Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hearn Family of Minnesota & Wisconsin Postcard

I recently found this 106 year old postcard, written by George Hearn of Perham, Minnesota, to his sister Bessie Hearn, who at the time was a resident of Superior, Wisconsin.

As with most of the mystery/lost items featured here, I have no connection to the Hearn family.

It is a postcard in very nice condition, written in the hand of someone's relative (possible ancestor if he had children) and it would be wonderful to reunite this little heirloom to a family member who would appreciate it!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Polk County, MN~ Genealogy Resources

As a genealogist from Minnesota, I take great pride in the many resources our state has in place to aide researchers! Many, like the death index, are very well known, but many many others are not.

So I've decided to spotlight a few of the lesser known greats here, in hopes that I can connect someone with a tool they can use! Since Saturdays are good days to do genealogy (at least for us working folks), I decided to post these links then.

Polk County

Cemeteries-- not sure how the listings here might differ from other sites, like Findagrave, but it's worth a look

Obituaries- a few, limited obits from the 1910s-1920.

Bicentennial History of Polk County, Minnesota Pioneers of the Valley -- appears to be part of  digital project by the UofM

Polk County Historical Society-- not a lot of online resources here, but there is some contact info, etc.  Not sure just what type of genealogy resources they may have in their collection

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Southern Minnesota Mystery Photo... Faribault Co

I purchased this photo out of a number of photos and postcards belonging to one family....

The family lived in Faribault County, Minnesota... and it is very possible that this man is either a member of the Hartman, Kelsey, or Roberts family.

Hopefully someone can help ID him and the photo can be reunited with a family member who will treasure it!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 Genealogy Resolutions!?

We are now at the midway point for this first month of 2015. I'm still planning my upcoming year, crafting my many "to do" lists, including my genealogy resolutions. While I accomplished a few things this last year, which I over viewed here last week, I still have MUCH to do! And while planning these upcoming quests for the New Year, I've tried to be realistic and choose manageable goals, so that I don't set myself up for failure (been there, done that!).

1. Organization- A never ending job it seems. As I write this, I'm tearing apart my home office and getting the space better organized and functional (it's been a multi-year endeavor). I'm sorting all of my unfiled paperwork (mountains worth) and planning to overhaul my binder system (some branches are 10 years outdated!). Always on the lookout for new & handy organization tips-- I'm trying to streamline my system and purge things I don't need/want. Facebook groups such as The Organized Genealogist and various bloggers out there are constantly offering up great ideas (and distractions!).
An extra piece of this goal, is to go through my huge photo archive! It needs to be sorted and stored properly, as well as scanned into my computer. A giant undertaking, completely separate from my other organization goals. 

2. Living Relatives- I'm still fortunate to have many relatives from the older generation (though the numbers drop steadily every year). So once again this year I want to spend some time with them and enjoy them while I have them. I also have old photos I'd like to share with them and hopefully identify as well as get any new (to me!) family stories. In this day of Facebook and it's easy to get wrapped up in the cyber world-- but these elders in our family are priceless resources and I for one plan to appreciate these treasures!

3. Sources & Documentation- While I've always done a "pretty good" job noting where information came from and never just merged other trees into mine-- I could do better. I attended a genealogy workshop this past Fall and one of the sessions I signed up for was the "sourcing & documentation". I learned a lot and learned what I'd been doing wrong (also a lot!). As I've been organizing, I've also been surprised at home many easily obtainable documents I'm missing. I've already created a list of "to get" records for 2015... as we all know, laws regarding records change all the time and what is accessible today might not be accessible tomorrow. 

4. "Groups"- There are so many genealogy groups available today. From family associations to Facebook groups and mailing lists, as well as local genealogical societies and clubs. I'd like to get more involved with a couple of surname groups once I get my genealogy more organized (see above!). As well as look seriously into the Mayflower Society and SAR among others. I have a number of eligible ancestors on both ends of that, and I'd like to see what's offered. 

