52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Paid Online Genealogy Tools

January 7, 2012

Week 2 – Paid Online Genealogy Tools:

Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most?

What special features put it at the top of your list?

How can it help others with their genealogy research?

This challenge runs from Sunday, January 8, 2012 through Saturday, January 14, 2012.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy (http://www.geneabloggers.com/tag/52-weeks-of-abundant-genealogy/) by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

This one is easy. I use Ancestry.com. Two reasons for that is the number of types of records that are found there, and the records and types of records.

The second reason is the ability to use Genealogy Management software with the records on Ancestry.com.

I think the best example happened a couple of days ago. I was looking at and working on my own ancestry, doing some clean up of the file after 12 years of using the same file. Am taking the tile to make sure that some old data / information is brought up to the way I am handing that information now.

I found a Shaky Leave (Hint) for my Father. I haven’t seen a new hint for a number of years. There were TWO new Hints. Wow! One was an obituary for him, but the second was a link to the Burlington County records website, where I can order the death record for my father. I have NOT seen that one before, nor that type of record. Both of this hints lead to an Index on Ancestry with a link to an external website, where the record could be ordered.

The best news here is that I didn’t even have to “go looking for it” it came to me.

I did a Web Merge, from Ancestry.com into my Family Tree Maker Version 2012 file with the Link, downloaded, filling in a form, and am ordering his death record.

I do find two other Paid Website very, very helpful.

Fold3.com and GenealogyBank.

Many of the Civil War records that I have posted on this Blog have come from Fold3. Great military website.

I have listened to Tom Kemp, of GenealogyBank, on a couple of webinars. Somewhere during each of his talks, I hear “and don’t forget about newspapers”. I am not sure he uses those exact words, but that is what I hear.

One evening, I was attending a local Family History Interest Group, and the talk was to be about GenealogyBank, but the Library Edition, as we meet at a local library. I had just listened to Mr. Kemp talk, and took a chance at doing a search for a story that had taken place at Montmorenciy (talked many times here about that). The story was that one of the owners of that house had been murdered. Hum. A very quick search on GenealogyBank found THE newspaper article that told, in vivid detail on what happened.

These paid websites have helped me move from being a “name collector” to more of a Family Historian. That is to put Stories about the Names that I have. To me, it makes them real.

Side Note: I am still waiting for GenealogyBank to have THE newspaper that has the story of my Grandfather and two of his siblings, arriving in Philadelphia, PA in 1897, where they were NOT met when they arrived by train, with name tags on their toes, after their parents and grandparent died. The story goes that they were taken to a police station, a news paper article posted, and relatives arrived to pick them up. There was a communications issue with the folks that were to pick them up, due to a Ship Wreck on the Jersey Shore that messed up the mail. Can’t find that article either. BUT I keep an eye on the GenealogyBank Blog for their updates.


52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Week 1 – Blogs

January 6, 2012

I am going to try this, for a while. It may be helpful for me.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

I have lost count on the number of Blogs that I follow. I watch Genea-Bloggers weekly list of new Blogs, found some of my own, but generally the Blogs that I follow are about Genealogy or Family History. It’s a way for me to learn. Sometimes, I will take such a learning experience, try it out, and share it here. I think that each of us learn in different ways. What’s nice about the Genea-Blogging community, is the sharing that takes place.

There are different types of Blogs. I know, because I have three. This one, mostly about the Worthington Surname, but it’s also about my experience with Genealogy. My second on is about Family Tree Maker, and the third is pictures of Headstone.

For the past 10 or 12 years, I have been responding to about 25 message boards, most of them about the Family Tree Maker program, and some times it’s easier to show how to resolve a problem, with a Blog, then all on the message board. One way I have learned to use the program myself, is to blog about it. How to use a “new feature”, what are the new features, how can I work around a situation that isn’t in the program (yet).

There are other Blogs that do similar things. “How to ….” do genealogy or family research.

Each of the several hundred Blogs that I follow, some I read word for word, some, not so much. When I did some website development and maintenance, I always said that you have about 15 seconds to get someone’s attention on a website. The same goes, for me at least, for a Blog. Many of the Blog posts I will read in Google Reader, but some times I’ll go to the Blog itself, especially to post comments.

I think it is important and helpful to post comments. It’s a way to encouraging the Blogger to keep posting, to let them know that someone is reading their work. There are also times to ask a question.

Some times there are opportunities to meet the Bloggers in person. Genea-Bloggers are the BEST.

My two cents of Blogs.


Are bloggers the new “experts”?

December 16, 2011

Genea-Blogger Michael Hait posted this today.

The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new “experts”?1

I recommend that you read Michael’s offering.

What caught my eye was this:

You might ask, so what if those old local societies disappear? We have the GeneaBlogger community or that Facebook group to support us.

Moral support, yes–definitely. Research support, far less:

  • GeneaBloggers do not generally scour every cemetery in a specific county and publish full listings of the gravestones. Genealogical societies do.
  • GeneaBloggers do not abstract all of the obituaries of some small county newspaper from the mid-19th century and publish them. Genealogical societies do.
  • GeneaBloggers do not maintain genealogical libraries containing decades of work on local families. Genealogical societies do.
  • GeneaBloggers cannot go back to 1965 and reproduce the resources that were transcribed by the local genealogical society before that big hurricane or tornado hit and destroyed everything.

These resources can only remain available as long as we continue to support the societies that provide them.

I am certainly not an “expert”. I am not trained, no plans on doing so, but do try to lean. No Expert Here.

The article caught my eye because I had just returned to a “local” historical society, and cemetery.

I am involved as an “active member” of a local Family History Interest Group. By active, it’s more then attending meetings. I have share my research experience through presentations. I do that in hopes that others have a few more tools in their research tool kit to help with their research.

This group is not a “Genealogical Society” but are Family Researchers. Most of my presentations are put together by blogging about my research, or how to use research tools that are available to us.

My trip this afternoon was to visit the local Historical Society to do some research. I took with my another one of my Research Tools, a Flip-Pal. There were 6 or 7 researchers in the library and were amazed as to what the Flip-Pal could do. One of the “officials” at this historical society, went to LegacyFamilyTree.com and put an order in for one. He saw what it could do. I had blogged about it, and had some pictures on Flickr for a couple of my project, that instantly caught his attention as he has some projects he was struggling on  how to attack that project. The Flip-Pal appeared to be the answer to his question. Again, I was only sharing my experience with his Historical Society. The flip side is that he shared the frustration in getting folks involved with the Society.

I have also talked about cemeteries, I take pictures, post them on Find-A-Grave, and my blog. Certainly those won’t be picked up by any Genealogy Society, but as a Blogger, I do try to capture pictures of those headstones and make them available. To me, this is another way, as a Blogger, to share.

Have I gone into a cemetery and taken every headstone that was there? No, but I did take one cemetery and I did take all of the readable stones and posted them. I don’t just take pictures I HAVE to, but try to take Find-A-Grave requests.

I agree with Michael, but I am NOT an expert. From the Blogs that I read, and that is probably about 1,000, it’s about Sharing of our experience in doing Family History Research.

The flip side, and the major comment from the Historical Society, was getting Help from folks, in the area, to help preserve what they have. I do what I can do, try to share my experience, and try to encourage others, bloggers or no, in doing the same. I HAVE offered to a local Historical Society, to do some work, but haven’t had the call back requesting help. I belong, pay my dues, and show up from time to time, offering to help.

I hope that these Historical Societies, nor Genealogy Societies don’t “go away”. We will loose some valuable history.

I am sure that other Genea-Bloggers read and comment about Michael’s offering to us, and comment on how WE, the Genea-Blogging community can help these Societies survive.

Thanks for listening.

Back to posting some headstone pictures I captured today.

 

1Michael Hait, CG, “The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new ‘experts’?,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 16 Dec 2011 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed 12/16/2011). [Please also feel free to include a hyperlink to the specific article if you are citing this post in an online forum.]


Tech Tuesday – What Books do I own ?

December 13, 2011

It appears that Books are the topic of the week among Genea-Bloggers. Getting my genealogy books under control was on my To-Do List this past weekend.

Goal: be able to have a list of books that I own and where they are on my book shelves.

I thought I would share a tool that I found that has really helped me.

Collectorz.com Book Collector

Home Library / Book Database Software

Catalog your book collection in no time at all.
Just enter or scan ISBNs for automatic book data & cover art.

I thought that I would share how it works and how it allowed me to have a current, electronic version of my Genealogy Book Collection. How many duplicate books to you have? I have my share, but I didn’t have my inventory. I do now.

There are four pieces to this puzzle. You can do with two, but I am lazy, make my share of typing errors, but the majority of the job can be done with a Bar Code Scanner.

  • Collectorz Book (software)
  • Buddy for Barry
  • Collectorz Book for iPad
  • Buddy for Barry for iPad

The database is on my PC. You can manually enter ISBN or LOC codes into the database. But, I wanted to Scan Bar codes as much as possible. I can always go back and manually enter the ISBN and LOC codes if the Bar Code isn’t on the book.

How it works: Open up Collectorz Book program on the computer. (this is not an instruction manual, but a very high level view of how it works)

On the left is the Buddy for Barry Screen.  It’s job is to collect data from the iPad. When I open Collectorz Book and I am going to use the iPad scanner, I turn Buddy for Barry one. When the iPad is on, I then connect to it.

Buddy for Barry for the iPad is an AP for the iPad. Lots of Details HERE.

The larger part of the screen shows the Genre that I created. Basically I am going to put the books, on bookshelves by Genre. I have some basic Genealogy books, a lot of them, Cemetery collections, books for some states, some Family Histories. In the upper part of the screen is one of those Genre “(folders) open with the book title list.

When I am ready to send the collection back to the iPad, the Blue square ICON is used to let Collectorz to send the collection to the iPad.

BookCollectorz-1

I then set up Collectorz Book to be ready to receive information from the iPad, using Add Books Automatically. You get there from the Edit Menu.

BookCollectorz-2

Over the the iPad, (screen captures are best seen on their website

Making sure that the Wi-Fi connection is active and activating Buddy for Barry, the Scan ICON on the iPad is selected and the camera of the iPad will now try to find a Bar Code.

Making sure that the Cursor on the PC is in the ISBN field, the ISBN number will automatically sent to the PC. You can also batch them between the two, but I found the Automatic feature works really well.

After you collect a number of numbers, then return to the PC to this screen.

BookCollectorz-3

Notice the top Blue square is the ISBN field that the cursor goes into. The 2nd blue square is the list of ISBN numbers sent from the iPad.

Now, Collectorz Book will then do a Search for those books and return the Title, Author, front and back covers, if available, as well as a lot of Publication information (Source Material)

BookCollectorz-4

You can see the ISBN number now are more information. Selecting one of the items, there is a place to Add the Checked Item. You can ADD ALL, but I had already inputted some data before I got Buddy for Barry. AND I didn’t want any duplication.

Clicking on the Add Checked will bring up a window where you can make changes, or in my case, selected one of my Genre’.

BookCollectorz-5

I checked Genealogy. You can create your own Genre just below that list of Genre.

You will see Duplications in at least two ways. You are given the choice to Add it anyway (if you have duplicate books, which I do). The first is a pop-up window, and below that is a warning below the book title.

BookCollectorz-6

BookCollectorz-7

If you don’t want to add the duplicate, you right click on the item and Remove Book.

BookCollectorz-8

Now for the output. Perhaps a screen capture will tell the story.

BookCollectorz-9

Lots of flexibility. In this case, the Genre is in the Left Column. That will tell me on what book shelf the book is. Book Shelves have labels. The sort then is by Author. I’ll use that order for the book shelf. At this point Author sort will work for me.

Screen capture of the “I” device that you are using.

BookCollectorz-10

Data on the PC, Report Printed, now to get the Data to the iPad, because that is what will be with me at a book store.

Activating the Collectorz Book on the iPad would be the next step. Here is a screen capture of that.

BookCollectorz-11

In the upper right corner of this screen is a Downward Pointing arrow, which will be clicked for the download, then going to the PC and clicking on the ICON in the first screen capture, this screen will be opened. It shows the iPad is there, if it isn’t, the Refresh button is there, and once the iPad is selected, the Export button is pushed.

BookCollectorz-12

Shortly after that, the complete collection of books are on the iPad.


My Rooted Technology

December 6, 2011

From an official Genea-Blogger at Roots-Tech2012:

My Rooted Technology

from Geniaus by Jill Ball

By attending RootsTech 2012 you’ll have the opportunity not only to network with other genealogists, vendors and developers and share the knowledge you currently have, but you’ll also get the chance to learn even more about the latest in technology for family history.

As an Official RootsTech 2012 Blogger, here’s a look at the technology I currently use and what keeps me rooted in my genealogy research. I also explain why I am using or not using certain technologies and gadgets as well as what skills and knowledge I’m hoping to gain at RootsTech this year. If you want to join in the fun and show off your own tech cred, here are the rules for the My Rooted Technology meme:

I am NOT an official RootsTech 2012 Blogger, but plan on being there. Here are my responses:

  • Technology you already use: bold face type
  • Technology you would like to use or learn more about: italicize (color optional)
  • Technology you don’t use, have no interest in using or no longer use: plain type
  • Explain or give opinions in brackets [ ] at the end of each bullet point
  1. I have a tablet computer such as an iPad that I use for genealogy
  2. I have downloaded one or more apps to a Smart Phone or similar device [ cemetery / headstone aps ]
  3. I belong to a genealogy society that uses social media [ member APG-SL ]
  4. I use GEDCOM files and understand the various compatibility issues involved [ IF I have to ]
  5. I have added metadata to some of my files and digital photos [ some but need to do more ]
  6. I have utilized an API from a genealogy-related application or website
  7. I have taken a DNA test related to my genealogy research
  8. I have used the FamilySearch Research Wiki
  9. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly for genealogy
  10. I use tech tools to help me cite my sources in genealogy research
  11. I have developed a genealogy-related app for a Smart Phone or similar device [ not in my job description ]
  12. I use a genealogy database program (Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic etc.) (The Master Genealogist (TMG) and The Next Generation of Genealogy Software (TNG))
  13. I use cloud computer resources to store my genealogy data
  14. I have made one or more contributions to the FamilySearch Research Wiki
  15. I have attended a genealogy webinar
  16. I have organized and administered a DNA testing group related to my genealogy
  17. I use apps involving GPS and Geo-caching for my genealogy research
  18. I have a Google+ account and use it regularly for genealogy
  19. I have created and published a family history e-book
  20. I have created a wiki related to my genealogy research
  21. I have conducted a genealogy webinar as a presenter [ co-presenter - twice in SL ]
  22. I read genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research
  23. I have one or more genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research
  24. I have a Twitter account and use it regularly for genealogy
  25.  I have one or more genealogy-related websites which I run and administer
  26. I have created a screencast or video related to genealogy and posted it at a video sharing site
  27. I use one or more digital tools to capture and record my family history

Inferential Genealogy – Written in Stone

November 29, 2011

One of the places that I search is the Find-A-Grave website. There is a wide range of information that can be found or not found there. Depending on who posted the Memorial or added a photo of a headstone you could find families, several generations all linked on Find-A-Grave. Of course, you may find only a Name and a couple of dates, or not find anything at all. An entry not being there may only indicate that no one posted the information.

Just because it’s written is “stone” doesn’t mean that is is right either and I have a couple of those examples.

Today was a trip to help a colleague and Genea-Blogger with a brick wall. I did my research on Find-A-Grave as I normally would do, but suggested to my wife that she bring some of her research with her. This was a last minute trip. Probably an hour notice. But, I knew she has been looking for a couple of specific ancestors. This year, I think we have found 2 of her top 5.

It might be noted that the Same Surname was my excuse to make the trip.

I had her review what I was looking for, on the trip North and East, then asked her what she wanted to find. It was a cemetery, of course, so I told (ooops, asked) her to do her least favorite thing, read a Map. The GPS will get me there, but where was that in relationship to where she wanted to go.

Oh, that was easy, we were going in the same part of New York, which is always a good thing, and wasn’t too far from where our first stop was. I found what I was looking for, plugged in a town name into the GPS, and it took us right to the town hall. (how lucky are we). The nice person at the desk gave us directions to the cemetery.

“should be in the old part of the cemetery” was the words to follow and the cemetery was in two parts, we wanted the second part. No problem. Drove on the roads, to get a good idea what the “old part” meant, stopped and Patti went one way and I went another. The stones where I was going were too old. So I moved to newer stones.

This was not a large cemetery, so I could see her, and knew she was tiring out as she headed for the car. I had to walk down one more path, she can sit in the car, but only one more path.

There “it was” the headstone of her Great Grandfather.

WilliamApplebey

Here is where the fun began. Across the cemetery, I asked if he was a Civil War vet? Don’t know, but could be was the answer. (I’ll let the excuse be that she was tired, as it had been a long day).

There before us was her Great Grandfather William F Applebee.

Two things were wrong about that. 1) bee vs bey, and 2) the middle initial.

She has his name recorded as William without any middle name or initial. She didn’t know for sure. That’s OK. But, she had seen H for a middle name, usually expanded to Henry. Other folks have found that middle name “online” or in someone else’s tree. But, most of that traced back to someone she knows.

This other researcher has been researching for years and because some of the work had ended up in someone’s tree, this researcher stopped sharing completely.

Have you ever looked at a Flat File and seen on a piece of paper a note that didn’t make any sense? Here is one, found in the Goshen Genealogy Library. “Why didn’t “ (this person) “sign up through the Applebee line for the DAR”?

Don’t know the answer to that question, but now Patti can apply, if she wishes, through William F Applebee.

So, what’s with the H and the F. Can’t explain the H, but William Applebee’s first son was Franklin. Somewhere along the line, looking back, she’ll run into a Franklin.

Off to look at Civil War Records and probably Pension files, as William was married in 1867, right after the civil war.

At the moment, what is written in stone, may be correct, but still needs to be verified.

One of the two earlier finds, was his wife in Norwalk Connecticut.

 

Lesson Learned: Just because “It’s” Written in stone, doesn’t make it right.

 

but sometimes it is


Inferential Genealogy – Research Broadly

November 28, 2011

Its been a while since I updated this project. Haven’t stopped, but have taken a break.

In the mean time, I have been working on a Brick Wall for a Genea-Blogger, Randy Seaver. His “Brick Wall” came about the two of us using our favorite genealogy software. I have blogged about that on my Family Tree Maker blog.

This blog post is not about software, but a Road Trip I just returned from to address this brick wall.

Basically, Randy is looking for the Parents of Willam Knapp (1775 – 1856).

So, why am I interested? Easy, my wife has Knapp’s in her ancestry, and we have visited more than one cemetery looking for and at Knapp headstones.

To put this into perspective, I mapped out the Birth, Marriage, and Death Location on a Map.

William Knapp (1775-1856)

 

Consider: Birth 1775, Dutchess County, NY; 1804, Woodbridge, New Jersey; 1856, Newton, New Jersey.

I do NOT challenge or question any of Randy’s research. It is awesome. I have learned a couple of things from his research. My advantage, maybe, that I know these places. By car, mostly interstate, between Dutchess County and Newton is over 2 hours today. But to through in a 3 hour “detour” to Woodbridge, in the 1800’s, leaves me with some questions.

We have tracked my wife’s ancestors between the two end point a couple of time, no detours, didn’t pass go to collect our $200.00 and it’s on one road Route 94, in both New York and New Jersey. The cemetery visits were along that road. Goshen, mid-way is full of Knapp’s. More questions.

In reviewing Randy’s notes, included a comment about Dutchess County. I had one perspective of Dutchess County based on today’s maps. Not questioning the “starting” point for William, but to make sure I was looking at the Right Starting point. The pin-point on the map is close enough (for government work).

Consider this (from wikipedia)

Putnam County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York, in the lower Hudson River Valley. Putnam county formed in 1812, when it detached from Dutchess County.

OK, so now the “starting point” just grew a bunch. The good news, more places were we have found Knapps, the Bad News, more Knapps.

I need a (K) nap (p).

From my earlier experience with Baltimore, I had to get into my head the territory. (there’s a song in there somewhere). I bribed my wife into taking a road trip to see if we could find any of her Ancestors. She agreed and she took some research notes with her. That’s another story.

I did some looking at Find-A-Grave before we left. I knew that the Dutchess Genealogy Society / Library was closed today, but that was OK. I wasn’t sure where to start in Dutchess County (current county) but figured that where ever that library was, would be a good start. Find-A-Grave gave me a bunch of Cemeteries. Searched for Dutchess County for Knapp, found over a hundred possibilities, looked closer at a couple of “big hitters”. That is, a bunch of Knapps, but with 1700 headstones. Not looking for William, but perhaps a sibling, if there are any, or some other names to look for, trying to back into William’s family. Perhaps a book store or historical society looking for clues.

The clue there was to find out why William might have left Dutchess County, to head south to meet his wife. Have read some of the history of her family trying to find out if she had been somewhere before she ended up in Woodbridge. That wasn’t the case, in fact she had pretty heavy times to that area and Hackensack, New Jersey where she returned to after her husband died. So, at this point, William went south, but why.

More questions. Found an old book store, Nothing, zip, zero, Oh well. On the way to the first cemetery, we ended up on a road “New Hackensack Road” in New York. Not too far down that road was NY State Route 94. OK, what’s going on here?

Came to the first cemetery, Bethel Baptist Church of Shenandoah Cemetery. Small and very nice. My Find-A-Grave printout said there were 42 interments there, most that have been posted were, in fact, Knapps. From the parking lot in two directions, you could see Knapp headstones.

I usually try to find the history of a Church if there is one. There was a car in the parking lot, but nobody was home. Ran down my first set of batteries, had to go back to the car for the back up, and on my way back for more pictures. the Pastor of the Church walked to his car, and wanted to know if he could help. History? nope, BUT … like that word … but “I know someone who does”. Actually he gave me two names. He pointed me to a Headstone, which is where I was headed back to, and one of the names used to be the Historian for East Fishkill, which is not far from where we were. AND (more good news I hope) he is a genealogist. Quick Email to Randy for “future reference” and posted a picture to Facebook.

Isaac Knapp - Founder of this Cemetery

 

OK, so he died in 1859. I wonder.

Although that is where we are right now, but I just found a couple of other bits and pieces to look for.

On the trip to Poughkeepsie, I was expecting to find a Negative Source. Some hint as to why Randy hasn’t been able to find any information. But, I know have a contact who might be able to shed some light on why can’t we find William Knapp, any historical event (like a burnt court house) that causes us not to be able to find any records, why would young Knapp go down to New Jersey?

The term “I know a guy” has been running through my mind on the return home from this trip.

Lesson Learned: Keep looking. Look sideways (look for siblings or descendents of siblings), Ask a local Historian; Keep asking questions. I have the questions, but may have found someone with an answer or two.


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