Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Newspapers are for News!

So, I was bouncing around the internet trying to do some research for a client in Arkansa and I ran into an interesting "Brick Wall Buster".

On the  website they have Research Wiki's for every state. As I was looking around the Arkansas Birth, Marriage & Death (BMD) page  I found a section called "Substitute Records"

Substitute Records has links to websites that have church records, cemetery indexes, and other links of interest.  On this particular Wiki that have a listing for the Library of Congress website that lists what libraries have what newspapers. I had no idea such an index existed. I seem to always spend a great deal of time emailing different libraries and searching their websites to see what newspapers they have.

The Library of Congress has done it for us:

A quick check of their search power for the simple term of Somerville Journal (Somerville, Massachusetts local newspaper) returns a 4,735,315 page search of all newspapers published between 1690 and 2012. It returned 4 hits. Three for Somerville, MA and one for Somerville, TN.

The Library of Congress index is Fast, Easy to use and looks to be fairly Accurate! Which meets all of my minimum requirements! 

Back On the Hunt for Mary Louise Smith

For the last several weeks I have been talking about my Great-Grandmother, Mary Louise Smith Cormican. To recap, she married my grandfather in 1874 in Hamilton County, Ohio and I was unable to locate a record of their marriage other than an index entry on the Hamilton County Genealogical Society website.

A check of the US Census for 1860 and 1870 turned up several hundred Mary Smith's in Indiana. Since I looked at the US Census in 1900 and located Mary and Hugh in Harrison Township, Hamilton County, Ohio and it shows Mary has a date of birth of September 1853 and that she and her mother were born in Indiana and her father was born in Ohio. This still doesn't narrow the search down far enough as I still don't have the names of her parents, but I have now some hint that she was born in Indiana in September in about 1853.

Of course, the US census is only as good as the person reporting the information and the person writing it down. It is far from an exact science and the US Census should not be relied upon as your sole source of information.

Around 1920 Hugh and Mary moved to Miller Township in Dearborn County, Indiana and they were there during the 1920 US Census.

Here again, numerous family trees on have Mary Louise listed as deceased in 1924, with no sources to support this information.

Strike Three?

Well, it was a foul tip, anyway. next week we can talk about where I went from here. See ya next Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) Webinars

* Membership in APG, not required!

From the APG Professional Development Committee:

"We hope you can join us for the following *free* webinars, part of an
ongoing APG Professional Development webinar series sponsored by the
Association of Professional Genealogists. Please feel free to share this
invitation on relevant mailing lists, with your local society, or with
anyone else who might have an interest. The live webinars are free for both
members and non-members to attend. The webinars will also be recorded, and
the recordings made available to APG members on the Members Only page of
our website for any member who is unable to attend the live session or just
wants to review the material again :)

*Don't Neglect the Stories: Add Story-writing to Your Professional Services*
Saturday, March 3, 2012   2:00p.m. Eastern
Presented by Mary Penner

You've finished the client's research and written a concise, fact-based
report. Case closed, right? Not so fast. What about the stories you
uncovered? What about those tantalizing tidbits that point to colorful
characters and unusual events? Your clients may not ask for a written
story, but, often, that's what they really want from your diligent research
efforts. They want to embrace the stories that their ancestors neglected to
pass down to them. Join APG member Mary Penner as she offers tips on
developing a writer's instinct for story. She'll address the differences
between a genealogical narrative and a genealogical story, how to spot
story-worthy events and characters, how to research a story, how to write a
lively story, and how to earn additional income from story-writing.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

*Juggling Complex Projects While Staying on Track*
Tuesday, March 27, 2012   8:30p.m. Eastern
Presented by J. Mark Lowe, CG

Learn to manage multiple projects without derailing the research in this
engaging presentation by professional genealogist J. Mark Lowe. Discover
the techniques & skills needed by every professional to keep your clients
on board. This will include time planning, scheduling, and decision-making
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

System Requirements:

PC-based attendees
Required: Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh-based attendees:
Required: Mac OS X 10.5 or newer

We hope you enjoy them!

The APG Professional Development Committee"

Monday, February 27, 2012

How My Life Changed in February 1978

There were two blizzards in 1978. One in the North East of the US and another centered on the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. I lived West of Cincinnati in Green Township, Hamilton County, Ohio and saw weather I had never seen before.

On the 23rd of February 1978, I raised my right hand and pledged to defend my country against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. I joined the US Army and headed off to Military Police School at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Ft. McClellan is located in Anniston, Alabama.

The story behind the story. This will be a weekly blog talking about the events of 1978.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The 1940 US Census Community Project, 25 February 2012

The 1940 US Census is being released in 37 days. It will take a great effort by a lot of folks to index the census. Now is your chance to volunteer.

Click on the 1940 US Census logo to the right and check out the latest about the release of the1940 US Census on 2 April 2012. That is a lot of great information on the website and some greatvolunteer  opportunities for individuals and societies as well.

Do you have questions or comments on the 1940 US Census? Send me an email or leave comments below the post!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Do You think You Are? Season Three, Episode Three: Blair Underwood

Have you been following the show this year? Blair Underwood will be the subject this week. The show is on NBC at 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central time.

Martin Sheen and Marisa Tomei have already been on this year. You can catch up by watching the past episodes from the "Who Do You Think You Are" Website

I would imagine that folks new to genealogy may be wondering how to get started? I will bet this can be a daunting task for most folks. A great way to get going is to spend a few hours on a personal consultation with a genealogist. Click on the tab above or the link on the right side for more information!

Are you who really who you think you are?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do you Have a Genealogy Brick Wall?

In my title, I ask if you have a brick wall. If you are in the learning mode, and you have some time to spare (about an hour) and you want to learn some great brick wall "busting" tips, then you need to watch this free webinar by Marian Pierre-Louise:

Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners

From the Legacy Family Tree Webinar website at

"Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners. Marian Pierre-Louis, the genealogist who cracked the case of Nathan Brown's parents, is at it again. Once again she's tackling the topic of brick walls. Everyone needs a little help and encouragement to jump-start the research, especially on hard-to-solve cases. In this webinar, Marian will present 10 brick wall tips that will help every genealogist look at their research challenges in a fresh way. This webinar will bring you the momentum you need to get your family history research back on track."

The catch? None really... except it will only be *FREE* on the website until the 27th of February, 2012. 

Happy Webinaring! 

On the Hunt for Mary Louise Smith

Last week I talked about my Great Grandmother Mary Louise Smith. Mary Louise Smith married Hugh Daugherty Cormican in Hamilton County, Ohio.

According to the Hamilton County genealogical Society website: "On 24, March 1884 a great tragedy struck Cincinnati. A riot started that evening in the downtown area and resulted in the burning of the Hamilton County Courthouse. This fire destroyed many of the records that had been kept previously in the courthouse, one of which was marriage license applications and returns. Apparently many of the 'older' records (before 1860) were stored in another part of the courthouse and did not sustain as extensive damage as those from the period 1860 until March 1884."

The Hamilton County Genealogical Society has done a wonderful job compiling a database of alternate marriage records to compensate for those lost in the fire. They have an online index on their website. 

I located a record entry with Mary L Smith and Hugh Corrigan (spelling) for that date with a code of CT4, which means it was in the Cincinnati Times Newspaper in 1873 or 1874. I contacted the Hamilton County Genealogical Society by mail and they were unable to locate their marriage record. When I contacted the Hamilton County Public Library in Cincinnati, they were unable to locate their wedding announcement in the newspaper.

Some of my relatives have their marriage date as 11 January 1874 and the very helpful staff at the library searched around that date to no avail. I am not sure where my fellow researchers acquired that date, There are seventeen family trees on that have that date, but none of them have any source for the wedding date.

Strike Two! Next week I will write about my next steps.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The 1940 US Census (Christmas in April)

The National Archives has an informational website up and running for the anticipated release of the 1940 US Census, slated for 2 April 2012. The link to the NARA site is:

Their partner in this endeavor, has a new website up, however it will not be live until 2 April 2012. Their website is

Indexing of the census will take a bit of time, however for most of us this will be like Christmas in April!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Value of Education

I suspect if someone asked me the value of education when I was a child, I'd have a much different answer than I do now. Anyone over the age of 25 knows it is expensive and in some cases un-affordable. Currently in the genealogy world there are MANY low cost and even free alternatives. The webinar has caught on in recent years and several days a week you can tune in via your computer and watch a free webinar.

Recently at RootsTech, (2-4 February 2012 @ SLC) they broadcast eight webinars over three days on all sorts of information. The Keynote speech was even broadcast.

A great source for learning more about webinars is on the GeneaWebinars website

At the bottom of the calendar you can click on the + Google Calendar to add the webinars to your own Google Calendar. This really makes it easy to keep track of them on my own calendar and even set reminders.

Don't forget to register!

If you have questions about webinars or other technology that is available for low cost or even free, please ask!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Geneabloggers Radio 17 February 2012

One of my favorite things to do on a cold Friday evening is to put my headphones on my laptop and listen to the online broadcast of Geneabloggers Radio. The common theme is blogging, genealogy and technology.
The program is normally hosted by Thomas MacEntee and is a blast to listen to. Some would say it is "Wonderful" <wink>. They even have a chat board to communicate with fellow genealogists.

This week's show is hosted by Dear Myrtle, and you can find more information on her website : Myrt hosts Geneabloggers!

The show is on at 9pm on Friday's. Tune in and give it a listen. You will not be disappointed! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Genealogy Brick Wall - Mary Louise Cormican

In my last post, I mentioned some of the family names I have  worked on for my own personal genealogy quest. One of these is the Cormican's. My grandparents (on my mother's side) were Albert Trenary and Margaret Amy Cormican. Margaret Amy was the daughter of Hugh D Cormican and Mary Louise Cormican.

My research on the Cormican's has gone along fine, thanks to one of my cousins who has been working on this a very long time.

Margaret Amy Cormican Trenary
The daughter of Mary Louise

The brick wall rears it's ugly head when I reveal the maiden name of Mary Louise Cormican. Her maiden name is Smith, Mary Louise Smith.  Since Mary Louise died in 1924  and was born in 1853, it is difficult to track her down prior to her marriage, especially since her name is so common. There are literally hundreds of Mary Smith's in the US Census during that time with births of 1852-1854 in Indiana.

Strike One!

Next week, I will tell you what steps I have taken to resolve this brick wall.

I plan to release a new step or brick wall every Wednesday.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome. This is my inaugural blog post. I have had this page for sometime now, but didn't think I'd ever have anything to say that anyone else would care to read. That still may be the case? My name is Robert Ankenbauer and I'm a genealogist. I have been working on my own personal family tree for many years. On my dad's side of the family I have Ankenbauer and Suit.  On my Mom's side we add Trenary and Cormican.

I have been a professional genealogist since December 2010. I became a professional genealogist after solving questions in my family tree specifically related to the military service during the civil war of some of my relatives including my Great-Grandfather Thomas Jefferson Trenary. I have written a little about them on my website. I also solved a mystery with my Great Grandfather, Edward Ankenbauer. All I ever knew about him was that he was killed in an accident.

Edward was a firefighter working for the Underwriters Insurance Corporation in Indianapolis Indiana in 1919 when he was killed in an accident while responding to a fire alarm. His fire truck collided with an Indianapolis Fire Truck also responding to the alarm. Captain Clifton T Lowes, of the Indianapolis Fire Department was also killed and 8 other firefighters were injured in the accident.

Captain Lowes was added to the Indianapolis Firefighter Memorial a few years ago. I petitioned the Indianapolis Firefighter Memorial to add Captain Edward Ankenbauer and he will be added in September 2012.

You can read more about  the accident on my website or by clicking here.

Busting these long standing brick walls in my family history caused me to realize that I had missed a calling in my life and after months of preparation, I launched my part time business "Yesterday's Mysteries" In December 2010.

Marian Pierre-Louis is offering a free webinar this Wednesday, 15 February 2012 at 2pm Eastern time. The Webinar is about busting those brick walls we all encounter. You can find out more on Marian's blog at