Those of Whom No One Speaks

I have two folks in my family tree whom I find myself coming back to again and again. One – Ella Baker – is a sister of my great grandfather, Henry Jones. All I know of Ella is that she appears in the Worcester (MA) State Asylum in the 1910 census, then from 1920 until her death, she appears in the Tewksbury (MA) Asylum in the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses and apparently died there in 1953. Ironically, she and my great grandfather would die 7 days apart, he on May 13, 1953 in Vermont and she on May 20, 1953 in Massachusetts.

The other is a member of the same family, Henry’s grandson, David Neil Jones, my grandfather’s youngest brother. He appears in the Concord (MA) House of Correction on the 1940 census at age 17, and I can find no other record of him thereafter...

Read More

My Best Cartoon Voice

The story passed down through the Jones side of my family was that my maternal grandfather’s ancestors had come from France and had changed their surname. Finding my grampa’s ancestors has proven to be one of the hardest brick walls I’ve run into…and it’s amazing how very quickly it came down

once it started to crumble. I remember the day it happened. I’m sitting at my computer, looking at census records for Franklin County, New York. From various records, I knew my grandfather’s dad had been born there – in either Moira, Malone, or Bombay. So this particular night, having bashed my head against that brick wall ad nauseum, I decided to go page by page through the census records, reading each and every entry one by one.

My grandfather’s name was Harry Jones, as was his father’s name...

Read More

And Another Wall Comes Down…

Current Status

I sat at my computer a few weeks ago, poring over the records on I’ve had some success in some areas of my family history recently – most notably, I was finally able to get beyond Ellis Island with my Polish paternal line (Buczek), as I noted in a previous post.

The Jones line still eludes me, although we have confirmed that my great grandfather Harry Jones was actually a Henry and the son of Andrew J. Jones (instead of John as is listed on Henry/Harry’s death and marriage records). Andrew’s father was Thomas. This info came from a collaboration with a third cousin (whom I’ll call GC) I’ve met via Ancestry. GC contacted me via Ancestry, or I contacted her, I don’t remember which, and we started conversing via email, comparing research, etc...

Read More

If It’s on the Interwebs, It MUST Be True… Right? Um…Not Necessarily!

I read an interesting article today: On the Web, Exploring the Family Tree is Easy – But Unreliable

This is something that’s been on my mind recently as I’ve been poking at the roots of my family tree. Sites like and and WikiTree are wonderful resources for professional and amateur genealogists alike, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about doing the digging. One of the common aspects of sites like these is that many people have uploaded GEDCOM files, self-contained computerized databases of their family trees. The problem is that a lot of the information in those family trees is not sourced properly.

I pride myself on entering only accurate information in my family tree, opting in most instances to only enter information for which I have primary sour...

Read More

Tips and Tricks: Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start?

Are you interested in researching your family history but have no clue where to start? Well, the good news is, you probably already have enough information to start your first search in online databases. You’ve heard family stories and know the names of some of your ancestors–your grandparents, great grandparents–those are the ones you want to start with.

Before you do all that, though, it’s helpful if you gather as much information as you can from people in your family. Talk to your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles. The more details you can fill in, the better, because you’re going to need some of those details to help you confirm that you’re “barking up the right tree.”

Forget the “Family Story”

Yup, I said it...

Read More

The Plot Thickens!

More on Aleksander and Family!

I have discovered even more about my Buczek family than I did last week! It turns out that Wojciech, my great great grandfather, came to America twice before his son Aleksander finally joined him. He first came in 1909, then in 1912, he returned–this time accompanied by his 18-year-old daughter, Maryanna! Their destination? To visit/join his son, her brother, Antoni Buczek in Little Falls, New Jersey. So not only did I find that my great grandfather Aleksander had a sister, but he also had a brother!

Not only that, but a few lines below Wojciech and Maryanna were two other people going to the same address in Little Falls, New Jersey, one an acquaintance of Antoni Buczek and the other a cousin! Kicked myself for not thinking before to look through the lists an...

Read More

There are a number of sources available online for genealogical research. Of course we’ve all heard of, but Ancestry charges a fee for you to get much information from them and some people just can’t spare the extra cost. I currently do have a subscription to Ancestry, but I have been using for the last couple of years because it’s free to use and view (most) documents. It’s also nice to have two reliable sources of information. Chances are, if I can’t find what I’m looking for on Ancestry, I might be able to find it on FamilySearch, and vice versa.

Below is a recent press release from FamilySearch about their goal to put historical records online within one generation...

Read More

Finding My Maternal Great Grandfather

My maternal grandfather was Harry Jones. He was born February 27, 1918 in Hanson, Massachusetts. He had six brothers (Alexander, George, James, Ralph, David, and Paul) and two sisters (Dorothea and Christine). Their parents were Harry Jones and Sadie (Bears) Jones.

Until recently, that was as far back as I could get with the Jones line. Then I found my great grandparents’ marriage record, which gave me their parents’ names–Sadie’s parents were Wellington and Christiana (Taylor) Bears from Prince Edward Island, Canada; and Harry’s were John and Lydia (Murry) Jones.

Tracing the Bears line proved an easy task because a lot of people have researched that genealogy, so I was able to connect Sadie back to her earliest American ancestor, Augustine/Austin Bearse from Barnstable County, Massachuset...

Read More

Finding My Paternal Great Grandfather

Aleksander Buczek was born on March 21, 1896 in Bilgoraj, Poland. You’d think that I’d know this from someone in my family, but let me tell you how I came to find him.

I spent years looking for Aleksander. Unfortunately for me, there was another Aleksander Buczek who immigrated from Poland around the same time as he did, and shared some of the same family names (Walter, Aleksander, Stanley). In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the number of records available online, due in large part to the Latter Day Saints and their efforts to compile as much genealogical data as they can.

I’ve found several sites that offer free access to data sources and collaboration. is one of the best, offering a lot of the same records that most people pay for on

Read More


We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: “Tell our story.” So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us...

Read More