Monthly Archives: August 2010

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Mama in Blue Polka Dots

Sharon Ann Doerflinger

June 20, 1959 – February 28, 2010

I love this picture of my mom.  It captures who she was – always thinking, contemplating, wanting to learn more.  She always had questions about things.  She was easy to talk to and could start a conversation with anyone.  She was honest and didn’t believe in sugar-coating things.

One of the things I miss most about my mom is our very heated, passionate, and often loud debates.  We talked about politics, health care, morals, religion, the world, our hopes, our dreams – everything.  We often agreed about the big picture but disagreed about the details.  Whenever we got into one of our debates, people thought that we were actually angry with each other.

Her constant pressure on me to question the world and the way things are is why I am the person I am today.  She was the type of person who always stood up for what she believed in – no matter what.  But while she stood up for her beliefs, she also wanted to understand the other side of the story and why people thought the way they did.

I really miss her.  But I am so grateful that she is my mom.


Tombstone Tuesday: Friedrich Harney, Sr.

Hobart Cemetery, Hobart, Lake County, Indiana

This is the headstone of my great-great grandfather, Friedrich Harney.  He is buried with his first wife, Margaretha.  His second wife, Lizzie, is Margaretha’s daughter from her first marriage.  After Margaretha died, Lizzie became Friedrich’s second wife.  Friedrich and his wives are buried in Hobart Cemetery, Hobart, Lake County, Indiana.

The above picture was taken by a lovely volunteer, Jim, and was posted onto FindAGrave.  What would genealogists do without the kindness of volunteers?  I am so very grateful to Jim – not just because he took this photo for me but also because I finally have a clear picture of Friedrich’s gravestone.  Jim has also been kind enough to give me details of when this newer stone was placed at the grave site and by whom.

During the 1980s (before I was born), my mom went to Indiana to visit her husband’s family.  While in Indiana, she decided to do a little bit of digging on the Harney family.  After talking to a few people, she learned that Friedrich Harney and his wives were buried in Hobart Cemetery.  So she went to visit his final resting place.

The only problem?  It was in the middle of winter.  In Indiana.  In fact, she decided to go visit him in the middle of a snowstorm.  But she was kind enough to get out of the car and take a few quick pictures of the Harney tombstone.  However, she didn’t get close enough to the stones for me to be able to read most of the writing.

Thank you, Jim, for bringing me closer to my great-great grandfather.  Your help is so greatly appreciated.


Think That Message Board Post Won’t Help? Think Again!

Last night, I realized that I hadn’t posted to a genealogy message board in a long while.  Message boards are valuable resources that should never be ignored.  So, I found my three most difficult ancestors and posted some information/queries about each ancestor on their respective surname board on

After posting my first message on the Doerflinger message board (a message board with very few queries posted), gave the suggestion that I post the information/query on the three different regional boards that are mentioned in my post.  This is a great idea and a way to up my chances that someone might be able to help.
Sure enough, I checked my email this morning, and a lovely man had responded to one of my posts on the Missouri board about my ancestor, Adolph Doerflinger.  While he was not related, he did a quick search for me and posted a couple of possible matches.  After looking at these possible matches and checking on Ancestry to make sure everything was correct, I found out that these records matched my needs.  He even got me proof of the names for the next generation.
Needless to say, I was THRILLED!  I did my little happy dance before entering the data into my database and citing all of my sources.  How kind of him to take time out of his day to help me when we weren’t even related.  There are many “regulars” on these boards who are willing to help.
Tips for Writing a Query
When posting a query to a message board it is important to include certain information to make it easier for others to help you.  Below are some tips to help you:
  • Post your query to the surname board that it fits with.  For example, my query dealt with an Adolph Doerflinger and so I posted the query to the Doerflinger board.
  • Also post your query to state or regional boards. For example, my Adolph Doerflinger lived in Missouri, Iowa, and California.  Therefore, I posted the query to each of those boards also.
  • When writing your query, be clear about the facts versus your theories.  It is good to post both what you know and what you think you know, but be sure to be very clear about it.
  • Include in your query the places you have already searched. This will keep responders from suggesting sources that you have already checked.
  • Be clear about what you are looking for. Never say that you “just want more information”.  Always be specific about the type of information.  Do you want to know when he got married?  Want to know if he had any siblings?  Want to know when he immigrated to the U.S.?  Whatever it is – be clear about what you are looking for.
  • Always use good grammar and writing skills. Make it easy for others to know what you are searching for.
  • Make your title specific.  Include the first and last name, date ranges, places, and maybe even what you want to know.  The goal here is to get the message noticed so that someone (hopefully a distant cousin) will read it.  If you just say “Looking for Doerflinger information”, someone else might not read it.  Having the title say “Adolph Doerflinger 1859 – 1937, MO, IA, CA”, then people are going to notice.  This is especially important for very active boards or boards for common surnames.
  • Be polite. Always remember that the people who are responding to you are doing so out of kindness.  So remember to say your pleases and thank yous.  You might be making someone’s day.

