Don’s Genealogy News – 10 January 2021

Photo Friday

I analyzed five more packets of negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection. See Part 11 – Curtis, Davis (2), Derosier, & Dexter.

    • Mary Derosier (1914-1994)
    • Donald Davis (1907-1972)
    • Four children of Hartley A. & Mary T. Davis of Portland, Maine.
    • Child of Max & Evelyn (Stein) Davis – Photo circa 1936
    • Barbara, Ruth,  & Walter Curtis and Stanley Dexter – c. 1935

Brown Research

Began researching my Blackhurst ancestors. (Montran-Barber-Blackhurst. Learned that my 4th great aunt, Mary Blackhurst immigrated to Deseret (Utah) in 1852. She and her sister, Lydia, both married William Haladay. Can’t tell yet if they were “sister wives” yet or serial wives.  More research underway. I hope to write mini-bios for my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Blackhurst, siblings.

Howell Research

Received some communications from a cousin of my wife. She transcribed the probate record for my wife’s fifth great grandfather, William Price. It will be interesting to see if the will provides any new information regarding that line — Howell-Hobbs-Long-Bryan-Price. I’ll be posting a “guest blog” about it in the coming days.

Scarborough Historical Society

I posted a great article about early high schools in Scarborough by Linda McLoon.  The first high school was actually two schools, one in Dunstan and one in Oak Hill in 1877. Read all about it in “A High School Comes to Scarborough.”

The Ancestor Hunt has added the Scarborough Historical Society photos to their listing of Maine Free Searchable Photo Collections.  Scarborough images available through Digital Maine were already identified.  There are dozens of links to other record locations in Maine. Check it out!

Conferences

RootsTech – February 25 to 27 – FREE Registration.  https://www.rootstech.org/.

New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) – Virtual conference – April and May 2021. E-Zine at https://nergc.org/e-zines/

Don’s Genealogy News – 3 January 2021

Scarborough Historical Society

  • Added book: Grandfather Tales of Scarborough by Augustus Freedom Moulton. Uploaded to  Digital MaineInternet Archive because it came out of copyright on January 1st. (See Blogs Below.)

Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society

Had a great meeting yesterday, via Zoom, of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society. I was elected Chapter President. Next month (February 6th) we will be doing a three-person panel and will discuss various genealogical techniques and resources. More to come in future weeks.

Don Taylor Genealogy Blog

Other Blogs

The Legal Genealogist has a great article about Welcome to 1925!In it she describes some copyright history and why 1925 books are now out of copyright.

Roberta Estes, in her blog “DNAeXplained” has a great article about Y-DNA — “Y-DNA Resources and Repository.” Not only does she provide general information, but she also provides links to step-by-step actions to using your Y-DNA and a plethora of links to DNA educational articles. If you want to know more about Y-DNA, this is the article to read.

Conferences

I had always wanted to travel to Salt Lake City to attend RootsTech. This year the largest Genealogy is both FREE and it is Online. No excuse for missing this one. I’ve registered and expect to be busy February 25 to 27 with RootsTech.  Be sure to register NOW and get it on your calendar. https://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng.

New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) will be virtual this year and will be in April and May 2021. For the latest info, see their E-Zine at https://nergc.org/e-zines/

Family History Fanatics will be having “A Winter of DNA eConference” on 30 January 2021. “Early Bird” price  $19.99 until January 22nd then $24.99. There are four presentations, “DNA & Law Enforcement,” “GEDmatch Basics,” “Tracing Ancestral Lines in the 1700s Using DNA,” and “A Guide to Chromosome Browsers & DNA Segment Data.” This will be followed by a “Genealogy Unscripted” panel discussion. You will be able to replay any of the sessions until Feb 26th. To Register see: https://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/winterdna

Services

Do you use Google Calendar to manage your activities as I do?  Actually, my calendar is my home page when I open Google. Anyway, if you are interested in Webinars and would like to know what is going on, I highly recommend Genea Webinars. At the bottom of their calendar, there is a “Plus Google Calendar” add-in. Adding it adds Genea Webinars to your Google Calendar. There are typically 2 to 5 webinars available daily (Mon-Fri). Once it is added to your Calendar, you can turn it on or off as you wish. So, I’m looking for something to fulfill my weekly one-hour genealogy education goal, I can easily pick something from the list of presentations to watch.

Don Taylor Genealogy – 2020 Year in Review

The primary purpose of my blog is to help me understand my genealogical findings. It is like a diary or journal that helps me to focus on what I know. It helps me to stay focused not to become distracted. As time has passed, it has become more and more a vehicle for me to share some of what I’ve learned and what I am working on. I think both are important. I would like to remind readers that I do accept guest submissions. If you would like to write something, particularly of interest to readers in my six primary topics (Brown, Darling, Howell, and Roberts lines as well DNA discoveries or understanding and Donna Montran’s vaudeville career), I’ll be happy to consider your submission as a guest post.

What I do.

  1. I am the Historian and the “genealogy & technology guy” for the Scarborough Historical Society. As the “technology guy,” I manage their web page and regularly post to their website. Before Covid, I also recorded monthly presentations and edited them for uploading to You Tube. 
  2. I lead a genealogy group at the Scarborough Public Library. We meet on the 4th Monday of the month. Learn more about it on the SPL-GG Facebook Page.
  3. I am a past president and regularly participate with the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society,
  4. I attend meetings of the DNA Special Interest Group for the Maine Genealogical Society (Gray, ME).
  5. I also attend the South Portland Library Genealogy Group.

I am so looking forward to the elimination of Covid-19 protocols so that all these groups can return to normal meetings. I really miss the people.

I must mention, I am not selling genealogical services. (I gave that up.) I do, however,  participate in an affiliate program. I am phasing that feature out of my postings.  We’ll see how that goes over the coming year.

2020 Website Statistics.

I wrote 137 posts during the year, up from 122 in 2019.  My goal was to post, at a minimum, once every three days, so I made my goal.

The number of page views stayed virtually the same between 2018, 2019, and 2020, and the number of visitors and subscribers.

I currently have 524 followers/subscribers – up from 460 at the beginning of the year. Besides direct subscribers, other individuals follow my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and Google. If you do not subscribe to dontaylorgenealogy.com, please do so.

Referrals to my site are as I would expect; Google is, by far, the most significant referrer. Bing is a distant 2nd and third was Facebook. My old Blogspot site still referred individuals 24 times, so I guess I still can’t delete it.

My Top Five Postings for 2020

My number one post during 2020 has been #1 for five years in a row. “Why I’ll never do business with MyHeritage Again.” I guess people love reading rants.

My number 2 article was My Top Ten Free Genealogy Websites – Part 1. I think that article’s success and several of my other articles “website” articles have convinced me to do more of that type of essay.

Dropping to number 3 last year was the 2017 “OMG – Another Half-Sibling,” which spoke about learning of a half-sibling here-to-fore unknown for my mother—quite the surprise for my mother and my half-aunt, Barbara.

Staying at number 4 was my “Surname Saturday” article about the Howell surname. I am surprised that none of my other “Surname Saturday” articles have made it into the top 10. (“Swayze” did make it to number 11.)

Sliding into 5th place is another of those “Top Genealogy Websites” articles, this time “Top Fee-Based” websites.

Next Year – 2021

I’m going to focus more next year on my activities. Being part of several societies, genealogy groups, I think I want to write a bit more about issues that arise through them. Also, some of my genealogical research is overlapping with other organizations and activities. For example, I was doing some research for my nephew, Paul, and learned he has family lines in Scarborough during the 1700s. That brings my genealogy research and my Historical Society activities together. I’m excited about that type of thin. Likewise, I expect to do more presentations, even if through Zoom. Those should provide some new and interesting postings.

I started a new project for “Photo Friday” to identify individuals who had pictures taken in the 1930s at the Ethel Wight Studio in Portland, Maine. I try to determine exactly who it is in the photo (name, child of Parents, birth and death dates) and then post the image to a profile for the person on Family Search or share the photo with others who know the family via Ancestry.  There are over 800 photo packets in the collection and I am trying to analyze about five packets each week. I truly love receiving a “Wow, thank you for the picture of my (relative) that I’ve never seen before” message. It makes the work worthwhile.

Have a happy, safe, and healthy new year.

My Top Free Genealogy Websites – Part 2

Part 2 – Referers (or Link Sites)

Tuesday’s Tips
Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I consider free genealogy websites in three different categories. First are sites that have data that are sources for facts. The second are sites that provide links to sites that have the data. In other words, referrers to sites. Third are training and general information websites, which include Blogs. All three are essential but are used differently.

After searching for facts in my paid sites and the free sites I mentioned in Part 1, I begin looking for places that have facts I might not use regularly or don’t know about. By this time, I typically know about the individual I am researching’s vital records and where he or she lived. Referrer sites (or links sites) provide the ideas of where to look next. They are usually free and can be a significant help in providing insight into additional areas to research

  1. The Ancestor Hunt – I find that newspapers provide texture to an ancestor’s life. The Ancestor Hunt has provided me with reliable links to such newspapers. Over the past few years, Kenneth R. Marks has added much to the website, including links to Directories, Yearbooks, and Obituaries. There is a Location feature available, so if I was looking for Maine Divorce Records, I could see an index to Cumberland County divorces before 1892. Likewise, you can learn that Family Search has Scarborough Town and Vital Records from 1681-1893 that are searchable.
  2. Family Search Wiki – I find the Family Search Research Wiki to be incredibly useful and easy to use. For example, if you are researching ancestors who lived in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine, just enter that in the search box. That will take you to the page that provides links to town records, histories, newspapers, and much more. By the way, I maintain the Scarborough Page and update it when I find new information about Scarborough of genealogical interest.
  3. Cyndi’s List – Cyndi’s List is amazingly good for several reasons. First and foremost, she uses tags really well. In most referrer sites, you have to have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for. On Cyndi’s List, you can follow here categories to links that will help. For example, I can go to United States – Maine – Religion & Churches and learn there is a link to United Methodist Church, which has a search page to find what churches exist in Scarborough, Maine.
  4. Roots Web Wiki – This is, in many ways, a relic site, but it does have a lot of great content. It is an easy way to get to The Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources and get to The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy (3rd Edition).
  5. Family Tree Magazine – Every year, Family Tree magazine does an article about the 101 Best Genealogy Websites of the year. I might not know all 101 of the websites, but I look closely at the list every year to know what kinds of things I might be missing. When researching my ancestor’s military service, I might remember Fold 3 and the DAR websites, but forget the American Battle Monuments Commission site. It is a great site to help remind me of what sites exist that I should look at. If it is in the Family Tree Magazine 101 best sites, you should know about the site.

Other Sites – There are a plethora of websites that provide links for you to consider.

  1. Access Genealogy
  2. Barb Snow’s Class Notes
  3. Destination Austin Family: Research Toolbox
  4. Family History Daily: 50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today.
  5. Genealogy In Time: Top 100 Genealogy Websites

My thanks to Randy Seaver and his “Top Ten Genealogical Websites” for his blog motivated me to consider my top websites.

Next time, for Part 3, I’ll look at my favorite Genealogy Educational – Training, Tools, and Blogs websites.

 

 

 

My Top Ten Free Genealogy Websites – Part 1

Source Sites

Tuesday’s Tips
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I consider free genealogy websites in three different categories. First are sites that have data that are sources for facts. The second are sites that provide links to sites that have the data. In other words, referrers to sites. Third are training and general information websites, which include Blogs. All three are important but are used differently.

Several sites have free components, but they are primarily fee-based sites. Ancestry and MyHeritage come to mind; I am not including those websites in this group. Their “free” component seems like a system designed to get you to purchase their paid service. Today, I’m looking at the sites that contain actual documents, indexes, and other citable information and don’t nag you to upgrade to a paid component.


