November 29, 2015

How Genealogists Can Spread The Love Of WDYTYA Goodness


For all the seasons that Who Do You Think You Are have been on there’s almost always a love/hate discussion the next day in the Facebook genealogy community. At first, everyone was happy the show was on and promoting the interest in family history. Then, little by little the critques began. The complaints ranged from there being too much detail that made the stories drag on, to not enough content that showed how many hours it took to find the juicy details.

Of course, what some people failed to take into account was that the show is just an hour long commercial for There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but it should be understood by those of us who do all forms of research that by criticizing and nit picking the show each week we are doing more harm than good when it comes to promoting the fun of finding family history documentation. We’re darn lucky someone like Lisa Kudrow chose to promote genealogy by producing the programs.

The program has changed from a national station host to The Learning Channel that may or may not be as accessible. As time went by the format for the stories of each celebrity evolved to keep it interesting while staying within a set budget. I’m assuming all this, but I suspect it’s all true.  As has been said recently, many aspects of the episodes can be teaching opportunities for those of us who write about genealogical research. Not just teaching opportunities, but talking points as well.

Now, About Your Own Research

If each celebrity’s life leaves us with questions, that’s a good thing. We might find ourselves with new ideas for our own research. Avenues we haven’t thought of persuing like voter lists, criminal records, church histories, newspaper accounts, or even special censuses for states. Have you considered searching for a topic in Google books? Not just in Google itself, but in their books.

Even more ‘daring’…search for your ancestor by name in a general Google search of images. I’m not advocating just doing research online of course. Find out if your local library has a genealogy section. Maybe your local historical society has a few suggestions for you too. One more suggestion, ask your friends what kind of books they might have that you could use for research. Personally, I have a few genealogy books of my own and can do lookups in them if you ask nicely. 😉

You Don’t Know Everything About WordPress…Yet


 For WordPress Beginners and Veterans – A Handbook!


I know some of you are thinking of starting a WordPress self-hosted blog, but it seems rather overwhelming, doesn’t it? I thought it was when I began this blog in 2007. I had no clue what to do at all. I just knew that WordPress was the best blog platform to use. Believe it or not, there is a lot of information out there to help you get started. But most of the time it’s spread all over the Internet and Googling it is time consuming. That’s why I’m sharing the below article with you. Even if you are a current WordPress author I bet you will find something useful to use from this handbook.


I don’t think it’s possible to know too much about blogging with WordPress, do you??  With that in mind, and much more profoundly written than I ever could, I would suggest that you keep and read this super valuable article by Devesh entitled The WordPress Handbook – 55 Resources For First Time WordPress Users.






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1933 Seattle: Gunner Moline – Owner of Moline Furniture Co

The Value of City Directories for Genealogists

Many times we have to hunt through records using first names with one surname in order to document each family member. One way to speed up the process is to check city directories for the one surname and see which first names are listed. Many times you get lucky and find not only the family member’s name, but also their spouses too, as well as their occupation or place of employment.

In looking at the 1933 Seattle, Washington city directory I found almost all of my Moline family using this method. From this image I’m able to determine the address of my Great Uncle Gunner and his first wife Lillian Tapping Moline. The address for their furniture company can be compared to an envelope we have to see if the two are the same.

Also shown in this list is my G-Grandfather Emil J Moline and his second wife Hannah Wilhemina living in the long-time family home at 114 Boren Ave North.

There’s a bit of a mistake for the listing of my grandfather Elvin B. Moline. They have him listed as “Edwin”. He is living with is second wife Lillian Vera Epstein Moline at 202 North 42nd Ave.

Last, but not least, is my aunt Signie Moline who is shown to be a stenographer for Yamashita Shipping Company. At this time she is a renter at 1118 5th Ave.

When this directory was released it’s possible my grandparents had already moved to Bordeaux, Washington where they would reside from 1933 until 1941.


The Importance Of Considering All Surname Spellings

Surname Spellings: It’s All In The Eye Of The Beholder

Early on in my genealogical research I was under the impression that it was best to look for the spelling of my maiden name Yates using just those letters. Boy, was I proved wrong almost immediately. While looking in census records for my ancestors with that surname I have found it spelled as Yates, Yats, Aytes, Yeats, Gates, Gats, to name just a few. Actually, the surname Yates refers to “gate keeper” so it wasn’t too far off to see it as Gates.

A lot of this confusion has to do with some illiterate census takers, and (sorry to say) transcribers who just couldn’t read the census takers scribbling. For instance, the Aytes transcription was because the census taker had made a big loop at the beginning of the Y and so to the transcriber it looked like an A. I may never have found my kin in Tennessee if I hadn’t had a kind soul in the Roane County Genealogical Society find the alternate name.

Searching the 1940 US Federal Census (to be released April 2nd, 2012)

With just this one example, I hope that it will encourage you to consider all spellings of the surname for which you are searching. Use your wildest imagination when you do it!

If you will be transcribing the The 1940 US Census, please use your best assessment when it comes to probable name spellings too.