Twitter on Genealogy

In celebration of the first National Day on Writing or #NDoW for its Twitter hashtag, I decided a blog post was in order before midnight arrived and the day was over. I discovered I wanted to be a writer by the time I was 15 or 16, and have been very happy to have university writing, editing and PR as a 40-year career, following a 3-year stint as an English teacher and a year as a newspaper reporter and feature writer.

Here are some recent tweets at my BBPetura  Twitter account that touch on genealogy, archaeology and family:

Oct. 20, 2009

Just connected with a distant Sharp cousin – we both descend from Isaac Sharp & Mary Wolverton, early PA:

Oct. 18, 2009

This George Smith #genealogy lists 6 sons, 5 daughters, among them my ancestor Hannah Smith who m. Stephen Bradley:

Making some progress on the George Smith & Nehemiah Smith #genealogy muddle – same daughters attributed to both in early day New Haven!

Oct. 16, 2009

Looking forward to “open library” event at Whitman County Genealogical Society 10/17:

Oct. 14, 2009

FamilySearch invites those doing #genealogy to add to new Family Search Research Wiki: | Via @Genealogysstar

Oct. 10, 2009

#SurnameSaturday – SMITH – Reviewing old attempts to determine which kids belonged to George Smith, which to Nehemiah Smith, in New Haven.

Heading to Family History Center to order fiche for Shropshire & microfilm for Celle, Germany. Need birth records! FHC closed last Saturday!

Oct. 1, 2009

RT @archaeology Ardipithecus ramidus: a photo essay | 4.4 million year old hominid… ancestral to humans.

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SNGF – Ahnentafel Roulette No. 2

Note: After reviewing my Ahnentafel with greater care, I found that Jane Ebrey is No. 23 on my ancestor table while Marianna Stocker is No. 19. See Saturday, September 19,  for Ancestor 19.

This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is Ahnentafel Roulette, a game played using your father’s age and a quick formula to find a number in your Ahnentafel or ancestry table.

My father was born in 1919 so would have been 90 this year. The figure 90 divided by 4 is 22.5, rounded up to 23. Ancestor 23 is a second-great grandmother on your paternal side.

My Ancestor 23 is Jane Ebrey, born about October 1839 in Prees, Shropshire, England. I say “about” because the many records I have for her show her birth year ranging from 1837 to 1855!  I suspect the 1837-1839 period is right, as census records give her age as 14 in 1851 and 22 in 1861.

To date I have not found a birth record for her, either through IGI or FreeBMD. I’ve even searched the latter for the name Jane in Shropshire, September 1837 through December 1840, hoping for a unique surname spelling, but no luck.

Research by a cousin showed Jane’s parents were Thomas Ebrey and Anne, and her uncle was Robert Ebrey, a widower for whom she kept house as we know from the 1861 Census in England.  While many records are available about Robert and another uncle, John Gilchrist Ebrey, Jane’s father Thomas Ebrey is illusive in the records. There is enough evidence to know these people are her family, but more research is needed!

The happy and romantic story for Jane Ebrey is her marriage to Benjamin Booth in the second quarter of 1866, perhaps in May or June,  the same time that her cousin Henry [Robert’s son] married Sarah Booth, sister to Benjamin.

Then Benjamin and Jane sailed for America on their honeymoon, according to family lore, coming to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they established  family and career. They had two sons and four daughters including the oldest daughter, Grace, who is my great-grandmother.

Relative Musings:  Jane and Benjamin arrived in 1866, just 31 years after the building of Milwaukee had begun in the woods and swamps at a harbor on Lake Michigan and just 20 years after incorporation as a city. Benjamin’s carpentry skills played a role in the building of what has become a great city on a Great Lake!

NOTE: What is an Ahnentafel? The word is German for Ancestor table. See:

Thanks for the SNGF, Randy!

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Published in: on September 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SNGF – Ahnentafel Roulette

Note: After reviewing my Ahnentafel with greater care, I found that Marianna Stocker is No. 19 on my ancestor table. See the posting for Sunday, September 20, for Ancestor 23.

This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is Ahnentafel Roulette, a game played as follows:
> Determine how old your father is or would be this year
> Divide that number by 4 and round up
> Find the ancestor in your own Ahnentafel chart who fills the slot with that number
> And then tell us three things about that ancestor.

My father Donald Custer Bradley was born in 1919 so would be 90 this year. The figure 90 divided by 4 is 22.5, rounded up to 23. Ancestor 23 is a second-great grandmother on your paternal side.

My ancestor 23 is Marianna Stocker, b. 18 Jun 1826 near Zweisimmen in Canton Bern, Switzerland, one of 11 children of Jacob Stocker and Magdalena Werren.

A family tree notes that Jacob and many of his children came to America, with other evidence showing their arrival about 1852-1854. Marianna settled in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

On 31 March 1857, Marianna married Joachim Speich, who had come in 1847  to Wisconsin from Luchsingen, Glarus, Switzerland, and they had 2 sons and 3 daughters, the youngest being Caroline Belle Speich, my great-grandmother.

Relative Musings:  Both Marianna and Joachim came from German-speaking regions of Switzerland so would have felt at home among the many German immigrants in mid-19th century Milwaukee. On the other hand, they surely missed the beautiful high mountains of Switzerland, their native home, as they lived in a pioneer city on Lake Michigan in the flat Midwest of the USA.

I am grateful for the research done by cousins on these Stocker and Speich ancestors and graciously shared!

NOTE: What is an Ahnentafel? The word is German for Ancestor table. See:

Thanks for the SNGF, Randy!

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Please join my group Finding Family for Free at GenealogyWise:

Genealogy Queries Work

Using queries in genealogy and family history research goes way back, but how they’re published has changed dramatically.  All for the better!

In the past, queries were mailed to genealogy newsletters and magazines, waited in line for space, and eventually went out the subcribers of the particular periodical. They must have worked as the query method remained popular.

Today, queries go via emails to genealogy discussion groups or onto Web pages tailored for queries. They’re organized by surname or geographical area or unique topic of interest. And the posting is either instantaneous or as soon as a moderator reviews and approves the query.

And many query sites allow the search engines to spider their content, so a surname search in Google or Bing can turn up queries your cousins have posted on your own family. How exciting is that!

Here are some good places to post queries online, for free:

GenForums – This is a very large collection of forums for surnames, countries, regions of countries and special topics. Post a query both in a surname forum and location forum. These work!

Message Boards – an integrated system for and, free for all to use whether you access them from RootsWeb or Ancestry. See article about them.

CousinConnect – This site lets you post queries as well as browse and search them.

Progenealogists Free Queries – Post and search queries.

For many more resources about on this topic, visit the Queries page at Cyndi’s List here.

As you work on a surname or ancestor, post queries on all of the places relevant to that person or family. You may strike the proverbial pay dirt. I have so I know these work. Happy searching!

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles with ideas to help you find your family and ancestors at little or no cost. Please follow me on Twitter:

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 1:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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BBPetura on Twitter

Using Twitter is a fun way to meet genealogists, get tips on new family history resources and record research progress.  And also to follow news media, experts on archaeology and gardening, and more! Unique diary! Here are some of my recent tweets:


Wisconsin 1875 Census on FamilySearch with index & scans is great! Ancestors Benjamin Church & Sherman A. Bradley in Milwaukee!

RT @Palaeogeek Thirty thousand year-old colored twine found in Georgia: | Europe that is!

Beautiful day so I enjoyed a visit to Living in the Garden north of #Pullman for fall #flowers, food treats:

RT @Cherryteatime Condense #genealogy w/geography – Suffolk, Shropshire, Yorkshire ENG, Glarus SWISS, Pomerania, Holstein, Trier GER, more!

My search – ancestor Ferdinand Hachez did weather observations 1865, helped found a hail insurance company 1870

#Genealogy tip: At least once a year, search for your ancestors in old books & documents at Great finds possible!

Great idea: search anew for ancestors’ info on their birthday. Thanks @mjnrootdig for #Genealogy tip of the day:


RT @jefferymartin Skull has been found that rewrites the history of man — | And woman we presume!


Try to be a generous genealogy volunteer and help others find their families! See an example at Relative Musings:

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor Sherman A. Bradley was a carpenter, then pumpmaker, owned Badger Pump, Milwaukee. Pumps then made of wood!

