Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Rally Cry/ Week Four of the Genealogy Do-Over

Progress Report/ Week 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over

My how the Do-Over spreads to your entire life! I seem to have taken a small vacation from Genealogy this week, but there was there was no escape from the Do-Over!

First, I thought I would finish a small reorganization of my genealogy filing system. OF COURSE it wasn’t small! And before I had “finished" the apparent task, it pointed me to a forgotten high-level folder in my Documents folder (first level in that folder): 3.38GB of storage for 2,361 items. It may take me all year to straighten this one out.-I may have been deliberately overlooking this mess? (Note: Apply the new rally cry from the Do-Over community “One Step at a Time!”) The upside of this detour is that I found the digital copy of an important will which no Spotlight search had uncovered. That document is now safely labeled and stored in the new genealogy filing system.

Second, I entered one name in my new Do-Over family tree; recording work on the next proof point in my research plan. I have a picture of him — where is it? Can’t be found.

So now I’m indexing the 2,504 images on my computer, correlating this list with the images on my husband’s computer, and working with him to plan for better image story accessible to both of us, with redundant backup, and not using so much of the hard drive on either computer. Apple is planning to present a new approach to images in 2015, so we may need to delay the final portion of this plan.

On my computer, 70 images, 2434 to go! (Note: Reaffirm the rally cry, “One Step at a Time!)

Did I advance much in actual genealogy work? NO. Did I advance at all; Did I change and grow? YES. 

Repeat after me “One Step at a Time!'

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"With Some Help from My Friends"

Narrative Log — Take 4

“Dedication:" Thanks to Lynn Dosch for her very helpful critiques about the logs I showed in my first two blogs on this topic. Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for his posted spreadsheets, which I raided for the fields that were part of phase three — And also for bringing us all together and educating us so well! And thanks to Linda D. Newman who shared her Research log with sample.

Well, yes — I borrowed the Dedication from novels, but I promise you that this blog won’t be quite that long.

It’s been about three weeks since I posted my first blog about my attempts to use a narrative style research log. We’ve been so busy in the Genealogy Do-Over community that that three weeks seems to have been a long time. However, when you stop to think that I have been trying to find a Research Log style that fits the way I think since I first started to work at genealogy eight years ago, three weeks is a remarkably short time. I believe that I have now found a format that fits me and is also efficient.

After I blogged about my revised narrative style log which I had started to use and which I had included in my Do-Over section filing system,  I blogged about how I converted Thomas’ spreadsheet into database format. But as I worked with those databases I found that I had too many pieces, even though I could skip quickly from one piece to another by using the buttons.

I began to place some of the fields into my narrative-style Research Log. That was working fairly well;  I made a template of my format, which I filed in my working area. I could make a copy of that template, and build my next research log from that.  Efficient, but I STILL had too many pieces. Then Linda D. Newman posted her worksheet, complete with an example. I changed my template and began to transfer my individual logs to the new format. It has worked very well for the two days that I began to use this new format.

I now have three pieces:
1. A database that names the individuals who populate my family tree in my Reunion software.  For each individual, this database attaches the Source numbers for each source that I use to substantiate my data for that person. It also contains  a field which lists the number of proof points I am considering for that person. This field serves as a quick way to check my progress for an individual. A √ following the proof point number tells that  I have started to work on that point. I will either mark a point completed or I will delete it when I feel that I have done all I can do. (I have three additional fields available for future use. Perhaps one of them will track the Evaluation process?)
2. A database which is my To Do list. This contains a series of entries, attached to a individual, which will usually appear  in the order in which the items occur to me. Since it’s a database, I have many ways to sort this for a quick review of the various tasks. I anticipate that this To Do list will soon look overwhelming. There are so many “bright shiny items" out there; consider this as a “Wish to Do list” rather than as a task list. The task list for each individual is in the worksheet: the combined research plan and research log.
3. And the final item is that narrative-style  worksheet. I started this form yesterday (January 21, 2015), and this sheet has grown to 8 word-processor pages (maybe it IS a novel!). 

The rest of this blog will show the worksheet I am using to enter data from my self-interview. The 10 proof points that begin the sheet were developed from the things I wrote in that narrative. The following sections of the sheet all refer to the Proof Points listed at the head of the sheet. 

