Saturday, March 15, 2014


Ancestry top of page

Researching is always fun to me because of the new records & information I run across all the time.

Today I opened Ancestry and there were those inevitable shaky leaves.  I’m not one who will look at each and every one of them, every time I open the website.  However, I do tend to take a “look” to see who they are highlighting.   This has proven valuable to me on many occasions.  

Today I saw a reference to one of my GILLEN clan, Sara Wilson Gillen.  I clicked on it and low and behold I found a record I had never seen before.  And, I don’t mean just a new record for this ancestor, but a new record I didn’t know existed.  Name of this record?


Have you seen this group of records before?  

Sure enough, there she is on lines 2, 3 & 4.

FRIEL_Sarah_appointment as postmaster_1934 & 1938_AshlandBoydKentucky

What can this record tell us?

- the obvious – she was working as a Postmaster
- it puts her in a place & time

Of course I entered this information as an Event/Fact in my Legacy database right away.  I included the image and entered this as a source.

What I did next…

I went right back to Ancestry and looked at what other records they might have for me for Sara Wilson Gillen Friel.

I found a 1942 Ashland, Kentucky city directory which lists her as the Postmaster.

1942-FRIEL_Sara G_postmaster_AshlandBoydKentucky

Now I will enter this city directory listing in Legacy as an Event/Fact, including the image.  And of course making sure I cite my source.

There is more on Sara Wilson Gillen Friel, and I intend to document all of it. Adding it to my Ancestry tree and my Legacy database.

I thought I would look in the Ancestry card catalog and see if I can find the U.S. Postmaster list there.  

NOTE:  I have found the card catalog to be quite evasive when it comes to giving me any results.  I’ve been using the Ancestry site now, almost daily, for over 10 years.  Sometimes what seems to me to be a certain keyword will bring up nothing.  

Example:  In the card catalog under keyword I typed in “postmasters.”  The first result I got was “no records found.”

Then I typed in the Title field “Appointment of U.S. Postmasters” and got the exact list that I have cited above in this post.  

Out of curiosity, I cleared all fields and then went back to the “keyword” field and typed in “postmasters” again.  This time the Appointment of U.S. Postmasters came right up.  I can’t figure it out.  My work around is that I just play with both the Title & Keyword fields until I get some kind of results that may be of use.

Let me know if you’ve found any new or unusual records lately.  We know there are thousands of records on various websites and we can only begin to know what a few of them are.  

Following Leads on Ancestry
Millennium File on Ancestry

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. I knew my great grandfather was a postmaster of South Point and I wrote to their National Archives and they wrote me back and sent me entire history of the location. It was first Green P O and Elisha Green was postmaster and then North Kenova and then South Point. I have a picture of him sitting on the 'front stoop". Carolyn H

    1. Carolyn,
      That's very nice. Is the place you speak of South Point, Ohio? I have many connections to southeastern Ohio and do a lot of research in the Lawrence County area. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Thank you for telling us about this database. I knew my great, great grandfather had been postmaster of Wells, Benton Co. Oregon. My grandmother told stories about running to his store (where the post office was located) after school when she was a child. After looking up this record this evening, I discovered that three other individuals in my extended tree were listed on the same page. Love it!

    1. Tonya,
      Thanks for bringing a smile to my day. What I love about genealogists is that we enjoy helping one another. So glad you found my post helpful.
      Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll come back often,


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.