Category Archives: Ancestors Migration

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, IL.

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn –

Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, North Suburban Library District, Illinois:

These are both free 1 hour classes available to all.

NSLD/Loves Park

6340 N. Second St.

Loves Park, IL 61111



5562 Clayton Circle

Roscoe, IL 61073


“Family History for Beginners, and Detective Techniques for Experienced Genealogists”

Monday, September 25 from 2-3pm at NSLD Roscoe, Illinois


Effectively find the most that you can about your family history with hands-on exercises, and examples.  Be successful using basic genealogy research methods. Learn how to: search archives and on-line, record evidence, organize your genealogy, use timelines and “FAN” clubs, analyze records, and find missing clues based on what you know, etc.



Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond’”

Monday, October 23 from 2-3 at NSLD Loves Park, Illinois


Learn how to find your immigrant ancestors’ information in U.S. records, in over-seas on-line genealogy databases, and in other, mostly-free, resources. How histories and maps help track their immigrations. What to do about language barriers. 


statelinegenealogyclub @ Beloit Public Library - Vicki RUTHE HAHN

Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Public Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library, WI – BA and MLIS University of Illinois.  Blog creator of “” 2014 ; founder of Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2012.  “Stateline Genealogy Sorter” SGS, with a background in Anthropology, History, clothing history, and teaching, she sorts out mysteries, rediscovers histories, weaves stories, and helps people with their family genealogy and local history,  specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin. 



Getting to Know William Graydon’s Family, and Me – Here’s the Punchline!

By Vicki Ruthe Hahn


Duhhhh! I forgot to tell you the punchline this morning.

Great questions on my Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library program today.

“Getting to Know William Graydon’s Family, and Me – a Study Showing Genealogy Research Methods and Regional Connections”.

The biggest Stateline/regional connections are these:

Major Jesse Meacham’s extended family (I think) is connected to the 1833 founding of the community West of Chicago – Meacham Grove, Illinois

(I believe that this is the “Chicago” that Major Jesse Meacham, and later, Elizabeth Lulu Booth visited before going to Troy WI.)

While Jesse Meacham went on to found Troy, Wisconsin (where William R Graydon’s family later moved),

Caleb Blodgett bought a farm/acreage in Meacham Grove, Illinois.

After a short while, Caleb Blodgett sold his Illinois land, and moved to Wisconsin.

The French trapper Joseph Thiebault (Tebo) was the first white man who came to the Beloit Wisconsin area in 1820.  He was married to two American Indian wives at the same time.

Stephen Mack was the first white settler (mid 1830s) in the Rockton Illinois area, and was married to Hononegah, a Native American woman from one of the surrounding tribes.  He founded Macktown, Illinois.

Tebo and Stephen Mack knew, and traded with each other.

Caleb Blodgett bought “three looks” of land in 1836 from Tebo, and founded what became Beloit, Wisconsin.

Caleb Blodgett knew, and traded with, Stephen Mack of Macktown Illinois (near Rockton).


And now you know (some of ) the rest of the story!


MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

July 10, 2017

An email I received after attending this one-day Conference last Saturday, July 8.

Dear Vicki,

Thank you for spending the day with us at McHenry County College!  We hope the conference was helpful to your research and that you had a great time connecting with other genealogists.

Hope to see you next year!


And my answer is – YES!  This is the third time that I went to this Conference.  It is only about an hour away from Beloit, and well worth your time.  They have fabulous, knowledgeable speakers, and the cost is $70, including lunch.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Conference was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at McHenry County College, 8900 Rt. 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This year’s annual conference featured:

  • Mary M. Tedesco, host/genealogist on the PBS TV series Genealogy Roadshow, (seasons 2 &3).    Contact her through the ORIGINS ITALY website at                                                                                                        She gave lots of techniques for good, basic genealogy, and how to find the names and locations of origin for your ancestors from overseas.  I attended a second session that Mary gave on how to find your Italian ancestors.   Mary is every bit as knowledgeable and friendly as she appears on television.  I enjoyed getting to know her a bit.

Vicki Hahn and Mary Tedesco:2017, July 8 Mary Tedesco & Vicki Hahn WSCG Conference, McHenry County College, IL

  • Thomas MacEntee, creator of                                                      I got to talk with Thomas, but had too many other sessions that I needed to hear.   I was not able to go to one given by him this year like I have other years.


  • Paul Milner, author, & specialist in British Isles & U.S. research.                                      He gave a session on how to find your Irish ancestors.


  • Michael Lacopo DVM, nationally known lecturer – adoption, emigration & immigration, and many ethnic groups.                                                                            He gave a session on how to find your German ancestors.


  • A variety of vendors with publications and genealogy supplies.


Each of the speakers gave us a one week course in one hour!   Soon, I will be condensing all of that information, (plus more that I have learned elsewhere), into one session on “Finding your Overseas Ancestors”.  Be looking for a program on “jumping the pond” in our Stateline Genealogy Club programs next year.

These topics came at a perfect time, as I am about ready to search outside of the United States.  I have learned from these experts that it is not an easy task, but they prepared me well (enough) to begin the search.

Several of them would lend professional assistance to you if you decide to hire an expert, or if you need a knowledgeable guide to help you in Europe.

Join me next year.


Saturday, July 7, 2018 SAVE THE DATE!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society P.O. Box 184, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 Phone:815/687-0436

Stateline Travelers Part 9 -A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage

Stateline Travelers Part 9 –

A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me;

The Very Modest Cottage

July 9, 2017

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Part of an On-going Series – Stateline Travelers

This Posting of the Stateline Travelers is the story that caused me to start this series about “people” moving across state lines, (and my series “Other Travelers”), in the first place.  Stateline Travelers Part 9 A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage was only going to be one Post, but I realized it was linked to so much more.  The Posts in the Other Travelers Series are stories that are connected to me, but are other than stateline experiences.

If you remember, I have connections from south central Wisconsin (Walworth and Rock Counties) all the way down to central western Illinois (Winnebago, McHenry, and McDonough Counties).  The other Posts in the series have gotten us to the point where I can finally segue way into my connections to this little shack.  In this case, the “person” who moved across state lines is a building.  This particular building has a unique connection to me, and other people that I know.

Hint- studying a building’s history can tell you a lot about the people who are associated with the building. Did you know that you can do genealogy of a building, house, or place?

Patrons come to the Beloit Public Library all of the time to look up the history of their houses.  Sometimes it is to see who is haunting it!  Sometimes it is just to know more about the people who had resided in it before them, and to see how old it is.  We have some nice big maps and City Directories of Beloit throughout history.

Illinois Map of How to Get to Beardstown_thumb

 The Very Modest Cottage and Me

The cottage started its travels in Beardstown Illinois, which is along the Illinois River and about 38 miles north of my childhood Table Grove area farm home.  I grew up hearing “Beardstown”  in the local news and weather.  I will have to ask my Mom what events we attended there in my childhood.  I am remembering fish fry picnics there.  Even though we moved when I was 7, we visited my paternal grandmother many times per year in Table Grove.

