Welcome to my Genealogy Blog

So You Want To Blog About Your Family

Four Years ago, in January 2012, I started this Blog to write down Family Stories and also document my travels up and down my family tree.  In the beginning, I would write multiple times a week, sometimes even multiple times a day.  As time passed and other responsibilities took over my life and the novelty of blogging  wore off, I would write less and less.  The last entry is from January 28th of this year. 

Why?  A variety of reasons:  lack of time, lack of interest, lack of subject matter, lack of energy....

That changes today. 

Starting with this entry, I am going to highlight families on my Family Tree.  Over time, the style of presentation may change, but the information will remain as accurate and complete as I can make it.

If no one else reads my blog, so be it.  I see it as a way to document different branches and twigs on my Family Tree.  As a Genealogist, I know that this tree will never stop growing and I will never stop discovering new names and faces, as long as I have the ability to search for them.  So here goes....


Fred and Maude BlivenFred Franklin and Maude Houghtaling

FRED FRANKLIN BLIVEN (Nancy's great-grandfather) was born on 8 September 1874, in Atrium, Shiawassee, Michigan, USA, to Henry Cranston Bliven  and Sarah Jane Baggerly . In 1880, aged about 5, he resided at  Antrim, Shiawassee, Michigan, USA. In 1900, aged about 25, he resided at  Burns, Shiawassee, Michigan. In 1910, aged about 35, he resided at  Cohoctah, Livingston, Michigan. In 1915, aged about 40, Fred resided at Livingston, Michigan. 1917 and 1918, from the age of about 42, he resided at Lansing, Ingham, Michigan. In 1920, aged about 45, he resided at  Lansing Ward 7, Ingham, Michigan, USA. In 1922, aged about 47, Fred resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. In 1923, aged about 48, he resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. In 1924, aged about 49, he resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. In 1930, aged about 55, Fred resided at  Melvindale, Wayne, Michigan, USA. He resided at Bancroft. In 1935, aged about 60, he resided at Rural, Washtenaw, Michigan. On 1 April 1940, aged 65 years, Fred resided at  Davison, Genesee, Michigan, USA. In 1944, aged about 69, he resided at Lincoln Park; Allen Park; Melvindale, Michigan, USA. Fred died on 23 May 1954, aged 79 years, in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA. Fred was buried in Byron, Shiawassee County, Michigan. Fred married twice. He was married to Maude Houghtaling and Mary A Goodwin.

MAUDE HOUGHTALING (Nancy's great-grandmother) was born on 12 March 1878, in Brighton, Livingston, Michigan, USA, to Lafayette J Houghtaling and Diantha Fisher. In 1880, aged about 2, she resided at Brighton, Livingston, Michigan, United States. In 1900, aged about 22, she resided at  Burns, Shiawassee, Michigan. In 1910, aged about 32, she resided at Cohoctah, Livingston, Michigan. In 1920, aged about 42, Maude resided at Lansing Ward 7, Ingham, Michigan, USA. In 1922, aged about 44, she resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. In 1923, aged about 45, she resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. In 1924, aged about 46, Maude resided at Saginaw, Michigan, USA. She resided at Livingston Co. In 1928, aged about 50, she resided at Detroit, Michigan, USA. In 1928, aged about 50, Maude resided at Detroit, Michigan, USA. In 1930, aged about 52, she resided at Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA. Maude died on 12 February 1946, aged 67 years, in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA. Maude was buried in Howell, Livingston County, Michigan, USA.

Fred and Maude were the parents of 3 children:

  1. Martin Henry Bliven:  Born on 18 November 1896 in Byron, Shiawassee, Michigan.  He married (1) Margaret Ann Vincent (1901-1931) on 26 June 1920.  They divorced on 18 February 1921.  He married (2) Ruth A Wahlquist (1900-1967) on 11 November 1922.  Martin died on 18 March 1947 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan at the age of 50.  He was the father of two sons.
  2. Mildred Sarah Bliven: Born on 29 October 1898 in Burns, Shiawassee, Michigan.  She married Vern Chauncy Hurry (1890-1971) on 15 November 1916.  Mildred died on 21 February 1965 in Durand, Shiawassee, Michigan at the age of 66.  She was the mother of two daughters.
  3. Florence Marjorie Bliven: Born on 21 February 1901 in Byron, Shiawassee, Michigan.  She married (1) William H. Alexander (1892-1935) on 20 April 1918.  She married (2) Millard Pinkard Burns (1901-1983) sometime after 1940.  Florence died on 9 August 1980 in Peterstown, Monroe, West Virginia at the age of 79.  She was the mother of one daughter.



A Professional Genealogist, Me??

So you want to be a Professional Genealogist. 

Yep!  Since I would rather be researching (aka playing in the archives!) historical documents and searching for lost ancestors than any other work right now, I might as well make a profession of it.

Might be

Only one problem....  I still work full time as an Access Administrator for Trinity Health in Michigan.  And until that changes (hopefully before the end of 2016!!)  I will only be able to play part-time. I seek


After that, look out Genealogy World! 

As a peek into what I want to do, here is an example of a Genealogy report I wrote for a colleague, this past fall.

Download Cooper family tree

A New Year - A New Design

Happy New Year, 2016

With the start of a new year, I've decided to re-establish my Genealogy Blog "Finding My Tree", with a few changes/modifications/updates.



I've decided to update the design of the Blog and include a few more personal touches, like the new banner page...

This is the sticker that can be found on the back window of my SUV.  I wanted to tell everyone that I'm 'into' genealogy.


Over the course of the next few days I'll be making changes to my blog and updating what I've done.

Stay tuned....



Common Genealogy Question - How do I organize my Chaos??

I wonder how many times I'm going to develop/find/discover/invent a new/existing way to organize my Genealogy research.  I have Family Notebooks, (4 and counting), thumb drives of digital files (8 or is that 9?), and papers everywhere.

Chaos1 001 Chaos1 001 Chaos1 001 Chaos1 001These are just a few photos of the kind of chaos that has taken over my life.  My kitchen table is covered with notebooks, binders, and sheets of all kinds. 

So is my breakfast nook counter.

And forget getting anywhere in my home office.  I can't even get from one side to the otehr without tripping over binders, boxes and bins:  All of them filled with past, present and to be examined notes, photographs and 'stuff' related to my genealogy obsession.

I've bought kits.

I've read books.

I've searched websites. 

I've tried creating my own system by combining what I've found in the above items.


I still live in and am surrounded by chaos.

Perhaps an intervention in required.


Whatever needs to happen, I've watched the documetation move from my home office to my kitchen table.


Next stop, perhaps the bedroom.  Or maybe it's time to visit the summer place?




















One Voyage Apart

I am always amazed just how small the world is when I find ancestors from two completely separate branches of my tree very close to each other.

Charles VincentI've blogged on many occasions ( A Family That Travels Together- Jan 2013; The One who Stayed Behind-Jul 2012 ) about my Vincent family (Dad's side) that came from England / Channel Islands and settled in Michigan.






William E Hutchings Have I ever mentioned the Hutchings Family? They came from a different county in England and settled in Maine.  At least 3 of the Hutchings daughters married into the Gerald family (Mom's side). 

In researching this side branch of my family, I discovered that William Hutchings, his wife Alice Munford Hutchings and several of their children emigrated from Oxfordshire, England in 1908.  Digging further into their documentation, I was able to discover that they landed in Quebec Canada on 10 Apr 1908.   Huthings Tunisian



What shocked me most was the name of the vessel they arrived on:  Tunisian.  I recognized the name immediately as the same vessel my Vincent ancestors arrived on in 1908. 


Tunisian VincentThe Vincents traveled on the Tunisian approx 1 1/2 months later than the Hutchings, arriving in Quebec Canada on 6 Jun 1908.  As I've mentioned before they then  traveled down the St. Lawrence to Windsor and crossed into Michigan, ultimately ending up in Lansing. 



It's fun facts like this that makes me think: 









It was a

A Three-Day Weekend - A Search for Past Ancestors

Ever since I learned that many of my Bliven-Houghtaling ancestors lived, died and were buried in the Milford-Green Oak-Lyon Township-Kensington area, I have been compiling a list of cemeteries I have wanted to visit / re-visit in search of these ancestors.

During the past winter, I made a list of ancestors I learned that (according to Ancestry.com) "the father of the wife of my 3rd Great Grand Uncle" is buried in a cemetery not too far from my house. His daughter ("the wife") is also buried in that cemetery, along with her 1 year old daughter, but in an unmarked grave.

006  006

Last summer, I stopped at the cemetery and saw in person how few headstones remain there.  The following is a description written by a friend of mine for the USGENWEB Tombstone Project.

Cemetery is located on the south side of Grand River Ave, just west of Kent Lake Road, a few feet from I-96 expressway. If the county signs are correct the cemetery is in Oakland County, but cared for by the Historical Soc. of Green Oak Twp Livingston County. The cemetery is good size but only about 30 graves I can locate. I was told that this was first Named Kent Cemetery after the Village located just east of the cemetery, when the rail road failed to pass in that area the village folded and everyone moved on. There is one house that was moved to Brighton, and a bunch of others were lost to the expressway and Kensington Metro park. Jesse Winters

I visited again this morning (24 May 2015) in hopes of finding where Parley Warren Clark Gates is buried.  You see, I have a theory that his daughter and granddaughter are buried nearby.  It would make sense that the family members would be near each other.


