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Ask the Experts . . . Howard and Jean Merrill

  Questions to Ask the Experts

  Here are some of the great answers provided by Howard and Jean Merrill with their expansive knowledge of Merrill genealogy. I hope you find this useful and are able to add to your database of Merrill related information.

Step 1 - Search the Ask the Experts site

Step 2 - Cruise through the monthly questions/answers below

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   2004

January

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Meet Your Experts, Howard and Jean Merrill

            

   We got started collecting Merrill info in 1980 when I was off from work on a medical leave. Anything we could find in the library on Merrills - the vacuum cleaner method. My great uncle had earlier given me what he had collected on our line, which later proved incorrect. We started reading census microfilms starting with 1850 then going backward and forward from there. We gathered so much Merrill info, we offered our services to do Merrill research for a fee - not a money maker, but we did break even and charged off our first computer. After three years the record keeping of a small business wasn't worth the hassle, so we went to doing it for free, just for the challenge of trying to solve folks problems. Problem solving was a major aspect of my job as a chemist with Exxon from which I retired in 1986 after 30 years.

   Jean and I were high school sweethearts, and we married after we both graduated in chemistry from Stetson University in DeLand Florida. She worked as a chemist in the Graduate School of Public Health, putting me through graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. When I came to work at Exxon, then Esso, here in Baton Rouge, LA she became a stay at home mom, until all four children were in school, when she started volunteering in our elementary school library, and eventually became a substitute teacher. She quit teaching when it wasn't fun anymore, shortly before I retired. Recently she returned to volunteering in the library. Our hobbies, other than digging up dead people, include travel, volunteering, and growing Bonsai, miniature Japanese trees. It keeps us busy, and I wish I could say young, but at least young at heart.

    We are both puzzle freaks, crossword, cryptoquote, jumble, and now Soduku, so genealogical problems are a natural for us, and we find it challenging. When Dick Listro started up the Merrill Newsletter, we offered our services answering Queries and kept it up when Lil Hall took over. Just wish we could have kept up the Newsletter, but I know publishing it was a hassle, especially getting folks to contribute articles. While we started off just working with Nathaniel's line, it soon became evident as we left New England that we had to cover all the various lines. We have traveled over the country, and done research in many states, including several weeks in Salt Lake, our niece lives there which makes it convenient. Our computer database for Nathaniel's line has over 56,000 (now 60,000 - ed.) individuals, and we have finally gotten the Staten Islanders and William of MD in the computer. It is not that we don't trust computers, although we've had our share of problems, but everything is also on 3X5 cards. Our files of folks we haven't yet linked to an immigrant are as big as those we have.

Howard and Jean (10 March 2008)

 

Note: Correspondence is being included as I have time to add it to this collection. Be sure to visit regularly.

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