Canadian Border Crossings on Ancestry

Exciting stuff! has published Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 on it’s site. I was hoping to find my grandfather there, but no luck. Please tell me he didn’t slip through the border in the Minnesota woods or something…he was about 10 years old, so I’m told. That sounds pretty dangerous.

I did, however, find his uncle Peter Kowalenko and Peter’s wife and daughter in the records in 1927. Peter’s birthplace is listed as Hordinka, Austria.

Peter is listed again in 1930, and was rejected from entering Canada to see a friend. Peter’s birthplace here is listed as Hordenka, Poland (pesky border changes). Peter and wife were living in Michigan at the time. Interesting!

It’s probably Horodenka:

I haven’t been able to locate the family in church records yet. Two trips to the Family History Library and no finds on my Ukrainian family yet…


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Challenge: who are these residents of “the valley of the northwestern lakes”

While on GenealogyBank, I found my brickwall ancestor Oren Briggs inside a document entitled ‘Petition of citizens of the United States residing in the valley of the northwestern lakes, praying the adoption of measures to procure the free navigation of the St. Lawrence. April 11, 1850. Referred to the Committee on Commerce. June 4, 1850. Ordered to be printed.’ Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 563, Session Vol. No.1; Report: S.Misc.Doc. 111;

Is the “valley of the northwestern lakes” the area around Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes? Can anyone confirm? Several of these men lived in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois in 1850.

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Genealogy Technology – Weekly Prompt #14

My first Weekly Genealogy Prompt post! Thomas at GeneaBloggers sends us each weekly prompt, chosen from Amy’s We Tree blog topic list!

Prompt #14 asks us to talk about the technology used in our genealogy research.

  • First and foremost, I’d like to thank my MacBook for allowing me to perform family history research so beautifully. It’s such a joy to take it into an archive and enter sourced information directly. The days of tedious note-taking and transcribing is (mostly) over.
  • For organizing my family trees, I use Reunion 9 for the Mac. Prior to my the switch to Mac, I used Family Tree Maker for about nine years.
  • This WordPress blog is the new home of my personal genealogy research. Even though I know my way around building websites, I can relax with WordPress and only worry about content, not the code.
  • I interact with other family historians on Twitter and Facebook.
  • MacSpeech Dictate allows me to blog freely without unnecessary RSI pain. Through a headset, it converts my voice into text onto any of my Mac applications, including directly into WordPress. I’d truly be distraught without it! I haven’t dared bringing it into a genealogy library yet!
  • Pages by iWork helps me create professional looking reports and documents.
  • I’d be lost without TomTom, the portable satellite navigation system. TomTom has guided us on several genealogy research trips in the US and Europe.
  • I’ve been a full subscriber of Ancestry since 1999.
  • I’m also a big fan of The National Archives Documents Online, Origins Network and Rootschat (all UK).
  • All of my RSS feeds come through NetNewsWire. There’s no way I’d have time to visit all the great genealogy blogs and genealogy news sites out there, or remember where they were, but with RSS I can keep up with everything. So much is happening in US genealogy these days and I’m struggling to keep up with it all!
  • iPhoto stores my photos but I’ve yet to come up with a meaningful tagging system.
  • The Nikon D40 (now old technology!) takes amazing photos. Now I just need to revisit every cemetery and 2003’s family reunion again….

Technologies I wish to embrace more fully are:

  • Footnote — I’ve recently rediscovered it and I’m loving it!
  • An iPhone. I need to buy one first though. But first I think I need to get my US credit history active again since it’s contract only!
  • I had TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding on a previous website I started in 2004. If I find the time, I’d like to use it again.
  • Handheld voice recorder … got it, don’t utilize it.

When I began researching my family tree 10 years ago, the technology was very crude. A handful of websites, mailing lists/ forums and a meager selection of subscription sites. It’s so much better now!

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Sources will be provided upon request

I have come the same conclusion as many others with genealogy blogs and busy lives. Sadly, there’s not enough time for me to properly source every piece of information in my biographies. My time is better spent posting additional information and making headway on research.

If you would like the source for particular piece of information, please get in touch (my e-mail address is on my About page).


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Divorce 1848 style!

My 4x great grandparents Oren Briggs (also spelled Orren, Orrin or Orin) and Susan Bowder have got an unusual and mysterious past. Their marriage was her second and at least his third marriage! She was 25 and he was 51 years old.

The following took place in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois in 1848.

  • May 16: Sarah Ann Briggs files for divorce 
against husband Oren
  • May 17: Oren’s civil lawsuit settled
  • May 18: Susan’s divorce to John Tittle granted
  • May 20: Oren’s divorce granted
  • May 24: Oren and Susan get married

Busy week!

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How to do genealogy research at a city or county record office in England

I’ve written an eHow article on ‘How to do genealogy research at a city or county record office in England.’ I enjoyed writing it and I’ll probably write some more British genealogy articles.

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Not a Bad Genealogy Blog

UPDATE: Please see my post dated April 3 2009. Sources will be provided upon request.

Following the disagreement over this blog post I have decided to add sources to all of my existing family biography posts, before I add any more new content.

I make no declarations that my genealogy research is 100% perfect, but I am more than happy to demonstrate that I have made the effort to verify all data and encourage others to make their own verifications. I welcome any comments or corrections.

I have started with Ellen Firth and will add more this coming week. I’ll make every effort to update sources whenever possible.

If there are any Reunion 9 users out there, the easiest way to obtain the sources for an individual person is to create a Person Sheet and set the destination to TextEdit. Then you can copy and paste the sources for that individual.


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