Serendipity Day

Dutch Are Still With Us; They Gave Us Cookies!

Public Libraries: Worth Investigating

Southerners Who Went To Brazil After the Civil War

Uploading & Downloading GEDCOM Files on Ancestry

Do You Believe in Dowsing Rods?


Just finished studying (cannot say “reading” for it is a study book!) The Island at the Center of the World, the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.  U.S. history classes seem to gloss over the 150 years when the Dutch founded and shaped Manhattan and this history brings that period to life. Just for fun: on page 269 I learned that “the typical Dutch word for master—baas—would take on a different connotation in the New World and an Americanism came into being: the Boss.”  On page 270:  “In October of 1661 there was a grain shortage in the city and the municipal government issued an order to the bakers of the town to restrict themselves to baking bread and not “to bake any more koeckjes, jumbles or sweet cake.” “ This Dutch word is pronounced “cook-yehs,” which morphed into our word: cookies. Koolsla, or cabbage salad, is our modern cole slaw.  There are more “Dutch-isms” in our everyday language:  Dutch treat, Dutch courage, Double Dutch, Dutch bargain, Going Dutch, Dutch comfort……… which were all considered derogatory at the time (17th century)!  If you’ve ancestors living in the New York City area during the Dutch times, this is a great read for you. (You can buy a copy via starting at 76-cents for a used copy!)


Are you fully using your public library? Did you know that (among many other things) your library can offer you music, movies and books for free delivered to your own device???  Not to mention that most public libraries have a free WiFi area. Here in Spokane, two of our public libraries give our local genealogy society, groups and teachers free use of classrooms. We have an Ancestry Users’ Group, a Re-Focus Group, and we’ve been offering a 3-hour beginners’ workshop, all free to use the classroom and free to the folks who come. Some public libraries offer Heritage Quest online, Ancestry Library Edition and much more. Do check it out!


Did your Southern-dwelling ancestor disappear from the records after the Civil War?  Did you know that many Southerners went to Brazil to start over? There is a free-of-charge online book you may read telling more about this episode in American history.  Google Brazil, the home for southerners and the website with the full title (and content) will come up:  Brazil, the home for southerners: or, A practical account of what the author, and others, who visited that country, for the same objects, saw and did while in that empire.” By Ballard S. Dunn, 1829-1897. This book has been digitized by Google and is located in the Internet Archive.


Current sticky-wicket: Do you put your family tree on Ancestry? How do you upload your tree to Ancestry? What if you want to download it to upload it to another online tree? NO PROBLEM. Ancestry Support is there to help! The good news is that this process involves using GEDCOM which sounds complicated but Ancestry will hold your hand every step of the way. The bad news is that when you do decide to download your tree from Ancestry, any pictures, charts, books, views or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion. (Emphasis mine.) There are other websites where you may want to post your tree: FamliySearch and MyHeritage to name two. I could now copy/paste the very long web link but I advise you to Google these words:  uploading downloading GEDCOM files ancestry 2016.  I printed out the full article for my personal tutorial.



Browsed upon a website all about dowsing rods, , and learned more about the lost art of dowsing. “Although there seems to be no scientific proof for the way that dowsing or divining rods work, they have been used successfully for thousands of years. Generally, they are used to locate underground water sources. It is believed that the rods are simply reacting to magnetic fields or ions. But you can also locate lost graves and headstones….Discover Rods are an important tool for every genealogist!”  The website promises that they are “simple to use and each set includes an instruction guide and tips for locating your ancestors.” Cost is only $25 plus $5 shipping. They even have T-Shirts! Please, if you try this, let me know your story to share with others! I’m neither a believer not a skeptic but would like to learn more.