Monday, September 30, 2013 Acquires Find a Grave Acquires Find a Grave

I normally don't post on Mondays (Golf day); but thought this was significant news, so thought I would make an exception.  I saw the following on the Ancestry Blog. Acquires Find A Grave
Posted by Kristie Wells on September 30, 2013 in Company News
We are pleased to announce that LLC 
has acquired Find A Grave, Inc., the leading online cemetery database. 
With over 100 million memorials and 75 million photos, Find A Grave has amassed an unparalleled collection of burial information. Over the past 18 years, it has grown to become an invaluable resource for genealogists, history buffs and cemetery preservationists. Find A Grave will become a wholly owned subsidiary of, and will continue to be managed by its founder, Jim Tipton. plans to bolster the resources dedicated to Find A Grave to launch a new mobile app, improve customer support, introduce an enhanced edit system for submitting updates to memorials, foreign-language support, and other site improvements.
  • Tim Sullivan, CEO of Find A Grave is an amazing phenomenon supported by a passionate and engaged community of volunteers around the world. We at are so excited…honored really…to take on the responsibility of supporting this community.  We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation, and look forward to working with Jim Tipton and the entire Find A Grave team to accelerate the development of tools designed to make it even easier for the Find A Grave community to fulfill its original mission to capture every tombstone on Earth.” 
  •  Jim Tipton, founder of Find A Grave: has been a long-time supporter of Find A Grave. They have been linking and driving traffic to the site for several years. Burial information is a wonderful source for people researching their family history and I look forward to working with to help continue our growth and accelerate the pace of improvements.”
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

I hope Ancestry is true to their word about keeping things as they are at Find A Grave as I think it is a tremendous resource and great web site.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Family Tree Maker Green Leaf Disclosures?

Family Tree Maker Green Leaf 
Disclosures--Not Full?

(This article assumes you have a working knowledge of Family Tree Maker)
I was exploring a "green leaf" in my Family Tree Maker (FTM) program today and was reminded of a quirk in the program that we all need to keep in mind.  I have experienced this several times before; but when I experienced it again this morning, I almost overlooked it.  Therefore, I thought it would be good to remind others about this.

I had received an e-mail, through GENI.COM, from a distant cousin, whom I had never met nor knew existed.  He had somehow found my book, Breathing Life Into Family Ancestors, and realized his great great grandfather was also an ancestor of mine.  He provided me with some information I didn't have, so I was entering it in my FTM program.  In the below screen shot there are three Record Types (in this case two Public Member trees and a Find a Grave listing) that were revealed when I clicked on the "green leaf" in Mary Elizabeth Ritchhart's "Tree" view window.  I have highlighted the first of the three and the information pertaining to that is revealed in the bottom right portion of the screen under "Search Results".  However, I can also look at the information associated with the other two.  Highlighted in yellow is the information associated with the Beckvanriper Family Public Member Tree.  You may not be able to see but, under the title "Information found in record", it lists Mary's name, birth date, death date and place, marriage date and place, and her parents.  I had all that information; but didn't know Mary's husband's first name.  

In the next screen shot below I have now moved my cursor down and clicked on the Beckvanriper Family data.  The data highlighted in yellow is still the same as previously viewed; but note what shows up highlighted in purple below under "Search Results Detail"--the spouses full name John Stern.  Had I just looked at the information shown on the screen when I first opened it and glanced through it to see if I could find the husband's name, it would not have been revealed.  However, once I clicked on the Beckvanriper Family Public Member Tree, additional information was revealed, including the spouse's name.  

I have experienced this also with the children's names.  I am not sure what causes this for some sets of data; but not others.  Normally, the spouses name would be included with the listing in the upper portion of the screen, as would any children.  However, in some cases some of the key facts are not included.  I will explore this with Ancestry in the next couple days and report what they say.

The lesson is, you have to explore EVERY record listed, you can't just scan the "Information found in record" list opposite the record.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sports Saturday--Grandpa Enjoyed Sports

Sports Saturday--Grandpa Enjoyed Sports

I have a couple favorite sports stories about my maternal grandfather, Art Dean.  Although, he was basically a rancher at heart; my grandfather was a man of many skills and interests.  During his life he went to business school, worked in a bank, worked at the state capitol in charge of livestock brands, was a farmer and rancher, a butcher, Under Sheriff, the Postmaster, and was a letter carrier on a rural route.  He was also a politician, served several years as the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and let the successful effort in Southeastern Colorado to get the John Martin Dam built, which included several trip to Washington D.C. and personal meetings with the President, FDR.

He enjoyed playing golf, had played baseball in his youth and was a fan of football, basketball and baseball.  I think the only time I ever saw him wear anything other than cowboy boots was when he played golf.  

When I was in high school, he would occasionally invite me to play golf with he and a couple of his friends.  I was a fair athlete and could hit the ball a long way, unfortunately not usually where I wanted it to go.  He and his playing partners were probably in their early 70s and, while they didn't hit the ball far, it was usually down the middle of the fairway.  I can still hear him in a calm voice saying to me "Del you don't have to swing so hard".  However, as a baseball and softball player, I only knew one way to swing--hard!  I now know what he was trying to teach me, because the key to a good golf swing is a smooth tempo.  However, I was going to show he and his partners how far I could hit it.  I think he only invited me to play a few times, because they spent too much time trying to find my ball in the weeds or the adjacent fairways. 

I have this photo of my grandfather and his baseball team.  His is 5th from the left in the photo.  When I was in high school, I recall that he still had his spikes and the glove that he has on his hand in the photo.  They both hung from a nail in the cellar.  One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't keep them, as they would be real treasures to have now.
Circa 1910
I find it interesting that there were only nine players in the photo.  Not sure whether a couple players weren't available for the photo or that is all they had.  I also don't know where the photo was taken, as the backdrop for the photo doesn't look like any location I knew of in Las Animas, Colorado where he and I both were raised.  I am assuming that he was in his mid-20 and that this is a town team of young men since the name on the uniforms isn't identifiable with the high school. 

Generally, my grandfather was not an excitable person; but I recall one time when he showed as much emotion as I ever recall.  I was playing American Legion baseball in the summer of my Junior year in High School and we had won our regional league and went to Grand Junction, Colorado to play them for the State Championship.  It was the first game of a three game series and Grand Junction, being a much larger town with a very strong baseball program was heavily favored.  I was scheduled to pitch the first game.  The game was scoreless through the first few innings and then our best hitter hit a two run home run.  I continued to shut them out and we won the game 2-0.  After the game I recall walking over to the stands where my mother and grandfather were sitting and was amazed at how excited he was.  He could hardly contain himself.  I knew that I had made him very proud and that is probably why I still clearly recall that moment.  Unfortunately, they beat us the next two games; but we had given them a scare and played them very competitively.

I later learned from my University of Colorado baseball coach that my performance in that game drew his attention and resulted in him offering me a scholarship a year later to play baseball for CU.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fhoto Friday

Fhoto Friday

When I posted the photo of Wesley and Mary Ritchhart yesterday I noted that I needed to do a little touch up work on the photo.  Later that gave me an idea for blogging weekly about photo manipulation and enhancement, so I decided to do it on Fridays and call it "Fhoto Friday".  Thus, each Friday I will be selecting a family photo and demonstrating how one can improve the photo.  The program I have been using for years is Adobe's Photoshop Elements (PE).  There are more capable, more expensive programs out there; but PE works just fine for me.

Following is the photo that I included in yesterday's blog.  As you can see it had several blemishes.

Wesley & Mary Ritchhart
Following is the enhanced version of the photo following some work with the "clone" feature of PE.
Enhanced Version of Photo

There are two or three PE tools that can be used to make these type of photo enhancements; but I think the "clone" tool works best and easiest for me.  Essentially, what one is doing is a cut and paste to make the corrections.  

In the screen shot above I selected the photo by going to "File" and then selecting "Open" in the pull down.  Then select the location where the photo is stored on your computer.  The clone tool is shown inside the yellow ellipse on the left margin.  By clicking on that tool a circle is created which is controlled with the mouse.

The size of the circle can be adjusted by clicking on the small number shown inside the red ellipse in the upper left hand corner of the above screen shot.  You probably can't read it; but it reads "Size: 20 px"; standing for 20 pixels.  The black worm looking image to the left of the size info gives a relative depiction of the size.  If it were 5 px, it would be much more narrow.


Prior to commencing work on the photo, it needs to be zoomed in much more so that the area to be enhanced is much larger and easier to work with.  This is done by clicking on "View" in the upper toolbar (blue circle in screen shot above) and selecting "Zoom In" from the pull down menu. In this case we want to take out all the white marks on Mary's right shoulder.  We are going to do that by moving our cloning circle with the cursor to an area of her dress that is black (yellow circle) and has no white blemishes.  We then select "Alt" and click the mouse which memorizes the area under the clone circle.  Then move the circle over the area to be enhanced (red circle) and click again. 

