My Week in Search Terms

As a blogger, I’m obsessed with site metrics and as a researcher/librarian, I’m obsessed with search terms. WordPress satisfies both obsessions with its blog statistics, which let me know how people find my blog by searching the Internet.

I found several interesting search terms over the past week (for still more search-term hilarity, I suggest you visit my friend Amy’s We Tree blog for her “Fun with Search Terms” posts).

1943 guide to hiring women — perhaps this week’s “Binders Full of Women” meme made you think of this brochure that informed 1940s government managers about the ins and outs of hiring and employing women.

andrew jackson photos — unfortunately, Andrew Jackson died in 1845, pre-dating most photographic technology. My second great grand uncle Andrew Jackson Corley, on the other hand, lived in the late 1800s, and I was lucky to come across a photo of him.

how to flip my couch into a flatbed — I think the method you use will be determined by the type of couch you have (Hopefully you have a sleeper sofa. Otherwise, I’m not sure how successful you’ll be). You found my blog because of my post about my Flip-pal scanner — one of my best purchases of 2012. I highly recommend you get one too. You can use it while on your couch or while on your bed.

roots tech 2012, going to — RootsTech 2012 was back in February, but you’re in luck! The event will take place again in March 2013. Hope to see you there.

why are maganetic albums badMagnetic albums are bad. Really, really bad. I highly recommend using an acid-free album like these from Creative Memories (I am a CM consultant) to better protect your photos.

“alfred t. gourley” civil war — nice use of quotation marks to create a phrase out of the name. Unfortunately, even though you most likely also are a descendant of my third great-grandfather, you didn’t reach out (and I even have a special request at the top of this post asking for you to make contact). Next time, stop by and say hello! I don’t bite.

abbey mausoleum arlington wiki — It would be great if there were a wiki for this now-defunct mausoleum, which was looted over many years of neglect. I posted about my search for ancestors who used to be buried there. Hopefully you also found this FindaGrave page about Arlington Abbey, including old pictures of the facility.

Grandma Was a Census Enumerator

Gold star for my cousin Daniel, who made an exciting discovery when studying the 1940 census page showing our great-grandparents and fam in Carter County, Tennessee (click on the images for larger versions):

The Hayeses in the 1940 census (image from Ancestry.com).

Nothing too unusual in the crop above — the census page lists my great-grandparents William E. and Della (Crow) Hayes, along with their children including my grandma, G. Alma.

Actually, one discovery does reveal itself in the information listed above — I never knew that my great aunt Ruth was born in Colorado until I saw this page — this was confirmed by relatives at a recent family gathering. There will be another blog post on that story later.

BUT, the really super-huge-big-deal discovery was made by Daniel at the top of the page. Check out the name of the enumerator:

Enumerator: Alma Hayes (image from Ancestry.com).

The enumerator was Alma Hayes a.k.a. Grandma! You think I would have recognized the handwriting. Kudos, cousin Daniel!

Social Media Makeover for Genealogy

Last year, at the Association for Independent Information Professionals conference, Mary Ellen Bates gave tips for completing a one-day marketing makeover. With a tip of the hat to her, here’s how you can apply the same principles to your social media profiles on the web to maximize exposure to those who may be looking for you (or at least looking for the same ancestors as you).

Blogging

If you’re reading this site, you know about blogs and may even have one. I’ve done a pretty thorough job of tagging my posts with the surnames that are mentioned, but other bloggers have gone a step further and created a list of the surnames they are working on all in one place. I decided to do the same and used my Ahnentafel chart as a starting point. While I was at it, I did a refresh of the about page for my blog and republished that.

One additional step I plan to take is to add my email address to all of my posts that deal with ancestors. Too often, I see folks find my blog by searching for common ancestors, but they don’t reach out to me. I want to make it as easy as possible for them to be in touch.

Facebook

I’m friends with dozens of other genealogists on Facebook and I happen to know that at least a few of them have found distant relations on this social media site. I’ve even made a few such connections myself. I don’t have my profile set up so that just anyone can see everything. You have to be friends with me to see most of the information about me. So what if a cousin is seeking me out on Facebook? Would they be able to find me?

You can see how your Facebook profile appears to others by clicking the “View As” link under the little gear icon on your profile page. That will take you to the version of your profile that the public sees. From there, I clicked on “About” to see what information was visible there. I noticed that my blog address was missing from my Contact Info box for one thing. I also noticed that I’m not taking advantage of the About You box — I’m considering listing my surnames there too.

Twitter

Twitter has been a great tool for connecting with other genealogists, but its Profile page barely allows you to list more information about yourself than you can include in a tweet. All the more reason to make sure you’re making use of all of the available fields — name, location, web site and bio. The Bio field only allows up to 160 characters. Currently, my web site field points to my business site. I added my personal blog address to the Bio field.

LinkedIn

I don’t really spend a lot of time on LinkedIn to begin with and I haven’t tried to use it as a cousin-seeking tool. I do link to most of my blog posts from LinkedIn, however, as a way of sharing my latest research. Has anyone else used LinkedIn to connect with distant relatives?

Pinterest

I recently joined Pinterest and have been using it mainly to collect recipes, but it also can be used for genealogy. I did a quick check and Google does include it in search results, so be sure to tag your pins with appropriate surnames or create boards about particular surnames, to make it easier for others to find you.

If you’re interested in searching Pinterest for your own surname(s), I recommend going to Google instead of using the Pinterest search interface. In the Google search bar, type “‘surname’ site:pinterest.com” and it will bring up just results from Pinterest, but in a list format that’s a bit easier to sort through.

So, the above are the main sites I use to connect with others. I’m sure there are similar tips for freshening up your presence on other sites. Why not take a few minutes to make sure your profiles are up to snuff?

I Hate to Be a Wet Blanket, But…

Jeez talk about bein' a wet blanket
It’s Mother’s Day and a lot of genealogy bloggers are doing tributes to their mothers, grandmothers and other female ancestors on their blogs. Just be careful and think about the information you are putting out there for others to find and, unfortunately, potentially use against you.

Your mother’s maiden name is one of the most commonly asked security questions when you fill out an online profile that requires a password. Have you used this option in the past? Maybe think twice before putting your mother’s and even your grandmother’s maiden name out there.

Dick Eastman has written on this issue before and suggested that you not use this information when signing up for online profiles. All good and well, but if you *have* used this information in the past, be sure to protect yourself and not make such information too easily available in the public sphere.

For more information on protecting your personal identity, read up at the FTC web site. The Washington Post has some good resources and advice too.

Surname Saturday: HAYES (TN, NC) — An Update

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

In 2009, I posted about the discovery of notes on the back of a photograph, which identified my second-great grandparents, Joseph and Molly (Taylor) HAYES of Carter County, Tennessee. Census records showed that Joseph was born in North Carolina. Eventually, I tracked down his father, Robert, also born in N.C.

Well, I finally have located the family in North Carolina (Watauga County, to be specific), using the 1860 U.S. census. The surname was spelled Hays. That breakthrough allowed me to trace them back yet another generation. My 4th-great grandfather was Ransom Hayes. In the 1850 U.S. census, the enumerator spelled the surname ‘Hase.’ Tricky, but I found them anyhow! (Also found Ransom listed as Hayse in 1860!)

I noticed that another Ancestry member had a private photo of Ransom’s tombstone. I plan to contact them, but on a hunch I went to FindaGrave and sure enough, there are photos of his tombstone and that of his wife (and now I know her surname too)! And his tombstone has interesting information on it that points to possible land records for which to search. Oh and they’re buried in a HAYES cemetery in Watauga County, N.C. This just keeps getting better!

Census Searching: Ancestor Not Home? Ask the Neighbors

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

I finally had a chance to do some personal genealogy research last night and so I headed to Ancestry.com to look for tidbits. While researching my paternal line, I found Benjamin William Franklin CORLEY (my great-great-grandfather) and fam in the 1880 and 1860 censuses in Tower Hill, Shelby Co.,  Ill., but had no luck finding them in 1870. I was relatively sure that they hadn’t left the area only to return again before 1880. I decided to look for one of my ancestors’ neighbors in 1870 instead and then check the nearby pages to see if my fam turned up.

I went back to the 1880 census and looked to see who their neighbors were that year.  A NICHOLS family was the next on the census sheet. That’s a rather common name. Next was John SHARROCK. Perfect!

Benjamin William Franklin Corley and fam in 1880. John Sharrock is two households down. Click on the image for a larger version.

I searched for John Sharrock in the 1870 census and was able to find him in the same town and county. The censustaker there that year seemed to have some creative spelling ideas and his handwriting left quite a bit to be desired. No wonder I was having trouble finding my family!

The censustaker wrote “Spirock.” His handwriting/spelling left a bit to be desired.

I scanned a couple of pages back and forth and then found what I was looking for (sort of). Due to his lengthy name, Benjamin William Franklin Corley often appears as B.W.F. Corley in various records. Well, I found what looked to me like a B.W.F. CANBY, but was indexed as CAULY two pages past Mr. Sharrock/Spirock.

Below the scan of the image on Ancestry is a typed index of the information appearing on the page. In the bottom left-hand corner is an “Add Update” button. I clicked on this to update the spelling of the household surname in the census index.

Any index is going to have inaccuracies, especially one that is based on sloppy handwriting and questionable spelling. I’m glad to see this feature on Ancestry that allows for researchers to help contribute to making the index more accurate!

SNGFoS: Feelin’ Lucky

Here is my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday) post regarding last night’s challenge from Randy Seaver. The challenge:

“1) Go to http://www.google.com/ and enter a search term and click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

2) Try your name, your local society, favorite genealogy terms, whatever you want. Do at least three, and as many as you want if you have time. Be creative! Have fun!

3) What did you learn from this exercise?

4) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, as a comment to this post, or as a Note or comment on Facebook.”

I started out by typing “missy corley” (w/o the quotes) and the result was my Twitter feed. Same result when I added quotes around the name. When I tried “melissa corley,” the result was a Melissa Corley on Facebook (but not me).

Typing in “bayside research services” brought me to my company homepage — yay!

Next, I typed in “corley genealogy,” which brought me to this page of a very distant relative (I’d found the page before when I first started researching my family.)

I then tried a similar search for “wild genealogy.” I really wondered if the term would be interpreted as an adjective and not a surname. To my surprise, it brought up a Cousin Connect page for the name. Good job, Google!

One interesting thing started happening as I continued different search terms. After the first few “Feeling Lucky” searches, I started hitting “Return” on my keypad rather than selecting “Feeling Lucky” on screen after I typed in each search term (force of habit). But Google must have figured out what I really meant to do, since it continued to bring up “Feeling Lucky” results rather than the traditional search results. Helpful, but kind of creepy at the same time.

I’m going to keep searching on some of the surnames in my family. As a librarian, we’re taught to shun Google for more trusted applications and search engines, but I don’t think it can or should be ignored completely, especially since it can help you connect with other real people searching on the same surnames. You just need to use a trained eye when reading the information they put on the web — is it sourced and credible? That’s the challenge with all things Google.

SNGF: Matrilineal Line

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings asks us to list our matrilineal line in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun task.

Here is mine:

Me
My Mom*
Grandma Wild*
Della (Crow) Hayes (1898-1985)
Mary (Gourley) Crow (1858-?)
Mary Ann (Barry) Gourley (?-?)
????????????????

Randy asks if we’ve had our mitochondrial DNA tested — I haven’t ventured down that path yet.

* I’ve read that in this age of rampant identity theft we’re discouraged from naming our parents/grandparents online, so I’m choosing not to identify my mom or grandmother here either fully by name or by vital dates. Am I being paranoid? I’d be curious to hear what other folks think about this.

Surname Saturday: CROW/CROWE (Tennessee)

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

My great-grandmother Della HAYES’ maiden name was CROW (I’ve found alternative spellings of Crowe and Craw in various records so far). Her parents were:

30. Daniel B. Crow (1854-?)
31. Mary L. GOURLEY (1855-?)

Daniel’s parents are as yet unknown to me. He raised his family of seven kids in Carter County, Tennessee. That is where Della stayed to raise her fam as well — in Elizabethon/Elizabethtown, specifically. In the 1880 U.S. census, young Daniel and Mary, with their first child, Elizabeth (Bessie) H. Crow, can be found living with Mary’s mother and a few of her siblings.

Surname Saturday: CAMPBELL (Virginia, Texas)

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

My Texas roots include Campbells from San Antonio:

27. Josephine Susan Campbell (b. 1859  in San Antonio – d. 1922 in San Antonio)
54. William Wallace Campbell (b. 1828 in Virginia – d. 1862 in San Antonio)

William is listed as a master mason in the 1860 U.S. census, which I found on Ancestry.com.

William and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Smith (1830-1864), passed away while their children were still young. I found two of Josephine’s siblings living with relatives in the 1870 census, but haven’t tracked down Josephine’s location in that particular year.

The siblings were reunited and living together when they were in their 20s, according to the 1880 census.

William earned a mention in Daughters of the Republic of Texas because his wife, Susan, was the daughter of William John Smith (aka John William Smith, a prominent figure in the battle for the Alamo and the first mayor of San Antonio).

As of yet, I have not been able to discover the names of William’s parents, nor the area of Virginia from whence he came. There are a lot of William Campbells in Virginia around the time he resided there for me to sort through.

Josephine married Anson G. Bennett in 1881 and they had 8 children, including my great-grandmother, Susan Campbell Bennett (1884-1966).