Posted by Lou Szucs on June 5, 2008 in Collections, Website

image2.jpgNo matter who we are or where we came from, our dads have played a critical role in determining the kind of individuals we’ve become. With Father’s Day coming quickly, most of us are struggling to come up with the perfect way to honor the special men in our lives. Whether they are living or no longer with us, the memory of who they were and what they stood for should never be lost.

A few weeks ago as I was reading the newsletter of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, I fell in love with an idea their staff had for celebrating mothers and grandmothers on Mother’s Day. To honor the special women in their families, they created a wonderful online gallery featuring maternal photographs. Not being on the staff there, I couldn’t very well add my mom’s picture, but I carried the idea over to our family tree on Mom isn’t with us anymore, but I feel sure she’d be pleased to know that her smile is there now and can be viewed by family and Ancestry members all over the world.

My dad died before I was old enough to remember him, but the uncle who raised me became the best dad I could ever hope to have. Thanks to the content sets at Ancestry, I’ve been able to trace the story of his life in census records, World War I Draft Records, newspaper items, passport and passenger lists, the Texas death index, and the Social Security Death Index. As my Father’s Day gift for him, I’m going to be placing photographs of him in my family tree at Ancestry. From the time he was a child in Brooklyn, New York to the years he spent as a mining engineer in South America and Mexico, I have wonderful images of him that I’m anxious to share with others. And even though I may not be able to finish my project in time, I plan to use AncestryPress to create a book in his memory. I may be awfully late in thanking him for taking me in when I was just a toddler, but I can’t think of a better way to do it now.

Not everyone has time to complete a whole book in time for Father’s Day, but just think about it. If you and everyone else who reads this would take the time to post a photo or two of your father, your grandfather or someone else in your family, there would be millions of photographs added to in no time. Maybe someone will post a photograph that you’ve never seen. Maybe it will be a photograph that will connect you with that long-lost branch of the family. Personally, I’m still hoping that there is someone out there who might have a photograph of my grandfather – a fellow whose photograph I’ve never seen.

Lou Szucs

Loretto Dennis (“Lou”) Szucs, FUGA, holds a degree in history, and has been involved in genealogical research, teaching, lecturing, and publishing for more than thirty years. Previously employed by the National Archives, she is currently executive editor and vice president of community relations for, Inc.. She has served on many archives and genealogical boards, and was founding secretary of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Currently, she serves as a director on the Board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She has edited newsletters and quarterly journals for several genealogical societies, including the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Forum. She authored The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy (with Sandra Luebking), as well as They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins; Chicago and Cook County Sources: A Genealogical and Historical Guide; Ellis Island: Tracing Your Family History Through America’s Gateway; The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches (also with Sandra Luebking), and Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records (with Matthew Wright). Lou was also the executive editor of Ancestry magazine. Since 1980, Lou has lectured at numerous genealogy workshops and national conferences. She has presented at the American Library Association conference and has been interviewed for the Ancestors series, ABC News, CNN news, and most recently on ABC television show, The View. In 1995, she was awarded the designation of fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and has received numerous other awards. Note: Lou Szucs used to pay her daughters to find names in microfilm.


  1. dhcowgirl

    The new search feature is HORRIBLE!! When I search from my software database on the new feature it only puts in the name. The old feature put in dates of birth and death, if I had them. Too many confusing pages and also poor searches that are not relevant. I tried people that I KNOW are there and sure enough they didn’t come up.
    This is NOT an improvement in any way. We need to concentrate on documents/sources and not on the family trees that people upload. Sources, sources, sources people – that’s what makes it genealogy and NOT fiction.

  2. An excellent criticism! Many of the family trees folks have added, because you have sought them, are fallacious. People are so eager to make a tree that they are adopting people without trying hard enough to prove that they are who they say they are.  I have followed a couple of them and notified the person that their proposed ancestor is not who they say he is claiming.

  3. p.johnston

    Can anybody out there please tell me why, when i log on to the census pages on Ancestry the page freezes. Then i have to ctrl/alt/delete to get out of it. This happens all the time for the past week.
    Please help anyone

  4. Linda Ferrandini

    I have found a great deal of information, documents, and real blood family members! I am to the point now where I want to go back into Sicily, I do have my fathers real birth certificate, but would like to find my grandmothers wedding date, and coming to US, what she brought with her? Can anyone assist me? Thanks Ciao

  5. I also have trouble at time’s but i am still learning…Looking for Govea’s garcia, and there family Bribiesca my grandfather mother and Arias on my grandmother ,,my grandmother was Refujio Garcia… thank’s

  6. Please find it in your heart to put all the death dates back on the family pages. The only way to find a death date is to bring up each child’s page separately. Slows down research enoromously. geneva greer white.

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