Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme

Jill at Geniaus has created another great geneameme, Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme. I love the idea of sharing positive highlights from 2012 research! What a great way to look over the previous years accomplishments. Here is my contribution.

An elusive ancestor I found was great-grandfather, Charles Wakefield in the 1880 United States Federal Census. In the post "With a Little Help From My Friends..." I share the story of tracking down Charles with information Crista Cowan of Ancestry shared on a Twitter Tweetchat. Finally locating this record after several years of frustrated research was the highlight of the year. One interesting tidbit garnered was the fact Charles was using his step-father's surname during this period. This also lead to finding Charles in the 1886 Baltimore City Directory, where he once again uses Henry Horn's surname. In the 1888 Charles reverts to the Wakefield name on his marriage record. Is it any wonder we can find these ancestors at all?! I need to research the time-frame and see if using a step-parent's surname is a common practice.

A precious family photo I found was shared by my brother of our Gaphardt family. We believe it was take circa 1918 in Baltimore City, Maryland. Still in the process of identifying everyone in the photograph.


An ancestor's grave I found was my son-in-law's 2nd great grandparents. When I began researching this family there was loads of incorrect and confusing information on various databases. With the help of the Baltimore Sun Newspaper database, we were able to find the correct family names and locate cemeteries.

 Anthony Kreymborg
Born June 3, 1818
Died July 10, 1909
buried in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland

An important vital record I found was my husband's grandmother in the 1940 United States Federal Census. April 2, 2012 had to be my most anticipated day of the year. Would this be the day I found the answer to one of our most interesting family history questions? My husband's grandparent's created a mess with differing marital status on vital records. On his grandmother's death record it states she was widowed. Only problem, her husband was very much alive. For the rest of the story read "Doing the 1940 U.S. Census Victory Dance!"

A newly found family member who shared was my husband's distant cousin, Lynn. We connected using via RootsWeb Message Boards. Lynn has shared many Montague family puzzle pieces. "Don't Stop Believin' in Message Boards!"

A geneasurprise I received was locating the discovery that my Gaphardt family originally was Gephardt. Last year this fact came to light using the Baltimore City Directories. Over the course of this year we have been able to piece together more of when this change of surname may have occurred. What has me perplexed is the fact my ancestor seems to be the only family member to use the Gaphardt surname. Now to find the answer to that particular riddle!

My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was "Using Facebook for Genealogy". This post came out of a presentation I gave during our genealogy discussion group meeting.

My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was "Timeline of Their Lives". After attending a webinar presented by Lisa Alzo I decided to create a timeline for my husband's grandfather, Christian Wismer Ruth. This was the first time I had actually used this tool to place an ancestor in historical context. Visualizing Christian experiencing various events during his life adds another layer to his story.

A new piece of software I mastered was Family Tree Maker. This is a work in progress. Still trying to figure out all the ins and outs. Another helpful tool I began using is Google Docs. I attended a webinar presented by Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers) about sharing and saving information. Presently working on organizing research with templates located on the website. Two great ways to keep up to date on technology and genealogy would be Technology for Genealogy Facebook Page and 4YourFamilyStory.com.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Twitter. This year I connected with many genealogy friends by using this tool. Talking to researchers in England, Ireland, Australia, Scotland and every state in the union! During various times over the course of the year they offered congratulations during triumphant moments, as well as condolences during very trying days. Some of the friends I feel as if I have known for years and if met in person would be like coming home.

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was the 2012 Baltimore Family History Workshop. It was a most excellent adventure! The day began with a keynote speaker from the Maryland States Archives. I attended classes about Irish Family Research, Immigration and Naturalization Records, International Tracing Service and Polish and Eastern European Genealogy. This event is a must for your 2013 planning calendar.

I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to the patrons of the Harford County Public Library. This was year I finally overcame my fear of speaking before a group by presenting several genealogy workshops. I will admit the first one was the scariest! What I discovered is that if you are talking about something you are truly passionate about, you forget your fear and start having a great time. The presentation I enjoyed the most was social media for our genealogy discussion group.

A journal/magazine article I had published was - nothing in 2012. Maybe 2013?

I taught a friend how to research the Maryland State Archives website.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing" by Megan Smolenyak. Read this in one weekend!

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Family History Center in Baltimore County, Maryland. While attending their workshop I dropped into a few of the overview classes offered. I had visited many years ago but this if the first time discovering all the great resources.

A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham.

It was exciting to finally meet several distant cousins in the virtual world. Without the Facebook we would never have connected and shared information.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was the 2012 Baltimore Family History Workshop. In the above comment I shared the outstanding information learned during the course of the day. The best part of the day was catching up with old genealogy buddies and making new friends.

Another positive I would like to share is the accessibility of the genealogy community. When I began this "adventure" little did I know the immense amount of support and friendship that was available with just a few clicks. Each year has brought new virtual friendships. Looking forward to what the next year has in store for personal growth and family history research. Thank you, geneafriends!

Thanks to Jill for this wonderful way to end one year and begin another. Onward to 2013!


  1. Thank you, Deb, for contributing to this geneameme challenge.

    You have had some geneatriumphs - congratulations on your entry into the world of genealogy education and thanks for the link to your Facebook blog post that I missed when I was on the high seas recently.

    1. Jill,

      Thank you for this wonderful idea! I love that you decided to highlight the positives instead of going over our failures. Feeling pretty good about my genealogy adventures!

  2. I was interested to read your contribution to the GeneaMeme, Deb, and I followed the links to other enjoyable posts. I particularly liked your comments about timelines. I always urge my clients to create timelines, which often reveal gaps, discrepancies and clues that take the research forward in leaps and bounds.

    1. Judy,

      Thank you for stopping by and reading the post. I really enjoyed writing about the positives of the past year. Jill is indeed a genius! The timeline post was one of my favorites. It really put into perspective the world Christian resided in during his life.