Special BONUS Genealogy Club Walking Tour Of Oakwood Cemetery, Beloit WI

Special BONUS Genealogy Club Walking Tour Of Oakwood Cemetery, Beloit WI

We are planning an impromptu Tour soon, while the weather is nice.  When would you like to go?

Anyone who wants to go, please contact me before Monday, October 31, and we can set a time, day, date before mid-November.

Kim Caswell would like to share her knowledge about the Oakwood Cemetery in Beloit WI.

From Kim:

“Can we plan a walking tour of the cemetery? I know you want to set up a thorough in-depth gen. club meeting on such, but if anyone wants to walk through Oakwood cemetery I am more than willing to meet with them there any time. Group or individual. I am more familiar with Oakwood and it’s grave markers and history. It can be a certain section or the whole thing, I don’t mind. And actually now is a good time of year – not too cold or hot, bugs are gone, no snow or rain. Perfect for photos.

AND since I have been unable to reach Bob at the main cemetery office as yet for next years thing, this may be a good start.  If you want to post my offer for individual or group I’m fine with that, You can even give my email or phone – I am willing to work with peoples schedules that really want to do this. I can share all I have learned myself, so far. It may even pique someone’s interest and draw a bigger crowd for when we do the cemetery thing next year.


Vicki's note - Kim is NOT available Nov 1, 5, 7, 9, 10 or 11th.

Any other day is fine.  A.M. or P.M. 

If you can't go as part of the group,
I will privately give you contact information for Kim so you can go individually.

The Oakwood Cemetery is full of Beloit Wisconsin history,
and I will be taking this opportunity, that Kim offers, to learn more about Beloit,
and cemetery headstone symbols..

Tombstone Symbols

Vicki’s note –  from Family Tree magazine.  They mention that symbols may be different in different regions/countries.

Further Comment on the Posting below – from Kim Caswell – “Loved the info on the different symbols found on various grave markers. But i feel I just clarify for those who may not know, that these are not the only reasons some symbols are used.

In my years of researching and volunteering in several different cemeteries I have discovered several meanings for the use of like symbols.

For example, the harp. My cousin has a harp on her grave marker but in her case it meant that she played a harp in an orchestra.  Anther was acorns and leaves because they were an arborculturist, he studied various trees and shrubs.  The beehive, a late vendor from farmer’s market had hives on his marker – he was a bee farmer.  Another beehive simply stated that Janet loved anything related to bumble bees.

In northern Wisconsin not far from where my son lives is a cemetery loaded with grave stones that are replicas of trees and tree stumps ranging 3ft – 7ft tall.  It is a cemetery dedicated to lumberjacks and forestry workers.”


What The “Strange” Symbols On Your Ancestor’s Grave Mean

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Expert answers about the symbolism on your ancestors’ tombstones.
To the modern genealogist, some of the symbols on graves and tombstones can be mysterious and even downright strange. Cemetery transcription is already practically an art form.

“My husband’s great-great-great-grandfather died in 1896 and is buried in Marshall County, Iowa,” one reader wrote us. “The graves for him and his wife are marked by a single large headstone, with a smaller one for each person. Each small stone is adorned with an eagle feather and the outline of a face with an Indian headdress. ‘Father’ is on one and ‘Mother’ on the other. What does this mean?”
The symbols aren’t random, or even that strange at all.

While it’s certainly possible that this family had American Indian origins, more than likely the symbol showing the profile face with an Indian headdress indicates that your husband’s ancestor belonged to the Improved Order of Red Men. The women’s auxiliary is known as the Degree of Pocahontas. According to the organization’s website:

“The fraternity was founded in 1765 and was originally known as the Sons of Liberty. These patriots concealed their identities and worked ‘underground’ to help establish freedom and liberty in the early Colonies. They patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic governing body. [The Iroquois’] system, with elected representatives to govern tribal councils, had been in existence for several centuries. After the War of 1812 the name was changed to The Improved Order of Red Men. They kept the customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of the fraternity. Some of the words and terms may sound strange, but they soon become a familiar part of the language for every member.”
Other commons tombstone adornments are acorns, anchors and lambs. Use this handy sheet to keep track of the meanings behind symbols you may find on your ancestors’ tombstones:

Tombstone Symbols


Podcast and weblinks: Cemeteries and Genealogy

Vicki’s note – podcast and web-links from Family Tree Magazine. 

