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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Family Curator Named to 'Family Tree Best 40 Genealogy Blogs'

    The news is out! Editor Diane Haddad and Family Tree Magazine have announced the results of the nomination and voting for the Best 40 Genealogy Blogs. The Family Curator was excited to be nominated last fall, and is even more excited to be named in the Photos & Heirlooms category as one of the top blogs for resources on preserving, sharing, and researching your family photos and heirlooms.

    It is truly an honor to be in the company of the bloggers who have encouraged and inspired The Family Curator these past few years. The field of peer-nominated blogs showcased a variety of outstanding writing and research in every area of genealogy blogging. Each nominee has made valuable contributions to the genealogy blogging community.

    The complete listing of Family Tree's Best 40 Genealogy Blogs is available at the Genealogy Insider blog, and now on its way in the May Issue of Family Tree Magazine. Congrats to all; and thank you fellow-bloggers for this honor.


    The Adventures of Miss Penelope Dreadful -- Penny Plans a Journey



    As readers will recall, Miss Penelope Dreadful may be a woman of refined and respectable sensibility, however, she does not always exhibit what might be called "good common sense." This quality, or lack thereof, has been the cause of many unintended adventures. Fortunately for Penny, her determined pluck and ingenuity has kept her from true harm.

    Consider last spring's frightening little episode, otherwise known as "The Incident of the Perishing Petrol," an experience where proper prior planning would have gone a long way in calming jangled nerves.

    In light of Miss Dreadful's impending journey to attend the Family History Expo in the lonely desert country of St. George, Utah as Intrepid Independent Observer and Chronicler of genealogical and historical events, one cannot help but wonder what adventures await the fearless reporter . . .

    The bedside clock jangled its harsh chime waking Penny from a deep slumber. Her bright green eyes looked round the room, making out dim shapes in the dawn's early light. A sturdy valise stood open on a small table, articles of clothing neatly folded lay ready for final dispatch. A light split skirt, blouson, and jacket hung over the back of a chair with boots standing at the ready on the floor. The hooked handle of an umbrella was caught handily over the back of the same chair.

    Next to the valise stood a small lumpy object, covered with gay red bandana scarf.

    Penny smiled and thought, Lovely. I have planned for everything.

    Little did the young woman know what Fate had in store for the hours ahead.

    Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library

    The sun shone with all the energy it could muster for the late February morning. Penny pulled her short jacket close and rubbed her gloved hands together. My, it was cold this morning.

    She sat behind the wheel of her little roadster waiting for a woman who approached the auto carrying a leather suitcase and a wicker hamper.

    "Good morning, Penny," she chirped, "settling the luggage in the back seat and herself in the passenger's seat. "It's a wonderful day for a desert drive. Are we ready to go? Do we have enough gasoline? I've brought lunch."

    Penny laughed and bent to kiss the woman's cheek. "Always worrying about the details, sister dear. But, never fear, I have everything under control."

    Penny engaged the engine and the small machine jumped to the road like a rabbit, streaking off toward the east.

    The two women chatted amiably and the miles sped by quickly. Houses and businesses gave way to lonely farms, until the roadside was empty and lonely, broken only by scrubby bushes and tall telephone poles marching across the miles and miles of desolate desert.

    "Mother will be so happy to see us," Penny said. "I never let a word slip that we were planning this visit. It will be a delicious surprise."

    "Let's hope so," replied her sibling, a tone of skepticism in her voice.

    Any further comments were cut short by Penny, however, who had spied a roadside mercantile ahead and was already slowing down to examine the prospects.

    "I don't think we should take the time. . ." began her companion. But her words disappeared in the air as Penny turned the wheel hard and directed the automobile to the front of the gaily painted store.

    "Just a quick look," Penny promised, jumping out of the car, stretching, and pulling her sister inside the shop.

    An hour later, the women emerged back into the light, blinking at the bright noonday sun. Each carried a box wrapped in paper and twine and wore a gay new hat.

    "Definitely worth the stop," murmured Penny's sister, with a pat to her hair.

    "Definitely," Penny agreed. "And since we are stopped, we may as well have our luncheon."

    What was a brief respite turned into a longer hiatus as the girls enjoyed a cold meal of ham sandwiches and potato salad, eaten from the hood of the auto.

    Penny congratulated her sister on her cooking skills and expressed her delight when a thermos bottle of hot coffee appeared in the depths of the hamper.

    "I feel positively refueled," Penny remarked as the women cleaned up the remains of their meal and prepared to resume their journey.

    "... speaking of refueling," her sister suggested. "Perhaps we should refuel the auto at that filling station across the road."

    Penny obligingly looked at the fuel gauge, noting the needle at the halfway mark. "Oh not yet, I think. We still have plenty of petrol. We can wait until the next station."

    Woe to those who wait.

    The two women stood beside the car, hot, tired, and as thirsty as their little auto. The weak winter sun was low in the sky. Miles of empty desert spread from them in all directions. The cry of a hawk pierced the air.

    "No, we are most certainly NOT out of fuel," Penny said. "At least, not yet."

    "Remind me then why we are pulled to the verge?" her sister replied quizzically, one eyebrow arched.

    "We need more information before we go on. We need assurance that we are on the right road. . ."

    Her companion rolled her eyes and returned to wait in the vehicle.

    Penny's good nature asserted itself and she smiled at her sister, thinking We only need one person to stop, only one source for more information.

    Just then, Penny discerned the low rumble of an approaching vehicle. She stood tall beside her auto and raised her hands high. What good fortune! The distinctive black and white sedan pulled to the side of the road and a tall, rangy officer emerged to greet the travelers.

    "Well hello, Miss. What seems to be the trouble?"

    Penny composed herself and spoke confidently, "No trouble, Officer. I was hoping for some information, however."

    The young man removed his wide brimmed hat and rubbed his hair, "Information, Maam? Looks to me like you might need more than a library."

    Penny smiled. "A good atlas or map might do the trick," she began. "We have come some way from our last stop, and will need petrol soon. The question is whether to go on, or to return for fuel in the town we passed some forty minutes back. Do you have a suggestion?"

    Muttering something that sounded much like, "This is a good one...", the officer scratched his hair again, trying unsuccessfully to smoothe the cowlick that sprung unbidden from his crown.

    "Well, I am not exactly a gazetteer, Maam, but I think I am a pretty reliable source," he smiled, "and I do know that the gasoline stations 'round here will be closing when it gets dark, even ole' Mr. Tucker's a mile or so up the road, so you had better go one way or the other pretty soon."

    "How dreadful," murmured Penny. "I thought all we needed was more information, and then we would be able to solve the problem."

    "Maam," the officer interrupted. "If you ask me, what you need is that new GPS. Why, two ladies like you would know right where you are if you followed it along."

    "Evidentally," he added as he turned to his vehicle, "it might be time now for a little analysis and action."

    Read more from Penny's Pen at Shades of the Departed Magazine.


    Getting the Most Out of a Genealogy Conference; Countdown to St. George Family History Expo

    #fhexpo is the Twitter hashtag to follow next weekend when the St. George Family History Expo is in full swing. In just one week I will be joining the family historians and Bloggers of Honor for two full days of genealogy education and networking.

    One thing I’ve learned from my years attending all kinds of conferences is that the old Scout Motto says it best, “Be Prepared.” Here’s my own checklist:

    • Conference registration
    • Hotel and Travel reservations
    • Local maps
    • Review Conference Program, highlight sessions to attend
    • Recharge all device batteries, pack chargers

                digital camera
                laptop computer
                cell phone
                iPod Touch

    • Update genealogy database, transfer file to laptop
    • Print out Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts
    • Print out list of Books Wanted
    • Think about people I want to meet, talk with
    • Pack daily conference tote with water bottle and snacks, sweater, notepad, pens, business cards

    I am looking forward to attending the sessions and hearing new-to-me speakers like Beau Sharbrough and Kory Meyerink, but I am also looking forward to spending some “off time” meeting other bloggers and genealogists and sharing research ideas. I hope you’ll stop me and say “Hello” if you’re in St. George; or follow along with the event at the #fhexpo twitterstream.


    Not So Wordless Wednesday: The Uinta County Courthouse of the Edwards-Paulen Marriage


    Uinta County Courthouse, Evanston Wyoming

    When my grandmother, Arline Kinsel Paulen and Albert F. Edwards arrived at the Unita County Courthouse in Evanston, Wyoming to be married 11 August 1917, the Courthouse was already established as the oldest county courthouse in the state.

    The building probably looked in 1917, much as it looks today, but its exterior architecture had evolved through at least three expansions. The earliest building was the 1873 jail, a brick structure erected in the center of the town square by order of Governor John A. Cambell, first Territorial Governor of Wyoming. Uinta County was the first new county estabished by the First Wyoming Territorial Legislature, and this first jail and courthouse was authorized to be built an an expense not to exceed $25,000. The jail was to be built first, followed by the courthouse in 1874. It wasn't long before both jail and courthouse outgrew their spaces, and in 1887 a new jail was completed and the former jail converted into courthouse offices.

    The growing Evanston community demanded a still larger courthouse, and in 1910 a two-story addition was contructed at the front of the existing courthouse building. According to the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, "It changed the scale and character of the courthouse from that of a relatively simple, territorial building to a more pretentious, more national building. The addition is essentially Georgian Revival style."

    This is the building that Arline and Albert would have entered in 1917.

    Wyoming State Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. "Uinta County Courthouse." Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. [article online]. Accessed 17 February 2010. Available from

    Simpson, Tricia.  "Uinta County Courthouse Evanston Wyoming". 2009. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Photograph.


    Rebecca Trujillo Batty is Going to St. George Family History Expo

    Genealogist Rebecca M. Trujillo Batty has won the random drawing for two free tickets to the upcoming Family History Expo in St. George, Utah. A long-time researcher, Rebecca is looking forward to attending her first Family History Expo, along with her husband and mother.

    Rebecca is currently researching Trujillo in Mora County, New Mexico and Roybal in Taos County, New Mexico. Dye in Alabama, and Dunks from the Chicago, Illinois area. She is active on Facebook and Twitter and posts at her website as well Family History Engineers.

    Congratulations, Rebecca, and thank you Family History Expos for providing The Family Curator with the tickets for this drawing.



    #fhexpo Last Call to Win 2 Free Tickets to St. George Family History Expo

    You have until midnight tonight to enter the drawing to win two free tickets to the Family History Expo at St. George, Utah February 26-27. I will be attending as a Blogger of Honor and hope to see you there.

    Did you know that the first St. George Expo was held in 2005, and was orginally called Jamboree? This is the 6th Family History event in St. George, and now one of several presented each year by Holly Hansen and the Family History Expos family.

    Each Blogger of Honor is kindly given two event tickets to distribute though their blog. Nice for you, nice for me!

    To enter click this link to send an email or use the Contact the Curator link in the menu bar at the top of the page to send an email telling who you will bring with you to the Expo, and how they are part of your genealogical life. You might plan to attend with your spouse, parent, or sibling hoping to awaken their interest in family history, or you might bring your best genea-pal for your annual visit to St. George.

    The contest tonight, Monday, Febraury 15, 2010  at 12 midnight PST. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing and notified by email on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

    Hope to see you in St. George!


    Penny Spins a Tale at February Shades of the Departed

    The February Edition of Shades of the Departed magazine is now available online, featuring 73 pages of historic photographs, genealogy and photo how-tos, and feature articles. This issue shares the spotlight for two timely themes, Valentine's Day and Black History Month, with a remarkable offering of fact, fiction, and historic faces.

    My friend, Miss Penelope Dreadful is pleased to present "Dreadful Timing," a romantic boy-meets-girl tale set in our nation's capitol in an earlier century. Readers in the mood for more educational reading will find much to inform as well, including 

    • The Year Was 1847, by Sheri Fenley
    • Gifts of Our Ancestors, by George Geder
    • Archives Curated and Created, by Rebecca Fenning
    • Your Ancestors Were Travelers, by Caroline Pointer
    • Release Your Inner Ken Burns, Part III, by Denise Olson
    • A Few of Elizabeth's Februaries , by Vickie Everhart
    • P.J. Ball Black American Daguerrotypist
    • A Date with An Old Photograph, profile by footnoteMaven

    The February 2010 edition of Shades of the Departed  marks its fourth issue as an free online magazine. Each issue is packed with informative articles and beautiful photographs, and is truly a labor of love from the publisher footnoteMaven. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this ground-breaking genealogy publication and in the company of the outstanding writers whose work appears on its pages.

    If you enjoy Shades, the Magazine, please take a moment to leave a comment for footnoteMaven at the Shades blog.

    Please take a minute to leave a comment for fM at Shades blog and let her know what you think about this issue.



    Part 3, Questions Answered, Questions Posed -- What I Learned Reading Between the Lines of The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards

    This is a continuation of the analysis of marriage records recently received from the Wyoming State Archives. Although I already held a decorative Marriage Certificate, I was surprised at how much more there was to learn from the primary documents.

    Read more Reading Between the Lines, The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards,

    Part  1, Introduction

    Part 2, The Documents


    "Mr. Edwards" and Arline. [note bride's gunbelt]

    I was delighted to learn several new things about Arline and Albert from examining the original documents. Because Arline was an attractive young woman with a history of flirtations and numerous beaus, I surmised that she would marry a young man. The one photograph which identifies “Mr. Edwards” shows a man who seemed older than I expected. I thought the photo was mislabeled, but I was clearly wrong. The marriage documents indicate that Edwards was 36 years old when the couple was married in 1917, confirming the likelihood that the photo identification was correct.

    I was also unsure where Arline might have met Edwards. I knew she was living and working in Salt Lake City at one time, but the Wyoming marriage hinted that Edwards might be from that state. The records show that both bride and groom claimed Salt Lake City as their residence, indicating that they probably met in Utah.

    The Marriage Certificate from the State of Wyoming, “Utah” County initially confused me, but I surmise that perhaps this was a clerical error related to the bride and groom’s hometown, Salt Lake City, Utah. I looked closely at the letter formations on all the documents and found that the handwriting on the original decorative Marriage Certificate signed by Sims is unlike that on any other document except the official Certificate of Marriage. Perhaps a busy Court Commissioner was more likely to write “Utah” when he meant “Uinta” than would be a County Clerk or Deputy accustomed to writing the county name many times each day.

    The county documents also reveal the county courthouse occupations of the two witnesses who signed the decorative Marriage Certificate. Undoubtedly, J.B. Martin, County Clerk, and M. I. McCraig, Deputy were pressed into service as witnesses for the matrimonial vows, and were not friends who tagged along for the nuptials.

    On all documents, Arline Paulen is represented as “Miss,” an unmarried woman. I know that Paulen was her married name and that she was served divorce papers by her first husband John L. Paulen in 10 March 1917. I need to determine the date when the divorce became final.

    Although, it is not of vital significance, my curiosity was also piqued by the notation of the date and time of day that the marriage and licensing took place. I began to wonder about the geographical location of Evanston, Wyoming in relation to Salt Lake City, and the motivation to leave Utah to be married. I know this marriage did not last long; why did they marry in the first place? More research is indicated for the answer to this question.

    Beyond names and dates, examining these documents has given me invaluable social background for writing a narrative life history. I now know the wedding took place miles from the couple’s homes, probably on a warm summer day. I know that they were most probably alone, and had to rely on the county employees to serve as witnesses. I can only imagine the reasons for this marriage, and why it dissolved so soon thereafter. Those are questions for further research, or for the imagination of Miss Penelope Dreadful.


    Win Two Tickets to St. George Family History Expo

    What would you say to visiting a place where the average temperature in late February is 64 degrees F, with a record high of 84? A place where the average February rainfall is about one inch? A place where the temperate climate is filled with the electricity of genealogy and family history?

    You can be there too! The Family Curator is giving away two tickets for full two-day admission (value $150) to the upcoming Family History Expo in St. George, Utah February 26-27, and it's easy to enter the contest.

    To enter click this link to send an email or use the Contact the Curator link in the menu bar at the top of the page to send an email telling who you will bring with you to the Expo, and how they are part of your genealogical life. You might plan to attend with your spouse, parent, or sibling hoping to awaken their interest in family history, or you might bring your best genea-pal for your annual visit to St. George.

    The contest opens today, and closes in one week, on Monday, Febraury 15, 2010  at 12 midnight PST. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing and notified by email on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

    I am looking forward to the sessions and great speakers and hope to meet up with you in St. George in only a few weeks.


    Old Framed Photo Yields a Surprise Underneath!

    Sometimes a preservation project can provide new treasures. Fellow blogger Joanne Schleier at Keeper of the Records wrote recently asking for suggestions about how to handle a special framed photograph of her mother. The frame itself, Joanne explained, was made of wood, handmade and etched by her mother’s first grade “boyfriend.” Joanne was considering scanning the original photograph and reframing a new copy to enjoy on the wall. The original photograph she planned to store archivally.

     What a great treasure! Joanne had the right idea to preserve the photo by scanning and archival storage, and I offered a few more suggestions for her consideration.

    Joanne wondered if she should scan the photo and the frame. . . a great idea! Her photographic record of the complete artifact was a good record for reframing. As it turned out, the frame has an obvious top and bottom, but if the decoration had been confusing as to its orientation, a photo would help her restore the original as intended.

    I suggested that Joanne first scan the entire framed picture. With that in hand, she could carefully remove the photograph from the frame and scan the photo itself. Joanne went one step further and also scanned the reverse side of the photo preserving the handwritten notation she found. In addition, when she removed the photo, she found another picture underneath! The original framed photo and the photo she found are the subject of Joanne’s blog post What a Surprise and well worth seeing.

    Framed photographs pose several possible problems –

    • moisture can enter the object and be caught between the glass and photo, or glass and backing causing mildew or mold
    • the material used for backing or padding between the photo and the actual back of the frame can be highly acidic and discolor or damage the photograph
    • the frame itself may be made of an unstable or damaging material, such as cardboard or wood
    • sunlight shining on the framed photo can seriously fade the image and degrade the paper
    • likewise, heat from a nearby radiator or  heater can damage both frame and photo causing warping or shrinking

    One solution is to scan the original photo and reframe a new print. The original can be stored in an archival folder or box and preserved. Another solution is to scan the original, but carefully returning the original to the frame with proper archival materials for backing, matting, and glass, in much the same way a framer might display a fine print.

    Joanne’s interest in preserving this special family treasure yielded yet another treasure, which seems like a pretty good incentive to examine old framed photographs carefully. You can visit Joanne and see photos of her project at Keeper of the Records.



    Part 2 The Documents, Reading Between the Lines, The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards

    This is a continuation of the analysis of marriage records recently received from the Wyoming State Archives. Although I already held a decorative Marriage Certificate, I was surprised at how much more there was to learn from the primary documents.

    Read Part  1, Introduction, Reading Between the Lines, The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards


    The papers all seem very straightforward, but I learned quite a bit reading between the lines. I set my questions aside for a time, to transcribe and study the documents. The major points I learned are listed below in boldface type. I am not including complete transciptions here, but highlighting the key points of my inquiry.

    Marriage License Reveals Arline is a "Miss"

    This document gives permission for “any person legally authorized to solemnize Marriage” the authority to marry the named persons, Albert F. Edwards of Salt Lake County, Utah and Miss Arline Paulen of Salt Lake County, Utah, dated 11 Aug 1917. Signed J.B. Martin, County Clerk. The paper appears to be affixed in a file with fasteners and bears the seal of the County Clerk, Uinta County, State of Wyoming. Although the document resembles the Marriage Certificate in Arline’s papers, the text adds the demand that the bearer must return the License to the County Clerk within three months from the date of marriage with a signed Marriage Certificate or pay a penalty of $500.

    Arline is listed as an unmarried woman, “Miss.”

    License to wed is granted 11 Aug 1917.

    I surmise, the State of Utah undertook its charge to record all marriages very seriously, even charging a stiff penalty for failure to comply.

    Certificate of Marriage Shows Groom is Ten Years Older Than Bride

    This document is a statement by Arthur W. Sims, Court Commissioner verifying the marriage of the two applicants at the Courty Court House in Evanston according to the “laws of the State of Wyoming.”

    The marriage takes place on the same day that the license was issued, 11 August 1917.

    Albert Edwards is aged 36

    Miss Arline Paulen is aged 26

    Witnesses to the marriage are M. J. McCraig of Evanston, Wyoming and J.B. Martin, also of Evanston, Wyoming. I wonder if these are local friends of the bride and groom.

    Marriage Affidavit Gives Time of Day

    This is obviously the front of the next copy, the outside informational summary for Albert F. Edwards to Arline Paulen filing for record in the County Clerk’s office 11 August 1917 at 12:45 p.m. and recorded in Book 80 of Marriage Records on Page 164, signed by J. B. Martin, County Clerk, by M. I. McCraig, Deputy.

    The events at the county courthouse take place midday. Funny. Didn’t civil servants take lunch break in 1917?

    McCraig, listed as a witness is not a friend, but an available Witness, probably not known to the couple


    Statement of Applicant for a Marriage License Names Salt Lake City as Residence

    This page bears two statements, completed and signed by the two parties. The top statement is signed by Albert F. Edwards swearing that his full and true name is Albert F. Edwards residing at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, over 21, and his bride to be is Arline Paulen of Salt Lake, Salt Lake, Utah.

    The second statement is made by Arline Paulen a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, bearing witness that Albert F. Edwards is a resident of Salt Lake City in the County of Salt Lake, Utah, and over age 21.

    Both statements bear a sentence stating that there are no legal impediments to the aforesaid persons marrying according to the laws of their state of residence or this state. Each statement is signed by the applicant as well as by J. B. Martin, County Clerk, dated 11 Aug 1917.

    Residence is Salt Lake City, Utah for both parties

    Names and legal ages are confirmed

    The final two photocopies are image copies of the actual record book where the county clerk copied the original documents into the record. Everything is in the same handwriting and signed by J. B. Martin, County Clerk, by M. I. McCraig, Deputy. I carefully compare these copies to the originals to see if there are any discrepancies, but the conscientious deputy has done a good job making a clear and legible record.

    . . . More to Come



    Honored to be Honored at the 2010 St. George Family History Expo

    Family History Expos has just announced the Bloggers of Honors for the 2010 St. George Family History Expo to be held February 25-26 at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah and I am honored to be honored.

    The St. George Family History Expo has a reputation for outstanding speakers and friendly atmosphere, and I have wanted to attend for some time, especially after reading Dick Eastman’s remarks in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter in 2008,

    One of the largest genealogy fairs of the year will soon take place in the small city of St. George, Utah. This annual event is a "sleeper:" That is, the expo is not a national event and yet it attracts large crowds and a long list of presenters and exhibitors.

