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September 15, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
The D.A.R. Patriot Database
Do you know or suspect that you have an ancestor who particpated in the Revolutionary War?
Have you a name for that person? If so, you can access the Daughters of the American Revolution database to see if that ancestor has been recorded. You will need the last name, at the very least, but if you have the first name, even better. If your ancestor is listed, you should be able to get the lineage that was submitted plus any supporrting documents (for a small fee). 
To take a look, go to  Be sure to read through the information on that main page. Then, click the menu item near the top that says Genealogy. There is a lot of helpful information on that page, but if you want to dive right in, click Ancestor Search (in blue) to the right, under Genealogical Research. You will see a form where you must fill in any one (or all) three fields marked with an asterisk in red. The search results will hopefully return a list of names and some information to help you identify the correct person.
There will be an Ancestor # and a purple icon with an image of a person in the right corner. Clicking the Ancestor # will return a list of all DAR members who submitted that Patriot's lineage to become members. Clicking the purple icon will return information on that Patriot, such as birthdate, residence, Military service, spouse. It will also show the DAR members attached to that Patriot and if there are supporting documents (S) and/or a descendants list (D). You can purchase copies of either or both. By clicking Nat'l Num, a listing appears with some of the Patriot's information and an opportunity to buy a copy with all of the information. Click on the Patriot's name for a partial descendant list. It's a good start to verifyiing the lineage that you may have in your family tree. It might even fill in some blanks. You can also tell if you have the correct person. 
In my case, I had my grandmother's DAR application and membership papers, so I had the name as well as the Ancestor number. I was doing background research in order to join the DAR. It turned out that the 4 people who "got in" on my ancestor, including my grandmother, did not submit enough proof by today's standards, so I got a message that basically said "there is something wrong with this file".  That meant that there was not enough documentary evidence to prove my ancestor was actually related to the Patriot, as claimed. I ultimately had to prove a relationship between the Patriot and my known ancestor (they were father and son). I did order the supporting documents and got a copy of the descendants and the family bible pages which confirmed quite a few names and relationships I had speculated about. It was worth the effort, for me, to get this information!
August 2, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Down the Rabbit Hole
Have you ever been looking and looking and looking for some bit of information for a certain relative? It is SO frustrating to not find anything! Sometimes I just have to take a break and noodle around with some websites that likely won't turn up anything significant (but might!) and are just kind of fun. Click on the name of the site below and a window will pop up! Have fun!
First is Behind the Name to look up the origin and meaning of first names. I found this useful when I was trying to determine if some names in my family tree were real or made-up (like Benejah, Hopestill and Orange, brother of Polantis). For surnames try, Surname DB. If the name is found, it will show the origin, alternate spellings and a little history. I was testing the family story of our name's was not accurate.
If you are hoping to find an old picture, you may get lucky on Dead Fred. It is a site where people can upload old photos they find in thrift or antique stores and hope they can find the family they belong to. 
Here is a glossary of ancient diseases just scroll down to find out what Apoplexy or Mormal really is. It's helpful when you find that an ancestor died of ... what? There is also a numeric "code" written on some death certicates near the "cause of death" section. What's that all about? Find out what it means HERE. Note - you will choose the list by the date or date range of the death certificate.
Perhaps you are wondering if an ancestor invented something and registered a patent. Google has a database for that! You can look up Google Patents or just click HERE. Type in the person's name. I found 16 for one great-grandfather. I searched by his whole name (first, middle, last); his first name, last name; first name, middle initial and last name; first name initial, middle name initial and last name. Who knew?
Want to know what a symbol on a headstone means? Headstone Emblems may have the answer. There are more at Gravestone Symbols
Now, back to ancestor researching!
July 1, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Access Genealogy website
I ran across this website (again) today and decided I'd better put the link on here for everyone to try it!
Access Genealogy has a very large collection of free genealogy collections for research within the USA. Specifically, they provide sources for birth records, death records, marriage records, census records, tax records, church records, court records, military records, historical newspapers, cemeteries, and ethnic records. They also provide some historical details about different times and people in America’s history. They specialize in Native American records, so expect to find quite a few - maybe some you haven't seen before.
There is an easy access menu bar across the top of the page, but be sure "page down" to see the topics they are highlighting. You can also subscribe to get an email update of new records and databases as they are added. On the right side of the main page is a search feature as well as all of the States listed. This makes it easy to jump right in! So go ahead, check it out!
June 20, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Texas Genealogy Web aka TxGenWeb
Have you looked at TXGenWeb lately? ( This site was created to give people searching for ancestors within Texas, free access to transcribed records - and they have been doing this for 25 years so there is a wealth of information to be discovered.
TXGenWeb is a group of coordinators who each “adopt” a county and then get volunteer helpers to transcribe and upload information relevant to that area. In fact, each county will have a link to the surrounding counties as well. It’s easy to navigate, just follow the top-level menu. Click on "Counties" to get started and see which counties have information online.
It does appear every county has been adopted (as shown by being in underlined, blue text). When I first started using this site, about 15 years ago, not all the counties were clickable (meaning there was no info on that county yet).  Clicking on “Records” will show links to what they have onsite and links to offsite repositories. “Special Projects” has some old post cards, Texas Archives found on USGenWeb (a similar project encompassing the entire Unite States) and other projects of interest. Click on each item and see what you find.
I clicked on Tom Green County and found a nicely done page with links for Biographies, Cemetery Inscriptions, Censuses, etc.  ( Keep in mind that every county’s webpage will look different and have different sorts of information. This is all done by volunteers and each coordinator is responsible for putting info and laying out their own county page, so some may have more or less information than others. You can certainly volunteer to add information by contacting the coordinators.
Each page has, somewhere on it, the last time it was updated. Doing a spot check showed me that most county pages have at least 2020 – 2022 dates, which means the page is actively being monitored and updated  - and that means more and more information is being made available!
I suggest you visit TXGenWeb and see what you find!
May 17, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Witches in Scotland
Now for a little fun!
Do you have Scots relatives? Are there rumors of a Witch in the family? Even if there is not - this is kind of fun!
This link (click here) will open a new window with a map of Scotland. There will be images of a single person (in various colors) or a group (in yellow). If you are using a computer with a mouse, rolling the wheel will expand the map. Otherwise, click on a person, and information about that person will pop up; if you click on a group, the map will expand to show more people and groups.
Go ahead and try some of the other options shown across the top menu, such as Residence, Detention Locations, Trial Locations, Death Locations, etc.
You never know what you might find!
This was a project at the University of Edinburgh to geographically locate and visualise the different Witch locations recorded in the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database. Well done!
April 18, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Using Find-a-Grave
Have you ever used Find-A-Grave as a research tool? It is a database with millions of records abstracted by volunteers and free to use. If you subscribe to it is linked and records will show up from Find-A-Grave, but you can just go directly to Find-A-Grave to conduct your own search.
First, open your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, etc.) on the computer and type in Once there, the two best tools to use are in the right column. One is “Search xxx million grave records” (that number will increase over time) and the other “Search by cemetery”.  By the way, if you see a big note at the top of the page that says “You have a Message!” skip it, it’s an ad.
Choose “Search….. grave records”.  A page will open where first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, date of death (or ranges), country, state and county can be entered. Fill in everything known and click the “search” button. There should be a listing of names that match what was entered.  If there are several pages there is a very small link to go to the next page. It usually says something like “records 21-40”. Click it to go on.  Also, at the bottom of this search there may be another big ad that says “Vital Records Found”, skip that. 
If no matches are found, change the search by dropping off some information. On the left is a small menu, choose “Refine last search” to make changes. There are several broad searches that can be tried:
  • Try omitting the exact dates; try a before or after date – remember people fudged their ages or heirs were not sure of dates or the stone was placed  there later; omit the dates completely
  • Leave off the first name; last name is required, but it will take partial names of at least 2 letters; try different spellings; search by maiden name
  • Try searching surrounding counties
  • Search the entire state by leaving off the county – remember, county lines may have been redrawn since burial
Another way of looking is to go back to the start page (click on the Find-A-Grave logo) and choose “Search for a Cemetery”. It’s right below the “Search … Million Records”. In a perfect research world, the two types of searches will have been linked, but sometimes they are not – meaning you may find a person in one search and not the other when both search methods should return the same results. So just keep in mind that this is a whole bunch of data entered by volunteers who are human – and try every way you can to find your information.
With the “Search for a Cemetery” option put in the cemetery name if known, country, state, and county and click “Search”.  If the cemetery name is not known, leave that blank and enter the State and maybe the County. Then I look for the cemeteries on the list that are in or near the town the relatives were last found in on the censuses – or where they were known to have lived. Sometimes you just look for cemeteries that seem likely, such as affiliated with a denomination or town or social club, or with a large number of interments. When you chose a cemetery to search, click on the cemetery name and on the next page that comes up, type in the surname and see any records with that name. If you click the number of interments (to the far right of the cemetery name) then it will return an alphabetical listing, page by page – sometimes this can be a good option when it turns out the name was misspelled or the person was listed under a maiden name.  Do remember that not every cemetery has been abstracted and sometimes a person could be missed. If you create a “login” name and password you can contact the person who abstracted the information for a specific grave or cemetery to see if there is more information they can give you. Those names are found at the bottom of an information page.
When you actually find someone, make note of all the info given, such as the cemetery name, address, plot number, inscription on the tombstone, etc. and include that in the notes on the family tree.  Also, make note of any family members listed in the description that can be added to your research.  Copy the text of the obituary, if it is included. This will help in citing your source.  If there are family members listed sometimes those names are linked to their tombstone information – so click the names and you may find more.
Remember, again, that this information is entered by people who are volunteers and mean well, but the information could be inaccurate or unsourced so take it with a grain of salt!
March 24, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Family Search Wiki
Have you ever decided to do some research in a certain area, but don't know what records might be available? has a Wiki that will help. You can start here: Although you do not need a Login and Password to use the Wiki, if you want to use and download the records with images, it is best to create a login - it's all free anyway, so why not?
Once you are on the main page of the Wiki, there are choices. One is to use the button the right to "Jump-start your Research". This is guided research where you can pick first the country, the the state of interest. Once a choice is made, there will be (usually) three options - Birth, Marriage, Death. Clicking on any one will display where those records may be located along with a few other ideas of where to look.
If guided research is too basic, then from the main page, you can choose to dive right in by entering a place or topic in the center search field, or click on a location (designated by country) or clicking "List of Localities". Also, check the menu to the left for more options - try "Online Genealogy Records". Once a choice hs been made, there will be a listing, which has more entries than the Guided Research. You can then click on the title of any entry to see more informatinon.
Give it a try - you may be surprised at all the information available! 
March 8, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Using PERSI to Find Family Stories
Have you ever heard of PERSI?
PERSI stands for the "Periodical Source Index". Almost every genealogy and some historical societies produce a "quarterly" publication aka periodical. If you are a member of SAGHS, you will be very familiar with our quarterly, The Stalkin' Kin in Old West Texas or, as we call it, Stalkin' Kin. Many of you may have had an article ot two  published in it - and if you haven't, get crackin'! We always welcome stories about ancestors or how information on ancstors was found....
What you may not be aware of, is that libraries often join these various societies in order to get the periodicals for their patrons to use. The Allen County Public Library, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has an entire floor dedicated to genealogy, with county and town histories, family histories, genealogy books and a large selection of periodicals (and more). They collect these periodicals from genealogy societies, ours included. The ACPL has indexed certain information found in these publications and put it all online in a searchable database under the acronym PERSI. You can search this database by suranme, location or a keyword.
Why would you want to do this? 
Why, to see if you can find a published story about your ancestor or the place they lived, of course! 
If you do find something that looks interesting, you can fill out an order form (up to 6 requests per form), and mail it in for the low cost of $7.50 . There will be a "click here" on the search results page to get the order form.  The librarian will print the story/stories of interest and send it back to you.
To begin your search in PERSI, go here:
Family Search has also published a page in their Wiki about how to access and order from PERS, found here:
February 18, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Using the Internet Archive for Genealogy
The Internet Archive is a San Francisco–based nonprofit digital library with the stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, which includes websites, software applications, games, music, movies, videos, moving images, and tens of thousands public-domain books. The Internet Archive’s collection is growing daily and best of all, it is FREE. Go ahead and create a user name and password. If you log in, it makes it easier to download books, save books and mark "favorites".
The Internet Archive has a dedicated section just for genealogy, family history, and local history books. You can search that collection from this link:
Find the box labeled “Search this Collection” (on the left) and search for an ancestor’s full name, just the surname or a place – counties seem to return the most results.
The books that will come up for you to choose from are generally books that contain that ancestor’s name, books about that family’s genealogy or local history books that have that name someplace within the book. Sometimes it will show books written by authors with that surname. If you search for a location you are likely to see county histories which often contain “sketches” about people and/or towns.
The search seems to work best for surnames of families that have been in North America for a century or longer. It does not does not work well for recent immigrants. The reason for that is because the books on this site are out of copyright, which means they were published before 1923. So, don’t look for recent immigrant families in this collection.
Once your search term has returned a page of selections, you can hover your pointer over the book cover to see a short description about the book. There is also a highlighted area (usually in orange) that will show the name or place you searched for.
One a book of interest is located, click on it to "read" it. It will open to show the cover of the book. The blue pointers across the bottom show which pages contain the name or place originally searched for. Hover over the blue marker to see what is contained on each page.
Use the controls along the bottom right to zoom in or out, turn the page either direction or have it read out loud if you want. Hover your pointer over them to see that they do.
If there are a multitude of blue markers, try clicking the far right edge of the book to get to the last page and then use the navigation arrow on the bottom left to page back to an index – hopefully there will be one. Additionally, along the left side there will be a listing of the name found and the pages it is on. You can go down the list and click the page that insterest you.
It is possible, in many cases to download the whole book. Go to the white section below the book and page down. If you are allowed to download the book, on the left you will see choices – PDF, Kindle, etc. Chose what suits your needs and click on that choice. It might be handy to have to book on a local computer for quick reference – especially if you are lucky enough to find a family tree going back many generations.
You can go back to the original page of books that met your search criteria by clicking on your “browser’s back arrow” (top left).
If you do not find what you are looking for you should also search at the overall resource, There will be a much larger selection and many will not pertain to genealogy or history.
February 4, 2023 By: Jana Jenkins
Have you tried Linkpendium? Clicking the link below will open in a new window and closing that window will bring you back here.
 Linkpendium is a 10,000,000+ resource directory to find info about families worldwide and genealogically-relevant information about U.S. states and counties. They cover both free and subscription sites, with a strong emphasis upon free resources provided by libraries, other government agencies, genealogical and historical societies, and individuals.
There are some instructions that explain how to search, or you can just dive right in with the city, county or surname and state - that is found on the right side of the screen. You can also just fill in a name and location at the top. They will point out if a record is found on a free site or a "pay" site. It is an extremely fast search engine, so you can go thru quite a few names in a very short time!
Give it a try and see what information you can find!