Friday, May 30, 2014


Death & Civil War picture

May is a month where we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our rights and freedom.

I wanted to share the information about this documentary with you.  I just watched it this morning, as I had recorded it several days ago.  Here is a link to the site:

The American Experience - Death and the Civil War

This was such an interesting study of how we came to have National Cemeteries in America.  So many of our citizens died on our own soil during this epic struggle that there was chaos over what to do with all the bodies. 
  • How do you identify the dead?  There were no dog tags on soldiers back then.
  • Do you return them home?
  • How do you notify the loved ones?
  • What about all those men who cannot be identified?  Where do you bury them?
  • Do you just have bodies buried where they lie with no identifier?
  • If so, then you have bodies in fields, backyards, alongside roads etc.
These were just some of the questions raised during this long and bloody battle.

How many soldiers did we lose in the Civil War?

Here is a comparison chart I found online with numbers from all the wars since our country began.  None of these numbers are 100% exact as new casualties are always being discovered.  However, you’ll notice that there were approximately 620,000 deaths during the Civil War.  And, all the other wars combined total approximately 644,000.  So, almost as many during the one conflict as all the others combined.

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

Civil war dead
Our first National cemeteries were established in 1862, as a direct result of the deaths during the Civil War.  Here is a link to a site that gives the dates of the establishment & first burial of all our National cemeteries.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs - National Cemetery Administration

Here is the first page from that website.

Natl Cemeteries
My husband has many family members who are buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery here in San Diego, California.  Among them are his Mom, Dad, Uncles, Aunt and Cousin.

Here are some photos, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

We’ve gone from this:


To this:



And finally, to this:


Do you have family members buried in our National cemeteries?  I can’t imagine that there is anyone reading this who doesn’t. 

Watching this documentary was very educational for me.  Thanks again to PBS for their wonderful programming.

And, no words can thank any of our military men and women and their families enough for their service and sacrifices. 

Cemetery Records - What can they tell you?  How do you use them?
Surprise - A Birth Record Where it Wasn't Supposed to Be

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, May 24, 2014


View of the back of the Aboyne Parish church.  Isn't this a lovely place?

I said I would let you know how it went with my first submission of a spreadsheet to FindAGrave.

I went GREAT!  Their website said it could take a week for them to post the entries.  I’m figuring, if I hear back within a couple of weeks, I’d be happy.


Talk about good turn-around time.  I checked my submissions by going to the FindAGrave website.  Every memorial was on the site.

However, I learned something about the marker transcriptions I submitted.  There were many headstones that had multiple names on them.  Such as this one.

                                         (Click on this image to enlarge it)

When I entered the information on the spreadsheet on each individual name, I did not enter the entire headstone transcription.  As a result, for Elizabeth Smith (see her on the headstone above), her marker inscription read “Also his wife Elizabeth Smith died 28th Jan. 1938 aged 78 years.”

This did not read well, in my opinion, as it was a partial transcription.  Even though it referred specifically to her.  I went onto each individual memorial that I had submitted and made sure the entire headstone transcription was on each memorial.  It took me about 15 minutes to accomplish this and now I’m satisfied.  

I have no doubt that when you have more than 25 entries to add to a cemetery on FindAGrave, that using the spreadsheet submission is the quicker and more efficient way of doing so.  You can always go back later and double check your work and make any adjustments, as I have done.  I suspect that anyone making entries of 25 or more is doing so for mostly non-family members, as they photograph or transcribe a particular cemetery.  That being the case we would not have a lot of biographical text to enter.

So, that was my experience.  I have another 50 or so people to add to the Aboyne Kirkyard Cemetery on the FindAGrave site.  I’ll work on that tomorrow, using the spreadsheet.  Then once they are all on the site, I will add the headstone photos.  This is a form of “giving back” that I am really enjoying.  I have had a great number of FindAGrave volunteers take photos for me through the years, and I cannot thank them enough.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, May 23, 2014


I just submitted my very first spreadsheet to FindAGrave.  I have been a member for 7 years, 11 months and 23 days.  I have added 296 memorials and I manage 384 memorials.  

