Tag Archives: Genealogy

Speaking Engagements in May 2010

May is going to be a crazy-awesome month for me.

  • On May 2 at 2 p.m., I will be speaking at the Immigrant Genealogy Society in Burbank, California.  The talk will be “How To Use Social Networking for Genealogy”.  All are welcome to attend.

Immigrant Genealogy Society:  1310B Magnolia Blvd  Burbank, CA 91510

  • On May 22 at 10:15 a.m., I will be speaking for the Escondido Genealogy Society at the Escondido City Library in Escondido, California.  The talk will also be “How To Use Social Networking for Genealogy”.  All are welcome to attend.

Escondido Genealogy Society: 239 South Kalmia Escondido, CA  92025

In celebration of these exciting new opportunities, I will be relaunching my ebook.  Conquering The Paper Monster Once And For All is only $3.99. To buy the ebook, click the “buy now” link below.  Using Paypal (read more about Paypal here and here)

Buy Now

Will you be able to attend the talks?  What topics would you like to hear from genealogy speakers?


Surname Saturday: Doerflinger

Following in the footsteps of Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings, I’ve decided to do Surname Saturday posts in the order of the Ahnentafel numbering system.  Today I am starting with #1 – myself.  Here is my Doerflinger ancestry starting with myself and working my way back.

1. Elyse Doerflinger

2. Thomas Dugger

3. Sharon Doerflinger (1959-2010)

6. Maxamillian Adolf Doerflinger Jr. (1908-1990)

7. Margaret Janice Harney (1916-1989)

12. Maxamillian Adolf Doerflinger (1873-1960)

13. Marie Keppler (1876-1958)

The children of Maxamillian Doerflinger and Marie Keppler were Anton Francis Doerflinger (1903-1991), Walter Doerflinger (1904-1973), Augusta Marie Doerflinger (1906-1955), William Doerflinger (1909-1988), Josephine Doerflinger (1912 – ?), Edward Doerflinger (1916 – ?)

Adolf/Adolph Doerflinger (1851-194?)

Augusta (1953-1921)

Adolf/Adolph Doerflinger and Augusta had one child, Maxamillian Doerflinger.

Adolf/Adolph Doerflinger divorced Augusta and married Elizabeth Wagner (1865-?) and had two children.  The two children George Doerflinger (1887 – ?) and Ada Doerflinger (1890 – ?).

Are you a Doerflinger cousin?  I’d love to hear from you: GenealogistElyse AT gmail DOT com


Overcoming Brick Walls: Cluster Research

It can get very frustrating when you’ve collected lots of source documents on your ancestor but you still haven’t found what you wanted.  You’ve done everything right and still can’t find the piece of the puzzle that you want.  What do you do now?

Cluster Research: Researching the siblings, children, parents, cousins, and neighbors of your ancestors.

So begin expanding your net: gather as much information as you can on the siblings, children, parents, cousins, and the neighbors of your ancestors.  This is important because people often lived nearby, went to church together, traveled together, etc.

For example, I was stuck on my great-great grandfather for about a year.  I knew the name of his father, but I had no information at all about his mother.  I checked my great-great grandfather’s death certificate and marriage certificate with no luck.  I tried to find his mother in the census, but I wasn’t having any luck.

Then I found his father’s obituary and all the pieces fell into place.  The obituary gave me a name and a death year for this woman.  She died not long after the family immigrated to this country, which explains why I couldn’t find her in the census.  She also died while they were en route to Montana, which explains why I couldn’t find any death record for a woman with her married name.

All of these clues that did not come from the ancestor that I was researching, but from his father, led me to find the pieces to the puzzle that I was lacking.

Previous Articles in the Series:

Further Reading:


Changes To “Who Do You Think You Are” Schedule

(Get ready to throw a big tantrum because this news is not going to make you happy)

I just read on the Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library Blog that there will be changes to the schedule of Who Do You Think You Are episodes.  The new schedule is as follows:

  • April 2   – Brooke Shields
  • April 9   – (repeat) Sarah Jessica Parker
  • April 16 – No Episode
  • April 23 – Susan Sarandon
  • April 30  – Spike Lee

I’ll be honest now: I am not pleased with this change in schedule.  I was really loving the predictability of the original schedule.  It was easy to remember and created a routine.  While this change is certainly not the end of the world (they are playing the entire series, even if in a weird schedule), I still feel like it is a bad idea.

While there are many in the genealogical community dedicated to watching this show, what about the rest of the public?  I worry that this will cause a decrease in interest among those who are not exactly “into” genealogy.  Will this make them stop caring?  I just see so many risks for the ratings.

So I am curious – what do all of you think?  How will this effect the ratings of Who Do You Think You Are?


Overcoming Brick Walls: Expanding Your Knowledge

An important step to breaking down a genealogy brick wall is to begin learning as much as you can about the time period and the geographical area that your ancestor lived.  The history of the time may have had a big impact on your ancestor.  It can also be what is holding you back from finding your ancestor.

In particular (but not limited to) search for:

  • Political Changes: Politics played a huge part in the lives of our ancestors.  Perhaps you brick wall ancestor lived during the civil war when many men joined the military to fight.  For example, I have an ancestor who lived in the “border state” of Tennessee during the civil war.  The county that he lived in was in favor of joining the Union.  But people in a nearby county came over and threatened many of the men to join the Confederate army.  According to diary and journal accounts, I was able to learn that many families that refused to aid the Confederates had their houses set on fire, their crops destroyed, and their livestock stolen or killed.  My ancestor joined the Confederate Army and then deserted for the Union army.  I never would have been able to find my ancestor if I hadn’t learned this information through county histories.
  • Boundary Changes: The map of the United States has changed a lot since the original thirteen colonies.  This makes it so important to learn as much as you can about how an area has changed.  It can be easy to miss the record that you just know exists because that record is in another county.
  • Religious Movements and Trends: Religious trends and movements may have had a huge impact on your ancestors lives.  Your ancestor may have changed religious affiliations during their lifetime.  During the westward expansion, many church congregations traveled together.

Not only are all the above important to be knowledgeable in, but you also want to have a good general history of the area.  But how do you gain all of this knowledge?

  • Web Searches
  • County Histories
  • Diaries/Journals
  • State Histories
  • Genealogy Societies (many are willing to answer email questions)
  • Other researchers (ask questions!  Most genealogists are very kind and willing to help)
  • Books
  • Websites

As you expand your knowledge, you may think of another potential record to order!

Don’t forget to read the first post of this series, Overcoming Brick Walls: Establishing A Plan Of Attack.

Further Reading:


Overcoming Brick Walls: Establishing A Plan Of Attack

Every researcher will eventually run into that ancestor that seems impossible to get to passed.  This is your brick wall ancestor. Overcoming a brick wall takes patience and a good strategy.  No matter how tall or how wide the brick wall is, you can break it down.

genealogy, ancestral brick walls, family tree

Figuring Out What You Know

The first step to breaking down that brick wall is to figure out exactly what facts are known.  The best way to do this is to create a timeline of the brick wall ancestor.  On this timeline, include every known fact that you have about this ancestor.  Be sure to then include a list of each source that proves each fact either on the back of the piece of paper or on another page if in a document.  This timeline will show you at a glance exactly what you know and exactly what is missing.

Did You Miss Something?

The next step is to review the actual sources that you listed with your timeline.  Do not review your notes, transcriptions, or abstracts of your sources, but actually view the record itself.  Looking at this document with fresh eyes might show something that you missed that could be a lead.  If you discover something that you missed, then add it to your timeline.

You could always create a timeline on your own, but you could also use pre-made ones.  Here are some forms for creating a timeline:

Creating Your Research Plan

Your research plan is a living, breathing, ever-changing document.  It is your guide to breaking down your brick wall.  Get comfortable with your research plan because it is your best friend.

The point of a research plan is to clearly define exactly what you are looking for and list potential records to check for that information.  As you look at more records, you will add to the research plan.  You will create new goals and a new list of records to check.

You could create your own research plan with pen and paper, a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, or you could use a pre-made form.  Here is an example of a pre-made research plan at ShoeString Genealogy.

Using your timeline, decide exactly what you want to know about your brick wall ancestor – this will be your goal.  Then begin to brainstorm exactly what kinds of records would help you find that information.  Fill this information into your research plan.

Do you have any great suggestions for creating a research plan?  Do you create your own timelines and research plans or do you look for pre-made forms?

Further Reading:

Thanks to ezioman for allowing me to use this photo.


Genealogy Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Genealogy podcasts, just like genealogy blogs, are a great way to expand your genealogical knowledge or keep you up to date on all the happenings in the genealogy world.  Podcasts are so easy to download and take with you to listen anywhere – in the car, exercising, while traveling, or even while doing simple chores around the house.

Some Terms To Understand

Podcast: A pre-recorded audio show thats placed on the internet for listeners to play, pause, fast forward, and rewind as much as they want.  A podcast can be downloaded into iTunes and/or put on a .mp3 player.

iTunes: A program created by Apple that stores your audio files and has the ability to put those files on your .mp3 player

.mp3: A file type for audio files.  Just like you picture files can have .jpeg or .gif on them, most of your audio files will have .mp3 on them.

.mp3 Player: A small device that stores and plays your .mp3 files.  (An iPod is a very popular player, but there are other brands out there

Which Genealogy Podcasts Should I Listen To?

  1. The Genealogy Guys Podcast: The Genealogy Guys (also known as Drew Smith and George G. Morgan) are amazing genealogists.  These guys know their stuff and have a long list of credentials and experience in the genealogy field.  They share genealogy related news, interviews with other experts in the genealogy field, answers email questions, and share their own knowledge.  I always learn something new from these guys in every episode.  And they have a cat named Fletcher who loves to chime in every once in a while.
  2. The Genealogy Gems Podcast:Lisa Louise Cooke is the creator of this perfectly named podcast.  Her fun and bubbly personality always shines through in each of her podcast episodes.  She brings us genealogy news, answers listener email, and brings us such fun interviews.  She has a regular free podcast (published about two times a month) and a premium podcast (more episodes and videos each month).  I definitely recommend the premium podcast because it is such a great resource and worth every penny.
  3. Family Tree Magazine Podcast: Lisa Louise Cooke also hosts this wonderful podcast thats centered around the popular genealogy magazine, Family Tree Magazine.  She is able to give a behind the scenes look at the happenings of the magazine by interviewing the magazine’s writers and editors.  She provides awesome research strategies, ideas, tips, and tricks to make you a better researcher.
  4. Family History: Genealogy Made Easy: This is a must listen to podcast if you are a newbie to the obsession hobby of genealogy.  Hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke this podcast takes you step by step into how to research your family tree – taking you from a complete beginner to a someone who understands the basics about the research process.

These podcasts are a valuable free resource to further your genealogical learning.

Photo used with permission from DerkT


Follow Friday: Find My Ancestor

Today’s Follow Friday post is dedicated to….

Find My Ancestor

Here are some posts from this blog that I would recommend to get you started on your reading:

Go visit the blog, read some articles, and leave a comment to say hi!  Bloggers always appreciate comments.