Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not to get all techie, but ....

I have just downloaded a couple of new pieces of software that I find interesting.   One I have used and one I intend to start using tomorrow.   The one I have used is called GenScriber #GenScriber and it is #FreeGenealogySoftware .  This is a wonderful tool.  It allows you to pull in a jpg of a document (i.e. census sheet) downloaded from #FamilySearch, etc. and had templates for the fields available by year.  The image can be magnified as needed to make out the enumerators handwriting.   Once completed, the work can be saved as a CSV file.  The information can also be exported as a pdf among other formats.   I found this to be a great tool.  Much easier than trying to write the information down on a form while looking at the screen.

I have one #ImprovementSuggestion and that is to have the ability to enter the census header information as well as the line item information.   Other than that, I find #GenScriber to be a nice addition.  Thank you #DickEastman for the article on the software!

Now for the second piece of software, #Evidencia.   As I said, I have not started to use it yet, but I am a bit perturbed with the vendor since they sent me an email to sign up for a class on how to use the software.   When I click on the sign up button,it takes me to a page on their web site that says there are no events.   Really bad form.   If there is nothing to offer, do not sent out an offer!!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Hope Your Relative is Dead

That is one of my favorite quotes from presentations by Dr. Deborah A Abbott ( #DeborahAbbott) - always hope that your ancestor is dead, because then you might find a record of them.   The recently announced Michigan Probate Records (#MichiganProbateRecords) being available on got me hoping to find my great grandfather's probate records.  He died in 1929 in Wayne County which is one of the last years that is loaded for that county.   No luck!!   Then I looked at Oakland County.   The first year loaded was just a couple of years prior to my great great great great grandfather's death.   Now, there is no index to the images.   So, being a good mathematician, I applied a binary search process.   BINGO!!!  I found the Probate Record.   A new piece of gold.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Must Keep Digging, Sometimes More Than Dirt Appears

I decided to document my search for my great great grandfather, Ezra Peter Koontz.  I had very sketchy information and I wanted to get my To Do list ready for when I am in Salt Lake City at #FGS2015RootsTech Conference.   I knew that my great grandfather, his son, was born in Indiana and that great grandpa was a cabinet maker (there are still items he made in the family).   But, little was ever said about his father and mother.   Well, dig and dig some more -- using variations on names -- great grandpa's name was unusual, Casimer, but he claimed it was really C.P.  Then I tried  g-g grandpa as Ezra, as Ezra Peter, and as Peter.   Then, looking for either of Ezra's wives -- the man made this easy, they were both named Mary Ann.   BINGO!   Found Esra, Mary Ann and son Casimer.   And his occupation was cabinet and chair maker.  What a find!!!   But, now I have to find more and know more about him.

Happy Trails to me!!

#Genealogy #CensusSearch

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What's in a name?

For whatever reason, I have been ignoring my great-great grandmother's parents.   My only excuse is that I got caught up in other branches and just never got around to them.    I went through many family reunions where my mother's cousins told me I had spelled their grandmother's name incorrectly.   My Grandmother provided me with the spelling of her mother's name: PHEBE ANN GARDNER KOONTZ.  I went with the theory that her daughter was a better source than any of her grandchildren.   A number of "all knowing" first cousins, once removed, assured me the proper spelling was the traditional PHOEBE.  I then found where great grandmother Koontz signed her own name as PHEBE.   That was a good indication the cousins were wrong.   But, it did not explain the strange spelling of the name.

Now, I am not totally unfamiliar with strange spelling of names.   My mother's name was Jmae (pronounced J me).  So, there had to be a reason Phebe dropped the O.

I finally started going back up the tree.   Phebe's mother, Mary Ann Cummings Gardner, died at an early age and her husband, William G Gardner married three more times.  So, that end was a scramble.   All I had was Mary Ann's father was Abner and they were living in Connecticut at the time Mary Ann and William were married.   Well, I did what I was supposed to do and started the #Census search for Abner.   To the best of anyone's recall Abner had died in 1848, so I was looking before 1850.   I found Abner with the appropriate household members in the right are of Connecticut,  But, this was all before 1850.   No names of family members other than Abner.   So, I stared in #1850Census since it contains a list of all the family members and looked for Mary Ann Cummings in the same town in Connecticut.   Well, what popped up, but Mary Ann as the daughter and Phebe as the wife.  That is right PHEBE.   Wife, not Widow.  Well she was Line 1.   Wonder what was on the #previouspageofthecensus.   Abner was alive and well.   In fact he lived until 1884, not 48.

