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November 2011 discounted subscription - offer extended until November 5

Great news from Mark Olsen over at Last month, in conjunction with Paul Allen's webinar, "Exploring and" Legacy users received a special discount for a year's subscription. Mark just contacted me and offered to extend the promotion until November 5. That means you get 14 months of access to their databases for $69.95 (normal price is $149 for a yearly membership).

To take advantage of this special and limited time offer, click here.

Or watch the webinar before you decide. Paul Allen (founder of both and did a demonstration of the site to help you know if it would benefit your research. Click here to view the webinar.

Upcoming genealogy webinars - 10 to choose from - including "Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's parents"

In just over a year we've hosted 38 free genealogy webinars (online classes)! Thanks to all the terrific speakers and attendees - it's the most exciting thing I've been a part of!

We're not slowing down either. We have 10 more webinars to choose from through the end of the year, including one that I've been looking forward to for much too long. During the November 2 webinar, Marian Pierre-Louis will reveal to me who Nathan Brown's parents are and how she found them.

Register for one or for all of them. Register today and we'll remind you both the day before and one hour before the live event. Here's what's coming up through the end of the year:


The Three Cs of Irish Research: Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census, presented by Judy Wight on Wednesday, October 19.

Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, presented by Drusilla Pair on Wednesday, October 26.

Click here for more information or to register.


Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents, presented by Marian Pierre-Louis on Wednesday, November 2.

FamilyRoots Organizer System presented by Mary Hill on Friday, November 4.

It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune presented by Thomas MacEntee on Wednesday, November 9.

Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express Software presented by Jefferson Shupe on Wednesday, November 16.

Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector Software, presented by Kathleen Bitter on Friday, November 18.

A Closer Look at Google+, presented by Dan Lynch on Wednesday, November 30.

Click here for more information or to register.


Tracing Immigrant Ancestors presented by Lisa Alzo on Wednesday, December 7.

"Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom presented by Maureen Taylor on Wednesday, December 14.

Click here for more information or to register.

See you online!

Genealogy Serendipity in the Cemetery

If this didn't really happen to me, I'm not sure I'd believe it. What an incredible experience I had in Maine cemeteries last week. My ancestors were in control of my cell phone's GPS - for real!

While preparing to leave for my annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, I noticed that six generations of my ancestry lived within an hour's drive of Bar Harbor - one of our ports in Maine. I admit, I had thought to myself, "what in the world am I going to do in Bar Harbor, Maine?" It turned out to be an experience I will never forget.

With the family group record of Joshua Smart and Anna Dunphee in hand, I and five others left the ship and rented a van in search for the East Belfast Cemetery. Anna's obituary stated that she was buried in East Belfast. Thanks to my smart-phone's GPS, we located the unmarked cemetery in a small forest off the main road. We looked for the Smarts but didn't find anyone. The best part, however, was seeing Ken McGinnis (one of Legacy's developers) get so excited. This was his first time cemetery-hunting, and I don't think it will be his last.

2011 10 02_0139 A little disappointed, and with no concrete plan of where to go next, I typed the word "cemetery" into my phone's GPS. It returned a long list of cemeteries, but nothing stood out. I put my phone down and wondered what I should do next. A moment later, I looked at my phone, and a detailed entry for Smart Cemetery appeared. Startled and puzzled, I felt my heart beating a bit faster. Smart Cemetery was not previously in the list, nor had I clicked on anything. Obviously I was excited and knew exactly where we would go next. I clicked on the Get Directions button, and after a 2.6 mile drive, we were there.

My wife and I, Ken, Diane, Luc, and Ruth walked the cemetery in search for my Smarts. Ruth was actually looking for her Nickersons who also lived in the area. She was the first to scream. She found her ancestor, Benjamin Nickerson, on the edge of the cemetery. The Nickersons were also my ancestors, and with the Families app on my phone, I learned that Benjamin was also in my database, making Ruth and me 6th cousins once removed. She found both a deceased ancestor AND a living relative!

Unexpectedly, I next found the stones of my 6th great-grandparents - Joseph Crosby and Ruth Nickerson.

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Diane then found Ruth's great-grandparents.

This isn't even the best part yet...

By this time we had only about an hour before we needed to head back to the ship. Ken said "let's find another cemetery." So we typed in "cemetery" into the GPS and found the Nickerson Cemetery. It was very small and we didn't spend much time there, but we had time for just one more. My phone next located the Green Lawn Cemetery - in Swanville - not too far away. This is where it gets good.

Approaching the cemetery, I noticed it was much larger than the others. Everyone in the van started yelling at me to "turn here." I didn't see the first entrance in time, so I pulled into the second entrance. Because of time I thought we should just drive up and down the rows and stop if anything looked promising. I still hadn't found my Joshua Smart family.

About 50 feet in something told me to stop. This is where I stopped:

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This is the view from the front:

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Do you see the stone just to the left of the van? This was the family I had been looking for. This marker belonged to Annette Stinson, wife of John Smart who was the son of Joshua. Her stone gave me her parents' names, when she died, and her exact age which was all new to me.

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Just to her left was this stone:

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This was the final resting place of Joshua and his wife. The inscription is barely legible, but I'll try to use my Photoshop magic in the days to come, as it appears to give me new information about his wife.

Can you believe it?!?! With time running out, I took the second entrance and stopped at the very spot where my family was buried.

We now had to drive the country roads of Maine to get back to the ship. My phone's GPS wouldn't work. Neither did Luc's. Neither did Ken's. And so we did our best to remember where we came from. Isn't it interesting how our GPS devices led us right to our family's cemeteries? And once we were finished, we didn't seem to need them anymore. Makes me think our ancestors wanted to be found.

Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2011 - We're Back!

This year I gained way more than just the four extra pounds I accumulated on our 8th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise. I found several new ancestors, learned that my long-time friend is a cousin, had a fantastic serendipitous experience at the cemetery, took 284 pictures, and came home with lots of memories and new friends.

While I gained so much, the day before the cruise departed, I lost my grandmother. She lived a good long life, and although I was unable to make it home for the funeral, I was doing what she loved so much - genealogy. I wonder if she had anything to do with the unbelievable experiences I had in locating my ancestors in Maine. I will write about this soon.

Besides the beautiful cemeteries we visited, the best parts of the cruise were the classes and our attendees. There was something different about the 170+ that accompanied us this year. It seemed as if we already knew each other so well. Everyone commented about how wonderful the speakers were. Between Thomas MacEntee, Steve Salisbury, Luc Comeau, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, and myself, we presented about 16 hours of genealogy and technology classes. We were even able to squeeze in a few extra hours of personal one-on-one time before and after the classes. One of the highlights was our group excursion to the oldest genealogy society in America - the New England Historic Genealogical Society. There, we were given a tour, had time to research, and some were given free personal consultations from professionals. Thanks Thomas MacEntee for setting this up! I was delighted to personally meet Marian Pierre-Louis, our Connecticut webinar speaker. Thanks Marian for making the trip. I tried to get her to spill the beans on Nathan Brown's parents, but I'll still have to wait for our November 2 webinar. is back to work for the Legacy development team. It's not so hard for me because I absolutely love what I do. We have some great things planned for the near and the not-so-near future.

Below are just a few of the 284 pictures I took.

The view from the top of the Portland Observatory (Maine) with our ship in the background:


Our group:


The Statue of Liberty - one of my favorite symbols of our freedom:

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Dinner with Ken McGinnis and Thomas MacEntee:

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Me with my 6th great-grandparents in "Smart Cemetery":

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Panorama of a town in Nova Scotia:


Yummy clam chowder in New Brunswick:

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Me, Thomas, and Marian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

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Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, Geoff Rasmussen, and Luc Comeau:

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Some of our cruisers in class:

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I guess I should conclude this article now. Our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise is just 7 months and 2 days away. We hope to see you next May as we cruise the British Isles and the Norwegian Fjords.