Showing posts with label Tip of the Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tip of the Week. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Your Family History Treasure awaits you!!

About this photo:

This is a photograph of my grandmother meeting her great grandchild for the first time.
As I held my 2 month old baby for grandma to see, their eyes met, and both of them smiled and laughed, as if they were long time friends meeting again. My husband just happened to capture this at the moment it happened. It was a very touching moment, and one that I will never forget. She passed away, shortly after this photo was taken, and I am so grateful that I made the time to see her and to write her family history every time I visited her. Each time I called her on the phone, I asked her questions about her life growing up, and before I knew it, I had captured and documented her family history. I am so grateful I did this and you will be too.

Keep connecting the dots!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My TOP 7 TIPS For Finding Old Photos of Ancestors

Okay, I can't bottle my excitement any longer. Portraits DO exist, and my 6 year search is over. Presenting... George Washington BURNES, & Sarah Walker BURNES my Great, Great, Great Grandparents. 13 children, married 55 years, Christian, 700 acre farm, Hope Indiana, Norristown Cemetery. A HUGE Thank you goes out to Gary Ziegler a 4th cousin from Indiana for these photos :) It's so great to finally see their faces 6 years after I found them.  Thanks to facebook and the Internet I was able to track down distant cousins who have original photos of our ancestors. GENEALOGY IS TRULY AMAZING!!!

My BURNES Family History website ->

So how did I find these very old pictures?
  My #1 Secret... Distant Cousins!!  
After attaining hundreds of pictures of ancestors through distant cousins, I can promise you that this will be the most reliable source to retrieve those old photos for yourself and family. Have Fun! 

MY TOP 7 TIPS for finding old photos.
  1. Find Distant Cousins!! One way to do this is through genealogical message boards found at, I tracked down so many distant cousins on this site.  Use Google Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Photobucket, blogs etc, to search for family members. While I was searching for a sibling on Facebook, I came across a person with the same name as my brother that lived close to where my ancestors had lived. After a brief facebook conversation we confirmed that we are 5 cousins, and share the same GGG-Grandparents; click here to read that first conversation between us. Try it. Do a search for one of your ancestors names and see who it pulls up.

  2. Search Google Images  Do a simple google search for the ancestor(s) that you are looking for and click on "images" at the top so only google images show up, which speeds up the time and allows you to look through images only.

  3. Take a Trip I went back to Hope, Indiana where my ancestors had lived for many generations. While there, I met up with distant cousins for a day at the Cemetery. We also toured the city together; like the old homestead of our GGG-Grandparents, we visited the courthouse, the Indiana State Library, the police department, the antique shop and local landmarks. On this trip, I was able to get many pictures of original photos of our ancestors. I made sure to document all the pictures I photographed.

  4. Get a local phone book where your ancestors lived. It has worked every time for finding living relatives. Every time I go on a Family History trip, I get a phone book from that city. Even if you can't travel there, call up the local library and ask if you can have their old phone book and offer to pay the shipping.

  5. Use  even if it's only to sign up for a trial period of 14 days. You can browse through and share millions of old photos from family members. This is also how I found hundreds of living relatives. You'll be amazed how many relatives you have out there once you start looking on this site.

  6. Create a family history website or blog. Get your information out there, so relatives can find you and share their photos when they find your website/blog. I have a new relative every week contact me about my family website and confirm that we are distant cousins. Because I have posted all the family photos to my family website, they are so grateful, and they share their photos with me in return. I use Blogger to host my Family History site, Blogger is free, and it's owned by Google which means every post you make will be picked up by the Google search engine.

  7. Start Sharing!! Share all your information first, and others will feel comfortable sharing their info with you. If you are meeting a relative in person for the first time, ask if they have any pictures or family records you could look at. Always come prepared with a camera to take snapshots of everything. I have learned that cameras do a better and quicker job than scanners.  If you are meeting a relative over the internet for the first time, send them pictures of your ancestors and ask them if they have any photos as well.
Take a look at the highlights from my Family History Trip to Indiana.