In Sugar Creek Township, north of Elkhorn, there is a very modest cottage near where I live now .  The shack was moved from Beardstown (central) Illinois north across the stateline 200 miles to its new home and sixth life.


Tereasa had come across the shack while visiting her grandmother in Beardstown.  When Tereasa bought the shack, she did an extensive search for its history with countless interviews of locals, and the genealogy search of library and courthouse records to get accurate history.  She discovered 6 previous lives of her shack, and several previous moves!

“A Very Modest Cottage”, by Tereasa Surratt, is a beautiful book full of tales and photographs about the history, moving, remodeling, decorating, and transformation of a shack into a cozy, welcoming guest cottage in a new location.  It is inspiration for the methods, and a final keepsake, of how you can trace the history of your own house.  Her book tells the stories of two locations.

cottage book back

You can get a better feel for whom your ancestors were by discovering the places that they lived in and how local, national, and world events and history affected their life decisions and experiences.

I did that very thing, by reading the Morgan County, Ohio history “mug” book on our WHS Wisconsin Historical Society trip, to find out more about my elusive ancestor Thomas Campbell and his wife Mary Jane Adams.

On our WHS fieldtrip 2 years ago, I thought I had traced them back to Ireland.  The WHS librarian advised me to try a different family in the interest of time, as those names in Ireland would be too numerous to search effectively until I learned more.  He also knew that the Pennsylvania County that I was looking for had not been created yet.

Hint – ask the staff as you research at societies and libraries.

Of course the librarian was right. I have since found that it was a few more generations back to when that family had “crossed the pond” from Scotland to America.  I traced my relatives from Pennsylvania to Ohio where Thomas Campbell had a connection to the Underground Railroad.  (Read “Other Travelers Part 9 – The Underground Railroad and Me; My Ancestor Thomas Campbell was an Abolitionist!” posted on June 29, 2017).  Search “travelers“ to find the other Postings in my two series “Stateline Travelers”, and ”Other Travelers”.

As a librarian, reader, writer, photographer, and creative person, I just appreciate a beautiful book and Tereasa’s creativity and work.

cottage book front

The Beloit Public Library staff was so delighted with my copy of the book, that they purchased two copies – one for the Genealogy collection, and one to check out. It is a how to book on researching the genealogy of a building.

The modest 91/2″ X 7 1/2″ book of 175 pages reflects the 12ft x 12 ft 1920s shack, yet it is such a little gem of a book that you may want a copy for yourself.  $25 at:


Yes, I do know Tereasa because she lives in the area near me – in the summer and weekends.  She and her husband David Hernandez are also stateline travelers – from their jobs at an Ad Agency in Chicago to their private “country resort”, Camp Wandawega.

cottage fabric

The Modest Cabin is one of their many resort residences that one can rent for a vacation get-away –   “private, vintage pair of cabins overlooks the lake and wetlands, nestled within the legendary Wandawega Lake Resort, aka Camp Wandawega.    Lake Wandawega

I am getting to know this whole area of Walworth County.  There are a lot of great historic stories that I will be posting here.  And it started with this gem.


Rural Cemetery Studies

Rural Cemetery Studies


Vicki’s note – a quote I read from another on-line source that I found. I am including the entire addendum from the on-line book.  However, I could not find out who did the 2012 revision of this priceless 1970s publication.  My hat’s off to any and all (Find-a-grave, Boy Scout, etc.) volunteer photographers,  restorers, and researchers who find and preserve genealogical information for the rest of us.

I also love his quote about those ancestors, “…who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families.”

Read this just to know how lucky we are to have the Internet and computers to aid us in our research.

Hint – google on-line.  You may just find the very exact resource you need for the tiny area that you are researching.:




” a monument is erected not because a person died, but because a person lived”

Mr. Lester’s Magnum Opus is nothing short of monumental. It is not easy to gain access to many of these historic family burial sites. By the time of Mr. Lester’s survey (1970’s) numerous plots were long left abandoned, overgrown with trees and weeds and monuments under attack by weather, livestock, vandals, and property owners who did not care about the burial sites of McDonough County’s brave pioneers.
Thankfully, we now (2012) have laws to protect our county’s historical legacy and these final resting gardens.
I am in awe of Mr. Lester for his transcriptions of hard – to – read tombstones and his laborious typing of his 18 Volumes of the Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County. He did not have access to a computer. In addition to transcribing information from tombstones, he had to painstakingly access county records (e.g. 1840 county tax list), federal census records, and local newspapers requiring a great deal of time and effort.
As a genealogist in 2012, I have access to the internet with fast access to US Census
records, Family Search (records kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints) and numerous other legal documents, books, and family journals.
Mr. Lester used an old-fashioned key – strike, ribbon tape typewriter where mistakes
were hard to correct and appear as overstrikes. There are very few attesting to his skill as a typist.
What an US Census record will not contain are the names and dates of infants who died between census surveys. Mr. Lester’s tombstone records give names and dates of children, whose lives were brief, but would otherwise be lost to history without his efforts. Frequently, he provides names of brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers that allows for completion of family group sheets.
Another work of love for those who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families is being performed by Dr. A. Gil Belles. He has been able to install signs for each of these rural cemeteries and provide GPS (Global Positioning System) information making it easier for anyone wishing to visit a rural cemetery to help them actually find it.
Gil also works closely with Boy Scouts and other civic groups to help cleanup, clear brush and dead trees, locate buried tombstones, and restore stones. My revision of Mr. Lester’s document will provide information on all cemetery restoration projects.
Any changes made to Mr. Lester’s original work was done in blue color font. His maps were scanned and copied into the text and remain like his original work and are not subject to editing.
His text was transcribed using MS Word, enabling me to control font size and color. Retyping text also leaves room for typo errors. Mr. Lester’s rare typo errors are corrected but not displayed in blue. This MS Word document allows on -the – fly editing of any “Notes, Corrections, Additions, and Changes” found at the end of every cemetery. This was Mr. Lester’s intent to produce a working document and improve accuracy about the information on those buried.
I have retyped state abbreviations as they are now used (e.g. IL, instead of Ill.). On 1840 county tax lists I omitted cents (e.g. $140, instead of $140.00). The current MS Word font uses less space, thus, placing more text per line. This shrinks his documents and reduces pages. This , then, changes page numbering in each Table of Contents.
Cemetery locations are also found on the internet. See: McDonough County Illinois Cemeteries

“Scots-Irish” – What’s in a Name?

“Scots-Irish” – What’s in a Name?

Vicki’s note – now I know what the name “Scots-Irish”  means.  I will have to see if my ancestors are truly Scots who emigrated  to Ulster, Ireland vs the miscellaneous Scottish and Irish folks that I know about.

