Your Quick Tips

Looking at the Bigger Picture
Family members were cleaning out a seldom used closet and came across an old, much used quilt. Much of the fabric of the colored pieces had been worn away and I was asked if I saw any reason to keep it. As I was thinking whether we might want to “promote it to rags,” as my mother-in-law would say, I unfolded it to look for unworn areas. It was then that I realized the overall effect was quite beautiful. So now this quilt has a new life, hanging over a balcony railing.

I think there’s more than one lesson here. One applies to standing back and taking a broad look at an old quilt’s overall effect. The other applies to family history in general. We may have shreds of evidence that seem too sparse to be of any use. But sometimes, when we stand back and look at the bigger picture, patterns and relationships emerge from scattered details. For me, this has meant poking around for records of the siblings of ancestors, and finding time to read histories about some of the places where ancestral families lived.

Susan C. Hopkins
Urbana, IL

Filing Tips and the Paper Trail
It is time for spring cleaning again, and this also includes that huge stack of info we have been meaning to file all year. As the new pieces are added to their appropriate folders, it is a good chance to go through that folder, coordinate the information, and update the other files related to the new info. These new additions are flagged when they go into the folders so that when I work the files I know whether I have already dealt with the info or not. Post-it notes or flags are great for this.

As my paper files increase, it becomes more important to keep the info not only available, but manageable, as these are my backups for what is on the computer. (Yes, I would really prefer a card catalog to the computer index at the library.) I also keep a Rolodex with a brief entry for every paper file and as I add new files a new card goes on the Rolodex. This is an easy first check to see if the information is in there before I begin the search.
I live in an area where there are frequent power outages during at least half the year due to the weather, so I don’t always have a chance to save what I’ve been working on the computer–hence the paper trail. At least that doesn’t get lost when the lights go out!


Book Reviews
While researching my Arizona ancestors a few years ago, I ordered a book from eBay called “Vanished Arizona,” by Martha Summer-Hayes. It was originally published in 1910 and told her own story as a cultivated New England girl who becomes an army wife and follows her new husband to his next post in Arizona, which in the early 1870s was virtually unknown. The story is very interesting, but the descriptions of the land and people at that time helped me understand what it was really like.
I also picked up an older fiction paperback at a thrift store called “Remnants of Glory,” by Teresa Miller (copyright 1981). It is set in Oklahoma 1907-63 and gives a bit of insight to the people who settled the state of Oklahoma. It is an easy read, with a bit of historical romance thrown in, but it does paint a good picture of life in that place and time.

Karen Grieve Tomblin

AWJ Editor’s Note: You can find more book reviews in the Book and Movie Corner of the 24/7 Family History Circle blog. If you have a book or movie that has inspired you or given you insight into the lives of your ancestors and other family members, please send it to

Thanks to all of this week’s contributors! If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: . Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the “Ancestry Weekly Journal,” please state so clearly in your message.

3 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. I have been searching for my Great Grandfather, came to America when he was 23, can not find how he entered, was born in England, attended Oxford, work as a clerk ? before he came. At one time thought maybe from Canada. would have been not check points at the time.. Civil War. Settled in Forestburg, Montague County, Texas died in 1902 is buried in Perryman Cemetery
    Name is William Herbert (Billy) Wilson.

  2. I am looking for information on my G Grandfather. He came to the USA around 1860 from Hanover, Germany. He changed his last name to Bimes when he entered the USA. A child, Anna was born there.

  3. I have searched and searched again for a family by the name of White. Lived in Bakersfield, Ca. They had 3 sons and 1 daughter. the father was in the Navy, 1 son, (Robert Leroy White) was in the US Navy. My story is with Bob. He came to our little town in 1946 with a ship buddy. We dated that summer . He had with him pictures of his family, and left them with me. I still have the pictures and that was my quest to find his family to return them. Over the years of searching I have learned that he was killed in an ambulance wreck 1958. this was in Oklahoma. He is buried at FT. Sam Houston Military cemetery. He had married a girl by the name of Willa Mary Kaiser. They had a little girl and she is buried with him. Bob was born January 23, 1925. Died March 28th 1958 and buried April 3rd , 1958.
    I know this is a lenghty comment/query.
    I have a family tree put together of this family.
    Mary Lou Hopkins (nee: Newberry)

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