Genealogy tip of the day: July 7, 2015


Today’s tip is about using Pinterest for genealogy.

First, you should know that the Webster County Genealogical Society does have a Pinterest page.There are 22 boards with categories like Genie humor, Technology, History, Church records, Organization, Charts and Printables, Civil War and more.

The boards are in alphabetical order, except that Military and wars are at the end, together.

If you are experienced with Pinterest, you can create boards for genealogy and research. Some people label their genealogy-related board like this: Genealogy Books, Genealogy Civil War Records, Genealogy Courthouse Research, Genealogy German, Genealogy Pennsylvania, Genealogy Tips and so on.

You can set up a board for a specific surname and invite other family members to add to your board. You can have a board about a specific place your ancestors lived.

When you create a new board, you can add a description (or edit it in later). You can also choose which image from all the pins in that board should be the cover for the board. That is what people see when they are looking at your boards.

There are more good tips here, here and here.

This blog tells you how to get started on Pinterest. If you need personal assistance, our society president, Carol Foltz, is usually at the society on Wednesdays.

Genealogy tip of the day: July 5, 2015

Using local resources.

The Webster County Genealogical Society is just one of the societies in the area, and the other societies have much to offer, as well.

The Wright County, Iowa Genealogical Searchers has a Facebook page: They have a class coming up on July 22.

(They also abbreviate to WCGS.) Here’s the post about the class: WCGS will be hosting a beginning genealogy class: Wednesday July 22, 2015 6:30-7:30pm @ Clarion Public Library. There is no fee, but please pre-register by calling 515-532-3673 or email

The Humboldt County Genealogical Society isn’t online, but they meet at 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Humboldt Public Library.

More local resources to come.

Genealogy Tip of the Day: July 2, 2015

Let’s talk about accuracy.

We want to believe that our ancestors and everyone who wrote down data about them always used the same spelling, but if you have been working on your family history for any length of time, you know that’s not true.

In my great-grandmother’s case, I have seen her name spelled so many different ways, it nearly makes my head spin. Augusta Hermanie Meyn …


These are a few of the permutations. I go with Meyn because that’s on the gravestone of her parents and some of her siblings.

So when I’m trying to find information about her, I am kind of liberal about how her name is spelled, but I still try to make sure that I have the right person when accepting hints on Ancestry or Family Search, especially when accepting information from someone else’s family tree.

Because you simply don’t know — unless that person has cited accurate sources — if the information is correct.

I was recently looking up my paternal grandfather (Alfred Charles Snyder) on Ancestry and found him and his parents (Samuel Grant Snyder and Susan Hoffman) listed in someone’s tree.

The Susan Hoffman in the other tree was actually Susan Spencer Hoffman, married to William Hoffman, and they had several children. The other person believes that because Susan Spencer Hoffman was Susan Hoffman, she must be the same Susan Hoffman as the one that married Samuel Grant Snyder.

Which is simply not the case.

Susan Hoffman married Samuel Grant Snyder and they had several children. The only one who is in the other tree is my grandfather, born in 1900. The 1900 census has Samuel and Susie Snyder, along with their sons Wallace and Glen (Grandpa was born in September, so not listed in the 1900 census). The other Susan Hoffman was listed with her husband William Hoffman and their children. In addition, William and Susan Hoffman had another child after 1900, so she clearly couldn’t be married to Samuel Snyder.

No, she wasn’t a bigamist. It’s just a case of mistaken identity.

So, try to be accurate when you enter information. Try to determine as positively as you can if you have the right person. Maybe write things down on paper until you are sure, before adding a person to your family tree. A timeline would probably help, as well.

I did message the person who added my grandfather and his parents to her family tree, but she hasn’t been on Ancestry in three months. At this point, there’s nothing I can do except try to make sure my research is as accurate as possible.

Oh, and cite my sources!

Gritting My Teeth About Online Family Trees
5 Ways To Tell If Your Genealogy Research Is Accurate
7 Common Genealogy Research Mistakes to Avoid

This tip has been brought to you by WCGS President Carol Foltz.

Genealogy tip of the day: July 1, 2015

We will begin posting a Genealogy Tip of the Day or Genealogy Link of the Day on a daily basis.

Today’s tip is this article on backing up your genealogy.

How are you doing your genealogy? Do you only work on paper, only on a computer, only online, or some combination of those methods? What would you do if you had a fire, flood or some other disaster that erased or destroyed your work?

Many people use a combination of methods for various reasons. You can work in a genealogy program and create a GEDCOM file for backup and upload that to cloud storage or download to a flash drive that you keep with you. You can email it to yourself (another form of cloud storage). If your genealogy program syncs with an online tree (Ancestry or Family Search, for example), you don’t have to worry about your work being lost.

If you only use paper files, consider making copies and keeping them in a different location than your home. (My family’s home burned down when I was 5 and we lost nearly everything, including family photos.)

Another issue is what to do with your genealogy when you die, but we’ll cover that another day.

Happy ancestor hunting!