Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Almost  all of us have genealogy software that we use to manage our research and our family tree.  Some researchers use only an online family tree.  What do you use?

2)  For this week’s SNGF, tell us how many “trees” (or “bushes)” you have in your genealogy management program database.  How did you figure it out?  Also, where do you have online trees?

My first genealogy software program was PAF (Personal Ancestral File). I migrated from PAF to The Master Genealogist (TMG) because of TMG’s ability to document sources. When TMG was no longer supported, I experimented with several programs before choosing RootsMagic.

I am currently using RootsMagic 7. In RM7, I can count how many trees I have in my file by pulling down the TOOLS menu and selecting COUNT TREES.

Before revealing how many trees I have in my file, I need to issue a disclaimer. I tend to research FAN (friends, associates and neighbors) clubs. I have also tended to research people of the same name that might be the same person. I treat my RM7 file as a database — a place to store information. Thus, I am sure that I have lots of trees in my file.

So, how many ‘trees’ do I have in my database? Let’s just say I have a lot! Could some of them connect to other trees in my database? That is highly likely. At some point, I probably need to do some investigating to see if I can merge individuals and thus merge one tree into another.

For example, I have data on several different James Crawford families from early Kentucky. I also have data on some of the descendants of Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford. In both cases, the data is in my file so that I can separate out the various Crawford families. The same is true for other lines. For example, I have information on the family of Col. James Curry of Ohio because I think he might connect to my ancestor, Hiram Currey.

I used RootsMagic’s TreeShare feature to upload my file to Ancestry. When I did the initial upload, I excluded living people, but uploaded everyone else. Thus, all of those different trees were uploaded to Ancestry and are considered ‘floating’ trees.

I also have my data on MyHeritage, FamilyTree DNA and GedMatch. For those trees, I created a gedcom file and uploaded that file. My tree on MyHeritage contains the Crawford/McPheeters data while my tree on FamilyTreeDNA does not. My tree on FamilyTreeDNA only contains my ancestors. However, my GedCom file on GedMatch contains my ancestors and the descendants I had at the time I uploaded the file.

Currently, RootsMagic offers the ability to have a free website containing my RootsMagic data. Thus, I have my file (excluding living) online using this resource.

Another location where I share data from my tree(s), is FamilySearch. I utilize RootsMagic’s ability to connect to individuals on the FamilySearch tree. I am slowly working on adding sourcing and pictures that are in my collection to the FamilySearch tree. In 2017, I submitted my data to FamilySearch Genealogies. The file is named Heartland_Genealogy_2017 and was submitted under the name Marcia Philbrick.

Another place that I have information about my ancestors is this blog site. I often create posts that transcribe documents in my collection. Other posts are created using RootsMagic’s ability to produce a narrative report complete with citations. Although not an actual tree, my blog contains lots of information about the people in my RootsMagic file – including people that don’t connect to my ancestral tree.

Even though I have data online, the most current copy of my work is my RootsMagic file.

I realize that there are other sites where I could have a tree. However, I am concentrating on Ancestry, FamilySearch and sites where I have DNA data.



Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Sunday is Mother’s Day in the USA, and usually a time for memories and gratitude to our special birth person.

2)  For this week’s SNGF, tell us some things about your mother that are special and memorable  to you.

This post is a hard one, particularly since I’ve never thought about this before. However, looking back I can describe some special memories.

One of those special memories is of mom playing the piano. She didn’t play often, likely because she didn’t have time to sit down at the piano. Mom had the ability to play the melody with the right hand and just play chords with her right hand. Thus, she could pick up a piece of music and play it beautifully. Christmastime usually included some evening where mom would sit down and play various hymns and carols.

Christmas brings another special ‘mom’ memory. For many years, mom would spend evenings in December making candy. I remember her making fudge, divinity, nougat, peanut brittle, pralines, stuffed dates and caramel pecan roll. This candy was then packaged as gifts. Some would be sent to the homes of her siblings while other packages were shared with neighbors and likely co-workers.

Another special memory is how mom and dad opened their home to my cousin. My cousin’s father was working in Nigeria. While the family had been living in Nigeria, my cousin had reached the age where she had to either go to a boarding school or return to the United States to attend school. My cousin lived with us for a couple of years. My parents weathered the storms of two teenage girls used to being the only girl now thrown into having to share their ‘space’. Even after my cousin’s family was reunited when her parents moved back to Kansas, mom and dad stayed close to her, celebrating her life achievements.

