Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Genealogy News Bytes - 31 December 2019

Some of the genealogy news and education items across my monitor the last four days include:

1)  News Articles:

FamilySearch 2019 Year in Review

2)  New or Updated Record Collections:

3)  Genealogy Education - Webinars (times are US Pacific):

 GeneaWebinars Calendar

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 5 p.m.:  Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist, by Cheri Hudson Passey

*  Upcoming SCGS Webinar - Saturday, 4 January 2020, 10 a.m.:  Migration Trails Are Paper Trails: Let's Pick Through the Crumbs, by Sheila Benedict

*  Archived Family Tree Webinars:  40 Tech Zone webinars

4)  Genealogy Education - Podcasts:

*  Fisher's Top Tips: #141r - Writing Your Life History

5)  Genealogy Videos (YouTube):

*  Lisa Lisson:  Frugal Genealogy Power Tips

6)  Genealogy Bargains:

7)  DNA Stories

7)  Did you miss the last Genealogy News Bytes - 27 December 2019?


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.

My RootsMagic Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 31 December 2019

I last updated my Genea-Musings readers on the "numbers" in my RootsMagic genealogy family tree database in My RootsMagic Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 31 December 2018, and before that in:

My RootsMagic Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 31 December 2018
*  My Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2017
*   My Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2016 
*   Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2015 
*  Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2014 

I was curious to see how much progress I had made in the last 12 months.

Here is the family tree database summary from RootsMagic on 31 December 2019:

Here are the "numbers" from 31 December 2019 in my RootsMagic database (with increases from 31 December 2018):

*  55,699  persons (+ 3,805)
*  22,657 families  (+ 1,618)
*  178,883 events  (+ 10,706)

*  8,562 Alternate names (+ 2,585)
*  12,530 places (+ 1,475)  
*  1,955 sources ( + 120)
*  113,788 citations (+ 14,197)
*  1,432 Multi-media Items (+ 199)

*  3,200 Multimedia links (-  2)

*  33,938 Persons matched to FamilySearch Family Tree persons (+ 5,487)

In the past 12 months, I've averaged adding 10.4 persons, 4.3 families, 29.3 events and 38.9 source citations each day.  I've been trying to work at least an hour in the evening adding content and sources to the database, although baseball, vacations and the holidays intervene. 

 Consequently, I've  managed to improve my  citations/person from 191.58% to 204.29%, and my  Citations/Events from 59.22% to 63.61% this past year.  Obviously, I don't have a citation for every event, name or relationship, and in some cases I have more than one citation for an event, name or relationship.  At this rate, to reach 100% in citations/events will take about 8 more years!  

I added 3,805 persons to my database in 2018, some in my 5th great-grandparent's descendant lines, many in my one-name studies, some in my grandchildren's trees, and some from further and ongoing research on my ancestral families.  My one-name studies include Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill, and Buck on my tree, and McKnew on my wife's tree.  

I "mine" new Ancestry and FamilySearch databases for my one-name study surnames, and add content and source citations.  I have corrected some relationship and date errors found while working on the database.  I use RootsMagic to match my tree profiles to the FamilySearch Family Tree profiles, and exchange verified information both ways on a regular basis.

I added a new ancestral Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) on Ancestry.com in August 2017 with a new tree upload when RootsMagic was able to synchronize with it.  I TreeShare every week now to keep the AMT up-to-date, which generates more Record Hints.  I do not attach Record Hints to that Ancestry Member Tree because I know that it will be replaced eventually, so doing that would be a time suck.  I do review and manually add records from Ancestry Hints and MyHeritage Record Matches to my RootsMagic database to add content and sources to my family tree database.

Doing the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for a sixth year in 2019, along with deciding to start with my great-grandparents and doing it by ancestor chart numbers, has greatly improved the events, source citations and notes for the ancestors I write about.  I am now in the seventh great-grandparents at the end of this year, doing them in ancestor chart number order.  I will continue this weekly meme because it helps me focus on one individual each week and improves my database and my family history.