5. Education- I enjoyed 2 large genealogy seminars in 2014 and that has spurred me on to continue with genealogical education. While I'm anticipating a large workshop this coming Spring, I'm also looking into other options like webinars and podcasts. Not only do I enjoy the content, it's fun meeting others who share an interest in genealogy... because as we all know, not everyone does!

So there are my 2015 goals in a nutshell! Do you have any goals for your genealogy in this New Year.... and a plan in place to see some of them happen??

Clearwater County, MN ~ Genealogy Resources

As a genealogist from Minnesota, I take great pride in the many resources our state has in place to aide researchers! Many, like the death index, are very well known, but many many others are not.

So I've decided to spotlight a few of the lesser known greats here, in hopes that I can connect someone with a tool they can use! Since Saturdays are good days to do genealogy (at least for us working folks), I decided to post these links then.

Clearwater County, Minnesota

Clearwater County Tombstone Transcription Project
While not updated since 2008, this cemetery page may have resources on it not found on other sites (aka F.A.G)

2011 Clearwater County obituaries

1912 Clearwater County atlas/platbook

Unfortunately, the do not seem to be many on-line resources available for 
Clearwater County...  if you know of any others, please share!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rescued 100+ year old photo...hidden behind a needlepoint sampler, needs a home!

While at an auction this Summer, I was bidding on some large frames and prints... Winning the bid, I had my choice of items and I picked a number of antique prints... I chose this one because I liked the large old frame, not so much caring for the modern piece of needlepoint that was framed... but deciding I could use it to frame something else.

After I got it home and got to looking at it closer, I noticed on the back there was some writing.... Which I thought was odd, because while the frame was clearly antique, the needlepoint sampler looked to be from the 1960s or after....

"Adolph Ferdinand Billet
Born April 7, 1887
Died July 8, 1898
only son of Adolph & Emilie Billet
and four sisters Clara, Emma, Alma and Lynda"

The writing was a name and birth/death dates for a young child. At this point I began to suspect there was more to this "sampler" than I first thought.

And so I began to take it apart... and what I found underneath this mid-century piece of needlepoint was a lovely antique portrait!

Adolph Billet
While this young boy would have no descendants, I'm hoping there might be a Billet relative out there who would treasure this large portrait, that deserves to be displayed and not hidden & used as backing!

It seems that this family lived near Good Thunder, in Blue Earth County, Minnesota. Hopefully there is someone out there that wants to add this portrait to their family archive!

Wrapping up my 2014 Genealogy accomplishments

Like many New Year resolutions, my genealogy goals for 2014 weren't totally successful. However, I did manage to make some progress!

Education- In furthering my genealogical education, I participated in 2 large genealogy seminars put on by the Minnesota Genealogical Society. They both had keynote speakers who are giants in our field-- Thomas MacEntee & Judy Russell. I learned great new things and met some fine folks in the process!

DNA- Thanks to some self education and my attendance at the Fall MGS seminar, I felt it was finally time to jump into the world of DNA.  As I write this, ancestry is processing my sample! I will be touching on this subject & the results in the future!

Family Connections- Even though I should have done better in my quest to connect with, and enjoy, my living breathing relatives-- I did attend a family reunion and visit with a couple of genealogy loving cousins. Life is busy, but this is something that should be a priority and will again be a goal in 2015.

Unfortunately, I'm still pretty disorganized-- too much paper that's in the wrong spot-- and a huge photo archive in complete disarray. While I still have a long way to go, I did tackle some pretty large paper piles and slowly began scanning old photos.

I certainly have a large "to do" list for the coming year! Sometimes it seems daunting. Living in Minnesota, and suffering through an exceptionally unpleasant Winter this year, it does make indoors projects easier to begin. So, now that we are entering our second week of the New Year, I have many things to look forward to!

And looking back at 2014, I still feel accomplished! 

What about you? What were your accomplishments this last year?