Ruth's Genealogy

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


One of the best free online genealogical resources available today is Google Books.

Book Search works just like web search. Try a search on Google Books or on When we find a book with content that contains a match for your search terms, we’ll link to it in your search results.

If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given us permission, you’ll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it’s in the public domain, you’re free to download a PDF copy.

Google Books has thousands (and more) public domain books available, from the 1800’s and even earlier, free to download in their entirety.

Here are a few examples of free Google Books that I have found to supplement my family history research:

Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama, written in 1902“Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama”- published in 1902, contains the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision regarding a case involving my second great grand-aunt’s husband, Dr T J Bettis (1839-1899).





NBKennedy“Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association”- published in 1892, contains the text of speech given by my second great-grandfather, Dr N B Kennedy (1837-1897), lobbying for the creation of a hospital for those affected by alcoholism.





TJBennett“The Medico-legal Journal, Volume 12”- published in 1894, contains a 2-page bio of my second great grand-uncle, Dr T J Bennett (1854-1927), including date and place of birth, schools attended, wife’s maiden name and date of marriage, occupations prior to medicine, and location of first and current medical practice.




MFStanley“Cases and Points of the Supreme Court of the United States”- published in 1908, detailing the Court’s decision in a murder case where my second great-grandfather Miles F Stanley (1851-1935) testified as a witness, contains several pages of his testimony.




TexasGenealogyOnPinterestSince 2008, I have been using Diigo to manage my genealogy-related bookmarks. But that all changed a couple of weeks ago when I got an email from Diigo:

…Another problem that we have been struggling for a long time is spam – spammers have been very aggressive and crafty on our site, harassing users and importing junky content. Spammers a re costing us lots of resources not only in hardware, but also in manpower as we spent time developing anti-spam techniques and manually policing the site. We have decided to take a different approach to this problem by limiting the social privileges of free users. We now require captcha on many social features, such as following people, joining groups, etc. For a very nominal fee, you can upgrade yourself to “Social Membership,” which would grant you full social features without capcha, plus a lot of other goodies. We expect to stop the vast majority of the spammers with this simple measure.
We’d like to elaborate more about Social Membership and its pricing and our thoughts behind the decisions. As long-time Diigo users know, Diigo is a personal knowledge management tool on the one hand, and a knowledge-sharing community on the other hand. While it is perfectly fine to use Diigo s olely as the former, we do believe that the value of the knowledge-sharing community could be substantial, as the number of active users increases, and as the spam is minimized. As a result, we have decided to set the social membership annual fee at $5/year on Oct 1, 2014, and will increase the price gradually thereafter according to a pre-determined formula, as the number of active social members increases. To reward existing users, an attractive promotion price of $2/year will be available until Oct. 1, 2014. For future years, you will continue to pay the low annual price you paid in the first year, as long as your credit card stay valid for automatic renewal…
The way I read this, Diigo will no longer be a free service. And that’s fine for them. You gotta do what you gotta do to run your business.
I have never been totally happy with Diigo, but it was the best available for the price (free!).
So when I got this email, I decided it was time for a change of address for my favorites.
I have been reading a lot lately about different ways that folks are incorporating Pinterest into their genealogical research. It looks like a great (free!) place to store my genealogy and history-related bookmarks, while making them available to other researchers as well.
As I had several hundred sites saved at Diigo, it took a few days to get everything packed up and moved to Diigo, but last night I completed the job.
Please visit my Pinterest boards and see if there is anything there that you can use. I have created boards for each state used in my research, also for documentation and technology as it relates to family history.
This, of course, is an on-going project, so if you see anything that interests you, feel free to follow that board.

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Newspapers can play an important part in genealogical research, either directly (such as marriage announcements and obituaries) or indirectly (natural disasters, celebrations, wars, cost of living, local celebrities- all manner of lifetime events.)

Where can you find the actual newspaper pages, not transcriptions or quotes?

ChroniclingAmericaSearch America’s historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

As of today, Chronicling America contains 1469 newspapers for a total of 8,115,024 pages, from almost every state and the District of Columbia, and in 7 languages.

As an example of how valuable this database can be, I know next-to-nothing about my second great-grandfather, Joseph Rogers. What I do know is that his son, Charles Arthur Rogers, my great-grandfather, was born at Grassy Lick, near Mt Sterling, Kentucky in 1870. Joseph apparently died when Charles was a child. I know only his name, as it was given on Charles’ SS5, Application For Social Security Card from 1937. I have no census sheet, no land record, no probate document… nothing but that SS5.

But what I do have… is access to the Mt Sterling Advocate, published in Mt Sterling, Kentucky from 1890 to the present day. Chronicling America has issues from 1891 thru 1922. Now that’s a lot of pages to go through. The site does have OCR search capability, but as some of the newspapers are not in the best condition, that ability is somewhat limited. So I have been trying to examine each page for any mention of my 2GGF or his family.

A big job, but given the lack of other source data, it is at this time my best hope for finding my second great-grandfather!

The_Hacker__s_Lair_by_ihumanwannabeThomas MacEntee runs a website called Hack Genealogy:

Hack Genealogy is about “re-purposing today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy” and a little bit more. Hack Genealogy is more than just a list of resources. Hack Genealogy provides information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry. Hack Genealogy wants readers to understand how others succeed in genealogy.

Obviously, there are many ways to “do genealogy”; each person has a different plan of attack.

Over the past few months, I have tried out various methods for documenting and preserving my genealogy findings. Some worked better than others. Some I liked, some I didn’t.

I have a couple of stipulations

  • I own and frequently use a Chromebook. As there are at present no genealogy database programs available for Chromebooks, I need a cloud-based solution.
  • In keeping with my Genealogy On A Budget philosophy, I “hold my purse strings tight.”

But when all the dust settles, this is…

How I Hack Genealogy:

  • Self-hosted website: Ruth’s Genealogy ($49.80/yr)
  • Blogging/CMS: WordPress with Suffusion Theme (both free)
  • Web-based Genealogy software: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ($32.99)
  • Image and document storage and display: Flickr (1TB free storage)
  • Genealogy/History-related link management: Pinterest (free)
  • Read-only genealogy database: WorldConnect (free)

A final thought: “Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology.”

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Need a place online to manage your genealogy-related bookmarks, free of charge?

pinterest-logoPinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.

Pins are visual bookmarks for good stuff you find anywhere around the web or right on Pinterest.

Boards are where you collect Pins by theme or topic.

As my old bookmark manager, Diigo, is changing its business model and apparently will no longer be free to use, I am moving my bookmarks to Pinterest.

I have set up “boards”, which are basically folders, for each category of bookmark, such as my Texas Genealogy Links board.

And there is a Pin It extension available, that when added to your browser, allows you to “pin” a site, or add that site to your bookmarks boards on Pinterest. Pretty simple!

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


WordPressThere are several free online blogging platforms out there, but the best, in my opinion, is

Open source WordPress is the most popular online publishing platform, currently powering more than 20% of the web. We wanted to bring the WordPress experience to an even larger audience, so in 2005 we created

We’re a hosted version of the open source software. Here, you can start a blog or build a website in seconds without any technical knowledge.

A site is totally free and very easy to set up. You will be online in minutes!

Features include:

  • Publicize- connect to social media
  • Stats- anyone stop by today?
  • Customize- spice up your site with themes, add functionality with widgets
  • Mobile- iOs, Android and Blackberry are welcome
  • Safe- secure, super-fast, always available
  • Private- or public, it’s up to you
  • Multilingual- supports over 50 languages
  • Support- forums, support pages, chatting if you need help
  • Media- put those pictures online!
  • Spam- Akismet pretty much catches all that garbage
  • Contributors- as many as you want

And most importantly for the genealogist: WordPress is a Content Management System. That means you can use it to create an entire website, just like CNN, TIME and TechCrunch and many others have done. Currently, WordPress alone powers about 23% of the Web.

Ruth’s Genealogy is proudly powered by WordPress.

Come on, join in the fun today!

This blog is now a blog!

Yes, I took the rather inexpensive leap to a self-hosted WordPress site and also set up my genealogy database online using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) program created by Darrin Lythgoe.

I’d love to have you stop by!

Ruth’s Genealogy Blog

Ruth’s Genealogy TNG database

Please excuse the unpacked boxes, un-hung curtains and un-eaten McDonalds Happy Meals (too much fun playing with the toys!) scattered about. Not quite settled in just yet!  :)


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