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor John Nicholas Luehr was stonemason & farmer in late 1800s. His hard work meant two sons could go to college!

Labor Day #genealogy – Ancestor Benjamin Church, pioneer carpenter in 1835 in Milwaukee, from Ulster County, NY:

Labor Day #genealogy – Both of my grandmothers, Beatrice and Lucille, were teachers before marrying: one home ec, one elementary school.

Labor Day #genealogy – William Henry Luehr was a newspaper publisher, a school teacher & principal in Wisconsin:

Labor Day #genealogy – Martin Friedrich Bruss came to Milwaukee from Cammin, Pomerania, to continue family tradtion of ship building, 1839.

Labor Day #genealogy fun: tweet about the labors of your ancestors – any of their occupations a suprise? a family tradition? Please RT!


Amazed at my Hachez ancestors’ migrations: Brugge, Belgium, to Bremen, Germany, to village of New Holstein, Wisconsin, in 1854!

Just finished replying to a distanct cousin in Germany about the Hachez family of 3 who came to Wisconsin in 1854:

Note: The hash # tags and at @ tags you see above don’t work outside Twitter! You can find those tweeting by putting their Twitter handle after Mine, for example, is  Please follow me!

Genealogy: Giving Back

Almost everyone doing family history research is helped by genealogists who have contributed their family trees or transcribed and posted family information online. Or volunteered to do look ups or answer questions on discussion groups. 

One of the first helpful transcriptions that I found was the obituary of my third great-grandfather Nicholas Boie who came to Wisconsin in 1854 from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, with wife Cecilia and young daughter Elise. With one obituary, a wealth of family detail was discovered.

In turn, it is important to give back and contribute resources in ways that work  for you. Here are some materials I have donated to the Calumet County, Wisconsin, genealogy site, the same site that has the Boie obituary:

Obituaries – New Holstein, Wisconsin

Ferdinand Hachez, son of Ferdinand and Louise Hachez, husband of Elise Boie, father of many children including Clara

Clara Hachez Luehr, daughter of Ferdinand Hachez and Elise Boie Hachez, wife of William Henry Luehr, mother of Lucille Marguerite and Robert William Luehr

Mathilde Agnes “Tillie” Boie Sebelein, younger sister of Elise Boie Hachez and wife of Charles Sebelein

John August Hansen, husband of Lena Boie, sister to Elise Boie Hachez and Tillie Boie Sebelein

Anna Margretha Groth Luehr, wife of John Nicholas Luehr, mother of four sons: John, William Henry, Edward and Arthur

John Claudius Luehr, son of John Nicholas Luehr and Anna Groth Luehr, husband of Wilhelmina Kroehnke, father of three

William Henry Luehr, son of John Nicholas Luehr and Anna Groth Luehr, husband of Clara Hachez Luehr, father of Lucille Marguerite and Robert William Luehr.

Dr. Edward Luehr, son of John Nicholas Luehr and Anna Groth Luehr, husband of Louisa Holdenreid, father of two

Lydia Luehr, daugher of John Claudius and Wilhelmina Kroehnke Luehr

These are posted in the Obituaries section of the Calumet County, Wisconsin, Genealogy and History site.

Biographies – New Holstein, Wisconsin

William Henry Luehr, Wisconsin journalist, publisher, educator, principal and state government official.

This biography is posted on the Calumet County, Wisconsin, Genealogy and History site.

I also created a New Holstein genealogy and history guide on the Web that is filled with names of early pioneers and links to family and history resources.

Obituaries – Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

Here are three obituaries I have donated to the genealogy site for Sheboygan County, which is east of Calumet County:

Lucille Marguerite Luehr Conger, daughter of William Henry Luehr and Clara Hachez Luehr, wife of Howard Dale Conger, mother of a son and a daughter

Howard Dale Conger, son of Robert Owen Conger and Eda Dell Morey Conger, husband of Lucille Marguerite Luehr Conger, father of a son and a daughter

Mary Schneider Bradley, daughter of Fred and Elisabeth Schneider of Plymouth, and second wife of Sherman A. Bradley of Milwaukee

Become a genealogy volunteer and help others find their families!

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles with ideas to help you find your family and ancestors. Please follow me on Twitter:

Genealogy Scavenger Hunt

How about a Genealogy Scavenger Hunt? Randy Seaver at GeneaMusing posed a challenge to find a missing census entry a great-great-grandparent [or other relative] for SNGF or weekend genealogical fun. So here we go:

First, I did try one more time to find my second great-grandfather Sherman A. Bradley in the 1850 Census. I tried again a variety of strategies in the search such as using just part of the surname like this: Bradl* plus born in Connecticut in 1835. And other variations. No luck.

I don’t think he was recorded. Neither were his parents, Leaming Hawkins Bradley and Mary C. Simons Bradley, as far as I can tell. The family was from Bradleyville, Litchfield Township, Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Sherman’s grandfather Horace Bradley and uncles John and Clark Bradley were in Trenton, Dodge County, Wisconsin, in the 1850 Census.  Sherman arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about 1857-1858, based on a Milwaukee City Directories.

What about Sherman’s other uncles and aunts in the 1850 Census?
> Frederick Abernathy Bradley was in New York City.
> Dan Augustus Bradley was in Washington, Litchfield County, Connecticut where Leaming H. Bradley was found in 1840.
> Julia Ann Bradley, not found in 1850 Census.
> Henry Bradley, only listed in a family genealogy book
> Edward S. Bradley, Guilford, Chenango, New York, a location where other of his siblings settled over the years.
> Aaron Bradley, Guilford, Chenango, New York
> Amelia Bradley, New York City, lived with brother Frederick

Since I wanted to find a new census record for the scavenger hunt, I returned to Wisconsin and my great-grandfather William Henry Luehr , an educator, newspaper publisher and state government official. I noticed that I had not found him in the 1895 Wisconsin Census. Attempts with his surname spelled correctly turned up nothing in 1895, but I was sure he should be there. He was a school principal and newspaper publisher at that time in the Grand Rapids / Centralia area, Wood County, Wisconsin, now Wisconsin Rapids.

After several more attempts, now using Luhr and Lehr, I searched in the 1895 Wisconsin Census, Wood County, with just William — and there he was, his surname mistranscribed as Luchr. The original clearly shows Luehr. So I have a new entry in his timeline:

William Luehr, household 1 male, 2 females [wife Clara, daughter Lucille], Grand Rapids, Wood, Wisconsin. Source:  Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1895 Microfilm, 10 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin. Via

I now have all eight possible census records for him, including the 1895 and 1905 Wisconsin Census records. Very satisfying.

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles with ideas to help you find your family and ancestors. Please follow me on Twitter:

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm  Comments (1)  

My Genealogical Threes

Randy Seaver at GeneaMusing posed a My Genealogical Threes topic for SNGF or weekend genealogical fun. So here we go:

Three genealogical libraries I frequent:
Since I live in Pullman and work full time, my library visits are virtual… but very successful nonetheless:
> Family History Library with resources via my local Family History Center
> America’s libraries via Interlibrary loan at WSU Libraries,  a helpful, low-cost service for which I am grateful
> GoogleBooks, an extraordinary genealogy “library” [also books at Heritage Quest and]

Three places I’ve visited on genealogy trips:
> Benjamin Church House, now in Shorewood, built by my third great-grandfather and Milwaukee pioneer in the 1840s.
> Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my hometown but unappreciated from a genealogy standpoint until recently
> New Holstein, Wisconsin, where my ancestors from Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein settled in the 1850s.

Three ancestral places I want to visit:
> Litchfield & Guilford, Connecticut – Bradley
> Hodnet & Prees, Shropshire, England – Booth, Ebrey
> Wewelsfleth, Holstein, Germany – Tonner, von Thun, Suhr, Witt, Rossman, Stindt, Sommer, other ancestors

Three genealogy societies I belong to (or want to):
I list one historical society because they often offer invaluable assistance to genealogists as well:
> New Holstein Historical Society – Wisconsin
> Ulster County Genealogical Society – New York
> New England Historic Genealogical Society

Three websites that help my research:
> Links to the Past – for Milwaukee County
> Calumet County Genealogy & History – for New Holstein

Three ancestral graves that I’ve visited (or want to)
> Boie Monument
– New Holstein, Wisconsin
> Hachez Monument – New Holstein, Wisconsin
> Church Monument , Forest Home – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Three brickwall ancestors I want to research more
> Jane Ebrey – my gg-grandmother, b. abt 1839 in Shropshire, need to confirm her parents, said to be Thomas and Anne Ebrey
> Hannah Baker Church, b. 4 March 1773, Ulster County, NY, my fourth great-grandmother who became a Quaker minister, wife of Caleb and mother of 10. Parents unknown.
> Caleb Church, b. abt. 1772, possibly in Dutchess County, NY, my fourth great-grandfather, said to be descended from Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass., but unproven.

Other answers to this fun challenge have been posted by:
> Thomas MacEntee
> Randy Seaver
> and many more here!

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles to help you find your family and ancestors, often for modest or no cost. Please follow me on Twitter:

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 9:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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Twitter for Genealogy

If you are not yet using Twitter for genealogy, now is the time to start. And the cool aspect of Twitter is that you can use it to connect with family, friends and folks in your other hobby interests all at the same time. And all in 140 character micro-blog posts called “tweets” that make connecting quick and easy.

So how can you possibly learn very much in 140-character postings about genealogy or family history? The key is to combine a sentence or meaningful phrase with a link to a Web site that might be your blog or genealogy resources you recommend.

You’ll get many ideas for research from other genealogists on Twitter. You’ll enjoy other researchers’ success stories or learn of their brickwalls. Today Dick Eastman shared his success story using DNA to confirm his connection to the Roger Eastman who arrived in Massachusetts in 1638.

And you’ll get updates on genealogy news. The new genealogy social network called GenealogyWise was out on Twitter from the day it was available to join — and spurred a flood of new members. [Meet me via my page at GenealogyWise.]

One helpful resource that Twitter genealogists share are listings of top or favorite family history research tools and Web sites. One individual just shared the list of 89 Genealogy Resources at the well known RefDesk site. While many of the resources are well known, there’s bound to be something new to help my research. And perhaps yours as well.

And you can participate in Surname Saturday, posting the surnames you’re researching and where they were from, to connect with others researching to same names.

To get started, head over to and click on Get Started – Join! Choose a user name [it will appear in all of your tweets] and password. Then join the fun, finding others on Twitter to “follow” to get their messages.

I post about geneaology and family history, so would love to have you follow me at

Then use the Twitter advanced search here that you can find here: and put the word genealogy in the space called Hashtag. Up will come all the recent “tweets” about the subject that have #genealogy in them.  You also can search using the #familyhistory hashtag.

Pick a few folks to follow by clicking on their name — and then click the Follow box under their picture. Your home page will immediately have the most recent messages from everyone you follow. Enjoy reading and then posting ideas and resources you want to share. Soon you’ll have some people following you too. Enjoy!

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles to help you find your family and ancestors, often for modest or no cost.

GenealogyWise Networking

One of the best ways to learn more about your ancestors is to network with others researching your surnames. But finding those genealogists and family history researchers isn’t always easy.

Now, the new GenealogyWise Social Network is making it possible for you to find people interested in your family surnames, your family locations, your Y or mtDNA Haplogroup, and much more. And membership is free.

In keeping with the spirit of this blog — Finding Family for Free — we encourage you to visit the GenealogyWise Web site. If you like what you see, and we think you will, please join and get into the conversations underway.

The site has not yet been officially launched, but as of July 10, 2009, it had more 1,600 registered members who had created more than 450 special interest groups.

GenealogyWise reported that among the most active groups at that time were such groups as:
Germany and German Ancestry
Ireland and Irish Ancestry
Genealogy Tips and Links
The Genealogy Guys Podcast
— Scotland and Scottish Ancestry

Of course you’ll want to join groups. And, if you are researching a surname or location, you’ll want to create a group if one doesn’t exist.  I’ve created these groups:

> Bradley Genealogy
> Conger Genealogy 
> Haplogroup U – for all in mtDNA U Haplogroup

You can post your queries, invite and make friends, help other members, find out about upcoming genealogy events and much more.  You’ll enjoy genealogy networking as never before.

And if you join, please invite me to be a Friend. You’ll find me at:

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles to help you find your family and ancestors, often for modest or no cost.