Henry County Genealogy Alliance is brand new. My personally founded genealogy group, East Central Indiana Genealogy Alliance (ECIGA), disbanded in December 2018. From those ashes, HCGA was born. HCGA exists under the umbrella of the historical society. I’m not sure Henry County has ever had a formal genealogical society, to be quite honest.

HCGA will have one live webinar this year AND a one-day seminar.

Question for my genealogy-focused followers: What topic would you like to join for a live webinar where you could ask questions of the presenter? What kind of speakers would you be interested in seeing at a one-day seminar?

Please share your ideas! Help me brainstorm!

Upcoming Conference

I’ll be attending the Midwestern Roots 2014 Family History and Genealogy Conference in Indianapolis, IN, sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society later this month. I am excited about this because I actually have a hotel room in the hotel where the conference is being held!!

I am also excited about the offered sessions. I’ll be attending 5 sessions on Friday and 5 on Saturday, plus spending time at the IN State Archives the Thursday before and attending the Friday night dinner.

At the Archives, I plan to do research on 3 of my ancestors who served in the Civil War and check into more naturalization records. Some of the sessions I plan on attending are:

Building a Research Toolbox
Finding Females
Managing Your Genealogy Data
Future Technology and Genealogy

The theme of the conference is: “Exploring Frontiers: What Would Your Pioneers Have Tweeted?” Actually, I like this idea and I did think about what my ancestors would’ve tweeted:

Maternal grandfather: He was a loud blowhard, so he would’ve used Twitter for all its worth. He was also a photographer, so I’m sure he’d tweet a lot of pictures. He also was interested in our family history so maybe he would’ve used Twitter to find cousins? His tweet: “I love my Caddy although I work for the UAW. Now look at this picture of it!”
Maternal grandmother: She could not have cared less about what Twitter was, just so long as she had a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Tweet: “…”
Paternal grandfather: See above, minus the cigarette. Tweet: “…”
Paternal grandmother: I think she would’ve used Twitter for recipes and fashion. Tweet: “Just made the best blackberry pie! Found a new apron pattern in BH&G!”

Watch for upcoming posts on my time at this conference!

Research Plan, Part 2

Research Plan


I visited the Wayne County Courthouse (Indiana) today to follow up on my research plan on finding naturalization/citizenship info on my 2nd-great-GF, Paul Mayer. First, I had checked some online info where the state of Indiana has digitized and indexed these records, but he wasn’t listed. At the courthouse, they had a card file, and he was there. We pulled the naturalization book and found the above. Underlined in blue is his declaration of intention, dated 7 Oct 1859. His certificate of citizenship was granted in 1867. I have yet to find a date of immigration or a date of arrival for him, but now I have a solid date of him being in Richmond. This certificate mentions him having 2 competent witnesses. Next up, when I have more time, is searching court records (if they exist) about his court appearance and checking city directories.

I like driving to Richmond. We take the National Road, and my favorite town along the drive is Centerville. In fact, I wouldn’t mind living there!

Centerville IN:

My Census Project

Something I want to do to organize my personal genealogical research is a census project. In a 3-ring binder, I want to catalog census pages for my direct ancestors for each census they were living, from 1790 to 1940. In the binder, I plan to separate them by census year, then by surname, so I will have the census image along with citation, at my fingertips when needed. I was very thankful that Ancestry dot com had free census search this holiday weekend. I needed new copies since some of mine are marked up with notes.

Note to self: Buy page dividers!

A daunting challenge!

Small World

Background: I’m part of an NGSQ discussion group (National Genelogical Society Quarterly). The article to discuss in July 2014 is titled “Finding the Father of Henry Pratt of Southeastern Kentucky” written by Warren C. Pratt, Ph.D., in the June 2012 issue.

Imagine my surprise while reading the article that a familiar surname pops out, in the location and time period that is of some interest to me. The surname is Witt, the place is Bedford County, VA, and the time period late 18th century to early 19th century.

Aaron Ballard, my 3rd-great-GF, born 1796, married a woman by the name of Elizabeth Witt, born in Bedford County, VA, in 1804, in Logan County, KY, in 1822. The story he told my 3rd-great-GM was the first wife died soon after they wed in 1822 and had no children. He married my 3rd-great-GM in 1832. I wanted to know more about the first wife and was a bit shocked at what I discovered. More about this story in the future!

Paul Mayer

Paul Mayer is one of my proverbial genealogical “brick walls.”

Things I know about Paul Mayer:
Born in Württemberg, Germany, around 1832 (on 3 different censuses, age corresponds to a birth year of 1831-1833 on all censuses)
Was enumerated on the Indiana state census as living in Richmond, Wayne County, IN, in 1860, single, age 28
Married first to Mary Miller, 1862-1864, per marriage license
Enlisted as a Union soldier in the Civil War, per enlistment and pension records
Married second to Mary Breiker, 1865-1868, per marriage license
Married third to Caroline (Lichtenfels) Hammann, 1869-1885, per marriage license
Died in May 1885 in Richmond, Wayne County, IN, per church record
Paul – Thomas – Julia – my mom – me

Things I don’t know about Paul Mayer:
Who his parents were
Where he lived in Württemberg
When he immigrated
When he arrived in the United States
The people listed as living with him on the 1860 census, possible family?

It seems like I know a lot about Paul Mayer, though it’s all stateside. I want to learn more about his family in Germany, which is why I was excited to find that he had received his certificate of citizenship in Richmond, IN. I hope to find more of his naturalization papers there since I have yet to find anything on any index available.

Interesting fact about the Two Mary’s (as I call them): He used one headstone over their graves.


Photo of headstone taken by author, July 2013, St. Andrews Cemetery, Richmond, IN

Research Plan

While doing some research recently at a Family History Center, I stumbled upon a tiny newspaper blurb about one of my 2nd-great-GFs, Paul Mayer. I know he was born in Württemberg, Germany, in 1832, and was on the federal census in 1860. The newspaper blurb was regarding his citizenship, dated 1867.

I’ve just started Module 2 in my NGS course, and it’s about creating a research plan. Looks like I’ll be making a trip to Richmond, IN, soon!



I graduated from high school and have some college under my belt, but that was years ago…so long ago that the credits wouldn’t even transfer now if I wanted them to.

I want to do something in genealogy. Maybe research for others? Maybe writing? Not teaching! Public speaking…ugh, my own personal hell. I wouldn’t mind mentoring, though.

Of course, I have looked into genealogical education. The National Genealogical Society (NGS), of which I am a proud member, offers a home study course. They are just now putting courses on the cloud so I’m starting there. My goal is to become a certified genealogist through evaluation by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). (Make note of all the acronyms; I will use them frequently.) You might note a recurring theme…I value certification in one’s chosen field. Once you apply to BCG to make them aware of your intentions, you have 1 year to complete your portfolio. If I ever title a post “On The Clock,” you’ll know my 1 year has begun.

What does concern me, though, is I notice a lot of professional genealogists have had previous illustrious careers. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t intimidate me. Lawyers, corporate executives, many folks with advanced degrees…all I am really good at is typing fast and looking stuff up.

Unfortunately, I am still working full-time in a job that really has no future. Those 40+ hours per week take up a significant amount of time, so I try to add 2-4 hours of genealogy per night, as if it were my part-time job. Goal: Full-time career!