What I Have Learned About Google for Genealogists

Several of my friends have shared their insights using Google and have agreed that I can use their discoveries to share with you.

Doing a basic web search using Google, can leave potential new information about our Robert Mills search via Google Aug 2016families hidden. Start by entering a search term, a person’s name, or a URL. Some names are so common that you should add other terms to narrow the search. For example, when I put in the name “Robert Mills” (in quotes) I got about 395,000 hits, including the top listing for the man who designed the Washington Monument. However, that’s not who I want to search for. I added an additional term “1867..1932” (year range of his life) and lowered the options to about 59,000 results. Still too many. Next, I added location: Kentucky and the count went up to about 70,000 results. The difference is that the first few entries were a perfect match. I found that Ancestry.com and FindAGrave each had correct information about Robert Mills.

Let’s look at Images, the next most popular method of looking for information  (images.Google, com). When the page appeared, I clicked on “Search Tools” that shows up below the search box. I selected “Black and White” because those are the only photos Robert Mills family photo found via Google Images 21 Aug 2016available for this time period. I used the same terms used above and received the following message: “1867..1932 was dropped from your search because it is not supported for this type of search.”  Because I had a photo in my possession, seeing it in Images was not a surprise. But there were many images that didn’t match and offered confusion rather than a new discovery. I need to better understand how to search images to gain access to what I want.

Google Books (books.Google.com) is an often overlooked resource because they stopped adding books, but they have already added many books that are copyright free. book cover Russell County KY History & FamiliesTo continue using Robert Mills as an example, I need to explain that he was a farmer who lived in Pulaski or Russell Counties in Kentucky. Those delimiters should help narrow the field of appropriate books. I found nothing appropriate using Robert Mills’ name, adding “farmer” and “Russell County Kentucky.” That should not come as a surprise since he had a small farm and did not make a name for himself. To find something useful, I took off his name and found, “Russell County, Kentucky: history & families” that wasn’t a complete search, so I couldn’t look in the index to see if he or his family received any mention. Because there are other possible locations to find the book, I looked at WorldCat and found the book on FamilySearch.org. It has not been digitized, so it looks like a library lend is in my future.

Next week we’ll look at other features available in Google that include: Translate; Maps; Earth; Scholar; Docs; Drive; Blogger; and YouTube.

Try these Google tools and improve your searches.

___ All images taken from Google: I snipped the first one from a basic search; the second image is one I posted and I have a copy of the original; the third is an image from Google Books.

Newly Found Recipes from my Mother

My mom, Jewell Thornton, was well known for the tasty table laid out for family and friends. She enjoyed making things from scratch and always exchanged recipes with others. I remember my dad’s comment when my mom asked him why he never commented on or complemented her preparation. He said, “Why should I tell you I like something? I’ll never see it again.” This said, exaggerated just what variety awaited us each day.

Several years ago, I created a cookbook based on mom’s favorite recipes I had found. Mom presented copies to her grandchildren and several interested nieces. I now need to create another cookbook to include additional selections discovered. I’ll list two here as an example of the variety she created.

Freezer Cucumber Pickles (I assume this was my grandma’s recipe, but it’s not identified)

Freezer Cucumber Pickles 1 7 cups sliced raw cucumbers

2 small bell peppers

1 cup onions, sliced thin

Put in large container with:

1 T. pickling salt and mix

1 T. pepper (black)

Let sit for 2 hours.

To make syrup

Freezer Cucumber Pickles 21 cup cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 T. mustard seed

1 T. celery seed

Bring to a boil and let cool. Pour over the cukes.

Refrigerate overnight and then pack in small

freezer bags and freeze.

Boiled Cookies by Faye Huggins, Homemaker’s group

2 C. sugarBoiled Cookies copy

4 T. cocoa*

½ C. milk

¼ lb. butter or margarine

2 t. vanilla

½ C. peanut butter

2 ½ C. oatmeal

¼ C. (or more) chopped nuts

Mix sugar and cocoa; add milk and butter.

Cook this mixture 1 ½ minutes (start counting when mixture has reached full boil).

Remove from heat.

Add vanilla, peanut butter, oatmeal, and nuts.

Beat well.

Drop on waxed paper and let cool.

*May use ½ jar marshmallow cream instead of the cocoa.

I have unearthed about 100 recipes that didn’t make the first cookbook, so I have my work cut out. Won’t that surprise our children to receive a second cookbook? Although my mom died several years ago, I think she would be proud that her favorites are passed along to another generation.

*Recipes come from author’s possession.

old books in library free image by Malte Baumann from usplash dot comThank you to those who have stayed in touch through the summer. I haven’t always responded, but I have read every message.

You know from the updates I have sent out about my husband, Roger, that this is a long road to recovery. He’s doing noticeably better than when he first came home but still has a long way to go.

Since I’m still needed for the details of everyday living, I have reluctantly decided that I can’t teach the genealogy classes this fall. This breaks my heart, but it is for the best. Likely this will be a permanent decision as I look ahead to next year.

