Tips from the Pros: Pinpointing Time of Day, from Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Genealogists strive to find the exact day that an event occurred, such as for a birth, death, arrival in town, marriage, or christening. For some of these events it is possible to find an exact time of the day. Twentieth century (and some nineteenth) civilly recorded death and birth records usually give an exact time.

Did Grandpa’s diary state that they arrived at their new home in Greentown in the early morning? What trains ran then and at what times? A railroad schedule in a newspaper or perhaps the original schedule in a museum or archive may yield a time of arrival.

If your ancestor didn’t keep a journal or diary, maybe a neighbor did and commented on the events related to neighbors. An obituary in a small town newspaper may give the time of death. A coroner’s record generally states a time of death. Some Civil War pension files actually include a time of a battle beginning or ending and a time of injury. A letter from your grand-aunt Mabel to your grandmother might say that their mother passed away “at 3:55 this morning.”

A very dedicated clergyman or church secretary may list a time of a christening or wedding in the record book. Civil and criminal court records sometimes include an exact time of an event as do newspapers. One old settlers group’s minutes include the time of death for members.

Noting the time of day of important events can add interest to your family story. Have you recorded exact times of events in your life? Your marriage, your first kiss, a daughter or nephew’s birth, when you began your new job, or any other moment in your life?

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Your Quick Tips, 25 June 2007

books_edited-1.bmpInspiring Books
While doing research into various family members I found three books that inspired me. The first was Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes: By Trek and Sail to Grand Traverse Bay, by Beulah Hooper-King (Fen’s Rim Publications, Inc., 1993). It depicts life in northern Michigan’s lower peninsula and mentions several of my family members. 

The next book was Tales from the Great Lakes: Based on C.H.J. Snider’s “Schooner Days,” by Cindy Hollenberg Snider (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1995), which covers the early Schooner Days on the Great Lakes.

The final book was Booze, Boats, and Billions, by C.W. Hunt (McClelland and Stewart, 1989), which is about rum running during the prohibition era on the lakes. Several family members were mentioned in both of those books; they also gave me a lead on the book Whiskey and Ice: The Saga of Ben Kerr, Canada’s Most Daring Rumrunner, by C.W. Hunt (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1995), which may contain additional family information.

Basil Moore Continue reading

The Year Was 1827

Switch-back Mauch Chunk Gravity Railroad (from LOC Photo Coll. at AncestryThe year was 1827 and in Finland, the city of Abo (Turku in Finnish) was destroyed by fire. According to The Times (London, England) of 30 October 1827, “14 persons have perished on this melancholy occasion, and 789 houses have been reduced to ashes.” It goes on to say that,

“From this eminence the city now only presents to the view of the observer a vast field of ruins, an awful forest of [chimneys?] is all that remains of a city which not long since was [situated?] by the industry and activity of 14,000 inhabitants, of which 11,000 are now without an asylum.”

In Ireland, the population had grown from around 2.3 million in 1754 to 6.8 million as counted by the 1821 census, and the Penal Laws, which didn’t allow Catholics to buy land, and which restricted them in many other ways, encouraged this group in particular to emigrate. In 1827, legislation restricting emigration was lifted and in the ensuing ten years nearly 400,000 Irish emigrants left for foreign shores. 

Across the ocean in America, the railroad industry was in its infancy. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was incorporated to transport people and freight and would begin construction in 1828. The initial stretch would be completed in 1830 and a trip down the thirteen-mile stretch took fifty-seven minutes pulled by the first American-made locomotive, nicknamed the “Tom Thumb.”

Another railroad built in 1827 used gravity to transport coal from the mines of Summit Hill, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, to the Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania). The fast ride downhill quickly attracted thrill seekers and soon the area became a tourist destination. The Switch-back, as it became known, is credited with being the inspiration for the roller coaster industry and the tourist rides outlasted its use in hauling coal. (The image accompanying this article is of the Switch-back railroad, from the Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.) Continue reading

Photo Corner: Wedding Pictures

James Earl Hargus and Verna Victoria Zabava, 28 April 1930, New Waverly, Walker County, TexasContributed by Pat Hargus Sommerfield
This is a photo of my grandparents, James Earl Hargus and Verna Victoria Zabava, on their wedding day, 28 April 1930, in St. Joseph Catholic Church, New Waverly, Walker County, Texas. 

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Catherine Krzak and Thomas Bandur, 26 April 1904, Chicago, IllinoisContributed by Sharon Moore
This is a wedding photo of my grandparents, Catherine Krzak and Thomas Bandur, who were married 26 April 1904 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois. Catherine was born in Chicago; Thomas immigrated to the U.S. from Leki-Gorne, Poland in 1902. Thomas was a carpenter by trade and owned his own construction company during their lifetime in Chicago.

Photo Corner: Clegg family, England, 1900

Clegg family 1900.bmpThis is a photo of my Grandfather’s family in England. I also have a picture of Fred Clegg just before he enlisted in the British Army in WWI.  Fred was killed in that war. This family group was proficient in portraits.  I have six to ten other pictures from the same era featuring the children grown.

I have also enclosed a map of the family members.

Thomas H. Clegg

  1. Godfrey Moore Clegg, 1865-1916, aged around 35
  2. Ellen Chadwick Clegg, 1865-1935, aged around 35
  3. John Clegg, 1888-1956, aged around 12
  4. Eliza “Cis” Clegg, 1889-1955, aged around 11Clegg family photo map.bmp
  5. Florrie “Lolly” Clegg, 1890-1974, aged around 10
  6. Fred Clegg, 1892-1917, aged around 8
  7. Alice Clegg, 1899-1974, aged around 12 months
  8. Thomas Clegg, 1896-1938, aged around 4
  9. Willie Clegg, 1894-1962, aged around 6


Click on the images to enlarge them.

Photo Corner: John Thomas Sheraton and daughters, Hannah and Charlotte

John Thomas Sheraton, and his two daughters, Hannah and Charlotte, EnglandContributed by Terie Harris, Prescott Valley, Arizona
This a photo of my third great grand father, John Thomas Sheraton, and his two daughters, Hannah and Charlotte, taken in England.  I was told he was a sea captain. If you look at his left ear he has a small earring. I recently magnified the picture and saw that he had not one but two earrings–one in each ear. He was a handsome man but it appears his right eye was wondering a little.

ICAPGen Family History Conference, 09-10 November 2007, Provo, Utah

ICAPGenlogo.jpgWhether you are a professional genealogist, or you would like to become one, this conference is for you.  Family researchers looking for advanced classes are also welcome.

Becoming an Excellent Genealogist is the theme of the ICAPGen Family History Conference which will be held on 9-10 November 2007 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  Instructors include faculty of BYU, professional researchers, and other experts in genealogical and family history research.

Workshops will cover advanced research techniques, advice on improving your genealogical business, information on preparing for the Accreditation examination, and some of the latest tools that have become available.

Save this date on your calendar.  For more information, go to  The conference will be co-sponsored by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists and by the Center for Family History and Genealogy of BYU.

Genealogy Speakers at Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, Illinois, 21 June 2007

On Thursday evening June 21st, the Irish American Heritage Center will have genealogical speakers Fintan Mullan, Executive Director, and Dr. Brian Trainor, Research Director, from the Ulster Historical Society in Belfast, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Fintan Mullan will speak on Irish Catholic Records:  Annotations to the Records and Some Lesser-known Sources for Finding Irish Catholic Ancestors. This presentation will give a very brief background on the impact of the Reformation and the wars of the 17th century on the lives of Irish Catholics particularly in the context of their apparent absence from records.  It will explain the church records available for the Catholic church in Ireland and look at the value of annotations found in Catholic records which can be of great benefit the family historian. The presentation will finish with a survey of some lesser known sources available for tracing Catholic Irish ancestors. Continue reading

Ancestry Enters DNA Genealogy Field Through Exclusive Partnership with Sorenson Genomics

Ancestry logo1.bmpFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  


Combines Three Major Pillars of Family History Research – Historical Records, DNA and Family Trees

PROVO, UTAH – June 18, 2007 – A new partnership seeks to reunite families through science. The Generations Network, parent company of, has announced it will combine its unrivaled collection of online family trees and historical documents with Sorenson Genomics’ precision ancestral DNA testing. This unique partnership promises to revolutionize family history by allowing people to trace their roots and connect to distant cousins through DNA at the click of a mouse. boasts more than 14 million users and the world’s largest collection of online family trees. In the last 12 months alone, more than two million people have built family trees on Sorenson Genomics is one of the world’s foremost laboratories for genetic genealogy testing services, and has been helping genealogists extend branches of their family trees through DNA analysis since 2001.

“Entering the DNA category is a natural and powerful extension of our company’s mission to connect families across distance and time,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network. “Our partnership with Sorenson Genomics creates an incredible combination of resources designed to demonstrate how closely we are all related.” Continue reading