The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Genealogy hints given at library program 2010.05.19

Written by David Green.


Nancy Brockoff-Dzierzawski took an unusual route into her current passion—the study of genealogy.

Her son once said to her, “I know my father is Polish, but what am I?”

So began the quest.

Brockoff-Dzierzawski spoke at Stair Public Library last week to give those interested in family history some hints on where to begin.

Getting started

The first step, she said, is to get organized by starting to fill out ancestor charts and family group sheets. Add the information you know, and make sure you write out dates so 05-07 means May 7 and not July 5.

Free forms are available from many websites and a simple search will bring them up.

Some people use a lot of notebooks—everyone did 20 years ago—and others keep all their records in a computer. She uses a combination of each.

“When I first started doing genealogy there were no computers,” Nancy said. “And I’m terrified of losing data.”

Several genealogical websites are available and many offer at least a basic software program at no cost. Roots Magic, Family Tree Maker and Personal Ancestral File are three good programs, she said, but others can be found at Cyndi’s List—a clearinghouse providing an enormous amount of information.

Obtain a free e-mail account to use only for genealogy (Yahoo or Gmail from Google, for example), print out a research log to keep track of your searches, and you’re ready to begin.


Nancy says to get to know the area where you’re searching and consider joining a local history group.

Subscribe to newsletters such as Dick Eastman’s, RootWeb or About to receive many good tips and updates. Subscribe to a magazine such as Family Tree or Internet Genealogy.

Download podcasts of discussions (Genealogy Guys or Dear Myrtle) and listen to them while driving or in your spare time.

Be specific in your searches, she says, to narrow down the possibilities. Rather than  looking for a name alone, add a date or a place, etc.

Sometimes the person you’re seeking will be listed with information about a relative of the person. Check with relatives for records and then head for the internet and start with census records.

“Don’t look only for your people, but also at their neighbors,” Nancy suggested. “People often traveled in packs. You might find your relatives listed with others, and sometimes with the name spelled wrong.”


In addition to websites already listed, Nancy suggests Linkpendium, Google, FamilySearch, Heritage Quest (through the Michigan Electronic Library), Ancestry and Footnote.

Some sites charge for complete service, but offer free material, also.

“Go to Cyndi’s List, type in Lenawee County and see what pops up,” she said. “Cyndi’s List is one of those things you just have to sit down and play with. There’s so much information.

“Every screen I’ve showed you is a whole afternoon,” Nancy said about the websites she presented.

Nancy cautioned people to use the internet only as a guide. Anyone can put anything on the internet and it might not be accurate. Find the information, then find the proof.

Audience member Robert Jennings suggested the Pilot Search arm of the Family Search website. and also might offer help in searching, Nancy said, and Facebook groups could be of assistance.

Nancy said to search for pieces of your family tree at sites such as RootWeb World Connect, Tribal Pages and Family Search.

Information can often be obtained without travel by asking for help from local genealogical societies and Family History Centers (Latter Day Saints). At the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website, a person states the need and someone in the area might travel to a nearby cemetery to take a photo of a gravestone, for example.

Before heading out to a courthouse or library, first check to see what’s available on-line and also determine the open hours. provides catalogues of library holdings from around the world.

 “When you get stuck, try to trace a sibling forward or backward, called a collateral line,” Nancy said. “Go through your search again to see if there’s something you missed. Just keep plugging the name into every search engine.”

Above all, she said, remember that your search isn’t just a quest for data.

“Try to keep it personal. That’s one of the fun things about genealogy. You really need to remember they’re people and we’re trying to tell their story.”

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