Genealogy Education: What I learned at a recent webinar


I attended an amazing webinar on Organizing Your Digital files and the amazing Cindy from Cindy’s list led the workshop.

While listening to her speak, I actually appreciated being a newbie in genealogy because I can more easily implement her suggestions. She raised many issues that forced me to understand the importance of organizing digital files and creating a secure backup system for all genealogy files.  She closed the webinar with a to-do list which really made the list maker in me happy.

A few things that I learned while listening to her speak was that we should:

  • learned the importance of establishing a regular back up schedule and sticking to it.
  • understand the importance of redundancy to ensure the files are safe.
  • explore the many options for cloud-based backup.
  • research and find which cloud-based service would work for us and make the investment in safeguarding our files.
  • establish a good naming convention for our files and get into the habit of an easy-to-understand naming convention.
  • make sure that you rename files as you download them to keep them easy to organize and recognize.

She mentioned a few options for virus protection (Avast and Kaspersky) and I think I will create a list to compare them and see which will work best with my budget.

She mentioned a few cloud-based backup services (Backblaze, Carbonite, CrashPlan). I have heard of Backblaze when I listen to the Genealogy Gems podcast. So I will create a table comparing these services and see what I can afford at this time.

Cindy mentioned good examples of why the content of this webinar was important and one example she talked about ancestry.com membership – that if I have the world membership and decide to change to the basic membership then I can no longer access the files accessible from the world membership. So while in the world membership, I need to make sure I download the files that I access to my computer for safe keeping. I am still learning about all of the features of ancestry but this was a valuable one that I am glad she mentioned. I currently have Roots Magic as my desktop and will be establishing a system to ensure that my desktop and computer files are synced and backed up regularly.

Since the webinar, I have begun to reorganize my digital files and keep them in one location on my computer for quick backups. I am going to work my way through the list to create an organized system for my files.

Do any of you use any of these services and if so how do you like them? Any recommendations?

Have a blessed day!



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 Ancestry.com.

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 ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com” 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!



Let’s get this party started!

Hello! Welcome to my first blog dedicated to something I really love – genealogy and family history. My name is Belinda and I want you to come along with me on this journey.

I have to admit that as much as I kept on saying one day I was going to sign up for an ancestry.com account, that I was a bit scared. That little voice in my head had all sorts of excuses to pass but last night I finally took the plunge. My amazing 9-year old son and I sat on his bed with my laptop before he went to bed and he helped me set up a free trial account with ancestry.com. So I will talk to you about my initial thoughts and experience with it.

First, it was rather easy to select the membership category for me, I know my grandmother is from Jamaica so I knew a US membership would only go so far for my research. So we set me up with a World Explorer account. This process took only a few minutes and you should know that even if you are signing up for the free trial which is 14 days, you have to provide a credit card or PayPal.  This will allow them to start collecting immediately upon the completion of the membership.

Once that was completed, the welcome interface was rather pleasant and it started right away asking me to fill in my information and as much as I know (i.e. mother, father etc.).  Because it was bedtime for both myself and my son, I only entered the following information: myself, mother, father, paternal grandfather. But the super cool thing is that almost immediately the little green leafs started appearing and it asked me to confirm information on my mother. I was impressed on how swiftly it processed.  So off to bed I went and today I will continue to add information to the tree and check out their message boards.  Although the interface is amazing, I am still overwhelmed at the ancestry options – it truly is a beast. But one I hope to tame so that I can take full advantage of it.