FINALLY Get Organized–What to do when you can’t research

March 22, 2016

Big plans today, smashed, as I couldn’t do any research. FTM2014 isn’t “talking” with, so what I am going to do. Oh, yeah, get organized.


I have been really careful in this 5 Generation file about the Citation’s. Not that I haven’t before, but really working on the format and punctuation that is required. In the past, not so much.

Also, making sure that that “accessed date” was included. There is a unique with FTM2014 when using the Template feature about that.

Because I couldn’t do any real research, I decided to spend the time looking at my Citations.

One thing that I had been doing with this file, is entering the full name of the person in my database, as part of the Citation, as it should. Somewhere along the way, I trying to shorten the accessed date to me “Mar” and nor March.

So, I had to check what EvidenceExplained has to say about both. Although not spelled out, the examples were very clear. Then I had my dah moment, of course. The citation will reflect whose record I was looking at, but using the link would get me to THE person whose record I have just found. The examples also had the month spelled out.

So, I am now reviewing my 342 Citations.

So far, it’s going pretty quickly, not done too bad of a job, but well work the time to go back and clean them up. Get my Citations Organized.


Lesson Learned: Review your reference material, like Evidence Explained, and review how I have implemented that information into my Citations

FINALLY Get Organized–5 Generation Status

March 20, 2016

I started out in one direction, but changed, base on the FINALLY Get Organized project from DearMYRTLE. My project started by trying to prove or disprove a Mayflower connection. It didn’t take to long that the information suggested by the Mayflower Society at Roots Tech was not going to work. and the FamilySearch Family Tree results had issues. Did a straight line back 17 generations and knew there were issues.

So I decided to change that project to a more worthwhile and meaningful use of my time. Just focusing on 5 Generations.


I have had other status reports and events as the project has moved along.

Because I am giving a presentation at the Fairfax (VA) Genealogy Society in April, I wanted to capture some real data on how the research process I use for Information Overload really works, when I use that process and follow those Shaky Leaf Hints.

Fairfax Genealogical Society: DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ’ presentation topics

Here is an update on a fresh database that I created on 08 Feb 2016:















Media Files


I have followed 228 Hints and have successfully used 156 of them. Having worked those 155 hints, 57 other hints disappeared, as expected. 14 Hints I have ignored based on the reliability of those hints. They are on my ToDo list if I need hint for those individuals. 2 were not for my person. That was due to limited data on that person in my file at the time I ignored that hint.

107 of the Media files were pictures that I had taken or scanned images that I have in my files. An additional 15 Media files were from the linked Ancestry Member Tree that had Photo Hints. As it turned out many of them were from may main file with 9,000 plus people in it.

All of my Citations are in the Template format, meaning that they are very close to the Evidence Explained format. (that is a work in progress). I have no undocumented Facts. Each of those 2,545 facts have at least one citation linked to them.

Research Log for each person and a ToDo list with 448 items. 235 Items on my ToDo list, of which 15 are notes about the file in general, not work items.

The fun is the stories that are starting to develop. For example, my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother had 10 Children. At no time was there a census record that found the entire family at the same place at the same time. However, one census record did have a child who only lived a couple of months. Another of the children who died early had a Shaky Leaf Hint that was an Index hint, that actually let to the record that the hint was base on. I had blogged about that From an Index to an Image.

Lesson Learned: Having some organization in how I named my files, made my finding those images, specifically, very easy. I knew where to look and new what the filename should be.

I have added some of the data learned from the Finally Getting Organized project to my upcoming presentation.

FINALLY Get Organized–Office Organization

March 18, 2016

In my office needed, I needed a little organization, at least on the Shelf above my computer monitors. I took a few minutes to clean up my act.


My lamp for Hangouts is clipped to this shelf just above the right monitor.


Getting ready for a Monday with Myrt


Coffee is front and center, ready to go. Trello on the Left (main monitor), the HOA on the Right.

