Best Census Entry Ever?

This census enumerator clearly had an opinion 
about Mr. Coleman’s “real” occupation!
What funny tidbits have you found in genealogy records?
I’ve got my fingers crossed
that you’ll leave your comments below
so other Gems can share the fun.
Have a wonderful week!

-Lisa

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 184 Is Ready for YOU

GGP 184The FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 184 has been published and is ready for your listening pleasure! 

In this episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, you’ll hear about lots of fabulous and FREE online resources–including a way to harness the power of Ancestry.com for free.

You’ll also hear advice from two listeners, one on saving your genealogy from theft and another with a tip on digital preservation for photos. I share a genealogist’s poem that made me laugh. Resident DNA expert Diahan Southard joins us to respond to a common lament: when DNA doesn’t seem to be panning out for you.

In this episode we also announce our next Genealogy Gems Book Club, the last featured title of 2015. It’s a meaty new novel by a New York Times best-selling author who has also penned an Oprah Book Club Pick. Come check it out (or click here to read more about it)! Listen in iTunes, through our app (for iPhone/iPad or Android users), on our website and TuneIn (now available for Amazon Echo users).

The Genealogy Gems podcast is proud to continue its tradition as a FREE, listener-friendly show for all levels of family history researchers (beginners and beyond!). Thanks for sharing this post with your friends and genie buddies. You’re a GEM!Genealogy Gems Newsletter Sign Up

Go Digital! in the New Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 183

GGP 183Digitization tips for old home movies and photos. Online storage and computer backup tips. The Genealogy Gems Book Club interview with Pamela Smith Hill, the editor of the new Laura Ingalls Wilder biography, Pioneer Girl.

These are all highlights of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 183, newly-published and available for your listening pleasure on our website, through iTunes and the Genealogy Gems app.

A special feature is an exclusive interview with digitization expert Kristin Harding from Larsen Digital. She is passionate about getting old photos and movies safely digitized and into storage we can access in the years to come!

As always, you’ll hear from fellow genealogy lovers who have written in with comments and questions. Diahan Southard returns from her summer break with a great new DNA story that settled an old scandal involving U.S. President William G. Harding.

So tune in and enjoy the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 183! Then why not share it with a friend who may like it, too? Thank you!Genealogy Gems Newsletter Sign Up

Mr. Spock is Related to Captain Kirk?!? Celebrity Genealogy

"STWink Eye" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://lisalouisecooke.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/FileSTWink_Eye.jpg.

“STWink Eye” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://lisalouisecooke.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/FileSTWink_Eye.jpg.

After the passing of beloved actor Leonard Nimoy last month, MyHeritage.com took a closer look at his ancestry. Through resources on the world tree site Geni.com, MyHeritage discovered that this star of the Star Trek universe is related to another of its stars, though in the show they portray characters from different worlds.

According to a MyHeritage blog post, “Leonard Nimoy is William Shatner’s second cousin once removed’s wife’s first cousin once removed’s husband’s great niece’s husband’s fourth cousin’s ex-husband.”

Okay, so they’re very distantly and circuitously related! But they are, just like many of us. Click on the blog post above to see a chart showing their family relationship.

check_mark_circle_400_wht_14064Celebrity genealogy aside, do you want to chart your own topsy-turvy family relationships? Click here to find out about relationship calculators and how they help relatives figure out how they are related to each other.

Merry Cemetery Displays ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ of the Dead

The "Merry Cemetery" Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: "Merry Cemetery - Sapanta - Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image at- https://lisalouisecooke.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/FileMerry_Cemetery_-_Sapanta_-_Romania_01.jpg.

The “Merry Cemetery” Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: “Merry Cemetery – Sapanta – Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image.

A gravestone creator in a small town in Romania took his mission seriously to memorialize the dead. But he did in, er, “living color,” so to speak. With plenty of colorful images and even dirty little secrets and gossip carved onto tombstones of the local residents at the “Merry Cemetery.”

As reported in the New York Daily News,  the woodcarver responsible for over 1000 gravestones in the “Merry Cemetery” would wander through town, taking notes on people’s quirks and secrets. Some flaws–drinking and carousing among them–are memorialized colorfully on their tombstones. On other stones, you’ll find his sad laments for the untimely passing of a child or the death of an adult by  a sad accident.

“There’s no point in hiding secrets in this small town in Maramures, so people’s lives are captured honestly in their epitaphs,” reports the article.

The woodcarver was Stan Ion Patras, who lived from 1908-1977. Conscious of the legacy he was leaving–and perhaps anxious to tell his own story rather than have someone else do it–Patras carved his own tombstone before he passed away. He trained his replacement, who continues to add to the brightly colored crosses.

Here’s another detail I thought was neat: Patras’ folk art was highly symbolic. According to a New York Times article on the cemetery, “The portrait of the deceased is central, surrounded by geometric designs in symbolic colors: yellow for fertility, red for passion, green for life, black for untimely death. The color scheme is keyed to the subject’s life — if, for example, the deceased had many children, yellow carries the design. Some crosses are crowned with white doves representing the soul; a black bird implies a tragic or suspicious end. The background is always blue, the color of hope and freedom.”

What’s the most fascinating cemetery you’ve ever visited? What’s the most memorable epitaph you’ve ever found? Share it on our Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

What are the Politics of Your Family Tree?

stick_figure_ballot_box_400_wht_9471Here’s a fun online tool that points toward the political leanings of current U.S. residents with your surnames: What’s in a Name?

For example, when I enter my maternal grandfather’s surname, Felix, I find that this surname overwhelming votes Democrat (77%). My father’s surname, McClellan, is evenly split. There’s a cool (but slightly confusing) map that breaks down results by state. Of course I looked at the state breakdowns where my family lives now and in their ancestral home states!

Do  political leanings really run in a family? Here’s an interesting article about familial voting patterns (again for the U.S.). Based on your surname results and what you know about your family, would this be a FUN family history conversation to introduce at your next family reunion would it open a can of worms?

Just remember, this isn’t a historical picture of your surname but predicted figures for the next big election. Not everyone with your surname is a relative, and that you likely have lot of relatives from that same surname line who wouldn’t be included because their surnames have changed. There’s also no explanation on this page of where they get their raw numbers or how they calculate their answers. You’d want to check the supporting organizations for party or other bias. So this is JUST for fun! But think about it–what resources would you use to research the politics of your family tree? Obituaries? Newspapers? Interviews with older relatives? Even naming patterns? My husband’s grandfather is named Franklin Delano–I wonder who his parents voted for….

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