Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Enjoying fall conferences

My goodness, it's been a very long time since I posted anything. What have I been doing?

I was at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the first part of September. Wonderful speakers and convention center. It was a bit of a walk, but I needed the exercise!

I was able to enjoy some dirt-track racing (yep, I'm a fan!) in west-central Ohio before visiting the Allen County, Ohio, chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. They have such a great group. On October 25th I'll be back again giving two lectures on beginning research.

The Fulton Chapter, OGS, is having a beginners day at the Metamora/Evergreen Public Library in Metamora, Ohio. Stop by early and sign up for the event.

On November 8th, I'll be at the Montgomery Chapter, OGS. Check all these chapter websites for more information regarding events.

November 14 and 15th is the Florida State Genealogical Society. I have the great honor of being there, too.

As you can see, the fall is a great time to go to genealogical events. What a great way to enhance your knowledge about this fantastic hobby. Okay, maybe it is an addiction! It certainly is for me.

Enjoy the fall and I hope to see you at a seminar or conference.

--Aunt Merle

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Aunt Merle here, after a great vacation to Alaska on Royal Caribbean's "Rhapsody of the Seas" with hubby. Yep. Everything you've heard about Alaskan cruises is true. The scenery, excursions, and FOOD was fantastic.

The first port of call was Juneau, Alaska. Although misty and a bit foggy, in the early morning, the day was still great. A salmon bake and panning for gold made the day. Salmon was great and we found gold. (Even though it was "seeded" in the soil, it was still fun).

The next stop was the little village of Skagway. Naturally I had to visit the Red Onion Saloon as it was a haunted brothel. The tour guide of the town, all dressed up as a working girl, was "Annie Whichways." She was very animated in her presentation and gave lots of information.

Skagway also included a tour of the town in a 1927 tour bus. That was fun!

On to Dawes Glacier. That's were the sights really began with seals sunning themselves on the ice, the magnificent glacier, whales, and American Bald Eagles. Wow.

On the ship we met some lovely ladies from a neighboring town in Ohio. Talk about a small world.

Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, provided another excursion. This time to an old salmon cannery. That was interesting, but kinda yukky to find out in the old days when "gutting" the fish and rinsing them, they only changed the water once a day. {{shudder}}}. Glad all that has changed!

Sailing the inside passage gave us an upclose view of two orca swimming beside the ship. Absolutely amazing. We don't have creatures like that in Lake Erie.

Back to Seattle and a flight back home. I'm still trying to catch up on laundry, email, and of course, getting ready for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia.

Oh, for more information regarding the conference, check www.fgs.org. See ya there.

Aunt Merle

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My goodness, what a long time it's been since I've posted!

Since I last commented, I've been to the Southern California Jamboree. The people there sure do know how to put on a conference! Each year the attendance has risen. Great job to all. Especially Paula Hinkle, Charlotte Bocage, and Leo Myers.

If I have not answered any email from you, it is because my email has been lost. Yep. Everything I have received is gone...over 500 emails from people contacting me about research, speaking, or just friendly notes. Please don't think I'm neglecting you -- I just can't contact you! Please do a "resend" of your message.

Have you seen Facebook? What a neat place. There are a bunch of genealogists online and Beau has added tons of pictures from conferences. If ya see Beau with a camera, run!

I'll post again soon.
-- Aunt Merle

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On the road again

Aunt Merle will be on the road again -- this time at the Southern California Jamboree.

If you are in Burbank, California, June 27-29, plan on attending the greatest conference in the west. Follow this link to their website and jamboree information: www.scgsgenealogy.com

See ya at the Jamboree

-- Aunt Merle

Time flies

My goodness, it's been a month since I've posted.

I've been busy with a lot of client research trips -- plus reports to those wonderful people. It may be a bit discouraging when hiring a researcher. Results are not guaranteed. I wish I could always tell my clients I'll find the missing link, but many times, the information just isn't there.

I was lucky for one client. The information was there in huge amounts. The Ross County Courthouse and Probate Annex in Chillicothe, Ohio, is an amazing place to research. Not only was the staff courteous and helpful, but Janet in the archives went "above and beyond" to help locate the Kilgores and Jamisons. I must have a stack of copies two inches high with all the deeds, wills, estates, inventories, and vouchers/receipts I located there.

