About this website

Creating a website like this is a fun activity. There are so many options, so many choices. What do visitors want? What do I want? In this blog I will describe some of the things I encounter in developing and maintaining this website.

Visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City while I was there for an institute and board meeting. What a special place. I can't believe how many people I met, all so generous and wonderful. I had never met any of them in person before but I had known many of them online for several years (or several … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Do the names of the children match?

In the Netherlands, children were often named after family members. When you have a theory about who the parents were, make sure to check for repetition of names. If the names of the children of your brick wall ancestor do not appear in the family you think he belongs to, you may have the wrong family. Read more about naming traditions. … [Read more...]

Finished my portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists

I did it! I finished and submitted my portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). BCG is an international organization that certifies genealogists whose work meets standards. They do this by judging a portfolio consisting of the following elements: Genealogists' Code, signed by the applicant. Many of these items are … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Cousin is Too Distant to Have the Information You Need

When corresponding with cousins about genealogy, we tend to stick to the close ones: first or second cousins, maybe a third cousin, with the occasional once or twice removed. I recently solved a puzzle using a letter shared to me by a fifth cousin twice removed. I was trying to resolve a conflict in death dates. Her grave said a woman died on … [Read more...]

Could You Have Been a Teacher in the 19th Century?

During my research into one of my relatives who was a teacher in the 19th century, I came across some math problems published in a newsletter for teachers. These questions were used during examinations of assistant teachers at elementary schools in 1878. People taking the assistant teachers' exam were usually around 18 years old, had finished their … [Read more...]

Quick tip – That Frisian female might be male!

If you do research in Friesland, you will notice that the names there are quite different from the rest of the Netherlands. Friesland has its own language, Frisian (Fries) which comes with its own unique set of names. Some Frisian male names look like female names to those of us who are not from Friesland. Some of these names are used as female … [Read more...]

The ultimate Christmas gift – get it now (yes, really!)

Imagine your family opening a package next Christmas and finding a book about their ancestors. Perhaps they will see their grandparents' marriage record, complete with their signatures. They turn the page to find a postcard from the street where grandmother grew up and a photograph of the church where her family worshiped for … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Share your mysteries online

If you have family traditions that you're unsure about, or have questions about your family, try sharing that online in a place where your family members can read about it. You may get the answers to your question. Two years ago, I wrote a tribute to my grandfather on this blog. In the post, I shared how my grandfather and I used to describe the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Dief

A dief is a thief. You may found out that your ancestor was a thief, or the victim of a thief, in newspapers, court records, prison records or police records. … [Read more...]

Five Things I Learned From Working With Archivists

During the past twenty years, I've had the pleasure of working with some wonderful archivists on a range of projects, both in my previous job as IT consultant and project manager at the National Archives and in my current occupation as professional genealogist. I'm not an archivist myself, but picked up some useful tips from them. 1: Context … [Read more...]