Monday, December 29, 2014

Genealogy Do-Over

Like many other genealogists, I am excited about Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. And like many others, I am giving this project a lot of thought. This will not be my first do-over. I confess, I like to experiment with software. I used The Master Genealogist as my primary database for many years, but at some point, I came to the conclusion that while it had many advanced features, it didn't keep up with the times in some areas.  Since then I have gone back and forth between Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic. I like many features of both of them.

So one decision I need to make, and stick with, is which software I want to use

Next is Evidentia.  I first heard about Evidentia from a Dear Myrtle "Wacky Wednesday" presentation. I tried the free trial and there were many things I liked about it. Evidentia makes you look at the document, before you look at the people. It helps you wring every last fact out of a document. It has great citation templates.  But it takes more time to analyze your document. That isn't a bad thing. I'm just not sure it's something I will stick with. I should. I certainly should.  

So another decision I need to make is if I am going to purchase and use Evidentia. I should decide as it's on sale until the end of the year.

Then there is transcribing a document. Part of me knows I should transcribe every document because it makes me look at it. But again, I tend to only transcribe handwritten documents.

Will I make transcribing documents part of my process?

There is the entire, huge, topic of organization. I'm mostly digital, but I'm not sure that is a good thing.

Do I want to stay mostly digital (except a few original documents) or do I want paper as well? And either way, how do I organize it? I've tried Mary Hill's system. I've tried Karen Clifford's method. On the computer I've tried nested surnames and filing by document type. Currently I'm playing around with an idea I saw on Facebook to organize by decade.  Nothing makes me happy! One thing  I do like. Within whatever folder structure I use, I like to name the files YYYY Surname Firstname Description, where YYYY is the event year.  Then if I look in the folder, I get a quick timeline view.

How will I organize my documents?

Like many I have collected many ancestors.  One problem is that I don't really have a goal for them. Do I want to find ancestors as far back as I can? (Well,yes.)  Do I want to concentrate on descendants from one line, perhaps with the goal of publishing my information?  Do I just want basic facts? Do I want a rich history of each person? (Of course, but is it realistic?) This is probably the most important question of all.

Who do I want to research? And why?

I need procedures. I need to write them. I need to follow them.  What will I use for my research log? My genealogy software? Excel? Evernote? Something else? Yikes.  Do I plan to write a research report for each person? And of course everything will be cited, closely to Evidence Explained. I have decided to give up on citation perfection. Close enough is going to have to be good enough or I'll never research anyone.

What are my procedures?

And there is the big first step. Set aside my previous research. First I have to find it. It's in file cabinets. It's in multiple folders on my hard drive. It's in my email. It's in browser links. What a mess.

Can I do it?

I'm not sure I can. Or if I want to do so. I may adapt and 'just' revisit my tree, One person at a time, Follow the processes I set up for each person and family.

I've also been lax about blogging.  Hopefully I'll be posting more on these topics as I think them through.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My father, the handyman

This post is inspired by Dear Myrtle's Share a Memory Contest.  If I win, I'm hoping for 3rd prize,

My dad passed away in the year 2000. He was many things to many people, but around the house he was our handyman.  And I'm eternally grateful that he passed those skills down to me. And from me to my son.

His first big project that I'm aware of was well before I was born. He bought a beat up house that literally had holes through the walls, and repaired it for my parents first house:

When I was four or five, he built a playhouse for me in the back yard. As I recall, it was pink. In the winter it also was used for extra storage. Here we are in front of it:
I don't have an 'after' picture, but before we moved from this house, he built this carport into a full garage. He also built a covered patio on the back:
I guess this one was good practice, because when we moved to our next house, it didn't have a garage either. But it did a year or so after we moved in:

He put up that ugly TV antenna, too. This was before cable TV.
There were many projects at this house, and I remember helping, and learning, with many of them. He bought a mixed batch of inexpensive ceramic tile and we spend a lot of time laying out a pattern until we found one we liked:

He also built a breakfast bar:

And he finished off a full basement including a built in bookcase:

He also added a large terrace off the back:

This is one of two fireplaces he (and I) added to the house:

 That's my mom. Love the '70's plaid pants. I wore them too. This is the other fireplace. I remember climbing on the roof helping with this one:
An he's sleeping here. A well earned rest.

I was a young adult when we moved to Texas. Here he put in an above ground swimming pool that my son eventually swam in. With the cover you could swim year round:

And I don't have a picture, but he put a hot tub in a spare bedroom.

Thanks Dad!

Happy Thanksgiving and genealogy progress (or lack of).

I haven't posted in almost two years, and thought it was time I started again. My genealogy has been fairly stalled for the past couple years. I decided to change genealogy programs (more than once) and my database is far from being in good shape. I've decided to stick with one main program, but perhaps use other's for reports. I'm still working on organizing things on my hard drive, and may post about that later.

I have two concerns I'm still considering.

1) I love using source the templates that major programs provide, and I enjoy making my own templates. The problem with this approach is that the sources won't gedcom appropriately to other programs that I may wish to use for reports. There are workarounds, but they all will require more time to do. I feel I am so behind on my genealogy that I'm not sure I want to spend that time.

2) This problem is almost the same. I love that my program lets me "share" events among the participants. Again, this saves me time, but won't gedcom well.

The bottom line question is what do I plan to do with my genealogy and reports, and sadly I don't know the answer at this point. I just do it because I enjoy it.  Will I write a book on one of my lines someday? It's possible.  Will I use my database to teach genealogy ot others some day? Perhaps. I've considered it more than once. Will I publish to the web? Another maybe.

Stay tuned. Maybe one of these days I'll figure it out.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools

Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience? 

It is difficult to pick my favorite free online genealogy tool. But since many, many of my ancestors are from West Virginia, I'll chose the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. The main tools I use there are the databases at the West Virginia Archives and History section.  Mostly the birth, marriage and death records, although I definitely need to explore the other resources as well, including the West Virginia Memory Project.  I believe most of these records are indexed at the Family History Library now, but I often have better luck searching from the West Virginia site. If I can't find someone in one index, I'll try the other.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SNGF: Wanted: Nancy Valentine

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings challenged us to have fun at Image Chef and post our creations. Here is mine. One of my brickwalls is my gg-grandmother, Nancy Valentine, mother of Amelia Auvil and wife of William Auvil of Barbour County, West Virginia, circa 1828-1902. I don't have a picture of Nancy, so I used daughter Amelia on my Wanted Poster. None of the Auvil researchers that I know have made any progress on Nancy's parentage. And of course, like many of our ancestors, she is reputed to have American Indian blood somewhere up the line. No proof of that either.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Friday: Niche Blogging

I'm a little late getting this posted today, but then the blogs of note today are a not the most recent either.

On the 6th, Marion Pierre-Louis posted "Everyone Needs a Niche, Right?"on her blog Marion's Roots and Rambles.  This made me pause to think what my niche might be, and I don't think I have one yet. But Marion had several good ideas.

Later on the 6th I found Bryna O'Sullivan's post "Genealogical Niche?" on her blog Explorations in Connecticut Genealogy. She discusses her niche areas.

Today I googled genealogy niche blog and found a blog from June 3rd by Drusilla Pair titled "Genealogy Niche" on her blog Find your Folks. Her posted pointed me to a free APG* video by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, titled "Niche Planning and Marketing." It includes a syllabus. I know what I'm watching tonight!

So what is your niche?  What other niches need filled?

I've been thinking about a niche in school records or maybe Church of the Brethren records, since several of my ancestors belonged to the Church of the Brethren. I just wish I lived closer to their repositories.

*You can find other educational videos on the APG website and on Family Search.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 2 – Paid Online Genealogy Tools

  • Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? 
  • What special features put it at the top of your list? 
  • How can it help others with their genealogy research?

Along with many other Geneabloggers, my favorite paid tool is

So I'll mention one of it's features that I most like, the Suggested Records:

When I find a record of someone I am interested in, Ancestry places a list of other records that may be the same person to the right of my search results. This makes finding other records much quicker. I do, of course, analyze the record to make sure it is the same person. Often it is; sometimes, it is not.

This record is of my great-grandfather. And it may have taken me some time to find the mis-indexed Romedy surname which is listed in the Suggested Records. And indeed, that is him and his family in the 1910 Census.

This post is part of a 52 week series of blogging prompts by Amy Coffin of We Tree and suggested by Geneabloggers.