The trip also took me to Gallipolis in Gallia County, Ohio. Again, the staff was great as was meeting Henny Evans, the president of the Gallia Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society. She opened the doors of the library on Court Street and was so very helpful.

From Gallia and Ross, my next stop was in London, Madison County. Again, the help at the courthouse was outstanding. I asked for copies and they were made quickly and courteously. I was even given the number for the Madison County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. After the courthouse work, I found my way to the library and lots of great sources there. The two wonderful volunteers helped me locate the materials needed on not only Madison County but also Fayette County.

To the hotel for a good night's sleep, then on to Columbus in Franklin County.

It was not to be. This was the night of all the thunderstorms rolling across the southern part of the state. Hail, wind, and rain were on tap for the night. It seemed to go all the places I'd been during the past few days. Hard hit was Chillicothe in Ross County.

Next day, I didn't start quite as early as I had hoped due to more rain. Finally getting out of London, I made my way to Columbus, only a little more than half an hour away. My great little Tom-Tom (GPS) helped tremendously on the trip. However, it helps to have correct addresses! I found that out as I tried to locate the Franklin County Courthouse. Again, a very kind lady at the local laundramat got the phone book and address...even dialed the number since I left my glasses in the car. Once I had the correct address (note to self, be sure I have the right addresses before leaving home) I was on my way.

Franklin County Recorder's Office was a wonderful place. Again, such helpful staff. As in researching different counties, I needed to learn a new indexing system for the deeds. Just a quick lookover and I was ready to go. I didn't find the missing link, but did supply a bit of extra information for the client.

Back home and reports written to the clients with all the copies.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. Tiring, but fun.

Have you planned a research trip? Even though gas prices may be high, it is still a great time to plan research vacations.

Til next time
-- Aunt Merle

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An evening with Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs, author of the bestselling Temperance Brennan books and Technical Advisor to the TV show "Bones" was in the area last evening. Thinking about her work in forensic anthropology and our own genealogy can draw a number of comparisons.

  1. We want answers to the unknown
  2. We want to know who the person was
  3. We want to know the cause of death
  4. We want to know the ethnicity of the person
  5. We want to know where they lived

But, as genealogists, we also want to know about the person's family. What was their life like? Who was their family, siblings and extended family? And naturally, we want the vital statistics: birth and marriage along with land records and probate.

Both fields encompass the use of deduction and reasoning. If we find one clue to a person's life, what other items should we search? We analyze the information for the validity, incorporate it in our research, obtain another clue, and continue with the analysis and validity. Each is a circle borne of the need to get accurate information. Both fields cite sources. Where was the information obtained? Is it a legitimate find and raises no doubt as to the veracity of the information?

Both fields rely upon photographs. With the forensic field, photos may be used in showing the location of the body or bodies, the cleansing of the bones, and the reconstruction of the person. We use the camera too. Only our photos may be of tombstones, documents, homes, and land marks pertinent to our ancestor.

Yes, we have a lot in common. Now if ol' Aunt Merle could just get a TV series!

--Aunt Merle

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Conference Time is HERE!

I just love this time of year! Not only are the flowers blooming, but genealogical conferences are too!

Last weekend was the Ohio Genealogical Society's annual conference. Over 600 attendees and vendors made for a great 3-day event in the Cincinnati area. Conference Chair, Kenny Burck, did an outstanding job as ever. A big thanks to him and his crew for a job well done.

Now it's off to Kansas City for the National Genealogical Society's conference May 14-17. See details at </">www.ngsgenealogy.org>. Four days of conference for this one. Not only are there fantastic speakers, but the range of items in the vendor hall is overwhelming. As a few examples, WillowBend Books, Maia's Books, the Ohio Genealogical Society, Dick Eastman, RootsMagic, plus many, many others. The vendor hall is open to the public, so stop by and see what's available in genealogical programs and books.

If you have never been to a conference, it would be one of the best learning experiences for you. Topics vary from beginners to the advanced and all areas in between.

So get the comfy shoes and "get out there!"

-- Aunt Merle

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A New Scam in Town

Suzanne Russo Adams from Ancestry.com/TGN has posted this notice on the Association of Professional Genealogists website. There are always those who try to cash in upon a name -- using one that sounds similar to a reputable site, as this posting shows.

-- Aunt Merle

From Suzanne: "We have recently become aware of three websites purporting to allow
family history research: SearchYourGenealogy.com, Ancestry-search.com
and Australian-Ancestry.com. The sites claim to have "the largest online
genealogical search tool" and promote themselves as the foremost
resources for genealogy, but from what we can tell, these sites are
nothing more than a series of web pages with links to other services.
These sites, in our opinion, are clearly fraudulent.

On each site, potential customers are lured to purchase under what we
feel to be false, misleading and deceitful promotional material, and get
little or no value out of money spent at the websites. Blog and message
board posts from the community confirm this opinion.

The people/companies behind the websites are buying very high level paid
search results on Google and other sites. In addition, they are using
trademarks of well-known websites, including Ancestry.com and
Genealogy.com, to get higher-than-normal natural search results. It
appears the site colors, fonts, and pictures on at least one site are
designed to mislead people in to believing the site is related to

As the leading online family history company, The Generations Network,
Inc. and its website properties including Ancestry.com and its global
network of Ancestry sites, Genealogy.com, and Rootsweb, we want to
encourage consumers to validate and verify the legitimacy of a website
before providing credit card information or paying for services. TGN
will take appropriate administrative and legal action to do its part to
protect the community from these sites.

Suzanne Russo Adams, AG(r)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two new books on the market

There are two new books available regarding the "seedier" side of life. This information was found on today's posting of Dick Eastman's column. This free newsletter can be viewed at eogn.com (Eastman's Online Genealogy News) The full URL for this article is: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/04/hookers-crooks.html

It sounds like two fun books!
Aunt Merle

April 06, 2008

Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks - the Books

Jana Sloan Broglin is a Certified Genealogist with an interesting way of looking at history. One of her specialties is focusing on those "other people" in the family tree. You know the ones: those who were not fine, upstanding pillars of the community. We all have such people in our family trees although perhaps our older relatives didn't mention them when we were growing up. Jana suggests that these scoundrels also deserve to be remembered, and I think she is right.

Jana has now published two books, entitled "Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks," Parts 1 and 2. These are the first two of what is promised to be a series of books. Here are the announcements of these new books:

Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks
Part 1: Hookers
By Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

What had been a story passed down about the author’s great-great aunt, Gertrude Mearl Cabisher Eagle Boring, being a “madame” of a brothel, piqued her interest in finding prostitutes, madams, ladies of the evening, soiled doves, etc. Would they appear in the census? The answer was a resounding, “YES!”

Research using the online entries for the 1880 United States Federal Census at Ancestry.com led to the amazing fact that 4,723 individuals were listed. When other words (maybe they could be called “sin-onyms”) were also checked such as “whore,” “sporting woman,” “concubine,” and others, an amazing total of 6,210 were listed with this occupation. At first, the number seemed high, but there may be many hundreds, possibly thousands of women not listed as a prostitute in the census as the occupation may be identified as “boarder” or “seamstress” within a household. Many of these women truly were boarding at a home while others plied the prostitution trade.

The first in a series of books regarding Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks, tackles the listings of prostitutes in the 1880 United States Federal Census. The second volume will cover some of the crooks and kooks found, while the third volume will be a listing of those persons involved in jails and prisons, including the sheriffs, marshals, deputies, and employees, as well as the prisoners themselves.

