Ancestry Academy Launches!

aaOne of my passions is education and another is genealogy.  So you can imagine that being a participant in Ancestry Academy is just all sorts of fun for me!

I currently have 3 classes live:

and two more coming soon:

You will also find a great selection of other course at Ancestry Academy including Paula Stuart Warren discussing Native American Research, J Mark Lowe giving you a new set of tools to analyze the 1790-1840 census records and Juliana Szucs discussing Immigration and Passenger ListsCheck out all 15 and be sure to keep coming back.

I’d love to hear your feedback!

Wrap up on VGS Presentation

April 11th, I spent the day with over 200 researchers at the VGS spring conference and  they were a lively and fun group.

You can find my slides from those presentations at Slides and Presentations.

Here are the spread sheet examples:

Happy Searching!

Upcoming Presentation in Richmond, VA and Slides from Last Week.

I’ll be presenting to the Virginia Genealogy Society in Richmond Virginia on Saturday, April 11: Spring 2015 Conference

I had a great time this past Saturday presenting to the members of San Luis Obispo Genealogy Society.

I’ve posted my slides on my presentations page — check it out : Slides from Past Presentations


Press Release: Ribbon Cutting for New Genealogy Center in Wytheville, Virginia

Note: This is a press release for the Wytheville, Virginia Research Center.  The old one was amazing — can’t wait to see the new one!


Grand opening of the new Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association Research Center 16 November 2014, Wytheville, Virginia.

More than 70 people gathered on Sunday, 16 November 2014, at 165 S. 11th Street in Wytheville, Virginia, to celebrate the opening of the Wythe County Genealogical & Historical Association’s new Regional Research Center. Some visitors came from Pennsylvania and North Carolina to join in the celebration.

Several months of remodeling have taken place since the purchase of the Center in mid-August. Although the electrical and plumbing work required professionals, the officers, board members and other volunteers have done most of the additional work. The appearance of the interior was recognized as professional and each group of workers was applauded by those present.

Following remarks on the accomplishment of the organization by President Bob Lockett and recognition of the donors and the workers by Vice President Mary B. Kegley, a slide-show was presented. Before and after pictures of the interior and pictures of some of the workers who worked regularly at the new location doing carpentry work and painting walls and floors were part of the presentation.

A major contribution of $250,000 from out-of-state anonymous donors raised the building fund to a level where, after six years, the organization could afford to make the purchase. Although the Association has raised a total of $335,000, they have not yet received any government donations and no grant money or loans were used to purchase the building or remodel the interior. The facility contains over 8,000 square feet of library and meeting space, two restrooms plus one handicapped-accessible restroom, and a full kitchen. There are still some major changes to be made when funds become available.

An additional major asset to the Association was nine years of free rent at the former location by entrepreneurs of Wytheville which enabled the formation of a building fund.

The Association houses genealogical and historical records for Wythe County, and the other sixteen southwest Virginia counties. Visitors have come from 37 states, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. We are well known across the country for excellent resources for genealogists and historians. Many have found the missing records for their ancestors at the Regional Research Center in Wytheville.

Volunteers are available during regular business hours to assist visitors with their research: Mondays and Tuesdays Noon to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Center is closed for holidays and inclement weather. For more information, contact the Center at 276-228-3445 or Beverly Repass Hoch at 276-228-2258, or

A look back at 2014: Top Ten Blog Posts

I wasn’t a frequent blogger in 2014, but I did enjoy writing these.  Here are my Top Ten blog posts from 2014 by views.IMG_0563

  1. 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks! My summary of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and related articles. Sure I haven’t made much progress but I have organized it!
  2. Come out, come out wherever you are! The hunt for Ancestor #4: Georgia Eva Baxter’s parents. 52 Ancestors. Using the FAN approach to help figure out a mystery.
  3. 52 Ancestors: #1 Laura Cecile Donald All about great granny Laura.
  4. A Few Steps Closer to a Death Date and a Burial Place — 52 Ancestors: #6 Elizabeth Jane Wallace A little guessing and a little detective work gets me closer to my great great grandmother’s resting place.
  5. Returned not used: How I Almost Wasn’t If you assume your ancestor only shows up once in any given data collection you are probably missing something good.
  6. How Eight Children Ended Up Living Alone in 1930 They aren’t just records – they are stories.
  7. I think my great grandmother was a muse. 52 Ancestors: #3 Sarah Sudie Hamrick To understand someone’s life, you need to understand the life of the people around them.
  8. Tuesday’s Tip — Ask Ancestry Anne’s Top 20 Search Tips Need some help with Ancestry search? Here you go.
  9. How an Ancestry Shaky Leaf Solved My Marriage Problem: 52 Ancestors #2: Clara Ellen Hash Because why wouldn’t you go hundreds of miles over a mountain range to get married?
  10. Early Research. Sloppy Research. Lots of Questions. 52 Ancestors #5: Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Oh that nasty sloppy early research.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.