Friday, December 29, 2006

2007: Realistic Expectations

In hindsight, my genealogy resolutions for 2006 were pretty ludicrous. Although one brick wall was busted, I wasn't able to get very much done. This time around I'll try to be a little more practical:

1. File more papers.

2. Scan and tag more photos.

3. Complete at least one surname project.

That's about it. It may not seem like much, but considering how much I actually got done in 2006, it would be fantastic to make progress in these three areas.

I need to concentrate on resolutions #1 and #2 just to survive, so to speak. Having papers sorted and filed will make it easier to find what others are looking for, or what I need in order to review clues. Not being able to easily find certain papers is frustrating. And while I'm a big fan of Picasa, I'm way behind on tagging photos. I also have a mountain of photos to scan. Doesn't everyone, though?

The surname project is something I've been heading toward since I became interested in genealogy. I'm at a point, at least for some families, that it's time to start putting everything together into a booklet or CD-ROM package. I look forward to using the newest version of Ancestral Quest when it's released, and finally getting serious with Passage Express.

I don't anticipate ordering nearly as much microfilm in 2007 as I did this past year or the year before. By cutting back on microfilm I'll be able to free up some time. More importantly, though, there won't be as many papers and/or digital files to deal with after a visit to the library. This is really where I hope to gain some ground on the information I already have, but haven't dealt with in a proper manner.


Monday, December 18, 2006

MO Death Certificates, 1910-1929 and 1950-1955

The Missouri death certificates project is making steady progress. When the database went online in April, approximately the first ten years of records were scanned and ready for the public. Since then, certificates have been added a year at a time. Users will now find that the Archives and volunteers have made their way through the second decade of records, as well as the last five years for the project.


Success in Springfield

I went to the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois, and came away with a clue that may someday allow me to cross off the FUCHS family on my "Where did they come from?" list.

Adam FUCHS' obituary states he was from Markersreuth, Bavaria, which is in northern Bavaria and not far from the Czech border. It's great that a town name was specified, but I've got two problems with this info. First, in Adam's daughter's obituary it states she was from Nürnberg, which is 123 km southwest of Markersreuth. It's possible that Adam migrated to the big city at some point, but I feel a little uneasy with the discrepancy; I haven't found much migration within Germany in my German research, especially with those that farmed. The other issue is that the Family History Library has no church records available for Markersreuth. (I've thought about writing to the church in Markersreuth, but I'm still waiting for previous letters to Germany to even be acknowledged.)

I also found a few other obituaries and mentions of those that had moved away and died out of state. There were also several instances of not being able to look for an obit because film doesn't exist. Oh, well.

The Lincoln Library is a very nice facility and I look forward to going back; it's a lot easier to find obituaries there than running all over the state looking for microfilm. Parking at the library was better than at the nearby State Archives, and the staff was helpful.

While in Springfield I passed on the Lincoln Museum, but did go on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House. I liked some aspects of the house, but overall I don't see what all the fuss is about. Especially bothersome was the interior scale, which isn't suited for someone 6'3".

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Over at Rootdig, Michael John Neill reports that Google now lets users search for patents. I haven't found anything relevant to my ancestors, but I did find a few records for distant relatives (e.g., August RICK, the nephew of a 2nd great-grandmother).

As Michael noted, it's probably best to include the town name in your search so that you won't have to sift through as many search results.

Google Patent Search

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Small world

From time to time I get together with a cousin (4th once removed on the WIEDEY side) and her husband to do a little research and chat. While discussing random research topics, she mentioned having trouble finding records in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. I misheard her comment and replied that I was also having trouble finding a few records in southeastern Missouri while helping a sister-in-law with her genealogy. She asked where in SE Missouri I was researching because her husband was from that area, specifically Puxico in Stoddard County.

My sister-in-law's father and ancestors were from Puxico.

After exchanging a few names of interest, it was shocking to find out that Janet's husband Ron is the 2nd cousin of my sister-in-law.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

If you could travel back in time to conduct genealogical research, what software would you take with you?

I don't use Legacy, but I subscribe to their blog for its other news. Over a month ago, their post "Transcribing images made easier with Transcript software" caught my eye. I downloaded the program, but only recently tried it. Man, how I could have used this several years ago.

Ignore the two comments on the Legacy page about MS Word being an adequate substitute. Any process that requires two separate windows -- one for the image, another to type text -- is less efficient than using Transcript, even when the windows have been resized for simultaneous display.

Two words, guys: window focus.


I may eventually be able to claim common ancestry with someone not very popular

Renee Zamora wrote about BYU's Relationship Finder last week and I figured there would little chance I could use it. Then I remembered that the AVERY family of Connecticut was likely included.

As I've written before here and on my site, connecting myself to the AVERYs is a bit tenuous. It all depends on some admittedly thin evidence found on the SHIPMAN family. The SHIPMANs as a whole aren't exactly a researcher's dream, unless you're into that frustrating, hair-pulling kind of self-inflicted abuse. The conclusion reached by myself and others seems reasonable, but it's far from a slam dunk.

Anyway, I looked up the AFN for Margery AVERY, believed to be the grandmother of Charles SHIPMAN, who is the earliest SHIPMAN I know I descend from, and waited for the results.

I don't know what I expected to find, but at the bottom of the list were John HANCOCK (3rd cousin, once removed), George H. W. BUSH (4th cousin, 6 times removed) and George W. BUSH (4th cousin 7 times removed). The connection is through Richard INGRAHAM, someone I apparently need to research if/when I ever get serious about my New England and British roots.

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'Tis the season

I must have missed the start of the season before Thanksgiving, but I feel better now that I've recently seen the annual ritual of bickering about old family and regional recipes being relevant to genealogical mailing lists start up again.