Monday, August 7, 2017

Six Google Search Tricks

1. Apply Quotation Marks
Also known as a string search this is one of the best, and most obvious ways, to limit search results in Google. When you type in a name like James Wilcox, Google will search the entire title and text of pages for those terms. They do not need to be related to each other – so you may turn up a page with James and Wilcox, but not necessarily a page where these terms appear together.

Use “James Wilcox” or “Wilcox, James” to limit results (remember that many genealogy related sites place the last name first). Also apply quotations around terms like “obituary” to make them exact — otherwise Google will substitute other words like ‘death’ or ‘died.’ This can be helpful in some situations, but for others is can be a big hassle and turn up many unwanted results.
2. Use the Minus Sign
Oftentimes when we are searching for ancestors, especially those with common names, we may find that a certain person or location we’re NOT looking for turns up again and again, clouding our results. For instance, a James Wilcox who lived in Somerset keeps coming up for us. He’s definitely not our guy, so we’ll exclude the term Somerset.

Place a minus sign before a term to exclude these unwanted results (Example: “wilcox, james” 1837 mahala -somerset). The minus sign can be placed in front of many terms to further refine results ( -dunbar -somerset -1907) or term strings (-“Wilcox, James Robinson”). Just make sure that the minus sign is placed directly before the term with no space in between. This works to exclude specific sites as well (-rootsweb).

3. Get Site Specific Results
Would you like to get search results only for a specific website, such as FamilySearch?

Use ‘site:SITEURL’ before a term or terms to do this. Example: “wilcox, james” –note that we didn’t place a space between ‘site:’ and the url and that we didn’t include the ‘http://www’ part either.

4. Search Only Page Titles
When looking for a specific ancestor is can be very helpful to have the pages you turn up only be ones that focus on that individual alone. Or, when searching for a surname, to find articles centered around that specific last name. Making sure a search term appears in the title of the page is a good way to do this. This isn’t always true of course, and you’ll miss a lot of results this way, but when looking for discussions about a person, biographies or in-depth data it can be a very helpful trick.

To search only web page titles use ‘allintitle:’ Example: allintitle: “Wilcox, James.” You can also search only the text, and exclude the titles, by using ‘allintext:’

 5. Search a Date Range
This is one of the best and most underused Google search tips for genealogists. This super cool trick lets you search multiple dates at one time without having to enter them individually. This is hugely helpful if you are looking for birth, marriage or death records (or any date based source) but don’t know the exact date of an event.

Just add DATE..DATE to your search box to accomplish this (two periods in between the dates like this 1900..1910).  For instance, we know that James Wilcox was most likely born between 1835 and 1839 based on the information we have, so we could search for “Wilcox, James” 1835..1839. This will bring up only pages that include one or all of the dates 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838 and 1839. It will not exclude pages that include other dates (which we usually would not want to do.) But if we did want to do that we could exclude any date by typing -DATE, such as -1840 after our other terms.

6. Search for Terms Near Each Other
One of the most frustrating things about searching for ancestors in Google is that, while the engine will search an entire page for your terms, your terms may not have any association to each other. As mentioned early on in this article, that can cause major problems for genealogists since many pages include long lists of dates and names. It is entirely possible, for example, to find the exact names, dates and other details you’re looking for — but not in relation to each other in any way. For instance, our searches for James Wilcox and 1837 turned up pages that include James Wilcox and the date 1837, but that date was often applied to other people on the page.

However, there is a way to ask Google to find terms near each other! Enter AROUND(1) between terms to do this. An example would be: “James Wilcox” AROUND(10) 1837. That means we want Google to look for pages where the exact name James Wilcox appears within 10 words of the date 1837. You can change the modifying number to anything you want (“James Wilcox” AROUND(3) 1837 or “James Wilcox AROUND(1) Mahala) a lower number means a closer association and thus, usually, fewer results. We can also apply this to multiple terms (Example: “Wilcox, James” AROUND(10) Mahala AROUND(5) 1837). You will be blown away by how much this helps you find more relevant results.

 We hope these ‘secret’ tips help you in your Google genealogy searches! Don’t forget to combine them to maximize your results. And, when you’re done trying these out, check out our Google Image Search for Genealogy help article for more tips. 