So,  my great grandmother was named after her grandmother, using the same spelling.   There was a reason.   What is in a name?   Sometimes, a whole lot of family history....


Saturday, November 1, 2014

I really need to put together a work plan

OK, I am going to #2015FGS and #RootsTech this February and am planning on getting to Salt Lake the first part of the week.   The part of the conference that I am interested in attending most of the sessions are Thursday through Saturday.   That means I will have time to actually RESEARCH!!!  That is why I need to put together a #RESEARCH_PLAN .   I want to make the most of the time I have, not knowing when I will be able to get back to #SLC.   Anyway, I have started with the on line catalog, searching and isolating reference materials.   But, life keeps getting in the way.   Maybe, I need a  work plan to develop a Research Plan.....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Now to verify my cousin's information

OK, now I have the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census updated to my two lines, WEAVER and LANE.   I can now compare what I have previously complied with what my cousin just sent me to see how close we are in information.  This is where #SOURCE is critical -- did the information come from a primary, secondary, or tertiary source?   If the information is from the document provided by my cousin, then she is the source, which is tertiary -- I need to find proof.  But, it gets me moving again.   And, it builds on my #TO-DO List for when I am at Salt Lake City in February at #FGS2015 #RootsTech2015 .  Luckily, I plan to go early and have a few days at the Family History Center as well!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

As soon as __________, I am going to ___________

Well, in this case it was as soon as Legacy 8.0 is released, I am going to go back and update all the census pages I have been collecting over the years.   I used the excuse since Legacy 8.0 allows you to share census (event) information across family members so you do not have to retype or copy and paste.

The best of intentions.   I did 1940.  I started 1930.  I got busy.   Then I received a note from a distant Weaver cousin which has me back in the 1850 - 1880 census records for the Weaver and Lane families.   It was a great kick in the pants.   Now, there are all those other lines that need to be caught up......

#LegacyFamilyTree #CensusUpdate #Genealogy

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Closing in on really getting some time....

OK, all this time spent cleaning out my parents' house has put a stop to any research and therefore no updates.    But, it was not for naught.   (like the word usage?)    I never knew that my mother was baptized in the same church that I was and ON THE SAME DAY.    I had always assumed she had been baptized as a child.   Goes to show you, things are not always what you think they are.  If you do not find something when you think it occurred, expand your time search.   Maybe they waited.  #LateBaptism #Genealogy #ChurchRecords

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wish Grandma weren't so cheap.

OK, that might sound a bit harsh, but I just found the death notice for my grandfather in a pile of photos and papers while cleaning out my parents' house.    To say the information is scarce is putting it mildly.   The notice lists my grandfather's name (no date or place of birth), my grandmother's first name (no maiden name, no number of years married), the married names of  their two daughters (no identification of the husbands) and then that there were four grandchildren.    There were only four of us, couldn't you have sprung for a few extra words and named us off, Grandma?

Too often we forget the purpose of a death notice is more that to say so and so died.  It is to give a capsule version of their life and family; those who meant a great deal to the deceased.   As a genealogist, the purpose is to leave a trail for future researchers to follow.    So, as I alluded to, I am cleaning out my parents' house due to the recent death of my father.   I had control of the notice that was placed.   Future researchers, you are welcome!

#DeathNotices #Obituaries #Genealogy

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hard to keep head in the game

With the complexity of the day, it is really hard to keep my head in the game and do any research at all.    News from the Middle East and Missouri keep creeping into my 'need to know' and I find myself diverting.   The Middle East is just scary.   Missouri reports remind me of Detroit in 1967 -- I was there.   It is very sad.   I can only hope that when things settle down, they take a good hard look at what were the true underlying causes and address them with all the effort possible.   This was not done in Detroit; bandaids were applied.   And the rest is history.   Forty-seven years later and still trying to come back.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

DNA -- Test Results

I really need to take the time to figure out what they mean.   I have paid for the big 3 and now I am getting matches, but have no idea of what to do next.    This is a bigger project than I anticipated.   I should have done a LOT more research before I jumped in with both feet and my checkbook!   Stay tuned as I try to make heads of tails of these results.  #DNAresults #GenealogyResearch

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It will never happen to me ....

