source Usage Report in Legacy Family Tree 7.5. Thanks, Randy!

A news story from today concerns Forensic Genealogist, Melinde Byrne, and Police Chief, David C. Bailey, from a town in New England – Former Chief, Genealogist Continue Trying to Identify Body.

Sheri Fenley, of The Educated Genealogist posted about her recent trip to Rhode Island. If you plan to research there, please read her insightful article –  Office of the Town Clerk in Rhode Island, as well as this post – New England Hospitality – to see some great photos and read about Sheri’s time with other genealogists and friends!

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