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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Historical County Boundaries

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Hey Genea-philes, have you recovered from your tryptophan coma on Thursday?  Wake up - it's SATURDAY NIGHT!  Time for more GENEALOGY FUN!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Historical U.S. County Maps page on Randy Majors website ( http://randymajors.com/p/maps.html ) .Read the whole page for tips on how to use the tool by entering a current geographical place in the United States and a year (from the drop down list) at the top of the page.

2)  Pick one place of interest and enter the name of the place (a current town/city or county) and choose a year from the dropdown list.  Use the Back < and Forward > arrow links to move forward or backward in time.

3)  Note the Historical jurisdiction for the place you selected for each year.  Write down the list from 1790 to 1900.

4)  Post the place you selected and the historical jurisdictions for that place in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status or google Plus Stream post.

5) Think about  the jurisdictions that came up - have you looked in those jurisdictions for information about your ancestral families that were in that place?

Here's mine:



I chose Mercer, Pennsylvania.  It is currently in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, but the jurisdictions it was in from 1790 to 1900 were:

1790:  Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
1800:  Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
1810:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania (Mercer County was formed before 1810)
1820:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1830:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1840:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1850:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania (Lawrence County was formed in 1848, taking the southern part of Mercer County)
1860:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1870:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1880:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1890:  Mercer County, Pennsylvania
1900:   Mercer County, Pennsylvania

If I want to find land records for my Carringer, Spangler, and Feather ancestors before 1810, I think I'd better look in Allegheny County for the records!

Wasn't that FUN?

Surname Saturday - LNU (Massachusetts)

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It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 295, who is Hannah --?-- (1689-????), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back to Hannah is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

18. Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19. Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36. Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37. Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72. Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73. Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793)

146. Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781)
147. Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761)

 294.  Samuel Fletcher, born 06 September 1684 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 September 1749 in Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 588. Samuel Fletcher and 589. Hannah Wheeler.  He married about 1712 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 295.  Hannah, born about 1689 in Massachusetts, United States.


 Children of Samuel Fletcher and Hannah are: Samuel Fletcher (1713-????); Jacob Fletcher (1715-????); David Fletcher (1717-????); Hannah Fletcher (1718-????); Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761); Samuel Fletcher (1722-1750); Susanna Fletcher (1723-????); Jacob Fletcher (1725-????); Joanna Fletcher (1729-1730).

And that's it! 

If one made the giant leap of faith that this family followed the traditional naming pattern, then the name of the first son should be Samuel, and the second son would be Hannah --?--'s father.  The first son is Samuel, which is his paternal grandfather's given name.  If the naming pattern is followed, then Hannah --?--'s father's first name is Jacob.  The first daughter's name in the naming pattern is after the maternal grandmother, but we don't know her name.  If the pattern is followed, it would be Hannah.  But Hannah is the name of her mother and her paternal grandmother also.  So, according to the naming pattern, we should be looking for a couple in or near Chelmsford named Jacob and Hannah with a daughter Hannah who may not be in the birth records or marriage records. 

A dedicated researcher could use the first names of the other children of Samuel and Hannah (--?--) Fletcher and try to match them to Samuel's siblings, and perhaps the others are Hannah's siblings, and would provide clues at least to a family.  Samuel's siblings were William, Isaac, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Lydia Susanna and Sarah.  That leaves David and Joanna as possible names for Hannah's siblings, along with any duplicate names.

The only information I have on this 294. Samuel Fletcher is from the town records - his birth and death, and the births, marriages and deaths of his children.  I have yet to find probate records (I've looked) or land records (I don't think I've looked). 

None of the other Fletcher researchers have come up with a maiden name for Hannah --?-- so I don't feel so bad, I guess.

for those readers wondering about the LNU surname - that is an acronym for "Last Name Unknown."  I like to use it to confuse people!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Strange "Y" in a Death Description Field in a RootsMagic 4 GEDCOM File

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One of the "strange" things that came up while Russ Worthington and I were comparing the results in our study of my William Knapp database (see File Sharing and Brick Walls - Russ Examines My Database) was that many Death Fields in Family Tree Maker 2012 were showing up with just a "Y" in them.  We went exploring to determine why that happened, and how to fix it.

It can best be explained by reviewing this series of actions:

1)  On RootsMagic 4, here are the Person screens for Joseph C. Knapp (1805-????) and his wife Elizabeth --?-- (????-????). I don't have a death date for either one of them, but they will serve to illustrate the problem:



As you can see, there is no Death Fact for either one of them.

2)  When I create a GEDCOM file in RootsMagic 4 that includes these two people, and then import that file into Family Tree Maker 2012, the "People" workspace screen looks like this with the two persons highlighted:


In the screen above, note that over in the right-hand panel, the Death date and Place are empty fields, but the field below Place has a "Y" in it.

Check Elizabeth's screen:


In the screen above, there is no entry for her Death Date, Place or Description.  There is no "Y" in the Description field.

3)  If I double-click on Joseph c. Knapp, I see his Person screen:


It has the "Y" in the Death Description field.

4)  Why did this "Y" show up in the Death Description field?  We checked the GEDCOM file, created by RootsMagic 4, for the lines for Joseph C. Knapp:

0 @I18273@ INDI
1 NAME Joseph C. /Knapp/
2 GIVN Joseph C.
2 SURN Knapp
1 SEX M
1 _UID 60EFFEB72789456FA1C17F0503504BB4A028
1 CHAN
2 DATE 25 JAN 2011
1 BIRT
2 DATE ABT 1805
2 PLAC probably Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States
1 REFN 2645
1 DEAT Y
1 FAMS @F3256@
1 FAMC @F9091@


And the GEDCOM lines for Elizabeth --?--:

0 @I5189@ INDI
1 NAME  /Elizabeth/
2 SURN Elizabeth
1 SEX F
1 _UID CD6E65E658B24E4CB589A5C234CF507D9F5D
1 CHAN
2 DATE 25 JAN 2011
1 REFN 14668
1 FAMS @F3256@


In the GEDCOM lines, for Joseph C. Knapp, you can clearly see that for the Death Fact (DEAT tag) that there is a "Y" in the line "1 DEAT Y".

For Elizabeth --?--, there is no DEATh tag and therefore no "Y" in that tag.

Consequently, when this GEDCOM file is imported to Family Tree Maker 2012, Joseph gets a Y in his Death Description field, and Elizabeth does not.  Strange (to me, at least).