 You are essentially cutting or cloning that part of the photo you desire and pasting it on the area to be enhanced.  To correct the right side of Wesley's face, once would select from the left portion of his face and paste over the blemishes on the right side of his face.  To correct his mustache on the right side, select, or clone, his mustache on the left side of his face.  Depending on the delicacy of the area to be enhanced, the size of the clone circle is adjusted accordingly.

I have little or no artistic ability and was able to do an acceptable job of enhancing this photo.  I assure you that with a little practice, you can do equally well, if not better.  

Now that we have enhanced the photo, I don't have any individual photos of Wesley or Mary, so I might want to crop each of them out of this photo and create individual photos of each.  I can do that by going to "File" on the upper toolbar and selecting "Open" and then going to the appropriate file on my computer where I stored the photo that I just enhanced.  Then I want to place a rectangular frame around Wesley which encompassed the portion of the photo I want to crop.  This can be done by first putting the cursor over the dashed rectangular box on the left toolbar (red circle) and clicking.  Then click in on any of the four corners where you want to start the rectangle and then just move it to the opposite corner, thus forming a rectangle.

Next, click on "Image" in the upper toolbar (yellow circle) and select "crop" from the pull down menu.  Then click on "View" in the upper toolbar and select "Fit on Screen" and the below image will appear.    

Go to "File", select "Save as", select the location in which you want to save the file on your computer and hit "save".  I now have an individual photo of Wesley and I repeat the process to create one of Mary.  

One might argue that this isn't genealogy; but I would disagree.  Photos are one of the keystones of the data we collect about our ancestors and family.  Knowing how to enhance and manipulate them is invaluable.  I would argue, in fact, it is essential.

Picasa is a free program that has basic photo enhancing ability that you might want to try.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Timelines--Are Yours In Line?--Genealogy Roadshow--Critical Comments--Civil War Pension Questionnaire--A Wealth of Information

--Timelines--Are Yours In Line?
--Genealogy Roadshow--Critical Comments
--Civil War Pension Questionnaire--A Wealth of Information   

Timelines--Are Yours In Line?

This past Saturday I attended a presentation by Legacy's Geoff Rasmussen about Timelines and Chronologies.  I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) as my primary genealogy software program; and, like most all genealogy software programs, it has a timeline feature.  I was very familiar with the feature and have used it frequently; but was I using if effectively? Yesterday, I was working on FTM and decided to look at the timeline for my maternal grandfather, Arthur Dean. 

Arthur S. Dean
As I was going down through the timeline I was pleased with the number of facts that were included in the timeline.  As I read on, however, I noticed that many of the facts were not in chronological order.  He was attending business college before he graduated from High School, graduated from High School at two different dates, two occupations were out of order and a couple other errors.  Most of these facts had valid sources; but sources can be in error or, perhaps, not specific enough.

As I commenced getting the timeline in proper order I noticed that many of the problems were due to a lack of detail.  For instance, the date for his attending business school was "between 1906-1907".  His High School Graduation was "1906" and was listed on the timeline after business school.  By changing High School graduation to May 1906 and business school to June 1906, they were displayed in the correct order.
The source for the business school date was a newspaper article; but when I entered the fact, I didn't review the timeline to ensure the date provided enough detail to align properly in the timeline.  I am not certain; but am guessing if a date is just entered as a year, i.e., 1906, the timeline assumes January 1906, the beginning of the year.

It probably took me at least an hour to get the timeline in the proper chronological order; but in the process I significantly improved my source documents and developed a much clearer understanding for the order of his life events.

Now I need to do the same for all the other major ancestors in my tree.  I strongly suggest that if you haven't reviewed your timelines recently, it would be well worth your time to do so.  Knowing your program has a timeline feature and knowing how to use it isn't enough, you need to make sure it accurately chronicles the events in your ancestors lives.

Genealogy Roadshow--Critical Comments

I was reading Dick Eastman's comments about the  premier of Genealogy Roadshow in his Newsletter a couple days ago and it really generated a lot of comments from his readers.  There were mixed comments--some good and some bad.  Following are some of the more critical comments: ". . . .more on the process", "results were produced by the hosts magically, with no methodology and few sources cited", ". . . maybe it (future programs) will become honest and realistic with viewers", "I agree that more emphasis should be placed on methodology".   

I don't think that the genealogists who submitted many of these comment were looking at this from the vantage point of the producers of the show.  They want this show to appeal to the average viewing public
--not just to genealogists.  How interested do you really think the general public is in "methodology" and "sources"?  We should all keep in mind the many times our own relatives start rolling their eyes and get those blank stares when we start talking about genealogy.  I personally think that the results of research are more interesting to the general public than all the details of doing the research.  Sure, they may be interested in a general idea of where the information comes from and, perhaps, viewing some of the more interesting documents. However, it has been my experience when giving talks to the general public about genealogy, they are much more interested in what the research can do for them than going into great detail about the process.  
In summary, if the show were only for genealogists, I think these comment would be more valid; however, we genealogists probably are not the largest segment of viewers that they hope the show will attract.  I enjoy both shows; but, as I commented in my recent blog about Genealogy Roadshow, I think it will have more appeal to the general viewing audiences than WDYTYA.  Only time will tell.  
Civil War Pension Questionnaire--A Wealth of Information   

A few years back I requested all the civil war documents for my paternal great grandfather, Wesley Ritchhart.  I was pleasantly surprised at the numbers of documents I received and the great amount of helpful information they provided. One of the documents appeared to be a one page questionnaire from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions.  The first sentence reads as follows:

"Sir:  Please answer, at your earliest convenience, the questions enumerated below.  The information is requested for future use, and it may be of great value to your widow or children.  Use the inclosed (sic) envelope, which requires no stamp."

When you closely examine the document (shown below) submitted by Wesley, I think you would agree that the above statement should be modified to read as follows:

". . . . . The information is requested for future use, and may be of tremendous value to your widow or children.  It will also make future ancestors researching your life giddy with excitement over finding such a treasure trove of information!"

Pension Application Questionnaire

I realize you can't read all of the detailed information on the questionnaire; but it asks for the following (some paraphrased):
--Date and place of birth.
--Name of military organizations served with.
--Post Office at enlistment.
--Wife's full name and maiden name.
--When, where, and by whom married.
--Is there any official or church record of your marriage?  If so, where?
--Were you previously married?  If so, provide details.
--If your present wife was previously married, provide details including any military service by previous husband.
--Are you now living with your wife, or has there been a separation? 
--State the names and dates of birth of all your children, living or dead.

Does this questionnaire sound like it was filled out by a genealogist?  We should all be very thankful for whoever the bureaucrat was that developed this document!  It has the added bonus of being signed by the applicant, a feature that will delight handwriting analysts and those who value the results of such expert analysis.

I don't know if similar questionnaires were used for wars other than the Civil War; but if you have any civil war veterans in your lineage, I recommend you request their records and hope this document is included.

A couple years after Wesley died his wife, Mary, remarried.  Included in the documentation I received was a record of her having returned a check for $75 because she was now no longer eligible for the pension.  A very honest woman!

As I view the photo of Wesley and Mary I realize that I need to do a little touch up work with my Photoshop Elements program.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

--Ordering New York Naturalization Records--Genealogy Roadshow's Premier

Ordering New York Naturalization

Several weeks ago I was researching my wife's great-grandfather and trying to get more specifics about where in The Kingdom of Wurttemberg he might have come from or his parent's names.  I decided that I should further explore Naturalization Records.  Since he arrived in New York in January 1848 from La Havre, I decided to explore New York Naturalization Records.  I found the web site for the New York City Archives, found some possible matches and ordered copies.  I realized my chances weren't very good as his name was Frederic Schmidt--which is as bad or worse as researching John Smith in the U.S.  

Anyhow, I ordered three records and received them after about a month.  They were prints made from microfilm which provides white lettering on a black background.  For each of the three records I ordered, I received four sheets. The caption on each sheet was "Common Pleas N.Y. Co. Bundle XX Record No. YYY", with the X and Y's being numbers.  They were obviously from the Court of Common Pleas.  The first sheet was like a cover sheet with the individual's name and the date filed.  
First Page--Cover Page
The second page was an affirmation by the individual that it was his intention to become a citizen of the United States and renounced allegiance to his previous country of citizenship, in this case the King of Wurttenberg.
Second Page--Declaration of Intention
  The third page was the cover for the Certificate of Declaration and the fourth page was an affidavit by a friend that the individual had been in America for five years and was a good citizen and a signed statement by the individual swearing allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and again renouncing any allegiance to his prior country.  Although not stated on the document, this appears to be the "Petition".  It is similar to Petitions in "The Source--A Guidebook of American Genealogy" Edited by Loretto Dennis Szuchs & Sandra Hargreaves Luebking.
Third Page--Certificate of Declaration

Fourth Page-Petition

The documents are very difficult to read, in many cases requiring a magnifying glass to decipher the details.  

The only personal information of research value were the dates, his name and the facts he had applied and been granted citizenship.  There was nothing relating to his prior residence, other than the country, Kingdom, etc.; nor about his family.  Since I already knew he came from Wurttemberg, the documents would have been of little help in identifying a specific village or town. However, since all states do not use the same forms; others might be more helpful.  Additionally, I don't think any of the three were the Frederic Schmidt I was seeking. 

I realize it is difficult to read the document; but by showing them I hope to at least give you an idea what to expect.

I was disappointed in what I received; but did learn a few lessons.  My next step is to look at Indianapolis naturalization records, as I now realize that Frederic probably didn't reside in New York long enough to be naturalized there.   In 1795 Congress passed a revised naturalization law requiring five years of residency vice the two previously required by the First Naturalization Act passed in 1790.
Genealogy Roadshow's Premier

I just finished watching the premier of Genealogy Roadshow and must say that I was very impressed.  The title is copied from Antique Roadshow for good reason, that being the fact people bring in their family stories and/or questions about their ancestry and the experts, rather than estimating the value, provide answers to their questions about their family.  I may have lost track; but I believe that at least nine individuals from the Memphis area were featured during the one hour show.  It is important to point out that the questions from the participants were pre-submitted and the research had, obviously, already been completed.  Since the show is on PBS, there were no commercials; thus, much more can be covered in an hour that one might expect.  

Rather that try to review each of the cases that was covered in the show, I prefer to give some of my impressions and opinions.  The two genealogy experts who alternated exploring and explaining the answers to the guest's questions were Kenyatta Berry, President of the Association of Professional Genealogists and Joshua Taylor, Head of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  In looking at Kenyatta's web site I found some interesting facts, which I think related closely to her role on today's program.  Following is a statement from her website: "In 2004, after years of researching, writing and lecturing I developed Discover Genealogy. Discover Genealogy is the first website to focus on ethnic genealogy. It is my personal goal to broaden the reach of genealogy and connect families to their past.  As part of that mission, I am working to develop to make records related to slavery available online."

Kenyatta Berry
Kenyatta, who is a law school graduate, did narrate the cases of a couple individuals who were African American and whose past was connected with slavery.  This makes sense because researching African American genealogy is a specialty of hers and can be very difficult. 

I thought both Joshua and Kenyatta both did an excellent job, especially when you realize they are professional genealogists--not professional actors.

Joshua Taylor

I think having the crowd of onlookers involved in the show adds a lot, as you could observe how they shared the excitement and emotions of the featured individuals.

I liked the fact that the show demonstrated several times that "family lore" is often not true.  They are usually intriguing stories; but you have to look at them with a jaundiced eye until they are proven.  As was shown on this show, we can't all be related to Davy Crockett or George Washington.  

I think that the show has to capability to become more popular that Who Do You Think You Are.   I say that for a couple reasons.  More time is spent actually revealing the results of research and telling the story than showing where and how the research is done.  The program takes place in a single setting, in this case a historic southern mansion.  I think the audience gets to observe in an hour more of what you can discover doing genealogy than is revealed in one-hour of it's "sister" show WDYTYA.  Thus, there is more of a "WHOW" factor!  Also, there are multiple stories about featured individuals covered in the hour, rather than just one.  In fact, one of the individuals had questions about being related to four different individuals and all were explored.  As you might expect only one of the four turned out to be true.  

The show is on PBS on Monday nights and I highly recommend it (those of you who can't miss Monday Night Football can do like I did--tape it and watch it the next day).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

San Diego Genealogical Society Seminar--Genealogy Roadshow Premiering--Another New FTM 2014 Feature

San Diego Genealogical Society Seminar

Dr. Diane Lott, SDGS President, and Geoff Rasmussen

Yesterday at the Marina Village in San Diego about 150 society members and guests enjoyed presentations by Geoff Rasmussen and Karen Clifford.  Geoff led off the seminar in the morning with presentations on Digital Imaging Essentials and Timelines and Chronologies.  Digital Imaging Essentials is also the name of a book Geoff published earlier this year.  His presentations were very well received and the forty books he brought sold out quickly and orders were taken for about 25 more.  Geoff's demonstration of the Eye-Fi wireless card which enabled him to take a picture of the audience and have it show up on the screen through his computer within a couple minutes was most impressive.  In his second presentation, Geoff, who hosts the very popular Legacy family Tree webinar series; spoke about the importance of using timelines and chronologies to assist in better identifying key events, dates or locations in an individuals life.  Without the aid of a chronology or timeline, it is easy to overlook some of these details that can be critical to filling important "gaps".  Legacy software, which Geoff develops, provides a timeline feature.  Some attendees commented in their evaluations that they didn't use the Legacy program and the presentation was oriented toward Legacy; however, most genealogy software programs have a timeline feature, thus the rationale for using the feature is universal.  As usual, Geoff's humor and engaging delivery were a big hit with attendees.  

Following lunch Karen Clifford provided two presentations, the first being Slow Down and Pick Up Speed during which she described the eight step Genealogy Research Cycle and also provided a case study employing the cycle.  The cycle is a logical progression to following in conducting genealogical research which starts with Setting a Goal and concludes with Organizing and Reorganizing the information accumulated in pursuit of the goal.

Karen Clifford

Karen's second presentation summarized her most recent book Digging Deeper: Using Essential Pre-1850 Records.  Since most civil record keeping in the United States didn't start until after 1850, researching individuals in that time frame is much more difficult.  Karen outlined the steps one needs to take to improve your chances of finding the vital records and information that you need.  Karen's teaching background was evident and appreciated by the attendees in both her delivery style and detailed handouts for the presentations.  Several people commented on their evaluations how much they appreciated the detailed notes and the fact she followed them in her presentation.  At the conclusion of her presentation, Karen gave away a copy of her book to one of the lucky attendees.  

I have to come back to a couple comments that were made about both Geoff and Karen's presentations relating that "there was too much info about Legacy which doesn't apply to me because I use another program."  I must admit I have sometimes had those type thoughts; but I was so impressed with some of the Legacy features that were explained by the speakers, that I think I will add Legacy to the other programs I use, Family Tree Maker (FTM) and MyHeritage.  I will probably retain FTM as my prime genealogy software; but use selective features of the other two to assist me in my searches.  I think some of us, probably seniors more than others, tend to get a little "set in our ways".  I certainly qualify as a "senior", having passed the three-quarter century mark; but I think we need to keep an open mind to change and new developments, no matter what our age.  

My blogging has suffered this past week as I attended to all of the "last minute" details of the seminar.  Somehow, I just couldn't increase the number of hours of the day to accommodate everything.  I hope to get back to a somewhat "normal" routine this coming week!

 Today Geoff, Karen, Randy Seaver (who was in attendance), five other nationally recognized genealogy speakers, and about 300 genealogists will be embarking out of San Diego on the 10th Annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise.  They will be going through the Panama Canal on Royal Caribbean cruise lines.  We wish them all a hearty "Bon Voyage".
Genealogy Roadshow Premiers Monday Night

Family Tree Magazine and several other sources recently announced that the premier of the new series Genealogy Roadshow premiers this Monday evening on PBS at 9 p.m. Pacific Time.
New Series GENEALOGY ROADSHOW Premieres Monday at 9/8c on PBS
Part detective story, part emotional journey, GENEALOGY ROADSHOW will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual's past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.
GENEALOGY ROADSHOW will feature participants from four American cities - Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco - who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an important event or a historical figure. Join some of the nation's top genealogists as they unearth family and community secrets, reveal infamous relatives and discover unexpected stories that connect the past to the present.
GENEALOGY ROADSHOW airs Mondays, September 23-October 14, at 9/8c only on PBS.
Watch a preview at

PBS had the following to say about the show: "GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s premiere season will feature participants from four American cities — Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories. After participants are chosen, experts in genealogy, history and DNA will use family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information. These experts will enlist the help of local historians to add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes a clue in solving the mystery."

I had problems trying to play the preview video clip; but I did notice that Joshua Taylor is one of the "experts" participating in the show.  I am looking forward to it.  Even though it is advertised as 9/8 Central, it is also at 9 p.m. here on the West Coast.
Another "New" FTM 2014 Feature

While using FTM 2014 today I noticed a new feature.  Even though I was part of the "beta" testing, I never noticed this then.  When in the "person" view and having selected one of the facts about the person, the sources are listed in the right hand box on the screen.  This is the same for both 2012 and 2014.  However, the 2014 update has the additional feature of providing a small image of the source document if it is attached to the fact.  The below screen shot shows, highlighted in yellow, this feature.
FTM 2014 Person View
Note above that the four census documents listed as sources for the "female" fact for Mary O'Malley are not only listed; but there is a small image of the document.  I thought this might be unique to only Census records; but found images of other documents as well.  Thus, in a glance you know if you have also attached the record to the source listing.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Family Tree Maker 2014--Display Options

Family Tree Maker 2014--Display Options

There are several new changes to FTM 2014, which was very recently released; as discussed in my blog of Sep 10.  One of those changes pertains to the display when in the "Tree" view (called "Family" in FTM 2012).  In the screen shot immediately below the yellow highlighted area has been added to FTM 2014.  It provides four icons that each provide an option for changing the Tree view.  For comparison, the FTM 2012 "Family" view screen shot is directly below the FTM 2014.  The first icon of a house isn't actually a new capability as compared to 2012, it is just in a different location.  The 2012 version it is located immediately to the left.  They both do the same thing, place the "Home" person at the origin of the pedigree (or Family) view.  

The next icon selects the Pedigree View, as shown in both the 2012 and 2014 views. 

FTM 2014 Tree View

FTM 2012 Family View

The third icon down enable selection of the "Family" view as shown below.  It is a little confusing as the overall view choices for 2012 are "People" and "Family", whereas, the 2014 choices are "People" and "Tree".  The fourth icon enables inclusion of a picture in the family tree for the various individuals (as shown below).  The old 2012 version had a selection for "enhanced" view, which included the photo and birth and death years in the box for each of the individuals.   

The next item is a slider that controls the number of generations depicted in the view.  The 2012 version had the same capability, it was just in a different location at the bottom left of the window as highlighted in yellow below.  

FTM 2012 
The below 2014 view (without pictures) is essentially the same as the 2012 view without the "enhanced nodes" checked.  
FTM 2014 (without pictures)

Another feature I will mention that is often overlooked, and is available in both the 2012 and 2014 versions of FTM is the selection of the color theme.  You will note all of my screen shots above are in what is defined as the "Ancestry Theme".  Selection of the theme colors is accessed by selecting "Tools", then "Options" and the color theme selection is on the middle right section of the window.  The three selections are Ancestry Theme, Windows Theme and Windows Classic.  The below screen shot is the Windows Theme.   

Windows Theme

The final view below is Windows Classic.

Windows Classic

Monday, September 16, 2013

MyHeritage/Family Tree Builder Clarification--MyHeritage Announces New Feature

MyHeritage/Family Tree Data Base

When I spoke to the North San Diego County Genealogy Society last week the question came up about the comparison of MyHeritage's data base with Ancestry's.  I wasn't sure so I contacted Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist and Translation Manager of MyHeritage.

Following is Daniel's answer:  Q:“What databases does MyHeritage have that Ancestry doesn’t have?
A: This is a very logic question but unfortunately not easy to answer as we currently don't have a list of all our databases.
The (not 100%) way around is to visit and see there the list of the databases. Its very much the same ;-)

I also had a question about what capabilities you get for the basic version of MyHeritage.
Q:  If you haven’t purchased the premium or premium plus Family Tree Builder packages, do you get the Smart Matching and Record Matching capabilities if you just have your tree on MyHeritage.?
A:  YES, you get matches BUT you can not confirm or reject them, contact the other administrator or copy the info to your tree.

Also related to the previous question, I followed up with the following:
Q:  I understand that you don’t get it with Family Tree Builder Basic (Free) package; but am confused about just having a tree on MyHeritage. 
A:  Not correct, FTB free also get matches to individuals you are working (changing or adding info) with. BUT to get matches to ALL the tree, the tree must be published to the website.
A FREE account on MyHeritage holds up to 250 people in the tree. NO you can not choose which 250 people to publish ;-)
If your small tree is published, FREE FTB will get matches with no problem.

For those not familiar with MyHeritage and their Family Tree Builder software genealogy program, the basic version will accept up to 250 people, the premium up to 2500 and premium plus is unlimited.

Based on Daniel's answers, it is now my understanding that your family tree on the Basic version of MyHeritage does get Smart Matches; but you can not confirm them or reject them or copy the info to your tree.  In my mind, you aren't left with much and would be better off purchasing the Premium or Premium Plus packages if you want to effectively use the Smart Matching feature.