This Class from Family Tree University would be valuable to learn those fine points.  Course Runs: Jun 26th 2017 – Jul 21st 2017.

Instructor – Amanda Epperson

Amanda Epperson completed her Ph.D. in Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. In addition to teaching and freelance writing, she works as an Editor and Researcher at


What’s in a Name?

The term “Scots-Irish” isn’t anyone who happens to have both Irish and Scottish descendants. It refers to the Scottish people who moved into Ireland in the 17th Century in and around Ulster. Because there were two migrations – first from Scotland to Ireland, then from Ireland to the Americas, those tracing their ancestors back have unique challenges to contend with.

Research Your Scots-Irish Family History

Research Your Scots-Irish Family History

Trace Your Scots-Irish Ancestry Back to Ulster

The term “Scots-Irish” refers to the descendants of Scottish people who emigrated to Ulster in the seventeenth century to take advantage of economic opportunities. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, an estimated one-third of Ulster’s population was Scottish.

In this four week course, you will gain a basic understanding of the settlement of Ulster in the seventeenth century and the migration of the Ulster-Scots people to America in the seventeenth century. Descriptions of records and lists of websites will help you find many of the documents required to trace your Scots-Irish ancestors back to Ireland. You will also gain an appreciation for the challenges of Irish research. Review exercises and discussion prompts will encourage you to start your research and engage with your classmates.

What You’ll Learn

  • History of the settlement of Ulster and of Scots-Irish migration
  • How to identify Scots-Irish ancestors
  • Understand the limitations of Irish research
  • How to find Irish records
  • Techniques for scaling brick walls

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Ulster Scots: Gaining a Foundation

  1. Introduction
  2. Where is Ulster?
    Province of Ulster
    Northern Ireland
  3. Who are the Ulster Scots?
  4. Settlement of Ulster
  5. Migration to and from Ulster
  6. Cultural Differences in Ulster
  7. Review Exercises

Scots-Irish Genealogy Search Strategies

Lesson 2: Begin Your Research

  1. Why is Scots-Irish different than Irish or Scottish genealogy research?
  2. Do I have Scots-Irish Ancestors?
    6 different clues to Scots-Irish Heritage
  3. Working Backwards to Prove Your Scots-Irish Ancestry
    Getting Ready for Ulster Records
  4. Where to Find the Data You Need
    A study of 8 different sources
  5. Review Exercises

Lesson 3: Digging Deeper – Researching in Ulster

  1. Records in two Countries
    Northern Ireland
    Republic of Ireland
  2. Record Destruction and Irish Genealogy
    This section will explore both the 1922 fire and various difficulties of finding records, plus the resources that are available to research, including online collections.
  3. How Irish Records are Divided
    Unlike US records which can be at the state or county level, exploring Ulster’s records involves knowing the five different levels of records.
  4. Records for Ulster / Northern Ireland
    Familiarize yourself with 9 different types of records for Ulster and Northern Ireland.
  5. Where to Find the Records
  6. Review Exercises

Lesson 4: Challenges to Your Research

  1. Brick Walls and Dead Ends
  2. Cluster Genealogy
    What is it?
    Why is it necessary for Ulster genealogy?
  3. Exhausting Your Options
    Your records research doesn’t stop with online records – even if you can’t make a trip overseas, these 6 research strategies will help you find everything you can.
  4. Research in Scotland
    Explore the Scots in Scots-Irish.
  5. No Ulster or Scottish Connections? Read relevant histories.
  6. Re-evaluation and Analysis
    No research is complete without these 3 steps.
  7. Review Exercises

Note: this course is best for advanced beginners and intermediate-level family historians. It may require a longer time commitment than similar courses to complete the lessons and exercises.

Our courses are designed to be easily accessible! Once you’ve registered for the course, you’ll be able to log in on the start date of the session (midnight on Monday, US Mountain time) to see all the lessons. Each lesson is available within your browser and can be downloaded for future reference or offline access.

This is a four-week course made up primarily of written lessons, quizzes, and reading assignments. You can work at your own pace, but you should expect to devote at least a few hours to each lesson. While designed to be done one per week, some people like to work through all of the lessons at once, two at a time, or in bursts. There are no audio or visual elements within the primary lesson materials; however, some additional reading assignments may contain links to YouTube or other videos.

Some courses may have assignments you can also do with the instructor providing feedback. Others have additional reading and may be up to the individual instructor.

Additionally, there is a discussion board where you can interact with your instructor and fellow students. We encourage discussion, asking questions, and trying out what you’ve learned and sharing your results in the boards that go along with the lessons.

The format for this course is as follows:

  1. Orientation/Syllabus/Contact Us – How to navigate through the course structure, the discussion boards, etc.
  2. Lesson 1: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  3. Lesson 2: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  4. Lesson 3: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  5. Lesson 4: Lesson, Reading/Assignment, Quizzes
  6. Library and Further Steps

The quizzes are automatically graded as you go through and there is a drop down menu where you can navigate throughout the course, going back to other lessons.

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Vicki’s Note – article from the July/August 2017 Family Tree Magazine.  We will be do an on-line “tour” of the Ellis Island Museum at our July 14, 2017 program 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City – Peter Urban’s tour – how 12 million immigrants were processed there;  archival photos & films – immigrant experience. 

Here’s more information while you wait.  Lots of great museums in the U.S. to visit this summer, or in the future.  I think that my “Life List of Things and Places to Experience”  just got bigger.  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than “Bucket List”?)


Top Heritage Museums and Genealogy Research Centers


Set your sights on these 11 must-visit heritage museums where you can research your roots and walk in your ancestors’ shoes.


11 Must-See Heritage Museums for GenealogistsYou’ve probably devoted considerable time to discovering your ancestors’ origins. Just knowing the place they came from, however, is rarely enough. Genealogists also want to know how their ancestors lived, what they did for work, what they wore and ate, what their homes looked like. What you need is a resource that’s not only rich in genealogical information, but also shares the richness of your ancestors’ culture.

And if a relative’s specific place of origin yet proves elusive, learning the history of that heritage group may offer another research pathway, suggesting new records to try or offering clues in the lives of his countrymen.

Heritage centers and museums—usually located in places where people of a particular heritage settled together—cover nearly every ethnicity and cultural group. Whether your ancestors hail from Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Syria, Ghana, Mexico or elsewhere, there’s probably a museum that provides historical materials and a glimpse of that culture’s customs, history and people.

Some centers serve both as history museum and research destination, with manuscript collections, foreign-language newspapers, photographs, maps, local histories and more. They may offer genealogy workshops, translation help and research assistance.

Okage Sama De, the title of an exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, translates to “I am what I am because of you.” That’s the crux of heritage museums’ significance: Exploring one rewards you with a better understanding of who your ancestors were—and thus, how you came to be who you are. Here, we highlight 11 of the best heritage museums in the United States, chosen for their genealogist-friendly research libraries, exhibits, tours, classes and community events. Use this guide as a springboard to similar organizations covering your family’s heritage.