Besides helping me learn to cook, mom was insistent that I acquire two other skills: Typing and sewing. Even though I had taken typing as a 9th grader, mom felt like I needed to improve my skills. Thus, I took a typing class during the summer while in high school. Like the typing issue, mom wanted me to improve my sewing schools. Thus, we took an evening class in tailoring together. Although I don’t sew my own clothes any more, I still use those typing skills — every day!

So how about you? What are some of your ‘mom’ memories?

DNA Matches


Calling all Genea-Musings Fans:  It’s Saturday Night again – 
Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):
1)  Have you done an autosomal DNA test?  If so, which testing company/ies?  

2)  Of your Top 10 DNA matches on any site, how many are a known relative, and are they in your family tree?  No names…but give a known relationship if possible.

I tested with Ancestry and transferred my DNA to GedMatch, MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA. Besides my data, I also manage DNA tests for my mother and my two brothers on Ancestry.

On Ancestry, my test have lots of matches. I have so many matches that it takes forever for the page to completely load. Since Ancestry won’t tell me how many matches I have until the page loads, I don’t have readily available DNA stats. I did take the time to figure this out a couple of weeks ago. Below are those stats.

All Matches113,91276,610118,126128,403
Close Matches3,8612,8534,0834840
Distant Matches110,05173,757114,043123563

Below are the top ten matches (excluding immediate family members) for the four tests that I manage on Ancestry. Note that I am MC in the below table and all relationships are to me. RC is my mother.

Ancestry top matches

Even though I have my DNA on other sites, I have to confess that I haven’t spent a lot of time figuring out the relationships. Of the first page of my matches on MyHeritage, only one is a close relationship, a second cousin. The rest of the matches are distant cousins. Unfortunately, many of those matches either have a very small tree or no tree. Since these are distant cousins, I haven’t taken the time to contact them to begin figuring out our relationship.

MyHeritage Top Matches

Some of my known cousins have transferred their DNA to GedMatch. However, many of my closer matches are not in my tree. Again, the lack of a tree (gedcom) file makes it more difficult for me to figure out the relationship.

This exercise has shown that I have work to do. However, I plan to continue expanding my tree by researching descendants versus trying to figure out how I’m related to all of these matches whose tree is either too small for me to recognize a connection or missing entirely.

Smith Mystery


Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  We all have “elusive ancestors” that we cannot find a name for, or one that absolutely eludes us, but we know some details about their spouse and/or children.

2)  Tell us about one of them – how are you related?  What do you know about them? Where did they live? etc.

I’ve written a lot about my Crawford brick wall along with several other challenging lines. However, I don’t believe I written much about my SMITH brick lines.

I have at least three Smith lines in my tree:

  • Martha Smith (1815-1871) wife of Nelson G. Crawford
  • Martha’s mother-in-law, Sarah “Sallie” Smith (1770-1856)
  • Possibly Mary Ann Smith (abt 1762 – after 1830), wife of John Ricketts — IF my RICKETTS lineage is correct

I think I know the given name of Martha’s mother — but that is strictly based on a memory. I’ve had the privilege of visiting the West Lebanon cemetery in Warren County, Indiana at least twice and probably three times. On the first or second trip, I remember standing in front of Nelson and Martha Crawford’s stone. When I turned around, there was a stone for Hannah Smith across the isle from Nelson and Martha. On our most recent trip to that cemetery, the stone for Hannah Smith was missing. Since there was a stack of stones against a tree, it looked like some visitors had knocked over quite a few stones. I even managed to capture those visitors on ‘film’. (Note the two deer near the tree with stones stacked at its base.)

After that last trip, I wanted to verify that I hadn’t imagined Hannah Smith’s stone. Thus, I dug out my copy of Warren County, Indiana Cemetery Inscriptions, Volume II by Rosella Jenkins to see if Hannah Smith’s stone was listed. I found her on page 87, the same page as Nelson and Martha Crawford. Since the West Lebanon Cemetery starts on page 80 with page 84 indicating that the following pages are ‘near Stack No. 3 and Stack No. 2’, the Hannah Smith stone on page 87 would be in in the section near Stack No. 3 and Stack No. 2.

Since my first trip to this cemetery was before the standards for taking pictures of tombstones changed, my photo of the stone was created using a procedure taught by many genealogy societies at the time: shaving cream. Since I don’t want to encourage anyone to use this method, I don’t usually share pictures obtained during that time period. However, my picture of the missing stone may be one of the few that exist.

