Category Archives: Dear Mother Love Daddy

Monthly Update – March 2016

It is hard to believe that March is almost over. I have so much I am trying to accomplish right now. I am currently on spring break from school, and I am hoping to get a long list of things done by the end of the week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get through the top few items on my list.

The WWII Project

Hollinger boxesThe Letters

During last month I have published many letters that were not written by Roscoe and Gladys. These letters were written between June 1944 and August 1945. Over this fourteenth month period, Roscoe, Gladys and the boys were living together in Liberty, Missouri. Roscoe was attached to William Jewell College’s Naval Flight Preparatory School.  His responsibilities included treating the officers and their families, as well as the soldiers attending the flight school. In August 1945, he was given orders to report to a new assignment on the west coast. To put this change of duty into historical perspective, Roscoe traveled to San Francisco days after the bombs were dropped on Japan and their inevitable surrender. Look for the letters between Roscoe and Gladys to resume the first week in April.

I have taken the next step in my preservation process. I have purchased some Hollinger boxes and heavy weight archival folders. Once I knock a few things off the top of my to-do list, I plan on moving the letters out of their plastic sheets and three ring binders. While working on the blog and books, it was definitely easier to store the letters in binders. However, this is not necessarily the best method for conserving them. I will start with the letters already published in Dear Mother, Love Daddy. I already have a basic finding aid prepared for cataloging the letters.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy

Unfortunately, I was not chosen as one of the local authors to participate in the Local Author Festival at the Sacramento library in April. I am definitely disappointed but not discouraged. If you have read the book, please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon. The more reviews the book gets, the higher ranking it gets (and more likely it is to be highlighted by Amazon’s algorithms).

Lots of Love, Daddy coverLots of Love, Daddy

This month has been a huge push for me to get the manuscript prepared to turn over to my copy editor. I finally finished the index, and am currently working on the glossary of people. Then all that I have left is to write my author’s notes and acknowledgements, a list of illustrations and my biography. My father FINALLY found a envelope with many of the original photographs that I intend to use in this volume. Just in the nick of time! I need to sort through the envelope and re-scan some of these photographs as well as add some new unseen pictures to the book.

This month the preliminary cover for the book was designed! Many, many thanks to Dan Young for doing a stellar job. And so, dear readers, you get the first look!

Genealogy booksSacramento Library

Last weekend I enjoyed meeting with more patrons to assist them with their genealogy puzzles. Although a couple of my appointments were cancelled (we think because people did not realize it was Easter weekend), there were some walk-ins who filled up the empty spots in my schedule. I love exploring other people’s ancestry and seeing what we can find. If you are interested in booking an appointment, contact the Franklin branch.

My next lecture is scheduled for May 7th. I will be talking about some of my favorite free genealogy sites that are available on the Internet. One of those sites is Chronicling America on the Library of Congress’ website. This is a wonderful site for finding free digitized newspapers as well as an awesome finding aid for locating newspapers in repositories around the country.


I haven’t necessarily done much towards certification this month. However, I did discover that the Holmes County Library has digitized some of the local newspapers, including the Holmes County Farmer. Within minutes of discovering this resource, I located the obituary of an ancestor I am hoping to highlight in my KDP (Kinship-Determination Project). The KDP is usually one of the more extensive requirements of the certification portfolio. The requirement is to “submit a narrative genealogy, narrative lineage, or narrative pedigree that documents and explains linkages among three ancestral generations.”

I have also been thinking a lot about what sources I have and what sources I need to locate. One of my next tasks is to list and analyze the sources I have already accumulated so I can see where some of my gaps might be.  Writing up a research plan for locating the missing documents is also on part of this step.

Alfred M. Dicks and Achilles Dicks affidavit

Alfred M. Dicks affidavit (Image courtesy of

I have been thinking about what a “reasonably exhaustive search” may be for this project, and the other elements of the portfolio. This last month I have made some amazing discoveries in my own research. I have unearthed two documents related to my ancestor Alfred M. Dicks. The main reason I have found these documents now (after 20 years!) is that the collections have recently become available online. Neither document was in an indexed database. I had to search for hours in order to find them. I wonder what other documents I could find, if only, I could make it to the courthouse or local library myself. I have been unable to find a reliable researcher willing to take on this research for me, nor would my bank account be able to support the hourly fees. This rural county has a population of less than 20,000 people. My own small city has more than 7 times that amount. So when is a “reasonably exhaustive search” complete? I don’t have a good answer to this question. I worry that I won’t have done enough when it is time to submit my portfolio. The converse is, if you don’t stop at some point to write down what you have found, no one will know what you have discovered, and it may be lost again.


It is a little over two months before Jamboree. I was really hoping to see one of the sample BCG portfolios last year in the exhibition hall. There wasn’t even BCG booth! Because I am so much closer to wanting to start the certification process, I emailed the BCG this week. I received confirmation that the sample portfolios will be there. Have you checked out a BCG portfolio at a genealogy conference? I can’t wait to see one (to see whether my work is at that level or not).

Until next month! Happy hunting!

