Finding where My Great Great Great Grandfather Lived in County Cavan, Ireland

My Great Great Grandmother,  Margaret Robinson Gibson emigrated from Ireland to Canada with her two sons Alexander and Humphrey about 1867. (Coincidentally my Mother Margaret Gibson Robinson had a very similar name. I have three distinct Robinson lines in my family tree. Two on my Dad’s side and this line on my Mom’s side of the tree.)

My Great Great Grandmother’s husband, my Great Great Grandfather, Robert Gibson died  in Ireland before Margaret and her sons emigrated. The marriage record of Margaret and Robert documents that they were married in 1857.

img_6678

The certificate also shows that she was from Prospect in County Cavan and that her Father was Humphrey Robinson.

Humphrey Robinson is clearly listed in Griffith’s Valuation.  Ancestry.com provides a good description of Griffith’s valuation.

” referencing approximately one million individuals who occupied property in Ireland between 1848 and 1864. Griffith’s Valuation, or Primary Valuation of Ireland, was executed under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith to provide a basis for determining taxes. This involved establishing the value of all privately held lands and buildings in both rural and urban areas in order to figure a rental rate for each unit of property. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish, with an index to townlands appearing in each volume. The original volumes of the survey are held in the National Archives, Dublin, and Public Record Office, Belfast.’

Here is Humphrey Robinson’s Griffith’s Valuation entry in Prospect, County Cavan.

Griffiths Valuation Prospect

The Ask About Ireland Griffith’s Valuation website allows you to see an old map of a location from the Griffith’s list. Here is Prospect.

Ask About Ireland Prospect Map

The land marked with the number 5 on the peninsula in the map is where Humphrey Robinson lived. The really cool thing is that you can slide the slider in the top right corner and see the location on Google maps today.

Ask About Ireland modern Prospect Map close

When Duke and I were in Ireland in September of 2018 we were able to go to this precise location. Exactly where the two buildings are in the middle of the map below (above the S of Prospect) we found the ruins of two old houses!

Very close up Ask About Ireland modern Prospect Map

Humphrey Robinson Property

Humphrey Robinson Property 2

Humphrey Robinson Property 3

We found the houses my ancestors lived in! It was an amazing experience.

Humphrey Robinson along with his son, Humphrey Robinson Jr. and daughter-in-law Eliza Johnston and two grandchildren, William Johnston Robinson and Mary Jane Robinson emigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1864. They left Liverpool in April and arrived in Brisbane in August. Four months on board the “Earl Russell”. Humphrey was 73, His son and daughter-in-law were each 31, and his grandchildren were 6 and 3 respectively. Their ship’s register is in the Queensland State Archives. What a trip it must have been!

Humphrey and his family are buried in Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane.

Coincidentally  when I was eleven my family moved to Brisbane. We lived there for five years. We knew very little then about my Mother’s family. My Mother had no idea that her Great Great Grandfather had also lived in Brisbane. She probably even had cousins in Brisbane!

I am published!!

As many of you know I am an avid genealogist and have been since I was a teenager. I love doing research, solving mysteries, and putting it all together. So I am beyond excited that for the first time ever I have an article published. It is about my immigrant ancestor George Robinson and his family and it was published in The New England Historic Genealogical Society Register. If you are interested here is a PDF of the article. nehgr_summer_2017_vol_171_George_Robinson_article

I have published genealogy related blog posts in the past. They can be found here.

 

 

My Dad – Donald Wayne Robinson June 26, 1927 – September 9, 2014

My Dad, Don Robinson died Tuesday September 9, 2014. He was 87 years old.

He moved to Reno in 2008 after my Mom died. He and I went out to Starbucks almost every day for coffee. He leaves a big hole in all of our lives. I'm sharing his obituary with you here.

————

Donald Wayne Robinson, 87, died Tuesday, September 9, 2014, in Reno, Nevada.

Born June 26, 1927, in Minot, North Dakota, the son of Ruth and Ray Robinson, he moved to Reno seven and a half years ago from Escondido, California where he and his wife Margaret had lived for twenty years.

He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. He joined the Navy in the spring of 1945 prior to graduating from high school. His parents accepted his diploma for him.

Don graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1950. On September 24, 1950 he was united in marriage with Margaret Helen Gibson. They were married for 57 years until her passing in 2007.

He worked for Standard Oil which later became Amoco, for thirty-three years. He helped design and construct the Standard Oil refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. In March of 1964 he and Margaret with their four children moved to Brisbane, Australia where he was a Project Engineer for the construction of the Amoco refinery on Bulwer Island. In 1969, the family moved to London, England and then to Milford Haven, Wales where he was project manager for the construction of the Amoco refinery there. In 1974, he and Margaret moved to Fungerumi, Zaire, Africa where he managed the construction of a copper cobalt mine for Amoco. A year later, when that project was cancelled, he accepted a position in Chicago as Manager in Synthetic Fuels Development with Amoco, and the  family moved to Wheaton, Illinois. He was elected Vice Chairman of the Council on Synthetic Fuels and appointed to the National Coal Council by the Secretary of Energy. He retired from Amoco in 1986 subsequently he and Margaret retired to Escondido, California.

 He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1956. It is a tribute to his strength that for more than 58 years he never let the challenges of living with diabetes define his life or limit his activities. He climbed the Grand Teton, enjoyed an annual fishing trip with friends at Lake of the Woods, traveled the world, moved more than twenty times and loved, provided for and supported his family. Donald was a faithful Christian all his life. He lived his faith.

Mr Robinson was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson and his granddaughter Jennifer Margaret Gail Thompson. He is survived by his four children and their spouses; Marion and Duke Vermazen of Reno, Nevada, Barbara and Michael Simpson of University Place, Washington, Elizabeth and Steven Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, and Charles and Annie Robinson of Mendon, Massachusetts; sister, Dorothy Jensen of Centerville, Minnesota; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 Funeral and burial occurred Sept, 22 in San Diego and Escondido, California

The family suggests memorials to The American Diabetes Association, The Glaucoma Research Foundation or The Salvation Army.

———–

If you would like to read about my Mom her eulogy is here

I miss both of them a lot. I was so lucky to have them for parents. They always believed in me. I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of them.

Red Coat Picture

 

Erb, Musselman Genealogy Trip Report – Allegany County, Maryland – May 2012

One of my many hobbies is genealogy. I love being a detective and in many ways genealogy is doing family history detective work. At one point I considered creating a separate Genealogy blog but decided instead to just tag my genealogy posts as such. This is a genealogy post. If you are not interested in genealogy and the Erb and Musselman families you should stop reading now.

On our  road trip in the Spring of 2012 Duke and I did family history research in a few places including Allegany County, Maryland. I have been mulling over in my head how to summarize and save the details of the research we did on the trip. I decided to create a trip research report. First I did a Microsoft Word document. But I think I also want it on the blog. I can send a link to the others who I think will be interested and I will have the results in the future if I want to recall what I did and what I learned.

Background

My third Great Grandparents, Joseph Erb (b1789) and his wife Elizabeth Musselman Erb (b1798) lived in Allegany County with their family in the early 1800’s. One of their sons, my Great Great Grandfather also named Joseph Erb was born in 1822 probably in Allegany County.

The Musselman Farm

We arrive in Cumberland Maryland on Sunday, May 13. Based on several sources 123 I believed that the Musselman farm was located on land that is now the Arboretum of the Frostburg State University.

DSC_5176

Duke and I drove out to the Arboretum and hiked around it. It is a beautiful location but we found no signs of the old Musselman farm. You can see my other pictures of the Frostburg State University Arboretum on Google Photos here. This set also contains other pictures referenced in this trip report.

 


[1] (Moore, 2004)

[2] (Frostburg State University)

 [3] (Brusca, 2010)

 

Frostburg State University
Library

The library has both a local history section on the open shelves and a rare book room that can be accessed by appointment. I have the name and phone number of the person to contact for an appointment. Let me know if you need it. The library also has an interlibrary loan service. The brochure I received says for more information contact the ILL office ill@frostburg.edu 301-687-4886.

From the catalog the following books sounded interesting:

  • The Braddock Road by John Kennedy Lacock – published 1994 reprint of an edition thought to have been published in 1914. Includes maps and bibliographical references. The John Brusca Route 40 website4 quotes this book extensively. – the book is in the special collection room so I couldn’t review it.
  • Historical Biographical Sketch of Frostburg, Maryland and its Citizens old and new – published 1912 16p call number F 189.F7 M5  – The book contains pictures of the Musselman Farm and cornerstone.