October 2016 Podcast: Cemeteries and Genealogy
By Lisa Louise Cooke
Learn all about what cemetery records you can find and how they can benefit your genealogy research in this month’s podcast.

Listen to this episode

 Back to the episode list

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s podcast, The Genealogy Gems Podcast in iTunes and visit her website for great research ideas, podcast episodes and videos.

Lisa’s book is available at ShopFamilyTree.com: Mobile Genealogy

News from the Blogosphere with Genealogy Insider, Diane Haddad

Diane talks about going to the cemetery and the things you can learn about your ancestors from their cemetery records. Read Diane’s blog post here: 9 Things You can Learn About Your Ancestors from the Cemetery.

Top Tips

In this segment, we talk key clues in cemetery records from the Cemetery Records Workbook in the Oct/Nov 2016 Family Tree Magazine issue by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Sharon talks about:

  • What we should be looking for when it comes to cemeteries and their records
  • Which sites to turn to first
  • Strategies to try if you don’t have luck finding your ancestor’s burial place.


101 Best Websites


Jennifer Davis from the Records Division at Family Search gives us the scoop on cemetery and death records at Family Search. She provides an overview of the types of death and burial records we can find in their online database and advice on how to effectively run a search to find them. Finally, she explains Family Search’s partnership with memorial websites such as Find A Grave and Billion Graves, and how to work with their content on the Family Search site.

Family Tree University Crash Course

Vanessa Wieland shares tips from Family Tree University’s 2-week self-paced course called Doing Cemetery Research. Register today!
101 Best Websites
Jennifer Davis from the Records Division at Family Search gives us the scoop on cemetery and death records at Family Search. She provides an overview of the types of death and burial records we can find in their online database and advice on how to effectively run a search to find them. Finally, she explains Family Search’s partnership with memorial websites such as Find A Grave and Billion Graves, and how to work with their content on the Family Search site.
Family Tree University Crash Course
Vanessa Wieland shares tips from Family Tree University’s 2-week self-paced course called Doing Cemetery Research. Register today!

From the Publisher’s Desk with Allison Dolan

Allison’s Cemetery Research Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do check for online databases of cemetery records. See if the cemetery has posted burial records online.
  • Don’t assume that the tombstone is all there is. The cemetery might have additional burial records it will allow you to access, and those records could contain information and clues that complement the tombstones.
  • Do find out the cemetery’s hours, rules, etc. before visiting in person. It would be a shame to show up and not be able to do what you came for.
  • Don’t apply any substances other than water to a tombstone to make it more readable. When I got started, I heard a lot people recommend using shaving cream to bring out the words, but preservationists do not recommend this. Instead take a digital photo and then use the photo editing software to adjust the contrast so you can make out the transcription. If the lighting isn’t good for the photograph, try using a mirror to reflect sunlight onto the stone.
  • Do take photos of the entire plot and any surrounding stones you think could have a connection to your family, to create a permanent record.

10 WWI Ancestry Websites That Will Make Your Life Easier

Vicki’s note – more great information for finding Ancestors in the Military, Especially World War 1 in this article from Family Tree Magazine.  Many of the websites are useful for searches of other wars as well.  Of course, I like the photo of the YMCA WW1 Tent Library for soldiers.  Hint – “As part of the British Commonwealth, Canada entered the war in 1914, long before the United States.”  I am researching a family where the son, from Michigan, became an air pilot in the Canadian forces, so he could join up earlier.  He died in Canada in an airplane crash during training, and was buried in Wisconsin.)

“10 WWI Ancestry Websites That Will Make Your Life Easier
By David A. Fryxell

Find your ancestors’ Great War service records, casualty records and more with the help of these top 10 websites for WWI research.
By the time an armistice halted the fighting on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of World War I in 1918, more than 65 million had been drawn into the war. World War I  claimed more than 16 million military and civilian lives and left some 21 million others wounded.

World War I Vet. Parade. Photo from Library of Congress.

If your ancestor fought in World War I, or even just registered for the draft, you may fear that the records of his service have vanished over the century since the “Guns of August” first sounded. Even as the last WWI soldiers have passed away, however, technology unimaginable in the era they served has made their surviving records more accessible than ever before. Ancestry just added new UK Military records spanning from the late 1800s to 1962.

But with so much information out there, where should you start to piece together the story of your WWI ancestor? These 10 WWI ancestry websites will make your life easier. They’re useful and powerful, and all great places to start researching your military family.

While we’ve given preference to sites strongest on US records, with a century having passed, it’s possible your ancestors weren’t yet on this side of the Atlantic when the Great War was fought, so we’ve also spotlighted some places to look for British, Irish, French, German and other soldiers.

1. American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission, established by Congress in 1923, commemorates the service, achievements and sacrifice of US armed forces. It manages 24 overseas military cemeteries, as well as 26 memorials, monuments and markers. Nearly all the cemeteries and memorials honor those who served in World War I or World War II. Its WWI database searches the names of 33,717 casualties buried in overseas cemeteries and listed on the Walls of the Missing.

For WWI veterans buried in stateside cemeteries, turn to the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Nationwide Gravesite Locator. Here you can search for burials of veterans and their family in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and private cemeteries where the grave has a government marker.

2. Ancestry.com $
A World Explorer membership to this subscription site ($149 for six months) lets you take advantage of its UK sibling site, making this arguably the single largest concentration of WWI data online anywhere. US records include draft registrations (also available free on FamilySearch.org and on the subscription-site Archives.com), casualties and selected state collections (California, Colorado, Ohio and Kansas). British databases include 1.9 million service records (1914-1920), 5.3 million medal rolls index cards from that same span and military memorial books. You also can explore more than 300,000 New Zealand records from the war. If an ancestor fought on the other side, Ancestry.com has you covered, too, with a database of 8.4 million German personnel rosters.

3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
This British website commemorates the 1.7 million men and women from Commonwealth forces, including England, Canada, India, Australia and New Zealand, who died in the two world wars. They’re buried in cemeteries and burial plots, and memorialized in 153 countries across the globe. Search either by name, service and war, or find a cemetery. An advanced search page lets you search on a single term or any combination, including a range for date of death and even military honors and awards. You can now register as a member for free, which lets you save searches and return to them at a later date, sign up for the commission’s newsletters and receive information about other new features when they’re added to the site.

4. FamilyRelatives.com $
This lesser-known UK family history site, available on a pay-per-view basis or by subscription ($40 a year), is especially strong on the Great War, including Anzac (Australia and New Zealand) records. Collections include Army and Navy deaths, rolls of honor, the Royal Army medical corps, histories such as the e-book Mr. Punch’s History of the Great War, Royal Air Force lists, Navy lists and an unusual 14-volume series titled The National Roll of the Great War, 1914-1918. Each regional volume contains a brief biography of “men and women who largely survived the Great War as well as the less fortunate who did not.” It even includes nurses, drivers and civilian war workers—more than 100,000 Britons in all. Typical entries provide the individual’s surname, initial, rank or position and regiment or unit, postwar street address and a paragraph-length narrative of service. Here’s one example:

LEE W. S. Corporal (Signaller). R. E. He volunteered in September 1914, and in the following March was sent to Egypt, where he took part in the fighting on the Suez Canal. Later he took part in the Landing at Gallipoli, the three Battles of Krithia and other engagements until invalided home suffering from dysentery. On his recovery he was transferred to Mesopotamia and during his service in this seat of war, was in engagements at Amara and the capture of Baghdad. He was demobilised in August 1919, and holds the 1914-1915 Star and the General Service and Victory Medals. 6, Nancy Street, Chester Road Manchester Z10669.

