Viewer Voices: Stories of Doll Houses, Risk-Taking, and Women Getting the Vote

Elevenses with Lisa Episode 25 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: September 17, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

Viewer Voices: Celebrating Your Family History!

In this week’s episode we’re celebrating both your unique genealogy path, and the one that we have taken together as a community. The Elevenses with Lisa show has really grown into a vibrant, caring family. Whether it’s something I’m teaching, or a conversation happening in the live chat, there’s always something new to learn!

So, I invite you to sit back and relax with your favorite cup of tea while I share some of your stories, answer some questions, and pretty much talk about whatever tickles our fancy. Click below to watch the video, and follow along here on this show notes page. 

Some Googly Questions & Comments 

Cathy Gallaghers’s question: “I, like so many others, really enjoy listening to your podcasts and Elevenses!! I have learned a lot! I am having trouble with one concept.  I have a “new cousin” that I learned about through DNA. She is a great detective in finding people, places and information.

I want to have our family tree on Google docs so that we can share the family tree and we can start organizing all of our information. What I’m having trouble with is how do you put the tree in google docs? I cannot copy and paste from Ancestry.

I just cannot see HOW to make this large tree in google docs AND have a place to have the documentation…I really want to work with this cousin.”

My Answer: I think having everything in your database and saving the database to Google Drive is the way to go. If you don’t have a software database, I encourage you to get one that synchronizes with Ancestry.

Recommended Viewing: Premium Video How to Take Control of and Preserve Your Family Tree Information. (Click here to learn more about joining us as a Premium Member.) 
I use and recommend BackBlaze cloud backup – learn more here. (Using this link supports this free show – thank you!)

Google Docs are contained in Google Drive, but Google Drive also can have files that you have uploaded from other sources, like videos, and photos. So, there’s really no point in recreating things in Google Docs. Google Drive gives you a place to store everything as well as collaborate.

Cathy’s Comment

As you’ll recall in Episode 22 I showed you ways to use Google Earth to research your ancestors’ neighborhood. Cathy shared how she used what she learned from that episode in her research. She writes,

“BTW – I downloaded Google Earth Pro and have had a blast putting people on the map. My grandfather wrote a book called, “Passeggiata” the story of his life. He talks about a time when he went to New Haven CT and he wrote down each street he turned down and which direction he went in.  I went to google earth and local maps but could NOT find this one street he talked about. When I got the map from David Rumsey and overlayed it – there was the street he talked about – JUST AS HE SAID. I was so excited!”

Speaking of Google Related Things

In episode 23 I gave you an introductory tour of Google Photos, and I shared how Google Photos uses facial recognition to find people in your photos.

Well, Dana experienced this technology first-hand! Google Photos found her in a curved mirror reflection!

Dana found by Google Photos

Dana found by Google Photos!

The First Woman to Vote in Florida

A couple of weeks ago on August 26, 2020 here in the United States we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of women securing the right to vote.

The House of Representatives passed the amendment on May 21, 1919. Two weeks later, the Senate did as well. The amendment was adopted when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify on August 18, 1920. The 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920.

It was a long road but finally women had the right to vote, and Elevenses with Lisa viewer Melanie Barton’s grandmother wasted no time doing so in 1920.

Melanie sent me her story, and I asked her to record it so I could turn it into a little video to share with all of you which you will see in this episode. (20:30 mark in the video.)

WC & Fay Bridges Miami

Epilogue: Shortly after voting Fay happily remarried. Here she is with her husband W.C. Bridges in Miami, FL.

House History Follow Up and Stitchery

Pamela Fane left a comment on Elevenses with Lisa Episode 20 on House History Research. She shared two wonderful stories about how the personal touch pays off when it comes to delving into house histories.

“I have land documents citing my ancestor lived on a farm in Bedfordshire, England.  While on a trip to Bedfordshire in the mid 1990s I ventured down a long driveway toward the house.  I saw a man on a farm tractor and asked him if I could take a photo of his house because my ancestor lived there in former times. 

He was not overly friendly and asked me who that might be and when. I told him Thomas Fane lived there in 1761.

Stitchery by Pamela Fane

“Priestly Farm” by Pamela Fane

Oh, well then, he said, warming to his subject; when you finish with the front, go ’round to the back and make sure you get a photo of the wing that juts from the house because he built that and the man turned back to his tractor.  Now there is a man who knows the history of his house. 

One of the pictures I took of the front of the house I turned into a stitchery which sits on my hall table.”

In her second story her husband got in on the act.

“On another trip I was leaning over a fence gawking at another ancestor’s property, also in Bedfordshire, England. 

My husband was encouraging me to knock on the door.  I didn’t want to bother anyone; a photo would be good enough. Well, not good enough for my husband so he knocked on the door. 

We were invited in and shown pages and pages of historical papers about the house.  The owners were very interested in the history of their house and wanted to know about the people who lived there in former times.  I was able to send them all sorts of information covering the 300 years my ancestors lived in the house. 

That knock on the door was a win/win for both of us.”

