We-re Related APP–Update

November 12, 2016

This has been a fun project. I thought I would pause for a moment and see how it is working.

As a reminder, last weekend my APP crashed so I had to start over. The good news is that I had created an EXCEL spreadsheet to see IF I really wanted to spend time playing around with the APP.

Here is a Status of the work to date:


I have collected 35 We’re Related cousins. This data does not include information from 8 of them. The data is from my Genealogy Program as of a few minutes ago, but captured since 4 Nov 2016. I didn’t start recording this when I started and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to capture for a status, so there are many blank fields.

I have entered 27 of the Cousins information into my database. All 4 of my Grandparents are represented in these relationships.

This chart doesn’t show, but 17 of the 35 We’re Related cousins were already in my database with another 8 I was 1 generation short of the Common Ancestor. So in my real database, I can go back one more generation on those 8 people.

Of the 512 people in this database, I have 200 of them with Hints in my Software, and 1,052 Record Hints in the Online Tree. Not to mention 367 Photos and 22 Stories. Lots of data to work with, to prove or disprove this APP.

What I have learned, so far, is that I think I can use this Online Tree as a way to collaborate with another family researcher. I have my “rules” that I use for my databases, and have found a way to make that information available in the Online Tree. My File Notes in my Program are part of the Ancestry Member Tree. I also have figured a way to share my ToDo list in the Ancestry Member Tree.

My thought here, is making those two items, and probably more later, available to one of my We’re Related Cousins, and have that cousin work one or two HINTS to prove or disprove the data from the APP. My thought here is that this cousin would know their family better than I, they could look at the hints and be able to quickly evaluate if that record was for that ancestor and add that additional piece of information to their ancestors profile. Not to create massive tree, just so that I can determine if the information from the APP was Accurate or Not. All I am thinking of at the moment, is to have one record, or the best record to document dates and / or relationships to say yes the APP was right or the APP was wrong. The merging of the Data from Ancestry will provide the Citation information, so that stressful task is out of the picture.

A Collaboration Tree, of course, would go into much more detail, but I am only trying to determine IF I can communicate with the cousin enough to make this work.

It would be my hope that the Comment section of the Online Tree, per profile, would help communicate specific issues for a person.

ONE Observation about the APP:

It does NOT appear to be static. Meaning that I recorded the information when these items first appeared. I had a question on one of the people in the tree, looked at the APP again, and the Common Ancestor CHANGED. In this case, the first go ‘round, it was the wife who was the Common Ancestor. I didn’t know the father or husband, but HE was the Common Ancestor the 2nd time. It actually made more sense with the updated version, so my guess is that Ancestry.com is tweaking the APP.

I only have one of the 27 trees that I have put into may database what I have questions about. I have a couple of individuals whose data I question. From the couple that I looked at, including one of mine, it was a Data Entry problem, not a research result problem.

So far the APP looks very promising. I am hoping to develop a model tree so that I could collaborate with a Cousin.

The Ancestry “We’re Related” APP–Update

November 8, 2016

An additional update, just to give you a sample of the information and Hints produced, so far, from the We’re Related APP.


There are only a few empty names so far, and most of those individuals have Hints to work with. Again, entirely created with data from the APP. And I have a few more “new cousins” information to add.

The Ancestry “We’re Related” APP–Update

November 8, 2016

Beside a melt down of the APP over the weekend, the APP is working pretty well. My goal here, is to put some numbers behind this project, and to see how good or bad it is. My point to date is, I enter a name into my database and I am seeing Hints from Ancestry, some times even before I enter any dates.

All Data in my PC Family Tree Maker (FTM2014.1) file is solely from the APP. No records have been looked at, only what is presented in the APP.

For example:


  • 374 People
  • 14 Generations
  • 1,215 Facts (all documented)
  • 60 Citations
  • 1 Source (the APP)

There are a few Data Errors, that are also documented. BUT the best part is that 148 people had Shaky Leaf Hints to use RECORDS to Prove to Disprove the APP.

I started this project by creating a Google Sheet of each of the relationship charts in the APP. That turned out to be a Back Up when the APP decided to stop working and I had to start over. Actually, that was a help, because I was able to use that time to create an Online Tree from FTM2014.1. The Google Sheet is here:

Cousin Russ We’re Related

Using the APP you can view the Ancestors for the “Cousins” back to their common ancestor. This is what one looks like.


I took that data, and ONLY that data to create that Google Sheet. From there, I created an Ancestry Member Tree, using FTM2014.1.

My goal here is actually had TWO purposes, after I thought about this for a bit.

1 – To evaluate the APP for accuracy. At first, I saw a number of people put the APP down. I don’t know, but I want to see how it might work. I had a bad experience earlier with a web based app like this.

2 – Can an Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) be used for Collaboration. The became apparent with the number of Facebook Friends, who are also Genealogists work on an AMT with the owner of the tree.

