It’s Been An Exciting Week!

Last week I had some unexpected time off (truck troubles), so I decided to register my new genealogy research business with my city. The official launch is coming soon. I also started a complete overhaul of this website. This will be ongoing over the next few weeks until I get it all done. And to top it all off, a research report I wrote for the ProGen Study Group was published by the Bucks County Genealogy Society in their monthly newsletter. You can read it here. Wow!! What a week!

Since I drive a truck for a living, it can be challenging (outside of crazy drivers) to find something to listen to every day. I found a new podcast about business, marketing, and branding called Brand, Market, Flourish. With a new genealogy business launching soon, I need to learn all I can. In listening to an episode, I realized I hadn’t looked at my quarterly goals since I made them. Ouch! Does that ever happen to you? Life gets in the way or your goals change midstream and what you thought you would do, you don’t.


The education category will never be a problem. I am constantly learning about something. But the rest…DNA, Volunteering, and Organizing…Nope! Nada! Zip!

Benjamin Franklin said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I realized I never came up with a plan to implement anything on my genealogy goals list. Not smart of me (because goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

So, I’m giving myself a Do-Over on the goals I set for the first part of the year.

Education will continue in the form of webinars and podcasts.

Volunteering will include heading to the local cemetery and finding ancestors for Find A Grave requests…love doing that!

DNA – I’m going to put that on the back burner until the summer.

Organizing – Also pushing that to summer.

This quarter I’m going to concentrate on the Gray Stabley Genealogy Services website and all that goes with it…marketing with social media, graphic design (I’m using Canva), and content. I think that’s enough to keep me busy.

Do you need a do-over for your goals? They are not set in stone, so go for it!

Genealogy tip: Local genealogy societies appreciate submissions for their newsletters. If you’ve written a piece about one of your ancestors, go ahead and send it to them. Like me, you might get published!

Surnames As Middle Names

Do you ever wonder how people come up with their children’s names? Sometimes it’s easy if they are a junior or have a name like John or Elizabeth and then sometimes you have to search a little deeper.

I wrote about my great-grandfather, Eli Bernard Stabley, a few months ago. You can read about him here. He and his wife, Ida Jane, had two sons, Bernard Dettinger Stabley, and Richard Luther Stabley. The middle name of Luther came from one of Ida’s brothers. Bernard’s middle name, Dettinger, was Ida’s maiden name. It was common (and still is) to use the woman’s maiden name as one of her children’s middle names. Here’s Ida in 1947.

picture of Ida Jane Dettinger Stabley

Ida was born in York County, Pennsylvania in 1879 to John George Dettinger and Julia Dirk. Their family numbered twelve children with Ida right in the middle.

She and Eli married on 17 March 1903 in York County. According to the newspaper, they had a very sweet ceremony.1

clipping of wedding announcement of Eli Stabley and Ida Dettinger.

Ida was left a widow after almost 28 years of marriage. Since Eli was in the military she tried to get a widow’s pension, but they disapproved her application citing “no qualified foreign service.” During the Spanish-American War, Eli was posted at Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming, and did not see any action.

For the next 26 years, Ida lived near her two boys but had her own home and took in a lodger to help ends meet. In 1950 Bernard’s wife, Lillian, died. Read about her here. Bernard was my grandfather and he and my dad lived with Ida for several years soon after.

Ida passed away in February 1957. Her obituary is short but packed with plenty of information.2

Ida Jane Dettinger Stabley obituary

So those middle names may not always give you a clue about a surname, but then again, they just might.

Genealogy tip: If you are researching an ancestor and they don’t have a typical given name for their middle name, consider it could be a surname from a generation or two before or the maiden name of the mother.

1 “Pretty Home Wedding,” The Gazette (York, Pennsylvania), p. 2, col. 3; digital image, ( accessed 22 Oct 2019).

2 “Deaths and Burials,” The York Dispatch (York, Pennsylvania), p. 28, col. 1: digital image, ( accessed 21 Mar 2020).


Do you remember as a kid your parents saying you couldn’t go outside and play until all your homework was done? Well, I’m being my own parent today.

This month’s assignment for the ProGen Study Group is to write a business plan. If you’ve never written one before, it’s a lot of work. I’ve got templates open from the Small Business Administration and from SCORE so I don’t forget anything.

So, with that said, I’m taking a blog break this week to work on my business plan homework. I’ll be back with you next weekend. Until then…enjoy your week!

Genealogy tip: Whatever you’re working on, whether an ancestor profile or a genealogy homework assignment, be present and give it your full attention.