An Unofficial #RootsTechConnect Guide

Let me start by saying that I am not a RootsTech ambassador, an employee of any genealogy company, nor am I affiliated with FamilySearch. I’m just a gal who wants to attend RootsTech Connect and I’ve had a lot of questions! I just spent my afternoon sifting through tweets, blog posts and videos, and I think I’ve boiled down the critical information. I won’t regurgitate what many other bloggers have already stated, but will cut to the chase instead.

  1. First, even if you registered via rootstech.org, you need to register with your FamilySearch account if you have one (or create a FamilySearch account first if you don’t) here. This way, when you login to the conference when it goes live, you’ll be ready to take advantage of all the website’s features.
  2. Watch this sneak peek video for a complete walk-through of how RootsTech Connect is going to work and what the website will look like (which will go live on Wednesday, February 24). From what I saw, the website looked really intuitive.
  3. Once the “Main Stage” sessions will be streamed at certain times, they will be on-demand, along with all the other sessions that will be on-demand once the conference goes live. You can look over these lists now to decide what sessions you’re interested in, or…
  4. When the conference is live, you’ll be able to navigate by categories to find sessions more easily and you’ll be able to mark the sessions you’re interested in on a Playlist. Your Playlist will be available after the conference.
  5. Keep in mind that the things that will only be available during the days of RootsTech (Feb 25-27) are the chat rooms for each session (where you can ask questions) and the Exhibit Hall. Think about prioritizing the Exhibit Hall and the classes for which you’ll most likely have questions.
  6. Syllabi (if provided by the speaker) will be available under the relevant sessions.
  7. There will be genealogy research consultations!
  8. There is a RootsTech store!

You can find further details through the links on my RootsTech Connect Pinterest board.

My RootsTech Connect Pinterest board.

What Happened in 2020?

One of my genealogy goals for 2020 was to blog more consistently, so I hopped aboard the #52Ancestors train and got going!  It was moving along…until lockdown.  Then I just didn’t have the bandwidth for blogging (and a lot of other stuff) anymore, and decided to cut myself some slack.

In fact, with the exception of keeping #genchat going, my genealogy work really took a hit for a while.  I did, however, finish a cross-stitch project that I’d been working on for ten years!  (Why did it take over ten years?  Because I was doing genealogy during that time!)

The cross-stitch I completed in 2020! – Author’s collection

There were a lot of great genealogical opportunities during lockdown, some of which I didn’t take advantage of, and some I did.  Among those I did were:

  • Attending my genealogical society’s Zoom meetings.  This was great, since I haven’t gotten to travel to them in years.
  • Attending the second Virtual Genealogical Association conference in November
  • Accessing Ancestry through the library–yeah!
  • A free period of Newspapers.com, which lent some life details and some vital information for my extended family (some of which can probably never be shared, which is all I can say!).

Other genealogical accomplishments:

  • I know I mentioned it before, but keeping #genchat going was important to me.  I didn’t want the pandemic to kill it off, though it was affected by folks’ fatigue from being on the computer all day.  
  • I got back on board with working through my software’s “to do” list.  I had fallen months behind in inputting information for my neglected ancestors.
  • I finally scanned and input the source information for my Filles du Roi line, and even began researching the lines that those pieces of information uncovered!
  • Thanks to Reclaim the Records’ efforts in getting New York State’s birth, marriage and death indexes online, I found out:
  • When my great-great grandmother died
  • When my great-grandmother’s first husband died
  • When my great-grandmother married my great-grandfather
  • A handful of collateral marriage dates
  • I found my great-grandfather’s (and other collaterals’) immigration paperwork on FamilySearch.
  • Through an online tree agreeing with a family story, I discovered the death date, place and final last name of my great-great grandmother!
  • Finding two decades worth of the Lynn Daily Item online, which gave me so much more information on my Colomy and White ancestors (especially Bertha)!  I’m anxiously awaiting issues after 1899.
  • I kept up with blog posts regarding the Honor Roll Project in May and October.
  • Although there was no official “Find a Grave” day, I did set aside some time to fulfill some photo requests in our local cemetery in October.

Looking back on all this, I guess I accomplished way more than I thought during 2020, some of which can provide blog fodder for 2021.  Meanwhile I do still plan on writing a very special Norwalk-based post.  I was hoping to get to it this year, but maybe next year will be a better time.  Stay tuned!

Honor Roll Project: Falmouth, MA World War I Memorial

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project.  It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

I found this memorial on a vacation a couple years ago on Main Street in Falmouth, Massachusetts & snapped a couple of quick pictures for the Honor Roll.  Below are the pictures and the transcription.

Falmouth World War I Memorial. Author’s collection.

Close-up of Falmouth World War I Memorial. Author’s collection.

IN MEMORIAM

WILLIAM MARTIN
WILLIAM W WOOD
CHARLES DeWILLIS
WILLIAM SAVAGE
PAUL H. SHERMAN JR.

THESE MEN OF FALMOUTH
GAVE UP THEIR LIVES IN
THE GREAT WORLD WAR
IN HONOR OF THEIR
MEMORY & OF THOSE WHO
SERVED WITH THEM THIS
MONUMENT IS DEDICATED

Honor Roll Project: Norwalk, CT – World War I (Part 8)

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project. It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

WWI Memorial on the Norwalk Green. Author’s collection.

This is the conclusion of the names on the World War I memorial on the green in Norwalk, CT; previous posts are as follows:

Below is the eighth panel and its transcription.

WWI Memorial. Author’s collection.

1917 – THE WORLD WAR – 1919

TAYLOR THOMAS W. TRISTRAM LESTER S. WENNRICH WILLIAM WINTERS JOHN
TAYLOR WILFRED D. TRISTRAM VICTOR E. W WERME RAYNER WITHNELL LESLIE
TERRASI FRANK TURKOWSKI STEFAN WAGNER RUDOLPH WEST HIRAM B. M.D. WOLFE HARRY
TESTA SAMUEL TURNER CHARLES WALDRON MELVIN WESTERLING FRITZ WOOD CLARENCE I.
THERIAULT NELSON G. TURNER JEFFERSON B. WALKER JAMES W. WETMORE ANDREW WOOD HOWARD A.L.
THOMES RUSSELL F. TUTTLE EDWARD A. WALLIN ALBIN B. WHEELER PHILIP A. WOOD WILLIAM H.
THOMPSON WALTER S. TYRRELL JAY HOLLY WALSH LELAND WHITNEY ROBERT V. WOODS HENRY EDWARD
THORNE ARTHUR C. WALSH ROGER WHITNEY ROGER S. WOODWARD WARREN O.
THORNTON GEORGE WARGO ALEX WHONE HERBERT J. WRAGG GEORGE F.
THORNTON WILMOT W. U WARGO JOHN C. WHONE THOMAS V. WRAGG JOHN T.
TINKER EDWARD A. UJEHLY JULIUS E. WARGO JOSEPH WIEGMAN DWIGHT WRIGHT ALEX
TITO ERNEST JOSEPH WARM HENRY M. WIEGMAN LEONARD H. WUPPERFELD JOHN
TOBEY EUGENE WATERBURY ARTHUR F. WIEGMAN LEONARD M. WYNN FRANK J.
TOBEY FREDERICK C. V WEAFER BERNARD JAMES WIEGMAN LOUIS WYSMAN CHRIS
TOBEY GEORGE B. VADAS JOSEPH JR. WEAFER EUGENE BERNARD WIEGMAN PAUL W.
TOCCI CONSTADINE VADAS STEPHEN WEAFER JOHN T. WIGGLESWORTH NORMAN
TOLLES KENNETH M. VAIL CLARENCE W JR. WEBB DAVID E. WILCEK JOHN JR. Y
TOLLES W. ERVING VALENTINE ERNEST H. WEBB HAROLD A. WILLIAMS ANTHONY YETERIAN JACOB
TOMASETTA STANLEY VALIEANT HENRY B. WEBB HARRY C. WILLIAMS C. EDGEWORTH YOBBY ANDREW
TOMEY GEORGE J. VAN WAGNER CLARENCE A. WEBER EMIL L. WILLIAMS EDWARD A. YOUNG ALBERT E.
TONER ALEXANDER J. VAN WAGNER HARRY WEED EDWARD JR. WILLIAMS HENRY J. YOUNG ARTHUR LEWIS
TOOKER ROBERT L. VASALI VENDEL WEED FRED ANTHONY WILLIAMS OSMAN  YOUNG JOHN
TOOKER WILLIAM V. VAUGHN CHARLES JAMES WEED HENRY E. WILLIAMS ROGER Q. YOUNG KENNETH
TOOTHILL HENRY VAUGHN LESLIE JOSEPH WEED HERBERT T. WILMOTT EDWARD F. YOUNGS ERNEST
TOOTHILL JOHN V. VENEZIA EDWARD H. WEED WALTER HARVEY WILMOTT JAMES H. YOUNGS M. SAYER
TORTORELLA FRANK VERLIN CHARLES A. WEED WALTER R. WILSON HOWARD C. YOURDISKY MORRIS
TOVE HARRY BROWN VITELLO ENRICO WEINGARTEN ROBERT G. WILSON PERCY H. YUFCZAK MICHAEL
TOVE SAMUEL J. VOLLMER CLARENCE WEISNER THOMAS G. WILSON ROBERT G. JR.
TOWNSEND EDWARD F. VOLLMER VICTOR A. WELD EDWARD L. WILSON WILBUR R.
TRACEY EDWARD J. VOORHEES PHILLIP S. WELLNITZ WILLIAM A. WILT HENRY E. Z
TRACEY WILLIAM W. M.D. WELSH RAYMOND J. WINCHESTER HERBERT D. ZARGOE WILLIAM L.
WINTER GEORGE F. ZOCCA RAYMOND

“WE HONOR THOSE WHO DO US HONOR”

Travel:  Genie and Tom Go To Nova Scotia

This week’s #52Ancestors prompt is “travel”. My paternal grandmother, Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau, told me the following story when I was an older child or young teen:

As discussed in these previous posts, my great-grandmother, Eva Christina (Lipsett) Atwell, came from Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia and eventually settled and started a family in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. Just about every summer, the family would visit Eva’s family in Manchester.  Apparently, the place in Nova Scotia was pretty rustic, which meant going to the bathroom in an outhouse.  Eva made sure to bring extra rolls of toilet paper with them on the trip.

Aug 1952. Manchester, Nova Scotia. Author’s collection.

Example of the plumbing situation at the family cottage. Author’s collection.

One time when my grandmother and her brother Tom were young (it had to be during the 1930s), the family made the long drive up to Nova Scotia.  The two of them must have gotten bored, because they took the toilet paper & let it unravel out the car window, streaming behind them as the car went along.  They must have been really quiet in the back seat, because my great-grandparents didn’t notice anything was amiss until they saw cars pass them, with the passengers pointing & laughing.

Eva turned around and saw what Genie and Tom were doing.  My great-grandfather pulled over the car, and the kids got in DEEP trouble for wasting all that toilet paper!  Yet my grandmother laughed the whole time she told the story.

Family cottage in 1952. Now imagine a car 20 years prior with the family in it! Author’s collection.

Luck: Survivors

This week’s #52Ancestors prompt is “luck”. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, I have been pondering the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic and how some of our ancestors survived that, and how some did not. My Colomy family seemed to be the lucky ones in having survived that epidemic. Indeed, if Bertha (Colomy) (French) Spratt was stricken and did not survive, she never would have met my great-grandfather George Edmund Pleau and had their son, my paternal grandfather! And of course, these words would not be written.

The Colomy’s were not unscathed by the epidemic, however. Like many others affected by the flu, Eleanor M. Colomy, Edwin’s second wife, contracted pneumonia and died on December 11, 1918, only three days after the doctor started tending to her. Just over a year later on December 28, 1919, Bertha’s second husband James Spratt also passed away from pneumonia, with “lagrippe” (the flu) being a contributory cause. Sandwiched between these two deaths, Edwin and Bertha’s father Frank’s second wife Ida died on June 1, 1919 of pyonephrosis (a kidney infection).

One death after another in the Colomy family. Courtesy FamilySearch.

What a devastating year the Colomy family had! I have to wonder if this drew the family closer together, or if perhaps each may have been too emotionally spent by their own grief to comfort each other.

Strong Woman: My Fille du Roi

Continuing with #52Ancestors this week’s theme is “Strong Woman”. I think one of the best representations of strong women is the Filles du Roi, who I first heard about in 2014 on the Maples Stars and Stripes podcast. The Filles du Roi were marriageable women who were recruited by the French government under King Louis XIV to travel to New France (today’s Quebec), marry in the male-dominated colony and start families. Growing the colony’s population from within, if you will.

The strength of the filles lay in their willingness to travel on their own to an unknown world, to face an unknown culture and to make the radical decision of who to marry during a time when that decision was often made for them. Then they would have to go about the business of raising a family without their family network around them. Yet, the eight hundred filles did all that and helped roots to be put down in New France.

When I first heard about the Filles du Roi, I wished I’d be able to find one in my own family tree, but was unable. However, thanks to Rob Gumlaw, an active participant of #genchat who also happens to be the President of the American-French Genealogical Society, I now have my very own fille! Just before #genchat’s discussion on the Filles du Roi last September, I received documentation in the mail from Rob, proving my connection to Louise Gargottin, who arrived in June 1663 with the first contingent of the Filles du Roi!

I’m a descendant of the Filles du Roi! Author’s collection.

I’ve documented most of the generations here in this blogpost, so we’ll pick up where I left off in this post with the marriage of Francois-Ignace Pleau dit lafleur to Marie-Madeleine Gaudin (aka Godin) on February 4, 1722:

  • Marie-Madeleine was the daughter of Charles Godin and Marie-Madeleine Perron, who were married on October 17, 1689.
  • That Marie-Madeleine was the daughter of Daniel Perron dit Suire and Louise Gargottin, who married on February 26, 1664.

A quick investigation revealed the following about Louise:

  • born in 1637 in La Jarne, La Rochelle, France to Jacques Gargottin and Francoise Bernard, who both seemed to be deceased before Louise’s immigration
  • arrived in New France on June 30, 1663 aboard Le Phoenix de Flessingue
  • married Daniel on February 26, 1664 at La Visitation-de-Notre-Dame, Chateau-Richer, Montemorency, New France
  • Daniel died in 1678, so Louise married again on January 7, 1679 to Charles Louis Alaine in L’Ange-Gardien, which was further along the St. Lawrence River
  • Louise died between February 7 and May 20, 1704

I still have so much to learn about Louise, and am grateful for her being part of my family tree! Another thanks to Rob (who told me that we are cousins) for providing me with this wonderful information.

U-Turn:  Augusta Eugenia Atwell

Newspapers.com had a free weekend last weekend, so I mined the free goodness as best as I could.  Searching was a little tricky, but eventually I got the hang of it, inputting ancestors names in quotes both normally and with last name first (which was good to find obituaries, by the way).  I decided to search on my grandmother Eugenie Atwell’s name, even though the website didn’t have any Lynn, MA papers. Who knows what would come up?

I was surprised–I came up with an obituary for Eugenie Atwell Paulmier , daughter of William A. and Altie Atwell.  I’d found Augusta under a variation of her middle name (so I’ll refer to her that way from here)! As I mentioned in this blog post, I couldn’t find her after 1913, so I didn’t know if she died, married or what.  Now I have some answers!

The obit said she died on September 12, 1927 in Edgely, Bucks County, PA.  She left behind a husband, Louis S. Paulmier and she was buried in Vail Memorial Cemetery in Parsippany, Morris County, NJ.  No children are mentioned.  I checked out her grave on FindaGrave and her husband’s grave and found that Louis died later in 1950.  I also saw that he had a previous wife (Edith) who died in 1921 (according to her obituary, in Montclair, Essex County, NJ).  So Louis and Eugenie could not have been married very long before she died!

Vail Memorial Cemetery. Courtesy Google Earth.

Now I have more questions:  How did Eugenie meet Louis? Did she meet him in New Jersey or Pennsylvania? Where was she between 1913 and their marriage? When exactly did they marry? And how did she die, anyway? I don’t have these answers yet, but at least I have better questions to research now.

Favorite Discovery: Pleau Church Records

When I saw that this week’s #52Ancestors theme was “favorite discovery”, I thought, what in the world would I pick? All the discoveries are amazing! So I decided to pick a a recent one because of how the discovery came about.

This past year, the Genealogy Guys podcast instituted an “Unsung Heroes” award for those who have made various contributions to the genealogy world. In August 2019, Jim Paprocki was awarded for his Rochester Churches Indexing Project, which indexes records of Rochester, NY churches that were microfilmed by FamilySearch.

My antenna went up: I knew that Our Lady of Victory Church in Rochester (where my Pleau’s went) had records microfilmed by FamilySearch. I checked out the index and sure enough, there were Pleau’s in there! Some names I recognized and some I did not. Plus the index noted that many records (including for my great-grandfather George) were illegible. Knowing that these kinds of records held much more information than just names and dates, I needed more than just an index!

Fortunately I remembered that it was FamilySearch’s goal to digitize all their microfilms by sometime in 2020. Since the indexes noted which microfilm numbers their information came from, I decided I would find the images I was looking for online…but FamilySearch said the images could only be viewed in a Family History Center or affiliate. Lucky for me there is an affiliate in the next town over from me!

My schedule didn’t permit me to clock off some time to visit the affiliated library for a month (an eternity for an eager genealogist), but I finally made it there, equipped with a flash drive and a notebook.

Now I had never searched on FamilySearch microfilm before, so I discovered that its set-up was a little tricky. Some film numbers said that they were for another church, but upon scrolling through each frame, I saw that they were, in fact, for Our Lady of Victory.

Bottom line: the discoveries began! I discovered the baptism records of all the children of George and Emma Pleau, as well as confirmation information (which was not indexed at all). It also had Cordelia’s marriage record and the baptism of George Albert Pleau (Charles’ son). Some records were even recorded in Latin, which I learned from the Maple Stars and Stripes podcast happened in the Catholic Church as well.

I will share my great-grandfather’s baptism here:

Great-grandfather George Pleau’s baptism record. Courtesy FamilySearch.

The record indicates that his birthday was actually December 22, 1875 (not the 27th as previously thought) and that his full name was George Edmond Albert Pleau. He was baptized on February 13, 1876 with his godparents being Edmond Godin and Mathile Lessieux. There also seemed to be two different records for confirmation: 1884 and 1890; I tend to believe the 1890 date more, due to what his age would be at the time.

Here is a listing of my other discoveries among the family:

  • Charles Napoleon Pleau (this is how his name was laid out in his baptism record) – born March 30, 1870; baptized April 17, 1870 with godparents Joseph _____ and Virginia Fournier; confirmed in 1884.
  • Cordelia Pleau – born January 24, 1874; baptized March 8, 1874 with godparents George and Adelia Daniel; confirmed 1884; married September 17, 1895 to Leonard Weber with witnesses J.B. Martens and P. Liebert.
  • Joseph Albert Pleau – born January 30, 1878; baptized at St. Joseph Church (the only non-Our Lady event) on April 14, 1878 with godparents Joseph and Matilda Surratt; confirmed October 16, 1892 with the confirmation name Tancratus.
  • Eugene Jule Pleau – born February 16, 1881; baptized May 7, 1881 (name recorded in Latin as Julium Eugenium Pleau) with godparents Julius Maniere and Ludovica Shenette.
  • Evelyn L. Pleau – born February 19, 1883; baptized February 25, 1883 (name recorded in Latin as Ludovicam Hevelinam Pleau) with godparents Ludovicus Lapoint and Helvelina _____; confirmed 1896.
  • Ida Emma Pleau – born August 2, 1885; baptized August 9, 1885 with her brother Charles and sister Cordelia as her godparents!
  • Ella Jane Pleau – born March 10, 1888; baptized April 1, 1888 (name recorded as Eugenie Helene Pleau) with godparents Francois and Eugenie Tremblay; confirmed 1902.
  • Lucy Pleau – born March 7, 1890; baptized March 23, 1890 (name recorded as Maria Lucina Pleau) with godparents Carolus and Elmira Darocher.
  • George Albert Pleau – born September 21, 1897; baptized October 10, 1897 (name recorded in Latin as Georgius Albertus Pleau) with his uncle George and aunt Evelyn as his godparents.

I was not able to find other marriages or any deaths/burials from the index. I don’t know if it’s because the indexing project just hadn’t gotten to them yet or if FamilySearch had not microfilmed them. I guess it’s back to the FamilySearch catalog to see what is actually available!

Same Name:  My Grandmother Said…

I have a boatload of ancestors that have the same name as their fathers/sons (and even their mothers/daughters) to chose from for this week’s #52Ancestors theme.  I decided to go with the ancestor closest to me:  my dad.

When I was first bitten by the genealogy bug when I was 15, I asked my paternal grandmother, Eugenie Beryl (Atwell) Pleau all kinds of questions about my ancestors.  She not only knew a ton about her own line, but my grandfather’s as well.  I knew that my Dad was named after his father, George Edmund Pleau.  What about Grampy’s father?  Grammy said that the George Edmund Pleau line went back eight or nine generations!

Well, I’ve since discovered that she wasn’t totally right; but she was partly right!  (And to her credit, it’s amazing she knew as much as she did about my grandfather’s family, since he didn’t talk about them or know too much about them himself.)  Anyway as I’ve blogged about, my grandfather was the child of George Edmund Pleau and Bertha Elizabeth Colomy.  This George was the one who my aunt was intrigued with and wanted to learn more about.  She was the one who found that he was born to George Pleau and Emma LeClair, but then her research erroneously led her to different parents of my great-great grandfather and she was unaware of my conversation with my grandmother.

George Edmund Pleau’s christening record. Courtesy FamilySearch.org.

Fortunately my aunt’s curiosity was passed down to me and I started my genealogical journey with this family.  George Pleau (who married Emma) did not seem to have a middle name, according to his French-Canadian christening record, nor do I show any subsequent records with a middle name.  Also, his father’s name was not George, but Edouard.  There was one more previous George, though:  a brother who was born and died before my George was born in 1843.  Like so many families in the 1800s, the Pleau’s re-used this name for a son who just might live (which he did!).

So George Pleau was a name that went on for four generations.  I’m not sure if my parents had a son that they’d name him George, though.