I am sure  that each of us has “brick walls” and perhaps working together we can help with those issues. The best example has already happened as one of my new cousins was also a DNA Match. With the APP we are pretty sure who is the Common Ancestor. The APP suggests it, but I am a couple of generations short of that common ancestor. In looking into this one, I have a Local (locally published) book on the Location of our “common ancestor” that actually mentions my known family and my new cousin’s known family AND they were neighbors. That book, doesn’t have my ancestor, but may have my cousin’s ancestor. Together with might be able to help each other. A DNA and Paper Trail working together.

The next example of how this has worked already, is the APP has suggest to DearMYRTLE and I at lease ONE of our Common Ancestors. She mentioned one of her Cousin Connections from the APP, mentioned the Common Ancestor. I looked in my database and I already have her Ancestor in my database, as a brother of one of my ancestors. We didn’t have to research to find the common ancestor, but now we can PROVE this relationship from the Hints generated by our Ancestry Member Trees.

I have figured out how to communicate with my newly found cousins what I can only see in FTM2014.1 but would be helpful to them. For example, I have some File Notes, on how I enter my data, then they need to know. I figured out how to do that. My ToDo / Task list will also be available to them, in the AMT.

The plan, at the moment, is to let my new cousin’s, take their Ancestors and Prove the line. Not with a lot of work, as there are hints there, using the AMT Hints, select a Record that documents the information in the tree, update the profile with that record. I would then Sync the AMT with FTM2014.1, and see how we did. That is Records to Prove the APP data was correct or incorrect.

Just looking at the data so far, there are almost 700 RECORD Hints in the AMT, based on the data entirely from the APP.

Stay tuned.

The Ancestry We’re Related APP

October 25, 2016

Facebook is on fire about this new Ancestry.com APP, We’re Related. Lots of Genealogist and Bloggers are “talking” about it on that social media platform.

Since I have seen another website, with similar features, I had to jump in and see what it was all about. I would put is in the category of “cousin bait” or a very “Bright Shiny Object” (BSO).

My GeneaBlogger friend, Randy Seaver, has a number of blog posts on this topic:

In watching his blog posts, I found a number of common people showing up on my list as well.

From my experience with the other BSO, I thought I would check into some of the folks that have appeared on my list. Knowing that there may be some truth in these relationships, but also may be some more work involved, I thought I would see what I was dealing with and IF there were any folks on this list who might be of interest to me, and / or my family and the Next Generation.

What If: one of the next generation was a fan of Carrie Fisher or Johnny Depp. That might get them interested in the research that I have done. BUT, how much work would I have to do, to make that connection.

So, I created a spreadsheet:


I entered the names and relationships, according to the APP, created a Category, as provided in the APP and determined who the common Ancestor “might” be.

In reality, of the 11 famous people, I actually had 2 of the 11 common ancestors in my database and in my Ancestry Member Tree. I have 3 more people, where I was 1 generation from that common ancestor.

Looking at the details of what is on the APP, if have determined that all 4 of my Grandparents have been represented in these relationships. Of the 11, 3 are on my Dads side of my tree, 8 on my Mother’s side of the tree. I really thought that was interesting.

In the above list, blurred out, are 3 Facebook Friends. All Genealogists. This may be a really cool collaboration opportunity. In fact, just last week I had a new DNA connection for my Mother’s great grandfather’s line. That same line is a line of one of these Facebook friends.

At least I know what I have to work with, IF I want to follow any of these BSOs.

I then created a tab in my spreadsheet for each of these famous people.


I chose, for this example, Winston Churchill. my “reported” 7th cousin, 1x removed. This is one of the common ancestors that I already have in my database.

This spreadsheet is giving me an idea as to how much work I might want to undertake to prove or disprove my relationship back to the common ancestor. And / Or do I want to actually follow the other line down to that famous person. I haven’t done this yet, but I may already have information on that other line in my database, just looking at the surnames involved.

I will probably post some additional information on this activity, as I would really like to get back a little further on this Canadian / DNA Connection with my Facebook friend and Genealogist to see if this APP might lead to some Collaboration in the future.

Spelling Doesn’t Count–Mystery solved

October 12, 2016

Guess I shouldn’t have made that the title of the post, so you get that answer, before how I got there.

The problem, genealogical question, is Where is the 120 Acre Farm, owned by this Civil War Soldier?

Before I get there, what I learned is, not only have another set of eyes look at the problem and where you are, but another discipline set of eyes. What I learned is that a person at a Historical Society might approach a problem (or Genealogical Question) from a different angle.

I had been emailing two members of the Washington Township Historical Society and their approach was certainly different. One program that they offer, at least once a year, is a Historical House Tour. So, they might use Deeds far more than I would or have. They know where to look. Very helpful hints.

Today, I knew that some one was going to be at the Museum so I stopped by to see what else I might find. I had mentioned that the father of my soldier “rented the Dufford farm”, from a reference book they had in their collection.

