NCGS in the News

High school yearbooks for research

Genealogist Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits found a photo of her uncle, Albert Rossow, in a 1946 North Tonawanda High School yearbook with some commentary that gave her a peek into his life as a young man.

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 09/08/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Albert Rossow’s 1946 yearbook caption reads, “The US Marines have lost a husky fellow who was with them for two-and-a-half years. Having been on duty on a seagoing ship, this ex-Marine now looks forward to attending college and becoming a veterinarian.”

Paging through school yearbooks can make for laughable moments when we see awkward photos of ourselves but for genealogists, yearbooks can also be an important research tool as my Uncle Al’s caption proves.

When you consider that most research records begin with a birth certificate then hop to marriage, and voting, the childhood years are often lost to time. Researching in yearbooks can give us a peek into these important formative years First and foremost, yearbooks are able to put our ancestors in a time and place. Beyond that, they offer a variety of details we can’t get from traditional resources. Student profiles may include clubs or organizations they belonged to and may even provide insight into what they might have been like in terms of personality. If an ancestor is missing from a particular school’s yearbook around wartime, checking the military yearbooks or annuals might pick up their trail.

If you have an ancestor with a local business, yearbooks can be an unexpected resource. As they are rarely indexed, take your time perusing them to find useful pieces of information. I suggest looking at each name in the class pictures. These are the people they interacted with, forged bonds with and sometimes even married. You may even find a famous classmate!

The Niagara County Genealogy Society library at 215 Niagara St., in Lockport has many. Thousands of yearbooks are available online as well. Many yearbook sites have been created to help facilitate class reunions, but they can help genealogists too. One such site is Classmates.com and while they offer subscription services, you can look through all of their online yearbooks for free. Sign up for a free account then click the “Browse Yearbooks” button along the bottom of the page.

Other free sites are Access-Genealogy.com which is completely free to search and view. By searching “yearbook”, you can peruse the 225 plus results or add other keywords to narrow it down. (ex. New York, college) Archive.org is a favorite for so many genealogical searches and completely free. Just type “yearbook” in the search bar to pull up over 20,000 results. A private, but free, website is the National Yearbook Project at Yearbook. GenealogyVillage.com. A list of US states runs down the left side, which, when clicked, will take you to that state’s page, listing school yearbooks available online by county.

As far as paid sites, my favorite is Ancestry.com which has a collection of 51,000 yearbooks scanned, indexed and searchable online. Searching is free but you will need a membership to peruse the results. Family History Centers and local libraries often have free access on-site. Additionally, Ancestry will offer free access weekends throughout the year so keep a research list on hand to make the most of them.

Yearbooks are one of those “home” sources which many people don’t think of as a family history resource yet they provide us with a fascinating perspective on our ancestors’ lives and serve as important documents of social history.

If you have yearbooks to donate, contact me at noellasdaughter@gmail.com

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society, a guest lecturer and a member of the National Genealogical Society.

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NCGS in the News

Donating family research for future generations

This five-generation photo is from Helen Russell. Russell contributed her family’s photos and history to the society for future generations to find. The photo includes Helen at left, holding her son Jack, her father, Donald Ackerman, Donald’s parents Pauline Lute and David Lute and Pauline’s mother, Myrtle Clark, seated.

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 08/11/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

If you have visited the Niagara County Genealogical Society library, at 215 Niagara St. in Lockport, you know we have a number of family histories and photos that aren’t found anywhere else. This is, in part, thanks to the many families with local connections that have donated their own personal collections.

I know most people don’t like to think about their own mortality but as genealogists, we need to consider what will happen to our research after we are gone.

Helen Russell and Kevin Gaskill are cousins who reached out to me to make just such a donation. The items included a family bible dated 1904 (receipt included), daguerreotypes and photos with a written family history.

Helene is thoughtful as she speaks of her genealogical research and the bible’s journey:

“All of my cousins on my father’s side lived within 50 miles of one another; my siblings and I lived about 450 miles away from their town of Gasport in the Washington D.C. metro area. I saw my cousins once a year during my teens, then life intervened and I started my own family. At some point, my children had to create a family tree as part of an elementary school assignment, and I went to my parents to compile the data. It was then that I learned some of my ancestor’s names.

When my son was an infant I had a five generation photo taken with my father, Donald C. Ackerman, his mother, Pauline (Penwright) Lute, and her mother, Myrtle (Friedline) Clark. I obviously knew some of this history, but not all. Families become complicated when there is divorce and estrangement. I had met my father’s father once as a child.

Then came a trip to Salt Lake City, home of the Mormon genealogical library. I took the names I had and was able to trace ancestors on my Ackerman side back to 1662 arriving in New Amsterdam, also known as New York City, and I was hooked. I purchased software and subscriptions and began my journey of finding my ancestors.

The Internet was an integral part of my research. I posted questions to websites and searched the answers for potential matches. I followed the Lockportian site to find Penwright relatives.

I found a distant Penwright cousin who graduated from RoyHart High School living in the DC metro area. I became a cyber stalker, trying to find these relatives and meeting them. I have found two distant cousins who shared my interest in our ancestors. I met one while on a business trip to San Diego. She had a wealth of information as she married into the Penwrights and was a relation via the Smith family, Myrtle Clark’s mother’s maiden name.

I came into possession of my great-great-grandmother’s photo album when my father passed in 2011. I posted digital copies of the photos on my Facebook page. My cousins helped to identify some of the pictures. Along the journey I heard the verbal family histories that you don’t find in the documents from the time.

While genealogical research relies on the artifacts like birth/ death/marriage, the human stories rely upon the shared experiences many of which are not written. I have reunited my mother with a step-brother and found a cousin to my grandmother who had been adopted. I have become part of that history in many wonderful ways via my genealogical research. “

Helen Russell and her mother with a photo donated with her family history
Kevin Gaskill and NCGS Board Chairperson Shelley Richards looking thru his family donation.

If you’d like to make a donation of your family’s history, reach out to your local genealogical society for more information. Unfortunately, most libraries don’t have oodles of extra space (two file cabinets, 10 unmarked binders and several stacks of paper is my research reality right now!) so it must be organized. Planning now will keep your research out of the landfill later.

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society, a guest lecturer and a member of the National Genealogical Society. If you have ancestors related to today’s story, reach out to her at noellasdaughter@gmail.com.

NCGS in the News

Take a Trip to the Cemetery to find Family History

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 07/06/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Summer is here and with it comes time for hands-on cemetery research. Where your ancestors are buried can tell you so much about them and their lives. You can also learn what was important to them. Is your ancestor buried in a church cemetery? They were likely involved in a faith community. If they were buried in a family cemetery, consider that it was very likely part of family land at one time.

As a research tool, cemeteries are crucial for building a family tree. Grave markers are a direct connection to our ancestors’ lives and may have clues, literally, written in stone. There is so much more to cemetery research than just the names and dates on the gravestones. Look around to see who is buried near your ancestors. It’s likely you will find connections which may lead you to break down a brick wall within your family history. Here are some basics that you need to know.

Check death certificates, obituaries and funeral home records to identify the cemetery where your ancestor is buried. Also, look at close relatives of your ancestor. If you’ve located where their sibling is buried reach out to the cemetery office and inquire about others with the same surname. Keep in mind that where your ancestor lived may not be the same place they died, and vice versa.

Once you have the name of the cemetery you’ll need to locate it. Findagrave.com and Billiongraves.comallow users to search for cemeteries around the world. On the Findagrave.com home page you can search by an ancestor’s name, cemetery name or by location. The map view shows the exact location should you want to visit in person. Billiongraves.com allows users to collect photos of headstones and upload them to their site by using a phone camera app. Once uploaded the photo is tagged with the GPS location and becomes available to all users. (I located an ancestor’s tombstone in Italy through this site!)

Now that you’re ready to explore, organization is key. With that said, repeat after me… it is not weird to have a graveyard kit. Mine includes: A plastic pail, scissors and a trowel, wet wipes, garden gloves and disposable latex gloves (I like clean hands), insect repellent (Lyme disease is no joke, people!), cemetery map with grave location marked (call during office hours and they will have them waiting for you!), masking tape (for when your spouse complains), rags, flashlight, cheap aluminum foil, whisk broom, notebook and pen, plastic grocery bags (I like clean knees too!), drinking water, water jug that can easily be refilled, sunscreen, soft toothbrush and old shoes. Obviously keep your phone charged and handy, not only for taking photos but for your safety. With safety in mind, it’s best to have a partner with you. Just tell them you’re going for ice cream.

By studying tombstones, we can discover facts about an ancestor such as hobbies, occupations, organizations, family members’ names and military service. They may also include cause of death. While visiting a Boston cemetery, I located a tombstone showing a man pinned under the wheels of a cart pulled by running horses, a tragic event memorialized for eternity. Even the nearby plantings may be symbolic; oak trees represent strength while weeping willows are the symbolic tree of sadness. Looking closely, you may see symbols that held greater meaning in a time when many people didn’t know how to read. Photograph the stones and notice the carvings, initials and symbols. A Google search can easily decipher these.

Planning a cemetery field trip is a wonderful way to learn more and pay your respects to previous generations. I consider cemeteries sacred ground where tombstones stand as monuments to an ancestor’s life filled with rich genealogical details just waiting to be unearthed.

If you have a story to share or an idea for a future column, feel free to reach out to me at noellasdaughter@gmail.com.

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and a member of the National Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for more than 15 years and blogs at noellasdaughter.com.

NCGS in the News

Unraveling female ancestors’ history

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 05/12/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Beatrice LaPlante, Antoinette LaPlante, Marie Louise (Boulerice) LaPlante, Therese (LaPlante) Cote, Marie LaPlante, Euphemie LaPlante

Recently, I found an old photograph; six women dressed in their Sunday best. Each woman has expressive eyes reflecting wisdom, hope and maybe even a little sadness. Names in pencil on the back tell me I’ve found my young grandmother, my great-grandmother and four grand aunts. What stories they each must have to share, what they must have seen and done in their lives! I’m excited as I start my journey recreating each of their histories, but sadly, my research hits a brick wall once they marry.

If you’ve done any family research, you understand the difficulty in tracing female ancestors. Unlike men who were well documented throughout their lives, women can seem to disappear after marrying or even worse, re-marrying an unknown spouse. It can feel near impossible. Here are some tips to help guide you.

Avoid making assumptions-Don’t fall into the “she was just a housewife” myth. You might be surprised to find what she was involved in during her lifetime. Although many wives didn’t work outside their home, you will find them involved in the school PTA, volunteering for the Red Cross, or heading a committee at church. A newspaper search on a site like http://www.fultonhistory.com is very useful for female research. Remember, if she’s married, using a husband’s name or initials in a search may be more fruitful than using her own first name. I recently found an ancestor who won a recipe contest with a sardine salad beating out second place of, you guessed it…braised tongue! 

Let history be your guide-Creating a timeline of historical events that took place during their lives can shed invaluable perspective and help identify cause-and-effect situations. For instance, you might find that the Great Depression or World War II propelled your mother or grandmother into the work force. Widows of war had to provide details about their own life when applying for a pension after their husband’s death. If an ancestor was in the military, details about the wife may be found in pension records.

Focus on the men-In the 20th century, much of a man’s history was preserved in documents. A woman’s, not so much. Look for your female ancestors in records of her husband, father, brothers and other men in her life. Widen your search to include neighbors (check the census!) and other relatives outside her immediate family. She may show up as a godparent or in-law. Witnesses named on family marriage licenses, naturalization papers and baptismal records may be related as well.

Look closer at male-dominated records-A woman may not have been able to sell land on her own, but she could (and often did) appear in deed books alongside her husband. Be on the lookout for “…between Robert Maddocks and his wife June, and John Smith. It may not give the maiden name, but even just a first name can help. A man would often name his wife, minor and married daughters, and even daughters-in-law in his estate.

Hunt for headstones– An ancestor’s headstone read, “Loving wife and mother of seven dedicated to helping those less fortunate”. This clue led me to begin a newspaper search where I found her volunteering at a local orphanage. Not only do gravestones provide family relationships, maiden names, dates of birth and death; they can also give a peek into who they were while alive. Emblems on headstones can reveal religious beliefs and memberships. Epitaphs may also reveal a wide range of details about our female ancestor’s life.

