Tips from the Pros: Super-Rescuers

from Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

I’ve written about them before, but if you haven’t checked out these websites, you may be missing out on one of your family’s orphans!

Marge Rice, Photo-Rescuer Extraordinaire
In case you’re not familiar with Marge, she gathers orphan photos at flea markets, antiques stores, and so forth, and returns them to family members. On 11 July (drum roll, please), she reunited photo number 1,000 with its family of origin. So far, a remarkable 744 strangers have been the recipients of her generosity. Marge rescued her first photo on 9 September 2000, so that’s an average of more than fourteen photos per month. How’s that for a serious impact by a single individual? By the way, if you want to keep an eye on Marge’s progress over time, bookmark the Marge-O-Meter.

DeadFred, One of the Coolest Sites on the Internet
I’ve always been a fan of Joe Bott and the gang at DeadFred, a terrific photobase site (that is, a database of photos) where anyone can post or search for family photos (now more than 60,000!). This family-based operation got into the rescue sport a little later than Marge, but if you visit the site right now, you’ll see that it reports an impressive 924 rescues. Here’s a little known secret: that figure tends to lag slightly behind the actual count. So I checked in the other day and learned that rescue number 940 had just occurred! Not too shabby, eh? Continue reading

Your Quick Tips

Credit Reports and Social Security Statements
We all spend a lot time trying to flesh out the lives of our ancestors by hunting down every little detail we can find in censuses, birth records, or city directories. I have been trying to create my very own “ancestor” detail for myself. I am filling up my software database entry with all the residences and occupations I have had. I found myself trying to recall some of my street addresses –I have lived in approximately nineteen places in my life. I then recalled that I had received a free credit report in the mail and listed were six of those addresses!

In addition, I like to use my annual Social Security statement to recall some of my earliest salaries. It makes a fun detail to show how much I made my first year out of college!

For more information on how to obtain a free credit report, you can visit or for more information.

Susan Daily
Missouri Continue reading

The Year Was 1906

Theodore RooseveltThe year was 1906 and around the world, it was a year of disasters. On January 31, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador, creating a tsunami that killed between 500 and 1500 people. It remains the fifth strongest earthquake on record. It was recorded as far away as Japan, and Hawaii saw flooding from the waves. It was also recorded in San Francisco, and sadly this was not to be the only brush with seismic activity that would be felt there.

On April 18 at 5:12 a.m., the Great San Francisco Earthquake struck.  One of the largest quakes to hit North America, the earthquake and subsequent fires that lasted for three days after the quake caused and estimated 400 million dollars in damages and may have killed as many as 3,000 people. (More information and links can be found in the Ancestry Library in the article by Kurt Laird.)  Continue reading

Photo Corner:

09-05-06 Sylvester and Mary Owsiany_edited-1.jpgContributed by Wanda Bradley
Sylvester and Mary Owsiany, who come to this country in 1906. The children are Raymond and Sophie Owsiany. The picture was taken in Philadelphia, Pa. after they arrived.
Mable Irene Henderson and Donald Eugene Markert

 Click on the image to enlarge it.

Contributed by Joyce Collins
Joyce’s parents, Mable Irene Henderson and Donald Eugene Markert at their wedding, 24 Apr 1929 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Ancestral Vacation Sweepstakes: Win a Trip or One of Three Other Prizes

Ireland landscapeUpload photos of your favorite ancestors, and you could win an unforgettable trip to their homeland. Visit anytime between September 1 and September 30, upload up to five photos a day of earlier generations* of your family, and you could win an all-expense paid† trip to visit any of your ancestors’ place of origin. Register, start your tree and upload photos absolutely free. You’ll be able to learn first-hand details about their lives and their homeland that may give you a better picture of who they were, and maybe a little about yourself as well – information you can’t get from traditional research.

In addition to the grand prize trip, each week we’ll also choose ten winners for additional prizes. Two first place winners will win a portable scanner, perfect for digitizing family photos for your album. Four second place winners will receive a free year subscription to And four third place winners will receive a personalized and unique copy of Our Name in History, a book detailing the history of their family name!

For more information, click here.

*Limit of 5 photo uploads per day. Please see Official Rules for photo eligibility requirements
†See Official Rules for details