Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quincy, Illinois, newspaper archives

   Wouldn't you like to know what your ancestor had for supper on June 19, 1917?
   My wife knows.
   On that date her father had beef stew, sliced beets, baked corn pudding and ice tea.
   He didn't record it, but The Quincy (Illinois) Daily Journal did in an article headlined "Notes of Camp Parker" published June 20, 1917.

   Camp Parker was the training camp for the Fifth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard and Paul Hendrickson was a cornet player in the regimental band. The band was "working hard, practicing twice a day," the article reports.
   This insight is thanks to the Quincy Public Library's Quincy Historical Newspaper Archive which I discovered not too long ago. Newspapers published in Quincy from 1835 to 1919 have been digitized and indexed. It's a wonderful source and easily searched. If you happen to have ancestors in Quincy (western Illinois or eastern Missouri) check it out.
   I don't have ancestors there that I know of, but I do have an interest in my father-in-law's time in Quincy in 1917 with the Illinois National Guard.

   I've printed several articles from the Daily Journal and transcribed three of them so far and added them to my website. More will follow as time permits.
   I've also started adding some images from postcards I recently scanned relating to Paul's service in Quincy and at Camp Logan in Houston, Texas. More will follow.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

With Nannie's help

   I never met Nannie Jeter. She died about a year and a half before I was born.
   That is . . . until today.
   I received a request through FindAGrave for a photo of her headstone in Midway Cemetery near Midway, Kentucky.
   The cemetery itself was easy enough to find even though I hadn't been there before.

   It's a lovely cemetery, but very big.  When I parked the car I said to my wife, "This is a waste of time. We'll never find it."
   I didn't have a map or a section number, just the name.
   But we got out and started to walk as we've done for years, scanning the stones we could see from the roadway looking for Jeter.
   No luck.

   Finally I stopped. "Come on, Nannie. Show me."
   I wandered rather aimlessly, I thought, repeating the mantra, "Show me, Nannie."
   Finally I stopped and turned and faced a row of stones. There about 10 feet away . . . was Nannie's stone.

   It was scary. It was chilling. It raised the hair on the back of my neck.
   Was it blind luck or . . . something else?
   I don't know and I don't wish to start a debate.
   But, "Thank you, Nannie!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Look on the back

   Since finishing reorganizing my research notes, I've tried to concentrate on scanning pictures from my mother's "Ancestor Albums."
   On a majority of the pages, particularly the first ones I worked with, the pictures were pasted down.
   But, the last few I've worked with my mother started using photo corners. With the pictures in corners, the options were to risk damaging the photos by taking them out or scan them in place.
   At first I opted to scan them in place but then I decided to try to get one out without damaging it.

   Holy Cow! Look what's on the back -- names and dates my mother had not written on the scrapbook pages next to the photo.
   This photo was the biggest treasure so far. When I got it out of the corners and turned it over I found it was a postcard which the woman in the picture, my great aunt Edith (Carrigan) Elliott had sent to her mother, my great grandmother, Rose Ann (Rogers) Carrigan.
   The stamp had been peeled off and the postmark date was unreadable, but my mother had identified the baby in the picture as Floyd Elliott, born 25 May 1911. It would seem from the age of the child that the picture was taken later in that year and probably mailed soon after -- perhaps November 4, 1911.

   The card was addressed to Mrs. Rose Carrigin, Georgetown, Illinois, RR.
   The message was "Hello - Ma what do you think of this picture why dont you cone up I have got a quilt in good By Edith"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why am I doing genealogy?

   And, what direction should my future efforts take?
   An excellent post, "Organizing Those Documents and Photos" by Lorine McGinnis Schultze at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, and some wonderful comments, particularly one by The Grandmother Here, really got me to thinking.
   I started to add a comment, but realized two things.  I needed to mull over the ideas first, and what I wanted to say might not fit in that little comment box.
   I had just finished a three-month project organizing my research notes (see I've GOT to get organized -- DONE!).  Yes, my notes are now in order.  If I need to find one, I think my chances are pretty good at being successful. 
   I didn't voice it, but in the beginning I thought if I organized my notes some repository, some place, some day would perhaps not want them, but take them.  Three months later, after looking at every single page -- from 45-year-old hand-scrawled notes to recent printouts of online digital records -- I don't think that any more.
   Other than the few one-of-a-kind "family archive" records, a good genealogist should be able to take my sources to a computer or a good library and reproduce them.
   Think about the transcripts of census records taken from scratched-up microfilm before the days of online digital records. Would you trust those? Wouldn't you go to the source and look at the original, a better original than I looked at 30 years ago?  