I did not visit a physical repository (e.g, Family History Library, local FamilySearch Library, or a regular library) this year to perform genealogical and family history research.  My life situation precludes being away from home for more than two hours.  I did lots of online research in commercial record providers (Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast, Fold3, Newspapers, GenealogyBank, AmericanAncestors, etc.), and free record providers (FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Billion Graves, RootsWeb, USGenWeb).  
Since many Family Search Library catalog items are not available from home online, I have a to-do list for the local FamilySearch Library in order to use the digital microfilm that I cannot read at home, and need to visit the local FSL more often.  I am also mining the vital, probate and land records now available on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Findmypast and AmericanAncestors on a regular basis.

There are only so many hours in my genealogy day - usually 8 to 11 hours, but sometimes only 5 to 8 hours.  I spend one to three hours each day reading blog posts and answering emails, one to three hours writing blog posts, an hour or two doing online research, one to three hours adding content and sources to the database, and the balance of my time doing society support tasks, creating presentations, participating in or watching webinars, analyzing my DNA matches, or working on other projects.  My genealogy life is varied, and definitely not boring (I gave up doing boring genealogy things like extended client research, or going often to libraries and archives - with some exceptions!).  I'm having great genealogy fun, but have no clue how long I can go on like this due to health or family circumstances.

My conclusion is:  I've made steady progress, and I'm actively improving my database in both quantity and quality, but still have a long way to go to have a "fully sourced and accurate" family tree.  It's better than it was, but it can still be improved.  The Seaver/Seever/Sever/Sevier(s) one-name study has really blossomed this last year!  It is all a lifelong task, I think!  
I truly need a genealogy clone or assistant.  I doubt that Siri, Alexa,  Google Home or any other virtual assistant is yet capable of doing genealogy research, source citations, etc.


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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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FamilySearch Genealogy Highlights for 2019

I received this from FamilySearch today:

FamilySearch 2019 Genealogy Highlights 

 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (31 December 2019), FamilySearch International, today published its graphical year-in-review and highlights some of its 2019 achievements—like its 125th anniversary as an organization and the 20th anniversary of popular free website, FamilySearch.org. Since its establishment in a small upstairs office in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1894, it has become the world’s largest genealogy organization, now known as FamilySearch International. Its ongoing dedication to helping individuals and families make fun discoveries and connections, plays a vital role in the growing consumer interest in and demand for family history-related services. (Share this announcement or download more HD graphic options online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.).

In 2019, FamilySearch added nearly one billion searchable records and images of free, historical documents online to the billions already available, added new local facilities around the world to assist in personal research, provided support to customer requests and offered millions of online record hints to users of FamilySearch.org.

Family Tree
FamilySearch received 169.5 million website visitors and tallied 13.9 million registered users. The FamilySearch Family Tree expanded in 2019 as 3.5 million contributors added 72 million more people to the more than 1.2 billion people in the Family Tree. Sources added by users help confirm the family connections on the tree, and 262.5 million sources were added last year bringing the total to 1.4 billion. The numbers continue to grow as records become available and more people add their family histories to the free, community-based tree.

To help users locate sometimes-obscure records, FamilySearch has provided 2.4 billion search hints since the program began. In 2019, 40 million personalized hints were offered to help easily connect new sources to users’ ancestors in the tree, and the user process to evaluate and attach those sources has been simplified.

Searchable Records
Over 123 million name-searchable records were added in 2019, and 832.5 million new images of historical records were published and made accessible in the Catalog Viewer. Nearly 7.6 million scanned images from published historical bookswere also added, totaling more than 6.3 billion searchable records and images available online. To make this vast collection of records easily searchable, 318,000 volunteers clocked 10.9 million indexing hours in 2019 to add 123.6 million more indexed records. Indexed records now total 4.65 billion.

Personal help is available at 5,190 local FamilySearch Family History Centers dotting the world. The Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center offering some of FamilySearch’s signature interactive discovery experiences was dedicated. Sixty-six new centers were added in 2019, and volunteers provided 4.5 million hours of service to FamilySearch in the Family History Library and family history centers and in many other operational support capacities. In its commitment to providing inspiring personal discovery experiences, FamilySearch resolved over one million customer support cases in 2019. The Family History Library also expanded its hours of operation to include Sunday hours and later hours on Mondays.

Discovery Experiences
True to its mission to create fun personal and family discovery experiences and connections, FamilySearch hosted RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City. More than 15,000 in-person visitors attended this four-day event. For the first time in its history, the popular event held a convention outside the United States. This event was held in London, England (see RootsTech London) and saw 10,000 attendees. Combined the two events had 81,000 online views. Family Discovery Day, a special day-long event integrated into RootsTech, attracted 23,500 visitors.

New interactive discovery experiences previously found only in select FamilySearch venues are now available at FamilySearch.org.

Family history is about more than just names, dates, and places—it is about the people those facts represent and their personal stories. Over half a million people added more than 8.75 million photos, stories, and recordings of their ancestors to the FamilySearch Family Tree this year using the FamilySearch Memories feature and mobile app. These new additions bring the total family memories preserved and shared to over 40 million.

Other Notables
In 2019, FamilySearch added a much-anticipated innovation that now enables users to make name corrections to its indexes. The ability to correct additional types of indexing errors besides names are coming in the near future.

A new Thank-a-Volunteer feature was added in 2019. It enables you to express gratitude to those FamilySearch volunteers who made it possible for you to make new ancestor discoveries through indexed, searchable records.

Thanks to an update to the FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app, you can now see how you are related to other FamilySearch usersAll you have to do is opt-in, and you can see how you and another user (if he or she has also opted-in) are related.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which FamilySearch is a fully-owned nonprofit subsidiary, donated $2 million dollars to the International African American Museum (IAAM) Center for Family History. The donation will help support the creation of the IAAM Center for Family History.

David Rencher, chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch and director of the Family History Library, received the Certificate of Appreciation from the American Society of Genealogists for extraordinary contributions to the discipline of genealogy at its annual meeting on November 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rencher received the rarely awarded accolade “in recognition of his vigorous and visionary efforts to serve the aims of scholarly genealogy at the Family History Library and at FamilySearch.”

In 2019, the FamilySearch Research Wiki, a treasure-trove of genealogical expertise, advice, and insights, for family history enthusiasts, published its 90,000th article.

Make your next personal family discovery at FamilySearch.org today.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Tuesday's Tip: Use the 1920 United States Federal Census

The record collection for the 1920 United States Federal Census is one of my favorite record collections.  It is available in digital format online at:

*  Ancestry.com ($$) - 107,684,837 entries

*  MyHeritage.com ($$) - 107,445,111 entries

*  Findmypast.com (Free) - 107,126,105 entries

*  FamilySearch.org (Free) - 107,660,169 entries

I have no idea why the number of entries are different at each provider.  Perhaps it is because some providers permit an alternate user-provided index entry for enumerated persons.

