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Ask Ancestry Anne: How Can I Find People in My Tree With a Burial Fact?


I have more than 750 people in my family tree and I want to link each one with a Find-A-Grave entry. I think it’s important to know where they are buried because it adds a visual record. When I can identify a gravesite, I add its Find-A-Grave Memorial number in the “Burial Fact” in Is there a way to search my tree for entries with specific facts? I’d like to find out which of my 750+ family tree entries have burial facts listed. I’m pretty sure I’d like to perform this type of search for other facts as well.

Thanks for your help,

Dr. Larry D. (Doug) Graves


Great question!  Your goal goes beyond the basics.  It’s not currently possible to perform this task in an online tree on, but desktop software like Family Tree Maker is a lot more flexible and is better equipped to handle this type of reporting need.  I consulted one of our resident Family Tree Maker experts, Tana L. Pederson, and asked her to show me the best way to accomplish this task.

When you open Family Tree Maker, click Publish and then choose Person Reports to create a Custom Report.

In the middle you will see Custom Report, click that report, then on the right hand-side select that and click Create Report.

Now you need to select the information or facts that you want in your report.  You will see on the right hand side, a little box with a green arrow:

Click on the green arrow icon to open the dialog box where you can select items to include in your Custom Report. Select Birth and you will see a red X appear.

When Birth is selected, click the red X and remove it.  Now you can do that for Marriage as well.

Next, add Burial by clicking on the blue + button. This brings up a list of all Facts. Choose Burial and click OK.   

You are back on the list of items to include. Under Notes, deselect Include Person Notes, and select Include Sources, and then click OK. (Always include your sources so you know where the information came from!)

Now you can select the people with burial facts associated with them.  On the right hand side, select Selected Individuals which will enable the Individuals to Include option.

Click the Filter In button in the center and select All Facts:

Select Burial from the drop-down menu Search where: in the center, then select Is not blank next to it:

Click OK, wait for your report to generate, and you will have a list of everyone in your tree with a burial fact, and because you included sources, you can see at the end how those facts are documented.

Are you one of those people who are hard to buy presents for? You might want to throw out a hint: ask for Beyond the Basics: A Guide for Advanced Users of Family Tree Maker 2012, by Tana L. Pedersen, which is available in the Store.  Not only does it cover these useful tips, but a lot of other ideas that will help you further your research.

Happy holidays and happy searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: My Father Was in the Navy, But Where?

Question: My father, Matthew Gene Wietecha, served in the Navy in World War II. I have been unable to find out about his service because of the fire in the National Personnel Records Center in  which military files were destroyed. I do know that he served on the USS Evangeline. How can I find out information on his service for our country and about the attack of his ship??

— Doris

Answer:  This case is interesting, because it illustrates that even though the answer isn’t where you would expect to find it, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t out there.

I started my search in the U.S. Military Records collection and chose World War II.  I entered Matthew’s name.  Usually you would want to also include a birth date, but I suspect that Wietecha is not the most common of names.

I found Matthew’s death record, which is helpful because now I have a birth and death date. And I know he was in the Navy and he served from April 24, 1942 to November 10, 1945.

I could not find him in the Navy muster rolls or in the enlistment rolls, so I decided on a different tack. Rather than searching, I went directly to U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949  to see if I could browse the list for the Evangeline. 

But it wasn’t there.  Nor was it in the U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009

Since searching and browsing these collections had both failed, I decided to expand my search to see if I could find a nickname in the census records or a clue in some other record. I found him the 1940 census, living with his parents and brothers and sisters. I noticed in the suggested records on the right hand side of the record page that he is also on five different passenger lists.

I clicked on the first link, and learned that Matthew was on the Esso Baltimore in the Naval Armed Guard Crew.

This list is from May 14, 1943 – right in the middle of World War II.  The other four links are also from the Esso Baltimore.

In search of more information, I found a page on the Naval Armed Guard Service in World War II in the Navy Department Library’s site.  Their job was to protect the ships moving material and men across the “submarine infested” waters both in the Atlantic and the Pacific.

“The Armed Guards played an important part in defending ships which cost $22,500,000,000 to build and operate. The value of the cargo which they defended cannot be estimated in dollars.”

You are correct that there was a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973, but the bulk of the records that were lost were for Army personnel discharged between November 1912 and January 1960 (80 percent lost) and Air Force personnel discharged late September 1947 and January 1964. You can read more about the fire on the National Archives website

Digging deeper into the Navy Library’s website, on the Official Service and Medical Records page, ( I found that the records for men in the Navy Armed Guard are held at the National Personnel Records Center. You’ll find more information on the Start Your Military Service Record (DD Form 214) page.

Your father played a fascinating part in World War II.  I’m hoping if you order his records, you will learn even more. It’s always good to remember that if you don’t find what you are looking for where you expect it, keep expanding your search.  You never know what you might stumble across.

Happy searching!

— Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: Updated List of Livestream Presentations

I’ve updated my list of Livestream Presentations.  I’ve also have links to PDF of my sourcing presentations on this page.

Happy Searching!

— Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: Is Wilson really George’s Father?

Question:  I have found a possible connection to my great-grandfather, George W. Coulter (1857-1926) who died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I have a lot of information that seems to link him to a man named Wilson George Coulter (1827-1881), who I believe, is his father.

I don’t have specific linking documentation, just a LOT of situations where they are found in the same locations at the same time. The suspected father of my ancestor traveled due to his being a preacher, and my great-grandfather is found in many of the same areas. For example, according to his death certificate, George was born in an obscure town, which is where the preacher was stationed at that time. My George had a child born in Lancaster, which is where the preacher died. Plus, a George Coulter with same occupation as mine is in the city directory for Lancaster on same street as preacher’s son, Peter Henry Coulter.  It seems extremely unlikely that this is a mere coincidence. Should I add this to my tree even though I don’t have them living together. I am 99.9% sure they are family.

— Cynthia Coulter Marcinik

Answer: Short answer: No. 

Let me first commend you for digging deep to find everything you can and then recognizing that you still don’t have anything that states outright that George W. is the son of Wilson George Coulter.

But what you are doing is using an excellent tactic for making that connection when you can’t find document proof — you’re looking for friends, neighbors and other relatives, all of whom could help you make a strong case that you’ve found the right person.

Let’s look at what we know.

In 1880, George Coulter is living in Allegheny, Blair County, Pennsylvania.

Wilson George Coulter is living in Newport, Perry County, Pennsylvania in that same census.

In 1870, the same Wilson Coulter is living in Medford, Burlington County, New Jersey, and you’ll notice in 1870, there is a George living in the household. But unfortunately, in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census the relationship is not stated.

In 1860, the same Wilson Coulter is living North Newton, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and again there is a George of the right age living with him. (This one is hard to read)

So where do you go next?

In the 1900 census, we are told that George Coulter and Minnie were married ca. 1878; it also tells us that he was born in April 1855.

Possible documents that might state the parent/child relationship:

  1. George’s marriage certificate, but you will need a location
  2. George’s birth certificate, again a location
  3. You state that Wilson dies in 1881.  It is likely there was a will or an estate settlement which would possibly include his children.
  4. When does Wilson’s wife, Mary die?  If it was after Wilson, she is likely to have a will or estate settlement.
  5. What churches did Wilson work for?  They may have directories that include George or state something about him.
  6. Do you have an obituary for George?  Maybe it names his mother or father or both.
  7. Another route would be research the other children of Wilson and Mary and see if a direct connection can be made.  Then you can possibly draw a connection between George and the sibling.

 I agree with that it is highly likely that Wilson is George’s father.  But likely is not proof, is it?  Keep searching, the answer is out there.

 — Ancestry Anne

Templates from the Citing Your Sources presentation on facebook

You can find the presentation at:

1850 US Census

1850 U.S. Census, COUNTY_NAME County, STATE_NAME, population schedule, CITY_OR_DISTRICT, p. XXX (stamped/penned), dwelling DDD, family FFF, person or people; ( accessed : DATE);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll RRR.

1860 US Census

1860 U.S. Census, COUNTY_NAME County, STATE_NAME, population schedule, CITY_OR_DISTRICT, p. XXX (stamped/penned), dwelling DDD, family FFF, PERSON;  digital images, ( accessed : DATE);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll RRR.

1870 US Census

1870 U.S. Census, COUNTY_NAME County, STATE_NAME, population schedule, CITY_OR_DISTRICT, p. XXX (stamped/penned), dwelling DDD, family FFF, PERSON;  digital images, ( accessed : DATE);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll RRR.

1880 US Census

1880 U.S. Census, COUNTY_NAME County, STATE_NAME, population schedule, CITY_OR_DISTRICT, enumeration district ENUM_DISTRICT, p. XXX (stamped/penned), dwelling DDD, family FFF, PERSON;  digital images, ( accessed : DATE);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll RRR.

Private Holdings: Family Bible


Example: Gillespie Family Bible, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, p840; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. The sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1860. Index/Database

DATABASENAME, database, ( : accessed DATE), entry for PERSON, EVENT DATE, EVENT LOCATION; citing SOURCE.

Example: “Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850,” database, ( : accessed 18 Jul 2012), entry for Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie, 21 Nov 1848, Amherst, Virginia; citing Dodd, Jordan R., et al.. Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers.

Ask Ancestry Anne: Finding Easton Page

Question: My father died when I was 9 years old and I never knew my father’s father. My father’s birth name was EASTON ROLLY PAGE. I have no idea what my grandfather’s name is. I have two different dates my father was born and he died on February 10, 1948 in San Francisco, CA and is buried in a military cemetery, I believe, in San Bruno, CA. I was told he was born on August 30, 1901 or 1904. So I’m confused and would very much like to trace my ancestors, but don’t have a clue. He was married before he married my mother and his 1st wife had, i believe 4 children. He had 2 or 3 girls and one son named Donald Page who was born around 1920-1924.So if you could possibly track some of my family, I’d be ecstatic just knowing they are still alive. Thank you so much.

Daniel Rolly Page

Answer: I’m sorry for your loss at such a young age. I have been able to find some information on your family.

I started with your father’s death date, and I found him in the California Death Index

It tells us that he was born on August 31, 1903 in Kansas and that his father’s surname was Page and his mother’s maiden name was Singleton.

I also found him in the U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1776-2006 data collection.which reports his birth date as August 31, 1901.  It tells us his Service start date was June 5, 1920, that he was a Corporal in the Army during WWII and that he is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery which is in San Bruno, California.

Birth years often vary from document to document, and if the 1903 date from the death index is correct, it may be that he lied about his age to get into the military. He would have only been 17 in 1920.

With this information, I start working backwards through the census records. In 1930, Easton was living with his wife Lucille, who he married around 1923, and their four children, Eileen, Norma, Donald, and Anita.  They were living in Los Angeles, California with Lucille’s parents, Henry and Emma Ahlers.  Easton was working as a Spring Coiler in a Furniture Factory.


In 1920, Easton is living with his parents, James and Hettie Page in Newbury, Wabaunsee County, Kansas.  His father is a Carpenter in the Locomotive industry and they owned their own farm. 

In 1915, Easton is living with his parents, J. W. and Hettie and his older sister Orpha who is school teacher.  Orpha was born in Arkansas eight years before Easton; so the family moved to Kansas sometime before Easton’s birth. (Note: on the Kansas State Census, make sure you look at the page after the name page for all the information.)

In 1910, Easton was living in McFarland in the Newberry Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas.  He is living with his parents James W. and Hettie D. Page and his sister Orpha M.  Hettie had six children, but only two, Orpha and Easton were living in 1910. James was a Carpenter working for a Railroad Car Repair company.  James and Hettie married about 1894.

In 1900, living in Lincoln, Madison County, Arkansas, James and Hettie had been married for six years. They had had 4 children, but only Arthur was living. They were also living with Hettie’s younger sister, Viola Singleton.

So to recap, we know that Easton married Lucille Ahlers, sometime between 1920 and 1930.  Given that Eileen, the oldest child,  was born in 1924; they were most likely married around 1922 or 1923.  They had four children by 1930.  Finding Easton in 1940 would be the next logical step in determining how many children.  It appears that Donald Ralph Page died on February 26, 1998 in Riverside, California, according the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  I could not find marriage records or death records for any of the three girls.

Easton’s parents were most likely James Page and Hettie Singleton.  They were married around 1894, probably in Arkansas.  They had at least six children of whom two, Orpha and Easton, lived to adulthood. Arthur is the only name we’ve seen as one of the four who died early.

There is still a lot of searching left to do; hopefully this gets you started.

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne