Folklife Center at the Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, N.Y. and Erica Wolfe Burke

Erica Wolfe Burke, archivist and special collections librarian at The Center for Folklife, History & Cultural Programs at the Crandall Public Library  in Glens Falls, N.Y. , joined me on the Forget-Me-Not Hour last week. She talked about this award-winning gem for genealogists tucked between the Adirondacks, the Hudson River and Vermont in upstate N.Y. The Folklife Center collects items that our ancestors used in their daily lives — from kitchen utensils, to tools, to posters, to music and instruments — to put on display in the exhibit hall of the … Read More

National Archives NARA I Orientation with Bernice Bennett

Bernice Bennett, host of the Research at the National Archives and Beyond radio show on, joined me on The Forget-Me-Not Hour last week. She gave a great introduction to NARA I, also known as Archives I,  in Washington DC, telling us what to expect when you arrive, what items to bring with you (and what not to bring with you), and how to prepare for research there. As a volunteer working with Civil War pension records at the National Archives and Records Administration, Bernice has some insider information for … Read More

New York County Clerks and Their Records

Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack joined me on The Forget-Me-Not Hour last week. She shared so much information about county clerks in New York state, including telling us for what records a county clerk is responsible. These include the filing of deeds and mortgages, passport applications, copies of military enlistment and discharge papers (something that only a handful of states do), poor house records, and more. So much of it is useful to genealogists searching their ancestry. Each New York county clerk has a different way to make the records … Read More

Hereditary Societies and Sandra MacLean Clunies

This week on The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told, Sandra MacLean Clunies talked about hereditary societies. It’s interesting how many different types of hereditary societies are out there–from lineage societies like Daughters of the American Revolution and Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain, to societies that focus on ethnic origins like Italian or Polish, to societies that focus on trades or occupations like Flagons and Trenchers: Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers, to one of the newest called Sons and … Read More

CSI, genealogy TV show and producer David Rambo

David Rambo, former producer of the hit TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS, joined me on “The Forget-Me-Not Hour” radio show this week. He talked about being a producer of the show and shared how accurate the science on the show is. In addition, David explained how a fictional TV show is developed. David and fellow CSI producer Carol Mendelsohn wrote a script for a TV pilot called “The Genealogist” for which I consulted a few years ago. The progress on the script was fascinating to watch. David … Read More

Mayflower Descendants, Ancestry, Genealogy and all things Pilgrims

Scott Andrew Bartley, former editor of the periodical The Mayflower Descendant, joined me on The Forget-Me-Not Hour last night. Drew talked about the Mayflower, the Pilgrims who came to America in 1620, and their descendants. An estimated 20 to 50 million people in the world today are descended from 26 families who were on board the Mayflower.  Only a handful have actually joined the Society of Mayflower Descendants, the hereditary association for people who can prove their descent from one of the Mayflower passengers. Drew also talked about The Mayflower … Read More

1911 New York State Capital and Library Fire

In 1911 the New York state capital in Albany burned, along with the New York state library that was housed inside. Most of the state library’s collection, which had been collected since 1818, was destroyed. The history of this devastating fire and of the New York state library has been captured in photos and has been published in a recently released book. Co-author Paul Mercer, senior librarian at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections division, joined me on The Forget-Me-Not Hour radio show this week to talk … Read More

Community-wide Genealogy and Anthropology

Have you ever taken a community-wide approach to your genealogy? That’s what Helen Shaw recommends to help you in your search. Helen, a professional genealogist with degrees in anthropology, routinely uses her anthropology research skills in her genealogy work. This approach entails looking at your ancestor’s neighbors and community as a whole to figure out the puzzles in your research. It can help you figure out who a wife is, where they went to church or to record a deed, or what documents that neighbors kept, like journals, that may … Read More

Chinese Genealogy and the One Family, One Child Policy

I just returned from a nine-day trip to China and found out a few interesting things about Chinese genealogy. In China, couples can have only one child–with a few exceptions. One is based on ethnicity and genealogy. My guide in Beijing was descended from the predominant ethnic group Han, and his wife was from the ethnic minority group Manchurian. By law, they can have more than one child because one of them is an ethnic minority. (They in fact have two children.) Their children can have more than one child … Read More

Using History to Place Your Ancestors in the Context of Their Times

Last week I was a guest on Geneabloggers Blog Talk Radio show with host Thomas MacEntee. Our topic was using history to place our ancestors in the context of their times. I had a ball on the show. I got to talk about what I love to do–finding out about the stories of the lives of our  ancestors and giving context to their lives with their politics, religion, society, occupations, and locations.  As a historian and genealogist, I do this all the time with my ancestors and for my clients’ … Read More

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