Seven Years of Blogging!

It’s hard to believe but I’ve been blogging here on my website for 7 years. Sometimes I’ve been more active than others, but I’m so happy to share my genealogy with everyone who visits me here.

Even crazier to think my database website will be 14 years old at the end of May. What a crazy ride this genealogy thing has been!

Going on a Trip

Great News!

It’s a mess around my house these days! That’s not the great news though. We’re preparing for a trip to Florida! We aren’t going to enjoy the warm sun. We aren’t going to kick back on the beach. We’re going to welcome the newest generation into the family!

Twins are on the way!

That’s right my brother and his beautiful wife are expecting twins! This isn’t the first set of twins my family has welcomed over the generations but they are my parent’s first grandchildren. That makes them extra special. My sister in law has asked me to help her out by staying a little longer than everyone else. I’m the only one in my family with a flexible enough schedule, so I think I’m going to take her up on that! This means I will be away from my natural habitat until early April.

What about your Do-Over? What about your blog?

I’m still going to be working on it! That’s what I’m loving about my Do-Over. The great thing about it is that I’m still only entering in the information I already have. I’m still not entering in any new information. Before we leave next week, I’ll be scanning like crazy to make sure all the documents I might need are on my laptop. I’m going to hope with a little preparation I can transfer my family file from my desktop to my laptop and back again. We’ll see how that goes! I might even make a blog entry about it. I’m going to utilize my 1TB of space in OneDrive to keep a cloud backup going of my files but to also help the transition from Maryland to Florida and back to Maryland.

I can’t make any promises about my blog, only that I will post interesting documents and pictures as I sort through them. There probably won’t be any rambling posts from me, like this one. I’m sure you’re all going to miss that a lot, HA! Who knows though, I might just be too busy cuddling and taking pictures of those babies!

Working Hard Behind the Scenes!

I have been working behind the scenes on my category problem. The only reason I’m not going very fast on that one, is I don’t want to have any broken links. I think I’m doing okay there, but if you find any, please let me know and I will try to fix them.

Current Blog Organization Goal
Current Blog Organization Goal

This graphic shows what my category goals are for the blog. I’m hopefully going down from 81 categories to 5! That’s a big leap. Any posts you want to find dealing with a specific family should be able to be found using the tags in the sidebar of the page. Eventually, I’m going to have a wonderful sitemap to point everyone where they need to go. I have to get organized first though! 🙂

If you have any advice for a genealogist on travel, be sure to let me know some tips and tricks!

The 5 Reasons I want WDYTYA on BBC America

I am a huge fan of the Who Do You Think You Are? series that was recently canceled by NBC. However, before I was a fan of the NBC show, I was a fan of the British version. It happened for me just like Lisa Kudrow, who saw the British version and fell in love. I’ve been very lucky to be able to view the British version of the show and I’m now here with my top five Who Do You Think You Are? moments. I want the American audience to know exactly what the charm is about the British version. It didn’t matter that I had no idea who 80% of the celebrities were throughout the seasons (or series if you use British terms).

With all my heart, I really wish this show would come to BBC America so that Americans would at least be able to see this really charming, intelligent program. These are in the order that they aired, not in any rank.

1. Bill Oddie – Season 1, Episode 1

As the first episode of the whole series, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the show because I watched it long before the US version was created. Within minutes of the opening, he sums up my search for my family history with these words:

Who the dickens were the rest of my family? I haven’t a clue.”

Bill’s journey is a very emotional one for him. However, one of the most memorable parts for me was when he met up with a “cousin” whom he didn’t know about who was researching their family tree. I should say, the great thing is that they advertised in the local paper looking for relatives with the surname of Oddie. They got a reply from Neil Oddie.

Neil and Bill Oddie
Neil and Bill Oddie

Neil is an amateur genealogist, so they hit a jackpot of information. He put quite a lot of work into it and it’s a very fun exchange, right up to the moment where Neil asks Bill his burning genealogy question… “Is your second toe longer than your big toe? Because my second toe is longer than my big toe, as was my fathers.”

That’s genealogy folks. Sometimes, you just have a burning question that has to be asked. So what does Bill do? He takes off his shoes and socks and yes his second toe is longer than his big toe.

2. David Baddiel – Season 1, Episode 7

The David Baddiel episode made me laugh quite a bit. He’s a comedian, so that should come as no surprise. I do have to say that this episode like all the episodes does have serious historical things happening. I don’t want to diminish the serious events that happen in the episode. However it’s also got humor in it.

It turns out that David’s family split in two, the religious going one way and the not so religious going another. Oh how often that happens in families. Anyway, David looks up these new names in the phone book and leaves a few messages. Turns out it was a religious holiday so many were out. David was very worried about the reception he would get from the new Baddiels while he was looking them up in the phone book as him and his father aren’t very religious.

David Baddiel and David Baddiel
David Baddiel and David Baddiel

The really funny part comes near the end of the episode where David is talking to the camera on the street about the information they’ve found. You can hear in the background how often David gets honked at and he subconsciously just waves and nods everytime. You can tell it happens to him quite a bit. Within moments, David realizes the new honker isn’t like normal honkers. It’s actually a long lost cousin (also named David Baddiel) who has spotted David on the street and recognized him from the paper.

The new David Baddiel is actually the son of one of the Baddiels that David left a message for. He informs David that he’s also a bit of a “rebel” because he’s not as religious as everyone else, but that his family accepts that.

What I liked about David’s episode is how he literally walked the street and had people coming up to him after hours of trying to contact people by phone. The same thing happened to my Aunt Lori when she worked in Caldwell. She would just be sitting on a bench and someone would come up and say, “We’re related.” That’s genealogy serendipity at it’s best and funniest.

3. Jeremy Paxman – Season 2, Episode 1

Jeremy Paxman starts his episode with a lot of hot air about genealogy in general. He doesn’t really get it and in fact admits he’s not excited. However, he does say it could be interesting, just not enough to make him “wet his pants about it.”

“I’ve always thought you have to live life looking forwards, not backwards and I’ve had no interest at all in who my ancestors are.”

Oh how things change for him. I don’t think he starts the show understanding what exactly he’s getting into but then again none of us really do. It is funny watching these and before the stars start, they always say “I guess I’m at that age now where I want to know.” Obviously, I believe any age is the age to be interested but this entry isn’t about me. Jeremy’s moment for me is when it all turns around for him. There’s this moment where you can see that he realizes it isn’t about living in the past or agonizing over the past, but a compassion and understanding of the people who are responsible for your existence. If your parents help to shape you, then obviously the next question is, “How did their parents shape them?” That question can be repeated over and over again through the generations.

Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy’s realization comes with his mother’s side of the family. Jeremy travels to Glasgow to learn more about his great-grandparents John and Mary Mckay. There he learns that John died and left Mary to care for their eight surviving children. Unfortunately for Mary, it was a struggle to provide for all those children and she ended up applying for poor relief. In a shocking and tragic turn, someone reported to the poor relief board through an anonymous letter that Mary had given birth to two illegitimate children since the death of her husband. Mary’s poor relief was withdrawn and she was forced to either stay with all her children and face starvation, or to go and live at the workhouse. The choice is one many parents had to make before at that time. Can you imagine having workhouses in this day and age? Mary chose to stay with her children. Mary’s story does get better, and it’s wonderful to see that it all turns out in the end. The great thing for me was to see the emotion Jeremy went through when he found out what some anonymous person had done to his family. He was visibly upset and rightfully so. I’m willing to bet he’s a little more interested in the fate of his ancestors now.

4. Stephen Fry – Season 2, Episode 3

I tried not to pick episodes that were too close together but when you have moments you love, it’s really tough. Stephen Fry’s episode is probably #1 on my list of favorites. If this list were ranked, his would definitely be at the top.

Stephen’s journey starts with his mother. They talk about a particular picture that his mother was given. The picture was given to her by her father, Martin. The picture is of Martin’s mother Rosa and sister Reska with her husband and children. The only thing anyone would ever say about the picture is that they’d all been killed. So naturally Stephen and his mother wanted to know more about the picture and the people in it.

Stephen Fry's ancestors
Stephen Fry’s ancestors

Stephen’s episode is very emotional. He knew that from the beginning it would lead back to a concentration camp. While watching his episode, I laughed (he drove around looking for a wi-fi hotspot), I cried and finally at the end when he finally learns the names of the children and learns their fate… Well, it’s just heartbreaking as he reads each name and the name of the concentration camp they died at. He says it best himself.

“It’s so stupid because I knew this. We all knew that they’d died. But seeing their names there and that f**king word Auschwitz is just.. it does something to you.”

5. Gurinder Chadha – Season 2, Episode 6

The final one today is from Gurinder Chadha. Many know her as the writer and director of Bend it Like Beckham. The beautiful thing about her episode is that even though her father passed away, he still made the journey with her. Before he passed away, she had him sit down and write down some of his “earliest memories”. What she didn’t realize until right before she filmed her episode was that it was actually a memoir and it was full of tons of things he never spoke about before.

Gurinder consulting the memoir
Gurinder consulting the memoir

His memoir actually goes with her to India and she uses it with the help of her uncles to follow her father’s life.

One of the things I really love about the British version of this show is that I learn so much about World History that I never knew before. I’ve learned about Indian history, British history, German history, French history. It really shows stuff that I don’t think we’d ever have gotten on the American version. Not because we don’t have a diverse history, but because certain parts of British history weren’t necessarily part of American history.

For the record, if you’ve never seen an episode set in India where they show the family scrolls, you’re missing out. That’s an amazing resource that you only get by going to India and searching out your family’s record keeper.

Note: I do not know how others will be able to watch the British version. You can try YouTube, but I’m not sure if they have the episodes either. I was lucky enough to get them through a friend. I hope someday that this show will be available in America even if it’s just through iTunes, Netflix or Instant Video. I could pick wonderful moments from every episode if I wanted, but I wanted to keep this entry relatively short. As it is I dwindled 10 down to 5. 

Dear Faithful Reader

As someone who has made the effort to come to my blog, I feel I must be completely honest with you. You’ve spent your time reading my random ramblings. That’s a significant commitment to me. My family are the only ones who do that. So if you take the time to read my ramblings, you deserve the truth…


I am crazy. That’s right, I’m certifiable. Your eyes don’t deceive you. That is six different family files. In fact it’s three of each kind from only two different programs. You’d think I’d at least spread the wealth to more than two programs. I should have thrown at least a third into the mix. Backup-File is the RootsMagic I’ve been working on. Big-Family-File is the Family Tree Maker file that has all the people and none of the sources. Big-File is another RootsMagic file but this one has all names and no sources. I was going to go through and add them when I was in a census mood. Instead I’ve been doing that on Family Tree Maker. Not because I prefer Family Tree Maker but because I forgot I was doing it in RootsMagic. Both Family-File files are the current working files. That’s right I started over AGAIN. Who knows why I do this to myself. I’ve got to be crazy to continuously be starting my organization over. I have to find the right balance soon right? I’m already second guessing what I have. is actually my original file. The one that’s been in progress since 2004. I’ll never delete it, I even still open it for reference points sometimes. *sigh*

I’ve been researching my family history for many years. As long as I can remember. At least since I graduated high school in 2001. I’ve had an membership since 2004. It was way more complicated then. They had separate memberships for Census records, Newspaper records, Vital records, Family tree records. It was nuts. I’ve had this domain since 2005. Before the domain I had a tiny little website provided by my internet provider. I was just teaching myself HTML as I went along, I had no idea what CSS or MySQL was. I can’t imagine how I thought my little website would survive in those conditions.

The one thing that has never changed is my one and only talent for messing things up. I’m afraid now that if I keep going on this course I’ll never make any progress in my tree. I’ll just be continually starting over again. I spent yesterday in the censuses, I actually found Joshua Johnson in 1850. It’s a great discovery, I’ve been looking for awhile. Unfortunately my discovery is overshadowed by my indecision about the family files. Maybe what I need to do is delete all those extras except (sentimental) and the Family-File files.



I’m a genealogy hoarder and I need help.


I finally sat down and started playing in my free of sources Family Tree Maker family file. The one with all of the people, and none of the sources. I keep on trying to figure out the Source Citation procedure for Family Tree Maker but it doesn’t ever end with me actually feeling like I’m doing it correctly. Even though in the newer versions, they have templates to aid you in the process. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it to be what I wanted.

I think I may have finally “figured it out.” I have to use the quotes, because… Well, I might not have figured it out. I’m never sure if I ever have things correct or not. It’s a side effect of never reading instruction manuals. One day I’ll be forced to follow the “rules” but so far I’m doing fine bumbling through life at the seat of my pants… or fluffy pajamas as it were.

Okay, after many many combinations of what the ‘Source Title’ should be, I finally settled on ol’ faithful. I threw out using their templates for entering the Censuses. I like simplicity when it comes to the Census. I just want to pick the correct year and divide from that point. The censuses are where I ran into the biggest problem because hello, with 4,000 people in the “Big File” that source list could get very crowded. Then I went ahead and set myself a universal pattern for the ‘Citation Detail.’ Every single one of my Census citations have the exact format as you see above.

