Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pennsylvania Death Index Now Online

The Pennsylvania records are finally available and free to all of us!

Pennsylvania has long been considered one of the most difficult states for genealogists trying to access older vital records, but a bill signed into law in December 2011 has finally helped us catch up with the times - at least a little. As of 14 February 2012 the PA Division of Vital Records has opened death records older than 50 years and birth records older than 105 years for public access, and put up free online indexes to both record sets to help facilitate access. The free PA birth index only covers the year 1906, as births from 1907 to the present are still covered by privacy laws, and pre-1906 birth records are held by the counties. The free PA death index covers the years 1906-1961. Unfortunately, the new indices are in digitized, PDF format - organized by year and first letter of the surname. At least they are available online! The birth index for 1906 appears to be currently searchable, but be aware that a search does not necessarily pick up all of the names.
Copies of these 1906 birth records and 1906-1961 death records can be ordered by mail from the Pennsylvania State Archives for a fee of $15.00 per record. An uncertified copy can also be obtained through the PA Division of Vital records for a fee of $3 per record. For now, expect to wait 16-20 weeks to receive your record.

Tuesday February 21, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is a Family Tree?

This video is a lot like the last video I posted where children are asked certain questions about genealogy, and their responses are recorded. In this video, the same group of children were asked "what is a family tree?"

With your smart phone, or digital recorder ask the same question to your children and record their response. You might be surprised what they come up with. Happy Sunday!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What is an Ancestor??

You will love this video!! Children are asked "what is an Ancestor?" Their responses are so funny
Last week, I taught a class to the Boy Scouts of America and I asked the same question to them, and surprisingly those 12 year old boys got it right!! They all knew what an Ancestor was. Great job BSA!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FREE Genealogy Forms! Type & Print your Family History in Minutes. 10 Questions; Week 1.

Many have told me "I would do my genealogy if I knew where to begin". Well, here it is! FREE Ready-Made Genealogy forms designed by Teach Me Genealogy. Type and print or print and write your genealogy in minutes. Many more to come. Tell me what you think.
Type & Print or Print & Write. Click image to get started NOW!
Also,   Click here >> to read my 5 tips before talking to Parents or Grandparents

Week 2: "Life Growing Up"

My Favorite answer from Grandma during our interview.

Before my Grandma's passing, I had the honor of talking with her in hopes to gain a better knowledge of her as I wrote her life history. I felt compelled to ask certain questions about her life, about the grandpa I never knew and about her hopes and dreams. Some of these questions were planned and some came into my mind on the spot, one in particular was when I asked this question:
Question:  Have you ever had an encounter with Grandpa after his passing?

Answer:  “I had a few. One time was when I was listening to a live concert. The performer was singing love songs and I could feel the presents of William on my right side and Carl on my left. The other time was when your brother William passed away. Grandpa was there that day in my room to take William home with him, I could feel him there, but I couldn’t see him.”

I was astonished by her comment because she had encountered life after death. She was not a Christian woman, and did not belong to any Religious Denomination, but she gained a knowledge that her husband was still with her. The human eye could not see, but the heart and spirit could feel those loved ones who passed beyond the veil. 

Tip : Ask the question above to your parents or grandparents before their passing. Many elderly people have encounters, but are too afraid to talk about it. Make sure you write or record their responses.

Ruth Imogene Adams Burnes - February 22, 1923 - April 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FREE Genealogy for Valentines Day!!

There's still time to give the ultimate gift to your significant other; their Family History!! With my ready-made "10 Questions to Ask" documents you will surely score big! Just type & print, or print & write. Get Started Now!! 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

5 Tips when you're talking to your Parents or Grandparents

Are your grandparents like mine, hesitant to give details about their past?  After months of my grandmother telling me "people my age were seen and not heard", I maintained patience, tact, and a positive attitude until she finally began to talk about her life. The door opened to discovering my family history.

  1. Be patient . It may take 10 minutes to answer one question.
  2. Be Tactful . Even questions like, "when was your first kiss?" could make her uneasy.
  3. Be Positive . Try not to reminisce on the hardships of her life, but the positive aspects.
  4. Be Accurate : Record everything! Write her responses in your genealogy notebook or  software , plus put the phone on speaker and record her voice on your smart phone, ipad or digital recorder.
  5. Be Responsible . Make duplicates! Save your data in multiple areas. I have mine saved in external hard drives, my email, my google docs folder, and flash drives. Your knowledge of grandma  is priceless so send it to relatives! It makes a great Christmas Present or Birthday Gift!!
Type & Print or Print & Write. 10 Questions to ask yourself, your parents or grandparents this week. 
  Welcome to the 21st Century of being seen and heard, while discovering who we are. 
- Sarah

10 questions to ask your Parents or Grandparents; Week 1

FREE Ready-Made Genealogy forms designed by Teach Me Genealogy. Type and print or print and write your genealogy in minutes. 10 questions +once a week = your family history.

Type & Print or Print & Write. Get started NOW!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Genealogy Meanings for BOY SCOUTS (BSA) Merit Badge

Genealogy:  (from Greek: genea, "generation"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.

Ancestors:    Ancestor is a person who is your relative that lived in the past or a person who came before.

Descendants:   A descendant is an offspring of a particular person.
Descendant means moving down either physically or in a family line.

How to use Technology for Genealogy - iPad, Smart Phone, Apple TV, Laptop...

