Tips: What’s a Genealogist to Do in the Dog Days of Summer?

Those who live in a cold climate appreciate the warmth of summer months. However, even though the weather might be much more appreciated than storms which mean shoveling snow and icy road, the dog days of summer aren’t so great either.

Snow might be long gone, but humidity and bugs are definitely present. Or, if like me, you live in the desert, the dog days of summer are way worse than the Tucson winter.

Either way, if you need a break from genealogy software, compiling data and source citations, here are a few genealogically-themed suggestions.

  1. Sit back, relax and read a good book or two. I’d recommend Val D. Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th Edition, David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, Judy Jacobson’s History for Genealogists and The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, 2nd Edition by Lisa Louise Cooke. A fifth suggestion would be to search online for a copy of that vintage history or story that relates to the home of an ancestral family. Now is the time to get it read!
  2. If you can’t stay away from your computer for that long, use your online time to learn something new. Most genealogy webinars are free if viewed live. GeneaWebinars Calendar has over 30 webinars just in the month of August with topics ranging from DNA, solving tough research problems, Black ProGen to Mondays with Myrt, discussing trending genealogical topics.
  3. Still can’t stay away from the computer? Check out YouTube for more learning opportunities. Family History Fanatics posts new videos weekly. Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems has a slew of great videos, too. Or just search for “genealogy” on YouTube and choose from 235,000 results!
  4. You know that letter you’ve been meaning to write to ????? Summer is a great time to send that note off to Aunt Nellie asking about old photos, request a document from the archives or share your findings with that distant cousin who contacted you.
  5. Now is just the right time to get out all those old family photographs. You’ve been meaning to get them sorted, labeled and mounted in acid free albums. Archival quality supplies can be ordered from companies like University Products and Gaylord’s. A word of caution here, though. No governmental restrictions are placed on products using the words “archival quality.” If your items are vintage family treasures, I would not recommend buying your supplies from the chain store in the shopping center.
  6. Make some new genea-friends. Many local societies schedule meetings in the summertime. Contact your public library if you can’t find online information for your area. You might discover you’re a perfect fit for each other!
  7. Having computer withdrawal? Dedicate some time to learning more tricks of the trade in your genealogy software program. Most today offer so many bells and whistles that we don’t even realize are there. Or, try out a new genea-tech toy. Try out Scrivener or Trello for organizing your thoughts and writing a family history. Don’t panic – your history doesn’t have to be a book. It could be just a single family anecdote. Try out Evernote or Evidentia. Organize your home library using LibraryThing.
  8. For those who want to get out of the house and actively contribute to your community history, contact town officials, a local historical society or genealogy group and ask if they have any projects that require volunteer hands – cleaning up a cemetery, sorting books and papers, offering to help those in need of someone with more advanced genealogical research skills.

All of these paths lead to genealogical success and don’t involve a drop of sweat! Well, maybe cemetery work would, but have fun. 🙂

Update on Emeline M. Adams, Her Non-Existent Husband and Her Actual Family

Previously, I have written about Emeline M. Adams and her reputed husband, William Seonnig, who, it turns out, never existed. Emeline Adams’ husband was Loring Benoni Bill.

I decided that it was time to take another look at the family, hoping that I might find some current descendants and fill in that branch of my family tree.

As I researched the Bill children, I quickly realized that a beginner would have quite a time finding them, as records name them as Bill, Bills, Vill and Bill Loring. Added to that is the difficulty that the family left Maine and settled in the Boston area, but moved frequently. Family members also used both given and middle names as first names, adding to the difficulty.

The census taker in 1920 omitted Loring Bill, who was 81 at the time and making his last census appearance, from the household of his son, Harrison, and tacked him onto the last page of the enumeration with a note to refer back to page 6B. That was the spot where he also reversed Loring’s name and turned him into Bill Loring.

I’ve also seen Loring Bill’s wife attributed as Emma Fountain, who lived on Deer Island, but that is incorrect.

For these reasons, it’s important to share the family story of Loring Benoni Bill and Emeline M. Adams.

Loring Benoni Bill was born perhaps c1842 in New Brunswick, Canada, according to most records in which he is found. However, there are only two Bill families in the 1851 New Brunswick census and both live in the West Isles, which includes Deer Island.

Benoni is a name often given to a child who survived birth but the mother didn’t. Elisha Bill has a son, Benoni, aged 14 in 1851. From the family structure, it looks like Elisha’s first wife might have died and he remarried.

Source: Library and Archives Canada

The second Bill family doesn’t have any male children who look like a possible match to Loring Benoni. This family hasn’t been found in 1860 in the U.S. or in 1861 in Canada. If this is “my” Benoni, then his father was likely Elisha, but his mother is unknown.

Emeline M. Adams was born c1840 on Adams Island, New Brunswick, Canada, the daughter of Daniel Adams and Sarah Ann Parker, the second of nine children.

Loring, as he went by for most of his life, and Emeline married in Calais, Washington, Maine on 22 November 1866.

Loring Bill & Emeline Adams, 1866 Marriage

Loring was a resident of Deer Island and the 1867 Hutcinson’s Directory of New Brunwick lists him as a fisherman living in Clam Cove.

The yellow road in Maine (left), South River Road, is the road up to Calais, so, as the crow flies, Deer Island is not far away.

Loring and Emeline soon changed their minds about living on Deer Island and moved back into Maine, but into Eastport, to the south of Calais, where their first two children were born.

Loring and Emma haven’t been found in the 1870 or 1871 censuses, but in 1881, the family was again living on Deer Island and “Banoni” was listed as a mariner.

Although the census says all were born in New Brunswick, that wasn’t true, as you will see in a minute.

The Bills lived in Eastport, Washington, Maine in 1900 with Children Lina and Harrison still at home.

Emma reported in 1900 that she had given birth to five children, with three surviving, so the family apparently lost a child in the 1870s.

The water-based economy in Maine had peaked by the early 20th century and Loring was enumerated as a day laborer. By 1910, the Bills had followed the path of so many of their family and friends and relocated to Massachusetts.

“Loren” and Emma now lived with son Harrison, who found work as a machine parts belt maker, and they were living in Boston.

What happened to their other children? Arlena, as she was called, continued to live in the Boston area, near her parents and siblings. However, she never married and is last found in 1940, as a lodger, aged 69,  in Boston. She worked as a dressmaker for many years.

Horace, only found in one record – the 1881 census – apparently died young as no trace of him as been found afterwards and Emma reported two dead children in 1900.

Emma predeceased Loring, passing away on 11 July 1917 at City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Loring lived with son Harrison in 1920, but, as mentioned, isn’t on the same page because the census taker forgot him and added him on the last page of his district.

Loring died in 1926, probably in Cambridge, as noted in the Death Records Index for Massachusetts.

What of their descendants? Charles and William Harrison both married and had children. We’ll take a look at them in the next post.


1. Charles E., born 18 November 1867, Eastport, Washington, Maine; died 1954, Brighton, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Martha H. Black, 10 September 1890, Eastport, Washington, Maine.

NOTE: I strongly suspect that Charles is Charles Edward, named for Emma’s brother who had died in 1865.

2. Sarah Arlena (aka Lina), born 10 March 1871, Calais, Washington, Maine; died after 1940; never married.
3. Horace, born c1873
4. Child, born and died c1875-1881
5. William Harrison, born July 1876, Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1940; married (1) Mary Ann Short, 15 March 1905, Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts (2) Emma Florence Moore, 17 October 1920, Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Next, we will take a look at Charles E. and William Harrison Bill, their families and possible descendants.





Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Generations Did Your Parents or Grandparents Know?

Although I have to count the generations, I already know which of my family members will win Randy Seaver’s SNGF challenge this week – How many generations did your parents or grandparents know?

Here we go:

a) My father, George Michael Sabo (1926-1985), knew:
1. His grandfather, Stephen Kucharik (aka Sabo) (1855-1933)
2. His father, George Sabo (1893-1936)
3. Dad was an only child, but he knew his first cousins.
4. His two children

b) My mother, Doris Priscilla Adams (1923-2008), knew:
1. Her great grandmother, Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman (1833-1930)
2. Her grandfather, Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1868-1938)
3. Her mother, Hazel Ethel Coleman Adams (1901-1995)
4. Her two siblings
5. Her two children
6. Her grandson

c) My paternal grandfather, George Sabo (1893-1936), knew:
1. His father, Stephen Kucharik (aka Sabo) (1855-1933)
2. His four siblings
3. His son, George Michael Sabo (1926-1985)

d) My paternal grandmother, Julia Scerbak Sabo (1893-1985), knew:
1. Her grandfather, John Scerbak (1836-1916)
2. Her father, Michael Scerbak (1868-1932)
3. Her six siblings
4. Her son, George Michael Sabo (1926-1985)
5. Her grandchildren

e) My maternal grandfather, Vernon Tarbox Adams (1899-1968), knew:
1. His grandfather, Calvin Segee Adams (1843-1921)
2. His father, Charles Edwin Adams (1877-1922)
3. He was an only child, but knew many first cousins.
4. His three children
5. His four grandchildren

f) My maternal grandmother, Hazel Ethel Coleman Adams (1901-1995), knew:
1. Her grandmother, Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman (1833-1930)
2. Her father, Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1868-1938)
3. Her brother
4. Her three children
5. Her four grandchildren
6. Her five great grandchildren

We have a tie – my maternal grandmother, Hazel Ethel Coleman Adams, and my mother, Doris Priscilla Adams Sabo both knew six generations of family members.

Thanks, Randy, for another fun challenge this week. 🙂