Picture of various old family photos, artistically arrangend

Image by Scottish Guy from Pixabay


Dead Fred is both a website and a Facebook page. This is a free site started by Joe Bott 22 years ago. He named it “Dead Fred” after the German Emperor and King of Prussia Frederick III.  He reigned for 99 days between March and June 1888 and then succumbed to throat cancer.  There is a postmortem picture of him on the Dead Fred website:

Anyone can submit a photo pre-1960 and have it uploaded onto the website as long as the people in the photo are deceased.  If you have a surname, you can label it and if you do not know the names of the people in the photo, you can submit it as a mystery photo. At this time, the website has recorded 22,979 surnames and 154,282 records.

If you want to know if a photo of your ancestor appears on this website, click Search Photos in the Tools box and fill in the information that you have.  (A login to the site is not necessary for this.) If you only want to put in a place with no surname, you can do that, also.

Screenshot of Search Box

I performed a blanket search for the surname Ohl and five photographs were returned with one being an exact match of the name Ohl. Due to possible copyright restrictions on this photo, I have not included a screenshot of the individual – 10-year-old Virginia Ohl in Portland, ME.

Clicking on an image will give you more information about the photograph, along with a link to contact the submitter.  Sometimes the submitters provide a wealth of genealogical material about the photo which is extremely helpful.

Another search performed on Champaign County, Illinois brought up two pages of results.

You can also perform a surname search using the Surname option in the search box.

Screenshot of search box for surname search

And then there are the Mystery photos!

Similar search boxes as in “Search Photos” show in the Search form for the Mysteries.  I keyed in Boulder, CO and several photos of unknown people appeared. I can contact the submitter, see all the photos from this submitter, or post a sticky note (login required).

If you would like to see all photographs by a specific studio or photographer, you can click on “Photographers” on the right-hand side.

Screenshot of search box for photographers

There is also a section for pre-1936 yearbooks with instructions on adding your own annuals.

Screenshot for yearbook search

Dead Fred’s Genealogy Photo Archive Facebook page is You can like this page, message them, and browse the photos and videos that are on this site. There are many historical photos that you may find interesting. Here is a link to one very cute video of a cat finding some milk to drink:

Dead Fred is also selling a book titled The Desperate Genealogist’s Idea Book on his website, a compilation of many different genealogists’ ideas for research. Proceeds from this book help to maintain Dead Fred’s site and keep it free for your genealogical searching.

(Note: I am not affiliated with Dead Fred in any way nor do I get any compensation for this review of the website.)


Earth Point, in conjunction with Google Earth, can give you a bird’s eye view of the land where your ancestors homesteaded or houses in which they lived in public land states (or at least the place where their house used to stand).

This website will work with either the downloadable software, Google Earth Pro, or the website  The specific page that is useful for navigating to a specific township and range is:

Copy of the top of the website page showing where to input the meridian, township, range, and section

If you have your ancestor’s Township and Range from their homestead records or a deed book, enter them into the boxes.  You will need the state, the principal meridian, the township, and the range.  The section number is optional.

My ancestor Henry Ohl’s home was located in Illinois on the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 30, Range 9 east of the third principal meridian, Township 17 north of the baseline. This information is provided in homestead papers or on land deeds.  (Remember – this type of land record is for the 30 public land states. Public land states are generally in the west.)

Once you have entered the location, you can either click View or Fly To On Google Earth.

Copy of the website after View has been clicked, showing the Township and Section boxes with coordinates.

If you are using Google Earth on the web, click the View button.  If you have Google Earth Pro installed, click the Fly To button.


If you are using the Google Earth website, after you click View, the Township and Section boxes from the BLM database will populate with coordinates.  Since Henry Ohl lived on the west half of the northeast section of his township, I copied the coordinates for NE in the Section box.

Go to and open Google Earth. After it loads, open the Search function by clicking on the hamburger menu at the upper left.

Copy of the Google Earth website showing where the hamburger menu is.

Choose Search.

Copy of the functions on the hamburger menu.

In the Search box, paste the coordinates (minus the direction letters in front) and press Enter.

Copy of the coordinates pasted into the Search bar.

Google Earth will place a pin by the coordinates and the landscape will spin in circles.  You can click to stop the spin or click on 2D if you want to see it flat.

Copy of the view that you get on Google Earth with the pin in the township by the coordinates.

The pin in this instance was placed at the upper left of the northeast quarter of the township.  In this case, the shape of the township can be discerned because of the farmland.  Mr. Ohl purchased the western half of the northeast quarter.

Copy of the view on Google Earth with Henry Ohl's half outlined in purple.

Although I do not know where Henry Ohl built his house, there is a house there at the bottom left next to St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he worshipped and where he is buried. This house appears to be quite old. Zooming in on Google Earth brings the house and church closer to view.

Close up view of the house and church as seen from above.


