Thursday, January 26, 2017


The first problem that I worked on while researching at the Family History Library was about Patrick "Paudeen" Chambers and his son Thomas Chambers and the lack of documentation that I have for them.

Some background information: Patrick Chambers was supposedly born in 1716 in Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland to John Chambers (born in 1682) and his wife Bessie Fair (born in 1680).  Patrick's son Thomas Chambers was born in 1774 in Glenna Bo, Newport, Mayo, Ireland.

Findings: I did locate a record "Scotland Births and Baptisms" on for Patrick Chalmers.  According to this record, he was christened on 25 Mar 1716 in Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland.

Plan: To continue to look for documents pertaining to Patrick Chambers and his son Thomas. I am interested in finding out why Patrick would move from the East coast of Scotland to the West coast of Ireland.  I also wonder if Patrick had another family before the birth of his son Thomas (who was born when he was 58 years old).  I also need to look for possible other children of Patrick, both in Scotland and in Ireland.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Ever since I started researching my family history on a regular basis (probably in the early 2000's) I have longed to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  With their vast resources, of course, it was near the top of my "Genealogical Bucket List".  While I longed to visit the Library, it almost felt like a daunting task.  How could I prepare enough so that I wouldn't waste that golden opportunity?  What if I spent a few days there and really didn't accomplish anything but later figured out I should have done things differently?

I decided to register for a trip with a group -- Ancestor Seekers.  They would make the hotel arrangements and provide some direction and hopefully lots of assistance!  I felt like this would give me a safety net -- people to help me navigate the largest genealogical library with its massive book collection.  Ancestor Seekers had people who could help with British Isles, Irish, German and American research.  It sounded like the best plan for me.

But I still needed to plan for my research.  I couldn't just show up and hope they could help me.  I registered for a "Preparing for the FHL Visit" webinar, which reinforced the idea that I needed to plan and actually perhaps have a few alternate plans.

So my big question was "who do I research while I am there" and "what do I research about these people"?   Before deciding who to research, I decided to find out what resources were available at the library  -- that might help me to decide what were my best chances of finding information.  I decided that I would focus on my Irish ancestors and then if time allowed, I would do some research on some specific German ancestors.

I made a list of the books that I wanted to peruse while I was there, as well as, which microfilm to look at.  I created some problem sheets which would focus on specific problems and individuals that I was hoping to solve.  Each problem sheet contained the following information: problem, background information, sources checked and plan.  [I will discuss each of these problem sheets in a future blog post].

After doing all of this, I met with a mentor -- someone who has taught several Genealogy classes that I have taken.  We met for lunch and discussed all of my problem sheets and my approach for my visit to the FHL.   After a few months of preparation, I felt like I was finally ready to visit the Family History Library.


Last week, my daughter and I went to the movies to watch "Lion".  According to my Google-employed son who told me about the movie, it was about a guy using Google Earth to find his birth home and village and more specifically his family.  It was a very touching movie!

The movie got me thinking on how many times I have used Google Earth for my genealogy research.  Some of my more memorable searches include the following:

1. Locating parcels of land where my Great Grandmother Bridget Chambers spent her childhood in the townland of Letter, Islandeady, County Mayo, Ireland. [If I had used Google Earth while on the road in Ireland I might have been able to see the land with my own eyes]

2. Trying to match a house that I have in a 1960 photo (the childhood home of my Great Grandfather Bryan Sherlock in Demailestown, Meath, Ireland) to see if it still exists today.  [Sadly I had no luck with my search but considering how old that house would have been -- he lived there in the late 1800's -- it probably has been torn down and a newer house built.]

3. Locating the following churches -- Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt (Helferskirchen, Rheinland, Germany), Saint Boniface Church (Wirges, Rheinland, Germany) and St. Laurentius Church (Dernbach, Germany).  [This helped with my visit to see them in 2015]

4. Trying to see what the house my Grandmother Theresa Nebgen Sherlock grew up in Chicago, looks like today.

5. And of course, looking at my Google Earth photos of my childhood home in Southern California.