The only thing that I can think of is this:  If there is a Birth Fact for a person in RootsMagic 4 with a Date, but no Death Date, then the "Y" is put in the Death Description field.  If there is no Birth Fact nor Death Fact for a person, then no "Y" is put in the Death Description field.  There must be an algorithm inside of the RootsMagic program that makes a judgement if a Person is dead or not (but it requires a Birth Date to calculate from) and adds the "Y" to the DEATh tag in a GEDCOM file.  Without a Birth Date, the program cannot make a judgement, and does not create a DEATh tag.  I checked many persons in my database and saw that this was the case. 

5)  I also experimented a bit by adding a Death Fact to some persons in my database.  Here is the RootsMagic 4 screen for Joseph C. Knapp with a Death Fact entered but no data in any of the fields:



The resulting lines in a new GEDCOM file for Joseph C. Knapp are:

0 @I18273@ INDI
1 NAME Joseph C. /Knapp/
2 GIVN Joseph C.
2 SURN Knapp
1 SEX M
1 _UID 60EFFEB72789456FA1C17F0503504BB4A028
1 CHAN
2 DATE 25 NOV 2011
1 BIRT
2 DATE ABT 1805
2 PLAC probably Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States
1 REFN 2645
1 DEAT
1 FAMC @F9091@


There is a DEATh fact, but the line is empty.

The FTM 2012 screen for Joseph c. Knapp from this new GEDCOM file is:



As you can see, it has no Death Fact at all.

In the RootsMagic 4 Person screen, there is a "Living" check box in the right-hand panel.  If I check that for Joseph C. Knapp, and create a GEDCOM file, then no DEATh tag (either with a "Y" or empty) gets placed in a GEDCOM file.  However, that makes no sense, since he would be 206 years old now.  It's not logical that I should have to put a check in a "Living" box for a person born in 1805 in order to make the "Y" go away.

Some questions I have about this "Y" phenomenon:

*  Is this a flaw in RootsMagic 4?

*  Am I correct about the algorithm that places a "Y" in a DEATh Fact in a GEDCOM file when there is a birth date provided and the person must be deceased? 

*  Why do I have to use the "Living" check box, or add an "empty" Death Fact, to make the "Y" disappear?

*  Do other software programs create a GEDCOM file with a "Y" in them for some persons without a Death Fact?

*  Does the "Y" Death Description entry get transferred to an Ancestry Member Tree?

It's amazing what you can find when you look in a GEDCOM file!!

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Russ Examines My Database

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My friend and fellow geneablogger, Russ Worthington, offered to "look into" one of my Brick Wall ancestors - William Knapp (1775-1856) after reading about my efforts to create a Research Log in Research Logs in Genealogy Software. Russ asked if I would send him a GEDCOM file for William Knapp and several more generations.  From my genealogy database in RootsMagic 4, I created a GEDCOM file for William Knapp and three generations of descendants and their spouses.  This 86 person file is easy to navigate and use.  I'm more than happy to have another set of eyes, brains, and tools look at one of my enduring Brick Walls (even if he finds flaws with my database entries!).

Russ imported my William Knapp GEDCOM file into Family Tree Maker 2012 and into RootsMagic 4 for comparison and analysis purposes.  I've been working along in parallel in Family Tree Maker 2012 and RootsMagic 4 in order to undersatand what he's doing and to answer the questions that we both have about the two software programs.

He is now analyzing my database, adding content to it, and documenting his work in a series of blog posts on his Family Tree Maker User blog, which I highly commend for your reading.  It's interesting to watch how he is doing this in Family Tree Maker 2012.  These are the tasks he would perform  before he would merge it into his own database.  He is standardizing the database so that he can effectively use it to help me in my Brick Wall problem, doing tasks that I have not thought about doing because they are not in my experience base. 

I'm hoping to learn a lot about how to standardize a database and how to use Family Tree Maker 2012 more effectively.  I really like Russ's "Lesson Learned" at the end of each of his posts!

One of the more interesting things about this work so far is the details of the GEDCOM files created by RootsMagic, 4 and what was imported into Family Tree Maker 2012.  It took a second GEDCOM file to transfer all of the data effectively, and I'll try to describe what happened in a separate blog post.

Here are Russ's blog posts to date (I'll try to update them on a regular basis):

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 1 - Import (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 2 - Unknown Names (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 3 - Place Names (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 3a - Why Map (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 4 - Person Review (25 November 2011)

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 5 - Task List (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 6 - Abt Dates (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 7 - Clean Up Notes (25 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 8 - Import Citations (25 Novrember 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - "Y" in Death Fact (25 November 2011)

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 9 - Burial Fact (26 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 10 - Burial Fact Report. (26 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 11 - Comment and Status (26 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 12 - Research Begun (27 November 2011)
File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 13 - To Do List (1 December 2011)

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 14 - Maps (1 December 2011)

Updated last: 1 December 2011

My Mayflower Connections Compendium (and an explanation)

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I posted about my own connections to passengers on the Mayflower that landed at Plymouth in New England in December 1620.

Here are my blog posts for each core Mayflower ancestor (with the names of my ancestors in parentheses):

My Mayflower Connections - 1. George Soule (George Soule) 

My Mayflower Connections - 2. William White (William White, Susanna (--?--) White, Peregrine White)

My Mayflower Connections - 3. Richard Warren (Richard Warren)

My Mayflower Connections - 4. Francis Cooke (Francis Cooke, John Cooke)

My Mayflower Connections - 5. Stephen Hopkins (Stephen Hopkins, Constance Hopkins)

My Mayflower Connections - 6. William Brewster (William Brewster, Mary (--?--) Brewster)

My Mayflower Connections - 7. Edward Fuller (Edward Fuller, Ann? (--?--), Samuel Fuller)

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by geneabloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

I had an email from someone not to be named to the effect of:  "Why are you boasting about your Mayflower ancestors?  Are you trying to show that you are a better researcher than the rest of us?  Or that these passengers were somehow special?"

Um, no, I'm not "boasting," just documenting the lines from my Mayflower ancestors so that it might help other researchers. It's "cousin bait."  It is also the week of the American Thanksgiving holiday, and another geneablogger started the list meme going, so I joined in.  I think most readers understand all of this, but at least one didn't!  

Am I a "better researcher?"  Um, no - I have done no original research on the Mayflower passengers.  I have done research on my lines from the passengers.  Other researchers have done an excellent job of finding and documenting the records and family relationships of many of the passengers.

These passengers are "special" to me, they're my ancestors who shared in an historic adventure to North America.  They are part of history, as are ALL persons, but these Mayflower folks are better known and widely researched as a result.

How might it help another researcher?  Let's say that a beginning genealogist has just found a couple by diligently researching back in time - for example, perhaps s/he found that s/he was descended from Eliza Putman and Alexander Sovereign.  Then s/he Googled the couple and found the My Mayflower Connections - 7. Edward Fuller post.  Do you think s/he would be excited?  Do you think s/he would contact me and ask for me to share whatever information I was willing to share?  Do you think that  she might have family, photographs, or letters, or records that s/he could share with me?   That's what we're all striving for with many of our research posts, Surname Saturday posts, etc., isn't it?

Follow Friday - More Weekend Genealogy Fun!

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You've survived the trytophan coma, and the family dinner, and now you deserve some Genealogy Fun this weekend. I recommend:

1) Listen to the Geneabloggers Radio show hosted by Thomas MacEntee. The show is on hiatus until Friday, 2 December 2011.  However, you can listen to any of the 44 archived shows.

2) Listen to the FGS Radio - My Society hosted by Thomas MacEntee. This radio show is on hiatus until 3 December. You can tune in and hear past shows from the show archives.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on:
LegacyFamilyTree:

***  Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector software, by Kathleen Bitter (Legacy Family Tree).*** Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software, by Jefferson Shupe (Legacy Family Tree)
*** It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune, by Thomas MacEntee (Legacy Family Tree, free until 21 November)
***  Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, by Drusilla Pair (Legacy Family Tree, available free until 4 December)
*** Exploring FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com by their founder, Paul Allen. (Legacy Family Tree)
*** "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using GenealogyBank.com to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp. (Legacy Family Tree)
*** "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford (Legacy Family Tree)
*** "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo (Legacy Family Tree)

* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at http://www.rootsmagic.com/Webinars/

* National Genealogical Society (NGS) Videos (some are free to view) at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/videos_online

* Thomas MacEntee's Explorinars, including:

** Easy Website Creation (free to view).
** Evernote - Easy Note Taking UPDATED (free to view)
** Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups (free to view)

* Ancestry.com's YouTube Channel has 110 items on it now, including (free to view):

** Ancestry.com LIVE: Search with Ancestry Anne with Anne Mitchell
** Ancestry.com LIVE: One Question with the Barefoot Genealogist with Crista Cowan
** Ancestry.com LIVE: Lorraine's 5 Tips for Online Grave Digging with Lorraine Bourne
** Ancestry.com LIVE: How do I use newspapers on Ancestry.com to find out more about my ancestors? with Crista Cowan
** Ancestry.com LIVE: How Do I Find My Ancestors Before 1850? with Crista Cowan.
** Ancestry.com LIVE: How to dress up your family tree ...for the holidays! with Anne Mitchell.
** Ancestry.com LIVE: How to Find Your Civil War Roots on Ancestry.com with Anne Mitchell.
** Emigration & Immigration Records Online with Crista Cowan @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
** Find Them Fast: Secrets to Searching Ancestry.com with Laura Dansbury @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
** Five Tips for Digging Up Answers at Ancestry.com with Jeanie Croasmun @ Ancestry Day San Francisco

4) Respond to my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge, posted on www.geneamusings.com soon after 12 noon Pacific time (that's 1900 GMT for those who understand time zones).

5) Go to a local genealogical society program. I'm going to the local library today to do some obituary lookups for a correspondent.  You might want to check out what's offered in your area.

6) Go to a local or close repository with genealogy and family history material. Do some research in traditional resources or order FamilySearch microfilms online with original source records.

7) Do some online research in the latest record collections at:

* FamilySearch (free, https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/list),
* Ancestry ($$, http://www.ancestry.com/cs/reccol/default),
* Fold3 ($$, www.fold3.com),
* WorldVitalRecords ($$, www.WorldVitalRecords.com),
* American Ancestors ($$, www.AmericanAncestors.org),
* GenealogyBank ($$, www.GenealogyBank.com),
* Archives ($$, www.Archives.com)

8) Add content (names, dates, places, notes, images, sources, etc.) to your genealogy software program. I still have two inches of paper collected from my vacation, and more from before that, and will try to enter some of it into my database this weekend.

9) Spend time with your family doing fun things. My daughter is bringing her children down to meet us at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido on Saturday, so we'll get our grandparents fix. 

10) Go to a local cemetery and clean stones, take gravestone pictures, or transcribe epitaphs for your local society, for Find-a-Grave, or a similar online service.
11)  GO SHOPPING for genealogical products or services, or for technology products, for yourself, or for a gift for that special genealogy friend.  Online or in a store - go for it!

Whatever you decide, please tell us about your genealogy endeavors on a social network or in a blog post. You never know when your experiences may stimulate or encourage others to do useful genealogy work.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Mayflower Connections - 7. Edward Fuller

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Several genea-bloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is Edward Fuller, from whom I have one ancestral line (the only Mayflower line for my mother):

Line 1:

1.  Edward Fuller* (1575-1621) married before 1605 to Ann?* (about 1581-1621)
2.  Samuel Fuller* (1608-1683) married 1635 to Jane Lothrop (1614-1683)
3.  Hannah Fuller (1636-1686) married 1659 to Nicholas Bonham (1630-1684)
4.  Mary Bonham (1661-1742) married 1681 to Edmund Dunham (1661-1734)
5.  Ephraim Dunham (1696-????) married 1715 to Phebe Smalley (1695-????)
6.  Zerviah Dunham (1716-1741) married 1733 to Mulford Martin (1713-1743)
7.  Thomas Martin (1737-1767) married 1762 to Elizabeth Ayers (1745-????)
8.  Mulford Martin (1763-????) married about 1788 to Betsey Rolfe (1766-????)
9.  Sarah Martin (1792-1860) married about 1810 to John Putman (1785-1863)
10.  Eliza Putman (1820-1895) married 1840 to Alexander Sovereign (1814-1907)
11.  Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874) married 1861 to James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
12.  Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) married 1898 to Charles Auble (1849-1916)
13.  Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) married 1918 to Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
14.  Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-=2002) married 1942 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
15.  Randall J. Seaver

* Edward Fuller, his wife Ann? and son Samuel Fuller were on the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay in late 1620.

Are there any readers who are my cousins through an Edward Fuller line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Fuller lines.

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by genea-bloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

My Mayflower Connections - 6. William Brewster

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Several genea-bloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is William Brewster, from whom I have one ancestral line:

Line 1:

1.  William Brewster* (1567-1644) married before 1593 to Mary --?--* (1569-1627)
2.  Patience Brewster (1595-1634) married 1624 to Thomas Prence (1600-1673)
3.  Mercy Prence (1631-1711) married 1650 to John Freeman (1627-1719)
4.  Bennett Freeman (1671-1716) married 1689 to John Paine (1661-1731)
5.  Elizabeth Paine (1702-1772) married 1720 to Jabez Snow (1696-1760)
6. Eunice Snow (1722-????) married 1742 to Nathaniel Horton (1721-1775)
7. Hannah Horton (1761-1797) married 1782 to Thomas Dill (1755-1830)
8. Elizabeth Horton Dill (1791-1869) married 1826 to Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)
9. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1828-1884) married 1851 to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
10. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) married 1874 to Harriet Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920)
11. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) married 1900 to Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
12. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
13. Randall J. Seaver

* William Brewster and  his wife Mary were on the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay in late 1620.
Are there any readers who are my cousins through a William Brewster line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Brewster lines.

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by genea-bloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

I Am So Thankful ...


--- for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

--- for my wonderful loving wife, Angel Linda, who makes every day special.

--- for my two beautiful and smart daughters, and Tami';s husband, who work so hard to do so well in order to live securely and happily.

--- for my four precious grandchildren, so innocent and with so much potential, and so much fun to be with.

--- for my enthusiastic father, who provided a large New England ancestry to research, and passed on an undying love for the game of baseball.

--- for my loving mother, so patient, supportive and kind, who saved so much and whose ancestry provides such fascinating research challenges.

--- for my brothers, their wives and children, who are interested in the family history and remember more than I do about our growing up years.

--- for my grandparents and earlier ancestors, who worked hard, played by the rules, raised healthy families, and provided a firm foundation for their children.

--- for my aunts, uncles and cousins, who opened their homes and their hearts and shared their memories.

--- for the brave passengers on the Mayflower and other early ships who colonized New England, and instilled a republican form of government based on personal freedom and responsibility.

--- for the immigrants that populated our country, diversified our culture, worked hard to succeed, and are woven into the country's fabric.

--- for the courageous citizens who revolted to secure our freedoms, and created the institutions that are the foundations of the USA.

--- for the soldiers, sailors, marines and pilots, of every historical time, who have defended our country and kept us safe and free.

--- for the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights - especially the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. I am awestruck that the Founders wrote such a magnificent set of documents that have stood the test of time.

--- for educational opportunities, whereby every and any person in this country can be the best that they can be, but they have to really make an effort.

--- for the free market and free enterprise economic system that encourages and rewards work and innovation, and has allowed me and my family to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

--- for the marvels of science and engineering, that drive our health, transportation, communication and entertainment industries.

--- for the wonders of nature that beautify our world, inspire us and occasionally overwhelm us.

--- for my genealogy society colleagues, genea-bloggers and blog readers who challenge, educate, encourage and appreciate me.

--- for Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, FamilySearch.org, GenealogyBank, Archives.com and other genealogy companies that provide online databases to explore into the wee hours of the night.

--- for genealogy software that organizes our family structures and provides incredible reports and charts to share with our families

--- for repositories that collect, preserve and provide papers, photographs, books, manuscripts and artifacts to expand our research.

--- for genealogy conferences, societies, magazines, books and newsletters that inform and educate us.

This year, I am really thankful for good health and the joys of being with good friends on Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday?

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving

by Edgar Albert Guest (c) 1917

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;

Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.

Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.

Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,

Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Amen!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Mayflower Connections - 5. Stephen Hopkins

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Several genea-bloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is Stephen Hopkins, from whom I have one ancestral line:

Line 1:

1.  Stephen Hopkins* (1581-1644) married 1604 to Mary --?-- (????-1613)
2.  Constance Hopkins* (1606-1677) married 1627 to Nicholas Snow (1600-1676)
3.  Jabez Snow (1642-1690) married 1670 to Elizabeth Smith (1648-1732)
4.  Jabez Snow (1670-1750) married 1695 to Elizabeth Treat (1676-1755)
5.  Jabez Snow (1696-1760) married 1720 to Elizabeth Paine (1702-1772)
6.  Eunice Snow (1722-????) married 1742 to Nathaniel Horton (1721-1775)
6.  Hannah Horton (1761-1797) married 1782 to Thomas Dill (1755-1830)
8.  Elizabeth Horton Dill (1791-1869) married 1826 to Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)
9.  Lucretia Townsend Smith (1828-1884) married 1851 to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
10.  Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) married 1874 to Harriet Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920)
11.  Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) married 1900 to Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
12.  Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
13.  Randall J. Seaver

* Stephen Hopkins and Constance Hopkins were on the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay in late 1620.

Are there any readers who are my cousins through a Stephen Hopkins line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Hopkins lines.

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by genea-bloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

Research Logs in Genealogy Software

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I decided to start updating my Research Logs so that I could add them into the genealogy management programs I use.  True confessions:  I started out in 1988 writing on my Research Log forms, but many years ago, I stopped doing the logs even though I kept adding content to my surname notebooks. 

My goal is to create Research Logs for my most elusive ancestors - the Brick Wall problems, such as William Knapp (1775-1856) for whom I cannot find parents despite almost 24 years of searching published and unpublished information in books, periodicals, microfilms, typescripts, etc. 

I use RootsMagic 4 at present as my master program, but often use Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 2012 for some functions that RootsMagic does not do as well.

Before I typed up a Research Log for William Knapp, I wanted to see how the different software programs handle Research Logs or Notes.  I found that only Legacy Family Tree 7 offered a blank Research Log form (Reports > Research Log > Preview):


However, Legacy Family Tree does not have a "fill-in-the-columns" format for a Research Log.  You have to print out the blank form, and fill it in by hand, or create your own form using a word processor.

What about Research Logs or "Research Notes" in the different genealogy management programs? 

1)  RootsMagic 4 does not have a "Research Notes" or "Research Log" function, at least one that's easily found.  The user could add Research Log information to the Person "Notes" field, but they may not want to do that.  Because my Brick Wall problem is the parents of William Knapp, I created a "Father" for William Knapp named "Knapp" and copy/pasted my Research Log text into the Notes for that Person:


UPDATED:  Reader Carol noted:  "Go To Reports > Lists > Reports > Blank reports > research log."

