The novice genealogy blogger

Although I have been doing genealogy for 20+ years,  I am a newbie to creating and maintaining a blog.   As noted in my first blog and the ‘about’ section,  I began this blog as part of my Genealogy Do-Over, which I began in January 2017.  My first blog appeared in April 2017.  This has been as much of a learning curve as learning any new computer software program!

Now, I am expanding my horizons beyond just adding a post about every 2 weeks.  Starting with the September 7 blog, “Cemeteries and caretakers”,   you will notice some changes.  During the coming weeks and months, additional features will be added.   Some additions will be more successful than others.   I appreciate your comments and feedback.

Specifically, last week, I added the names of my family lines to the primary heading.  You will be able to click on that family name and see which blogs refer to that family.   So far, I have only used examples from Posten and Tucker families, because I am focusing on those lines as I begin my Genealogy Do-Over journey.    Visiting relatives in Pennsylvania, home of my dad, Daniel R. Posten, meant that an in-depth review of the family tree was in order.  Mission accomplished for that genealogical field trip with visits to multiple cemeteries, county historical societies, and county offices!  Review of Ellerbee and Johnson files has begun, so you will see examples from these families soon.

A drop-down menu for categories has  been created and is on the right side of your screen.  At the end of each blog post, you will find a list of categories and tags.  From a WordPress blog[1],  think of each category as book chapter and each tag as an entry in the book’s index.  For this blog (aka book), Posting Family Roots, the chapters are the genealogy do-over topics which were initially presented by month, two or three topics per month.  The individual posts could be considered as sections of a chapter.  Many posts include an example from one or more family lines.  The topics/ categories/ chapters are:

Month 1:  Setting previous research aside.  Preparing to research.

Month 2:  Base practices and guidelines.  Research goals.

Month 3:  Conducting self interview.  Conducting family interviews.

Month 4:  Tracking research.  Conducting research.

Month 5:  Citing sources.  Building a research toolbox

Month 6:  Evaluating evidence.  Reviewing online education options.

Month 7:  Reviewing genealogy database software.  Digitizing photos and documents.

Month 8:  Conducting collateral research.  Reviewing offline education options.

Month 9:  Conducting cluster research.  Organizing research materials – documents and photos.

Month 10: Reviewing DNA testing options. Organizing research materials – digital.

Month 11:  Reviewing social media options.  Building a research network. Reviewing research travel options.

Month 12:  Sharing research.  Securing research data.

To learn more about the Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over program, click on the caption below the Genealogy Do-Over logo.   Consider joining the Genealogy Do-Over facebook group:

Next on my to-do list is the addition of my family trees.   I am exploring options.


REFLECTION:  With the creation of this blog, I am learning a new set of technical skills.  I am even learning some computer programming language!  This has been a rather steep learning curve for me.  My previous online posting experiences primarily consisted of message boards and writing/ answering emails.  Over the years, I have learned how to compose letters and papers on the computer.  However,  ‘old fashioned’ paper and pencil are still good tools!

What I learned:  how to add widgets to blog posts, difference between categories and tags in wordpress, how to add categories and tags to each post.

What helped:  finding an online resource with clear explanations.   People willing to share their expertise.   Trial and error can eventually lead to success.

What didn’t help:  online resources with confusing explanations.

Summary:  I feel that my blog is improving and that it will continue to improve.  Eventually, I may even try a Posten family website!!!

[1] KeriLynn Engel, “Best Practices for Using Categories and Tags in Word Press”, Elegant Themes Blog, Tips and Tricks, 7 November 2014 (   : accessed 8 September 2017.

Cemeteries & caretakers

September, the beginning of autumn.  Harvest, pumpkins, a coolness in the air, brightly colored leaves.  A time of the earth preparing for the slumber of winter.  During the last two weeks,  I have continued to sort through the pictures and documents from our Pennsylvania trip.  Progress is slow and deliberate.   I am following several  leads and will report on findings in later posts.  I hesitate to post information here when I haven’t completed the research.  A rant about shaky and fallen leaves will wait for another day.

On our trip, we visited 14 cemeteries, some with as few as 20 graves and some with over a thousand.  My relatives are not buried in all of the cemeteries.   As we drove the twisting roads of the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania,   the cemeteries beckoned to us.  My husband wanted to find graves from the Revolutionary War.  I was intrigued by the appearance of the cemeteries themselves.  Most were well cared for. Others had been tended less often but showed signs of some care.

An overgrown cemetery next to an old barn was one of our unexpected stops.  The underbrush was so thick in places that a machete or a chainsaw was needed to get to some gravestones.  Names on the gravestones indicate that this was probably a family plot.  Our initial reaction was sadness – had these people been forgotten by their descendants?  But then again, maybe not.  Relatives may have moved away.  Perhaps the designated local caretaker has not visited in the past year or two.  IMG_0377Given the environment and weather of the area, it would not take long for the cemetery to be re-claimed by nature.    We took pictures of some stones.  A fairly new stone led to discovery of the name of the cemetery —  Orange Methodist Church Cemetery, Franklin Township, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania,  [1]  which contains 92 graves.   The fact that information about the cemetery is posted online reassured us that the people buried there have not been forgotten.  I can feel  a BSO approaching – discover the story about one or two of the people buried here, even though they aren’t my relatives!

Unfortunately, stories of these forgotten cemeteries appear frequently.  On a happier note, I would also like to report that most were very well tended, such as Friends’ Burial Ground in the heart of Stroudsburg, Monroe county, Pennsylvania.  WIN_20170815_12_05_15_Pro My paternal great-great-great grandparents,  Thomas Postens  (1782 – 1854) and Esther Brown (1790 – 1840) are buried there.  Thomas is the oldest Posten ancestor whom I have been able to positively identify.   Visiting their graves was definitely a highlight of our trip!  Burial in this cemetery means that they were most likely Quakers.  Esther’s stone appears to have been broken and pieced back together.  Her birthdate was new information to me.   This was an emotional reunion as my only prior contact with Thomas and Esther had been online and through documents.  WIN_20170815_12_00_05_Pro


A cemetery caretaker shared information that was new to us.  Cemetery plot books usually show the name of the person who bought the plot(s) and what section the plot(s) are in. The plot book may or may not have the names of everyone who is actually buried there!  For example, a man buys plots for himself, his wife, their children and spouses.  One or two children move to another town, county, or state.  One child dies young; another child does not marry.  Other relatives are buried in the plots not used by the couple’s children.   The plot(s) themselves are registered under the name of the person who paid for them.  A list of those who are actually buried in the cemetery is often a different list than the list of plot owners.

In summary,  remember to thank the caretakers of cemeteries!  As they mow and weed,  the caretakers  watch over our ancestors.  The caretakers who we encountered were friendly and helpful.  Each one was familiar with the names of those buried in the cemetery or knew where to look for the information.  In one cemetery, the caretaker saved us hours by directing us to the exact location of my Fulkerson relatives.   His only question , “Fulkersin [with an ‘I’] or Fulkerson [with an ‘O’]?”  When I said, “Both”, he laughed and left his mowing to walk us down a hill to an entire row of Fulkerson/ Fulkersin graves.

[1] Find A Grave, database with images (  : accessed 14 Aug 2017), memorial #168124776   , Perry K. Coolbaugh (1890 – 1975), Orange Methodist Church Cemetery, Franklin Twp, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania: gravestone photograph by Debbie; gravestone also photographed by Jerry L. Ellerbee on 14 Aug 2017.