How to Involve the Little Ones

Photos taken by Blake, his Mom, Jennifer Timko-Butka and June Stearns Butka used to help Blake learn his Alphabet. This is only one of the books created with Blake’s help.

Please click on the link below the photo to view the full Book.

Blake's ABC's
Blake’s ABC’s Book

Here is another project created for teaching Blake is numbers. His very own deck of cards.

Click the link below the photo to see the project. They are so many ideas you can choose to do with children that involves family history. Little family tidbits on the back of each card instead of a photo or individual photos of each family member or ancestor information. Be creative, Have Fun, Spread the history in a way the little ones would like.

Blake's Deck of Cards
Blake’s Deck of Cards




Memory Tree- Tall or True?

Memory Tree
Memory Tree- Glen New Hampshire

#Memorytales Memory tales is a new series I will be posting. It is about family stories I have heard. Some I know will be tall tales that I will debunk. Others will be first hand memory account by family memories.

My first in the series in Called Memory Tree.

I have posted before about my visit to Aunt Bea, my mother’s sister-in-law, Beatrice Chandler Allen. Each time I visit she tell me stories of my family and hers. Many of her memories are around this tree that stands tall and proud in her Glen, New Hampshire yard.

This tree was planted by my uncle Arthur Pease (Uncle Fred’s brother) and my aunt Beatrice Allen (Uncle Fred’s wife) when Uncle Fred and Aunts Bea’s first Child, Linda Allen was born.

Notice a split at the top of the tree. Aunt Bea told my sister, Sue Stearns Aeschliman and me, on our most recent visit of how that split was created.

When Linda was a child she loved to jump over things. One day she decided to jump over the little tree in the yard. She missed and fell upon the tree splitting it in two. The tree didn’t die. It just grew two branches instead of one. If this tree could talk I sure we would have many stories to tell us about the children and family growing up before it.

You can see the tree on the left side of the photo below of Uncle Fred Allen and his Ed Ham (mid 1970’s). It has grown tall continuing to reach for the sky.

Fred and Ed Glen, New Hampshire
Fred and Ed Glen, New Hampshire

You can see the tip of one of the tree branches on the right of the photo below. I want a photo of my cousin, Chris Allen Burns, my Aunt Bea and my sister Sue with the mountain foliage in the background.  If I had known the story about the tree before I took their photograph, I would have move them in front of the tree and taken one of them capturing another Tree memory. May next time.

Chris, Sue and Aunt Bea- Glen New Hampshire 2015
Chris, Sue and Aunt Bea- Glen New Hampshire 2015

#31daygen Week #1- You Can Teach an Old Dog a New Trick


#31daysgen week one has been a challenge and a great learning experience. Check out my day Facebook post from my first week of Amy Johnson Crows 31 Days of Genealogy for October 2015.

#‎31daysgen Day 1

Today I’m starting Amy Johnson Crow‘s 31 Days to Better Genealogy Day 1

Short Term Goals- Create an Excel timeline; Finish Isaac Stearns Genealogy Book Citations (Delayed due to illness.) 3 Day Target Date

Long Term Goal- Review Isaac Stearns Genealogy Book once more before sending to all my Beta Readers. (Delayed due to illness.) 2 weeks Target Date

‪#‎31daysgen Day 2

I delayed posting my second days prompt. It involved a time line. I spent time creating a blank timeline. I still wasn’t happy with it.

I have timelines already in my genealogy software FTM2014 and Legacy. I’m more familiar with FTM since I have been using it since 2002 with a recent 2014 upgrade. I use Legacy for Josh’s family and started using it in January when I began Thomas MacEntee Genealogy Do-Over.

My question to myself is why and I trying to learn something new when I have something that already works for me, that I am comfortable with?

Why indeed. Here are my two time lines. The blank one I created and the FTM2014 for Isaac Stearns.

Blank Excel Timeline
Blank Excel Timeline
FTM2014 Timeline
FTM2014 Timeline

‪#‎31daysgen Day 3 to do list includes:

Day 3 to do list includes:

  1. Continue working on Isaac Stearns timeline and

2 Annual town inventory records or tax records for Isaac Stearns i what I will use instead of the “Census record” prompt suggested.

Census records did not start officially until 1790, long after Isaac’s time

Annual records comparing Massachusetts Bay Colony towns. Watertown Massachusetts Records Vol I page 983, show that Watertown, Massachusetts was taxed higher than most surrounding towns.

Watertown tax rates
Watertown tax rates

‪#‎31daysgen Day 4

Our prompt is church records. I have many church records in my family tree. We have a very diverse religious foundation.

My husband’s side is primarily Catholic;

My Dad’s side in Protestant, yet not just one type, Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Unitarians;

My Mom’s side is basically Baptist even that runs for Free Will to Southern Baptist.

As I look back into my distant ancestors and current relatives- I notice, Jewish, Mormon, Seven Day Advent, Quakers, Puritans, Native American beliefs, Celtic beliefs, Wicca and no belief at all.

My point is DON’T RULE OUT a different religion when you are researching your ancestors. See what churches are located in the town or sister town of your ancestors. Review all records, you may be surprised with what you find. I was, especially in the colonial days when my ancestors came over with a church group and suddenly they were following someone else or remove from the Bay Colony for practicing something other than the accepted church beliefs.

‪#‎31daysgen Day 5 Today’s prompt was a familiar one to me, Family Search Wiki.

I will research this on another day. I decided to continue working on prompt #2-Timelines. I am reviewing my Isaac Stearns timeline to use in my book about him and his descendants.

I found many events for Isaac that I had not put a date on. I am adding those events to his timeline with the correct date, whenever possible, along with the source citation.

It seems each day that I think I’m getting close to sending my book off to my Beta readers, I find something to add.

I’m I delaying the process or actually improving the book. I’m not sure. I am anxious about sending the book on to be reviewed. Yet I feel there is more of Isaac’s story that needs to be told.

My goal is to have it off to my readers by Columbus Day. NO MORE DELAYS!!!

The map below is of the original land allotments to Watertown, Massachusetts as seen on Wikipedia,…/File:Henry_Bond_map_of_Wate…

Watertown 1649
Watertown 1649

‪#‎31daysgen Day 6

Our prompt today was to interview a relative or record you own story. It reminded me of my week 2 Genealogy Do Over with Thomas MacEntee. I am re-posting my January 2015 Blogpost of my self-interview/obituary.

I am still trying to connect with my Aunt Bea for another, hopefully, taped interview of my mothers’ family. Aunt Bea married my mother’s brother. She is the only one of that generation left in my family on both side.

I’m a little presumptuous in my obit.

I got side tracked with BSO’s (Bright shiny Object’s) from another ancestor’s census sheets. I will get back to Isaac soon. I’m glad I did a little census search for Ezekiel Knowlton. I found some of his children including the one that proved my aunt’s story about being related to Moses Trussell who first broke ground for New London, New Hampshire. He married Sarah Knowlton daughter of Ezekiel Knowlton and Elizabeth Woodbury. I love proving the family stories I heard. She was a cousin line, but still related. Happy Dance.

‪#‎31daysgen Day 7 prompt was search the area.

When I search the area I start with reviewing each page of the census to find out who are the friends, associates and neighbors.

When you find another family member who you know should be on the census and was unable to find in previous searches is a plus.

Tip as to why they didn’t show up-hold the mouse over the name. The photo here show my 3rd gig grandfather as Augustine Rowell.

All the surnames on this page of the census listed everyone under the surname of the first person listed on the page.

Browse the census, not just google search the index. You may just be surprised by what you find.

I made a note of correction to Ancestry, it then allowed me to add Augustus and his family under their own surname.

Augustus Stearns rather than Augustin Rowell
Correction due to an error in transcription.
All person listed on this page are given the surname Rowell. That was the first person listed on the page. You will find many other surnames when you browse the page.
Submitted by:
June Butka on 10/9/2015

1880 Sutton New Hampshire Census clip
1880 Sutton New Hampshire Census clip


1880 U.S. census, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Sutton, Enumeration District 203, p. 3 (penned), dwelling 27, family 30, Augustus Stearns: digital images, Ancestry ( accessed (09 Oct 2015); from National Archives microfilm publication 1254767  roll 767, image 0167.

Book Writing or Procrastination?

Wedding Day 3 July 1953
Wedding Day 3 July 1953

Nelson William Stearns and Shirley Beatrice Pease on their wedding day.

I’m in a quandary.  My days are spent researching and writing about my immigrant ancestor Isaac Stearns. I thought I was done and ready to send it to my beta readers. I did send it to one reader that provided some great feedback.

While waiting for that feedback I decided to review my records and correct my citations in Elizabeth Shown Mills format. I found some web links from my early research that is no longer working. I needed to find new documentation for that information.

Now it seems I have more and more things to add to the book. I thought that was a good thing. The past week I started thinking, “Am I looking for things, so that I delay the book?”

I just might be doing that. I’m nervous to put the book and my writing out there. I set a goal to get it to my beta readers that is soon approaching. I not sure I will make that goal. Will Columbus Day come and go without my completion of the book?

I hope not. That is why I am writing this blog, to push myself to meet that deadline.

Still the question remains; Does the book need to have all the items I found in Isaac’s life or just the overview to give my readers a sense of the time he lived it? The decisions he made and the possible why he made those decisions is important. His story will be told. I will tell it to the best of my ability.

Maybe not overdo the facts that the youth of today do not really care about. Yes, the youth of today is who I decided to be my focus group for this book. I want my children’s children, nieces and nephews to know where they came from. Not just my family, any of Isaac Stearns descendants, will know where they came from.

That decision made makes it easier for me to complete the book.

STOP Procrastinating, June. FINISH the book.