   Naw!  When I'm done with them, these file drawers are full of dumpster fodder.   And when I'm done with them will be when I quit doing genealogy (read that senile or dead).
   So I'm back to what Lorine is pondering, finding a way "To ensure that my research into my ancestry is passed on."  I am not going to throw away 45 years (and counting) of work. 
    So what's the answer?
   Lorine's current plan is binders for her ancestral lines only. She has children and grandchildren to pass them to.
   I have two wonderful children who have, to date, only shown mild interest in their ancestry.  That's probably my fault in not working to develop that interest.  I only have two step grandchildren, wonderful young people, but they have their own ancestry and it's not mine.

   There are always options.
   The first I've been doing for several years -- a web page -- http://www.jimgill.net.  But personal web pages are not permanent.  When I go, it will go.
   Online tree services.  But how permanent are they?
   I really like the look and feel of WeRelate, but I wonder if it will survive.  I only have time to do this once.
   I've recently been granted access to new.familysearch.org but haven't had the time to do more than read Randy Seaver's posts on Genea-Musings and experiment.  Data-wise, I suspect it's about as permanent as any could be, but there are problems.  For me those problems include no pictures, limited sources and wading through the morass of unsourced documents.  In all fairness, my first post connected me with a cousin I didn't know I had. 

   So what's the answer?
  For me, I think it will be paper -- not that I won't upload my whole RootsMagic database some day.  RM has created a very nice interface to new.familysearch making it, I suspect, about as easy as it can get.
   I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I will be investigating what I can do with RootsMagic and my recently upgraded version of  Serif PagePlus X5.  Between the two of them I should be able to produce pages of genealogy and pages of pictures that can be printed in multiple copies for family and interested libraries.
   I will keep you posted on my progress.

   As a final note, I was delighted to read the comment by The Grandmother Here who wrote, "The joy is in the journey.  Searching and finding is what I enjoy."
   Yes!!!  So do I!
   Maybe that's why I have so many green folders in my file drawers -- sources I've found but never entered into my RootsMagic.
   Without doubt, I'd rather be searching any day.
   Although . . . I've got to get that information into RootsMagic.  I can't go online with it or to paper if I don't. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

I've GOT to get organized -- DONE!

   Yes! Hallelujah!
   And, it only took three months.
   Five file drawers full of research notes are now in proper order. Notes are in color-coded folders. All notes for which sources could be even remotely identified are entered in my List of Sources Searched (LSS) database.
   I didn't plan on this step, but any obituaries or documents such as birth records, death records etc. have been scanned and the original records put into sheet protectors and sorted by family into three-ring binders. Prints of the documents are in the notes folders.

   Some final statistics: 108 ancestral names and 8,045 sources in my LSS.
   This project has been a humbling experience. My file drawers are a sea of green folders. Those are the ones with the notes that have not been entered into my RootsMagic. I enjoy research and I think I'm pretty good at finding information. But . . . that doesn't make me a good genealogist.
   That's one of the next projects -- entering that mass of data into my RootsMagic, turning the green folders into blue folders (sources entered). That may take years!
   I'll also review my families in RM. Some of the sources are from previous generations of database programs tracing back to PAF. They need to be corrected to EE style.
   I also need to send for official birth, marriage and death records to replace my abstracts and transcriptions.

   The other next project is pictures. We have hundreds, maybe thousands of albums, prints and slides from our families. They need to be culled, organized, scanned etc. A new CanoScan 8800F scanner sits on my desk and archival supplies are in-house from Gaylord to make a good start. I have to give a tip of the hat to Gaylord. I've had two orders with them recently and their service was exceptional -- delivery in 2-3 days.
   I think I'll focus on pictures for a while.
   Although . . . there is that roll of microfilm on order of Montgomery County, Ohio, tax records.
   What can I say, I'm addicted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've GOT to get organized -- Update

   It has been a little over two months since I started this project. My guess is I'm a little shy of half way. I have five deep file drawers of research notes and I'm into the third drawer.
   I've changed my mind about how to deal with newspaper clippings, primarily obituaries. I'm scanning them and making a printout, but I'm not attaching them to the printout and keeping them with the research notes. Instead they are going into clear plastic sleeves and filed in three-ring binders with other records pertaining to that family.
   One of the interesting items I found that I didn't know I had was a deed from 1868 for a cemetery lot in Calvary Cemetery in Chicago purchased by my 3rd great grandmother Margaret Harbison. She was a widow and her husband, John Harbison, and other family members, are buried there.

   I must admit, a lot of my sources are not well documented. Some are from when I was just starting and others are from when I should have known better.
   So, just in case there are a few new genealogists out there who haven't heard this sermon from Genealogy 101, let me repeat it. If you follow these rules, you will thank yourself and save yourself an immense amount of time later.

   When taking notes:
   Never, ever, ever put information about more than one ancestral family on the same sheet. Ultimately, you will have to sort your information by families. Having more than one ancestral family on a sheet will require, at minimum, a photo copy.
   Never, ever, ever put information from more than one source on the same sheet. You may need to sort your notes by places or record types and breaking this rule will lead to more time-consuming photo copies.
   Never, ever, ever write on the back of a sheet. When you analyze your data and you lay those notes out on your desk, part of the information will be hidden and perhaps overlooked. More photo copies.

   And last, but not least:
   Always, always, always record where the information came from -- IN DETAIL.
   Oh, I wish I had followed these rules years ago. My current organizational effort would be so much easier. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday - 'Shifty' Gill

   While going through some old notes (part of the "I've GOT to get organized" project) I ran across a letter from Mrs. Edward (Virginia) Gill of Newport Beach, California, dated 24 Aug 1971. She was a subscriber to my "Gill Gazette" which was published for one year.
   Her letter included a transcript of a wanted poster she found in Tombstone, Arizona.

Aug., 1899
$1000 REWARD
Bascom "Shifty" Gill

WANTED for stealing stage coach and 2 strong boxes with $12,000 payload in boullion and coin consigned to Ranchers-Miners Trust Co., Phoenix, Arizona.

23 years of age, blond hair, 5' 8 1/2", 160 lbs.  Wears black hat, shirt, vest, and pants.

Sheriff, Joe Kilgren
Douglas, Ariz.

Mrs. Gill asks, "Will anybody claim him?"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Preserving Heirlooms

   The May Family History Workshop presented by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Genealogical Society will focus on preserving your family's heirlooms.

   Louise Jones, KHS director of special collections and library, and Trevor Jones, KHS director of museum collections and exhibitions, will discuss techniques for handling, storing and preserving artifacts and paper materials.

   The "second Saturday" workshop will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 14 at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History at 100 W. Broadway in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The seminar is free and open to the public.

   A box lunch (sandwich, chips, cookie and drink) is available for $6, payable at the door. You must register before noon on Friday, May 13, to reserve a lunch.  To register, contact the library's reference desk by email or by calling 502-564-1792, ext. 4460.  You can also bring your own lunch or go out to several near-by restaurants.

   Following each workshop, the Kentucky Technology in Genealogy Users Group offers a free program to help support family history researchers' use and understanding of technology.

   After the workshop, plan to stick around for a little research. The library will be open until 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tech Tuesday - HathiTrust Digital Library

   While searching for source information about the "Wisconsin Helper" on a research note in my Gill family folders, I was directed by WorldCat to HathiTrust Digital Library.
   That was a new one for me.
   I found that the "Wisconsin Helper" had been digitized and could be searched, but was not available for full view because of the copyright.

   I was curious! What was this library? A news release from Indiana University had a brief history of the trust.
"The HathiTrust was created in 2008 through a partnership with the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the 11 university libraries of the University of California system and the University of Virginia. Since that time HathiTrust has grown to encompass the research libraries of more than 50 institutions. HathiTrust was built to enable libraries a means to archive and provide access to their digital content, whether scanned volumes, special collections or born-digital materials. Preserving materials for the long term has long been a mission and driving force of leading research libraries. Their collections, accumulated over centuries, represent a treasury of cultural heritage and investment in the broad public good of promoting scholarship and advancing knowledge. The representation of these resources in digital form provides expanded opportunities for innovative use in research, teaching and learning, but must be done with careful attention to effective solutions for the curation and long-term preservation of digital assets."
   Statistics on the home page says the trust holds 8,577,950 total volumes, 4,701,131 book titles, 209,874 serial titles amounting to 3,002,282,500 pages and 384 terabytes. And only three years old.

   Even though I'm not supposed to be doing research right now (you remember the "I've GOT to get organized" project), I had to give the library a spin.
   You can do a Catalog Search, or a Full Text Search or set up your own Collection. I didn't want to take the time to try setting up a collection, so I decided to dive in to a full-text search. As I discovered a bit later, there is an advanced search for the catalog but not for full text (coming in the future).
   Hmmm. OK.

    Gill. Search is very fast. Returned 880,669 hits, 263,073 in items available for full view. A few too many to look through in . . . what . . . two years.
   William Gill. -- 707,645 total, 229,770 full view. Default must be AND or I'd have gotten more hits.
   "William Gill" -- in quotes -- 6,872 total, 3,421 full view. Still too many.
   "William Gill" & "New Brunswick" -- no good -- use AND or OR or a minus sign (-) to remove words as search terms.
   "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" -- 2,610 total, 1,266 full view.
   "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" AND Brockway -- 719 total, 250 full view. I might wade through those some day. Maybe add "-Jersey" to eliminate New Brunswick, New Jersey.
   One more: "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" AND "Anna Brockway" -- 5 total, 1 full view.

