Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Continuing Genealogy Education

During the May 2010, Ontario Genealogical Society conference, I attended at class offered by my friend Lisa Louise Cooke, the host and producer of the the Genealogy Gems Podcast. Lisa commented that as genealogists we should be spending thirty percent of our 'genealogy' time studying, learning about new tips and research methods helpful in the further pursuit of the your family history. Until my retirement date arrives in a couple of years, like most, I don't have as much time as I would like to work on genealogy - or do other things I love, like "just hanging out" with my wife.

I decided to apply a valuable research tip to help me with 'study time.' I have always been amazed at what new details I find when I go back and re-examine genealogical records for my family, I decided to 'go back' and re-listen to the podcasts that I had previously heard. The podcast series I have subscribed to were still in my iTunes library and on my iPod. Podcasts generally, and I listen to several, have always been an enormous source of learning, introducing me to new ideas, information sources, and research techniques - and they are great entertainment during my daily work commute.

I didn't start my 're-listening' in an organized way but rather spun the wheel of the iPod and listened to the podcast episode that it 'landed' on - Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #74 from October 2009 turned out to be my starting point. In the episode, Lisa interviews Joe Bott of, a free, searchable Internet "Genealogy Photo Archive." Joe explained how he started the site and shared stories of 'reunions' of family members with old lost-to-the-family photos. I remembered listening, not that long ago, to the episode and then trying the Dead Fred site without any results.

But when I re-listened to the episode, I heard of site search tips and techniques that I didn't recall trying previously, like searching by location. So back I went to Dead Fred and to my amazement, I found photo #23793 (pictured below). The photo is a page from the 1915 University of Toronto yearbook and depicts eight members of the Chemists and Miners program, each of whom is identified. The second person from the top on the left side is identified as "Breithaupt, John Edward."

John Edward Breithaupt was born in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario on December 8, 1892, the eldest child of John Cristian Breithaupt and Carolina Catherine Anthes and the grandson of Phillip 'Louis' Breithaupt and Catherine Hailer who were prominent early settlers of the Waterloo Region of Ontario.

John Edward Breithaupt (seen the close-up photo below) is also my wife, Ellen's second cousin, twice removed and we had never seen a photo of him until my re-listening and re-checking of sources lead to my finding the yearbook page on Dead Fred. Checking, or in this case listening, twice, always pays off!


  1. Ian,

    A perfect example of one of the many different ways a genealogist can educate themselves.

    One of my favorites is to re-visit a case or project from a couple of years past and ask myself if I would still go about the research the same way or have I learned something new in the last 2 years that would make me go about it differently.

  2. Very interesting and worth the second listen for sure! The name Breithaupt caught my attention. My grand aunt married a Jacob Breithaupt b. 1885 in Pa. His parents came from Germany in 1882. I will keep my eyes open in case there is a connection somewhere. I have not done any real research on this line as of yet.