Episode #86 Across the Pond part one

Scotland and Germany are two countries we wanted to do more search in and finally had the opportunity. If you are researching in these places, be sure to use these websites:

ScotlandsPeople for Scottish genealogy

Archion for German genealogy

Tech tools you might want to try out:


AirTable templates for genealogy

Family Tree Magazine AirTable course

Episode #81 Why Can’t I Find It?

In this episode we talk about a problem most of us have and that is finding files we think we saved somewhere but they are not there. We mention some great genealogy apps you should be using and as promised, here are the links: for photo organization and storage. This is a paid service, but they will guarantee your photos and videos will be stored in the order you set up for your lifetime plus. It is worth checking out. I personally have an account and am incredibly happy knowing my photos are safe. A+ on the genealogy app scale. This is another fabulous genealogy app to store your citations and documents found on the web and it is saved up in your extensions bar at the top of your computer so you can always check it. Check out Episode #40 for more information on Zotero. In this genealogy app you can drag a document into the workspace and add a little bit of information at the top and add a person and it will fill in all the information on that person from the document. This works great for census pages and Clooz has over one hundred templates for different documents. The cool part is the composite view where it helps you identify potential relatives or persons of interest by the documents you have uploaded. It also works with legacy family tree, roots magic, family historian, and Gedcom files.  This fantastic genealogy app works on your browser and helps with your research projects. You open it up alongside your tree in Family Search or Ancestry. One awesome feature in Goldie May is that every page you open is logged into your research project when you turn on automatic logging. This is it for me, keeping track of all the places I visit while researching an ancestor or place is well worth it. It has research logs, tasks, timelines, my favorite, and in timelines which is labeled Subway, you can put multiple people to see where they lived in comparison to each other. It is free but does have subscription options too.

Let us know how you like these genealogy apps. Cheers!


My late husband’s great grandmother Beulah GRACE Baker died on May 12, 1970, in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. Her obituary states she was 88 years old at the time of her death and lists the names of her five surviving children. One obituary states she had 15 grandchildren and another states 10 (the actual number of was 14 by my count).

The family oral history told that her father was a German immigrant named John Baker from Bonn, Germany. She had two brothers, John and Herbert. Let’s see if this family story is fact or fiction.

Grace married on August 17, 1898, in Sumner County, Tennessee Samuel Tilden Lay, becoming his second wife. The couple had six children all living into adulthood.

The 1900 census shows Samuel [22], Grace (age 19 born c 1881) and their 10-month-old son Roy living in Edmonson County, Kentucky. Samuel was from Edmonson County. The population schedule states that Grace was born in 1880 in Illinois, but the month of birth was left blank and that both her parents were born in Illinois. All other information about her looked accurate: married two years, one child now living. Her month birth may not have been recorded because 1) she was not the informant – and we don’t know in the 1900 census enumeration who the informants were who gave the information at the time, or 2) the month was inadvertently left out when the sheet was copied from the original canvas sheet by the census bureau.

So here I had conflicting information:  father born in Illinois, but family history pasted down saying the family was from Bonn, Germany. Again, she was probably not the informant on the census information so whoever did report her data did not know her well.

Conflicting information always needs to be analyzed and clarified.

At this point in the research, I ordered both her Kentucky death certificate and her SS-5 social security application.  Both are original documents containing secondary information about her birth facts: the date of birth, place of birth, and parents’ names.  This is secondary information because these documents were created long after her birth by individuals with secondhand knowledge of the event. Although Grace was the informant on her SS-5 and was present at her birth, she cannot remember the actual event or individuals present.

Note:  Women of Grace’s generation may not have an SS-5 application if they died before their husband because they never worked outside the home, so no SSN was ever issued to them. 

Death certificate:        Beulah Grace Lay

Died May 12, 1970 in Jefferson County, KY

                                    88 years old

                                    Born July 14, 1881 in Illinois

                                    Marital Status:            widow

                                    Father: John Baker

                                    Mother: Unknown

                                    Informant:            Ruby Ammon (daughter and 3rd child), Lincoln Ave

                                    SSN:    ending in 3723

NOTE:  Not buried with her husband (he died in 1938 and was buried with his first wife) Grace is buried with her daughter Ruby and son in law Charles Ammon and the dates on the tombstone match the DOB and DOD on the death certificate.  Indicating Ruby was the informant for the TS marker too.

SS-5                            Beulah Grace Lay

                                    Date: September 1965

                                    SSN: ending in 3723

                                    Age:    83 years old

                                    Born:            Harrisburg, Saline Co., IL (Suhleen)

                                    DOB:  August 14, 1882

                                    Father: John Wesley Baker

                                    Mother:          Luisa Garrison

                                    Address:            Lincoln Ave

Obituary:                     88 years old, b. c.1882

Analysis of these four documents: 1900 census, death cert., obituary, and SS5 show Grace:

                        Born in Illinois (prob. Saline County) [Suhleen]


                        John (Wesley) Baker – possibly born in IL

                        Luisa Garrison – possibly born in IL

I now have parents’ names, location of birth and three-year date range for her birth to help locate her parents.

The 1910 census shows Grace and family living with Samuel’s parents. Subsequent census records show the couple then lived with their children until their deaths.  No Baker relatives are found living with the family.

What I would give for an 1890 census at this point! I am unlikely to find Grace in any document with her biological family since she was not alive for the 1880 census enumeration, and she married before the next surviving census of 1900.