© 2016 Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – February 2016

Wow! I can’t believe February is almost over, even with it being a short month, the days seemed to have sped by very quickly. Here in northern California, the temperature has been rising modestly and several species of cherry trees have begun to blossom and bloom. They look beautiful but they reek havoc with spring allergy sufferers.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverThe WWII Project

The Letters

I have officially transcribed and/or posted the 1,200th WWII letter (or related post). I have begun transcribing the letters that were received by Roscoe and Gladys in the 14 month gap in their correspondence. Between June 1944 and August 1945, Roscoe was stationed at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. The college was the home of the Naval Flight Preparatory school.  During that time, Gladys and the boys lived with Roscoe in a rented house at 324 W. Kansas Street. The house was owned by another Naval officer who was stationed elsewhere. This student article gives a brief overview of William Jewell College’s roll during the War.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy

The first volume of letters has officially been in publication for over one year. I recently entered the book in a local authors exhibition, and I am waiting to hear if the book has been selected. Keep your fingers crossed! I know the book has a very small niche and is often overlooked or discounted by traditional publishers so any publicity is welcome.

Lots of Love, Daddy

The first draft of the second volume of letters has been submitted to the book’s website. The book now has its ISBN numbers assigned. I am currently editing the proof manuscript and constructing the book’s index. I have sent photographs to my cover designer and am waiting to see what he comes up with for the next book cover. I am hoping to have the completed manuscript ready to turn over to my editor by the end of March.

Sacramento Library

Genealogy booksMy volunteer program at the Sacramento Library continues to grow. I have been volunteering since last June, one Saturday afternoon a month dispensing genealogy advice and assistance. I have learned that my sessions are now booked out a month or two in advance.

This February’s session was yesterday. While I feel prepared to answer a variety of questions, I think I have met my nemesis! This gap in my knowledge is two-fold. I had two clients yesterday who were interested in pursuing their Mexican roots. I know very little about the geography of Mexico as well as what record types are unique to that country. I also don’t speak or read Spanish. It was disheartening to be unable to assist those patrons more fully. But it is a lesson for anyone who is interested in seeking genealogy assistance. Most genealogists have specialties, of one kind or another, and a single genealogist can not possibility be familiar with every type of record. I view my volunteer sessions as an educational experience for both the patron and myself. The more varied research opportunities I encounter, the better genealogist I will become for my clients. Hopefully, over time, I will become more familiar with the records south of the border.

The date has been set for my next lecture – May 7th. I am planning on giving a presentation on free online genealogy resources. I continue to be amazed by the number of people who have never heard of the LDS church’s free resources at Their website is just one of hundreds (if not thousands) of resources available online for free.


Land deeds Greene County - Jewell

Land deed index from Greene County, Indiana

Because I was so focused working on Lots of Love, Daddy this month, I did not do much towards certification. I had ordered two microfilms from the LDS library in Salt Lake which arrived at the local center near the beginning of the month. The microfilms were indexes for land records in two counties where my ancestors lived. One I plan on using for my KDP project and the other for my Proof Argument. One film appears to be a total bust. I was estimating when I thought my ancestor might have purchased land. It was a 50/50 shot and I chose the wrong reel. The second film appears to be more promising. I will have to return in the near future to continue looking through the reel. Unfortunately, I suffer from motion sickness and when I went to view the films I was still suffering from bronchitis so my body was definitely under the weather. The motion sickness hit me hard this time around and I had to leave in a hurry!

Requirement five for the application portfolio is a “Research Report Prepared for Another Person.” The report has several guidelines which must be adhered to in order to meet certification standards. Among the requirements necessary are skillful analysis of evidence and the use of a variety of sources. However, equally important is the fulfillment of the client’s commission. Did the genealogist work towards achieving the client’s goal?

I have written several client reports at this point in my career, and I do not fear this aspect of the portfolio. Unfortunately, I do not have permission from any client to use their report for this purpose. Client permission is a key component to this requirement. If you don’t have it, you can’t submit it. I am currently on the lookout for a client who would be willing to grant  me this privilege as well as a project that I would find meaningful.

To download a copy of the Board of Certification application, click here.

Upcoming Events

I will be attending the Saturday seminar on March 12th at the Family Search library in north Sacramento. This is a day for learning about African American resources from the Freedman’s Bureau records to oral histories. The keynote speaker is Kenyatta Berry, one of the hosts from the PBS Genealogy Road Show. Registrations will be accepted through March 5th. Register online at

Early bird registration for Jamboree continues through April 23rd. I have signed up as an official Blogger (hence the logo on the sidebar). I hope to see you there!

© 2016 Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – January 2016

My genealogy calendar began to wind down at the end of 2015, and to be honest, between a heavy workload at school and life in general, I ran out of steam. However, with the arrival of the New Year, several upcoming events and my personal goals, I am looking forward to 2016. It is looking to be an exciting year filled with new adventures and new genealogy friends.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverThe WWII Project

Instead of having a section devoted to just my book Dear Mother, Love Daddy, I am going to condense this section to everything related to the books and the letters.

About the letters:

  • Almost 1,200 letters have been transcribed and organized so far (since December 2012). I will continue to post a letter a day (or military related document) until all the letters have been transcribed. I still do not have a final tally of how many letters there are in the collection. According to my records, I have published 1,169 blog posts in which a letter was transcribed. This does not take into account the number of posts that did not contain a letter but rather a transcription of a document from Roscoe’s personal military papers nor does it account for the occasional letter which has been discovered amongst my father’s papers and has subsequently been forwarded to me. Often these rogue letters do not make the blog because they are so far out of sequence or context. It does not make sense to publish them at the time. They will appear in the published volumes of letters however.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy:

  • The first volume of letters has been in print for exactly 11 months. It is hard to believe that the first anniversary of its publication is quickly approaching, February 24, 2016. This last week I finally prepared several copies for donation to a few of the major genealogy and state library collections. For readers who may live in the Sacramento area, the library owns a copy of the book and it can be requested through the library’s loan system. Otherwise, copies of the book are available for sale through or contact me through the website to purchase an autographed copy of the book.

