A FamilySearch Profile Photo Experiment

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Last week, I wrote about a funny glitch I came across in FamilySearch.  See that image right up there?  The profile picture?  It’s not William Taylor, it’s James Lake.  Weirder still is that picture of James Lake isn’t anywhere in the memories tab for this William.  It seems to be the ghost of a photo no longer attached to William.  Well, that post prompted a Twitter conversation that led me to conduct an experiment with FamilySearch photos and profile pictures.

These were my questions:

  • Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?
  • Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?
  • Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?
  • Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?



Experiment Phase One – Simple Comparisons


I selected a handful of my own ancestors whose profile photos I have personally changed at some point and compared their profile from the FamilySearch Tree app on my phone, to the profile as seen when logged in as my friend.*  The results were interestingly inconsistent.

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Here are the profile images of each person.  Images from my friend’s account on the left, from my account on the right (note – I double checked the website, logged in as me, and the images on the right from the app match what I see on the website):


Based on these results we can answer two of our questions.


Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?



Logged in as my friend, I looked at my relatives who my friend had never looked at before.  They all showed a profile picture if they had any photos in the memories tab.  (With one strange exception that we will discuss in more detail in my report on part two of my experiment.  But recently uploaded and deleted photos can cause a person to go from having a profile photo to not having a profile photo.)


Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?



Because there is such a wide variety in this set of simple comparisons, it appears that FamilySearch has had different default settings for profile pictures at different times.


Experiment Phase Two – Uploading and Deleting Photos


I selected a handful of family members who did not currently have any photos in the tree.  I uploaded and deleted photos from both my friend’s FamilySearch account and my own to see what happened to the profile photo.

These are the four photos I used in my experiment:


Let’s start with John Arthur Jerrain.


John is seen in the first and second photos.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 shows on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.  (Note – I did not click on the profile photo circle as I wanted to see if the app would add a photo by default.)

Still logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged John, Emma, & Prude in that photo.  Yes, Prude.  His full name is Prudent Arthur Jerrain.  😉  What happened?

  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 and photo 2 show on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.

Still logged in as my friend, I deleted photo 1.  What happened?

  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • When logged in as me, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • In the app, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  I made the tag a much larger circle so that it could be differentiated from the tag created using my friend’s account.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab.  Photo 1 with the larger circle was now his profile picture.
  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab but had no profile picture.
  • In the app, John now showed both photos and still has no profile photo.


Now let’s chat about Emma Esther Jerrain.


Emma is seen in the second photo.  Emma already had a few photos uploaded by me.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Emma’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2 when logged in as me.
  • In the app, Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2.


What about Prudent Arthur Jerrain & Jessie Cambell Shirkie?


Prudent can be seen in pictures 2, 3, and 4.  Jessie can be seen in picture 3 and 4.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged Prude in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 2 was visible in Prude’s memories, but he did not have a profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 3 and tagged Prude and his wife Jessie Cambell Shirkie in that photo.  I did not tag their daughter Willow Eleanor, who is also seen in this photo, because I was planning to delete this picture and Willow was not part of my experiment.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed from picture 2 to picture 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still picture 2, but picture 3 can be seen in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, both picture 2 and picture 3 can be seen, but Prude has no profile photo.

What happened for Jessie with the upload of photo 3?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • In the app, photo 3 shows in Jessie’s memories tab, but she has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 4 and tagged Prude and Jessie in that photo.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are all visible.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, all three photos are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 3 and 4 are visible, but she still has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I deleted photo 3.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed back to photo 2.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2.
  • In the app, photo 2 and 4 are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 4 is visible, she still does not have a profile photo.


Interestingly, on the day I conducted this experiment, after a photo was deleted and a person “lost” their profile photo, in the couple box of that person and their spouse, the circle for the profile photo showed a broken photo link icon.  However, the next day, that icon was gone and the profile photo area is just empty despite there being a photo in that person’s gallery.





I started with four questions.  I was able to answer all four:


Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?

Yes!  It is the first photo uploaded for that person.  However, if a user adds a photo for the first time to a person who already has photos, the profile photo will change to the newly added photo for that user.

In the app, however, FamilySearch does not set a default profile photo.


Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?

Yes and No.  This function has varied over time.


Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?

It appears that based on my original post, in the past, a ghost of the photo can still remain as the profile photo.  But now, when the photo is deleted, in most cases, the profile picture is blank until a user chooses a new profile photo.  In one instance, the profile photo reverted back to the first photo uploaded by a different user.  This function is inconsistent.


Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

No!  FamilySearch has clearly made some changes to how profile photos are assigned.  Based on my experiment, I think they have changed things more than one time.



Thank you, Alberta Genealogical Society – @ABGenealogy – for prompting me to complete this experiment.  When I work with patrons at my local FamilySearch center and they ask a question about some quirk they have run into on FamilySearch I often say, “Well, it used to work this way, but let’s give it a look and see how it’s working now.”  FamilySearch makes changes regularly and just when you think you have it figured out, it’s different.


Thank you, FamilySearch for constantly working to improve all areas of your website.  You are awesome and you make the genealogy world so much better for everyone!!  (I’m especially loving how fast you are digitizing records and getting them in the catalog.  Amazing!!!!  ❤️)



Happy Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful genealogy week for everyone!  If you haven’t perused the FamilySeach catalog – do give it a look today!  You just might find a hidden treasure.  If you aren’t sure where the catalog is, read this post I wrote last yearxoxo




*I logged into my friend’s FamilySearch account, with her permission, to assist in my experiment.




Dear Emma, What should I call your oldest son? Love, Amberly



A family record typed by Hope Estelle Maffit Duval.  Older data came from her mother Emma Esther Jerrain Maffit.  There are multiple copies of this record that all list Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit with these dates.


Dear Grandma Emma,

Thank you for leaving family records that your daughter Estelle, my great-grandmother, typed up.  They are so helpful!

But here’s the deal – your second child and first son?  You gave him two, sort of three, different names.  I don’t know what I should call him.

In all of the family records Estelle typed up, she listed him as Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit.  But there are no birth or death records for a Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit.  There is a birth record for an Orin Maffit and a death record for an Orrin Seth Maffit.  But guess what?  The dates on those records don’t match the dates you list for Chesterfield.  Not exactly.

Your daughter typed up a birthdate of 5 January 1905, and a death date of 21 March 1905, for Chesterfield.  (For a while, I was extra confused because a family member had mistyped from Estelle’s record and gave a death date for Chesterfield of 20 January 1905.)1  Orin’s birth date was 5 January 19062 and his death date was 23 March 19063.  Those dates are so similar that I really struggled with whether or not Chesterfield and Orrin were the same child.  I actually have both children in my tree because I did not want to leave out any of your precious children – and what if you really had two sons born on the same day a year apart who died one year and two days apart?

But just a few weeks ago, I found my first record for Chesterfield.  I was soooo excited!  The record is Chesterfield’s baptism record4.  It reads this way:

“350   Name: Chesterfield Seth Maffit    Parents: Seth and Emma    When Born: January 1st ” [ditto marks for 1906]    When Baptised: ” [ditto marks for Mch] 23rd ” [ditto marks for 190-, the last digit in the year is cut off, the index indicates 1906]”

This is the first record that ties the two boys together.  It brings the dates for Orrin with the name of Chesterfield, just with the middle name of Seth instead of Jerrain.  I think Orrin and Chesterfield are the same boy.  Am I right?

In the 1910 census5, you are listed as the mother of four with two living.  If you really had both Orrin and Chesterfield, those numbers should be five with two living.  You wouldn’t forget a baby that you buried, would you?

So, did you name your first son Orin, baptize him as Chesterfield Seth, then list his name as Orrin Seth on his death record, and then decide to call him Chesterfield Jerrain in your family record?  Or is there something else going on?  Did you name him Orin, decide to go with Chesterfield and then after he died, your brother-in-law William, who was a doctor and the informant for your son’s death (and birth), listed his name as Orrin Seth on the death record without consulting you?

The baptism record also brings up other questions for me.  The baptism record for Chesterfield lists his date of baptism as 23 March 1906.  He was the only child baptized that day, a Friday.  That is the very day that Orrin Seth died of acute fermental diarrhea.  Did you know that he was going to die?  Was this an emergency baptism?  What must that day have been like for you?  A cloth diaper disaster, the impending death of your second child, your second child to die… how did you get through that day?

