Wednesday, August 29, 2012 provides free access to census

Search all U.S. Censuses free
From August 29th through September 3rd, is opening all of its U.S. census records – FREE. Share this info with all your family, friends and followers; you can point them to to learn more and start searching.

Take a trip back in time
Go beyond searching your family’s true story in the census records and see what your own life could have been like as an adult in 1940 with the Time Machine. Our interactive, time-travel experience requires just a handful of information provided by you. And in return, you get a custom video featuring YOU in 1940. While it’s not genealogy, it is high-tech fun. Create your own video and share it with your followers. And encourage them to create their own at

I am very proud that the folks at felt that I deserved the title of " Ace". I get early announcement of the offers like the free census access and the Time Machine. Then I get to pass that information along to my friends (I do not exclude non-friends, I think of you as potential friends). So I announce these goodies in my blog and on Facebook.

I have been using since 1995 when I suddenly had to retire. I knew that I must have something to occupy my mind. I had been interested in researching my family for years. I wasn't even sure what my paternal grandfather's name was. I knew it was Joseph H. Rawlings because I had been to his grave many times. But I did not know what the 'H' stood for, where he was born and how he chose to work on the railroad. It was silly that I didn't ask my grandmother since I lived in the same town as she did until I was 13.

The Internet was really in the process of finding its legs. I was on America Online for years. I remember getting my first 9600 bps modem. I was thrilled! A fast connection! Things have changed dramatically in 17 years. Everyone in my neighborhood who has the Internet has a truly fast connection and there are many ISPs to choose from.

In 1995 I signed up for every trial memberships with everyone that offered access to genealogical information and documents. At that time I felt that was the best, so I stuck with them. I still check out anyone new that I hear from. I recently learned of which is operated by the LDS Church. It is very comprehensive and best of all it is free.

I learn from my genealogy research and it helps to keep me sane by giving me something to look forward to working on and I can create projects for myself. I was a systems analyst for over 20 years and this was how I functioned. I love hearing how people got themselves hooked on this hobby that keeps me sane.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Passing our looks to our children

People always tell me that my son looks just like me. Of course I agree. I had not thought about other members of my family looking like each other until my newly found cousin sent me some old pictures that had been passed down from my Grandma Mary. I was so thrilled to get pictures of my great-grandmother Jennie Rourke Gillespie. I didn’t even know there were any pictures of her. Her face is so interesting. She looks like a woman who has experienced so much.  By the age of 30, she had lost her husband so she packed up her three children in Ireland to follow her brothers to Ohio.  I don’t know anything about her childhood, but I have to assume she lived on a farm since she was the guiding force behind the establishment of the family farm in Ohio.

My cousin also sent a picture of Grandma Mary and our Aunt Roberta. I discovered that my aunt had been named for my great-grandmother Roberta Hixson Rawlings when I started my genealogical research. I had grown up calling my aunt “Aunt Bertie” and I know that her siblings had used the same name for her. When I received the picture from my cousin I learned that in California my aunt was called “Robbie”. I think I like Robbie better.

I was able to spend some time with my Aunt over the years. She would come to Ohio and stay for extended visits. I found her to be so fascinating. She had been a member of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word for several years. Her religious name was Sister Mary Robert.  I would have loved to watch her “shoot baskets” with the other nuns in full length habits. She also taught several of the sisters to play chess. After leaving the convent, Robbie had another calling and went to Africa to work as a medical lab technician. I always enjoyed the pictures she would send home to Grandma Mary. She made California her home when she decided to retire from her missionary work. My cousin knew her Aunt Robbie very well since she made her home near her sister Gladys, my cousin’s grandmother.

The other day I was looking at the picture of Grandma Mary and Aunt Robbie when it suddenly occurred to me that Robbie was almost a mirror-image of great-grandmother Jennie!  I don’t know why that surprised me as much as it did. In another picture of Gladys when she in her early 20’s there was a very strong resemblance to my sister Zoe at the age of 14. I could probably match up a dozen look-alikes in 15 minutes…and I haven’t even looked at my mother’s family yet.

My father Henry with Sister Mary Robert

Aunt Robbie in Cameroon

Great-grandmother Jennie