The description of the 1920 United States Federal Census collection on Ancestry.com says (typical for a state collection):
This database is an every name index to individuals enumerated in the 1920 United States Federal Census, the Fourteenth Census of the United States. In addition, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to actual images of the 1920 Federal Census, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration microfilm, T625, 2,076 rolls. (If you do not initially find the name on the page that you are linked to, try a few pages forward or backward, as sometimes different pages had the same page number.)
What Areas are Included:  
The 1920 census includes all fifty U.S. states and territories, as well as Military and Naval Forces, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and for the first time American Samoa, Guam, and the Panama Canal Zone.
Why Census Records are Important:
Few, if any, records reveal as many details about individuals and families as do the U.S. federal censuses. The population schedules are successive "snapshots" of Americans that depict where and how they were living at particular periods in the past. Because of this, the census is often the best starting point for genealogical research after home sources have been exhausted.
Some Enumerator Instructions:
The 1920 Census was begun on 1 January 1920. The actual date of the enumeration appears on the heading of each page of the census schedule, but all responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 1 January, even if the status had changed between 1 January and the day of enumeration. For example, children born between 1 January and the day of enumeration were not to be listed, while individuals alive on 1 January but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted.
The following questions were asked by enumerators:
  • Name of street, avenue road, etc.
  • House number or farm
  • Number of dwelling in order of visitation
  • Number of family in order of visitation
  • Name of each person whose place of abode was with the family
  • Relationship of person enumerated to the head of the family
  • Whether home owned or rented; if owned, whether free or mortgaged
  • Sex
  • Color or race
  • Age at last birthday
  • Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • Year of immigration to United States
  • Whether naturalized or alien
  • If naturalized, year of naturalization
  • Whether attended school any time since 1 September 1919
  • Whether able to read
  • Whether able to write
  • Person's place of birth
  • Mother tongue
  • Father's place of birth
  • Father's mother tongue
  • Mother's place of birth
  • Mother's mother tongue
  • Whether able to speak English
  • Trade, profession, or particular kind of work done
  • Industry, business, or establishment in which at work
  • Whether employer, salary or wage worker, or working on own account
  • Number of farm schedule
Due to boundary modifications in Europe resulting from World War I, some individuals were uncertain about how to identify their national origin. Enumerators were instructed to spell out the name of the city, state, province, or region of respondents who declared that they or their parents had been born in Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, or Turkey. Interpretation of the birthplace varied from one enumerator to another. Some failed to identify specific birthplaces within those named countries, and others provided an exact birthplace in countries not designated in the instructions.
There are no separate Indian population schedules in the 1920 census. Inhabitants of reservations were enumerated in the general population schedules. Enumerators were instructed not to report servicemen in the family enumerations but to treat them as residents of their duty posts. The 1920 census includes schedules for overseas military and naval forces.
Here is an example from the FamilySearch census for one person:

I searched each record provider for some of my exact surnames of interest.  The results are:

*  Seaver               2258 (on Ancestry)
                              1910 (on MyHeritage)
                              1910 (on Findmypast)
                              1911 (on Family Search)

*  Carringer             391 (on Ancestry)
                                229 (on MyHeritage)
                                229 (on Findmypast)
                                229 (on Family Search)

*  Auble                  423 (on Ancestry)
                                341 (on MyHeritage)
                                341 (on Findmypast)
                                338 (on Family Search)

*  Vaux                    359  (on Ancestry)
                                299 (on MyHeritage)
                                299 (on Findmypast)
                                234 (on Family Search) 

*  Smith         1,150,537 (on Ancestry)
1,115,240 (on MyHeritage)
1,115,014 (on Findmypast)
                       1,116,590 (on Family Search)

FamilySearch, MyHeritage and Findmypast have almost the same number of entries for each surname except Smith - I think FamilySearch provided the index and images for this collection to Findmypast and MyHeritage.

Ancestry,com and FamilySearch created separate census indexes using paid and/or volunteer indexers.  The differences in numbers between providers for a specific surname is probably due to some of the providers permitting a user-submitted addition to the index.

It is important to understand what this collection represents and includes.  This collection is paper records created by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1920, copied to microfilm and provided in digital format in 1992 to the digital record providers for a fee.  The record providers then used paid or volunteer indexers to create the different indexes.

These records are Original Source records, with Primary Information (state, county, town address) and Secondary Information (for everything else), and Indirect Evidence of the person's name, age, and other items.

I use this database extensively to find my ancestors, my relatives, and other persons in my family tree.  I usually download the record image to my computer for my ancestors, summarize the information for each person in the household, and enter a Census event for the household, with the official census date, the census place, and craft a source citation.  I add a Note for each person with the location, date, and household summary information, and add a Media item for each person in the household of my ancestral families.

For those interested in mining this record collection for Hints of persons in their Ancestry Member Tree, the Ancestry.com database number is 6061.  Currently, I have over 3,860 Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree who are indexed in this record collection.  I work on them occasionally, adding content and source citations to profiles in my RootsMagic family tree.  Of course, I have some accepted Hints from this collection already in my RootsMagic family tree and my Ancestry Member Tree, but not many.

I have not attached many MyHeritage Hints to my MyHeritage tree, which is now a year out of date.  On MyHeritage, I have 2,642 pending Record Matches for persons in my MyHeritage tree.


NOTE:  Tuesday's Tips is a genealogy blog meme intended to provide information about a resource helpful to genealogists and family historians, especially in the U.S. online genea-world.

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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.