Genealogy Snack #2

Quick! You’ve just discovered that you have a free day to research. What will you work on? Will you have to spend a significant amount of time reminding yourself what you were working on last? Ready to move on to a new ancestor, but not sure where to start?
You need a research plan that you can pick up on the spur of the moment that will tell you exactly what you were hoping to look for. A research plan allows you to keep track of questions you’d like to answer, where you’ve searched and what you found – very similar to a research log, but more focused on keeping track of the questions and how you plan to answer them.

I use Excel to keep my research plans. I have one tab for each person or couple. I have basic vital information at the top of the log along with a visual aid to help me remember which County I should be researching in at any specific point in time. I love using Excel for this because I can add or delete lines as needed, everything stays nicely lined up and I can hide or reveal different lines to help me save space or to help me focus on a single question at a time. I can add color to text or to cells if I want to make something stand out.


In the main section of the plan, I type in the question(s) that I’d like to research. Below each question, I make a list of resources that I’d like to look at. And below each resource, I tell what I did (looked at index, skimmed through, looked at each page, etc) and what I found, even if I found nothing because I don’t want to waste time repeating a search I’ve already spent time on. And it’s so easy to work on with small chunks of free time!

So today’s Snack is to create a Research Plan document. Feel free to download mine, if you like using Excel. I plan to write a longer post tomorrow about using the Research Plan Excel file. As future Snacks bring new questions or resources to mind, you’ll have the perfect place to keep track of them so they’ll be ready when you have time for a bigger “meal” of research time. Be sure to keep it in a location that you can get to no matter where you happen to be when you have a little free time!


120 Years Ago Today – Jan. 19, 1898

A continuing feature on the blog for 2018 is be a series called “120 Years Ago Today”. I’m collecting newspaper clippings relevant to Russell County from The Adair County News in the year 1898. I hope you find some surprises to add to your family tree!

I’ll be doing a bit of digital cleanup on the files to remove streaks and scratches, but you can download the original file from the link. Right-click on my image to save the cleaned-up version. I also plan to include a list of names mentioned in the articles at the end of the blog post to make it possible to find with an internet search.

Here’s the link to this edition of the newspaper. Link

Adair County News, Page2, 1898-01-19 NHW Aaron

N.H.W. Aaron, Russell County

Flu 2018 vs 1918

I don’t know about you, but I have been deeply saddened to hear about people dying from the flu in this day and age. It certainly isn’t fun, but I rarely think about it being fatal. The opposite was true 100 years ago. The deadly “Spanish Flu” affected many people, so you may not be surprised to hear that it effected our ancestors in the Russell County area.

I looked in the Adair County News from 1918 for articles about the flu and it was shocking to me. The front page of the paper on October 30, 1918 had many death notices and this article about steps the county was taking. To see the entire front page, click here.

Adair County News, Page1, 1918-10-30

On November 6th, a small section of the paper stated that around 45 people had died within the county because of the flu:

Adair County News, Page1, 1918-11-06

I wrote a blog post back in 2009 when the “swine flu” was in full swing. Part of the post listed people from Russell County whose death certificates indicated that they had died from the Spanish Flu. I’ll re-post that section here. To read the entire blog post, click here.

On Ancestry, for 1918 there were 128 death certificates for Russell County.  25 of those deaths were due to flu and all of those occurred between September and December.  In 1919, there were 11 deaths out of 117 recorded.  I thought the number would be higher, so I wonder if that means a lower population (hmmm, the math teacher in me wants to figure out the percentage) or if families were more spread out or if the flu in this part of the state wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  During the same time, there were many still births and a few with unknown causes of death and I wonder if those were flu related.  I made a list of documented flu deaths for Russell County.  I am absolutely CERTAIN that some of these names are incorrect.  The handwriting on some of these certificates was very difficult to read!  I didn’t find anyone from my family in these certificates, but I thought they might be helpful to someone. The list format is image number – cause of death;  name – age – date of death.