   That's drilling down. 
   The full view was from New Jersey so no help, but one of the "search-only" books I had to find -- Early families of "the Mackadavy" : settlers before, during, and following the Loyalist period, Magaguadavic Valley, Parish of St. George, Southwestern New Brunswick, Canada. Two clicks took me back to WorldCat which told me the closest library owning the book was Allen County -- 210 miles away.
   OK. I'll buy it. It was published in 2004 so it should be available. Well, maybe. Amazon didn't have it. A Google search found one website that said it's out of print and another that said it was $35. The latter site had the author's email address so I fired off an email for clarification. Email bounced. No such address. Not a good sign. This will require some additional research.

   Pages from full-view books can be read on the HathiTrust website. The PDFs also can be downloaded if you are on the domain of a partner institution. Alternatives are to check Google Books, Internet Archive or elsewhere for a downloadable PDF.
   HathiTrust has been added to my Google bookmarks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've GOT to get organized -- Update

   Progress has been very slow. I've been revisiting the Brockway folders, entering all the notes into the List of Sources Searched.
   The last two folders contained ancient correspondence. Some of you might remember hand-written letters, carbon copies of typewritten letters, hand-printed pedigree charts and family group sheets.  (How did we survive not getting a response for three weeks or three months?)
    Just to prove that this disorganization I'm fighting is nothing new, I quote from a letter I wrote on April 6, 1986 -- just a few days over 25 years ago. I quote:

"I'm about to go berserk here. Some of my notes on this problem are missing from where they should be in my files. (I think I had them out when I wrote to you 2 March and apparently I didn't put them away.) One of these days I'm going to give up all my other responsibilities and get my genealogy in order.  I promise!"
   It's taken 25 years, but a promise is a promise.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Fred A. Brockway

   I'm not sure how I came to have these two obituaries of Fred A. Brockway. I have no record of him in my RootsMagic, but then there is a lot of data on my paper family group sheets for the Brockway family that has never been entered into the computer. Several Ancestry Trees indicate this Fred A. Brockway is the son of Andrew S. and Jennie A. (Bristol) Brockway. If the ancestral lines are correct, there is a good chance he is a distant cousin.

The State Journal [Lansing, Michigan]
Sun., Aug 19, 1979

2815 Northwind Dr.
East Lansing
Formerly of Flint and Harrison

Mr. Brockway, age 94, died at a local hospital Aug. 17, 1979. He had been a resident of the Lansing area for 4½ years coming from Harrison. He was a Life Member of Flint Lodge No. 23, F. & A. M.; Life Member of Elf Khurafeh Temple of Saginaw, member of the Genessee Valley Commandry No. 5, K. T. and a member of Kishma Grotto No. 77. Surviving are: 1 sister, Leila B. Thompson of Lansing;; 3 nieces, Mrs. Betty Bissell of St. Augustine, Fla., Mrs. Joan Andrews and Mrs. Marilyn Johnson, both of Lansing; 2 nephews, Paul Collier of Harrison and Tyrus Poxson of Creed, Colo. Holt Lodge No. 572, F. & A. M. will provide the service at 1:00 P.M. Monday in the Estes-Leadley Holt Chapel, with interment in North Cemetery. Pall Bearers will be provided by Holt Lodge No. 572, F. & A. M.

Towne Courier [East Lansing, Michigan]
Vol. 18 No. 33
Page 5A   August 22, 1979

Fred Brockway, 94
   Fred A. Brockway, 94, of 2815 Northwind Drive, East Lansing, died Friday, Aug. 17, at a local hospital. He had been a resident of the Lansing area for four years coming from Harrison.
   Mr. Brockway was a life member of Flint Lodge No. 23, F&AM; a life member of Elf Khurafeh Temple of Saginaw, and a member of the Genessee Valley Commandry No. 5, K.T. and Kishma Grotto No. 77.
   Surviving are his sister, Leila B. Thompson of Lansing; three nieces and two nephews.
   Services were conducted Monday, Aug. 20, in the Estes-Leadley Holt Chapel with the Holt Lodge No. 572 F&AM officiating. Burial was in North Cemetery.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Funeral Card Friday - William H. Bowen

    "A precious one from us has gone, . . . "   Gone but not forgotten was William Henry Bowen, my great granduncle, who was born 15 March 1860 in Vermilion Co., Illinois, and died 12 December 1908 in Oakwood Township, Vermilion Co.
   This funeral card printed in gold ink is among the pictures and memorabilia my mother pasted onto the pages of her "ancestor albums."
Josephine Bowen
   My connection to the Bowen family is through William Bowen's wife, Josephine Carrigan, who was born 28 June 1867 in Georgetown, Vermilion Co., Illinois, and died 28 May 1932 in Danville, Vermilion Co. She was the daughter of Henry and Lucretia (Savage) Carrigan. Josephine and William Bowen were married 1 Mar 1888 in Vermilion County.

   William and Josephine Bowen had three children -- Oscar, born 17 January 1889; Goldie L., born 2 October 1890; and Fred Leo, born 23 May 1895. All were born in Oakwood Township, in or near the community of Fithian.
   William and Josephine are buried in Stearns Cemetery in Oakwood Township.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cemetery Preservation Workshop

   Cemetery preservation will be the topic for the "Second Saturday" workshop April 9 sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Genealogical Society.
   Doors open at 10 a.m. at the Clark Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, and the program begins at 10:30.

   Speakers will be Ann Johnson, KHS cemetery preservation program coordinator, and Phil DiBlasi, staff archaeologist at the University of Louisville.
   Johnson will discuss KHS resources available to family historians and cemetery preservationists and DiBlasi will discuss the use of GPS to document cemeteries.
   A visit to Frankfort Cemetery is planned as part of the workshop to demonstrate stone cleaning and the use of GPS.

   The Kentucky Technology in Genealogy Users Group meets at the close of each Second Saturday workshop with a talk or discussion of a technology topic of interest to historians and genealogists.
   The workshop is free and open to the public. An optional box lunch is available for $6, payable at the door.
   To reserve a lunch, contact the KHS library reference desk by calling 502-564-1792 or by email before noon on Friday, April 8.
   The Clark Center for Kentucky History is at the corner of Ann Street and West Broadway in Frankfort. There's free parking in the lot across West Broadway.

   The library is open until 5 p.m. on Saturdays so it's a good opportunity to come to the workshop and to get in a little research after it's over.
   You'll usually find me behind the counter taking registrations at the workshop, so please say "Hi".

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sorting Saturday - I've GOT to get organized - week 3

   This will probably be my last post on this topic . . . at least for a while.
   Work is progressing and I've taken to heart the suggestions about not throwing unsourced notes away but keeping them as clues. Since I'm making the effort to have all notes entered in my LSS (List of Sources Searched), that frees up the manila folders to house the clues.
   I suspect I'll have a lot of "clues" once I get into the notes I inherited from my mother. My mother spent a lot of time talking to her cousins and gathering pictures from them, but she was not as careful at recording the source of the information as I tried to be. (I try to scan a few of the pictures in her "ancestor albums" every day.)

   The Carrigan folders have had my attention the last couple of days. I have more notes on this family (my maternal grandmother's) than almost any other.
   In the process, I ran into newspaper clippings -- mostly obituaries. Some were loose in the file folders. Some were taped or stapled to letter-sized paper.
   I realized the first order of business would be to gently remove them from whatever they were attached to, scan them and make a printout of the scan to go in the notes folder. But then what?

   Throw the originals away? No, I didn't even consider that.
   What I finally decided to do, but I'm hoping to get suggestions from you on this, is to put them in a sheet protector, cut the protector down to letter size (cutting off the edge punched to go in a binder) and then stapling the protector holding the clipping to the printout. I don't think the clipping will fall out and the original will follow the printout from green folder to blue folder when the data is entered into my RootsMagic.
   If I had family binders as DearMyrtle recommends, I'd put them in there. But I don't.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Ninety Years Old

   "A birthday dinner was served at the home of William Carrigan at Morey chapel Thursday in honor of the ninetieth birthday anniversary of Mrs. Henry Carrigan. The latter was presented with a birthday cake from her granddaughter, Mrs. John James, upon it which was placed ninety candles and it was lighted by her great granddaughter Maryann James. She also received a beautiful bouquet of gladolias from Mrs. Elliott of Danville. Among those present were Mrs. Alfred Rayle of Los Angeles, Cal.; Mrs. Grace Crawford of Oakwood; Mrs. Lidge Carrigan of Catlin; Mr. and Mrs. John James and daughter of Grapecreek; Alfred Carrigan and Mrs. Ree Miethe and daughter of Georgetown."
   Unknown newspaper (perhaps Danville (Illinois) Commerical-News; handwritten date Aug. 16, 1923.

   Lucretia Savage was born 16 August 1833 in Brown County, Ohio, married Henry Carrigan 3 January 1850 in Brown County, and moved with her husband and first child to Vermilion County, Illinois, about 1854.

   In addition to the newspaper clipping which my mother preserved in one of her "ancestor albums," she also included a picture of the event. Standing, from left, are Mrs. John (Lucinda Carrigan) James, Lucretia's daughter, my grandmother; Lige (Elijah Fitch) Carrigan, a cousin; John T James, my grandfather; Luella (Carrigan) Rayle, Lucretia's daughter; Alfred Carrigan, Lucretia's grandson; John William Carrigan, Lucretia's son, and his wife, Rose Ann (Rogers) Carrigan. Lucretia is seated, holding her cake with the 90 candles and standing to her left is 11-year-old Maryan James (one 'n' on the first name, please), my mother.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sorting Saturday - I've GOT to get organized - week 2

  Since my first post last week, I've made a good start. As far as getting my research notes in the right folders, I'm into the C's.
  That's the good news.
  But I ran into a serious bit of bad news when I hit the Brockway family folders. I have a lot of those, mostly from the days before computers, before my List of Sources Searched (LSS) database.

  Most of my Brockway notes were numbered. Unfortunately, those numbers and research note references did not appear in the LSS.
  I couldn't believe it. How did that happen?
  Undoubtedly, these notes were from the days before computers. Logically, they were entered on my paper LSS. Where those sheets are, I have no idea. I've moved twice since these notes were created and the last move was a real house cleaner.

  The only recourse was to scratch out the numbers and leave them as uncatalogued. Since then I've found other folders with similar numbered notes not in the LSS.
  Yesterday when I was doing my volunteer bit at the Kentucky Historical Society library, I asked the director if they had a written policy on what they will accept in the way of vertical files. They do. You can get a copy by emailing the library's reference desk
  Rule No. 1 got my attention right away
"All information must contain cited sources (citation can be on the document, or in a bibliography, or enough information provided to locate the cited source."
  The rule goes on, but you get the idea. And so did I.
  I think I've been pretty good in the last 20 years in recording enough information about where I got the research note to create a solid bibliographical reference. I don't put anything into my RoosMagic without a good source citation. But the 25 years before that time, . . . well . . . hmmmm . . . maybe not so.
  If a research note was a book or a microfilm, I probably have enough information to recreate the citation through WorldCat or the FamilySearch library catalog. Notes taken in courthouses will be more difficult. Notes left to me by my mother will be very difficult.
  I resolve: If I can't be absolutely certain about the citation information, the notes go in the trash! They are of no value to me or to anyone else!

  I've decided: Now is the time to do that work. No sense shuffling the research notes once into properly colored folders and then coming back, maybe months from now or never, and shuffling them again into the LSS and different colored folders.
  This makes the job much more time consuming but more valuable over the long term.
  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I've GOT to get organized

  And I have 375 new file folders to make a start.
  As you can probably tell, I'm a folder devotee as opposed to a binder devotee. The choice goes back a long way.
  When I first started doing research, long before computers, everything was hand written. I designed my own family group sheets to allow a closer link between facts and sources. I mimeographed them because I needed a lot of them.

  I also printed my own sheets for a List of Sources Search (LSS). One sheet at first, then several sheets divided by source type.
  All my sources were numbered and the number entered on the LSS.
  In the beginning, one folder held all the sources. But not for long. It just grew.
  When that happened I created folders for each ancestral name on my pedigree charts. In those folders the sources are filed numerically.

  When computers came along the LSS was migrated to an Access database. What an improvement that was. Access automatically assigns the source number (now 7,100+). I stole the source type categories from the LDS library catalog. With Access I can sort by type, by name or by place or a combination of those. Usually I work with a name sort.
  Searches in sources that did not produce results also are entered in the LSS. No sense doing that search a second time. I must admit it's very hard for me to keep track of unsuccessful online searches. They go so fast.
  Generally, if I want to know if I've searched the 1850 census of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, for Samuel Martin, Access only takes a few seconds to answer that question. I can also pull the numbered source from its file folder -- if the sources are all in order and in the folder where they're supposed to be.

  Sometimes that doesn't happen.
  Some years ago I started to color code the folders within each ancestral name.

The first few completed name folders.

  • Blue folders are for sources that have been entered into my RootsMagic. Each source has the LSS database assigned number in red ink in the upper right hand corner and the ancestral name in the upper left hand corner. Since RootsMagic started asking for the date I accessed the source, I've been trying to remember to write it down at the bottom some place. Of course I have thousands of sources without that bit of information. When I have successfully entered a source in RootsMagic, I put a check mark next to the number. The source then goes into the Blue folder or folders in numerical order. On a couple of my families, where I have a lot of sources, I have blue folders for places in which the family lived, like "Illinois -- Vermilion County." I like to try new organizational ideas, but the jury is still out on this one.  
  • Green folders are for sources that have been entered into the LSS but not into RootsMagic . . . yet. Two problems here:  The first problem is I love research and I love finding new sources. Entering them into RootsMagic I don't love quite as much. So the new sources can come in much faster than they funnel into RootsMagic. I've just got to stop doing research for a while. I'm embarrassed to say I have thousands of sources that may or may not have been entered into RootsMagic. The little check mark is missing and without checking, I really don't know. I also inherited my mother's research notes. That has exacerbated the problem. So part of this organizational effort is to determine if the source has been entered and, if not, DO IT!
  • Manila folders are for sources that have not been entered into the LSS or RootsMagic.
  • Purple folders are for sources that I've decided don't relate to my family. They will be entered into the LSS so I don't do that research a second time. If I decide there is a strong chance the information will eventually fit into my family, I'll enter it in an ancestral surname database in RootsMagic like I have for the Martin family. The great thing about RootsMagic is that you can drag and drop people from one database to another and the sources go with them. If I do enter information from a source into the surname database, I'll put the source with others in the blue folders. It will be a good idea for me to review these sources in the purple folders occasionally. You never can tell when one might fit.
  The blue, green, manila and purple folders are filed alphabetically by ancestral name.

