12 August 2012

Frozen with Indecision

My research has been  frozen by a chain of decisions I've made or not been able to make.  I haven't done any real research or analysis for 4 months.  Have you ever read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? ....

I firmly decided after returning from my Salt Lake City research trip in early April, that there would be no new research until I got all of that trip's output reviewed, analyzed, into my databases, and filed neatly away.  Good idea, right?

After I returned home, I did buy that additional computer I was yearning for in March.  I decided  I would return to my Apple origins and that I would NOT run Windows on my new Mac Book Pro.  So, then it didn't make any sense to do all the data input on the old PC just to have to transfer it later.  I played with the Mac in general to get used to it and I researched Mac database programs.  Narrowing it down to Reunion and FTM for Mac 2, I went off to Jamboree hoping to try them both while there.

I thought my decision was made for me when I actually won a copy of FTM Mac 2 at Jamboree!  And the Ancestry people were incredibly nice at their booth.  In the last two months, I've made gedcoms of my databases and imported them on the new Mac.   I really like how all the Ancestry.com document images are automatically attached/sourced in the database; it's really nice to be able to see the docs offline and from inside my database.  I've even synced 2 of my trees with Ancestry.com trees.  The syncing works quite well.  (Another decision had been to start making my online trees public: why do all this original research if I'm not more actively sharing it?)

But, otherwise, I'm just not sure.  All names and notes seem to have come through fine.   It's cosmetic, but many of my notes are missing spaces between words; I think the gedcom misses some <return> characters between paragraphs.  The biggest problem is that my citations did not all survive the import.  Source notes (IE: condition, edition, comments on validity) have vanished.  In general, the format of the sources is just so different from what I am used to that it is taking me forever to do anything.  Ancestral Quest allows citations attached to the name of the individual (I've been using that for hints, null searches, and sources with more detail than I care to input, etc.).  None of those citations show up in FTMMac2 at all.

Twice  in the last 2 months, I've been so frustrated that I stopped using FTMMac2. I went so far as to download Reunion, MacFamilyTree, and one of the open source alternatives.  But they each had major, major things I absolutely did not like.  And, then I even considered running Windows and a third-party program that would allow me to still run Ancestral Quest on my new Mac.  But, no, I just don't want to do that...  But the Family Group Sheet printouts are so much nicer in Ancestral Quest...

See what I mean by frozen with indecision?  Now, I've decided that if I am sticking with Mac, I just have to decide to stick with FTMMac2 until I get used to it.  And, I don't have to be compulsive about my sources & citations not being as elaborate as they were.  This is a hobby, it should be fun, and I do not have to agonize over perfection.  I am not responsible for archiving the world.

So, I'm going to start getting all that no-longer-so-new research into my new databases.  I really want to do some new research.  That's the part I like best.  Maybe I'll return to having FirstFridayFolders and use that to fully reconcile each direct-line couple between the old and new databases (at 12 couples per year, it'll only take 166 years...) but I won't make that decision now ...  I think I've decided that I'm giving the mouse a cookie, in fact, a whole box of cookies, ...and that means there will be some clean-up to do.... Maybe I can get the mouse to do her share?

09 August 2012

Blogiversary and the Strangest Census Page Ever

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!  This has been a slow year for blog posts, but GreatGreats is hanging in there.  I think the other stuff is getting under control and I can back to genealogy pretty soon...

Alhambra CA; ED 19-668, ancestry image # 20 of 42
My anniversary post is about the strangest census page I have ever seen....  The 1940 census is not a big deal to me--I'm pretty solid for all of the 1900s.  Looking for family in 1940 is just a curiosity, but a couple of nights ago, I succumbed and searched for Grandpa Porter.  Quick and easy, he was right where he should have been with Grandma and Uncle Bill: on Westboro Avenue in Alhambra.  But where are mom and Uncle Ray? 

I ran a general search for Ray and Mom.  They came up at the top of my search, nineteen pages after their parents and brother.  According to the index, they are childen of and in the household of Ethel Magnuson, along with 14 other people, all listed as part of Ethel's family.  Hmmm...Ethel's "family" live on different streets and have lots of different surnames!
Alhambra CA; ED 19-668, ancestry image # 39 of 42
Leaving the index and going to the actual image is where I found the strangest census page I have ever seen!  Notice that house numbers, visitation numbers, surnames, ages, and birthplaces are all over the place.

