to Journey to the Past, I'm Brenda (Glover) Leyndyke and I believe researching your family history is a fascinating journey.

Tombstone Tuesday: Jesse and Annette (Glover) Youngs

31 March 2015

Source: Union-Udell Cemetery (Textile Road, Ypsilanti, Michigan; between Tuttle Hill and Bunton Road), Jesse and Annette Youngs; photographed by Brenda Leyndyke, August 2014.

Gravestone Transcription
1841-1927     1844-1924   

Union-Udell Cemetery is located in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan.  It is the burial place for many of the Youngs family.

Jesse Youngs died 23 January 1927 in Highland Park, Wayne county, Michigan.  He and Annette had been married over sixty years at the time of Annette's death.  

Annette Youngs, nee Glover, was the daughter of my third great grandparents, Samuel Stillman Glover and Vinera Eglantine Powers.  Her given name was Harriet M.A. Glover, but she went by Annette most of her life. 

According to her death certificate, with her husband Jesse being the informant, Annette was born 17 March 1844 in Michigan.  She married Jesse Youngs on 13 December 1860 in Canton Center, Michigan.  Annette died 14 August 1924 in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan.

Jesse and Annette Youngs death certificates are now available at seekingmichigan.org in the Death Records, 1921-1947 Collection.  

Last Day Local: Battle Creek, The TV Show

CBS premiered a new show in March, Battle Creek, televised on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m.  Since this is up against "Who Do You Think You Are?" I watch it later in the week.  Is Battle Creek the television show anything like the real Battle Creek, my hometown?  Not really!

The opening credits of Battle Creek were filmed in Battle Creek, Michigan, but the show itself is not. The opening credits show places such as, St Philip's Catholic Church; C.O. Brown Stadium, where the Battle Creek Bombers play baseball; Con Agra plant; Full Blast Recreation Center; downtown streets and more.

The show stars Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters as partners.  Winters is a Battle Creek police detective and Duhamel is a FBI agent, who become unlikely partners. Although, the show isn't filmed in Battle Creek, references are made to the city. One scene held at a street corner showed the street being Emmett, which is in Battle Creek. Occasionally, one will see a take out menu from a local business.  All in all it is fun to try and catch where in the show they will showcase a piece of Battle Creek.

The main actors visited Battle Creek this past summer and met with the local police department, even shadowing them for a day.  In addition, they visited local businesses trying to get a feel for the city and its people.

The first episode was big news for the local area.  There were two launch parties. One, a red carpet affair, was held at W.K. Kellogg Auditorium with attendees getting a sneak peak at the first episode. The second was held at McCamly Plaza Hotel and was a watch party for the show.  The local CBS station, WWMT, had numerous live shots and interviews leading up to the show. It was Battle Creek's 15 minutes of fame.

The show isn't like the real Battle Creek, but it is fun to watch and look for references that are real.  If you want a glimpse of what my hometown is like, check it out.

Online Primary Sources of the Salem Witch Trials

30 March 2015

There was some buzz on Facebook, last week, about HBO's, The Devil You Know, series that is in production. Normally, I would be excited about a historical television show, but I am skeptical about the portrayal of this period in American History.  The last portrayal via television was disappointing and I don't have high hopes at this time for HBO's. If you want something based on fact and thorough research, the book, A Storm of Witchcraft, is one of the finest.  I have written about the book, here.

Baker's book provides excellent notes and references that enables the reader to find out more about the witch trials, many with primary sources.  One, I was especially interested in, was found at the website, 17th Century New England, with special emphasis on Essex County Witch Hunt of 1692 compiled by Margo Burns.

First, I went to the witchcraft section, which has 109 links to explore.  I was interested in the "Guide to Online Primary Sources of the Salem Witch Trials. One will find many primary sources pertaining to the Salem Witch Trials at this website.  Next, I was interested in finding more on my ancestor, Mary Clements Osgood, which I did on the List of Accused People, which is shown below. Mary Clements Osgood was found on page 5 of 7.

The information provided on this chart shows Mary Clements Osgood involvement with the Salem Witch Trials.  Checks for Mary Osgood are examination, imprisonment, grand jury or indictment, jury trial and restitution.  No checks for complaint or arrest, evidence, conviction, and execution. The website provides more information on the meaning of each category below the chart.

Additional information can be found by clicking on Mary (Clements) Osgood's name. Ten links of sources and images are available for Mary Osgood. You access this information by clicking on the Numbers to the left.  If an image is not available of the actual document, a thorough source citation is provided for further research.  I have spent many hours looking at documents pertaining to the Salem Witch Trials.

If you are looking for primary sources for the Salem Witch Trials, look no further than the Margo Burns 17th Century New England website. It is a comprehensive website with lots of excellent resources.

Sunday's Obituary: Emma Fredrick Chalmers

29 March 2015

The obituary below is for Emma Louise Fredrick Chalmers, my grand aunt.  Emma was the daughter of J. August Fredrick and Louise Zastrow Fredrick.  The obituary was given to me by Emma's granddaughter, Mari.


Many friends were saddened to learn last week of the death of Mrs. James B. Chalmers, for, although she had been in ill health for some time, her passing was sudden.  Mrs. Chalmers lived in Acton for the past 32 years, coming here with her family from Durham.  She came to Canada in 1905 from Manistee, Michigan as a bride and married in Toronto.  Her husband survives.

She was a member of Knox Presbyterian church and before her illness was active in the Ladies' Aid and Missionary Society.

Rev. Armstrong conducted the funeral service at the Rumley funeral home on Wednesday, March 2. Pallbears were Tom Watson, Frank Jones, Lorne Norton, Grant Withers, Earl Cooper and Ollie Stapleton.  Interment was in Fairview cemetery.

Left with Mr. Chalmers to mourn her loss are five daughters and one son, Mrs. Catherine Bell, Guelph; Robert J. Blyth; Miss Mary Chalmers, Toronto; Mrs. Oral Norton and Mrs. Audrey Grischow, Acton; Mrs. Margaret Valby, Winnepeg; brothers William Frederick, Grand Rapids, Mich; Otto Fredericks, Brethern, Mich; Leonard Frederick, Grand Rapids and a sister Mary Bruce, Grand Rapids, Mich

Social Media for Genealogy

24 March 2015

My local genealogical society, Calhoun County (MI) presented a program on Social Media for Genealogy tonight.  I tapped my daughter, Kirsten Agnello-Dean, to present.  Kirsten is a Chicago based Social Media Strategist and Creative Copywriter. She is currently working as the Social Media Manager for Artisan Talent; Social Media Strategist and Creative Copywriter for Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide; and Copywriter for Liquid Thread.  I couldn't think of a better presenter than Kirsten. Plus, I get to spend some time with her and she showed her mom some blog love in her presentation.

Kirsten did an excellent job sharing her passion for social media with a group of genealogists.  She has given me permission to share her handout on my blog. Thank you, Kirsten, for helping your mom and my society out. Thank you to my son-in-law, Chase Agnello-Dean, who created the promotional flyer for the program.

Social Media for Genealogy

Kirsten Agnello-Dean

Recommended Reading
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki
Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith

Facebook:  www.facebook.com

Search for:
·         USA-National and Regional areas
·         States
·         Countries
·         Cultures: African American, Hispanic, Jewish and more
·         Cemeteries
·         DNA
·         Lineage Societies
·         Military
·         Surnames and more.                       

·         # means hashtag in twitter
·         Search #genealogy to find people to follow
·         Search areas of interest, libraries, societies, etc. and follow them.

·         http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/Top-40-Genealogy-Blogs-2013  a list of the top 40 blogs honored by Family Tree Magazine.
·          http://www.journeytothepastblog.com/ One of the above top 40 blogs, written by CCGS President, Brenda Leyndyke

Other Social Media Platforms
·         Pinterest- www.pinterest.com
o   Look for genealogy related materials, resources, libraries, areas of interest,etc.
·         Instagram-available for ios (i-phone) and android devices. View-able on computers.

o   Follow libraries, National Archives, and more to see great pictures on topics that are of interest to genealogists.

