Archive for the ‘research’ Category

English: Erythrina crista-galli (flowers). Loc...

English: Erythrina crista-galli (flowers). Location: Oahu, Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed weekend! I spent my Saturday, cooking and creating in my kitchen and my Sunday was spent at Ala Moana Beach Park near Magic Island. I went to a baby shower for a dear friend and it was a smashing success! Plenty of games, good food, playing and watching the keiki’s have fun in the sun. There’s nothing better than getting together with your family and friends and welcoming another new life into this crazy world. The sun  was hot yesterday and it was really refreshing to enjoy the cool,  salty water with everyone. It was an unconventional baby shower where men were included in this awesome celebration. It was all great fun 🙂

Speaking of family, who were they really? My quest is to learn more about who my Cornett family really is. It’s more than the genealogy aspect, it’s about the history of my family and getting to know them on a more personal level even though they are long gone. Sometimes I think I should have been born in this era, back in the 1800’s. What life must have been like for them. The trials and tribulations they must have endured in order to survive. Once you start your own family history research, you find that you need to dig just a little deeper because you just haven’t found that clue yet. It may be in the next shovel of dirt you are digging with. You bend over and scoop up a handful of rich soil, while it slowly sifts through your fingers. Looking, searching, and hoping that the next clue will one day be right there in your hands.

What kind of people do you come from? Were they from another country other than the U.S.? Why did they choose Grayson County, Virginia or even Kentucky in which they decided to settle? What were their thoughts regarding the land they would be living on? Was it fertile land, great for farming and cattle? What did they hunt for food? Deer? Did they come across Native Americans? What did they eat back then? So many questions and I will probably never know all of it, but the thrill of the hunt keeps me going!

When my family settled in Grayson, Virginia and also in Kentucky, why did these particular areas appeal to them so much over other areas? I can only imagine that this land in which they decided to live and start a family on, was rough and rugged. Can you imagine having to clear land and trees in order to build your home? Today we have heavy machinery to do this for us, so you can guess how much hard work, tears and sweat they must have poured into their lives, their land and their homesteads. I guess the good thing about that, is the ability to use the lumber in which they had to clear,  using the wood as a log home or cabin.

Where did the Cornett family originate from? From some web sites I have read, it mentions that the Cornett surname was Norse or of French origin. Does anyone really know? The Cornett family married into one family with the last name of Sutherland, where some of the Sutherland’s back in the mid 1700’s originated from Scotland. But what about the Cornett’s? Where do the really come from?

There are so many things to discover in your family tree. The who, what, when, and where of your history will only add depth to your knowledge of your ancestors that came before you.

What will you discover?

Happy Ancestor Hunting!! 🙂

“Hawaiian Jasmine”
Photo Credit: Kelly Vial via
Photo Taken: July 2012, in Honolulu, Hawaii

It seems that I am always on my laptop researching my ancestry, sending emails, and connecting with family members trying to obtain a little bit of history on my ancestral roots. If I’m not on my laptop, I always have my handy dandy iPhone with me everywhere I go. Sharing memories in the form of photographs on social networking sites helps me stay connected to my family being that I live so far away from them all. I live approximately 4000 miles away on an island in the middle of the Pacific, so staying connected is very important to me. Thank God for all this technology!

I recently found an app for my iPhone that I have been trying out and I really like it! The app is called “Saving Memories Forever”. And it’s FREE!! Even better right? You can create your “family memories” through audio recordings! HA! Love it 🙂 Having many stories to share with family and future generations, this app lets you record your stories and share them. Whether you have stories and memories of your grandparents, aunts and uncles, or just want to talk about the vacation you just took or the day you were married, this app allows you to do this. You can record as many stories as you would like to and share them with whomever you wish. The recordings you make are uploaded to the Saving Memories Forever web site and can always be accessed through the app or web site. If you get their premium service, then your stories can be “tagged” which makes the stories easier to find. All your stories are safely stored on this web site and you can even add your family’s favorite recipes and add photos to boot! Yay!

I think my favorite feature of this app is that you can share with your family and add them as storytellers! What better way to share your stories and those of your family? How convenient! What a great idea for an audio scrapbook; you will have your story in your own words and you can have access to your extended family’s memories too. To hear them talk about their own memories and be able to one day share them with your own children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren, is phenomenal!

This app is perfect for me! Always on the go, some memory may just pop in my head, but I don’t have time to write it down to remember later. If I remember everything, that is 🙂 I can then record the memory! Easy peasy right? I just wish I had known about this app sooner, like 10 years ago! I wish it had existed then. I would have loved to have recorded my deceased fathers stories and memories of his childhood, or hear him talk about the day he met my mother, how he felt on the days when my sister, Amy and I were born and so on. Now these memories are lost and died with him.

The only downfall with the free version of this app is:

  • Only 6 storytellers can be used within the app
  • There is a limit on the number of listeners (only 10!)
  • You can only listen to 5 stories per day
  • No use of tags
  • No photographs can be uploaded
  • You can’t attach Word Documents to your stories

The premium version is only $3.99 a month- definitely worth all the extra features I think. Especially at that price 🙂

If you go to the website, check out the tab, “How It Works” where you can view the PDF document of the users manual.

Let me know what you think about this app; I absolutely think this is a great genealogy tool in which to use. The link to the web page is below, if you would like to check it out 🙂



Family of George Wesley Cornett and Celia Ann Pool(e)
Photo Courtesy of: Dan R. Roberts (Originally Submitted May 29, 2011) Family Tree
Bottom of Photo: Courtesy of Louise Mays
(Date Actual Photo Was Taken is Currently Unknown)

George Wesley Cornett and Celia Ann Pool(e) were my GG- Grandparents.

brick wall

brick wall (Photo credit: Muffet)

Most days, I stay motivated by working with other family researchers, who just so happen to be my own family! Family I never knew I had until recently. They have become my rock so to speak. They know what hard work it can be to try and track down our ancestors. The thirst for knowledge we have about our family’s past. The ache of not knowing where one family members’ life may take us. It could be down an old, beaten path or it could be down a road less traveled. So much so that we have to cut our way through and make the path passable. At the end of the day, a genealogist or family historian still has names, dates, agendas, to-do lists, research plans and logs, documents to find, dusty attics to search through– all this and much more goes running through our minds at any given time. Most of the time I suffer from insomnia and find myself wide awake at different hours of the night, or should I say early morning? It seems like my best writing ideas comes to me at 3 a.m.! I guess it’s my quiet time with no interruptions or anything else that would distract my thought process. It’s just me, my cup of coffee which is flavored with my favorite hazelnut creamer, my laptop, and my thoughts!

I have even found myself dreaming of what I needed to do regarding my genealogy research. I recently had a dream of ancestors and antique shops, where I found something from the 1700’s that had their name and date of birth written on it. It was a simple Christmas ornament, but the shop keeper wanted an arm and a leg for it and it was way out of my price range. ($7500 to be exact) What do you think triggered this dream? It had to be the email I sent to this antique shop in Virginia just a few days ago! If I were to interpret the dream, I would say that I am feeling out of touch, feeling that my ancestors are just out of my reach. So close but yet so far! I can dream up some really strange dreams, but this one I actually remembered in vivid detail for some odd reason.

Today, I feel like I need more motivation to keep up with all the block walls that I seem to be running into blindly. If you can just picture this: a woman running along a winding road, the wind blowing through her hair and the sun shining down on her. All of a sudden she collides into a brick and mortar wall, her face slamming right into it, as it just appeared out of nowhere. She’s stunned. She looks around to see if anyone saw her. Oh, how embarrassed she would be! Mortified to say the least 🙂

In my most recent search for my fathers documents, I didn’t know the city or county he was born in until Sunday afternoon. I received an email from my aunt, telling me that my father was born in Wythe County, Crockett, Virginia. He wasn’t born in a hospital, but born at home. Even though all that is good to know, I need concrete evidence so I am able to move further back into my family tree, nourishing those roots with some good old TLC and begin my thorough research on my grandfather. One of my goals is to become a member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) through one of my patriot family members. But to do this, I need all the documents that I can get my hands on. With any luck, I will accomplish this goal! For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am determined, strong willed and stubborn like my father. I admit I am sometimes too patient but at the same time, I can also have a mean temper. Just ask my husband he’ll tell you what it’s like! 🙂


information hydrant

information hydrant (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Sorting through documents, scanning, saving them to my hard drive on my laptop, and importing them into Family Tree Maker 2012 has helped me keep track of what I have and don’t have. Also, I have created a back up disc just in case my laptop decides it doesn’t want to operate anymore. This is very important to me because I had another laptop two years ago where the motherboard fried. All information was lost! Photos, college papers I had written, my resumé, my artwork, and many other important documents that I had saved over time. All GONE! Irretrievable.

Lately, I have been seeking information on my father, Billy Edward Cornett, and have discovered that he has become a brick wall of sorts. Not knowing him as a daughter should, my parents divorced when I was very young, I am finding that I don’t even know the details as to where he was born! After creating a research plan for my father, I hadn’t realized that I was lacking this particular information. Granted, I know that he was born in the state of Virginia in 1944 but that is all I know. I am lacking the information of the county, city and even the hospital in which he was born at. How do I request a birth record based only on this little bit of information I have of him? Where is his paper trail?


I have all the other documents I need, except this one little piece of paper that could tell me so much more! Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings on this lack of data on my own father, no less. I am a family historian and genealogy buff, I should be able to find this piece of evidence at least. I have written emails to family members and no one seems to have a copy of his birth certificate or even know where this document could be; they don’t know who might even have it, if anyone even does. Dead end #1. I have searched for him on the Family Search web site. Dead end #2. I have searched and nothing but census records and an SSDI reference. Dead end #3. I feel like I am overlooking something that is staring me right in the face!


My next step would be to contact the Virginia Vital Records office to see what information I can get about his birth. Since I am his next of kin I should have no problem ordering his birth certificate through them. This will have to wait until Monday morning as they are closed right now. Being on Hawaii time, I am 6 hours behind the east coast.


These are the documents I have on him to date:


  1. Death Record
  2. Obituary
  3. Marriage Certificate
  4. Marriage Certificate Receipt (Ha! My parents only paid $5 back in 1971)

So today, I ask myself, “Who’s My Daddy?”




Photo Credit: Kelly Cornett-Vial via (June 2012)

How do you plan on getting clues about your family’s history? What would you like to know? How about interviewing a family member? By asking the right questions, you may just get a lot more information than your originally thought. Getting people to share their stories isn’t the easiest thing to do but in reality, it needs to be done. What would happen if you procrastinated getting your questions together? Your relative may die with those memories and then you would never know. It would be lost forever!

Think about the questions you would ask them if you were ever given the chance. Do you live too far away to do a one on one, personal interview? That isn’t always a bad thing as you can always create a list of questions for your relatives to answer by email, a phone conversation, or even snail mail. With all the social networking that is done by men and women of all ages, there is no reason for you to delay contacting them. Another idea would be to create a “note” in Facebook, list all of your questions and share it! Why not? It’s worth a shot!

If you do have the chance to interview one on one, be prepared to have a notepad and several pens. If you plan on recording the interview, which I would advise, I would have a voice recorder, extra tapes and also extra batteries. Give yourself at least two hours in which to complete the interview.

Below are some questions I will be asking my relatives by the time the day is out. I am currently in the process of creating this interview in a Word document and I will copy and paste the text in an email for those members that do not have the program. There is always the option of a PDF document too! There are so many questions I have to ask, and I think this is the perfect way to get those questions answered.

Questions You Could Ask

Before you get started, write or record the name of the person being interviewed, who interviewed the person (you), the date, time and location of said interview. Try not to ask questions that will give you a simple yes or no. That doesn’t really get you anywhere. Try and think of open ended questions you might ask to give you more details in which you can work with. Good luck!

  •  What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have any nicknames growing up? When and where were you born?
  •  How did you and your family come to live where you are? Is there a reason behind why they chose this town over another city or county?
  •  What are your parent’s names? Do you know when they were born and where?
  • What were your (4)grandparents names, birth dates, wedding dates, death dates, and place of burial?
  • What were your (8) great grandparents names , birth dates, wedding dates, death dates and place of burial?Did any of your grandparents ever mention if they emigrated from another country? If so, where did they come from?
  •  Are any family members war veterans? If so, what war and in what year? Do you have any documents showing their terms of service?
  •  Do you have other family that lives in this area? Who were (are) they?
  •  Did your family have a house or a farm? What was that like?
  •  Can you describe the house or property in which you grew up?
  •  Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  •  What is your earliest childhood memory? Any siblings? If so, what are their names?
  •  What was your family like? Did they have different personalities? What were their personality traits?
  •  What was your favorite thing to do as a child? Did you have a favorite toy or game? What was it?
  •  What school did you go to as a child? What was it like? Did you excel in a particular subject?
  •  Did you ever participate in school clubs or activities? If so, what were they?
  •  Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper article? If so, what was it about? Which newspaper?
  •  What was your family life like?
  •  What Church did you and your family go to?
  •  Who did you look up to as a child?
  •  What was your favorite color? Is it the same one that is your favorite, today?
  •  Did you ever own any pets or farm animals that you considered a pet? What were their names?
  •  Do you have any old pictures that you would be willing to share? Who are they of?
  •  What types of events took place while you were growing up? Did you grow up in a recession or experience the affects  of war?
  •  What family traditions did your family have? What were holidays such as Christmas, like for you as a child?
  • What family heirlooms do you own?