  I have a couple other colors I use:
  • Red folders are place files for maps, historical background  -- anything that can't be assigned to a particular family -- "Illinois -- Vermilion County", "Pennsylvania -- Dauphin County" -- for example. These are filed separately in alphabetical order.
  • Yellow folders. These are for places to do research. Driving directions. Where to eat. Sources to look at -- if and when. These also can be online research places. URLs. How-to information. These are supposed to be properly labeled and filed separately in alphabetical order. You notice I said supposed to.   
  I've created a spreadsheet on Google docs and I am tracking my progress -- entering the ancestral name, the date I got the sources sorted into the correct colored file folders, and how many sources have not been entered into the LSS and RootsMagic. Mostly, I've had to enter "Many."
  I'm trying to do at least one ancestral family a day. Perhaps in three months I will at least have the folders properly organized. Then entering the sources into the LSS and RootsMagic will begin.
  I'm also in the middle of an organizational and scanning effort on our family photos. We have thousands! But that's a post for another day.
  I welcome your suggestions and comments. 

  Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have you been surveyed?

   Myles Proudfoot is conducting a survey of genealogists/family historians. You can join the statistics by clicking here.
   It will take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much you ponder each question. Or how long you laugh.
   The question that gave me my morning guffaw was, "Do you believe in life after death?"

   As my dad used to say (I think it was him), "What has that got to do with the price of tea in China?"
   Does someone believe genealogists collect names of dead ancestors so they'll have an address book for when they cross the River Styx?
   My grandmother was a member of a spiritualist church. I'm not sure what the official title was. I used to sit and watch her make that pointer fly across the Ouija board, spelling out answers to our questions. I always hoped I might get a clue to help track down an elusive ancestor. Never happened, unfortunately.

   One of my jobs, many years before I retired, was as a travel writer and editor. I made some very interesting friends on some of the trips I took. At an evening dinner on one of the trips it was suggested that we each name three people living or dead with whom we would like to have dinner. Jesus usually topped the list followed, as I recall, by Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Henry VIII etc.
   My list was entirely different:

   First: William Gill -- My paternal line brick wall from New Brunswick. "Is that your real name," would be my first question. (I don't match any Gill DNA families.) "Where did you come from?" 

   Next: I would have similar questions for a multitude of other end-of-line brick walls like Mark Carrigan, William Hendrickson, Allen Rogers, John James, etc. endlessly!

   Could I have more than three to dinner?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Josephus Perry Martin autobiography

     "My Wife and I have on our bed an old fashioned patch-work spread, she calls it a quilt. It is made up of hundreds of different sized, shaped and kinds of pieces of calicoes, ginghams and muslins pieced and joined together in artistic fashion and conforming to some major design or pattern. This quilt is a picture of life, and reminds me of its variegated patch work of time, circumstance and deed."

Josephus Perry Martin was "well past my seventy-sixth mile stone" when he wrote those words, comparing the many and varied events in his life to a patchwork quilt.

He was born September 29, 1853 in Montgomery County, Ohio, the son of John Henry Martin and Sarah Cassandria Bright. He lived in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois before his marriage to Mary B. (Molly) Bright on August 1, 1875. He died June 6, 1932 in Montgomery County, Ohio.

Two years before his death, he completed an autobiography.  A copy was found in Paul B Hendrickson's home after Paul passed away. Josephus was Paul's uncle (his mother's brother) and my wife's great uncle. It is handwritten on lined notepaper measuring 4.25 by 7.25 inches and consists of 33 sheets written on both sides, a total of 66 pages. The pages were found in a black, three-ring binder marked on the inside cover as being sold by Everybody's Book Shop, Dayton, Ohio. Josephus lived in West Carrollton, south of Dayton, in 1930.

In addition to personal history and genealogical information about his parents' family and his own family, Josephus writes about his religious odyssey. He was first a minister in the Progressive branch of the Dunkard church. In June 1887,  "because of radical changes in my religious views of which I will later write, I was asked to resign as a Dunkard minister, I did so and also severed my membership. This act branded me as an arch heretic and dangerous." Josephus found new belief through The Watch Tower, the publication of the Jehovah's Witnesses. He apparently continued as a minister in that faith.

I have added an introduction to the autobiography and a brief epilogue. More information and pictures will be added as time permits. Two Martin cousins have offered to help and I hope direct descendants of Josephus will be located and agree to assist. My website is at http://www.jimgill.net and a direct link to the Josephus Perry Martin autobiography would be http://www.jimgill.net/words/jmartin_intro.html.

