Saturday, January 31, 2015


girl with purple top jumping for joyHere is your assignment

1.  Use whatever database you wish and find out how many people in your tree have the same birth month & day as you.
2.  Tell us who they are and what their relationship is to you.
3.  Tell me what you found by commenting on this post and/or sharing the link to your own blog post with the details.

Let’s find out how many people in my family (including my husband’s family), were born on my birthday, March 13.

Here is how I will conduct my search in Legacy 8.
  • Go to the tabs at the top of your screen and click on “SEARCH.”
  • On the far left lick on the magnifying glass that says “FIND” underneath it.
  • When the screen opens you will see 6 tabs across the top of the box.  Click on “DETAILED SEARCH.”
  • Now, enter the Primary Condition by using the drop down menus and then typing the date you want to look for under “WHAT TO LOOK FOR.”
  • Click on “CREATE LIST.”
Here is an image of the search screen I described above.
(click on any image to enlarge it) 

Search screen my birthday

The results for my search indicate that 8 individuals in my tree are designated as having the same birth month and day as me.

Here are the results.

NOTE:  I have redacted the year of birth for 3 people on this list who are still living, including myself.

Search screen my birthday-3_redacted

Now let’s take a look at the relationship of each of the 8 others on this list in reference to me.

CLARK, Dorcas, born 13 Mar 1706 [husband’s 5th great grand aunt]
COWEN, Elizabeth, born 13 Mar 1697 died 12 Apr 1778 [4th great grand uncle’s wife’s mother]
FENNER, Ida May, born 13 Mar 1864  died 16 Jun 1940 [great grandaunt’s husband’s sister]

HALL, Kezia born, born 13 Mar 1728  died 7 Oct 1744  [husband’s 4th great grand aunt]
PERRY, Royce Lemuel, born 13 Mar 1935  died 21 Jun 2008 [4th cousin once removed]
RAY, Boyce “Peeny”, born 13 Mar _____ (living) [4th cousin once removed]
THORNTON, Beryl Audrey, born 13 Mar 1913 [2nd cousin once removed]
WAITS, Robert King, born 13 Mar _____ (living) [2nd cousin once removed]

In summary, we have the following relationships.

2 people from my husband’s lines:
  • His 4th great grand aunt and his 5th great grand aunt
And the following people from my lines:
1 fourth great grand uncle’s wife’s mother
1 great grand aunt’s husband’s sister
2 fourth cousins, once removed

I originally learned about Saturday Night Fun from the posts on Randy Seaver’s blog Genea-Musings.  He runs a Saturday Night Fun each week.
I look forward to seeing your responses.  HAVE FUN!

Remember: If you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog, please contact me!

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

SURNAME SATURDAY – Thornton of England, Canada & Michigan

The Thornton’s are connected to my family by marriage.  My great grandaunt, Mary Elizabeth MILNE married John Thornton.

What I know about John THORNTON

He was born in Lincolnshire, England on 17 May 1851.1
His father was Samuel Thornton2, born 1820 in Yorkshire, England, died 24 Dec 1893 in Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada.

His mother was Mary STATEN, (also spelled Staton) born about 1820 in Yorkshire, England and died 16 Feb 1910 in London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada.

John Thornton had 3 brothers – James, George and Samuel Jr. and 2 sisters – Ann & Mary.

John married Mary Elizabeth MILNE3 on 19 Dec 1871 in Lambton, Ontario, Canada.  They had 6 sons – Samuel Charles, Alfred, John Jr., George, Andrew Ritchie and Orman Staten and 1 daughter – Lottie May.  Two of the sons, Samuel and Alfred did not live to adulthood.

John & Mary Thornton family view

THORNTON_John_obituary from The Muskegon Chronicle_Monday 27 Jun 1921_page 9_cropped
John’s obituary4 gives quite a bit of information about his life.  He came to Canada at the age of two and came to Michigan when he was 17 years of age, settling in Owosso.  He later returned to London, Ontario, Canada and then to East Tawas, Michigan.  From the obituary we learn that John was a pioneer resident of Muskegon, moving to the town in 1891.

John spent practically all his working days on the railroad.  He is listed as a retired Locomotive Engineer on his death certificate.
He was a member of the Maccabees and the Canadian Order of Foresters. His wife Mary, was a Treasurer of the Companions of Foresters.