My next step was getting the citations onto the other people. In the past when I tried this, it didn’t go well. Mostly because I was using the existing citation, and then trying to change that. Well no wonder it wasn’t working right. So what I tried next was ‘Paste Duplicate Source Citation.’

At first it was perfect. I could note down the line numbers and spellings of the person’s name on their own citation. The problem ended up in my Source List though. That doesn’t exactly leave a lot to be desired does it? Especially when you think about the other 3,992 people I’m going to have census citations for. I’m closer though!

My next step was sorting it by ‘Source Title’ so I could just see that specific Census and not have all the other clutter. Which absolutely makes it a little easier to take, but still a bit much. That was when I had an epiphany.

I realized that I was leaving a whole box blank and why would I do that when Ancestry was so polite to give it to me right? So I noted down names and ages in the ‘Citation Text.’ Then I linked the one citation to the whole family. As you can see it turned a big list into a much more manageable one.

As you can see, it’s much easier to see what is going on in the ‘Source List.’ It may not be the way the sources are officially supposed to be done in Family Tree Maker but it’s the way I’m doing it now.

No Genealogy today

Unfortunately, there was no time to write up a post today. I was playing around with my new purchase:

Unfortunately, I forgot to get my Serial ATA cable at the same time. Then I decided why not just install it as the primary drive. My old drive is pretty old, and pretty small.

I didn’t forsee not being able to use my current Windows 7 key on my new install. Seems my key will only work on an upgrade and not on a new install. So that’s alright, just have to go back to Best Buy and get a cable. I did however, waste most of my day trying to get this to work. Good thing I figured it out today and not 30 days in when Windows stopped working!

After all the stress of today and frustration, I’m going to break out my fluffy pajamas and a cold ginger ale. 😉 I want to relax! Shoot, I never did get the laundry in either. What a day!

Current Family File Stats

Slowly but surely I’m getting stuff entered into my new shiny Family File. I decided to take a break from that today though. I want to get lost in Census stuff. In order to do that, I can’t be nit-picking on every detail. What is my new great idea you ask? Well I exported a gedcom from my HUGE Family Tree Maker file and smacked it right back into Family Tree Maker. Then I deleted all source information. It was scary and liberating all at the same time.

Okay, full disclosure, sorry. I actually did this yesterday, when I hit the jackpot. I was absolutely dying to dive in and find some Taylors in Maryland. I didn’t want to lose my source information mojo and I certainly didn’t want to just add all those people to the new clean file. So I figured a blank source template wasn’t entirely cheating… right? I mean I’m not adding these guys to my website. I’m not announcing them. I am however, adding in the sources. So when I get to these people in my clean file, I already have their source information! Genius right? Okay, maybe not so much. I’m easily distracted though, so it’s a great secondary option for my genealogy time.

Heck, I’m not even sure I ever stay on topic in these blog posts. I know I start typing with the best of intentions. So I’ll just keep working on my genealogy and my writing skills. We’ll see where they land me.

Holy Cow, Jackpot!

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, it’s because FamilySearch just added a ton of new records to their website. I can’t wait to dig in and start looking. I have 227 matches for Taylor in Somerset County, Maryland alone! Not to mention the Kentucky Death and Marriage Records they added. I was so excited I had to post a second entry today!

Point Lookout

I’ll try and put together an informative post about Point Lookout / Fort Lincoln once I have some more free time. We visited today and it has a big spot in history. Tomorrow we’re headed up to Washington D.C. for some culture. 😉 So I’ll be taking some more pictures of that.


Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, I’m going to show you a little glimpse into what we worked on recently. Our first vegetable garden. It’s our first try, and we’re still noobies when it comes to things like this, but we’re trying. That’s all that really matters right?


Here’s my parents trying to figure out how the water source is going to work.


Poor dad, he’s stuck with a bunch of girly girls. We do our best though!


Should I have made them sign releases first? Oh well, they’ll yell at me later. Mom is the brains behind this operation.


Looks like it’s working to me!


Look Amanda came to assist! Now I get to keep taking pictures. That’s my job you know. I’m supposed to document everything. It’s an official role in the family.


Without my official role, these pictures would be impossible. So happy Earth Day!