Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Best of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog 2010

Since today is the last day of 2010, I’ve decided to share the top ten blog posts on Elyse’s Genealogy Blog in 2010.  These blog posts were chosen based on the number of visitors to these blog posts during 2010.

  1. Overcoming Brick Walls: Establishing a Plan of Attack. I’m not surprised that this is the top post of 2010 because it is all about breaking down.  Check out post 2 and post 3 of this series too!  Anyone wanting to break down some brick walls in 2011?
  2. Tombstone Tuesday: Friedrich Harney, Sr. I’m not really sure why this was a top post in 2010, but I’m glad lots of people looked at it because this is definitely a brick wall for me.  Who exactly what this guy?  Where in Germany did he come from?  He seems to just have magically appeared in the United States.
  3. A Toast to Mom: 6/20/1959 – 2/28/2010: This post was written on the day my entire life changed forever.  I wrote this in the wee morning hours of March 1st because I was unable to sleep after hearing of my Mom’s passing.  My world had just crumbled down and I honestly felt as if a train had hit me.  I don’t know why I chose to write this – but I just felt that I had to.  Maybe I wanted to honor her, maybe I needed to just tell someone, or maybe I just needed to do something (the entire night is a bit of a blur).  Either way, the outpouring of love and support is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and it kept me going throughout 2010.  I would not have made it through this year without the support of my GeneaBlogger friends.
  4. Preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip: This post outlines some tips and suggestions for any researcher planning a research trip to an archive or repository.  Anyone have any really cool trips planned for 2011?
  5. Sentimental Sunday: A Goodbye Letter. In this post, I share a letter that my Mom wrote after her father died.  It is an incredibly touching letter and I tear up every time I see it.  In my opinion, it is also the best explanation for why my Mom gave me her last name.
  6. Genealogy Podcasts You Should Be Listening To: Are you ready to get your podcast on?  There is so much you can learn from some of the very talented genealogy podcasters out there!  So get to listening!
  7. 10 Things I Can’t Live Without: As a genealogy researcher, what are the ten things you can’t live without?
  8. Online Family Trees: A Genealogists’ Dream or Nightmare?: This post was awesome because I really feel that it brought about some very needed discussion.  What are your thoughts?
  9. Genealogy on Television: I’m so excited about the second season of Who Do You Think You Are!
  10. 6 Genealogy Tasks You Can Accomplish in 30 Minutes or Less: Are you a genealogist strapped for time?  Here are a few tasks that you can complete in 30 minutes or less!

So what do you think of these “Top 10″ blog posts?  Do you think they are all deserving?  Are there any posts you would add to this list?


Genealogy Resolutions: Citing Your Sources

Note: This post is part of a series of blog posts about making 2011 the best genealogy year possible.  If you have any topics you’d like to see covered, please feel free to email me.

Realtors use the phrase “Location, Location, Location”.  Genealogists should use the phrase “Sources, Sources, Sources”.

Why Cite Your Sources?

  • Keep Track of Where You Got Information. The bottom line is that you cannot remember every place that you got every piece of information – especially when you have conflicting information!  Therefore, cite your sources!
  • Help Others Follow Your Research. When you cite a source, the goal should be that someone else can find that source document based on your citation.  Even if you are not going to be formally publishing your genealogy in a book, you should still cite your sources.  Why?  For one thing, it adds to your credibility as a researcher.  If your research will be on the internet (most people have their research SOMEWHERE on the web), then you should add source citations so the genealogists that stumble upon your work can follow your research.  Even if you aren’t putting any of your research on the web, imagine for a moment that one of your descendants finds your research in a box.  Then imagine your descendant becoming interested in continuing that research (Nice picture, huh?).  Wouldn’t you want them to be able to see where you got your information from?


  • Source: The record from which you got the information.
  • Citation: The link that joins your source to the conclusion.  A citation can be displayed in a bibliography, end notes, footnotes, or even embedded in parentheses within the text.

How to Cite Your Sources:

Homework (Yes, there is homework):

Enter 5 proper source citations into your genealogy database.


(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Doerflinger Christmas

Christmas was important to my grandparents (on my mom’s side).  During Christmas, the entire family would get together and spend some quality time together.  Here are a few photos from about 1968-ish.

(From Left to Right): Diane Doerflinger, Max Doerflinger, Margaret "Sis" Doerflinger, Carrie Doerflinger, Sharon Doerflinger (Mom), Patricia Hanlon Doerflinger, Larry Doerflinger

Carrie Doerflinger (my cousin), Diane Doerflinger (my aunt), Sharon Doerflinger (my mom)

Carrie Doerflinger (my cousin), Diane Doerflinger (my aunt), Sharon Doerflinger (my mom)

(Left to Right) Carrie Doerflinger and Sharon Doerflinger (mom) in box.


Genealogy Resolutions: Back Up Your Data

Note: I’ve decided to do a series of posts that will help you make 2011 the best genealogy year possible.  I have a few topics up my sleeve, but if there are any in particular that you’d like to see covered, then please, send me an email.

As genealogists, we are constantly collecting lots of information: print outs from websites, copies from books, downloads of records, emails, etc.  We would be devastated if we ever lost this information – and yet there are so many ways for our genealogy research to get destroyed or lost.

Hard drive crashes.  Massive floods.  Fires.  Mudslides.  Tornadoes.  Burglary.  Alien Invasion.

(Ok… maybe that last one was a bit far-fetched.  But you get the idea).

Photo created by: pyroclastichawk on (

Preventing the Loss of Your Data:

  1. Create a plan. Just as you have an emergency evacuation plan for your home and family, you should have an emergency plan for keeping your genealogy data safe.  You should outline a plan that includes step-by-step instructions for keeping your genealogy safe.  Don’t forget to plan for the worse case scenario – while you hope you never have to put it into place, knowing what to do will give you a sense of calm should the worst ever happen.
  2. Have Multiple Solutions. One solution to backing up your data is never enough.  You should aim to have different types of back up methods for your research: external hard drives, remote back up services, DVDs, etc.  Your goal is to have your research in a variety of places such as in “the cloud”, your desk, your purse, your safe deposit box, and even Aunt Martha’s home on the other side of the country.  Why?  Well, let’s say you kept all of your research inside your home.  Then let’s say a fire swept through your home.  Having your genealogy on your laptop, external hard drive, and some DVDs (which were all kept in your home), won’t do you much good since your home and everything inside of it has been destroyed.  This is why you need your research accessible in multiple places.
  3. Remote Back Up Services: A remote back up service is a program that takes a copy of your data and puts it in “the cloud”.  In other words, it puts a copy of your data on a remote server far far away from your home.  The great thing about this method is that it is often a “set it and forget it” sort of method.  The two top companies in this are Mozy and Carbonite.  Personally, I use and love Mozy – it is easy to use and backs up my data automatically.  Through December 31st, Mozy is offering a 10% discount and up to 3 months free if you use the coupon code DECEMBER.
  4. External Hard Drives: These methods are also great to protect your data from a computer crash.  External hard drives are also pretty cheap, readily available, and easy to use.  You can also easily take them with you.
  5. Flash Drives: Flash drives are very similar in use to external hard drives, except they don’t hold as much data.  These hand little devices are cheap and offer a variety of space options.  Another great advantage of a flash drive: You can easily slip it into your pocket or purse.
  6. DVDs: While DVDs will not last nearly as long as some of the other technologies mentioned, these are great to send to family and friends every 6 months to a year.  Make sure you send the DVD to someone who lives far away from you, so that they can send the DVD back to you should all of your other back up methods fail.  These are also nice to use when sharing your family history with family members or friends.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you have a back up plan in place?  What do you use to keep your data safe?  Are you going to change any of your methods in 2011?


Send a Free Vintage Christmas E-Card

Disclosure: I am an employee of WikiTree.  But I believe that these cards are just too neat not to showcase.

While it is probably too late to send Christmas cards via snail mail, it isn’t too late to send e-cards to your family and friends.  WikiTree has some really neat vintage Christmas e-cards.   Check out the free e-cards here.

Here is a small sampling of my favorite vintage e-cards:


Last Chance to Vote!

Tonight at midnight is the deadline to vote for Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs.  You can vote as often as you’d like.  Elyse’s Genealogy Blog is in the “Everything Category”.

Family Tree Top 40 Blogs

Thank you for taking the time to vote!


Press Release: New Cemetery Grant Program from ICAPGen

Note: The following was received by Dayna Jacobs of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).  It looks interesting.

A central mission of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) is “to advance family history/genealogy work around the world by accrediting and promoting genealogy professionals who are competent, ethical, and reliable.”  We have made great strides in mentoring, testing, and accrediting genealogy professionals in recent years.

Many do not realize that another part of the ICAPGen mission is “to work to promote the preservation of genealogical materials.”  Accordingly, we have something exciting to announce…

“Whispers from the Dust” – A Cemetery Grant Program

Cemeteries have always been essential to genealogical research. Unfortunately, headstones, paper burial records, and maps are especially vulnerable to time and elements, and every year more and more are permanently lost. These important records – both maps and burial data – need not be lost forever; technology exists to safeguard them for future generations and make them available to researchers today.

Imagine making a “virtual” visit to a cemetery with an online map that identifies each grave individually.  Imagine clicking on that grave and viewing birth, death, spouse, marriage, and military information along with a headstone photo.  Now, imagine zooming out and identifying everyone buried in adjacent graves. Integrated mapping and data will help solve genealogical puzzles that could not be solved with mere headstone transcriptions.  Off-site backup of digital records safeguard them for future generations.

This exciting and innovative technology is all part of the “Whispers from the Dust” cemetery grant program.

ICAPGen, as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, will work with cemeteries that can benefit from a grant to modernize their mapping and data systems. Cemeteries of all sizes will be invited to apply for a grant that will cover up to 90% of the cost of the project. This will be a welcome opportunity for many cemeteries that recognize a need to update and preserve their records but lack the necessary funding. Maps and data from these projects will be uploaded to a central website, easily and freely available to all genealogy researchers.  Visit to see how the maps and data will be shared online.

We invite you visit for more information, and to learn how you might participate in this program.

Dayna Jacobs
Chair, “Whispers from the Dust”


Elyse’s Genealogy Blog is Nominated for Top 40 Genealogy Blogs

Let me begin by saying, I am truly honored to be nominated for to be included in the voting of Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs. Elyse’s Genealogy Blog is in the “Everything” category and I am even more honored to be included in a group of very talented, dedicated, and amazing bloggers.

Read more about Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs here and get your vote on here.  Remember to vote early and vote often because voting closes on Monday, Dec 20th, at 11:59 p.m!


Genealogy Time is Almost Here!

LAs most of you know, I am a college student. Therefore, during the semester I have a lot less time to devote to genealogy as I would like. Since this week is Finals Week, the last month has been filled with me doing non-stop studying. My brain is starting to feel like mush – but with only one final left on Thursday, I am beginning to see my light at the end of the tunnel:

My “Genealogy Time” is almost here!

On Thursday night, I will be done with my classes for the fall semester.  Since I am not taking winter classes (only 3 weeks – and that is just crazy!), I won’t have class until late January.  That leaves me with lots of time to sit back, relax, and enjoy some genealogy.

I will spend most of December at home, researching on the internet and catching up on lots of blogging.

January, however, will be spent researching at various libraries and lecturing at societies in the Southern California area.

My plan is to visit the following libraries:

If you will be in the Los Angeles area in January and want to go to a genealogy library (or even lunch), send me an email.  I love to have company!

I also have some genealogy lectures scheduled for January:

  • 8 Jan 2010 – “Conquering The Paper Monster” – Southern California Genealogy Society’s Lunch ‘N Learn Program
  • 22 January 2010 –  “Google: So Much More Than a Search Engine” – Escondido Genealogy Society

So needless to say, I am very happy that my genealogy time is so close!