Note: Sometimes when you apply these operators, especially if you do so several times in a row, Google may check to make sure you’re a real person and not a computer by transferring you to a captcha verification page. Don’t worry, just type in the characters and proceed  — and try not to get too excited that you’re geeky enough to be considered a computer by Google. 🙂

 Also note that when you’re at the home page, there is a “Settings” link in the lower right-hand corner. Click it and you’ll get a drop “up” menu. From there, click “Advanced Search.” There, you’ll find fields that you can fill in for all of these six helpful hints and more.
(LVH/Family Roots & Branches)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What's in a Nickname ?

Abby Abigail 

Addie Adelina 

Aggie,also Nancy (Scotish usage) Agnes, Agatha 

Allie Alice, Althea 

Alma Almarinda

Amy Amelia 

Annette Ann, Anne 

Axey Achsah 

Babs, Barb, Babbie Barbara 

Becky Rebecca 

Bee Beatrice, Beatrix 

Belle, Bella Arabella, Isabel 

Berty Bertha,Roberta 

Betty, Bess, Betsy, Beth Elizabeth 

Biddy Obedience, Bridget

Cam Camilia 

Candy Candace

Carrie Caroline 

Cassie Cassandra

Cathy, Kate, Kathy, Kit, Kay, Kitty Catherine

Chrissie, Christie, Chris Christina 

Cicely, Cis Cecelia 

Cinda, Cindy Lucinda, Cinderella

Clara Clarissa 

Clemmie Clementine 

Collete Nicolette 

Connie Constance 

Corley Cornelia 

Creasy, Crecy Lucretia 

Deb, Debby Deborah 

Delia Cordelia 

Della Adelina 

Dicey, Diza Eudicia, Boadicea 

Dona Caledonia 

Dot, Dolly Dorothy 

TR>  Dotie Theordosia, Doris,

Dorothy, Odette,

Delores, Dora

Drucie Drucilla 

Eddie, Edy Edwina, Edith 

Effie Euphemia 

Ella Eleanor, Gabriella 

Ellen, Elle Eleanor, Helen 

Elsie Alice, Elsbeth 

Emma Erminia 

Essie Esther 

Ethel Ethelinda 

Eudora, Dora Theodora 

Eunie, Nicey, Nicy Eugenia, Eunice 

Eura or Ura  Eura or Ura Eureka 

Eva Evangeline, Evaline 

Fanny, Frank Frances 

Flo, Flossie, Flora Florence 

Freddie Fredericka 

Gail Abigail

Genie, Gene  Eugenia

Gertie Gertrude

Gincey, Jenny Jane

Greta Margaret

Grissel Griselda

Gussia Augusta

Gwen Gwendolyn

Hallie Mahalia

Hatty, Hattie  Harriett

Hepsy Hephzibah

Hetty Henrietta

Hulda Mahulda

Janet, Jeanne, Jennet, Jenny Jane, Virginia

Jess Jessie

Jessie Jessica

Josie, Jo Josepha, Josephine

Judy Judith

Juliet Julia

Karen Karenhappuch

Kate, Kathy, Kay, Kitty K(C)atherine

Leitha Alletha, Tellitha

Lena Helena, Magdalena

Letty Lettice, Letitia

Lexie Alexa, Alexandra

Lila Delilah

Lina Selina

Linda Malinda, Ethelinda

Livvy Lavinia, Olivia

Liz, Liza, Lizzy, Libby Elizabeth, Eliza

Lotta, Lottie  Charlotte

Lou, Louie, Lu, Lulu  Louisa, Louise

Lucy Lucinda

Lula Tallulah

Madge, Margie  Margaret, Margery, Marjorie

Mae, May Mary

Mag, Maggy  Margaret

Mandy Amanda

Milly Emily, Amelia, Millicent, Mildred

Minnie Mary, Minerva

Modlin Magdalena - German Usage

Molly, Polly Mary

Mona Desdemona, Ramona

Myra Almira, Palmyra

Nabby Abigail

Nan, Nancy, Nanny  Agnes - Scotish usage

Nan, Nancy, Nanny  Ann, Anne, Anna - English usage

Neecy Permecia

Nell, Nelly Eleanor, Ellen, Helen, Penelope

Nerva, Nerve Minerva

Netty Antionette, Henriells, Joannette, Zan(n)etta 

Nicey Eunice

Nina Ann, Anna, Penina

Nita Anita , Juanita

Noma Naomi

Nona Winona

Nora Eleanor, Honora, Leonora

Ola Viola, Tuliola

Ollie Olivia, Ollvine

Pam Pamala

Patsy, Patty, Pat  Martha, Patricia

Peg, Peggy Margaret

Phemie Euphemia

Pheny Josephine

Polly, Poll Mary, Paulina

Prissy Pricilla

Prudy, Prue Prudance

Reba Rebecca

Rena Serena, Irena, Arrena

Rita Marguerita

Roxie Roxanne

Sadie, Sally, Sal  Sarah, Sara

Sam, Sammy Samantha

Sandra Cassandra

Sheba Bathsheba

Sillah Drusiliah, Drucilla, Priscilla

Sinah Arcena

Sis, Sisley, Sesaley Cecilia

Sophy Sophia

Sue, Suke, Suky, Susie  Susan, Susannah

Tabby Tabitha

Tammy Tamira

Tamzine Thomasine

Tempy Temperance

Terry, Tess Theresa

Theny Bethena

Thursa, Thursday, Thurze Theresa

Tilda, Tilly Mathilda, Matilda

Tina Albertina, Christina

Tish Letitia

Trix, Trixy Beatrix, Beatrice

Trudy Gertrude

Vergie Virginia

Viney, Vinnie Lavinia

Willie Williamana, any femine form of William

Wilmett, Wilmot  Wilhelmina

Winnie Winifred

Xina Christina

Zilla Zerilda, Luzilla, Barzilla

Zoey Zoe

Originally compiled by Ernest Connally and Pauline Jones Gandrud, added to by Joan Wright and others.

Dates of Statehoods – Alphabetical

Date of Statehood

December 14, 1819
January 03, 1959
February 14, 1912
June 15, 1836
September 09, 1850
August 01, 1876
January 09, 1788
December 07, 1787
March 03, 1845
January 02, 1788
August 21, 1959
July 03, 1890
December 03, 1818
December 11, 1816
December 28, 1846
January 29, 1861
June 01, 1792
April 30, 1812
March 15, 1820
April 28, 1788
February 06, 1788
January 26, 1837
May 11, 1858
December 10, 1817
August 10, 1821
November 08, 1889
March 01, 1867
October 31, 1864
New Hampshire
June 21, 1788
New Jersey
December 18, 1787
New Mexico
January 06, 1912
New York
July 26, 1788
North Carolina
November 21, 1789
North Dakota
November 02, 1889
March 01, 1803
November 16, 1907
February 14, 1859
December 12, 1787
Rhode Island
May 29, 1790
South Carolina
May 23, 1788
South Dakota
November 02, 1889
June 01, 1796
December 29, 1845
January 04, 1896
March 04, 1791
June 25, 1788
November 11, 1889
West Virginia
June 20, 1863
May 29, 1848
July 10, 1890

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Following the Hennington's to Burnt Corn, Alabama

Down Federal Road in Burnt Corn, Alabama
Among the many enjoyable things about researching your family, is to travel to the area they once lived. While it may not look as it did in their time, you can hopefully get a feel for the area. If it has remained  a rural countryside, chances are, not that much may have changed.

A few weeks ago while traveling to Mississippi, we stopped in Burnt Corn, Alabama in Monroe County. That county was once home to Harper Lee (To Kill a Mocking Bird) and Truman Capote (In Cold Blood). They were childhood friends and lived in nearby Monroeville during the 1930's.

Our trek to Burnt Corn, was to investigate this very small rural area in southwest Alabama. During the 1800's  the town was thriving and the land was prime for cotton growers, including some from my own Hennington family.  Rev. William Hennington was also a circuit preacher in Monroe and Wilcox counties. His mother and two brothers  (both Methodist preachers) moved on to Copiah County, Mississippi.

Old casket factory and general store 
Burnt Corn today is listed as a ghost town, although there are some residents nearby and scattered along the rolling hills on the way to Monroeville and Evergreen, Alabama. The main road that runs through the center of the town, was once the Federal Road. Originally the town began as a trading post settlement at an intersection of Indian trails on the 'Old Wolf Path.' This horse path, became the Federal Road, and was used as a migration trail for western migration of settlers.

Burnt Corn Post Office
Deserted buildings along the Federal Road are the old barber shop, general store (doubling as the post office) a casket factory, Brantley's Store (with the Coca Cola sign still clearly visable), and additional out buildings. We were the only ones in Burnt Corn that day - which made it really feel like a ghost town.

For an extra glimpse of Burnt Corn, follow this You Tube video at:
(photos by Larry Van Horn)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Remains of a Little Girl in a Forgotten Casket are Identifiied

Construction workers inspect a long-forgotten casket (Ericka Karner)

Mystery solved: Remains of girl in forgotten casket was daughter of prominent San Francisco family 

This story combines detective work, genealogy, DNA, and public records.
A little girl about 3 years old died and was buried about 140 years ago in an unmarked metal casket in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood. When workers recently discovered her elaborate coffin beneath a concrete slab, there were no markings or gravestone to say who she was. A team of scientists, amateur sleuths and history buffs worked tirelessly to solve the central question in this Bay Area mystery: Who was the little girl in the casket?
She has now been identified. The girl’s DNA was matched to that of a relative now living in San Rafael.
The story of the investigation is intriguing. Investigators found a scale plan of the cemetery development in 1865 at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. That provided an approximate location of the grave.

Thanks to the Internet and a culture of open records that existed from the 17th century to the 1960's, amateur genealogists were able to tap centuries of records of censuses, births, marriages, properties and deaths to trace up and down each candidates’ family tree. The whole effort took three people 3,000 hours, said Elissa Davey, who spearheaded the search for Edith’s identity.
You can read the entire story in an article by Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times web site at:

My thanks to newsletter reader Ed Dietz for telling me about this story.
(Eastman Online Genealogy newsletter)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honoring My Irish Ancestors

    Thank you on this special St. Patrick's Day, to my many Irish ancestors, who left their homes in Ireland to begin a new path in America. Lt. James Delay, James, Robert, and John Mc Quiston. Col. William Gilbert - all who all fought valiantly in the American Revolution. Maurice Fitzgerald of County Wexford, as well as the families of Eakin, McMillian, O'Dear, O'Quinn, St. Legar, Funsten, Irving, Hood, de Audley, Carisle, Le Longespee, Bates, Coots and many more through the ages. Go raibh maith agat !

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Honoring the 36th Mississippi Infantry and Pvt. William Garrison Hennington

36th Mississippi Battle Flag

My great grandfather, William Garrison Hennington, served in the 36th MS Infantry, throughout the Civil War. Today's post is to honor him, his service and in the regiment.  
William Garrison Hennington
Mississippi 36th Infantry Regiment. Organized in early 1862. Regiment surrendered at Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi on July 4, 1863. Paroled at Vicksburg…July 1863. Declared exchanged on September 12, 1863. Surrendered by Lt Richard Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, at Citronelle, Alabama on May 4, 1865.

First Commander, Colonel Drury J. Brown.
Field Officers: Lt Col Edward Brown, Lt Col S G Harper, Major Charles Partin, Major William W Witherspoon, Major Alexander Yates.

Chalmers’ Brigade, Withers’ Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (April 1862)

Anderson’s Brigade, Ruggles’ Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (May 1862)

Chalmers’ Brigade, Withers’ Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (May 1862)

Martin’s Brigade, Little’s-Hebert’s Division, Price’s Corps, Army of West Tennessee, Department #2 (September-October 1862)

Martin’s Brigade, Hebert’s-Maury’s Division, Price’s Corps, Army of West Tennessee, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (October 1862)

Hebert’s Brigade, Maury’s Division, 2nd Military District, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (December 1862-April 1863)

Hebert’s Brigade, Maury’s-Forney’s Division, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (April-July 1863)

Mackall’s Brigade, Department of the Gulf (February 1864)

Baldwin’s [old-]Sears’ Brigade, Department of Alabama, Mississippi, an East Louisiana (March-May 1864)

Sear’s Brigade, Army of the Mississippi (May 1864)

