Published June 23, 2017

|  | Leave A Reply

Once again, I continue the tradition of using a phrase of a onetime colleague of mine, Birmingham Post-Herald Sports Editor Bill Lumpkin, when I have a bunch ideas each worthy of a few paragraphs but not of a column.

So, as I do a couple times a year in “Roots & Branches,” it’s a day for “Hanging Out Wash” …

First up is Brian Miller, an Internet acquaintance who enjoyed my books on German genealogy and is now writing a blog called “Your Ancestors Demystified.”

Miller has a pretty good knack for telling a family history story and illustrating it with screenshots of records. And you have to give him credit for trying to disentangle Millers not only from his surname ancestry but also one of his wife’s lines.

You can find Miller’s blog at this URL:


Another correspondent of mine who I met briefly at a conference last year, Harriet Lindsay, is looking for a Dieffenbach reunion in Pennsylvania.

“My grandfather, Hervey Edmund Dieffenbach, had an ice business in Bloomsburg where he passed away after his leg was amputated around 1916,” Lindsay wrote. “His brother was H.F. Dieffenbach, and I understand his family resided in the Lebanon area when I was a child (many years ago).”

If anyone has heard of a Dieffenbach reunion currently being held, please contact me and I’ll forward the information to Lindsay.


If anyone’s had their fill of my comments about names and spelling variants, you may want to move to the next item.

But I know there are enough of you out there interested because I keep getting inquiries such as one from Paul Hicks, who laments that he can’t find many records with the surname of his mother, Kenkel.

My response to him was that he should use the “phonetischen Namenkarte” (in English, “phonetic name chart”) to diagram surname variants to see if records are “hiding” under these different spellings.

The “pNK,” as I abbreviate it, can be downloaded from my website,


I believe in “equal opportunity” when it comes to both praise and criticism.

A major thing that has bothered me about subscription service is that they had no “card catalog” or master listing of the databases that are searched on their website.

So we should all be cheering that MyHeritage now has a keyword-searchable “Collection Catalog” on its website that shows what historical record collections are part of the MyHeritage SuperSearch.

You’ll find MyHeritage’s Collection Catalog at the URL