Category Archives: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Long Ago Was Your Last “Genealogy Happy Dance?”

The months seem to be flying by this year. We are at the end of May and Memorial Day Weekend, which is also the unofficial start of summer for many people. Tucson temperatures have definitely been climbing, although thankfully no highs have yet it 100 degrees.

It’s also time for the latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge with Randy Seaver:

1)  One of the goals of every genealogy researcher is to solve difficult name and relationship problems – and traditionally we do a “genealogy happy dance” when we succeed.

2)  When was the last time you did a “genealogy happy dance” after solving one of your difficult problems?

Recently, I have mentioned several successes with FamilySearch full-text search, so I won’t go through those finds again.

However, my most recent “genealogy happy dance” was connecting with a distant cousin of my husband’s with whom I had lost contact.

In fact, it had been so long since we had been in touch that our correspondence had been via snail mail and the way we reconnected was definitely a surprise. She was a Peavler descendant like my husband. To protect privacy, let’s call her Susan Butler.

On my “to do” list was to search online for any recent contact information for Susan. I set that aside, though, and first looked at some websites for possible new clues.

I had been looking for new documents and clues for my husband’s Peavler family (his 2X great grandmother Matilda Peavler married John Stufflebean.)

I put the Peavler surname into a search of Ancestry’s family trees, which I usually do only as a last resort because so many of the trees have the same undocumented information.

Again to protect privacy, I focused on the tree of, let’s say Jane Allison. She had posted a document, which really were notes and questions she had about Lewis Peavler and other family members.

Although the notes were dated more than a decade ago, it said the last time she had checked in on Ancestry was “today!”

I sent a short email, explaining my interest in the Peavlers and identifying the connection through Matilda (Peavler) Stufflebean. My hopes weren’t terribly high, given the percentage of people who never respond to queries.

However, about an hour later, I had an email from Jane Allison. She opened with “Hi Linda. Although I use the name Jane Allison online, I’m Susan Butler!”

The genealogy happy dance definitely followed because I not only had made contact with Susan, but she and I have been trading lots of new information we’ve each found through the years.

It’s been great fun reconnecting and sharing our finds and theories about this family in the early 1800s and late 1700s. We were ‘younguns” back when we first “met” and not so young now, but we both still have that passion for learning about our ancestors.

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s fun challenge.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Use FamilySearch Full-Text Search

It’s time once again for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver and this week’s challenge is a hot topic in current genealogy discussions because it’s a game changer for our research:

1)  Use the FREE FamilySearch Full-Text Search ( to find a record for one of your ancestors that is new to you.

It’s been a couple of months now since FamilySearch introduced the beta version of full-text search in its labs. Much of my recent genealogy time has been spent trolling through various searches using full-text.

My very first attempt with full-text search put a chip in a long standing brick wall, which then led to the wall coming down.

Caspar Starr, one of my husband’s 5X great grandfathers, settled in Rowan County, North Carolina. No one seemed to have any documentation about where he lived before that time and no even the tiniest clue had been found regarding the maiden name of his wife, Catherine. Full-text search placed him in Maryland in 1762, From there I was able to trace him into Culpeper County, Virginia by following his fan club, before he settled in North Carolina. I also was able to theorize this wife’s maiden name, which appears to be correct since I’ve found 2 different DNA matches with my husband who descend from the proposed brother of Catherine Starr.

My second attempt is my current research, updating another of my husband’s ancestral lines – that of three Lewis Peavlers in a row, who are his 3X, 4X and 5X great grandfathers. It’s enabling me to separate out who was who, document a ton of unsourced information found online and providing proof that Lewis #1 was actually born Ludwig Bibler.

It’s important to remember two things about full-text search. First, it only searches U.S. land and probate records that are in the FamilySearch collection. It doesn’t search outside the web site. Second, IF the collection is locked on FamilySearch and you can’t view it from home, then you won’t be able to see the results in full-text search either. It’s not a back door into locked records and you’ll still need to visit a FamilySearch center to access the images.

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s challenge. I am loving this excellent new feature offered on FamilySearch.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Genealogy Fun Day

The weekend has arrived and, although it’s Mother’s Day weekend, our Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge with Randy Seaver this week doesn’t feature a theme about our maternal ancestors. That’s actually fine with me since I have written about many of them, including my mtDNA line, in the past!

This week’s theme is more general:

1)  When was the last time you had Genealogy Fun?  It could be research, conferences, a society meeting, or just talking with friends about your research, a favorite trip, etc.  Tell us about a recent genealogy fun day!

My most recent genealogy fun days were the two trips I’ve made to my local FamilySearch Center to make use of the next full-text search in records that are locked from home – mainly Maryland and Virginia right now.

I was able to solve several mysteries – like where Caspar Starr lived in the 1770s and early 1780s and his wife’s maiden name.

I’ve also been able to document the lives of three of my husband’s other ancestors, all named Lewis Peavler. I even learned that the earliest Lewis Peavler, German by birth, originally went by Ludwig Bibler, as recorded in a land deed which called him by both names!

This week promises to be a Genealogy Fun Week for me as my local society, Sun City Vistoso Genealogy Society, is hosting its last meeting before the summer break on Tuesday.

On Thursday, their new SIG – Genealogy Research Toolbox – will have its third meeting.

On Friday, my Anquestors group, which I’ve taught since September 2010, will be meeting.

My Genealogy Fun Week is my reward for finishing my spring house cleaning!

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s challenge!