I was also not clear on what really happens to the MASTER (my term) MyHeritage family tree when you get smart matches to compare from other trees.  You can Confirm or Reject the match; but it wasn't clear to me how that impacted the MASTER tree in the MyHeritage "cloud".  Following is the answer from Daniel:
Q:  When I make the matching decisions to “Confirm” or   “Reject” what really happens?  I understand that the data doesn’t get integrated into my Family Tree Builder Tree; but what happens to the tree on MyHeritage if I agree and others don’t, or 40% Confirm and 60% reject?
A:  When you “Confirm” or   “Reject” a match a mark is place in the individual. THEN you can go one step further and copy information to your tree.
When you copy the info a citation is created automatically. You can only copy info if the other administrator allow you to do so.
Currently the way FTB works is with SYNC, meaning all info on the website will be synchronized with FTB and vice-versa.
For each administrator there is a checkmark, so its really a 50% / 50%:
If you agree and others don't then you have 1 green and one red; If you agree and others agree then you have 2 greens, If you don't agree and others do then you have 1 green and one red.

I think what he is saying is there is just your tree and those for other administrators who might have matches with yours.  Not a MASTER tree like FamilySearch has created or that GENI has.  Therefore each match is simply a one on one--you and another individual tree.  I followed up with Daniel about that and should get a response within the next couple days.  

I was pleased that Daniel took the time to personally respond to my questions.  
MyHeritage Announces New Feature 

My heritage has launched a new feature that they announced today.

MyHeritage has launched today a new feature that lets you save the records you discover on SuperSearch ( directly to the relevant profiles in your family tree. You can also easily extract information from any record you save, which until today was only possible through Record Matches.

The new feature is a step in our mission to combine family trees and historical records in the best possible way and make it easier for our users to make the most of both.

Going forward we will apply the extract information technology to Smart Matches.
We will also enable users to extract information from records to multiple profiles at once.

Please find an image attached, and the official post about this feature is posted here:

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with MyHeritage nor am I compensated in any way by them.  The comments are strictly my own opinions.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sports Saturday--My Mother Was a "Jock"

My Mother Was a "Jock"

More often in a family it is the father who is a sports fan and played sports at some level during his school years.  That was definitely true in my family; however, it also applied to my mother.  I still recall when I was playing in a youth softball league at the age of about 12, our team coaches were my mother and her best friend from High School, who was also the mother of one of the other players on the team.  Ironically, our team, coached by two moms, also happened to have the best record in the league!  They not only coached, they demonstrated how to hit, field and throw.  The term "you throw like a girl",  did not apply to my mom and Florence (nor to many other women) .  They could throw the ball as well (or better) than any boy on the team.  

My mom and her sister, Frances, still have several tennis trophies in the Las Animas High School Trophy Cases.  In fact, I need to ask my brother to go to the school to photograph and record the information on all of their trophies.  However, neither softball or tennis was her best.  

Basketball was her best sport.  Her girls High School team won the state championship two of her four years in High School, they went to the National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Tournament and were beaten by only four points by a Junior College Team.  In that tournament she placed third in the free throw shooting contest by making 18 of 25 free throws--a percentage Shaq O'Neill would have been very happy with (he was a notoriously bad free throw shooter).  Over an eight year period, the last two of which my mother played, the Las Animas Girls Team won 161 games and lost eight.  In all but one of the years, they lost a maximum of one game.  

State Champions 1931

My mother is on the right end of the front row above, her sister is 2nd from left in the back row and "Swede" is 2nd from the right in the back row.  "Swede" was selected as an All-American at the AAU tournament.  Hazel White, is next to my mother and is in the below picture with my mom and "Swede".  

On Friday nights when the High School teams played their games, the boys team played the preliminary game and the Girls Team played the second (featured) game.  

When she, her sister and one of the other players graduated from High School they were recruited by a Woman's AAU team in Denver.  While playing for that team they won the Denver City Championship and went to the National Girls Tournament in Wichita, Kansas.  My mother is third from the left in the back row, her sister is on the right end in the front row, and "Swede" is in the front center.   

Bonnie Beauty School--Denver
Interestingly, sports in those days were no different than today.  I have a Denver Post Newspaper clipping by one of the sports writers reporting that rumors were circulating in Denver that some of the young ladies playing for the various beauty schools in the Denver AAU league were "receiving scholarships in the beauty schools for their graceful and effective antics on the basketball courts".  Since it was an amateur league, any type of compensation for the players would have made the players ineligible.  I never had the chance to ask my mother if she was one of those who received a scholarship; but I am almost certain that she, "Swede" and many others did.    

Below are my mom, Hazel White and "Swede" Thaxton about thirty years later.

I was a fairly good athlete throughout my school years and a Baseball Scholarship helped me get through college; but I certainly can't say that it was solely due to my father's genes.  My mom definitely contributed her fair share!