Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday on the TMG Cruise

The first program today was TMG’s Bob Velke presenting “Advanced TMG: Customizing Reports” and “Customizing Charts.” These were very useful for this novice TMG user. I followed along for awhile, and finally was able to make an ahnentafel list (just names, dates and places in ahnentafel order) from my database. Bob went over my head fairly quickly with setting flags, and manipulating text reports for public consumption by controlling narrative output. He didn’t get around to the Book Manager. There are sample TMG report outputs at

In the second hour on TMG Charts, Bob demonstrated chart elements, filtering charts and other chart options. Again, I concentrated on making a chart I want – a descendant or ancestor chart for a number of generations. The key is using the options to control chart content and formatting – boxes, lines, fonts, colors, etc. The Charts use the Visual Chartform program which is included in TMG. The TMG program is very powerful and flexible – the user can add boxes, frames, colors, etc. to create a custom chart.

I missed the third program – John Cardinal’s “Second Site for Advanced Users.”

The 12 noon lecture was “Femme Covert or Femme Sole: Women and the Law” by Barbara Vines Little. Barbara covered how the English Common Law concerning women and property was applied in the colonial times. She had many examples that demonstrated how single and married females fared in property transactions, and discussed many of the intricate details involved. I must have missed a bit of this talk while reading the syllabus (or zzzzz, I don't know...), because it seemed to go pretty fast.

After lunch, John Grenham presented ”Irish Genealogy on the Internet.” John noted that the major sources of Irish genealogy information are census records, the civil BMD records, Church records and property records. There are other records, such as wills, estates, newspapers, and directories. He discussed the online information available for each of these record types. The 1901 and 1911 census records are partially available on several web sites, some commercial and some free. General Register Office records for some years are online, as are some church records. Property records online are Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Applotment records from the 1830’s. More records have come online in the past year, but several repositories are slow in adding record images due to their worry about losing walk-in customers – they are putting indexes online, but to obtain the images you have to either pay a significant fee or go to the repository. This was a very useful talk for me – I have not done any Irish research, but have wondered about it.

Next up was Craig Scott on “Beyond Pension Research: You Stopped Too Soon.” Craig really knows this military and NARA stuff well. He said that it is important to know and understand the federal pension laws over time – from 1818 to 1873 and beyond. He also said that there is more to pension research than just finding and obtaining the pension application. The additional records available for Revolutionary War pensions are found at National Archives branches. They include the Pension Office Ledgers and Payment Cards, and the Final Payment vouchers and Settled Accounts records. Craig had many examples of these records and the information they hold. He said that copies of pension applications on are of better quality than the original paper copies available on microfilm at NARA. I missed quite a bit of this talk due to an irresistible urge to nap – I’m just glad I didn’t snore.

The last lecture of the day was Tony Burroughs on “Finding Your Ancestors in City Directories.” Tony discussed the information that can be found in City Directories, and displayed many excellent examples from his own family research in Chicago and Chattanooga. He focused on finding information in between census years to find residences, occupations, spouse’s names, etc. He said that locating houses may be hampered by changes in street names, changes in house numbering systems, etc. One of the most useful parts of city directories is the reverse directory – listed by street address rather than by name. Tony listed some online resources for city directories and repositories that have significant collections. He suggested using to find specific city and year publications held by repositories.

We ate dinner with several other genealogists tonight. After dinner, I came back to the room and worked on my daily journal notes.

This was our last day at sea heading for the Caribbean - we dock in St. Kitts in the morning. The genealogy conference schedule is lighter from now on.

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