You can see from the above photographs that there are not many headstones,  PWC Gates (as he was known) was buried close to the center of the cemetery. No longer standing, his headstone lies in pieces, half buried in the soil. It looks as if there are unmarked graves on either side of his headstone. This is where I believe Betsey E Gates Taylor and Betsey Elizabeth Taylor are buried.

After paying silent respect to my long-gone ancestors, I got back in my car and headed north. Destination?  What ever lay ahead (pun intended!)

Another Sunday, Another Tree to Climb

It's Sunday midmorning, I'm sitting at my computer wondering which tree I'm going to climb today.  It's still too cold and messy to start visiting the local cemeteries (I created a long list of cemeteries to visit over the past few cold, snowy winter weekends).  Although there's a lot less snow around, with the coming of the (slightly) warmer weather, I still can't venture out search for ancestors, yet.

via www.findingmytree.com

Another Sunday, Another Tree to Climb

It's Sunday midmorning, I'm sitting at my computer wondering which tree I'm going to climb today.  It's still too cold and messy to start visiting the local cemeteries (I created a long list of cemeteries to visit over the past few cold, snowy winter weekends).  Although there's a lot less snow around, with the coming of the (slightly) warmer weather, I still can't venture out search for ancestors, yet.

So, here I sit, surrounded by half-completed forms and hard-to-read notes, trying to decide which branch of my family tree to I want to explore.

Actually, the branch that is calling my name the loudest isn't even my blood ancestor.  It's my Great Aunt by marriage:  Susan Elizabeth Cecilia Still Ware Vincent, aka my Aunt Cis.

Cis and jim vincentAunt Cis was a large part of my childhood.  We would go visit her and my Uncle Jim on many Sunday afternoons.  I learned to drink tea at her house.  I remember playing 'hide and seek' with my brothers in the yard, while my parents would visit with her and her family.  I still remember the last time we visited, Memorial Day 1966.  She passed away  July 4, 1966, just a few months later.  She's buried 'across the street' from my parents and her in-laws; my grandmother, great-grandparents and a couple of aunts and uncles.  I stop to visit her and Uncle Jim at least once a year and say a silent prayer for them every time I visit the cemetery.



Why do I find her family so fascinating?  Maybe it's because one of the tragedies in her life was Cecilia and Frederick Ware - Wedding Dayalways a childhood story.  Her first husband, Frederick Ware, was a victim of the Titanic sinking on April 14, 1912. I even wrote a couple of blogs about my search for his name.

Or maybe it's because the more I search for members of the Still family, the more intriguing things I find.  Things like:

The number of first cousins that married (James Christopher John Still and Sarah Simpson Still; Sudell Fox Still and Rosetta Still) or the Uncle who emigrated to Australia (Sudell Fox Still).

How many of the men in the Still family were Lightermen?  And exactly what is a Lighterman?  When and why did the family switch to being a Carman?

Cecilia 1947 weddingWhatever the reason, I'm probably going to send today knee-deep in British census forms looks for Stills, Hayes, and a number of other families, while I think about my Aunt Cis.


A Snowy Sunday - A Great Day to Dig for Relatives

It's snowing outside.  A LOT OF SNOW.  By the time this storm is gone, we are supposed to have 8-12" of snow all around us.  What's a girl to do on a snowy Sunday afternoon.


So here I sit, playing amongst the branches of my niece's family tree.  I've decided that I enjoyed creating the documentation for my friend's family tree so much, that I'm going to create the same kind of documentation for the trees I'm generating for my niece and nephew.

So here I sit documenting the Geraldine "Gerry" Simons tree: maternal grandmother of Jennifer Lynn Rogers Schall. 

The documentation consists of Family Group Records, Individual Worksheets for each main family member, census and other supporting documents/sources of information.

Simons tree







So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


Where Have You Been? 2014 is Almost Gone!

It is been a loooooonnnnngggg time since I posted to my blog.  Much has changed since April, 2014.  Too much to explain during my lunch period. I can't wait to show off what I've created for my best friend's Christmas Present.  I can't wait to tell about the informtion I received from the Genealogist on Guernsey.

Kensington cemeteryThere are several trips to local cemeteries to find ancestors I had no idea lived and died within sight of my current home.

There's much to share and show.