Searching the Michigan State Census Records

19 March 2015

Two important databases have become available at seekingmichigan.org this past week: Detroit News Index Cards and Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1939.  I have been spending a lot of time with these two awesome sources, but there is much more to the Seeking Michigan website than those two collections.

The Seeking Michigan website is the work of the Archives of Michigan and the Archives have been working hard to bring records to those with Michigan research interests.  Currently, Seeking Michigan has 22 searchable collections:
  1.  Death Records, 1897-1920
  2.  Death Records, 1921-1952
  3.  Architecture
  4.  Archives of Michigan Finding Aids
  5.  Civil War Battle Flags
  6.  Civil War Manuscripts
  7.  Civil War Photographs
  8.  Civil War Service Records
  9.  Civil War Volunteer Registries
  10.  Early Documents
  11.  Early Photography
  12.  GLO Plat Maps
  13.  GLO Survey Notes
  14.  Governors of Michigan
  15.  Lighthouses and Life-Saving Stations
  16.  Main Streets
  17.  Maps
  18.  Music of Michigan
  19.  Oral Histories
  20.  Rural Property Inventories
  21.  State Census Records, 1827-1874
  22.  State Census Records, 1884-1894
I use the death certificates, civil war, maps and state census records the most.  The first couple of times I used the state census records I was frustrated because I couldn't find any of my relatives in the Michigan Census.  Eventually, I got around to reading about the State Census collections and discovered why I couldn't find my ancestors in it: the county they lived in wasn't online. Duh!  Tip: Check what is available in the collection before searching.

I will help you and post the available counties and years that are currently available at Seeking Michigan.

The Counties and Years Available for the Michigan State Census Records, 1827-1874 are:
  • Branch (1857, 1874)
  • Clinton (1864)
  • Eaton (1845, 1854, 1864, 1874)
  • Houghton (1864, 1874)
  • Lenawee (1845)
  • Kalamazoo (1874)
  • St. Joseph (1845)
  • Sanilac (1864)
  • Washtenaw (1827, 1845, 1854)
To read more about this collection, check here.

The Counties and Years Available for the Michigan State Census Records, 1884-1894 are:
  • Baraga (1884)
  • Barry (1884, 1894)
  • Bay (1884, 1894)
  • Benzie (1884)
  • Gratiot (1894)
  • Hillsdale (1884, 1894)
  • Ingham (1884, 1894)
  • Iosco (1894)
  • Jackson (1884, 1894)
  • Kalamazoo (1884, 1894)
  • Kent (1884, 1894)
  • Keweenaw (1884)
  • Lake (1884)
  • Lapeer (1884, 1894)
  • Lenawee (1884, 1894)
  • Livingston (1894)
  • Menominee (1884, 1894)
  • Midland (1894)
  • Montcalm (1884, 1894)
  • Muskegon (1884, 1894)
  • Newaygo (1884, 1894)
  • Ottawa (1884, 1894)
  • Roscommon (1884)
  • Sanilac (1884, 1894)
  • St. Clair (1884, 1894)
  • St. Joseph (1884, 1894)
  • Washtenaw (1884, 1894)
  • Wayne (1884, excluding Detroit)
For more information on this collection, check here: 

The Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1939 Are Now Available

17 March 2015

Downloaded version of Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1939 for August Fredrick, my great grandfather.  Found at seekingmichigan.org

The Archives of Michigan has been working on getting the Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1939 added to their seekingmichigan.org for some time now.  THEY ARE NOW AVAILABLE, ONLINE! and yes, I am shouting! I spent the morning looking for dead people!  I have thirty death certificates so far.

To find these death certificates: use the advanced search at the top of the Seeking Michigan webpage and check the box, Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.   Enter your search parameters in the search boxes and happy searching.  A copy of the death certificate is available for download or printing and best of all, it is free.

Currently, the death certificates cover the years 1921-1939.  Each January another year will be added until all the death certificates are online.  An index through 1952 will be added to the website in the coming weeks.

The Archives of Michigan has been working with the Michigan Department of Community Health and Family Search to bring these records online.  Below is the press release that the Archives of Michigan sent to the Genealogical Society of Michigan:

The Archives of Michigan is thrilled to announce that images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 are now available for free at Seeking Michigan: http://seekingmichigan.org/ The index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks, with additional certificate images to be released each year as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available at the site for years, this collection makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million free, publicly-available 20th century death records for Michigan ancestors.

This 1921-1952 collection of death certificates and indexes, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Community Health and FamilySearch, covers a critical period in the growth and development of Michigan. Here, researchers will find evidence of the influx of Eastern European immigration, the emergence of Detroit as the automotive capital of the world, and a state crippled by the Great Depression. Those ancestors that immigrated to Michigan, worked the assembly line, and struggled to make ends meet can all be found here.

An individual’s last name, first name, county and township/village/city of death, birth year, age, and parents’ names are all indexed and searchable. Additional information, including the decedent’s occupation, cause of death, burial location, and birthplace is listed on the certificate itself.

Michigan death records from 1897-1952 are now all in one place, for free! And, as luck would have it, Seeking Michigan is also celebrating its 6th birthday today.

Sunday's Obituary: Estelle Fenn Shaw

15 March 2015

You never know what you will find when searching newspapers for family obituaries!  I was at my local library, Helen Warner Branch of Willard Library, searching for Battle Creek Enquirer news articles.  I was looking for an obituary for my great grandmother, Hattie Fenn Glover.  I didn't find Hattie's obituary, but I found her sister's, Estelle Fenn Shaw.


Mrs. Estelle Shaw Was Member of Prominent, Mother of Publisher.

     Mrs. Estelle Shaw, member of a well known family of Jackson and sister of Mrs. Hattie Glover of Goguac lake, died at 2:30 o'clock Friday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. R.H. Rossman, in Jackson. Mrs. Shaw was the widow of the late James F. Shaw, who was a prominent shoe merchant of Jackson. She had been ill about two weeks according to the message received by her Battle Creek relatives.
     Mrs. Shaw is survived by two children, the daughter at whose home she died and a son, Arch Wilkinson Shaw of Chicago, well known publisher.  She is also survived by the sister, Mrs. Glover, who lives with her daughter, Mrs. Victor Tyson, 103 Lakefront, Goguac lake and two brothers, Tully D. Fenn of route five, Battle Creek and George Fenn of Hersey, Osceola county. Mrs. Shaw had often visited in Battle Creek.
     Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2:30 from the daughter's home in Jackson.  All of the Battle Creek relatives will motor over to attend the service.  Burial will be in Jackson cemetery.

Source:  Obituary: Local Woman's Sister Succumbs in Jackson, Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, Calhoun, Michigan, United States, 15 July 1934, page 3; column 6.

Exciting Times for the Archives of Michigan

13 March 2015

It is an exciting time to be researching at the Archives of Michigan.  Kris Rzepczynski, Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan presented at the Michigan Genealogical Council Delegate Meeting yesterday.  He shared with the group what is going on within the Archives and there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

First, the Archives of Michigan received a large donation from the Detroit News, this includes:
  • Detroit News Card Index- 1 million subject card index spanning 1890-1990's has been scanned and will be available within the week at seekingmichigan.org.  To find, click Seek, then Indexes, then Detroit News.
  • Newspaper Clipping Subject Files that the above index points to are available through the Archives of Michigan.  These are stored off site, so if one is interested you would have to notify the Archives of Michigan which clippings you would like to see before visiting the Archives, about two-three days before your visit. Due to copyright issues, the clippings will have to be viewed at the Archives, no email requests for clippings to be sent will be available.
  • Detroit City Directories-Pristine condition, nearly complete run of these directories are now on the shelf at the Archives of Michigan.
  • Other newspaper files that will be available after processing includes:
    • Newspaper photo files/negatives from 1930-present.
    • Set of Detroit Times microfilm
    • Full run of Detroit News in bound volumes
    • Detroit Free Press clipping files
The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press included the Detroit area, statewide, and national news. Do you want to know about the Detroit Riots that took place in July of 1967?  This would be a great resource.

Next, and Kris wasn't going to elaborate other than to say soon, is the long awaited Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952.  Kris knew the date that they would 'go live', but was very tight-lipped about it. We begged, but he wouldn't give us any other clue.  He did say the images and index are done and linked and will be made available online 'soon'.  Kris encouraged us to keep checking SeekingMichigan.org. The certificates that will be available will be deaths that occurred from 1921-1939. Each January a new year will be added.  This is due to Michigan privacy laws.

Of course in a group of genealogists we wanted to know what would be next!  Next, to be digitized will be the Naturalization records that are in the Archives collection. Approximately, 61 of the 83 counties are in their collection.  Hopefully, other counties will get with the program and share their records with the archives.  Are you listening, Manistee county?  No time line was given for this project and I am sure it will be awhile before we see them online due to the complexity of the process.

Seeking Michigan is an excellent resource for anyone researching in Michigan and it is FREE! Currently, Michigan Census Records, Death Certificate Images 1897-1920, Civil War manuscripts, photographs, records, and volunteer registries, Photographs from early photography and Michigan Main Streets, Early Michigan History documents, Governors of Michigan, Surveyor Plat Maps, Sheet Music, Rural Property Inventories and more are available.  If you haven't been to Seeking Michigan before, it is a must see website for Michigan history and genealogy.

Lastly, Kris announced the key note speaker for the Abrams Seminar which is held in July each year. This year Michael Lacopo will be speaking on 1) Evidence and 2)Between the Census Years.  There will be a lock-in at the Archives the night before the seminar.  More information will be available in the next week at the seekingmichigan.org website under events.

As you can see it is an exciting time for researchers in Michigan.  I am looking forward to the death certificates coming online, in fact, I am going right now to create a report from Roots Magic on Michigan deaths from 1921-1939!  

Military Monday: S.S.Glover, Jr. Compiled Military Service Records

09 March 2015

Samuel Stillman Glover, Jr. Compiled Military Service Record Cards

My excitement is slowly dissipating from the phone call I received from my daughter, Kirsten, when she was visiting the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and asked if she could do any research for me.  Kirsten wrote about her visit here.

Kirsten provided me with my Civil War veteran, Samuel S. Glover, Jr's compiled military service record (CSMR).  I had been thinking about ordering the record ever since I ordered Samuel's pension file.

The CSMR contained seventeen cards and a certificate of disability.  I knew from Samuel's pension file that he had been injured while carrying dispatches to General Buell.  He was shot in the knee and spent time in a military hospital. The cards in his compiled military service record document his time spent in the hospital.  I have a copy of the cards and decided to take the information from those cards and create a table of dates and places.


Nov/Dec 1861
Louisville, Kentucky
Enrolled Dec. 7th in Hanover. Mustered In Dec 25/61 at Louisville, for 3yrs.

Jan/Feb 1862

Mar/Apr 1862
Nashville, Tennessee
Detained in University Hospital without descriptive list
May/June 1862
Nashville, Tennessee
Detained in Hospital
July/Aug 1862
Nashville, Tennessee
US. Hospital No 12 June 8th 1862
Sept/Oct 1862

Nov/Dec 1862
Nashville, Tennessee
Absent in Hospital since Nov 20th 1862

Jan/Feb 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Left sick in Nashville Feb 13 1863
Mar/Apr 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Left sick in Nashville Nov. 20, 1862
April 10 1863

Left sick Nov 30, 1862
May/June 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Sick in Nashville since Nov. 20/62
July/Aug 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Sick in Nashville since Nov 20, 1862
Sept/Oct 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Sick in Nashville since Nov. 20, 1862
Nov/Dec 1863
Nashville, Tennessee
Sick in Nashville since Nov. the 20th/62

Jan/Feb 1864

Discharge and final statement Dec. 8, 1862

David Watt's Passport

07 March 2015

Source: "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," [database on-line], Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2015), entry for David Watt; Passport Applications, 1795-1905; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1372, 694 rolls); General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59; National Archives, Washington, D.C.Passport Applications, January 2, 1906-March 31, 1925.

David Watt was planning a visit to England and Scotland in August of 1920 to visit relatives. He applied for a passport for this trip.  I found his passport application at Ancestry.com in the database, "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.  David's application was filled with information that genealogists love to find.

This form was filled out by David himself.  He swears to the following information:

  • Birth: 25 September 1858
  • Birth Place: Methil, Scotland
  • Father's Name: John Watt
  • Father's Birth Place: Scotland
  • David's Emigration Date: about 28 April 1879 from Glasgow
  • Residence: Marquette, Michigan from 1882-1920
  • Naturalization: Marquette County, Marquette, Michigan on 5 December 1886
  • Occupation: Locomotive Engineer
  • Signature: See Document
  • Description of Applicant: 
    • Age: 61 years
    • Stature: 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches, Eng.
    • Forehead: high
    • Eyes: blue
    • Nose: straight
    • Mouth: medium
    • Chin: round
    • Hair: brown, partly gray
    • Complexion: fair
    • Face: long
    • Distinguishing marks: left ear partly gone
And the best part of the whole application:  THE PICTURE!  

I had known some of this information, but it is always nice to have a second source that confirms it. It amazed me how one document could provide such rich information and description of my great grandfather, David Watt.

Next steps for me was to 1) look for his naturalization papers-which I found at the Archives of Michigan and 2) look for David Watt on a passenger list-I found the passenger list for his return to the United States from this trip. I am still looking for the passenger list when he emigrated from Glasgow.  

David arrived back in the United States on the 23 October 1920 having sailed from Southhampton, England to New York, New York aboard the Mauretania.  Images of the Mauretania can be found here, at ancestry.com.

Who knew that a two page document would provide such rich genealogical information.

Those Thursday Places: Rockenhausen, Germany and My Graf Family

05 March 2015

Google Maps

The Graf side of my family comes from Rockenhausen, Germany, seen above at point A.  The first Rockenhausen immigrant was Johann Caspar Graf, the son of Johann Philipp Graf and Sophia Kolter. Caspar was baptised on 19 October 1827, in Rockenhausen. He emigrated aboard the Bremen vessel, Roland, in 1859.  Caspar settled in Miami county, Indiana.

Google Maps

Currently, Rockenhausen is a town in the Donnersbergkreis, in Rhineland-PalatinateGermany. There isn't much geographical information found online, but a Fredrick cousin of mine visited the area and shared the following pictures with me.  Thank you, Bob, for sharing and showing me the homeland of my Graf family.

Tombstone Tuesday: Hal Willis Glover, Ypsilanti, Michigan

03 March 2015

Family Stone in Highland Cemetery, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan


Hal Willis Glover, the son of Henry Pierce Strong Glover and Natalie Jane Kishler, was born 31 Jan 1861 in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States.  He married Annie Overton Crary on 28 June 1894. Hal W. Glover died 3 June 1932 in Ypsilanti, Michigan at the age of 71, at his home in Ypsilanti.

 "Hal W. Glover Buried in Highland Cemetery," ; folder: "Glover," Glover Family Files; Ypsilanti Historical Society Archives, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan.

"Hal W. Glover Photograph," ; folder: "Glover," Glover Family Files; Ypsilanti Historical Society Archives, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan.

Highland Cemetery (943 N. River Street, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States) photocopies and pictures, June 2014, Glover family stone and Hal W. Glover headstone photographed by Brenda Leyndyke.

Highland Cemetery (943 N. River Street, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States) to Brenda Leyndyke, sexton records, June 2014, Glover family stone and Hal W. Glover headstone.

5 Things I Learned in Five Years of Blogging

01 March 2015

I never thought I would make it two years let alone five, but today is my fifth blogiversary.  I didn't even realize it until I saw the Geneabloggers announcement on twitter.  I want to thank my readers and followers who have stuck with me over the past five years. The genealogy and blogging community is a great thing to be a part of.  It is a great time to be researching and blogging about family history. It truly has been a journey.

I have learned a lot about Genealogy and Blogging over the past five years, here are my top five:

1.  Genealogists are some of the nicest people I have met and corresponded with.
          I love to read and reply to comments. My readers have taught me a lot about blogging, researching and writing.  I enjoy this aspect of blogging.  I have asked questions, sought help, and expressed my frustration over brick walls and have found the answers through comments and emails. Thank you!

2.  Blogging improves my research tenfold!
          I started blogging as someone who had done a few years of research.  I was still learning about conducting quality research, but I knew that I didn't want to put any information on my blog that could not be verified.  I started using sources on my blog very early on.  My first Ancestor Biography post was written in March of 2010, with sources for documents.  I will write posts and conduct some of the research again just to make sure the information is accurate and sourced properly. I am a better researcher because of blogging and a better blogger because of researching.
3.  It Isn't All About Me.
          Some of my most popular blog posts aren't related to my family but to the history of my hometown. I started my blog to document the research I had conducted on my own family.  I figured I would be writing about my family research only.  I didn't have any direct line ancestors that lived in Calhoun county, so I didn't give it a lot of thought. One day I realized that this was my children's hometown. The town that they grew up in and I should share some of it with my readers.  Battle Creek is filled with history and it isn't all about cereal.  I started a "Last Day Local" series where I write about the history of the Battle Creek area on the last day of the month.  I have learned so much about Battle Creek, history and genealogy by doing these posts.  I have been in contact with some awesome people through these posts. I have helped others researching the area and I have learned from them about resources they use.  Blogging provides riches in areas one would never think possible.

4.  Cousin bait really works.
          Blogging for family history has become known as 'cousin bait'.  As genealogists we want to find that one person who has the family Bible, Great Grandma's wedding picture, or the location in Germany that Great Grandpa came from. We blog about our family in hopes that a cousin will find our blog and share the information he or she has.  I have found all of the above and more with the help of cousins.  I have my great grandma Hattie's family Bible, I have wedding pictures, and I have been in touch with a German cousin who helped me with the birthplace of J.August Fredrich. In return, I blog about it and share the information with others.  Yes, cousin bait does work.
5.  The more you write, the better you get.
          I never considered myself a writer and was apprehensive about starting a blog because of this. The first few blog posts I wrote were pretty short.  I found that the more posts I wrote the better I became and I didn't get hung up on it being written perfectly.  Okay, that isn't all true. (I figured my daughter would call me out on that line.)  I still want it to be near perfect, I just don't stress out about it as much.  I do the best I can with grammar, punctuation, spelling, layout, and content, but I know I have errors.  Hopefully, those errors are kept at a minimum.  I wrote 20 blog posts my first month; 158 posts the remainder of that year-nine months; and 183 blog posts my second year.  Regular, frequent writing has made me a better blogger/writer.

Life gets in the way as we all can relate to.  Illness, house projects, aging parents and more sometimes takes priority over blogging, which they should, but writing regularly makes a big difference. The last couple of years my writing hasn't been as regular or as frequent and I can tell the difference when I sit down to write.  It takes me awhile to get in the groove, so to speak. If you are considering blogging, just do it!  It will get easier the more you write.

Whether you have been with from the start of my Journey to the Past or are reading this for the first time-Thank You! It has been a journey that we have been on together and for that I appreciate each and every one of you. I have learned much from my readers and I look forward to the next five years as I grow as a genealogist, writer and blogger. I look forward to meeting new readers and staying in contact with the previous ones.