My GGG-Grandparents home in Hope, Indiana built in 1836 and yes, it's still standing. 

Me and my 4th cousins in front our our GGG-grandparents home. Frankie & Ronnie

4th Cousins: Ronnie, Me & Gordon in front of our GGG-Grandparents home. 

Here I am with Cathy & Gordon Burnes (4th cousins) at a local deli in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Hometown to my Burnes ancestors; Hope, Indiana.

The Shelbyville, Indiana Antique store where I found some really neat things.

My GGG-Grandparents headstones at Norristown Cemetery in Shelbyville, Indiana

Good Luck on finding those living relatives and "Connecting The Dots".

You can find more BURNES Family History here ->


Monday, October 15, 2012

Family History is Writing About The Crazy Times.

Family History Tip: Write about those crazy times!! I know at the time it's not very funny, but looking back on those crazy times, creates lasting memories and laughter.

Has your child done something like this? Mine has.
This happened only 3 days after my 5th child was born. My 3 year old and 1 year old thought it would be fun to tear open a 50 pound bag of flour and decorate the storage room. My 3 year old said "mom, it was a just like a sand box, but with flour".

Or Maybe something like this? Mine has.

"It's Snowflakes in my bedroom!" That's what my 5 year old told me. (Yes, the same one who tore open the 50 lb bag of flour). She saw it snowing outside and thought she could reenact this snowfall in her own bedroom; which she did. 2 toilet paper rolls later, and her bedroom looked a lot like outside. You can only see about 1/4 of the mess.

Tell your story now. What's something your child or children has done to "get into trouble"???

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Use Google Maps To Track Your Ancestors Travels

I thought of an idea to track our ancestors travels using Google Maps. This could make a very unique gift, in very little time. Take a look at my map below.

Here's the Travel Map of my Burnes Ancestors, starting in Maryland in 1720, 
and ending in Napa, CA in 1943
  1. Go to
  2. On the left under the Google logo, click on "Get Directions"
  3. You will now see an "A" with a type box and a "B" with a type box. Click on the "A" Type Box and type the location of your oldest ancestor.
  4. Click on the "B" Type box and click the next location that your ancestors traveled to.
  5. Click on the "ADD DESTINATION" link under the "B" for as many times as needed.
  6. Now you will see "C","D" "E" etc. Continue to add the next destinations to where your ancestors traveled to. NOTE: If you ever need to change the destinations around (Maybe "C" needs to be in the "A" position), simply drag the letter to that position and your map automatically updates.
  7. Last, take a screen shot of this map by pushing the "PrtScn" button on your keyboard and save it to your hard drive.
That's it. Super easy right?? If you want to take it a step further, you can add, text of places and dates in either Photoshop or Microsoft Word and crop it like I have done on mine.

Remember to save this map by clicking the "MY PLACES" tab at the top next to get directions. then click on "CREATE MAP". Give it a title, then click the "DONE" tab.

Frame it for an amazing gift!!

Total Cost: $0
Total Time Spent: 5-10 minutes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 10 Genealogy Websites - From a Genealogist who knows

  1.  -  Teach Me Genealogy: A website/blog by a Genealogist, who shares her Free printables, tips, stories, recommendations and more. This site is FREE.
  2.  -  Ancestry: Grow your family tree, link up with other family members, access historical documents, pictures, audio clips, bio’s and more. 14 day trial, then $12.95/month for US membership.
  3.  -  Find A Grave: A website containing over 80 million online memorials from cemeteries in the World. This site is FREE.
  4.  -  Family Search: A website where you can index, search historical documents and census records, and search other countries records. This site is FREE
  5.  -  Google: Yes, the beloved Google is on this list. The mastermind of the internet contains more genealogical information than we could possibly imagine. Give it a try! This site is FREE.
  6. - Roots Web: The largest genealogical message board on the web. Before there was Ancestry, Archives and One Great Family, there was Roots Web. Now owned by ancestry, but the message board is still free to access.
  7.  -  Archives: This site offers a vast collection of databases for researching all of the important events of your ancestors' lives. 7 day trial, then $39.95 a year.
  8.  -  US Genealogical Website: This website has detailed genealogical information for every state in the country. Click on the state you want to search, and the information is limitless. This site is FREE
  9. w  -  One Great Family: One Great Family has the world's largest family tree with over 200 million unique family tree records. Your tree is monitored for matches 24-hours a day, so your tree is constantly growing. 7 day trial, then $79.95 a year.
  10. -  House of Names: This is a retail site for Surname Origin, Last Name Origin, Family Coat of Arms, Family Shields and Family Crests prints. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

GEDCOM = GEnealogical Data COMmunication

If you are just beginning your family history, there are words that might be foreign to you, like GEDCOM. Which stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication. It was created for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software. GEDCOM was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as an aid to genealogical research. 

As you get started with your family history, I recommend storing your genealogy on a genealogical software called PAF5. It's FREE, and it allows you to add the names, dates and places of all your family members and ancestors, then export and import GEDCOM files to,, or other genealogical websites or software. PAF5 also allows you to print reports, like: 
  • Descendant List
  • Ancestor List
  • Modified Register
  • Pedigree Charts (4,5 or 6 Generations)
  • Family Group Record
  • Individual Summary
  • Custom Lists
  • Scrapbook
  • Calendar
I currently use PAF5 as my main Genealogical Software. There are so many others that are just as good, but I am really attached to this one because it's easy to use and it's free. Once you have added your family info into the software, go to the top left and click on FILE, then PRINT REPORTS, and you will see all the fun stuff you can print. Here is a snapshot of my 5 Generation family tree using PAF5.
You can download your FREE PAF5 software here >>
Set a goal this week to get your first 3 generations added into the software. Have Fun!!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

GeneAlogy, not GeneOlogy!!!

Many of us make this mistake. We spell GeneAlogy like this; GeneOlogy. In fact, before I started doing GeneAlogy, I spelled it with an "O". So, the next time you want to write this word, remember there's only one "O" and one "A" in GeneAlogy. 

Remember, it's 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy 43rd Anniversary Mitt & Ann Romney!!

Let's all give a "shout out" to Mr. & Mrs. Mitt Romney. Today, March 21, 2012, marks their 43rd anniversary. Their kind of love is precious beyond words. They were High School sweethearts, with the ability to rise above the odds because today, 43 years later, their love story continues. March 21st is a special day for the Romney's for more than one reason, here's why:  
  1. Mitt & Ann's first date was on March 21, 1965
  2. Mitt & Ann married on March 21, 1969
  3. Mitt & Ann's first child was born  on March 21, 1970 
Remarkable! I can see why today is such a special day. Good luck to you and your sweet family in the coming months.

Just like the Romney family, we all have a remarkable story to tell. You might think your story isn't as glamorous as theirs, so you're hesitant to take that first step. Get passed this hurdle because YOU deserve to be preserved.   Start your genealogy today! 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Share your Genealogy!!

Sharing your genealogy, is one of my most important rules. It not only gives your family members the knowledge of your heritage, but it defines who we are as individuals. Start researching the internet, call up mom or grandma for info, (sorry guys, women really do have a better memory when it comes to remembering important dates), and start collecting pictures. Everyone has a starting point, so keep it simple, keep it growing, and send it off for the next family birthday.

My Top 7 websites for Genealogical Research:
  2. & (LDS)

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

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

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

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Think Google Images

Start using Google Images!! Google has made searching very easy.
  • Go to
  • type what you're searching for in the search box, and hit "enter" on your keyboard.
  • Now only images will come up from your search and you won't have to filter through all the sites.
You'll be amazed at what pictures you find out there on world wide web :) Try it and have fun!!