If you are using the Google Earth Pro software, you do not need to click View unless you want to see the coordinates.  (Google Earth Pro can be found here as a free download: Click Fly To On Google Earth. A Save As dialog box will open with a file name. Save the KML file anywhere on your computer – just remember where you saved it!

Screenshot of the Save As dialog box with the KML file.

Go to the KML file and open it.  I saved it to my desktop and double-clicked on it.

Screenshot of the saved KML file on a desktop.

Google Earth Pro automatically opens and goes to the coordinates.  In this instance, I have added a pin on Google Earth Pro showing the township in which my ancestor lived.

Screenshot of the view of the township where Henry Ohl lived on Google Earth Pro with orange and pink outlines.

Google placed the pink dot in the center of the township, but he actually lived in the western half of the northeast corner.

Screenshot of the west half of the northeast quarter outlined in purple.

Here is a close-up shot of the house that is on the land he used to own in the 19th century and the church next door. I used street view for these pictures. (The orange and pink border lines still showed up in street view, as seen on the church picture.)

Screenshot from street view on Google Earth Pro of the house on Henry Ohl's land.
Screenshot of St. Mary's Catholic Church next to Henry Ohl's land.

Of course, there are many more things that you can do on the Earth Point site, and I find this is a great tool for making your ancestors’ lives come alive.

100 Years Ago

Picture of several newspapers stacked on top of one another

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

I love old newspapers.  I love peeking into people’s ordinary, everyday existence from long ago.  I enjoy the juicy tidbits, the sensationalist stories, the crazy advertisements, the puzzling political cartoons – you name it, I like it.  Of course, the news is not always good, pleasant, and fun.  There is a lot of tragedy and sad news reported, especially on the front pages of the papers.

What would life have been like for our ancestors 100 years ago?  What news would they have either been waking up to on that Tuesday morning of April 3, 1923, or perusing in the evening after work?  To find out, I delved into some newspapers from the states in which my family or my husband’s family lived.

The headline on the Urbana Daily Courier (Urbana, IL) was obscure to someone from 2023.  It read simply “Small Issues Hot Reply”.[1] This may be about the article and political cartoon discussing the League of Nations. Lord Robert Cecil, the foremost British exponent of the League of Nations, was calling upon Woodrow Wilson, the former president, in Washington.

The rest of the news on the front page was not encouraging. Vicar General Budkevich, a Roman Catholic Prelate in Russia was executed by the Soviets because he had been in communication with Poland while Russia was at war with them and also because he disagreed with the Soviet system of requisitioning church property. There is an ironic story about a man committing suicide on the steps of an undertaker’s parlor in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a paragraph about a protest against Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Pilgrim” because the evangelical ministers association of Atlanta felt it ridiculed the Christian religion. An obituary for Daisy Smith, an African American woman who appears to be relatively young, relates how she passed away following an operation and gives details about the upcoming funeral.

After perusing other tragic and upsetting news on that front page, I moved to another state and city.

The Evening Reporter-Star from Orlando, FL did not have one central headline.[2]  One of the many smaller headlines read “Senator-Dentist on the Job” with a picture of US Senator Henrik Shipstead practicing dentistry on a patient in Minneapolis. This paper also has an article about the League of Nations and that America cannot afford to remain out of the League. (If Wikipedia is to be believed, Senator Shipstead opposed US entry into the League of Nations and was a strong antisemite.[3])

In other news, Henry Ford spent the night in Orlando, President Harding was preparing to go on a Western tour, and George Hearst (son of William Randolph Hearst) eloped with his girlfriend (that would be Blanche Wilbur, a fascinating woman). There was a confusing article about parallel parking vs. angled parking on the streets that said that a new law was coming into effect. (I could not determine exactly WHAT new law regarding parking was going to be enforced as the article was mainly concerned that the new law was going into effect on “jinx day”.)

Drawing of a 1920s man carrying a woman by the side of a road with a car in the background

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

The Lexington Herald (Lexington, KY) had several headlines on their front page.[4]  “US Gambling with Nation’s Future” was an interesting article that discussed the League of Nations with this very prescient quote: “Warning that the next war, if one came, would be far more terrible, because of new scientific discoveries, than the World War, and that it was not inconceivable that American cities might be laid waste and their populations destroyed by airmen flying from over the seas, Lord Robert declared that a crisis in world history had been reached — that nations must learn or perish.”

On a more cheerful note, “Man Who Inherited Fortune Forced to Deny that He’s Dead”.  Colonel H. R. Green was vacationing in Florida and had an operation. He happened to read his obituary in the paper and phoned the newspaper to inform them that he was very much alive. In Washington D. C., only 2000 children came to the White House lawn to indulge in the annual Easter egg rolling frolic due to the absence of the Hardings. One story that looks interesting enough to research is the hunt for the killer of artist model Dorothy King Keenan. The most valuable clue the cops have is an empty bottle of chloroform.

Photograph of Dot King with furs and jewelry

The Washington Times (Washington [D.C.]), 8 April 1923, 4; digital images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers ( 2 April 2023)

Finally, Colorado. The Fort Collins Express splashed “District Attorney Asks Temple to Resign” across the top of their paper.[5] This was local news. L. R. Temple from Fort Collins was dismissed and Mr. McCarg from Boulder took his place. Apparently, since Larimer County had the appointment for two years, it was decided that they needed someone from Boulder County for the next two.

We find out that Dorothy King Keenan was not only a model, she was also a stock broker. The plot thickens.  I see a future blog post coming! Another headline says that Governor Sweet signed the Colorado River Treaty, a flawed document that the West is dealing with in 2023.  Tribal nations were left out of this Treaty and the assumption was that the bountiful rainfall and water source would never dry up. How wrong they were.[6]

What I discovered during this quick look through the newspapers was a world uneasy with the aftermath of World War I. The United States and Europe were trying to decide how to work together to avoid a second world war or if working together was even something they should be doing.

Perhaps the next time I do this, I will look at the advertisements.  It’s always interesting to see what people are spending their money on or what people are told to spend their money on. Till next time!!

[1] The Urbana Daily Courier (Urbana, Illinois), 3 April 1923, 1; digital images, ( 2 April 2023).

[2] The Evening Reporter-Star (Orlando, Florida), 3 April 1923, 1; digital images, ( 2 April 2023).

[3] Wikipedia, Henrik Shipstead, ( : 2 April 2023).

[4] The Lexington Herald (Lexington, Kentucky), 3 April 1923, 1; digital images, ( 2 April 2023).

[5] The Fort Collins Express (Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado), 3 April 1923, 1; digital images, ( 2 April 2023).

[6] High Country News, On its 100th birthday, the Colorado River Compact shows its age, ( : 2 April 2023).



Picture of very old Bible

Image by Robert C from Pixabay

Website Wednesday on Thursday! It’s been two years since I last posted this topic on my blog.  A lot has happened in two years – I focused more on my genealogical education and writing reports the last two years than I did on my blog writing, but I’m ready to jump back into writing fun articles again.

This site is an old site maintained by Tracy St. Claire that has not been updated in 7 years.  It is still online, however, and as long as it stays online you can access some good information. 1,158 Bible records have been recorded here.

According to the description on the homepage, “Bible Records Online is a site dedicated to transcribing and digitizing the contents of family records that were written inside family Bibles and in other important documents from as early as the 1500s through today.” Most of us would love to have our family Bibles from past centuries (if they existed) but families are large and most people are not the inheritors of these family mementos.  Some family members do not keep them.  It is wonderful when genealogists transcribe these records for others to see.  Who knows?  Your family may very well be on this site.

Picture of the Home Page of the Bible Records website with options to click on that are discussed in the text of the Blog

There are several links on the home page.  The first one is “BROWSE the BIBLES”. Surnames are listed in alphabetical order. I chose a name from my own family – TURPIN. The listing shows this Turpin Bible is from Virginia and the years covered are 1804-1907. Once I clicked on the name, a description was given that this Bible was transcribed in a DAR magazine from 1922. The transcription is given and an image copy is depicted. I don’t recognize these particular Turpins, but someone else might.

Picture of the transcription of some of the names and dates in the Turpin Bible copied from the Bible Records website

The next option on the Home Page is “BROWSE the SURNAMES.” You can choose the first letter in the surname and find the Bible entries in this manner.  The advantage to this is that surnames that are mentioned in all the Bible records can be found this way, not just the main surname in the Bible record.

There is an option on the Home Page for “BIBLES that are non-English language”. This is very interesting. Clicking on the link for the Swedish surname Anders brings up the Anders Surname Book with a history of this book and a picture and transcription of the entries.

Image of the Swedish Records Book with a transcription in Swedish of some of the names found on that page

On the “LINKS –To other Bible Record sites” option from the Home Page the only link that still works correctly is the one to Cyndi’s List. The “PHOTOS” option only has one surname mentioned and that is Spotsiwood, but there are 17 vintage photographs here.

This site, although old, is still worth a look to see if you have an ancestor whose family Bible ended up transcribed or imaged on this site – and it’s free to look up!

Celebrating the Holidays 100 Years Ago in Champaign County, Illinois

Image by Vincent Ciro from Pixabay

This Christmas blog post is two weeks too late! I thought this might make a good article for a quarterly, but here it is instead on my own blog. Try to catch whatever remains of the Christmas spirit in the air and enjoy!

Do you ever wonder what the holidays were like one hundred years ago?  Have you ever thought about what gifts people would be giving each other or what food they would put on their tables for their friends and families? Local newspapers of the time can answer these questions and put some color into your genealogical research and family stories.

Advertisers started preparing for the Christmas rush by placing ads in the newspapers with suggested ideas for presents.  Advertisements for gift ideas included typewriters, fancy mirrors, smoking sets, luxurious fur garments, watches, percolators, kimonos, cuff links, cigars, and sterling silver pencils. Ray C. Sparks of Sparks Auto Supply suggested heaters, carpet, cigar lighters, and fenders for your Dodge or Ford.[1]

Of course, foods for the holidays needed to be bought and menus prepared.  The Urbana Produce Company placed an ad for the Christmas feast – “Turkeys, Geese, Ducks, Chickens (live or dressed), Pumpkins, Fresh Eggs, Jonathan Apples, Cheese, Lard and Jewel Compounds, Sugar Creek Butter, and Enterprise Flour.”[2]Abbott and Wells, the Cash Grocery & Market, sold plenty of fancy Christmas candies (including peanut brittle), nuts, oranges, apples, pineapples, grapes, and grape fruit. They also had plenty of turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, and oysters.[3] Many sellers of chocolates and candy said that Christmas dinner would not be complete without their treats.

As far as cooking a holiday meal 100 years ago, some families would still have used wood or coal stoves.  Some families may have had a “modern” gas stove but many recipes still used the designations “slow – moderate – hot” for the oven times instead of a specific degree.  Most families did not own a refrigerator and instead used an ice box.  Sinks were on legs (to prohibit mold growth) with no built-in cabinets under them and cabinets, in general, were free-standing and not built in as they are now.

In the cookbook A Calendar of Dinners by Marion Harris Neil published in 1922, the suggested Christmas dinner included Oysters, Mangoes, Celery, Stuffed Olives, Roast Turkey, Cranberry Jelly, Roast Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Turnips, Brussels Sprouts, and English Plum Pudding.[4]

In Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries published around 1922, a menu for a Christmas dinner included Fruit Cocktail, Oyster Soup, Roast Suckling Pig, Diced Turnips in Hollandaise, Scalloped Tomatoes, Cranberry Apple Sauce, and Orange Ice and Small Cakes for dessert.[5]

As for Champaign County, Illinois in December 1922, the newspapers reported that there was a shortage of currants for Christmas that year due to the Greek crop being small.  Cooks had to substitute seedless raisins instead for their Christmas fruit cakes and mincemeat.[6] Housewives (yes, housewives did the majority of cooking, and articles about food were directed specifically toward women) were told that turkeys would be plentiful (60 to 65 cents per lb.), the pork market was plentiful, but Yuletide trees would be scarce due to unsettled labor conditions and a cold winter in the northern states.[7] Cranberries were plentiful (25 cents per lb.) and lots of chestnuts were on the market from 20 to 25 cents per lb.[8] 

A holiday pun from The Daily Illini of 2 Dec 1922 quoted “You are not the only unfortunate that had to eat Chicken in Champaign instead of Turkey in Greece.”[9] Actually, anyone who could eat chicken in “champagne” would have been fortunate as this is the era of Prohibition. As for crime in the county during 1922, at the end of the year, Police Chief A. G. Kellar said that serious crime was less frequent than in previous years but there were more shootings and stabbings in 1922 that were attributed to “an increased use of moonshine and other bootleg liquor”.[10]

As seen by the ads in the paper, holiday dinners often included meat such as turkey or shellfish such as oysters. Excerpts from the Urbana Daily Courier of 30 Dec 1922 mention some of the meals served at Christmas. The Warnes family in Longview served a turkey dinner at William Warnes’ house that was enjoyed by a large number of relatives. In Savoy, Senator and Mrs. H. M. Dunlap hosted the annual Home View Christmas party, serving a luncheon consisting of escalloped oysters, sandwiches, pickles, cakes, and coffee.

As for celebrating, there were lots of events to attend in December.

“Urbana to Frolic under Christmas Tree as Band Plays”, proclaimed The Daily Illini on 7 Dec 1922. Mrs. Freda B. Temple and Mrs. C. G. Lumley distributed Christmas seals.  The school teachers were instructed to sell these Christmas seals to their students.  The Girl Scouts sold candy to buy apples to distribute to the needy. The Rev. James C. Baker of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church spoke about Christmas music and the ministry of song. The Pi Beta Phi alumnae (the “Pi Phis”) were selling an enormous four-pound fruitcake.[11]

Many societies held their annual Christmas parties. Churches held Christmas pageants. There were Christmas bazaars, Christmas meetings, and Christmas programs. Unfortunately, the county newspapers did not mention Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) which was observed from 14 December to 22 December that year.  There were, however, articles in the Daily Illini that mentioned the Jewish Ladies’ Social Circle was to meet at the home of Mrs. Leonard Lewis on 8 Dec[12] and Mrs. Samuel Weingarten on 29 Dec.[13] The Sinai Temple Sisterhood held its monthly meeting on 26 December. They were hoping for a good turnout.[14]

The papers were full of the usual gossip, letting everyone know who visited whom over the holidays. Some examples from the December 29th & 30th Urbana Daily Courier include such genealogical gems as:

Bondville – Merle Doolan spent Christmas day at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Doolen. Miss Iona Elwarner of Sydney spent Christmas at the E. Elwarner home.

Dewey – Walter Cook and sister, Miss Grace, spent Christmas day with their brother, R. F. Cook, and family.

Homer – Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Manning and family spent Christmas at Kingman, Ind., the guests of their daughter, Mrs. Harry Ratcliffe.

Illinois Central – Mrs. O. Atterbury, wife of Engineer Atterbury, returned to Centralia on Saturday after spending Christmas at Champaign with relatives. Ben Proctor, truck driver, returned to his duties Wednesday after being absent the past few days spending Christmas with relatives out of town.

Locust Grove – George Corray spent Christmas with his wife’s mother, Mrs. L. Shroyer, in Urbana.

Mayview – Mrs. Jennie Love and children of Indianapolis spent Christmas with her sister, Mrs. Frank Koch.

Ogden – Mr. and Mrs. Walter Divan and baby of Broadlands were guests of his parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Isaac Divan, Christmas.

Philo – Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lovingfoss and children from near Sydney, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Melohn and son, Donald spent Christmas day with John Melohn.

Rantoul – Mr. and Mrs. James Neal of Urbana were Christmas guests of the former’s mother, Mrs. Lettie Neal on Bodwell Avenue, Monday.

Sadorus – Mr. and Mrs. Earl Evans of Indianapolis came Saturday to spend Christmas with the former’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Evans. Mr. and Mrs. Dick Woodcock of Champaign, spent Christmas day with the latter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Homer Mills.

Savoy – Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Morrison and children of Mahomet spent Christmas here with Rev. and Mrs. C. R. Morrison.

Seymour – Carol Bowman returned to his work in Chicago Tuesday after spending Christmas with his mother, Mrs. Minnie Bowman.

Shiloh – J. F. Trotter and family set the Funston Christmas dinner. Mrs. Trotter was a Funston before her marriage. Miss Bernice Downs nurse at the Burnham Hospital spent Christmas with home folks.

St. Joseph – Mr. and Mrs. B. F. McLaughlin spent Christmas with relatives in Bloomington, Ind.

Thomasboro – Misses Opal Babb and Chastie Carter spent the Christmas vacation in the home of their parents here.

In the African-American newspaper, the Metropolis Weekly Gazette of 15 Dec 1922, it was reported that Henry Alvertis Long, son of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Long, who is attending the Illinois University at Champaign, will spend the vacation with parents.”

As for charity, the good citizens of Champaign were generous during the holidays.  The Salvation Army (led by Commandant H. G. James), along with the Elks Lodge and Champaign businessmen distributed 210 baskets to the needy, along with 500 toys and 117 pairs of stockings.[15]The papers were full of stories of collection baskets, food, and donations being given to the poor.

Some things have changed and other things have stayed the same.  Most of us will not be receiving typewriters, “luxurious furs”, and cigar lighters for our cars as gifts, and we may not be feasting on roast suckling pig, but we hope everyone will not want for currants in their fruit cakes and will remember their families in years gone by this holiday season.

[1]“Sparks Auto Supply” [advert], The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, IL, 8 Dec 1922, p. 11.

[2]“Let us Help You Plan Your Christmas Feast” [advert], The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL 15 Dec 1922, p. 2.

[3] The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, IL, 22 Dec 1922, various pages.

[4] Marion Harris Neil, A Calendar of Dinners, (Hamilton, Ontario: Procter & Gamble Distributing Co. of Canada, 1922), 229.

[5] Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries, (New York: Good Housekeeping, c. 1922), p. 49.

[6]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 7 Dec 1922, p. 12.

[7]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 16 Dec 1922, p. 12.

[8]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 21 Dec 1922, p. 12.

[9]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 2 Dec 1922, p. 5.

[10]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 31 Dec 1922, p. 7.

[11]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 7 Dec 1922, p. 9, 11.

[12]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 8 Dec 1922, p. 6.

[13]The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 29 Dec 1922, p. 5.

[14] The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, IL, 23 Dec 1922, p. 3.

[15] “Salvation Army’s Year to End Jan 7,” The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 31 Dec 1922, p. 7.


Picture in the public domain at the Library of Congress (ppmsc 01699 //

#OhioHistory #GoldMining

When I began going through census records of Cross Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio, using the FAN method (Family/Friends, Associates, Neighbors) to find more information about my ancestor George Lewis, I came across three men whose occupation was given as “Gold Digger”.  I had no idea that there was gold in Ohio.  Coal, yes.  But gold?

1850 U.S. census, Jefferson County, Ohio, population schedule, Cross Creek Township, p. 110 (stamped), dwelling 1577, family 1651, entry for David Foster; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 September 2021), citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, Roll 699.

