28 December 2019

A Genealogy Christmas or My Family Knows Me Well

Christmas 2019 is in the history books and I had a very nice one. My family knows me so well. They know of my passion for genealogy and gift me items that will help in my hobby.

This year was no exception. The gifts were mostly in the form of books, but who doesn't love books. The books I am looking forward to reading are, in no particular order.

Downsizing with Family History in Mind by Devon Noel Lee and Andrew Lee.  Kirk and I have been trying to decide if we want to age in place or move to a condo where we won't have to do all the yard work. Whatever we decide in the next couple of years, we need to start downsizing our stuff and that includes my family history possessions. The book should come in handy when I start that monumental project. The book starts with a few questions of Who Needs to Downsize? and Why De-clutttering Does Not Work? It goes into five chapters on evaluating what you have followed by chapters on digitizing, labeling and storing, giving away, and displaying. The book concludes with various action plans. I hope this books makes the task an easier one.

Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry by Kay Caball is one I have had on my list ever since my mother in law had her DNA tested. My MIL has Irish ancestry which I knew about on her Corcoran line, but had no clue where in Ireland they came from. One of her DNA communities showed Kerry Ancestry. I have a little more work to do in the United States that will hopefully lead me to Kerry Ancestry, but I thought it would be an interesting book to read no matter what I find out. The book is full of information for those researching their Kerry county, Ireland ancestors. It starts with basic genealogy research information, a chapter on civil and church divisions, and then chapters on all the various record sources to look for. Historical information on record formation, numerous examples, further reading, archive and online information complete the book. 

Back to the United States with In The Shadow of Salem The Andover Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Hite. It is always fun when you flip to the index of a book and see your ancestor's name in it. That is the case with this book. I knew that I had witch trial history with my eighth great grandmother, Mary Clements Osgood. I had found court records of her self confession and knew some of her history, but I didn't know that 45 Andover residents found themselves jailed on suspicion of witchcraft.  The author uses primary sources in his research for the book. Hite includes chapter notes and a bibliography that I am looking forward to digging into. Having a book to read specific to Andover, Massachusetts will be informative and add to my research of Mary Osgood.

I received other genealogy related gifts. One is a tree themed passport cover and the other a travel journal. I will put both to good use when Kirk and I travel to Germany next year. It will be a non research trip, unfortunately.

This beautiful necklace was given to me by my husband. It is a Family Tree of Life locket with birthstone charms. I will wear it with pride. I plan to add the birth stones of children, son and daughter in law and then Kirk and myself. It will be something I cherish and hopefully one of my kids will keep it after I am gone.

And last who doesn't love office supplies? I am a page tag-er and note taker and this bundle of post-it notes is perfect. Plus, they are all in one place, in a sturdy folder. I already used some to tag a recipe book I got for Christmas. I love the lined ones to use for research notes on anything that I make a copy of and on some magazine pages. The tiny ones are great for marking places in books.

I had a wonderful Christmas and whether I get gifts or not I just enjoy spending time with family.  Did you get genealogy related gifts for Christmas? Please share in comments.

23 December 2019

What is the Michigan Genealogical Council?

Remember when I said I didn't have a lot of time to blog? The Michigan Genealogical Council (MGC) is one of the reasons. I was voted in as President of MGC this past summer and I am enjoying it immensely. It does require a bit of my time, but it feels good to give back to the Michigan genealogy community.

What is the Michigan Genealogical Council (MGC)? It is different from a state genealogical society in that MGC has societies as our members. MGC doesn't have individuals as members. Michigan doesn't have a Michigan Genealogical Society, but we have over 70 societies that are members of MGC. A complete list is available at our website,   These societies are spread throughout Michigan, both Upper and Lower Peninsula's. We have city, county, regional, ethnic, and other societies as members. Do you have an ancestor that worked for Ford Motor Company? There is a Ford Genealogical Society.

The purpose of MGC is https://mimgc.org/michigan-societies-list/

  • to coordinate/stimulate genealogical activities of statewide interest, including seminars.
    • Every fall MGC holds a Fall Family History Event. We held one in November and hosted Diahan Southard. November 2020 will feature Sunny Morton.
    • MGC works with the Archives of Michigan and helps with their July Abrams Seminar. July 2020 speaker will be Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist.
  • to cooperate in the location, preservation, publication, and deposit in suitable repositories, of Michigan records of value to genealogists.
    • MGC works closely with Archives of Michigan and Library of Michigan and other organizations to help in this matter.
  • to provide information to the membership regarding speakers, teachers, seminars, and workshops.
    • MGC provides a speaker's list to our member societies with updates at least yearly.
    • the events calendar part of our website features the larger events in Michigan.
    • Our newsletter provides information on seminars and workshops. The newsletter is available for anyone to read at https://mimgc.org/mo_newsletter.php  A new edition will be available in January 2020.
  • to encourage and/or work with other organizations or agencies involved in promoting improvements in genealogical facilities and holding of Michigan archives, libraries, museums and record repositories.
MGC board and committee chairpersons meet monthly. I have a wonderful board and they are great when it comes to doing the work of the council.  Check out the board and chairpersons at https://mimgc.org/newsletter/

Six times a year MGC holds delegate meetings. Every member society has two delegates and an alternate. These meetings are open to the public, but typically it is society delegates and Presidents who attend. During these meetings important information is provided for delegates to take back to their society. The business of the council is presented. An education element that is relevant to our societies, in the form of speakers, is presented as well. 

A revised program, Michigan Pioneer Certificates, is now available for those who have ancestors that came to Michigan. Two times periods are awarded certificates and pins. Pre-Statehood is for those who had ancestors in the Michigan Territory before January 26, 1837 and First Families dates are January 26, 1837 to December 31, 1880.  

A brochure with more information is available, as well as the application at our website and the Pioneer Certificates section.

Other information is available on MGC's website. Event calendar, research tools, information on the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan, Records Preservation, and a blog can all be found on the left sidebar.

We don't provide individual research, but we are happy to answer questions about Michigan areas of research and can refer you to the best society to help with your questions. I hope you will take a look at all that Michigan Genealogical Council has to offer.

22 December 2019

Book Review: Morton and Henderson's How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide

Photograph taken by Brenda Leyndyke

Do you have books on your wish list?  I have a few books on my Christmas wish list and my family is quite good at buying me those, but I couldn't resist the Family Roots Publishing Co. email sent around Thanksgiving. I ended up ordering three books from them this year.

One is new this year, How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide by Sunny Jane Morton and Harold Henderson, CG. I think church records are underused and I plan to learn a lot from this book.  I have met Harold Henderson at a Midwest Geneabloggers meetup and I am looking forward to meeting Sunny Morton on November 14, 2020 (save the date) when she is the speaker at the 2020 Fall Family History Event that Michigan Genealogical Council is hosting. Full disclosure here-I am the President of Michigan Genealogical Council and was instrumental in scheduling Sunny's presentations. The views are my own and I haven't received any compensation in any form for reviewing this book.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One covers "Family History Research in Church Records" Five chapters introduces the reader to general church record research in this part.
  1. What's in Church Records: Information on the various records churches were responsible for, baptism, confirmation, marriage, memberships, funerals, etc. are listed.  The authors talk about what type of information and what to expect from these records.
  2. How to Identify Your Ancestor's Church: The authors give four approaches to locating your ancestor's churches with detailed information for each.
  3. How to Find and Order Church Records: Tips for finding church records are included here, including a state by state list of WPA Church Inventories. Information on church offices, archives, published sources, images and indexed records completes the chapter. 
  4. Tips for Working with Old Church Record: The importance of looking at original records is stressed. Guidelines for understanding and working with church records is given.
  5. More Records about Church Life: This chapter concentrates on what other records a church may have kept and how to find them.  If you want an example of the importance of looking for these records check my blog post, Samuel Stillman Glover Excommunicated and the Reason Shocked Me, blog post.
The information in the first five chapters would be enough to get you started with church record research but the authors take you further in your research in Part Two "The Denominations." It covers twelve chapters: Anglican/Episcopal; Baptist; Congregational; Dutch Reformed/Reformed Church in America; German Churches: Reformed and Sectarian; Latter-Day Saints; Lutheran; Mennonite and Amish; Methodist; Quaker; Presbyterian; and Roman Catholic denominations.

Each chapter starts with a few statistics. Next is a background section which covers a brief history of the denomination. About the records, how to access membership records, and other records of interest provides the essential information for each denomination. The chapter concludes with additional reading resources on each denomination.

 I found the book to be the best there is on United States church record research.  Sunny and Harold did a thorough job of researching various denominations. The information will further anyone's research in church records. Even if you have done some church research, which I have, you will find useful information in their book. 

Sunny and Harold state, "records...are underutilized resources for family historians." Also, they say "it is not an easy task to track down U.S. church records."  Their book will help you further your family history research through church record research and you will be happy you explored this vast source.

How to Find Your Family History In U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide won't be far from me when I am doing research. I look forward to digging into the hundreds of links Sunny and Harold provided.  I hope you will to.

14 December 2019

What's In Your Genealogy Library?

Moi, dipping my toes in Lake Superior, September 2019. Yes, it was cold.

One of my best research tools, that is not online, is my own genealogy library. I have loved books and reading ever since my father took me to the library for the first time in the 1960's. Whenever there is a book sale I stop and look.

Sable Falls, Grand Marais, Michigan
One of many beautiful falls in the Upper Peninsula
Photographed by Brenda Leyndyke

This past summer my husband, Kirk, and I went on vacation to the Upper Peninsula. I had never been north of Marquette, Michigan and my husband hadn't been further that Houghton, Michigan. We decided to travel local. Although, it is only six miles further to go to Washington, DC than it is to go to Copper Harbor, Michigan from Battle Creek.  There is nothing to compare to the western and northern part of the Upper Peninsula. Luscious forests, beautiful shorelines, and running waterfalls fill the landscape. It was a very active, but relaxing vacation.

We visited a great local bookstore in Copper Harbor, "Grandpa's Barn,"  The owner was so friendly and recommended a few great local history books. Of course, I couldn't leave without buying a couple.  Although these books won't help in my search for ancestors, they do provide me with information on the history of the area.

If you live in Michigan chances are you have taken a Michigan History class and learned about the copper mine strikes. Kirk's grandfather, Peter LeynDyke, was one of the Michigan National Guardsman who went to the area to help contain the strikers.

The books I bought are:

Home in A Wilderness Fort Copper Harbor, 1844 by Charlotte Otten.  This is a juvenile fiction book that I thought looked interesting. I will gift it to my niece when I am done with it. It is about a ten year old girl who travels to the wilderness of Copper Harbor with her sister and brother-in-law who was summoned to help build Fort Wilkins. The book states the information about Fort Wilkins, its officers and daily life is historically accurate.

Copper Empire A Novel About the Copper Country Labor Strike in 1913 by Donna Searight Simons is a work of fiction and tells the story about the copper miners who had tolerated dangerous working sconditions and decided to strike in 1913. Paul Weyburn, a strike leader, and his family are the focus of the story. They owned a boarding house in Copper Harbor and try to keep it during the trying times. Paul and Marie Weyburn had four children living at home. This period of history forever changed the region.

The Fort Wilkins Story for Fort Wilkins State Park by Mac Frimodig was is a small local history book about Fort Wilkins, which is in Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keewenaw Peninsula. I bought this to learn more about the fort, but plan to donate it to the Fort Custer Historical Society Library, which I am volunteering at.  It is generally believed that Fort Wilkins was built to protect the miners from the Native American population in the area.

Do you buy books when you travel that add to your family history research? I think it helps me to understand the social history of the time and adds to my sense of family and the challenges they encountered in their daily lives.

If you are interested in what books I have in my genealogy library, check the "My Library" tab at the top of my blog home page.  I updated it today. The books added since I last updated a few months ago are highlighted. I will be reviewing a couple of them in the weeks ahead.

11 December 2019

Where, Oh Where has My Blogging Time Gone?

The last month of 2019 is upon us and gasp! I have only written one blog post! What have I been doing with my time? It's not like I broke down my Fenn brickwall or something exciting like that. I thought I would look back on what I have been doing and/or discovered during my unintentional hiatus.

I have

  • kept reading blogs
  • learned through reading, watching webinars, and doing self study
  • kept in touch with distant cousins
  • helped organize a library at Fort Custer Historical Society, Augusta, MI
  • found out my cousin in Germany has a connection to Fort Custer, Augusta, MI
  • found out through a cousin that I am related to President Millard Fillmore's wife, Abigail Powers
  • became President of the Michigan Genealogical Council
  • stayed active in my local genealogical society
  • renewed or joined genealogical societies-I am a member of eleven societies
  • helped an author, Gregory Sumner, with resources for a Michigan POW Camps in World War II
  • began presenting at local genealogical societies
  • lost two cousins, an aunt, an uncle, and my father over the past 15 months
  • and spent time with family in Allen, Texas, Houston, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois
Every one of the above things could be a blog post. I will be back to blogging soon. I have a lot to say! I hope everyone had a great 2019 and goes into the roaring '20 with a blast.

03 February 2019

The Hardest Part of Genealogy

Bruce D Glover
FEB 17 1925     SEP 8 2018
(Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI. Photograph by Brenda Leyndyke)

I think of how many times I have stood at a grave site and taken pictures in my role as a genealogist. I imagine it was hundreds of time.  I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming emotions when I stood at my father's grave site and photographed his headstone.  I found that the hardest part of my genealogy journey so far.  

Bruce Glover receiving entry into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame
Photographed by Brenda Leyndyke

My father, Bruce David Glover, died Saturday, September 8, 2018.  He had been in hospice care since April, 2018 for congestive heart failure.  He was 93 years old.  I was there at the hospital when the doctor and chaplain told us he could no longer be cured and I was there the day he died.  Those two days were hard, but I am a caregiver and went into caregiver mode and decided to be there for my mom and dad to give them the dignity, respect, and care they deserved and earned at this time in their life.

I don't think I grieved until almost three months after his death.  I was watching George H.W. Bush's funeral and the flood gates opened. The eulogy talked about someone rubbing Presidents Bush's feet the day he died and it was something I had done many times for my dad.  The memories came rushing back at that moment. My mindset after his death was that I didn't have time to grieve, I had things to do!  Plus, I wanted to make it easier on my 88 year old mother by helping with everything one has to do after a death in the family.

I will be sharing more of my father in blog posts to come.  He lived from 1925-2018 and he filled that dash fully.  It will be with joy that I share his life with you.  That won't be hard at all.