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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Genealogy OnLine : How to Get Started

Getting Started in Genealogy ONLINE, W. Dollarhide, 2007 reprint,

So you want to do some family research?  Where do you start?  Right here, is a good beginning place.

William Dollarhide has been writing some of the best books on research.  This is one of our favorites.
If you are looking for a how-to book that is easy to read, right to the point and not too cumbersome, then this is the book for you.

At just about 64 pages (including master forms for family data, pedigree and family group sheets), this publication has all that you need to start your journey. Just be careful.  This journey will never end.  You have been warned.  Once you get bitten by the genealogy bug, you are hooked for quite a while.

Mr. Dollarhide starts from the beginning...with yourself, your immediate family and extended family.  Conducting interviews is the first step to get the oral history started.  Then there is the task of getting first hand documents (or secondary copies of first hand documents) to back up all the stories that you have been told.  Death records and death certificates can certainly start the collection of information that you will need.  And, using the Federal and State Census records to track the locations and persons in your family is an essential step.

The Family History Library Catalog has a nice, and easy, search engine to see what has been copied, and or documented.  Don't forget,,,,it's FREE.

The author goes on to announce how nice it is to be able to search for book titles on the Internet.  We think so, too, since is a place that we like to start (we own the company)!  Lots to choose from, and we offer help in finding just the right publications for you, whether we carry it in our catalog, or not. Books are great!

Further into this book, the search for those special websites that seem to offer the pot-o-gold is discussed.  Every little bit of information helps, so don't turn you nose up at any site.  Bookmark those that seem promising.  Some websites are  lineage-linked, and others are sponsored by software companies, archives, libraries, cemeteries, societies and organizations.

There are several resource centers located across the United States.  Search those out, and plan field trips or family vacations and make a visit...even though the kids will roll their eyes.  Get them involved in the search, and add an award to the kid who finds the best bit of information.

When all else fails, you get too tired, or just don't have the time to do the search and legwork, contact a professional researcher.  Or, subscribe to the many genealogy magazines, newsletters and blogs. Many are listed in this book.

Finally, browse the top twenty Reference Books for Genealogists, of which  has many listed in our catalog.

Document...Document...Document every piece of information you collect.  The Master Forms sheets at the end of this book, kindly provided by William Dollarhide, are just what you need.  Make copies, keeping data and images stored online, in a cloud, and yes, paper is good, too.

You can get a copy of Getting Started in Genealogy ONLINE, at
and purchase at a 15% discounted price.  Looking for a nice gift for someone who wants to dabble in the hobby of genealogy and family history?  This is a very good, and affordable, idea.

Thanks for reading, and HAPPY HUNTING

Fannie, Black Lab Mix and History Buff Mutt

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's Showtime : Ancestors in the Entertainment Business

Lights    Camera    ACTION

Do you have any family members that were employed in the entertainment or broadcast business?

It might be interesting to learn about them and their professions.  There are several ways to look up what they might have been up to.

My Uncle Bennie....Horse Trainer, Circus Actor, Western Film Stuntman; public  domain,  accessed 20 June 2016
As little kids, our mother often told us of our Uncle Bennie, who worked in Los Angeles in Western genre films.  I never met the man, but my siblings had.  I only saw photos of him.  After years of hearing about our cowboy relative, I decided to find out a little about him and his career.

Aunt Ethel, wife of Uncle Bennie, often called our home to let us know what films Bennie would be appearing in, and later her son, Carl, also took up the "reins" and followed in his father's footsteps.  He also appeared in films and television shows.

Visiting Aunt Ethel when I was a teenager, I asked her how she and Uncle Bennie met.  She said that she and her brother left their home when teenagers and toured the country in a traveling Wild West Circus Show.  They were from Montana, and had lots of experience around horses.  When the show appeared in the town where Bennie lived, he went to see the performances.  His eyes met hers, Her eyes met his, and "the rest is history", she said.  They traveled with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.

The family that Uncle Bennie came from was very involved in Italian fruit marketing.  Obviously he did not go into this business like his father and siblings.  I looked into the 1911 old phone books and found Bennie listed, living with his parents and siblings, but he was listed as "theatrical" at the age of 19.  The rest of his male siblings were listed as fruit dealers.

Bennie married Ethel, had their son, Carl, in 1916, and at WWI he registered with the draft.  His draft card states that he was employed a performer with the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Several family photos were produced by various persons showing Bennie with western star Tom Mix, who appeared in westerns, most of which were silent films, from 1909-1935.

Many newspaper articles, most of which were from the early 1950s, made mention of Bennie and his touring of the nation in traveling western shows.  Also, there were mentions of his training of movie stars in the western movie business. He was very adept in lassos, knife throwing, hatchet throwing, horse  whip tricks and shooting performances.

He was mentioned as a personal assistant to Will Rogers as a chauffeur, and a very good friend of Will Rogers, Jr.

In his obituary of 1955, it states, "a famed western showman, a long time western film  horse trainer and stuntman, close friend of the late Will Rogers, a double for many famous stars in western films, owner of a ranch formerly owned by Will Rogers, Jr., and appeared  on the television show "You Asked For It" where he performed a knife-throwing act with his wife and partner, Ethel."

There was so much more found in newspapers and ephemera regarding Uncle Bennie.  Too much stuff to mention here. But, at least I found several ways to learn about him, and now you can research your Entertainer Ancestor, too.

from the collection of Mrs. Louis Busalaki Stepler, 1917-2002.

Friday, June 3, 2016

World War II : D Day Research

Do you have relatives or friends that participated in the D Day operations in Europe during World War II?

There have been many viewpoints written about this epic day in history.  So many died on the beaches during this unprecedented invasion. And, yet, so many were fortunate to survive.  For them, it was a memory that I am sure they never wanted to repeat.

There are some great publications written by many of these survivors.  And, many researchers are now able to find information about the behind the scenes actions since many of the files have become declassified. One of these books is written by Kenneth H. Garn, The Secret D-Day, 2004., available for sale through
The author was part of a defense platoon in Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion of the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment.  He unravels the truth behind the D-Day invasion.

This book is highly recommended for those who enjoy reading first hand accounts of war. sells at a discount off of list price, and is giving FREE SHIPPING to customers when they buy 3 Military Catalog items until June 13.  You might want to take advantage of this offer.  It would be a good savings to anyone.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Researching Ancestors While Reading Biographies and Historical Accounts

Not very many people are so lucky as to have ancestors with published biographies on the shelves of every library in town.  In fact, not too many people have ancestors mentioned in history books. I should know....I've been researching our families since 2002.  Seems like yesterday when I picked up an old photo in a relative's box of belongings and wondered...Who are these people, and why do I look like them?

And so you start to wonder a bit about family of long ago, those that you have never met.
But that is where life gets interesting.  It's time to do some investigative reading.

Looking into the lives of our ancestors, we need to pick out every place that they lived, every school that they attended, the churches that they visited on Sundays with family and any military and occupational experiences they had.

Look at all the possibilities that you have to gather more information into their lives.  Research the schools that they attended.  Google books on their churches.  Find histories written about the towns, villages, counties and townships in which they lived.  Research the  history of the military units in which they served.  Find the places of employment and read about the history of the company or corporation.

Besides reading books on all of the above, search for news articles in newspapers and periodicals that may have stories about those schools, churches, companies, etc.  Your ancestors probably knew many of the people who are named in all of these sources.  Now you know a little more about your ancestor. is a good place to start.  Our newly purchased company has gone through quite a change in the past 60 days.  Redecorated website, blogs, social media....yes it's all been a lot of work.  But we are not done with the changes yet.  We will begin to write newsletters to our subscribers FREE of charge on a monthly basis.  If interested, go to our website,, and sign up for the newsletter...we will send you a FREE 15 Generation Chart (two-sided) when you leave your address on the subscriber sheet.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Website is new and improved...ready to take your orders

Sunday, March 13, 2016

State by State Research : Colorado

Continuing with my review of state history and genealogy research, let's explore Colorado.

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection

Wow, over 200 newspapers are searchable at this site.  That is impressive.  Let's see what I can find.

The years range from 1859 to 1966.  Not too shabby.  You can search, browse by title, name or place. There is also a topics page, listings are  alphabetically arranged, which helps a lot when you looking for that certain event that could have dozens of articles written and posted.  The articles are arranged by newspapers and date of publication.  Now that makes things easier.

I looked up "Knife Throwing", and 20 articles suddenly appeared.  Cool.  Of course these are all from Colorado newspapers, but that is the neatest thing.  You can get much closer to a specific geographic area.

There are "Help" and "Forums" to help you with search suggestions.  But let's be honest, isn't it fun to just fumble around and do some hunting without help?  OK, ask for help if you want to.

Colorado State Archives

Looking for birth and death registers?  How about divorce indexes?  Probate, yep.  Other documents of naturalization, teacher licenses, tax lists, Supreme Court case files, etc. This site is for you if you have Colorado research  ambition...

Want Probate information? Go to Menu tab, scroll down to Public Records (or Genealogy....all roads lead to Rome you know), then scroll to Legal Records....scroll down to Probate. There is a list of Counties and the years that are held at the state archives. Only those cases prior to 1985 are listed.  But, not all of these records are at the archives.  You can order document copies.

Did I forget to mention Military records?  How about Penitentiary records? School records?

Folks, there is just so much on this website that I can't possibly write about all of it.  You will just have to visit it yourself.  But I promise you, you won't regret it...ever.  It would be nice if every state have such a  comprehensive collection such as  this.

Job well done, Colorado!

And let me remind you, Family Tree Magazine published an fantastic article about the many state websites available...I still have mine from December of 2011.  Be sure to visit Family Tree  A great publication!

Monday, March 7, 2016

California : Research State by State


Have some family ties in California?  There are a few websites mentioned by Family Tree Magazine.

California Digital Newspaper Collection

This site, a project by the University of California at Riverside, has newspapers that cover 1846 through the present.  They have a search feature, so I decided to use it.  Looking for my great uncle and information on his career as a stunt man in western films.

I didn't find him, or his son, Carl.  Better luck next time.

I did a search for Reagan....guess what....over 12,000 hits.  Go figure.

California Genealogical Society and Library

This site seems more promising to me.  It talks about membership, research, look ups, libraries, etc.

I used the California Names Index.  Just as before, after entering the surname of my great uncle, no results appeared.

There is a free manuscript database, so once again I looked for the surname.  No luck.

In the Members section, there are many databases to explore.  I am not a member, but there seems to be a sizable list of subjects to browse :

Church membership listings
Marriage listings for Brides and Grooms
Vital Records listed in the San Francisco Newspapers
Enrollment of the Association of Territorial Pioneers
Archives of the CGS news and The California Nugget

Under the tab Research, you can find how to hire a researcher, tip for researching in California, Name Look ups for $10, upcoming classes and events.

Under the tab Library, you can find many recommended links for further research in California.
Links to libraries, newspapers, societies and groups are plentiful.  I might spend a bit more time in this section of this site.

Under the tab Publications, you can find about a dozen or so books that are for sale.  Of course, members get a better deal than non members.  Seems to be quite a variety here, so take a look and there might be something that you want to order.

There is a lot more to this site than I have just mentioned.  I think that this could be a very good resource for those who have an interest in the history of California.