When I go to any cemetery to look for my own ancestors, I always try to check the FindAGrave site to see how well documented that cemetery is.  While I am photographing headstones for my own family, I also take additional photos of headstones nearby, if they are not on the FindAGrave site.

Many of the cemeteries I have visited are well documented.  However, during our trip to Scotland earlier this month, we visited a cemetery that I knew was not well documented.  I took pictures of over 50 headstones.  Only one of the headstones I photographed is a verfied family member.  However, there were many other headstones with the same surnames as my ancestors.  

Why not take the pictures and add them to the FindAGrave site?  That way family members can locate them.  And, I may later find out that those people are part of my own family.

So, that is exactly what I did.  I have always added memorials one at a time.  Since there are so many, I decided to try the spreadsheet submission method.  I downloaded the Excel template and followed the instructions.  
Here is a link to the spreadsheet:

(Click on this image to enlarge it)
Here is the spreadsheet from FindAGrave
Their spreadsheet was easy to use.  I saved my own blank copy of it for future use.

I've submitted the spreadsheet and will await their email to see the results.  They say I should receive the email within about a week.  

I have more names to submit, but I want to see if this spreadsheet method works correctly before I submit the rest of them.   

I'll let you know if my additions were successful.  If you have submitted spreadsheets to the FindAGrave site I'd love to hear how it went.  Did everything you had on the spreadsheet come out correctly?  Were there any problems?


Adding Sibling Links to FindAGrave
Michigan Death Records - Where can you find them?
Evernote - A useful tool to help you organize your research and everything else

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, May 22, 2014


We have been back from our trip over to Scotland for about two weeks.  I think I’ve finally caught up with laundry, snail mail, email, appointments and sleep.  

It was a fantastic trip.  Being in a place that I have read about and heard about for most of my life, was truly amazing.  

We flew into Glasgow, rented a car and drove over to Dundee.  From there we drove up to Aberdeen and then down to Edinburgh.  Getting used to driving on the “other” side of the road from the other side of the car was not easy for my husband.  And being his passenger…..well, it had it’s moments.  He did very well though, even on the very narrow city streets.  The roundabouts are very useful and better than all the stoplights we have in our cities in the U.S.  

I have ancestors from both Dundee and Aberdeen.  Also Perth, Arbroath, Aboyne and several other locations.   

On my paternal side there are LINDSAY, WALLACE, FITZCHARLES & McGOVERN.  

On my maternal side there are MILNE, RITCHIE & LESLIE.

Those are the direct lines. 

I prepared for this trip by doing as much research as I could before we left.  Knowing that no matter how much I did, or how thorough I thought I was being, I would wish I had done more.

I have taken several other trips that were either dedicated to genealogy research or included some research, so I had an idea of how to prepare.

  • Located as much information about the families who lived in Scotland as I could.
  • Found vital records (birth, marriage, death etc.) prior to going on the trip.  I used the website Scotland’s People to gather much of this information. This site has actual images of the records.  You can find transcriptions on, but not the actual images.
 NOTE:  Scotland’s People is a subscription site.  You pay for credits, that are good for one year.  They start at 30 credits for 7 pounds ($11.90 U.S.) and go up to 300 credits for 70 pounds ($119 U.S.).  I have been using this site for many years.  To learn more about how the credits are used, please visit the site.
  • Located census records from Scotland for the periods that they have released, which are 1841-1911.  Again you can find the images on Scotland’s People, but only transcriptions on Ancestry. 
  • Entered all the information including images into my genealogy database.  I use Legacy.
  • Created a list of all people who had any connection to Scotland.  This was easy with the genealogy software we have available these days. 
  • Created a list of names and the addresses where they lived.  This way you can Google the address (or use whatever map program you prefer) before you leave and see if the street or building is still in existence.  Whether or not you found the street on your map program you can still look for it once you arrive.
  • Make sure you have a list of any other locations pertinent to your ancestors such as: Cemeteries, places of business, churches etc.
  • If you plan to visit any libraries, courthouses, archives, historical societies or churches be aware of the days and hours they are open. You'll soon see how important this is.
  • Contact the places you may be visiting to see if they have volunteers who can do any preliminary look ups for you.  There may be a small charge, but as you’ll see later in this post, it can make a big difference.
  • Have some way to access your database while you are on your trip.  Whether you carry your laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, just have something.  You could even have printed group sheets.  I carried my iPad with me which has the Families app containing my current Legacy family file, including images, sources & events.
All in all I was as well prepared as I thought I could be.

When we were planning our trip, we set up our itinerary for each location.  We knew we’d only have a short time in each place.  We made all our reservations at the B & B’s and had everything planned out as to what we would do each day.  

I knew we would be in Aberdeen on Sunday and Monday.  I knew the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society would be closed on Sunday.  I’ve been a member of this society for about 5 years and know they have many records available that I wanted to see.  I planned to spend about 4 hrs. there on Monday morning.

NOTE:  I was traveling with my husband.  This was a vacation for us, not a genealogy trip.  He knew I would be wanting to go to cemeteries and historical societies, of course.  But, spending the whole day doing that wasn’t fair to him.  He’s not the genealogist, I am.  Whatever time I can get, I will take.

MY MISTAKE:  Not realizing that Monday, May 5th was a local public holiday.  Therefore, the Aberdeen Family History Society was CLOSED.

Should I have known this?  YES!  Could I have known this? YES!  Was I disappointed? BEYOND YES!  Could I have kicked myself?  A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!!

How I did I deal with it?  I was thankful that I had sent emails back & forth to one of the volunteers at the society.  She had been able to provide me with birth records and a burial record before my trip.  The cost of those look ups was 10 pounds. Well worth it, wouldn’t you say?

I took a nice picture of the front of the building and spent about 10 minutes being angry with myself.  Life is too short to spend time on things that cannot be changed.  I moved on.    

Here it is.  My picture of the Aberdeen Family History Society office. 

Off we went to Aboyne to see if we could locate the headstones of my 2nd great grandparents, Charles Milne & Margaret Ritchie.

It was a lovely drive, through the countryside, to Aboyne from Aberdeen.    I even got to drive the car for a while.  I wanted to experience driving on the “other” side of the road. 
The weather was typical for Scotland.  A bit drizzly and chilly, but not bad.  Our GPS in the car led us right to where we wanted to go.  

Once we got to Aboyne we stopped and asked where the Aboyne Kirkyard was and were told it was just around the corner.  

We arrived and saw this beautiful old stone church with a cemetery on the church property.  Well maintained and not too terribly big, which should make hunting for headstones much easier.  The parishioners were arriving for church and were very friendly.


You can’t see the whole church yard in that photo.  It goes back quite a ways.

My husband is very sweet and always assists me when we get to cemeteries to begin the hunt.  I give him the surnames and he hollers when he finds one.  We spent about 30 minutes walking every foot of this cemetery and looking at every headstone.  There is a book of transcriptions for this cemetery and it does have my 2nd great grandparents as being buried here.  There is a note on the transcription, however, that says the stone is partially buried.  

TIP:  Having seen that note about the stone being partially buried I was looking for a flat stone.  There weren’t many of those at this cemetery, but there were some.  Never make assumptions, as I did.  This stone was NOT flat.

When we were just about to give up and I had walked this cemetery over and over, I looked down at the bottom of this small cross shaped headstone.  What did I see?
MARGARET RITCHIE!  I went over and took a closer look and there was another name on that headstone – CHARLES MILNE!  I did my genealogy happy dance and yelled out to my husband “I found it!”

There it was, nearly obliterated by years of weather, but I had found them.


What a happy moment.  Those names are written in our family bible.  For a long time it was as far back on this Milne line as I could get.  

I took pictures of other Milne’s & Ritchie’s buried at this cemetery, in case I can later connect them.  I also snapped a few additional headstone photos of other surnames, as I had checked on FindAGrave and noted that there were very few memorials listed for this cemetery.  Now I can add to it.

This post is already too long and I apologize for that.  But, I had a lot to say and hope you enjoyed reading it.

You can find the memorials for Charles & Margaret on FindAGrave #129545950 and #129546301.




Happy Hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Monday, May 19, 2014


This topic comes from a recent post on one of the Facebook pages I belong to and from a question my brother just asked me.

How do you scan multiple pictures at once and then save them as separate file names?
This is something that is very handy when you are scanning lots of pictures.  Doing them one at a time is too time consuming.  