I urge you to take the time to unravel the brave and inspiring histories of our female ancestors. By piecing their stories together, you’ll become inspired by the Moms and Aunts who may not be famous but whose contributions have a left a mark on generations of women after them. Happy Mother’s Day!

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for 17 years and blogs at http://www.niagaracountygenealogy.wordpress.com.

NCGS in the News

Correcting Research Mistakes

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 04/14/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Organizing family photos, like this one of genealogist Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits’ grandmother and uncles, is vital for family tree research.

I’ve been there. It’s Saturday night and my research starts on one branch of the family tree, then quickly jumps to the next branch, gaining momentum I glance at the clock and its 3 a.m. and not only have I eaten an entire bag of chips, I’ve added ancestors and facts without checking sources.

Sound familiar? Let’s look at the top research mistakes I’ve made and how you can avoid them.

Not looking at your facts with common sense- Do you have an ancestor who was born before her parents or an individual who appeared in census records after their death? Incorrect dates can crush your research. Creating a timeline of your ancestor’s life can help keep your dates straight and prevent these common-sense errors.

Copying data from other trees — I’ve done it. With millions of family trees on research sites like ancestry.com and familysearch.org it’s hard not to peek. Although collaborating with other genealogists can be extremely helpful, copying another user’s tree without verifying the facts can lead to disaster. Always check sources. I suggest thinking of genealogy like your high school algebra class and be prepared to show your work.

Only recording names and dates — Genealogy is not solely recording vital statistics. Yes, dates are important but they are just the road signs pointing to our ancestor’s story. Initially I raced off, tracing every available line as far back as possible only to find myself looking at what had become a very long list of names and dates. Always look for records that provide a little color as well. Newspaper articles, local maps, census and military records build a true picture of the trials and tribulations our ancestors endured.

The wrong ancestor — Is your tree cursed with a John Smith? Having common names in our tree can be a nightmare! Let’s imagine now that you’ve got the wrong John Smith. Building a tree around the wrong person can be a waste of your valuable research time. To avoid this use multiple criteria when searching, especially those with common names. Consider your ancestor’s birth year, occupation, family members and location before adding any information.

Not maintaining organization — A couple years ago, I was looking for a specific photo and though I knew I had scanned it, my computer organization was lacking to the point that it was easier to find the actual photo amongst my many, many boxes. I have since created a numbering system for my scanned photos. I also keep a research log that helps me pick up where I left off on any particular family line. Organization is the key to genealogical success. Start early and if you’re already in over your head, take the time to start today. You won’t regret it.

What’s a source? — Most genealogists will name ‘not citing their sources’ as their biggest rookie regret. Sure, it may not seem like a big deal now but when you want to look at a record in the future and you have no idea where you saw it, you’re going to wish you had cited that source. To be clear a source is the record from which we get our information. A citation is the link that connects a source to our conclusion. Most genealogy software includes citation templates. Your end goal is to have basic information to answer what the document is, where to locate it, who authored it and when was it published with pages referenced.

Trying to go it alone — Don’t try to fly solo! There are so many ways to gain extra help or get specialized information for a specific area. My suggestion is to consider joining the local genealogical society in your area. Genealogists are extremely helpful so tap into the local expertise of society members. Don’t be shy. If you need help, ask for it!

If you have a story to share or an idea for a future column, feel free to reach out to me at noellasdaughter@gmail.com 

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is the President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for more than 15 years.

NCGS in the News

Genealogy can be life-changing

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 02/10/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, a day when sweethearts exchange gifts and enjoy romantic dinners. For genealogists, besides filling up on chocolates, February gives us a month to ponder love. If you think about it, a family tree is based entirely on stories of couples. We find couples married for more than 50 years, couples separated by war, race or religion, and couples who’ve moved on after the death of a spouse. Engagements, marriages and anniversaries are well-documented in historical newspapers and provide opportunities for us to find more than one mention of an ancestor’s love story.

With love in the air, I hope you enjoy this story submitted by genealogist Bill Bush which shows how genealogy can not only be life changing…it can also open us up to an entirely new future.

Bill & Martha Bush

“I am 75 years old and have enjoyed my genealogy hobby for the past 25-30 years. I was born and raised in and around Lockport. Following the loss of my wife in 2010, I intensified my involvement in family history research and was invited to submit my DNA to the BUSH surname DNA Project based at Penn State University and I was excited with the results.