Just got back from my parents' house in #Downriver #Detroit.   This was the first day I could get there after the #RainCausedFloodsOf2014 hit Detroit and flooded all of the roadways.   A number of freeways were under 14 to 15 feet of water.   I kept reading on FaceBook about the streets and homes in my old home town being flooded and I was really concerned about my parents' home.  I have been cleaning the house out after my father's death, so there were no records or photos or other critical heirloom objects down in the basement - but, there were a couple of months ago.   We really need to think about what kind of media we store and how and were we store it.    My parents' have had that house for 65 years and the basement has never flooded.   But, there could have been a first time.   This was supposed to have been the largest storm to hit the are in recorded weather keeping.  

So, think about all your stuff and where it is kept.   I know I intend to rethink a lot of what I have and what I will be bringing in from my parents' home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Time, Time, Time -- I want to find more time

Why can't I find time to go back in time to find my ancestors?   It seems that both life and death are getting in the way.   I never really understood the demands placed on the poor Executor of an estate until I had to become one as my father didn't quite pack everything up into the family trust and now I get to go around the Probate pole.   I am fortunate that I have a lawyer that moves things along and there is not a lot of wait time -- but then I could use some time.   Creating an inventory of possessions that need to be divided among family members and trying to identify where each of the treasures originated is really time consuming.

So, if you have a number of family #heirlooms be sure that there is a record of their origin that someone (your next of kin) can find when you are gone.   Otherwise, it is anyone's guess and your children just might toss out great grandma's rocker that if they had only known.    And if you think sharing this information with your children though they years as they are growing up is all that is needed, WRONG.  You might get lucky and one of them remember what each of the items are, but there is no guarantee that is the one that is going to sort though your stuff.   #WRITE IT DOWN! #MAKE IT FINDABLE!

Just a side note.   Make sure you store the SIGNED copy of your will with in a bank safe deposit box that your executor has access to enter. Do not get fancy and stash it where no one can find it.   A copy of the will that says signature on file is worthless.

#end of rant Tuesday

Sunday, August 10, 2014

So, it is VJ day and it has meaning in the family.

It is VJ day, in 1945 horns were blaring, church bells were pealing, and my great grandmother, Effie Clarissa Lee Weaver was being laid to rest.  But, that is just the beginning of the story.   Effie had purchased a six grave plot in the near by cemetery - one spot for her husband, Lemuel, one for herself, one for her beloved son, Lee, one for his wife, and one each for Lee's two daughters.   As the family lore goes, on the way home from the cemetery on that noisy day, my grandmother turned to my grandfather and said, "Lee, tomorrow we go out and buy our own cemetery plot somewhere else because I am not spending all eternity at that woman's feet".   Now, to understand, Grandma never raised her voice or really spoke harshly.   So, without a doubt, they did go out the next day and purchase their own plot in a different cemetery.  

Apparently, my father had a better relationship with his mother-in-law than my grandmother did.   My parents purchased a plot and have been interred head to head with my mother's parents.

#Odd Family Stories #VJ Day

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

OK, Get a copy of the Will and other documents WHILE THEY ARE ALIVE

For everyone dealing with trying to figure out a deceased relative's affairs, I feel your pain.   My parents created a joint trust to protect their assets.   When asked they swore everything was in the trust less the cars.   They had moved the house and all their stock holdings and everything was ready to avoid a long drawn out probate.   Well, they failed to keep the signed copies of any of the wills created in the Trust.   So, luckily, I found wills create 11 years prior.   At least we are entering Probate with a will.   But, they sort of forgot to file the quit claim on the house to move it into the trust.   Hence, we are going into probate instead of filing a simple small estate form to cover a 14 year old car.

No matter how disrespectful, it may seem, ask to see the signed documents, make copies, and then ask exactly where they are going to keep them (what bank's safe deposit box that you are a signer to access).  

At least my father will leave a paper trail in the probate system for future generations.....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

DNA Is Back

OK, the results of my first attempt at a spit in the vial DNA test came back.  Did it through  Found out Grandma was spoofin about being part American Indian.  The rest was no big surprise.  Until I got an email from the husband of a woman who is supposed to be my first or second cousin.   She does not know who her biological father is.  Sunames for her mother do not match.  I have no known male uncles.  I smell a family scoundrel!   A genealogist dream.