Denis Basquil

Denis Basquil in Fall River

Denis was the brother of my great great grandfather, Walter Basquil. I’ve gotten to know one of his descendants, and we’ve collaborated on researching the family. I think she got this photo of Denis from another cousin in Australia. (Denis’ son, William, immigrated there, while Denis came to the US and Walter stayed in Ireland.)

Fall River Daily Globe (Fall River MA), 24 Feb 1907, page 6, column 3

Denis was quite a character. Reading between the lines, he was likely an alcoholic. His wife, Ellen Carney, died in 1908. In 1910 Denis was living in the Fall River alms house, destitute. He died in 1911.

Death Certificate


Name Variants Found in the Wild

Every genealogy group I’ve ever participated in gets regular posts from people who are hung up on the idea that names have one correct spelling. They don’t understand that until very recently spelling was an art form. If you look at original documents, you’ll often find the same individual’s name spelled multiple ways. Sometimes you’ll see family members who spell their surname differently.

I’ve been working on a one name study for years, and this is the list of name variants I’ve found in the wild. Some of them are make more sense than others, but none of them are wrong. So I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about whether or not Runkle and Runkel are the same name. They are.


Ancestry Shenanigans

Marriage Certificate Index

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Certificate Screenshot
image 1: screenshot of Indiana marriage certificate index entry at Ancestry
Image 2: Indiana marriage certificate previously downloaded from Ancestry
image 3: Indiana marriage certificate on Ancestry website

Y’all, I have no idea what’s going on at Maybe they’re just updating their existing Indiana certificate databases? Or maybe they’re slowly removing certificate images? I tried looking up a 1944 Indiana marriage certificate yesterday. It should have been there, but there were no images showing. All the entries looked like the first image, with the “No Image Text-only Collection” notice.

That can happen. Licensing agreements change, and whole collections can suddenly (and permanently) disappear. Always download images to your local storage when you find them. Don’t rely on the images being available in ten minutes, much less in perpetuity. It could be something benign, like they are extending the year range and adding newer records. I noticed that the index entry for my step-father’s 2016 death is now included. I think the Indiana death certificate database ended with 2013 or 2016 previously? But it could be that their licensing agreement for the images has or will soon expire. Or it could be that they couldn’t reach a new agreement with the state of Indiana. Or it could be that Indiana has decided to be a rat bastard because they could make more money requiring people to obtain certified copies directly from the state. That last one would really hurt, because you have to be close kin to order certified copies, and you don’t need certified copies for genealogy research.

Weirdly, I can still access the certificates I saved links for (thank you, Evernote!). They haven’t removed them. They just aren’t linked to the index entries anymore. But if you look at the last image, there is no information below the database name. There should be a year range and surname range. There’s nothing. Very strange. Personally, I don’t think this will really impact me. Most of the people I needed to research in Indiana were confined to my step-father’s family, and I’m done working on them.

Also weird is that some of the certificates that were not visible yesterday are back today. This gives me hope that the whole thing is just a temporary glitch, and that they’re actually expanding the Indiana certificate image holdings. But as of right now, there are no marriage certificate images accessible from the index entries. Birth and death certificates are a craps shoot.


A Cautionary Tale

Death Index
Death Index
Death Index Entry from

Always look at the image, if it’s available. I submitted some edits a few days ago to the memorial for Theresa C. Rogers’ Findagrave memorial. The death date on the stone was 1965, and the birth date matched the Theresa Cecelia Partington I was researching Her parents were in buried in the same cemetery, and if you look at the wider photo at Findagrave, you’ll see she’s in the Partington family plot. Her husband, Frances Rogers, is not buried there. He was apparently cremated and his ashes buried on a golf course.

So when I saw this death index entry, I had a moment of panic. The entry is definitely for her. It includes both her maiden and married surnames. But the death date was 1958. Did I mess up and submit edits for the wrong memorial at Findagrave? That would be bad. I almost messaged the memorial owner to ask them to ignore the edits I’d submitted (they hadn’t been approved at that point). But then I looked at the death index image. Someone had mistranscribed the death date. They’d used the age at death instead. I added a correction at Ancestry.

Always, always, always look at the image, if there is one. The death index is short on details, but it also gives a death location, which I didn’t have. I’m glad I found it and took the time to figure out what was going on.

Genealogy, Photography


These are from my great grandpa’s negatives. They’re 110, so the quality is pretty grim, and they’re scratched to hell, which hasn’t helped. I like the lo-fi feel of a lot of them, though.


Hot air balloon

Flood in Austin, Minnesota, July 1978

Hormel Plant, Austin, Minnesota

Genealogy, Photography

Grandpa Mert

I edited a few more of the negatives I scanned. These are 70mm negatives of my grandpa Mert, talem when he joined the Navy in 1944. He was in the Seabees and spent most of WWII stationed in the Marshall Islands (on Kwajalein Island and Ebeye Island). The first photo must have been the keeper of the bunch, because it’s the one everyone in the family has seen. The rest were outtakes that I’d never seen. They were with my great grandpa John Meineke’s negatives, so I’m assuming he was the photographer.

The last photo is flippin’ adorable.







Genealogy, Photography

Grandma and Grandpa

I ended up with my both grandpa’s and my great grandpa’s negatives and slides. I started scanning grandpa’s negatives years ago, then got distracted by life. Then last month my mom sent me my great grandpa’s negatives. I ended up having to buy a new negative scanner, because the old one died. Probably for the best, because the image quality from the new one (Epson Perfection V600) is better. I’m going to go back and rescan some of over/under exposed negatives, to see if I can capture more detail.

This one of my grandparents was seriously overexposed. And at some point Piglet chomped it, which hasn’t helped (you can see the teeth marks at the top of the bottom image). Aren’t they adorable, though? I think this was probably taken on their honeymoon, so about 1946.

Canon CanoScan 8800F, scanned 2011

Epson Perfection V600, scanned 2021

Genealogy, Photography

Lord Family Photos

My mom’s cousin recently sent me some family photos, and I finally got around to scanning them. Homer Lord and Clarissa Perry are my great-great grandparents. I haven’t identified many of the people in the group photos, and they could actually be members the Perry family, not Lord.

Homer Charles Lord and Clarissa A. Perry, circa 1915
Lord Family, circa 1915
Left to right: Boyd John Lord, Homer Charles Lord, Myrtle Lord, Clarice Marie Lord, Leola Elizabeth Lord, Jay Lord, Clarissa A. Perry, and Elsie May Lord

Homer Charles Lord and Clarissa A. Perry, circa 1915
Homer Charles Lord and Clarissa A. Perry, circa 1915

Lord Family
Lord Family, circa 1920

Lord Family, circa 1914
Lord Family, circa 1914
The same photo is below, annotated

Lord Family, circa 1914, annotated
I *think* this is what we’re looking at. I’m less sure of the boys, especially Boyd.
1. Clarissa A. Perry
2. Homer Charles Lord
3. Myrtle Lord
4. Clarice Marie Lord (my great grandmother, and check out that epic side-eye)
5. Elsie Lord
6. Leola Elizabeth Lord
7. Jay Lord (I think?)
8. Boyd John Lord (again, I think?)


Notation from Baptismal Register

Notation from Baptismal Register, Parish of Castlemore and Kilcolman, 1909

If you just do a keyword search of the indexed entries at sites like Ancestry or Findmypast, you miss really interesting stuff. I especially like notations at the fronts of some of the Irish Catholic Parish Registers. I’ve seen recipes for barm, to do lists, payment annotations for services (adding hobnails on boots or baking bread for the parish priest). This one addresses some of the gaps in Irish records and why the parish registers are so important. I wish I could make out the priest’s name at the end.

Baptismal Register, Diocese of Achonry, Parish of Castlemore and Kilcolman, Baptisms Nov 1851-17 Nov 1861 and 25 Jan 1864-2 Jun 1872, image 3.

This is an important book and it should be carefully preserved for the following reasons —
The Census returns of 1861 and 1871 have long since been destroyed. Twelve years hence in the year 1921, the people coming up for Old Age Pensions will begin to be these born in or subsequent to 1851, for those the Census returns will no longer be available unless indeed, they fall back on those of 1881 taken when they were grown men and women of thirty years or there abouts. This would be a course open to much objection, for adults generally return figures far short of the correct age. The people therefore born between the ages of 1851 and 1864 (the year when public registration begins) will unless their Church records have been preserved be hard set to prove their ages in a satisfactory way. Now this book contains fairly accurate –the baptismal records from 1851 to 1864 –hence the importance of taking care of it.


20th October 1909

P. S. See large Register too for baptisms from 1860 on.