These types of questions should get you started and you can alter or delete the ones you don’t think you would need to ask. You can also add more than the above questions I listed to better suit your needs. I hope this article helps you in some way. Now I have to get started writing my own!





detective (Photo credit: olarte.ollie)

If you like mysteries, then you are probably a good genealogy detective. Just like police detectives or investigators, genealogists and family historians alike must find the clues in their research to be able to move forward with what they have found. When sorting through my different documents and research findings, I admit I am guilty of just jumping the gun and “Googling” to my hearts content. In truth, there is nothing wrong with using search engines to find something, ANYTHING on your ancestors. But it probably won’t yield the results you are seeking. You may have reworded your keyword search several times over, but the search engines still give you the same web pages, with a little variation thrown into the mix. In cases like this, maybe it’s time for a different direction as far as your research is concerned. What do you do next?

Have you thought about creating a research plan? I have many different times, but have yet to put this into action. After listening to a genealogy webinar hosted by Legacy Family Tree, I have decided to change my research tactics! I have completed research on this topic but just now, think it’s time to share what I have learned. You may ask, “What is a research plan anyway? Why should I use one?” A research plan is the backbone of a genealogists research. It will help you find out what you do and do not know about your ancestors and may also help you break through that brick wall you have found yourself up against. You need a plan of action; this is the purpose of the research plan!

Well, for starters, creating a plan such as this can be critical to your research. Would you go into a library unprepared? Looking around for a book that just may look interesting enough to check out, is just a waste of your time. Go in there prepared and knowledgeable as to what you are seeking. How do you gather your information? Personally, I start with what I know. Right now I am in the process of creating my own research plan form using Excel software. The forms I have seen on the different web pages, I don’t really care for. The field boxes are too small to write the data inside without making a mistake reading it in the future. I want to be able to recall my sources, dates, the type of research that was completed and so on. So I am creating my own! Too much work? Not at all. It will keep me organized and I can always refer back to the plan.

There are many different sites where you can download free forms such as a family group sheet, a research log, pedigree charts, or a research plan; whatever form you think may help you in your overall research, forms are a great resource tool to get acclimated to using on a regular basis. I like personally. This site has direct URL’s that take you to the right form based on your own needs without having to waste time searching for the right one.

If you are like me, you do a lot of online research. I live over 4000 miles away from where my ancestors were known to have settled, so I depend mainly on the Internet for my findings. I have gone to my nearby library but have only walked out with genealogy books and a book that will help me learn the Japanese language. There wasn’t very many research books related to my family search, mainly Hawaiian heritage and the like. They did have huge filing cabinets of old newspapers which I thought was interesting, but doesn’t help me find my Cornett family roots. So I am pretty thankful to have internet access!

Keep in mind that if you are searching through internet search engines, that Google, Bing, Mocavo and others, will yield a variety of differing results. Not all search engines will be the same or give you the same results. Experiment with different search engines and compare the results! Just an idea 🙂

There is quite a bit of data accessible online and it can be overwhelming to a beginning genealogist. One of the sites I go to regularly is They are always updating the site with new records and documents, so I go there to see what may be new to my own searches on my ancestry. Thank you to the volunteers for adding and helping make these documents available for viewing! Since using a research plan involves thoughtful planning, I hope my plan works for me as well as I think it will.

If you decide to create your own research plan, ask yourself a few questions.

1. What do I already know about my ancestor? Write it down.

2. Can I narrow down the search in any way? Maybe it’s a death date or burial location.

3. Did a family member move away during a specific time frame?

4. Did my ancestor die in one place but happen to be buried in another location or state altogether?


Ancestry’s Wiki or Red Book

Family History Library Catalog

Local history books of the area you are researching

Manuscript Searches

Literature Research

Heritage Quest Online

Search old newspapers

Family Search Wiki

I can’t wait to get started on this new method style of researching my ancestry. Good luck!