  1. FamilySearch – I use FamilySearch more than any other website. There is so much available there. Often other sites point back to FamilySearch to access images of items the other sites have indexed. You need a no-charge account to login and see the records, but it is well worth it. My first step in researching an ancestor uses Family Search. I find the ancestor on Family Search then I look at the sources associated with that ancestor. I then examine each of those sources and see if they fit my understanding of the ancestor. If I adjudge it is my ancestor, I cite the source then create the relevant facts for my ancestor’s life.
  2. Google – Google has so many resources on like it is crazy to not use them for much of your work. Google Books, Google News Archive, Google Scholar, and Google Search are fantastic. One of Google’s problems is that it can be like drinking water from a fire hose because the items you are interested in sometimes have hundreds or thousands of responses.  Way too much data. A great solution to that problem is the Randy Majors AncestorSearch on Google. You can enter your search criteria, and it will ignore people search sites and social media sites if you don’t want those results. (I seldom ever want living people in my results.)
  3. Find-a-Grave – I think all genealogists love cemeteries and funerary information. Find-a-Grave does the best job of providing free access to markers and other material regarding gravesites. I respond to photo requests for markers at the two closest cemeteries near me and consider it one of my favorite free websites. Besides marker photos, I’ve begun adding pictures of individuals to Find-a-Grave memorials when I’ve complete analysis in my Photo Friday Identification Project.
  4. Elephind – I find newspapers are the key to finding the texture of an ancestor’s life. Elephind searches many of my favorite free newspaper websites such as Chronicling America (Library of Congress). It also searches the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, Hudson River Valley Heritage Historical Newspapers, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, Indiana Digital Historic Newspaper Collection. Digital Michigan Newspapers, The Portal to Texas History and the California Digital Newspaper Collection, the Library of Virginia, and Washington Digital Newspapers. Over 3 million newspapers and publications.
  5. Advantage Archives – Advantage Archives is somewhat new. It too is a newspaper archive, but you can focus by state then city. I find it really useful.
  6. Archive.org – Known as the Internet Archive, Archive.Org includes millions of books, movies, websites, and more. On behalf of the Scarborough Historical Society, I’ve uploaded over 100 books to Archive.Org, mostly Scarborough Town Reports and Scarborough High School Yearbooks (see: https://archive.org/details/@dontaylor50). I find a search for “History Location” works amazingly well to learn about books regarding the history of a place.
  7. Allen County Public Library – The Allen County Public Library is the second-largest genealogical library (after the Family History Center in Salt Lake City). They have an astounding number of items available through their Genealogy interface. If you find a book available only at the ACPL, look at WorldCat for the book. You can then use the information at WorldCat to order the book through your local public library’s interlibrary loan. I’ve ordered dozens of books via Inter-Library Loan and find the process easy to use.
  8. Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) – The DPLA has more than 40 million images, texts, and other items. They are partners with the National Archives and Records Administration, Hathi Trust, David Rumsey, and many state archives. I’ll mention that although DPLA has many state library collections among their records, Not all of the data at a state library is thee. For example, the Maine State Library website, “Digital Maine” is a partner, but there is a lot of material at the state site that hasn’t been replicated to DPLA. So, I always check both places.
  9. Old Fulton New York Post Cards – You might think that “Old Fulton New York Post Cards” is about Fulton New York, and you’d be partially right. There is also an amazing amount of other material there. For example, a search for “Libby & Scarborough” yield 22 items returned, some articles for issues of the “Portland, ME, Daily Press” from issues from 1868 to 1898. The website’s search process is a bit unusual; however, there is also another site, Fulton Search, which provides a more standard search experience.
  10. Don’s List – No, it is not my list. Don’s List, operated by Don Krieger, touts itself to be “Pittsburgh/Allegheny County and Much More.” It is another site where you would think wouldn’t fit your research; however, it really does have “much more.” For example, Don’s list contains directories from all but 14 states. For Maine, there are two Gazetteers (1881 & 1893), an Appleton Register from 1903, and Portland City directories for 1850 and 1912. There is even an alumni directory from the University of Main from 1914. Invariably, Don’s List has something that fits into my research.

My thanks to Ken McKinlay for the reminder to share my favorite free sites. I found it very interesting that his Top 10 Free Genealogy Sites only contains three of the same websites as my top 10 sites (Although, his list is somewhat Canadian focused).  Likewise, Randy Seaver and his “Top Ten Genealogical Websites” only has three of the same as mine; however, he has several sites which will be on my “Top 10 Links Websites” and some others that will be on my Top 10 Genealogical Education websites.

Next time, for Part 2, I’ll look at my favorite Genealogy Referrer (Links) Websites.