65 – Spanish influenza;   Lanis Biba – age 10 – 9/14
66 – Spanish influenza;    Dortha Grant – age 1 – 9/18
67 – Pneumonia complicated by Spanish influenza;   Robert Grant –age 32 –;   9/16
70 – Haematimesis – caused possibly from influenza;   Avert Andrew Meece – age 6 mos – 10/24
72 – Pneumonia following influenza;   Voda Thomas – age 34 – 10/25
75 –  Influenza;   Lilian Johnson – age 2 – 10/25
76 – Influenza;   Cora Wilson – age 34 – 10/26
77 – Influenza;   Evona Wilson – age 2 – 10/27
78 – Asthma and influenza;   Lola McBeath – age 21 – 10/30
79 – Influenza;   Ollie McGormd – age 22 – 10/27
81 – Influenza;   Rosa Gosser – age 13 – 10/19
82 – Influenza;   Medron Weir – age 2 – 10/19
84 – Influenza;   Lucy Muses – age 21 – 10/17
87 – 5 months child caused from mother having influenza;   Sallie Grider – 10/16
89 – Influenza;   Bertha Downey – no age – 10/22
94 – Influenza;   Estal Popplewell – age 5 – 11/5
96 – Spanish Influenza;   Reltz Morgan – age 35 – 12/3
104 – Influenza;   Doretha Tarter – age 39 – 12/29
106 – Asthma and influenza;   Vinnie Wade – age 21 – 12/29
107 – Influenza;   Maggie McKinley Cook – age 17 – 12/17
110 – Influenza;   Verl G. Jasper – age 26 – 12/31
111 – Influenza;   Wealthy Perkins – age 38 – 11/11
114 – Influenza;   Pauline Ross – age 5 – 12/20
115 – Influenza;   Anibell Johnson – age 38 – 12/11
122 – Spanish Influenza;   Tina Morgan – age 41 – 12/5


4 – Influenza;   Stanley Brown – age 14 – 1/15
5 – Influenza;   James Cecil – age 8 mos – 1/17
6 – Influenza;   Annie Kearns – age 34 – 1/16
7 – Pneumonia following flu;   Rutha Eliza Morrow – age 63 – 1/3
8 – Influenza;   Bennie D Wilson – age 1 – 1/20
10 – Influenza;   Jackson Jasper – age 4 mos – 1/11
24 – Influenza;   ?? J. Gossage – age 26 – 2/23
31 – Flu;   Alta E Wilson – age 2 – 2/16
35 – Bronco Pneumonia resulting from influenza;   Alma Harris – age 23 – 4/3
48 – Epilepsy (contributory Influenza);   John Q Phelps – age 60 – 6/24
53 – Influenza;   Jonathon Blakey – age 82 – 6/11

So everyone stay healthy out there! Wash your hands, get plenty of rest, and by all means, if you’re feeling ill, stay home! (And hopefully feel just good enough to get a little genealogy research in!)



Genealogy Snack #1

Have just a few minutes of free time? Sitting at your desk while eating lunch? Waiting for a family member at an appointment? Then take a Snack break! A Genealogy Snack! Snacks will be ideas designed to be completed (or at least planned) in a short amount of time. Here’s the 1st snack!

Let’s think about Christmas gifts! What? I just got my Christmas decorations put away! But what about Christmas of 2018? What if we were to actually take a few minutes NOW to think about what we might like to give for a gift NEXT Christmas? Brainstorm…make a plan…make a list. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a Notes app on your smart phone or on a scrap of paper you keep on a bulletin board. Just start the plan.

For example, let’s say I want to make a family history themed calendar to give to family members next year. A traditional folded calendar with an image on top with the calendar page below with ancestor birth dates included. I’m thinking 12 ancestors represented over 12 months. That might be 4 grandparents plus 8 great-grandparents. What program or online service will I use to create the calendar? Where will I keep everything that I “collect” for each ancestor? What would I need to collect for the project?

  • a decorative background for each person
  • a photo or representative image – tombstone photo, census image
  • additional images – birth/death certificate, passenger list, family home photo for each person
  • a life synopsis for each person
  • a list of birth dates for all ancestors I hope to include in the calendar

You get the idea. Whether it’s a photo collage, ornaments or a scrapbook or whatever you WISH you’d had time to make for Christmas 2017, take a few minutes to make your plan now! If you plan to work on it a little bit each week or month, put a reminder on your phone or computer to give yourself a little nudge. Next December, you’ll be happy you did!

Genealogy “Snacks”

Introducing “Genealogy Snacks”!

As much as I love to take an entire day or weekend for research, it just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like! In the world of food, a snack is a little nibble of food between meals. In my genealogy world, a “snack” would be a short period of time to do something genealogy related. Maybe 15 – 30 minutes while dinner is in the oven or I’m waiting at the doctor’s office – not enough time to get out notes or go to the library.

But just like a snack can make your mouth water for a real meal, a genealogy snack can get your mind prepared to work on a bigger “meal” like an afternoon at the library. Or a “feast” like a 3 day weekend or a genealogy conference.

I’ve come up with some short genealogy “snack” ideas that I’m going to share with you. Some will be organization ideas and others will help you with your research. But all will be ideas of things you can do in those smaller chunks of time when you WISH you could be working on something genealogy related!

Get ready for some “tasty” ideas!

120 Years Ago Today – Jan. 12, 1898

A continuing feature on the blog for 2018 is be a series called “120 Years Ago Today”. I’m collecting newspaper clippings relevant to Russell County from The Adair County News in the year 1898. I hope you find some surprises to add to your family tree!

I’ll be doing a bit of digital cleanup on the files to remove streaks and scratches, but you can download the original file from the link. Right-click on my image to save the cleaned-up version. I also plan to include a list of names mentioned in the articles at the end of the blog post to make it possible to find with an internet search.

Here’s the link to this edition of the newspaper. Link

Adair County News, Page2, 1898-01-12 CreelsboroAdair County News, Page2, 1898-01-12 Esto

Judge Crisp, B.F. Leach, W.B. Armstrong, Rev. Bell, Dr. T.C. Grider, Maud Grider, John Ham, Charlie Tarter, Manuel Sloan, Mark Wilson, J.D. Irvine, C.R. Royse, E.S. Bledsoe, Mrs. D.B. Barger, Loysa Royse, Mabel Phelps, Mrs. Wm Selby, Emerine Lapsley, Florence Lapsley, Ida Barger, Emerine Lapsley, Jenavieve Lapsley, Ollie Selby, J.H. Barger, D.B. Barger, Russell County

120 Years Ago Today – Jan 5, 1898

A new feature on the blog for 2018 will be a series called “120 Years Ago Today”. I’ll be collecting newspaper clippings relevant to Russell County from The Adair County News in the year 1898. I hope you find some surprises to add to your family tree!

I’ll be doing a bit of digital cleanup on the files to remove streaks and scratches, but you can download the original file from the link. Right-click on my image to save the cleaned-up version. I also plan to include a list of names mentioned in the articles at the end of the blog post to make it possible to find with an internet search.

Here’s the link to this edition of the newspaper. Link

Adair County News, Page2, 1898-01-05 Lula

Adair County News, Page3, 1898-01-05 Marriage

The town of Crocus was partly in Russell County and partly in Adair County.

Adair County News, Page3, 1898-01-05 Murder

Prof. Dudly, Linnie Smith, Willie Gillespie, David Rankin, Rev. U.S. Tabor, H.C. Huffaker, Claude Rankin, W.R. Guffey, “Uncle” Anderson Graham, William Smith, Carson Groves, W.G. Smith, James Dunbar, J.W. Guffey, W.M. Jones, W.F. Rowe, Zora Kinnaird, J.H. Kinnaird, Frank Sullivan, Russell County

It’s that time again…

Now that the New Year is here, it’s that time once again to make a list of “resolutions”. But resolutions have never worked for me. They are too ambitious and then I feel like a failure. So instead, I want to make a list of projects I plan to work on this year. I’m not saying that they will be completed projects, but they will be worked on regularly. So here are my goals:

  1. Negatives. A couple of years ago, I was given a plastic bag full of negatives that belonged to my grandmother. Within these negatives are images of my aunts and uncles before my mother was born, my mother as a newborn, pictures of 3 of my great-grandparents, the cabin in Kentucky where my grandmother’s family lived, pictures of my uncle in the Navy and pictures of another uncle’s wedding. In addition to those negatives, I also have a shoebox full of negatives of my mother’s dating 30 years to when my children were born as well as several envelopes of negatives from her high school years. I also have every negative from every picture I’ve ever taken. Every. Single. Negative.

