Thursday, October 2, 2014

When Things Work Out Just Right

Every once in a while things work out just right, people are in the right place at the right time, schedules align, and amazing things happen. Call it what you want: karma, the universe. Just such an event happened this past week-end, and it was huge! For those of us involved, we like to think it was a God-thing. 

First things first though. You need a bit of background to appreciate what happened.

On December 20, 1858, eleven slaves in Missouri were rescued by the abolitionist, John Brown, his friend, John Henry Kagi, and a raiding party. Two of those slaves, Samuel Harper and Jane Hamilton were my husband's third great-grandparents. It was believed that Jane was pregnant at the time, and along the way, she gave birth to a child who was named Captain John Brown. For over two months, the fugitive slaves, and their rescuers made their way through Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. One of the places the party stopped along the way was the Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City. This was the home of Allen and Barbara Mayhew. Barbara was John Henry Kagi's sister. The party continued travelling through Iowa, onto Illinois and Michigan. Finally, on March 12, 1859, Sam and Jane Harper boarded a ferry in Detroit, Michigan, crossed the Detroit River and landed at freedom in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Fast-forward to Spring 2014 when I received an email from a woman named Cathy. She is the vice president of the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown's Cave in Nebraska City. Cathy has been researching the slaves who had escaped with the assistance of Brown and Kagi. Furthermore, she has been looking for their descendants. Imagine how excited we were to make contact!
But wait.
It gets even better.

Another connection was made this past week-end, thanks in part to Cathy. A second great-grandson of Allen and Barbara Mayhew happened to be in Toronto on business. He contacted a third-great grandson of Samuel and Jane Harper who happens to live in Ontario. A meeting was arranged. One hundred and fifty-five years after that fateful escape on the Underground Railroad, Darryl Hogan and Brad Mayhew met each other in person at the North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Darryl Hogan and Brad Mayhew, Amherstburg, Ontario, 2014.
Photo by Kathryn Hogan. © 2014. All rights reserved.

Darryl Hogan, Brad Mayhew and Kathryn Hogan, Amherstburg, Ontario, 2014.
Photo by Kathryn Hogan. © 2014. All rights reserved.

Sometimes things work out just right. And, when they do, it's amazing!

Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review of GenBiz Solutions™: Creating a Marketing Plan

GenBiz Solutions - Creating a Marketing Plan by Sharon Atkins

Do you need a marketing plan for your genealogy business? Is it time for you to revamp your marketing plan? This four-page guide deals with marketing plans and strategies for genealogy professionals. Atkins has broken the concept of developing a marketing plan into manageable chunks. Starting with the basics of marketing, Sharon then moves onto how to create a marketing plan based on your business goals. The guide includes thought-provoking questions to direct you in creating your marketing plan. Also included are strategies for determining your core market, defining the demographics of your core market and developing your core communication. Finally, Atkins provides direction for establishing your marketing budget, and measuring your success.

What did I personally think of this GenBiz Solutions guide? I liked it. Atkins does a good job of explaining marketing concepts to the non-marketing professional, like me. Remember, I'm a genealogist  not a market analyst. She includes great questions that guide you in developing your own marketing strategy. After reading this guide, I'm ready to sit down and redesign my marketing plan for my genealogy business.

Here is where you can get a copy for yourself:

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of GenBiz Solutions- Creating a Marketing Plan by Sharon Atkins to review.

Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.

Friday, September 26, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: GenBiz Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, 26 September 2014
Innovative solutions for genealogy-related businesses
GenBiz Solutions Guides Released
Chicago, Illinois: GenBiz Solutions Guides hit the marketplace today to meet the demands of the business owner with a genealogy-related business focus. Independent of developing genealogical research skills, today’s successful genealogy-related business owner must develop or enhance specific business skills. Each GenBiz Solutions Guide, geared towards the business side of genealogy, addresses a specific business topic. Initial guides released include:
·      Starting a Genealogy Business
·      Creating a Marketing Plan
·      Building a Business Blog
·      Building Media Relationships
·      Creating a Sales Process
Each guide is priced at $4.95. Now through September 30, 2014, use the promo code FALLSALE2014 to get 10% off on all purchases. In addition, purchase the All In Bundle – all five introductory guides – for only $19.95, a 20% savings. Visit for more information.

These are new guides to assist genealogists who are wanting to break into the business, or for those who want to brush up on their business skills. I'll be reviewing all the guides next week, and posting my reviews.
Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grandpa George's Garden

Brin George in his garden, Windsor, Ontario, 1978. Original photograph. Privately held by Kathryn HoganUE, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Windsor, Ontario. 2005.

Quite a few of my ancestors were farmers or agricultural labourers who made their living from working the land. However, the ancestor I best remember as the master gardener in the family was not a farmer by trade. My grandfather, Brin George was a carpenter, and enjoyed gardening as a hobby.

In the small backyard of the yellow brick house at 422 Foch Avenue was a large maple tree. The tree was planted the spring of 1946. By the time I was a child it was very tall. In order to keep the branches and leaves from interfering with the hydro wires overhead, Grandpa George would have to regularly trim the tree. He found the best way was to shape the tree into a pillbox. Even when Grandpa was in his eighties, he would climb up the tree, wedge a board between the limbs, and stand on the board up through the middle of the tree. Then, with a large pair of wooden-handled, metal pruning shears in-hand he would trim the leaves and branches while the hydro wires dangerously dangled overhead. He never once got zapped!

I remember Grandpa once won a $100 prize in a gardening/landscaping contest for the way he trimmed the tree. What did he do with the prize money? He bought more plants for his garden, of course.

I think Grandpa George was most proud of his beefsteak tomatoes. He had quite the green thumb. I remember how big these tomotoes would grow! They tasted great. Grandpa's garden included other vegetables but also many flowers such as lupins, snap dragons, pansies, and tea roses growing on the arbour in the backyard, and on the trellis on the veranda in the front yard.

It's Grandpa George's birthday today. I think I'll have a toasted tomato sandwich for lunch in honour of the man who was my family's master gardener.

Copyright 2014 by Kathryn Lake Hogan, UE.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where Were the Canadian Experts in WDYTYA? Rachel McAdams Episode?

Photo credit: TLC

I thought this episode Who Do You Think You Are? with Rachel and Kayleen McAdams was interesting and entertaining. Both Rachel and Kayleen were genuinely curious to find more about both sides of their mother's family. It was fun to watch how excited Kayleen and Rachel were when they learned they had a long line of ancestors in Canada. Both young ladies asked good questions about their ancestry, and the information presented to them.

My particular interest in this episode was the McAdams' Loyalist ancestry. I had the pleasure of attending the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada Conference 2014 this past June. One of the speakers was Todd Braisted. Todd is what I consider to be an American Revolutionary War expert especially with the battles and regiments of the New York and New Jersey. Rachel's and Kayleen's Loyalist ancestor, James Gray was from New York. Todd did a lot of the research for the show. The information presented was spot on. Todd did a great job.

I was dismayed and disappointed that the two male experts who met with Rachel and Kayleen were not Canadian. Both were Americans who the WDYTYA producers flew to Ottawa. I don't know if the female expert who met the sisters at the Archives of Ontario was Canadian or not. Don't let the little red maple leaf on Dr. Allan Taylor's cap fool you. Dr. Taylor did a find job of presenting the information, but he is not Canadian. Were any Canadian experts contacted for the show? Was the UELAC contacted? I can easily think of a half dozen or so Canadian genealogists and archivists who, in my opinion, should have presented the information to their fellow Canadians, Rachel and Kayleen.

They were two pieces of information presented that were not quite accurate. People living in the Thirteen Colonies at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War were not American. They were British. Yes, British subjects. Check the date when the Constitution was signed. Also, it is important to know those who were loyal to the Crown and came to Canada could petition for land, and so could their children in their own right. This was not made clear on the show.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I was glad to see the producers didn't try to put an American spin on the story, but allowed the Loyalist ancestor to be the Canadian hero that he was. I'm looking forward to watching this episode again.

Should Rachel and Kayleen, or anyone else be interested in obtaining their certificate as a descendant of a Loyalist ancestor, please visit the UELAC website at

Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.