Checking Original Documents

It is easy to take the answers presented in online databases and add the information to our trees. But, it is important to check the original documents, when they are available.

Recently, I came across a database entry in a marriage collection on Ancestry that listed a marriage date. I used the source citation to get back to the digital image in FamilySearch and checked the information provided.

The date listed in the database was the date the marriage license was filed for, NOT the date the couple was married.

Additional research for the marriage date was needed, but I at least knew the county to target.

V-J Day & USS Habersham

In recognition of V-J Day, I wanted to share part of the story of my grandfather, Herb Hays. He enlisted in the Navy on 9 May 1944 at Chicago, Illinois. (2) After training, he joined the crew of the USS Habersham as a Motor Machinist’s Mate first class. (3)

The Habersham was at Eniwetok when the surrender of Japan was announced, and departed 9 September to carry cargo for occupation forces in Japan. Arriving Tokyo Bay 17 September, she unloaded cargo and departed for Guam and San Francisco 27 November. (4)

We have a Thanksgiving Day program/menu from their stay in Tokyo harbor. I’ll scan and post that later in the year.

Visit my 11 November 2017 blog post for the fuller story of that took Herb from the farm in Ogle County to the Harbor of Japan in the final months of WW2.


(1) “USS Habersham,” article and digital images. NavSource Naval History ( : February 27, 2012)

(2) “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, ( : 7 Nov 2017) Entry for Herbert Hays, enlistment date 9 May 1944, release date 29 Jan 1946.

(3) (6) “U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949,” digital images, ( : 7 Nov 2017). Change report dated 12 May 1945, Entry for Herbert Charles Hays, line 26, rating: F1c(MoMM), Habersham (AK-186). Citing “Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939 – 01/01/1949”; National Archives, Record Group: 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798 – 2007; Series ARC ID: 594996; Series MLR Number: A1 135.

(4) “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships – Index,” Naval History and Heritage Command ( : 27 Feb 2012) Entry for Habersham.


In recognition of Juneteenth, I will watch “BlackProGen LIVE! EXTRA: Juneteenth 2020 Celebration” Live on YouTube at 3 pm central today. I hope you can join us at

Yesterday, I participated in Florida State Genealogical Society’s webinar “7 Proven Strategies-Identifying Slave Ownership & Reconstructing Families” with Janis Minor Forté. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Janis present a few times before. Her overview and examples were very helpful. FlSGS offers the handout and recording to members, but the membership fee is only $25.

RootsTech 2020

Not able to travel to the big show, check out the RootsTech 2020 Free Livestream Schedule. I’m looking forward to hearing several great topics on research plans, DNA, and interviewing. What are you looking forward to? #NotAtRootsTech

“All times are listed in mountain standard time. If you need help calculating the time difference to your time zone, visit”

If you are attending RootsTech, check out Coaches’ Corner in the Expo Hall. “Back by popular demand, the Coaches’ Corner in the Expo Hall is the place to go if you’re looking for one-on-one mentoring from an expert genealogist. Bring your biggest roadblocks or dead ends, and receive personalized help.”

Best of 2019 from

The posts that were visited most often cover a wide range of topics including: WWII, social security applications, naturalizations, and organization. I look forward to connected with you and helping you tell your families stories in 2020.

If you are looking for information or have a question that isn’t covered in, contact me.

Honoring a Veterans Service: Mathew Szubinski’s WWII Story

[Medals in featured image (right to left): : American Defense Service Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon w/ 2 Bronze Battle Stars, Bronze Star Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon w/ 2 Bronze Battle Stars, and Work War II Victory Medal]

Mathew Emil Szubinski was my great uncle and my mother’s godfather. He was the youngest of four children born to Vincent Szubinski and Stanislawa “Stella” Muszynski, born in 9 Jan 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. (1)

Continue reading Honoring a Veterans Service: Mathew Szubinski’s WWII Story

Genealogy Lessons: Using FamilySearch to Effectively Search for Family

Many people are not using FamilySearch at all or only doing simple searches. But, there is so much more. These Genealogy Lessons include case studies to demonstrate the instructions and steps for Putting Lessons into Practice. FamilySearch is one of my favorite genealogy search tools and I want to share why.

This intro video provides an overview of the FamilySearch segments so you can decide which to view first.

Genealogy Lesson 5: Location Search

At a glance, see what is available in FamilySearch for your targeted research location.

Let me know what you think about this video. Share your feedback at

Handout for all the FamilySearch Genealogy Lessons available for $5.
PDF will be emailed to the email address used with PayPal.
If you prefer to use an alternative payment method, ask for more information at

Contact me at with comments or questions or add them to the comments. Send me your questions about FamilySearch or let me know other genealogy topics that you want to hear more about.

#genealogy #family history #research #FamilySearch