History’s Mysteries LLC is a researching firm setting out to uncover answers to your inquiries about history in Northeast Iowa, central to the Waterloo area in Black Hawk County. Our expertise lies in the research of real estate in Iowa and cemeteries in the Midwest as well as other areas of genealogical and ephemera research.

We are a proud member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and abide by APG Code of Ethics seen here. We are currently working on our certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Applicants for BCG must demonstrate The Genealogical Proof Standard which can be seen here.
If you would like our assistance to answer a burning question you might have, please send an email to HistorysMysteriesLLC@yahoo.com. In your email, specify your question and provide additional background on what you already know and what steps you have taken (if any) to previously research this question. A phone conversation can then take place to proceed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Preserving Your Family History-

Preserve your family history now rather than later. We all have busy lives, whether by choice or by necessity. Yet, we need to make time to preserve our future desires for the past. Many people uncover an interest in family history in their later years. By then, many of their elders have passed on. If we take the time to document the information of interest when it is in its prime, we will benefit the most. While our lives are hectic and we may think time will soon free up and allow us to accomplish this feat, the only way this will truly happen is if we sit down and set aside the time in our busy schedule to interview those elders who carry the stories that may be lost if we don’t act now. As archivist Aaron Holt has stated, “It only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history.”1 Save yourself the heartache and preserve your history for the whole family as well as future generations. It will only take a couple of hours and will open new doors to the past that you never knew existed.

1.      Just Three Generations, The Legal Genealogist, (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2014/02/07/just-three-generations/ : 20 August 2014).

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday's Site - Vintage Aerial

How many of you live in a rural area? Even those who live in a residential area may find joy in searching this site, http://vintageaerial.com/photos. You may find your childhood farm or current residence, maybe even your parents’ or grandparents’ farm. There are some shots of businesses and residential areas. They have a nice coverage map, kind of like a cell provider coverage map! You select your state and county (not all counties are currently indexed), then you can provide a street or address and the site will try to provide you with flights that covered the particular area. The map, provided to the right in the results, is based on flight maps recorded when the plane was in the air. When you select an image, an additional map is provided with a pin to give you an approximate location. I have found these pins to be inaccurate with up to a three mile variance from the correct location. Yet, the initial map will help to get you close to where you want to look and from there you can go through the roll. When you are able to identify any frame, you can proceed to find other images in the vicinity. The photographer would record these farmsteads - sometimes the flight would be somewhat lineal; other times the plane would loop to capture the farms on the opposite side of the road. The photographers appear to have an eye for sites of interest, capturing some of the same farms flight after flight, while other farms seem to never be seen. Some farms are even captured twice from two different directions. Whether you are able to find the image you are looking for or not, don't get frustrated and enjoy the Vintage Aerials!

Disclaimer: No compensation of any kind was received for this article and said article should not be construed as an endorsement for the company or service referenced.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waterloo Wednesday – For All the Small Schools

Buildings of former glory slip by the wayside every day. They are often remodeled, re-purposed or demolished and before long, the majority of people forget what the building’s original function was or that it was even there. It could have been a school, a church, a post office, a town hall or a bank building. Couples such as Barb and Dave Else of Cedar Falls have made an effort to recognize schools across Iowa with their book, For All the Small School: A photographic pursuit of Iowa’s forgotten schools. Anyone who can help Barb and Dave Else identify the nine unidentified schools in their book can contact them at daveelse@cfu.net. Their book is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and thewriteplace.com.
            Time changes everything, yet we can’t forget who we are and where we came from. The former structures of our hometowns molded our lives and the lives of those who have taken the initiative to document or preserve the past; we can’t thank those people enough. We commend you, keep up the great work!

“Couple’s book is strictly ‘old school’,” Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, 12 June 2014.