Shortly after this, I was reading an old county history of Jefferson County, Ohio, written in 1910.  This book was published during an era of flowery, sentimental language with an emphasis on appealing to the reader’s emotions.  Writers sought to persuade their audience that their opinion was the correct one.  Thus, we find the following interesting paragraph (emphasis mine):

Jefferson County has been specially favored as regards mineral resources, of which those interested have not been slow to take advantage. It is scarcely necessary to add, however, that there are no lead, silver or gold mines in Jefferson County, never have been and never will be, as the geological formation is absolutely prohibitory. There have been reports of that kind occasionally, some of them based on old Indian tales. They are delusions or frauds, not deserving of the slightest consideration.[1]

The author of the book, Joseph B. Doyle, seems to take these gold diggers and their occupation personally!  He definitely wants us to know not to take the reports of gold being found in Jefferson County seriously and perhaps use our working hours for wiser pursuits.  Since there were three gold diggers in just one township in Jefferson County, Ohio, there were probably more in the county as a whole, enough that 60 years later the author of the county history felt he needed to reiterate the point that gold-digging in Jefferson County was a waste of time.

If there was no gold to be found in Jefferson County, why were there so many men looking for it?  I sensed a story here and did some research on this metal in Ohio.  My search brought me to a 1995 Division of Geological Survey GeoFact pamphlet by Michael C. Hansen.[2]

Michael Hansen mentions that there has been interest in finding gold in Ohio since the 19th century. The theory is that the gold that has been found in Ohio has come down from Canada during one of the ice ages as it is associated with glacial deposits.  He also says that gold is found in the glaciated areas of Ohio but there has never been enough to make commercial mining of gold financially lucrative.  Interestingly, Jefferson County is in a non-glaciated area of Ohio.

Hobbyists find gold in Ohio today and there were several online resources for information about this when I did searches for it.  I was curious to know more about the gold diggers in the mid-19th century in Jefferson County so I turned to old newspapers to see if there were any articles of note.

In a 1905 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (just 5 years before Joseph Doyle’s diatribe against gold-digging was published in the county history), a splashy headline reads: “Ohio Gold Field Rich in Legend:  Indians Knew and Jealously Guarded Secret of Wayne County Treasures – Stores of Spectral Guardians Current to the Present Day.”[3]

The article, clearly written in the prejudicial tone current at that time (I mean, why WOULD the Native Americans just spill out the source of their gold to the people conquering their land?) talks about gold being found on some farms in Mt. Eaton, Wayne County (northwest of Jefferson County) and people recounting the old superstitions about ancient gold.  There was an old trail between Steubenville (in Jefferson County) and Sandusky and gold and other metals had been traded on that passageway.  White settlers had apparently sent out spies to find out the source of the gold but were never able to find it.  An old gold digger named Joseph Grant was being interviewed to find out more about the Wayne County find.  An old stage road ran near a place called Rocky Dale and, along with stage robbers, the travelers were often frightened by the haunting sound of chains coming from some subterranean cavern nearby.

The end of the article says that nobody in Mt. Eaton is coming forth with the location of the newly found gold.  Supposedly, there is a secret map in someone’s possession but no one is talking.

This was not the only report of people finding gold on their property and trying to keep it a secret.  Gold was supposedly found in Morrow County in 1921.[4] Most of the articles that I found concerned gold discovered in other areas of the country such as California and Alaska.  I was entertained by harrowing adventures of survival and ghostly legends of haunted treasure.

Very little of this led me to an understanding of the livelihood of the Jefferson County gold diggers.  Were they making enough to earn a living? I have my doubts.  A search for the 1860 census does not show anyone with the specific job title of “gold digger” but there are plenty of laborers.  The three individuals who were looking for gold in 1850 are no longer living in the county.  I did find one man whose occupation was listed as “hermit”.  A blog post for another day!

[1] Joseph B. Doyle, 20th Century History of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio and Representative Citizens, (Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., 1910), 275.

[2] Michael C. Hansen, “Gold in Ohio”, GeoFacts No. 9 (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, November 1995); digital image at, accessed 23 September 2021.

[3] “Ohio Gold Field Rich in Legend”, Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, 14 March 1905, p. 6, col. 5; image copy, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 23 September 2021).

[4] “Search for Gold in Morrow County”, Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, 21 August 1921, p. 16A, col. 1; image copy, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 23 September 2021).



George Willdey, “A New and Correct Map of the World”, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection ( : accessed 9 February 2021), originally published by George Willdey, London, 1702.

I love maps. All kinds of maps. Old maps from the days of “terra incognita” to modern-day Google street view maps. The calendar I used last year showed pictures of medieval and renaissance maps and I have a box (somewhere!) full of old gas station maps of various states with an emphasis on Colorado.

There are a few websites out there with maps. One favorite of genealogists is David Rumsey’s collection found at David Rumsey started collecting maps about 30 years ago and he has now acquired about 150,000 maps. At this point, about 105,000 have been digitized and made available to the public. Some of these images are included in Google Earth so that you can overlay an old map of a city on top of the current city.

These maps can be reproduced and transmitted but not for commercial use. There is a section titled “Copyright and Permissions” under the About tab to read when you first log in. For catching up with new additions or other news, there is a Blog tab. You can check out the Help tab to learn about the Luna Viewer and Georeferencing, among other topics.

The View by Collection tab has several choices. For this example, I chose “Browse by Categories”.

In the Search box, I typed Jefferson County Ohio. This brings up results that match to Jefferson and County and Ohio but since the search engine is searching the metadata, not all results will be for “Jefferson County Ohio.” You can also do an Advanced Search found on the left-hand side on the bottom of the Refine window after you do a search, or by clicking on the down arrow of the search bar on the upper right. There are many fields in which to choose if you use the Advanced Search and you may have to play with the fields to find exactly the criteria you need to find your desired map.

I chose the field “Full Title” and in the section “find all these words” I chose Ohio Jefferson. There were 13 results.

I specifically wanted to find a map of Jefferson County, Ohio around the year 1850 when my ancestors, George Lewis and Sarah Neal Lewis, lived there. I was able to find a map of the county from 1868 and I enlarged it to see the detail.

Here is the map that I found.

Henry Francis Walling, “Counties of Columbiana, Jefferson, Carroll, and Harrison”, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection ( : accessed 9 February 2021), originally published by H.H. Lloyd & Co. for Henry S. Stebbins, New York, 1868.

And here is the map with a closeup of the section in which I am interested:

The detail is incredible when the map is enlarged. My ancestor’s family lived at the bottom of Cross Creek Township, near the Alexandria Road outside of New Alexandria which is not mentioned on this map.

You can also view this map in the GeoReferencer. This overlays the 1868 map over a modern map and you can vary the opacity to see the differences between the two maps.

Here is the same map overlaid with partial opacity on a modern map of Ohio:

I could stay on this website for hours, looking at maps of the world and the United States. Here is another that I found in the collection. This showed up in a search for Colorado, but the entire map encompasses Fort Worth to Cheyenne and Denver. This is a segment of the map.

Union Pacific Railroad Company, “Birdseye View of the Texas Pan Handle”, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection ( : accessed 9 February 2021), originally published by Knight, Leonard & Co., Chicago, 1890.

Not all of the maps have to serve a genealogical purpose. I enjoyed this one:

The University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, “Field Index, Rectified Lunar Atlas”, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection ( : accessed 9 February 2021), originally published by the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, United States Air Force, St. Louis, 1963.

Have fun checking out this site. I know that just writing this blog led me off on many tangents.

Search Smart,
Sara N. Martin


Election Eve on November 4th, 1952, Urbana, Illinois.  My mom’s favorite meal is coming out of the Magic Chef oven – pork chops with dressing.  My mom wasn’t able to be here for this meal so Grandpa snapped a picture of Grandma to send to her.  My grandparents would have been happy with the results the following day as they voted for Eisenhower.

When I rented an old apartment in Denver, Colorado, there was an old Magic Chef stove in the tiny kitchen. The stove was electric and it wasn’t this old, but it reminded Mom of Grandma’s stove.  She gave me the picture (which I have had stuck on whatever refrigerator I have used since 1989) and her Magic Chef cookbook, copyright 1937.

The stove was purchased in 1941.  Grandma Hostetler was so excited to get this.  She cut out the ad from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine which featured her stove, the new 1941 Magic Chef Hit Parade Model. My mom recently gave the cut-out ad to me.

 Advertisement for Magic Chef stoves, “You’re invited to see a Hit Parade!,” Better Homes and Gardens, March or May, 1941, page 18.

This new stove had an easy-to-use swing-out broiler, a Red Wheel regulator, and a lifetime burner guarantee.  The Red Wheel regulator was something Magic Chef was proud of.  It is featured prominently on the cover of their cookbook. Directions for using the Lorain oven heat regulator (aka the “Red Wheel”) are in the preface.  The Red Wheel was labeled with temperature degrees and once you set the oven at say, 375°, the gas flow would automatically reduce when 375° degrees was reached.  You wouldn’t know except by experience how to tell when the oven was sufficiently preheated.

I take an oven knob for granted nowadays.  I have had stoves that didn’t ding when the oven was preheated, but they’ve all have knobs.  I became interested in the history of cooking after receiving my antique Magic Chef cookbook over 30 years ago and now my collection runs into the thousands.  This is the first vintage one in my collection and therefore my favorite.

Dorothy E. Shank, Director, Magic Chef Cooking (St. Louis: American Stove Company, 1937.
Shank, Magic Chef Cooking, fly leaf

Grandma penciled in some measurements at the beginning of this cookbook.  The section on “Pies” is well splattered and worn with a cryptic 3523420 written boldly across the header in that section.  A phone number?  That seemed too modern for the time, but I can’t actually date the note as she had this cookbook for more than 30 years.  A quick online search in city directories in Champaign, Illinois in the 50s showed Fleetwood (35) being one of the exchanges, although when my mom lived there, she only had to dial the last 5 numbers to call out.  She knows the phone number is not her grandparent’s number (which she still has memorized after all these years) and it probably dates from the 1960s.

I was inspired to write this post about “In the Kitchen” because I am participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.

Does anyone else have pictures of their ancestors cooking something yummy?

Bon Appetit, and Search Smart,

Sara N. Martin



Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You may already know about this wonderful resource for genealogy links online known as “Cyndi’s List” (  When I first started doing online genealogy in the late 90s, I ran across this website and I loved it.  Searching online was vastly different than it is today and finding a compendium of source links like this was greatly appreciated by those in the genealogical community.

Fast forward twenty years into the future to when I once again decided to spend my free time on my family history.  I discovered that it was a brand-new world out there in cyberspace as far as genealogy was concerned.  I was happily surprised to find that Cyndi’s List was still online and still being updated!

Cyndi Ingle maintains this website by herself, every day.  She is an amazing woman who has done so much for us, her fellow genealogists.  At one time she had a mailing list for this website but it was hosted by RootsWeb which shut down the mailing lists about one year ago.  (I think RootsWeb will be the subject of one of my future blog posts.) Eventually, Cyndi plans to have another mailing list up and running so check back periodically.

So, what can you find on Cyndi’s List?  Almost everything.  Her home page features a welcome message and explains “A comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.”[1]  On the left side of the webpage, there is a link to “Categories”, along with other links to her social networking sites, new links, and a place to report broken links.

Clicking on “Categories” brings you to a whole list of topics.  If something is new, there will be a green flag next to it to alert you to check it out.

There are categories here that you may not even have realized could be relevant to genealogy such as Antarctica, Oil and Gas, Outer Space, and Pets and Livestock.  As an example, I chose “Ports of Entry” to see what resources are available.  There are 329 resources to choose from.

You will notice that it is not just a list of ports, but related categories are also included, such as Canals, Rivers, & Waterways, Passports, and information on the Mayflower.

If we choose the category “New Orleans, Louisiana”, we discover 13 links, including Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild volumes 1 – 6 (passenger lists for specific ships), and several links to passenger list indexes.   

Another category example is the United States subcategory of “Colorado”.  There are 2,336 links from birth records to wills and probate.  If we choose the “Schools” link, we have two links – the records held at the State Archives and the records for the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in the 19th century.  The link to the school for the deaf and blind refers us to a website for the school ( with more links to search and some history of the school located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what links you will find on this site.  It’s convenient, and stopping here to search can save you time on merely googling to see if you can find something relevant.

Take some time and explore the website.  You may find some resources that you did not know existed.

Remember to Search Smart!

Sara Martin

Smart Canyon Genealogy

[1] Cyndi Ingle, Cyndi’s List ( : accessed 3 February 2021), home page, para. 1.

Can Anybody Choose Just One?

Mishmash of my own family photos on Facebook

Do people really have ONE favorite photo?  One and only one?  I am participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors challenge and this week the challenge is rough – pick ONE favorite photo.

Should I pick one of a beautiful landscape from a vacation, the sunrise coming over the foothills as seen from my back deck, or the first snow on the hills?  What about one of the pictures from when my husband and I got married?  Or a family photograph of all of us having fun in my parent’s backyard?

One of the issues of sharing a favorite photo is, of course, digitization.  I was an avid amateur photographer for many years and I came into the digital age with mountains of photograph albums.  I still have them.  Most are not digitized.  I get ambitious occasionally and start scanning them to Facebook, my hard drive, or Ancestry, but my enthusiasm soon wears out and I put the project to bed for a good long rest.

The end result?  Most of my favorite photos are not yet in digital format!  That should be a wake-up call.  I need to take the time to get the best pictures uploaded to the cloud and my computer.  In the meantime, I took a look at some of the ones I DID have online.  I found a great one of Dad and me on Christmas Day in 1965.  The weather is beautiful – it was sunny southern California.  I love this photo, although it’s not digitized properly yet.  I merely took a picture of it with my phone.  It’s off kilter but someday I will produce a better scan.

Unfortunately, I can’t colorize my photos with MyHeritage at this time.  I come from a family of redheads and MyHeritage makes us all brunettes which gives us an odd look.  Black and white film is classic though.  It gives the illusion of my childhood being spent in a film noir movie.

Make sure your favorite photos are digitized and available to view for the long term.  If I can drag myself away from my genealogy research, maybe I can actually get all of mine scanned!

Search SMART!

Sara N. Martin

Smart Canyon Genealogy

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