Saturday, April 23, 2011

Using Google's Recipe View for Family History

Google has a new feature to help find recipes online called Recipe View. 
I don't like to just find names and dates of my ancestors.  I like to write about my family history and the various cultures of my ancestors.

Cooking, to me, is a big part of culture, and because of this, I've always included family recipes in the stories of my ancestors.  Unfortunately, although I know what dishes my grandmothers and great-grandmothers cooked, none of these recipes were ever written down. 

Google Recipe View can now help me find recipes close to my family recipes.  If I know my Hungarian grandmother cooked goulash with paprika and poppy seeds but without ketchup (which a lot of online recipes seem to include - ugh!), Recipe View helps me find a recipe meeting my criteria.  It not only allows me to choose the ingredients in the recipe, but it allows me to choose ingredients I know are NOT in the recipe by clicking on the "Yes" or "No" ingredient check boxes in the left column.

Google Recipe View helps me choose a recipe among the search results by showing clearly marked ingredients and pictures without having to go into each website to check out the ingredients of the recipe.

To get to Recipe View, click on the Recipes link in the left-hand panel when searching for a recipe. You can search for specific recipes such as Goulash or Schnitzel or can search for more open-ended topics that feature a holiday or event, such as German Christmas recipes or St. Patrick's Day in Ireland recipes or Easter Bread or even Bastille Day recipes.

You filter search results based on your ideal ingredients, cooking time and calorie count using the recipe tools on the left hand side of the page.  For cultural recipes, I don't use the cooking time or calorie count check boxes.  I don't think my ancestors worried about these either.

Sometimes, I have found it helps to add the word authentic to the recipe name when searching to better find a historical recipe.  You can try searching for specific recipes such as Authentic French Crepes or Authentic German Sauerbraten or Authentic New England Clam Chowder

For genealogy webmasters and bloggers: Recipe View is based on data from rich snippets markup. If you publish recipes of your ancestors, you can add markup to your web pages so that your content can appear with this improved presentation in regular Google results as well as in Recipe View. This will help those genealogists like me searching for recipes that our ancestors used to make.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Find Easter Dates

Easter in 2011 falls on April 24, as late in the calendar year as I ever remember.  It actually hasn't been this late in my lifetime - the last time it fell on April 24 was 1943.

It won't fall on April 24th again until the year 2095; although in the year 2038, Easter will be on April 25.

Easter Sunday can come as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.   Here are Easter dates from 1999 until 2019:

  • April 4, 1999 
  • April 23, 2000 
  • April 15, 2001 
  • March 31, 2002 
  • April 20, 2003 
  • April 11, 2004 
  • March 27, 2005 
  • April 16, 2006 
  • April 8, 2007 
  • March 23, 2008 
  • April 12, 2009 
  • April 4, 2010  
  • April 24, 2011 
  • April 8, 2012 
  • March 31, 2013 
  • April 20, 2014 
  • April 5, 2015 
  • March 27, 2016 
  • April 16, 2017 
  • April 1, 2018 
  • April 21, 2019

Why is it helpful for those researching their ancestors to know the Easter date of a particular year? 

In my family, Easter always seemed to be a family picture day wearing new Easter finery.  I have a slew of old family photos marked Easter 1955 and Easter 1939, etc. and I want to add metadata with the actual date to the scans of the photos.

I also have found a newspaper article about an ancestor that printed his wedding announcement by saying "After Easter services, the wedding ceremony was performed".  The newspaper has a publication date, of course, but it didn't date the wedding date except to say it was on Easter Sunday. Newspaper wedding announcements can appear weeks after the actual service is performed, so all the newspaper told me was the year and that the wedding was on Easter.

You can find Easter dates by using the Easter Date Calculator to help date old photos and historic newspaper articles

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Ashley Judd’s Civil War Ancestor–WDYTYA

Ashley Judd’s appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? Friday, April 8, the last episode of Season 2.

Part of the episode focused on her Civil War ancestor, Elijah Hensley, her great-great-grandfather. Elijah Hensley was just 15 when he joined 39th Kentucky Infantry, Company I, a Union regiment.

Ashley Judd scrolled through microfilm at the Kentucky State Archives and found his muster roll pages.  Interestingly enough, Muster Rolls  are available online at and are free this week (until April 14.)

Here is Elijah Hensley’s muster roll.  It is several pages long and gives his physical description (5’ 7”, grey eyes, light hair, and fair complexion) , his capture by rebels, his leg amputation on 10/2/1864, his hospital stay, his recovery at home, and his discharge due to disability.

Ashley had tears in her eyes thinking of her ancestor as a 15 year old kid on the battlefield having his leg amputated without anesthesia and without sanitation. I had tears as well thinking of any 15 year old going though that horror especially after the amputation tools were shown.

Ashley said she wanted not just the records but also the stories behind them, and talked to Dr. Brian McKnight, a Civil War historian. After her talk with him, he sent her an envelope that contained a photo of Elijah Hensley along with a transcription of a testimonial describing him as doing Master's work in the Methodist church as well as being a farmer in Inez, Kentucky. 

The photo and testimonial were part of Elijah’s Civil War pension file available for Union soldiers at the National Archives.  Civil War pension records are well worth sending for as it is the pension files that have a lot of the stories behind the records.

If you want to find your own Civil War story, has made its records free this week only for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.

Not sure how if you have a Civil War ancestor? Download this guide to find your Civil War ancestor or follow this guide to determine if your ancestor was in the Civil War

Order your ancestor’s Civil War pension file online from the National Archives (NARA) and include the name, state, regiment, and especially the application number and the certificate number from the Civil War Pension Index Card, as NARA will not do research.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

FREE Civil War Records - including census - at is commemorating 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War and will be offering FREE Access to all Civil War records April 7th and running through the following Thursday April 14th.

This is a chance to search millions of Civil War era records, including the 1860 and 1870 U.S. censuses, FREE for one week. You just might find your own Civil War story.

Not sure how if you have a Civil War ancestor?  Download this guide to find your Civil War ancestor.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New Civil War Record Collection at

Just in time for the susquentenial of the Civil War, the National Archives and are making newly digitized Civil War records available online for the first time, allowing users to trace their ancestors in the Civil War.

The nearly 275,000 pages published today are among the most heavily used documents for research in the National Archives Civil War holdings.

U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records:

The US Civil War Draft Registration Records lists all 634 volumes of Civil War Draft Registrations 1863-1865. There were four drafts between 1863 and 1865, which includs 3,175,055 people in its rolls. 

U.S. Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865:

This collection contains indices of compiled military service records for volunteer Union and Confederate soldiers who served with units organized in more than 20 states. The indices also include Confederate soldiers who later served with the Union Army, Union and Confederate soldiers, Generals and staff officers, and other enlisted men not associated with a regiment. Individual records contain both military and personal details useful for locating an ancestor in time and place by tracking his movements during the course of the Civil War.

Interactive Military Headstone Archives.
Dynamic visuals and multimedia tools will enable users to virtually explore the cemeteries of the Civil War's most famous battlefields.

Other new additions to the Civil War Collection include: 

Union Records

Confederate records:

See the complete Civil War Records Collection FREE until April 14.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow in WDYTYA?

The  Who Do You Think You Are episode starring Gwyneth Paltrow was different from other episodes this season where the focus was on just one ancestor. Gwyneth followed numerous branches of her tree and focused on a number of ancestors. 

On Gwyneth's mother side of the family, she found her great-great-grandmother Rosamund Isabel Stoute who, along with her older sister, Martha Stoute, had the courage to leave Barbados in 1868 for New York for better prospects after their parents died.   Gwyneth sees the parallel to herself in her great-great-grandmother's confidence in the ability to succeed.

The TV show briefly mentioned Gwyneth's mother's Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, but since Palatines - the ancestors of many Pennsylvania Dutch - were already covered in Tim McGraw's episode,  I suppose that is why this branch of her family was not investigated during this episode of WDYTYA.

On Gwyneth's father's side, her great-grandmother, Ida "Edith" Hyman Paltrow, was said to have been an uncaring mother, a hoarder, and perhaps a little mentally unbalanced.  Wanting to look a little deeper into Ida's story, Gwyneth found that Ida started out with a bright future as a teacher attending college in 1897, amazing for the times, but left college the same year her mother and brother died.  Later records show that one of Ida's daughters died at aged three, run over by a wagon, while she was pregnant with another child.

Ida's husband, Meyer Paltrowitz, was the son of a rabbi, Simcha "Simon" Patrowitch, who wrote a book that showed incredible reverance for his father, Tzvi Hirsch Pelterowicz, a revered rabbi.   In the Holocaust Memorial book, Tzvi Hirsch Pelterowicz , is spoken of as a master of Kabbalah, and is said to have been a miracle worker by stopping a fire from consuming the village of Nowogrod in northeast Poland.  Gwyneth's study of Kabbalah today is another parallel she sees to her past.

At the end of the episode, Gwyneth Paltrow, was able to put into words why genealogy and family history is so illuminating.  She says,
"There is this energy in your ancestry - it's more than just facts and who was born where.   Seeing both sides of my family in myself is amazing.  You see traits going through (the generations) and understand yourself a lot better...  It's funny because you have these like echoes of your own relationships. It's amazing to see so many parallels that keep coming together."
She concludes,
'"We need to take responsibility for all of our stories and teach our children about where we come from in both the good ways and the bad because the most meaningful thing about our history is what we learn from them."
Amen to that. 

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