American Italian Cultural Center

New Orleans  •  Immigrants from Sicily, who flooded New Orleans in the late 1800s, gave the Big Easy its famous muffaletta sandwich. You can still steep in your family’s Italian heritage here, in addition to starting your genealogy search. Genealogist Sal Serio conducts family history classes. The center also offers Italian language courses.Genealogists researching Italian roots can access special collections at the library, including books, magazines and Italian-language newspapers. “Vertical files,” Serio says, “are packed with information about businesses and benevolent societies, which are prolific in this part of the country.” Make an appointment with Serio for guidance to the right sources and help with translation.

The museum focuses on Italian immigrants to the Southeast, and Italians in jazz and sports. Don’t miss the nearby outdoor Piazza d’Italia, built by the city to honor its Italian heritage. You can play bocce ball, listen to a concert, watch traditional flag-throwers and attend wine tastings.

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

Chicago • The genealogy department here holds newspapers, books, obituaries, annals, maps and other documents in a collection that spans most of Lithuania’s turbulent history, from the 13th century to 1940. Although you can’t research the collection yourself, staff provide in-depth consultation services to museum members. Nonmembers can take advantage of fee-based services including translation of old documents.

Lithuanian name spellings can vary, as can languages used in records. Pre-WWI documents, for example, are usually written in Russia’s Cyrillic script. Records also may be in Latin or Polish.Get to know the culture of your ancestors in the museum, says Karile Vaitikute, genealogy department director. “There are exhibits and a film that describe Lithuanian history, national costumes, Lithuanian art, agricultural items and even a small house,” she says. The museum also provides workshops and guided travel opportunities.

Courtesy of the Cherokee Heritage Center

Cherokee Heritage Center

Tahlequah, Okla. • Your admission to the Cherokee Heritage Center allows you access to the Trail of Tears exhibit, Diligwa (a 1710 Cherokee village), Adam’s Corner (an 1890s rural Oklahoma village) and Cherokee Family Research Center.Most visitors are new to genealogy. “They’re here primarily because they learned from a family story or legend that one of their ancestors is Cherokee,” says Gene Norris, the center’s genealogist. He recommends starting your research with three federally compiled rolls covering the Cherokee: the Dawes Final Roll, the Guion Miller Roll and the Baker Roll. The center’s website offers tips on getting started.

The library offers databases and records including government and private documents, photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, books, manuscripts and articles focusing on Cherokee history and culture. Staff researchers are available for hire.

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

New York, NY •  Ellis Island’s immigration museum tells the stories of arrivals before, during, and after Ellis Island processed immigrants (1892 to 1954). The Peopling of America Center, opened in 2015, shares the migration history of American Indians, slaves transported against their will, and Colonial- and Victorian-era immigrants.

The island’s American Immigrant Wall of Honor is inscribed with more than 700,000 names of immigrants through all ports.

If your ancestors came through Ellis Island, you can walk in their footsteps at the immigration museum, view the renowned Great Hall, and follow an audio tour through the immigrant experience as if you were a new arrival. A centerpiece is the American Family Immigration History Center passenger list archive. Now numbering 51 million names of passengers all the way up to 1954, the database is searchable both on-site and online; search results link to images of original manifests showing the immigrant’s name, age, last place of residence and more. You also can view images of immigrant passenger ships—maybe even your ancestor’s.

Historic Huguenot Street

New Paltz, NY • Huguenots were Protestants, largely from France, who left their homelands to escape religious persecution. Many settled in New York’s Hudson Valley, South Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast. Their descendants include George Washington, the grandson of a Huguenot.

Start exploring this 10-acre museum at the Visitor Center, then head to any of seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 church, a burial ground dating to the earliest settlers, archaeological sites and more. The annual Gathering for Huguenot descendants includes history workshops that may open a door to your family tree.

“Historic Huguenot Street holds genealogies of the New Paltz patentees and associated families, transcriptions of church records, surname folders that include family trees, plus the archive of items such as letters, family Bibles, and estate records,” says spokesperson Kaitlin Gallucci. Access the research library on-site by appointment ($25) or send a research inquiry.

Irish American Heritage Center

Chicago • Nestled on Chicago’s northwest side, the Irish American Cultural Center houses a museum (open for tours by appointment) with artifacts including exquisite Irish lace, an art gallery, the Fifth Province pub, a theater, classrooms and a research library.

“This is the place to find out where you’re from,” says spokesperson Kathy O’Neill. You’ll find 25,000 books on Irish history and literature, newspapers, access to online databases, and other material. A limited-access archives section preserves documents, records and other rare and historic items. Family history classes take place once a month, or you can make an appointment with a staff researcher. Other classes cover Irish language, history and music. Celebrate your Irish heritage here with folk concerts, traditional céilí dances, festivals and storytelling.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i

Honolulu  • Those tracing Japanese roots, especially in Hawaii, will find a valuable resource here. “The center’s historical Okaga Sama De exhibit tells the story of Japanese immigration to Hawaii, from 1860 to statehood and beyond,” says Derrick Iwata, education and cultural specialist.

Visitors can tour the Honouliuli Education Center, which focuses on Japanese internment during World War II. Experience Japanese culture at one of the center’s festivals, including a New Year’s Ohana (Family) Festival on the second Sunday in January. Or come for the classes on martial arts and the Japanese tea ceremony (called chado, or the Way of Tea).

The center’s Tokioka Heritage Resource Center offers a wealth of material related to Japanese-American history, art and culture on Hawaii and the mainland. “Our library and archives has an assortment books and oral histories, as well as a number of directories which list Japanese residents in Hawaii,” says center manager Marcia Kemble. (Access the catalog here.) Staff can provide fee-based services such as translation, Japanese name consultation, and genealogical assistance, including help obtaining a family registry record, or koseki tohon, from Japan.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

New York • “In the case of Jewish genealogy, where so many records were lost and lives disrupted, an institution like the Museum of Jewish Heritage provides a crucial narrative,” says Michael Glickman, museum president and CEO.

The core exhibition uses first-person histories, photos, video and artifacts to explain Jewish history and tradition before WWII, European Jews’ confrontation with the hatred and violence of the Holocaust, and Jewish communities today. (View a selection of photos and documents here.) The outdoor Garden of Stones is a memorial to those lost in the Holocaust.

This museum’s “research library” is at its free partner website, JewishGen, where you’ll find discussion groups and more than 22 million records, including Holocaust records, a burial registry and the Communities Database. “Say your grandfather came from a town called Ostroleka,” Glickman says. “You might find six towns with the same name. How would you know which is the town your grandfather was referring to?” The database lists 6,000 Jewish communities, with their political jurisdictions and name variants over time.

National Hispanic Cultural Center 

Albuquerque, NM • Archivist Anna Uremovich calls this center a “full saturation of the Hispanic culture.” Its art museum features a 4,000-square-foot buon fresco depicting thousands of years of Hispanic history, and works from Spanish artists around the world. You also can attend art classes and other events.

The research library and archives is a destination for family historians with deep Southwest roots, holding Spanish census records, land grants, and the 90-volume set of Enciclopedia Heraldica Genealacia Hispano-Americana and the 15-volume Diccionario Hispanoamericano de Heraldica Onamastica y Genealogia. These books include more than 15,000 names from Spanish and Spanish-American families.

Search the library catalog here
(select National Hispanic Cultural Center from the menu at the top right). Uremovich also suggests researching Catholic parish records to learn family birth, marriage and burial details, and sometimes, names of other relatives.

Mark Bealer Photography

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Cincinnati • Search for African-American roots in the John Parker Library on the fourth floor of this inspirational museum (admission isn’t required if you’re just visiting the library). The library hosts a FamilySearch Center, where you can use databases, microfilm and other resources from FamilySearch. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment with an on-site genealogist. “We help between 60 to 120 patrons a month,” says marketing director Jamie Glavic, who recommends first completing as much of a pedigree chart as you can.

The Freedom Center museum can help you understand the experiences of your enslaved ancestors, who they were, how they were transported to America, and how they lived and worked here. Step inside a slave pen built in the early 1800s on a Kentucky farm, and follow in the footsteps of Underground Railroad passengers and conductors whose actions resisted slavery.

Watch a short film, narrated in part by Oprah Winfrey, describing the work of early abolitionists, intent on ending slavery. You’ll learn about those who resisted slavery and how slavery continues today.

Swedish American Museum

Chicago • Step inside this museum in the heart of Chicago’s “Little Sweden,” and you walk in the footsteps of Swedish immigrants, from preparing to leave their homeland to building new communities in America. View artifacts including steamship tickets, passports, folk crafts and household items brought from Sweden. A children’s museum allows kids to do chores in a stuga (farmhouse) and board a 20-foot “steamship.”

The center’s Swedish American Genealogy Research Center is “the only Chicago-area center that focuses on Swedish research,” says volunteer Vereen Nordstrom. It holds Swedish censuses, immigration and burial records; provides access to church records on the Swedish subscription website ArkivDigital; and hosts genealogy classes. Make an appointment to work with volunteers like Nordstrom, or send a research request (free for members of the museum’s Swedish American Genealogical Society; fee-based for nonmembers).

More Online – U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Vicki’s note – article from a June update email I received from


U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

passport applications
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
For over 200 years the State Department has issued American citizens with passports. Though they were not required for travel abroad until World War I, passport applications are an excellent resource to tap into for everything from names, birthplaces, and residences, to occupation and immigration details.

Search Here

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Passport applications from 1795–1925 are contained in this database including emergency passport applications (passports issued abroad) for the years 1877–1925; special passport applications (military, diplomats, civilian federal employees, and dependents), 1914–1925; applications for extension and amendment of passports, 1918–1925; applications for certificates of identity in Germany, 1920–1921; and applications for declarants 1907–1911 and 1914–1920. It also contains passport application registers for 1810–1817, 1830–1831, and 1834–1906. Passports issued March 4–5, 1919 (numbers 67500–67749) are missing from the NARA collection and not in this database.

Although there are passport records from multiple states in this database, specific state, U.S. territory, and U.S. possessions collections are as follows:

  • California (1914–1925)
  • Hawaii (1907–1925)
  • Illinois (1914–1925)
  • Louisiana (1914–1925)
  • New York (1914–1925)
  • Philippines (1907–1925)
  • Puerto Rico (1907–1925)
  • Washington (1914–1925)

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925

The U.S. government has issued passports to American citizens since 1789 through several different agencies over the years. For the most part, passports were not required of U.S. citizens for foreign travel until World War I, although they were mandatory for a short time during the Civil War (Aug. 19, 1861–Mar. 17, 1862). An Executive Order given in 1915 and a later act of Congress in 1918 established the passport requirement for citizens traveling abroad. This law lapsed with the formal termination of World War I and treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary in 1921. With the onset of World War II In 1941, the Congressional act of 1918 was reinstated requiring U.S. citizens to carry a passport for foreign travel as is required today.

Passport Applications

Passport applications can provide a wealth of information, including:

  • Name of applicant
  • Birth date or age
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Date of application or issuance of passport
  • Father’s and/or husband’s name
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birth date or age
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birthplace
  • Father’s and/or husband’s residence
  • Wife’s name
  • Date and place of immigration to the U.S.
  • Years of residence in the U.S.
  • Naturalization date and place
  • Occupation
  • Physical characteristics

To receive a U.S. passport, a person had to submit proof of U.S. citizenship usually in the form of a letter, affidavits of witnesses, and certificates from clerks or notaries. Sometimes these additional documents are included as part of the application as is a photo of the applicant.

Application Forms

There was a variety of passport application forms used throughout the years. By 1888 there were separate application forms for native citizens, naturalized citizens, and derivative citizens (children who become citizens through their parents’ naturalization). As a result, all of the above listed information may not be available for every applicant. Likewise, there may be additional information other than what is shown above on the application form; some information may only be obtained by viewing the image of the application.

Passport Application Registers

Passport application registers may provide:

  • Date and number of application
  • Name of applicant
  • Age of applicant (1834–1849)
  • Physical characteristics of applicant (1834–1849)

Some of the above information was taken from:

  • J. Dane Hartgrove. Descriptive Pamphlet to Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, 1986.
  • Loretto Dennis Szucs, Kory L. Meyerink, and Marian Smith, “Immigration Records” in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006).

How do I find out what the dwelling number was on a street by using the (ED) Enumeration District numbers on a Census?

How do I find out what the dwelling number was on a street by using the (ED) Enumeration District numbers on a Census?

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn (including information found on the U.S. Census Bureau
National Archives and Records Administration)

(SGS) Stateline Genealogy Sorter

May 26, 2017

The short answer – I don’t know yet.  This is what I have found out so far, and I will update this post as I learn more.

(Just a note – The 1950 census records will be released in April 2022.)

What is an enumeration district?
An enumeration district is the geographical area that was assigned to a single census taker.

For information on locating and understanding U.S. census records, see Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records, by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright. This book covers the federal population schedules, state and local census schedules, and special census schedules.  This book is in our collection 929.1 Sz71f, and checked out.  I have it on hold, and will try to find more answers after reading it.

( July 22, 2017 update – Starting in 1890,  Enumerators were instructed to add the street name and house numbers.  Some were sloppy, or negligent.  Or, you may have to look several pages before “your” family to find the street name written sideways in the far left column of the Census sheet.)

“The genealogist’s census pocket reference : tips, tricks & fast facts to track your ancestors”,  from Allison Dolan and the editors of Family tree magazine, Cincinnati, Ohio : Family Tree Books, c2012. c2012  Look for this book in GEN 929.1 Dolan.

