Friday, February 26, 2010

Using GenSmarts - Post 2: First Looks

I received a copy of the latest version of the GenSmarts family tree analysis software last weekend - see CGSSD Program Review - Aaron Underwood - GenSmarts for my summary of the meeting. GenSmarts is a Windows only computer program.

In the first post, I demonstrated the "File Open Wizard" that gets a genealogy database file (in my case, from Family Tree Maker 16) into the GenSmarts program.

The same database will open every time you start GenSmarts until you select a different database. It remembers where the database is located, and uses the latest version of the database.

In this second post, I want to explore the opening screen and some of the program tabs. The GenSmarts program opens to the master "To-Do" tab list:

This screen has the list of research helps for everybody in the database. For my file of over 39,000 persons, it found over 169,000 research helps. I highlighted a research help for a person on the list (Abbie Ardell Smith [5138] (Carringer) ) and information for that particular research help appeared in the bottom panel of the screen above (labelled "Explanation"). We'll explore items in the "Explanation" area a bit later in this post.

I wanted to obtain research helps for one particular person, so I clicked on the "My Genealogy" tab and saw this list of all of the persons in my tree, listed alphabetically, last names first:

I entered "carringer, david" into the "People" search box, and two matches came up in the left-hand panel. I clicked on my second great-grandfather, David Jackson Carringer [5150] (note the number 5150 is the RIN number of the person in my database), and a narrative summary of the known Facts about him appeared in the right-hand panel, as shown below:

I double-clicked on David Jackson Carringer's name on the list above, and all of the research helps for his family appeared in the top panel. There were 71 suggestions for this search, which included himself, his parents, his spouse and his children.

I clicked on the first suggestion - for "Mercer [County] Pennsylvania Marriage Records for Heinrich Henry Carringer [5154] and Sarah Feather [5155], David Jackson Carringer's parents. The "Explanation" section in the bottom panel has a number of information items about this record and how it might be found (two screens below)

There are text areas in the "Explanation" section in the bottom panel (in the two screens above) for:

Researching the Mercer Pennsylvania Marriage Records makes sense because he was married in BEF. 1825 in Mercer County, PA.

Missing Source
This suggestion is important because it appears to be either a source for an event where you have no sources, or because there is a high probability that it will be an additional source to what you currently have.

Some background on Heinrich Henry Carringer [5154]: He was born on 6-JUN-1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA, and he died on 10-AUG-1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA. He married Sarah Feather [5155] on BEF. 1825 in Mercer County, PA, and had the following children: Eliza [2575] (1827), David [5150] (1828), George [2576] (ABT. 1832), Cornelius [2577] (1834), Mary [2578] (1835), Sarah [2579] (ABT. 1837), Henry [2580] (ABT. 1839), Louisa [2581] (ABT. 1842), Matilda [2582] (1845), and Harvey [2583] (ABT. 1848). His parents were Martin Carringer [5169] (b. ABT. 1758 in prob. PA, d. 25-JAN-1835 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA), and Mary Magdalena Molly Hoax [5170] (b. ABT. 1768 in MD, d. 31-AUG-1850 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA).

Finding Aids
Here is a recap of some of the people and places that might be involved in searching a Marriage Records
Person:Carringer, Heinrich
Spouse:Sarah Feather [5155]
Inlaws:Cornelius Feather [5165] and Mrs. Unknown [15231]
Parents:Martin Carringer [5169] and Mary Magdalena Molly Hoax [5170]
Brothers:Johann Jacob Carringer [5171], George Carringer [5174], Soloman Carringer [5176], and Joseph Carringer [2584]

Research Locations
This record can be researched at the following location:
1) Salt Lake City UT
This information might be found on 1 Microfilm at the Family History Library. The volumes for these are:
MF Roll: 383437 Title:Will abstracts and vital records of Mifflin and Mercer Counties, 1793-1880
The internal GenSmarts inventory id for this record set is 14673.

The information above summarizes why I might want to find this particular record, notes that I'm missing a source for the marriage, provides a concise list of the relatives of this person, provides some finding aids, and provides a specific research location for the particular record.

Frankly, I have never seen that particular specific microfilm for will abstracts and vital records of Mifflin and Mercer Counties, 1793-1880. It may well have this record.

I can go down each item on the list of 71 suggestions and see what research ideas that GenSmarts offers.

How can I keep track of all of these suggestions - what have I already researched and found, or not found, what ones should I plan to search for, etc.? In the next post, we'll explore how we can code the research suggestions in the To-Do tab list to organize our research.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of GenSmarts from Aaron Underwood, the developer of GenSmarts. I made no commitment to him to review the program or say nice things about it. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own based on my own experiences.

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