I Remember Mama – A Mother’s Day Tribute to My Mother

Posted on May 14, 2017 in Family Memories, Family Photos

In 1948, there was a movie called “I Remember Mama” starring Irene Dunn as Mama. From 1949 to 1957, there was a TV series called “Mama”, based on the movie, starring Peggy Wood as Mama. In these stories, the eldest daughter in this Norwegian family, reminisces about her life with her Mama.

Marguerite Noble 1925 age 7

Marguerite Noble 1925 age 7

This Mother’s Day I remember my Mama or Mom, Marguerite [Noble] Furlani aka Mickey. She was a great bowler and could have gone Pro (10 pin) if she hadn’t had a family. She collected ceramic dogs with glass gems for eyes. I have those dogs now. She also collected salt and pepper shakers.

She taught me everything I know about cooking. I made shoo fly pie, pot pie or bot boi (a Pennsylvania Dutch soup using flat noodles) and potato bread with the best of them thanks to her Pennsylvania German heritage.

They used to call her gas-a** Mickey because she was always busy running around town. I remember when she worked at the Sweet Shop and I would stop in for breakfast—usually a bacon sandwich with grape jelly (I can hear the groans but it tastes great).

She delivered prescriptions and other orders for Cook’s pharmacy in an old Chevy panel truck, later in a VW bug. I bought the panel truck for $25 but it only lived a month. I don’t think I got my money’s worth.

I remember our Christmases. Although we did not have much money, as children we did not really feel it. It was only later in life that I learned what she had sacrificed to provide these wonderful Christmas mornings.

I remember that her favorite flower was the gardenia. I remember that she seemed to live on a diet of Tastykakes but never gained weight. I called it the Mickey Furlani diet.

L. to R., Marguerite Noble Furlani, Eileen Furlani, and Lorraine Gunther Noble

L. to R., Marguerite Noble Furlani, Eileen Furlani, and Lorraine Gunther Noble

Most of all, I remember her taking care of me through my many illnesses and broken bones. I broke my left arm (I’m left-handed) three times as a child. The first time I was four. And fell down the back steps into a pile of bricks wearing my Mom’s high heels. The second break occurred when I was in second grade and fell out of a tree. The third time, I was racing in a roller derby, fell and someone skated over my arm (by accident). By this time, my Mom knew the routine; so, she made a makeshift splint using a rolled newspaper, told me to sit down and eat my supper, then we went to the emergency room.

I lost her too early to COPD at the age of sixty-seven. Mom, you will always be with me in my heart and in my memories.

Marguerite Noble Furlani (1918 - 1985)

Marguerite Noble Furlani (1918 – 1985)

Posted in Family Memories, Family Photos | 2 Comments

CONNAUGHT IRISH?

Posted on May 9, 2017 in Family History, Interesting Finds

Today, I was reminded that AncestryDNA had released a new feature called a Genetic Community™. According to their definition:

“A Genetic Community is a group of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived.”

I saw that I had only one community to view and it is Connacht Irish. The provided map seemed to imply that this area is partly in County Mayo. My interest really picked up.

In a blog post last May, I discussed my attempts to transcribe the illegible words on the tombstone of Edward Noble, my great-great grandfather, to determine what parish and town/townland that he was a native of in County Mayo. Please see “Tombstone Tuesday – Edward Noble (1827 – 1872)”. I wondered if Connacht Irish might give me another clue.

According to Wikipedia,

”Connacht Irish is the dialect of the Irish language spoken in the province of Connacht. Gaeltacht [Irish-speaking] regions in Connacht are found in Counties Mayo (notably Tourmakeady, Achill Island and Erris) and Galway (notably in parts of Connemara and on the Aran Islands).”

The map below shows the three dialects of the Irish language, with Connacht in the west.

By original uploader Angr, transferred from en.wikipedia to commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3532749

By original uploader Angr, transferred from en.wikipedia to commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3532749

I was very intrigued to see that Connaught Irish were found on Achill Island, County Mayo. While this is not a proof, the fact that my DNA placed me in this community does add some weight to my transcription of ‘Parish of Achill’ on Edward’s tombstone.

Next thing to consider is how valid is this new Genetic Community feature. Is the algorithm that placed me in this community science or speculation?

Anymore Connaught Irish out there?

