My Photo
Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

[ View Guestbook ] [ Sign Guestbook ]

03 April, 2010

The Moment We're All Waiting For

For three months now I've had a burning, yearning, yearning, feeling inside me...deep inside me, that's inching towards the surface.  Okay, so that last part wasn't what you were expecting....

I have actually been wondering about the 1940 U.S. Census. As most of you know, that year's Census record is due to be released in 2012, and I'm sure I'm not the only geneablogger who is starting to get excited about it.  So today I sought some answers about the release of this important record.

The census for the year 1940 will be released on 2 Apr 2012. It will be digitized and released to the National Archives. It will also be available to those who have access to the Internet. It is very exciting indeed.

Today I found a site I'd like to share that has a wealth of information and suggestions relating to the 1940 U.S. Census.  It is informative, easy to understand, and straight from the horse's mouth.  You can read about the release of this database and much more at 1940 Census Records.  There are also links to other aids to help researchers prepare for this important event. Not to mention to links to help researchers with the Census Records for any year.

26 January, 2010

Don't Lose Your Census

I know, I know, your eyes are in the back of your head over this old pun. But truly, as genealogists who idolize the Census, it would be easy to get carried away when answering questions about the upcoming Census.  I received an email from my homeowners' association regarding cautions to remember when completing Census surveys.  This article was written by Susan Johnson of the Better Business Bureau, and she encouraged us to pass the word on.  Some minor formatting changes were added, solely to correct spacing issues that had come up in the paste.  No words were changed.  This is important information for all, but especially for the elderly who may lack adequate social supports; they often so excited to have contact with the "outside world" they often talk to anyone about anything.


2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau
by Susan Johnson - August 3, 2009 12:07 pm

Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.

The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice

Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, the Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit


The Race is On

It's a very exciting time for genealogists, who hold the U.S. Federal Census in high regard.  The U.S. government is preparing for the massive task of counting its citizens. Before they can count, however, they need to ensure the form is asking for the appropriate information.  There is a debate going on as to what terminology to use for identifying race and ethnicity, mainly for the African American population of the United States.  See the link below for more detailed information.

2010 U.S. Census Debate

1820 was the first census year that asked information specific to non-white persons living in the home.  The previous years' forms asked for number of slaves, but did not request information about demographics of the slaves.  The 1820 census form asked for information on the ages of slaves held for both males and females, and asked for ages of free colored-persons living in the home.

The 1850 U.S. Census eliminated questions about slaves all together, making sense given the historical era. It did, however, ask about the color of the residents, as did the 1860 Census.  Both of these Census years asked for racial demographic information in terms of White, Black, or Mulatto.  The 1870 Census added Chinese and Indian to the demographic. The mostly-missing 1890 Census added some interesting terms to the question of race:  Quadroon (3 white grandparents, one black grandparent) and Octoroon (7 white great-grandparents and one 100% black great-grandparent). The 1890 Census also added Japanese to the questionnaire.

The U.S. Federal Census forms from 1900-1930 simply asked for "Color" or "Race".   I find the evolution of language to be fascinating, but I'm also a bit perplexed: It is January 25th, 2010 and they are just now battling with terminology?

03 January, 2010

Digging Deeper

In the course of my research I have spent time trying to find out who and where my ancestors were in any given time.  Today, as the new year begins to unravel, I will attempt to find out the type of people my ancestors were.  What were their beliefs? Their values? Their hobbies?  How did they perceive the world?

Since there are precious few relatives who can give me answers to some or most of these questions, I will have to rely on the study of our history during the times and in the locations in which they lived.  I will start by delving into the history and life of anthracite coal miners in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where many of my ancestors lived and worked. I will start my series by providing links and videos that provide a cursory outline of Anthracite Coal Mining in Pennsylvania.

A good place to start is the United States Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which has some wonderful information. The link will take you to a timeline of history of Anthracite Coal, which is the type of coal my ancestors mined.  The website owning that link will also give you some basic coal-mining definitions and some graphics of how coal mining works. 

Below is a series of YouTube videos shot inside a coal mine in Pennsylvania.  I find it fascinating to see what life underground is like, and as I watch this basic documentary, I find myself trying to place my ancestors "down there".

If you like photographic biographies, you'll like this final cut of the day.

11 October, 2009

Where oh Where Have My Hodicks Gone?

Oh where, oh where could they be? I have them in '00, and in '20 & '30, but where were they in 19 and 10? Oy.

Sorry. But every time I try to begin this post about my HODICK dilemma that silly song comes into my head.

I've rejuvenated my efforts to add citations to my RootsMagic4 database but I've run into a major roadblock: As I was citing sources for my paternal great-grandfather Edward HODICK, I realized that I am missing his family in the year 1910. So what do I do? Continue citing the sources I have? Or go off on a genealogical tangent and search for them again in 1910? I suspect you know the answer ;).

