Friday, March 24, 2023

FRIDAY FINDS ~ The will of James Redding (abt 1755-1815)

In some recent connections made via Family Search and Rootstech, I am looking at some of my more distant lines.

Today, it’s my maternal 6th great grandparents – James REDDING and Mary Ann POAGE.

It seems both of them left wills.  Those records list their daughters’ names, both given and married surnames.  This is extremely helpful when searching for our female ancestors.

Here is James’ probate/will record.  From Virginia, U.S. Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1900

James Redding probate record - 1815 Virginia

Here is my transcription of the record. 

I James Redding of the county of Bath and state of Virginia, do will and bequeath my real and personal estates in this _____and form following after my funeral expenses and just debts and ____

I will and bequeath to my wife Mary Ann Redding all my goods and _____all which she shall dispose of in her lifetime as she may think proper. I likewise bequeath to her all my notes and bonds and ___of these notes and bonds as ___as they are collected she4 shall pay to my daughter Elizabeth Hudson Ten Dollars likewise to my daughter Sally Dennison, ten dollars, likewise to my daughter Mary Ann May ten Dollars, likewise to my daughter Eleanor Dennison ten Dollars, and likewise to my daughter Hannah May ten Dollars. I likewise bequeath to my wife all the ready money that is in my possession at the time of my decease . I will and bequeath to my son in law John May all my lands to him and his heirs forever.  I do _____ and appoint Joseph Wooddell Senior and William Warwick to be executors of this my last will and Testament. Signed sealed and published this fourth day of November one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.

James Redding's name and his mark

In presence of

Daniel Kerr

Wm McRenny

Robert Kerr

Bath County December court 1815

This will and testament of James Redding was presented in court by the executors therein named and _____by the Bath ____ heir and William McReney and _____to be recorded

As difficult as it may be to ascertain some of the words in an old probate record, it often gives us plenty of information.  We can identify family members, witnesses and perhaps get an idea of the year of death.  Although many wills are not probated until years later.

In this case, I already had the names of James’ five daughters.  I also had what I believed to be the names of their husbands.  Having them listed in this record confirms the married names for me.

The next question is whether I can take this line back one more generation?  Can I locate and confirm the parents of either James Redding or his wife Mary Ann Poage?

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Monday, March 20, 2023

ROOTSTECH/FHL FINDS ~ The death certificate for James F. Forsyth (1864-1951)


Now...where is that film?

It wouldn’t be a trip to the FHL if I wasn’t looking for records from my birth state, Michigan.  So many ancestors were born, married & died there.  It seems I never run out of records to look for.  As we know, not all are available online.

As always, I prepared ahead for my trip.  Finding which microfilms I needed to look at.  I had located the index for James’ death online.  However, you never get all the details in an index.  And, you run the risk of a mis transcription. 

Here is the index record.

Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952

Name: James Ferris Forsyth
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 01 Feb 1951
Event Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 86
Marital Status: Widowed
Birth Date: 01 Mar 1864
Birthplace: Michigan
Birth Year (Estimated): 1865
Father's Name: John Forsyth
Mother's Name: Catherine Ferris
GS Film number: 001973236
Digital Folder Number:005363696
Image Number: 01330

You can see the film number listed with other details, like the digital folder number and image number. #1,973,244 (Michigan, death certificates, 1912-1952).  Easily located and placed onto the microfilm reader.  The additional details of the digital folder number and image number help us find records on a microfilm. 

These records were arranged by date, so all I had to do was scroll through the film and find the year or years I was looking for.

I soon located February 1951 and found the certificate for James Ferris Forsyth who died on 1 Feb 1951 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  James is the husband of my maternal great grandaunt, Louise Gillespie.  They were married for about 63 years. 

NOTE:  In writing this post I realize that I don’t have their exact marriage date, nor have I looked for any newspaper articles that would have announced their 50th or 60th anniversary.  Writing blog posts invariably leads me to look for more information on my ancestors. I will have a look for these items later.

Here is James’ death certificate.  You can enlarge it or zoom in to see details more clearly.

I now have further details, which confirm that I have the correct certificate (occupation, marital status, names of parents).  I can now record these details in my Legacy program and site this certificate as my source.

Another successful day at the Family History Library.  Yes, I found other records that day, but I’ll save those for another post.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.


FRIDAY FINDS ~ Newspaper article for death/possible suicide of Ralph Gillespie Forsyth ~ 1952 (this was James & Louise’s son)

FOLLOW UP ~ Why did Ralph Forsyth jump from a 9th story hotel window to his death?

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

FHL FINDS ~ The marriage of Johann Talarowski & Bertha Keller - 1884 in Germany

Time to begin my posts about the finds I made during Rootstech 2023, at the Family History Library.

It is Wedding Wednesday so let's begin with the marriage record for my husband’s maternal great grandparents, Johann Talarwoski and Bertha Keller. 

This record was on my long list of “To-dos” for this trip. I had prepared for it by looking on the Family Search website and locating the microfilm number.  This film is not available online, but only in person at the library in Salt Lake City. 

When you are on the Family Search website you can search the catalog by microfilm number, which I did. This is an International Film numbered 245767 and image group number 7946025.  On the website I viewed the film notes.  The little camera icon that has a small key above it, means I cannot view these images from home.

The first day that Pam and I arrived and went over to the FHL, we set up our work stations and went to work.  We always “park” on the 3rd floor, where the books are.  With the upgrades to the workstations at the library, it’s extremely comfortable and offers us multiple monitors. 

Just getting set up here

Very shortly after we got there I went to B1, the International Research/Microfilm Floor at the Library.  I went to the microfilm rows, found the film and set it up on the wonderful digital viewers the library now has.  This allows us to view the films on a computer monitor instead of the huge film viewers we used to use.

One of my favorite views - row after row of microfilm

I have been viewing microfilm for over 20 years.  I know that the key is to find some sort of index or other indicator to determine how the film is organized. Is it organized by date, place, name etc.?  In this case there was an index at the beginning, listed by year.

I believed the marriage had taken place in 1884, based on the 1900 census and the birth of the first child.  These are starting points and we proceed from there.

I scrolled to the place in the film that listed the names, the year and the page in the document that this information might be located.

You can see the year – 1884 and the names Talarowski & Keller and the page number is 4.

I located page number 4 in the image records and 


I realize this record, like so many others, is not necessarily easy to read.  BUT, you can usually spot a name or something that looks like the name you are seeking.  In this case the 3rd record on the page easily reads Johann Talarowski under der Ehemannes (the husband) and Bertha Keller under der Ehefrau (the wife).

If you have questions about words in a language other than the one you speak, it’s easy to go to Google translate and try to figure things out.  In this case, I was somewhat familiar with the words, having viewed German records before.  And, I have been teaching myself German, online for over 2 years.

I certainly cannot read every word on this record, not even good enough to try and translate it.  But, the basic information is there.  The marriage took place on 7 Sept 1884 (Tag der Trauung).  The date in column 5 may be the civil date of the marriage, but I’m having trouble translating the words other than Jahr u Tag (year and day).

If any of you read German script well and can translate the column headings for column 5 and 6, I’d be grateful.

Next, I took photos of the screen and downloaded the image to a flash drive.

Fairly shortly after that I sent a copy of this image to my husband’s first cousin once removed, as she is also researching their family.

This was a successful first day.  I did research other items, but this was one that I absolutely wanted to locate and I did.

One thing I almost is a photo of Johann & Bertha, with their daughter Freada, who became my husband's grandmother.

Johann Talarowski & his wife Bertha Keller with their daughter Freada - circa 1900, Buffalo, New York

More posts to come on my Rootstech/FHL findings.  Stay tuned.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Thursday, March 9, 2023

ROOTSTECH 2023 ~ An overview of our week


It FINALLY happened.  Rootstech was live and in person again.  We waited 3 long years to be able to see our friends, give hugs and experience the magic of Rootstech in person.

Luckily for me, my long time friend, coworker and genealogy buddy attended with me.  Pam and I have now been to 3 Rootstech conferences together.  She lives in Colorado and I live in California, so we hadn’t seen one another since early March 2020. 

We both arrived on Sunday, Feb 26th.  We like to arrive early so that we can spend quality time at the Family History Library (now renamed to the Family Search Library, but I will still refer to it as the FHL).

We hit the ground “walking” from the Plaza Hotel just around the corner to our favorite place.  There was snow everywhere and the wind made it pretty cold.  Thankfully, it’s a short walk.

We found good seats on the 3rd floor and set up for the day.

The computer stations are awesome - 3 monitors for us to use.  I set up my laptop with Legacy running and use the library's computer to access online databases

It pays to have a plan when you visit such a huge repository as this for your genealogy research.  I had made several lists of items I would like to locate.  Things that are not available online.

We got to work, with only a short break for lunch at the newly redesigned lunchroom on the first floor. 

The staff is always friendly and helpful, but you could tell they were very happy to have the library filled with eager researchers.

This was how we spent Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday.

I made some good discoveries and will share them in an upcoming post.

On Wednesday we went to the Blue Lemon for lunch.  It’s been a tradition for bloggers to meet up at that location and catch up with one another.  Nice to see Michelle Ganus Taggert (A Southern Sleuth), Cheryl Hudson Passey (Carolina Girl Genealogy) and Laura Wilkinson Hedgecock (Treasure Chest of Memoriesa)

Bloggers at the Blue Lemon

Then on Wednesday night we attended the first ever GSI (Genealogy Solves It) dinner.  Hosted by Nathan Dylan Goodwin & Dihann Southard and assisted by Robert and others.  This was hosted at a location called Ember.  An Urban Boutique Gathering Place.

Attendees gathering for the GSI Mystery Dinner

What fun that was!  There will be a separate post about that event.

Thursday, March 2nd was the official first day of Rootstech.  Walking over to the convention center and entering that building again was a thrill. Getting my badge was easy (back in 2018 it had been quite a nightmare).  Unfortunately, this year they did not offer attendees any additional items, like bags, discount coupons, pens etc.  Who doesn’t love to get swag?  Maybe they will offer it again next year?

On the left, walking up the stairs to the Salt Palace Convention center - middle pic shows me in my happy place and right is the view as you walk in

Things were pretty much set up as they have been in the past.  Pam was attending an early class so I wandered around a bit.

I headed straight into Expo Hall, which is my favorite place to hang out.  I was able to see and visit with friends I hadn’t seen since our last in person conference. 

The Expo was about half the size it has been in past years.  Not as many vendors or exhibits.  BUT, I expect this year was a test run, post Covid, to see how many people would be there in person. The conference is still being offered virtually as well.

Everyone I spoke to was very happy to be back live.  I have a suspicion that 2024 will be rocking and rolling and back to pre Covid size.

I’m not one to attend many classes.  The ones I do go to are always very informative and well done.

This year I attended 3 classes, two in person and one that I watched while I was at the library, since it was offered virtually.

The 3 days went by quickly and before you know it, Saturday rolled around and we were all saying our goodbyes and farewell until next year.

What are my takeaways from the conference?


·       We were able to attend in person

·       The cost was reasonable

·       There were many good classes offered – lots of education opportunities from very good presenters

·       I have always liked the Salt Palace Convention center as a venue


·       The badges were not as sturdy as years past (just a piece of paper hanging from some clips)

·       Expo Hall was not as big as years past and I really missed some of the great vendors we used to see.

·       I also missed some of our well-known presenters, who for whatever reason, were not able to attend in person.  I hope they return next year.

·       I also thought the app was not quite as user friendly or easy to read as in years past.

    If you attended in person this year, I’d love to hear what you thought. What did you enjoy? What would you like to see improved?

As for me and my friend, Pam – we plan on being back next year.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall