Monday, February 16, 2015

Black History Month Event at the Toledo Public Library

Please join us for this upcoming eve4nt at the Toledo Public Library celebrating Black History Month.

Location- Toledo Public Library- McMaster Center= 325 Michigan St., Toledo, OH

Date- Saturday, 28 February 2015

Time- 1- 4 pm.

Topic- The Great Migration: Mapping your History


D. Willie L McKether, Asst. Prof of Anthropology at the University of Toledo will explain the event in American History popularly called "The Great Migration" which took place in the first half of the 20th century, when millions of African americans moved from the rural South to the urban North and West.

Journey Genealogy Group addresses specific challenges African Americans face when researching their roots.

Donna Christian of the Library's Local History Department will discuss resources that are available including genealogical databases.

Hope to see you there. For more information check out our website at

Friday, February 13, 2015

Challenges with my genealogy

Was thinking the other day on what some of the challenges are that I face when conducting my research on my own family. Thought I would share some of these thoughts.

The biggest one is time. Sure I can do a lot of it online at night, but I find that a lot of the clues to my brick walls are offline. This means travel. So more and more I depend on the Internet. It is a wonderful thing this Internet and the constant upgrade of new sources. It amazes me that sites like Family Search and Ancestry add millions of records every week. The ability to access new records that I may never found the old way are now so much easier. Take for example the Catholic church records that I am able to access for Toledo. Just amazes me. I don't know about you, but when you can limit the human factor sometimes it makes the process of doing research much easier. One of these days I will make the travel to do the offline.

Another challenge is how to go about doing online research correctly. With all the information online if you don't come up with a research plan first it is very easy to wander. Forcing myself to make a research plan first is very difficult. It must be done. Knowing what records you have looked at previously helps you identify new ones to research. Old databases are even being updated. Important to know the date you last used the database.

Software for me can also be a challenge. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on this element of my research, but I still struggle with it. Constantly having to update programs I find confusing. Knowing the ins and outs of the programs are so important. Dealing with some of the bells and whistles in the programs also can be confusing. Some programs are set up to search the internet to provide clues in your research. I have yet to find one that comes back with solid information. Software and technology related to genealogy is changing on a daily basis.

Finally the shear volume of the data and information related to genealogy on the Internet can be overwhelming. You have blogs, message boards, groups, etc etc. Which ones really bring you the information you need? I am a big believer in keeping it simple, but with the Internet this can be a challenge.

Would love to hear some of your thoughts on the challenges. As always don't forget to click. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Understanding all the resources

Yesterday I had some free time and decided to do some research on my own family. For a long time I have had a line in my family with the surname Geller that has been a tough one to trace back. I decided that I need to take a look at what I had researched in the past and take a look at records that were new. What I did follows.

The primary person that I was doing research on was Albert Geller who lived in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio from about 1870 until his death in 1898. My early research had indicated he was born in Albany, New York in 1848. Previously I had done research primarily using Census records and was unable to identify a possible family in this area. The reason for my research in Albany was the stories I was told as a child. I had to look at it from a different angle.

My first step was to look at records that I had not used before, but were on the Internet. Research for me always starts on Family Search. I went to the collections for Ohio and looked at what was new that I have not researched before. In my case it was the Catholic diocese records in Toledo. These records have to be looked at page by page. It is not in the search database. Using Google Maps to determine the nearest Catholic Church in the area I was able to determine that St Mary's was just down the street. I also knew that Cavalry was the Catholic cemetery in the time frame I was looking for Albert.

My family is not Catholic, but I felt it was a strong possibility since Albert's wife was French. Through this search I was able to find their interment records in Calvary and death records at St Mary's. The death records gave me a clue to his mothers name which was Julianae. This led me in a different direction.

Checked City Directories on Ancestry to determine if other Geller's were living in the area close to Albert. I was able to find a Joseph. This led me to a census search. Found a Joseph living in Monroe Co., Michigan. In a family unit led by Adam with a wife Julianne. This would confirm a clue I had on Albert that said he was born in Michigan. This was listed in Church records. This was a major break through for me. Joseph listed left Toledo at the time that another Joseph born in Monroe County moved to Wayne County. My Albert fits into this family group time wise.

Needles to say I need to do more research. This is a lesson for me to look at all the resources and the Internet is always changing. We all should be evaluating what we have looked at and what is new. The Internet is a fabulous thing for our research.