Posts

Identifying Tree Errors - A New Approach

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My online family tree is aging and just like we humans need as we get older, regular check ups are important to maintain its vigor.  I think I just discovered a different approach to identify errors to keep my tree robust.

My first computerized tree was done on a TI99 home computer.  I had to insert a cartridge to view the genealogical program (which is now in my attic). In 1995,we had switched over to a desktop system and we were online thanks to AOL.  I downloaded PAF from FamilySearch.org and spent a few weekends transferring my info from the old software to the new.  I've been transferring that same tree as it grew ever since.


Around 1997, I created a tree on Rootsweb (now owned by Ancestry.com).  My old tree is frozen in cyberspace and I cringe at some of the errors I'm not able to correct.  I believe that's the only tree I've got stuck in time.

Over the years I've transferred the root tree to various online sites - Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.…

Ancestry.com New Features

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I tried Ancestry.com's new feature, Thru Lines, last weekend and I'm not impressed.  If you aren't sure what it's about, you can watch their brief video here.  What set me off was the comment "For a few short minutes and without doing any research, you can have a whole new network of ancestors and living relatives."  Not in my opinion!  If only genealogy were so simple.
Here's the issue I have and which I wrote in my survey result to Ancestry - say everyone in your family believes that your shared Great Great Grandpa was John Smith Jr..  You all know this because it said so in an unsourced family book written in the 1940's.  Some of your older relatives even remember the author and he was an honest, hard working genealogist.  He knew that John Smith Jr. was his Great Grandpa because his mom told him so and she never lied.  So there, it's the truth and nothing but the truth.
Now along comes Ancestry's Thru Lines and since everyone copied every…

Three Resources You Might Not Have Tried Yet

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Last weekend, my local genealogical society held their annual seminar with the main presenter being D. Johsua Taylor.  Josh mentioned 3 resources that I had never used so I'm passing the information along as they may be helpful in your researching. 

Warning - the first and last isn't readily available so it might take you some time to find them in your locale.

Early American Imprints is a collection in two series of single page documents, such as advertisements, pamphlets and sermons, from 1690-1800 and 1801-1819.  There is a searchable database produced by Readex.  Unfortunately for me, there is no facility in my county that has access but I did email a library at my closest state university and discovered they do have it and allow the general public to view it.  I can't wait to check it out!

Archive Grid, owned by OCLC, is like WorldCat and this free resource is available to you from home.  The beauty of Archive Grid is that you can obtain catalog descriptions from colle…

Making Ancestry.com Ghost Hints Disappear

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I finally discovered a simple way to remove Ancestry.com ghost hints.  Ghost hints are those phantom records that once were available but for some reason - maybe the original poster removed them or Ancestry no longer supports the source of the record - are now not available.  Those hints show up under the "All hints" area but when you click on one to view, a pop up lets you know they are no longer available.  They then remain a grayed out phantom forever; a reminder of what once was but as Poe so eloquently noted, "Quoth the raven, nevermore."

I first noticed this problem several years ago and contacted Ancestry Customer Service.  The rep said she had no idea what I was talking about as no one else ever called about that situation.  Yeah, I bet.  She recommended logging out and then back in.  Of course, that didn't make them disappear.  A few months later, at a genealogical conference, I learned I was not alone and that these mysteriously disappearing records …

Sparking Ancestor Passion in an Unusual Way

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I've written before about the many ways I've tried to get my family interested in learning about their ancestors. Swedish Death Cleaning was the key for one of my relatives who had recently purchased a new home and was needing furniture - along with the sewing machine cabinet went great grandma's hand made doilies, a thread chest with great great grandma's wooden sock darner and several homemade quits and afghans. I've helped several relatives apply to lineage societies and although they gained membership, I was disappointed that the result wasn't a larger interest in learning about other ancestors.  Although I never tried this trick, I did contemplate  hiding cash in a book I wrote about three generations in one line thinking that if the receivers got that far in the story, they would like the extra reward.

What occurred last weekend was unintentional and what made me come to the conclusion that making a connection has to evoke a personal passion in the livin…

Here Today Gone Tomorrow, The Ever Changing Access to Online Records

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Ahh, the balance of the universe!  Maybe it's just me but I've noticed lately that the more that the web grows genealogy sources, the more sources I relied on in the past have disappeared.  I'm definitely not a doomdday prophet but I found my experiences yesterday as a wake up call to change some of my practices in the future. If I don't I'll be facing disaster someday. Here's what happened...
I was going back over a line I hadn't visited in five years.  When I do that, I start with my gateway ancestor, in this case, Mary Ann Hollingshead, and I recheck my saved sources.  I predominately use Ancestry.com so I click on the Gallery feature and look at the documents I previously uploaded.  Then I go to the hints area and look at all that I had saved as "Maybe" or "No."  I always keep the hint setting on but my tree is so large I don't have time or desire to check every hint that populates. Weekly, as part of my genealogy cleaning chore…

Growing Your Genealogy with Living Family Member Interaction

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Sometimes, you just have to practice self control when you're around your family.  ('m referring to the living ones and not the death ones who left no documents or photos behind.)  I bet, as the family historian, you've encountered some of the following situations:
They just make one excuse after another for not going into (Fill in the blank - attic, basement, closet, storage facility, garage) to retrieve the (Fill in the blank - birth certificate, Bible, photo)  that you desperately need yet...You receive a frantic call at an inopportune time wanting to know if your family is related to a celebrityYour family expects you to help them for FREE join a lineage societyEven though you've shared all the discoveries you've found and ignored the glassy eyed bored looks you've gotten in return, they want some arcane piece of info on some distant ancestor because someone at work or some show on TV made them think about that story you told, only you have no knowledge of …