Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lisa Louise Cooke, Speaker for SDGS Jan 11 Seminar;--NARA New Search Tool Follow-Up

Lisa Louise Cooke Speaking at SDGS Seminar

On Saturday January 11, 2014 the San Diego Genealogical Society will be conducting a seminar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The featured speaker with be Lisa Louise Cooke.

Lisa is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company.  She is Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show available at www.GenealogyGems.com, in iTunes, and through the Genealogy Gems app, and free toolbar.   Her podcast brings genealogy news, research strategies, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists in 75 countries around the world, and recently celebrated it’s 1 millionth download!

Lisa is the author of a variety of multi-media materials including the Genealogy Gems Premium website subscription, and four books: Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, How to Find Your Family History in NewspapersThe Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and  Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies, and the video series Google Earth for Genealogy.

In addition to Genealogy Gems, Lisa works closely with Family Tree Magazine as producer and host of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, a regular article author for the magazine, and curriculum developer and instructor for Family Tree University.

Lisa’s offerings are not limited to online.  She is a sought after international genealogy speaker. Whether in person or online, Lisa strives to dig through the myriad of genealogy news, questions and resources to deliver the gems that can unlock each genealogist’s own family history treasure trove! 

During the seminar Lisa will be giving four presentations, the specifics of which have not yet been established.  If you live in the southern California area, mark the date on your calendar. 

New NARA Search Tool--Follow-Up

Yesterday I talked about the new search tool that NARA recently announced and said that I would be comparing it with the present search, which will be discontinued on August 15, and reporting on the results.  

I went to the NARA site yesterday and spent about an hour working with both the new OPA search and the outgoing Archival Research Catalog, hoping to define some clear differences between the two.  Today, I am going to have to admit defeat.  I first had difficulty selecting people or other search criteria which generated results for both search systems.  I tried using one of my ancestors who I know was in the Civil War and that didn't provide any results in either search.  I think that is because Civil War records for individuls is contained in the "Veterans Service Records" collection, which apparently isn't searched by the two search tools.  I then tried an old Fort that is near my home and was on the Santa Fe Trail--Bent's Fort.  I did get results using both systems and did like the OPA results better because they were grouped by record type.  One of the types was Presidential Libraries, for which there were three listings in response to the Bent's Fort inquiry.  However, even though I checked the box to highlight the response in the document; I could not find any references to Bent's Fort in any of the three documents.  There was extensive information about the Library (Clinton); but it was unclear how I was supposed to locate anything about Bent's Fort.  

I refer you back to the article by Diane Haddad     from the Family Search blog  http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2013/07/23/OnlinePublicAccessSearchReplacesNARAsArchivalResearchCatalog.aspx.  She was much more successful than I in comparing the two search tools.  

I was happy today to see in Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/07/post-7000-on-genea-musings.html that he did not rank the NARA web site in his Top 10 Most Useful Online Genealogy Databases (he added 5 for a total of 15).  Had it been on the list I would have felt more guilty about my incomplete results.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

--Keeping Track of Internet "Cousins"; --NARA Introduces a New Search Tool

Keeping Track of Internet "Cousins"

Several years back when I began posting my family tree on Ancestry.com, I started getting responses from distant relatives that I had never known existed.  I soon recognized that I could not remember who these people were, how to contact them and to which line of the family they were related.  

This led me to doing two things.  In my Outlook e-mail program I created an "Internet Relatives" file under "Genealogy".  I also started an "Internet Relatives" file in my hard copy file.  Thus, when I receive an e-mail, either direct or through Ancestry; I store it in the outlook file and make a copy and put it in the hard copy file (I know this would drive Dick Eastman crazy; but, yes, I still have a hard copy file!).  Within that file I have a Microsoft Word document listing all these contacts by family line, which I also have in my computer "Documents" file.  I provide a short summary about my previous contact with them as well as contact information, such as e-mail address, phone number and/or address.

I find this very helpful whenever I have a significant genealogical development and want to pass the information along to family members.  In addition to my close relatives, with whom I correspond on a regular basis; I check my files and add these "internet relatives".  

I am sure many of you have similar (and better) ways of keeping track of your "internet relatives"; but thought I would share mine.  I would enjoy hearing about your methods.    


Diane Haddad in her Genealogy Insider Blog http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2013/07/23/OnlinePublicAccessSearchReplacesNARAsArchivalResearchCatalog.aspx recently carried an announcement by NARA on their new Online Public Access (OPA) search.  According to the report NARA will be shutting down its 10-year-old Archival Research Catalog on August 15 and replacing it with OPA.

It was not clear to me whether OPA is currently available, so I checked the NARA web site and it is currently an option for searches.  They have a series of tips on how to use this new search tool and, as with many online searches, there is an "advanced" search option which provides several additional ways to filter or focus the search.   

One would assume this search will provide improved result and be easier; but having played with it just briefly, I will reserve judgement and do some searches comparing the "old" with the "new" and report my results next week.  Meanwhile, if you have some time, you too also might want to take a look at this new NARA search tool.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Merging Trees in Family Tree Maker

Merging Trees in Family Tree Maker

I have used Family Tree Maker (FTM) for over 15 year, yet I am constantly learning, or perhaps relearning, new things about it.  Recently, I had several versions of my family tree in my files and they all had similar names.  I thought I was using the latest version and had it linked on Ancestry.com.  However, yesterday I was checking the Mozingo branch of the tree that I had added about six to nine months ago and realized it wasn't there.  Somehow, I had switched to an older version of the tree sometime in that intervening period.  The tree I am using has at least 150 more individuals in it than the version containing the Mozingo line, which was only about 30 individuals.  Therefore, I didn't just want to switch back to the other version because I would be missing all the updating that I have done in the last few months.  I did, however, add some of the Mozingo line manually from a print out I had.  

I thought I could merge the trees; but can't remember ever merging; but I might have years ago and just not remembered it.  I have the manual for FTM 2012 so I looked in the manual's Index, both under "merging" and "Trees--merging"--nothing!  I then googled "merging two FTM family trees".  There were several answers; but the instructions weren't very clear and there seemed to be a consensus saying "be careful it can be very tricky."

I then called FTM technical support and, after about five minutes of checking her files, the technician said it could be done; explained briefly how to do it and said she would e-mail me detailed instructions.  I repeated my e-mail three times, but didn't have a good feeling when I hung up.  Sure enough, the e-mail never arrived.  I proceeded ahead, after making sure I had a back-up.  It seemed to be progressing very well until a window appeared, similar to merging individuals when you find a new record.  I selected merge for the individual. It started merging; but so slowly I thought something was wrong.  Fortunately, I was patient and after about an hour the merge was completed.

I decided to look back through the Mozingo family line to see if there were any duplicates, and there were several.  I took about 30 minutes and manually merged those individuals.

To begin a merge of two trees you select File and then Merge in the pull down window.  A window appears for you to select the FTM file from the appropriate file on your computer--usually the file in Documents labeled Family Tree Maker.  Then the "Merge Wizard" window below appears.

There are two categories from which to make selections, the first being "Individuals to Include".  You can either select to "Include all individuals from import file" or "Include only selected individuals from import file.  I assume if you knew you were only missing a few specific individuals that you wanted to be merged, it would be much quicker and safer to just import those selected individuals rather that the whole file. The second selection is "Merge or Append Individuals".  The two choices are "Merge matching individuals" or "Add individuals without merging".  I would think you might want to choose the latter if you had concerns about the facts and other data in one of the files you were merging.  Therefore, a manual merge would give you more control over which data was merged.  

Note at the bottom left of the above window is the term "Advanced" with an arrow beside it.  When you click on the arrow, you are given the chance to set the "Match Threshold"--a number between 0 and 1000.  A setting of 0 means there is "no similarity" and 1000 means "much similarity".  The default is 400, which is what I used.  Again, if you had doubts about the data from one of the trees you were merging; you might want to set the Threshold high so that you could manually merge the more questionable matches.  The Mozingo duplicates that I had to manually merge seemed to be obvious matches to me, so next time I think I would try a 300 setting vice 400.

In my May 27 blog I noted that I had discovered about 1600 errors in my FTM program, most of them being "Children sort order may be incorrect".  I had worked off about half of those "errors"; but was unsure if that was before I got the two programs switched.  I am happy to say that after the merge, all the corrections that I had made were incorporated.  Whew!

I have done other merges or uploads recently and they usually give you an estimate of how long the process will take.  This function doesn't do that; but it would be a nice feature.   

Now that I have merged these trees, I am going to eliminate the older one so I don't make the same mistake again and have to go through another merge.

Friday, July 26, 2013

--Three TB of Back-Up for Under $100!--Adoption Discovery Breaks Slave Lineage Link

Three TB of Back-Up for Under $100!

I wrote a couple weeks back that I planned to purchase a new external hard drive for a back-up to my desk top computer.  I had hoped to be able to get a 2 TB back up; but was shopping at Costco and found a Seagate Backup Plus Hard Drive for under $100 (slightly over with the tax).  I have used it now for about a week and am very satisfied.  Set up was very easy as it walks you through the steps on your computer once you plug it in.  You can choose to back up: All Files, Personal, Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos or you can select files individually.  You can choose to back up Continuously, Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Snapshot (manually as you choose).  I chose to back up hourly rather than daily because some days I do a lot of work on my Family Tree Maker Family Tree and would be losing a lot if my system crashed shortly after I had entered all that data and before the daily back-up.  I didn't choose Continuously because I think that would put more wear and tear on the drive.  That is my assumption; so I need to look into that further with the manufacturer. 

The information on the box states that it is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.  It further stipulates it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and with Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP.   

Once you have set up the Seagate, you control all your settings and choices through the Seagate Dashboard.  It also allows you to interface with Facebook, Flickr and You Tube.  This allows you to back up your files from those social media sites, as well as share or save photos from those same social media sites.  

It has another great feature that I noticed quite by accident.  Although it has a power cord for power, when you turn off your computer, the back up turns off through the USB connector.  I noticed that the power light wasn't on even thought the power cord was plugged in.  However, when I turned on the computer, the power light came on.  That is a nice energy saving feature.  With my last external hard drive I had to disconnect the power whenever I knew I wouldn't be using it for a long time. 

I am sure there are similar products available at reasonable prices; but thought I would share this information in case any of you might be thinking of either getting an external hard drive or upgrading the one you have.  It may provide a handy benchmark for your comparison shopping.  

Seagate Backup Plus does have one feature I don't like.  Like many other software products or computer accessories; when you load it on your computer it comes with other software products you may, or may not, want.  In this case the product was My PC Backup, which is a "cloud" back up system.  I realize it is wise to have multiple back up--one of which should be a "cloud" or remote (which I have); however, I resent the way they are introduced surreptitiously.  In most cases it is easy for you to unknowingly sign up for these products thinking it is part of the main product or item you are loading.    

Disclaimer:  I do not have any affiliation with Seagate or Costco and receive no compensation from them.  These comments are strictly my own opinion about the product.
My Adopted Great-Grandmother

On 9 June I discussed the presentation at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree by Joe Mozinghttp://delram.blogspot.com/2013/06/saturday-at-jamboree.html.  The essence of Joe's presentation, based on his articles in the Los Angeles Times and his book The Fiddler on Pantico Run, was the discovery that his Mozingo family line was descended from a black slave Edward Mozingo.  As far a Joe had known his family heritage was caucasion.  

This struck a chord with me because I recalled having a Mozingo line in my ancestry.  I checked and confirmed, my great great grandmother on my maternal side was Mary Elizabeth Mozingo, born in 1844.  

When I first heard of Joe's Los Angeles Times articles about the Mozingo family, I contacted Joe and obtained his family pedigree charts.  Sure enough, I was able to confirm that Mary Elizabeth was from the same lineage.  Her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Earhart, was my great grandmother.  Thus, our family also had lineage tracing back to a black slave.  

When I informed various cousins and other family of this discovery, I had mixed reactions.  Many were excited about this intriguing element of our family history.  Others didn't say much.  This was around May 2010.  

On November 27, 2010 I received the following message through Ancestry.com:
"I am looking for direct descendants of Mary Mozingo & Franklin Earhart.  They adopted a daughter Elizabeth Kellaher in Mason County, Illinois in 1873.  Mr. Earhart died in 1879.  Mary Mozingo Earhart then married John J. Gilmore in 1879.  I am wanting to confirm that Mary Elizabeth Earhart and Elizabeth Kellaher are the same person.  My family would like to turn over the adoption papers to any living relative in the central Illinois area.  
Thank you for your time:  Wendy Seyller 

This came as a total surprise as we always thought  Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Mozingo Earhart and Franklin Earhart.

In some ways I, and several of my cousins were disappointed at the news.  This severed any family lines leading back to the black slave.  The blood line existed in our great great grandmother; but wasn't passed down to her daughter, Elizabeth, because she was adopted.  I was, however, amazed and thankful for Wendy being able to track me down.  This is a great example of why one wants to post their family tree on the internet!  Otherwise, I doubt that I would ever have found out about the adoption.

I have tried to learn more about the Kellaher family line; but so far have not been able to identify Mary Elizabeth's natural mother and father.  Since she was adopted, there is a good chance her parents weren't married and she took the mother's name--which would have changed later if she married.    

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Del's Genealogical Ramblings

--Reader response to Ancestral Quest being Share Certified with FamilySearch
--Mocavo follows up with an explanation as to why some documents won't have the search subject of interest highlighted.

Reader Response to Ancestral Quest Topic

In response to my post yesterday on the subject of Ancestral Quest, Randy Seaver sent me the following: "RootsMagic 6 was the first program to be Share Certified and is now Share+ Certified with FamilySearch Family Tree because it can add sources, discussion and changes.  No other program can add sources and discussions yet.  Legacy Family Tree will be able to do it when Version 8 is released."

Therefore, I stand corrected on my comment yesterday that. . . . "It certainly speaks well for Ancestral Quest that they have establish this close relationship with Family Search ahead of the other Genealogy Software Companies."   Thanks, Randy, for correcting me on that point.

Mocavo Answers My Question

In my blog of 15 July
 https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=738270451510816415#editor/target=post I pointed out that when I conducted searches using Mocavo, the documents that were listed in response to the search did not highlight, or otherwise, identify the subject person or place in the document.  This presents a real problem in a lengthy document.  They did provide an interim answer that if you open the document and hit "control +F" it opens a search window and you can enter the person or place of interest and the search will take you to the proper page.  Yesterday, they responded with the following: "Thank you for your continued patience. After speaking with our development team they have informed me that the highlighting of information only pertains to documents that we own and are uploaded on our site. The documents that you are referring to are from sites that we search and therefore offer their content. Since we do not own this content, we do not have the ability to highlight this document for you. 

I apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you."

Therefore if their search finds a document in response to your search criteria (i.e., name or place, etc.) that is from another web site, the information you are seeking in your search won't be highlighted. 

I am a little confused since the essence of Mocavo is that their key discriminator is that they save you time because they are in essence a MASTER search site that searches other genealogy web sites with a single search criteria entry.  Therefore, it seems that their answers will almost always be from other sites and, therefore, won't be highlighted?  I have gone back to them for some clarification. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Del's Genealogical Ramblings

---Analyzing a Photo Printing Problem

--Ancestral Quest is Share Certified with FamilySearch Family Tree

Analyzing a Photo Printing Problem

The end of June our grandson, Kurt, who lives in Colorado; was in Anaheim for a Future Business Leaders of America Conference. My daughter, who lives in Temecula, and her son and I drove up to meet Kurt for lunch.  My wife had a commitment she couldn't get out of.  After lunch we took a couple photos, including one of the two grandsons and I.  

Last week my wife asked me to run off a copy so she could put it on the refrigerator, which contains a collage of family photos (as does most everyone's).  When I printed out the photo I got the following:

Ryan, Del & Kurt
The photo looked like it had a film of some sort on it and obviously wasn't very good.  However, the digital image was very good.  I touched up the photo with Photoshop Elements and printed it again.  I also remembered to select "glossy photo" for the paper type, thinking perhaps I hadn't remembered to do that before.  The results were the same--a bad photo print.  I got busy with some other things and didn't get back to addressing the problem until this morning.  I decided to print out a copy of an image (Glacier Bay) that I knew was very good, because I used it in a recent photo book that I put together of all of our trips over the past ten years.  I printed it with the following results:

Glacier Bay
Once again the print looked very hazy.  The colors weren't sharp and vivid.  

I have a Canon MX850 Copier, printer, fax and it normally provides excellent quality photo prints.  The Yellow cartridge had been flashing on and off recently, even though I checked it and it was full.  However, I had refilled the cartridge several times and thought that might be the problem.  Therefore, yesterday I bought a new set of cartridges and put the yellow one in the machine.  I printed a copy of myself, Ryan and Kurt; and it was still bad.  

I thought to myself, I sure don't want to have to buy a new printer; but I have had this one about five years and that must be the problem.  I was about to try the same photos on my wife's machine when I had a thought--could it be the paper?  As I thought back, I had found a large stack of photo paper in my office supply closet a few weeks back and decided I better use it up, as it was opened and not in a container. 

I inserted a sheet of photo paper from a box that I knew hadn't been opened very long--perhaps a few months.  Following are the two photos that I printed on the different paper:

I think you will agree that they are much better prints that those shown above earlier.  It was the paper--not the printer!  It hurt me to throw away about fifty sheets of photo paper; but that was the problem.  I don't recall where I got that paper; but it was probably very old.  I am not an expert on photo paper; but I am assuming it can deteriorate with time and exposure to the elements.  

Not sure if any of you have ever had a similar problem; but I sure learned a lesson.  The paper does make a difference!

Ancestral Quest is Share Certified with FamilySearch Family Tree

The following article was carried by Dick Eastman in his yesterday's Newsletter:

Dick's article went on to provide the following information about Ancestral Quest: 

"In 2008, Ancestral Quest (AQ) became the first desktop family tree product to be certified by FamilySearch to sync with their databases. This current upgrade to Family Tree Share certification by FamilySearch was granted on June 21, 2013, and all copies of AQ downloaded or shipped since that date have directly shared data with FamilySearch’s new Family Tree database rather than with their older New.FamilySearch database. The upgrade was timed to precede FamilySearch's discontinuance of updates to New.FamilySearch in early July and their announced termination of support for Personal Ancestral File™ (PAF) on July 15, 2013."

I am embarrassed to say that I really don't know much about Ancestral Quest.  I had heard about it; but not much beyond that.  I checked on line and came up with a ranking of the Top 10 Genealogy Programs by Tech Media Network http://genealogy-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ppc-index.html?cmpid=74169&s_kwcid=TC|17114|ancestral%20quest%20review||S|p|21571724906.  

Somewhat to my surprise, Ancestral Quest was ranked #4.  I have long told people that in my estimation the top three are Family Tree Maker, Roots Magic and Legacy, in no particular order.  Tech Media ranked them in the following order: Family Tree Maker, Legacy and Roots Magic, so that gave them some credibility in my mind.  

It certainly speaks well for Ancestral Quest that they have establish this close relationship with Family Search ahead of the other Genealogy Software Companies. 

I welcome comments from any of you who use Ancestral Quest or are very familiar with it.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Del's Ramblings on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Mocavo Follow-Up

 On July 21 I blogged http://delram.blogspot.com/ 
about the results of a few Mocavo searches that I had conducted.  I noticed that none of the documents found in the searches highlighted or otherwise identified the person for whom I was searching.  This makes it very difficult to find the person in a large document.  I contacted Mocavo and they were very prompt in getting back to me.  They asked that I identify the specific document(s) that I found in the searches.  I provided the information and asked them how the system was SUPPOSED TO WORK.  They sent me an example, shown below, which displayed the person of interest highlighted in yellow where ever the name appeared in the document.  

They provided the following guidance "Once you are in the document click CTRL+F and you will see a search bar open up. Type in the name you are looking for, in this case Robert Jones, and you will see his name highlighted wherever it is located on the page".

I tried that and it did work for some document, so they are still researching to determine if they can find why it didn't work on the other documents.  If you have had the same problem, you use the solution, above, they sent to me.  I will keep you informed of any further developments.  
Weimer Genealogical Center Albuquerque

My 11 July blog discussed the Weimer Genealogical Center (WGC) which had documents relating to my son-in-law's family.  I was concerned that the center no longer existed and, most of all, wanted to find out where their documents and other resources might have gone.  I sent an e-mail to the Albuquerque Genealogical Society (AGS) inquiring about the center and the whereabouts of its documents.  I sent the e-mail at 8:15 p.m. on 18 July and received a lengthy reply at 9:35 p.m. from a woman who was a member of the AGS and had belonged to the Weimer Group working with the founders of the Weimer Genealogical Center.  The response came from a woman who was out of town on travel and my original e-mail had been forwarded to her.  All that occurred in an hour and 20 minutes in the evening hours--amazing!