[Cost $22.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling]

Hookers Crooks, and Kooks
Part 2: Crooks and Kooks
By Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

In this volume of Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks, occupations from the old Cher song, “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” were located in the 1880 United States Federal Census, along with quack doctors, phrenologists, chicken thieves, circus performers, ballet dancers (as well as the more notorious “Hurdy Dancers”), clairvoyants, bummers, and drunks. Baseball players are also included, although they don’t really fit the criteria of a crook or kook, but as the sport was so new, these occupations were rarities. People who had died by the census date may also be listed in the census with “dead” as the occupation. Research using the online entries for the 1880 United States Federal Census at Ancestry.com led to the amazing fact that gambling was the most prominent occupation with 1,313 men and women listed

[Cost $21.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling]

Save $5.00 shipping and handling by buying both books in one order!
Order from Jana Sloan Broglin, CG, 2780 County Road E, Swanton, OH 43558. Checks or money orders – no credit cards.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Attending local genealogical societies

How many times is it thought a local genealogical society can't help with research in another area? Or not having any ancestors in the county where you live?

It doesn't make any difference. Local societies have an abundance of items to offer: the main being meetings on methodology. Those meetings help the beginner or even more experienced researcher, look at a new way of interpreting data.

Some sessions may be on different offices in the courthouse: Probate, Clerk of Courts/Common Pleas, Recorder of Deeds/Recorder's Office and Department of Veterans Affairs. Other meetings may focus on newspaper research, blogs, (Yes, blogs!), Podcasts, and library holdings. Field trips offered by the local society can include cemeteries, major libraries, such as Allen County Public in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Check to see if a local society in your area will help in YOUR research. For society listings, check the Federation of Genealogical Societies at www.FGS.org.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ohio Genealogical Society Annual Conference

It's that time of year when the genealogy conferences get into full swing. The first of the major conferences will be held 17-19 April 2008, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Topics vary from German to Irish, migration to Ohio, Ohio Probate records, and Indian Wars in Ohio. Nationally known speakers such as Craig R. Scott, CG; J. Mark Lowe, CG; Diane VanSkiver Gagel; Amy Johnson Crow, CG; Tacy Lewis; Jana Sloan Broglin, CG; Tim Pinnick; and Curt Witcher will be presenting.

To sign up for the conference and see a complete registration booklet (with speakers, topics, and meals!) go to ogs.org.

See you there!
Aunt Merle

Friday, March 28, 2008

Musings by Aunt Merle."

Okay, who was Aunt Merle? She was born in East Toledo, Ohio, to Alexander Cabisher and his wife Maria Herkimer, with the name of Gertrude Mearl Cabisher. The only ones who called her "Gertie" or "Gertrude" were family members as the rest of the world knew her as Mearl/Merle.

Other than census records for the family, she was found in a deposition to obtain a pension from the death of her brother, James, during the Civil War. She was married when she made the deposition in 1891, and living in Columbus, Ohio. Who was her husband? No record has been found as to his name. A search was made of the Columbus City Directory for 1891 and the only mention was of an Edward Eagle who had "moved back to Toledo." Was he the husband?

Merle married again. This time to John DeMoss Boring from Licking County, Ohio. The marriage license was located in Newark, Licking County, but the information for Merle is sketchy to say the least.While the information was filled out for John, Merle didn't give any information whatsoever. Across the license was the notation, "Do not publish," not wanting this marriage license to appear in the local newspaper. Why? Did she fail to get a divorce from Mr. Eagle? Another idea to follow.

John and Merle are located in various census records from Manhattan, New York, to Washington, D.C., and back to Brooklyn, New York, where Merle died in 1941.

But why the fascination with this particular woman? Ah, that goes back to the stories my father told me.Seems when Aunt Merle came to visit her niece, his mother, she was dressed in such finery! Silk dresses, loads of jewelry with rings on all her fingers, and pearl necklaces, fur coats...and a chauffer driving limosine! Wow! Mind you, this was during the Great Depression. When asked what Merle did for a living the reply was, "She runs a boarding house." Well it may be a "house" but it wasn't a "boarding house."

Dad asked his uncle who was still a resident of East Toledo, about the theories regarding Aunt Merle. Much to his amazement, his uncle confirmed the suspicions. Merle truly was a "madame." When asked how he knew, the uncle stated simply, "I visited her."

Now, now... he had been on the Great Lakes Shipping and got in to New York quite often. Merle had him to her house for dinner, driven by that chauffer, so he had seen for himself.

And you thought family history was boring!

Through subsequent postings, tips, ideas, brickwalls, and genealogical events will be entered.Visit often!