New GeneaGem: Tips & Quips by Elizabeth Shown Mills and Ruth Brossette Lennon

Not only do I rarely post book reviews, I don’t think I’ve ever chosen a single book as a GeneaGem. Today is an exception!

I attended my local Pima County Genealogy Society meeting yesterday and was lucky enough to win a great door prize. I had no idea this book even existed!

Tips & Quips for the Family Historian

Before the drawing for the book, everyone commented on what a “cute little” book it is. Yes, it is a small tome, only 7 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches and perhaps a half inch thick.

The title is also cute, but it belies the many words of wisdom that are found inside its covers.

Elizabeth Shown Mills and Ruth Brossette Lemon have compiled a ton of sage advice for genealogical researchers. Given Elizabeth Shown Mills’ reputation for source citations, each quotation is fully sourced – all 332 of them!

Quotations have been sorted into one of 87 (!) categories, ranging from topics which would be expected, such as Elusive Ancestors, Research Traps and Genealogical Proof Standard to less common, more surprising categories like “Gullibility.”

Who has contributed quotes? Everyone from Val Greenwood to Plutarch to Maya Angelou to Rosie O’Donnell.

The sayings are really reminders to follow sound research principles and create quality work documenting our family histories.

The book, published in 2017,  is available from the Genealogical Publishing Company for $14.95. GPC has it classified under Humor, but I’m not sure why. The “quips” – like stating that genealogy is a “grave disease” are few and far between compared to the “tips,” which are on target, serious and made to keep family historians on their toes in a good way. The screen shot above is from the GPC website and gives you a taste of what is inside the book.

I highly recommend this book as it is light reading, but reminds the reader of the importance of his/her work.

It would make a great holiday gift for the genealogist in your family.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #46: Orphanage/Children’s Home Records

Back in October, 52 Documents featured guardian bonds, posted by those who became legal guardians of orphaned children, even though those children frequently had a living mother. Only their fathers had passed away.

In earlier days, orphaned children whose mothers/extended families weren’t financially able to care for them were bound out to learn a trade so as not to become a burden on society.

By the late 1800s, orphanages, sometimes called children’s homes, were established and maintained formal records of their charges. However, locating these records might be difficult to impossible because most of these institutions are no longer in existence and any records have been lost or destroyed.

The Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky records are about the only digitized records I was able to find online. This collection is housed on the Kenton County Public Library website. A few places have microfilmed records so check FamilySearch’s catalog to see if the Family History Library might have them.

Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, Book 2

This page, from Book 2, contains four entries, but includes five children because entry #2, is for Alice and James Miller.

Just reading about all these children is a bit depressing.

Entry #492 at the top of the page notes little William E. Middleton was born 8 January 1894 in Dryridge, Grant County, Kentucky to Daniel and Annie Middleton, Protestant Americans. It gives further information: Father dead. Mother sick. William was admitted on 17 June 1896 and his death is noted on 8 August 1896, just seven weeks later.

Entry #493 and 494, siblings Alice and James Miller were still in the Children’s Home at the time of the 1900 census:

1900 Census, Kenton County, Kentucky

Their parents were William and Mary L. Miller and they were placed in the home by court order. It states that the father is German and the mother Irish. Neither parent could be identified in the 1900 census.

Entry #495 is Edward Polttering, born 7 January 1889 in Covington, Kentucky, which is in Kenton County. His parents are George Polttering, a German Catholic and his mother, Mattie, a German American Protestant. It noted: Father worthless. Mother can not support the child. I found no further record of Edward or Mattie, but there is a George Poltering living in Cincinnati, Ohio, listed in an 1897 city directory.

The final entry on the page, #496, is Annie Brodie, born 11 May 1886 in Covington, Kentucky. Parents are John and Ellen (Conrad) Brodie, Protestant Americans. Note: Father does not support. Mother allowed child to beg. Annie was placed in the home by court order. Neither Annie nor her parents have been found in the 1900 census.

If you find that a family was broken apart by death or economic circumstances and you suspect that one or more children might have been left at an orphanage, check local county records, historical societies and local public libraries to locate any possible extant records.

Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

Do you recognize anyone?:
FLYBOYS 2017 by Bill West on West in New England

Research Resources

If you don’t already have a free Family Search account, starting on 13 December 2017, you will be required to have one to access its records:
FamilySearch Free Sign-In Offers Greater Subscriber Experiences and Benefits by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

12 Best Websites for Tracing British World War I Soldiers by John D. Reid on Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections

Yad Vashem – Finding Relatives Killed in the Holocaust by Lara Diamond on The In-Depth Genealogist

Using Archived Records to Fill in Your Ancestor’s Timeline by Melissa Barker on The In-Depth Genealogist

Announcing a New Website Featuring Genealogy Information from Every American Community by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Drouin Genealogical Institute Acquires Planète Généalogy Website by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Tech News

Visualizing Ancestry Relationships Using Google Fusion Tables (Part 1 of ?) by Clark Lind on Brickwall Quest

The Best Free Online File Converters for All Your Formatting Needs by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Creating “We Remember” Memorials on – FREE, Easy? by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings

Genetic Genealogy

FTDNA’s Holiday Sale 2017 by Dr. D on Dr. D Digs Up Ancestors

A great, quick intro to DNA testing by Dave:
DNA Testing Advice by Dave Robison on Old Bones Genealogy of New England


A few counties had two courthouses:
Campbell County, Kentucky’s Two Courthouses by Michael John Neill on Rootdig

Quiz: Can You Guess How Former USSR Immigrants Changed Their Names? by Vera Miller on Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family

Genealogy Resources Are Like eBay by Janice Sellers on Ancestral Discoveries

Education Is for Everyone

A New Look for the Family History Guide by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

Genealogy Word of the Day: Ramage by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Playlists on YouTube for the BYU Family History Library by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

Illinois State Genealogical Society’s 2018 Webinar Program Released by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Keeping Up with the Times

Book Review: Take Control of Your Digital Legacy by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter