Thursday, March 31, 2011

Indiana Genealogical Society - County Genealogist

Appointment to County Genealogist
by the Indiana Genealogical Society

I am excited to announce that I have been appointed the Indiana Genealogical Society’s County Genealogist for Brown County, Indiana.  It is one of those bittersweet events in my life, that I wish I could share with my mother, and grandmother’s who were so nurturing in sharing with me their passion for our family’s history. 

So what does a ‘County Genealogist’ do?  Well, primarily I am the local liaison between the local genealogical and historical society’s and the Indiana Genealogical Society.  In addition to fielding research requests for family l information, I work to promote genealogical interests in Brown County, and seek to preserve and protect Brown County and Indiana family history records.

I am generally available on Tuesday’s at the Brown County Public Library, if you need research assistance.  Or if you have a question about your family genealogy, email me the details, and I will see what I can find.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 8 - County Resources


Sometimes the records you are seeking, simply are not available on the internet.  Then what?  Where do you go to find that information?  Most county public libraries have Local History Specialists, either on staff, or they have a list of local people to contact.  So, ask your librarians!

County Historical Society's usually have archivists and county historians that can help you locate information.
Contact local Historical Societies!

County Genealogical Society's also have researchers, local family history specialists, county genealogists, etc., that can help research your family history questions.
Contact local genealogy societies!

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 7

Investigate the FREE, newly redesigned
This is a wonderful collection of records which literally grows every day. Family Search has added newly digitized records numbering in the millions, since going to their newly formatted website last fall.  It pays to re-check those brickwalls, every month or so.  You never  know when a newly digitized immigration record (or other record, for me it was an immigration record) will ‘pop-up’ and shed new light on you brick wall.

Speaking of FAMILY SEARCH, be sure to mark your calendars for April 12, 2011.  The Brown County Genealogical Society is having its monthly program and meeting at the Brown County Public Library, and our speaker will be Mary Decker, from the Bloomington Family History Center, and she will be showing us some of the new features of and how to navigate the new site.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Week 6

Genealogy Blogs

Another interesting way to learn about GENEALOGY is by reading specialized Blogs. As children we wrote in our diaries and journals, now ... we are 'Bloggers'

Reading Blogs and Blogging are great ways to learn about new trends in genealogy, as well as keep up with important genealogical discoveries.  Technololgy and Social Media are changing  the methods we use to conduct genealogy research.

Pick five genealogy blogs and read them every day. If you need some suggestions, look at my "Favorite Blogs" list in the right hand column.  If you are already subscribe to some genealogy blogs, find five new ones that are“outside the box,” perhaps in history or archives.

Blogs are great ways to learn about new methods, as well as share your discoveries. 

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Week 5

WorldCat is a massive network of library content that the public can search for free (user name and password not required).  Looking for something that you can’t find in your local library?  Use to see if you can locate your item in another library.  Many libraries utilize Inter-Library Loan systems and many times they will loan the item to your library so you can check out the item. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

NEW!!!!! The World’s Largest FREE Genealogy Search Engine

Mocavo launched just this past week, and already many genealogy professionals are giving it high marks.  Providing genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information.

While discovers new sites every day, some of the existing sites searchable on include genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals. Similar to other search engines, honors site owners by linking directly to their content.

Instead of searching you favorite FREE Genealogy search sites, one at a time – now you can search them all at the same time.   Several genealogy professionals reported find NEW information on brickwalls, and several reported finding material that supported major break throughs, I think this site will be a significant contributor to the future of genealogy research.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Week 4


Whether you are just getting started in researching your family history, or you are an experienced genealogy researcher, you will benefit from having someone you can call your mentor, your encourager, your cheerleader, or even your partner in crime. 

No matter what your level of experience, you can always benefit from having someone else to review your findings, share in your new discovery, analyze your problems, and help you organize your research.  Mind you, they aren’t going to do it for you, but they can offer advice and direction when you get to the place where you don’t know where to look next.