A Knock on the Door

An Ancestral Home in Miniature

After watch the episodes on house history and Irish research, Anne was keen to share a very special house that once belonged to her Irish ancestors. She emailed me a story she had written for her new blog Annecestreeforest which she started in January 2020. She also included a PowerPoint presentation with photos.

As I reviewed it I could see the video that it should be in my mind. I asked Anne to record a bit of her story and a descriptive tour which she happily did. The next day I put it all together as a video.

Anne wrote: “It took my grandfather (Alan R Cassidy) a full year, working every day, to build the replica. During that time, unbeknownst to me, he was diagnosed with cancer, and died shortly after giving me the house.

He was a loving person, a strong believer in family heritage, a proud Canadian, honoured to serve as a Chief Petty Officer in our navy, and as a carpenter thereafter for the government.

The highest praise he could give someone was “he is a good man” and he was definitely that.

William and Jane’s descendants include nurses, pilots, lawyers, carpenters, farmers, and an Order of Canada honoree. Their legacy touches us all and is remembered each time I look at the little house.”


Mirror cups

Let’s wrap up this episode with something really fun that’s not genealogy but is on topic because this show is called Elevenses with Lisa. The name comes from the fact that the traditional morning teatime / break time is 11:00.

Over the last 25 weeks I’ve shared my cups with you, and as you’ll remember Margaret shared her mother’s mix and match collection of teacups that it turned out were traditionally given at bridal showers.

Well, a few days ago Lindell Johnson sent me a little video she found about some exceptionally beautiful and innovative cups and saucers that bring a fresh perspective to driving tea, and art.

Variations of these cups and saucers are available online here:

Like the mirror cups and saucers, I hope that Elevenses with Lisa has brought you a fresh perspective of your genealogy and family history.


Bonus Download exclusively for Premium Members: Download the show notes handout


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Using Google Earth to Research Your Ancestors’ Neighborhood

Elevenses with Lisa Episode 22 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: August 20, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history. 

Please note: As is often the case with technology, sometimes things just don’t work like you think they will. As it turns out, items displayed clearly on my computer in Google Earth were not displaying in the live stream or captured on the video. Don’t worry, if you ever want to create a digital movie of your Google Earth maps, Google Earth has a video recording feature built in so this won’t happen. However, I did everything in this episode live and in real-time through live stream which apparently was at the root of the problem. Keep reading, because I have all the notes for you on what we covered, as well as screen shot images of everything that did not appear on the screen in the video!

Using Google Earth to Capture Your Ancestors’ Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and we are going to have some fun exploring one of my ancestors’ neighborhoods. Along the way I think you’ll pick up some interesting ideas on how you can explore your ancestors’ lives in a deeper way by getting to know their neighbors.

While you may not find it worthwhile to create a project like this for every family in your family tree, it could prove very helpful for:

  • writing a story
  • writing a family history blog post or article
  • writing a book
  • creating a family history story video
  • teaching kids about the family history
  • satisfying your curiosity!

We see our ancestors’ neighborhoods when we review census records. But have you ever wondered what was life really like in their neighborhood? This project can answer questions such as:

  • Did they live close together?
  • Did they share the same backgrounds?
  • Did any of them work together?
  • Did they have things in common?
  • Were there a lot of children on the street?

The Google Earth Neighborhood Project

The genealogy project I’m creating in Google Earth in this video is the neighborhood of my great grandparents who lived in San Francisco from 1900-1912. Now, don’t be discouraged if your ancestors were farmers. Remember, everyone has neighbors and a community. Every community has records.

All the techniques covered in this video are covered in detail in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox available here. 

The Genealogist's Google Toolbox Third edition Lisa Louise Cooke

Available in the Genealogy Gems Store

The family: Charles Allen & Ellen Burkette

The Census: The 1910 U.S. Federal Census tells us that they lived at 288 Connecticut Street, San Francisco, CA.

Most of their close neighbors, don’t appear on the same page with them. Instead, the neighbors of Connecticut Street appear on the previous page. Always look at the pages before and after the page where you find your ancestor. Often you will find other relatives, close friends, and other people with connections to your family.

For this project we will need the free Google Earth Pro software. Although Google Earth is available in a Web version and an app, these do not include all of the same tools. I always use the software. If you already have Google Earth, check to see if you have the most recent version.

You will also need an a good internet connection to operate Google Earth.

Follow along with the video with the notes below.

Rumsey Historical Maps

In the Layers panel, turn on Rumsey Historical Maps in the Gallery by clicking to check the box. Gold medallion icons will appear on the map. Hover your mouse over the icons to see the title and date. Click the select a map. In the pop-up box, click the thumbnail image of the historic map to automatically overlay it.

The map will be listed in the Temporary Places at the bottom of the Places panel. You can click drag and drop it to any location within the Places panel. 

Videos in Placemarks

Videos before and after the great earthquake of 1906 (See Images) Add videos from YouTube to placemarks by copying the Share embed code and pasting it into the Description area of the placemark.

Video displayed in a Google Earth placemark

Historical YouTube video displayed in a Google Earth placemark.

Map Overlays

Click the box to activate items like the custom map overlay I created using the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Connecticut Street. Learn how to create map overlays in episode 6 of my Google Earth for Genealogy video tutorial series.

how to use google earth for genealogy

Digital download video tutorial series available in the Genealogy Gems store.

Search for Addresses

Search for addresses like 288 Connecticut, San Francisco in the search box in the upper right corner of Google Earth.

Add Placemarks in Google Earth

Set a placemark for a home by clicking the Placemark icon (yellow pushpin) in the toolbar the top of the screen.

Use Street View to Get a Closer Look

Visit the street up close and person with Street View. Click on the Street View icon in the upper right corner, drag it over to the map, and drop it on the blue line.

Add Photos to Placemarks

Photos can be embedded into placemarks, such as the photo of my Grandpa and his father (See Image) 

Old family photo displayed in Google Earth placemark

Photo of my grandather being held by his father displayed in a Google Earth placemark.

and the photo of my Great Grandfather next to his streetcar. (See Image)

Placemark in the Places panel displaying a photo

Click the placemark to display the photo.

If you add images from your computer, they will only appear when the map is viewed in Google Earth on your computer. If you host the image in cloud on a photo sharing site or your own website, you will be able to share your map file with other people and they will be able to view the images. 

Plot Where Your Ancestors Lived Using Placemarks

Search for each family address and mark the locations with placemarks. 

3D Models in Google Earth 

3D models (like the streetcar I showed) are created by other Google Earth users and are available online. The HTML code is pasted into a placemark. (You can learn more about this in episode 13 of my Google Earth for Genealogy video tutorial series.

Search for Neighbors

Search for the addresses of neighbors you find in the census and other records.

Census photo displayed in Google Earth placemark

The census image displayed in a Google Earth placemark.

In this case I searched for the address I found for Bertin & Lenora Hall (293 Connecticut.) Bertin was a locomotive engineer, born in the United State, and they were renting their home.)

Add a Folder to the Google Earth Places Panel 

You can add folders to help keep your items organized in the Places panel by right-clicking on MyPlaces, and selecting Add > New Folder. Name the folder as desired, and then drag and drop it to the desired location in the Places

Use Historical Maps from a Variety of Years

Comparing the locations with maps from various years helps you see the evolution of the neighborhood. Notice that some maps don’t line up exactly with the modern map. This is due to inaccuracies often found in old maps.

Add Country of Origin Icons

We can learn more about the makeup of the neighborhood by designating their country of origin. Some neighborhoods may be predominately filled with many people from the same country or even village. Others, like my Great Grandfather’s neighborhood, were quite diverse:

Burkett – U.S.
Hall – U.S.
Dunne – Ireland
Becker – German
Harrington – England
Crawford – Scotland
McTiernan – Irish
Rutherford – Canada
Geib – Germany

Customize Placemark Icons

Add custom icon images to represent the family’s country of origin. Images around 40 px x 40 px work well. (Premium Members click here to download the icons I used.)

Customizing the placemark icon

Customizing the placemark icon in Google Earth

The Google Earth Opacity Slider

Use the Opacity slider to make a map overlay being displayed more transparent. Start by clicking the space just below the map in the Places panel in order to select it. Then click the Opacity button at the bottom of the Places Slide the slider to change the transparency.

Add Details to the Placemark Description

I typed information into the Description area of my placemarks such as their occupation, fully street address and country of origin. Typically the first two lines of text will be visible in the Places Click the placemark to open and read or add all of the information desired.

Researching and Recording Occupations

Explore old maps, city directories, county histories and other resources to locate possible places of employment. You can then mark each location with a placemark. I used the “wrench” icon to represent work.

Search for Locations

Where did David Rutherford work? I searched for “Cannery San Francisco” and sure enough Google Earth found a site in the northern part of the city.

The Neighborhood School

Let’s not forget the children – I marked the school attended by my grandfather and a photo of him with his classmates. (See Image Below)

Old family photo - Grandpa and his school mates

My grandpa and his school mates c. 1911.

The Future of the Neighborhood

The neighborhood continued to grow well after they left as revealed by another David Rumsey historic map from 1938 found in the Layers Panel > Gallery.

Resources for this Episode

Free Genealogy – How to Find Free Genealogy Records

Elevenses with Lisa Episode 21 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: August 20, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history. 

How to Find Free Genealogy Resources

In the genealogy community it’s often said, “Only a fraction of genealogical records are online.” That’s true indeed, but it’s not a reason not to start your search online. A more helpful and accurate piece of advice would be “while not everything is online, all search for genealogical information starts online.”

The reason for this is simple. Online research before you go will reveal:

  • If the materials are available at a more convenient location
  • If the materials are available somewhere online for free
  • The call number, location, and other specific information you need to quickly access the materials once you arrive.
  • Details about gaining access to the facility and materials.

The last bullet point above will help you avoid the disappointment of discovering an unforeseen closure, or that the specific records you need are actually help at a satellite location.

New genealogical information and records are uploaded daily to the internet. Some of this information is available for free. In this article and episode we will cover strategic ways to locate and access free genealogy online.

The Amount of Data Continues to Increase – Read more about the growth of online information here.

The Path of Least Resistance to Free Genealogy

Most genealogists want to obtain records at the lowest available cost with the least amount of travel. Therefore, always starting your search online just makes good sense.