The project verified my paternal lineage back to my 8th great grandfather Reynold BUSH (1600-1686) in Feering Parish, England. Reynold had a son John and John had three sons, Samuel (1647-1733), Jonathan (1650-1739), and Abiel (1661-1739). Only nine of the several hundred participants in the project fell into “Group A” with lineage to Reynold BUSH.

We were notified of the DNA similarity between us and given the e-mail addresses and encouraged to communicate with our 8th cousins. In early 2016, I came across the e-mail list and contacted a couple of them to see if anyone wanted to share BUSH research. One participant who was identified in Jonathan’s lineage was a Dale BUSH and his e-mail was listed as “marthateacher”. In my query, I simply introduced myself and asked if Dale would be interested in sharing BUSH genealogy information with me. Later the same day, I received a very cordial e-mail from Martha, daughter of Dale BUSH. She explained that Dale had died in 2008 at age 101 and had been a genealogy hobbyist for over 60 years and she would be very willing to share information with me.

Future e-mails revealed that she was a widow who had lost her husband in 2010 and lived in Lake Arrowhead, CA about 125 miles from my location in Thousand Oaks, CA. Our weekly e-mails quickly became bi-weekly and then daily and over the next several months we shared reams of BUSH genealogy research and our e-mails became punctuated with hour-long phone calls and after about six months we met for lunch… and it was compatibility, comfort and chemistry at first sight.

Over several months in late 2016 and early 2017, I emptied my Thousand Oaks home, leased it as a rental and moved into Martha’s home and into her life and in late September 2018, we became happily married 8th cousins at age 75 (me) and 79 (she).

We just know that her dad, Dale BUSH, provided the DNA connection to bring us together after 400 years of sharing an 8th great-grandfather in 17th century England. As the experts say, “Genealogy can be life-changing” and Martha and I are proof of that.”

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is president of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for more than 15 years and blogs at www.noellasdaughter.com.

NCGS in the News

Seeing your family as part of history


Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 01/13/2019 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it’s part of a tree” – Michael Crichton

I’ve always had a keen interest in history. In my earliest days of doing family history research, as most genealogists will tell you, it’s all about dates. Date of birth, date of death, date of marriage, etc. But as the years went on, I began to merge the dates I’d been collecting with a historical timeline of events in human history and I began seeing my family as part of history rather than just facts on a chart.

My mother, born in Canada, was French-Canadian. The records kept by Catholic churches are phenomenal, I can date my Mother’s lines back to the founders of New France (early Canada) and beyond, into France. I’d decided to focus on adding some color (aka stories) to the branches of my tree. Trying to go beyond facts can be a challenge as most family stories are passed down spoken, rather than in written form.

With this goal in mind, I began reading The Ursulines of Quebec, From Their Establishment Until Our Days, Volume 1 (a little light reading!) looking for any recognizable names and came upon a story about Anne Baillargeon, my eighth Great Aunt. Historical notes explained that tensions were high in New France between European settlers and the Iroquois in 1660: ‘“The Iroquois, situated along the Huron and the Isle d’Orléans, had massacred several French families and taken several prisoners. One of these captives was Anne Baillargeon, a nine-year-old girl. She was taken to their lands, and remained nearly 9 years. She learned the customs of these savages, and she resolved to spend the rest of her life with them.

When Marquis de Tracy (a French military commander) required the Iroquois to surrender all the French that they were holding captive, she withdrew into the woods, fearing to return to her country.

Although she thought she was safely hidden, a nun appeared to her and threatened to punish her if she did not return with the French. This new fear prompted her to leave the woods and join the other captives that had been freed. Upon her return, Marquis de Tracy paid tuition for her to resume the path of Catholic religion and values and be readjusted in the French way of life at the Ursuline convent in Quebec. Upon arriving she saw a painting of the former head of the convent, Mère Marie de Saint-Joseph (who had died in 1652) and cried: “Ah! There she is! She is this one I was talking about (apparently the vision in the woods), and she had the same habit.” – from letters of Mother Mary of the Incarnation to the Ursulines de Tours.

