Thursday, July 2, 2009

I’m “moon walking” to the Genealogy Happy Dance!

A few months ago, while googling a couple of my ancestor’s names, I happened to find the Google book site. And what a grand find it was. New and useful information is to be had in the old books that Google has scanned. I was lucky this time around to have access to the entire book. I have also found that there are times when all you are able to see is what Google refers to as “a snippet”.

Now, I regularly plug in my direct ancestor names just to see what has been added AND this week up came my paternal great grandfather, George Ethelbert VanGilder. Two early 1880 catalogues from West Virginia University had been scanned and added and there he was, part of the student body enrolled in the Preparatory Department for 1881-1882 and 1882-1883.

We have an 1888-1889 autograph album belonging to George VanGilder. Numerous signed pages are addressed to him as “Teacher” and from some of the pages I have determined that he taught at Woodland School #2, north of Morgantown, West Virginia. Not knowing what the educational requirements for a teacher were back in the 1880’s, I was not certain whether or not he took advantage of a college education. Thanks to Google Books, I now know! The VanGilders were residents of Morgantown and lived just up the hill from WVU--an easy walk for my great grandfather.

I have been researching for almost two decades and have spent hours of concentrated time on my direct line. Often I think there is nothing else to find until a name pops up on the screen from a search engine and I’m off happy dancing again.


  1. How interesting to have notations to him from others. Shows another side to him. Good researchers know to revisit sites over and over because things change every day. Good job.

  2. Yeah that's awesome. I basically know nothing of my extended family. Therefore I really enjoy finding out about other people...thanks for the info...