2015 Trip to Italy

posted Oct 31, 2015, 1:12 PM by Jeffrey Bockman   [ updated Nov 2, 2015, 9:44 AM ]

So that would not feel so old, we went to visit the Amalfi Coast and then celebrated my birthday in Rome, where I was relatively young by comparison.

Two new travel programs are under development
  • Wander the Amalfi Coast and Capri is scheduled on November 20, 2015 for the Friends of the Downers Grove Public Library - We visit Sorrento, Amalfi, Atrani, Ravello, and Positano as well as Anacapri.

  • Wander Around Rome is scheduled for April 15, 2016.
While we try to visit the major sites we often wander the back streets and alleys getting there and like to share our photos, travel stores, and sometimes adventures.

See Travel Programs for past programs

Missing but still in action

posted May 19, 2015, 10:00 AM by Jeffrey Bockman

From the website I know it does not look like I have been doing much. For the past six months I have actually been doing what I have been asking people to do for years, writing their family stories.


Last November my father-in-law passed away and I took a 20 year old interview about his World War II experiences, done for the local genealogy society, and expanded it to include his career with Eastern Airlines and his retirement.


The story about my “brickwall” grandfather Alvar Bockman who left the family when my father was five has turned into a 45 page document about his parent’s life in Denmark, coming to Central America banana plantation, getting married in New Orleans, and then moving to Mobile, Alabama, along with information on both of their families back in Denmark. It also details Alvar’s mother Anna Neuhaus turned Alva and all of her various names and ages over the years.


In my spare time, there was the analyzing of the Johnson/Johnston Y-DNA project and reviewing and communicating with several matches from my own autosomal DNA test. Most of the matches have come from Slovenian connections.

I am also working on updating my “Drilling Down For DNA” and creating a new lecture “Start Your Digging in 1940” for this August.

There have also been two new articles posted at Genealogy According to Jeff.

Living With Brick Walls

posted May 19, 2015, 9:57 AM by Jeffrey Bockman

My article Living With Brick Walls that was originally published in Heritage Quest Magazine,  Issue #82 - July/August 1999, page 24 has been added to Genealogy According to Jeff.

Genealogy Brick Walls are problems that you may need to live with for many years. By their nature they will not be quickly resolved. There are many techniques that can both help you possibly solve them but also enable you to put them away and then get started again without having to begin back at the beginning.

Additional updates about the developments in my Johnson Family research will be upcoming.

Drilling Down for DNA

posted Oct 24, 2014, 11:42 AM by Jeffrey Bockman   [ updated May 19, 2015, 9:58 AM ]

My article Drilling Down for DNA that was originally published in the Everton's Genealogical Helper September/October 2007 issue on page 28 has been added to Genealogy According to Jeff.

It encourages using Y-DNA testing along with research to verify family questions. It also encourages good research to help identify potential candidates for Surname DNA projects.

Additional updates about the developments in my Johnson Family research will be upcoming.

Building A Single Family Tree

posted Feb 17, 2014, 8:37 PM by Jeffrey Bockman

My good friend Leland Meitzler just posted the following article at his Genealogy Blog.
Identity Theft issues are also addressed in the letter.

An Open Letter to Leaders in the Online Family Tree Business

Last October, my good friend Jeff Bockman sent the following letter to a number of the folks in leadership positions within the genealogical community. I haven’t heard that he’s received a response from anyone, but he shared the letter with me – giving me permission to post it on this blog.

For many years now, Jeff has been looking to the future of genealogy. In fact, I’ve published two articles written by him on that topic, One in Heritage Quest Magazine, and another in The Genealogical Helper. Jeff has some good ideas – and if they could be accomplished, it would be a boon for genealogists. However, in order for his ideas to work, some giant corporations would have to agree to work together on the development of a Single Family Tree. Whether that’s possible or not, I don’t want to hazard a guess. However, we’re seeing a lot more cooperation now than in years past.

Following is Jeff’s letter:

Regarding: Building a Single Family Tree

Dear Leaders of the Genealogical Community.

Since the number of major players in the genealogical industry has definitely consolidated and many of you are already cooperating on various projects it occurred to me that this might be the right time for you to cooperate even more and take a step from providing genealogical data to providing an easy way to finding families and information and potentially provide a service to more than just the genealogical community.

As a researcher it can be tedious checking all of the numerous sites for genealogical data. It is difficult and often impossible to search the numerous online family tree sites, many of which only show information to subscribers or have portions of the data blocked out.

A single starting point would be wonderful for researchers, students, and anyone just starting to look into their family history or looking for information about a person. It would actually be beneficial for the subscription genealogy sites as well. A single publically available family tree with the basic birth, marriage, death, and parent data would make it easier for researchers to locate their family. This would reduce the effort and resources from multiple people researching and adding the data to various sites. By following the links to the supporting information at the various sites would actually help to increase the traffic to the subscription sites that hold the additional information or records about the various events, photos, stories, etc. while reducing the unnecessary searching activity on all sites. Family History has grown way beyond just adding names and dates to a pedigree chart so why not automate it for once and for all. The data in the tree is not proprietary to the site especially if submitted by a user.

A researcher should be able to build their family tree wherever they want and then be able to add it to or connect it to the public tree. They should also be able to extract a portion as well.

Almost everyone agrees with the concept of a single tree, however, they want to be “The Single Tree."

Read the rest of the article at the Genealogy Blog.

All Status Animarum Records for 1875-1886 online

posted Apr 17, 2013, 9:52 AM by Jeffrey Bockman

All 788 of the Status Animarum records covering the 1875 - 1886 period from the Saint Joseph Parish Church in Stari trg ob Kolpi, Slovenia have been posted. These records often contain three generations.

The following villages are included: Decina, Deskova Vas, Dol, Dolenja Podgora, Gorenja Podgora, Dolenji Radenci, Srednji Radenci, Gorenja Radenci, Jelenja vas, Kot ob Kolpi, Kovaca Vas, Mocile, Paka pri Predgradu, Predgrad, Prelesje, Sodevci, Stari Trg ob Kolpi, Zagozdac. A few of the villages have been indexed.

To learn about and view these valuable records, please visit

1918 Letters Home continue

posted Apr 12, 2013, 9:03 PM by Jeffrey Bockman

John G. Stevenson's letters sent home from France in 1918 during WW I.
13 April 1918 - There were two letters sent home today.
Told about the "Thatched Roof" building.. "they built a house built the furniture, fire place & everything else – it is very attractive – has a thatched roof & the sides are made of home made adobe (straw & clay) the interior is rustic – whole trees for beams & big rocks for fire place. The chair seats & backs are woven of reeds & branches."
I also leard a little about his sense of humor "The rain has stopped and it looks very much as if we would have a nice Sunday for a change; the average is about five rainy days each week and the mud is a fright; our quarters are about two miles from here and nothing but deep slimy, gooey mud to walk on; Don’t be surprised if I come home with web feet."  Read the rest of these and more at

Give Your Family A Gift That Money Can't Buy – Record & Preserve Your Family's History, 5th Edition

posted Apr 12, 2013, 11:15 AM by Jeffrey Bockman

Nice Review Today
What book, out of hundreds available, would I give to a family member or friend, who might express even a mild interest in family history? Give Your Family A Gift That Money Can't Buy – Record & Preserve Your Family's History, 5th Edition is just that book. This inexpensive volume is the ideal book for getting started in genealogy. It contains the perfect combination of instruction, case history, forms, and tools to get anyone off and running with their family history. And best of all, Gift Your Family A Gift starts the prospective genealogist just where they need to get started - with themselves, and the artifacts, pictures and such that surround them - right there in their own home. This is the book they need to read BEFORE they tackle the Internet and it's meriod databases and resources. I recommend it. - Leland K Meitzler, Editor,

GATJ - They Came on This Ship

posted Apr 6, 2013, 11:49 AM by Jeffrey Bockman   [ updated Apr 6, 2013, 11:56 AM ]

The article They Came on This Ship was just added to Genealogy According to Jeff. It was originally published in the Everton's Genealogical Helper.
Ships have a birth, life, and death of their own. Ship names were occasionally used over again on a newer vessel. Ships were often renamed when they were sold to a new owner. Finding the history and genealogy of a ship might be necessary in order to find a photograph of the correct ship and to be able to say for certain that "They Came on This Ship."

Give Your Family A Gift That Money Can't Buy - 5th Edition

posted Mar 19, 2013, 2:42 PM by Jeffrey Bockman   [ updated Mar 23, 2013, 7:56 AM ]

The new 5th edition of my book is at the printer.
It has a revised Research Section and several new topics.
Libraries will be happy that 12 pages of forms have been removed and replaced with:
- Immigrants - a summary of records and hints on finding their hometown
- Didn't Find It In the Index - tips for finding records on the internet
- Genealogy Travel - More than just Records - tales of walking in my ancestor's footsteps
- Case Study: Finding Alvar A Not So Great Dane - summary of a 22 year search for my grandfather.
There are still enough forms for the person who only wants to record what they remember: 3 Family Group Sheets, 1 Ancestor Chart, Two Timeline pages, and a Notes page.
 Throught a joint venture agreement this issue is being published by Family Roots Publishing LLC.

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