Happy Ninth Blogiversary

I’m celebrating 9 years of blogging today. It’s been an incredible journey. Thank you for joining me! Let’s look at a few statistics (or feel free to scroll past them).

All Time Stats of Views by Country

The top country on this list is not a surprise. Coming in second, the 10,599 views from Luxembourg are fantastic when considering the population of this tiny country.

What brought all of these visitors to my blog?

The Top Ten Posts and Pages

Other than the home page/archives, the top ten posts and pages were:

Source Citation Trick for WordPress.com – HTML Code

How I Got My MISSING AncestryDNA Circles Back

The Ancestors (a page)

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can (a page)

6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison

About Cathy Meder-Dempsey (a page)

Genealogy Toolbox: Links to West Virginia Land Deeds on FamilySearch

Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch

James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia
(a biography I wrote long before I began blogging)

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What?

A Few More Statistics

By the end of 2021, I’d written over a million words. Probably three times that many if you take into account edits and re-writes.

As of yesterday, 682 posts were written in nine years. They’ve been viewed 307,593 times by 170,438 visitors.

I’m 6 followers shy of 600!

Looking Back

Before I started blogging, I concentrated mostly on the census, birth, marriage, and death records in my genealogy research. When I started to write the stories I realized my early research had gotten into a rut. Actually, I’d noticed this earlier on, and deciding to start this blog helped me to grow and change.

Over the past three years, the stats on my blog have been going down. I wrote fewer posts as the priorities in my life changed. This has a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic we’ve been living through. I don’t think the downward trend has hurt my blog.

Looking Toward the Future

Last year as I reviewed blog posts from my first year, I crafted missing source citations (learning while doing) and added them to my database. As I worked on these, research questions I hadn’t thought of came up. It was hard to NOT re-write some of the posts. I’ve saved the questions and hopefully the answers for future posts.

When you’re on a journey, it’s not always smooth sailing. There are canceled flights, delayed trains, and missed buses. My love for genealogy research remains the same. The journey continues, even if the road gets a bit bumpy.

The things I’ve learned over the past nine years have taught me to be a better genealogist, researcher, and writer. I’m going into year 10 motivated and determined to open doors in brick walls by using all the skills that blogging has brought me.

© 2023, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

2021 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2022

Looking back on the year 2021, I believe the quality of my posts made up for the quantity. One of my goals for 2021 was:

I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.

A lot of work and thought went into four posts on the subject of DNA

Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey,
son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing

(a series of three posts)

Focusing on William A. W. Dempsey’s
DNA Using Chromosomes Analysis and Segment Maps

I continued to use my blog as a way to help and teach others…

Teaching a Friend to Find Records on FamilySearch

Lëtz Research: The Hidden Villages of Luxembourg

…as well as sharing (now online!) record collections

Personal Property Tax Lists for Rockbridge County, Virginia

An Example of What You Can Do With the Personal Property Tax Lists

Posts, Views, and Viewers

Stats for the year 2021 show I haven’t been as productive as the pre-COVID years, 2019 and 2018, but staying on par with 2020 by writing 35 posts compared to 33 in 2020. Views were much lower at a bit over 34,000 compared to the past three years when they were 40,000+. The number of visitors in 2021 was lower but my followers grew to 577.

What went on in 2021?

The posts highlighted above cover a large part of what I worked on during the year. My two DEMPSEY lines kept me busy. I kept working on the DNA side in hopes of finding answers to my Dempsey Research Question Crafted During the Research Planning Magic Challenge.

By the end of November, I finished writing about half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents. This avenue will not be followed up on any time soon. This was decided at the end of November when I wrote…

What’s coming in 2022

The Ancestors: Where the Genealogy Research is Going in the New Year

I took a break from writing in December hoping to come into the New Year with more energy and enthusiasm. Our lives, however, are often influenced by things we cannot control.

Mom’s husband died unexpectedly early in December. The month was spent helping her get through the first weeks of once again being on her own. I was suddenly made aware of the fact that I need to prepare for my own or my spouse’s death.

Focusing on the American families

Still, with all the behind-the-scenes goings-on in our lives, I hope to do more research and write blog posts on my paternal lines that have been in America for 250 years and longer.

There are no goals, no promises, or any kind of schedule for my blog posts in 2022. With less than usual time for genealogy, I’ve become more conscientious about keeping a log via entries in the Research Manager of Ancestral Quest and noting results that might make interesting reading on my blog.

Amy Johnson Crow started my blogging journey in 2014 with her very first edition of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. I did three years of #52Ancestors (not consecutively). Yesterday, just to get some fresh ideas, I signed up for the 2022 edition and was delighted to read that she is changing things up a bit this year. I may try her new spin on the challenge…

Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the happiness a heart can know. Happy New Year 2022!

© 2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Seventh Blogiversary!

It’s Amy Johnson Crow’s fault that I started my blog on 23 January 2014. Along with many others who joined in her first year of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I took her up on the challenge to begin writing. One story at a time, I learned and improved my research and writing skills. One story at a time, I got to know my ancestors and their history. Follow the link above to learn more about this free challenge – it’s never too late to start.


The past year has been difficult for everyone. Due to the pressures of all things out of my control, I wasn’t able to keep up the pace of writing at least once a week. Still, with the previous six years’ worth of ancestral stories and other genealogy-related articles, my blog continued to draw followers, visitors, and views.

The top posts from the past year were included in my post, 2020 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2021.

I published my 640th post Teaching a Friend to Find Records on FamilySearch on January 15th. At the same time, views on Opening Doors in Brick Walls surpassed 250,000. A quarter of a million. Wow!

All-Time Top 10 Posts and Pages

How I Got My MISSING AncestryDNA Circles Back (

Source Citation Trick for WordPress.com – HTML Code (

The Ancestors – a page listing all of the articles I’ve written in the past 7 years.

6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison (

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? ()

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can – a page listing the articles I wrote on a collection of photographs.

James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia (my first attempt at writing about an ancestor, written in February 2002, updated on )

Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch (

Genealogy Toolbox: Links to West Virginia Land Deeds on FamilySearch ()

How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes ()

All-Time Stats – Top 10 Countries

I love that Luxembourg is #2 on the Top 10 list of countries that my visitors come from.

One Story at a Time…

During the seven years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve written about all of my children’s ancestors from generation 3 (grandparents with the exclusion of my mother who is still living) to generation 8 (their 5th great-grandparents). The only exceptions being William A. W. DEMPSEY‘s parents and grandparents, John COOLEY‘s parents, Sarah TREADWAY‘s parents, and the unknown father of Mary E. DOSS. Some ancestors in generations 9 through 12 have also been featured. A full list with links can be found on my page, The Ancestors. The list also includes the ancestors that still need to be written about.

Happy 7th Blogiversary

Thank you to everyone for motivating me to continue by visiting my blog and commenting on my posts during the past seven years.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

2020 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2021

2020 A Year in Review

The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.

Four months later, only one post had been published. From August until October I worked on the earliest FOURNELLE family in my tree. After setting up the stageintroducing the main characters and supporting cast, I discussed each of the children of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702). All of the posts can be found under the tab for Books: FOURNELLE Book.

A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.

Posts, Views, and Viewers

As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.

Top posts in 2020

Genealogy Toolbox: Links to West Virginia Land Deeds on FamilySearch

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (396+397)

The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Lëtz Research: How to Find Luxembourg Civil Birth Records

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? (Updated)

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (Part II)

The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Adding Footnotes to your WordPress Posts Using Block Editor

Strong Women: Mary, wife of Isaac WISEMAN († 1779)

From Luxembourg to America –
The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family

What I was up to in 2020

Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.

Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.

I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.

I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.

And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.

What’s coming in 2021

Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.

I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.

With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.

One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.

These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.

Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

2019 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2020

No resolutions and no promises were made for 2019. I wanted to work on whatever needed to be researched, reviewed, or updated.

Researching and writing without a schedule worked for a while. I wrote about my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH’s estate and the strange goings-on in the lives of his sons John and Alex, my 2nd great-grandfather.

With the questions on the CLONCH line answered, I realized I needed to formulate a research plan and/or schedule. Which families or geographical areas did I want to work on while leaving me time to keep up with new matches on my brother’s AncestryDNA test?

My children’s ancestors had been covered from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents during three rounds of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors. The 6th great-grandparents were waiting to be reviewed, researched, and written about. The posts were supposed to be short and informative but the couples I started with were a bit more complicated than expected.

Johannes HAMES (c1756-1826) and Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ (1755-1836) were first up and I was able to write about them in a single post. While researching Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798), I felt I needed to prove his parents and her parents which led to proving their parents. I ended up writing a series of seven posts. The same thing happened with  Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851) and with Hubert CORNELY (ca. 1753-1816) and Margaretha EVEN (1756-1839). I wrote five posts for the first couple and three for the second. At this rate, I’d not be getting one couple done per week as I’d hoped. But I was getting some great research done as well as discovering new generations of ancestors for these lines.

The Slave Name Roll Project was put on ice in April as I worked only with Luxembourg civil and church records. It’s a bit difficult to find slave names when you aren’t working with US records.

My DNA results were ready in October. Research and writing were put on hold while I set up all my tools and worked on matches I didn’t have in common with my brother.

In December, wanting to get back to blogging regularly, I wrote about Holiday Traditions. These short posts about the season reminded me that genealogy also means saving the stories of the present and not only the past.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the content I added to my blog this year and the stats look good.

A Milestone in 2019

On the 4th of December, the total blog followers reached 500!

Posts, Views, and Viewers

During 2019 I wrote less than one post a week. This will be the 50th post, one less than last year. In comparison, I wrote 88 in 2017 and 129 in 2016. Views will be a little below 2018 while visitors remained the same.

Top posts for 2019

ThruLines™ Introduced by Ancestry: TrueLines or TrueLies?

I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia

Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

Look Who’s Finally Taken the Autosomal DNA Test

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks! – a reminder to check the FamilySearch catalog


Google Search brought the most visitors and views to my blog followed by Facebook, WordPress Android App, and WordPress Reader. Number five referrer was Linda Stufflebean’s Friday’s Family History Finds on Empty Branches on the Family Tree. Thank you, Linda, for the mentions.

I Published a Book

One of my proudest moments in 2019 was when I received my first blog book. Now I need to find time to get the rest of the content of my blog ready to print.

What’s Coming in 2020?

  • I want to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set.
  • I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
  • The Slave Name Roll Project will come back monthly.
  • Several updates on older posts are in the works.
  • The Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series’ final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about over 150 photos, still needs to be written. This was promised back in March 2017 and I never got around to working on it.

Happy New Year 2020. May it bring peace and hope for a better world and new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Returning to Blogging in the New Year – Refreshed and Excited

The definition of taking a break is interrupting one’s activity briefly. When I went into hiatus the end of October I didn’t expect it to be over two months before I would come back to blogging.

I was touched by the people who reached out to me while I was missing in action. Several messaged me directly to find out if all was well. From my young 3C1R Luella who I’ve known nearly two decades to my #1 reader/commenter/blogger Amy to my follower from Brazil whose ancestors lived in the same village as my ancestors.

All were worried. They didn’t know I’d fallen into a rabbit hole, spinning down winding double helix strands carrying our DNA. It took me a while to gain my orientation and find the even more twisted ladder out of the hole.

Who’s Fault Was It?


Blaine T. Bettinger shared my post How DNA Results Helped Discover Luxembourg Emigrants in the Facebook group Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques.

Great blog post about how the DNA Match Labeling extension for Chrome helped solve a genealogical mystery! Genetic networks and clustering tools are the future of DNA evidence!

I had no idea I was even on Blaine’s radar and it explained a spike in traffic on my blog during the week following the post. Being noticed by Blaine was fantastic.

Even more incredible was the help I received from a member of the Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group.  Jonathan Brecher sent a message offering to run a Shared Clustering tool he has developed on the AncestryDNA test I manage to help me tickle out the maternal matches.

Shared Clustering

As mentioned in the above post [over two months ago] maternal matches are few and far between as that side of my family tree is Luxembourgish with a few branches which reach into France and Germany during the periods of time when the area belonged to Luxembourg.

Jonathan’s tool is not yet available to the public. He sent a CSV file with the heat map of my matches and a list of the clusters in text format. He paid special attention to my starred matches as these were the ones I had already been able to identify as maternal.

The heat map generated 66 clusters. Four of these are for maternal matches while 61 are for paternal. One cluster remains unknown at this time but looks more paternal than maternal.

The number of matches in each cluster varies greatly. There are a dozen clusters with only 2-10 matches, 33 between 11-100, 11 between 101-200, 4 between 201-400, 5 between 401-500, and one with 705!

I pinned down the fourth maternal cluster this past week – when I was supposed to be working on this post. I felt the pull of that rabbit hole, again, and checked each match and their trees until I found the connection. They descend from immigrants, two BAUSTERT brothers who were great-grandsons of my 5th great-grandparents Matthias SCHRAMEN and Anna Barbara LEIBRICH (BURG) of Ferschweiler, Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Did the Baustert brothers know their 1C1R Nicholas SCHRAMEN had emigrated about 20 years earlier and originally settled in Iowa where they were also found?

What I’ve Been Working On

As the CSV file Jonathan sent included my notes, the paternal clusters were easily identified as coming from one of the four paternal grandparents’ branches. Some could even be associated with specific branches of a grandparent’s ancestral line.

I’ve been amending my notes on AncestryDNA to reflect the cluster number as well as a surname and possible generation. The cluster numbers are only for reference and make it easier to sort them on the AncestryDNA page using the Chrome extension AncestryDNA Helper atDNA Helper or in Genome Mate Pro when sorting the MRCA (most recent common ancestors) notes. [Note: The name of the Chrome extension was changed in April 2019 after they were notified the name was a violation of Ancestry’s trademark name.]

Cluster 40 with 13 matches is labeled GROELINGER-MERGEN(6) as the MRCA have been identified as my 4th great-grandparents (6 generations back) Johann GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN. Six of the 13 matches have been identified as descendants of this couple. I’ve sent messages and am waiting for replies.

Once the notes have been fixed on AncestryDNA, I move all matches for a cluster over to Genome Mate Pro (GMP) using another Chrome extension, Pedigree Thief (collects the match information, notes, and the shared matches). When the matches are in GMP, I begin adding the matches’ trees once again with the Pedigree Thief which reads the pedigree view of the tree and converts it to an Ahnentafel chart. GMP has a very steep learning curve and I’m still trying to assimilate and grasp the abilities of the program.

I’ve developed a routine and am slowly getting matches which have been associated with a cluster entered into GMP. Nearly half of the clusters, the smallest, have been added. The larger clusters remain to be done and I’ll be spacing them out a bit. And of course, as new matches are found on Gedmatch Genesis, FTDNA, and MyHeritage they are also added to Genome Mate Pro.

I still feel the pull of the rabbit hole but I won’t let it get in the way of my returning to a regular blogging schedule.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

2018 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2019

I had great plans for 2018.  I finished up the last three sets of 4th great-grandparents’ posts which I had started in 2017 under the 52 Ancestors banner. I continued to do my monthly posts for The Slave Name Roll Project up until my much-needed break in October.

I took on the huge project of analyzing the census record of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS and each of his sixteen children. The project became Rewriting the Biography, an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

I’ll continue the theme during 2019 although likely not regularly. I have not even begun to work with the huge collection of books and papers which were sent to me several years ago by Rose Mary Sims Rudy.

Posts in 2018

I wrote only 50 posts during 2018, down from 88 in 2017 and 129 in 2016. An average of about a post a week. This did not, however, have a negative effect on the stats for the year.

Total Views Increased During 2018

Traffic on my blog since I began blogging in 2014.

25,584 viewers visited my blog during 2018, a little over 5,000 more than in 2017. Total views were 44,453 up from 36,782 in 2017. Followers have increased from 397 in 2017 to 463 at the end of 2018.

Graph of 2018 by months

Views by months show a constant above 3,000 viewers per month except for November and December when I was on my break. The three best months were March, August, and October when sharing of posts in social media brought extra traffic.

Top 10 Countries in 2018

The USA remained in 1st place in 2018. Canada took 2nd place (up from 4th) and Germany remained in 3rd place.  The United Kingdom jumped up from 7th to 4th place. Luxembourg which had been 2nd every year since I began blogging in 2014 dropped down to 5th place in 2018. Australia remained in 6th place. Brazil moved back down to 7th compared to 5th in 2017 but the number of viewers is still amazing. France remained in 8th place. Ireland is new to the top 10 list of countries at 9th place pushing Belgium down to 10th place. The Netherlands is up and coming, doubling views from 2017 to 2018, but missed tying up with Belgium by 9 views.

Top 10 Posts for 2018

#1. Dear Cousin- We Have a DNA Match, Now What?
#2. How I Got My MISSING AncestryDNA Circles Back
#3. Rocking the Shared Matches on AncestryDNA
#4. How DNA Results Helped Discover Luxembourg Emigrants
#5. A Visit to the Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm in Germany
#6. The Tragic Death of Phebe Sims

#7. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Jordan, Winny, and Thomas

#8. SOLVED – The Mystery of James C. Crouse Sr.’s Grave Marker

#9. Jordan N. PETERS’ War of 1812 Pension File is Online!

#10. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Hannah

It wasn’t surprising to see DNA as the subject of the top 4 posts from 2018. I was happy to see at #5 a post I wrote about visiting a German archive with my genealogy society, Luxracines. I’m especially proud of #6. My first attempt at storytelling based on facts:  a fictional version of the last day in the life of my 5th great-grandmother Phebe SIMS along with the coroner’s report which gave me a glimpse into the day. And as in previous years, two of my Slave Name Roll Project posts made the top 10. The list was rounded out with a solved mystery and an 1812 pension file.

What’s Coming in 2019?

Should I set goals for genealogy research in 2019? I think not. I’m going to take it as it comes, working on whatever needs to be researched, reviewed, or updated. No resolutions and no promises except first up will be a post on why I’ve been missing in action since end October.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Thank you to all of my readers and followers for making 2018 a great year! I loved seeing traffic to my blog even when I was not blogging during the past two months.

Happy New Year 2019 and, as always, may you find new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.






2017 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2018

I can’t resist numbers and statistics. On June 8th I reached a milestone when the counter on my blog reached 100,000 views since I began blogging in January 2014. Another milestone came in December when I published my 500th post.

Content in 2017

The year 2017 was dedicated to my children’s 5th great-grandparents who were featured under the theme of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – a challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in 2014. If you’ve been wanting to “do something” with your genealogy, but it feels overwhelming, Amy will be sending out prompts in 2017.

As these ancestors were for the most part from Luxembourg, hundreds of civil and parish records were consulted. Because of this time-consuming research, I did not fulfill my goal of completing the series in time for the New Year. Three sets of great-grandparents’ stories will be written during the month of January 2018.

As a service to the African American community, I met my goal of writing one post a month for The Slave Name Roll Project.

The Old Photographs Saved from Trash Can series came to an end after the last nine posts in January through March. A final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about each of the over 150 photos was pushed off to the back burner where it is still simmering. 😉

There were also miscellaneous posts written to help other researchers including a post about Luxracines’ visit to the State Archives in Arlon, Belgium.

I wrote about one third fewer posts in 2017 as in 2016, 88 compared to 129. During 2017 the quality of the content was considered more important to me than quantity.

Total Views Remained the Same

20,442 viewers visited my blog during 2017, 58 less than in 2016 when the number was 20,500. Total views were down by a very small 263 as compared to the total of 36,782. These numbers are not the most important statistics. Nearly twice as many people are following me. An increase from 203 to 397 – which amazes me.

Top 10 Countries

Visitors came from 122 countries compared to 98 in 2016. The USA and Luxembourg remained in 1st and 2nd place. Germany and Canada switched 3rd and 4th places, Brazil moved up from 7th to 5th place, and Austria slipped by Ireland to make 10th place.

Top 10 posts during the year

  1. Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch
  2. Using the Back Door at FamilySearch for Missing Records
  3. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: William, Mary, and Orange
  4. A Latin Rule You May Not Have Known
  5. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Letty, Cyrus, and Nelson
  6. Source Citation Trick for WordPress.com – HTML Code
  7. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Evaline (formerly seen as Evoline)
  8. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Mark, Mary, Jane, Dick, and Eliza
  9. Extra! Extra! Read All About It! The 1766 Luxembourg Census is Online!
  10. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Matt, Egg, Judge, Jinny, Jack, Rachel, Mose, Mary, George, Franky, and Wilson

Posts on finding records on FamilySearch were popular as can be seen by #1, #2, and #9 in the Top 10. Thanks to people sharing on social media, half of the Top 10 were posts for the Slave Name Roll Project. None of my 52 Ancestors posts made the Top  10. This was not a big surprise as I knew from the beginning that they were for my children and family and not intended to draw views although they received many likes and comments.

What’s Coming in 2018?

I’m going to leave this question open until my Blogiversary on January 23th. I want to finish up the planned posts on my Frisch-Huberty family of Capellen, Majerus-Cornely family of Strassen, and Trausch-Hames family of Mamer. As many of my readers know, I will be spending more time on DNA results. I am still mulling over a few ideas.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Thank you to all my readers and followers for making 2017 such a wonderful year! Wishing you success in your genealogy research and blogging, joy and happiness in your lives.

Happy New Year 2018 and may you find new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!

bestwishescathy1© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.






2016 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2017

I love numbers! Once upon a time, I wanted to be a math teacher and worked as a credit analyst for a few years before becoming a stay at home Mom. I still get to play with them, in genealogy and when analyzing the stats on my blog.

Total Views

Exactly 20,500 visitors came to my blog during 2016. Total views on were 37,046 compared to 27,673 in 2015. The increase was about the same as from 2014 to 2015. If all goes well I will be celebrating 100,000 total views since I began blogging by mid-2017.

Viewers came from 98 countries compared to 84 in 2015. Below are the top 10 countries.

2016mapviewsMy top 10 posts during the year

  1. 6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison (I reached my all-time high of 1,198 views in one day on 3 October 2016 when this was posted)
  2. How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes
  3. How to Find Your 18th Century Immigrant’s Signature
  4. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Amy, Addison, Henry and his Enslaved Family
  5. James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia (originally written in 2002, updated and re-posted in 2013)
  6. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Cato, Sold on Christmas Day 1821
  7. Henry RUPE’s Estate and his Widow Catherine’s Last Days
  8. 52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY (from 2014, this posts gets lots of hits due to my famous cousin)
  9. Where I Found the Land Records of my RUPE Ancestors in Maryland
  10. Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill

I don’t know if I should be surprised or not with the success of my two top posts. Writing posts on DNA, a subject I have only started learning about, was not planned. I haven’t done the test but have been administering my brother’s DNA results for the past seven months. There is so much I need to learn about DNA and how it will help in my genealogy research. I’d like to be able to write at least one post in 2017 about a great discovery made through DNA. Don’t we all?

The success of my posts for the Slave Name Roll Project helped me to continue searching for more names to write about each month and this will be continued in 2017.

The Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series will soon be coming to an end. Fifty posts were written in 2016 from #37 to #84 with a couple being done in two parts. Each week I learned more about vintage photography and fashion of the era. I think this shows in the latest posts I’ve written. Before completing the series I may re-visit some of the earlier photographs which did not include descriptions.


200followersDuring the last few days of 2016, my WordPress followers went over 200. At the end of the year, I had 203 WordPress followers (compared to 126 in 2015) and 77  email followers (compared to 45 in 2015).

Top 5 Referrers

The top five referrers were Facebook, search engines, RootsWeb, Tangled Roots and Trees, and the WordPress Reader. #1 Facebook is not surprising as I use it to promote my blog. #3 RootsWeb reflects how often people view my GEDCOM file and then visit my blog. #4 is Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog. Without her, we would not have the Slave Name Roll Project. I get a lot of traffic from her blog since she mentioned my blog in her introduction to the project.

Search terms

Not all search engines reveal search terms due to privacy, however, it is still interesting to see what may have brought people to my blog. Many search terms are places and ancestral names.

What’s Coming in 2017?

I began blogging in January 2014 when I joined Amy Johnson Crow‘s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. In 2015 I did the 2015 Edition and by the end of the year, I had written about my children’s ancestors from their grandparents to 4th great-grandparents as well as 1/4 of the 5th great-grandparents. During 2017 I am going to do a NEW SEASON of the challenge, working on the rest of their 5th great-grandparents and posting on Fridays instead of Mondays.

Once the Old Photographs series has been put to bed, I plan to get back to doing the heirloom posts, Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Very special thanks to Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey for being my most active commenter for the past two years.

Thank you to all my readers and followers for making 2016 such a great year! Wishing you success in your genealogy and blogging, joy and happiness in your lives. Happy New Year 2017!

bestwishescathy1© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.






2015 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. Let me give you a few statistics first.

Total Views

Total views on my blog were about 28,000 compared to 19,000 in 2014.

I hit my all-time high of 395 views in one day on December 6th with my post Happy St. Nicholas Day – de Kleeschen kënnt op Eechternoach.

Viewers came from 84 countries compared to 68 in 2014. Most visitors came from the United States with Luxembourg and Germany not far behind.


Thank you, Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey for being my most active commenter.


I now have 126 WordPress and 45 email followers.

My top 5 posts during the year

  1. Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1
  2. The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it!
  3. James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia
  4. Happy St. Nicholas Day – de Kleeschen kënnt op Eechternoach
  5. Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning

It was no surprise my top post for 2015 was the first of three parts on the slaves of my ancestor James SIMS for Black History Month.

Surprisingly two posts written on a whim and at the last minute, post #2 about my loving the new FamilySearch and post #4 Santa Claus’ visit to my hometown, were in the top 5. The first got most of its traffic through Twitter while the second made our local newspaper site which linked to my post. The report asked permission in an unexpected phone call. 🙂

Post #3 is a piece I originally wrote in 2002 and added to my blog in 2014, backdated to 25 August 2013 when it was last updated.

Top 5 search terms

  1. william clonch was gunsmith in wv 1860o
  2. opening doors in brick walls
  3. why did william wilmore leave amherst county virginia in 1805
  4. wood family of monroe, greenbrier & fayette county
  5. mcgraw family of fayette county wv

Johnny Cash brought traffic to my blog with these search terms

  • johnny cash family tree
  • did johnny cash have a coisin named dodlrothy
  • who was johnny cash’s great grandfather
  • johnny cash ancestors
  • ancestry of johnny cash
  • johnny cash’s family tree
  • johnny cash 4th cousin
  • who are johnny cash’s ancestors
  • johnny cash geaneology
  • johnny cash’s relatives
  • johnny cash’s ancestors
  • johnny cash ancestry
  • johnny cash paternal ancestors
  • johnny cashs grandmother
  • johnny cash genealogy
  • johnny cash ancestors on line
  • johnny cash cousins

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you to all my followers was making 2015 such a great year!

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey