Monthly Archives: January 2011

Surname Saturday: Brigham

In the last two weeks, I have been making some pretty big discoveries on my Downer and Brigham lines.  Let me set up what I had previously known about these two families, including how they fit into my tree:

Elyse Doerflinger

Thomas Dugger

Sharon Doerflinger (1959 – 2010)

Herbert Hoover Dugger (1927 – 2003)

Nancy Jean Rogers ( 1924 – 2002)

George M. Rogers (1882 – 1956)

Julia Margaret Morris ( 1893 – 1982)

John Morris (1861 – ?)

Josephine Frank (1862 – ?)

William Morris (1827 – between 1901 – 1910)

Julia Ann Downer (1831 – ?)

Zacheus Downer (1799 – ?)

Harriet (1802 – ?)

Zacheus Downer (1756 – ?)

Bethiah Brigham (1757 – 1838)

Based upon some published family histories in Google Books and on the internet, I was exploring the possibility of Uriah Brigham as being the father of Bethiah Brigham.  I really didn’t have much to go on.  So I decided to go to my local Family History Center and see what I could find.  I don’t have the money to order microfilm at the moment, but I was willing to explore the offerings of the Family History Center.

I sat down to search Family History Library Film Number 0,599,303.  I started scrolling and found “Births, Marriages, Baptisms, and Deaths from the records of the town and churches in Coventry, Connecticut 1711 – 1844;  Copied from the records by Susan Whitney Dimock”.   I went to the section of called “Marriages from Records of the First Church, Coventry, Connecticut, from 1763 to 1843.” I found what I was looking for on Pg. 253.


Jan.    Zacheus Downer (Sharon) and Bethiah Brigham, of Coventry.

Finally – a marriage month and year.  Zacheus Downer and Bethiah Brigham were married in January 1782.

Then I decided to check the section “Copy of Births taken from Town Records, in Coventry, Connecticut from 1711 – 1840″.  I found what I was looking for on Pg. 14:


Children of Uriah and Anne (Richardson) Brigham

Roger       b. Oct 28 1755

Bethiah    b. July 14 1757

Anne         b. Oct 14 1759

Norman   b. Dec 2 1761

Don Carlos  b. Feb 21 1764

Cephas          b. Dec 7 1765

Marcha         b. Jan 28 1770

Lieushe [Not sure what this name is, but this is the best I can make it out]  b. 6 Nov 1771

Needless to say I was absolutely thrilled to find this information.  I just added a bit more to my family tree.  (Note: Obviously, I need to see the actual town records in order to know for sure.  But for the moment, this will do).

Are we related?  If you have any of these lines in your tree, please email me!  I’d love to hear from you.


Surname Saturday: Clawson (TN)

It is Surname Saturday and today’s surname is Clawson.  Here is my ancestral line through the generations of Clawson families:

1. Elyse Doerflinger

2. Thomas Dugger

3. Sharon Ann Doerflinger (1959 – 2010)

4. Herbert Hoover Dugger (1928 – 2003)

5. Nancy Jean Rogers (1924 – 2002)

8. Monroe Dugger (1885 – 1951)

9. Matilda Clawson (1886 – 1936)

18. James L. Clawson Jr. (1858 – ?) James Clawson was born in April 1858 in Tennessee.  I have James Clawson on every census from 1860 to 1930 and is always living in Carter County, Tennessee.  He married Edna Jane Vines about 1879.

19. Edna Jane Vines (1860 – ?)

36. James L. Clawson Sr. (1837 – ?) James L. Clawson Sr. was born in December 1837.  On the 28 July 1854, he married Sarah Ellen Potter in Carter County, Tennessee.  I have him in every census from 1860 to 1910 and he was always living in Tennessee.  He also served for the Union during the Civil War in the 13th Regiment of Tennessee Calvary.  However, according to his service records, he was a deserter.

37. Sarah Ellen Potter ( 18834  – ?)


Creating a Research Log – The Why & How

Your research log is like a road map.

A research log is like a road map for your research: it tells you where you’ve been and where you will be going.  It keeps you from repeating searches you’ve already done or by spending money ordering records you already have.

Now I know what you’re thinking – It takes too much time away from the rush of researching!  Yes, it does take a moment to fill in the research log.  But think of how much you benefit by keeping one!  Once keeping a research log is habit, you won’t even think about the time it takes to fill it out.

So now that you’ve decided to use a research log (you are going to use a research log, aren’t you?), how are you going to keep it?  There are so many options these days: on paper, on the computer, in your genealogy program, and even in “the cloud”.  So what will you choose:

  • Paper: This is an easy option for someone who wants to be able to easily print a blank research log from a website or from something you create yourself in a word processing or spreadsheet program.  You can fill out a paper form.  You can take it with you to research sites like libraries, archives, courthouses, etc.  These sheets can even be stored in your paper files.
  • Computer: You could also create a research log in a spreadsheet or word processing program and save it to your computer’s hard drive.  Anytime you need to add another search, you just type it into your computer and click save.
  • In “The Cloud”: You could easily create a research log on something like Google Docs or Zoho Docs (both free!).  These documents will then be stored on the internet and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.  You can update your research log from your home desktop computer or from the laptop you take with you to research locations.
  • In Your Genealogy Program: I can’t speak for all computer genealogy programs, since I don’t use all computer genealogy programs.  My computer genealogy program of choice is RootsMagic.  RootsMagic has a feature that allows you to create “to do” lists for each couple and individual in your database.  I use this feature to create to-do items and when they are complete, I can record if I found anything or not.  This serves as my research log because I like to keep all of my genealogy research together.

Do you keep a research log?  Will you start to keep one?  Where do you keep your research log?  Tell me about it in the comments section.

Photo Credit: Photo is from Artua of

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SNGF: Ancestor Name List Roulette

It is Saturday – so that means it is time for Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  Tonight’s assignment look’s pretty fun!  The directions are in blue and my answers are in black.

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”

I am using my maternal grandfather, Maxamillian Doerflinger, Jr.  He was born 14 March 1908.  Therefore, if he was still alive today, he would be 103 years old.  Divide that by 4 and you get 25.75.  So I’ll round that up, making my roulette number 26.

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an “ahnentafel”). Who is that person?

Number 26 is Antone Keppler.

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the “roulette number.”

Antone Keppler is my great-great grandfather.  Unfortunately, I know very little about Antone.  Here is what I do know:

  • He had 6 children: William A. Keppler, Adolph Keppler, Marie Keppler (my great-grandmother), Annie Keppler, Anton Keppler, and Frank Keppler.  Anton and Frank were born in New Haven, Connecticut and all the other children were born in Germany.
  • According to City Directories, he lived in New Haven, Connecticut until 1892.
  • Between 1892 and 1895, he moved to Butte, Montana.
  • He died at the age of 51 on 30 October 1898 in Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana.

Wedding Wednesday: Max and Margaret

Wedding Photo of Maxamillian Doerflinger and Margaret Harney, taken 12 Jun 1934

Max and Margaret (Harney) Doerflinger are my maternal grandparents.  The couple married on 12 June 1934 in Seattle, Washington.  The family then moved to California, where they raised six children.

Max was born 14 March 1908 in Montana to Maxamillian Doerflinger Sr. and Marie Keppler.  His family moved to Seattle, Washington around the start of World War I.  Max and his siblings were constantly bullied during this time for being of German descent.  His mother would chase the bullies down the street with her broom and try to comfort her children.  He dropped out of school after the eighth grade to work and help support his family.

Margaret Harney was born 30 May 1916 in Black Diamond, King County, Washington to William Harney and Ethel Janice Weston.  She was the second of seven children – six girls and one boy.  She attended a Catholic high school in the area.

Max and Margaret met through some mutual friends.  The chemistry was instant.

The couple wed on June 12, 1934 – just weeks after Margaret graduated high school.  The couple then moved to Santa Monica, California, where Max worked as a welder at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft.  The couple had 6 children: Eugene William Doerflinger (1935), Donald and Lawrence Dean Doerflinger (1938), Janice Marie Doerflinger ( 1944), Diane Doerflinger (1957), and they adopted my mom, Sharon Doerflinger in 1959.

Max and Margaret were some amazing people.  They were active in their church, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Santa Monica.  After retirement, Max taught welding at Santa Monica Community College while Margaret volunteered an elementary school that Lawrence, their son, taught at.  Max and Margaret had many lifelong friends.  Neighborhood children called them “Grandma and Grandpa D”.  They welcomed people into their homes and always were willing to give a helping hand.

I only wish that I had been able to meet them.  Margaret passed away in 21 Dec 1988 and Max passed away only a few months after my birth on 1st January 1990.  He had been suffering with Alzheimers for months by the time I was born, but Mom used to say that his eyes lit up in joy when he saw me.  She later told me that she rarely went to see him in the nursing home without me – because when I was there, she could see the smile and look in his eyes that she knew so well.

Max and Margaret Doerflinger


The (Not) To-Do List of Genealogy

During the start of the New Year, many genealogists are making a list of the things they want to accomplish in 2011.  For example, many people are resolving to scan their documents, interview more relatives, etc.  But what things should you promise not to do?  Here is my list of things I vow to not do in 2011.

(Warning to the grammar police: This posts contains a lot of double negatives)

  1. I Vow to Never Not Cite Your Sources.  Source citations, while incredibly important, do require a moment to write down.  When in the heat of the chase, you don’t want to take that moment to write down the source citation.  You promise yourself you’ll write it down later.  But then you forget.  And before you know it you’ve completely forgot about the source citation.  The next time you look at your notes you scratch your head as you wonder where this information came from.  Which is why you should always cite your sources – even if it takes you a minute.
  2. I Vow to Never Not Record Family Stories. When we begin doing research, we often take the stories and wisdom of our older relatives for granted.  We jump into researching in libraries and on websites but drag our feet when it comes to interviewing our relatives.  Once it is too late, we regret not asking these questions and not writing them down.  Once it is too late, we’ve often lost invaluable details to our family stories.  The biggest regret of my life is not recording the stories and memories my Mom shared with me.  I lost my chance with her.  But I’ve learned my lesson and now I do my best to record the stories I hear from family members.
  3. I Vow to Never Not Use a Research Log/Calendar. Research logs require a bit of extra time to write out the places you’ve checked for records and the places you plan to check for records.  But at the same time, research logs provide a road map of where you’ve been and help you plan for where to go next.  They keep you from visiting the same places twice.  They save you time and money in the long run.  So I vow to faithfully use a research log.

What things are you vowing to not do in 2011?  I’d love to hear it!


5 Tips to Beat Procrastination & Get Organized!

Many genealogists have the resolution of “getting organized” this year.  Unfortunately, most people will probably procrastinate too much and not be any more organized than they are now.  We’ve all fallen victim to the temptation of lady procrastination:  You know you should be working towards tackling the piles of genealogy stuff but you just don’t feel like doing anything.  So how do you stop the monster that is procrastination?

  1. Break Your Work Into Bite-Sized Pieces. One of the main reasons people procrastinate is because they just feel overwhelmed.  When just thinking about organizing your genealogy stuff makes your head spin, then it is time to break the huge goal into bite-sized goals.  Instead of vaguely saying that you will “get organized in 2011″, say that you will file away the pile of papers on your desk this week.  Next week, focus on cleaning up 30 of your digital genealogy files.  The week after that, clean up your desk (yes – there is a desk under those papers).
  2. Create a Detailed Timeline With Specific Deadlines.  Now that you have your work broken down into more manageable bits, it is time to create some deadlines.  Having a series of deadlines for specific tasks will push you to complete the tasks.  Create your deadlines and put them on your calendar – in pen!  Once you put your tasks on your calendar, do not let anything short of an alien invasion prevent you from sticking to the deadline.  Remember to make your deadlines robust so that if you don’t finish the specific task by today, you’ll be jeopardizing your next task.  This will create a sense of urgency in getting your work done.
  3. Get a buddy. Having a friend can make the entire process of getting organized fun.  Having a buddy will keep you accountable to your goals and deadlines.  You can learn new organization techniques or become inspired to keep pushin’ on.  Remember: No one says you have to see your buddy face to face – online buddies are great too!
  4. Tell Others About Your Goal. Telling other people about your goals has the same benefits as having a buddy – except on a larger scale.  Tell your friends and family members about your goals and deadlines.  Talk about your goals and deadlines on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, at genealogy society meetings, etc.  The next time these people see you, they will ask you about your progress.
  5. Get a Grip & Just Do It. (Yes – this is tough love!)  At the end of the day, you have to take action.  All of the planning, strategizing, and dreaming will mean nothing if you don’t take action.  No one has ever procrastinated their way to success.  So if you are procrastinating on getting organized, then just get a grip and do it.

Conquering The Paper Monster Video Lecture (Update)

Before I say anything, let me just say THANK YOU to all the people who have bought my lecture.

However, some people have experienced some glitches.  The video that some people downloaded is not complete: It ends abruptly at about 21 minutes instead of ending with music at about 28 minutes.   The people who are having this problem are people who ordered the lecture prior to 3 pm Pacific time on January 6, 2011.  So if you are one of the people who has the incomplete video, please email me so I can give you instructions on how to download the correct video.  I’m really sorry for the inconvenience.

So once again, thank you so much for purchasing my very first video lecture.  Expect a lot more to come!


3 Tips for Researching Common Surnames

Researching common surnames such as Smith, Jones, or Brown is frustrating because there are tons of other Smiths, Jones, and Browns out there.   Combine that with some common first names like Joseph, John, William, Mary, Elizabeth, and Polly – and it can be enough to make your head spin!  So how do you separate your John Smith from everyone else’s John Smith?

Learn 3 Quick Tips for Researching Common Surnames

  1. Create Detailed Comparison Charts.  Create a table that lists every fact you have on your common name ancestor.  List facts for your ancestor such as occupation, residences, name of spouse, land transactions, city directory listings, names listed on obituaries, church records, newspaper listings, etc.  Be sure to get every detail possible from every record you have.  This will help you see at a glance what you know about this person and help you separate your ancestor from other people with the same name. Tip: If you are looking at two (or more) people of the same name and in same area (town or county) but you aren’t sure which one is your ancestor, then create the above chart that lists all of this information for each of these people.  This will help you compare these two people and when you find a new record, you’ll be able to better identify who it applies to.
  2. Cluster Research: While there may be a bazillion John Jones’, there won’t be as many that have a wife Susan, daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, and sons Joseph, William, and Abel.  If you can add ages to these family members, you’ll up your chances of being able to find them in census and other records.  But don’t just stick to the immediate family: expand your target to learn about every neighbor, business associate, witness, and sponsor you can find.  Knowing who your ancestors associated with can help you separate them from everyone else.
  3. Use a Variety of Records: Use all sorts of different records when doing your research.  This will help you confirm some of the information you already have and help you gather new information that can identify your ancestor.  Don’t just use the internet to find records – go to different repositories, your local family history centers – and if you are lucky enough to live in Salt Lake City then go to the Family History Library.  Explore record groups that you aren’t comfortable with.

Just because your ancestors have a common surname does not mean that you can’t research them.  You just have to get creative and be persistent.

*Source* The above photo is from Evil Erin on Flickr.

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Announcing… Conquering The Paper Monster Video Lecture!

Note: I am so excited to make this announcement because I’ve been working on it for a while.   After presenting this lecture at various local genealogy societies, I have decided to make this lecture available to everyone!  I have recorded the lecture, synced it with the presentation slides, and you even get the handout!


Learn to Organize Your Genealogy Papers

5 January 2011 – Los Angeles, CA.  Elyse Doerflinger – author of the popular e-book Conquering The Paper Monster Once and For All – has released a video recording of the Conquering The Paper Monster Lecture.  Elyse has presented this lecture at various genealogy societies and has finally recorded it for all the world to see!

This video lecture includes the presentation slides synced with Elyse’s voice audio to create a lecture that can be listened to in the comfort of your home.  Along with the video, customers will receive a .pdf copy of the handout. Conquering The Paper Monster Video Lecture is available here for the price of $7.99.

In Conquering The Paper Monster Video Lecture, you’ll learn how to create a custom organizational system that is unique to your needs, wants, and personality.  This lecture will walk you through the easy step-by-step process of organizing your genealogy papers.  Organization is something nearly every researcher needs help with – and this lecture is perfect to help you finally “conquer the paper monster”.

About Elyse Doerflinger

Elyse Doerflinger is a rising young genealogist with a speciality in organization and technology.  She is the author of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog, where she shares her knowledge and family history.  Her love of sharing knowledge with others has inspired her to write for lecture for various genealogy societies and write for genealogy magazines. Connect with her through email, Facebook, or Twitter!