Blogiversary: Roots of Kinship is 3 years old!

Today is the third anniversary of Roots of Kinship as a blog!  I have not been able to spend as much time as I would like on the blog in the last year, as I’ve been very busy with my day job, including a lot of travel.  This year, I’m resolving to plan better and publish at least one post per week – even if a small post.  To make that easier to do, I’m working on a plan for my 2016 posts, and trying to write and schedule posts in batches.  I figure if I can spend a day a month planning my weekly posts, then I’m more likely to keep that resolution.

But in the last three year, I’ve increased the reach of this blog bit by bit.  Here are some stats that capture how this blog has “grown” in three years.


  • Total Views: 286
  • Total Visitors: 49
  • Likes: 3
  • Comments: 1
  • Posts Published: 34
  • Most Prevalent Countries:
    • United States: 268
    • Australia: 12
    • United Kingdom: 6


  • Total Views: 1969
  • Total Visitors: 1128
  • Likes: 18
  • Comments: 19
  • Posts Published: 27
  • Most Prevalent Countries:
    • United States: 1426
    • Brazil: 175
    • Italy: 41
    • Netherlands: 35
    • US Virgin Islands: 28
    • Australia: 25
    • Canada: 23
    • Ireland: 21
    • France: 19
    • United Kingdom: 18


  • Total Views: 6488
  • Total Visitors: 3945
  • Likes: 16
  • Comments: 14
  • Posts Published: 17
  • Most Prevalent Countries:
    • United States: 4854
    • United Kingdom: 235
    • Brazil: 210
    • Canada: 204
    • Australia: 178
    • France: 124
    • Italy: 67
    • Germany: 64
    • Netherlands: 50
    • New Zealand: 27

Most of my success this year was in large part to my most popular post of the year – so even though I posted the least out of three years, I received more traffic this year than any previous.  “How to… Get Organized with Researching My Family Tree” has garnered 3117 views all by itself.

My best referrers from within the genealogy community have been:

Thank you to everything these blogs and websites do to support the community of genealogists and family history writers!

And thank you to everyone who has read my blog and taken an interest in the family history I have to share!



By Ashashyou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

52 Ancestors – #5: Hendrik Noorderbroek

Hendrik Noorderbroek is my 7th great-grandfather on my father’s mother’s side of the family.  He was born in approximately 1700 in the Netherlands.  He married Marijke Boerboom on July 28, 1725 in Leeuwarden, Friesland, Netherlands.  They had one known daughter, Elizabeth.  It is unknown what happened to Hendrik.1


Leeuwarden, Bleau’s Toonneel der Steden, Dutch City Maps, Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  1.  “Hendrik Noorderbroek”, Stamboom Dusseljee, (Coret Genealogie 1997-2016),, Accessed: 2 January 2016. 

Put Their Names on the Wall

This post is diverges from my usual genealogical posts in some ways, and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read it.

My uncle and my grandfather (Larry Reilly Sr. & Jr.) both were onboard the USS Frank E. Evans in 1969 when it collided with the Australian aircraft carrier, HMS Melbourne.  The USS Evans was a destroyer, and was cleaved in two by the Melbourne.  The forward section of the ship sank, taking the lives of 74 men, including my uncle, with it.  The aft portion of the ship stayed afloat.  My uncle was on duty as a boiler tender 3rd class in a section of the ship near the site of the impact.  It is presumed that he was killed instantly with the collision.  Only one of the 74 bodies was ever recovered.  The other 73 rest for eternity at the bottom of the South China Sea.  My grandfather was a Chief, sleeping in a forward bunk.  When the collision occurred, he had to make is way through a ship rapidly filling with water, as it turned on its side, and navigate through debris.  He finally made it to a hatch, and was able to escape shortly before the ship went under.  At first, my family did not know which of the two was missing and presumed dead – as they shared the same name except for the suffix.  My father, who was also in the Navy at the time, heard from a friend in the Pentagon and asked for the rank.  It was then that he knew it was his younger brother.  He called his mom to tell her that her second son was gone.

The tragedy of that night was shared by many family, including the Sage family of Nebraska, who lost three sons that night – brothers who had received permission to serve aboard the destroyer together.  Gregory, Gary & Kelly Sage left behind a mother, a father, a younger brother, and one wife.

But the tragedy did not end there.  When the Vietnam War Memorial was erected, the names of these 74 men, who sacrificed their lives for their country, were left off.  At the time of the collision, the destroyer had just left the gun line to participate in a international training exercise as part of the coordinated war effort.  They were mere miles outside the combat zone, and were scheduled to return to the gun line upon the conclusion of the training exercise.  Their deaths were not classified as casualties of war – at the time, President Richard Nixon did not want to tell the American people that we had lost another 74 lives in Vietnam in one day.

Since the erection of the Vietnam War Memorial, the families and friends of the lost 74 have been fighting to have their names added to the Wall.  Now we are being told that money is needed to make it happen.  It costs $3500 a name and with 74 names, it will cost $259,000.  My cousin, Larry III, has started a gofundme campaign.  All donations will be given directly to the Vietnam War Memorial Fund in order to facilitate the addition of these names to the wall.

Please consider donating to this cause.  The families of all 74 would greatly appreciate your support in helping to right this wrong.

For more information about the USS Frank E. Evans:

52 Ancestors – #4: Sijke Andries

Sijke Andries is my 8th great-grandmother on my father’s mother’s side of the family.  She was born on September 26, 1680 in Oenkerk, Friesland, the Netherlands.  She married Sije Sjoukes Noteboom on October 9, 1702 and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.  She is know to have one son Sjouke Sijes Noteboom.  She died in approximately 1728 in Oenkerk.1


Oenkerk, Friesland, Netherlands, Map Data ©2016 Google

  1.  “Sijke Andries,” Stamboom Dusseljee, (Coret Genealogie 1997-2016),, Accessed: 2 January 2016. 

Genealogy Research Checklist

There are lots of different genealogy checklists available out there for tracking whether or not you’ve located a particular record for any given ancestor.  I was looking for one because I wanted to reorganize my genealogy research.  I’m peripherally following what’s going on with the Genealogy Do Over/Go Over that  many are participating in, but I’m fairly busy with my day job right now, so I’m only planning on completing just the first part of the project – categorizing what I’ve already collected in a spreadsheet and making sure I have copies of all digital records saved according to my filing system.  I’m actually going to actively try to restrain myself from going down the rabbit hole of additional research until I have everything cataloged and filed properly (best laid plans – I don’t know how successful I’m going to be because it’s the research part that’s irresistible and how I ended up in this disorganized mess.)

Most of the ones I’ve found are primarily word or .pdf versions that are one-sheet per ancestor.  But as a lover of data and a fiend for using Excel for anything I can, I’ve adapted my own genealogical research checklist.  I wanted to share it here, with a quick guide on how I choose to use it.

First, I designed it in mind using the MRIN-method of filing ancestor information that I learned in a class I took with Karen Clifford.  So each line item on the spreadsheet uses a combination of the MRIN of the marriage and the RIN of the individual for tracking the information.  In addition to the Ancestor Name, I also include the relationship to the “Home” person, in this case me, and what side of the family they fall on.  If I am tracking the records for my husband’s family, he would be the home person whose relationship I would be tracking.  I also include the years of birth and death, if known, to aid in searching.

Genealogy Checklist

Ancestor Information for each line item of the checklist

I have 13 sections (highlighted in alternating colors for visibility):

  • Vital/Church Records
    • Birth
    • Christening/Baptism
    • Confirmation
    • Marriage
    • Divorce
    • Adoption
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Ordination
    • Membership List/Directory
    • Church Histories
  • US Census Records: 1790 to 1940
  • State Census Records: 179_ to 194_
    • State Census years vary by state, so the last digit is left blank so as to be applicable to any state census
  • Land Records
    • Grantee Index
    • Grantor Index
    • Deeds
    • Abstracts
    • Mortgage/Promissory Notes
    • Surveys/Plats
  • Tax Records
    • Poll Tax
    • Real Estate Tax
    • Personal Property Tax
  • Burial Records
    • Tombstones/Monuments/Memorials
    • Cemetery Plats
    • Perpetual Care
  • Probate Records
    • Indexes
    • Wills
    • Administrator/Executor
    • Estate Inventories
    • Obituaries
    • Bonds
    • Settlements
    • Guardianships
  • Immigration Records
    • Passenger Lists
    • Emmigration List
    • Passports
    • Border Crossings
    • Alien Registration Cards
    • Naturalization/Citizenship Records
  • Military Records
    • Draft Cards
    • Enlistment Records
    • Service Records
    • Payroll Records
    • Muster Rolls
    • Discharge Records
    • Pension/Veteran Records
  • Personal & Miscellaneous Other Records
    • Family Bible
    • Account/ Bank Books / Statements
    • Appointment Calendars
    • Awards & Citations
    • Baby Books
    • Bills of Sale
    • Calling Cards
    • City Directories
    • Diaries & Journals
    • Employment Records
    • Family Histories
    • Greeting Cards & Letters
    • Insurance Policies
    • Medical Records
    • Memoirs
    • Oral Histories/ Interviews
    • Organizational Memberships
    • Photographs/ Scrap books
    • Postcards
    • Recipe Files
    • School Records
    • Telegrams
    • Yearbooks
  • Publications/Societies
    • Chronicling America
    • Other Newspaper Archives
    • PERSI
    • Genealogical Societies
    • Historical Societies
    • Secret Societies/Clubs
  • Book Sources
    • WorldCat
    • Local Library
    • California State Library
  • Repositories and Databases
    • NARA
    • FamilySearch
    • Ancestry
    • FindMyPast
    • My Heritage
    • Google
Genealogy Checklist

Categories & Document Types in Records Checklist


As I research my ancestors, I want to tick-off what types of documents I’ve found for each person.  To make missing documents more easily stand out, I use conditional formatting.  Every time I enter an “X” into the record box, it is automatically highlighted in red:

Genealogy Checklist

Red highlights with conditionally formatting

I also do two things for census records.  For the US Census decades, I fill in cells that are not applicable in black to make it clear that they are not missing.  For the State Censuses, I add a comment to the cell with the state name and exact year of the census identified:

Genealogy Checklist

For the years of the US Census that are not applicable to the particular ancestor, the cells are blacked out.


Genealogy Checklist

For state censuses, I also add a comment with the state name and exact year.


I also use filters in the table to allow me to search for a particular record across multiple ancestors.  For example, if I want to search for the 1880 US Census for everyone that is missing it, I can select the filter to show all “blanks”.  Alternatively, I can filter by color, to show all cells that have “no fill”.

Genealogy Checklist

Filtering by a particular column will help me narrow down which ancestors are still missing that record.


You can download a copy of this Excel checklist, with all the formatting features here.