    I have tried various things to get these negatives into a printable format and have never been completely happy with the results. This year, I bought a scanner specifically for scanning negatives and slides (all of my husbands pictures while growing up are on slides). After doing quite a bit of research, I am planning to clean each negative, scan them at a high resolution in TIFF format and get them into the proper sized archival negative sleeves. Many of the older negatives are medium format film which are approximately 2 inches square. It’s a nice project that I can work on a few at a time. I will then pull the images into Photoshop, turn them into “positives” and fix any scratches and dust spots. I will save jpg copies of these edited images in the cloud, in my Heritage Collector software (see below) and on M-Discs.
    I used Christmas gift money to purchase Heritage Collector software which will allow me to label each person in the images. This means that moving your cursor over any face will reveal a pop-up box with the person’s name. There is also a feature which will allow me to add video or audio files when a person clicks on a specific spot on the photo, so I’m hoping to do some interviews with my mom so that my children can hear when she had to say about the memories each photo brings to her. There are many other features of the software and I’m sure I’ll be sharing more as I become more familiar with it.

    Ambitious? For sure. But this is my number 1 goal for 2018 and I’m determined to get a good chunk of these negatives taken care of this year!

  2. Stories. Every year, I say that I am going to begin writing the stories of my ancestors – especially my mother. I am fascinated with her life growing up. Her father was an alcoholic, so my grandmother had to be pretty creative to take care of her children. My mom was born in the front room of the house she grew up in. A house without indoor plumbing during a time in history where there was no worry about locking your door or walking into town alone at a young age to meet up with friends at the candy kitchen. Paper dolls, green stamps and weekly movies complete with newsreels. But I’m such a perfectionist, it seems I can never find the “perfect” time or the “perfect” story to get going. This year, I may not write the stories, but I will at a minimum, begin taking better notes and writing outlines. Last year, I bought Scrivener software as well as the Scrivener iPad app so I could begin this project, but I became overwhelmed as I started reading the tutorials. Ready to give this another try this year, especially because my aunts and uncles are entering their 80’s and I need to get their stories while I still can.
  3. Family Presentation. My husband and his cousin are planning the family reunion for this summer and I would love to have some type of interactive presentation for relatives to look through. My husband and I own a business which creates interactive presentations and courses for corporations, so I do have some special software to do this with. But it can also be done with PowerPoint, so I may be putting together some tutorials for the blog so that you can make your own.

So those are my 2018 goals! Not to mention “regular” genealogy research and learning more about DNA! My husband and I will be attending RootsTech together in February/March, which I’m really looking forward to. He has done a little bit of genealogy for his side of the family, but I’m hoping that he’ll get more involved in it as we prepare for the family reunion. Who knows what exciting new ideas I’ll come back with from that conference!

Happy New Year to all of you! I’m hoping to have some great new series coming to the blog in 2018!


Russell County Resources – Tax Records

If you haven’t been using tax records in your research, you could be missing out on a goldmine of information! The microfilmed tax lists are for Kentucky State taxes and the headers changed from year to year based on what the General Assembly had approved for that specific year.

There is an excellent article called “Tax Lists (1792-1840) An Overlooked Resource for Kentucky History & Land Title” written by Kandie Adkinson from the Kentucky Land Office available online which every Kentucky researcher should read and refer to. It will give you great insight into the laws of the times so you’ll know exactly what you could find in the tax records. For example:

  • All free males 21 years of age or older were enumerated on tax lists if they owned one horse. Notice that there was no requirement to own land to be in the tax list, but at least one horse. So if you’re unsure of the date of birth for an early Kentucky ancestor, see if you can find the first year that they appear in a tax list. That could be the year that they turned 21, or close to it.
  • Women were included on tax lists if they were the head-of-the-household. (Unless she had another male in her family pay the taxes.) Finding a female ancestor’s name in a tax list can help you to narrow down a date of death for her spouse. I have read that after a man died, his widow had one year to mourn and then had to start paying the taxes so take that into consideration when looking for an approximate date of death.
  • More often than not, the tax records include the number of school age children within a family. Pay attention to the age ranges as they didn’t stay consistent.
  • Taxpayers were allowed to report land that they owned in other counties or states. Excellent clues to be found there!
  • Sometimes, a person would be declared to be exempt from paying taxes. This would include ministers, veterans, poor, disabled and widows unless she had a male over 16 residing in the home. So if an ancestor disappears from the list, he may not be dead, he may have been exempt. You might find a court record that gives a date that a person was declared exempt from taxes.

Russell County was formed at the end of 1825/beginning of 1826, so available tax records can be found between 1826-1874. That’s half a century of “yearly census” information! The only years that are missing are 1830, 1832 and 1834. The information in each tax list may be slightly different and I’m only going to give specific information that I feel would be most helpful for research.

In the early tax lists, you’ll find information on

  • the amount of land
  • the “rate” of the land (In 1793, it was declared that “The rich lands in Fayette County shall be considered as the standard of first-rate land.” This was repealed one year later, but the land continued to be rated until 1840.)
  • In whose name Entered (who received the warrant – often assigned to someone else and thus the remaining names might be different), Surveyed (might be the same person or it might be the assignee) and Patented (also called the land grant). This information is only available in the first 10 years of tax lists.
  • the county the land was in
  • the nearest water course
  • the number of white males above 21 years old
  • the number of slaves above 16 years old
  • the total number of slaves
  • the number of horses, mules and cattle (Remember, a man had to have a horse to be taxed.)
  • the number of coaches and carriages
  • the number of billiard tables and retail stores

New items were tracked as time passed and by the 1870’s, you’ll also find items such as:

  • the number of town lots
  • the value of gold, silver and other metallic watches and clocks
  • the value of gold and silver plate
  • the value of pianos
  • the number of dogs
  • the number of sheep killed by dogs
  • the number of pounds of tobacco and hemp
  • tons of hay
  • the number of bushels of corn, wheat and barley
  • Income from U.S. Bonds

Beginning in 1840, Russell County was divided into 2 districts – the upper district and the lower district. If you don’t find your ancestor in the 1st section of the tax list, be sure to look in the 2nd section. If a section was labeled as upper or lower, I tried to include that information. It would probably be possible to figure out which link is upper and which is lower based on the first few names listed, but I have not taken the time to do that.

Specific, unique genealogy info included
1829 Children over 4 years old and under 15, No. of children at school
1837 No longer dividing land by “rate”, no longer asking in whose name entered, surveyed, patented
1838 Male children over 5 & under 15, females over 5 & under 15, total, the full label is only on page 1 and the upper number is difficult to read so 15 is my guess.
1840 – pre-printed forms issued. Land is no longer categorized by “rate”.
1840 2 sections Children between 7 & 17 years old
1841 2 sections Children between 7 & 17 years old
1842 2 sections Children between 7 & 17 years old
1843 2 sections Children between 7 & 17 years old
1844 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1845 upper district Children between 5 & 16 years old
1846 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1847 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1848 lower district Children between 5 & 16 years old
1849 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1850 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1851 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1852 2 sections Children between 5 & 16 years old
1853 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1854 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1855 Children between 6 & 18 years old
1856 Children between 6 & 18 years old
1857 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1858 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1859 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1860 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1861 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1862 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1863 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
1864 2 sections Children between 6 & 18 years old
No longer asking for number of slaves
1865 upper district Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1866 lower district Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1867 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1868 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1869 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1870 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1871 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1872 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1873 Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1874 Name of Nearest Resident, No. of Election Precinct in which situated, Enrolled Militia, Children between 6 and 20 years old
1875 not yet available online



Not Your Average Christmas Ideas

Every year, when I’m asked to start making a Christmas list, I always Google “Christmas gifts for genealogists” and every year, it gets harder to find items that I don’t already have. Over the years, I’ve accumulated plenty of flash drives, external drives, photography equipment, scanners, genealogy books and shirts. Maybe you’re in the same boat and you’re looking for something that would be useful even though it doesn’t scream “GENEALOGY”! Here are some simple things that I like to use in my research that are a little more “out of the box”.

  1. casePencil case or zippered glasses case – I used to be a high school teacher and occasionally, I’d get a Christmas gift from a student and it would quite often be a small zippered case of some type. You might think this sounds funny, but I know that they are a popular gift here because Ft. Wayne is the home of Vera Bradley and every spring, there is an outlet sale where women go CRAZY getting the patterns and sizes that they want. The zippered cases are some of the smaller ticket price items, so it’s easy to grab several to put away for Christmas. I use these as my “genealogy go-bags”. I have one in my backpack, one by my recliner and one in the glove compartment of my car. I keep a flash drive, chap stick, mechanical pencil, extra lead, a highlighter, paper clips, eraser and small post-it notes in each. (The Genealogy mug is a previous Christmas gift and I included it in the picture to give an idea of size for the zippered case.)
  2. organizerSupply organizer – sometimes, if I travel for a longer period of time of research, I’ll take my “office in a box”. I believe this one was actually a fishing tackle thing, but you can also get something similar at a craft store in the embroidery floss area. In addition to paper clips, pencils, pens and highlighters, I keep a mini stapler, staple remover, flash drive, lighted magnifying glass, post-its in various sizes, a ruler and hand lotion.
  3. Calculator paper rolls (receipt paper rolls) – Calculator_rollsthese can be easily found in the office supply area of Walmart or Target for under $5. I use them for quick timelines, to do lists and for making lists of page numbers to look up. They are so cheap, I don’t feel like I have to worry about scribbling on a sheet and re-creating it over and over if I need to. A nice stocking stuffer idea!
  4. Calculator paper roll holder – Honestly, I keep my rolls in my desk drawer and I pull them out when I need them. But this year, I just might ask for holder to help clear some space in my drawer. If you GoogleCalculator rolls holder “Calculator paper roll holder” and look at the images, you can see all kinds of “make it yourself” ideas from Pinterest. If you or a family member is a DIY kinda person, here are instructions for a simple one I like. If you’re looking for something a little more modern, you can always find something like this on Amazon.
  5. Rolls of blank newsprint – Pretty much a jumbo version of the above. I use this paper to do mind-mapping or to draw out potential family relationships before I commit anything to my software. And while you can buy these rolls online or at an office supply store, my mother went to her local newspaper and told them she was moving and asked if they had any roll ends that she could have and they gave her quite a hefty roll for free! (Better get ’em while we still have printed newspapers!)
  6. Can’t get your hands on rolls of newsprint? Look for a jumbo drawing pad made for a kid’s easel. Something like this from Walmart. 50 sheets of 20 x 17 paper for only $7. You can also find pads of drawing paper at art supply stores, but if the paper isn’t made for kids, it’s probably a bit more money. For example, a pad of 25 sheets of 18 x 24 Strathmore paper is $17 at Hobby Lobby.
  7. pouchesSelf-sealing lamination pouches – these come in various sizes and thicknesses, but I like the ones that will fit an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I use them for reference type documents that I use a lot. For example, I have my 5 generation group sheets for my grandmother and my grandfather on both sides of the family. I refer to them all the time when working with my DNA matches. I also have a laminated “Shared cM Project” chart and a list of my most often used citation format templates. I can also write on these with my dry erase markers which is nice when I’m tracking DNA matches! Get these at any office supply store, Amazon or store like Walmart or Target.
  8. Extra large mouse pad – my office setup has 3 monitors: my laptop in the center, a widescreen Smart tv/monitor to my right (so I can also watch Netflix while researching!) and an older monitor on my left that has a stand that allows me to keep it rotated to be taller rather than wider so that I can display documents on that screen while transcribing on my laptop. But having 3 monitors means that my mouse sometimes has to take several “trips” across my traditional mouse pad to get from one side monitor to the other. My current, traditional mouse pad is about 8.5 x 7.5. But my sons enjoy online gaming and they have extra large mouse pads, like this 18.5 x 17.5 one from Amazon. There are gaming mouse pads in all different sizes, so Google it and see what might work best for your set up. These are also available at most electronics stores.
  9. green folders(and 10 and 11!) Decorative file folders – plaid foldersI try to keep my office organized, but it’s not unusual to come in a realize that it looks like a tornado has come through and dumped papers, post-its, photos and negatives all over my desk! Because I work my “real job” from home, it’s often a mix of work and genealogy stuff. I have a bamboo tablet stand from Ikea that I keep file folders on as well as a “Fintorp” hanging system with 2 utensil holders and 1 condiment stand. I use the utensil holders for digital accessory cables, highlighters and dry erase markers and the condiment stand for headphones, cables and file folders. I like to have a different pattern of file folder for each project that I’m working on, so I head to the local office supply store and take photos of the folders that I like and send the photos to my husband.

I hope everyone has a Blessed Christmas Season and a few minutes here and there for family history research!