Soldiers returing from World War I parading through arch on street in Minneapolis. Image from Library of Congress.
5. FamilySearch.org
Though richer in resources for other conflicts, this free website stands out here for its access to US WWI draft registration cards—more than 24 million record images, mostly searchable (indexes are not yet complete for nine states). Congress passed the Selective Service Act May 18, 1917, and 4,648 local draft boards in 52 states and territories began registering young men. Even if your ancestor was never drafted, if he was between 18 and 45 during the United States’ brief involvement in the war, he would’ve participated in one of three registrations:

• June 5, 1917, for all men between the ages of 21 and 31
• June 5, 1918, for those who had turned 21 in the past year (a supplemental registration, filed with this second batch, covered men turning 21 by Aug. 24, 1918)
• Sept. 12, 1918, for men ages 18 through 45 not previously registered

The information collected on draft cards varies, but includes some genealogical gold. The first round of registration used what’s sometimes called the “12-question card,” which asked about name, age, address, birth date and place, citizenship status, employer, nearest relative, race, physical appearance, occupation and any exemption from the draft that was claimed. The second registration, using the “10-question card,” removed questions on occupation and draft exemption. The third go-round increased the number of questions to 20, including several for a more detailed physical description.

Besides these draft cards, FamilySearch has excellent research guides to WWI records, including links to state sites.

6. findmypast.co.uk $
This British-born subscription site ($16.66 a month for complete access) now includes US records, but for the Great War it’s strongest on the UK and Commonwealth. The National Roll of the Great War is here, too, along with databases of 1914 to 1919 soldiers’ deaths, ships lost at sea, Distinguished Conduct Medal citations, the 1918 Royal Air Force Muster Roll, Royal Navy casualties and service records, and Royal Navy officers and volunteer reserve medals. Collections that span longer periods include databases on British Army service records (to 1915), London volunteer soldiers and military nurses. You can find Irish ancestors in the National Roll of Honour and Ireland’s Memorial Record: World War I collections, and coverage of Anzac records is extensive.

7. In Flanders Fields Museum
Belgium was a primary battlefield of the war, as captured in the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres commemorates the more than 600,000 dead who fell here, the more than 425,000 graves and names on memorials, and the hundreds of traces and relics in West Flanders front region. Links on this site provide virtual tours of museum exhibits such as “War & Trauma: Medical Care in WWI” and let you search an online catalog of books, newspapers, personal and theme folders, and audiovisuals. A newly launched List of Names project displays, day by day, the names of people who died exactly 100 years ago.

Of particular interest to genealogists is the online casualty database in the museums’ Research Centre. Links here lead to separate databases for casualties among Belgian, French, British Commonwealth, German and American soldiers; Belgian civilians; other casualties; and the latest collection, Ireland’s Memorial Records. This new Irish database draws on an original copy of eight leather-bound volumes, published in 1923 and containing 49,000 names. The Research Centre has corrected details about the Irish soldiers’ deaths and burials (more than 10,000 of the men listed as having died in France actually fell in Belgium), and made the contents searchable. All the Irish records, including those of soldiers who died elsewhere than in Belgium, will be online by the end of 2014.

Only about 1,000 American soldiers are linked to a death on Belgium soil; the 400-some buried in Flanders Field Cemetery are listed with additional detail, including date and place of birth. The British Commonwealth database, on the other hand, commemorates nearly 200,000 who fell in Belgium. Relatively few French soldiers are buried in Belgium, but the project is currently screening data on 1.4 million files to identify those who died there.

More than 130,000 German war dead are represented. Note that the Flanders site draws upon the National German Military Grave Registration Service, a database of more than 4.7 million names of missing and dead German soldiers from both world wars. The search form is in German and requires a free registration.

8. UK National Archives
If you have relatives from the United Kingdom who fought in World War I, this site is a must for its helpful record-by-record guides, online catalog and service records and papers. You can search WWI army medal cards for soldiers who received a campaign medal or gallantry award; search and download a selection of service records for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force; search the Cabinet Papers website for documents concerning decisions and discussions before, during and after the war; and download a selection of British Army unit war diaries. You’ll also find a complete guide to records kept at the archives in Kew. To explore UK pension records from the war, see the guide here.

9. WorldWar1.com
This unofficial but exhaustive site includes “Trenches on the Web,” an online history and library of the war with sections on weapons, maps, photos, timelines, biographies and more. Or focus on the American military experience in the war by clicking on the “Doughboy Center,” with information on land, air and naval operations, personalities and veterans, weapons, uniforms, logistics and traditions. You also can read the free monthly online magazine, The St. Mihiel Trip-Wire, which covers “the battles, weapons, personalities, literature, art, diplomacy and politics of the war,” along with news of centennial commemorations. Or subscribe to Over the Top, a monthly full-color, printable e-magazine produced in association with Military History Press; it “gives fresh looks at the significant personalities and events of the war—both the well-known and forgotten.”

10. WWI Document Archive
Learn all about the war at this Brigham Young University site, an archive of primary documents assembled by volunteers of the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). International in focus, the archive includes soldiers’ diaries, a biographical dictionary, official documents, images, collections on the maritime war and medical aspects of the war, and links to other sites. You can browse the documents by year or by category.

Diaries archived here range from those of statesmen like French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau to everyday soldiers on both sides. You’ll find “Marine Flyer in France: The Diary of Capt. Alfred A. Cunningham,” Gerhard Friedrich Dose’s diary of service in German Infantry Regiment 187 in the Romanian campaign of 1916 to 1917, German verses from the trenches, even deserters’ accounts. Images include zeppelins, gas masks, nurses’ gear, cemeteries and weapons.

Canadian WWI Records
ymca-tent-library Library War Service, YMCA Tent, Vancouver barracks, World War I. Image from Library of Congress.

As part of the British Commonwealth, Canada entered the war in 1914, long before the United States. An index to 600,000 Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) soldiers, nurses and chaplains is available online. Library and Archives Canada has undertaken the digitization of all service files of CEF members. These will be accessible as the project progresses, with completion expected in 2015.

Historical Perspective
We’ve highlighted a few of the best history and background sites where you can learn more about the war, but the web has many more. Here are others worth checking out:
The Long, Long Trail: Focuses on the history and experiences of the British Army during World War I.
The Great War, 1914-1918: Emphasizes the battlefields of the war, including information about visiting the sites today, as well as advice on tracing family history as it relates to the war.
The War Times Journal: Features personal accounts of the war, image galleries and overviews of the conflict.
The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century: This site is a companion to the PBS TV series, with timelines, educational resources and videos.

More Online
Free Web Content
•  Common military abbreviations
•  The 1918 flu pandemic
For Plus Members
•  Find soldiers in 10 lesser-known wars
•  Tracing ancestors in WWI records
•  War stories

•  Ancestry.com Search Secrets on-demand webinar
•  Fold3.com Web Guide
•  Online Military Records on-demand webinar

A version of this article appeared in the the July/August 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine


A Cemetery Civil War Veteran Mix up – Other Travelers Part 5


Vicki’s note – based on an October 5, 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper article by Jim Stingl titled “Calvary Cemetery Civil War headstone finally gets it right”.  This is about Civil War veteran William John Sheehey, buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Other sources I used- United States war grave marker images from Bing online, and Wikipedia information about Calvary Cemetery, and G.A.R..

 A Cemetery Civil War Veteran Mix up

–  Other Travelers Part 5


(Part of the Series – “Other Travelers”)

 by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

October 15, 2016

Civil War veteran William John Sheehey/Sheehy, from Missouri, was buried in 1890 at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


From Wikipedia –  “Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery  was consecrated on November 2, 1857, a tract of 55 acres, four miles west from the downtown area on Bluemound Road, the first road to be constructed by the Wisconsin Territory.

It was filled with the remains of the 10-acre “Old Cemetery,” which also contained the remains from Milwaukee’s first cemetery established in the First Ward. By 1880 Calvary had 10,307 recorded burials and an additional 20 acres were added.”


In the 1860s, plots on the south part of Calvary Cemetery were granted for the burial of 690 Catholic Civil War veterans who died at (now) Clement J Zablocki VA Medical Center, and from (now) Wood National Cemetery.  Sheehey/Sheehy (misspelled Shefhey on his stone) died in 1890 (per records) just before age 50.  He had been born in Ireland, and worked as a mechanic before serving with Union Army Company K, 1st Missouri, light artillery 1861 -1865.  We are not sure how he got to Wisconsin, but he died in the Soldiers Home in Milwaukee.

When Sheehey/Sheehy was buried,  his headstone was a rounded one for Union soldiers.

Per the Department for the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration in Washington D.C., around the beginning of the 20th century, Confederate Veterans made a push for their headstones to be pointed to distinguish them from the headstones of Union veterans.  (There is a belief that they didn’t want any Union/northerners to be able to sit on their headstones.)  Some headstones of Union veterans from southern states got mistakenly sharpened to the pointed Confederate shape.

Missouri was a border state during the Civil War, and was very divided between Union and Confederate sympathizers.  There were Missouri soldiers and regiments in both armies.  Someone went through the Calvary Cemetery and wrongly decided Sheehey/Sheehy must have been Confederate because he was from a Missouri regiment.


The Sheehey/Sheehy headstone was then sharpened to a peak, and left that way for over 100 years, until a detailed survey of the cemetery was done lately.  The survey showed that there were no Confederate burials in Wood National Cemetery, including the veterans across highway 94 at Calvary Cemetery.

A Civil War re-enactor noticed the mistake for three soldier’s headstones.  Two Union headstones were provided in 2008, but it took until now, 6 years later,  for Mr. Sheehey/Sheehy’s headstone to be rounded – Unionizing him.   His headstone was taken to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois where it was rounded, then placed back on his grave in Wisconsin.

Pointed headstones for veterans who fought for the Confederate side would be unusual in a Wisconsin/northern cemetery, but not unique.  Burials of Prisoners of War, and those who died in battles far from home could place Confederate soldiers in northern cemeteries, and Union soldiers in southern cemeteries.  As well as that, by 1890, when Sheehey/Sheehy died, several folks would have moved around to different parts of the country for various reasons.

We see with Mr. Sheehey/Sheehy/Shefhey that we have not only a name mix up, but a location mix up and hence a confusion about which side he fought on.  Hint – do more research to find the full genealogical facts about your ancestors.

I do not know what the engraved shield on his headstone means, but it does not seem to be on Confederate veteran’s headstones.  The rounded/pointed top concept was not applied to all Civil War veteran headstones.


Here is a unusual headstone for a “Colored” Hospital Attendant.  Was he in the Union army or the Confederate?  Hint – be careful of making assumptions – we don’t think of African-Americans  serving as workers for the Confederate armies.  But, it looks like the Maltese cross symbol for the C.S.A. Confederate Southern Army is engraved on this pointed top headstone, so I would venture to say that he worked for the Confederate Army.



The Maltese cross symbol has C.S.A., which stands for the Confederate Southern Army and has the Confederate flag:



I always thought that G.A.R. Grand Army of the Republic meant any Union United States Veteran, but it was actually a fraternal organization:




“Grand Army of the Republic” (GAR) from Wikipedia

“The “Grand Army of the Republic” (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (United States Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, and growing to include hundreds of posts (local community units) across the nation, (predominately in the North, but also a few in the South and West), it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member, Albert Woolson (1850–1956) of Duluth, Minnesota, died. Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans’ pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 490,000, was in 1890, a high point of various Civil War commemorative and monument dedication ceremonies. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW).”


 I will include more information about the meanings of headstone symbols and art in other Posts, and on the BLOG’s homepage banner “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps”  under “Military Ancestors (and Civil War Ancestors), and also under “Cemeteries, Tombstone, & Obituary  Sites”.



Below are images of some more grave markers that designate veterans for each of the United States wars.  The markers are not used interchangeably, but are unique to a specific war.  There is sometimes more than one designated type of marker for each conflict:


















I could only find these veteran grave markers for Desert Storm, Afghanistan, & Iraq wars.


Hopefully we can stop having to need these war veteran markers at some future, but they are a good way to help get clues on our ancestors who were in the military.






The Hawk Took It! – Other Travelers Part 4

The Hawk Took It! –

Other Travelers Part 4

(Part of the Series – “Other Travelers”)

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter


Well this is a new one for me.

We know all of the usual hazards in preserving and maintaining family history paperwork and electronic records while searching for our genealogy.  How many different ways can we lose important historical resources?:

  • computer crash
  • flash drive defect/aging out
  • our older relatives losing memory
  • those that know passing away without sharing
  • the library/house/historical society/architectural site/religious site/courthouse was burned or flooded or got bombed or torn down
  • paperwork got lost
  • the handwriting or photographs faded away
  • family members that have it, won’t share
  • deleted or thrown away by someone who thought it was just old junk
  • the baby tore it
  • the dog ate it
  • the hawk grabbed it and flew to the top of the neighbor’s tree!!

And the last one really happened to our speaker today before she got to the Library.

Kim Caswell did a great presentation on “Funeral Practices of Our Ancestors“.

She had a full program based on years of research, all saved onto her USB flashdrive which was protected from the morning mist in a ziplock bag.  Kim also had it in another bag with a battery operated stuffed cat that “mewed” when you moved it.  This was going to be a joke gift for her sister at a quick coffee time before the program.

Kim put the bag onto the top of her truck, while she went back in to get her laptop.  Meanwhile, the neighborhood hawk hearing the “cat” mew as Kim put down the bag, swooped down to snatch the bag and flew to the top of the neighbor’s tree!!

True story.

As Kim said, “I can’t make this stuff up”.

So as you face your usual genealogy search challenges, remember this to get some perspective, and a little chuckle, that at least you did not have your research snatched by a hawk!

I can’t even believe that Kim’s presentation could have been more awesome.  Her back-up was very informative and seemed complete to us, and even had photos.  Kim is determined to get her bag out of the hawk nest when she can.

Good luck Kim, and thanks for being a good sport.  We have fun at the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library!

Remember to always back-up, off-site of hawk snatching locations.






145th anniversary of the Peshtigo Wisconsin Fire

Vicki’s note – shared from Wisconsin Historical Society Maps Collection Facebook page – Friday, Oct. 8, 2016)

This Saturday is the 145th anniversary of the Peshtigo Fire. Overshadowed by the Chicago Fire the same day – there was far more loss of life in Peshtigo.

Wisconsin Historical Society Map Collection

This map shows the burned-over area created by the Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest forest fire in United States history, which happened on October 8, 1871. Named for a village at the center of destruction, the fire destroyed 1.2 million acres in six counties of the Green Bay region and killed over 1,200 people; Peshtigo was leveled in an hour with 600 dead. Entire villages and farmsteads were consumed by the firestorm; many people only survived by laying low in waterways or open fields as the world around them burned. To read more about the fire, visit: http://wihist.org/2cLLSdv or to look at the map, go to: http://wihist.org/2cqPz95

No automatic alt text available.

Finding Family History in Obituaries and from Funeral Homes

Vicki’s Note – three free resources from Legacy.com to use, as we focus on our Octoberish Program “Funeral Practices of Ancestors”, by Kim Caswell; next week – October 14, 2016. 

You can use this site to look up funeral homes by state.:



Use this site to look up obituaries by name:

The newspaper obituary information in ObitFinder® is updated daily, and searches obituaries dating as early as February, 2001



And click on this site to go directly to obituaries from newspapers in the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia:

ObitFinder® searches obituaries from more than 1500 national & international newspapers.



CAGGNI Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group Meeting

Vicki’s note – another CAGGNI event that you might like.

CAGGNI Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group Meeting

Upcoming event information:
Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group HYATT PLACE SCHAUMBURG 1851 McConnor Parkway Schaumburg, IL
Date: 15 Oct 2016 12:45 PM

Welcome to the CAGGNI FTM SIG!

This interest group was originally formed to provide a forum for Family Tree Maker users to share their knowledge and build their expertise with Ancestry’s Family TreeMaker desktop software.

With Ancestry announcing it will no longer sell FTM after Dec. 31, 2015, and end support on Jan. 1, 2017, the group will be exploring what comes next, including the ongoing development of FTM by Software MacKiev and a future connection between RootsMagic software and Ancestry.

More information: Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group

Best regards,