I know that photo programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Picasa and others can accomplish this task.  But, it’s very handy to be able to do it while you are using your scanning device.

I am going to talk about HP products because that is what I’ve used for the past 10 years. 
My current all-in-one is an HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus.  I just bought it last summer.  The “plus” means it has a legal size scanning area, which is very convenient.  My previous HP all-in-one only had a letter size scanning area.  

Here is a picture of it and the current price, along with the link to their page.

(I get no remuneration from HP, I just want to share information with you)

HP Website link

HP scanner pic

My previous HP all-in-one had a completely different software layout than this 8600 does.  The software that came with my previous HP all-in-one would know when I had multiple pictures on the scanning surface.  When the image came up on the screen all of the individual photos were separated.  This feature is missing from the 8600 software.  There has been much discussion about this on HP forums.  I hope that HP listens to it's customers and adds that feature back into the software.  

When I got this new one last summer, I was disappointed that the scanner didn't separate my photos.  I had to play around and explore all the different icons until I figured this out.  I won't be returning this all-in-one, as I've had it nearly a year.  However, I will pay attention when I purchase my next one, and make sure it has all the features that I need.  This work-around is fine for me right now.  Once you've worked with it a time or two it goes very quickly.

Here is a step by step process of how I scan multiple photos at once.

1.  Select your scanner

2.  This is the screen that appears when I have opened my scanner.

Scan 1

3.  I click on the scan icon.  The scanner then brings up this screen. 

I have added the red circle & letter A to use as an example further down the page.

scan with circle A

You can see that I have scanned 5 photos and they are all shown together inside the dotted lines in the middle of the screen.  With a preview on the far left.  The question is….”How do you make separate images so they can be saved under different names?”
4.  Click on the icon circled as A above.  This will duplicate your scan in the preview area over on the left hand side as show in this image.

scan 3

5.  The dotted outline of the area in the center of the screen indicates what shows up in the preview on the left.  Now, MOVE the dotted area around one of the photos.  Then click on the A again.  A preview of your original scan will show up on the left under the image you have just cropped.

Scan_after first crop

I have now MOVED the dotted area a second time.  This has resulted in another image being cropped from the original scan and added to the preview on the left.

scan after 2nd move

6.  Keep moving the dotted area and click on A after each move until you have all photos in the preview screen on the left. When you have the final photo in your preview screen STOP! DO NOT CLICK ON THE A AGAIN.

7.  Click on SAVE at the bottom right corner of the screen.  You should then be taken to the “Save As” screen which will ask you where you want to put the pictures.  I just saved them to the specific folder I have for images for my blog.

GOULD blog pics

8.  Once I click on Save, the program then takes me to my default photo viewer, which for me is Microsoft Office 2010, and allows me to name each one separately.  

Here is how the individual shots show up on the screen.  Now I can name this image by using my file menu, save as and I’m done.  The image is saved under the proper surname folder or wherever you choose to put it.

scan one pic on screen

I hope this is helpful to any of you who have an HP 8600 all-in-one, or other models that may be missing this feature. 

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, May 15, 2014


SD Fire
Images like this are very difficult to watch.  As of today no lives have been lost.  But, when a home goes up in flames it is devastating.

As I sit here for the past two days, watching 9 fires burn in my home county, San Diego, it has brought some thoughts to my mind.

I see a lot of discussion on the several Facebook groups which I follow, regarding paper vs. digital files.  These are the comments I read all the time.
  • “I’m keeping all my paper files because I don’t trust computers.”
  • “I like to hold a piece of paper in my hand as I’m doing my research.”
  • “I feel more comfortable using pen & paper to make notes.”
  • “I prefer having paper copies of all my family group sheets.”
  • “I print out every census record and other document I find online.”
  • “You never know when or if those records will still be online when you need them.”
Sound familiar?

Who among us hasn’t thought those same thoughts at least once?  I’m not here to ridicule those who like their paper files.  Not at all.  BUT, I want to say to those people......

PLEASE, make digital copies of your files and keep them on several different medias. Or at the very least make paper copies of everything you have and store them at another location.

Most of us live in areas where we are subject to one kind of natural disaster or another.  Be it floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires or something else.  When the time comes to leave your home in a hurry it is much easier to grab your computer, back up hard drive, laptop, flash drives, CD’s etc. than to try to decide which paper files you can take.  

Having been in the local fires in San Diego County in 2003 and 2007, we have had to evacuate.  We lost part of our barn and nearly our home in 2003.  There was no way I could fit all the plastic tubs of scrapbooks, photos, family files etc. in the space we had in our truck and car.  Let alone grabbing financial records, the fire safe, any photos hanging on the walls, or other precious keepsakes.   I had to make some very tough decisions.  Thankfully, our home was spared.

Here are a couple of links to the Cedar Fire, which was in 2003 and the worst one for us.
Cedar Fire - Worst in CA history

I do keep the originals of vital records I’ve sent for and other documents I’ve obtained at various courthouses or libraries.  They are kept in binders. However, they’ve all been scanned or photographed and saved digitally.  I have 3 small archival plastic bins with family photos (again all have been scanned).  Yes, this is truly all of my paper files and two of these pictures are of my genealogy books.

Here are photos of those items.  These are the extent of my paper files.  Several of those binders in the photos will be cleaned out and combined this year.  One of my many projects.  

(Click on any image to enlarge it)
Pic 1    Binders 2   Books 1
Books on my shelf   photo bins in closet

We all work so very long and hard, over many years, on our research.  

Don’t lose it all.  

Here is a great Facebook page that is all about “getting organized.”  THE ORGANIZED GENEALOGIST.  And another great page that is all about technology for genealogists.  TECHNOLOGY FOR GENEALOGY.

We all learn from one another and genealogists just love to share their failures and their successes.  Those two Facebook pages I mentioned has all of that and more. 
Here is my system for saving my digital files.
  • Primary computer is a desktop PC with a very large hard drive.
  • I also have a Toshiba laptop to which I copy all of my files via flash drive or Dropbox.  This serves as a partial backup of my desktop computer.  I don’t transfer photos to the laptop due to space considerations.
  • I have two Passport external hard drives that I backup to.  They measure 5" x 3" and can literally fit in your pocket.
passport drives
  • I save my Legacy database files to Dropbox in addition to the other places I’ve mentioned.
  • I also save my Legacy database files to a couple of flash drives.  Although flash drives are, in my opinion, the least reliable.
Are all of those devices likely to fail at the same time? NO!

Please let me know your thoughts on this subject. Or share your experiences if you’ve had to evacuate or, heaven forbid, lost your research.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Saturday, May 10, 2014


State genealogy website map

This interesting bit of information was shared today on the Facebook site for and I wanted to share it with you.

I was not aware of this until I saw this post.  Every state in the U.S. has a website that shows the various records available for that state and where to locate them.  The information is broken into counties on each state page.  Or you can click on the different types of records listed in the left column.

So for Michigan you would go to and be able to scroll to the county you are looking for. 

(Click on this image to enlarge it)
Michigan genealogy

I found this quite handy and easy to use.  And, because you need only change the state name in the URL it is easy to navigate to different states.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall

Monday, May 5, 2014


These photos were all in a small album in the possession of one of my husband’s cousins, a 1st cousin once removed.  She too does genealogy.  We cannot figure out who these ladies & gentlemen are.  The folks who might have known are long since gone from us.  These are most probably family members from the Saratoga Springs, New York area, containing the surnames listed at the top of this post.  

See the family group records I have included below.  

This album was in the possession of Dorothy Louise Hall who married Thomas Leavenworth Goodbody, Sr.  We found pictures identified (but only a couple) that were Dorothy’s grandmother, Cora E. Brown.

I’m am placing these photos on here exactly as they were scanned. 

If you recognize anyone, please contact me.

Click on any image to enlarge it
Copy of Page 22-23
Copy of Page 30-31
Copy of Page 18-19
Copy of Page 20-21
Copy of Page 32


These are the families we believe are represented in this album. 

Brown-Avery screen shot 
HALL_Brown screen shot

Hall_Bright screen shot

Hall_Goodbody screen shot

None of us ever know when a piece of information we provide might lead to a connection with a family member or someone who knows about the family.  That’s just what I’m doing here.  It’s always worth a try.

I wish you luck in identifying your mystery photos.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall