Find My Ancestor Blog
6Apr/110 12-Month Pro Account Winner

Last week I ran a contest on the Mobile Monday Series about using your mobile phone or any other device you have used to do your genealogy on. I received blog comments, emails and Twitter comments of people telling me what their favorite apps were, what they would like to see in mobile apps and various other ways they use their devices. In exchange for them telling me and all of you how they use their mobile device, one luck winner received a free 12-month Pro Account.

I am happy to announce that Angie from Angie's Roots Are Showing blog! Although Angie does not have a smartphone with apps, she told us about another mobile device that has helped her learn more about her ancestor's place of residence. Below is what Angie had to say:
I have a pretty simple phone, and don’t really utilize apps. However, I recently received a nookcolor for my birthday, and made a fun discovery! I started doing searches for names, places, etc in my family history and found that people have put a great number of old documents in E-reader form, and many of them are free downloads. For example, I was able to find a program from the early 1900s, celebrating the Centennial of Guyandotte, WVa (the town where my ggg-grandparents settled after they married.) This gave a a great glimpse into life in the town they lived in! I’ve had a lot of fun browsing for hidden jewels!
Angie gave us a great example of implementing technology and mobile devices in our research. I have asked Angie to tell us a little more about her, how she got involved in genealogy and her great genealogy blog. If you have not yet been to Angie's blog, I highly recommend it! Thank you to everyone to contributed as well as to for the great prize!

About Angie

I consider my grandfather to be the reason I became interested in family history. He has, over the years, carefully guarded old family photos and heirlooms. He keeps them hid away in his bedroom, and occasionally, if you ask nicely, he will bring out a sampling for you to see. (Now that I’ve been at genealogy as long as I have, I’ve worn him down some, and he is more willing to bring out large numbers of photos at a time for me to scan in, but there are still things hidden in that room that I’ve yet to see!)
I think the one thing he showed me that really infected me with the genealogy bug was a newspaper clipping from an unknown West Virginia newspaper. It recounted the story of my 3rd great grandparents, and how they came to settle in the Cabell County, West Virginia area. The article was written in the last years of my ggg-grandmother’s life, and I’ve later come to find that a lot of the information in the writing was romanticized, and not entirely accurate. However, I was hooked from that moment on!
I bought a copy of Family Tree Maker in either 1998 or 1999, and started digging away on the internet. Almost all of my research has been done online, and it took me along time, and much frustration, to learn the importance of verifying sources. I started my blog last year as a place to organize and share my findings, and to hopefully connect with others who a researching the same lines as me. Next week, I am planning my first ever hands on research experience, as I am traveling to Cabell County, West Virginia to see what I can dig up!
As for what I mentioned on [Find My Ancestor], my husband bought me a nook color for my birthday in February. For starters, it is an excellent way to keep up on blogs! The nook has built-in WiFi and I can log on google reader and check out blogs I’ve subscribed to at any time. The mobile formatting suits the layout of blogs very well, and I find them more easy and enjoyable to read on the nook.
You can also download PDFs to your nook, and I have taken advantage of this feature several times. For example, I recently downloaded the entire roster and history of the 54th North Carolina Infantry to learn more about my ancestor’s service in the Civil War. It’s easy to read and portable, so I can take it with me wherever I go.
There is a “shop” feature on the nook, where you can purchase ebooks and have them downloaded directly to your device. On a whim, I started searching for surnames, towns, etc that related to my family history, and I have found several interesting titles, most of them available for free download. For example, I found a copy of Guyandotte, West Virginia’s Centennial celebration from 1915. My ancestors lived in the Guyandotte area at the time, and I was able to read about the people, places, and events that were a part of their everyday life at that time.


Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet – M. Bridget Cook

As mentioned in my earlier post about the St. George Family History Expo, which can be found here St. George FHExpo 2011 - Day 1 I mentioned briefly about the Friday evening event with author and speaker M. Bridget Cook. In this post I would like to go in a little further about this amazing night and some of the things Bridget talked about.

Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet

During Bridget's speech she talked about her recent book she co-authored, Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter as well as her other co-authored book, Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope. Each of these books talk about real-life individuals that have had life changing effects because of the power of forgiveness, love and hope.

One of the main points from Bridget's speech is the point that we all have skeletons in our genealogical closet. We all have at least one ancestor that when we are researching we find a document or find an event that made our ancestor a criminal, infamous or something else that our first instincts wants to hide. She explains how these ancestors and the events in their lives are important for us to learn and are chances for growth and learning. As we learn and grow, hopefully our descendants will learn and grow too.

Do you keep a journal? Are you honest when writing in your journal? Do you only write about the good days you have and the fun events in your life? Bridget emphasized the importance of writing about all aspects of your life. The ups and downs make your life interesting. If you were to read a journal of an ancestor and all it contained were their accomplishments, good days and happy times, it might seem like they were "perfect" or it might seem to you like you could never "live the life they did".

By including the trials and heartache in your own history, along with how you were able to overcome them will give hope to your descendants. Maybe one of your descendants will suffer from the same physical, mental or emotional challenges you have to overcome everyday. Your words and testimony can be a great benefit for thousands of people. Write what you know, what you don't know, how you feel, your accomplishments, your shortfalls and everything in between.

Friday night was such an amazing experience to be able to hear from Bridget and how she herself has overcome challenges and trials in her life. She gave much hope and encouragement for us to do the same. I highly recommend reading more about Bridget and her books. The stories told in these books are very motivating and personal. You can learn more about Bridget by visiting her website

M. Bridget Cook is an author, speaker, and life coach who has been writing stories of transformation since she was young. Always curious and awed by the extremes of human behavior, she co-authored Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter(Sweetwater Books, Cedar Fort 2009) with Melissa G. Moore, daughter of the infamous Happy Face serial murderer. She also co-authored Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope(Sweetwater Books, Cedar Fort 2009) with former high-ranking white power leader TJ Leyden. In her writing, Bridget loves to inspire and be inspired by people from all walks of life.


In the Right Place at the Right Time

Isn't it funny how sometimes we are in the right place at the right time?

The other day during lunch I decided to head over to the local bookstore. I go there quite frequently on my lunch hour to see if they ever get any new genealogy books that would be good to read. Unfortunately this bookstore does not have a great selection of genealogy books. I am also ways asking them why they don't get a better selection. They don't even have Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History by Megan Smolenyak. I think that book needs to be in every library and bookstore for those who are just beginning their family history. To prove my point, they could have easily sold a copy of it to a genealogy newbie that day.

When I was there looking to see if they had any new books in their collection, which they didn't, I decided I would look just a few feet away on another shelf where some of the writing books are located. Along with many other bloggers, I would like to improve my writing skills and learn new techniques to improve my writing and make it more interesting. As I was standing just a few feet away from the genealogy section, a man walked up to one of the customer support desks and asked where the genealogy section was. The employee pointed this gentleman over to where the books were located. As the gentleman approached the books he started to look through the small collection and browsed through a couple of them. Still standing there just a few feet away from him I couldn't help but ask him if he was looking for something specific. I also wanted to become acquainted with another fellow genealogist.

We started talking and he said he was just starting his family research and that he was looking for resources on where to find his Italian ancestry. I hardly have any knowledge of Italian history or resources where to find Italian documents. I asked him if he has looked into any genealogy blogs about Italy. He looked a little surprised when I mentioned this. I told him there were hundreds of genealogy blogs out there and each one had its special niche. I recommended him going to the GeneaBloggers website to find some blogs that might help him find resources as well as others researching their Italian roots.

As we were talking about GeneaBloggers he mentioned he had just barely subscribed to and looked around on there. He also mentioned how expensive was I immediately remembered how the latest issue of Family Tree Magazine had an article 101 Best Free Websites for Tracing Your Roots. I took him over to the magazine section of the store, pulled it off the shelf and showed him the article. I told him about some of the more well-known websites like Cyndi's List, WorldGenWeb, and FamilySearch that could help with his Italian research.

It was really cool being able to meet this gentleman and the coincidence it was to be there in the genealogy section at the right time to be albe to meet him and help him get a head start on his genealogy research.


Mobile Monday – Book Bazaar

Book Bazaar

If you are like me, there are many genealogy books out there you have on a wish list. Book Bazaar is a great app for looking up books online and compare prices on sites such as,, and more.

You can browse for books by specific stores as well as your local libraries. 

Book Bazaar allows you to search for books by the books ISBN, Title, Author, and Keyword. There are many times I can't remember the exact title or author of a book and this helps my find the book I am thinking of. 

Book Bazaar is also great for finding new books on any topic by searching for keywords. I have been able to find a number of genealogy books I haven't heard of before.

One of the greatest things about Book Bazaar is you can create a wishlist. I don't know about you, but I have SO many books I want to read and Book Bazaar helps me keep an organized list where I can simply click on an item in my list and buy it right there from the app on Amazon and other bookstores.

I highly recommend Book Bazaar for helping finding, organizing, and purchasing all of your genealogy books while you are on the go. For more information on the app as well as to download it, click the link below.