Grandma Emma, I want to represent your story, and family, accurately.  I think I can merge Orrin Seth and Chesterfield Jerrain.  But am I right?

With Much Love,

Amberly, your 2nd great-granddaughter



Dear Readers,

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this one.  Merging those two boys will be mighty difficult for me.  I would hate to erase someone’s existence from my tree.  But on the other hand… it seems like they are the same person.  What do you think?


Amberly, the girl over here trying to sort everything out correctly



Happy Monday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could figure out a way to send letters to the past through some special time-traveling-bank-style-pneumatic-tube?  And then get answers to our questions from that same magical tube?  I would sooooo get in line to do that!  😉





  1. Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit has an entry in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  It shows my username as having submitted the data but my I am fairly certain that my sister did that.  I may have been the one to link him to his parents early on and that may be why my username shows there.  You can view him here: 
  2. “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922,” index, ( : accessed 07 May 2014), Orin Maffit, 05 Jan 1906; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, reference 10380, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,288,111 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). 
  3. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922,” index, ( : accessed 07 May 2014), Orrin Seth Maffit, 23 Mar 1906; citing 2896 Archer Ave, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Cemetery, cn, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,737 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). 
  4. Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1907″; Book Title: Session/Register 1887-1923; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I30608 I42, image for Chesterfield Seth Maffit, baptism 23 March 1906, image 170 of 228, line 350; accessed through “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970,” database and images, ( : accessed 25 January 2016). 
  5. 1910 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago Ward 5, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 286, page 3B (handwritten), dwelling 39, family 54, lines 93-96, Seth Moffit household, digital image,, ( : accessed 11 May 2018); citing FHL microfilm 1,374,257, original source data NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 244. 


This and That


My littlest darling battling a yucky stomach flu.

The last week has been rough at our house.  The stomach flu made its way through all of us with the exception of my husband.  Despite spending the majority of my time being a human pillow for my feverish, sleepy little lad, I did have some cool genealogy moments.

But first!

Exactly one year ago today, we said goodbye to our missionary.  One year down, one to go!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉  Here is my favorite picture from that day.


And Second – 

Momma C is a woman in South Carolina who loves Mormon Missionaries.  She adopts them, trains them to say “Yes ma’am”, take out her garbage, and bring in her groceries.  In return she feeds them – a lot, calls their mothers every week, and sends text messages with pictures.  My missionary has been in that area for exactly 8 days.  I’ve gotten 2 phone calls, 17 text messages, and 16 photos from Momma C during those 8 days.  What an awesome service!  What makes it even more remarkable to me is that Momma C is a staunch Baptist, raised by a Baptist Preacher whose best friend happened to be a Mormon Bishop.  What a great reminder she is that we really don’t have to have the same beliefs or viewpoints to just love and serve each other.  And as she said, “We really do believe mostly the same things”.  Bless her, for focusing on our similarities, not our differences.  ❤️

Now for the genealogy.



On Sunday I was fortunate enough to teach a group of 15 and 16 year olds a little bit about Family History.  I love doing that!

In preparing, I revisited one of my earliest “hunts” – Helen Boles.  Helen is my 3rd great grandaunt.  Learning her story took quite a bit of digging.  I planned to tell her story as part of my class, so I wanted the details to be fresh in my mind.  While reviewing, I also reviewed my Ancestry hints for Helen, her husband John, her children, and grandchildren.  Ancestry had a hint for a FindAGrave entry for Helen’s husband John.

The hint was accurate.  But even better was the fact that someone had uploaded a photo of the headstone!  Helen had paid for a monument and included information about her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson on the stone.  This act of love just added to my depth of feeling for Helen.

This headstone find sent me on the hunt for other cemeteries in Scotland that might have been added to FindAGrave.  Then I just branched out and found a handful of headstones for my Boles family from Scotland.  Among them:

  • James Thomson Boles (grandson of Helen Boles), wife Mary Ann Storey, and sons James Thomson Boles and John Albert Storey Boles.  Scotland
  • James Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), wife Jessie Ferguson, and daughter Annie McFarlane Boles.  Scotland
  • Barbara Crow Boles (granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband Robert Smith Yuille.  Scotland
  • Isabella Boles (mystery great granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband James Moffat Marr.  Scotland
  • Isabella Muir Boles (niece of Helen Boles), and husband Alexander Kirkwood.  Ontario, Canada
  • John McLaren Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), and wife Jean/Jane Penman.  Ontario, Canada

There were a few other Boles entries in these cemeteries, but without the stones for confirmation, they are still hanging out on my “likely” list.