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Amanuensis Monday: Will of Theobald Meisberger

Posted on April 24, 2017 in Amanuensis Monday

Today’s document is the Will of Theobald Meisberger, 1900

Will of Theobald Meisberger, Deceased
Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
Will Book 11, Pages 188-189
Recorded 25 June 1900
Register of Wills, Sunbury, Northumberland, Pennsylvania
Digital image, Ancestry, Pennsylvania Wills and Probate Records, Wills 1772 – 1907
(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 September 2015)

188 [stamped]

Will of Theobald Meisberger, Deceased

I, Theobald Meisberger, of Brady, Coal Township, in the County of Northumberland and
State of Pennsylvania, do make publish and declare this as my last Will and testament
hereby revoking all former wills by me at anytime heretofore made. _ _ _ _ _
First: – I order and direct that my body be interred in the St. Edward’s Catholic Cemetery
in said township beside that of my beloved wife, Mary Catharine, now deceased, according
to the rites and ceremonies of the said Catholic Church and that my funeral be conducted
in a manner corresponding with my estate and condition in life. As to my worldly estate
I dispose of the same as follows, the debts and liabilities of my estate having first been paid
and discharged thereout. _ Second: – I give and bequeath and devise the sum of three
hundred dollars in money to my daughter Mary Eve Ann, intermarried with Andrew
Gunther, to be paid to her by my Executors hereinafter named within one year after my decease
Also, Fifty-two and one half feet by one hundred and forty-five feet of a piece or parcel of
ground Situate in Brady, Coal Township, County and State aforesaid, Known and designated
as the Easter end of said lot (being one half acre lot purchased from John B. Douty
as per deed bearing date September 13″ 1873) as recorded in Deed Book No. 66 Page 370 &c [etc.]
in and for Northumberland County on which is erected a house 30 x 28 feet with the appurtenances
This house extending from six to ten feet over the line allotted, I direct and order should
this house ever burn down or be torn down it is to be built within the limit of the
aforesaid allotted piece of ground and to be removed from the portion of ground hereinafter
allotted to my daughter Sarah Magdalena, intermarried with George Depner. _ _ _
Third: – I give bequeath and devise unto my daughter Sarah Magdalena intermarried with
George Depner the sum of three hundred dollars in money to be paid to her by my Executor
hereinafter named within one year after my decease, and also the following described real
estate viz: fifty-two and one half feet by-one hundred and forty five feet adjoining
the aforesaid piece of ground allotted to Mrs Gunther on the west there being erected
thereon a house 30 by 28 feet with the appurtenances, to her, her heirs and assigns forever.
Fourth: – I give bequeath and devise to my daughter Johanna intermarried with
Dennis Burns the Western portion of said lot or piece of ground forty-five feet by
one hundred and forty-five feet on which is erected a single house twenty-two feet by
forty-six feet with the appurtenances; Also I give and bequeath to her my said daughter
Johanna all my household furniture of which I shall be possessed at the time
of my death, to hold the same to her, her heirs and assigns forever. _ Fifth: – I give bequeath
and devise unto my son William Theodore his heirs and assigns forever the Northern
half part of lot number six in block number one hundred and Eighty-eight fronting
on Shamokin Street on the west and on Franklin Street on the East on which are
erected two double houses the Northern half of each house to belong thereto _
Sixth: – I give bequeath and devise unto my son David Theobald his heirs and assigns
forever, the other or southern half part of said lot number six in block number one
hundred and Eighty-eight in the Borough of Shamokin together with the northern half
part of sad two double houses thereon to belong thereto. _ Seventh: – I give and bequeath
unto my son John A. Meisberger the sum of Eight hundred dollars to be paid to him
by my Executors hereinafter named within one year after my death. _ Eighth: – I give
and bequeath unto my daughter Annie Margaret, intermarried with John Madara the
sum of Five hundred dollars in money to be paid to her by my Executors hereinafter named
within one year after my death. _ Ninth: – All the rest and residue of my Estate, real
personal and mixed of which I shall die seized and possessed, or to which I shall be
entitled at my decease I give bequeath and devise to be equally divided to and amongst
my aforesaid children share and share alike. _ Tenth: – I do hereby appoint and

189 [stamped]

request that my daughter Johanna shall be and act as guardian of the estate
of my minor son David Theobald during his minority and that she ^ shall have full
authority and control over his person and estate until he arrives at his majority
age. _ And lastly I do nominate and appoint my daughter Johanna Burns
and Dennis Burns her husband to be Executors of this my last Will and testament.
In Witness whereof I, Theobald Meisberger the testator, have to this my last Will
and testament written on one Sheet of paper, set my hand and seal this thirtieth
day of December one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine.