I haven’t actively tried to research Hannah for a long time. Besides the information from her tombstone, her daughter, Martha’s marriage in 1833 may place Hannah in Warren County at that time. The work of Warren County historian, Walter Salts, may contain helpful information. Researching his files will require a trip to Danville, Illinois.

Even though I haven’t been able to find any evidence to support my belief of a relationship between Hannah Smith and Martha Crawford, I have learned some lessons from this research.

  • Books are still needed. With the stone now missing, the book is one of the few records that it ever existed.
  • Standards can change. Thus, I must stay connected with other genealogists and genealogical societies so that I will be aware of those changes.
  • Not everything is on the Internet. The research records collected by previous genealogists may hold the answer. These are often found in archives and local historical or genealogical societies



Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Think about your genealogy career – have you taken a “genealogy or family history vacation?” 

2)  Tell us about one (or more) of them – where did you go, what research did you do, did you meet family members, etc. 

I don’t think it is a ‘genealogy vacation’ if you only drive 75 miles and don’t stay overnight? However, it is a genealogy road trip.

When I started my genealogical research, I had to travel about 75 miles to do any sort of research. Those road trips included visits to libraries, archives, cemeteries and courthouses. Instead of writing about one or many of those trips I’m going to write about the trips that didn’t happen in 2020.

In April 2020, we had a trip planned to the St. Louis Public Library to use the National Genealogical Society Book Loan collection housed there. On the way home, we were going to slightly detour to visit the Daniel Boone Home National Historic Site.

Then, sometime in the summer, a trip to Kentucky was being planned to research my Crawford family. The itinerary had not been established but visits to the Fort Boonesborough State Park, historical societies in Madison, Garrard and Lincoln counties and the Eastern Kentucky University archives were on the to-do list. Other potential destinations included The Filson Historical Society and the SAR Genealogical Research Library in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky.

In the fall, a trip to Akron, Ohio was being discussed. My husband’s Philbrick research would have dictated the destinations for this trip. A slight detour to the Ohio Genealogical Society library would likely have been included. Of course, I could easily have added stops along the way in Danville, Illinois, Warren County, Indiana and Preble County, Ohio.

Thanks to COVID restrictions, all of those trips have been put on hold.

Plans for this summer will likely be closer to home. In the meantime, I just need to learn to dig deeper to find digital resources and re-learn the art of the SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).

First Born


Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Lorine McGinnis Schulze, in her blog post “Who Was Your First Canadian or American Born Ancestor?” asked that question.2)  Let’s broaden it a bit to “Who was your first ancestor born in your chosen county, state, province, or country?” based on your known ancestry.

To tackle this task, I elected to put my computer to work to pull the data for me. For this task, I used my genealogy software program, RootsMagic, and Excel.

In RootsMagic, I

  • created a group of my ancestors going back 10 generations
  • created a custom report with the name, birth date and birth place
  • ran the custom report for my marked group of ancestors
  • saved the report as a text file

In Excel, I

  • opened the text file and indicated that a comma was a delimeter (to separate the columns)
  • manually inserted cells where needed to get the states to line up in one column
  • inserted a column for the year of birth
  • used a formula to pull the year from the birth date (right 4 characters)
  • sorted the data by state and year
  • copy / pasted the ancestor with the earliest birthdate for each state into a new spreadsheet
  • took a screen shot of that spreadsheet
  • inserted the screenshot into this post

Favorite Music

 It’s Saturday Night again – 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1) What is your all-time favorite song? Yep, number 1. It’s hard to choose sometimes. If you made your favorite all-time Top 40 music selections, what would be #1?

What is my all-time favorite song? I’m expected to pick ONE song? I have over 8,000 files in my iTunes folder and I’m supposed to pick just one. That is a nearly impossible task. I can name what at one time was my husband’s favorite artist, Cat Stevens, and my sister-in-laws still favorite artist, John Denver.

Over the years, I’ve listened to a variety of music. During my high school and college years, I listened to mostly folk and soft rock with a little rock added to the mix during college. After moving to Seneca, my tastes in music switched to country. This might be due to the fact that our regional radio stations play country. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Christian worship music.

Below is a chronology of some of my favorite songs:

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond

Colour My World by Chicago

America by Neil Diamond

Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

The above songs are all from my teen and young adult years. When I scrolled thru my collection of country songs, none of them stood out as a song that I played over and over. Many of the songs in my collection are from the 1980s and 1990s.