If you have one or more of these devices below, here are just a few ways to maximize your Genealogy with Technology.
  • Use your smart phone for photo, video and audio. I have made many audio & video recordings of my grandma while asking her questions with my iPhone. The audio was better because my grandma didn't like being video recorded and she was much more relaxed with the audio. Anytime, you're visiting a Genealogical Library, Cemetery or family history site always record & capture your findings.
  • Use your iPad for genealogy research, photos, video, audio and watching home videos of your own family, parents, grandparents, and cousins.  The iPad because it's larger and the quality is better than the iPhone for video, audio and photo. Once you have taken your pictures you can upload them to your Blog, Photobucket or Flickr so they are online and safe. If you have taken videos you can easily upload them to your YouTube Channel as another form of backing up your data. 
  • Use your Apple TV to watch videos, audio and photos on your TV that you have just captured. You can also go to your YouTube Channel with the apple TV to watch all your home videos. It's a fun way to spend a family night together.
  • Use your Laptop or PC for genealogical software that builds your family tree, collecting data, researching, and storing all your Genealogical information here. Any family history photos, videos or audio that you capture, place in this folder. Create a Genealogy folder on your desktop to keep everything organized. You can even customize your genealogy folder to have an image of a "family tree", click on the family tree image below for instructions.

Genealogy with Technology for the 21st Century.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

How to create a Family Tree Folder on your Desktop

Create a unique Genealogy folder on your desktop that is visually easy to locate.

For Windows Users:

Step 1:  Make sure all other applications are closed or minimized so that you see your desktop. Right mouse click on your desktop (not folders) until a box opens. In the box, click on "NEW", which will pop open another box with multiple selections, click on "FOLDER". (See Image Below). Click image to enlarge.

You should now see a standard Folder Icon on your desktop that looks like the image below.

Step 2:   Right mouse click on the "NEW FOLDER icon and click on rename and type in "GENEALOGY". It should look like this

Now it's time to give your new Genealogy folder a unique look that will stand out from the rest.

Step 3:   Right mouse click on your new Genealogy folder, a box will open, click on "PROPERTIES" located at the bottom.  See image below. Click on image to enlarge.

Step 4:    A new box is now open. Click on the tab on the top right that says "CUSTOMIZE", then the button that say "CHANGE ICON". You will now see a new window pop open where you can choose your new icon. See image below. Click on image to enlarge.

Step 5:   Use the arrow scroll bars to scroll to the right until you find the icon that looks like a family tree. Click on the family tree and click on "OK" at the bottom. See image below. Click on image to enlarge.

Final Result:   You now have a unique Family Tree Icon on your desktop for your GENEALOGY folder.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Family Reunion Soda Labels

I am currently designing 2 liter bottle labels as a fun way to honor our loved ones who have passed on. Just wrap this label around their favorite soda drink and display it at family reunions, family dinners, birthdays, or anytime you are together with your family. This will be a fun way to start a new family tradition, while remembering your loved ones.
My design will allow you to type something like: "Grandpa's Favorite Soda", Or "Dads daily dose", something fun like that.

Label Coming Soon!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Who loves YOU? {Genealogy Book for BABY & Kids}

Most mothers have bought one of those "Who Loves Baby" books. You know, the one that's vinyl and padded and allows you to put about 6 pictures inside for Baby to look at;I have one too. I was thinking it would be great to have a book similar to this, but giving you more pages for pictures of ancestors. So, I thought of a cute and inexpensive (very inexpensive) way to bring this to life. So, here it is!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The "Will" Ball - How it all Started!

My brother William Aaron Burnes lost his battle to cancer on March 13, 2006.  He was a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 10 years. I give you this information for a reason, please read on!!

My husband Brady and our daughter decided to go golfing one day at the Cedar Hills golf course, just 3 months after my brother passed away. While on the course, Brady takes a few practice swings and is about to tee off on the first hole when a guy about 18 years of age who worked at the golf course said...
"hey, do you need a golf ball?" 
Brady said "no I have plenty."
The 18 yr old responded, "here have this one",
and without further hesitation, the 18 yr old threw the golf ball to Brady. As Brady caught it, he saw the word "WILL" professionally printed on the ball. As he turned the ball around he saw a picture of a bear with a fish in it's mouth with the word "Alaska" printed below the image. Brady was speechless and overwhelmed at that moment because he knew that my brother Will was still with us, and he wanted it to be known.  

I often wonder who that boy was, and why he felt so impressed to give the ball to Brady even though he refused his offer. I also wonder where that ball came from in the first place. Was this a ball my brother had professionally designed while in Alaska and somehow through his hands, it made it back to us? I wish I knew. Someday I Will.

When Brady returned home from golfing, he placed the golf ball in my hand and relayed this miraculous encounter to me and I knew what I was suppose to do; I needed to find our ancestors and continue Will's work. At first I thought "this is impossible", but realized "with His help, I can do this", and began to mend my thoughts of  inadequacy and started researching. It was very difficult at first, in fact, the only form of genealogy I had was a restaurant napkin that Will wrote a few notes on before his passing; something I will treasure forever!  I knew nothing about my ancestors, how to begin, or how to build our family tree, but I knew I had a responsibility, and Will would guide me; I knew this!

For the past 7 years, the "Will" Ball has been in my office with an assurance that my brother is close by.  Today, we have over 7,000 BURNES CLAN ancestors that we are proud of and feel a strong connection to because of Will.  I picked up where he left off in his research and I am honored to be the vessel for his great work.

More Burnes Info can be found at

William Aaron Burnes 

May 29, 1967 - March 13, 2006
Semper Fi  (Always Faithful)

William Burnes - US Marines - 3rd Recon Battalion 

William Burnes  as a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 10 years.

William Burnes and long time girlfriend, Joell Sweeney. She stayed by his side, every second, until the end.

My favorite picture of us. Brady & Sarah Heiner on the Left, 

William and Joell on the Right. September 17, 2003.

William Aaron Burnes' Obituary