The Sandhills Are Alive With Music!

“The hills are alive with the sound” of Sandhill cranes!!  It’s obviously fall … and I did the best that I could on the pictures as I had to grab my cell phone FAST to rush outside.  Wow … the sound was deafening and there were HUNDREDS of Sandhill cranes, all squawking at once, getting into formation.  There were multiple “V” patterns, and birds flying to catch up.  As I stood on the porch snapping what I could, I could hear more coming and more in a farm field nearby …. VERY loud but eerie, surreal, primordial …. special.

When I hear, see such wonderful creatures, I think about the migratory journey they have ahead as they eat up what corn, grains they can from the surrounding farm fields.  I’ve always loved these beautiful and large birds and wanted to study them when we realized that they were so numerous here in our new home.

Wondering what to write about today, as I wanted to keep Lineage Journeys readers up on more than just the upcoming conferences and events that I’m doing, the sandhills provided a great way to break from writing, researching and keeping up with the business end of the work.  I wanted therefore to share a great book I found that has tremendously beautiful photographs AND tells the story of the struggles that sandhill cranes have with habitat encroachment, pesticides, and more.  On Ancient Wings:  The Sandhill Cranes of North America by Michael Forsberg is the book that gave me a perspective that increased my joy of them all the more, as I’d like to see what I can do locally to help them.   The book is linked here and in the title above as I found the book on Amazon (there are other great field guide-type of books too!)  if you might be interested in learning.

The reason that I am thinking about this, writing about this?  Maybe because I’m a genealogist or because I’m such a nature-lover, these birds are a fascination to me.  As a genealogist, I wonder whether my ancestors had the opportunity to witness such a spectacle, if their farms had these graceful birds feeding there before setting off for the south.  My Québec ancestors were farmers almost entirely (some were woodworkers) so I think about what I just saw and how ancient these birds are (I think I read somewhere they they are millions of years old, from fossil evidence!), wondering if they were part of the lives of my people in Québec.  With the St. Lawrence and other waterways in the region that my families’ farms were located (most recently, my ancestors are from Maskinongé, Québec and around both Québec City, Montréal and back into Acadia), it is certainly likely.  What did they think?  Did they stop from their farming just as I stopped from my work to look UP?

As I think about and work to write the stories of my ancestors, I want to include content about their day-to-day lives like the sounds of the sandhill cranes or the weather patterns (like the very severe rains that we’ve been having this year!) that impacted their survival.  It’s not about the dates for me – births, marriages, deaths – but it’s about what they DID, who they were friends with, the music and foods that were important, and the struggles and joys they experienced.

I hope they experienced the sound I heard this morning – the sandhills’ music of life.

RootsTech 2019 – CONTEST for a PASS!!! Enter now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many of you know I again have the honor of being a Speaker AND an ambassador for the RootsTech 2019 Conference. It is the largest genealogy conference in the world! What an opportunity to see amazing speakers plus be surrounded by those who appreciate the hard work, joy and fun that comes from researching your family’s story.  People who will listen to you talk about your research and NOT have their eyes glaze over – tee hee!!!!

One of the benefits of being both a speaker and an ambassador is that I get to grant one of my lucky winners a FREE 4 day pass to RootsTech to be held from February 27 through March 2, 2019 (a $299 value)!

Pass includes the following:

  • Over 300 classes
  • Keynote/General Session
  • Expo Hall
  • Evening Events

Pass does not include the following:

  • Transportation to and from Salt Lake City, Utah and/or the Salt Palace Convention Center
  • Lodging and Food
  • Paid Lunches
  • Paid Labs

If you have already purchased your ticket, please still enter! You will be reimbursed your ticket price. A great chance to WIN!!!!

To enter my giveaway??  Please just provide your email on my website Lineage Journeys!!!   I will randomly draw a winner’s name from the submitted emails (if you are already following my blog and have submitted your email, just let me know that you want IN!) – drawing on Tuesday, October 30th!  The winner will be notified by email (and then I want to talk with them!) and everyone else will find out here in a post.  So sign up to win!!!!  Yes, YOU!!

RootsTech 2019 is coming!

The wonderful worldwide excitement of doing genealogy research, learning and sharing with over 14,000 of your best friends is revving up for February 27 to March 2, 2019!  And yours truly gets to be a SPEAKER again!!!  Yeaaaaa ……

Sharing in 2019 about Native, First Nations, Indian: Researching Indigenous Peoples and (updated from 2018!) You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogists, I’m excited that I’ll also be an Ambassador (that means you will get blog posts from me before, during and after the event!) and exclusive access to some of the big-name speakers coming.

More is soon to come – the registration page opening, hotels booking, and finding your friends, cousins and more who are going, watch here and the Lineage Journeys Facebook page for updates!!!

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!

Honoring Passover and Easter

How is this night different from all other nights?  One of the four questions of the Passover Seder …. While I’m not Jewish, I am reflecting on this weekend beginning with Passover tonight and its story, and what I have learned about the Seder from dear friends who have shared some of the traditions and foods of this important event.  As a genealogist, I’m recognizing that in the long history of my ancestors over thousands of years, I have Jewish ancestors.  My AncestryDNA results also indicate that I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage – a low percentage (<5%) indicating a distant connection – but nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as early Christians were Jewish.  And, because of my Eastern European DNA, it is likely that it comes from there.

So I’m celebrating the beginning of an ancient commemoration.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the spring Equinox, honoring our relationship to the Earth, the changing of seasons and our Native heritage, family and friends.  AND I will be celebrating Easter in my faith community and with mom on Sunday.  

Whatever your beliefs, faith tradition or thoughts about all things spiritual or religious, wishing you the beauty and freshness of the spring growth, earth awakening and return of green grass, baseball and flowers.  May you have love, peace and beauty in your life!

What Death Notices Might Be Used For

For those of us “of a certain age”, membership in AARP gives us access to their great publications.  In the recent AARP Bulletin, an article entitled Death Notice Double-Cross https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2018/scams-using-obituaries.html provides a perspective that we genealogists need to think about and talk with our families about.

As many of us, when a loved one dies, write (either ourselves or with the help of a funeral home) an obituary that often contain birth date, death date, names of family survivors and more information about the deceased’s life, there is an opportunity for scam artists.  As genealogists, we find obituaries to fill in gaps in  information that we otherwise haven’t found.  A mother’s maiden name, birthplace of the deceased, names of descendants and more are usual items that I know have helped me personally in looking for ancestors in our family.  However, the AARP article cautions against using these pieces of information in obituary notices because of the potential scam opportunities.  While those of us still living and mourning a loss want to honor a lifetime (and I can admit to wanting to document their life for future family historians),  there are immediate concerns here to consider.  Scams of course are becoming more and more creative and brazen.   There is good advice here!

Perhaps the answer for us in these modern times is to consider how and where we share this important information.  Maybe consider sharing the deceased person’s age without giving the birth date or place.  Don’t provide mother’s maiden name or the address of the family.  And maybe provide instead what the person’s great works were or the legacy of the volunteer roles they had – items that enrich what is known about a person.  My concern about this is that the incredible value to us in the obituary, as family historians, is often the information that is only source of some key pieces of fundamental facts of birth, marriage or death.  As a researcher, I’m dealing with obituaries well out of the reach of scammers, but protect yourself in the present so that there isn’t an additional story of sorry if a scammer takes advantage of your loss.

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.