Wordless Wednesday – Old class photo



My photo for today is a picture of my brother, Bertman McDonald and his fourth-grade elementary classmates at the East Moriches Elementary in Long Island, New York – 1964.


Genealogy Webinars

Hello, everyone! I have been away too long. I had a death in the family and that took me away for a bit but I am back. I have been making slow progress in my research but wanted to share a great resource.

I signed up to attend a free 90-minute genealogy webinar hosted by Lisa Louis Cooke of Genealogy Gems. It was titled, “Reveal Your Unique Story through DNA, Family History & Video”. I don’t have the budget to travel to any conferences so I am always on the lookout for free webinars to attend. It crashed during the live recording so I had to wait a few days for the link to the recording and it was worth it. I think I am a bit overwhelmed at times in these beginning stages of my research so this webinar came at the right time for me.

There were three things that really inspired me while watching this video. One is that I can create mini videos with small amounts of the information I currently have even at this beginning stage that I can share with my boys and other family members. Lisa shared two she created and walked you step by step how to create one using a service called Animoto. I am not sure I want to fork over the money for it but I enjoyed what I saw. Making these movies would really exciting my boys especially my youngest who is interested in family history. I think we tend to forget to stop and share what we have already found in a quest to learn more. I want to make sure I share more regularly and in an engaging format so that I will inspire my family to join in and celebrate our heritage. So I am going to find a way to work this into my research goals.

The second thing that I found interesting is that they talked about how to tell stories using the results of DNA testing. Now, I get ahead of myself because I have not done any testing yet but I always wonder how genealogists use this information beyond the results. So when I do get the testing done, I feel better about finding ways to incorporate it into my research.

The third thing that I, as a newbie to this stuff was Lisa’s discussion about using Google to uncover more family information. She helps you learn how to narrow your search results and even talked a little about Google Alerts. I am so excited to give it a try.

If you have time you should take a look at the video.

If you know of any genealogy webinars please feel free to let me know.

Birth Record Mystery


With preparation for the boys’ school year, I have neglected my genealogy research a bit and hence this blog. But I return with a mystery. As I said, I am at the beginning of this lovely genealogy and family history journey and so I am trying to locate and add all of the documents I currently have into my Roots Magic and

Growing up, my mother always said her dad’s origins were somewhat a mystery but she believed he was born in Argentina.  So I went to photograph a copy of my mom’s birth certificate and it says the birthplace for my grandfather is Argentina S. America.  However, I have conflicting census information for him. In the 1940 US Census, it states that his birthplace is Texas. I have no information about when he might have arrived in this country if that is his birthplace. I have started searching on to see if I can find birth information in the state of Texas for my grandfather. But I am hitting a wall.



As you can see, I am still trying to find some organization to my approach to my research. So what I am going to do before I go any further is use the advice of Crista Cowan, the Barefoot Genealogist in her YouTube video, How to Research Like a Professional. So I will create a research plan for my grandfather, James Buntin.

In Crista’s video she outlined 5 things for a Research Plan:

  1. Identify what you want to know and be specific. For me, I want to find out when and my grandfather James Buntin was born.
  2. What do you already know? Not much. I know his name, that he lived in Andover and was married (?) to my grandmother Anna Daguilar Buntin. (I don’t actually have a marriage certificate), according to the 1940 US Census he was 66 years old. According to my mother’s birth certificate, he was a Laborer (in 1932) when he was 58 years old., However in the 1940 Census it appears he was not working because he did not list anything.  That is pretty much all I know.
  3. How do you know this? (i.e. Census, birth records etc.) Then Crista says to keep going back to number 2 and 3 until I have everything documented before I jump to #1 (What I want to know). So I need to seek out marriage docs and maybe some type of employment info.
  4. Then think about where you can possibly find what you want to know. Think of all of the possible documents that might list info. e.g. death certificate, military records, marriage records, newspapers, more census. Keep notes so you can see the holes.
  5. Do the records exist? If so, where?

So I am going to continue to work out this information to the best of my ability so I can solve this mystery once and for all.

Happy researching!!


Building my foundation


Hello, everyone! I hope you are well. I included a photo from my garden again. I love this pretty new spring bulb. I loved the picture on the package and it actually bloomed even prettier in real life. So I must get more next year! I am still in awe of Ancestry and having fun entering what I know. I know a good foundation is important but I have to admit I am so anxious to find out more about my maternal grandmother was known as Morris Hannah Cecelia (D’Aguilar) Buntin and grandfather, James Buntin. I am very confident that I will be able to go back farther on my paternal side (McDonald) so that is why I want to focus my initial efforts on my maternal side of the tree.

I am still in awe of Ancestry and having fun entering what I know. I know a good foundation is important but I have to admit I am so anxious to find out more about my maternal grandmother was known as Morris Hannah Cecelia (D’Aguilar) Buntin and grandfather, James Buntin. I am very confident that I will be able to go back farther on my paternal side (McDonald) so that is why I want to focus my initial efforts on my maternal side of the tree.

However, while entering all of my aunts and uncles on my maternal side, I have already unearthed a few mysteries regarding three of my mother’s siblings. First, I know that my mother was the youngest of seven kids.  One of her siblings was a half-brother named John Brown who they met later in life. But I don’t know all the details surrounding him and I want to locate his birth information. I also could not locate my mother’s brother James Clarence Buntin in the 1940 census living with the family but I suspect he was already old enough and out of the house. So I am trying to locate his birth information. I do know he served in the US Navy and Ancestry found some of that information so I should be able to piece that story together. My mom had an older sister named Olive Rita Buntin and I believe she was ill and institutionalized at some point and was not able to live at home so she isn’t on the census as well but I need to find her birth information. The only thing is I don’t know her birth year so I am going to try a broad search for births in Andover, Massachusetts and see what I can find. I want to have all of my documents for each of her siblings so that I can try to unearth more information moving forward.

I am thrilled with this process. I can’t imagine why everyone isn’t doing this stuff. It’s absolutely captivating. It’s so much fun trying to solve all these mysteries. I think I might pick up, “The Unofficial Guide to” from the library so that I can really learn how to maximize my use of this beast of a resource. I believe it is an old edition but I am sure there are some great things that are still relevant and will help me conquer this massive service. So more on that once I get my hands on a copy.

Have a wonderful weekend and for those of you in the US have a wonderful Memorial weekend!


Update: My Trial period is complete with

Hello, everyone! I had hoped to document my experiences during my trial membership more frequently but that thing called life kept me away.  I really enjoyed my time and for mother’s day, my husband has gifted me a year subscription to We got lucky and scored a Mother’s day discount. So now I feel even more compelled to take advantage of its features. I continued to add information that my mother provided me with while in the trial membership.

But I think moving forward, I am going to spend some time with’s interface and learn what all those links actually do. Typically I would go right in use things I know and avoid other features but after looking at the cost of the annual membership, I want to make sure I am utilizing as many features as possible. I noticed they have a section called Ancestry Academy and I will look into those videos to see what can help me better navigate this site. It’s quite exciting and overwhelming at the same time. So baby steps for me.