Monthly Archives: June 2010

Happy Birthday Mama

Today would have been my Mom’s 51st Birthday.  I miss her.

Mom as a baby

A family picture taken during my first Christmas

The best picture of Mom and I.

This is a picture that was taken during the after hours of Mom's Celebration of Life. There were so many people that came that day. Mama is so loved.

Happy Birthday Mama.


Zacheus Downer – Tales of a Brick Wall (Part 1)

Zacheus Downer is my 4x great grandfather and one of my brick walls.  Below is a quick listing starting with my paternal grandmother to Zacheus Downer.

+ Nancy Jean Rogers (b: 1924)

+ Julia Margaret Morris (b: 1893)

+ John Morris (b: abt. 1861 )

+ Julia Ann Downer (b: abt. 1831)

+Zacheus Downer

Starting Out

When I began searching for Zacheus Downer, I started with trying to find a published genealogy to use as a guide.  I quickly able to find a The Downers of America with Genealogical Record by David Robinson Downer.  Page 93 lists my Julia Ann Downer (no. 928).  The book lists her birth date as 5 February 1831 and her birth place as Silver Creek, New York.  I had yet to find a birth record for Julia Ann Downer, although based on the census records that I do have, this birth year makes sense and the state of New York as her place of birth makes sense.  However, what I was most interested in was Julia Ann Downer’s parents.  This book lists her parents as Zaccheus Downer and Harriet M. Thatcher.

The Downers of America lists Zaccheus Downer as being born at Springfield or New Lisbon, New York on 8 March 1799 (pg. 88).  The book also lists him moving to Perrysburg, New York and then moving to Sullivan, Indiana in November 1864.  His death is listed as being in Sept 1876 in Sullivan, Indiana.

Searching the Census

The first census I searched for was the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.  Zacheus is listed as living in Hamilton Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.  He is living with his wife, Harriet and a son, Augustus.  Zacheus is listed as 71 years old which places his birth year as 1799 and his birth place is listed as New York.

Then I found Zacheus and family living in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.  Zacheus and family are living in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio.  In this census, Zaccheus is listed as being 61 years old, which places his birth year as 1799.  Once again, his birth place is listed as being in New York.  Also in the family household is his wife, Harriett, a son, Augustus, and a daughter Ava.  Both children are born in New York.

I then decided to check the 1850 census.  I found Zacheus and family living in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio.  This census lists Zacheus as being 51 years old, which places his birth year as 1799) and being born in New York.  Living in the household is his wife, Harriett and his children: Sanford, Julia, Augustus, and Ava.  However, in this census, Ava is listed as a male.

What I Know Thus Far

Name: Zacheus Downer

Birth Year: Abt. 1799

Birth Place: New York

Spouse: Harriett (born about 1802 in Canada)

Children: Sanford Downer (born about 1829)

Julia Downer (born about 1831)

Augustus Downer (born about 1832)

Ava Downer (born about 1841)


  1. David R. Downer, The Downers of America with Genealogical Record (Baker Print. Co., 1900). 93 (no. 928).
  2. David R. Downer, The Downers of America with Genealogical Record (Baker Print. Co., 1900). 88 (no. 841)
  3. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Hamilton Township, Sullivan County, Indiana, Dwelling 204, Family 203, Zachus Downer household, image, (Online: Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010
  4. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio, Dwelling 1151, Family 907, Zaccheus Downer household, image (Online: Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio, Dwelling 42, Family 43, Zacheus Downer household, image (Online: Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010.

In the next post, I will discuss the other census images that I’ve found and trying to differentiate between three different Zacheus Downer.

Further Reading:


Charts, Forms, and Diagrams – Oh, My!

Every genealogist knows that it can be difficult to keep your genealogy papers organized.  Disorganization can lead to having to re-do research that you’ve already done because you can’t find it, retracing your steps when you don’t need to do so, or accidentally researching someone else’s tree.  But how is a genealogist to keep it all straight?

Charts, Forms, and Diagrams

Charts, forms, and diagrams can help a researcher organize the large amount of data that has been collected.  I think everyone knows the basic charts, such as a pedigree chart and a family group sheet.  But did you know that there are so many more free charts, forms, and diagrams available for downloading or printing from the web (a great place to look is Cyndi’s List)?  There are a variety of charts for different styles, needs, and wants.  For example, one of my favorites is the Goal-Oriented Research Form from ShoeStringGenealogy.

But if you cannot find one that suits your needs or wants, then I highly suggest that you make one.  By using a word processor program or spreadsheet program, it is no longer a difficult task to create charts, forms and diagrams  (For a free word processor and spreadsheet program, I suggest OpenOffice).  There is also the option to just hand-draw your own charts, forms, or diagrams.

As a visual person, it is important for me to be able to see the details of my family tree.  I am a huge fan of sitting on my bedroom floor and laying out every piece of evidence when trying to solve an ancestral puzzle.  This helps me see any time gaps that need to be filled and provides me with ideas of other records to search.

What charts, forms, and diagrams (other than pedigree charts and family group sheets) do you regularly use?

Further Reading/Watching:


Jamboree: Day Two (Saturday)

Note: I apologize for how long it has taken me to get this post up.  I had so much fun at Jamboree but I also barely slept.  It has taken me a few days to recover from the whirlwind weekend and a few days to process everything that happened.  But without further ado, here is my post about Saturday.

Saturday was such a fun day!  I couldn’t sleep much the night before because of my excitement.  I was up by 5:30 AM and downstairs in the unofficial blogger hangout by 6:15 AM.  I sat at the table with my large cup of hot tea and checked my email.  No one was awake or downstairs but me and the hotel staff.  I was anxious for the genealogy fun to begin.

Around 7:30 or so, Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog came downstairs.  I was so excited to see her!  I gave her a huge hug and the genealogy fun began.  It wasn’t long before more bloggers began coming downstairs.  I was on cloud nine.

In fact, I was so excited that I had forgotten to eat breakfast.  By the time I realized I was hungry, I was short on time because I was a panelist at the Bloggers Summit Part 1 at 10 A.M.  Gini Webb (Ginisology) and her husband Steve, Cheryl Palmer(Heritage Happens), and A.C. Ivory (Find My Ancestor) were all going to breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.  Following Thomas MacEntee’s advice for a quick meal, I ordered the mini buffet.  It was so nice to sit with other genealogists and chat during breakfast.

I then ran to the Bloggers Summit.  Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers) was our moderator and covered a lot of material in 60 minutes.  My fellow panelists were Steve Danko (Steve’s Genealogy Blogs), Miriam Midkiff (AnceStories) and Randy Seaver (Geneamusings).  We got a lot of great questions and Thomas did a brilliant job covering so much information in such a short amount of time.

Part 2 of the Bloggers Summit was just as interesting.  Thomas MacEntee remained the moderator and the panelists for this session were Lisa Louise Cooke (Genealogy Gems), Schelly Talalay Dardashti (Tracing The Tribe), Kathryn Doyle (The California Genealogy Society Blog), and Craig Manson (GeneaBlogie).  I learned a lot.

Then I went to lunch with Susan Kitchens (Family Oral History Using Digital Tools) at Panda Express.  We made it back to the conference in time for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Live Podcast.  The guests were awesome but I must admit, the cutest guest of them all was Lisa’s baby grandson, David.  He is absolutely adorable and Lisa just shines when she talks about him.  He is also a very well-behaved baby – he didn’t mind the loud clapping and cheering and even stuck in a smile or two.

I hung out in the unofficial bloggers lounge for a bit before heading over to the lobby of the convention center to watch Jean Wilcox Hibben (Circlemending) and her husband Butch play some music.  Thomas MacEntee sang some songs also and he has such an amazing voice (on top of all the other talents!).  Meanwhile, Miriam Midkiff and I drank Shirley Temples in celebration of my graduation.  I drank a few too many and got Shirley-Templed (and yes – that is a term I coined up for the sugar overload that I recieved).

Then I went to eat dinner at the Greek restaurant with Miriam Midkiff and Liz Hall Morgan.  My salad, pita bread, and humus was delicious.  Mmmmm.

After dinner I did some more hanging out in the unofficial bloggers lounge.  I chatted it up with all the bloggers.  I was even lucky enough to meet one of my genealogy idols (who also happens to be a TV star): Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Photo taken by Drew Smith at SCGS Jamboree 2010

All of the Geneabloggers hung out for a long time in the unofficial bloggers lounge.  I even proposed the idea of an after house pajama party for next year.  Can you seriously imagine how fun that would be?  We would have to have 2 rules though: Please keep the pajamas PG rated and no technology allowed (technology = some sort of evidence).  I really hope some of you bloggers are willing to participate because if you are I will DEFINITELY MAKE THIS HAPPEN!  I will start saving up for the hotel room and find some cute PJs to wear now.  Like tomorrow.  (Okay…maybe all those Shirley Temples are still in my system…but I still thinks this sounds like a lot of fun!)

I finally went to bed around 11:30 or midnight because I knew I had to be up early for my Using Your Computer, Video Camera, and Youtube.

Further Reading:

1.) “Blogging For Dummies” by Susannah Gardner

2.) “101 Brick Wall Busters: Solutions to Overcome Your Genealogical Challenges”

3.) “Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History” by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak


Jamboree: Day 1 & Early Morning of Day 2

Today has been a beyond wonderful day.   Words can truly not describe it.  Last night I could barely sleep from all the excitement and today still turned out better than my wildest dreams.

I graduated at 4 P.M today with my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies.  Then I had a FANTASTIC time with my boyfriend (who is an absolute sweetheart and a wonderful man) and my family.  We took lots of pictures and then went to dinner.  We ate a fabulous meal and then I went with my Aunt and Uncle to Burbank.

I walked in the lobby and was so happy to see everyone.  Then Tami Glatz surprised me with the best gift ever: a book with signatures from all of the my genea-buddies.  I almost burst into tears I was so happy.  It was amazing.  I love it.  To everyone that signed it: I love you.  You guys always believe in me and support me and I wish I could find the words to thank you.  Tami – this book is AMAZING and thank you so much for it.

It was hard to get to bed.  I am so tired from such a long day but so happy and excited that I just can’t sleep.  I suddenly feel like a little kid again.  It doesn’t help that now it is Saturday morning and I woke up really early.  The moment I opened my eyes I was awake.  I am just so excited for today.  It is really early and only a few genealogists are walking down to the library – and most of them are the ones going to the FamilySearch breakfast.

Note: I’m publishing my Jamboree posts without much proofreading but that is because I want to share the information in the quickest way possible (and because it isn’t even 7 AM yet!).  I do plan on editing these posts when I get home and have had a chance to let my sleep recover.


Tuesday Tip: Creating a Research To-Do List

An easy way to stay organized and keep our research time efficient is to create a research to-do list.  The to-do list can be organized by task type, surname , or individual.

With technology, there are many different ways to create a to-do list.  The list can be done the old fashioned way with pen and paper.  Or the to-do list can be kept on the internet, your computer, or your cell phone.

If you choose to keep your to-do list online, I highly suggest reading this article by TechCrunch to help you decide which program/website is right for you.  The article lists the pros and cons of each website.


Are You a Conference Rock Star?

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog has written an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G blog post entitled, The Rock Star’s Guide to Genealogy Conferences.  For anyone going to Southern California Genealogy Society’s Jamboree conference this weekend or to anyone ever planning on attending a conference, this is a must read!  Her tips and suggestions are fantastic.

If you will be at Jamboree, please come find me (I’m the youngest one there – so I’m pretty easy to spot).  I love meeting new genealogists!


Keeping Your Genealogy Focus

As researchers, it is easy for us to get distracted.  We have so many interesting ancestors to research, databases to check, books/articles to read, and cousins to email.  It isn’t uncommon for us to sit down with one genealogy task in mind only to find ourselves a few hours later doing something completely different.

So how do we prevent our loss of focus?


A clearly defined research goal will help us focus on tasks that will help us carry out the goal.   The best goals are goals with S.M.A.R.T qualities:






Goals with the above qualities are more likely to be reached.

Stay Organized

In order to stay focused on the task at hand and not spend 20 minutes searching for a piece of paper, it is vital to be organized.  If you need help getting organized, I highly suggest my e-book, Conquering The Paper Monster Once and For All.

Minimize Distractions

Determine what your most common distractions are and then eliminate them.  Step away from Facebook and Twitter.  Stop checking your email.  Turn off the television.

Practice Practice Practice

Having and keeping your focus takes practice.  The more you practice the longer you will be able to keep your focus.

Recommended Form

I am a big believer in writing down your goals and keeping track of your genealogy searches.  Over at Shoe String Genealogy there is a fantastic form that is made just for goal-oriented searches.  The form is free, printable, and can be accessed here.

Your suggestions? What are your best tips and suggestions to staying focused when doing genealogy research?

Further Review:


Countdown to SCGS’s Jamboree

The excitement is building with Jamboree right around the corner – only 8 more days!  Southern California’s Genealogy Society’s Jamboree will begin on Friday, June 11, 2010 in Burbank, California.

I will not be at the conference on Friday because I will be graduating from college with my A.A degree in Liberal Studies.  After my graduation, 1000 pictures, and dinner with my family, I will be driving to Pasadena.  Instead of staying at the beautiful Burbank Airport Marriott for Jamboree, I will be staying at my cousin’s house in Pasadena  (Thank you Ariane!).

On Saturday, I will be on the panel for Blogger Summit Part 1.  Also on the panel will be Thomas MacEntee, DearMYRTLE, Randy Seaver, and Miriam Midkiff.

On Sunday, I will be conducting the mini session of Using Your Computer, Video Camera, and Youtube.  It will be a fun interactive class.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting more geneabloggers and genealogists.  It will be such a fun and exciting weekend!  If you see me then come say hi!


6 Genealogy Tasks You Can Accomplish in 30 Minutes or Less

Most of us genealogists don’t have as much time to devote to our research as we would like.  Sometimes the only genealogy time we have in a night is a half our during our lunch break or 20 minutes after the kids go to bed.  Even a small time slot is effective genealogy time.  Here is a list of 6 genealogy tasks you can complete in 30 minutes or less.

  1. Order a record from a courthouse, archive, library, etc.
  2. Put away 10 files
  3. Create a list of genealogy goals to complete in the next week, month, or year
  4. Scan and label 10 photos
  5. Write a genealogy query to post on a message board, mailing list, your blog or a website
  6. Do a search on a search engine or a genealogy website

What would you add to this list?

Photo is used with permission from mpclemens on