I was thrilled to find a story about an ancestor but after making notes on it, I began to realize that this story only exists still, I believe, because of her ‘vision’ in the woods. Without that, this wonderful piece of history would be lost to time. “It only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history”, says Aaron Holt of the National Archives, which could explain why we know very little about the personal lives of our great-grandparents.

So, with the new year, join me in focusing on adding memories to our family trees by asking the question, “What will my greatgrandchildren wish I had left?”

Each of us have stories we tell, stories we’ve been told and stories we may not share openly, but should be recorded. Let’s make sure we leave those who come after with their own history, which will connect them to what they are taught in school.

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is president of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. She has been doing family research for more than 15 years and blogs at www.noellasdaughter.com.

NCGS in the News

Gifts for ancestry hunters

Originally published in Niagara Gazette & Lockport Journal — 12/09/2018 http://www.niagara-gazette.com

The holiday season is here! If you have a genealogist on your gift list this year, whether they are new to the hobby or professional researchers, there are several simple gift ideas that are sure to please.

DNA Kits — Having your DNA tested can help uncover your ethnicity, distant relatives and even health information that can be useful. There are many kits to choose from but they each give similar results. Include a guide to understanding their results and they will proclaim you ‘gifter- extraordinaire’.

Genealogy Related Books — It only takes a quick Google search to find troves of useful reference books and research guides that would be a wonderful addition to any genealogist’s library. I would also consider works dedicated to a region or ethnicity of interest. One of my personal favorites is “The History of Canada” that has been so useful in understanding my ancestor’s movements in that region.

Mobile Scanner — With today’s technology, we’re able to scan and store physical images into digital versions. I was lucky enough to be gifted a Flip-Pal mobile scanner (Thanks Barb & Hal!) and it has been quite handy. Most run on batteries and record to a memory card. On top of scanning photos, some – like the Flip-Pal – can also be used to scan three-dimensional objects as well, such as military medals, quilts or other heirlooms.

Genealogical Society Membership — Membership to a local genealogical society allows us to connect with other genealogists in the area. And while you’re on the website, see what the society offers in the online store. Local maps and cemetery guides would make a wonderful add-on to the gift of membership. NiagaraGenealogy. org $15/year

Office Supplies — Genealogists are constantly in search of ways to be more efficient in our organization and research, so an office supply store can be a genealogist’s paradise! From Post-it tabs and paper clips to sheet protectors and more, if you’re uncertain what someone might want, a gift card will surely bring a smile.

Generational Family Charts — Family charts can be used for keepingtrack of a family tree with pencil and paper or framed as a keepsake. These come printed on parchment for an old world, vintage feel. Etsy.comhas many choices for under $15.

Family Tree Magazine Subscription — Available in both print and digital editions, Family Tree is the most popular genealogy magazine. Each issue include articles, how-to’s, free forms, lists of resources and more.

Novelty Items — Anything with a genealogy touch makes a great gift: T-shirts, mouse pads, mugs, etc. Check out funstuffforgenealogists. com.

Magnifying Glass — Genealogists understand that poor eyesight isn’t the primary reason we carry magnifying glasses. Attempting to decipher a census enumerator’s chicken scratches without one can be frustrating. A mini version is also a great stocking stuffer!

DIY Cemetery Kit — Repeat after me, “It is not weird to want a cemetery kit”. How else can you grave hunt in an organized manner? Grab a colorful bucket and add a notebook, pen, flashlight, grass snips, whisk broom, cotton gloves, soft brush, wet wipes, small spray bottle for water, sunscreen, bug repellent, aluminum foil for engravings, soft eraser, kneeling pad, and if you’re feeling full of extra cheer, a small digital camera.

Gift of Time — This can be the hardest gift to manage when your schedule is full, yet, it can also be the most meaningful. Join your genealogist on a road trip, or spend an afternoon going over their recent research. You never know what you may learn in the process!

I hope this list helps with your holiday shopping. Regardless of what you get them for a gift, remember this from St. Frances of Assisi: “For it is in the giving that we receive.”

Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits of Lockport is president of the Niagara County Genealogical Society and blogs at www.noellasdaughter.com. Send questions or comments to noellasdaughter@ gmail.com