New and simple online tool uses Google Maps to show historical county boundaries

THIS POST CONTAINS UPDATES FROM 06 JUN 2011: Thanks so much for all of the interest in this tool, and for your positive comments and constructive feedback!  I’ve incorporated several enhancements into the current version. We all know the importance of county governments for maintaining various types of records that are useful for genealogical research.  But how often have you tried searching for an ancestor’s historical records for a given county, only to realize that you were searching in the right place but the wrong county?  In fact, according to John H. Long, the director of the Atlas of Historical … Read more

Triangulate to find more meaningful matches using both Family Tree DNA and 23andMe

Updated May 8, 2013 with new 23andMe website navigation and match figures: The allure and potential of the latest generation of autosomal DNA testing is great for genealogists.  It instantly builds your family tree for you!  Uh, just joking.  But there are several real benefits of this type of DNA test: it helps you confirm genealogical paper trails across ALL of your family lines (not just the paternal and maternal lines as yDNA and mtDNA tests do) it helps you expand your family trees by finding “genetic cousins” and other relatives (for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call these people … Read more

Abraham Lincoln or Enloe?

And the Abe Lincoln paternity stories continue: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/27/969663/-The-Paternity-of-Abraham-Lincoln Full disclosure: I am the 6th great grandson of the North Carolina Abraham Enloe from the article. The Lincoln-Enloe tradition certainly has been passed down through my family line, and while intriguing and even somewhat compelling, I’ve never seen enough credible evidence to plant my flag in the Enloe camp.

Updated: AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search, version 1.1

This is an update to my original post, “Does this Google Custom Search help find records about your ancestors?“ You may recall that I built the AncestorSearch form as a timesaver for my own genealogical web searches, and I decided to share it on my website in case others find it useful too.  (As a reminder, the AncestorSearch form performs a Google search that is optimized for finding web pages mentioning ancestors by making use of  Google search techniques including quoted phrases, checking both firstname lastname, and lastname firstname order, placing the “OR” statements and parenthesis in the right places, and so on.)    … Read more

Does this Google Custom Search help find records about your ancestors?

[I’ve added an update to this original post here: https://www.randymajors.org/2011/06/new-ancestorsearch-version-15-see] I hesitate posting this prematurely, but I welcome some initial feedback from the genealogy community on a search form that I’ve built. I’ve built an “AncestorSearch” Google Custom Search form on my blog that I’ve been using to find records on my own ancestors, and it’s worked pretty well for me so far over the last several weeks.  I’m choosing to share it now in case others find it useful as well.  Basically, this AncestorSearch search form attempts to filter through much of the irrelevant noise on the web and return … Read more

First day of 23andMe test results, and already a breakthrough!

I’ve been a FamilyTreeDNA customer for a couple of years, and I’ve had great success with using DNA testing combined with traditional genealogical research to break through one brick wall so far (see here https://www.randymajors.org/2010/12/man-who-wasnt-john-charles-brown). I recently became a 23andMe customer as well…their holiday special was just too good to pass up! Well, I started receiving my test results a couple of days ago for the Health Edition, and yesterday for the Ancestry Edition of 23andMe.  I’m excited to say that I already have lots of matches to explore, and have already received about a half dozen requests to make contact, … Read more

President Lincoln writes a letter of thanks for “a pair of socks so fine”

On 4 Dec 1861, President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to my 5th great grandmother, Susannah Crume Weathers, thanking her for a letter and gift she had recently sent him:  “a pair of socks so fine”.  It seems quite funny and odd on the surface of it, and yet how quaint, charming, and even noble it is.  The letter is inspirational to me, as it exemplifies President Lincoln’s unpretentious and accessible character. Below is the letter as reproduced in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 (Wildside Press, 2008).  How I’d love to see the original letter Abraham Lincoln had … Read more

Coming Soon: No more heads peeking over the fence on Ancestry.com! (Full faces soon to return!)

I have good news for anyone else that has been as annoyed as I have been about the photo display problems in the Pedigree view of the new Tree Viewer on Ancestry.com. (The same issue existed both in a beta they ran of a Tree Viewer a year or more ago, as well as in the more recent “preview” and recently released Tree Viewer.) The issue is that the bottom of people’s faces are cut off in the Pedigree view, as you can see in the screenshot below. Now, skeptics may opine that this must be a problem with my … Read more

Unexpected Name-Change Brick Wall Busted!

The man who wasn’t  John Charles Brown? Secrecy, Genealogical Research, Hunches, and DNA Testing Lead to Answers For 130 years – from 1880 to 2010 – John Charles Brown’s past was hidden in veils of secrecy.  John’s children and grandchildren didn’t know who his parents or siblings were.  It was the proverbial genealogical brick wall.  Therefore, since this was one of my most difficult family lines I could research, I researched it. JOHN CHARLES BROWN APPARENTLY DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE HIS MARRIAGE For many years, the first confirmed record found of John Charles Brown was of his marriage to Catherine Connors … Read more

Majors and Moore family histories published

Majors and Moore regional family histories were recently published in the book Great Sage Plain to Timberline, Our Pioneer History by the Montezuma County Historical Society. I submitted the article on the Majors family, which is shown here. The William Andrew “Andy” Majors Family Settled in McElmo Canyon from the Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1887 Having crossed the plains in a wagon-train, William Andrew “Andy” Majors arrived in McElmo Canyon 17 Aug 1887 from the Oklahoma Indian Territory, along with Henry Bowdish and George Edmonson.  The following summer, Andy Majors ran the plow teams building the Lone Pine and Hermosa ditches … Read more