More Brick Walls from A to Z, by Michael John Neill

Last year we looked at Brick Walls from A to Z. Unfortunately most of us still have brick walls. In recognition of the many attempts we make to break them down, this week we include an additional list.

A is for Assumptions
While it is necessary to make assumptions in order to begin work on some problems, there often comes a time when the assumption must be put aside. The search for a marriage record may begin in the location where the first child was born, but if records are available and no marriage can be located, then it may be time to let go of that assumption. Always state assumptions as such. Once an assumption becomes confused with fact, it is difficult for it to return to the land of assumptions.

B is for Boundaries
An incorrect knowledge of the county boundary, the state boundary, or the national boundary can cause a researcher to search in the wrong location. Political boundaries may be precise, but they may also be in constant flux. Linguistic boundaries are much more fluid and rarely clearly defined. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Read the Area Newspapers Before You Go, from Paula Stuart Warren, CG

Some of you will be traveling this summer in order to do some family history research. Of course, we should check the websites of the libraries, archives, cities, counties, and states we will be visiting. But also, well in advance of your trip, do some online reading of the newspaper for that area. There might be a festival or other event you wish to attend. Perhaps the event is so large there will not be any motel rooms available unless you make reservations well in advance.
Maybe you are going to a seminar, conference, or Elderhostel. Read the newspapers for that area, too. Most of these newspaper sites request that you register to read it online, but rarely is there a cost for current news. Some of these places still have more than one newspaper. The quickest way is to type the city name and the word “newspaper” into a search engine. Some examples from places you may be traveling this summer:

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Your Quick Tips, 14 May 2007

Trenton, New Jersey Police Website
I very much enjoyed your article about police ancestors in the Ancestry Weekly Journal. For an example of a really well-crafted historical police department website, go to:
This is the website of the Trenton, N.J., online police museum. For historical information, I click on the period 1900-1919, when my great-grandfather was a patrolman. As I read, the site plays ragtime music of the era! I learned that my ancestor’s salary was $950 per year. For people with roots in Trenton, it’s an amazing site.

Thanks for calling attention to this important segment of the population.

Beth Kennedy Continue reading

The Year Was 1870

Fountain of Trevi, Rome, Italy The year was 1870 and it marked the start of the Franco-Prussian War. Following a devastating defeat at Sedan in September, in which Emperor Louis Napoleon surrendered himself to the Prussian army, the siege of Paris began. Through the siege, Parisians used hot air balloons and carrier pigeons to communicate with the outside world.

The Franco-Prussian War had repercussions in Italy as well. While much of Italy had been unified, Rome had been under the protection of France. The French troops had to be put into service against Prussia, leaving Rome to the Italian troops. And in October, Rome joined the Kingdom of Italy, and would become the capital the following year.  

The U.S. was still recovering from the Civil War and in 1870 Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, and Georgia rejoined the Union;  Georgia being the last of the former Confederate States to be readmitted.  Continue reading

Photo Corner

Edna Leona (Grimes) Crosby, 1897-1983Contributed by Sandra Shepheard
This is a picture of my grandmother, Edna Leona (Grimes) Crosby, 1897-1983. It was probably taken about 1900 in Boston, MA. It is one of my favorite pictures of her.

Willard Warner family, 1917, MichiganContributed by Patti
The woman in the back is my great-great grandmother, Flossie Fern (nee Millhouse) Warner, and the man is my great-great grandfather, Willard Warner, 1917 in Michigan. The younger gal is my grandmother, Helen Nan Corliss, and her little brother Robert Warner.

And in Honor of Mother’s Day…

Four generations Wiesnet.And last, but not least, in honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a photograph of four generations of mothers.

This is a photograph of my mother and aunt (twins), my grandmother, great grandmother, and great, great grandmother taken in March 1919 in Syracuse, New York. The twin infants are Rita Barrett Wiesnet (1919 – 2005) and Ruth Barrett Lord (1919 – Living). Holding them is their mother, Mary Salsbury Barrett Russell Meisner (1897-2002) yes, lived to 105 yrs! Behind her is Mary’s mother, Sarah (Sadie) Hanley Salsbury Petch (1875-1934), and on the right, Mary Gillen Hanley (1855-1922)

Tim Wiesnet

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!



Group Photo: Flood of 1913, Wayne County, Indiana

Flood of 1913, Wayne County, Indiana, Baker houseI receive a lot of photo submissions of larger groups. Unfortunately, I can’t always fit these larger photographs into the spaces provided in the newsletter, so I’m going to begin posting some of these photographs online and linking to them in the Photo Corner so that more people can enjoy them.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted photographs. I am going to be doubling my efforts to post more of them on the blog, so if you haven’t seen yours yet, hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

I felt this picture was appropriate due to the recent stories of natural disasters.  The picture was taken during the 1913 flood.  The picture was taken in Wayne Co., IN (I think Middleboro) on the Ohio/Indiana border (now I-70).  My great grandfather, George Harrison BAKER is on the horse and my grandmother, Maud Anna BAKER is second from the left, she was 13 years old.  My great father’s house was on a hill so friends and family flocked to his house to stay dry. 
Brenda Kerr

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Who Am I?

J. Mardes.jpgI received this beautiful photograph with the following message:

I found this picture among stacks of papers. It was in a frame that I purchased from a dealer. I have no idea who the child is, but evidently she was from the Boston, Mass. area or visiting there. The photographer’s name is Gray, 1030 Tremont St., Boston.

Jeannette b. Desmarais

Click on the photograph to enlarge it.

Call for FGS Award Nominations

FGS Conference 2007_edited-1.bmpEach year at the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference banquet, awards are given to societies and members of societies for outstanding or notable service to the genealogical community.    

The Federation is seeking nominations for awards of recognition to individuals and societies who have participated in activities or projects that have been successfully undertaken.   A successful nomination will highlight these activities or projects, these individuals or societies.  FGS is looking to offer gratitude with these awards for participation in and making a positive difference in the genealogical community.

FGS will present awards at the annual banquet in Fort Wayne, Indiana where genealogists from across the nation will join together for A Meeting at the Crossroads of America, 15–18 August 2007, hosted by the Allen County Public Library, home of the newly expanded Genealogy Center which houses the largest genealogical research collection in a public library in the nation.   For more information and registration for this exciting conference visit Continue reading Research Confirms Pocahontas and President Bush Are Related

Ancestry logo.bmpThe following press release went out this morning: 

Relationship Highlights New Understanding of Pocahontas on the Eve of Jamestown’s 400th Anniversary

Williamsburg, Va., May 9, 2007 — As America commemorates Jamestown’s 400th anniversary, genealogical detectives at, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today unveiled key documentation which proves that Pocahontas and President George W. Bush are related.  The families are linked by the marriage of President Bush’s eighth great-grandfather, Robert Bolling, to Jane Rolfe, Bolling’s first wife and Pocahontas’ granddaughter.
President Bush is not a direct descendant of Pocahontas, but rather a descendant of Bolling and his second wife, Ann Meriwether Stith.  In addition, Bush’s eighth great-aunt, Mary Kennon, married John Rolfe, who is believed to be Pocahontas’ great-grandson. These connections make President Bush directly related to many – if not all – the descendants of Pocahontas. The Bush-Pocahontas family tree is accessible at

“On the eve of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary, the President’s link to Pocahontas is a perfect example of the unexpected and unbelievable stories that are waiting to be discovered in our family trees,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for “We wanted to confirm the claim of a possible Pocahontas-Bush family connection, and the research concretely provides the link.” Continue reading