Takin’ It To The Street

I had such a great time the past couple of weeks taking my Mountain Genealogy Retreat to California. I taught two-day seminars in San Clemente and Carlsbad with 15 fantastic people. We laughed, cried, learned and shared and it was so much fun.

connie ward girlwithapast blog genealogy family history retreat class seminar california

San Clemente Seminar with Alicia Anderson, Terri Chapman, Lisa Davis, Pam Stark, Bill Chapman, Elizabeth Puckett, Kimi Encarnacion, Julie Beutler, Cindy Lang

If you would like the Mountain Genealogy Retreat to come to you in the form of a 2-day seminar, here’s what you do:

  1. Coordinate a date with me
  2. Host the event at your home – two 8-hour days
  3. Enroll 7-8 friends at $150 each (no charge for you)
  4. Plan and prepare the meals – brunch and linner each day with snacks
  5. I provide all the materials, my 45 years of genealogy experience, inspiring stories, one-on-one research education and help, and I teach everything you want to know about journals, personal histories, organizing pictures and documents, heirlooms and traditions, and my research process using FamilySearch and Ancestry
  6. At the end of the second day I will spend as much time as needed with you and/or your family answering questions and helping you with research problems

It’s a great deal, right??? And bringing the spirit of family history to your home through friends and inspiring stories is priceless!

Contact me soon for more information!


Someone To Watch Over Me: hanging up the grandkids

I got so many compliments on my grandkid photo wall at our previous home that I wanted to duplicate it at the new house.  The project took longer than expected because I had to reprint and recrop and paint the walls first, but it was worth the time.

96 photos of 8 grandkids

96 photos of 8 grandkids

This is my step-by-step process:

  1. Crop photos, change them to grayscale, then print in grayscale mode on glossy photo paper (I use a Canon Pixma color printer that produces a great quality picture).  Sometimes the prints have a slight brown or purple tint to them, but they fade overnight to black and white.  I print them as large as the paper and crop later to be the size I want.

    My Canon Pixma MP510 color printer

    My Canon Pixma MP510 color printer

  2. Use spray glue to mount the photos to white foam core. spray glue
  3. Use a sharp Xacto knife to cut the foam core to the desired size, positioning the face where you want it to be on the finished product.  SONY DSCI found that when the kids were small children, their cute little faces were fun to crop in interesting ways. 
    connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history photo display grandchildren cropNow that they are older, it’s all about the hair! 
    connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history photo grandchildren cropSo I did less close cropping this time around.  I cut all of my foam core to a 7″ width, but varied the length to fit the photo.  You have to make sure your cuts are straight down and the blade has to be very sharp.
  4. I painted the walls a dark gray to make the photos pop.  I had some leftover gray and mixed it with some leftover black, so the paint didn’t cost me anything.  In retrospect, I wish I had painted all the white walls in the office this dark gray.  That’s another project for another day!
  5. I am a big fan of reusable poster tack and always have a supply in my desk drawer.  I am not sure which brand I use because it’s just in a big ball in a plastic bag!  I do know, however, that I only like the blue kind!  poster tack elmersA trick for removing it from the wall is to use a small ball of it to rub on the unwanted part and it comes right off.  Also, when removing photos from the wall, slide the photo so the tacky substance doesn’t pull off the paint (you can tell I’ve had a lot of experience!).  I put a dot of the tacky stuff about an inch from each corner in case I need to slide the photo a bit to reposition.
  6. When hanging the photos, if the space doesn’t work out just right, you can trim some of the length off and it all fits nicely.  Just make sure you leave the photos the same width so it doesn’t look like a big mess.connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history photo wall grandkids display grayscale black and whiteI love having my eight grandkids looking at me again while I work!  Each one got 12 pictures on the wall.  They are easy to change out because you just print a new photo and spray it on to the old one.

Now I just have to figure out what to put in the space above the window – I’m thinking 8 pictures of eyes only!

Looking for Lucy: a bible full of genealogy

My 3rd great grandfather, Amos Betts Andrews, came west with the Mormon pioneers in 1848.  He had left his home in New York and met up with the body of the church in Ohio, then on to Nauvoo, Illinois, then to Salt Lake City, Utah.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog Mormon pioneer

He left four brothers, five sisters, and both parents in Pompey, Onondaga, New York, and as far as we know did not see them again.  The only documentation we had of his family was his father’s will dated two years before Amos reached the Salt Lake Valley, which named all of the brothers and all of the sisters by their married names.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog Andrews will research

After I had many years of research under my belt, I saw that no one had identified the families of these siblings, and I decided to take on the project.  After many hours of looking through records at the Family History Library and a few trips to New York and Michigan, I ended up with 3” binders full of documentation for each sibling of Amos Betts Andrews.



The last sibling to be documented was the youngest brother, Lewis Andrews, who stayed on the family farm until both parents had died.  I knew from census records that his wife was Lucy, but could find no mention of her maiden name.  But living with Lewis Andrews and his wife Lucy in 1855 was Benjamin Grover, his wife Phebe, and their son.  I wondered if Benjamin was Lucy’s brother or if Phebe was Lucy’s sister.  After the death of Lewis’s mother, Betsey Andrews, Lewis and Lucy moved to South Otselic, Chenango, New York.  I was not aware of any other members of the Andrews family living in this county, so wondered if this was where Lucy had grown up.  Then I found that Benjamin Grover’s family had moved to South Otselic also.  I researched Benjamin and Phebe and found that she was the daughter of Tyler and Chloe Potter.

A short time later I saw a webinar by Thomas MacEntee where he mentioned the website “Old Fulton Postcards,” a genealogy research gem I had forgotten about.  I did some looking there and found a newspaper article stating that some relatives of Lucy Andrews had visited her.  One of them was a Potter.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog Potter newspaper

I started researching the descendants of Lewis Andrews and Lucy and made phone contact with three of them.  One told me that her cousin, Kenneth Baldwin, living near Boise, Idaho, had a family bible.  Kenneth was Lewis and Lucy’s great-grandson through their daughter, Emma Marie Andrews Baldwin, and he was 89 years old.  I called Kenneth and asked if he did have an Andrews family bible and his answer was “yes.”  I then asked if he could look in it to see if Lucy’s maiden name was recorded.  He said, “No.”  And then he followed with, “But you can.”

Over a year went by until we had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with friends who lived about 15 miles from Kenneth’s home.  The morning after we arrived in Idaho, our friends, George and Brenda Foster, drove my husband and myself to Kenneth’s home.  Spread out on a big round kitchen table were so many documents and newspaper clippings that my head was spinning.  And in a prominent position in the middle of the table sat two huge bibles.  I had the feeling that those documents had been sitting on the table for over a year, since the first time I called!  Kenneth said his vision wasn’t very good, but I was welcome to look at everything.  Luckily my husband (we refer to him as “the talker”) was with me and he engaged Kenneth in man talk while I got to work.   Brenda sorted through loose papers on the table while I went through the bibles bulging with newspaper clippings and scraps of paper.  George took pictures of anything pertaining to Lewis’s descendants.  We ended up with a lot of genealogy on Kenneth’s grandparents, but nothing about Lewis and Lucy, and especially nothing stating Lucy’s maiden name.  Finally I announced that I was going to go through the Andrews bible again, one page at a time, because I was just sure Lucy’s name was in there someplace!  I felt like we should get comfy and order take-out – we were going to be a while!  I picked up the bible and put it in front of me on the table, sat down to get comfortable for the duration, and then I did something I rarely do – I started at the back!  I opened the old, cracked, leather cover, turned back the end leaf, and there at the top of the last page was this:

POTTER Lucy (Andrews) (1818) Bible heading on back page

“Mammas Mothers name was Lucy Potter before she married Lewis Andrews she was born in Lincklaen County Sept 7, 1818 she died 90. Lewis Andrews was 78 at his diath”

George took about a dozen pictures because he couldn’t believe it!  I turned to Kenneth and announced that his great-grandmother was Lucy Potter.  He wasn’t too concerned about that – he was just grateful for the visit!  This little miracle note in the bible is still the only place where Lucy’s name is given as Potter, but other records do point to Lucy being a daughter of Tyler and Chloe Potter and a sister of Phebe.