FINALLY Get Organized-Status Week of 10 Jan 16

March 12, 2016

Going to try to get caught up on my status. I have been keeping up but not reporting back like I should so:


Week of January 10, 2016

Task Status
1. First, back up your data Absolutely. Hard Drive is constantly being backed up and I randomly do a Restore of one of the backed up files — same with my genealogy database, but it several times a day as I work on it
2. Decide on a genealogy management program Family Tree Maker (FTM2014)
3. Enter 5 Generations into my genealogy database Complete
4. Set aside a 3-ring binder for your surname Declining to create Binders. I work so my better on the computer
5. Label oversize tabbed 3-ring dividers and insert in the surname binder I label any folders, by PERSON, as required and have a project folder. Very little paper
6. Print out family group sheets starting with yourself They are instantly available with my software
7. Place the 4 family group sheets  behind the appropriate generation dividers  in your surname binder n/a
8. Scan and file photos and documents relating to each of these four generations in your surname/maiden name binder This is where my organization of Filenaming has come into play. In fact, I am now bringing in photos of anyone that I might already have into this new database
9. As soon as you’ve scanned them, place all important “must save” photos and documents in top-loading page protectors All digital, so far
10. Create an introduction for those that follow Not quite ready to write up an introduction for a person yet
11. Add a “genealogy codicil” to your will by making an appointment with your attorney. ToDo List

Wow, what a busy week. I have listed each of the tasks from the DearMYRTLE blog for the week.

FINALLY Get Organized-Filenaming

March 11, 2016

On the post recent Mondays With Myrt, we talked about File Naming, for our Digital Files and how we file them on our computer.

This project of Getting Organized and this new file I am working on, have come together.


I am working on my 5 Generation file, staying focused on the Descendants of my Great Grandfather. He specifically, so that I can create a book for my new cousin.

I would normally have the Find-A-Grave website pretty high on my list of websites to work on. In this case it is NOT. Mostly because I do a lot of detailed work on the information from that website, especially if there are links to other family member which takes time. I am  using the Index Hints from as a breadcrumb to go to the Find-A-Grave website late. (no ToDo lists for them, because I’ll work off of the Citation List from the Ancestry index.

Since I have done a lot of work taking photos and uploading them to the website. I have about 1,600 photos in my collection. Then it dawned on my, I have those photos already organized. But I needed to  check it out, and I do.

My filing system for Cemetery Photo’s isn’t difficult but here is goes. It is made up of 4 major components:

  • State
  • County
  • City
  • Name

Notice, NO Cemetery Name. That is because I FILE these files by Cemetery.

For me, it’s all about sorting. I  use an Underscore to make the filename more readable, for me at least.

Here Is a screen capture of my spreadsheet on how I track these photos to show it it pays off for me.


This starts a column “S” to get to the filename. There are columns for the State, the County, the City, the Cemetery to the left. My spreadsheet is also about Sorting and Filtering.

I use these photos for a number of reasons as well. These are my photos but I want to use them for another Blog that I have, for uploading to the Find A Grave website, and for my own use.

That is where this organization (for me) paid off. This 5 generation tree is “my folks” many of whom lived within a couple hour drive so I have taken my own photos.

You will notice some cells in Yellow. That is how I KNOW that I have added them to file.

When I brought these photos into my database I navigated to that Cemetery Folder and selected and brought a COPY of that image into my database. It only took a couple of minutes to get those images into my database. The spreadsheet had the data I wanted in my database but I worked off of the Image that is now in my file. Yes, all properly cited.

At the end of the name part of the filename, I will add things like –1, or –plot, or –sign, because when I take the photos, I book end the pictures in the cemetery with a sign or two OF the Cemetery. They are also in this spreadsheet AND my database.

Filename Format:

ST_County_City-Surname_FirstName_MiddleName-[number] if required.

Do make this work a little easier, I put the photos in Folders.

Folder Format:



If you can read that image, you will see that I have pictures from 4 different cemeteries in Baltimore County. It has worked for me, to stay at the County Level, and not create a City level or piece of the filename.

This system has worked for me, but it took a little thought, and to figure out how best to sort the information. It also helps keeping  names consistent.

I do a lot of copy / paste of the Filename. I use a Type Once, Paste a lot mindset.

Here is a link to the Mondays with Myrt Hangout I mentioned earlier.


Mondays with Myrt – 07 Mar 2016

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