Always Anxiously Engaged

Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG

Accredited Genealogist and AG are certification marks of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Genealogists licensed to use the marks have met the competency standards of ICAPGen.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Big conference...Little conference...And the love of our youth!

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the Muskingum County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  What a delight!

It was held in Zanesville, which is approximately 1 1/2 hours from my home.  This time, I drove alone and relished in the beautiful pre-autumn countryside that surrounded me.

The first thing that caught my eye was a very old schoolhouse that I have passed many times before.  Or, it might have even been a church house.  I don't know.  I do know that it was once a beautiful structure.

I wonder about the stories of this old building.  How I would love to hear them now!  And, I don't even know anyone who ever set foot in it.

When I arrived at Immanuel United Church of Christ in Zanesville, I was warmly greeted by those setting up for the banquet.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw displays.  I had to get over to see them!

Just look at these displays!  I had to pour over every one of them, thinking how I could incorporate the same type of feeling in my own home.  I can just imagine a grandchild wondering what kind of songs I sang, what type of dolls I played with, what tools did we work with, what did I read...

Soon, it was time for the banquet.  I sat up front at the speaker's table, which always makes me feel awkward.  I love being with all of the regular folks.  I just don't feel that special.  But, they made sure to put me there.

Tonight was a special night for this chapter, for there were many inductees into the First Families of Muskingum County.  Some had come all the way from Indiana!  (Zanesville is east of Columbus, which is in the center of the state.)  After my talk, I listened to the awards.

I nearly had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as two little girls, through the help of their parents and grandparents, were inducted.  They were sisters, ages 11 and 8, and were so excited!  The older one went happily skipping up to receive her certificate!!

Before the awards, I had made a really big deal about those little girls.  Of all of the places they could have been on a Saturday evening, they were at a genealogy banquet listening to me speak about cemetery experiences.  Everyone applauded for them!

But, when it was all over, they both came up to me to talk about genealogy.  I gave them every bit of my attention, even allowing others to wait a little longer before I gave my attention to them.

Now, why do I even bring this up?  Because I am a conference speaker.
Peggy at OGS Conference, 2015

I have spoken at some really big ones.  And, I have spoken to as few as 3-4 people.  And, I love them both.  But, I have a special affection in my heart for the smaller gatherings where hard-working genealogists that may never get any accolades are quietly working their fingers to the bone on cemetery projects, histories, etc.  God bless them in their efforts.

And now, I'm working on next year's schedule for 2016, and even have booked some into 2017!

I love what I do...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Constant cleaning up

Many years ago, I'm going to say probably about 1994, I attended the BYU Conference on Genealogy and Family History for the very first time.  I loved it!  Little did I realize that I would be one of the speakers many years later.  I have enjoyed speaking there for many years now.

At that time, I didn't use a computer for much of anything.  We had one in the house that my children knew how to use.  But, my thoughts were that it was a glorified typewriter.

One of the keynote speakers that year was Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS Church.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell

I have always enjoyed his talks and his writings, and have missed them since his death several  years ago.  At this particularly conference, he asked the question, "How many of you, when people find out you are tracing your family history, want to know how far back you have gone?"

Of course, nearly every hand shot up, with a ripple of laughter through the crowd.

He then gave some very wise counsel.  He said that instead of worrying about how far back we can go, perhaps we should clean up what we already have.

Truer words could not have been spoken.

In the twenty-one years since he issued that challenge, I have concentrated on the correctness of my own genealogy records, beginning with my own self.  I have found the following:
  • Additional marriages
  • Corrected places of births, deaths, and marriages.
  • Corrected dates of the above, including more than just the year.
  • Military records that became so numerous I had to put them into a spreadsheet.  The number of military ancestors is now 186.
  • Stories from extended family members and newspapers.
  • Babies that were unknown to our family.  As of this writing, I have now found 79 babies, the oldest being four years old.
  • Temple work that needed to be completed.
I had more cleaning up to do than I ever thought.  My parents were thorough, but there is more accessibility with today's technology.

Plus, perhaps they are helping me out a bit.

So, I needed to put a bit more effort into what I thought had been a pretty good genealogy.  However, I now realize it was only the beginning.

Thank you, Elder Maxwell!  I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RootsTech is coming soon!

RootsTech will be here before you know it!

And trust me, you don't want a reason not to go.

Two years ago, Julie Cahill Tarr hosted a RootsTech giveaway, and it was awarded to ME!  It was my first year to go, and I walked away vowing to be an even better genealogist.

Just drop me a line and let me know why you would like to know, and what you expect to take away from attending such an event.

The winner will be announced on February 1.

Come on!  You know you want it.

OGS - A Treasure Trove Close to Home

I live real close to the headquarters of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  Real close.
Ohio Genealogical Society
Taken Jun 2014

So today, I ventured out to finish up some client work at the library.  The first place I went was into a back room where Al and Julia Hoffman are serving a Family History Mission.  They are scanning all of the obituaries that are in card catalogs.  The first estimation was at 500,000.  But, that estimate was not taking into account that many are on both sides of the index card.

As of today, they have done over 570,000.  There are 51 boxes for the letter "S", and they are on box 48.  When that is complete, they will do some from Crawford County, and Ohio obituaries from Florida.
Al and Julia Hoffman
FamilySearch Missionaries

After finding what I came looking for, I chatted with the staff for awhile.  Then, just before leaving, I noticed some activity going on in one of the conference rooms.  Newspapers were spread out everywhere.

Old, old newspapers.  Just look at some of the things I got to see today!
A great little map showing how our county was formed from so many others.

 A man lost his Pocket Book in 1848.

 Section 16 was set aside for schools in each township.  However no one paid the taxes on this land in 1848, so it was being sold.

 I really liked this one.  It's a land indenture from 1823.  The village of Perrysville is still a village 192 years later.
 At the bottom of the land indenture, it states that Mary and Nancy, wives of the two involved in the transaction, were "examined separately and apart from their said husbands".
A petition for divorce, based on "adultery and more than three years wilful absence".

I love to go to different facilities to do research.  But sometimes, we can find a treasure trove right in our own neck of the woods.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's almost here! You could attend RootsTech for free!

Yes, you certainly could!

If you have even once hesitated about attending, think again.  During this next week, let me know what you think you can learn at RootsTech.  Then, you can do any of the following:
1.  Send me an email at:,
2.  Contact me on Facebook:
3.  Get the word to me somehow.

If you have already paid for a three-day registration, directions will be given for reimbursement.

Remember, this is a wonderful opportunity to advance your genealogy research skills.  Go to this link: Why attend RootsTech?

I will announce the winner on February 1.  So, be thinking about what you would like to concentrate on in your learning experience at RootsTech.

And, remember!!!  It's a three-day pass!!

The last gift

Son Peter passed away just over five years ago.

When Mr. Kerry and son Jordan drove to retrieve his belongings shortly after his death, they remained in our basement for awhile.  There were two suitcases, and three or four plastic see-through tubs.

Try as I might, I could not go through them.  Each time I would open up one of the suitcases, his "scent" would come wafting out.  I would close the lid and make a note to try another day.

Mr. Kerry has slowly been going through some of the tubs.  There were miscellaneous papers which probably didn't have much meaning.  Nevertheless, he still went through them.

Once, he asked me if I felt I could look through some, too.  I did.  One of the things that slid out into my lap was a gift card for International Diamonds in the amount of $50.  Since it had been so long, I didn't even know if it was still valid.  I looked the company up online, and it directed me to Kay Jewelers.

This past week, sister Betty and I were shopping at a mall near her home when I spotted Kay Jewelers.  I wandered in, explained my story, and had them check the card.  Sure enough, there was the correct amount showing on the card.  I asked what they had in the store that could help me remember him for about that amount.

I had just received a beautiful bracelet from friend Lucie Consentino's daughter with a family tree on it.  We went to the bead showcase, and low and behold, I saw the perfect item.

It was a diamond letter "P".  It's his initial...and mine.

I won't receive anything else from this son, but I now have an everlasting memory that will bring his memory to me each time I wear it.

Love you, dear Peter...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Fresh New Year For Research

I know that the year 2014 was not a good year for many of us.  But, there were some high points in all of our lives, if we choose to find them.

It's a new year for researching family members, I am going to continue to use the wonderful web sites that are available to us to research from home.  Some of my favorites include:

I can't say enough about FamilySearch.  I know that there have been many frustrations expressed as people muddle through FamilyTree, but hopefully the administrators are listening.

Aside from that, the records that have digitized and indexed have saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in travel and cost of documents.


Ancestry has also been a wonderful resource for my research.  I have used the Family Trees, but am still more inclined to use the records that I am able to access.

I love the shaking green leaves!  They have alerted me to sources that give me the opportunity to accept or reject them.

I discovered USGenWeb many years ago, and have actively used it ever since.  It's one of the top sites I recommend in my classes.

God bless the coordinators that are diligently uploading information to the county and state pages.  I have discovered ancestors I never knew about in the hills of eastern Kentucky.

I just live a few minutes from the Ohio Genealogical Society headquarters!  They are one of the largest state genealogy societies in the United States.  As a member, I am able to access their databases from home.  And, when I walk into their library, I am always astounded at the state-of-the-art facilities.

Their annual conference is a "must-do" for anyone researching in Ohio and many of the surrounding states.  Even if you don't have Ohio ancestors, there are classes in methodology, technology, and ethnicity that will hold anyone's interest.  They bring in some of the best of the best as speakers.

This is my absolute favorite web site!  I use it nearly every day, and have added hundreds of grave sites to my database, as well as contributed dozens more.  I have looked for name, or simply browsed through cemeteries and their listings.

I haven't even begun to list all of the sites I use from home every day.  These are the ones I frequent the most. These are the ones that keep me up into the wee hours of night.  These are the ones that have led me to records I may never have known about, or even thought of.

For seasoned genealogists, there may be a sigh as you read through these.  But, my job is inspiring those that are of any age, any degree of research, and of any means.

And, I take that job seriously.