Random Thoughts from a Night with the Dyer Family

by Juliana Smith

Did you ever have one of those nights of research where it just seemed like someone was reaching through time trying to tell you something? That happened to me last week. I don’t know what exactly they were getting at, but what I do know is that I am re-energized and ready to pursue what has been one of my more difficult family lines.

I set aside a night of research figuring it would provide me with a good topic for this week’s column. I was wrong. I actually ended up with several ideas. As I went through my typical methodologies, a few points came to mind that thought I’d share. Continue reading

Blackberry Cobbler!

blackberries1.jpgby George G. Morgan

We all have special memories from different times in our lives. My childhood is filled with memories of spending time at the home of my Aunt Mary Allen Morgan and my Grandmother Morgan. I spent weekdays in the summertime with these ladies while my parents worked. I learned a great deal about life, family history and traditions, and love during those summers.

October is Family History Month, and once again we have the opportunity to celebrate family and traditions. I’m sure that some of the special memories in your life are stories that you can share with relatives of all generations. Family History Month provides the opportunity to do just that. Make the time and create an opportunity to get together with family members and share some of these wonderful stories.

I like to share one of my favorite memories with you. After all, you as my readers have become family to me too. One of my most favorite memories involves blackberry cobbler.

Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Labeling Your Pictures

from Maureen Taylor

The kids are back in school. Got a few extra minutes on your hands? Now might be a good time to label all those summer photos before they remain unidentified for the great-grandchild to puzzle over.

If you print your digital pictures, use a black marker labeled that it is safe for pictures. Look for specific terms such as odorless (when dry) quick drying, water resistant, and light fast. One such product is a Zig marker, available at scrapbook supply stores, craft outlets, and even office supply stores like Staples. “Creating Keepsakes,” a scrapbook magazine, offers a list of pens and pencils that their preservation advisors gave the okay to on their website.

Don’t use these markers on your heritage photos. Purchase instead a very soft lead art pencil..

If your digital images are sitting on your hard drive and need captions. Use your photo organizing software, such as Google’s free download Picasa, or download the free Foto Tagger. You won’t believe what you can do with these tools!

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Posted in Uncategorized

Your Quick Tips, 16 October 2006

Betty Jo's Photo Memory BoxMom’s Memory Box
As the holidays approach, many of us are scratching around for the perfect gift for older family members who are living in nursing homes or assisted living. They don’t have much room for “stuff” and with limited mobility, gift certificates are not really practical. Since I’m the family genealogist and have loads of family photos, I made up a “memory box” for my mother-in-law who is in an assisted living facility. I started with a photo storage box, which was sturdy and a good size. To personalize the box, I scanned a wide variety of photos of her family–siblings, ancestors, and descendants. I used a photo editing program to arrange them, then printed out the sheets to glue onto the box. Then I used decoupage glue to seal the photos and make the box water resistant. Finally I filled it with greeting cards, stamps, notepaper, return address labels, an address book, pens, etc. Several years later, it is still in good condition and continues to be used for storage, as well as bringing back memories.

Betty Jo Stockton
Orlando, Florida

(Click on the image to get a closer look at Betty Jo’s Memory Box.)

Continue reading

The Year Was 1850

The year was 1850 and the U.S. Federal Census counted 23,191,876 residents. Of this number, 2,244,602 were enumerated as being of foreign birth. Not surprisingly, due to the Irish Potato famine of the 1840s, 961,719 people claimed Irish origins–or 42%, making it the largest single country of origin cited. These numbers did not go unnoticed in urban areas and resentment of the Irish Catholic immigrants gave birth to a period of nativism. Irish immigrants found themselves discriminated against during this period as cartoons portrayed them with simian features, and newspaper help wanted ads sometimes specified that “Irish need not apply.”

In California, immigrants were also being shunned as people from all over the world converged on the soon-to-be-state in search of gold. To help stem this tide the California legislature passed a Foreign Miners License Tax of $20 per month. Continue reading

Photo Corner

Catherine Thompson Clark, born into slavery in Rappahannock, Virginia, about 1837Contributed by Gail Swan, Los Angeles, CA
Catherine Thompson Clark was born into slavery in Rappahannock, Virginia, about 1837. She was the daughter of Burwell and Catherine Thompson. Catherine married Thomas Clark, son of Benjamin Clark and Elizabeth “Betsy” Crenshaw. Their slave marriage took place in 1856 and was registered with the Rappahannock County Clerk of Court in 1866. As far as census records and the Rappahannock Historical Society can determine, Catherine and Thomas were blessed with ten children, James Edward, Mary Jane, Betty, St. Cyr, Benjamin, Josephine, Thomas, Matilda, Martha and Louella. (The second picture is Catherine’s 10-16-06 James Edward Swan, MD.JPGgreat-grandson, James Edward Swan, MD.)

Click on the photos to enlarge them.


Beatrice Mitchell Stiltz and her brother, J. Everett Mitchell of Ewansville, Eastampton Township, NJ,ca. 1908Contributed by Carl Roache
Photo taken of my grandmother, Beatrice Mitchell Stiltz and her brother, J. Everett Mitchell of Ewansville, Eastampton Township, New Jersey (ca. 1908). My grandmother instilled a love of family that served as a real inspiration for my becoming interested in genealogy. One of my favorite memories as a child in the 1950s was listening to Nanny tell family stories as we went through her family pictures.

See the Results of the Annie Moore Contest on RootsTelevision

Megan Smolenyak SmolenyakFound this item that got buried in my inbox this week…

Most of you may recall a while back we ran a blurb about a contest, sponsored by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, seeking the identity of the real Annie Moore of Ellis Island fame.  Early in September they announced that she had been found.  The success was announced at a press conference in New York City, attended by some of Annie’s descendants. Now you can watch how they uncovered her real story and view the press conference online at RootsTelevision. Just go to the RootsTelevision website (www.RootsTelevision.com) and it’s currently on the home page. (If it’s been bumped from the home page by the time you read this, click on the Homeland tab and you’ll find it there.) 

Oh, and a word to the sentimental folks like me out there, keep a box of tissues handy!

Also, for those who like to check in on Megan’s Roots World blog, she’s moving it to the RootsTelevision website and you can read her at: www.rootstelevision.com/blogs/megans-rootsworld.html

Enjoy your weekend!


Ancestry Adds Stories to Member Trees

Your family history is more than just names and dates. It’s the stories and the memories that bring everyone together. Now you can share memories and stories with everyone in your family through your Ancestry Member Tree. (For more information on Member Trees, see the FAQ.)

Just go to the person you want to write about in your member tree and click on the Person tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and follow the prompts to upload your story from a file, or type it in. You can also attach the story to other family members in your file, so you’ll only have to enter it once. 

October is Family History Month, so take some time out to share and preserve your family stories!

Coming Soon at Ancestry: German-language Message Boards

Germany.jpgAncestry will be launching german-language message boards soon and is looking for people who can speak and write German well to volunteer to be an administrator on one or more of the boards. These boards will be separate from those found in the community section of Ancestry and on RootsWeb.com. If you are interested in acting as administrator for a new German message board, send an email to boardfeedback@ancestry.com for more details.