7427302374_725610d4d3_c

7427304932_cc275814ec_c

  • Allegany County Maryland Rural Cemeteries – I reviewed it and found no Erb, Musselman, Arter or  Strotzer
  • History of Cumberland Maryland by Will H. Lowdermilk – Baltimore Regional Publishing Company 1971 – photos are also in the Google album. In the forward the book includes background on Cumberland Maryland newspapers.  On pages 277-278 there is a statement that the Erb family and several other listed families came to Allegany County between 1790 and 1800. On pages 296-297 there is a description of the Militia formed in 1814 and Joseph Erb is listed as a member.

The Genealogical Society of
Allegany County Library

The Genealogy Society of Allegany County Library is located in the library of the Allegany college of Maryland, 12401 Willowbrook Rd, Cumberland, MD. The library is in a room separate from the rest of the library. A librarian had to let me in to the locked room. After I had browsed the regular shelves for a while the president of the society and her husband arrived. The president of the society is Harriett Moore. She is the author of the
Musselman article in the society newsletter2. She has Musselman ancestors. We discussed the cornerstone and the location of the ruins of the Musselman farm and she said she thought it might be some place else than the Arboretum.

Her husband gave me a copy of the Musselman article3 from the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage Newsletter. The article is well sourced and documents the Musselman ancestry.

I also referenced the following books and other materials:

  • ·Genealogical Resources in Allegany County – a seven page handout compiled by the Genealogical Society of Allegany County
  • The Marriage Diary of William Shaw 1792 – 1813. Several pages from this manuscript are also In the Google album. On page 8 the document lists
    the marriages of

    • ERB,
      Catherine to Jacob Woodring July 30 1805
    • Erb,
      Polly to Jacob Speelman Feb 9 1808

It is possible that Polly and Catherine were sisters of  third great grandfather Joseph Erb(b1789).

There was also a card catalog of surnames. A transcription of the  Erb and Musselman cards follows this article.

If anyone reading this has more information about the Erbs and Musselmans or if you have any questions please let me know.

Works Cited

Brusca, F. (2010, 11 3). John Kennedy Lacock’s
“Braddock Road” (1909) Part 3
. Retrieved 6 23, 2012, from Frank
Brusca’s Route40.net: http://www.route40.net/page.asp?n=10595

Frostburg State
University. (n.d.). Arboretum History. (W. P. hli@frostburg.edu,
Editor) Retrieved June 23, 2012, from Frostburg State University:
http://www.frostburg.edu/dept/biol/arboretum/history.htm

Moore, H. (2004). The
Musselman Family – An Early, But Brief, Sojourn in Allegany County. The Old
Pike Post
, 21 (4), 1,2,4.

Phelan, E. D. (1989,
January). Descendants of Christian Musselman (d. 1734) of Lancaster Township,
Lancaster County, Penn. Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage , 146-23.

 

Transcription of card catalog Cards

The references Alle, Alle Adm., Alle Will, and G1 on the cards refer to the wills and probates of the Musselmans.  Familysearch.org has all of them; This Family Search link is to the index for to all M wills and probates for Allegany County. The Musselmans are all listed there. Thanks to Loretta Bonaccorso at Genealogy Your Way for her help with this.

If anyone would like copies of the original cards I have them.

Index Card 1

Erb, Polly                                                                             Alle

m. 2-5-1808

Jacob Speelman

Joseph                                                                  Alle
Adm.

m. Elizabeth Musselman

dau of
Christian adm. 1828

 

Index Card 2

Erb, Margaret                                                                    G1  * 12-48

m. Samuel Thayer

son/ Murray                                                       Keziah
Barrows

Index Card 3

Musselman,
Christian                                                   Alle
Adm.

6-14-1825                                                                 a –
Valentine Hoffman
Jacob Snyder   Adm.

 

Accts Paid

Nancy

Susanna

Christian Jr.

Etc.

11-15-1826

#2   Adm. “                                          a –
335

 

8/15/1827

#3  Adm.  “                                          a -353

Index Card 3 side 2

8/13/1828                                                            A  378

Div
of Estate

Val
Hoffman & Jacob Snyder  Adm.

Mrs
Susanna     third

Christian Jr.

Jacob

Elizabeth (Joseph Erb)

Nancy (John Blocker)

Susanna (Henry Arthur)

Frances  (George Hartzell) Hansel

8/10/1831  #7 adm “                                        B33

div.  John
Heirs (Christian)                          AlleAdm

Christian                                                      3-11-1834  B82

Jacob                                                             Mussellman   Mrs. Susa

Elizabeth (Joseph Erb)                            John Blocker Adm.

Nancy (John Blocker)                              (Same as Christian

Susanna
(Henry Arthur)                       except
Christian

Frances
(George Hansell)                    Jr.
dec’d  (heir)

 

Index Card 4

Musselman                        G1  * 1-3

Jacob

Teacher School House Run          Shoemaker

When school not in session.

 

 

Index Card 5

5-10-1843                                            Alle
Adm. C66

Musselman
John
#1    John Blocker  Admx.

Mrs.
Christianna     wid third

Sarah

John

Elizabeth

Daniel

Andrew

Equal
shares

 

Index Card 6

Alle

Musselman
Nancy  <Christian  Susanna

m.
8-9-1814

John Plucker
(Blocker)

 

John  <Christian
Susanna

m.
1-21-1815

Christina
Blocker < Andrew Barbara

 

Christian
< Christian Susanna

m. 5-17-1817

Nancy
Arthur

 

Fanny
< Christian Susanna

m.
9-6-1824

George
Hansel

 

Elizabeth
< Christian Susanna

m.
Joseph Erb

 

Susanna
< Christian Susanna

m.
Henry Arthur

 

Index Card 7

Musselman        John                                                      Alle
Will

Hazzy
(his wife)

A  519   2-8-1840

Of Dark Co Ohio   Appointed Daniel
Musselman

Of Somerset Co. Pa. to recover their 1/5

Int. in late grandfather’s  (John
Musselman

Sr)  estate in Alle Co.

 

And debts owed by Abraham’Miller’s
estate

(also their
grfather) in Somerset Co Pa.

Musselman Elizabeth

A 520 2-18-1842                ditto above

Money was owed her by John Blocker of Alle
Co.

(See Stephen Shipley)

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Louise Cooke – Creator and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast – Episode 12 – Marion Vermazen Podcast

Lisa Louise Cooke – Creator and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast – Episode 12 – Marion Vermazen Podcast

Lisa_Louise_Cooke_2009 This podcast is available in the iTunes store. It would help me a lot if
you would go to the store and write a review. To find the podcast just
search the store for Vermazen

You can listen to my interview with Lisa in iTunes or by clicking on the link below.

MVP0012

Lisa Louise Cooke has been a genealogist since a very young age. She has a passion for genealogy. About three years ago she followed her passion into podcasting and started the Genealogy Gems Podcast. . Today that podcast is one of the most popular genealogy podcasts available. Lisa also does Genealogy training, speaks frequently at conferences nationwide, blogs, produces genealogy training videos, has written a book about genealogy and produces a podcast and writes for Family Tree Magazine.

Here are links to some of the things we discussed in our conversation.

A Race of Giants

I have been doing some research on my Erb family ancestors in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and I found this article in the January 7, 1842 edition. I found it amusing and you might too.

A Race of Giants – An extraordinary family. — There is now a person of the name of Scott, a nurseryman, about three miles form Manchester, and near the Independent College now building, who is one of six sons, now living, and whose united stature is the extraordinary one of 38 feet, or six feet four inches on the average. The lowest in stature is six feet two inches and a half. The father of this race of giants, who was married when thirty nine years of age, has now living nine children, six sons and three daughters, two of the latter being very tall, whilst the other is by comparison diminutive, About seven years ago, all the family assembled at the family residence near Carlisle and on the sons visiting the city, which they did, walking two and two, arm in arm, the circumstance caused much attention. The mother was only nineteen at the time of her marriage, and she died about twelve months ago.

053

My Grandparents – Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson and Robert Alexander Gibson

My Grandfather Robert Alexander Gibson "Bob" was an engineer for the Canadian National Railway in the Canadian Rockies. My Mother (Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson) told me that when she was young she was afraid of the steam locomotives he drove  because they were so big and so noisy. Here are a couple of pictures of my Grandfather.

MV0001 (11)
MV0001 (9)-cropped

Both my Mother and her brother Gordon are gone now. I recently called their cousin Helen who is 92 now and lives in Kingston Ontario. I asked her what she remembers about my Grandfather and Grandmother. They were  Aunt Marion and Uncle Bob to her.  She said:

"Well
you know one thing I can remember… one
time after Jane (my sister) was born Grandma came down and she asked me if I wanted to go
home with her and of course I jumped at the idea. I thought it was great. So I
went home with her and you know I ended up staying about a year and a half. While I was in Edmonton your Grandfather  was transferred to Jasper
and while he was getting a place to live in Jasper Aunt Marion came to
Grandma’s. We were all there. There was
she and Margaret and Gordon and me. 

I remember Uncle Bob, he was a nice man, good looking too. You know the train went right back of Grandma’s house, about a block, and of course we’d watch, we knew what train when he was going by and used to run out the back and wave at him and he’d blow the whistle. He was
the engineer. He was always leaning out the window there and waving at us. That
was my Uncle!

He worked for the CNR,
Canadian National Railway. I’m sure
about that. You know Gordon used to say
… He was a little bit lonesome for his Dad you know and he used to say “I’m
going to jump out the window. I’m going to run to the CNR station and I’m going
to say Jasper Park!”"

At this time Gordon would have been about 4 my Mom about 6 and Helen about 11.

When I asked Helen what she remembered about her Aunt Marion, my Grandmother, she told another story from the same time period.

"I can remember Aunt Marion sewing. She was a great seamstress. She could make anything! She made these Hudson Bay
coats.  Aunt Hilda and Aunt B each bought
a Hudson Bay blanket and Aunt Marion made coats for them. Theirs were that camel color with the black
stripe around the bottom. 

Then Grandma bought the white Hudson Bay blanket
with all the candy stripes you know, the red and the green and the gold and Aunt Marion made me a coat.  And the way she cut it she got a coat for
Margaret too. Margaret and I both had a coat out of that blanket." 

Her is a picture of my grandmother, Marion

MV0001 (5) 

Here is my Grandparents wedding picture

MV0004

The baby in the picture below is my Mom with her parents.

MV0001 (2) 

Helen and I talked for about 45 minutes and I got some great family history stories and information.

Almost a Genealogy Blog and searching for the Erb Family in Richland County, Ohio Land Records

The Separate Genealogy Blog Question

In a post about a month ago I pondered the question of whether my genealogy posts should be in a separate blog. I really appreciated the comments, including one from the king of genealogy blogging, Thomas MacEntee, who manages a
group of over 900 genealogy bloggers at GeneaBloggers (http://www.geneabloggers.com). He clearly has a Google alert set up for the words "Genealogy Blog"!

Thomas recommended a separate blog and others said they would like all the content in one place. For the time being I've compromised. I've added a link in the navigation bar at the top of this blog to my genealogy content. You can also go to the genealogy content directly at

http://marionvermazen.blogs.com/marions_blog/genealogy/.

Searching for the Erb Family in Richland County, Ohio

My Dad's Mother, my Grandma Ruth was an Erb. She told me that her Grandparents were Joseph Erb and Mary Harris Erb but she didn't know a lot more about them than their names and the fact that they lived in Wabash County, Indiana.

038

Over the years other family researchers and I have discovered that Joseph Erb's father was also named Joseph. Joseph Senior was born in 1788 in Maryland. His wife's name was Elizabeth. They show up in the census in Allegany County, Maryland.  He was drafted and served for a few months in the war of 1812. In the early 1830s Joseph and his family which by that time included 8 children moved to Richland County, Ohio. In the mid 1850s they moved to Wabash County, Indiana.

In my genealogical digging the questions about Joseph Senior and Elizabeth that I am working on right now include:

  1. Where and when did Joseph die?
  2. What was Elizabeth's maiden name?
  3. Where and when did Elizabeth die?
  4. Who were Joseph and Elizabeth's parents? (An Ancestry.com family tree may take the Joseph Erb family back several generations. The tree shows that Joseph's father was Michael Erb. There is a Michael Erb of about the right age on the same page as Joseph in the 1820 census but I'd like some real proof.)
  5. Did Joseph have siblings?

In addition to these specific questions I like to fill in details about my ancestors to make them more than just names.

So……. I am currently working on finding the land records for Joseph and Elizabeth and their children in Richland County Ohio. I ordered the microfilm of the Grantee Index for the Richland County Ohio Deed Books (film # 388652) from the Family History Library and it arrived while I was gone on my road trip. A couple of days ago I spent several hours pouring over the index and extracting all the entries for the names Erb, Arter, Caldwell and Calwell. I created a Google spreadsheet of the relevant entries and I took digital pictures of each page that had an interesting entry.

006

The next step is to search the Grantor index and to start looking at the Deeds. I have the microfilm of the Grantor index to the deed books and  the microfilm of deed book volumes 13-14 on order. I love doing research and solving mysteries. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

Her is a picture of Joseph Erb Junior, my Great Great Grandfather.

MV0014

Should my Genealogy Postings be a Separate Blog?

I'm torn! I'm trying to decide whether to start a new genealogy blog or whether to start publishing genealogy content along with everything else here on this blog. On one hand it makes sense to start a new blog because family history and genealogy are very interesting to me but to most people they are pretty boring. On the other hand readers can skip the genealogy content if they are not interested and there is something to be said for keeping all my content in one place. It is also possible to select a tag like Hiking or Reno or Genealogy from the list at the right and get the content you want.

As I say in my tag line I am a renaissance woman or what Barbara Sher calls a scanner. I have a wide variety of interests and enjoy moving from one interest to another. My blog has always reflected that diversity of interests.  It means that I can't market my blog as being about one topic but it also means the blog reflects me.

Here is a list of some of the Genealogy content I want to post.

  1. The more detailed story for each of my Grandparents.
  • Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson – Born in Prince Edward Island, married in Vancouver British Columbia, Lived in Jasper, Alberta, emigrated to the U.S. after the death of my Grandfather. She started and ran a sanitarium in Spokane, Washington.
  • Robert Alexander Gibson – Born in Kilmaurs, Ontario, Canada, died in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Worked as an Engineer on the Canadian National Railroad.
  • Mary Ruth Erb Robinson – Born in Boone, Iowa. Homesteaded with her family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Married, lived for more than 50 years, and died in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Ray Robinson Born on a farm near Viroqua Wisconsin. Homesteaded with his family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Served in the Army during World War I. Worked for the North Dakota Highway department for 45 years eventually as Chief Maintenance Engineer.

    2. Stories of some of my research and the brick walls I am running up against

    3. Stories of some of my exciting moments of discovery

    4. Descriptions of some of the tools I use. Like this post.

    5. Stories of other ancestors

    6. Questions that I would like answered.

One of the advantages of blogging about this kind of stuff is that when people Google search a name they are researching they will be led to my blog and I may find 'lost' relatives.

Blogging about a question like whether to start a separate genealogy blog turns out to be a good way to work out what I want to do. After composing this post I am leaning towards leaving all my content in one place.

I'd be interested in input about this question from anyone reading this. Thanks!

 

My Genealogy Interest and Lostcousins.com

I have been a genealogist off and on since 1969 when my grandfather's cousin, Opal Hanson published the civil war diaries and letters of Oliver S Robinson a great great grand uncle of mine who was killed at Vicksburg during the American civil war. Opal included what she knew about  the genealogy of our family when she published the book. I began corresponding with her  and I even helped a little in the research for her subsequent book The Family History and Genealogy of Sarah and Munson Robinson.

Genealogy research has changed a lot since 1969. For instance when I used to search for my family in the census records I would request the microfilm from the library and then when it came in I would sit at a microfilm reader and search. When I found the family of interest I would copy down what I found. For instance when I searched for and found the Joseph Erb family (my great great grandfather) in the 1880 census in Story County Iowa I created the following extract.

003

Today when I searching for the family I can just go to the 1880 census on line, search, and there the family is.

Erb-Family

I have recently been listening  to genealogy podcasts like Family History – Genealogy Made Easy by Lisa Louise Cooke. In a recent podcast she recommended a site called Lost Cousins. Lost Cousins is so cool. The premise is that if you can specifically identify your ancestors then you can find distant cousins who have also done the same. If you think about it, it is difficult to specifically identify ancestors. What Lost Cousins does is use the exact census page number and the exact census spelling of the name to specify allow you to claim an ancestor.

So I registered that Joseph Erb is on page 343  of the 1880 census and I identified him as a my ancestor. Lost cousins then tells me if anyone else has claimed Joseph as an ancestor. In the case of Joseph no one has. But in the case of another ancestor, Joseph Armitage, I did find a distant cousin who is also researching the family.

Finding all my ancestors in the 1880 U.S. census and in the 1881 Canadian census was really fun. Maybe it is the history geek in me but I love doing historical research and the fact that I was able to find 1880 census entries for 26 ancestors including all but 3 of my Great Great Grandparents was really exciting.

Lost Cousins is a British company. Their web site is http://lostcousins.com. Usually registering your ancestors is free but connecting with your cousins requires pay an annual fee of less than $20. But between Christmas and New Years Lost cousins is completely free!!

As I start getting back into family history research I think I am going to create a new blog that you will be able to access
from the bar across the top of the page. It will include bios of my
ancestors that people can find if they do a Google search for one of my
ancestor's names (something genealogists do a lot). My current thinking
is to not include these family history posts as a part of this blog
because family history may be very interesting to the person whose
family it is but it is almost always supremely uninteresting to
everyone else.