In 1900 my great-grandparents and their children were in Washington Township, Crawford County, KS, under the spelling HODIZ (thanks to Ella Buzzard of the Crawford County Genealogy Society for helpin me find this listing!). In 1905 they were in Frontenac, Crawford County, KS under the spelling HUDIC. An interesting side, there is also a Frank HUDIC listed in Frontenac in 1905, about 11 pages prior to "my" HUDIC family's listing.

I know that in 1910 my great-grandparents were still in Kansas, as their youngest child, Sylvestina (Vesta) was born 29 Dec. of that year in Kansas. I did find their oldest son, William, in Frontenac in 1910, married to an "Amielin". No one seems to know an Amielin, so this may not be ours, though all the data on William's listing in 1910 fit our HODICK family, including William's birthplace of PA. But there is no sign of the rest of them. I did do a page-by-page search of the series of records in which I found William, but no surnames even resembled HODICK in the pages prior to and following William.

So last night I left it at that, vowing to return to my citations today. Which I started until I decided to look for NAHADIL/NAHODIL instead, which was Edward's wife, Justina's maiden name. I figured if I couldn't find the HODICK family perhaps I coulf find the NAHADIL/NAHODIL family and find the HODICK family via a back door. No luck. I did find two listings for John NAHODIL in the 1900 U.S. Census in Nanticoke, Luzrene County, PA. One was living with the Edward and Annie Holobak family, listed as the "father-in-law" to Edward. John was 66 years old, and was born in Austria and immigrated to the U.S. in 1891. This entry was listed on page 52 of the series. On page 49 of this series is John and Katie NAHODIL, ages 28 and 20 respectively, both born in Austria, both immigrated to the US, in 1892 & 1893 respectively.

No sign of the HODICK family, thought I'm a long way from showing a relationship between the John NAHODILs and Justina HODICK. I suspect that I will need to do a page-by-page search of Crawford, Cty KS to find them, if they're even in there. In the meantime, I suppose I'll return to my citations. It seems the prudent thing to do.

31 August, 2009

Database Overhaul Session 9

I dug back in and finished up sourcing my paternal McHugh line yesterday and today. 26 people down, only about ... I dunno ... 700 or so left to do? Hey you have to start somewhere.

There've been a few mind blocks to my sourcing as I go. The big thing is to change how I define a "Source". I didn't source before because I didn't think I had anything worth citing. I don't have much by way of original records and such so what was there to record? I had to stop thinking about a "Source" as "Only official, primary documents" and start thinking about a "Source" as anything from which I gathered my information. If my information came from a Census record, that's a source. If it came from an email from a trusted cousin, that's a source. So in my current process of referencing my data I'm being sure that I record all the sources I have, not just primary ones. I just need to understand what type of sources they are (primary, secondary, etc) so I'll know how reliable they are.

I am running into one big problem with RootsMagic4, though. One of the things that lured me to switching from Family Tree Maker was the pre-set source templates. RM4 allows you to choose your source template. This might be a pre-set one for something off their long list of sources (BMD, Census, Obits, Newspaper, Email, etc. etc), or it might be a source you'd already referenced in the database. For example, I used the 1900, 1910, and 1930 U.S. Census records repeatedly. When I go to cite a Census record from one of those years for Annie and I'd already used that source for John, I click on the "Cite Existing Source" icon in the Source field and click on the Census record I want to use for Annie. So when the template I chose from the "Cite Existing Source" tab comes up for Annie, the fields are already filled in since I manuallye entered them before, right?
Wrong! Only the top fields are pre-filled in (in the screen shot above, the text in the bottom portion is the generic information that explains what to type there, not the text I'd previously entered). I have to manually enter the Ward, ED Number, etc. (whatever information is on the bottom portion of the template) for each new use, even though I'd elected to use one of my pre-filled sources for this new person.

This is the case regardless of what type of source it is. If it's a Census template that I chose from the "Cite Existing Source" tab, the specifics of that Census document that's listed on the bottom half of the field is blank. If it's an email correspondence I'm sourcing from the "Cite Existing Source" tab, the information from the bottom portion of that template is not transferred automatically. I'm finding this incredibly inconvenient and annoying. If I saved a source template, why doesn't it save the entire template as I had it filled out and transfer all of the data I input?

04 July, 2009

Fighting for Justice and Celebrating Independence

I decided that for my entry for the 75th edition of the COG, I would post a slideshow of a combination of all three topic requests: Some photos depict ancestors who have served in our armed forces. Others show family and/or friends celebrating either what may have been our nation's history, or just the freedom to hang out and be American. Finally, I added a little bit of music by none other than a British Superstar to represent how far we've come to bridge the differences that once tore two worlds apart.

Sir Paul McCartney

This is my right
A right given by God
To live a free life
To live in freedom

Talkin' about freedom I'm talkin' about freedom
I will fight for the right to live in freedom

Any one tries to take it away
You will have to answer
Cause this is my right

Talkin' about freedom I'm talkin' about freedom
I will fight for the right to live in freedom

Yeah Oh Talkin' about freedom I'm talking about freedom
I will fight for the right to live in freedom

Everybody talkin' about freedom we're talking about freedom
We will fight for the right to live in freedom

Oh talkin' about freedom I'm talkin' about freedom
I will fight for the right to live in freedom

Talkin' about freedom we're talkin' about freedom
We will fight for the right to live in freedom

19 May, 2009

Database Overhaul Day 8 Updated

In regards to the glitch with RM4, I deleted the small, hand-entered file I'd originally started since I don't use it. I then closed the program. I got the same window asking me if I wanted to "Backup This Database", "Skip this Database", or "Skip All Databases". I chose to "Backup This Database". It backed it up and I got the little window saying so. Again, it gives me the same window asking what I want to do with the database. This pop-up window will continue to appear until I click on "Skip This Database". Since there is now only one database file in there, it should close after I make my initial selection. Why does this matter? In the scheme of things it's not a big deal, but I start second guessing myself when I see the same window continually open; it makes me think I did something wrong or didn't complete something.

17 May, 2009

Database Overhaul: Day 8 and a Success Story!

I was able to do a little more work on my overhaul. I was working on my paternal grandfather, Joseph Dennis McHugh. I'd had his death date as 29 Sep 1976, but no source was listed. I checked the SSDI and it only had the month and year. I checked all my obits, but do not have any referencing him after his death. Therefore, I removed the "29" from his death date since I don't have a clue how that date came to be. I did make a note of it in his "Death Notes" section, though so I will know later to research it.

Now I think I have found a bug in RootsMagic 4. When I started working with RM, I'd begun manually entering data, starting with myself. After determining that it was too difficult to do it this way since I didn't have a printed report to work on, I imported my file from Family Tree Maker. I made this imported file a new file; I did not merge it with the little information I'd entered by hand, and I named the imported file something different.

Now the glitch. When I close down RM4, I get a window that says "Back Up the Following Databases?" with the name of the open database and three choices: "Back Up This Database", "Skip this Database" and "Skip all Databases". Since I'm only working on one and had only opened that one (the imported one), I click on "Back Up This Database". I then get the same pop up window for the small, hand-entered database I didn't open, so I click on "Skip this Database". I then get another pop-up window that asks me what I want to do with the first, imported database I was working with and already backed up. After saying "Yes" to overwriting this database, it will then close. If I say no to overwriting, I'll keep getting the pop-up window asking what I want to do with the file until I click on "Skip all databases". What's up with this?

Now, a SUCCESS STORY :). For some reason, I decided to do a search for my elusive paternal great-grandparents' family in 1900 in Kansas. Once again, I plugged his name (Edward Hodick) into, narrowing it to 1890-1915, and expanding to use Soundex. The first result was a Kansas State Census database I'd never seen before: Must have been one of the new additions to the site. I scrolled one page for the indexed Edward Hudic and guess what? It's THEM!

(photo courtesy of

How cool is this? Not much information on this page, but it still is something. They were living right where I expected them to: In Frontenac, Crawford County, KS. In the 1900 U.S. Census, they were in Washington Township, KS, which I'm guessing is a neighboring town in the same county. I'm still looking for him in 1910. From Sylvestina Hodick-Kovaleski-Kinney's obituary (my grandma's sister), the family moved to Askum, PA in 1915, and Sylvestina (Vesta) was born in Kansas in 1910 or 11.

29 April, 2009

Database Overhaul: Day 7

Well, after today my updates will be a bit fewer and farther between as I return to work full-time tomorrow. So I made some good use of my time by returning to my printed family history narrative and checking my data and sources. This is not only tedious, but confusing at times!

You'll recall that early on after purchasing RM4, I changed my mind about manually entering all of my information and imported my data from Family Tree Maker. Then, after I purchased and set up a new printer unit, I printed out a narrative from RootsMagic4, starting with myself and working backwards in the report. In this printout, everything I had entered into FTM printed out, which told me all the information transferred, since I was printing from RM4.

Today, as I was working on source citations for my grandparents and great-grandparents, I noticed something very odd as I was updating resources for my grandfather, Joseph McHugh: Though the notes printed out in the narrative generated from RM4, I could not find the same notes in the actual database! I looked and looked, and couldn't find them. So I looked for notes on my other paternal great-grandfather, Edward HODICK and his were in the database and on the printed narrative. So I went back to my great-grandfather Dennis Joseph McHUGH and his wife, Mary GRIFFIN. The notes were there! And it dawned on me: I was looking for my dad's paternal grandparents' notes under my grandfather's screen. I navigated to my GREAT-grandparents and found what I was looking for. This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't strayed from the task of updating my grandfather's sources by doing an search for my great-grandfather of the same line. Shame on me for making such a beginner mistake.

However, as I slowwwwwwly make progress with citing sources, I have another question: Is there a way to delete a recurring source from all entries? When I imported the data from FTM, RM4 automatically added the imported GEDCOM as a source and cited that GEDCOM as a source for all data. Well, I did not cite sources too well in FTM (I actually have a LOT more than I thought I did, but they are listed under individuals' Notes in FTM, not as a separate entry) and I do not want that GEDCOM listed as a source. I know I can delete the source from each individual, but can I do an overall delete of that citation?

Who links to me?