My recent favorites are all worship related songs. The song ‘10,000 Reasons‘ by Matt Redmon is probably my most played song since it is what I use for an alarm on my phone.

During the past year of the lockdown, I’ve found a new favorite group: The COR Worship Collective. This group of worship leaders from the Church of the Resurrection headquartered in Leawood, Kansas has been writing a lot of new music. Much of that music has been shared on their YouTube channel.

So, I don’t really have an all-time favorite song – or even an all-time favorite style of music.

Shout Out

Today, I’d like to take time to thank others.

The first group that I’d like to thank is a group of faithful readers and promoters of my blog. Even though some of my posts are geared toward the genealogy community, my blog posts are often written to share my family research with other family members. Thanks to some very faithful readers in the genealogy community, I have been challenged to continue writing.

Thank you very much for your comments and support!

I would also like to thank a couple of people for providing writing prompts each week. I don’t always get a post written for their prompts — but their prompts make me think about my research in a different way.

I would also like to thank the vast world of genealogy bloggers. I use Feedly to follow about 200 bloggers. With Feedly, I can see a small synopsis of the post and click thru to read the entire post. All of these bloggers help me learn more about research methods and sources.


Wedding Photos

Fearless Females – Marriage

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1) Check out Lisa Alzo’s “Fearless Females 2021” blog post prompts and write about one of them.

“Do I have marriage records for my grandparents and great-grandparents?”

Grandparents: Leon Russel Crawford and Winnie Letha Currey were married on Christmas Eve in 1919 at the home of her sister in Dodge City, Kansas.

Grandparents: Edward Osmond Briles and Pauline Edith Mentzer were married on Oct. 29, 1915 in Yates Center, Kansas

Great Grandparents: Judson Foster Crawford married Josie Winifred Hammond on Christmas Eve 1890 in Dodge City, Kansas. (Photo is from their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.)

Great Grandparents: Hiram Miles Currey married Winnie Mae Hutchinson on May 13, 1891 in Jackson County, Missouri. I do not have a wedding picture for them or a picture of them together.

Great Grandparents: Edward Grant Briles married Frances Artlissa Ricketts on Feb. 19 1890 in Woodson County, Kansas. (Not sure when photo was taken, but it may have been for their 50th wedding anniversary.)

Great Grandparents: Charles Oliver Mentzer married Nettie Adell Wells on Oct 18, 1893 in Yates Center, Woodson County, Kansas. (Photo taken later in their lives, but am unsure of date.)

RootsTech Connect 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1) Did you attend the free and virtual RootsTech Connect 2021 this week? What was your favorite moment, experience, session, and/or feature?

Well, let’s say I tried to attend RootsTech 2021. That is before I had a Thursday afternoon appointment and ended up under the weather on Friday.

In my limited viewing, I

  • created my playlist of sessions to watch.
  • checked out many of the exhibitors in the Expo Hall Wednesday evening.
  • watched the Main Stage opening session on Thursday morning.
  • left the Main Stage to watch a presentation by the Library of Virginia.
  • forgot that the sessions were on YouTube and finally realized that I was watching older genealogy presentations when YouTube just kept going after the Library of Virginia presentation.
  • watched several of the FamilySearch sessions on Saturday.

But, my favorite moment has to be using Relatives at RootsTech. Yes, the concept of 88,907 relatives is beyond comprehension. But the app of my phone took about the top 300 of those and sorted them by common ancestor! Using that feature, I now have a spreadsheet of those contacts with their user name, relationship, and the common ancestors. On Wednesday, I sent a message to quite a few of those ancestors. Since my list has changed from Wednesday, I could make more connections.

So, why is this my favorite part?

One of those relatives is the great grandson of my great aunt. I haven’t heard back from him yet — but I’m going to keep trying to make a connection. Hoping that he is active on FamilySearch, I uploaded the pictures that I have of his great-grandmother to the tree.

Another of the relatives is a descendant of my 3rd great grandfather, Ozias Wells. When I got a response from this relative, I went digging in my files to locate the photocopy of the Wells family Bible. Even though most of the Wells family, including her branch, stayed in Michigan, the Bible found its way to Kansas. I’ve also uploaded this resource to the tree.

But the best part was seeing all of my 5th cousin descendants of my brick wall ancestor, James Crawford.

So, I have a full to-do list: watch all of the sessions on my playlist and work on connecting with these cousins!

Thank you RootsTech for this opportunity!