To learn more about enumeration districts, the following reference materials might be useful. (These are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and at NARA’s regional records services facilities.)

  • Enumeration District Maps for the Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1930), 35 rolls
  • Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1931), 11 rolls.
  • Descriptions of Census Enumeration Districts, 1830-1950. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T1224), rolls 61-90.

Note: To complement its collection of 1930 resources, The National Archives has also purchased copies of city directories for 1928-1932. For a complete list of which directories it has, see NARA’s website. These are not National Archives publications, but can be purchased from Primary Source Microfilm (an imprint of the Gale Group). For ordering information call 1-800-444-0799.

There are also a few reference books at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, WI about enumeration.

What are the definitions of terms used in the census?

  • Census__1) a counting of the population; 2) the actual pages of the census schedules
  • Enumeration__another word for taking the census
  • Enumerator__a census taker (That was my job for the 1990 U.S. Census.)
  • Enumeration district__abbreviated as ED, it is the area assigned to one enumerator in one census period; 2 to 4 weeks in 1930.
  • Institutions__Hospitals, schools, jails, etc. that were given separate EDs for the 1930 census.
  • NP or nonpopulation__an ED where no one lived. Noted as “NP” in the catalog.
  • Precinct__the limits of an officer’s jurisdiction or an election district
  • Place__specific geographic places or features such as streets, towns, villages, rivers, or mountains.
  • Schedule__the pages that the enumerators filled out when taking the census
  • Soundex__an indexing system based on the way a name is pronounced rather than how it is spelled.
  • Void__an ED that was combined with another ED. Noted as “void” in the catalog
  • Useful Web Sites:

For general information on the 1930 census, see these websites:
U.S. Census Bureau
National Archives and Records Administration

What questions were on the 1930 Census?

  • Place of abode                                                                                                                    Street, avenue, road, etc.
    House number
    Number of dwelling house in order of visitation
    Number of family in order of visitation

These definitions were used consistently through the years.  I have tried some of the Stephen P. Morse aids below for a family’s location in 1920, 1930, and 1940. Tell me if you have found success with using them, or finding the street numbers for a family.  I did not find any more information using The Morse guides than I did by searching  I was looking for the house street number for where I knew that a family  lived.  It is a small town.  Unless the enumerator wrote down the street number, you will only see the Street name and numbers indicating the order of what order he/she visited by dwelling and family.

I have seen that some enumerators on some years did write down the dwelling number.  Take note of the neighbors on either side (order of visiting) and look for them in later year’s censuses.  Even if “your” family has moved, you might run across a later marking of dwelling numbers for the neighbors, and be able to tell what “the” house number was.

The street names change too.  Ask at the local library and historical center for that area.  They may have a folder on “your” family, or know more about the location names.

Indexes and Other Finding Aids

Individual census records from 1790 to 1940 are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau.

Publications related to the census data collected from 1790 to 2010 are available at

Visit the National Archives Web site to access 1940 Census records—

Decennial census records are confidential for 72 years to protect respondents’ privacy.

Records from the 1950 to 2010 censuses can only be obtained by the person named in the record or their heir after submitting form BC-600 or BC-600sp (Spanish).

Online subscription services are available to access the 1790–1940 census records. Many public libraries provide access to these services free of charge to their patrons.

Contact your local library to inquire if it has subscribed to one of these services.

The Beloit Public Library have (available in the building only) and HeritageQuest (free access from home in Wisconsin.  Other state’s/libraries will usually have a version of HeritageQuest available on their Library Homepage.

German Church Records

Vicki’s note – April 27, 2017 newsletter from Kathy Wurth, Family Tree Tours <> , who did a webinar for us Feb 13, 2015 – “Find Your German Ancestral Hometown, Planning for a Heritage Trip”, live webinar.

This was forwarded to me by John W. from our Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library with this comment, “Here is some neat info about German Church records.”  

Sounds like an informative on-line newsletter worth signing up to receive.  It would be grand to go on an ancestral tour some time.


German Church Books – Why they are a MUST! DNA Tests on sale, 2017 -2018 tours, Research and Travel Tips.


Message from Kathy:

First off I would like to say welcome to new people who have signed up for our newsletter recently. For some of you it was nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by my table in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kansas.

This issue is jam packed and a little heavy on German research but I have spent the last few weeks/months deep in German church books preparing for our upcoming trip to the Northwest of Germany in just a couple weeks. I thought it would be helpful to remind people how imperative it is to use this most important resource for German research but the basic principles can be applied to lots of other ethnic research.

We still have room on our Baden-Wuerttemburg trip, don’t get left behind, this area (Black Forest) is one of my favorite places in Germany and you will love it too.  I really am hoping for some of you to consider the England trip, we are trying to establish more heritage tours to the U.K. and I want my new guides to know there is interest in trips to their beautiful, historic countries.  Please check it out. We are working on 2018, with survey results in mind, so look at one of our planned areas in the trip section below.

For our new subscribers check out the video below in the Tour Section, this shows an example of one of what we call our WDYTYA moments. In 2013 our group tour to Rhineland area of Germany was followed by a German TV crew, they followed along with one of our tour members on visits to her hometowns, plus a group visit to a Church archive.

I hope to be posting pictures and videos while we are in Germany on our Facebook page, (  so keep your eye on that, plus maybe a post or two on what we are seeing and doing in lieu of a May newsletter, we will see.  Happy Spring everyone and I hope to see you on an upcoming trip soon.

Until next time!  

Kathy Wurth

Genealetter in PDF




I’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking about and researching in German church books. I’ve given several talks lately about different records (baptism and marriage) in church books and what you can find in these records. I’ve also had discussions with people in person, via email and online German research groups as to just how important these records are. For those of us who have German ancestors (and not only German, but Irish, Swedish, Polish etc.) church books are going to be the only place we may find any mention of our ancestor and it is an absolute must- do resource.

Unfortunately, a lot of people want everything online, easy to find, indexed and in English.  Sorry, that is not the case, but is it worth the effort to struggle through these hard to read hen scratch records?  Oh yes! You can pride yourself on learning a new skill, experience the triumph of finding your ancestor’s name and baptismal day in 1798 (like I recently did) and in some entries see your gr-gr-gr-grandfather’s signature from mid-1700’s also.

Let’s learn a little bit about German church books. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation  started by  Martin Luther.  In October of  1517 he nailed  his 95 theses to  the door of the Castle Church in  Wittenberg.  This started an upheaval in the Catholic Church and one of the many things that resulted from this rebellion was the introduction of recording of names in church books.

Luther's coach

Luther’s traveling coach.

Although there were some places that had recorded vital records in church books at the end of the 15th century most books date back to about 1550’s. The Council of Trent (1545-47) ordered local parish priests to begin recording all marriages, births, and deaths. Protestant records tend to predate Catholic records. The earliest records tend to be in the western Germanic areas. Then came the 30 Years war in 1618-1648 that devastated Germany and many records were destroyed, so for some villages the earliest books you may find would be mid-1600’s.

Church books escaping the fire

Church books contain records of great historic value, especially for genealogy. Beside mere data and facts they sometimes tell us smaller stories and anecdotes and report about historic events like natural catastrophes, fires and war events. What they usually do not tell, what we can’t see when looking at those books, is their history of tradition.

They were able to stand for centuries, because the church was concerned about their safekeeping from the beginning. Württemberg’s church constitution of 1558 already emphasized that the parish register should be preserved and kept safe by the churches. A high value was set on the lasting preservation of church books. Especially about fire protection there were recurring concerns. For the safekeeping of the church books steel cabinets and later fire-resistant cabinets became mandatory in the 20th century.

Church office

Church office in Mecklenburg
Photo by Family Tree Tours

But also in the early centuries there was a solution to save church books especially in case of fire. Church books were stored in church book boxes that normally had handles on both sides. These escape boxes could be saved from the parsonage in case of fire. The portable boxes alone were of course not enough, it must have been guaranteed, that they left the fire in time. In Balingen’s regulation for fire extinguishing of 1823 it was pinpointed, who had to evacuate the church book boxes in case of fire. (Source Archion newsletter)

When you have made the breakthrough and found the name of your village, what’s your next step?  It should be to verify your people were actually from that town by looking in the church book to find your immigrant’s baptism record.

My first step is to check on to see if my home village has had its church books microfilmed.

Check like this:  On click on Search, then Catalog, then Place search and type your village name in.  If there is more than one village with the same name you will have to know the State of Germany yours is located in (i.e. Baden, Bavaria, Saxony etc.) and pick that one, or if you don’t know the State you may have to check more than one place.

One good place to search for your hometown name to see if there is more than one village by the same name is

You also can use wild cards in your search in case the place name you have is spelled incorrectly.  Let’s say you had a place named Heiderbach but you can’t find that on a map anywhere. You can search for a place by using the first few beginning letters and then the wild card:  Hei**bach.  You will get quite a quite a few “hits” for towns starting with Hei and ending with bach, but you will see there are 3 Heidersbach!  Aha, maybe it was just missing the “s”.   There is one village in Baden and two in Saxony, so if you knew your town was Heiderbach in Baden, then there is one to check, or if it was Saxony you have two places to check, or if you don’t know the State you have only 3 places to check.

What you might learn in the church books:

1.  Most important you verify your ancestor was born in that village.
2.  You can learn parent’s names, which can take you back another generation and so on.
3.  You can find siblings to your ancestor, which is helpful when and if you ever plan on visiting the ancestral hometown, they may be the clue to finding living cousins in the village
4.  In some cases the pastor recorded the house/farm # your people lived, this also is helpful if you plan to visit someday, so that you possibly can find the actual home.
5.  If you go back several generations you may find that one of your ancestors may have come from another local village and came to this new place when he/she married. This will give you another village to research and visit.

These are a just a few of the things you will learn when using German church books but I cannot stress enough that if you are of German ancestry, this step is a MUST.

If you feel you can’t attempt to read these records yourself but you don’t want to hand over the research to someone else, you could order the microfilm or if the records are online, hire or find someone who can read the records to sit with you and you can follow along, try to pick out the name yourself and have them help you read the rest of it.

Or you can hire a researcher to find the names for you and have them translated into English for your records.

Many people have taught themselves how to read the records but personally I would have someone with more experience read them also in case you miss some word that is important. I had a church record for one of mine, I found his name, read the parents’ names and got the dates, but the little squiggly mess after his name I skipped but later had a native German (who can read old Script, not every German can read these old records too) told me that was his occupation, schneider (tailor). I missed that!

Best yet is to travel with us and visit your hometown church and we will see if original church books are available to look at.

We will talk more about German church books next time, there are topics to touch on about how illegitimacy is handled in the records, and the laws of being either Catholic or Protestant and other information you may find in these fabulous records. Plus places to find online records.  Below is example of a baptismal record, see what you can read: (this is very interesting because of the area it is from and the taking of farm names! Another topic to discuss)

baptismal record

Baptismal record



GENEALOGY RESEARCH TIP:  Check for Clergy Private Papers

Clergymen were frequently the most educated and literate members of the community they served. This often means that they kept extensive records, wrote many letters, and chronicled their lives and that of their community in diaries or journals. A search through your ancestor’s minister’s papers could reveal all sorts of helpful (and interesting) information about the community and even about your ancestor himself.  I’ve seen in one of my German hometown church book’s the pastor would comment on the weather, bad crops, he would report on people that emigrated, sometimes mentioning names and saying specifically “emigrated to St. Louis”.  In years back there were even entries describing wedding celebrations, the food that was consumed and how much money spent. Perhaps a check with local church archive or parish house itself to inquire if there were any clergy papers.




With April 25th being DNA day (when did this happen?) I wanted to make a comment about the latest wrinkle in DNA results.  If you had your DNA tested by Ancestry they have reconfigured your test results and put you in Genetic Communities.  I have not read in any depth how this is done or how many people they are comparing yours to but what I do want to say is it is exciting!! I’m not sure how it is working for other people but for me and my VERY brick wall Irish ancestors, it finally gives me some idea of what county they may have come from.  It says I have a 95% possibility of being in the ULSTER Community in Co. Donegal!!!  This confirms something that I finally found just a year or so ago on our last trip to Salt Lake City. The first time I had a county!!

The second community they had me in was Co. Mayo and Sligo.  For years I haven’t know even the county for the 5 Irish lines I have and I’ve been searching for a long time, so this was encouraging. It got me excited on looking back over my Irish research from long ago.  I thought I would get some digital copies of records that are now online and add them in my tree.  My gr-gr- grandmother from Ireland died in Missouri in 1932, so since those death certificates are online at the MO Secretary of State site I looked her up.  Her death certificate gave a birthdate in 1839 and place of birth says CO MAYO!!!

What?? How did my mom and I miss this, we tried to get death certificates always.  So I dug through the file with old death certificates and found Annie Hughes’ certificate that we ordered and picked up from the Vital Records office in 1979.  Birthplace just says Ireland.  It is stamped saying certified copy of death record but apparently someone used the official document, made a copy filling in the same questions with the answers from the original and what they deemed important and Co. Mayo apparently wasn’t.

Unbelievable, almost 40 years later I finally learned Co. Mayo, what might I have found if I had that piece of info?  Oh well, now the DNA says I have connections in this area and is backed up by death certificate, which I know may have been someone guessing but it gives me a place to start.  Lesson from this, check all the sources and places you checked years ago to see if there is anything you missed or if you should check the records again.

Ten Tips for Deciphering Old German Handwriting

Suetterlin – German Handwriting

See what your surname looks like in old script

Step by Step Video for using Meyersgaz    A friend of mine created this website to help with converting dates/years when you see roman numerals in church books!

