TIGR 2019: Recap & Review

Attending a genealogy institute has ranked high on my “to-do list” since I decided to invest more in my family history passion. I thought it would be several years until I could attend one of these week-long educational opportunities, as I’d need to travel to Salt Lake City, Atlanta, or Pittsburgh for a course that matched my research interests. But when the Texas State Genealogical Society announced TIGR 2019 would have an Advanced Southern Research Techniques track — well, I was all-in!

Continue reading TIGR 2019: Recap & Review

Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith: In Memoriam

My maternal grandmother, Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith, passed away this morning at her home on Smith Hill in Liddieville, Louisiana. Her obituary follows:

Dorothy J. Smith
1935 – 2019

Funeral services for Dorothy J. Smith, 84, of Liddieville, will be held 2 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Boeuf River Baptist Church, with Rev. Bruce Cardin and Rev. Kevin Goodman officiating. Interment will follow in Ogden Cemetery under the direction of Gill First National Funeral Home. Visitation will be 1pm until time of service at the church.

Continue reading Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith: In Memoriam

Mapping My Ancestors’ Census Locations

I love maps. On a genealogy Facebook group I follow, a researcher shared a map of his ancestors’ counties of residence by U.S. census year — and I immediately knew I wanted to make a map of my own.

Check mine out — I definitely have deep Southern roots with a few “strays” in the northeast:


County boundaries change over time, so using this modern map to chart historical counties is not completely accurate. But it’s a cool picture of the mostly westward migration of my family.

It also closely aligns with my AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates and migration communities:

Family Artifacts on eBay: My First Find

Have you considered eBay as a genealogical resource?  Even though I’d read articles and listened to podcast episodes about others’ successes, I never imagined I’d find anything about my tiny hometown, much less my own family, on eBay.

Then I actually searched — and did! Continue reading Family Artifacts on eBay: My First Find

TxSGS 2018 Family History Conference – Recap & Thoughts

45269030_10155404721831377_4011557724285304832_oI attended my first Texas State Genealogical Society conference this past weekend in San Antonio.  Going to conferences was on my “to-do list” for honing skills and connecting with others on this professional journey.  I’m so glad I did!  For too many years, I thought joining Texas and Houston-area societies would offer little value for my research in other states.  However, these organizations focus on methodology and standards — and that’s exactly the information I need as I turn toward professional genealogy.

If asked which sessions were my favorite, I wouldn’t be able to single out just a few — the presentations were that high-quality!  I went to 17 lectures on a variety of topics, including DNA, methodology, and specific record sets.  Most sessions included interesting, and often complex, case studies that applied the topic to real-world research.  Genealogy is about problem solving, and seeing how others bust their brick walls is leading me to find new approaches to mine.

Another benefit of attending TxSGS was meeting others who are serious about genealogy.  I met many interesting people and had great conversations between sessions, in the vendor hall, and over meals.  I went alone, knowing no one, but felt right at home around others passionate about family history.

If you’re on the fence about getting involved in the larger genealogy community, I urge you to jump.  I made a leap in August and have already had rewarding, enriching experiences that have improved my research skills and knowledge.  And now I can’t wait until the next conference!