I got started on all this when I inherited many of my grandmother’s papers. Gammy used to tell me stories of her family’s history, and occasionally would pull out her grandmother’s photo albums. How I wish I’d written down all the names for the pictures! Many of the ones that you will see here have obviously been scanned while in frames. It makes for some interesting moments with Photoshop.
Unfortunately, Gammy was never very good at documenting her sources. I have all sorts of small pieces of paper, etc. with tidbits of information from “somewhere”! One of the Erskine cousins spent quite a bit of time writing down everything she knew just over 100 years ago, and it is an invaluable source, though not without errors. And my great-grandmother kept quite a few papers including her husband’s obituaries, and her mother’s letters.
My greatest “find” was letters written to my great-great-grandmother, Margaret Bushfield McFarland Doble, by her cousins in Ohio and West Virginia during the Civil War.
When I lived in San Francisco, a great day trip was down to the NARA Regional Library in San Bruno. But I didn’t know much about things like the Soundex (I learned), and there were no indices to a lot of the Census records. Try finding Doyle in 1850 Boston…. The advent of computers has been wonderful. I created my own database when I started, and input all the data I had on everyone. And then I got onto the web, and found Rootsweb and a variety of other sources. I got Family Tree Maker on my PC, and I now use Reunion on my Mac. Since then, I have found 5 cousins in 4 families, we’ve traded information and I’ve gotten a better understanding for the history that made our ancestors move to California, search for gold, etc. I have found Reunion to be easier to work with, and lets me attach more multimedia information.
As you can see from the title bar, I’ve also delved into a few tangents, which help making some of the other records easier to figure out. The wandering state boundaries have been particularly vexing. And needless to say, the site is in a perpetual state of “construction.” Come back periodically to see what I’ve found.
My old scans of the photo albums have not been converted, so you can see those pages here, which will open a new tab.
Good luck in your searches!