John & Mary lived in Ontario, Canada for the birth of their first five children.  By 1888 when Orman5 was born, they have moved to East Tawas, Iosco, Michigan.  Their daughter, Lottie6, was born in Muskegon, Michigan.

THORNTON_Orman S_birth record 1888_Michigan_page 1 of 2
    THORNTON_Orman S_birth record 1888_Michigan_page 2 of 2

We find the couple living on Prospect St. in Muskegon, Michigan in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census.
John died 25 Jun 1921 at his home 37 Prospect St., Muskegon, Michigan.  Cause of death is listed as Angina pectoris-arteriosclerosis1.

THORNTON_John_death cert _25 Jun 1921_Muskegon_Michigan

Mary lived for seven more years and died 22 Aug 1929 at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan.  Her cause of death was Arteriosclerosis, myocarditis, nephritis, terminal lung infection.

Both John & Mary are buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan.Here is a link to their memorials on – John, Mary.

If you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog, please contact me!
1- Michigan, Death Certificate, 1921-1952 and Newspaper obituary-The Muskegon Chronicle
2 - Ontario, Canada, Death, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947
3 – Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1926
4 – The Muskegon Chronicle, page 9, column 1, published 27 Jun 1921
5 -  Michigan Births, 1867-1902
6 -  Michigan, Death certificates, 1921-1952
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Legacy-change bkgrnd colors title pic
Maybe it’s just me, but I like to change the look of my Legacy file now and then.  I have my favorite color scheme, as I’m sure all of you do.  But, once in a while I like to change it.
Today I was trying to do just one simple change – the background color on the Family View.  Shouldn’t be difficult, right?  I’ve done it many times before.  HA!  I couldn’t get the correct selection to come up in the “Change Colors” part of the program.  After many many attempts, I finally asked a Facebook friend who also happens to work for Legacy, what am I doing wrong?
I knew it was operator error and I was obviously doing something wrong.  Sure enough it was, but not entirely.  Changing the background on the Family View is not one of the choices available in the “Change Colors” tab.  Here’s how to change your background in Legacy 8.

Step 1 – Select the Options tab and then select Change Colors.  When you do this you will see the pink box pop up.

Legacy-change bkgrnd colors step 1

Step 2 – Ignore the pink box and place your cursor in the right or left margin and click.  This will bring up a set of choices for your background, as shown here:

Legacy-change bkgrnd colors step 2

Step 3 – Select the type of background you are interested in using.  You have 3 choices – Color, pattern or gradient, as shown here:

Legacy-change bkgrnd colors step 3  Legacy-change bkgrnd colors step 3a   Legacy-change bkgrnd colors step 3b

Select the background of your choice and click on it.  Presto!  New background
TIP:  The color and gradient choices will come up automatically.  However, the Background choices are located in a different file.  Here is a direct quote from, Michele, the Legacy tech who assisted me “They are in C:\Program Files\Legacy8\BackGrnd.  If you have a 64 bit computer it will be C:\Program Files (x86)\Legacy8\BackGrnd.  The color schemes are in the documents folder but the backgrounds are not.”  Knowing where the background files are is very important and it was why I was having problems.

Whether you want a color a pattern or a gradient, it’s your choice to make.

This  Legacy-change bkgrnd colors title pic-4   or this  Legacy-change bkgrnd colors title pic-2   
or maybe even this                              Legacy-change bkgrnd colors title pic-3               It’s all up to you.

Have fun with it.
For more Legacy tips from Michele Simmons Lewis, who assisted me, please visit her blog Ancestoring and use her “search this blog” box.  Type in Legacy and you will see her great tips on many subjects.

If you are still using Legacy 7.5, I wrote a post about changing background colors in that version too.  Please click here to visit that post.

Here are some of the other posts I’ve written about Legacy.
Legacy 8 – A Quick Guide to Label & Tab Colors
Tuesday’s Tip – Using the Internet Search Option in Legacy 8
Adding a Record to Legacy from Ancestry – Step by Step Instructions

There are more tips about Legacy on my blog.  Just type “Legacy” in the “search this blog” box and you will find them all.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Friday, January 23, 2015


top 10
Since this last year was my busiest year of posting on my blog, I thought I’d share with you which ones were my favorites.

The “Popular Posts” are listed in the right hand column.  That is determined by the number of hits a particular post is currently receiving.  I’m going to list my TOP 10 based on which ones I enjoyed writing and/or which ones taught me new lessons.

The posts are listed in no particular order
1.  A Great Discovery Yesterday – Ask for Help and You May Get It!
2.  Thriller Thursday – Hobart B. Stewart Murdered – 1936 and the follow up to this post Follow Up on Hobart B. Stewart-Murder Victim – His Death Certificate
3.  Office Closet Clean Out & Organization Project – Do You Have One of “Those” Spaces?
4.  My Trip to Scotland – What I Did Right and What I Did Wrong
5.  Evaluating A Record Found – In Honor of Father’s Day (BRICK WALL DOWN)
6.  Coroner’s Case File – Robert L. Bowden – An Analysis
7.  Why Didn’t I See That?  When the Obvious Escapes Us
8.  Ever Had One of Those “Slap Your Forehead” Moments in Your Research?
9.  A State Census Record That Leads to A Lot More Questions – The Monson Thorp Family
10. Amanuensis Monday – Transcribing My Grandmother’s Journal – Birth & Death Dates – There are 10 posts last year from her journal.  This entry will take you to a post that has links to all of them.

There you have them.  In writing this post I was able to go back & read the posts I have listed and it did bring to mind the fun I had researching and writing them.

I hope you too will enjoy them.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Monday, January 19, 2015

REVIEWING A RANDOM PERSON IN MY DATABASE–How much can I learn in an hour?

This is a Saturday Night Fun challenge from Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musing’s blog.  Since it was quite late on Saturday, when I saw this, I decided to take on the challenge and post it today.
Here is the mission directly from Randy’s post:

1) We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Online Research tonight...
2)  Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very first person on your list of E surnames is.  Or the first person on your list of I surnames.  Or Q surnames.  Or any other name you need to research.  Your choice!
3)  What do you know (or not know) about this person based on your research?  It's OK to do more research if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!
4)  How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
5)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.
Here is my random person:

2)  I chose to go to the first letter of the alphabet in my Legacy database.  The very first person listed is Lou Emma Abbott.  I didn’t even recognize her name, but see that she is married to a Lunsford, which is a name I recognize.

3)  What I know about Lou Emma Abbott.  She was born about 1868, possibly in Mississippi, she was married to William Lunsford.  I have 7 children in the database, born to this couple.  I have William’s estimated birth date and an exact date of death for him.  The only sources I have for this scant amount of information is a 1910 census and William’s Louisiana death index information.

Here is how they appear in my Legacy database:

Lunsford Wm & Lou

Pretty sparse information as you can see.
Here is the new information I was able to find in under an hour, for this couple.

I first checked my Ancestry tree to see if there were any usable hints. 
NOTE:  I look for the vital and census records first and rarely refer to the Ancestry Member Trees as they are generally unreliable and poorly or not sourced. 
Here’s what I found on Ancestry:
  • 1910 census – she and William with 7 children living in Louisiana
  • 1920 census – she and William with 2 children still at home, in Louisiana
  • 1930 census – she and William living in Louisiana
  • Texas Death Certificates (this is an especially good find)
Next I went to and here is what I located:
  • Death records for her husband, William and her children, Huntington, Milton, Paul & Florry (married name Chesnutt)
I looked for a marriage record for Lou Emma & William on both Ancestry & familysearch, but was not able to locate one.

Next, I checked FindAGrave.  Based on the death certificate I located for Lou Emma, she is buried at Forest Park-Lawndale Cemetery in Houston, Harris, Texas.  I did not find a memorial for her at the cemetery, but I did find one for her daughter, Florry May Lunsford Chesnutt, memorial #127921340, and for Florry’s husband, Bert Chesnutt.

Here is how the entry for Lou Emma Abbott Lunsford now looks in my Legacy database:

Lunsford Wm & Lou after info added

There is certainly more work for me to do.  BUT, look at how much information I was able to fill in for Lou Emma Abbott.  This truly was just a random pick from my database and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I found more information.
4)  Lou Emma Abbott Lunsford is the wife of my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  That is probably why I never bothered to pursue more information about her.  I will work on the more distant collateral lines, only if I think that doing so will help me with something I’m looking for.
CONCLUSION:  This was a worthwhile expenditure of my time.  Why?  Because it reinforced how important it is to go back to people in our database and review what we have or don’t have.  In this case I was able to locate 3 census records, 6 death records and 1 burial location.  I’m sure I could locate other records, but I will stop here.

Thank you to Randy Seaver for suggesting this exercise.  If you decide to review someone in your tree, please share it with me in the comment section of this post.  I’d love to hear about it.


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


The big Genealogy Do-Over is in progress.  Many of you have heard about it.  You can read about it here on Thomas MacEntee's website

That got me thinking.  Without actually participating in the "do-over", perhaps I can review some of my research and tracking methods.
Back in 2005, I began a spreadsheet to keep track of records I had requested.  Prior to that I was keeping track on a copy of the request I placed in a binder.  I also track records by adding notes to each person's file in Legacy.
Here’s my spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet from records requested

NOTE:  Instead of creating a copy of the record request and placing it in a binder, I now scan and save it in Evernote.  I can annotate it in Evernote and it’s working very well.  My goal is to have only vital records I receive by mail, saved in my binders.  I am slowly purging all other copies, such as census records, WW I draft records etc.

Today, I was entering a date for something I received and I began scrolling back through the spreadsheet of records I had requested.
There are 151 names/requested items on my spreadsheet.
  Here are the questions that began to run through my mind:
  • How many records do I still not have?
  • Which records were located and not recorded? 
  • Should I try sending for any of them again? 
  • Are those records now online?
As you can see from the image of the spreadsheet, the records are easily tracked.  Records I receive are highlighted in GREEN.  The records I don’t receive, for whatever reason, are indicated by RED font.  I’ve made notes, on most of the entries, of why the record wasn’t received. I also keep track of the money I’ve spent.  I build a genealogy expense into our budget.  Sometimes I stick to it, sometimes I don’t.

This list goes back 10 years.  A lot has changed in that time.  I am going to review each of these requests and see if I can obtain the records by some means.  Or…there is that chance that I have obtained the record and haven’t recorded it.  Maybe I found it online and just entered it into my Legacy database and never checked this list?  There are 31 records I did not receive.  Out of 151 records that’s a failure rate of about 20.5%.  Or a success rate of  79.5%

31 total records reviewed

9 records are in my database and just weren’t recorded
3 were duplicate requests to different locations
2 have now been found to have a different last name

That leaves me with 17 records still outstanding. Which improves my percentage to a success rate of  88.8%.

This has been a worthwhile exercise and I’ve discovered that I need to do a few things differently.

1.  Remember to look on this list frequently to keep track of records that I don’t have, or record them if I’ve located them by a different method.

2.  I’ve found that it would be beneficial to record the relationship of who this person is to me, and the date of occurrence of the record I’m requesting.  I am going to add those columns to my spreadsheet.

Do you have a list like this? 
Are there records you can go back and check for again?  Have you?



MICHIGAN DEATH RECORDS ONLINE - Where can you find them?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, January 8, 2015

OCCUPATION FILES ON ANCESTRY–1600-1995–What are they? Have you seen these?

CLARK_Benjamin_1644-1724_DelawareCraftPersonFile from 1700

I was researching one of my husband’s ancestors the other day (his 7th great grandfather, Benjamin Clarke), when I came across a record I had never seen before.

This record actually showed up when I was checking the shaky leaf on Ancestry.  I do check those shaky leafs every day.  Why?  Because it seems to me that whoever you have been working on recently will be shown on those hints.  Sometimes I find they are hints I am already familiar with, but many times, I have come across new information.  I’m NOT talking about family trees, but actual document records.

In this case it was the DELAWARE, CRAFTPERSON FILES, 1600-1995

I was not familiar with this set of records.  AND, I have absolutely no one who is from or ever lived in Delaware.  At least not that I’m aware of.

Why would Benjamin Clarke, who lived in Massachusetts be listed in this file?

Here is the explanation of this source, directly from Ancestry.

"About Delaware, Craftperson Files, 1600-1995

The Winterthur Library is devoted to the study of everyday life in America and America’s craft traditions, including furniture making, silversmithing, pottery making, textile production, etc. This collection includes images of a series of card files containing the names, working dates, places of residence, and other information about American craftspeople. Data on the cards relate to a wide range of craftspeople:
  • artists / painters
  • blacksmiths
  • engravers
  • fraktur artists
  • furniture makers / cabinetmakers / turners / joiners
  • gilders
  • clock- and watchmakers
  • glass workers
  • goldsmiths
  • graphic artists
  • jewelers
  • metalsmiths
  • potters
  • sculptors
  • silversmiths / silver plate workers
Information on the cards includes the names of craftspeople, occupation and working dates, birth and death dates, where they lived, what they made, notes about their professional lives, and bibliographical and source references. (Information about furniture makers and silversmiths is more complete than other occupations, and some of the cards don’t include complete information.)"
WOW!  That’s a lot of occupations.  And, look at the information that may be included on the cards.
  • Birth & death dates
  • Where they lived
  • Occupation & working dates
  • What they made
  • Notes about their professional lives
  • Bibliographical source references
The card shown above, for Benjamin Clarke, doesn’t list all of those items, but look what it does give me.  Year of birth & death, year the record was recorded, where he lived and his occupation.  And, by the way, this information matched what I already have for Benjamin, so I added it as a source for those items in my Legacy database.

Here are some other samples of cards in this database that contain different kinds of information.  I just began scrolling through the film and found these.  Some contain a lot of information and others just a little.


Craftperson card 1   Craftperson card 2   Craftperson card 3

Craftperson card 4   Craftperson card 5   Craftperson card 6

I’m anxious to continue exploring this database.
Please tell me if you were aware of this group of records?  If so, what have you found?  Or, if not, do you think it would be helpful to you?


FINDING OCCUPATIONS IN LEGACY 8 - How to use the search function 


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY–Unity Clark Durant–1762 to 1781

CLARK_Unity wife of Joshua DURANT_headstone_AshSwampCem_KeeneNH_cropped
Transcription of headstone: Unity, Consort of Mr. Joshua Durant
died 29 Nov 1781, aged 20
Unity Clark was the daughter of Deacon Simeon Clark & his wife Betsey “Betty” Hall.  She was the second daughter born to the couple.  She is my husband’s 1st cousin 5x removed.  Her headstone is one of the oldest ones I have a picture of.  I took this photograph myself during a visit to Keene, New Hampshire, with my husband, back in 2010.  This headstone and others back in Keene were the oldest I had ever seen and I found it fascinating to try to imagine the lives of these ancestors. 

Unity Clark was born 12 Jan 1762 in Keene, New Hampshire.  Here is a record of her birth.

New Hampshire, Births and Christenings Index, 1714-1904
Name:  Unity Clark
Birth Date:   12 Jan 1762         

Birth Place:   Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire    
Gender:   Female         
Father's Name:  Simeon Clark         
Mother's Name:  Betty         
FHL Film Number:   1000376

At the age of 18 years she married Joshua DURANT.  They were married on 19 May 1780 in Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire.  Here is a record of their marriage.

New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947  
Name:  Unity Clark       
Marriage Date:  19 May 1780       
Event Type:  Marriage       
Marriage Place:  Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire       
Gender: Female       
Spouse Name: Joshua Durant       
Spouse Gender:  Male       
FHL Film Number:  1000984

On 29 Nov 1781 Unity Clark Durant died, at the age of 19 years.  How sad to have died so young.  Here is a record of her death.

New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947
Name:  Unity Durant       
Gender:  Female       
Birth Date:  abt 1761       
Death Date:  29 Nov 1781       
Death Place:  Keene, New Hampshire, USA       
Age at Death: 20

Unity and Joshua were only married for 1 year 6 months and 10 days before her death.  Joshua Durant lived to the age of 79 and went on to marry two more times.  He was a Revolutionary War soldier.

What was Unity’s cause of death?  I don’t know & have not found a record that reveals that information.  It could have been childbirth or any number of other illnesses or diseases.
I’d like this young lady to know that 234 years after her death, she is remembered
You can visit her memorial on  Memorial #19071723.

There are a couple of excellent books published about this area of New Hampshire.

History of Cheshire & Sullivan counties NH by Hurd_title page1.  History of Cheshire & Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire, D. Hamilton Hurd (1886)
This book may be viewed on or at

History of the Town of Keene New Hampshire_Title Page 
2. A History of the Town of Keene from 1732 to 1874, by S. G. Griffin, M.A. (1904)
This book may be viewed at or you may download it from the Keene Public Library

Both of these publications are excellent references for the study of that area of New Hampshire.

BOOKS-WHY WE STILL NEED THEM-Which ones are in your library?
HISTORICAL & FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETIES - Great Resources for your research

If you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in any post on this blog, please contact me!
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall