What would you ask

So my husband and I were discussing dreams and the question came up if you had like an hour with one in your family member to talk to them again- who is it and what would you ask?

Loaded question to a genealogist right: do you break your wall or do you confirm facts or do ask what is was really like? I mean documents and stories can only take you so far- what would you ask?

Documents can help but only go so far… this Christmas, an amazing translator and friend of mine found a record for me buried in her work that was an adoption record from Pre 1770 For Andreas- the Infamous Senger who started 4 lines of Sengers world wide- score for a new wall. Do you break this?

Or do you ask a more recent relative- how they kept that secret you found buried and was told to rebury that you want confirm?Asking about still births or failed marriages or the child kept from acceptance. Stories from family become a hard conversation especially if the story is biased from the living or it is as awkward as heck. So hello relative I don’t talk much to! You know that child I shouldn’t know about- wanna talk about that? – like how do you even break the awkward wall to shatter conversation walls with the living… This may explain why most genealogy sites won’t publish facts about the living.

How about just talk again about the everyday with best friend you lost. Hang on while I tear up- I’d give anything to talk about the mondain with Gram again but you know…

Just some thing to talk about so who would you talk to?


Keep hunting and we’ll chat soon.


Germans from Russia 250 Year party

Let’s Celebrate The Germans’ Arrival in Russia 250 Years Ago
250 years ago the Germans started to arrive
in Russia as part of the invitation by
Catherine the Great of Russia to colonize
the Steppes. German Russian Albertans will
be celebrating their arrival to Canada over
100 years ago!
The historical Hope Church built in 1912 by
local Volga Germans primarily from the
Norka Russian colony stands beside our
The Hope Christian Reformed Church
The corner of Yellowhead Highway 16
West & Secondary Highway 779 (5th
Meridian) Approximately: 6km north of Stony Plain, and 25 km west of Edmonton
Wonderful & Knowledgeable speakers include:
Dr. Brent Mai, Dean of Libraries & University Librarian & Founder of the Centre for Volga
German Studies at Concordia University in Portland Oregon. Dr. Mai holds degrees from
Bethany College (Kansas), George Washington University, The University of Texas at
Austin, and Vanderbilt University.
Reuben Bauer, a local historian & author of the book “One of Many” centered around the
original church’s history and its people. The beautiful & historic church is seen above.
Admission including light dinner service per person will be $15.00 We will be accepting
e-transfer, paypal, cheque, or cash.
To ensure your meal ticket Please RSVP before: October 14th 2017.
Robyn Morales
17149 109 ST NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5X3E2
Call or text 780-264-3734
Reuben Miller
129 Westerra Terrace
Stony Plain, AB T7Z 2Z7
Call or text 780-868-5800
Our costs are to cover dinner service, travel assistance for our speakers, venue costs. Any
surplus funds will be donated to the Parkland Food Bank. Receipts upon request. Travelers
from out of town that need assistance booking please let us know and we’ll help you find
October 22, 2017 Event Agenda:
1-1:30 PM Registration
1:30 Introduction & Norka Language demo
1:45 Reuben Bauer speaking
2:30 Break
2:45 Local Societies & Group Intros
3:00 Dr. Brent Mai
5:00 Light Meal Service for ticket holders
6:00 PM Wrap up and Thank yous.

Downing your digital content

A family member passed and was jumping into the digital world. His passing did’t actually end his accounts online.

This is a 2 fold PSA- have a list for your estate to end when you do… also chosr how you want to end.

The other is who gets ownership of your accounts… not all estate executors are all that techincal.

Just like objects and wonderful gifts you grandbabies don’t want to inherit-dont forget to weed out digital accounts you don’t use.

This mostly comes up as I had 4 notifications for one person’s birthday because he has 4 facebook accounts.

Ultimate guide to time lines in your tree

So in an amazing group called the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, we had a speaker who was able to go quite in depth about his families passages to Canada and well there is more challenge for your records:

Have you a time line of each person?

  •  Birth: date, location, notes, time, conditions, news paper announcements, declarations, betrothals, inheritance
  • Religious entry: baptism, ceremony, circumcision notes, welcoming,  
  • Education: did they make it passed grade school? Where? Any teachers comments or cool details?
  • Courtships
  • Employment or contract record: how’s did they make ends meet? Did they trade or barter. Did they just do as their parents taught them? Trade tickets, education advancement certificates
  • Habitation: rental agreement, land titles, inheritance documents
  • Legal documents: land titles, sales or auction stubs/receipts, proof of ownership, wills and estate releases, jail time, court documents, tickets, dovorce decrees, warrants, certificates, police records (stolen goods, indecent acts, drunken)
  • Marriage: was it civil religious or presumed? Full records give the (full details of)parents of the bride and groom? Was there betrothal?engagement? Newspaper announcements? Invitations? Visas issued for travel? Passports for honeymoons?
  • Babies: any record of the child’s birth can declare the parents where they were born? Miscarriages, still borns, proper burial? Was there formal records? Small town could be registered in the nearest city later…
  • Census: can you track each one during the area
  • Phone book records or address card or voting notification cards 
  • Military: draft or volunteer vards, Mia letter, service records, discharge papers
  • Travel  records: was there legit passports or journal records of boarder crossings? Was there any bribe records (cause that is a thing) bills of lading, arrival, departure, immigration, deportations, holding, emigration, passport stamps, lost luggage notes, death at sea, missing in action
  • Money: they had it or spent it or lacked it… trace bigger chunks of it. 
  • Health records: immunization cards, plague victim lists 
  • Body records: cemetery, funeral arrangements, disposal records, donation acceptance, recovery or transfer 

I actually digitalized every piece of paper less books and am going piece by piece sorting and validating every piece of proof. Time lines and legends help. Enjoy the hunt.

Family Historian 6.2.2


There is  30 day trial but the software is 59.50 CAD and can be paid by PayPal even… for those that don’t do credit cards by preference like me… so bonus.

They currently on list 2 add ons:

Ancestral Sources

Charting Companion

I had to do some digging on the web from initial links from here in Canada  to find the 30 day trial of the software. The install was remotely quick but did require a reboot were the others did not.

This one is connected to myheritage.com and findmypast.Com

The test unit gedcom I have been using contains a lot of mixed data, variable connections and potential links to media. Out of installing and running this gedcom this application was one of two of the 7 that acknowledged potential breaks in media links to images, source files and extra errors like word wrapping. The software felt very intuitive. My test initial-viewgedcom also has 2 people I know I need to get more hunting done on them.

Data entry on this application is a lot easier due to layout. I am one for newer Tech and I prefer the layout and esthetics in this specific program.


To Compare the same person here is the aspect of Wendelin from screen shots.

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Also I am impressed at the built in features that don’t need extra payments from 3rd parties. I may buy it later once I am done my quarterly hint acquisitions from ancestry.

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The built in leaf features that ancestry kinda dropped (their software is having transition issues to a new company). It pulls the data- quick enough but cool add-on feature.


To be honest- pending on your sourcing preference (was not a huge fan of myheritage.com) this is a definite buy!

Outside your village

So I have covered physically talking to some and when to tackle the barely cold record changes…

So now it is about that next step out of the village that raised you or watched you grow through word of mouth from living relatives.

Simple starts include:

Taking someone you have stories about and confirm their data… confirming can lead you on a trail for more details.

  • Googling newspapers to see if there are any vital announcements.
    • the announcements like funeral announcements may include the close relatives that may be grieving
      • direct relatives
      • cause of death, date (time some times), and intended disposal[lose term cremation, burial, etc]  location
      • basic bio- employment, birth death, siblings and schooling
      • birth place, time and parents
    • Engagement announcements contain the parents and locations that the direct families come from giving you the next pinwilliam-thomas-lock-mary-shorey
      • location of parents, parents
      • full names
      • birthdays some times
      • employment
      • residence (older papers)
    • Bankruptcy and legal declarations, harsh but contain birthdate and full name for that one guy who uses alternative names to evade
      • full name
      • employment
      • birth
      • address
    • Divorce announcements
    • birth announcements
    • wedding announcements
  • Milking the preverbial ancestry.com or myheritage.com
    • some people have quite a bit but you may still want to hunt the black and white facts unless provided.
  • Getting certificates
    • Birth
    • Death
    • Divorce Dcanadian-passenger-lists-18651935ecrees
    • School (fairly older)
    • Marriage
  • Travel Proofs
    • Immigration records – Check the one
    • DNA
      • Honestly I should cover it but I personally haven’t tries one of them yet. I was hoping the pricing would drop.




Backup: Online, Social or Off-line

This week I had the uncool news that I needed to tell my friend that her only USB stick bearing all of her university experience and 7 years of family photos will cost her $90-500 CAD to recover since she had it nowhere else- breaking our collective hearts.

To this conversation to prevent the tears again:

  • do you go cloud?
  • online application integrations through social connections like family search.org or ancestry.com or myheritage.com?
  • multiple offline storages?
  • paper hard copy?
  • Publish a book and call it?

There are pros and cons to all of the above.

Cloud Pros:

  • You can get it anywhere there is the internet available
  • It is expandable
  • In many cases, you can have it online
  • Traditionally it is easy to share or control the administrative or viewing only access
  • more than just genealogy can be shared

Cloud Cons:

  • The internet is needed to update the files between sites
  • more often than not there is a tangible reoccurring cost
  • security issues keep hitting the media
  • there is a minimum technical comfort level needed.

Examples DropBox, Google Drive, Sync

Online Socialized Integrations Pros:

  • Live updating between like-minded people-
  • gaurenteed protection from losses
  • super easy to share
  • data is 24/7 and not locked to hardware
  • universalization and duplicate data controlled (only one specific person talked about not 30 of the same person)

Online Socialized Integrations Cons.

  • Errors are across everyone’s data
  • may be a cost
  • only having specific file types or data
  • data integration into the application you are using maybe no longer supported or forcibly transferred to another support application or company
  • data harvesting to the profit of the company hosting (hints and clues are sold without your profit)

.Multiple off-line storage (eg 2+ duplicate USB sticks)


  • FULL control, share only when you want when you want
  • computers fail- your data is safe
  • security issues don’t exist
  • cost is one and done. No re-occurring


Reviewing Brother’s Keeper

Acquired from http://www.bkwin.com/

Purchasable from http://brotherskeeperstore.stores.yahoo.net/index.html

 No add ons are available from the creator directly
A trial is available. The registration is $45.00 US for first purchase and for upgrades it is cheaper $19 for a CD and $24 for manual and CD. They call them selves shareware -and it is awesome.

Installation completed in 12.9 sec so very well done and very easy. The download was fast and about 5 clicks to get it installed and running.

Importing and exporting GEDCOMs is super simple…

2016-11-06-1  Then 2016-11-06-4

Once completed the data imported was very point blank and to the point.

This interface appears to have stuck to its roots in initial database design which is very to the point, text-based and simple. “Retro” or “Old School in a good way” are two ways to say it easier.  For the computer uncomfortable – a manual would be recommended. For those that are slow to update- this harks back to the day sans mouse- keyboarding only can be done.

Lets talk sourcing- due to its simplicity(which is nice a lot of the time) sources are in simple text and can be added easily to everything. Please note the sources on the Wendlin are pulled through the GEDCOM and clearly need cleaning but I was able to add easily. To the ease I was able to add a general family source which is so nice and some thing I’d love in other apps.

2016-11-13 (2).png

The common reports like birthday and anniversary lists are fantastically easy to get to.

2016-11-13 (5).png

For those that want to have quick and full control- it has no social connections to anything. It is local only so sneaky fingers or adjusting hands- just your work. It does remind you everytime you go to close it that you should back up- which is nice.

2016-11-13 (6).png

I think I honestly will run this as a to do list builder. It was a wicked report that allows you to pull specific source or data missing lists very easily. Granted the first report I pulled to see if death place, birth place and parents were missing on this older GEDCOM was 95 pages- I still have work to do.

Review points:

  •  Ease of use for installation 5/5
  • Ease of use for simple additions 4/5
  • Ease of use citations and sourcing 4/5
  • Integration into social sharing -Not applicable
  • cost – Free to 45 is fabulous
  • GEDCOM import export- easy 5/5
  • duplication reduction
    • I had a hard time finding this feature
  • report building 4/5

I’d love to see in the next revision a search cheat sheet or check box for wild card searches or duplicate persons search rather than calling them twins since there are possiblities for multiple births. Auto updating or a windows 10 or android version. I want to get out of Windows. Otherwise awesome simple app.

I love the Reasonable Check report- clean, concise and easy to use.


Quick description:

Old School Simple

What sources did you have in mind?

Here is a longer list of ideas of sourcing you can use to include in your files

Examples of cool records to add:

  • Account books
  • Agreements (examples: legal, sharing, land, marriage, donation, rental)
  • Albums
  • Announcements
  • Applications
  • Apprentice papers
  • Autograph books
  • Audio recordings of their voice (both haunting and amazing to hear them again)
  • Awards
  • Baby books
  • Banking or financing documents (hard to find but can show alot more than you may care to know)
  • Body processing papers (air plane conveyance, preservations, cremations, donation)
  • Baptism records
  • Bibles
  • Birth records
  • Blessings
  • Bonds
  • Interment or cemetery records (grave stone markers, maps, ownership proofs)
  • Census
  • Certificates
  • Christenings
  • Church records
  • Citizenship
  • Civil records
  • Coat of arms
  • Confirmations
  • Contracts
  • Death announcements or death records
  • Debarkation papers
  • Deeds
  • Diaries
  • Discharge papers
  • Divorce records
  • Documents
  • Ecclesiastical
  • Embarkment or proof of travel papers
  • Emmigration papers
  • Engagements
  • Enlistment papers
  • Employment records
  • Election records or lists
  • Estate papers
  • Family records
  • Family crests, signets, rings, seals
  • Fraternity
  • Funeral cards
  • Genealogy records 
  • Government ID
  • Graduation
  • Histories
  • Hobbies
  • Immigration papers
  • Induction papers
  • Insurance records
  • Journals
  • Keepsakes
  • Land titles or land records or address listings
  • Legal papers (arrest records, prison time, sentencing decisions, tickets, payroll withholding requests, child support, alimony, enforceable action, living association, adjudications, public trials,  ) 
  • Letters
  • Life stories
  • Lodge records
  • Manuscripts
  • Marriage records
  • Memorials
  • Military records
  • Mortgages
  • Naturalization papers
  • Newspaper articles
  • Obit
  • Ordinations
  • Orphan records
  • Passenger papers
  • Passports
  • Pension papers
  • Periodicals
  • Pictures and videos
  • Receipts
  • Recipes
  • Record books
  • Religious milestone papers (baptism, bat(/bar)mistva,  etc.)
  • School report cards
  • School graduation credentials (certificate, degree, diploma, masters)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Stock certificates (paper or expired- these are still very cool)
  • Tax papers or  results
  • Telephone listings
  • Traffic tickets
  • Union papers
  • Video recording of the person (super cool to jog memories)
  • Will & Estate or Probate

Did I miss anything?- please tell me so I can share it.

Per Person

Alright to my previous post about FOIP, lets dive into researching the tree…

Per person we may need to isolate confirmable facts and have cited sources

  • Date, Place, Source Type, Source Location, Reliability rating, Kin Attached, and Note
    of each of the following major life events:
  • Christening/Baptism
  • Adoption/Birth record
  • Marriage 1
  • Divorce 1
  • Marriage 2
  • Divorce 2
  • Death
  • Burial
  • Emigration 1
  • Immigration 1
  • Emigration 2
  • Immigration 2
  • Other: (ex employment)
  • Land Title
  • Land title 2
  • Criminal Record

Who is the father

Who is the mother

Who are the grandparents?

Vital Notes, Children listings, Census records or residence notes