So, I dive into Illinois marriage and 1880 census for a John Wesley Baker a/k/a John W. Baker and Luisa Garrison living in Saline County, Illinois.

Marriage:        John W. Baker and Louisa Garrison on November 18, 1867, in Suhleen County 1870 c: Twp 9, Range 7, Saline Co.

John W. Baker, born c.1847 in IL

                        Louiza, b. c. 1852 in IL

                        Adaline, b. c. 1880 c:  Cottage Grove, Saline Co, IL

John W. Baker, born c. 1848 in Illinois’ parents Kentucky & Tenn

                        Luisa, b. c. 1852 in Illinois; parents Tenn & Ill

                        Children:         Adaline, b. c. 1869 in IL

                                                Susan, b. c. 1871in IL

                                                John H., b. c. Aug 1879 in IL

                        Mother (widow): Susan A. Baker, b. c. 1819 in Tenn; parents Virginia & Georgia

Good start seems this could be Grace’s family, but research is difficult given common names John Baker and Luisa/Louise Garrison. 

I search the 1870 and 1880 census records for all John Bakers in Saline County so that I can sort and eliminate them all. Luckily, there is one other John Baker living in Saline County in 1870 and 1880. He was born in Ohio, and his parents were born in Prussia/Germany!  But his wife is named Emeline Foster whom he married in 1870s and his mother is not a Susan. So, I can eliminate him and focus on the John and Louisa Baker as Grace’s parents.

NO GERMAN REFERENCE?!  Can definitely say that the origins in Bonn, Germany are not true.

I was able to confirm Luisa Garrison’s parents’ identities. Her father died of disease in Vicksburg, MS during the Civil War and her mother had died in 1858, so there was a guardianship established in court by her grandparents documenting her parents and siblings.

My goal is to locate John Baker’s parents.

1900c              Cottage Grove, Saline Co, IL

John W. Baker, born c. 1850 in Illinois’ parents Illinois


                        Hired Hand

                        Household of Lewis Durffee

                        Informant – unknown

1910c              Harrisburg Ward 3, Saline Co, IL

John W. Baker, born c. 1850 in Illinois’ parents Tennessee



                        Household of Mary Rice, c. 1836, IL widow 7/7 children

                        Informant – unknown

Illinois Death Index Pre-1916 – negative finding  “John Baker”

Illinois Death Index 1916-1950 – “John Baker” Saline Co

Saline County Coroner’s Reports 1901-1919 – negative

Birth Records 1866-1916 (1999)  USGenweb – negative

Saline County: a century of history, 1847-1947 – J.W. Baker sold property to school 1887

Episode #78 Land Ho!

Here are a few links to places where you can easily search land records without traveling to the county courthouse.

Link to National Archives Bounty Land info

Freedmen’s bureau link to family search

Bureau of Land Management: General Land Office Records

Family Search: United States Land and Property

Ancestry: U.S., Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000

Episode #77 Who Bought the Farm?

I am sure you can find some documents in your stash that need transcribing and you have been putting it off for a bit. Well wait no more, bring them out into the light and find out what genealogy diamonds await you. Using GenScriber and a good pair of glasses these documents can really come to life. In our recent episode we go through a will written by Harvey Curtiss and a birth record from France. Listen HERE to get all the details. See the What’s New page for more details

Episode #76 Newspapers are More than Obituaries

There are so many areas in newspapers that are helpful to family historians. Think of social announcements, visits to family, engagements, divorce, legal notices, want ads, business ads, birth, marriage, and death notices. Listen to this episode to see what we found.

Episode #75 Using YDNA to Chip Away at a Brick Wall

In today’s episode we discuss what happens when you have a YDNA match and tracing it back. One tip in today’s podcast is a search tip on Family Search. This can be useful in so many ways be how it was used in this instance was trying to find people with the same last name in the same area.

Log into Family Search and click the search button at the top and then Records from the drop-down arrow. This is where we all put in the name of the ancestor and where they are from in the box on the right. This time look down and there is a box that says BROWSE ALL COLLECTIONS. This is where you can put in a date and see what collections are available or a place name specifically to see what is available. In this example, we put in the 1850 census. This will take you to a search page just for that collection. Then in the next box you can narrow it down by last name and exact location and click search.

Everyone with the last name Burk that lived in Crawford Twp, Wyandot, Ohio populates the list plus other that lived nearby. In this case the result is two people in Crawford Twp. What if you want more information without clicking on each record? Up at the top there is a PREFERENCES option.

Click on that button and a new side panel opens up where you can change the Display Information to All Information. Change your Display Information from Default to All. You can also change the format here and how you export your results.

Play around with how you search on Family Search and you may find records you didn’t know were there.

Episode #74 Overlooked Resources at Libraries and Archives

Libraries and Archives have some special files hidden away that you might not know about but should request. These are the vertical files and the manuscript files. In this episode of the podcast, we discuss how to access these files and what you might find inside and what you can do with this information.

We use the West Virginia Department of Arts Culture and History as an example for this research. They have pages and pages of what is listed in their vertical and manuscript files. Here is an example of what you would find in the Danske Dandridge Collection and in the Dudding Deed Collection.

Episode #73 Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping takes timelines to a whole new level. If you are a visual learner, you will love mind maps.

Mind Maps are like a whiteboard where you can add all your family including notes, dates, locations, all the information you need to help you make connections. There are several sites where you can put mind maps to use: