Bernice Ann Watmough Parker March 27, 1929 – March 21, 2012

I am in the process of moving my other blog over to WordPress (from Blogspot) and to my own domain. I’m moving over all of the posts “worthy”. The below post is most definitely worthy, but I thought that it would fit better here. If Digging For Ancestors had been around at the time, this is where I would have blogged it in the first place.

By the way, you can get to the new location by clicking on The Journey Unexpected. Just note that if you sign up to be notified when I add new posts there, that there will be several for a couple of weeks as I continue to move things over.

And now for that post:

Bernice Ann Watmough Parker March 27, 1929 – March 21, 2012


My son, me, and my mom-in-love Bernie Parker

March was a difficult month this year.

On the 25th Anniversary of my mom’s death, March 20th, we got the call that my mother-in-love was suddenly much worse and it wasn’t going to be long at all.  She had been battling a bad infection in her leg for awhile and was also recently diagnosed with stage 4 congestive heart failure.  When I thought about the inevitable, it seemed that we likely had somewhere close to a year left before we would be dealing with all of this.

In the middle of the night, she was rushed to the emergency room.  She now had pneumonia and a strep infection (much like the one that almost took my hubby back in 2005 – to read about my hubby’s illness and consequently my father-in-love’s bout with the same infection…at the same time, read this post of mine.)

I have hated March 20th for the last 25 years and now I will even more.  I could not go to the hospital, because I had to stay and comfort “Buddy”.  He was totally devastated and it hurt terribly to see him go through this.

I also did not get to hug and mutually comfort my hubby.  He was at the hospital, where he was really needed, with his mom, dad, and sister.  After he came home that evening, I decided that I really needed to go see her.  Others, including my hubby, were telling me not to go and to remember her how I always did.  Although I understood their concern, I felt that I definitely needed to go and say goodbye.  I had not been there when my mom passed away, because it was totally unannounced.  I was still on my way when my grandma passed away about 1 1/2 years ago.  To learn more about that, you can read here.

I just felt way down deep that I needed to be with her.  That short drive to the hospital seemed like one of the longest drives ever.  As I drove those few minutes, I was reminded of the seven-plus hour drive from my college to my home when my mom passed away.  I just kept praying that I would be there in time… unless I was not supposed to.  I deeply believed that God would allow whatever was best.

I had to gown-up due to the extent of her new infection.  The few minutes until the nurse came and guided me through it all seemed like an hour in itself.  When I walked into the room, it was more difficult seeing my father-in-love, because I could tangibly feel his pain and love.

I got to tell her how much I loved her.  I thanked her for giving me my wonderful husband and for all of the guidance, love, and everything else.  After my father-in-love and had discussed how she seemed to be fighting and we wanted her to let go and not be in anymore pain, I went over and reassure her that we would be OK and that she could just rest now.  After awhile, I noticed that my father-in-love was extremely exhausted and truly need a little bit of sleep.  I encouraged him to recline his chair and to rest a bit.  I told him that I would see him tomorrow.  He quickly fell asleep and I left.  The next time I saw him, he apologized for falling asleep on me.  I lovingly told him that was exactly what I had intended.

We got that final call at about five in the morning.

Here was what I posted on Facebook that morning:

“Rest in Peace my dear moms. They finally are going to meet each other and surely Grandma will be joining in on their party.

Bernice Ann Watmough Parker March 27, 1929 – March 21, 2012
Carol Elizabeth Williams Lakey March 4, 1947 – March 20, 1987

My mom-in-love passed away early this morning and we are all really going to miss her! She was feisty, very loving, strong, and a wonderful mom-in-love (I got the mom-in-love from my friend Shirley – I love it)! She was also a nurse in the Korean War. I am SO proud of her and thankful to her for giving me my husband!”

My dear hubby posted this loving tribute:

“For 46 years, you’ve been like a beacon, guiding me through dark times and rough waters. Though it’s been my time to command the helm for many years now, you’ve stood by, standing watch over how I’m doing, ready to offer sound guidance and sage advice. But now your time has come to be relieved. Thanks, Mom. . .go, rest peacefully, and be assured that, thanks to all I’ve learned from you, I can take it from here.

Bernice Ann Watmough Parker. . . March 27, 1929 – March 21, 2012”

We all found great comfort from our loving friends and family during this difficult time.  I have discovered that this is one of the best things about Facebook.  It helped tremendously when my grandma passed away and a lot of us cousins could reminisce and comfort each other at all hours of the night… knowing exactly when each one of us needed it most.  During this time with my mother-in-love’s passing, there was a lot of comfort being sent from miles upon miles away.  So for any of you all that do not even like the thought of Facebook, believe me, there is definitely a lot of good done on there!

I also determined something that proves that my mother-in-love was awesome!  Both her son-in-love and daughter-in-love loved her dearly, wanted to spend time with her, and always raved about her to others! That’s proof of a wonderful lady!

Here is a copy of her obituary:

Bernice Ann (Watmough) Parker, loving and devoted mother, wife, and dedicated nurse, passed away Wed., March 21, 2012 in St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. Bernice was born to Harold and Beatrice Watmough on March 27, 1929 in Lawrence, MA. She moved with her family from Methuen, MA to San Mateo, CA at age eight. Graduating from San Mateo High School in 1949, she immediately entered nurses training at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, CA. Upon graduation, she joined the U.S. Army Nurses Corp., serving two years at a hospital in Osaka, Japan during the Korean War. Upon leaving the Army, she continued practicing nursing for 40 years, retiring from Washoe Medical Center in 1991. She and her husband, J. Edward Parker married July 28, 1963 in San Mateo, CA. They have been Spark’s residents since 1985. They have two children; Gail McClure, Reno and Matthew Parker, Sparks. She is also survived by a sister, Nancy Fogerson, Renton, WA., and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Bernice requested no services, and her family is honoring her request.

Your family will love you forever, Beeza.

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John CAMPBELL, Sr. and Mary COUCH CAMPBELL ~ Tombstone Tuesday

John Campbell Sr Tombstone John CAMPBELL, Sr was my fifth-great-grandfather on my mom’s maternal side. He was born in 1763 in Orange County, North Carolina to  Patrick CAMPBELL (1724-August 27, 1799) and Elizabeth JAMES (death in 1830). John died in 1867 in Perry, Kentucky.

Mary Ann COUCH Mary Couch Campbell Tombstonewas my fifth-great-grandmother. She was born in 1772 in North Carolina to John C COUCH (1750-1830) and Mary “Polly” BOONE (November 14, 1746 – 1781). Mary Ann died in  1853 in Perry, Kentucky.

John and Mary were married in 1790 in Wilkes, North Carolina and were the parents of Rebecca CAMPBELL.

Rebecca CAMPBELL (1810 – 1880) and William Riley HOSKINS (born in 1802 and died after 1880) were the parents of Elizabeth Ann HOSKINS.

Elizabeth Ann HOSKINS (September 1828 – December 28, 1855) and Moses Franklin PORTER (January 20, 1826 – December 26, 1900) were the parents of Daniel Marion PORTER. Elizabeth died the day that she gave birth to Daniel and his twin. The twin lived until sometime in 1856, but was unnamed so likely only lasted a few days (he was born four days before the new year). Elizabeth left Moses with six children including the twins.

Daniel Marion PORTER (December 28, 1855 – February 27, 1925) and Caroline Adele GILBERT (1864 – 1895) were the parents of Charles Oscar PORTER.

Charles Oscar PORTER (April 2, 1884 – April 19, 1946) and Mary Irene Saphronia Jasmine SMITH TARTER ROBINETT TARTER PORTER (July 4, 1890 – June 25, 1947) were the parents of Ruby Irene PORTER. Mary Irene’s maiden name was SMITH. She had four marriages with at least two divorces (to the same man). Her husbands were Fred S. TARTER, Mr. ROBINETT, Fred S. TARTER, and Ruby Irene’s father Charles Oscar PORTER.

Ruby Irene PORTER (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010) and Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS (March 16, 1922 – July 15, 1991) were the parents of my mom.

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Rodney Allen McClure

Rod McClure ~ Best Friend for over 31 years, Brother-in-Law for 29 years, and Best Man of my husband at our wedding.

Rod McClure
January 27, 1961 – June 11, 2016

Read the beautiful write-up about Rod on the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.


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Joshua and Patience BROWN HADLEY ~ Tombstone Tuesday

Joshua Hadley and Patience Brown Tombstone

My sixth-great-grandfather on my adopted father’s side (step-dad initially) of the family, Joshua HADLEY, was born March 6, 1703, in Kilcleagh, Westmeath, Ireland, to Simon HADLEY (1675 – 1756) and Ruth Miller KERAN (February 1677 – December 18, 1750). Joshua died in 1760, in North Carolina.

Joshua married Patience BROWN in 1735 in New Castle, Delaware. Patience was born May 25, 1712 in New Garden Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, to Jeremiah BROWN (September 1687 – March 1767) and Mary Royal COLES (June 8, 1690 – July 31, 1749). Patience BROWN died in either May or December 1783 in Chatham, North Carolina.

Joshua Hadley and Patience Brown Tombstone Up Close

Plaque on Joshua and Patience BROWN HADLEY’s tombstone.

“In Memory of Joshua Hadley. Born 3M, 6th, 1703 in King County Ireland. Died 1760. And Patience Brown, Wife. Born 5M, 25, 1712.”

Speaking about Joshua: “Came to N.C. 1758, Pioneer Ancestory of Hadley Family of South and West. Erected 1931.”

Joshua and Patience HADLEY were the parents of Simon HADLEY.

Simon HADLEY (March 5, 1737 – March 24, 1803) and Bridget FOOTE (April 17, 1732 – December 15, 1807) were the parents of Thomas LAKEY. Simon passed away on Thomas’ wife’s birthday (see below). This also happens to be my maternal grandma, Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS’ birthday and the day my mom (Ruby Irene’s daughter) was buried. These two were related by marriage to this branch. My mom was married to Simon and Bridget’s fourth-great-grandson. There are also a few other important dates throughout just the family history I know by memory that happened on March 24th. It has become a big day in our family history.

Thomas LAKEY (June 16, 1751 – January 7, 1780) and Ann HADLEY (March 24, 1759 – October 6, 1841) were Simon LAKEY’s parents.

Simon LAKEY (June 8, 1778 – June 19, 1853) and Mary BURCHAM (October 8, 1789 – March 13, 1864) were John Burcham LAKEY’s parents. Simon was born on his second-great-grandmother Mary Royal COLES’ 88th birthday, but she had died almost 30 years earlier (see above).

John Burcham LAKEY (June 11, 1827 – February 12, 1863) and Keziah “Kissie” ROMINES (1827 – November 4, 1893) were the parents of Simon William LAKEY.

Simon William LAKEY (June 1848 – 1919) and Mary Martha COBB (March 1879 – December 4, 1952) were the parents of Andy Lee Chester LAKEY, Sr. By the way, I was concerned about my dates early on, but have checked them many times and have multiple sources that show the 31 years difference in age and that she really was a child bride when they got married August 18, 1892, in Ozark, Missouri.

Andy Lee Chester LAKEY, Sr (March 15, 1905 – March 6, 1972) and Eunice Mae DANNER (August 18, 1907 – May 2, 1996) were the parents of my adoptive father.


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Cortes and Sarah SMITH’s Marriage License ~ Wedding Wednesday

Cortes Eugene SMITH, my second great-grandfather, was born about 1863 in Missouri to John A. SMITH (born about 1820) and Irene (born about 1826). Cortes died on August 8, 1914 in Missouri.

Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine CARTER MEREDITH, my second great-grandmother, was born about 1864 in Arkansas. She died on March 10, 1940 in Missouri. We have been told all along by my grandma (one of her grand-daughters) and others that this was her full name. There was no doubt. We cannot discover the names of her parents to confirm much, but I recently found this marriage certificate that simply lists her name as Sarah E. CARTER. I am not ready to drop the additional names yet. It is also possible that her name was shortened after she left the reservation or something.

Cortes and Sarah were married on October 11, 1883 in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri.

Cortes and Sarah Smith Marriage Certificate

State of Missouri, County of Ray

Marriage between Cortes E. Smith of the County of Ray and State of Missouri who is under the age of twenty-one years, and Sarah E. Carter of the County of Ray and the State of Missouri who is over the age of eighteen years.

Witness my hand as Recorder, with the seal of office hereto affixed at my office in Richmond, the 11th day of October 1883.  John Milstand?  Recorder


This is to certify, that the undersigned a Justice of the Peace did, at Richmond, MO in said County, on the 11th day of October AD, 1883 unite in Marriage the above named persons.  J.D. Mastino?  J.P.

Filed for Record this 11 day of October 1883.  John Milstand?


Cortes and Sarah SMITH were the parents of six children including Mary Irene Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (July 4, 1890 – June 25, 1947), who was the mother of Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010), who was the mother of my mom Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY (March 4, 1947 – March 20, 1987).

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Nathaniel WILLIAMS ~ Tombstone Tuesday

Nathaniel Williams TombstoneMy second great-grandfather, Nathaniel WILLIAMS, was born in September of 1862 in Scott City, Bourbon County, Kansas, to Jacob WILLIAMS (born about 1830) and Sarah E. (March 8, 1845 – July 4, 1929).

Nathaniel married Lillie Mae “Mamie” STANLEY in 1886 in Scott City, Bourbon County, Kansas. Lillie Mae was born in October of 1868 in Kinney, Illinois. Her mother’s maiden name was Cardelia OLWIN and she was born about 1850.

Nathaniel and Lillie Mae WILLIAMS had five children: Lillie M WILLIAMS (born in 1887), Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS Sr (1889-1965), Ernest L WILLIAMS (born in 1892), Lena WILLIAMS (1898-1971), and Valentine Nathanial WILLIAMS (1901-1983).

Nathaniel was buried in Griggs, Cimarron County, Oklahoma. He died on April 11, 1908.

Lillie Mae was remarried after Nathaniel’s death and was later buried in Peoria, Illinois. She died on April 8, 1935.

Nathaniel and Lillie Mae’s son, Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS Sr (October 13, 1889 – December 16, 1965) and Martha Agnes FRARY (July 27, 1900 – July 6, 1923) were the parents of Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr.

Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr (March 16, 1922 – July 15, 1991) and Ruby Irene PORTER (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010) were my mom’s parents.


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David and Hannah THALER ~ Census Sunday

My husband’s second great-grandfather on his father’s side, David THALER, was born on March 10, 1840, in Bayern, Germany to Johannis THALER and Maria Eva WEIGEL. David died August 1918 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA. I forget the exact details, but David THALER’s name is mentioned in one of the stories on a wall inside the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. He was one of the key helpful Caucasian men in the earlier days at the mission.

My husband’s second great-grandmother on his father’s side, Hannah A. BLAKE, was born on July 9, 1858, in California (possibly in Napa) to Ander (or Andrew Jackson) BLAKE (May 5, 1826-September 13, 1900) and Elizabeth (February 4, 1841-October 21, 1901). Hannah died January 4, 1919 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

Below is what can be found in the 1900 United States Census for this couple and their family. It shows that they had a six-year-old lodger whom I cannot figure out. He is not in the 1910 Census with David and Hannah and the name is not familiar to me.

David Thaler 1900 Census

Name: David Thaler
Age: 60
Birth Date: Mar 1840
Birthplace: Germany
Home in 1900: San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1857
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Hannah A Thaler
Marriage Year: 1878
Years Married: 22
Father’s Birthplace: Germany
Mother’s Birthplace: Germany
Occupation: Chief, Fire Dept.

Household Members:
Name ~ Age ~ Birthplace (BP) ~ Father’s BP ~ Mother’s BP ~ Occupation
David Thaler ~ 60 ~ Germany ~ Germany ~ Germany ~ Chief, Fire Dept.
Hannah A. Thaler ~ 40 ~ California ~ Indiana ~ California ~ (blank) ~ 3 children all living
Josephine M. Thaler ~ 21 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ Teacher
Arthur Thaler ~ 19 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ Teamster
Fred E. Thaler ~ 11 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ School (student)
Iowa Keyser ~ 6 ~ California ~ California ~ California ~ School (student) ~ LODGER


David and Hannah Thaler were the parents of Josephine M. THAYLER/THALER JOHNSON (1879-1975), who was the mother of Evelyn Iola JOHNSON PARKER (1908-1979), who was the mother of my father-in-law.


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Five Generation Birthplace Charts

These birthplace charts are all the rage on genealogy blogs and Facebook right now. I created one for my lineage (with my father’s line being my adoptive father’s ancestors) and another one for my husband’s lineage. They are quite interesting, but if it went back a bit further, it would suddenly get quite a bit more interesting on several branches.

The charts begin with me (on the top chart) and my husband and go through our great-great-grandparents. The paternal lines are on the top of each pair and they have been color-coded by U.S. state or country.

SLP Birthplace Pedigree Chart

My Five Generation Birthplace Chart

MBP Birthplace Pedigree Chart

My Husband’s Five Generation Birthplace Chart

The template I used was posted by Miriam Robbin at AnceStories. You can check out #MyColorfulAncestry on Twitter and Facebook to see charts created by others.


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Charles Oscar PORTER’s Death Certificate

I was totally surprised when I came across this death certificate for my maternal great-grandfather the other day in a new database I found.

I always assumed or maybe even believed that Charles Oscar PORTER died from a heart attack or something similar while working in the field. I always pictured it that way. Was I in a way led to believe that by being told that he died while working in the field, but omitting the details? Maybe. I can see why, though, now that I know at least a little bit of what happened. I am sure that if it was, it was to soften the subject.

It turns out that there was a farm accident that caused great-grandpa’s sudden death. My grandma, Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS (his youngest child) was the one listed as the “informant”.

I always felt sorry for my grandma since she lost both of her parents just a little over a year apart and when both of her oldest children were each about three months old. I knew that this was a big reason why Grandma understood so well what I was going through in relation to losing my mom so young and suddenly. She had been there, too. Being a new mother of a three-month old baby and going through this accident must have been horribly difficult. Thinking about it, I am thankful that it did not happen just a few months later, because then she would have also been pregnant at the time. She was such a strong lady!

It is a bit eerie to me that Charles Oscar died suddenly just 17 days after he turned 62 and Irene’s second child (my mom) died suddenly just 16 days after she turned 40. Knowing my grandma, this did not escape her thinking at least a few times. I do know that Grandma loved it when happy occasions made formerly sad days something to look forward to again. This happened when one of her grand-daughters was born on the day her dad passed away, but obviously many years later.

We also find on this document that Charles Oscar died in Cedar County, Missouri, where he moved about a year earlier. I did not know either of those facts before. Nor did I have an address in Humansville where they lived when my mom was born. Of course, it is a R.R., so I probably will not be able to pin-point the location (at least easily), but it is nice to have.

Here is a map and current demographic information for Washington Township, Cedar Country, Missouri (the location of his death and likely his home).

(See below the certificate for transcribed information.)
Charles Oscar Porter Death Certificate

The State Board of Health of Missouri – Standard Certificate of Death
Place of death: Cedar County
City or town: Rural – Wash. (Washington Township)
In this community: 1 year
Full name: Charles Oscar Porter
Sex: Male
Color or race: White
Wife: Mary I. Porter
Birth of deceased: April 2, 1884
Age: 62 years 0 months 17 days
Birthplace: Oxford, Kansas
Usual occupation: Farming
Father’s name: Daniel M. Porter
Birthplace: Illinois
Mother’s maiden name: Carrie
Birthplace: Unknown
Informant: Mrs. Irene Williams
Informant’s address: R.R. #3, Humansville, Missouri
Place: Stockton Cemetery
Signature of funeral director: Church and Neale?
Address: Stockton, Missouri
Date received local registrar: 5-2-46?
Registrar’s signature: Geneva Garrison
Usual residence of deceased: State: Missouri
County: Cedar
City or town: Rural
Citizen of foreign country? No
Date of death: April 19, 1946
Time: 1:30 PM
Immediate cause of death: Crushed chest; died instantly
Due to: Overturn tractor
Major findings of autopsy: No
If death was due to external causes, fill in the following: Accident
Date of occurrence: April 19, 1946
Where did injury occur? Cedar, Missouri
Did injury occur in or about home, on farm….? On farm
While at work? Yes
Signature: (Cannot read, but maybe W.D. Twi___), Coroner
Address: El Dorado Springs, Missouri
File received: May 9, 1946
Filed: May 10, 1946
Primary Registration District No.: 5240
State File No.: 12535
Registrar’s No.: 12

Charles Oscar PORTER was the father of Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS, who was the mother of Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY, who was my mom.


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Free Genealogy Databases and Resources Online

Free Genealogy Databases and Resources Online

Free Genealogy Databases

Ellis Island 1892-1924 ~ This requires you to create a free account. Once you have one, hover over the Ellis Island tab and then click on Passenger Search.

Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600’s ~ Over 7100 families and 290 ships.

Immigrant Ships ~ 17,000+ passenger manifests in 16 volumes. Great for finding early ship passenger information. You can search the different volumes by the ship’s name, port of departure, port of arrival, or the captain’s name.

Castle Garden 1820-1892 ~ Before Ellis Island, many of our ancestors came through Castle Garden.

Olive Tree’s Ships Passenger List ~ I like this resource mostly because it also tells you exactly how to search for your immigrant ancestors. It takes you through the steps (if you don’t already know what ship or port you need) of first looking through the major ports of arrival (as well as what they are and where to find them), then the smaller ports, etc. It also tells about different ethnic groups immigrating to America.

Ship Passenger Lists ~ This includes links to lists for Emigrants from: Banat, Belarus, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales, and United States. It also contains links for lists for Immigrants to: Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Panama, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States 1620-1776, United States East Coast, United States Gulf Coast, and United States West Coast. When you first click on the link, it takes you to another page that includes the link or links available to search plus it often has some brief information about those who sailed to or from that location.

Genealogy Trails ~ This is a real gem! I have not explored it very long, but I have already found some wonderful information. I love the Native American Data section, Trails of Some Early Americans, Heirloom Recipes (by state), military records, and all of the special things found on each state’s page.

RootsWeb ~ This is a simple search engine, but it can produce something you have not come across before. Definitely worth checking out. I have found many things through RootsWeb. It is now under the umbrella of, so it is included if you use that; you can however, still use this for free without any accounts with RootsWeb or Ancestry.

1940 Census ~ Made up of images that were scanned from over 4,000 rolls of microfilm. This is the official host of the 1940 census. In order to search here, you need to know the enumeration district of your ancestor. It tells you how you can find it. The 1940 Census is included in several other family tree websites and easier to search, but if you do not have access to any of those… this is free and available.

Olive Tree Genealogy ~ This is an extremely comprehensive site. It includes: passenger lists (mentioned above), Military, Native American, Canadian, Palatine, Huguenots, Orphan records, Mennonites, Quakers, New Netherland (New York), Loyalists, as well as a lot of tips.

National Archives Access to Archival Databases (AAD) ~ Oh my! There are 26 types of databases here to search including records and files pertaining to: Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine 1/12/1846-12/31/1851, Immigration of Germans to the United States 1850-1897, Immigration of Italians to the United States 1855-1900, World War II Army Enlistment Records 1938-1946, World War II Prisoners of War 12/7/1941-11/19/1946, World War II Prisoners of the Japanese ca. 1941- ca. 1945, Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II 1942-1946, Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel 1942-1945, Military Personnel Who Died as a Result of Hostilities During the Korean War 1/1/1950-2/7/1957, Korean War Dead and Wounded Army Casualties 2/13/1950-12/31/1953,  Repatriated Korean War Prisoners of War 7/5/1950-10/6/1954, American Prisoners of War During the Korean War 1950-1953, National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel Files 1954-1970, Military Personnel Who Died/Were Missing in Action/or Prisoners of War as a Result of the Vietnam War 6/8/1956-1/21/1998, Records with Unit Information on Military Personnel Who Died During the Vietnam War 6/8/1956-10/10/2003, Deceased/Wounded/Ill or Injured Army Personnel Including Dependents and Civilian Employees 1/1/1961-12/1981, Awards and Decorations of Honor During the Vietnam War 12/1965-11/1972, Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Registers 1906-1991, Immigration of Russians to the United States 1834-1897, etc.

Social Security Death Index ~ This index is included in several all-in-one types of sites, but this is an easy, free, and relatively “unattached” search engine.

Find a Grave ~ This is a great resource. I especially love when I find an ancestor that someone has taken and posted a picture of the grave stone and or the cemetery itself.

American Local History Network ~ A network of independent genealogy and historical sites. This site is a wealth of information. I especially like the timelines and other history you can find on specific states or sometimes counties. You can also find some useful information in the forums pertaining to your specific area.

Trails To The Past ~ I love all of the history found here about certain states and counties. It also (depending on the state) includes a lot of useful information and links for U.S. Forts, cemeteries, ghost towns, emigrant trails, recipes, Native Americans, obituaries, etc. Click on the States Table link at the top left to access most of what I have mentioned.

USGenWeb Project ~ They are a group of volunteers working together to provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county of every state. Some counties and states are obviously much more thorough than others, but it is a great place to check especially when you find that your ancestors stayed in one place for a long time. If you are lucky, that place is one of the more thorough counties or states in the project.

WorldGenWebProject ~ The broader project over USGenWebProject (above) that includes a huge variety of countries.

Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1965 ~ By Missouri Digital Heritage. This is an extremely good resource for those of us with ancestors who passed away in Missouri between 1910 and 1965. It includes downloadable graphics of the originals. This is where I found my great-grandpa’s death certificate and discovered how he died. Wow! I didn’t see that one coming. My grandma never talked about it, but she was listed as the informant… so that could explain it even further. I just assumed he died from a heart attack or illness. Nope.

