Honoring the Soldiers of our Family!


On this 4th of July, we’re celebrating the ancestors and family who helped to give us this holiday. The image is Detroit from our recent fireworks celebration and, while my ancestors are primarily not military, they helped to form this continent. But more about that in another post!

Here in what became the United States, my husband’s family has a long history of service to the country. In the Revolutionary War, Johann Miesse, his brothers and brothers-in-law (the Ebling family) and John Klein and his family, all in Pennsylvania, served with Washington and primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. The Civil War found Ludwig Muhn, immigrant from Langenbrombach, Hesse, Germany, serving with the Michigan 15th Infantry on the east coast. He however never made it home – he died of a fever in Detroit, never making it back to the family farm in Alma. He’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

There are relatives who served in World War II (I’m not yet aware of any serving in World War I, although I’m still researching!). My father, Wilbur William Nimer, served from 1948 to 1952 in Korea ….

There is cousin Gary in Vietnam with Uncle Jerry, who served there too. Denny’s brother, Van Muhn, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era but luckily didn’t have to go to Vietnam. And then Denny, who served from 1976 to 1998. How proud I am of him!

When we think about the blessings, freedom and lives that we have, I personally think about these men, their women and families, who sacrificed for us. With just celebrating Canada Day and 4th of July, our families on both sides of an international border have much to be grateful for. Thank you!!!

Attending GRIP – Driving Through Pennsylvania

On my way to GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh), I had the pleasure to drive from Michigan to Pittburgh through the lovely rolling hills and mountains of western Pennsylvania. Dairy and beef farms, rolling meadows of planted corn, green …lots of green.
Coming off of the expressway and onto a two-lane road, I came around a curve and discovered a classically beautiful old church.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wexford, PA.

From it’s website (https://www.trinitywexford.org/about-us/#History) I learned:
Founded in 1845, Trinity is located in one of the older settlements of Allegheny County and still bears the word “German” in its Charter name as well as on the inscription on the front of its church building. The church was born when the Reverend Michael Schweigert sought out area Lutherans and organized them into a congregation. The treasurer’s report of 1901 showed an expenditure of $3 to repair the stable in which the horses were kept during services.

Churches, houses of faith, are part of the specialty areas that I assist clients in research. The records of our ancestors within these houses of faith may be the only record of their birth, marriage, or burial when other civil records hadn’t yet been established or are lost, burned, missing. Compilations of indexes helps for these records but going through baptism records and learning about who the godparents were (often family or close friends) can be a goldmine of help to an otherwise lost lineage.

With time still to drive, my mind wandered to the journey that these, and other immigrants and travelers, took to get here and further west. My husband Denny’s ancestors came to Michigan over time from Berks County, Pennsylvania. Looking around at these hills, mountains and contrast of the ease of my journey was apparent. Only five hours from Michigan, back in the 1700 and 1800s, when Den’s ancestors were traveling, or these congregants of Rev. Schweigert, the easiest way was likely the rivers. Of course, later were the developments of the canals, but horse-drawn wagon and walking were the other ways to travel.

So as I begin a week of research, learning and getting more knowledge of the field of genealogy (genealogists are ALWAYS learning!), I’m reflecting on the ways that we learn about, study, find records and fill in the lives of our ancestors. Here at GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh), we are taught by nationally-recognized experts about the research sources that document our ancestral lives, learning to document, properly cite, and share information with others seeking our help. There is so much to learn…..there are a variety of genealogical institutes to learn from. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me for information. I’d love to encourage you!

You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Technology for Genealogy


This presentation, offered on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at RootsTech 2018 explained the variety of mobile apps that could help genealogists to do easer, faster research and take their information with them.

The recording, here https://www.rootstech.org/video/you-can-take-it-with-you-mobile-genealogy

Hoping this helps you, please let me know if there is information that you need. Lineage Journeys offers workshops on each of these apps in more detail and Evernote is a great tool that is utilized across the business world, which is how I first learned about it. If you can’t obtain the handout from the RootsTech site, please contact me and I’ll send it.

RootsTech 2018 – A retro view

It’s a little under a week after I first arrived in Salt Lake City for my first RootsTech – the 2018 conference was beginning the next morning, and my presentation too. As it has been a week since it began AND I’ve been home since Monday night, I’ve rested, unpacked and recovered. So in this review of my experience, there is a lot to cover.


First, there is the sheer size of the event – OMG!!! Over 14,000 of your best friends … well, ok, I didn’t meet them all. A special mobile app that linked the attendees on site with their FamilySearch tree gave all of us the opportunity to find cousins!!! I had 212 cousins at the height of the conference and was able to meet up with two of them. How exciting!! The mobile app showed you how you were related – all of mine where in the French-Canadian lines on my tree. SOOOO fun! I hope they continue doing that because we all enjoyed seeing how we connected.