She provided me great detail about her line of Weimers and informed me that most of the collection was donated to the Albuquerque Genealogy Center which is located in the Special Collections Library.  She even provided me a hyperlink http://abclibrary.org/home to the library's catalog.  Sure enough, when I want to the site and typed in "Weimer"; up came a listing of the books that had been referenced in the article about the WGC.  They were just what I was looking for!  

My wife has always wanted to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, which I believe is in October; so we might be able to kill two birds with one stone! 

I continue to appreciate (I started to say "be amazed"; but it happens so often, I am no longer amazed--I just appreciate it) how interested, helpful and responsive genealogists are in assisting others who are researching their families.  I guess we genealogists are just nice people!
Researching Your German Ancestors--A Great Webinar

This past week our German Interest Group viewed one of the Legacy Family Tree Webinars and it was great!  It was presented by Kory L. Meyerink and had originally been shown on June 6, 2012.  Kory, of course, is know to be one of the top experts on German research in the country.  As he explained, it is like drinking from a fire hose; but he touched on a very wide and complete range of German research topics.  Included were the following:  German Ancestry: Background & Popularity, The German Language, German Places and Jurisdictions, Records (church, civil, emigration, societies and periodicals, Published sources, Family History Library collection), and Helpful Tools for German Research which included Major Websites.

Copies of the handout that accompanied the Webinar were also provided, and that was very helpful because Kory provided lots of reference documents and they were listed in the handout.

If you have any interest in German research and need a refresher, or are just getting started, I highly recommend you view the Webinar.  The following link will take you to it:  http://www.familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=100.

Friday, July 19, 2013

War of 1812 Proof of Service Letter--A Windfall!

We Should All be So Lucky!

While I was working on my blog about the Jones family a couple days back,  https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=738270451510816415#editor/target=post;postID=1196502699462170543 I pulled up a document that I got from the Mocavo web site.  It turn, they had retrieved it from a Family Tree Maker (FTM) record for "Descendants of Michael Jones, Sr.".  I tried to find the record on Ancestry; but could not find it.  I think someone must have submitted it as a FTM Descendant Report, because I use that program and recognized the format. In the "Generation No. 3" section of the report under notes was a letter from the Veterans Administration regarding Proof of Service of William Dibrell Jones in the War of 1812.  William is my 1st cousin five times removed on my maternal side.  The letter reads as follows:

Mr. Mahen Jones
1207 Taylor St.
Columbia, South Carolina

Dear Sir:

Reference is made to your letter of recent date, relative to William D. Jones, a soldier in the war of 1812.

The data which follow were obtained from the papers on file in pension claim, W.C. 14373, of William D. Jones, based upon his military service in the War of 1812.

He volunteered in Buckingham County, Virginia, and served from August 29, 1814 to September 13, or 18, 1814 as a vidette in Captain William Moseley's Company, in the First Regiment of Virginia Militia.

I was stated that after his discharge from the above noted enlistment, he was detailed by the Governor of Virginia as a courier and acted as such, also as paymaster.  After the was soldier lived in New Store, Buckingham County, Virginia, where he was still living in 1872.

He died June 30, 1874 in Buckingham County, Virginia, aged ninety-one years, ten months and twenty-eight days, placed of birth not stated.

William D. Jones married November 26, 1817, in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Judith B. LeGrand, daughter of Baker LeGrand and his wife, Mary.  Neither the soldier nor his wife had been previously married,  Their marriage license was witnessed by one W. P. LeGrand, relationship to Judith B. not stated.

Soldiers widow, Judith B. Jones, was allowed pension on her application executed April 24, 1878, at which time she was aged seventy-nine years and a resident of New Store, Buckingham County, Virginia.  She died June 15, 1884.

In 1858, Louis D. Jones, soldier's son, was living in New Store, Virginia, and in 1878 was a notary public in that place.

In 1885, one L. D. Jones, Jr. was postmaster at New Store, Virginia; relationship to soldier not stated.

There are no further family data on file.

                       Very truly yours, 

                             A. D. Hiller
                             Assistant to Administrator

By my count there are thirty facts about William D. Jones and his family contained in this letter.  Who would think that just asking to confirm his service in the War of 1812, one would receive such a detailed replay, including the maiden name of his wife, marriage date and location, her parents names, the name of a witness, when his wife died, her age (from which her birth date could be calculated) and information about a son!

My first reaction was to immediately send off for information about a couple of my other relatives who were in the War of 1812; but then I realized that today's bureaucrats would not likely send me a personal letter with all those details.  I would just get copies of any document they might have.  The date of the letter wasn't given; but I am guessing it was many years ago.  However, even if they just send documents, it is evident that all the information contained in the letter came from documents in William's file.  

I am thinking it would still be a good idea to send for the records of my other War of 1812 ancestors.  However, I wouldn't limit the request for military records to the War of 1812.  I have a packet of Civil War records that I obtained for my great grandfather and it was very extensive, including pension records.  

Another interesting observation is the fact that William only served in the war for about two weeks!  It appears that he was retained as a courier and paymaster for some unknown period of time.  It is surprising that he was entitled to a pension with such a short amount of service and accumulated so much information in his file.  

I think this is an excellent example of the fact you never know when requests for documents and information may reveal much more than you would have ever expected!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ancestry.com Family Tree Data Merging

Merging in Ancestry.com vs. Merging in Family Tree Maker

I have used Family Tree Maker (FTM) since I first started doing genealogy, about eighteen years ago.  I first started using Ancestry.com shortly thereafter; but didn't subscribe until about ten years ago.  One of the big developments that keeps me subscribing to Ancestry.com was the development of the automated search capability by FTM some years back.  For every individual in your data base, FTM automatically searches Ancestry's data base for any records that match with the facts that you have entered.  If the program finds what it believes is a good match a green leaf shows up in the "Family" view for the individual.  When I click on that green leaf, it will tell me how many of the matches are "source records" and how many are "tree matches".   Source records are such things as Census records, Social Security Death Records, WW II Draft Registrations, and other records that are in Ancestry's vast record collection.  Tree matches result when the individual of interest matches with another individual from other family trees that have been submitted to ancestry.  Public Member Trees currently consist of over 2.1 million records.  

I, as a FTM, user can then decide if the records displayed are or are not a match with my individual of interest.  Then I can selectively merge the information in that record or tree into my tree.  

In the graphic above I selected a record that I think matches with the John Minear in my FTM tree.  The left column is the data from my tree and the column on the right is the data from the record.  For each of the three facts: Name, Birth and Death; I can either discard it, mark it as preferred or  as alternate.  The facts then show in the FTM "Person" view as below.  It is hard to see; but there are two death fact lines and two birth fact lines in the screen shot below--each having slightly different information.  I can review them and change their ranking to "preferred" at any time I choose.  However, it is still nice to have the other information, because later developments may convince you to change your "preferred" choice.  For instance if I had two birth dates that were slightly different; but later discovered a birth record that indicated my "alternate" choice was correct, I can easily change it to the "preferred" fact.

Below is a blow up of the screen shot above.  I have highlighted in yellow the two facts that I chose to mark "preferred". 

If I am working on line in my Ancestry.com family tree, I will also have the green leafs visible, indicating there is information from Ancestry's data base that matches that individual.  The screen shot below shows several individuals with the green leaves.

Just as with FTM, one can click on a green leaf to determine what records or tree matches has been found by the automated search.  When you select one of the matches you think is good, the view shown in the screen shot below will be displayed.  Note that the facts from my tree are shown on the right and the facts from the record from the automated search on the left.  The system displays "different" or "new" for facts meeting that criteria.  The user can then place a check in the box to the immediate left of the facts desired to be merged into their tree.  However, that fact will replace the fact that had been in the tree and the option to make one fact "primary" and the other "alternate" does not exist when conducting the merge on line in Ancestry. 

I did not realize this until yesterday when I did some merging of data in my Ancestry.com tree.  This morning I synchronized my on line Ancestry tree with my FTM Tree (a capability that Ancestry introduced last year) and then looked in FTM at the trees that had been merged and realized that both facts were not in the tree--just the ones I had checked.  I feel this is a big disadvantage to doing the merging on line in the Ancestry tree.  This would also be true for most mobile devices, because you are usually working on line directly with the Ancestry tree.

I feel fortunate that I have almost always done my searching and merging of facts in my FTM program.  If you weren't aware of this, you might want to keep it in mind.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Family Tree Maker Tasks--Two Down and Nine to Go!

Family Tree Maker Tasks

Family Tree Maker (FTM) has a feature that allows you to list tasks as you encounter things that you think you should do as a part of your research effort.  You can also assign priorities to the tasks, ranging from high to medium to low.  I had twelve tasks, three high and the remainder medium, that have been on my program for at least six months.  I have done other research; but have I attended to these tasks?  I am ashamed to say--no!  Today I decided it was time to take them on.  

The first was to "Locate the document 'The Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800' by Lewis Preston Summers. On page 496 it lists Christian Richards as a grantee (buyer) of 138 acres on Terry's Creek."  I had viewed this document before; but not made a copy of it for use as a source document.  Christian is my 4th great grandfather, who along with his parents and some siblings emigrated to America in 1750 from Switzerland.  They initially settled in Reading, Pennsylvania and then in about 1768, moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  The referenced book document the purchase of 138 acres at Terry's Creek in 1782 by Christian Richards, probably shortly after he returned from the Revolutionary War.  Their name in Switzerland and Virginia was Ritschhart/Ritschhard; but when they moved to Virginia, they apparently changed the spelling.  There is some speculation they did so because the English, who were dominant in the area, didn't like the Germans.  I have also found Christian Richards as a soldier in Captain Jake Holeman's Dunmore County Virginia Militia Company during the revolutionary war.  Dunmore County was the area in which Christian and his family lived until 1772, when it became Frederick County, which then became Shenandoah in 1778.

I first looked up "Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800" in WorldCat and discovered it was in several libraries including Heritage Quest, which requires a subscription.  However, I have a library card for the Los Angeles library which enables you to access Heritage Quest for free from home.  Once I logged onto the L.A. Library, I selected "History Geography & Genealogy" as noted in the graphic below.  I then selected "H" and clicked on the Heritage Quest data base.  

Once I was into Heritage Quest, I selected "Books" and entered the name of the book I was seeking, "Annuals of Southwest Virginia 1768-1800".  When I clicked on search up came the below listing, with my book of interest listed first.  

I think clicked on the book and discovered it was completely digitized.  Fortunately, my notes I had entered in FTM tasks included the fact that page 496 contained the name "Christian Richards".  As you can see below, that page gave the details of Christian's purchase of 138 acres on Terry's Creek.  Interestingly when I later checked the index for other information in the book about Christian, it listed another page; but not page 496!  I was fortunate that my notes included that valuable piece of information.   

The next obvious question is "Where is Terry's Creek"?  Amazingly, I typed Terry's Creek into Google Maps and it gave me a location in Frederick County, just to the SE of the county seat, Blacksburg.

My next task on my "High" priority FTM Task list was, essentially, to check Family Search for records of German Churches in the Indianapolis area during the 1850-1900 time frame.  My wife's great great grandparents, Frederic and Julia Schmidt, lived there during that time and had immigrated to New York from Germany and then on to Indianapolis.  I started with the Family Search Catalog; but didn't get much response to several different wordings of my topic of interest.  Then I shifted to Books and came up with one that looked interesting, although, not obviously about German Church Records in Indianapolis.  It was "Greater Indianapolis, The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes".  

Fortunately, when I clicked on the book title, it had been digitized and I could search the index and Table of Contents.  That revealed that there were three chapters about Churches in Indianapolis.  Since they were quite lengthy, I decided not to just print all three chapters.  Rather, I scanned them and was able to identify about three pages that talked specifically about the German Churches.  It not only names the churches and their pastors; but gives their addresses.  Therefore, I can check to see if they still exist.  I have already sent letters to several churches seeking information; but this should provide me with more candidates.  Since several of Frederic and Julia's children were born in Indianapolis, I am hoping to find some baptismal, marriage or other types of church documents that might give me clues as to Frederic or Julia's home towns.  I know that Frederic was from Wurttemberg and Julia from Bavaria; but I need something more specific.

The book also had a chapter about "The Germans in Indianapolis" which should be informative.  It mentions several German organizations that existed, some of which may have records of interest to me.  I know from other research that two of the children belonged to the Maennerchor (men's choir), which was a group dedicated to the preservation of German classical music.  That same organization was mentioned in this book and, in fact, had a photo of the Maennerchor Hall, where the group met and performed.

I still need to research the Family Search records for more information about Indianapolis German Churches, especially the microfilm file; but the book that I found was a good start.  I also still have nine of the "Medium" category tasks to go; but I have broken the ice and, hopefully, that will lead to quickly completing the remainder of the tasks! 


Monday, July 15, 2013

San Diego Genealogical Society's July Speaker--Randy Seaver

July’s Speaker—Randy Seaver

Randy was the July speaker for the San Diego Genealogical Society and his topic for both presentations was Ancestry.com.  His first presentation was entitled “Search Ancestry.com Effectively”.  His fifty minute presentation was jam packed with a lot of very helpful information about using the Ancestry search function.  Accompanying his presentation was a very detailed four page handout. 

Ancestry recently announced that they are doing away with “old search”, in favor or “new search”.  Randy is a supporter of “new search” and demonstrated why he believes it provides everything provided by “old search”, plus more.  Randy pointed out that in “new search” there are two “hot buttons”, r and n, that enable you to revise (r) your search or to start a new (n) search by just hitting the respective key (although I tried it three times and couldn't get it to work).  Ancestry has also introduced a new viewer for looking at images of documents, such as census forms.  It is very helpful, in that it shows the titles for each column of the census form, even if you have scrolled to the bottom of the form and the column headings are no longer in view.   Randy cautioned users to remember that search filters and selections are “sticky”—that is the system remembers the settings and will use those settings until you change them intentionally.

Randy closed with a summary and his preferences for Ancestry Search Options.  They are: “New Search” vs. “Old Search”, Category view over Records view in “New Search” results, Exact Matches over Not Exact Matches, Use of wild cards for Names, and selecting specific databases versus searching “all”. 

In his second presentation, “Growing Your Ancestry Member Tree”, Randy discussed the pros and cons of uploading your family tree to Ancestry—the major advantage being the fact the tree serves as great “cousin bait” for finding new relatives and getting existing family involved.  He also discussed the three ways to place a tree on ancestry.  The 2012 version of Ancestry introduced the ability to synchronize a tree between your computer and the on-line tree. You cannot, however, also have it on a second computer and sync.  The “Stories” feature has been added by Ancestry and many people convert their notes to stories.  Stories can be seen by all viewers of your tree; but notes can only be seen by editors of the tree.  Randy discussed in detail how to navigate through the member tree and adding/deleting information from a tree.   Ancestry has an app for both Apple and Android mobile systems and you can sync them to the on line tree.

Randy’s presentations were well received by attendees and generated a lot of questions and discussion.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Modified Plans for Blogging

My Modified Plans for Blogging

I have now been blogging a little over two months, having started on May 4 of this year.  During that period I have posted a blog almost every day.  When I started I was hopeful that I might make it every other day or so.  As I review the past couple months I have come to the realization that this takes a lot of time, even doing a single short article, which is mostly what I have done.  It takes time to research the topic, make the screen shots for graphics and then writing the article.  Actually, the writing is the easiest and often the least time consuming.

I have decided to post on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  Obviously, vacations and other events might dictate modifications to that schedule from time to time; but that is my goal.  I hope to focus on family related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays and on genealogy web sites, programs and organizations on the other two days.  As they occur, I will continue to include announcements of genealogical significance that I think are of importance to my readers.    

I have also changed the appearance of my blog.  If you have any comments, positive or otherwise, about the new appearance; please let me know.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Great Great Grandmother Was the Great Aunt to General George C. Marshall?

My Great great Grandmother was General George C. Marshall's Great Aunt?

One of our family lore's is that Sarah Marshall Jones Dean, my great great grandmother, was the Great Aunt of General George C. Marshall.  I had once done  a little checking to see if I could verify that--and couldn't.  However, following my blog of July 6, 7 and 8, I decided to be a little more thorough in trying to verify the story.  

To be his Aunt, General Marshall would be the son to one of Sarah's sisters.  Thus, one of Sarah's brother-in-laws would be a Marshall.  To be the Great Aunt, the daughter of one of Sarah's nieces or nephews (son or daughter of one of her siblings) would have married a Marshall; and General Marshall would be the son from that marriage.  Obviously, the father had to be a Marshall to provide the Marshall surname.  
Hypothetical Relationship Chart

In the hypothetical chart above, I have depicted the case of Sarah's sister Amanda Wood's daughter Ellen marrying George C. Marshall. Their son's Great Aunt would be Sarah Marshall Jones Dean.  Unfortunately, I can't find any Marshalls in my family tree.  

I went a step further and created a family tree for General George C. Marshall.  Note in the pedigree chart below that George C. Marshall's mother is a Bradford.  I checked my family tree and do not have any Bradford's in the line.  However, Sarah had two sisters, Christiana and Margaret, who I haven't found were married.  If one of them married a Bradford and had a daughter, Laura, she could have married General George C. Marshall's father, also named George C. Marshall.  However, Laura's mother's maiden name was Stuart, as shown below.  So much for that theory.

Marshall Pedigree Chart

It is possible that the relationship of Great Aunt could have been through Sarah's husband, Spear Dean's side of the family; but the stories all say she was the Great Aunt, not that Spear was the Great Uncle.  Additionally, I don't find any of the surnames in the Marshall pedigree going back four generations in my family tree--on the Jones or Dean sides.  

I guess it is possible there were some second marriages that I don't know of or other unusual quirks that could result in Sarah being the Great Aunt; but I haven't found anything yet to confirm it--as much as I would love to!  I am wondering if the story didn't start because she had the middle name Marshall.  However,  since General Marshall was two generations behind her, I am not sure how the Marshall in her name would be related?  It would have come from one of her ancestors--not descendants.

If I have missed something here, I would appreciate your comments

Friday, July 12, 2013

Searching with Mocavo

Searching with Mocavo

As you may, or may not, know; Mocavo is a type of Master Genealogy Search Site.  When you conduct a search of Mocavo their system goes out to many other genealogy web sites, searches them and returns the results to you.  The concept being that you don't have to do multiple site searches--they do that for you.  Obviously, they can only search free sites and/or the free portion of subscription sites.  

Today, I conducted a couple of searches using Mocavo and I have some comments.  My first complaint is that when you open documents that they find in response to a search, they do not identify the individual for whom you are searching within the document.  Thus, in a very lengthy document with many pages--you have to find the person.  I sent them a query on this just to be sure I didn't miss something; but I did it several times with the same results.  In the graphic below I searched for Robert Jones using the input date that I highlighted in yellow in the upper left.  The second document about " . . . The Olmsted Family. . . " is at least 400 pages long" and I have no idea how to find the Robert Jones reference(s).  Hopefully, the response to the query I sent to Mocavo will answer that question. 

The next query I made was for Erasmus Jones, as highlighted in yellow in the following screen capture.  The first document was taken from a Family Tree Maker family tree, and was quite detailed.  Fortunately, I knew enough about the family that I could find Erasmus fairly easily.  Again, however, his name was not highlighted nor was he in any other way identified.

The second document about the "Chambers Heritage"  was also a family tree from a PAF file.  Again, because I was familiar with the family tree, I was able to find Erasmus fairly quickly.  One nice feature to note about these searches.  If you have uploaded a GEDCOM of your family tree, you can attach the selected document to an individual in your tree by clicking on the "Save to Ancestor" which I have highlighted in yellow (I know you can't read it--sorry).

I have conducted other searches with Mocavo and had some very good results, so I don't want to discourage you about the difficulty of not having the information highlighted or otherwise identified in a lengthy document.  Perhaps Mocavo will provide a solution and I will be sure and pass it along.  

There is a free version of Mocavo, so I encourage you to give it a try, as it does consolidate your search efforts such that you are searching multiple sites with just a single input.

Note:  I have no affiliation with Mocavo, nor am I paid for advertising their product.  The comments are strictly my own opinions.