Missouri Birth and Death Database Pre-1910 ~ By Missouri Digital Heritage. This will be a great resource if you have family being born or dying before 1910 (including stillbirths), but all of the family members that I looked up in the Birth and Stillbirth Records Search did not show up. I am not sure if they are finished with this database or if a lot of records were lost somewhere. My family that I checked came from a few different counties, so I am not sure. It’s worth checking out though, because it gives you the name of the child, place of birth, county, date of birth, father’s name, mother’s name, mother’s maiden name, (and after you click on details) sex, number of child of this mother, race/color, nationality of father, his place of birth, his age, nationality of mother, her place of birth, her age, residence of mother, father’s occupation, and possibly the name and address of the attendant. Of course some of these are left blank, but what a treasure trove! (Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the search boxes.)

Free Databases at ~ I am definitely an fan. Yes, you have to watch out before you add someone else’s information to your family tree, because you do not know for sure if they researched it thoroughly… but that is the case everywhere. One of the best kept secrets is that they also have almost 2000 always-free databases. To view the records, you may be asked to sign up for a free account (but you do not need to sign up for the free trial). I just discovered this handy list and search engine for all of their free databases! AND… Many of their databases are actually international. It costs more for access to a lot of the international resources, so this is like gold!

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900 ~ Enter the groom’s or the bride’s name as well as the county (if known).

Illinois State Archives ~ Many great free databases including: Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records (which is an amazing resource! One emancipation document I looked at included a remark that the 19-year-old William Barton was a certified child of Daniel and Phoebe Barton and born free in Illinois. This was dated 5/18/1843.) , 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor, Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls, Illinois Mexican War Veterans, Illinois Spanish-American War Veterans, Illinois War of 1812 Veterans, Death Index (pre 1916 and 1916-1950), etc.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission ~ They commemorate the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Includes a simple yet effective search engine at the top of the page.

Family History Books Search ~ This is part of Family Search and is honestly one of the easiest book search engines that I have come across. Sometimes you will receive a message that you cannot view this document at this time unless you are at a special library (Family History Library, a partner library, or a Family History Center). It says that you can try again later, because only a certain amount of viewers can utilize it in a certain time period if not in one of those libraries. Even if you still have trouble with that particular book, you at least now know the name of the book along with some more helpful information to possibly even look for it on Google Books or GooBooGenI (below).

GooBooGenI ~ Virtual Genealogy Library. This search engine or library contains online copies of books on Google Books, etc. You can search for them under the following categories: by state, railroads, U.S. Civil War, surname, etc and they include United States, Canada, and England. It says something on the front page about “registered accounts” being back, but I did all of my searching without making an account. It kind of helps if you have an idea about what books were written that would include your family before you head here, but you could just keep the search broad and scroll down the lists until something looks like a fit, too.

This link has some great tips for searching Google Books for family history related books.

Books We Own ~ A free look-up resource for international genealogical research. You may need to reimburse the volunteer if you have them snail mail you the information, but otherwise the service is free. I would just have them email it to me. Easier on both of us. I definitely want to check this resource out further. I just discovered it.

Bureau of Land Management ~ This has a wealth of information if one of your ancestors happens to be included. One of the ways is if he received a Military Land Patent for his service in a war.

CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) ~ This is quite interesting. I don’t know if I will ever be able to use it… or even desire that my ancestors would be mentioned….lol… but it is free and out there. It is a database of declassified intelligence documents that is searchable by title, data, and text content. It includes “Directorate of Operations reports on the role of intelligence in the post WW-II period; material on the creation, organization, and role of the CIA within the U.S. Government; a collection of foreign scientific articles, ground photographs and associated reference materials; and the CIA’s first release of motion picture film.”

World War II Ration Books ~ This begins by telling you all about the ration books and why they were used. It then lets you search by last name (and first name is optional) to see an actual copy of the Certificate of Registrar for that individual. They include their name, address, age, occupation, height, weight, signature (theirs or someone signing for them, but this is indicated), as well as indicating another book holder and how they are related.

Pearl Harbor Casualties by Location or Ship ~ This is great, because it shows all of the casualties from a particular ship or location together. You can also search (above the table with the locations and ships) by any piece of information that you have, including simply a name.

Pearl Harbor Casualties 1941 ~ Search engine that includes USS Arizona casualties. ~ I have recently found a lot of wonderful information within Quaker records. They kept extensive details. I happened upon these through, but I just discovered this site that allows you to search their Meetings. It helps if you know the name of the meeting (which I do for this one particular part of the family… we evidently had quite a bit of Quakers on at least two different branches of my tree). Some of the searches on this site just tell you that there is information to be found on microfilm and where, but at least you know it exists and if necessary, you can search for it elsewhere (now with more details). Also pay attention to the Short History of Meeting usually found on the “Records Website” after you find the correct Meeting’s link.

U.S. Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1935 ~ This is an amazing resource that is found within You enter as much information about the individual that you desire (or even just a surname if you want a lot of results) and it comes back with their name, event type (admittance, removal, marriage, death, etc), event date, residence at the time, and the record for you to view. After you click on the link you want to check out, it will give you the important details. I like to also click on “View” so that I can check out the actual document. Some of these Quaker Meeting Records are honestly very difficult to read (handwriting issues and/or copying quality). When it’s legible, though, it usually has quite a bit more useful information. You can even explore the book much further by going forwards or backwards through the publication. (I’m not positive about how much of this you can access with a free account, though. It’s definitely worth trying out.)

Cinnamon Toast Genealogy ~ This is a huge index of links to genealogy web sites and databases. You can simply enter your surname and links specific to your surname (and genealogy related) will appear. No odd-ball results that have absolutely nothing to do with family history. There are also some links for specific regions, religions, and record types for you to explore.

American Libraries ~ Collection of online books includes material from across the United States. This is the Genealogy Collection. You can search by name or keyword. It includes items such as: church records and registers, Nobility, Church of England, Kings and rulers, yearbooks, several specific denominations, Indians of North America, Universities and colleges, clubs, wills, New Jersey, Church Periodicals, World War I, New York, Massachusetts Historical Society, Prussia 1712-1786, Church of Scotland, Pilgrims, Freemasons, German Americans, cemeteries, Quakers, Heraldry, and so much more. ~ Tons of links to marriage records for the United States (by individual state and then by county/town/etc), United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. I would mostly use this if I was having trouble finding the needed records elsewhere, but knew the area and approximate date of the marriage. Some of the collections are a lot more extensive than others.

Free UK Genealogy ~ Includes the FreeBMD (Birth/Marriage/Death Records Search), FreeReg (Parish Registers Search), and FreeCen (Census Searches for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891).

U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Databases ~ Including: records for over 6 million men who served on both sides, 18,000 African American Sailors, unit histories of over 4,000 regiments on both sides, prisoners of war (both sides), over 1,500 Medals of Honor recipients, and a whole lot more.

Mooseroots ~ Including: Canadian World War I Enlistments, Canadian World War II Casualties, Casualties of the Gulf War (US), Casualties of the Korean War (US), Casualties of the Vietnam War (US)m Casualties of the War on Terror (US), Civil War Sailors (US), Peacetime Military Casualties (US), World War II Army Enlistment Records (US), World War II Prisoner of War Camps, World War II Prisoners of War (US), Immigration Records (US and Canada), Immigration Ships, Birth Records (various US states and Victoria, Australia), Death Records (various US states, many islands, some Canada and a few other countries), Grave Records (US), Marriage and Divorce Records (various US states), 1940 US Census, and US Census Records (1790 through 1930).

Pennsylvania State Archives Records Information System ~ Including: Civil War Veterans’ Card File 1861-1866, Mexican Border Campaign Veterans’ Card File, World War I Service Medal Application Cards, Spanish American War Veterans’ Card File of U.S. Volunteers, Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File, Militia Officers Index Cards, 1775-1800, and PA National Guard Veterans’ Card File 1867-1921.

Kentucky Vital Records Index and Search Engines ~ Includes: Death Index for 1911-1986, Death Index for 1987-1992, Marriage Index for 1973-1993, and Divorce Index for 1973-1993.

Family Old Photos ~ Free old photo archive. You can browse by surname, state, schools, Civil War, railroad, fire departments, etc.

Dead Fred ~ Free genealogy photo archive. You can browse by surname, keyword, or add more details to your search.

Free Family Tree Sites

Family Search ~ This is put out through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but you do not have to belong to use this site for free. I have used it a bit and it is really good. As you enter a new family member, it attempts to match them up with existing records already entered by other people. You can choose if this person is a match or not. If they are a match then you will likely end up with a lot more family instantly popping up on your family tree. This happened to me when I added my maternal grandma. Her line instantly went quite away on one of her lines.

Free Genealogy Software Download by MyHeritage ~ I have not used this downloadable program, but I do like their online free version as a supplement in my arsenal. (See below for my comments on MyHeritage.) I might try this though, because it says that besides the family tree software, you also get Smart Matches Technology (which is the biggest thing I personally miss from not paying for a premium account on MyHeritage), beautiful customizable charts, maps, sync with mobile, and more.

WikiTree ~ This is totally free, but you do not have complete control OR complete responsibility for your family tree. The whole site is supposed to eventually be ONE big family tree. So, there are pros and cons. In order to add more than just yourself, you have to volunteer to help when others need it on the site (you specify what surname(s) or area(s) you want to help with) and then wait until it is confirmed and you are welcomed by a Greeter or another Wiki Genealogist. You then have to sign the Honor Code. It’s easy and makes sense, you just have to wait to really get started. My wait was only a couple of hours at the most. After that, you can add your family’s information. If someone already entered someone, you will have to suggest additions or corrections if needed. You cannot just add them yourself or “correct” the file. The pros are that it’s free, it would be fun collaborating with others, and you can possibly find distant cousins or even break down a brick wall.

Also look in the next category. You can do quite a bit especially on and My Heritage without paying any money.

Free Miscellaneous Genealogy Goodies

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness ~ This is free and it is a marvelous page to know about. Volunteers will do a free genealogy research task for strangers. If they incur any expenses such as for making copies, postage, film, etc… then you have to reimburse them for that, but there are no other charges. You can also sign up to be a volunteer and provide Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. There are currently volunteers in most of the states as well as in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand, England, Scotland, and Wales.

Discover the Meaning and History Behind Your Last Name ~ This is a fun, yet informative tool. I have stumped it at times with a few of my surnames, but it’s interesting to read at least one version of the meaning and origins when your surname doesn’t stump it. I especially like the Name Distribution interactive map graphic, though. It shows the concentration of your particular surname in the United States (in 1840, 1880, and 1920), England and Wales (in 1891), and Scotland (in 1841, 1861, 1881, and 1901).

GenWatcher Surname Tracker ~ This is a free service that lets you sign up to receive an email when information that includes your surname becomes available. It says that Genealogy Today sends you an email with a summary and link to get the details whenever a match is discovered. I just signed up with one of my more unique surnames. I’m not sure if the links points you to information that you need a premium account for or not. You can sign up for multiple surnames, but you have to enter them one at a time.

Database and Family Tree Sites with Some Free Access ~ This is my favorite program to use. I highly recommend it! It has some great resources available for free (see above for their free databases), but you can get even more (especially when you go further back) when you have a paid membership. I LOVE seeing those little leaves pop up!  😉  I at times have let my membership lapse (when money is tight and/or I am not using it as much for a while). You don’t lose anything if you do this either, which is great. They have tons of wonderful resources intertwined within their searches as well as one of the best DNA tests (as well as connecting you to family with some matching DNA… I plan to do this soon). I especially like that it’s like a one-stop-shop nowadays with so many databases included that you often have to pay for elsewhere or are difficult to find. It’s so easy to search for your ancestor in all of these available databases, because it pulls the information you already entered into the search and often times it is already in your hints aka the little green leaves. They also have a free trial membership for the premium accounts. ~ I really like this site, too. It is definitely much better when you have a paid account, though. I go through spurts of paying for this one. Basically, when enough things are accumulated that I need to pay for in order to view… I pay for a month of membership. I like the feature where it will calculate how you are related to a certain person… including presidents and other famous people. The only thing I do not like about this is the fact that once it finds a path through one of your lines, it cannot be changed to another line. For example: It found a path to a WATMOUGH through my adopted father’s LAKEY line. I fully expected that if we were related, it would be through my mother-in-law’s WATMOUGH line. Now, even when I try it with the furthest WATMOUGH ancestor, it comes all the way back through my father to connect the two WATMOUGH’s. There is also a great sense of community on Geni. People work together on gathering information on their ancestors. It’s a great way to find distant cousins without a DNA test. I have broken through a few brick walls with Geni, but you still have to verify the information, because it is possible that some of it can be poorly done. Geni also emails you with upcoming important dates on your family tree. I think you have to sign up for this. I cannot remember, but it is free.

My Heritage ~ This site has some great features. It sets up your information that you enter in your family tree as a website that you can share with others. You can create a private site for your family, build your family tree, and share family photos. It even has a handy reminder over to the side that tells if a birthday or anniversary is coming soon. You can do quite a bit with the free membership, but the biggest thing only available with a premium account that I would like to be able to do is confirm matches with other people on the site. It shows you everything, but won’t let you confirm or deny without the premium account. You can also upload your raw DNA information (from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA) on this site (but I am not sure if this is only for premium or not). They have three different levels of premium memberships and they actually are quite reasonably priced.

Databases With Free Trial Memberships Worth Looking Into

Find My Past ~ This has a 14 day free trial. This is said to be an essential tool for anyone with British or Irish ancestry, but it includes resources for a whole lot more. It appears to hold a wealth of information. Their collection of Irish records is second to none, with over 110 million records for those of Irish heritage. They also “have the largest online collection of UK Parish records, US marriage records 1670-2010 and one of the most comprehensive online collections of military records… British and Irish newspapers span three centuries and over 13 million pages.” The searches also include resources for Armed Forces and Conflict, Passenger Lists, Education and Work, Courts and Legal, Directories and Almanacs, Business Directories, Apprenticeships, Wills and Probate, Church Records, Postal and Telephone Directories, Railway Employees, Quarantine Admissions, Newspapers, as well as Births, Marriages, and Deaths. They include all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and bit more around the world. They also have a 1939 Register. This looks amazing and is only online here at Find My Past. The register was taken at the outbreak of World War II and contains the personal details of over 41 million people in England and Wales. It is said to be one of the most important British documents of the twentieth century. It is even more important since the 1931 census was destroyed during an air raid on London and the 1941 census was never taken. The 1939 Register is the only surviving overview of the civil population of England and Wales from 1921-1951.

Fold3 ~ Free 7-day trial. Contains millions of digitized historical documents that can be searched and browsed including: Civil War records, Native American resources, newspapers, photographs, and more. They specialize in military records. At least a portion of Fold3 is included in, because I have had many hints that lead me to Fold3 information and I have not had to get a Fold3 account. (I do have a paid account, though.)

Genealogy Bank ~ Thirty day free trial. It includes over 7,000 newspapers 1690-today (95% exclusive… not available online through other genealogy sites), 235 million obituaries, U.S. Military records, and more. I have not used this site before, but many of my searches elsewhere send me to this site so I may check it out in the future.

*  Be sure to check out my Free Genealogy Forms and Charts, too.

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