DNA TESTS ON SALE has published two new collections of German Lutheran church records. Note that the time periods overlap, so try searching them both:

Also new on the site is a collection called Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Family Tables, 1550-1985. A tip from the collection description: “Use the browse fields to sort through the images by City or District and Description of records.”




Follow along as one South Dakota lady realized her dream.  She visits four hometowns in Germany, meets new cousins and discovers more documents to add to her history of her German family and it is all documented by a German TV crew!  Now that is a dream come true.


UPCOMING TOURS: For those of you who may be new to the newsletter I just wanted to remind you that our small group tours usually consist of 10-16 people, we stay in one home base town (on German trips) and travel out on day trips by train. There are free days where you go to visit your hometowns, where we have made a contact for you.  If you would like to find out more please contact me, Kathy @

2017 Tours

Northwest GermanyMay 13-23, 2017 
Join Family Tree Tours on our exciting exploration of Northwest Germany, where thousands of Germans emigrated from in the 19th century. Was you ancestor one of them? Spend 10 days traveling back in time to see the places they lived and worked. Learn more about the history of the area and why they left. Plus expert help in helping you visit your ancestral hometowns.
$2599.00 pp/dbl $200.00 sgl supplement
This tour is full.  (If you would like to be on waiting list if there is a cancellation, let me know)

Baden-WuerttembergSeptember 9 -19, 2017
Join us for an enchanting journey through the Black Forest region of Germany with an opportunity to explore Baden, western Württemberg and Alsace, France for an 11 day/10 night tour.  We get off the beaten path and soak up our ancestor’s regionWith expert help in making contacts in your ancestral hometown.
$2499.00/pp dbl $200.00 single supplement
Space available.

Devon-Cornwall England Tour
August 22- Sept 2, 2017
Join Family Tree Tours on our first heritage tour to merry Olde England. Along the southern coast of the Island we explore our Cornish – Devon roots. See the port where the Mayflower left for its historic journey. We spend time researching in Cornwall and Devon research facilities, plus visit your ancestral hometowns in this area.
$2699.00 pp/dbl Inquire about single supplement
Minimum participants 10 – Reserve now to hold a space

Salt Lake City Research Trip – Nov 5 -12, 2017
Put a crack in the brick wall, find your ancestral hometown, source the information you may have found online with all the resources the Salt Lake City library has to offer.
$650.00 pp/dbl
Sgl supplement $275.00 Inquire about triple rates
Minimum participants 10 – Reserve now to hold a space

2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference sponsored by German-American Genealogical Partnership – July 28-30, 2017 Minneapolis, MN.  

Conference Information

If you are planning on going to this conference and would be interested in a meet & greet dinner with Family Tree Tours please let me know so we can plan something.

More tours to come.  Do you have a family group or a cousins you found online who would like to visit ancestral hometowns? Get a group together and contact us so we can help you have the best “family reunion” ever.  Or do you belong to a genealogy society and have a group that would like to do a tour to an area you all have hometowns from?  We can help with that also.  I have folks interested in Austria and Bavaria, are you?  Get in touch.


We are working on 2018 and taking our survey results into consideration. We are definitely thinking of a tour in September 2018 staying in the Rhine river city of Speyer.  From this area we can get people to the Rhineland area, parts of Hessen, northern Baden-Wuerttemberg and more. We will have a map of the areas covered on this tour soon.2

I also had a request from a reader if anyone would be interested in these areas of Poland so that we could get a small group tour to this area.   PIELGYZMKA, POLAND  (click for map) email if you have a hometown in this general area.

Send in your ideas while we are still in planning stages.



May 13-23, 2017 –  Northwest Germany Tour

May 25 – June 3, 2017 – Private Tour in Germany

July 28-30, 2017 – Vendor and Speaker at German American Partnership Conference – Minneapolis, MN




6 Flight Booking Apps That Could Save You Money

10 Tips for Road Trips

Pad your breakables.
Leave about 1/4 of your suitcase or duffel bag empty. Fill the emptyspace with rolls of bubble wrap and a small dispenser of tape for wrapping your gifts and souvenirs. You can also pad fragile items with your dirty clothes. Put small items in a sock and/or inside a packed shoe to keep it a little safer. Pack flat pieces of cardboard at the bottom of your suitcase for 8×10 group photos, postcards, or artwork. And a 6″-diameter cardboard tube can hold fragile handcrafts, rolled-up prints, and other treasures.


This email contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.


In This IssueMessage from Kathy
Spotlight: German Church Books
Genealogy Research Tip
This and That
2017 Tours
IGGP German Conference
Other Heritage Tours
Upcoming Events
Travel Tips

2017 Tours

Northwest Germany Tour

May 13-23, 2017

Cornwall-Devon England
August 22 – Sept 2, 2017

Baden-Wuerttemberg Tour
Sept 9 – 19, 2917

Salt Lake City Research
Nov. 5 -12, 2017

Other Heritage Tours


German Genealogy Research, Family History Trees, Family Tree Tours | Family Tree Tours

.wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }

Emigration from the Osnabrück region to North America in the 19th century. This is a book about people (day laborers and farmers) and a look at why they felt it necessary to uproot from their homeland and lay down new roots in an unfamiliar New World.
Hardbound, English/German 120p
$19.99 plus $ 4.50 shipping (click on book to order) 


Great deals for 2017/2018 but they go fast, call me.  Cruise the Rhine, the Danube, the Elbe and the Main, all with centuries of history to discover, and then add a couple days to visit your ancestral hometown, we will make the contacts


Search for your British and Irish ancestors in an expanding newspaper collection.


German Research-
Translation Service
– Since I’ve made contacts here and there we can now help you to FIND that hometown with research help.  Or if you have a document you would like translated from Old German script or even printed German contact us for a free estimate.WE NOW WILL DO ONLINE CHURCH RECORD RESEARCH ON ARCHION.DE FOR YOU


Book Review

“Our Daily Bread, German Village Life 1500-1850”

Incredible detail of what life was like for our German Ancestors: marriage, inheritance, law & government and much more.


Book Of the Month

.centerslate span {
display: inline-block;
height: 100%;
} Letters of a German American Farmer: Juernjakob Swehn Travels to America (Bur Oak Book) (9780877457060): Johannes Gillhoff, Richard Lorenz Augus Trost: Books

Compiled letters of  a country schoolteacher in Mecklenburg from former students who emigrated to America. His son used these letters as source material to tell the story of life for a German immigrant.


Book Review

.centerslate span {
display: inline-block;
height: 100%;
} The Harp and the Hand: Exploring Irish Roots (9781530385195): Teva J. Scheer: Books

Irish history throughout the ages and details of Irish village life before and during the Famine. $19.95






Copyright © 2017 Family Tree Tours, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this newsletter because you opted in either at our website or at a conference.Our mailing address is:

Family Tree Tours

2111 Martina Dr.

Washington, MO 63090
Add us to your address book