One of the mysteries I hope to unravel about this autobiography is the relationship between Josephus and his wife, Mary Bright. Josephus says "Mollie's father and my mother were first cousins." If I understand it correctly, that means they had a common grandparent. My guess is that the common grandparent might have been in the Bowman family. Time and future research may tell.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Website redesigned

My poor old website had been in need of a redesign for a long time.

It was created in the days when monitors rarely went beyond 800x600 pixels and some were only 640x480. So web pages were created narrow so users did not have to scroll left and right to view the whole page.

Thankfully, those days are long gone. A website I saw recently reported that as of January 2010 (more than a year ago), 96 percent of web users had screen resolutions of 1024x768 or higher. Many of the popular websites are running web pages in the mid 900s. My new website has pages 910 pixels wide.

How did I arrive at that number?

My primary concern was readability. Looking at text at different widths, I decided to go with a width of 515 pixels. Unfortunately, my RootsMagic creates web pages with a left navigation bar of 15 percent of screen width and text of 85 percent. That means text of about 979 pixels on my monitor. In my opinion, that's way too wide to be readable. It took some creative global search and replace to size the text portion of the pages down to 515.

I use a lot of tables to create my pages and in the table for the main page, the left navigation bar is 175 pixels, column 2 (space) is 10, column 3 (text) is 515, column 4 (space) is 10 and column 5 (another navigation bar) is 200. I started building web pages before the days of wysiwyg web tools like Microsoft Front Page, so I still code my pages by hand using a program I bought years ago called HomeSite (no longer available).

In addition to having to relearn a lot of HTML, I had to learn to deal with multiple browsers. First time around it was Internet Explorer and a little Netscape. Now Firefox is the major player (43 percent of web users) with Chrome and IE in the mid 20s. Unfortunately, these browsers can display pages differently. For example, Chrome and Firefox put a blank line after paragraphs, IE does not. On two of my pages I had lists of items that would have made the pages too long with spaces between them. I had to find some coding that would look the same in all browsers. Well, I didn't have to . . . just had to.

My second goal was to coordinate my web site with my new blog. Therefore, they are both now called "Searchin' for Kin" and the colors are approximately the same. I'm listing my blog posts on my website and I intend to mention new additions to my website in my blog.

If you surf over to http://www.jimgill.net you'll see a blank spot where the descendants of Samuel Martin should be. A cousin has just shared several important sources with me and I need to get those entered into my RM before I create the web pages.

Comments, criticisms and suggestions are always invited and welcomed. If you see any errors or broken links, please email me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Peanut Butter and Syrup

Blog subject for this week is favorite food from childhood. I can remember that vividly.

First you take a big thick slice of my grandmother's home-baked bread and slather it with butter. Then you mix up a bowl of peanut butter and maple syrup. Dip the buttered bread in the syrup. Ambrosia!

Of course I don't allow myself to eat that now.

My grandmother also fried brains. Can you imagine a child eating fried brains . . . willingly? But I did.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hutsonville School Card

This school card from Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois, was in my father-in-law's papers. The connection to his family was with the teacher, A. L. Martin -- probably Alvin Leslie Martin, my father-in-law's uncle.

Alvin Leslie Martin was born 17 October 1855 in Hamilton County, Indiana, the son of John Henry Martin and Sarah Cassandria Bright. He arrived in Crawford County before the 1880 census in which his occupation was given as "at school."

When or how long A. L. Martin taught school in Hutsonville is not known. He married Dora B. Braden on 14 Jun 1890 in Hutsonville and by 1900 was living in Chicago. Ultimately the couple moved to Los Angeles, where they both died. They had no children.

We might get some clue of the date of this card from the student who received "the highest mark of approbation" for good deportment -- Hattie Martin. There was no favoritism in this award. As far as I know, Hattie was not related to A. L. The 1880 census of Hutsonville shows a Hattie Martin as the 11-year-old daughter of Warren Martin. According to the Holmes Family Tree on Ancestry, she was one of six children of Warren Martin and Lucy Maria Willard. If this is an elementary school card and if Hattie entered school at age six and completed the eighth grade at 14, that would date this card as 1875 to 1883.

Here is the pretty picture from the back of the card.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why am I doing this?

I have several goals in mind.

1. I want to share what I've found about my family and my wife's family over the past 45 years. Perhaps it will help others with their research. And, perhaps, someone will be able to help me.

2. I want to focus on my brick walls, one surname at a time, with a discussion of what I know and what I'd like to find out. The first may be Samuel Martin.

3. I want to coordinate what I add to this blog with what I have on my website at http://www.jimgill.net. My New Year's resolution was to refurbish my website and make it easier for users to find relavant data.

I have a lot to learn. Wish me luck. I'll need it.