Sunday, January 22, 2012

Free Offline Genealogy Tools

Week 4 – Free Offline Genealogy Tools: For which free offline genealogy tool are you most grateful? How did you find this tool and how has it benefitted your genealogy? Describe to others how to access this tool and spread the genealogy love.

This particular challenge takes me back to the days when I was a young girl getting my start in genealogy by watching my parents.

They did it the old-fashioned way - they still remember relatives born in the 1800's, and had first-hand knowledge of their stories, their recollections, their pictures, etc.  I would sit and listen and try to imagine myself living in their lifetime.  It seemed so far away...

My parents and I spent hours in courthouses, cemeteries and libraries.  My spelling and my handwriting was better than theirs, for I had received more education than they ever had the opportunity to obtain.  I would emerge from the dungeons of the courthouses covered in grit - and I LOVED it!  Some of the grit was the same grit ancestors had touched!!  I would run my hand over documents where their signatures were still visible, and wonder what their hands may have looked like.

But, nothing beats a cemetery.  As I state in the opening pages of my blog, I was in cemeteries when my mother was still pregnant with me.  My favorite picture is one where she is standing sideways on a bridge after a July 4th picnic.  She is getting ready for some cemetery transcribing just four days before I was born!

There we both are - Ida Stevens Clemens and me, Peggy.  I was born just four days later.

Once, when I was about 13 years old, my parents, my girlfriend and an older gentleman were in a cemetery on a Sunday afternoon.  Alice and I stayed together copying information, dad and mom were off on their own, and so was Brother Steele.  While all of my other friends were at the beach of the movies, I was in a cemetery.

My mother wore a wig.  Remember that.

Mom was down on her knees pulling weeds and trying to discover what was written on a sunken tombstone when she came face to face with a snake!  She jumped up and started doing this war-hoop dance and yelping.  Dad saw what was happening and came running with his brush - the kind you NEVER, ever use on a tombstone now.
Dad began beating this snake like it was an anaconda, when in fact it was about as long as one's arm.  The thing is, on the first strike, the snake got stuck in the wire bristles of the brush.  When he saw what had happened, he flung the brush upwards.  My mother looked up to see a snake headed straight down toward her.

My mother ran out from under her wig. 

But on any given day, turn me loose in a library.  Nothing beats a rainy day all cozied up in the corner of a library.  This is one of the first places I head to when on a genealogy trip.  I have hunkered down and read stories of ancestors, their neighborhoods and their neighbors that have taken me back in time and all over the world.  I don't want a tour of the library - just let me discover it all on my own...


  1. GREAT story!!! (I could picture the events as you described them... and I'm still giggling.)

  2. Best cemetery story so far this year! I too, am giggling.

  3. Wonderful story! I've had some experiences with snakes in cemeteries, but none that made me laugh like this one! I think that is why I prefer looking at the cemeteries in winter, if there is no snow...