Finding Genealogy Records and Books on eBay

Ancestral Paths:

This is a fantastic article by Dick Eastman on using eBay to search for genealogy books and CD-ROM disks. This is a great idea and worth pursuing!

Originally posted on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:

I purchased two genealogy books this morning. The books are both about my family name, although not about my direct ancestors. I have seen both books previously in libraries and am quite familiar with the contents. Today, I purchased my own copies on CD-ROM disks to keep on my computer as well as in my own private area “in the cloud.” Both books provide background information which interests me as well as may provide answers when other people contact me about their Eastman ancestry. Since I will copy both disks to my own password-protected area in the cloud, I will have them with me at all times. I can access them from home, from a laptop at the gate at an airport, from the iPad from most anyplace, and even from my “smartphone” when at the grocery store. Admittedly, reading books on a tiny cell phone screen does offer a…

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Do Our Family Treasures Have a Secret Life?

Ancestral Paths:

I ran across this great post from Charles Moore on the Moore Genealogy Blog. His post is about a fantastic way to memorialize our family treasures. Please check out his blog and other posts!

I am so glad I found this post and plan to share my family treasures soon!

Originally posted on Moore Genealogy:


We all have them. Those items we gather as we move through our life. They may have been handed down to you by your parents, grandparents or passed down from many generations. It could even be a silly souvenir that you purchased on that great family vacation a few years ago. If you still do not know what I mean, these are the things you would grab as you leave because of a fire. You know the things that have no monetary value, but are priceless because selling them would be like selling a part of yourself. Do the people in your family know their story? Do they have a secret life so that their story is not known? Their story is your story, your family’s story and needs to be told.

I have just finished reading “The Secret Life of Objects” written by Dawn Raffel. The author would choose…

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Fred J. Lewis Journal

What follows is a copy of a seven page letter. This letter was written by my grandfather, Fred James Lewis, aka, James Lee Showalter  on January 24, 1970 and explains his life. The original letter is hard to read but my transcription follows below the link.There are a few words I just couldn’t figure out.

This is the original letter:  james showalter journal-pdf

Here is the translation:

January 24, 1970

To Whom It May Concern:
I, Fred J. Lewis in name only which is James Lee Showalter was born in a log cabin at Allegheny Furnace, near Altoona, Pa to Solomon and Margaret Showalter on November 1, 1898. Mother’s maiden name was Kelly daughter of Charles and Candis Kelley. There was 2 sisters-Pearl and Bessie which I am told died at birth and a 3rd sister, Grace, who died in Florida in 1965-Mrs. Kline who is buried in Altoona. My mom and dad are buried in Colier’s Cemetery at Mill Run, as are my grandparents the Kelleys. My Showalter grandparents I do not know. May I say my child life was not too good. Mom died when I was 3 and dad when I was 7. I do remember dad and I was sent to an orphan’s home in Williamsport for a year, with my expenses paid by Uncle Jim whom was the top banana to settle dad’s estate.
To his liking he did so. Grace and I did not get1 red cent. To top it off, I James Lee Showalter was adopted to a farmer in PA who I think was named Lewis, hence the name, but the adoption was not legal and grandpa Kelley (God Bless Him) came and took me to his home in Altoona where my sister Grace was since my mom died. The time my mom died till dad’s death was as follows, Granma Showalter and Aunt Sis kept a home in Altoona. Well as I said, Grandma Kelly was old and she did not like me, as I guess a bad boy at least my sister said so. I went to school in Altoona till Granma Keley died and then the fireworks started. Aunt Nettie Snavely took Grace and I went with Grandpa Kelley to the coal mines where grandpa was a foreman and part owner known as Kelley & Flanagan of Altoona. This was in 1912. This coal mine was at Doughterty’s known as such. Things happened and grandpa got a housekeeper and bang I went again. Left home went to Sandusky with Uncle Bill Kelley, which was not much better as he had a second hand store and I had lots to do. Which I think I must have been lazy, so I went back to Altoona and the mines. Got hell. So I went to work skinning mules in the mines. That was something looking a mule in the ass and hollering HA WHO. So I left and went to Akron and worked in the rubber works. Got sick and went back home to Altoona and the mines. Come spring I was on the loose again, going to Coal Port to see some friends and then to Punsseytona, I joined a circus? (Welsh Bros. Lessie) Had a good job, not much pay, but I liked it, no mules to look in the ass and free. So I worked all summer long and never got out of PA. This was not seeing the U.S.A. So I went back to the mules and grandpa who said this is it, when you leave again don’t come back. Which I didn’t. He didn’t mean it. I know with all our faults I love him still and may his soul rest in peace. I never went back but may I say I am sorry as I changed my name to Lewis and went to Ohio to Toledo where I have been since. That I think was in 1915 or 14 was a news buck on a train and that was no good. So I went to work in a Hustter Wagon for a Jewish family known as Max Zimmerman. Where I stayed and ate. May I say I slept in the barn with the horse, but it was not bad as I was used to such things. When the war was declared against Germany. Enlisted the second day telling them that I was 21 (what a liar) as I was not 18, but they said ok and I was a Private Fred J. Lewis 1539550 Co. C 112 Calvary & Signal Corp 37 Div. USA of which I am very proud to have been a member. As I said I am in the army and the books which I am enclosing will tell all.

April 1919
Back home in Toledo after all the things happened. Went to work. Met the one who was meant for me Eunice Misson which I had met before the war a nurse for the Zimmermans. But the feeling was mutual, when we met again we wer for each other and were married on November 21, 1919. May I say that was the most 42 years of my life on this earth, as I loved her very much as that was all. May her soul rest in peace.

May I say on this 24th day of January 1970 that I love all of you, Robert, Bernice, Jean and Jim and to all grandchildren and great grandchildren, Mary, Ginnie, Norm and Clem.
Love to All







Listed on GeneaBloggers

I am so thrilled to announce that my blog is now listed among the over 3,000 genealogy and family history blogs at!

My blog will be highlighted in their weekly New Genealogy Blogs post this Saturday at 9:00 am, central time. So excited!



Does A Site Have A Problem?

This afternoon I was working online at Ancestry and all of a sudden everything was gone. In addition, every other site related to genealogy that I tried to go into was also down. That got me wondering what was going on. I found a great web site for checking the status of a web sit to see if it was experiencing a problem.  To check the status of any site, just go to Is It Down Right Now. Great tool and it is free!

I checked Ancestry, Find A Grave, Genealogy, Archives, Fold3 and Rootsweb. These sites are all owned by Ancestry.  How amazing a company who controls so much of the genealogy world,  would have one server for all of their sites. If one goes down, they all go down. Remind you of the old string of Christmas lights!

Hopefully it’s not for a long time.

Staying Organized with OneNote and Evernote

I am always trying to find ways to reduce the paper clutter and have finally found an easy way to achieve this. Over the past few years I’ve been scanning all my photos, genealogy documents ie. death certificates, obituaries etc.  into my computer. I have finally achieved that task. I back up my computer every time I use it.

I have found two note organizing programs that are working great. I use two, OneNote and Evernote. OneNote is super for all my genealogy notes. The cost is reasonable, about $69.00 and can be downloaded from Microsoft. I’ve  set up my notebooks by surname and category. As I run across things that I want to keep for future use, I just copy and paste into OneNote. It’s a good way to keep things organized.

I love collecting recipes but after a while it becomes difficult to find the ones I want to use. Here comes Evernote, which is free but does have storage limits. This is part of the reason for using the two programs. Both programs can be synced to use on several different devices which is great! When I’m cooking dinner I use my tablet to look up recipes! Oh so easy.

Here is a great article written by Tanya Bomsta on how to set up OneNote for genealogy purposes. I found it very helpful and hope you do to.

How to Use Microsoft Onenote to Organize Genealogy Research Notes – Yahoo! Voices –


God Bless!


John Colyer 1803-1876

Records show several different spellings of  the name of Colyer such as Collier, Collyer, Colyear, and Colier  just to name a few. Even within my family line the spelling of the name has been Colyer and Collier.

My gr-gr-gr-grandfather was John Colyer who was born April 30, 1803 and died October 19, 1876. John married before 1829 Margaret Keller who was born June 24, 1808 and died January 30, 1893. They had seven children: Mary A., born 1829; John W., born 1835; Susan M., born 1839; Elias B., born 1842; Candace E. (my gr-grandmother), born 1846; Samuel W., born 1847 and Joseph M., born 1850. My Colyer line has been found primarily in the Huntingdon and Blair Counties of Pennsylvania.

Over the years a group of us, cousins have exchanged information on John and his brother, James and their descendants. None of us have ever been able to find any information on their parents or other siblings.

A very dear cousin hired a genealogist to research James Collier and his brother, John. I received a copy of the research and boy was I surprised at the information. All of these years we focused on Blair and Huntingdon Counties and the family was also in Centre County, Pennsylvania. This was amazing because not only did I have their parents and grandparents but also other siblings that I had no idea existed! What a wonderful treasure!

Carol you are an angel for sharing-thank you so very much!