In the past, I haven’t had much luck finding cemeteries or headstones for family members outside of the US.  These new finds were especially exciting.

I am so grateful for the individuals who photographed the headstones and added them to FindAGrave.  This act of service helped me learn more about many of my family members.  But even better than learning more, was the connection I felt when viewing the stones, particularly the one that Helen had made for her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson.


How about you?  Have you found any cemeteries or headstones on FindAGrave outside of the US?


Or even better, have you helped to photograph a foreign or obscure cemetery and uploaded the photos to FindAGrave?


If so, I commend you for your great service.


Happy Thursday!  My kids start school next week – more time for genealogy.  😉



Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️

COSTELLO, John playing his guitar, November 1960

John Costello, November 1960. Photo courtesy of Barbara Costello.

In May of this year, I shared my joy at finding 7 seconds of video of my great grandfather, John Costello.  In that post I shared that I have exactly 5 photos of my great grandfather.

Guess what?

That is not the case any longer!!


{Insert major genealogy happy dancing & celebrating right here.}


In July, my sister visited our grandaunt Barbara.  Barbara is the widow of Dan Costello.  Dan is the son of our great grandfather, John Costello.

Aunt Barbara sent my sister home with a lovely chalk drawing created by John’s wife, that I shared last week.  She also sent her home with a small, but very precious, bundle of photographs for me to scan and return.

This photo of Grandpa Costello was among them.  My heart is bursting with joy to see Grandpa Costello in – what I am guessing is his living room? – playing his guitar.  He didn’t like having his picture taken, so each photo is extra special.  Here he is, as a 67 year old man, still playing his guitar.  Be still my heart.



Have you been blessed to have photos shared with you, photos you weren’t expecting to ever see?



ps – Thank you!! for all of the input and advice about my letter collection.  I really appreciate each of your comments, emails, and poll answers.  Between all of you and some conversations with family, I think I have made a tentative plan.  I think.  The part I know for sure is that I will not be sharing the letters here.  My goal is to be ready to begin sharing them with family in January.

As a side note, my sister talked me through every possible way of sharing, all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.  In all of that discussing, she helped me have an interesting and very valuable a-ha moment.  There are letters missing.  I know this for sure.  There are also letters that have been edited by scissors or permanent marker – by Grandma.  That leads us to believe that she definitely destroyed many letters, leaving no trace, and that the ones that remain that were marked “destroy”, were either too special to her to destroy or she changed her mind about their fate.  We can’t know for certain, but it has impacted our position on how to handle those letters.  One thing all of this has caused me to reflect upon, is what my own wishes are for my personal items like journals and letters.  Hopefully I can make my wishes clear so one day my granddaughter will know exactly what I would have wanted her to do.




DNA Happy Dance & A New-To-Me Resource




This DNA stuff is awesome.  And I still don’t really know what I’m doing.

When I set out to test myself and several family members, my main goal was to find something, anything, about John Costello’s family.  That has not happened.  Yet.

But my second goal was to solve my next closest brick wall.  My third great grandfather.  He was born in France and came to the US as a child.  Until last week, everything we knew about his life was post marriage.  My sister started working on this portion of our tree about 15 years ago.  We have records, photos, and some anecdotal evidence from family members.  But all of it is post marriage.

Children didn’t just immigrate from France in the 1850s alone, but we couldn’t find any travel records.  We couldn’t find him on the census.  He seemed to have just beamed himself over from France, Star Trek style.

To complicate things, the only people in the entire US with his same surname, spelled the same way, are all his descendants.  So… made up last name?  Did his parents die when he was young, after immigrating, leaving him an orphan?  What was going on?

I hoped DNA would help with this brick wall.

And oh boy, did it ever deliver!


Last week I was combing through my matches that are in this general area of my tree.  I remembered something Diahan Southard said in a recent webinar.  She said that your best matches are the ones that you have no surnames in common with.  Those trees just might point you to the surname you are missing.

Well, I have two matches in this general area of my tree that have no surnames in common with me.  They are fairly close cousin matches.  I looked at their trees and while we didn’t share any surnames, those two trees did have one surname in common with each other.  It looked like their end of line people with this name were one generation apart.  I did a little digging and figured out how their two end of line folks connected to each other.

That still didn’t tell me how that surname connected to me though.  So I did some more digging.  I pushed their trees back another generation and I’ll be darned if I didn’t just find the sister of my brick wall!

I kept going.

Using the information about my 3rd great grandpa and his sister, I FINALLY found a ship manifest for the whole family coming over from France.  That led me to the state and federal census records that followed their arrival.

No wonder I couldn’t find them!

The spelling of their surname makes phonetic sense, but it is a variant I’ve never seen before and one I hadn’t thought to try.  Add to that that my 3rd gg’s first name is wrong on one record and recorded as simply an initial on the other, and it makes total sense that he seemed to be hiding.  He kinda was.

I found several more records – a second marriage for my 4th great grandpa (which lists his parents names! squeal of delight here), a land record for that same 4th great grandfather, records about both sisters of my previous brick wall 3rd great grandpa.  It was exciting!

I couldn’t find some important records I was hoping would help me jump the pond, so I dove deep into the FamilySearch catalog and exhausted everything I could find there.  Luckily for me, most of the relevant microfilm are already digitized and available to view from home.

I have more to do.  Lots more to do.  Which is why I intentionally left out names, and other specifics here.  For now.

All of this exciting searching led me to a brand-new-to-me website and a whole different set of discoveries.  This part of my tree is in Illinois.  My sister has done most of this research.  I’ve only helped with the pre-Illinois part in Québec.  This means I really haven’t spent much time with Illinois records or Illinois research in general.  All of my exciting, new discoveries sent me searching for Illinois newspapers.  I tried all of my usual stuff.  One of the “list” websites pointed me to the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.  What an awesome, free resource!

While I didn’t find what I was hoping to find, I did find a whole bunch of goodies about other members of my family in this general branch of my tree.  In fact, I found so much that I had a genealogy first.  I actually got bored processing all of my newspaper finds and had to take a break.  The searching and finding wasn’t boring, but the downloading, saving, and cropping got boring after dozens of cool articles.  😉  Here are two articles that were particularly interesting.

MAFFIT, Orrin, 1906 burial article - crop

This article comes from the St. Anne Record, 30 March 1906.  Mr. and Mrs. Seth Moffit are my 2nd great grandparents.  This article details their travel from Chicago to Saint Anne, and the funeral and burial of their son, Orrin Seth Maffit.

BROUILLETTE, Nelson, 1919 Car accident article - crop

This article also comes from the St. Anne Record, 10 July 1919.  It describes a minor car accident involving Nelson Brouillette, my 3rd great granduncle.  What I love is all of the other names and connections this article describes.  One that isn’t obvious is that Dr. Benjamin is Nelson’s son-in-law.


So.  What is the point here?


First, DNA results are amazingly helpful to genealogy research.  I LOVE genetic genealogy!  If you haven’t dipped your toe in yet, join us.  The water is fine.  Mighty fine.


Second, if you have any Illinois ancestors, check out the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.  A fabulous – and FREE – resource.



Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic brick wall breakthrough very soon!  It feels awesome.




The Mess That Just Keeps on Growing

Whiteley - Hyde

Once upon a time, I drew that colorful – {both literally and figuratively} – flowchart.  I wrote about the matrimonial messiness in this part of my tree.  I followed that up with a post about Arthur Hyde who seemed to have left a family in England and then married his widowed sister-in-law while still being married to his wife back home.  That was followed by a post about the incestuous relationship between uncle and niece – Robert & Rosey Hyde.  Then there was the follow-up post reminding readers that we need to always click to the next image because I found even more details about that crazy mess up there on page 50 of a record.

This fascinating series of discoveries was capped off by a post all about Rosey’s Girls.  I had learned so much since I drew that first flowchart that I had to update it.

marrying mess

The crazy, twisty, utterly shocking journey did not end there.

DNA connected me with two of Rosey’s living granddaughters.  My finding-living-people-stalking skills led me to a direct descendant of Rose Elvera Hyde.  And my cousin bait – namely this blog – brought a living descendant of Arthur Hyde to my digital door.



That super colorful flowchart needs another update.  A major update.  So major in fact that I have to start from scratch.  I thought that last post about Rosey’s Girls was hard to write.  Ummm…these next ones are going to be even more complicated if you can believe that.

I just wanted to share a few tid-bit teasers and two BIG, FAT REMINDERS as a PSA to all my fellow genealogists.


Tid-bit Teaser #1

I wrote this about the men in Rosey’s life: “There are details that come from the nuances of the records that lead me to believe that Harry was the great love of her life, that Neil was a loving old age companion, and that Robert, well, Robert seems to be the villain.  I don’t know if that’s fair, but that is who he is becoming in my mind.”

Well.  I got that completely wrong.  It turns out Harry is definitely the villain.  So much so that Robert is starting to seem not so bad.  How’s that for a turn of events?


Tid-bit Teaser #2

A very long time ago I wrote about my Grandma’s adopted first cousin Sherry Hunter.  At the time I wrote about Sherry, I still didn’t know Rosey had any children.  But it turns out that Sherry is a descendant of Rosey, adopted by her biological 1st cousin once removed.  Sherry belongs to that crazy mess up there.  I did not see that coming.


Tid-bit Teaser #3

Muriel Grace Groome nee Hyde - cleaned up

This lovely photo made it’s way to me.  That is Rosey’s daughter Muriel Grace.  Isn’t she beautiful?


Now for the PSAs.


Big Fat Reminder/PSA #1

If you have not DNA tested – PLEASE DO IT!  I cannot believe the wealth of information that has come my way as a result of DNA testing and transferring my results to two additional companies.  Followed up by contacting my matches.  In fact, I’ve gotten so caught up in the deluge, that I have lots of matches I haven’t had time to contact yet.  What other goodies are waiting for me?


Big Fat Reminder/PSA #2

When you have a mystery, brick wall, dead end – write about it.  Leave plenty of cousin bait.  If you are a regular reader you have probably noticed that I mostly write about my questions and unsolved mysteries.  In fact, if you aren’t paying close attention you might think I never solve anything.  😉  I am putting out massive amounts of cousin bait.  And it works.  People email me after finding something I wrote about a family member we have in common and they fill in details that ONLY THEY can share.  Details that exist in photo albums or memories.  Details that answer some of my most unanswerable questions.  Like what the heck happened to Arthur Hyde and his first wife Mary?  Did he really just leave her and the children behind in England and marry Alice?  Why yes, yes he did.

Cousin bait is your friend.  Make sure you are leaving it out to attract the cousins you need to find.  Your beautifully researched, perfectly reasoned, tidy little genealogy stories will attract cousins too, but usually not the cousins who bring more toys to the party.  You solved those ones.  Go ahead and write them up, but don’t let your mysteries languish in a stack of notes.  Those glittery little bits attract the distant cousins who just might answer some of your burning questions.  You may not like the answers – after all, there is a reason you haven’t been able to solve it with traditional research – but they are usually very fascinating answers.


Are you excited for my new flowchart?


I am!  Now, I just have to figure out how to fit all of the crazy connections on one page.


Maybe I need to go buy a posterboard…




Major Milestone Right Here!



Last week I filed and filed and filed letters.  Do you know what a treat it is to open letter after letter and see your grandparents handwriting?  To touch the pages they touched?  To hear their sweet and enduring love for each other?  It was completely joyful for me.

I am soooooo happy to say that I filed every single letter for the 5 1/2 years they wrote to each other!  Ten Hollinger boxes filled with letters.

(Of course, I still have the letters from the 1960s when my Grandpa was in graduate school.  But we won’t even think about those yet.)

As soon as I finish scanning Aunt Vera’s scrapbook – these letters are next on deck for scanning.  I think they deserve their own blog.  Maybe this fall.  😉


These four boxes were mostly full on Wednesday when I started.  They look so beautiful empty, I might just leave them on my table for a day to enjoy their tender place in my heart.


Happy Monday, I hope you conquer a special genealogy project sometime this year – it is an incredible feeling!