Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
by Richard Hooverson. Mr. Hooverson writes about Bare-Knuckle politics, the Port of Cuxhaven, Germany; the value of county histories, the Depression and the World’s Fairs and Expositions of the 1930s.
on the Net, by Jeffrey A. Bockman.
article, entry, story, etc.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I'm off to Santa Cruz for the weekend to take care of my grandsons while their parents enjoy an anniversary weekend away from home. The boys and I should have lots of fun, and will make more family history over this weekend.
I have several posts ready to go, and will be able to access my email and the Internet every day, but I'm not sure how much time I will have to read, write and post.
I wonder what monumental genealogy announcement will occur over the weekend I'm gone? It always happens when I go away.
Blogging may be light! I will have to hold the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" post until Tuesday next week.
There are over 300 genealogy software products here at present, just waiting for you, and others, to evaluate and rate them.
Each software review has information about the provider, a short program description, and a ratings box. Windows, Mac, Unix, handheld and online programs are included. The summary includes whether the program is free or purchased.
Program types include full-featured, GEDCOM utilities, website builders and other programs useful for genealogy.
The user ratings are in five categories:
* Whether you enjoy using it
* Do you use it often
* Does it have easy input
* Does it have useful output
* An overall rating.
You can write a short review and list the program's biggest benefit and biggest problem.
Or you can read the ratings and read the reviews and decide for yourself which program you want to download and use.
The site also has Frequently Asked Questions, Links to software providers and articles about software, and a suggestion page.
Over time, this will be an indispensable web page for genealogy software users.
The summary of Tom's talk and his CV are here.
Tom's presentation was based on ideas and concepts found in his recent book (co-authored with Andy Pomeroy), Lock the Boogie Man Out of Your Computer. The talk was more than about genealogy research - it also focused on risk avoidance and Internet safety for all family members, including children. The talk included segments on understanding the danger, keeping your computer system up-to-date, computer location in the home, social networks and online dating guidelines, user passwords, understanding your browser, email security, and dealing with Instant Messaging (IM), texting, peer-to-peer (P2P) and cell phone images.
For me, the most useful segment was setting secure passwords - Tom recommended avoiding using names, birthdays, dates or easy words, and he recommended using letters, numbers and non-standard characters in one word that you can remember. His example was b0xc@r (where the "o" is a "zero" and the "a" is an ampersand). Then have a unique password for every web site based on your "secret word" by combining it with the web site. For instance a password for http://www.dell.com/ might be b0xc@rdell and for http://www.blogger.com/ might be b0xc@rblogger. That sounded pretty easy to me. Now for a secret word to remember...
His warnings about Internet browsing was to understand how popups work, and to not click on them. For email, he advised that you not open attachments, and be very wary of email from banks and web sites that might be scams or hoaxes. You should keep your operating system, browser, and email software up-to-date. He pointed out that most anti-virus software is reactive, not proactive.
Tom recommended that parents reserve the right to check all emails and messages to and from their children (and do it), and that the family computer be placed in an open area where everybody can see who is using it and what they are seeing online.All in all, this was an excellent program for everyone with a computer and children (or grandchildren). Tom has five children, so he has lots of experience in dealing with these issues.
His book expands on the issues, and many more, that he discussed here.
This was an informative and timely presentation for the 30 society members, and there were many questions and comments after the talk. And yes, Tom threw kisses during the talk for questions, answers and comments.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I am a native San Diegan, a graduate of San Diego State University, a retired aerospace engineer, a genealogist and a family guy. My wife (Angel Linda) and I have two lovely daughters married to smart men, and four darling grandchildren. We love to visit them and have them visit us. Angel Linda and I love to travel to visit friends and relatives, to sightsee, to cruise or to do genealogy. Our travels have taken us all over the USA, to England and Scandinavia.
Since I last retired in 2004, my "work" has been "fun" - I do genealogy-related things every day and sometimes all-day long. I am a genealogist and family historian, but I'm not a professional genealogist (meaning taking paying clients) or a certified genealogist. My genealogy activities include:
* pursuing family history research on my ancestors and their families;
* helping friends and colleagues with their genealogy research;
* serving as President of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (2007-2008), and leader of the CVGS Research Group (2003-present).
* writing on four blogs - Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic, the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe, and Randy's Busy Life;
* preparing and delivering genealogy and family history classes and presentations to San Diego area genealogy societies and social groups;
* participating in the Transitional Genealogist Study Group and Professional Genealogist Study Group monthly studies and discussions.
My goals for writing on Genea-Musings has changed over time, and now includes:
* Analysis and commentary on genealogy news and issues - I have opinions and offer them for thoughtful discussion. My view is usually that of an informed genealogist - hopefully typical of my society colleagues.
* Evaluation and analysis of genealogy web sites and genealogy software - often with step-by-step directions for how to do a certain task.
* Participate in genealogy-oriented Carnivals and memes that bring genea-bloggers together and showcase genea-blogger talents.
* Offer my own research results, photographs and documents as examples to other researchers - good and bad. One benefit is that the ephemera are "backed up" online if something disastrous happens here in the Genea-Cave.
* Link to interesting, strange, and funny news items, web pages or databases, even make up new words to describe things through Randy's semi-twisted genea-vista.
* Support and publicize genea-bloggers with comments about posts, including the weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs series.
II. The brightest, breeziest and most beautiful articles that I've written over nearly 30 months of Genea-Musings (almost 2,300 posts) include:
* The best work (brightest!) is: Dear Genea-Man: What Is Proof? I chose this article because it helps a society colleague, helps the genealogy community (at least those reading blogs!) and summarizes my thoughts on a difficult research question.
* The breeziest work is: My Census Whacking Index. This is a collection of the work I've done finding funny, strange and nearly-profane names in the census records.
* The most beautiful work is: My Tribute to Mom - Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver. It was Mother's Day 2007, and I wanted to pay tribute to my mother on my blog.
So - that's who I am, and what Genea-Musings is all about.
Let me ask you --
* What do YOU like about Genea-Musings?
* What would you like to see more of?
Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Smith/Carringer family collection:
This picture was taken at the same time as the picture of the Smith children posted here, probably in 1870 to 1872. It is the same size and the same style of photograph as the Smith kids photograph. Attached to the back of the photograph, inside the frame backing, is a white piece of paper that seems to say "Devier & Abbie / married in 1861 / on April 6th." I don't know whose handwriting it is - it may be Della (Smith) Carringer's.
The persons in this picture are Devier J. Smith (1839-1894) and Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), who married in Rolling Prairie, Dodge County, Wisconsin (I have 4 April 1861 as the date from the Family Bible).
I didn't want to take this photo out of the frame and casing so I tried scanning it "as is" and got a very blurry image. I elected to take a photograph in natural light of the framed picture and then cropped it in a photo editing program. It is still somewhat blurry.
During my recent "furniture moving" exercise, I went through several boxes and file cabinets in the Genealogy Cave and this picture was found (again) in one of the boxes. I knew that I had it, but I had not seen, or not remembered, the names on the back of them.
The provenance of this framed photograph is from Devier and Abbie (Vaux) Smith, to Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, to Lyle and Emily (Kemp) Carringer, to Fred and Betty (Carringer) Seaver, to me, Randy Seaver. It was "found" last in the papers and photographs provided to me by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period.
Sean Sexton writes occasionally on his Sean on Family History blog, and he posted Survey of Family History Sites - August 2008 today. He has done a lot of work to generate this information, which is very revealing to me, especially in the Social Network site listings.
Sean used the web site http://www.compete.com/ to generate the statistics he uses in his Top 160 (or so) genealogy web site list. Here are the top 10 genealogy web sites (ranked by visits per month. "Uniques/mo" are unique visitors per month, and Avg-visits/mo is the average number of visits per unique visitor):
All sites - visits/mo uniques/mo avg-visits/mo
1. ancestry.com - 15.3 million 4.9 million 3.1
2. myfamily.com - 6.66 million 987,000 6.7
3. familysearch.org - 3.02 million 990,000 3.1
4. myheritage.com - 2.47 million 923,000 2.7
5. genealogy.com - 2.19 million 1.16 million 1.9
6. findagrave.com - 1.72 million 643,000 2.7
7. rootsweb.com - 1.43 million 687,000 2.1
8. geni.com - 1.34 million 397,000 3.4
9. footnote.com - 1.03 million 790,000 1.3
10. newspaperarchive.com - 976,000 805,000 1.2
Please go visit Sean's post to see the rest!
I don't see any big surprises in the Top 10. I don't recall MyFamily.com being so high in earlier lists - Meyerink had it at #6.
Dick Eastman's http://www.eogn.com/ (which includes his Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog) is #50. The recent startup, http://www.itsourtree.com/, is #100.
When Sean breaks the sites down into categories, he uses the total number of visits to the site, not the number of visits to the specific topic - like the family tree or social network part of the site. The statistics for the Social Network sites are interesting - there are many with very few visits.
Sean did not include many blogs in his list, mainly because most blogs use another domain. If he had tested http://www.geneamusings.com/, he would have found that in August this blog had about 6,100 total visits and about 3,500 unique visitors (according to my Google Analytics statistics). That would put it at about #107 or so on the basis of total visits, just after http://www.werelate.org/.
Sean did a great job on this post - it's a keeper for me!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"I don't know who my father is. He and my mother had relations in Naples, Italy back in the 1950's and I was born. I have no siblings. My mother did not tell me his name and there is no father's name on my birth certificate. Can DNA research help me?"
As I recall, the answer from Barbara was essentially "no" if the name is unknown and she has no male sibling from the same father. With a name and a male sibling, research could be done in Naples to find family members with the surname and they could be tested in hopes of finding a Y-DNA match. But she has no male sibling to test Y-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA is not passed from the father, so there is no hope of determining the father's identity.
Is all of that correct? Are there any other opportunities based on the whole genome of this woman, comparing the genome of her mother (assuming a sample is available), and determining the parts of her DNA she inherited from her father, then finding a match somehow with genomes of persons in Italy? That's a big order, but it might be possible at some time in the future. Perhaps there are sperm bank or criminal blood samples from the time period in Naples that could be compared.
Is that too far-fetched? Even for 20 years from now? I would appreciate any thoughts on how to help this woman with her search for her father.
I am in awe of the research that has gone into developing genetic genealogy over the past ten to twenty years. It is incredibly complex, and they have managed to reduce it to fairly simple terms and relatively low costs for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing.
"Genealogy Freelancers is an affordable way to connect you to a genealogist, researcher, translator and other genealogy specialists in any country of your ancestral roots. Let the specialist come to you rather than lose time searching for them so Post your project today! For the specialist; we offer freelance professional genealogists, researchers, translators, publishers, village photographers, and more the opportunity to work independently in their genealogy field. Choose from posted projects that suit your specialty and bid NOW!"
This site is sort of the eBay of Genealogy Services - if you need a research job done, you can post it to the site and researchers will bid on it. If you are a researcher, you can bid on jobs and if you are the accepted bidder than you do the work. An interesting concept. Here is a screen shot of the top of the web site:
And a screen shot of the middle of the web site page, with the latest projects being bid on.
For the Genealogy Seeker: "Just post your project, compare the bids you receive, then choose the best specialist for the job. Let us help you to connect to a freelance genealogist researcher, photographer, translator or people locator at rates you can afford."
For the Genealogy Specialist: "We can help you find clients from all walks of life. Just browse the right project for your expertise and place your bid. Sign up for free and start working full time or part time in the field you love."
What's interesting to me is that, in the screen shot above, all of the "Latest Projects" listed are not in the United States! They are in Europe and Mexico.
I signed up, for now, as a Seeker. You have to agree to the Terms and conditions before submitting your information. The T&Cs are very detailed - you can see them at https://www.genealogyfreelancers.com/index.php?action=register - scroll to the bottom of the page.
For Genealogy specialists, the registrant needs to the categories in which they have expertise, their location, their language translation capabilities (source>target), and their membership level (free, silver or gold).
It seems to me that this web site business plan is very well thought out, and that the terms and conditions cover many, if not all, potential problems. It would be useful for an attorney to review them to determine any problems for seekers and specialists.
It will be interesting to see how this web site expands, and succeeds or fails, in the genealogy marketplace. The concept is novel, and might be a welcome alternative to the classical methods of seekers contracting with a researcher and for specialists in finding clients.
Monday, September 22, 2008
As I watch the family tree and social network announcements roll in, I'm struck by how many websites of this type there are, and the fact that some providers have more than one social network and/or family tree site. For instance, MyHeritage now has their own plus Kindo; FamilyLink.com has WebTree and FamilyHistoryLink, plus two Facebook applications; Ancestry has at least four family tree databases of their own. Then there are the other family tree and social network sites, some of which I listed here back in March. Since then, ItsOurTree and FamilyBuilder have sprouted up, and I know that I missed several in my earlier post, like GeneaNet and GenesReunited.
There are really two different elements at work in this maze of family tree and network websites, as I see it:
1) Family tree oriented sites that permit searches of user-submitted family trees on their site. These sites want GEDCOM uploads, and sometimes permit researchers other than the owner to add or edit information. In general, these sites do not provide information about living people if they can help it.
2) Family network sites where family members solicit other family members to join the network and share information, stories, photographs and media about their immediate families. Some of these sites permit a GEDCOM upload, but require the owner's permission to make the information public.
Where is all of this going over the next year or two? Will there be a consolidation of these different types of family tree and/or family network web sites? Will each major genealogy database company have their own (or two, or more?). Will there be more new family network startups? I think the answer to all of these questions is YES!
What do I want in a family tree and/or family network site? I would prefer a combined family tree network web site that:
a) Allows me to upload GEDCOM files of my research, and allow me to replace them on a regular basis as I add data to my database. I really like the wiki feature at http://www.werelate.org/, but am not sure how added information can be saved when replacing the base family tree data.
b) Allows me to make my historical data public so that it is searchable by all other researchers, in hopes of connecting with others with family information.
c) Allows me to make living persons in my family tree available only to persons that are invited into the website by me and my trusted relatives. Ideally, the website would flag as "public" persons with a death date or older than, say, 100 years old. The rest of the individuals would be "private" unless somebody (the actual person?) made them "public."
d) On the family tree side, I want to be able to see charts (pedigree, family groups, descendants, bow-tie, etc), reports (ahnentafel, Register, NGSQ - limited to 5 or 6 generations) and lists (ahnentafel, descendants, locality summaries, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) from a pick list and one box for the information to include.
e) On the family network side, I want any of my relatives to be able to easily contact one another via email, and to make it easy for them to upload pictures, stories and media.
I didn't put in that wish list some sort of "all-the-world's family tree" because I doubt that there will ever be such a tree - mainly because of conflicts over the lack of, or accuracy of, historical and family data. I continue to think that the "Mother of All Genealogy Databases" is a pipe dream.
Maybe the wish list above is pie-in-the-sky because of bandwidth or cost issues, but I think that websites that offer "something for both sides" will be a winner in the end. So far, many of these family tree and family network sites are free to the user, but some have a GEDCOM size limitation. My opinion is that a family tree or family networking site that charges the owner or the users to start it, run it and use it is not a winning business model.
Frankly, I'm still not sure what the financial reward for any of these free-to-use web sites is - how will they make money to at least support the costs of the programming, maintenance and the site servers? The things that come to mind are database website advertising, quality family history books and photo albums, etc. I'm sure others have more imagination than I do.
What do you think?