I also want to discuss the issue of responding to message board posts.  Lorine Massey of The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog recently wrote a great blog post about responding to message board posts – and it is such a great post that I just have to share it.  There are some great tips and suggestions for anyone responding to a message board post.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever had great success with a message board post?  Do you have a great tip for getting your query noticed?  This is the place to share them!

Suggested Reading:


Mozy – A Backup Service Reviewed

Note: In honor of Data Back Up Day (the 1st of every month), I am republishing this article that originally appeared on this blog on 21 Dec 2008.  To the bottom, I have added a new update that discusses my feelings about Mozy over the last year and a half.  Remember, keep your data safe!

I was inspired today after I read Dick Eastman’s blog article (The link for that article is at the bottom of this blog entry).  I realized that I really needed to look into other ways to back up my genealogy.  So, I figured I would try the website that he recommends: Mozy.

You all know that I am a huge fan of backing up your genealogy files – and luckily, I’ve been able to keep it all to a 2GB thumb drive (I use 2 different thumb drives – one for my genealogy and pictures and one for all of my school stuff).
So I headed on over to to see what they have to offer.  Since I am a poor college student, I immediately began searching for a free offer.  Luckily, they have a free service where you can upload 2GB of information.  This is what I am using and it compliments my 2GB thumb drive system perfectly.
I was surprised to read that for only $4.95 a month you could get unlimited storage.  If you think about it – this is SUPER CHEAP!  In a year that is about $60.  With that $60 you can save yourself a ton of headaches, crying spurts, and hair appointments to cover that new bald spot that you gained from pulling your hair out.  You’ll have piece of mind knowing that if tomorrow your computer decides to crash or if a virus gets your computer – all of your important files are safe and sound.  You’ll be able to restore everything.
So, the way Mozy works is that you download the program on your computer.  Then, you just tell it what files you want it to backup, when you want it to backup – and your done.  It is pretty easy to use and very user-friendly.  I’ve never used this service before today, and I figured it out rather easily.
However, (and this is such a small “however”), it will only backup files that are on “fixed” drives. For those of you who don’t know what fixed drives are, they are drives that can’t be disconnected from your computer (So, your thumb drive is not a fixed drive but your C drive is). This was a very small inconvenience that took only seconds of my time to fix: I simply copied the folders that I wanted to my desktop – and now I can easily back up all my genealogy files!
Link to Dick Eastman’s “Backups: A Testimonial” blog entry:
Miriam made a great comment on this blog today.  She said that Carbonite charges only $50 a year.  Plus, Mozy apparently charges you to send a DVD with all of your data on it, should your computer ever crash.  Great point Miriam, and thanks for pointing that out!  And as for your question Miriam, I don’t believe that Mozy will backup external hard drives.  But please, don’t take my word on it since I am just now trying Mozy out.  It might be best to check some of the review sites like CNET to get a better answer.
Update (30 Jul 2010):  I have had Mozy for a long time now – and I LOVE it.  I’ve since upgraded to the paid version and I back up every picture and database to it.  It works great and I’ve never had a problem with it.  There are people who are dedicated to both of the major companies, Mozy and Carbonite.  I think it is similar to searching for the perfect genealogy program – it comes down to preference.