My mentor, helps keep me on track.  I like to chase 'rabbit trails', and well, sometimes I get so lost in 'the hunt', I forget who it was I was searching for in the first place.

Where do you find a genealogy mentor?  Start with your local genealogy society’s, or your library.  Most librarians know the local family history buffs, and can help you locate a local history specialist.

On Tuesdays, at the Brown County Public Library, and the Brown County Historical Society Archives, local volunteers are available to help you with your family history research.  Anyone can join us at the Library from 1pm-3pm, or at the Archives from 12n-2pm, every Tuesday.

Remember, genealogy is all about finding clues. You are the Sherlock Holmes of genealogy detectives, who is your 'Watson'?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 3



In addition to the genealogy materials and family studies at the Brown County Library, the Brown County Historical Society houses a fabulous collection of photographs, school records, early court documents, and various other, well, for lack of a better phrase…. Cool Stuff!

The Archives at the Brown County Historical Society are open on Tuesdays from 12-2pm.  Rhonda Dunn, the Brown County Genealogy Society President, and others, are available to help you search and answer questions about your Brown County family connections.

The Archives contain thousands of photographs, early tax records, a good collection of data from the 72 one room schoolhouses that once existed in Brown County, Early Brown County Probate Records, Early Criminal and Civil court documents, family history files, Indexes from the Personal Ledgers from Drs. Ralphy, Arwine, and others; etc; lots, and lots of etc.

If you have hit a ‘brick wall’ in searching for a Brown County ancestor, then try the archives, you might just be amazed at what you will find.

Along the same lines, when you are spring cleaning your closets and find old letters, photographs, personal memorabilia, diaries, journals, anything, etc. that belonged to your Brown County Ancestors, and you don’t have a clue what to do with it, PLEASE CONSIDER donating your personal family historical items to the Brown County Historical Society.  Your families history, may help someone else discover theirs.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I receive lots of requests from people wanting to find Free genealogy research sites, locational sites, and web based genealogy information in general.  In order to help you find "my favorite" genealogy websites, I have created a DELICIOUS page.
Delicious is a Yahoo-based social bookmarking website, which means it is designed to allow you to store and share bookmarks on the web, instead of inside your browser. This has several advantages.
First, you can get to your bookmarks from anywhere, no matter whether you're at home, at work, in a library, or on a friend's computer, you always have access to your 'favorites'.
Second, you can share your bookmarks publicly, so your friends, coworkers, and other people can view them for reference, amusement, collaboration, or anything else. (Note that you can also mark bookmarks on Delicious as private – only viewable by you – if you like.)
Third, you can find other people on Delicious who have interesting bookmarks and add their links to your own collection. Everyone on Delicious chooses to save their bookmarks for a reason. You have access to the links that everyone wants to remember. You can see whether two people have chosen to remember a link, or whether it was useful enough for a thousand people to remember – which may help you find things that are useful for you, too.  
If you set up a Delicious page, be sure to 'friend' me, so we can connect our lists.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Genealogical Roots
 In Honor of what would have been
my mother’s 72nd birthday.

Who gives us that innate desire to learn about our ancestors?  For most of us, someone in our past has tapped into our curious nature and captivated our inquisitive minds with stories about our family’s history and heritage.  The grandmother who was the family historian, the other grandmother, who was ‘keeper of the family heirlooms’, and the mother who drug you out to cemeteries in the sixth grade, and made you color tombstones with chalk so said mother could create an inventory of who was buried in the cemetery.

So, those people would be my dad’s mother, Gladys (Christie) McDonald,  my mother’s mother,  Caroline Faye (Smith) Lewis, and my mother, Nina Jo (Lewis) McDonald.  So, I guess you could say that I come by my love for genealogy naturally.

And in honor of what would have been my mother’s 72nd birthday, I salute you, my genealogical mentors, especially my mom, who really did drag me to several cemeteries in the sixth grade, while she worked on the cemetery inventory project in Brown County.

Who is your mentor?  Genealogy is much more fun, when you have someone to share it with. Join a society, take a workshop, find friends that share your love for genealogy and mentor one another, sometimes others will see the obvious clues that you missed.

(The photograph is my parent’s wedding day June 23, 1961, and from left to right are: Perry Arthur Lewis, Jr.; Caroline Faye (Smith) Lewis, Nina Jo (Lewis) McDonald, Jack Herbert McDonald, Gladys Mayme (Christie) McDonald, Cecil “Herbie” Herbert McDonald.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 1 & 2

I mentioned this series in my introduction ,the next few weeks will have double features, until we get ourselves caught up. 


Go to your local library and check out what resources they have available for family history research.  Do they have a special collection, archives, electronic data sources?

The Brown County Public Library in Nashville, Indiana is a great small community library, packed with tons of genealogy information.  There is one complete aisle of the library dedicated to local resources.  Birth, Marriage, and Death Record Indexes, along with Cemetery Records, Obituaries, and Census Indexes dating back to 1840.

In addition, the BCPL houses the Genealogical Collection of FAMILY STUDIES compiled by Helen & Kenneth Reeves.  Over a period of twenty-eight years Ken and Helen Reeve compiled 265 studies of Brown County, Indiana families. These studies are meticulous and contain nearly complete documentation. Most studies feature Van Buren Township families.

An additional 200-300 FAMILY STUDIES have been donated by individuals, and cover most of the prominent family names for the area.

**Note to self-  make an index of the donated family studies, so I have a list of what family names have resources available at the library, and I bet there are more than 300**

If you want to get started looking for your family history, and you don’t know where to start, then get yourself to the library!  If you want someone to show you where resources are located then drop me an email, or message me on Facebook, and I will be glad to come to the library and introduce you to the resources that are available.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Successful Family History Workshops

Just completed four weeks of Family History Workshops.  Using the title of the popular TV show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" We helped people learn how they to can discover WHO they are and WHERE they came from. 

As a follow up to these workshops, several members of the Brown County Genealogy Society will begin assisting people interested in researching their family history at the Brown County Public Library every Tuesday from 1-3pm.

This BLOG will also begin featuring a weekly series called, "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" since I am starting this a little late, we will have a few weeks with multiple features until I get caught up:)

Technology is changing the way we conduct genealogical research, 10 years ago one would have had  to travel 100's of miles in search of an elusive ancestor; today we can practically GOOGLE a name and a year, and come up with birth records, marriage records, death records, photographs of tombstones, and a list of 48 'cousins' who are looking for you.

Ok, well, it may not be THAT easy, but the process is definitely changing.

Join me as a share new resources, research practices, and technology available to help your family research.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


So why a blog?  Well, I have been thinking about it for a while, but needed a direction, a focus.  I do a lot of research for people seeking information about their Brown County ancestors, and this seems like a good way to share with you the interesting things I find, while at the same time encouraging and mentoring those of you who desire to learn more about genealogy and ‘finding your roots’.
For the last three weeks I have been teaching genealogy workshops at the Brown County Library on Tuesday afternoons.  The first week, I prayed that just two people would show up…I had 10.  Then the next week, I thought OK, last week was a fluke, so I would be happy with 6 people…well I had 16.  Last week blew me completely out of the water; we met at the historical society archives and over 21 people showed up.  I am scared to think, how many will show up this week for the computer genealogy resources workshop at the CRC computer lab – but let’s hope for 10.
One of the things I would like to include every so often are my replies to research inquiries, it is funny but I have had three inquiries this winter with regards to the Moser or Mosier Family; people from different parts of the country inquiring about different branches of the Moser clan. So I will condense the information that I discovered and share it with you, along with weekly reviews and suggestions to improve our genealogy research skills and introduce you to a variety of genealogy resources.
Happy hunting (for your ancestors, that is)