What websites combine the best features of a family tree site and a family network site?
Do family network sites really "work" once the initial enthusiasm has worn off?
What is your favorite family tree and/or family network site, and why?
Whitney's response was:
We did indeed change the FamilyLink.com site to FamilyHistoryLink.com. This announcement was made in WorldVitalRecords.com’s Family History Bulletin last Friday (September 19, 2008) and also on the WorldVitalRecords.com blog today. The primary reason the Website FamilyLink.com was changed to FamilyHistoryLink.com is because FamilyLink.com will have a new site design with lots of new features and functionalities. An exact date for this change has not been set up, but it is coming soon. FamilyLink.com, Inc. will also have a separate site in the future that allows people to link to all of FamilyLink.com’s products and websites. Another reason FamilyLink.com was changed to FamilyHistoryLink.com was to give it another website instead of removing the entire site from the web. This allows all the current users to continue to connect with other genealogists. As per the problems uploading GEDCOM’s, the developers and programmers are working on the new site and other FamilyLink.com, Inc. products and are not spending development time fixing bugs on the beta site of FamilyHistoryLink.com.
As per the newsletter (Family History Bulletin), it has gone out every week. There is a newsletter archive you can access (note, you must be logged in to WorldVitalRecords.com when you click on the link): http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/newsletterarchive.aspx?page=1 This archive has all of the past newsletter editions. Also, I checked our list, and you added your name to the list on September 5, 2008. If for some reason you do not get the newsletter on Thursday, please contact me, and I will look into the issue further.
As per the Genealogy Blog Planet, it has not been updated for 2 years, which is why some of the links are dormant. Lots of people have requested that their blog post be added to the site, and no sites have been added. This is simply because we are not focusing on that part of the site right now; more time is being spent on working on the new site, which will be much better than the current site. So, please do not feel offended or rejected. No sites are being added, regardless of status.
We are working as fast and as hard as we can to bring additional improvements to WorldVitalRecords.com, and the rest of our sites. We appreciate user feedback and always take comments into account when deciding on what to focus on next.
Whitney Ransom McGowan, Director, Corporate Communications, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
The change from www.FamilyLink.com to www.FamilyHistoryLink.com was announced today on the WorldVitalRecords blog by Whitney. It was announced in the 18 September 2008 issue of the weekly email newsletter (which I did not receive even though I signed up (again) on 5 September, after receiving it weekly until 11 August and not requesting it be stopped).
From Whitney's response, it appears that the developers have a higher priority to develop the new corporate website than an existing social networking site. I'm glad we understand why we aren't getting any improvements on www.FamilyHistoryLink.com, and I hope that they will be able to improve the site in the future.
The link that Whitney provided for the Newsletter Archives works fine. However, I could find no link to the Newsletter Archive or to the WorldVitalRecords Blog on the www.WorldVitalRecords.com home page or the "free newsletter" web page. I hope they can add links to two of their best communication tools in the future.
My thanks again to Whitney for her timely and informative response. I'm sorry for the rant... I really don't like to be the squeaky wheel, but I was really frustrated on Friday!
The program summary:
" 'Internet safety? I’m only using Google, eBay and Ancestry.com!' Make this class a priority and learn the top 12 Internet safety faux pas and how to avoid them. While this class could save your life, I guarantee it will help protect your identity and it definitely will save you time and frustration."
Tom's curriculum vitae:
"Tom Underhill is the publisher and senior designer at Creative Continuum, a book design and publishing company specializing in high-quality, short-run books. During the last several years, Tom and his company produced more than 375 family history heirloom books, printed more than 9.5 million pages and scanned more than 10,000 photographs.
"Tom is the author of eight books including Lock the Boogie Man Out of Your Computer, an easy-to-follow checklist to online security. This fun-to-read book presents methods to stay safe on the Internet."
Please join us for this free meeting. Guests and visitors are welcome at all CVGS meetings. We request that you enter via the Conference Room door near the East entrance of the library in order to register, gather handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket and have a snack. We will start the meeting in the auditorium at 12:20 p.m.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Many FTM users are probably familiar with Russ - he is the uber-expert on everything FTM on the Using Family Tree Maker Forum (and all of the other FTM boards) on the Genforum Message Boards. For many years, Russ has patiently and expertly answered questions about any version of Family Tree Maker - all as a volunteer (at least that's what it says on the Board).
Russ is also the author of A Worthington Weblog for his surname studies.
Welcome, Russ, to the world of genea-blogging, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Now about Family Tree Maker 2009...
My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.
Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:
* Carnival of Genealogy - 55 Editions Revisited by Julie on the GenBlog blog. Julie does everyone a favor and puts links in one place for this collection of Carnival posts - each a collection in itself.
* Treasure Hunt! A Challenge for Genea-bloggers by Denise L on The Family Curator blog. Denise challenges genea-bloggers to write about their own treasure hunt - the deadline for posts about the treasure hunt plan is 30 September and for the results of the treasure hunt is 20 October - write an email to Denise, or comment on her blog.
* BEST of the Internet for Genealogists - 14 Sept 2008 by Pat Richley on DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. I love DearMYRTLE's regular posts that cover blogs, instructions, databases, videos, podcasts, threads, commentary and innovations.
* A Primer on Setting Goals and Reaching Them by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. First Samford, then Pauline, now motorcycles? Sheri has an interesting life, and I'm really glad that she shares some of it with us. There is a great family history story in this post!
* Video Interview of Paul Nauta of FamilySearch by Dick Eastman on the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. This interview, now on RootsTelevision, was very interesting and helpful to my understanding of what FamilySearch is doing with indexing, digitizing and searching.
* Genealogical Roundup by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on the Roots Television: Megan's Roots World blog. Megan always provides an interesting reading list, oriented toward her interests.
* Choctaw Ancestry by John Newmark on the Transylvanian Dutch blog. John finds fascinating records in the Dawes Commission records on Footnote.com, and tells us about it. It's a wonderful research story, even though it didn't come out the way you might expect.
* Come, O Thou Traveler, Unknown: My First Digital Audio File by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country on Monroe County, Mississippi blog. We've all known that Terry is a gifted writer, but he also plays a mean piano, and is willing to try out new technology. This post brings them all together!
* Friday from the Collectors - September 19: Connecting the Diaspora by Brett Payne on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Brett is the author of the Photo-Sleuth blog, and displays some pictures from his interesting family collection.
* Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference Exhibits and News Summary by Carolyn Barkley on the GenealogyandFamilyHistory.com blog. Carolyn provides an excellent summary of the exhibits and news from her time at the recent FGS conference in Philadelphia.
* Friday at the PGSA Conference and Saturday at the PGSA Conference by Steve Danko on Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve attended the Polish Genealogical Society of America conference in Chicago, and summarized his experiences in these posts. He also met Thomas MacEntee while in Chicago, memorialized here. So, Steve, what about those women at the next table?
* Patronymics - or understanding names that have you so confused that you don't know who's who and Understanding Diminuitives in 17th Century New York Dutch Names by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. What a timely post for me, just dipping into the Dutch New York genealogy pool! Lorine explains Dutch name patronymics and diminutives very well!
* Adam to Zsuzsanna: Hungarian and Croatian names in the family tree by Lisa on the 100 Years in America blog. This is a fascinating post explaining the Slavic names in her family and their English/US equivalents. In addition, Lisa explains some of the difficulties of finding records for these types of names - they used diminutives too!
* The Gentle Ferocity of Love by Terry Snyder on The Desktop Genealogist blog. This is a simple and beautiful piece of writing about two couples - one old, one new, both really in love.
Thank you to all genealogy bloggers for an interesting and informative week. Did you notice some new blogs on this list? I hope so!
I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - we all appreciate feedback on what we write.
Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me!
UPDATED: Terry provided the link to her post. The link to her blog works now.