That does provide a blank Research Log form that can be printed and filled in. 

Reader Nettie commented:  "RootsMagic has a Reports/All Reports/Research Notes which is for an individual person, which has your Source Citation in the footnotes, Items in the Details Text and Items in the Detail Comments section. Detail Comments are notes created that you think this is the right source, what and why or disagree with. This was set up with Elizabeth Shown Mills help and suggestions."

So RootsMagic does provide a Research Notes report (I missed it when I looked yesterday...) that provides a notes summary for a person or a family provided the user has input Research Note information for Facts and Sources.

2)  Legacy Family Tree 7 has a "Notes" icon with three tabs - "General Notes," "Research Notes" and "Medical notes."  I clicked on the "Research Notes" tab and copied the "Research Log" post into the field:


I can edit that information with the simple editing tools provided by LFT 7.

UPDATE:  Geoff Rasmussen, developer of Legacy Family Tree, noted in comments:  " Legacy's Research Log is accessed by clicking on the "To Do List" icon for the person. Depending on how their list is filtered, it becomes either a Research Log or a To Do List, or combined."

Connie Sheets added:  "it is extremely flexible and powerful. I don't know why more people don't use all its features.  It won't look like a traditional research log, but it certainly serves the purpose, and contains all the necessary information (and then some)."

On Google Plus, Tessa Keough commented:  "I use Legacy and have found that the General To-Dos and the Individual To-Dos work great for a research log. You do need to spend some time at the outset with the layout (determine the output you want and this determines your input). You need to be consistent and organize by task, category, and type - but that is pretty easy to get accustomed to and your description can add as much or as little information as you want.

"I make a point in the task section to list the date followed by two space a hyphen then two more spaces before typing the task (it clearly more clearly and puts in date order). Then mark items as percentage done, list your partial and full results. When you complete a research task, don't delete it just mark it closed (for positive and negative results). Then you have all your research (done and undone) for an individual, or a category (census), or a locality (Minnesota Historical Society Library), etc. There are several filtering options in addition to the above mentioned one. This works great when I am looking up death certificates (filtered for all at one repository, all in date order, I list the cert id # in the title). I work through the list and enter the information into the results section."
This capability is important, and I will write about it in a future post.

3)  In Family Tree Maker 2012, there is a "Research Notes" icon in the "Notes" tab in the Person tab in the People workspace.  I clicked on the "Research Notes" tab and copied the "Research Log" information into the text field:


I can edit that information with the simple editing tools provided by FTM 2012. 

These fields in Family Tree Maker 2012 and Legacy Family Tree 7 are text only - so the user has to type the information either into a text document or into the program screen fields.  Tables from a word processor don't work being copied and pasted into the "Research Notes" fields (I tried!). 

Russ Worthington, in his blog post FTM2012 Research Log, described how he has created and maintained a general Task List and a To Do list for specific persons.  All of them show up in a Task List Report.

4)  Some quandaries that I have:

*  I created the Research Log for the entire surname, not just for William Knapp.  Not all of the information in the Log is for William Knapp - most of it is my attempt to find information about his unknown parents.   Should I have put the Research Log into William Knapp's "Research Notes" tabs in the software?

*  It might make more sense to put the "Research Log" for the surname into an "Ancestral Father with no given name" in the database.  That way it's there and will show up in an Ancestral Report, or in an Individual Report for that "ancestral father." That's what I did for the RootsMagic case where there was no "Research Notes" screen.

*  I have created a narrative report (a summary from the Research Log and all of the research done for the elusive ancestor) on "The Parents of William Knapp" (and other Brick Wall ancestors) and could
create the "Ancestral Father with no given name" in the database and copy/paste the narrative report.  Again, that would provide research background for anyone who picks up the research, and it would appear in Ancestral Reports and Individual Reports for that person. 

*  Will the "Research Notes" in Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 2012 transfer in a GEDCOM file and/or in a sync with an Ancestry Member Tree (only in FTM 2012 obviously)?

What have you done?  How have you documented your research efforts to find the parents of your Brick Wall ancestors?  Are they only in documents put in your surname notebooks, or do you put them into your genealogy management program?  If so, where do you put them?

Updated 24 November, 10 a.m.:  Added information as noted above based on reader comments.

Reader Louis Kessler commented:  "Here's my thinking out of the box way to implement a research log that is minimal imposition on the user, i.e. it practically happens automatically. Simply, for each source, include a 'date/time item was researched'.  The program will normally order the sources by source title, but a simple option to order by research date and ... ta da! You've got a research log."
Reader Virginia Blakelock noted:  "TMG has a Research Log. You can attach a task to a single person, a source, an event, or a repository. Screenshot here: http://screencast.com/t/fLGuEhTVXn"

Updated 25 November 2011:  Added Russ's blog comments.

Thank you to all who commented and provided useful input.

My Mayflower Connections - 4. Francis Cooke

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Several geneabloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is Francis Cooke, from whom I have one ancestral line:

Line 1:

1.  Francis Cooke* (1583-1663) married 1603 to Jeanne Hester Mahieu (????-1666)
2. John Cooke* (1607-1695) married 1634 to Sarah Warren (1614-1696)
3. Sarah Cooke (1635-1713) married 1652 to Arthur Hathaway (1630-1711)
4. Hannah Hathaway (1662-1749) married before 1685 to George Cadman (1660-1718)
5. Elizabeth Cadman (1685-1768) married about 1707 to William White (1683-1780)
6. William White (1708-1780) married 1729 to Abigail Thurston (1700-????)
7. Jonathan White (1732-1804) married 1756 to Abigail Wing (1734-1806)
8. Humphrey White (1758-1814) married 1788 to Sybil Kirby (1764-1848)
9. Jonathan White (1806-1850) married about 1823 to Miranda Wade (1804-1850)
10. Henry Arnold White (1824-1885) married 1844 to Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870)
11. Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
12. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
13. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
14. Randall J. Seaver


*  Francis Cooke and John Cooke were on the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay in late 1620.

Are there any readers who are my cousins through a Francis Cooke line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Cooke lines.

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by genea-bloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

My Mayflower Connections - 3. Richard Warren

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Several geneabloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is Richard Warren, from whom I have two ancestral lines:

Line 1:

1.  Richard Warren* (1578-1628) married 1610 to Elizabeth Walker (1580-1673)
2.  Elizabeth Warren (1616-1670) married 1635 to Richard Church (1608-1668)
3.  Joseph Church (1638-1711) married 1660 to Mary Tucker (1640-1710)
4.  Deborah Church (1677-1772) married 1699 to Samuel Gray (1681-1712)
5.  Lydia Gray (1707-????) married 1731 to Joseph Ladd (1701-1748)
6.  Elizabeth Ladd (1735-1814) married 1755 to Benedict Oatley (1732-1821)
7.  Joseph Oatley (1756-1815) married 1781 to Mary Hazard (1765-1857)
8.  Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872) married 1813 to Amy Champlin (1798-1865)
9. Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870) married 1844 to Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
10. Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
11. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
12. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
13. Randall J. Seaver

Line 2:

1. Richard Warren* (1578-1628) married 1610 to Elizabeth Walker (1580-1673)
2.  Sarah Warren (1614-1696) married 1634 to John Cooke (1607-1695)
3.  Sarah Cooke (1635-1713) married 1652 to Arthur Hathaway (1630-1711)
4.  Hannah Hathaway (1662-1749) married before 1685 to George Cadman (1660-1718)
5.  Elizabeth Cadman (1685-1768) married about 1707 to William White (1683-1780)
6. William White (1708-1780) married 1729 to Abigail Thurston (1700-????)
7. Jonathan White (1732-1804) married 1756 to Abigail Wing (1734-1806)
8. Humphrey White (1758-1814) married 1788 to Sybil Kirby (1764-1848)
9. Jonathan White (1806-1850) married about 1823 to Miranda Wade (1804-1850)
10. Henry Arnold White (1824-1885) married 1844 to Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870)
11. Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
12. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
13. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
14. Randall J. Seaver


* Richard Warren was on the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay in late 1620.

Are there any readers who are my cousins through a Richard Warren line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Warren lines.

You can see all Mayflower lines posted so far by genea-bloggers in Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog post, My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 180: The View from Gjelle Farm

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I recently scanned some photographs from our 1999 trip to Scandinavia, including a visit to Oslo and Voss in Norway. I am posting some of these photos.

This is a photograph of the view of Voss from Gjelle farm on the south side of the Vossvatnet:


This is the "picture postcard" view of the town of Voss from Gjelle farm.  Our guide, Bjorg Liland, is the lady in the yellow jacket, and that's my Linda with her in the dark jacket.  Unfortunately, it was raining when we visited Gjelle farm, and the sky is not a bright blue, there are low clouds over the  mountain in the background, and the ski resort mountain above Voss doesn't have snow on it in August 1999.

When we arrived in Voss by train on Friday, I phoned Bjorg Liland at her home (her name was given us by another Leland researcher) on Friday night, and she rearranged her schedule to meet us on Saturday morning and take us around the lake - from Gjelle to Liland farm to Molster farm and downtown Voss.  We took Bjorg out to dinner that evening, and visited her home on Sunday evening for dessert.  She was a really nice lady!  Bjorg had married a Liland and was manager of the Park Liland Hotel in beautiful downtown Voss for many years.  She knew the current Liland farm people well, and we were able to visit them also (another post!).

Gjelle farm is one of Linda's ancestral farms - the latest ancestors to live on Gjelle farm were Sjur Torgersen (1804-1889) and Brita Olsdatter (1818-1895), who lived there after Sjur's brother, Ole Tergersen died; they had two children there before they emigrated to America. Sjur's parents, Torgeir Olsen (1753-1827) and his wife Anna Sjursdatter (1772-1826) lived on Gjelle farm and died there, and the farm went to their eldest son, Ole Torgersen (1797-1851). 

Gjelle farm is very noticeable when viewed from the Voss side of the lake - the main farm house is a bright yellow and is easy to pick out from several miles away.

You can find "picture postcard" photos from Gjelle farm on Svein Ulvund's website (http://home.online.no/~sulvund/)  which has over ten years of daily photographs from the area in and around Voss.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Mayflower Connections - 2. William White

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Several geneabloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in. I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

Next up is William White, from whom I have one ancestral line:

Line 1:
1.  William White (1590-1621) married before 1615 to Susanna --?-- (1594-1675)
2.  Peregrine White (1620-1704) married 1649 to Sarah Bassett (1628-1711)
3.  Sylvanus White (1667-1688) married before 1683 to Deborah --?-- (????-????)
4.  William White (1683-1780) married about 1707 to Elizabeth Cadman (1685-1768)
5.  William White (1708-1780) married 1729 to Abigail Thurston (1700-????)
6.  Jonathan White (1732-1804) married 1756 to Abigail Wing (1734-1806)
7.  Humphrey White (1758-1814) married 1788 to Sybil Kirby (1764-1848)
7. Jonathan White (1806-1850) married about 1823 to Miranda Wade (1804-1850)
8. Henry Arnold White (1824-1885) married 1844 to Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870)
9. Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
10. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
11. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer
12. Randall J. Seaver

Are there any readers who are my cousins through a William White line? Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our White lines.

My Mayflower Connections - 1. George Soule

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Several geneabloggers are listing their Mayflower passenger connections as a Thanksgiving meme, so I'll join in.  I'm going to do a post for each known Mayflower ancestor, rather than list them all at once.

First up is George Soule, from whom I have two ancestral lines:

Line 1:

1.  George Soule (1593-1679/80) married about 1626 to Mary Bucket (????-1676)
2.  Nathaniel Soule (1637-1699) married before 1682 to Rose Thorn (????-1708)
3.  Jacob Soule (1687-1747) married 1710 to Rebecca Gifford (1689-1747)
4.  Benjamin Soule (1719-1803) married about 1742 to Meribah Waite (1720-1803)
5.  Martha Soule (1743-1828) married 1763 to David Kirby (1740-1832)
6.  Sybil Kirby (1764-1848) married 1788 to Humphrey White (1758-1814)
7.  Jonathan White (1806-1850) married about 1823 to Miranda Wade (1804-1850)
8.  Henry Arnold White (1824-1885) married 1844 to Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870)
9.  Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
10.  Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
11.  Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer
12.  Randall J. Seaver

Line 2:

1. George Soule (1593-1679/80) married about 1626 to Mary Bucket (????-1676)
2. Susanna Soule (1642-1684) married before 1660 to Francis West (1740-1692)
3. Susanna West (1666-1756) married 1692 to Moses Barber (1652-1733)
4. Anna Barber (1717-1800) married 1740 to Sylvester Kenyon (1710-1800)
5. John Kenyon (1742-1831) married 1764 to Anna --?-- (????-????)
6. Nancy Kenyon (1765-????) married before 1785 to Joseph Champlin (1758-1850)
7. Amy Champlin (1798-1865) married 1813 to Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872)
8. Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1870) married 1844 to Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
9. Julia White (1848-1913) married 1868 to Thomas Richmond (1847-1917)
10. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married 1900 to Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
11. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 to Betty Virginia Carringer
12. Randall J. Seaver

I wonder if Amy Oatley and Henry White knew that they were sixth cousins?

Are there any readers who are my cousins through a George Soule line?  Please let me know what our most recent common ancestors are in our Soule lines.

Tombstone Tuesday - Carringer Niches at Cypress View

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It's Tombstone Tuesday, and I managed to find a photograph of a final resting place that I haven't posted before.


Cypress View Mausoleum in San Diego (3953 Imperial Avenue) is the final resting place of my maternal grandparents and three of my maternal great-grandparents.  They were cremated, and are inurned in Niches 60 (right) and 61 (left) in the Bronze Corridor of the building on the north side of Imperial Avenue.

The urns say:

Niche 61:

Carringer
Henry A. 1853-1946
 Della A.1863-1944

Niche 60:

Carringer
Lyle L. 1891-1976
Emily K.
1899-1977

Auble
Georgia K.
1868-1952

Henry Austin and Della A. (Smith) Carringer are the parents of Lyle L. Carringer, and Georgia (Kemp) Auble is the mother of Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer.

Sheri's Thanksgiving Video - Genealogy Fun!

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Sheri Fenley, one of the smartest, funniest and fun genealogists I know, has created another JibJab video for Thanksgiving Day, featuring five "Pilgrim" geneabloggers. 

You can view the one minute video on her The Educated Genealogist blog at http://sherifenley.blogspot.com/2011/11/from-me-to-you-thanksgiving-video.html.

Thanks, Sheri, that made my day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's "Bad" About Genealogy Software?

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Louis Kessler, on the Louis Kessler's Behold blog, posted 6 Bad Things About Today’s Genealogy Software yesterday.  Louis has been discussing source information in GEDCOM files and the different programs that create custom GEDCOM tags to transmit their source template information.  There has been a discussion about this post on Google Plus - see the thread here.  I have not used Louis Kessler's Behold software program yet, so I don't understand the format, navigation, etc. of that program.

N.P. Maling, on his Sea Genes blog, posted Monday Madness – Response to Louis Kessler’s 6 Bad Things which discusses the six "bad things," and noted how The Master Genealogist software shapes up against Louis's six points.

I want to chime in with my own views here, based on my experiences with Family Tree Maker 16, Family Tree Maker 2012, Legacy Family Tree 7, and RootsMagic 4:

1.  "They make you enter your data into forms and require you run reports to see (some of) your data."

Every relational database has fields in forms for data entry.  It has to.  Using the current software, I can see a family group, see a pedigree chart, see a person's Fact list, etc. see an Index of persons, either on screen or with one click.  There's only so much space on a screen for readable information, and I think that the current software does a pretty good job of navigation and providing summaries of persons and vital record facts.

The reports (and charts) I use are very useful to see more of the information than can be shown on one screen.  They are also standard genealogy reports and charts, for the most part, and many are very useful.

2.  "They are person-centric, rather than source-centric."

Which came first, the Person or the Source? 

Doesn't the software programs have to be person-centric?  If I start out with a Source, and no persons in my database, I need to create persons that have events that the Source refers to. 

With a set of related persons, I can create one source and link it to all of the Facts that apply to each of the persons involved.

3.  "They emphasize formatting your citations correctly, rather than documenting your sources correctly"

Documenting your sources is the goal of most researchers (at least it's my goal), but not everyone comes to genealogy research with a knowledge of the necessity of documenting them or the method of documenting them.  I think that using the source citation templates is helpful - they highlight the information required and puts the information into the proper format.  It's a lot easier to use the source templates to create a properly formatted source citation than it is to create a "free-form" source unless the user has Evidence! Explained next to their keyboard.

If it's too hard, people won't do it.  Ergo, the source templates.

I think that the software program creators want to encourage the use of source citation templates, and have programmed, generally, the Evidence! Explained templates.  There's a learning process to creating properly formatted source citations.  I think that the source templates are the biggest boon to source citation documentation.

4."They promote merging other people’s data with yours, rather than keeping them separate and virtually merging"

The genealogy software programs, and online family tree databases, have enabled transfer of data between different software programs and websites by adhering (for the most part) to the GEDCOM standards set back in the 1980s.

The capability does encourage merging information and persons, and this is especially true on shared family trees.

I don't understand "virtual merging" and I'm sure that Louis will explain it to me.

5. "They don’t adhere to GEDCOM standards, thereby not allowing you to correctly transfer your data between programs."

The genealogy software programs I use adhere to most GEDCOM standards - maybe 99% of them.  However, most of the programs have had to create additional GEDCOM tags in order to keep up with the Source Citation templates and links to Media items (which were not considered when the GEDCOM standard was defined). 

Unfortunately, each program has different source templates, and creates different custom GEDCOM tags, for their Source templates.  This is, to me, the biggest problem in getting to a Better GEDCOM standard. 

So, we have the situation where the GEDCOM standard for source citations is obsolete and the implementation of work-arounds by the different software programs is not standardized.  Ergo, one program can't read the GEDCOM from another program

6."They try to do everything, except the one thing you want them to do: Help you quickly and easily record your data, evidence and conclusions and let you make use of them"

The current genealogy software programs I use let me quickly record the names, dates and locations for events in persons' lives.  I can create text notes to describe a person's family history, can create source citations to reference the documents that support those facts, and I can create research notes (for the person or for an event) to discuss the evidence obtained and the conclusions drawn.  I can attach Media items to a Person or to a Fact/event.  I can create many types of reports and charts to convey my genealogy information in text and graphics.  All of these tasks are easy for a researcher to perform after progressing along a learning curve for the specific software.  All for a price of $20 to $40 (until there is a major upgrade).

However, I doubt that many researchers do the last two tasks listed - discuss evidence and draw conclusions - a "proof argument" - in a rigorous manner.  I admit that I don't, but I'm trying to do it with my "brick wall ancestors" as a start. 

The genealogy software programs are in a competitive field - there are enough with a significant market share that they have to keep improving their product and offer new and innovative features with each new release. 

Hopefully, Louis will add to his list with some explanations and examples of what he sees in the genealogy software world, and how Behold will be the best-ever genea-ware. 

I really look forward to seeing and perhaps using Louis Kessler's Behold genealogy software program. My understanding is that he is coming close to releasing Version 1.0.  

I admit to being not the sharpest fork in the drawer, and being hindered by a lack of imagination and programming experience.  So maybe I've missed something in Louis's comments.

What problems do you, my readers, see with genealogy software?  I keep a list of my own problems with each program and occasionally share them.

UPDATED 22 November 7:30 p.m.:  Louis Kessler has posted A Reply To Randy that claims that his Behold! program is significantly different from all the other genealogy management programs.   I look forward to trying it out and reporting on it!

You Can Help Rescue Some Underwater Texas Cemeteries

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Lee Drew, on his Family History with the LineageKeeper blog, in Call For Genealogy Volunteers ~ Bluffton, TX, describes the need for volunteers to record the grave marker information in two cemeteries that have been underwater for years.

Lee links to a Fox News article, As Drought Continues, Depleted Texas Lakes Expose Ghost Towns, Graves, published on 20 November 2011.

Lee asks "Are there any genealogy and Find-a-grave volunteers in the area who will take the time to inventory these cemeteries and post the information and tombstone photos online and on Find-a-Grave so the data and images are not lost to the world again when the lake levels rise?"

Breaking News: MyHeritage has Acquired FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords

...
I just received word that MyHeritage has acquired FamilyLink, which includes the WorldVitalRecords.com online record collections.

You can see the announcement in the article Social Network For Families MyHeritage Furthers U.S. Presence With Acquisition Of FamilyLink on TechCrunch.

This, of course, raises many questions about the goals of MyHeritage and the future of the FamilyLink personnel and products. 

The article quotes Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage:

 “We’ll be able to find your mother’s yearbook, your great- grandfather’s will and your ancestor’s immigration record…We’ll do that on a massive, global scale, as we live in a world
that is smaller and more tightly connected than ever before.”


I will probably add some questions and comments to this post as soon as I think this through. 

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 27: Doing a Web Search - Case 1 - Source Citations

...
See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

I have not done many Web Searches from within genealogy management program software, mainly because I am past "family trees" and "census records" for most of my research, and have sourced the records myself and captured the images to my computer files (but not attached them to persons or Facts in my database).

A user can do a Web Search from within FTM 2012 in Ancestry.com (and Rootsweb.com and Genealogy.com) and add the Fact, Source and Media for a record to their FTM 2012 database.

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 25: Doing a Web Search -Case 1, I started a Web Search for William Knapp (1775-1856), and in Post 26 I attached an 1850 census record image and source to him.

In email, Russ Worthington told me that there was a Death record in New Jersey State records, and wondered if I had seen it, and asked how I would source that record.  I love challenges, and have spent 90 minutes trying to make useful sources (I know, I'm probably a bit eccentric with this obsession). 

1)  I did a Family Tree Maker 2012 Web Search in Ancestry.com on William Knapp (using only birth and death years) and easily found the Ancestry.com item easily:


2)  I clicked on the "View Record" link and saw:


3)  This was the right one, so I clicked on the "Merge" button:


4)  After selecting the Name and Death date to be included in the Facts, along with their Sources, I clicked on "OK"


5)  The screen above showed me the information that would be added to my Facts for William Knapp.  I clicked "Merge Now"

The Fact and the Source were added to my Fact List for William Knapp.  I double-clicked on the Source citation and saw the "Edit Source citation for ..." window:



The source citation that was imported with the Fact was:

Ancestry.com, New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), www.ancestry.com, Database online.

I thought that it would be useful to see how the FTM 2012 program would create this source citation for this specific Fact.  However, it was difficult to find an appropriate source template for a Death record in an online database (I addressed this in
Post 18).  I again chose the "Archives and Artifacts > Archived Material > Digital Archive" source template and came up with:

"New Jersey Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971," online database, Ancestry.com, entry for William Knapp, 16 June 1856.

Is that good enough?  It's the source that I used.  If you carefully read the Ancestry.com source information, you see that the Ancestry.com database came from a FamilySearch indexed database created from New Jersey manuscript records that are on a series of FHL microfilms.

I created this source citation based on all of the above information:

"New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971," online database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 November 2011), entry for William Knapp, 16 June 1856, Newton, New Jersey.  Indexed data from "New Jersey Deaths and Burials, 1720–1971," FamilySearch (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010); Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records, extracted from more than 1 million death and burial records from New Jersey.

However, I actually obtained the microfilm and extracted information for this specific record back in 1992, and thus can legitimately create this source citation:

New Jersey State Library, "Records of births, marriages, and deaths of New Jersey, 1848-1900," Volume AF, 1848-1867 (Sussex County)., page 655, William Knapp entry, FHL Microfilm 0,584,582.

That is as close to Evidence! Explained quality as I can get, using the section 10.18 model for Deeds and Probates on microfilm (I found no examples for Vital Records in State/County records on microfilms - I figured that Deeds and Probates were the same type of record).  

One of the major principles of source citations is to "cite the source you see" so that you, or another researcher, can access that source, and perhaps be able to find the "source of the source" until you get to the original source (there has to be one, right?). In this case, there are at least five levels of sources here:

*  the original source is the handwritten manuscript in the county record book now at the State Library; 
*  an image copy of the original source is the FHL microfilm;
*  a derivative source is the extraction of information from the record in my notes dated 18 January 1992.
*  a derivative source is the FamilySearch index database obtained by extracting information from the FHL microfilm;
*  a derivative source is the Ancestry.com index database obtained (apparently directly) from FamilySearch. I've looked at all five of them for this particular record! 

Is my extract of the information on the microfilm correct? I don't know because I did not make a photocopy of the page on the microfilm. 

In this age of digital archives on free and commercial websites, by far the easiest source to find for this record is FamilySearch (and it's free), followed by Ancestry.com.  As noted above, these are derivative sources, and should lead the researcher to the original source (either at the repository that holds it or on a microfilm at another repository) so that the Fact is correct.