Sear’s Brigade, French’s Division, Army of the Mississippi (May-July 1864)

Sear’s Brigade, French’s Division, 3rd Corps, Army of the Tennessee (July 1864-January 1865)

Sear’s Brigade, French’s Division, District of the Gulf, Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana (January-April 1865)

Sear’s Brigade, French’s Division, Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana (April-May 1865)

Battles: Corinth Campaign (April-June 1862); Farmington (May 1862); Iuka (September 19, 1862); Corinth (October 3-4, 1862); Vicksburg Campaign (May-July 1863); Vicksburg Siege (May-July 1863); Atlanta Campaign (May-September 1864); Cassville (May 19-22, 1864); New Hope Church (May 25-June 4, 1864); Lattimer’s Mills (June 20, 1864); Kennesaw Mountain (June 27, 1864); Smyrna Campground (July 4, 1864); Chattahoochee River (July 5-7, 1864); Peach Tree Creek (July 20, 1864); Atlanta (July 22, 1864); Ezra Church (July 28, 1864); Atlanta Siege (July-September 1864); Jonesboro (August 31-September 1, 1864); Lovejoy’s Station (September 2-5, 1864); Allatoona (October 5, 1864); Franklin (November 15-16, 1864); Nashville (December 15-16, 1864); Mobile (March 17-April 12, 1865)

Monday, January 30, 2017

How to Use Evernote to be a Better Genealogist

If your not using Evernote, to complement your researching, Dick Eastman has some terrific information. A big thanks to him for his Plus Edition information.

The following is an update to a Plus Edition article I published several years ago. Some of the information has changed since the original article was published. I have updated the article and am re-publishing it today.
The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 
evernote_logoOne of my favorite computer tools is Evernote. I’ve been using it for more than six years now and love it. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got along before Evernote. While Evernote has many uses, I use it primarily as a digital filing system. In fact, I find that it is a perfect complement to almost any genealogy program, often compensating for the shortcomings of whatever genealogy program you might use to track your research.

Admittedly, all this didn’t happen overnight. When first installed, Evernote presents the new user with a blank screen. That user typically says, “Now what?” This article will hopefully answer that question.

First, let’s clarify what this program can do for you. Simply put, Evernote helps you organize and retrieve information. Remember when you purchased your first computer? The salesperson told you it would organize and retrieve everything from your kitchen recipes to your income tax records. That salesperson probably didn’t mislead you; he simply was talking about the future. The hardware has been available for years and has been sold in computer stores everywhere. What has been missing until recently was the easy-to-use software: Evernote.

To be sure, dozens of database programs and other retrieval programs have been available for years. Most database programs, including your present genealogy program, have been hobbled with rigid design requirements: data has to be entered in certain formats or the programs were designed for very specific purposes. Evernote represents a new method of databases: those with free-form data. You can store and easily retrieve text notes, sound bytes, images, full-motion video, recipes, income tax records, insurance documents, saved web pages, and more. Even your recipes and your genealogy data can be stored. They can both be stored in the same database or in separate databases, as you prefer. 

Even better, if you own two or more computers, such as a desktop and a laptop system or a computer at the office plus a second at home, Evernote makes sure that all your data is available simultaneously on all your computers. In fact, it even makes the same information available on Windows, Macintosh, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Blackberry, and Windows Phone devices, in addition to any web browser on a borrowed computer or at the library or in an Internet cafe. Your latest data is available at all times on all devices.

The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only and will remain in the Plus Edition subscribers’ web site for several weeks. SUBSCRIBE NOW to read this article.
There are three different methods of viewing the full Plus Edition article:
1. If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the full article right now at no additional charge in this web site’s Plus Edition at This article will remain online for several weeks.
If you do not remember your Plus Edition user ID or password, you can retrieve them at and click on “Forgot password?”
2. If you do not have a Plus Edition subscription but would like to subscribe, you will be able to immediately read this article online. What sort of articles can you read in the Plus Edition? Click here to find out. For more information or to subscribe, goto

3. Non-subscribers may purchase this one article without subscribing for $2.00 US. You may purchase the article by clicking herePayment can be made with VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, or with PayPal’s safe and secure payment system.  You can then either read the article on-screen or else download it to your computer and save it.
(Dick Eastman)