Lots of Love, Daddy:

  • I am hoping to have the second volume of letters ready by Memorial Day. I had hoped originally to publish this book around the anniversary of the first book. However, my schedule has not afforded me the time needed to successfully release the book at that time. This volume will also be 150-200 pages longer than the first volume and will include letters written during October through December 1942 while Roscoe was stationed in Noumea, New Caledonia. My first draft of the book is currently 400 pages. This does not include the index, author’s notes, illustration/photo credits, or the cast of characters. I have tentatively engaged the services of a genealogy colleague to be my copy editor for this next volume. I am very excited to be working with her on this project. As the spring progresses, I will make a more official announcement. In addition, I need to begin work with my book cover designer. At this point, I have an idea but nothing concrete.

Sacramento Library

Genealogy Programs Central 2016I continue to volunteer one Saturday a month dispensing genealogy advice at my local library branch. Typically, my sessions are on the fourth Saturday of the month. Upcoming dates are January 30, February 27, and March 26. These sessions are by appointment only.

Yesterday, I presented my second lecture – A Beginner’s Guide to DNA & Genetic Genealogy. The audience was wonderful! They asked lots of great questions, and hopefully, I did not confuse them too much. I am looking forward to putting together a third presentation later this spring, likely in April or May.

The Central Branch has their genealogy program schedule published for the year. All presentations are given on Sundays from 1:00-2:30 at the Central Branch on I Street, downtown Sacramento. There are some wonderful speakers on the list, including my colleague, Gena Philibert-Ortega, who reviewed Dear Mother, Love Daddy last fall on her blog. Gena will be presenting a lecture on Finding Institutional Records in July while fellow ProGen alumna Janice Sellers will be delivering her lecture Get Me to the church: Religious Records in June.


It has long been my goal to become a certified genealogist. In order to achieve this goal, the applicant must submit a portfolio of work to the Board of Certification of Genealogists. This last week BCG president, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, announced a new application process for certification. Some of the new requirements include evaluation of the applicant’s educational experiences and a limit of 150 pages for the entire portfolio. The new application can be found on the BCG website.


My ProGen Certificate

At this point, I feel fairly confident about my educational experiences. I have completed Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate program and the ProGen study group. I will continue to attend local learning experiences, like those offered at the library or the genealogy societies in my region. I still would like to do a couple of the home study courses from the National Genealogical Society, and maybe someday, I will be able to attend a week long institute like SLIG or GRIP. Although part of me is not really thinking of attending an genealogy institute as a student, why not think higher and bolder, like as an instructor?!? But let’s be realistic for 2016…

Another colleague of mine suggested that I blog about my journey to certification (Thank you Jake!). I have long been a fan of Jill Morelli’s blog Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journal. Jill is another ProGen alumna, and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person last year at Jamboree. Jill is already “on-the-clock,” as we like to say about the certification process. She has already submitted her application and currently has 3 months remaining before she must submit her portfolio. As I stated in my year in review post last month, I want to have my plan in place for certification by the end of this year. Most of the advice I have read (from people who have gone through the certification process) recommend having one’s ideas and preliminary research started before submitting the application. Blogging about my progress will hopefully keep me on track for my goal.

Roscoe with his wife Gladys and their sons, John & Mark (circa July 1942 in Kentland, Indiana)

A branch of my family that I will NOT be using for my portfolio!

One of the main requirements for any item submitted in the portfolio is that: “No material in an initial application may have been reviewed, critiqued, or proofread by another individual.” For me, this means that none of my prior work submitted as coursework for Boston University or ProGen is eligible to be used for my portfolio. Over the last few years, I have tried to be careful about not writing and posting about every aspect of my family genealogy for precisely this reason. I had to keep branches of the family dark since they were potential portfolio fodder.

So for January…

One element of the portfolio is a Kinship-Determination Project (KDP for short). Three generations of a family must be presented in a narrative genealogy, narrative lineage, or narrative pedigree format. Within the narrative, proof summaries or arguments must be used, as appropriate, for at least two parent-child relationships. This month (OK this morning…) I think I have decided upon which branch of the family I am going to use for the project. My next step for the project will be to begin analyzing the documents I do have and begin assessing what documents I need to obtain.


Jamboree 2015

Jamboree 2015

This month pre-registration for Jamboree began. I had so much fun last year and I am looking forward to attending this year. Stay tuned for more updates! I have signed up to take one workshop so far. I still consider myself extremely fortunate that Blaine Bettinger was in my ProGen study group. His knowledge of DNA and genetic genealogy is incredible and I looking forward to taking his workshop on Third Party Tools for Autosomal DNA. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak or lecture, do not miss the opportunity!

Until next month….

©2016 Deborah Sweeney
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2015 in Review

007It’s that time of year! I have already seen several posts from fellow genealogists and societies, and even some from family members. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and everyone is looking forward to 2016. What new experiences are you anticipating? Many of these posts recommend setting goals (instead of resolutions). My father, a retired career coach, advocates making a few attainable goals and then sharing them with friends and family as a way to keep yourself accountable and on track. It doesn’t help to make impossible goals, a guaranteed set-up for inevitable failure.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverFor me, looking back, 2015 has seemed impossibly long and short at the same time. A veritable blur of genealogical activity! I am surprised to recall all the genealogy related events and projects I did accomplish. These are most of the items I can remember….