I was presented with a 2” wide box for that surname, as there is a local family organization in the area, as the family has been around for a very long time.

While I was looking through that collection, another person went to look at maps. A similar map from want I had been looking at. Much clearer, but know knows the historic area better than I, but I heard “I found something”. There is was … all I can say …. “spelling doesn’t count”.


Who would have looked at Woertz, when I was looking for Ort, on the map. I had seen that on the map, but had not oriented by mind to where that was in reality.

Now, I had found my Civil War Soldier’s family with a street name, so I knew where the property was from the Census Record. The Map showed the same location.

I had done the Census, back a page or two, forward a page or two, so I knew the neighbors. The bad part of that is, the combination of names are very similar around the township.

The 1880 Census was my next stop (again).


Then I remembered, no “next page”. But, the answer is on the previous page


Across the street on the map, very nicely shows D. Dufford, as does the Census.

A different set of eyes, different way to research, AND “Spelling doesn’t count”, helped me identify the 120 Farm that was talked about in that Pension File.

Thanks to the Washington Township Historical Society for helping resolve this Genealogical Question.

More on the Post Office

October 11, 2016

Over the weekend, I listened to the Board of Certified Genealogists / Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Great job to the presenters and a Thank you to Legacy Family Tree Webinar for making these recording available.

Specifically to Judy G. Russell‘s BCG/Legacy Family Tree Webinar “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records” you can now catch it for FREE for a limited time! http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1310

The point that I picked up on, was that we can, at some point in time, put one of our time consuming, reasonably exhaustive research (or search) aside. That was important because I have been spending a lot of time trying to determine how this Post Office indication, in this 1870 Census record played a role in locating this farm. Was it an important “issue” to walk away from.

Not willing to just walk away from it, I took one more try. I went to another website, in this case FamilySearch.org to see what I could find there. Went to their Wiki and located their Census Records.

I wanted to look at the same data, but from a different angle. It was easy to locate the Township Census Records, found what I was looking for and went to the First Page for the township. Sure enough the same Post Office. Went to the last page, same Post Office. Because of the way this website presented the data, I thought about the notion of a page or two before you entry, and a page or two after your entry. Just did that for my township. What about the neighboring township? Sure enough, I finally found my “permission” to put this “issue aside. The next township also had the SAME Post Office on all of it’s pages.

But, did the township borders change? Earlier I had located a Google Book entry for the History of the County, so I located a hint about that:


No impact there. So, the Post Office issue, for the 1870 Census is off of my plate. Thanks Judy.

Before “this chapter” is closed, I am in the process of going page by page (image by image) through that 1870 Census, to locate all of the households for the family I am searching for. The earlier Map I share before clearly showed that at least two farms had the right names associated to the property. Now can I find them on the image. So far, using the usual search hasn’t found them, but if I browse the images, I may find what I am looking for.

My current thinking is that if the Civil War widow is asking for an increase in her Pension, specifically mentioned 120 acres of land, in 1907, I should be able to find that farm.

One more bit of information. I found another map that had the farm owners name AND the acreage and year of purchase of that property. Not, the farm wasn’t listed there either.

Back to the Historical Society, but with new questions.

Follow Up on the Post Office, Pension Challenge

October 10, 2016

As a follow up you my earlier post

1870 Census and Post Offices–A Challenge

I decided to put some data into a time line so see what that might show me.

Here is a time line of what I found about the Post Offices that appeared in the Pension file.


(remember, spelling doesn’t count)

I have started a spreadsheet to help be catalog the 126 pages of pension files. For this pass, the only concern that I had was to capture dates and Post Office names. I have a few notes to go back to, but trying to see of the Date and Post Office would tell me anything.



From the Pension file, Schooleys Mountain was the Post Office in the file from 1870 until 1907. That would indicate that they were living “on the mountain”. As you can see, 1907 and 1908 the Post Office changed to German Valley (the post office in “the valley”). Then, in 1910 returned to Schooleys Mountain.

So, something happened in 1907, right? Well, the Civil War Soldier, died 21 Oct 1907, so it appears that the Widow relocated to “the valley” with family. Several of the documents in 1908 talked specifically about 120 Acres that she had.

The 1900 Census shows that my Civil War Soldier was on “the mountain” with his wife and 4 children. I know where that property is located. The youngest son, would purchase a farm “in the valley” in 1916 (our 100th anniversary farm). But, the widow, returned to “the mountain”.

Why did she go back up “the mountain”? Could it be that a grandson still owned the farm on “the mountain” after he purchased the farm “in the valley” ? There was still family about where I think the farm is located today in the 1940 Census. Could that be the 120 Acre Farm?

But, why the 1870 Census Post Office being 22 miles away, with other Post Offices still active at the time.

Back to the Historical Society, for another look at their information on the Post Office and to see if they have any other Maps. I have already reviews the Online Maps, but before the 1900’s. They may also have access to or  can point me to, Deeds for the Property that I know about, and to the size of that Farm.

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