Theobald Meisberger [clerk signed] {seal}

Signed, sealed published and declared by the above named Theobald Meisberger
as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us who have hereunto
subscribed our names at his request as Witnesses thereto in the presence of
the said Testator and of each other.

State of Pennsylvania               }
County of Northumberland    } SS. Be it Remembered. That on this 25″ day of
} June A. D. 1900, before me The Register for the Probate
of Wills and granting of the Letters of Administration in and for said County, person
-ally appeared W. B. Bowman and John Meenahan the subscribing witnesses
to the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be the last Will and
Testament of Theobald Meisberger late of the Township of Coal, County and
State aforesaid, deceased, who being duly sworn according to law do declare and
say that they were personally present at the Execution of the same and saw and
heard the Testator therein named, sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the same
as and for his last Will and Testament, and that at the time of doing he was
of sound, disposing mind, memory and understanding to the best of their Knowledge
and belief
Sworn and subscribed to before me              } W. B. Bowman [clerk signed]
Frederick Haas                                                  } John Meenahan [clerk signed]
Register                                                              }

Be it Remembered, That on this 25″ day of June A.D. 1900, before me
was proved approved and insinuated in due and Common form of law
the last Will and Testament of Theobald Meisberger, late of the Township
of Coal, County and State aforesaid, deceased, who died on the 13″ day of June
A, D. 1900. And that Letters Testamentary with a copy of the Will annexed
were granted unto Johanna Burns and Dennis Burns therein named
Witness my hand
Frederick Haas [his signature]
Register

 

The will mentions wife Mary Catharine, deceased; son-in-law Andrew Gunther and wife Mary Eve Ann his daughter; son-in-law George Depner and wife Sarah Magdalena his daughter; son-in-law Dennis Burns and wife Johanna his daughter; William Theodore his son; David Theobald his son; John A. Meisberger his son; and Annie Margaret his daughter.

Theobald Meisberger (1837 – 1900) is my 2nd great-grandfather; Mary Eve [Eva] Ann Gunther nee Meisberger (1861 – 1941) is my great-grandmother, and her daughter Ilene [Lorraine] Noble nee Gunther (1897 – 1977) is my maternal grandmother. What fascinates me most is that Theobald was a coal miner. Yes, I said coal miner. Yet he was able to bequeath all this to his family.

 

Note: Amanuensis Monday is a genealogy blogging theme. It was started by John Newmark who writes the Transylvanian Dutch blog. His definition of an Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

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Society Saturday – Using Identity Characteristics to Locate Your Ancestors

Posted on April 8, 2017 in Society Saturday

Logo of the Carroll County Genealogical SocietyThe Carroll County Genealogical Society’s upcoming meeting on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM* features Angela Packer McGhie, CG. Angela is a Certified Genealogist® who focuses on genealogical education. She is the coordinator for the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Angela lectures at other genealogy institutes and national conferences. She served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program for six years and is now on the board of directors. Angela was recently named as a trustee of the BCG Education Fund and serves on the Gen Fed Alumni board.

She will be presenting Using Identity Characteristics to Locate Your Ancestors. Characteristics beyond name can help locate individuals in records and distinguish men of the same name. Comparing information found in one record to that of another record can help determine if they refer to the same individual. Many different characteristics of an individual can be used in this comparison, such as age, occupation, residence, birthplace, etc. This technique can be especially useful to overcome indexing issues where your ancestor’s name may not be identifiable, or in situations where a name has been changed.

Meetings of the Carroll County Genealogical Society (CCGS) are usually held the third Monday of each month, March through May and September through November, at 7:00 p.m. in the Dixon Room, Westminster Library at 50 East Main Street, Westminster.

*Refreshments are available at 7:00 PM and the meetings, which start at 7:30 PM, are free and open to the public.

Please come to our meeting and bring a friend. You will meet other folks interested in family research and genealogy and enjoy delightful talks that may help you in your own research. I look forward to seeing new faces!

You can also come early and take advantage of our large collection of books and other materials housed at the Westminster Branch of the CCPL. On Thursday afternoons, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., one or more society volunteers will be on hand to assist researchers. Of course, this collection is available to all anytime the library is open.

CCGS Genealogical Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo copyright by Eileen Souza

CCGS Genealogical Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo copyright by Eileen Souza

 

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Accolades for Rebecca Koford, CG and “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name”

Posted on March 28, 2017 in Accolades

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Rebecca Koford’s webinar “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name” hosted and sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).

Rebecca reviews tactics for sorting our ancestors from other men or women of the same name in the same general time period and location. Several case studies show how these methods were effective. She presents a difficult subject in both a systematized and thought-provoking style. This is absolutely one of the best webinars I have attended in a long time.

If you get a chance to attend this lecture, I highly recommend it. Those of you who subscribe to the Legacy webinar series can find it in the webinar library here. Right now, it is free until March 31, 2017.

Rebecca Whitman Koford holds a Certified Genealogist® credential. Her focus is in American research with special emphasis in Maryland. She has spoken for the National Genealogical Society Conference, Maryland State Archives, and for groups in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. She is a board member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland. She has published articles in the NGS Magazine and the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal.

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Heaven (Family Recipe Friday)

Posted on March 24, 2017 in Family Recipes

When I young my mother frequently made a dessert that she called “Heaven”. She may have made this recipe up or modified it from a fruit salad called Ambrosia. The addition of optional ingredients such as, mandarin oranges, coconut and chopped pecans turns this dessert into Ambrosia. The fact that she disliked coconut and mandarin oranges were difficult to get back then makes me suspicious. But at the time, we kids had never heard of Ambrosia. We only knew and loved Heaven.

My mother used regular sized marshmallows and cut them into bite size bits, but when I started making this for my own family, I substituted the miniature marshmallows. I found that the mandarin oranges tended to overpower the flavor of the pineapple and I do not care for coconut either so I never make Ambrosia — just Heaven.

This recipe makes around 8 servings.
Prep time: 15 minutes

Heaven

A dessert so good–it’s a little taste of heaven

Photo of Heaven dessert

Ingredients

Amount    Measure         Ingredient
1                    bag                 miniature marshmallows
1                    can                 pineapple chunks in water – drained
1                    jar                  maraschino cherries – drained
1                    pint                heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Cut marshmallows into ½” pieces. The pineapple can be cut smaller, if desired or you may substitute pineapple bits.
  2. Mix marshmallows, pineapple and cherries in a large bowl.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream until it stands without help. (If you are feeling really lazy, you can use Reddi-Whip but it makes the recipe sweeter)
  4. Fold into fruit mixture until all fruit is thoroughly covered.
  5. Refrigerate to set for 2 hours before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Serve in individual fruit compotes. Top with whole cherries, sprinkle some cinnamon lightly over fruit, or slice a banana thinly over top.

 

 

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(Not So) Wordless Wednesday – Two Mysteries and a Cute Dog

Posted on March 15, 2017 in Wordless Wednesday

I am using this theme to post my mystery photos in hopes that someday I’ll be able to solve them.

Side 1. Mary Fanibelle and her dog

Side 1. Mary Fanibelle and her dog

Mary Fanibelle is not known to me—neither is her dog. Supposedly she sent this post card photo of herself to her cousin, my grandmother, Anna Bianchi Furlani. I have not been able to date this photo but think it may be early 20th century. My grandmother married in 1911 so I don’t know if she was single or married when she received this card. These two cousins must have been close since Mary said she had the photo taken just so she could send to Anna. Mary is my Mystery 1. I have some collateral research to do to track this relationship down.

Side 2. Post card signed Mary Fanibelle

Side 2. Post card signed Mary Fanibelle

Mystery 2 is that there does not appear to be a stamp or post mark on this card. Without that it could not have been ‘sent’. I wonder how my grandmother received it. If Mary was local and handed it to her, why would she write on the post card that she was going to send it? She did not include a street address but maybe in those days, in a small community, you could get mail with incomplete addresses. Would the post office mark such a card as postage due in that time period?

I am open to any information or corrections concerning this post card and photo. I would love to be able to solve my two mysteries.

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Society Saturday – The Resources of the McDaniel Library & Archives

Posted on March 11, 2017 in Society Saturday

Logo of the Carroll County Genealogical SocietyThe Carroll County Genealogical Society’s upcoming meeting on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:00 PM* features Andrea Briggs. Andrea is the Archivist & Special Collections Librarian at McDaniel College. She received her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and is a proud alumna of McDaniel College. Andrea is thrilled to be able to give back to the community that taught her to love history by preserving it and making it accessible to researchers.

She will be presenting The Resources of the McDaniel Library & Archives. The McDaniel College Archives at Hoover Library is the repository for the historical records of Western Maryland and McDaniel College, and for other documents and artifacts that are related to the history of the College. Andrea will be speaking about the types of resources available to researchers from the Archives, both on campus and online, as well as what kinds of information can be uncovered in our collections to assist with genealogical research.

Meetings of the Carroll County Genealogical Society (CCGS) are usually held the third Monday of each month, March through May and September through November, at 7:00 p.m. in the Dixon Room, Westminster Library at 50 East Main Street, Westminster.

*Refreshments are available at 7:00 p.m. and the meetings are free and open to the public.

Please come to our meeting and bring a friend. You will meet other folks interested in family research and genealogy and enjoy delightful talks that may help you in your own research.  I look forward to seeing new faces!

You can also come early and take advantage of our large collection of books and other materials housed at the Westminster Branch of the CCPL.  On Thursday afternoons, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., one or more society volunteers will be on hand to assist researchers. Of course, this collection is available to all anytime the library is open.

CCGS Genealogical Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo copyright by Eileen Souza

CCGS Genealogical Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo copyright by Eileen Souza

 

 

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Genealogy Mysteries 2017 – The Latest Discoveries

Posted on March 6, 2017 in Genealogy Mysteries

Genealogy Mysteries sm txt

 

Dying Games front cover small[1]On May 4, 2017, Steve Robinson is scheduled to release his latest Jefferson Tayte mystery, Dying Games. Although this is the sixth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.

A murderer who leaves a family history chart at each crime scene and all the victims have a connection to Jefferson Tayte. Tayte finds himself up against a genealogical mastermind, who is determined to ruin him. Will Jefferson Tayte be the final victim?

Since initial posts on this topic over the years, I have been accumulating and reading new books, authors, and series in this sub-genre, which is really taking off. For those of you who also enjoy genealogy and reading mysteries, this is my comprehensive list of all genealogy mysteries that I have discovered to date and contains any new books I have discovered since I published my last post in September 2017.

The Latest Discoveries and Other New Releases

The Wynderbury Mysteries by Victoria Prescott feature historian Rob Tyler to combine historical and family research into a newly discovered series.

  • The Plantagenet Mystery (2014) – Kindle
  • The Hawthorn Villa Secret (2016) – Kindle

The Somme Legacy starring former police detective now genealogical investigator Jayne Sinclair by M J Lee takes us to the trenches of World War I in the Battle of the Somme. See below for other books in this series.

John Nixon’s star family historian, Madeleine Porter, is appearing again in Unearthed. This, the fifth Madeleine Porter story, is the familiar mix of family history, mystery, sadness and happiness. See below for other books in this series.

The Nigel Barnes series by Dan Waddell is being released in Kindle format starting with the first book, Blood Detective. See below for other books in this series.

Series Family History Mysteries

The Nick Herald series by Jimmy Fox features a professional genealogist in New Orleans, Louisiana

• Deadly Pedigree (2001) – Kindle
• Lineages and Lies (2002) – Kindle
• Jackpot Blood (2014) – Kindle

The Danny O’Flaherty series by Jonathan Harrington stars an American teacher researching his family’s roots in Ireland and New York City.

• The Death of Cousin Rose (1996) – Paperback
• The Second Sorrowful Mystery (1999) – Paperback
• A Great Day for Dying (2001) – Paperback

The Lottie Albright series by Charlotte Hinger features a historian and editor for the county historical society in a small town in Western Kansas.

• Deadly Descent (2009) – Kindle
• Lethal Lineage (2011) – Kindle
• Hidden Heritage (2013) – Kindle

The Demary Jones series by E. L. Larkin (deceased) is set in Seattle, Washington, with Demary as the owner of Confidential Research, specializing in genealogy and historical research.

• Hear My Cry (1997) – Hardcover
• Hear Me Die (1998) – Hardcover
• Die and Die (1998) – Paperback
• Dead Men Die (1999) – Hardcover
• The Swallow Murders (1999) – Hardcover
• Die in Texas (2002) – Hardcover

Victory (Torie) O’Shea, a genealogist in New Kassel, Missouri, is ably portrayed in a series by Rett MacPherson. Now all available in Kindle editions.

• Family Skeletons (2014) – Kindle
• A Veiled Antiquity (2013) – Kindle
• A Comedy of Heirs (2014) – Kindle
• A Misty Mourning (2000) – Kindle
• Killing Cousins (2002) – Kindle
• Blood Relations (2014) – Kindle
• In Sheep’s Clothing (2014) – Kindle
• Thicker Than Water (2005) – Kindle
• Dead Man Running (2006) – Kindle
• Died in the Wool (2014) – Kindle
• The Blood Ballad (2014) – Kindle

Natasha Blake, a genealogist in the Cotswolds in England appears in the series by Fiona Mountain.

• Pale as the Dead (2004) – Kindle
• Bloodline (2015) – Kindle

Fay Sampson is the author of the Suzie Fewings books a series about a genealogist discovering interesting secrets in her family history in England.

• In the Blood (2009) – Paperback
• A Malignant House (2010) – Paperback
• Those in Peril (2010) – Paperback
• Father Unknown (2011) – Kindle
• The Overlooker (2012) – Kindle
• Beneath the Soil (2014) – Kindle

The Family Tree mysteries by Patricia Sprinkle feature Katherine Murray as an amateur genealogist who finds strange events in the past.

• Death on the Family Tree (2007) – Kindle
• Sins of the Fathers (2007) – Paperback
• Daughter of Deceit (2008) – Kindle

Mort Sinclair, a respected genealogist and lawyer on Fogge Island off the New England coast, stars in a series by Gene Stratton. Gene Stratton, a much-traveled former CIA case officer, is a well-known genealogist who has had two prior books published: Plymouth Colony and Applied Genealogy.

• Killing Cousins (1999) – Hardcover
• Cornish Conundrum (2000) – Kindle

The Nigel Barnes series by Dan Waddell concerns a professional genealogist who assists the police, mainly Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster in London, England. This series is now being released in the Kindle format.

• The Blood Detective (2017) – Kindle
• Blood Atonement (2009) – Hardcover

Patrick Day’s series starring Anna Fitzgerald, a career detective with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division, who becomes entangled with genealogy to trace old coins in this first book of the series.

• Murders and Genealogy in Hennepin County (2012) – Kindle

Simon Shaw, professor of history and “forensic historian” in Raleigh, North Carolina, in a series by Sarah R. Shaber, uses his expertise in historical and genealogical research to help solve murders that have their roots in the past.

• Simon Said (1997) – Kindle
• Snipe Hunt (2000) – Kindle
• The Fugitive King (2002) – Kindle
• The Bug Funeral (2004) – Kindle
• Shell Game (2007) – Kindle

The Alex & Briggie mysteries by G. G. Vandagriff, team up a spunky young widow and her rifle-toting grandmother, who run a genealogy research business called RootSearch, Inc. that seems to specialize in solving murders.

• Cankered Roots (2011) – Kindle
• Of Deadly Descent (2011) – Kindle
• Tangled Roots (2011) – Kindle
• Poisoned Pedigree (2012) – Kindle
• The Hidden Branch (2011) – Kindle

The Jefferson Tayte mysteries by Steve Robinson feature a professional genealogist who ferrets out family secrets and old mysteries using genealogy research primarily in the UK. Highly recommended.

• In the Blood (2011) – Kindle
• To the Grave (2012) – Kindle
• The Last Queen of England (2012) – Kindle
• The Lost Empress (2014) – Kindle
• Kindred (2016) – Kindle
• Dying Games (May 4, 2017) – Kindle

In the Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist series by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, we discover a stubborn, determined man who uses whatever means necessary to uncover the past. Highly recommended.

• Hiding the Past (2013) – Kindle
• The Lost Ancestor (2014) – Kindle
• The Orange Lilies: A Morton Farrier novella (2014) – Kindle
• The America Ground (2015) – Kindle
• The Spyglass File (2016) – Kindle
• The Missing Man (this year?) – Kindle

These books by John Nixon star family historian, Madeleine Porter. While not mysteries as we think of them, they both take us through the experiences of our amateur “detectives” unraveling the “mysteries” that surround them.

• Family Shadows (2014) – Kindle
• The Cuckoo Clock (2014) – Kindle
• Stolen Futures (2014) – Kindle
• Another Summer (2014) – Kindle
• The Cost of Silence (2015) – Kindle
• Unearthed (2017) – Kindle

The Museum Mysteries by Sheila Connolly star Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society (think Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia) who spends much of her time solving murders through research in their collections. These books are fascinating for their mysteries, their history, and our glimpses into the lives of the archivists. Highly recommended.

• Fundraising the Dead (2010) – Kindle
• Let’s Play Dead (2011) – Kindle
• Fire Engine Dead (2012) – Kindle
• Monument to the Dead (2013) – Kindle
• Razing the Dead (2014) – Kindle
• Privy to the Dead (2015) – Kindle
• Dead End Street (2016) – Kindle

In the Family History Mysteries by Brynn Bonner, genealogist Sophreena McClure is an expert at unearthing other people’s secrets. Using old documents and photographs, Soph and her business partner, Esme Sabatier—also a gifted medium—trace family histories and create heritage scrapbooks.

• Paging the Dead (2013) – Kindle
• Death in Reel Time (2014) – Kindle
• Picture Them Dead (2015) – Kindle
• Dead in a Flash (2016) – Kindle

Geraldine Wall writes about probate researcher Anna Ames in this trilogy. These are mystery thrillers and we are drawn in to Anna’s family, life and work.

• File Under Fear (2014) – Kindle
• File Under Family (2014) – Kindle
• File Under Fidelity (2015) – Kindle

This is the first book in a supernatural genealogy detective series called Maze Investigations by M.K. Jones featuring Maggie Gilbert and set in Newport, South Wales, drawing on real historical details.

• Three Times Removed (2015) – Kindle

If you like your genealogy mysteries with a little humor, see the series starring Ben Bones, Genealogical Consultant and self-described Articulator of Family Skeletons written by Michael Havelin.

• Ben Bones and The Galleon of Gold (2013) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Search for Paneta’s Crown (2012) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Deadly Descendants (2013) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Conventional Murders (2015) – Kindle

Esme Quentin solves mysteries using genealogy in the West Midlands and in Devon in the books by Wendy Percival

• Blood-Tied (2013) – Kindle
• The Indelible Stain (2014) – Kindle

In the series by Cynthia Raleigh, we follow travel nurse and amateur genealogist, Perri Seamore, as she researches her family and solves murders.

• Poison Branches (2016) – Kindle
• Buried Roots (2016) – Kindle

The Jayne Sinclair series by M J Lee, starring former police detective now genealogical investigator. This interesting series takes us first through the Easter Uprising of 2016 and Ireland’s War of Independence, followed, in the latest release, by the trenches of World War I in the Battle of the Somme.

• The Irish Inheritance (2016) – Kindle
• The Somme Legacy (2017) – Kindle

Another series by Karin Kaufman features a family tree full of witches, some ghosts, and the occult, with Anna Denning, a professional genealogist determined to find the truth.

• The Witch Tree (2011) – Kindle
• Sparrow House (2012) – Kindle
• The Sacrifice (2014) – Kindle
• The Club (2015) – Kindle

Non-Series Family History Mysteries

Thomas McKerley and Ingrid Schippers, in their first genealogy mystery, Bloodlines – Touch Not the Cat (2012), introduce Cathy Macpherson, who uncovers her own and her husband’s past. Hope this becomes a series. Kindle edition.

The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molineux (2013) stars Peter Sefton, amateur family historian. Not quite a mystery but certainly a detective story. Kindle edition.

In Silent Legacy: Discovering Family Secrets by Diana Church (2014) some German immigration history with new finds from a research trip helps Ellen O’Donnell solve a long-standing family mystery. Kindle edition.

In Finding Eliza by Stephanie Pitcher Fishman (2014), an old diary leads Lizzie Clydell down a dusty road of lies, hidden family secrets, and a lynching that nearly destroyed her family. I loved the quote “It’s just a little family history. What could go wrong?” Kindle edition.

Where’s Merrill? a genealogical thriller by Gearoid O’Neary (2013) is based upon real life historical events. The story unravels as Irish genealogist, Jed, researches his client’s mysterious maternal ancestry. Kindle edition.

Benjamin’s Ghosts: An Enid Gilchrist Mystery by Sylvia A. Nash (2014) is a cozy genealogy murder mystery set in West Tennessee. This is the start of a promising series. I hope we hear more from this author. Kindle edition.

In the Tainted Tree by Jacquelynn Luben (2013), Addie Russell inherits a house in Surrey and begins researching her English family Her research takes her back three generations to the First World War.

A century-old key may unlock the ancestral secrets of four families in The Fourth Descendant by Allison Maruska (2015).

While not a series, these genealogical mysteries by Norma Elizabeth Rawlings focus on how researching their ancestors became a life changing experience for each central character.

• Sleeping Dogs (2012) – Kindle
• Sleeping Dogs II (2013) – Kindle
• Malvern Murders (2013) – Kindle
• In the Genes (2013) – Kindle

Package from The Past by Jacqueline Opresnik is a search for a missing heir and family fortune set against the historical events of the Boer War and World War II.

Of course, for non-fiction fans there is Only A Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta. This is an outstanding read.

All the books mentioned here are available in the editions specified and can be found at Amazon (I am not an affiliate). Many of the Kindle editions are also available in paperback and/or hardcover.

If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please let me know in the comments. I am trying to make this list as complete as possible.

Posted in Genealogy Mysteries | 8 Comments

The Adventures of Photographing a Solar Eclipse (Travel Tuesday)

Posted on February 28, 2017 in Family Memories, Family Stories, Travel Tuesday
Solar Eclipse 1979 Winnipeg, Canada. Photo courtesy of Eileen Souza

Solar Eclipse 1979 Winnipeg, Canada. Photo courtesy of Eileen Souza

It was the 26th of February 1979, and the four of us were standing in a field (or should I say ‘on a field’ since we were wearing snowshoes) in Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada. We were outfitted in full Artic gear, setting up our camera equipment, in anticipation of the sun being totally blocked out by the moon.

Going back about a month, I was reading an article in the local paper that discussed the upcoming solar eclipse in February with the next solar eclipse not occurring until the 1990s in Alaska. I had always wanted to see totality live and in person and the east coast weather tended to make this unlikely. After some persuasion, I talked my then husband and another couple into making a trip to Winnipeg, Canada, which was listed as the nearest place to us that guaranteed visible totality.

We were having a bad winter that year and most locations already were covered with several feet of snow. This was the year of the 1979 blizzard on January 13-14 in Chicago. During that winter, 89.7 inches of snow blanketed the city. The temperatures in Winnipeg were hovering around 0° F., and would drop significantly during totality.

We could not afford much time off from work so decided to drive straight through in my 1978 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, taking turns at the wheel. The next month was a flurry of activity stocking up on gear and supplies. We hit the Army/Navy stores and outlets to acquire Artic-rated clothing, snowshoes, sleeping bags, boots, etc. I rented a small U-Haul trailer to hold camp stoves, tent, camera equipment, dried foods and other emergency supplies.

The other three had telephoto lenses for their camera but I did not, so I made my own out of an Edmund Scientifics’ lens (basically an 8” tube with a lens on one end) and a couple of 2x tele-converters to give me the equivalent of a 1200mm lens. We made a field trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and talked them out of some solar filters so we did not have to use exposed film.

Saturday, 24 Feb 1979, dawned bright and early as we set out from Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland on our great expedition. We drove through West Virginia on our way to Chicago.  Driving through Chicago was like driving through a tunnel formed by the great piles of plowed snow. The sights were fantastic—lots of photos taken throughout the trip.

Our drive to Winnipeg was uneventful. We drove in four hour shifts– the ones not driving tried to sleep or take pictures. Although we really didn’t, it seemed like we drove straight across toward the Mississippi and then made a right turn, heading due north between Minnesota and North Dakota on into Winnipeg.

It was the 26th of February 1979, and the four of us were standing in a field (or should I say ‘on a field’ since we were wearing snowshoes) in Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada. We were outfitted in full Artic gear, setting up our camera equipment, in anticipation of the sun being totally blocked out by the moon.

As the eclipsed commenced, we shot many photos before during and after totality. The photo above it the one I selected to develop as the best one I took during totality. It is framed and hanging on my wall in my office.

As soon as the eclipse was over we packed up the car and trailer for our return trip, since we had to be back at work. But fate had other designs. When we turned left at Fargo, North Dakota to continue east, we ran into a severe ice storm that blew my car off the road and plopped us down on three feet of snow in the middle of a field.

Buried in the snow near Fargo, N. Dakota 1979. Photo courtesy of Eileen Souza

Buried in the snow near Fargo, N. Dakota 1979. Photo courtesy of Eileen Souza

We were just congratulating ourselves on the wisdom of hauling all the emergency supplies, when a huge tractor trailer pulled up on the side of the highway. The driver offered to help. We had a mountain climbing rope that he used to attempt to pull us out but it immediately snapped in two. We ended up riding back in his truck to the nearest town to spend the night until the car could be towed, getting back to work a day late.

What a great adventure!!!

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