I met the winner of my free RootsTech pass competition – Kimberly Savage arrived at my second workshop on Saturday to introduce herself to me and reported that she’d been having a great time. Here is Kimberly and I when we met!! Glad you had fun, Kimberly.

And then there were the presentations – which I was THRILLED went so well. Acadian & French-Canadian Research and You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogists. By my estimate, attended by between 150 and 200 people, the participants asked great questions, were engaged, came up before and after the presentation to connect with me and I’ll hope the information helped them.

Being an Ambassador too, had some great perks! Here’s the group of fellow bloggers (GeneaBloggers TRIBE) in the Media Hub where we interviewed speakers and keynote presenters, had a place to write our social media and blog posts, and rest. Yea, you needed a place to rest …. for this first-timer, it was very overwhelming, in a good way!

So heaven for a week looked like constant, nonstop conversation, learning and content about genealogy – cousin conversations, stories, researching and how to connect it all. I think I’ll be on a “high” for a while because it was so great for me. I sooooo hope I get to do it again.

MyHeritage announces new tools – DNA Browser!

MyHeritage made some great announcements about new features in their DNA work!  One, the DNAQuest.org is an effort by the company to help adoptees – using this site address, MyHeritage is offering FREE testing for those experiencing hardships (you have to apply for the free testing) but they have dedicated money to this effort and it should help many.  Just before coming to #RootsTech, I had a great conversation with a woman who used DNA to find three sisters (two half-sisters, one full) and, within a year, they all met and are expanding their family relationships in a loving way!

The other great update from MyHeritage included their new tool – DNA Chromosome Browser.

MyHeritage announced #RootsTech in Salt Lake City a major upgrade of its chromosome browser that makes it easier for users to analyze their DNA matches!  If you’ve taken a MyHeritage DNA test or those who have uploaded their raw data from other DNA companies, you can check out this feature in the MyHeritage DNA drop-down menu.  I’ve checked it out on my own DNA and it is fun, and I’ve been spending alot of time playing with it.

I have to say that the advances in DNA research and the opportunities it provides to family historians and genealogists was SO on display at #RootsTech … the power we all have to break through brick walls and discover relatives, history, migration patterns, and family stories is phenomenal!!!  If you aren’t on board with these tools (AncestryDNA, FindMyPast, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritageDNA and more), you are truly missing an opportunity!

Wow, what a morning of powerful speaking, music

An exciting morning program here at RootsTech 2018 helped to wake me up – my energy is beginning to fade!!  NATALIA LAFOURCADE!!!!

Yes, I know it’s not the best picture but Natalia Lafourcade (Mexican pop-rock singer/songwriter) sang the song from Coco that had us all in tears – and FamilySearch did research about her to share.  She found out for the first time that she is descended from a French man who came to Chile, eventually Mexico and Natalie was born there.  Natalie has many musicians in her ancestry too.  Her talent/her voice is amazing!!!  Wish I’d gotten a better picture of her but this picture is when she found out about her ancestry….so cool!

 

How so very cool that Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. came to speak at the conference!  He has been such a pioneer in developing the relationship between genealogy and genetics!  He shared about some of the miracles that have happened even as recently as yesterday at the Family History Library!

We got to see the trailer/teaser for the next ( coming this fall!) season of “Finding Your Roots” – looks incredible.  LOVE the show and it teaches me about records that are available to all of us AND the DNA evidence that can help us fill in our tree too.

All in all, it’s been a really marvelous conference!  I’ve enjoyed the networking, learning and the opportunities to connect with people who “get” what I love to do – genealogy!!!

Speaking at RootsTech 2018!

With a room of people, microphone checks, an interpreter and a whole bunch of enthusiastic and interesting people, my workshop began at 9:30 a.m. !!!

There were great questions, support from friends and even a French expert in the room (thankfully, I didn’t know until later, right?!) who told me that I did an excellent job and that he enjoyed my presentation …. whoa!!

The audience had some great questions and they all provided their emails and a list of the surnames they are researching so that we can help them with their research!  A document, listing all of them with these names, is being shared with them all in the hopes that they will make progress toward documenting their French-Canadian and Acadian families.

It was fun to be presenting to an international group – there were people from all over the United States but also Canada, France, Brazil ….. and those are the ones that I know!  And afterwards, people were stopping me in the hall to continue to ask questions – if you are reading this and have questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at judynmuhn@gmail.com.  I LOVE doing genealogy!!!

The day ended marvelously – with research!!!

Two of my clients are benefiting from my presence in Salt Lake, just a small walk from the Family History Library!  Rows on rows of microfilm, digital content, books, maps and so much more!  I haven’t been here since 2001 I believe and the updates/renovations/new art are beautiful, easy-to-use and empowering.

A truly sweet and helpful volunteer showed me the new way to make copies, create images from online content and even gave me a print card WITH MONEY ON IT!!!  She was awesome – and that has been my experience here at the FHL for years – volunteers eager and ready to help you.  She shared some amazing spiritual things with me – we had a lovely conversation.  What a blessing she was!  And I found things – lots of things for my clients.  Can’t wait to share.

RootsTech 2018 is coming!!!


Yes, that is ME – Speaker! I’m SOOOOOO excited! Offering two classes – Acadians & French-Canadians in North America and You CAN Take It With You! Mobile Technology for Genealogy. Can’t wait! I leave Tuesday and begin the incredible, the scary, the fun, exciting and learning opportunity that is being a speaker at the LARGEST genealogy conference in the world! Yes, you heard me .. the world!

Roots Tech 2018

RootsTech 2018 has over 300 classes, keynote speakers, an Innovation Showcase, networking, learning, meeting new people – I’m already hooking up with some likely cousins (all French-Canadians and Acadians are somehow related!) and a client from my Lineage Journeys work. And a helpful and kind participant in one of my workshops who is also an Acadian descendant….and friends from here in Michigan. And more … right? This is aligning to be so cool … can you tell that I’m excited! Watch for updates!

Thank you, GeneaBloggers!

THANK YOU to GeneaBloggers for accepting my blog into your great list of fellow genealogy bloggers!!  I was featured TODAY – January 23, 2018 – and this will go down in my history with Lineage Journeys as another NEW OPPORTUNITY to share with so many in a new way!

Future posts here will include information, resources and links to content that I’m creating for Acadian, French-Canadian, Native/First Nations/Indian or Indigenous research, and locality information for Michigan, Ontario, Quebec and more!  Lineage Journeys provides the unique perspective of the ancient spiritual traditions of North America and Europe along with research-based documentation of lineages, family histories and immigration pathways that define the heritage of the customer’s family.

So STAY TUNED for more!!!  And thank you, again, GeneaBloggers!!!

A new year, new opportunities and au revoir!

2018 …. The new year began with so many hopes, joys, heartbreak and opportunities.    Change is inevitable, right?  Yes, and always happening but some changes are just a lot to take and others are just noted without much emotion, and then there are the ones that you can recognize as “watershed moments” – those times when you have an earthquake hitting you and you know that you will never be the same again.

That’s the way December morphed into January – a new year, new opportunities and au revoir.  A new year – filled with excitement about some new roles for me personally, Lineage Journeys as a company, and new opportunities – for both!

It’s not without some trepidation that I am wildly excited to be presenting at RootsTech 2018 AND the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan …. AND (very new information!) at the 2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference in Seattle, Washington.  AND …. ::::::::drum role:::::::::: one of my presentations (You CAN Take It With You:  Mobile Genealogy Tools) will be taped!!!!   OMG!!  Yes, I’m excited.  Lots of new opportunities and a remodeled website, with subscriptions coming in (thank you to everyone who is interested!).

And then an “au revoir” – on Christmas morning, my cousin and godfather, Harold “Hal” Nimer, Jr.  died suddenly as he was recovering from some back problems.  He was recovering but then was suddenly gone.  The genealogist-of-me could add another date to the family tree – Death Date.  Sigh …. he was a sweet, caring, loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, cousin and, in the family’s Lutheran tradition, he was my Godfather.  Memories rushed through my head of times spent mostly with his younger siblings as he was much older than me but his kind smile and loving ways, our recent breakfast together with his wife Judith and our cousin Lynda will now be the last memory of his long, successful life.  Au revoir – until we meet again.  He was buried on my birthday, December 29th.  That’s a week I won’t forget.  As a genealogist, it was a partly happy day as I got to spend time with Hal’s family, and all of Hal’s siblings (my cousins) were there and it was great to see them and talk about our happy memories as a family.  Seeing Hal’s kids and their kids, I enjoyed meeting them as I only heard about them from the proud sharing of Hal and Judy.  It was really good in that way and fostered lots of family history discussions and promises that we would all stay in touch.  And we will – a gathering is planned for July this year.

And another “au revoir” – a spiritual teacher, adopted Sister (“Hunka Sister” in the Lakota tradition), Mary Elizabeth Thunder died on December 28th and her funeral wake, ceremony and burial were over four days in January in Texas.  THAT was the “watershed moment”.   In so many ways,  it was a joyful reunion with friends from decades ago and the telling of funny, heart-felt, loving stories of challenges, fears, ceremonies, journeys and discoveries.  We cried, sang, mourned, hugged each other and held the family in our prayers and hearts, and did what we all knew we had to do – create a beautiful, meaningful, carefully thought-out, ceremony releasing her to the ancestors.  In the course of those days and since, the “watershed” was my recognition that there were things in my life that HAD to go, that were not providing growth, joy, love, or blessing but were contentious, nerve-wracking, negative and gut-wrenching.  I could hear Thunder’s voice – “Make it beautiful.  Live in beauty”.  And so I made the choices that I needed to make and I’m continuing to make.

Lineage Journeys are those we make with our genetic family and our adopted or chosen family.  We love them all and they enrich our lives.