Here’s our path of least resistance:

  1. Free and Online: FamilySearch, Google, WorldCat
  2. Online and Subscription: Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast, niche sites
  3. Free and Locally Offline: Libraries, Archives, Universities
  4. Offline and Distant: Examples include the National Archives, Allen County Library, Family History Library, NEHGS
The path to free genealogy

Free Genealogy Records Online


FamilySearch is a free genealogy website.

The FamilySearch Catalog: New digitized images are added daily from microfilms & digital camera operators. These include books, maps, compiled family histories, and more. The catalog also includes materials that are not online but are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or through Inter-library loan.

 The FamilySearch Wiki is a free online genealogical guide comprised of more than 93,000 articles. It covers 244 countries, territories, and islands. It includes links to genealogy databases and online resources as well as how-to information.

Use the FamilySearch Wiki Watchlist to follow pages of research interest. Here’s how to watch Wiki pages for new and free genealogy content:

  1. Log in with your free FamilySearch account
  2. navigate to the desired page
  3. click the Watchlist link in the upper right corner of the page.
Click the Watchlist button to follow the page

Look for the Watchlist link, and the blue buttons that lead to free online genealogy records for that location.

Google is still your best bet for finding sources both online and offline.

You can dramatically improve your search results by incorporating search operators into your search. Watch episode 13 of Elevenses with Lisa to learn about how to use search operators when googling for genealogy.  

Get all of the Elevenses with Lisa episodes here.

how to get better google search results

Learn how to google for free genealogy in episode 13.

Find More Free Genealogy with these Google Search Strategies

The most comprehensive and best-selling book on the topic of using Google for genealogy: 
The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, by Lisa Louise Cooke. 

Google Alerts Finds Free Genealogy for You

Set up free Google Alerts to be on the lookout for new and updated search results. You’ll receive them by email, and you can control the frequency.

Google Alerts for genealogy and family history

Google Alerts do the work of searching for free genealogy for you.

How to Create a Google Alert:

  1. Highlight and copy (Control C on Windows or Command C on Mac) the search query that you typed into the Google search box
  2. Go to
  3. Sign into your free Google account
  4. Paste (Control V or Command V) your search query into the Search Query box on the Google Alerts page
  5. Select the Result Type you desire (ex. Everything, News, etc.)
  6. Select how often you wish to receive alerts
  7. Select How Many results you want to receive (I recommend Only the Best Results)
  8. Enter / Select the email address you want your alerts to be sent to
  9. Click the Create Alert button

Partnerships Make Free Genealogy Available

Many of the genealogy giants enter partnerships with each other in order to facilitate digitization and indexing of genealogical records. This means that the same materials may be found in different locations on the web, and sometimes for free.

17,900 subscribing member libraries in 123 countries collectively maintain WorldCat’s database which is the world’s largest bibliographic database.

Use WorldCat to check that you are indeed accessing the resource from the most convenient repository and if it’s available for free. Here’s how:

  1. Run your search
  2. Click an item
  3. Under Find a Copy in the Library enter your zip code
  4. The library closest to you will be listed at the top

Once you get your search results, look to the left in the Formats box. There you can quickly narrow down to only items that are online by clicking boxes like Downloadable Article. Some of these may require a log in on the website you are referred to.

How to Find Free Records at Genealogy Websites

If you don’t have a paid subscription to you can still take advantage of their many free collections available here:

To find free records at, go to In the footer menu of the website, click on Historical Records. Then fill in your search criteria.  Scroll down the search results and look for the green free tags.

To find free records at Findmypast which specialized in British genealogy but also includes records from around the world, go to

(Some links in our articles are affiliate links. We will be compensated at no additional cost to use when you use them. This makes it possible for us to bring this free show to you. Thank you!)

Google Site Search Can Help Locate Free Genealogy

A site search works like many search operators as previously discussed in Elevenses with Lisa episode 13 (watch and read here.) It provides Google with specific instructions about the type of search you want to conduct with your search terms and keywords.

Google Site Search for free genealogy

This Site search tip comes from Lisa Louise Cooke’s book The Genealogists’s Google Toolbox.

Site search runs your query only on the specified website. This is extremely helpful and efficient if:

  • you have a particular website in mind that you want to search,
  • you aren’t having success using the search field provided by the website,
  • the website you want to search doesn’t have a search field.

Here’s an example of a Site search:

Free Pennsylvania

Try running the search above for yourself. You’ll find results that include many free genealogy records pertaining to Pennsylvania. Substitute the words to meet your search needs.

Construct a Site search for Free Genealogy by first typing in the words and phrases you wish to search for. Include the word free. Leave the appropriate spacing between them and follow the last item with a space. Then type site: and add the website home page address (URL). You can copy the URL and simply paste it in place. There is no space between the colon and the URL. And note that www is not required.

Searching for Offline Local Sources with Free Genealogy Information

To find what’s local and free:

  • Search (be sure to use the Zip Code filtering to find the genealogy materials at the location closest to you.)
  • Use Google to search.
  • Find your local Family History Center here. These centers have unique free resources as well as free access to some subscription genealogy websites.

When you find a library, archive or other repository, visit their website and look for:

  • Databases they offer
  • Their online catalog to plan your research
  • Other associated libraries
  • Details on planning a visit

Get Free Genealogy Help on Facebook

Search for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) on Facebook. 

RAOGK on Facebook

Get free genealogy records help on Facebook.

Learn More with these Resources

Free Tools at MyHeritage for a Limited Time

Now through Sept. 10, 2020 you can get free access to Myheritage Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage In Color here

Click to use MyHeritage for free for a imited time.


Resources for this Episode




Gathering Genealogical Evidence to Prove a Theory

Episode 19 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: August 6, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

Genealogy Consultation Provides a Strong Hypothesis

My 45-minute consultation with a genealogy expert Kate Eakman at Legacy Tree Genealogists broke things wide open on my Irish family lines and gave me the information and resources I needed to make all of the progress I shared in this episode. It’s the best investment I’ve made in my genealogy in a long time. They have experts in all areas. Learn more about how easy it is to book a consultation here.

After my consultation I needed to update my research plan and get to work collecting more genealogical evidence.

Let’s quickly recap what happened when I started working on my brick wall last week in episode 18:

  • Margaret Lynch’s death certificate said her parents were James Scully and Bridget Madigan.
  • Her obituary said she was born in Limerick Ireland.
  • There was one couple by those names in Limerick, having children and the right time. There is a gap in the records where Margaret should be.
  • Her husband Michael Lynch dies in Stillwater MN. St. Michael’s Catholic church. Found their marriage record in Stillwater. It was a large booming town, and a good place to focus. The Lynch family had a farm across the river in Farmington, Wisconsin.

My research question: Was this couple we found, James Scully and Bridget Madigan, who married in Kilcolman, Limerick, Ireland in 1830, the parents of Margaret Scully?

What Kate Eakman of Legacy Tree Genealogists helped me do in my 45-minute consultation:

  • Become acquainted with a variety of excellent Irish research websites
  • Located the indexed marriage record for James and Bridget
  • Located the original marriage record for James and Bridget
  • Located the indexed baptismal records for all of the children who had James and Bridget listed as their parents.

A Genealogy Research Plan for Collecting Evidence

After the consultation I developed a new research question: Are the children that we found records for in Ireland the siblings of my Margaret Lynch?

My research plan included:

  1. Verify if there were any other couples by the names James Scully and Bridget Madigan married in Ireland, particularly in the time from of circa 1830. (Location of source:
  2. Search in the U.S., starting in the area where Margaret lived, for each child. I’m looking for records that name these same parents, and show the child at an age that correlates with the baptismal date.

I identified several sources I believed would help me accomplish my goals.

Marriage Records – I conducted a search for James in Bridget in all counties in Ireland. I discovered that the couple Kate found during my consultation is the only couple in the RootsIreland database with those names married in Ireland. This gives me more confidence that I have the correct couple. 

U.S. Records – Armed with the names and ages of the children of James and Bridget, it was time to return to America. I needed to search U.S. records to see if any of the children came to America (perhaps living near Margaret) and if these parents were named. 

Records to look for:

  1. U.S. Federal Census (Ancestry, FamilySearch), and State Census (Minnesota Historical Society, Ancestry, FamilySearch)
  2. Death records (Minnesota Historical Society, FamilySearch.)
  3. Newspapers, particularly obituaries possibly naming parents or Limerick. (Minnesota Historical Society,

Before I began my search I created an excel spreadsheet to capture the information. I included columns for what their ages should be in each census. 

Excel spreadsheet for genealogy research

Using a spreadsheet to track my findings.

Now I was ready to start the genealogical hunt!

U.S. Census

Search each sibling one at a time in the census.

  • Focus on Washington Co., Minnesota (marriage and death location for Margaret & Michael Lynch)
  • Move on to Polk County Wisconsin, and greater Wisconsin.
  • Search both U.S. Federal Census & State Census
  • Top locations identified for this search:,, Minnesota Historical Society


  • Found individuals matching the sons in Stillwater and Baytown (Washington County)
  • Found Bridget Scully (Mother) living with various sons in various census records.
  • Immigration years listed for some of Margaret’s siblings.
1870 us federal census genealogy

Found in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census: James, Thomas, Daniel and Bridget. 

I created folders for each sibling marked MAYBE and collected the records on my hard drive.
Learn more about hard drive organization in Elevenses with Lisa episode 8.

Searched FamilySearch and the Minnesota Historical Society for a death record for each son.

  • Found Thomas and James.
  • James Scully and Bridget Madigan listed as parents
  • Ages matched
  • Next step: order the death certificates


Next I searched the Minnesota Historical Society website for newspapers.


  • 170+ articles
  • Two obituaries for Bridget Scully! (8 children, immigration year, husband died in Ireland implied)
  • Found James Scully working with his brother and his obituary

Research Tip: Look at a map and identify nearby towns and larger cities. Expand your search to these areas.

I found a James Scully in the 1860 census with Bridget and his brothers, and working with Thomas in many newspaper articles.

Bridget’s obituary said she came to America with 8 children. 7 had baptismal records in Ireland. James and Margaret were not found in the baptismal records but were confirmed in U.S. records to have the same parents. That would be a total of 9 children. It’s possible one of the daughters that have not yet been found in U.S. records may have died in Ireland prior to their leaving for America.

I then combed back through my Lynch binder – I might spot something that I marked as unsure, or that might jump out at me now that didn’t 20 years ago.

  • Found History of the St. Croix Valley I had photocopied a section. Names Daniel Scully (who I have since found in the census, newspapers and death records) and says his parents are James Scully and Bridget Madigan!
  • Looked the book up in Google Books. It’s fully digitized. Now I can extensively read and search it.

Tech Tip: Clip and combine newspaper clippings with SnagIt software

Clipping and saving newspapers poses a unique challenge for genealogists:

  • Clipping a small portion of a very large digital newspaper page can result in a low resolution file. 
  • If you clip an article you don’t always capture which newspaper and issue it came from
  • Articles often continue in different locations on the page or pages, making it impossible to capture the entire article  in one image. 

I use SnagIt software to clip my newspaper finds. I can then save them to Evernote or archive them on my hard drive. SnagIt can save your clippings in wide range of file types and can even clip video. You can get your copy of SnagIt here. It’s a one time fee and download – no subscription! (Thank you for using my link – it financially supports this free without any added expense to you.)

How to combine multiple clippings with Snagit:

  1. Clip the paper title and date
  2. Clip the article
  3. Clip any additional applicable sections of the article
  4. In the SnagIt menu under Image click Combine Images
  5. Drag and drop the clippings into the desired order
  6. Click the Combine button
  7. Save the combined image: In the menu File > Save As (you can select from a wide variety of file types)

Use SnagIt to combine newspaper clippings –

Research Tip: Using Street Addresses in Google Earth

When you find a street address, whether in a newspaper, city directory, census or other genealogical record, use it to find the location in the free Google Earth software program. You can then save an HD quality image of the location.

How to find a location in Google Earth (on a computer):

  1. Type the address into the search field in the upper left corner
  2. Click the Search button
  3. The map will automatically “fly to” the location and a pin will mark the general spot.
  4. Hover your mouse pointer in the upper right corner of the to reveal the navigation tools. Click the plus sign to zoom in closer.

How to view the location with Street View:

  1. Zoom in relatively close so that the street and buildings are distinctly visible.
  2. Just above the zoom tool you will find the Street View icon (the yellow “peg man”). Click on the icon and drag it over the street in front of the building / location. Don’t release your mouse. It may take a second or two for the blue line to appear indicating that Street View is available in that location. If no blue line appears street view is not available.
  3. When the blue line is visible, drop the Street View icon directly onto the blue line in front of the location you want to view. by releasing your mouse. If you miss the line and the picture looks distorted, click the Exit button in the upper right corner and try again.
  4. Once on Street View, you can use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate. You can also click on further down the street to move forward that direction.

How to save an image of a street view location:

  1. Position yourself in the best view of the desired location using your mouse and keyboard arrow keys as described above.
  2. In the toolbar at the top of the screen, click the Image icon (it looks like a portrait-oriented page, near the printer icon)
  3. A Title and Description box will appear at the top of the screen beneath the toolbar. Click it and type in a title and description for your image if desired.
  4. You can adjust the size (resolution) of the image you will be saving by clicking the Resolution button above the title box.
  5. When you’re ready to save the image to your hard drive, click the Save Image

Learn more about using Google Earth for genealogy in Elevenses with Lisa episode 12.

how to use google earth for genealogy

Order the video training series at the Genealogy Gems Store featuring 14 exclusive step-by-step video tutorials. The perfect companion to the book The Genealogists’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke.

After a week of post-consultation research:

Question: Who were the parents of Margaret Scully born in Limerick Ireland on approximately July 9, 1840?
Answer: James Scully and Bridget Madigan, married in Limerick, Ireland June 13, 1830. (Though I feel confident about this, I still have additional records I want to find in order to further solidify this conclusion.)

Question: In what Parish was Margaret Lynch born?
Answer: Most likely Kilcolman based on the baptismal locations of her siblings.

My Next Research Steps:

  • Browse search through the baptismal parish records at NLI 1839-1842 for Margaret, and 1834-1836 for James Scully.
  • Look for marriages of Margaret’s female siblings, and family burials.
    (Contact St. Michael’s church, Stillwater, MN.)
  • Go through – there are several Minneapolis and St. Paul papers running articles from Stillwater.
  • Resume my search of passenger list records with the newly revised date of c. 1851.
  • Search for the death record of Bridget’s husband James at RootsIreland and NLI.

How to Book a Genealogy Consultation

My 45-minute consultation with a genealogy expert Kate Eakman at Legacy Tree Genealogists broke things wide open on my Irish family lines and gave me the information and resources I needed to make all of the progress I shared in this episode. It’s the best investment I’ve made in my genealogy in a long time. They have experts in all areas. Learn more about how easy it is to book a consultation here.

Learn More:

For more step-by-step instructions for using Google Earth read my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox available at the Genealogy Gems Store.

Recommended Genealogy Gems Premium Member Videos with downloadable handouts:

Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium membership here.


Genealogy News: Free Webinar

Watch the free video recording of my session on the MyHeritage Collection Catalog here.



Live Chat PDF– Click here to download the live Chat from episode 19 which includes my answers to your questions. 

Genealogy Gems Premium Members:

Become a Premium Member here


How to Find Your Irish Ancestors

Episode 18 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: July 23, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

Book your 45-minute consultation with a professional genealogist like I did here

Legacy Tree Genealogists Consultation 45-minute

Click here to learn more about 45-minute genealogy consultations.

An Irish Genealogy Brick Wall

This week I’m taking you on a bit of my own genealogical journey. It’s that one line of my family that crosses the pond to Ireland with my 2X great grandparents. I first learned about Michael Lynch and Margaret Scully as a child from my maternal grandmother. They were her husband’s (my grandfather’s) grandparents. She didn’t know much about them.

Margaret Scully of Limerick Ireland

Margaret Scully born in Limerick Ireland 1840


Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch born in Ireland in 1818

In 2000 I got an opportunity to sit down with my grandfather’s sister – the historian of that generation of the family – and ask her about them. She was nearly 90 years old at the time, and she told me the family lore that Margaret was supposedly from a more well-to-do family, and Michael was not.

Aunt Bea in 1937

Aunt Bea in 1937

“He was a groom. And they eloped. I don’t know where they came in. I don’t know which port, but I think it was Canada.”

A few years later after Aunt Bea’s passing I got in touch with some distant Lynch cousins through a bit of online genealogical research. They were descended from Ellen’s siblings who had stayed in the area where the Lynch family had lived (Western Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota).

These distant cousins supplied with a few more pieces of the puzzle.

  • They mentioned Kildysart, though my notes are unclear whether that was the possible location for Michael or Margaret.
  • There had some sketchy parents’ names through family lore and Margaret’s death certificate.
  • Margaret’s parents were supposedly James Lynch and Bridget Madigan.
  • Michael’s were possibly Michael Lynch and Johanna Healy but no evidence was provided.

I searched extensively several years ago but was unable to find a passenger list record. I did find the family in East Farmington, Wisconsin. where Michael purchased land and ran a dairy farm.

East Farmington Wisconsin History postcard

East Farmington Wisconsin postcard

My research questions were:
Who were the parents of Margaret Scully born in Limerick Ireland on approximately July 9, 1840? Where in Ireland was she born?

My Aunt Bea said Margaret was from county Cork. This was based on her conversations with her mother Ellen. However, Ellen left Wisconsin as a young woman and lived her adult live in California, far from her family.

The Wisconsin cousins were sure Margaret was from Limerick. They believed Michael was from Cork. Considering that their parents had known Margaret well, I put more stock in their information.

Then the cousins produced Margaret’s obituary from Fargo ND where she died a widow living with her son John in 1929. I clearly stated she was born in Limerick. I became even more confident that Limerick was the place to focus.

A secondary question which would be a bonus was ‘where were Michael and Margaret married?’ Was it true that they had eloped in Ireland and came to America via Canada as my aunt had said? And did any of her brothers and sisters come to America as well?

I’m not an expert in Irish genealogy. I have interviewed a few experts over the years, so you might think I would have jumped right into this Irish research. Instead, I found it a bit daunting.

So, earlier this month, I sat down for a 45 minute consultation with Kate Eakman. She’s a professional genealogist with Legacy Tree Genealogists specializing in Irish research among other areas.

Kate Eakman, professional genealogist

My consultant: Professional Genealogists Kate Eakman

These 45-minute consultations are designed to evaluate what you have, and kick start or restart your research.

As a seasoned genealogist, I want to do the research myself. This short focused consultation was perfect for helping me move forward with confidence.

Before we discuss the path we followed in the consultation, let’s talk a moment about how to prepare for a genealogical consultation.

Preparing for a Consultation with a Professional Genealogist

There are three things you can do ahead of time to help a professional genealogist help you.

1. Be clear what you want to accomplish.

It’s only 45 minutes, so one clearly defined research question is best. Avoid “I just want to find whatever is available”. It needs to be a specific question.

I wanted to specifically find out who Margaret’s parents were which I expected would also tell me where she was born.

2. Gather what you already have in advance.

I didn’t have much, but I made every effort to distill the known facts down in a list. I then added all source information I had for those items.

To get the most from a consultation it is important to not only share what you have but the strength of the source. Many of my sources were family lore. These rank low on reliability. The death certificate my cousin sent me ranked higher.

Remember time is limited and costs money, so don’t bog the genealogist down with EVERYTHING you have. Focus on the items that a relevant to the question.  

3. Briefly jot down what you’ve done so far.

You may have tried research avenues that were fruitless in the past. You definitely don’t want to spend precious time in the consultation going back over those. Making a list of what you did, and the outcome clears the way for your consultation time to be spent on new strategies.

A Consultation with a Professional Genealogist

My consultation in this episode of Elevenses with Lisa is focused on Irish research. You will see us using many of the most valuable online resources available.

But if you don’t have Irish ancestors, I encourage you to listen carefully to the process. The questions she asks, and her approach to finding answers. You may be pleasantly surprised to hear some things that can translate to your research process.

Irish Genealogy Websites

Searching at ($)

They have:

  • Baptisms
  • Marriage
  • Burial / Death
  • Census
  • Gravestone Inscriptions
  • Griffith’s Valuation
  • Irish Ship Passenger Lists
  • Census Substitutes


  • Search by name and birth year (+/- 5 years)
  • Narrow by county
  • The records will list the parents.

Online Research Tip: Right-click on each results to open in a new tab.

More Strategies:

  • If no results, revise your search to go broader.
  • Look at sponsor names as well.
  • Use maps to see where places are located and their relationship to each other.

Griffith’s Valuation at Ask About Ireland


Click Griffith’s Valuation or go directly to

From the website: “The Primary Valuation was the first full-scale valuation of property in Ireland. It was overseen by Richard Griffith and published between 1847 and 1864. It is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources.”

The value of family stories

“These family stories always have some kernel of truth to them, even if they seem outlandish. There’s something that’s true. Her parents were wealthy, or he was a groom, even if it wasn’t this falling in love with a groom and running away and getting married.” – Kate Eakman

More Strategies

  1. Spend some time looking for children of the suspected parents (James Scully and Bridget Madigan)
  2. Children may have been baptized as “girl” or “infant.” Look for these while searching.

National Library of Ireland (NLI) Parish Registers

After finding the parents James Scully and Bridget Madigan, the next step was to look for parish registers at the National Library of Ireland.  Search parish registers by clicking on Family History Research > Visit Catholic Parish Records. They are not indexed by name. You have to know who you’re looking for and where. But if you have an idea of the parish, you can enter that. Choose Baptism and the year and month in known. 

If you are not sure about the name of the location, search for it at the NLI to see if their system recognizes it or suggests a slightly different spelling.

We then headed back to to look for marriage records.


Click Civil Records

From the website: “All civil marriage records from 1845 to 1944 are now available online to members of the public, along with the release online of birth register records for 1919 and death register records for 1969.  Over 15.5 million register records are now available to the public to view and research online on the website. The records now available online include:  Birth register records – 1864 to 1919; Marriage register records – 1845 to 1944 &  Death register records – 1878 to 1969.”

  • Kate likes to sort results by date.
  • First and last name won’t always be together in the results.

Searching for Records in North America

Kate and I dug for and discussed U.S. records that might lend more information that could help with the search in Ireland such as:

  • Marriage Records
  • Passenger Lists
  • Military Records
  • Documents relating to his work as a civil servant

Researching forward (known as Reverse Genealogy) could lead to collaboration with more cousins and the discover of letters or other helpful items.

Canadian Passenger Lists at the Library and Archives Canada

Action Items for My Irish Genealogy Research

My consultation with a professional genealogist specializing in Irish research left me newly found records and the confidence to continue exploring Irish records. I also had in hand a list of steps I could take to move forward:

  • Compile a list of all of James and Bridget Scully’s children.
  • Find birth, marriages and deaths for the children.
  • Look for siblings in America (start with Farmington, Wisconsin area)
  • Research the sponsors of the baptisms
  • Conduct a browsing search of the Parish Records for a baptism that lines up with Margaret Scully’s known birth.

More Irish Genealogy Websites

Irish Ancestors by John Grenham

Check this web site to confirm what’s available before you start searching more in Ireland. I searched for Kildysart and found it here!

Our Finds During this Genealogy Consultation

I was very satisfied with the progress we made in just 45 minutes!

  • A good candidate for James Scully in Griffith’s Valuation
  • James and Bridget Scully’s marriage record at Roots Ireland
  • James and Bridget Scully’s original marriage record at the National Library of Ireland
  • Baptisms for seven of the couple’s children.
  • A large gap where Margaret’s birth would have been.
  • We found Kildysart in county Clare. (I’m still not sure where that fits in by I now suspect the place is associated with Michael Lynch and not Margaret Scully.)

Postscript to My Consultation with a Professional Genealogist

I was so encouraged by our research session, that I combed back through the papers I had collected over decades in my Lynch binder. There I found a death date for Michael Lynch given to me by one of the distant cousins. The place of death was Stillwater, Minnesota.

A quick look at a map revealed that Stillwater, Minnesota was just 21 miles down and west across the Saint Croix River from East Farmington, Wisconsin.

On a hunch I did some digging and I discovered that Michael and Margaret were married at St Michael’s church in Stillwater, MN!

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Question Solved!

Book a 45-Minute Consultation with a Professional Genealogist

Thank you to Kate Eakman of Legacy Tree Genealogists for sharing her expertise and helping me make significant progress on my genealogical brick wall!

Legacy Tree Genealogists Consultation 45-minute

Click here to learn more about 45-minute genealogy consultations.

A 45-minute consultation with a professional genealogist is just $100. If you decide to book please go to
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Live Chat PDF– Click here to download the live Chat from episode. Includes answers to your questions about using the Adobe Spark Video app to make a video. 
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