    The St. George event is an "expo," not a conference. In short, it is an "open house" event aimed at novice to intermediate genealogists. While many presentations are offered at the Family History Expo, most of them are aimed at non-guru genealogists. In my mind, this is a good thing. While genealogists will always have a need for the advanced topics presented at some of the national conferences, the St. George Family History Expo is much more of a “grass roots” event. We need more of these, in my opinion.

    This year, I planned to attend one of the southwest Family History Expos, and it was a tough choice between Mesa and St. George. In the end, I registered for Mesa, hoping to also visit my mom in Tucson. Alas, the week of torrential California rain washed out my plans, and I quickly marked my calendar for the February event in St. George.

    As a Blogger of Honor, I am looking forward to getting the inside scoop on the Expo, as well as meeting other bloggers and spreading the word about using blogs to help research our ancestors.

    Registration, program schedule, and more information are available at the St. George Family History Expo website. You can also keep up with the latest news at the Expo Blog or @FHExpo Twitter feed.

    The Family Curator will also be running a contest to give away two free tickets to the Expo; more details to come!



    Reading Between the Lines, The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards, Part 1, Introduction

    I love mail. After posting Organize and Preserve Original Documents Used in Your Genealogy Research, I took a closer look at the 1917 marriage certificate used to illustrate the article.


    Although I had examined the certificate many times, the certificate posed at least three more questions and showed me the surprises that can be found in seeking out the primary source documents.

    I wondered:

    Was Arline Paulen really divorced from her first husband at the date of her marriage to Edwards?

    Why did Arline and Albert Edwards marry in Wyoming when I knew she was living in Salt Lake City?

    Where was Utah County, Wyoming? I couldn’t find it in the Red Book.

    Who were the witnesses? Friends of the couple?

    Was the certificate “real”?

    A quick Google search for Wyoming vital records led me to the office of the Wyoming State Archives. My email query as to the availability of a marriage record for Arline Paulen and Albert Edwards was quickly answered. Yes, the record was available; I could receive a copy for 50 cents per page, payable by credit card over the telephone. It was so easy that I wish I had more Wyoming ancestors.

    Less than one week later I received a large manila envelope in the mail containing six photocopies:  

    1. Marriage License
    2. Certificate of Marriage
    3. Marriage Affidavit
    4. Statement of Applicant for a Marriage License Marriage License
    5. Statement of Applicant for a Marriage License, with Corroborative Statement
    6. Statement of Applicant for a Marriage License, with Corroborative Statement

    The first two items were from the Uinta County marriage book; the applicants’ statements werefrom the files of the Uinta County clerk.

    I was glad to confirm the name of the bride and groom, and to discover their ages. I was surprised to find that the groom was ten years older than his bride. That was a surprise. In the next article I will post images and discuss what I learned from each document.


    Brown and Obama are Cousins, NEHGS Research Reveals

    It's always interesting to see how fast the New England Historic Genealogical Society can research and write up the newsmakers of the moment. This morning I recieved word from Tom Champaux that researchers at NEHGS had uncovered the common ancestor of President Barack Obama and Republican Massachusetts Senator-Elect Scott Brown,

    Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass, who died in 1687 at the age of 102. Singletary, like his two descendants Obama and Brown, held public office, serving as town selectman in both Salisbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts in the 1650s.

    President Obama descends from Richard’s eldest son, Jonathan Singletary, who later changed his surname to Dunham. Scott Brown descends from Jonathan’s brother, Nathaniel Singletary. This kinship makes Obama and Brown 10th cousins.

    Research by Christopher Child and David Allen Lambert goes on to find that politics seem to be a strong current in the family line. President Obama and Senator-elect Brown are also related to George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Rutherford Hayes.

    Read the Press Release and view the Brown-Obama Family Tree at the NEHGS web site.


    Organize and Preserve Original Documents Used in Your Genealogy Research


    It doesn’t matter what kind of filing system you use for your genealogical research and sources, sooner or later most family historians need to file a primary document, or Heirloom Original. The easiest solution is to just file it with your census printouts and photocopies of birth certificates in binders or file folders, whatever you use. This is the method advocated in an online genealogy course I took last year.

    I am afraid I wasn’t a very cooperative student, however, and cringed at the thought of my grandmother’s marriage certificate peeking out the top of a protective sleeve in my 3-ring binder. It seemed that a better solution would be to store this original document archivally and cross-reference it in my files.  I also had other original documents such as my own children’s baptism certificates and assorted funeral programs, I needed a system for filing all of these special documents.

    In figuring out a workable system, it was helpful to consider

    The Curator’s Commandments:

    1.  First, thou shall do no harm to original artifacts
    2. AND thou shall endeavor to preserve same for future generations
    3.  Thou shall retain the original order of a collection whenever reasonable and possible
    4. Thou shall only file paper that 8 ½ x 11 inches in size in binders or in file folders
    5.  Thou shall set up a filing system that is simple and sustainable

     My own filing system consists of research and sources filed by surname in 3-ring binders. Instead of filing Heirloom Originals directly in the binder, I place an 8 ½ x 11 inch copy in the binder and write on the copy a reference to where the original is stored. This satisfies Commandments #1, #4 and hopefully #5.

    The original document needs to be preserved (see Commandment #2), therefore it is stored in a suitable archival container. My original documents come from different families, which I see as different collections. In order to keep those collections intact (#3), I set up separate file envelopes for each family. This mimics the order I use for my binders, keeping the arrangement as simple as possible (#5).

    Arline’s collection is so large that original documents are housed in several different boxes. All other family collections take up no more than one envelope each and are placed together inside one archival box.

    For example, my research lives in 3-ring binders filed by Surname with all sources in protective sleeves behind a tab for each couple. If the document is an Heirloom Original, I file a photocopy and write on the document a simple location code, the Surname or Collection and File (F) or Box (B) Number, for example, BROWN F01 or AAK B04. I don’t try to give each document a file number, although that would probably be good to do. Instead, I use an inventory sheet in the file itself to list the documents. If I digitize a document, I add the computer file name and location as well.

    Tip: I print out small white labels with the original document location to place on source copies using Avery Multi-Use Labels 5422.

    What makes a document an Heirloom Original?

    In my effort to KISS (Keep It Super Simple) I decided to consider only certain documents Heirloom Original and subject to archival preservation. Again, these criteria may not suit everyone, but I felt like I had to draw the line somewhere. Any document available only in the copy held in my hand, I deem an Heirloom Original. This includes my children’s special presentation baptism certificate, but not the official church copy. I figure that I can request that again from the church, and if I am worried about it, I can digitize the church copy and keep multiple copies of the files.

    So, state and county-issued birth and death certificates, along with census photocopies, are filed in protective sleeves in my 3-ring binders. As are modern newspaper obituaries. The only things in archival storage are irreplaceable documents and artifacts.

    One exception: Because my mom and I enjoy looking through Arline’s papers together, I also keep many documents from her collection in a 3-ring binder. Strictly speaking, I would like to keep everything from her collection in archival boxes, but then Mom and I lose the very wonderful connection of seeing Arline’s ink and paper. I use high-quality archival protective sleeves and 100% cotton rag paper for support if needed in these binders for the funeral programs, wedding notices, and cemetery locators that Arline collected. Oversize documents, like the marriage certificates, however are stored safely in an archival box.

    This system may not work for you, but what’s most important is to find a method of organizing that suits your style, your time, and your own level of control. Elyse is doing a great job reviewing ideas for setting up a genealogy filing system at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog and coming up with some good questions to ask when getting organized.

    I know that I need a system that will preserve my documents, be simple to set up and sustain, and give me some feeling of control. Works for me! What works for you?


    Photos: Edwards-Kinsel marriage certificate, Arline Allen Kinsel Papers; Privately held by Denise Levenick [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, California. 2010.

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