Here's a part of the left margin.  By the many hand-drawn, horizontal lines and the street names for every couple of entries, it's "clear" that for whatever reason, the enumerator used this page to enter names somehow left off of their rightful page.  It is obvious that the enumerator never intended for these entries to be new households.

For Mom & Ray, the visitation numbers on the image 39 match that of their parents' on image 20. But few of the visitation numbers on image 39 are indexed as written.  All entries on images 39 and 40 appear to be additions by the enumerator.  Image 41 is marked that it was done by the "OFFICE."  Image 42 is entirely blank.

Some of the entries on these 42 pages are indexed correctly as residing in Alhambra.  However, many are indexed as residing in San Gabriel.  I can understand how the "San Gabriel" got there, but why is it inconsistently?

I've started annotating/commenting on Ancestry.com's  indexed info on these 3 pages.  It will take quite a while to "fix" all the transcription (and enumeration) errors and to add comments to make it easier for researchers to "reunite" families.

So, yet another example that we must always check the original image and read the whole page!

25 May 2012

Richardson -- Hicks Marriage

My recent trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City was very successful (the content of my last post was also found then!).  There were tulips and snow (both pretty rare around here), an Easter egg hunt, bookstores, City Creek, lots of food, and lots of fun with my dear friends.  But, I better get back to genealogy....

Great-great-great-grandparents Amos Richardson and Elizabeth Hicks were married 4 October 1810 in Estill County, Kentucky.  I had this data, but now I have seen it myself and I have an image!

 If only this document specifically named all 4 of their parents....
[FHL #254,628, Item 1, unnumbered page is second image in the item]

24 May 2012

Lydia (Cooper) (Crummet) Hughes

Great-Great-Great grandmother Lydia has been a bit of a puzzle.  It's embarrassing to admit that it took many, many months for me to realize that her marriage to John Hughes clearly said she was a widow....  [Duh: No wonder looking for Hughes/Crummet marriages had yielded absolutely nothing anywhere!]

Then, it took quite a while to find her first marriage:
This record is clearly written as CRUMPETT, but CRUMMET seems to be a more frequent form.  Lydia Cooper married, by banns, John Crumpett on 3 December 1820 in St. Peter's in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.  [FHL # 1,040,907, Item 5: Marriages, 1818-1823]

Their (only?) child, Anne Crummet, was baptized 31 Mar 1822 in St. Leonard's, Bilston, Staffordshire [ FHL # 1,040,824, Item 3, p.27]:
I have not yet found a burial for John Crumpett/Crummet/etc., but there are no other baptisms for additional children in St. Leonard's records, and widow Lydia married John Hughes on 23 Jul 1832 in Tipton, Staffordshire [FHL # 435873, 1832 marriages, p. 372]:
I have some additional years/records to review, but I am now fairly certain that this all fits and that I have the right person.  A review of my info by the nice people at British Isles Family History Society gave me the confidence I needed!

I am in the process of tracing Anne Crummet for descendants: new cousins on the horizon???

Geography Notes
It's only about 7 miles from Wolverhampton to Tipton, and Bilston is just about half-way.

Lessons Learned
I must read documents very, very carefully and repeatedly -- especially if I'm not making any progress! And, unfortunately it seems, this is not the first time I've blogged this conclusion....

Joining a genealogy society and using their services can be incredibly helpful!

17 May 2012

More Map Sites

Maps are always great for genealogy.  Here's a site I've not seen before: Big Map Blog .  Some of the great maps there include Los Angeles (1928), Stamford CT(1883), Plymouth Bay (1770s), and British Isles (1801).  I only played around there for an hour or so ....

Another map site new to me is Open StreetMap, which says it is a "free wiki world map."  It's completely free mapping, a la google maps or map quest, but in the open source world.  It will grow and improve with its contributors.  Given the philosophy, there's got to be oodles & oodles of potential applications in genealogy &/or blogging....

I was led to these sites by one of my very most favorite websites/blogs/enewsletters: Planetizen.  It's not genealogy but it is great!  Since its focus is urban planning, maps are omnipresent and there's even an occasional cemetery mention.  I occasionally dream that if I had known about urban planning or if Planetizen had existed 50 years ago, perhaps I might have gone into it instead of education....

I first heard about Planetizen because one of my dearest friends works there.  I receive no special consideration from them.

20 March 2012

Great Book: Hard Road West

... In the category of "Why didn't I think of that?" ...  This book is a must-read for anyone with Gold Rush ancestors.

Hard Road West: History and Geology along the Gold Rush Trail. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.  By Keith Heyer Meldahl.

I have always been interested in geology, as was my father, and many of my fondest family memories relate to rocks and roadside vistas with him.  With lots of maps and illustrations, Meldahl explains the geology of the land surrounding the Oregon and California Trail.  It's an easy read, but maintains the rigor of the science.

The great part is that Meldahl illustrates the geological description with excerpts of the actual journals written by settlers &/or hopeful prospectors as they made the trek in the 1840-50s.  In the preface (p. xv), discussing the trek as the "greatest mass migration in American history," Meldahl explains how the area along the trail is a past that we can see today:
The rocks and mountains of the West have changed little since 1849 (unlike most of the native animal and plant populations and native cultures). The geologic landscape along the trails needs no reenactments, no props, no tricks of animation to re-create historic authenticity. It is genuine. Subtract the buildings, highways, and reservoirs, and you see the landscape much as the emigrants saw it. The past becomes personal when you stand in the old wagon ruts and read what emigrant men and women thought and wrote while looking out at the same scenes. Byron McKinstry, and 1850 pioneer who kept his diary going even through the worst of times, was once chided by a companion, 'My God, McKinstry, why do you write about this trip? All I hope for is to get home, alive, as soon as possible, so that I can forget it!' Luckily for us, there were many McKinstry's on the road west--emigrants who took the time to write, nearly every day, through the months of toil.
All along the trail, the reader learns the geography, geology, and what it looked like or felt to someone actually there at the time.  For instance, on page 210, the caption for a photo of the Humboldt River outside Elko, Nevada, reads:
The steam comes from a hot spring on the riverbank.  This spring flowed more powerfully in emigrant days and was a famous landmark. Forty-niner Wakeman Bryarly described the water as 'boiling hot & sent off steam & heat from its surface, which [was] as hot as the scape pipe of an engine. Even after it ran into the river, it foamed & hissed as cold water poured into hot and sent off steam for 80 yds. below, and extended half over the river.' Many emigrants bathed and washed their clothes here in the spring-warmed river. The ledge and the lumpy, white slope consist of travertine deposits precipitated by the hot water.
The book is very well documented with many notes and an 8-page bibliography.  No less than two of those pages are emigrant history books or journals.Some of the many surnames quoted include Ackley, Bryarly, Delano, McCall, and Searls.

I don't have gold rush ancestry, but my grandparents met outside Elko and several of the great-greats lived, farmed, or mined in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.  So, I know they would have seen many of the same vistas described and explained by Meldahl.  I hope I've done this book justice and that you can tell how much I enjoyed it.

17 March 2012

Hidden Records: Irish Origins in Kentucky Records

The seemingly endless quest to "prove" the ancestry of my Amos Richardson and his wife Betsy Hicks, I was recently reading the Order books, 1808-1938, of the Estill County, Kentucky, Court ( FHL 254,638, Item #1) for the period up to about 1860.  I was hoping to get lucky but, alas, there were no surprises or great leads for me. But maybe these excerpts will be a surprise for someone else?!
John Keller, p. 109

The FHL catalog description for this fillm summarizes these records as court records, officials and employees, and probate records.  I was reading along in this mish-mash of fairly boring records when I suddenly found 6 pages of records on three Irish immigrants!  I've read a good deal of county court records and I have never seen anything like these six pages.

Long ago I gave up realistic expectations of ever finding the origins of my Irish immigrant Keating and Dooley lines: it's just a dream now for me to accidentally stumble on it.  Perhaps that's why these records in the middle of very boring, common day-to-day proceedings in Estill County hit me so hard.

Here are my quick extracts of the highlights.  Of course, interested researchers must check the original records.

Timothy DAILEY, 38, County Cork
Hamilton County OH at age 34
Emigrated from Canada 1 Jul 1848
Arrived Cleveland 10 July 1848
Appeared Estill 1 Aug 1855

Humphrey Moynihan, p. 107
Humphrey MOYNIHAN, about 28 years of age
County of Kerry, Ireland
Document from Bourbon KY 11 Aug 1855

Emigrated from Liverpool
Arrived NY 10 May 1848
Timothy Daliley testified for him: 5 years USA & 1 year in KY

I really  do hope that this info helps someone else celebrate this St. Patrick's Day.  Maybe there's still hope for me, too....

11 March 2012

Other things to do at Jamboree

Jamboree, the annual convention of the Southern California Genealogy Society, is coming soon, June 8-10!
Keep up at the official Jamboree blog

It's time to consider making your visit a real genealogy research trip!  Here are some great places nearby (or what passes for nearby in Greater LA County) and links to their websites:

Given the local importance of the convention itself, I strongly recommend that you call each location and inquire about their hours around the time of the convention.

SCGS Library  --  2.4 miles from the convention
Very good library: especially strong for New England, Germany, and Southern California.  Good online catalog.  Obviously worth a visit!

Immigrant Genealogical Society Library  --  3 miles from the convention
Especially strong in German areas.  Very nice people; I've made some great finds of otherwise obscure info here.

Sons of the Revolution: American Heritage Library and Museum  --  8 miles from the convention
From their website: "The Library specializes in genealogical and early American history resources with emphasis on the Colonial and Revolutionary War period. It also has a fine collection of 18th and 19th century vital records, family histories, American military history and English genealogy."  Good online catalog; otherwise, the website is a bit tricky.

The convention won't affect these sites, but still check their hours....
Los Angeles Public Library  --  15 miles from the convention
OK, y'a gotta go to downtown LA, but this is a super genealogy collection in the basement of the Central Library.  And, contrary to popular opinion, there is public transportation in LA: you can get there.  Excellent online catalog, but note that their holdings are NOT in WorldCat.  Excellent periodical holdings, huge collection of county histories, and lots, lots more. Gary Boyd Roberts of NEHGS once told me that he always goes here when he come to LA because they have many items not in Boston!

Los Angeles Family History Library  --  20 miles from the convention
I don't  know if it's still true after the remodeling, but this used to be the largest FHC in the West (outside of SLC, of course).  Especially strong in UK; special collections for, among others, Polish, Latin America, and Jewish.  Easy to check their holdings from online.

Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Specifically, the  office at 12400 Imperial Highway in Norwalk --  28 miles from the convention
It is still possible to go to this office to search for and see birth, marriage, and death records for Los Angeles County on the spot. Neither photocopies, photographs, nor scans are permitted, but you can extract anything you want from "allowed" records at no cost.  You don't want official copies, you just want to go to the basement and view records.  Once in the basement office, you will have to fill out forms: Have the names/dates you are going to search and your ID ready.

Many of the local community libraries also have genealogy rooms/holdings.  Pasadena, Pomona, and Huntington Beach are some of the largest.  Whittier College Library holds the Whittier Area Genealogy Society collection. 

Have a great trip!  See you at Jamboree!

09 March 2012

Ideas, etc.

[WARNING: This post contains a shameless plug. What can I say? I'm a proud wife.]

Gosh, it's been a while ... but I think I'm back...!  Some things I've learned recently:

If your spouse writes a book, it will seriously affect the time you have for genealogy research, blogging, etc. And, even once it's published, marketing is indeed a full-time job.  The best part may be that now you know you have to be a two-computer household and your spouse really owes you....

If you break your elbow, it will seriously affect your research, blogging, etc....!

One Place Studies seems like a great source for British Isles sites on places, both history and genealogy.  It makes me want to do one for Huttons Ambo or Weaverthorpe or most any town in New England or Morgan County, Missouri or ....

Too many ideas, too little time...