I hope we can stay in touch and perhaps plan a get-together later in the fall to find out about the progress you have made with your family research.

Also, I’m closing down my website the end of August, so if there is something in the student section you want to copy, and you have log-in authority, do it soon.

My best to all of you.

sunset over water by Quino Al from unsplash dot com

Library photo by Malte Baumann comes free from Unsplash.com and the sunset photo by Quinto Al also comes free from Unsplash.com

Skills Learned to Sell See’s Candy

When life gets crazy or complicated, it helps to step back and remember some better times. I was reminded of a couple such occurrences when I sorted through some old papers and found notes about events that happened about 20+ years ago.

Sees candy logoWe discovered that our son was a natural born salesman when his church group decided to sell See’s candy bars as a fundraiser to go to camp. David eagerly went to all his friends at school and had regular customers each day. But he wanted to find more customers, so he walked across the street to our neighbor’s and asked if they would take a box of candy bars to bowling with them. They agreed and came home with an empty box and cash. Since that was so successful, they agreed to continue taking boxes of candy bars each time they went bowling. It’s nice when you can get others to do your work for you!

One winter, we drove to Reno, Nevada to visit my parents. On our way home and not too Sees assorted-candy-barsfar west of Reno, we came to an abrupt halt on the freeway. We could see it was snowing ahead, so knew we’d need to put on chains. David grabbed his See’s candy and started walking up the road on the left edge nearest the driver’s side, stopping at each stranded vehicle and offering the people candy bars. Most people took advantage of this treat and he only stopped when the highway patrol said he couldn’t sell on the freeway. He walked back to our car about $20 richer.

He was top seller every year they sold candy. When he was 15 years old, we didn’t fully realize to what lengths he would go to finance his venture until his sister came home from college for Christmas and he quietly promised her a “family discount” on lollipops that he also sold. She bought some. A few days later, while Karen packed to return to school, I offered her a dozen lollipops to take with her.

Sees candy lollypops“For free?” she questioned.

“Of course,” I said. “We received them free as a promotional by the candy company.”

“You mean my brother gave me a “family discount” on candy he never paid for?”

With that, she tore upstairs and grabbed the arm of her 6’3” brother. “David, you sold me candy you never paid for and never blinked an eye! You can sell ice to Eskimos and have them begging for more!”

I think I’ll buy David a See’s candy bar for the next time we’re together.

——-Photos from the See’s Candy website

An emotional roller coaster

A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article, Generational dilemma: What to do with deceased parents’ belongings? By Jerry Davich Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/opinion/ct-ptb-davich-deceased-parents-stuff-st-0605-20160602-story.html.

The basics of this article discusses what we all must face if we outlive our parents: what do we do with our their belongings once they have died. Although some parents leave little for us to sort through, anything we must go through brings a flood of emotion. My father died over 20 years ago and my mother preferred to go through his things alone. We didn’t live nearby, so we understood her need to hold on to some items and let go of others.

When she was ready, during one of our visits, she offered some items for us to select, if flea market items from free stock photoswe wanted them. Since I’m an only child, we didn’t have to discuss these selections with anyone else. Our children were still young enough, we didn’t know if they would select something significant, so after they made their choices, I set aside a couple of other items to give them when they were grown. It was gratifying to present these tokens to them after they were married and see them share a memory or two with their spouses who never got to know our children’s grandpa.

Ten years before my mother died, she moved to our city and lived with us for a short time before moving into an assisted living facility. In helping her pair down her belongings, we made several trips, convinced her to consign her larger pieces of furniture, but were left with too many items that would not fit in her new abode. Our compromise was to rent a storage unit because mom would not let go of these items.

Five years later, the items were still in the storage unit, unrequested by mom. We didn’t want to pay the increased rate, so we made a decision to move the items into our garage and go through everything to see what we would keep and what needed to go. Because mom never asked about these items, I felt more confident that we could let go of most of them. However, going through everything, I became overwhelmed with memories and could hardly let go of anything. I had to develop a thicker skin and start small.

set of different fabrics from Free Stock ImagesFor example, mom had been a wonderful seamstress and loved to go fabric shopping. I realized this even more when I uncovered a dozen plastic storage boxes full of fabric. When I found 100% cotton fabric a couple of years after mom died, I was able to donate it all to a group at our church who make clothes for an orphanage we support. Mom would have been pleased with that decision. However, I still had almost six boxes of fabric left.

Because of these experiences, my husband and I have decided to seriously sort, delete, or keep if valuable to us, all the “stuff” we have collected over the 46 years of our marriage. My goal is to fill our recycle bin every week and I have a pretty good record. I keep asking myself why I have kept some items as I uncover them, but at one time they were important. Amazing that priorities change over time. It’s also frustrating that our children really do not want most of what we own. Looks like it’s time to get back to sorting and tossing with greater diligence.

Photos from Free Stock Images