Monday, March 28, 2016

Why Do You Do Genealogy?

Submitted by Margie STEIN Beldin, TCGS Education Chair:

When I returned home from having lunch with some friends today, I took the time to carefully read a message Renée Tomlinson Petersen had printed for us. The message was written in the early 1900s by Della M. Cummings Wright:


No sooner had I finished, when I looked at my emails and read Legacy News from Legacy Family Tree. Guest blogger Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy website asked "Why Do We Do Genealogy"? I had never really answered that question myself, but it did give me a reason to pause and think.

After reading Renée's handout and the above blog, can you answer why you do genealogy?

I like that the blog writer's reason for researching her family evolved from what she wanted as a beginning reasearcher to why she continues to research today. I think that may happen to a lot of us.

It's kind of like, we marry for love but over the years that love becomes a bond of security, comfort and contentment which wasn't really present at the beginning.

Doing genealogy makes me content. I don't find watching TV interesting but learning about my family and their life and times does make me pause and ponder. I imagine myself in their place. I have no family stories and just a couple of photos but when I read about someone who lived when my ancestor lived or who lived where my ancestor lived, I can envision my ancestor being there too and what his or her life might have been like.

So, why do you do genealogy?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photos Make it Real!

by TCGS Member, Connie Estep

It’s hard to imagine a time without photographs. On March 9th Rick Reil (rhymes with smile) beguiled the audience of the TriCity Genealogical Society for an hour in the world of photographs, using humorous examples and stories. He stressed the need to label our photos with people’s names, dates, and places now while we can remember this information, recommending we use a #2 pencil, not a pen.
1853 Ambrotype of Sally Slate's 

Photographs are a relatively recent invention and went through quite a few distinctive formats. Knowing some of this history can provide date ranges for photographs in the early formats. TCGS member Sally Slate attended the meeting bringing several examples. She is extremely knowledgeable about these formats. This photo of two boys in a gold framed oval, an ambrotype, shows her grandfather, Charles Warren Spaulding (age 10) and his brother in 1853. Check out the Photo Tree website link below for other examples.

Sally Slate showing Margaret
Dunn her daguerreotype locket 
Other things Rick used to help date photos include women’s clothing fashion (men’s didn’t change as much) and items in the photos. Vehicles especially are helpful but other things can also offer clues. Rick provided a handout with details on these clues including types of women’s fashions that covered the 1850s to the 1920s. His handout also described six different formats of photographs through the 1920s. A copy of his handout is available at the TCGS Meetings & Events website. The Richland Family History Center has several books on dating photos, including a very good one on fashions from 1850 through 1920s. See Resources below for details.

Rick Reil helping Art
Kelly with picture dating
At the conclusion of his talk Rick looked at undated photos brought by audience members. There was quite a line of people for this but he spoke with everyone individually, telling them the approximate date and pointing out the date clues in the photos, referring them to his handout.


  • article titled Identifying 19th Century Photography Types at
  • Wonderful World of Ladies Fashions 1850-1920s; edited by Joseph J. Shroeder, Jr., c. 1971 This is a terrific book with illustrations from period clothing catalogs and fashion magazines. Richland Family History Center catalog # BK57.609; other photo dating books are shelved with this one.
  • Meetings and Events calendar at the TriCity Genealogical Society website at

Monday, March 7, 2016

Susan Davis Faulkner to Purchase “History Magazine” Subscription

February’s Archived Document Contest only had two entries but they were packed with points to consider when researching. Susan Davis Faulkner submitted a copy of a birth register that she obtained from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Her great-grandmother was listed but without a first name and with a variant spelling of her surname. If Susan had relied strictly on one surname spelling she would have overlooked this important document.

Loren Schmid shared a wonderful success story that began with a DNA test. This test connected him with a researcher of two second cousins who had many documents to share. In return Loren shared a family reunion. The emphasis of Loren’s success came from collaborating with not only another researcher but also by reminiscing with living family members. He asked questions which validated the claims made by documents that were discovered.

Loren is the winner of the February contest, and he has won a subscription to History Magazine. History Magazine is a consumer magazine covering social history, in particular the day to day life of ordinary people. Loren probably has some interesting stories that he can submit to this magazine. Susan, on the other hand, plans on purchasing her subscription.

There is still time to enter the contest. March is the last month of this one-year Archived Document Contest. The winning entry for March will get a one year subscription to Fold3. Fold3 provides convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Once the winner for March’s contest is announced all winning entries will be entered into a final contest. There are two Grand Prizes. They are subscriptions to and Findmypast.

To enter the contest upload a copy of a document that you obtained in any method other than downloading from the Internet to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page. Include how you obtained the document and how it ties into your family history research. Entries can also be sent to Susan Davis Faulkner at