  • Published Dear Mother, Love Daddy
  • Completed my ProGen studies
  • Attended my first large genealogy conference (SCGS Jamboree)
  • Attended my first all day genealogy seminar (Sacramento Roots Cellar Spring Seminar)
  • Continued to post one WWII letter every single day (for the third year in a row)
  • Wrote over 20 Fashion Moments posts
  • Researched, transcribed and posted over 60 newspaper articles about the smallpox epidemic in the year 1900 in Indiana
  • Transcribed and posted over 70 postcards written to my 2X great aunt Lena Hackleman
  • Had two published articles in the Sacramento Roots Cellar Preserves newsletter
  • Appeared in two episodes of Discovering Your Past
  • Started a volunteer genealogy program at my local library branch
  • Presented my first genealogy lecture
  • Engaged 3-5 paying clients for the year
  • Recruited 3-5 relatives to DNA test
  • Scanned several hundred family slides taken by my grandparents, Roscoe & Gladys, during the 1960s-1970s
  • Reviewed four genealogy/family history related books
  • Wrote five online articles for
  • Began publishing a periodic newsletter as well as monthly updates on the blog
  • Connected with and started some great working relationships with several genealogists around the country
  • Submitted preliminary application for the Mayflower Society

A few items that I wish I had accomplished (but after looking over the above list of things I did achieve, I don’t feel too badly):

  • Publish an article in a national or state level periodical. I keep getting hung up on the whole reasonably exhaustive search aspect of genealogy, and want to keep researching. I need to learn to feel more comfortable writing what I have now.
  • Find a genealogy/writing job which will fit into my teaching and personal writing schedules

Goals for 2016

  • To publish the second volume of WWII letters, currently titled So Solong, Love Daddy. This volume will cover the letters from October through December 1942. I am currently behind on this project. I had hoped to accomplish more during my December vacation. My son has been on vacation with me so I have chosen to spend more time hanging out with him instead of sitting for hours in front of the computer screen editing text. This time around, I have lost my team of editors and proof-readers. I will need to recruit some new help. My goal is to publish the book by Memorial Day, if not sooner.
  • One of my goals from last year that was not accomplished – to publish an article for a state level society or national genealogy periodical. I see this as a goal to work on after the book is published.
  • Seriously begin planning for certification! I want to have preliminary projects started/plotted before I go on the clock. I really have no more excuses at this point since I have completed both Boston University’s genealogy research certificate program and ProGen. I want to have a plan in place by the end of 2016.
  • Continue to work on my skills as a genealogy lecturer. I have two more presentations scheduled this spring; the next one in only three weeks.

Other odds and ends….

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyI want to continue writing Fashion Moments’ posts but I am moving away from the weekly format, perhaps to once a month. It has been hard at times to find material that I am interested in writing about. I would love more feedback from readers and suggestions for future posts so feel free to send me questions or photographs.

This year will likely see the end of the WWII letters. Over the next week, Roscoe will begin his journey home to the United States. He continued to serve through the end of the war, but his duties were stateside. One of his postings allowed Gladys and the boys to live with him. The remaining letters will jump ahead months and weeks at a time with the majority being written by Roscoe. Another large block of the letters were written by people other than Roscoe or Gladys, by people who served with Roscoe, like Dr. Edmund T. Lentz. I definitely feel that the letters are moving into a new phase for 2016.

Eugene B. Scofield (watermark)

Rev. Eugene B. Scofield

Looking ahead to after the WWII letters (I know it is very hard to believe!), I have an extensive collection of letters that were written between Gladys and David in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, David was a young adult moving away to college, getting married and relocating to Massachusetts. These letters provide another fascinating glimpse into the world of the Yegerlehners during the mid-twentieth century. In addition, my collection of family memorabilia contains letters from the late 19th century. The Reverend Eugene B. Scofield, a brother to Lena Hackleman, was a traveling minister for the Christian Church in Indiana in the early years of his career. While he was away from home, he wrote many letters to his family.  So even though the WWII letters may be running out, I still have a lot of transcribing and preserving to do.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year! And may you find all your elusive ancestors in 2016!

© 2015-2016, Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – November

The clocks have been flung back and Winter is beginning its approach. The cold and the darkness are creeping in as I find myself wearing multiple layers of clothing. I have survived my annual season of state mandated English Language Learner testing and two back-to-back teaching observations. I am ready to reclaim my messy house (and boy have those piles accumulated since my last school break!) and refocus my energy on my genealogy projects.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverWorld War II Project

Sales for Dear Mother, Love Daddy are slow and steady. I have ten reviews at Amazon now, including a 4/5 star one. So far I have only had 5 star reviews, which of course is great, but I like having the 4 star review. It makes me feel more legitimate because, in the real world, not everyone is going to like everything all the time. Overall, the review was positive, but the reviewer left some valid points, one especially that I wrestled with when I was putting the first book together. The reviewer felt that the book ended abruptly. So, I ask, where should each book end? For me, I have had to juggle manageable chunks of the letters so that they would fit into a book vs. a daily post on the website. My original concept was to include all the letters from 1942 in one volume. Unfortunately, I soon scrapped that idea because the first volume would have been over 600 pages, making the cost of the book prohibitively expensive.

I want to remind all my readers that my book is not a novel. Life doesn’t have a neat, clean ending. While I want my readers to enjoy the letters, my primary purpose is to preserve the letters and make them available to fellow historians, family members and descendants of the people mentioned in the letters. As I am a historian, I chose not to pick and chose which letters should appear in a “best of” volume. Many of the letters build off of each other, expressing larger arches of tedium and frustration to longing. If one letter is removed, a later detail might not make sense without the complete context. While I encourage everyone to read my book for what it is – a nonfiction collection of letters – I am always exceedingly satisfied when readers enjoy the story behind the historical documents.

Currently, I am transcribing letters from February 1944. In many ways, I can see the end of the project, and definitely the end of Roscoe’s overseas deployment. But, he was not discharged from the Navy after he returned home. [Spoiler Alert!] He served in a few more locations around the United States until the end of the war. There are certainly more letters in the collection after he returned to the States. I recently hit the 1,100 mark and I estimate at least 100-200 letters to go….

The second volume of letters has been tentatively titled Lots of Love, Daddy. The book’s name comes from one of Roscoe’s common closings at the end of his letters. This volume will cover the letters from October through December 1942. At this time, the book looks to be at least 400 pages in length. Readers will also get a first look at the letter Gladys wrote after the birth of baby David, describing his birth. The original letter was not kept with the rest of the letters. My father recently discovered it alongside some other documents and letters. It is now reunited with the rest of the collection.

Sacramento Library

This coming Saturday is my monthly volunteer day at my local branch. There was still one reservation slot empty as of yesterday afternoon. My next scheduled day is December 19th. This is a great opportunity, if you are local, to receive free advice from a professional. The main branch of the library also has a similar program with a larger pool of professionals.

I just submitted a promo for my next genealogy lecture which will be on January 23rd. For this lecture, I will be discussing the basics of DNA & genetic genealogy. I will use a case study from my own research as an example of how DNA is such a useful tool for solving genealogy mysteries when there are not enough surviving paper documents.

Letters to My ChildrenLetters to My Children

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. While I don’t ever intend to write a fictional novel, I do want to write. Plagued with thoughts of eventually losing my memories and having descendants wonder who I was, I have concocted a new series of writing vignettes titled Letters to My Children. To read more about the basis of this series, read the original post. I envision a book someday organized by category with sections on food, people, places, events, etc., which were important to me. I really like the idea of writing about people who touched my life. As genealogists, we are always looking for the relatives. Oftentimes, the bigger picture (which includes a person’s associates and neighbors not just the family) is forgotten. I am hoping that my project will inspire others to write their own memoirs and to remember those relationships that are not connected by family ties.

Until next month, enjoy a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Don’t forget to participate in the Great Thanksgiving Listen next week!

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – September

It was been a very busy month for me! School started last month and I am juggling lots of responsibilities at school, including being in the classroom for the first time in almost ten years. Because of my heavy workload at school, I am not taking on any new clients until November 1st when one of my assignments ends.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverBook sales continue to be slow and steady. I just received a large shipment of books. I ordered extra books in anticipation of my upcoming lecture this week. The books arrived last week and I was heartbroken to realize that the whole lot was badly printed. The pictures were all streaked and grainy. I even received one book that had been printed with an extra 50 pages. Fortunately, CreateSpace really stepped up. Within 24 hours, the company emailed me back to notify me they were sending a new shipment, and all I had to do was print a label and drop off the messed up books at my nearest UPS store. The new shipment of books arrived yesterday and today, and they look great.

I am looking forward to November when I have scheduled to begin work on the second volume of letters. I anticipate publication of the next volume in February or early March. I think I may have settled on the name of the book, but I am not quite ready to announce the new title.

If you are interested in purchasing an autographed copy of the book, send me a private message through the contact page. Or you can follow the link on the sidebar to purchase a copy from Amazon. For anyone who has read the book, I invite you to post a review on Amazon. I currently have seven reviews and I am trying to reach twenty to boost my rankings.

Sacramento Library

Genealogy Program Why GenealogyThis weekend is my big speaking debut. I am presenting my first lecture at the Franklin branch of the Sacramento Library at 2:00. My presentation is titled Why Genealogy? I will discuss six reasons why everyone should be working on their own genealogy now. Once I survive this presentation, I have several other lectures that I would like to prepare. I am working on fine-tuning my speech this week, and trying not to wander off-topic! I do so much better when I stick to my script.

As for future speaking engagements, I took the plunge and submitted a proposal to next year’s Jamboree in southern California. I am looking for more opportunities to speak in Northern California over the coming months. Contact me if you are looking for a new speaker for your society or group.

My monthly Ask A Genealogist sessions are also going very well. In August, I helped a patron find resources for Italian genealogy, assisted another patron with identifying dates for her collection of photographs, and jump-started another patron on her online tree research. I am having so much fun meeting fellow genealogy enthusiasts and researchers! To sign up for an appointment, contact the Franklin branch of the library.

Discovering Your Past

The second episode of Discovering Your Past premiered earlier this month. Dan conducted a family interview with his mother, and discussed tips for setting up a successful interview.  I talked Sue through writing a research plan for her Noble ancestors in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The video on my end was a little wonky, and I made a slight error in my Revolutionary War history. See if you can catch it! I can’t wait until we start working on the next episode. In the meantime, Dan and Sue did some exploring in North Berwick, Maine, to discover where some of Sue’s ancestors were buried. Check out Dan’s blog for the first part of their cemetery adventure.

Fashion Moments

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyI have written over a dozen Fashion Moments posts this summer. I am amazed by the popularity of these posts. I will continue to write this weekly series because there definitely seems to be a need for fashion education for genealogists. I welcome any ideas or suggestions for future posts.

To view previous Fashion Moments posts, check out my board on Pinterest. I have boards for every decade of the nineteen century with examples of real clothing. Or go to the Blog tab at the top of this page, and click on the sub tab for Fashion Moments.

Personal Research

My own research has slowed down quite a bit this month. But I have taken a little time to explore Ancestry’s new will and probate databases. I have found some great documents but have also been disappointed by many of the gaps in coverage.

Some more family videos have been digitized, including more of Gladys and the children during WWII. The following video is about ten minutes long and includes snippets from 1942-1944. Amazingly, these clips are in color! There is even a very, very short clip of Roscoe and Gladys together at the very end!

May the genealogy and ancestral winds be in your favor this month!

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – August

My brain is currently scrambled. The last month has been crazy. This year I accepted a position to share a contract with another teacher in a fourth grade classroom. It has been almost a decade since I was actually responsible for a class of my own! Last week was the first week of school. I survived three teacher in service days and two days in the classroom. Lots of new faces, new rules, and beginning of year assessments. And of course, this year my school is implementing a new reading/language arts program so everyone is super crazy trying to figure out what it is exactly we are going to do! My genealogy writing has been put on the back burner for a few months, but I am still managing to work on several projects.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy

Dear Mother, Love Daddy cover

Book sales have been slow and steady this summer. I am about to order a new shipment of books in anticipation of my lecture in September. I have three copies left if anyone wishes to purchase an autographed copy directly from me. Please use the contact form to message me privately.

Looking ahead, I am beginning to focus on the next volume of letters. One of the first steps is to come up with a name for the second volume. I like the idea of using some of the common phrases that Roscoe used to sign off his letters. A couple possibilities are So Solong, Love Daddy and Lots of Love, Daddy. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments! Bear in mind that there will be several volumes of letters so I could use more than one suggestion.

Sacramento Library

Genealogy Programs Summer Sac LibraryLast month, I attended the lecture by Jim Walton on Understanding the Logic of Genealogical Research. Despite a bit of technical trouble at the beginning of the presentation, Jim did a great job breaking down the research for his article that appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (which was published earlier this year). I missed the lecture on August 2nd, but there is still time to attend the third lecture in the series on September 13th. Genealogist Melinda Kashuba will discuss using digital maps for tracking the migration patterns of our ancestors.

My Ask A Genealogist session at the end of July went well. I helped three library patrons explore their Chinese, African American and Mexican roots. Two of my three time slots for August are already booked so if you are interested in signing up, don’t delay!

The weeks are getting shorter and I am still trying to put together my presentation on Why Genealogy? The presentation will be on September 19th at the Franklin branch of the Sacramento library. Depending on how well the presentation goes, I would like to do some future presentations, including one on DNA research and/or identifying time periods in old photographs. Right now, I have to write a paragraph for the advertising blurb for my upcoming lecture!

Discovering Your Past

Discovering Your Past - Episode 1I have been informed that the next episode should be forthcoming. Maybe by the end of the week?!?! Due to a technical glitch during filming, I was unable to see my co-host! I basically talked to a blank screen while I heard a voice in my head (through my headphones). During my segment, we talked about putting together a research plan. If you missed the first episode, it is available on the Discovering Your Past YouTube channel.

Genealogy Lady Newsletter

I managed to write a second newsletter this month. If you are interested in signing up, there is a sign-up button on my Facebook page. With my new schedule at school this year, I am not sure how often the newsletter will be published. Generally, the newsletter will feature popular articles from my blog, and other events or happenings.


1079809-Clipart-3d-Green-DNA-Crop-Gene-Modification-Helix-Plant-Royalty-Free-Vector-IllustrationI had some GREAT DNA news this month. My son’s DNA results were finally processed at 23andme this week. It seems like my daughter’s results were done in less than three weeks, but my son’s stretched on for two months. The most fascinating part of doing my children’s DNA is seeing what and how much they share with their grandparents. We are all taught that a person shares 50% with each parent, and 25% with each grandparent, etc. But in reality, past the 50% with each parent, the rest is completely random and does not always follow statistical probabilities. It makes me wish even more that I had been able to test my grandparents. My son shares between 28-29% of his DNA with his maternal grandfather. He inherited his X chromosome from me, completely un-recombined, straight from his maternal grandfather, which means, that my son has Gladys’ X chromosome. It is so neat to really realize that my son has this chunk of my grandmother in his DNA.

The second amazing DNA discovery this month was a new match in my father’s match list. We now have a confirmed 4th cousin descendant of Alfred M. Dicks from one of Alfred’s siblings who did not leave North Carolina. This has been one of my DNA goals. To prove that Alfred M. Dicks was a descendant of Nathan and Eleanor (Leonard) Dicks. Since I published my book on Alfred last fall, I acquired a DNA match with a descendant of Achilles Dicks, who I theorized was Alfred’s brother. Because the Quakers were a relatively endogamous population, I have been nervous about claiming that my proof was completely solid. Having this additional DNA evidence makes my argument even stronger.

Personal Research Update

I have had SO many amazing discoveries this summer. I really am saving the best for last. In the WWII letters, Floyd Yegerlehner made many home movies. My father and I have both wondered if the movies still exist. The answer is YES!!! Floyd’s son, Steve, is in possession of many of the films. We were all curious to see whether they survived 70+ years without being degraded. Some are more so than others. Steve has been working hard this last month to digitally transfer some of the films. So far four have been completed. They are all posted on my YouTube channel. This clip was made in December 1942, and is mentioned in the letters that will appear in the next book.

These videos are a great example of how families can work together to save their shared history. Have a great month of genealogical adventures!

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
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Monthly Update – July 15, 2015

The last four weeks have been fairly laid back. Both of my kids were out of school for part of the month. My son attends a year round school so he doesn’t get much of a summer break between school years. My daughter attended a summer school enrichment class. We took a couple day trips and spent 4th of July weekend in San Francisco. But school started up for my son this week and I will head back to my day job as a part time elementary school teacher in a few more weeks. Summer is ending way too quickly here in Northern California although we are looking at over 100° temperatures for tomorrow.

Dear Mother, Love Daddy

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverThe book is officially part of the collection at the Sacramento Public Library. Anyone in the region can request it and check it out. I imagine it is possible to obtain the book through interlibrary loan as well. Now that the catalog entry for the book is complete, I love seeing the Subject headings. Here is the list:

Sacramento area author
Yegerlehner, Roscoe Schiele, 1904-1989 – Biography
Yegerlehner, Gladys Ruth (Foster), 1905-1998 – Biography
World War, 1939-1945 – Letters (Correspondence)
Military spouses – Correspondence

Dear Mother, Love Daddy is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. If you live in the Sacramento area, Trent’s Bookshelf in Elk Grove also has copies available for sale. I have a limited number of copies available for sale (with a personalized autograph). Contact me through this website or send me message through my Facebook page.

Sacramento Library

Genealogy Programs Summer Sac LibrarySince we are on the subject of the Sacramento Library, I conducted my first genealogy consult at the library at the end of June. The main branch of the library has a team of genealogists available for free consults, but who wants to drive downtown? Not me! So I approached my local branch with the idea of running a similar program in Elk Grove. I only had one consult my first Saturday, but it was fun. I am available from 1-4 the last Saturday of every month at the Franklin branch. I will meet individually with 3 patrons for about 45 minutes each. An appointment is needed so inquire at the help desk. I know the next Saturday in July is already booked!

I am still tentatively scheduled to give a short lecture at the branch in September. I am currently working on a program called Why Genealogy?.

This weekend, on Sunday, there will be a free lecture at the main branch of the Sacramento Library. I hope to see you there!

Other Sacramento Events

The California State Museum is having a Family History Day this Saturday from 10:00-2:00. Admission is free with limited free parking at the lot on 10th & O streets.

Discovering Your Past

Discovering Your Past - Episode 1If you missed the first episode to this new genealogy show, you will find it on YouTube on the Discovering Your Past channel. Don’t forget to watch the follow-up episode! The first episode featured an interview with me as I discussed my book Dear Mother, Love Daddy. Host Dan Young helped me with a research problem at a cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire.

After lots of messages back and forth this month between Dan and me, we are ready to film our next episode. Not to give away any secrets but this month we will be discussing something every genealogist should have and do regularly. Stay tuned for updates and links to the next episode.

Genealogy Lady Newsletter

After Jamboree, I realized that I really need to start publishing a newsletter in addition to my blog. So far I have published two newsletters. Due to the type of WordPress account I have, I am unable to post a link to sign up from this website. There is an app to sign up on my Facebook page, or try this link I am not going to guarantee that it will work but I am crossing my fingers. If the link works, you should be able to click the subscribe button in the top left hand corner. If you haven’t been successful with either of the above two methods and still want to receive my newletter, kuddos to you for sticking with me! Send me a message through the contact form and let me know that you want to receive the newsletter. I can sign you up manually from my end.


1079809-Clipart-3d-Green-DNA-Crop-Gene-Modification-Helix-Plant-Royalty-Free-Vector-IllustrationAnother goal after Jamboree was to DNA test both my children. Since the bulk of my family members have tested at 23andme, this is the company I used. I like their tools a lot. Because both my children are minors, I also like that 23andme has several layers of anonymity. You don’t have to share your genome if you don’t want to. Of course, this can also be frustrating when you want someone else to share with you!

At this point, the results from my eldest child have been processed. It is fascinating to see which segments she has inherited. As an example of the complete randomness of DNA inheritance, she shares 27% of her DNA with her maternal grandmother, but only 23% with her maternal grandfather. While close to the predicted 25% from each grandparent, the inheritance was slightly lopsided, even down to specific chromosomes. In theory, she inherited one X chromosome from her father and one from me. My X chromosome should have been a combination of the two X chromosomes I received from each of my parents. My daughter inherited her maternal X chromosome completely un-recombined from her maternal grandmother.

Gena Philibert-Ortega and the San Joaquin Genealogical Society

The San Joaquin Genealogical Society sponsored a free half-day seminar with Gena Philibert-Ortega this week. Gena gave two lectures: 50 Websites Every Genealogist Should Know and Newspaper Research for the 21st Century. Even though I am a professional genealogist, I love hearing my colleagues speak. I always end up learning something new. I gave Gena a copy of my book and she should be posting an interview with me in the near future. It was a good day for connecting with new friends from Jamboree, and I am looking forward to attending a regular society meeting when they start up again in the fall.

My personal research update

Rosina (Yegerlehner) Wolfe

Rosina (Yegerlehner) Wolfe

I received a packet of materials from the Indiana State Archives. They recently posted a new index on their website for the Central Indiana Hospital of the Insane Admission books. Three of my 2X great aunts ended up in the asylum system between 1893 and 1911. I have always wanted to learn more. And boy, with the packet I received, did I ever!

The person I wanted to know the most about was Rosina (Yegerlehner) wolfe. She was the sister of my great grandfather, John Henry Yegerlehner. She spent almost 40 years in the state system. She was also one of the transfers from the Indianapolis hospital to the new hospital in Madison in 1910. She was judged insane in the early 1890s but was released twice. The third time, she was sent away for good. While in Madison, she worked as a laundress. Rosina’s photograph was included in the documents as well. It will take me a while to process the new documents I received, but I plan on writing a more thorough history of Rosina in the future.

Until next month! May you find the genealogy documents you are looking for!

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
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Extra! Extra!

My friend Dan was very busy this weekend; he finished editing his brand new show Discovering Your Past. The show is all ready and it premiered this morning on YouTube. He conducted an interview with me for the first half of the show, and then I sent him out on a genealogy treasure hunt. Each episode of the show will be about 30 minutes long. In each episode, he will discuss different research problems and our adventures trying to find answers.

So sit back and enjoy the first episode!

Monthly Update – May 14, 2015

Dear Mother, Love Daddy coverDear Mother, Love Daddy

I have not set up a book giveaway this month so I am trying something new. I figured out how to offer discounts directly through the Create Space publishing website.  For a limited time, using coupon code: 6AVMLLGB, Dear Mother, Love Daddy will be $12.99. The purchase must be through the Create Space store (not Amazon). Use the link to go directly to the book: Please let me know if you encounter any difficulties using this method.

My newest shipment of books has arrived. Exclusively through me, I am offering autographed copies of the book for $20. Priority mail shipping is included. Send me a message through the contact form on the website. For anyone attending Jamboree in southern California in June, I will have a few copies for sale for $15.

I have contacted a few World War II museums including the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. Since Roscoe served in the Pacific, this museum was responsive to receiving a donated copy of the book for their archives. The number of museums and libraries I have contacted who have not responded has been slightly disheartening.  If you are aware of any museums, libraries, veterans’ groups, or military organizations who might be interested in receiving a donated copy of Dear Mother, Love Daddy, please leave a comment below or send me a message through the contact form.

Alfred M. Dicks Cover #3 (front)Alfred M. Dicks of Crawford County, Illinois

I have not done much to market my first book as I felt the audience was very small. The book’s target audience is the descendants of Alfred and his extended family (his siblings, their descendants, etc). Since very few records about Alfred exist and he was a migrant, his descendants have been trying to break through the brick wall of his ancestry for over a generation. The book provides a good example of a proof argument for anyone looking to expand their genealogical writing skills. Since I am trying to reach a specific target audience, I donated a few copies to several genealogy libraries, including the National Genealogical Society’s library in St. Louis. As a thank you to their members for donating books, the National Genealogical Society publishes brief synopses of donated books in their quarterly magazine, the NGS Magazine. The latest issue (April-June 2015) features a synopsis of Alfred M. Dicks of Crawford County, Illinois (p. 9). As a result, I am seeing a slight increase in sales of this book (which is a completely unexpected benefit of the donation).

Professional Learning

I have been told that my ProGen certificate is in the process of being signed by all my mentors. Angela McGhie has passed on the certificates to Barbara Mathews, C.G. Rest assured, I will be posting a copy of the certificate when it finally arrives on my doorstep!

I still haven’t decided what new coursework to take on yet. It’s been rather nice not having to worry about a homework assignment though.

Genealogy Programs Summer Sac LibraryLocal News

This last weekend I met with the volunteer coordinator at my library branch. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have our own Ask A Genealogist program up and running. Tentatively, I will be volunteering one Saturday afternoon a month to help mentor people with their genealogy problems. The library will handle booking the time slots and the advertising.

This summer one of my BU classmates, Jim Walton, will be giving a presentation at the main branch of the Sacramento Library. Jim’s lecture will be based (I think) upon some of the research he did on his Walton line. His article “John Walton, English Immigrant, New Hampshire Native, or Phantom?” was published in the December 2014 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.


Painted by Deborah Sweeney

Painted by Deborah Sweeney

I continue to pin clothing from the 19th and early 20th century on Pinterest. Each board covers clothing from one decade, beginning with the 1820s through the 1920s. Future boards will be for the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. I have published two articles in my series “Identifying Everyday Clues in Photographs.” The next article will begin to put together period silhouettes and timelines of individuals. My newest Pinterest board is Genealogy and Fashion. Links to all the articles in the Identifying Everyday Clues series are pinned there.

 Book Review

I am continuing to work on this part of the blog, but it is one of the most time consuming aspects! While I love to read, finding the time can be hard. Many of you may not know that I am a die hard bookworm. I love mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, YA/teen literature and historical fiction. For the past few years, I have participated in an annual book challenge. One of my college friends is a children’s librarian in Massachusetts and her library runs the challenge. Previously, the contest was all about how many books could one read in a year. The goal was 50. Some years I made it while others I did not. This year the challenge has evolved to categories instead of a book count. I am currently working on my “Trilogy” requirement. I am on the last book in Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches series. While I am enjoying the series very much, I will not be reviewing on my blog. The next book I am in the process of reading for a book review is Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War by Cheryl Anne Stapp. The book focuses on six women who lived in the Sacramento area during the Gold Rush years. The author has used many historical resources to build and tell their stories. I am hoping to finish reading this book in the next few weeks.

Looking Ahead

Hobert, Nathaniel - gravestone

Gravestone of Nathaniel Hobert. Future subject of a Register article?

I am contemplating writing an article for the “new” New England Historical and Genealogical Register. The Register was been published for 170 years and is one of the top journals of genealogy scholarship in the country. I have many New England stories I want to tell and the journal would be a perfect place to see them published. I have a couple ancestors that I used in my ProGen research and assignments so I can not really use them for my BCG portfolio (as they have already been reviewed).

And of course, I am counting down the days until Jamboree. I have started looking at the schedules to see which lectures I am interested in attending. Some lectures will be live-streamed so I could watch them later when I get home. For a list of speakers and the schedule, check out the Jamboree website:

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©2015 copyright by Deborah Sweeney
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