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!