Mondays for Me #56 ~ A Great Resource

For some of you this may be old news, but for some of us this is a new experience! I recently joined a few Facebook groups designed for reminiscing about the town I grew up in. I was very surprised at how many there were, and they seemed to cover every topic available. One was called “Retro Tucson”, another one was “Remembering Tucson” and one was “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors”. To be honest, I ended up joining 6 groups.

As I get older, I realize that my memory isn’t what it used to be. I did buy a book about 23 years ago that asked questions about your life. It was structured to prompt you to write as much as you could remember about such topics like “What was your house like?”, and “What is your favorite memory of grade school?”. There were over 200 questions that you could answer and then you could hand the book on to your children or grandchildren so they could read about your life. I found this book a few years ago and it has helped with my memories. This is one reason I joined these groups, they help bring back memories of places and events.

Francisco & Ramona Acuna

The bonus to these groups is one I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. In the “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors” group I saw a lot of people posting photos of their parents or Grandparents, and writing a short paragraph about them. Now, I personally do not have any ancestors from this region, but my husband does. I have researched his family as far back as I could. Once it got into Mexico, the language barrier and the naming practices hindered me. So I decided to post a photo of my husbands Great Grandfather and I included a link to the story I had written about him. The response was amazing!

Letter to Francisco Acuna asking for his daughters hand in marriage

Yesterday, I posted about his Great Grandmother, and I was excited to see the response and very surprised to find so many of the people asking if we could be related. In one day I had contact with and verified 6 new cousins for my husband. The best part is one of his new-found relatives have offered to help me with the research in Mexico and with my lack of Spanish. I am now anxious to join other Facebook groups pertaining to my side of the family!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Freaky Fridays ~ A Strange Happening

freakyfridayI belong to several Genealogy groups on Facebook, both in my personal account and my authors’ account. Most of them I have been in for years. I started writing blogs to document my family almost 7 years ago and I have always posted a link to the blogs in the groups that allow it. Because of this, I have been contacted by the family that I never knew I had, and we have been able to share information. It has been a great experience. At least it was until today.

At the beginning of the year, I made a decision to try to write one blog a day. I had a rough start of it and I only wrote about 15 of the 31 days in January. Starting February 1st I took it more seriously and I have written at least one blog a day since then. I have Facebook Groups in both my pages that I post my blog to daily, as well as on other social media sites. The response has been wonderful and I have made a lot of great friends this way also.

So, here is the strange thing that happened last Sunday. In my personalFacebook groups Facebook page groups, I posted my blog as I always do. Later in the day, I saw that I had a few comments on the blog in one of those groups. I started reading the posts when I noticed that I had one from an administrator. It was a combative post, asking why I included a certain newspaper clipping in my blog as she felt it didn’t go with the storyline. She demanded to know where I got the clipping and wanted to know “why” I used it. She said she was confused by it.

I had to run an errand, so I thought I would respond to her when I got back. I figured that would give me time to think about her questions and provide her with an adequate answer. When I got home, I couldn’t find the Genealogy Group’s name in my list of shortcuts on the left side of the page. I then typed the name in the search bar and when the page came up it said I had to join the group in order to see the content. Imagine my surprise to find that I had been removed from the group! I tried to rejoin the group, but I was denied. I didn’t get a chance to explain the use of the newspaper clipping, where I found it, or my reasons for using it in the blog.

Newspaper Richard's PlaceThe clipping I used was about a house that my 5th great-grandfather had built back in the late 1700s and that is still in use today. It gave a little information about him and his occupation when he had lived here. I thought it was an interesting article. Let me say, I do not write my blogs to please other people. I have two reasons that I do it, 1. To document my ancestors’ lives for future generations and 2. To tell the truth about them and their lives no matter what may have happened during their lives.

I am sorry that adding the clipping confused this person and that they thought it didn’t belong in the blog but did that really warrant me being removed from the group? This particular group is one that I have posted in for at least 5 years. There are 6 administrators but only this one had a problem with it. It is just disheartening to think this type of thing would happen in a Genealogy group. Just to clarify, none of the content of the blog was against group rules. I follow all instructions to the letter in all of the groups I participate in.

Has this type of thing ever happened to you?


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday’s Dilemma ~ Creating a Facebook Family Group Page

facebook-logoAfter recent events, I have decided to create a Facebook Family Group page for both my paternal and maternal side. I could use some advice. First, both trees are about medium-sized, up to about 6000 ancestors each, give or take a few. I want to start with direct line ancestors first, beginning with my Grandparents. However, as you know the farther back you go the greater the number of “Grands: there are.

I get a little overwhelmed when I think of how to do it efficiently. I have a tremendous confused-smileyamount of photos, stories, and documentation to go along with each ancestor. Plus, most of them had large numbers of children. I can see this getting out of control. I could just do “blog” type posts but even then, I would have to tie that person to our “common denominator” ancestor. I would like to avoid having to change how I input the information once I get started. I believe this is why it has taken me years to finally decide to do this. I guess I could just make a plan and then stick to it!

Oh, and then there are the rules of the group. I feel like I am getting a headache just thinking about this part of the process. So, I decided to ask a few questions and I hope some of you would be willing to provide some good advice.


1. What are the most important “rules” that should be included?


2. Which format would you use when listing your ancestors and why?


3. Would adding photos and documentation in a separate adjoined page be best? Of course, they would be carefully labeled.


4. Would you separate your paternal and maternal lines into separate groups pages or put them together?


5. If you have a Family Group Page, what is the one thing you would have done differently?



Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions, hints, and/or advice. You guys are the best!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.






Hitting the Jackpot on Facebook

Cousin Alex
Cousin Alex

Recently my husband’s Uncle passed away. When we attended his memorial we reconnected with one of his cousins Alex, the step-son of the Uncle.  After returning to Colorado Alex befriended both my husband and me on Facebook.

Alex’s mother Elisa and my husband’s mother Minnie are sisters. Alex learned both English and Spanish at home and he also spent a lot of time in Mexico visiting the other sister, Manuela and her twelve children. My husband and his sibling were raised in a home where their mother was trying to learn English and as a result never taught Spanish to any of her eight children. Having this language barrier has been a hindrance especially at family get togethers.  Not only did his Aunt and cousins not speak English but his Grandparents didn’t either.


After George and I got married my in-laws took us to visit Manuela and her family in Caborca Mexico. I had been to several Mexican cities in the past but they were all border towns. I was a little anxious about traveling farther into the interior of Mexico. To my surprise, I had a wonderful time. The inner part of Mexico is nothing like the border towns and Tia Manuela and her family were warm and cordial. We spent three days in this beautiful little town. I got to meet all of George’s twelve cousins and on the second night there my in-laws left George and I alone with them. I remember how awkward it was trying to communicate. It took almost a half an hour for one cousin to let us know that they wanted to take us out to dinner! With the use of hand movements and animal sounds we finally understood and off we went to the best dinner we have ever had!

Tia Manuela and family
Tia Manuela and family

Looking over Alex’s friends list I discovered that he was friends with several of the cousins in Mexico. I told my husband who immediately befriended them also. After about a week I decided I too should be their friends. I had developed a closed family group on Facebook a few years ago for George’s family Ancestry. I put their Genealogy on it along with documentation and photos and added his brothers and sisters and their families to it. His family was very appreciative of all my efforts. I even interviewed my in-laws and wrote stories about their childhood and ancestors.


After befriending his cousins I wrote to them that I was adding them to the group. I got a response in Spanish but I noticed the “Translate” link beneath the post. When I clicked on it the post was translated to English. I was really excited, finally communication! The six cousins have really enjoyed the group page. Many of the stories and photos they have never seen. Then yesterday something incredible happened. One of the cousin posted 15 never before seen photos of my mother-in-law, her sisters, her parents and Grandparents! She also said her mother had lots of photos and documents that she will post when she can. It has been a great blessing to all to connect with each other and to be able to share the family history.

The moral of the story is: with today’s technology there is no reason not to reach out to those family members who may speak a different language than us.

I realize I may be a little late in discovering this great option of Facebook translating posts for us, but I thought I’d share just in case there are some who like me, were not aware of it!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

History vs. Genealogy – And The Winner Is…

Family HistoryOver the past few days, I have been following several threads on some Genealogy Group pages on Facebook. I am a member of several of them, both on my Authors page and my personal page. Most of them have been very helpful over the last couple of years and I have made a lot of great friends and connections this way. However, lately, things have turned quite…ummm…should I say, ugly in some of these groups? People are calling names, belittling each other, harassing others, reporting one another and in some cases having to quit groups over this topic.

The cause of all this trouble is the question of whether the subject of History should be discussed or posted on Genealogy sites. There are those who believe that History has nothing to do with Genealogy (I will wait patiently while you finish laughing) and that posting anything to do with it is a waste of time and space. They see no merit in including History in their Genealogy research.

The definition of History is this:

  1. what has happened: the past events of a period in time or in the life or development of a people, an institution, or a place
  2. study of past events: the branch of knowledge that records and analyzes past events
  3. record of events: a chronological account of past events of a period or in the life or development of a people, an institution, or a place     (Merriam-Webster)

So by definition, everything we do regarding Genealogy would be considered History. We search for and record our Ancestors’ names, date of birth, marriage, and death…history. We write the Family stories…history. We chronicle the migration of our Ancestors from one place to another…history. It doesn’t matter if the event happened yesterday or 1000 years ago it is now history.

What can be done about all this fighting? To be honest, you probably can’t do much. People who feel this way seem to be stuck in this belief and it will be hard to sway them to think otherwise. You can, however, educate the others in these groups, including the administrators, about the definition of History and show how it IS an inseparable part of Genealogy. Maybe you can challenge people to eliminate anything having to do with History from their Family Trees and see what is left?

Regardless of what others may say or believe, I am declaring this fight a tie – History + Genealogy = Your Family Tree.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.