{Items in curly brackets, such as this, offer clarification of my intent.} For purposes of privacy you will find several sections filled with xxxx instead of specific data. And for purposes of brevity, you will find several sections which have lines of 
to indicate that only a portion of that segment of the worksheet is included in this blog.

(Header: Strickler, Carolin Sue; 1927-09-09) {09 month; 09 day})

Proof Points: 1. What is the birth date of Sue Strickler?
2. Who are the parents of Sue Strickler?
3. Did Sue Strickler have siblings? Names?
4. Did Sue Strickler marry? Name of spouse(s)?
5. Did Sue Strickler have children? Names
6. Verify name change — spelling of first given name
7. Verify education: school names, certificates,  extra courses
8. Verify church affiliation
9. Verify residences
10. Employment
Known Facts: 1. Born September 9, 1927 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Clayton, St. Louis County, Missouri.
2. Parents were Robert Ellsworth Strickler and Adelle Dorrance
3. Siblings were unnamed male baby and xxxxxx
4. First husband: Joseph Walter Watson
Second husband: xxx
5. Three children: xxx
6. Birth certificate “Carolin”; all other documents “Carolyn.” I began to spell this (largely unused) first name “Carolyn" at the age of 12 in the eighth grade. People kept misreading Carolin as Caroline; using the “y" instead of the “i" kept the pronunciation straight. I never asked for legal action.
7. Elementary School: Lindenwood School, Eighth Grade certificate, Board of Education, City of St. Louis; June 1940
8. Cradle Roll at Compton Heights Methodist Church, Compton and Lafayette, St. Louis.
9. Three-building apartment complex, Theresa and Lafayette, St. Louis, Missouri, from birth to June of 1932. We lived in each of the three buildings.
10. Part-time jobs during high school and college (1943, 1945): F. W. Woolworth, mailing department of Pet Milk Company, “long lines” department of Southwestern Bell Telephone

Search Plans: 1. Birth certificates: (Source 2) Revised certificate √ • (Source 1) Original Certificate — physical location unknown •
Baptisms (Initially a negative search—I was not baptized as an infant) • Is there a church record of my young-adult baptism? (on To Do list)
  Census records: (Source 3)1930 √ • (Source 4) 1940 √ •
(Source 6) Strickler Book √ •
2. Parentage information is found in Sources (1), 2, and 6 {Search Plans 1} √ •
Census records for this purpose are described as Sources 3 and 4 {Search Plans 1} √ •
Parentage information is described in Source 6 {Search Plans 1} √ •
3. The baby was not baptized, so this would be a negative search. √ •
… {additional sibling}
There is a death record for the baby.
4. Joseph Walter Watson
Birth certificate?
1930 census
1940 census
Military Records ?
5. lorum ipsum {lorum ipsum is a false latin place holder text frequently used in layouts. In this worksheet, it means I haven’t gotten to this yet.}

Future Action: 1. Continue physical search for Source 1
Run birth information through Evidentia. Are there any gaps in this information?
2. Run parenthood information through Evidentia. Are there any gaps in this information?
3. lorum ipsum

Research Log: Proof Point 1 •

 • Document Description: Original Birth Certificate (Long form) description to come. As of January 4, 2015,I could not find this document online at the Missouri State Archives, Ancestry, or FamilySearch. The originally issued copy is hidden (filed in the notorious “nice safe place”) somewhere inside my house and cannot be accessed. The physical search for my copy is continuing. Repository: lorum ipsum [Source 1]

Citation: … {This is my template material — not yet filled in for this document}

Source 2: Document Description: Birth Certificate for Carolyn Sue Strickler (amended to show the spelling change I initiated at age 12.). Repository: The Department of Health of Missouri. (Privately held copy) 

Citation: The original source citation:
Birth Certification for Carolyn Sue Strickler
Missouri. The Department of Health of Missouri.
State Registrar of Vital Statistics. Privately held by SWM
accessed 10 Sep 1996
(NOT Evidence Explained. At the present time, I plan on keeping this citation format.)

Transcript/Extract: State File number: 124-27-044933 • Date filed: September 20, 1927 • Carolyn Sue Strickler • Female • September 9, 1927 • St. Louis Co. • Adelle Dorrance • 34 • Missouri • Robert E Strickler • 30 • Indiana • Amended --Auth.: Chapter 193 RSMO • Issued by : Boone • September 10, 1996 

Background/Evaluation: ALL my official documents except the original birth certificate are spelled “Carolyn;” this amended birth certificate is the only official record of that change in spelling. The certificate gives as Authorization “CHAPTER 193 RSMO.” I haven’t researched the laws behind this statement.

Storage: In Dropbox: ReunionStuff>Files for Both Versions>!Reunion Pictures>Documents>Birth>StricklerSue 1927 Birth.pdf

Source 3: Document Description: 1930 Census St. Louis (independent city), Missouri population schedule. A digitized copy of this record.

Citation: The original source citation:
1930 U. S. Census, St. Louis (independent city), Missouri population Schedule.
National Archives and Records Administration;
National Archives microfilm publication T626, Roll 1237. Accessed at;
accessed 20 Sep 2011.

Transcript/Extract: Line 33 Strickler, Robert E., Head, M, W, 38, M; Line 34 (Strickler,) Adelle, Wife-H-, F, W, 35 M; Line 35 (Strickler,) Carolin*, Daughter, F, W, 2*.

Background/Evaluation: This census record places Sue Strickler in the household of Robert Strickler (head) along with Adelle, his wife. The enumerator did not have enough room to write out the given names, so Carolin Sue is recorded as Carolinsquiggle.

Storage: As of 5 January, 2015, this document is stored in my Dropbox files: Dropbox>ReunionStuff>Files for Both Versions>!Reunion Pictures>Documents>Census>1930 Census>Source 3 extra>1930–1288–St. Louis!.jpg

Source 4: Document Description: 1940 Census St. Louis (independent city), Missouri population schedule. A Digitized copy of this record.


Source 6: Document Description: Book: “The Stricklers of Pennsylvania” Copyright 1942.

Citation: The original source citation:
Stricklers of Pennsylvania; Chapter VII: Stricklers Not Connected.
Abigail H. Strickler, et al.
The Strickler Family Reunion Association of Pennsylvania, Scottsdale, Pennsylvania, 2942.
Probably a gift from Lulu Strickler, given to our family in 1942.
Private copy of this book in the collection of Sue Watson McCormick.

Transcription/Extract: I don’t believe that this information is necessary. Decision to be made at a later date.

Background/Evaluation: This is a “springboard" source. The book is completely unsourced (which is not unusual for the time period). Various people sent in family information to the Strickler association and members of that association compiled this volume from those entries. My family line is the first family listed in Chapter VIII: “Stricklers Not Connected.” My experience of that chapter, since I first saw the book, has been that it is very accurate in the lineage area. If the book says that "Albert is descended from Benjamin and Catherine” and that he married “Dorothy; three children, Earnest, Daniel, and Fred.” then that information will be correct. But if the book says that “Albert was born in 1900,” that information is as likely to be false as to be true. I found this out, right away; my Aunt Lulu had entered the wrong  dates for the birth of my father and of myself. I don’t remember how we got this book, but I believe that Aunt Lulu bought copies for her brothers and gave them to her siblings. If true, it would mean that I have had the book since 1942.

Storage: As of January 19, 2015, the physical book is stored in an archival box on the metal shelving in our livingroom. Pdf format copies of the relevant Chapter VII pages are stored in my Dropbox files: Dropbox>ReunionStuff>Files for Both Versions>!Reunion Pictures>Documents>Other Documents>“StricklerBookExcerpt."

Document Description: Descendants of Joseph Kimmell,…
… {Like Source 1 above, this is an uncompleted source — still in progress, No source attachments have been made and not source number has been supplied. It is another "springboard" source.}

Research Log: Proof Point 2 • As of 22 January, 2015, no additional research has been conducted for the parentage of Sue Strickler.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spreadsheets and Databases

Spreadsheets and database are fraternal twins. Each format stores data in an organized manner and each format allows the user to manipulate that data in order to see data relationships and to see subsets of that data. But some people are more comfortable with one twin than the other. My older daughter is a spreadsheet person; I admire the database.

I have examined Thomas MacEntee’s Excel spreadsheet and have attempted to turn it into database form. Thomas has tabs for three entry-style spreadsheets (the other tabs are information only). I put the fields for each tab into database form; one database for each topic.

This is the database form of Thomas's Research Log.

 Here is the database form of the To Do list.

 And here is the database form of the Search Attempts spreadsheet. This screenshot shows an empty database, because I have no idea how to use this. Still, I used the forms in the database format, and will keep this form for future need. (I've opted for information over formatting here. I'm sorry — I don't know how to fix this, but full screen display of these databases is important to me.)

There are strong visual differences between the two styles: the spreadsheet stretches out in a continuous horizontal line while the database is either a vertical stack or a rectangular block of fields. The spreadsheet stretches down into a vertical stack of entries. The database can also be shown in a list view, which provides a vertical stack of entries in the database format I have shown in these screenshots. I have chosen to show screenshots of a single entry, because I believe this form illustrates my conversion more clearly.

In Thomas’s spreadsheet you can move from one collection of data to another by clicking on the appropriate tab. In a database you do that by clicking on scripted buttons. (Unfortunately I am a poor scripter and my scripts don’t work well. That’s OK, I can always work this out, given time.) In the spreadsheet, when you open one tab, you close the other. In a database, you have the option of keeping more than one database open at the same time.

I have two additional buttons. Since I am keeping narrative-style documents which combine a research goal/plan with a research log, one of my scripted buttons will open the folder where these logs are stored. From this location, I can open the appropriate document or create a new one, keeping the narrative style documents active along with the strict data-storage documents.

Another button opens a database which I created when I created my new family tree in Reunion, at the start of the Genealogy Do-Over studies. This is an index database, which lists each individual entered into the Reunion database, along with the person ID number attached to that person by Reunion as well as the Dollarhide number which I have assigned to that individual. I use these IDs when I am comparing entries between Reunion and my various other software entries and my various online trees.

I have also created a field in which I record the Source ID numbers used for the sources attached to each individual. As we have frequently mentioned on the Facebook page, an entry such as a birth certificate carries information about the subject (the person born), and about one or both of the parents of that person. Census records and wills might have many persons attached to the source. My software will prepare a list of the individuals whose names have been attached to the source. However, it does not tell me of any sources that have not been attached when they should be attached. In my earlier work, I found this index of sources to be a useful tool, especially when I wish to be sure that an online tree and my private tree are coordinated. This field is currently empty, so I haven’t shown it. ( I have created other empty fields in anticipation of other data entries which may need to be indexed.)

Earlier I mentioned that I can open one of my databases in the same screen as my genealogy program, and still maintain a relatively uncluttered screen. I am including some screenshots showing such multiple document configurations.

This shows the Index entry database to the left, ready for entry of information into the genealogy software that fills the remainder of the screen OR to receive information from the software program into the database.

Here we have the Research Log database along with the narrative style-research log for the same data; ready to be coordinated with the software program.

And finally this shows the To Do List in connection with the software screen.

 This blog was written in part because I wished to show my fellow participants how I converted Thomas’s spreadsheet into database form. I also wished to compare database and spreadsheet formats. Each format has strengths and weaknesses. A user's appreciation of one over the other is usually a matter of personal preference. But there is one big debit on the database side.

Constructing a database is expensive! It requires a high learning curve and it requires the use of a database construction program (which us usually costly). Although there may be others, I know of only three database construction programs. In order of dollar expense these are Access from Microsoft (runs on Windows), FileMaker Pro, (for both Windows and Mac), and MySQL (Windows, Mac — and Linux?). MySQL is freeware. In terms of learning curve, Access is hardest, MySQL is next, and FileMaker is less difficult, but still not an intuitive project. 

There were earlier, easier database construction programs that are no longer supported: Bento from Apple, and the database in AppleWorks. When AppleWorks gave way to iWorks, the database was dropped in favor of Keynote, a presentation program. If I remember corrctly, the 1980s MicrosoftWorks also had a simple database construction component.

I made my first database in Apple’s very old HyperTalk (I didn’t know it was a database!), moved on to AppleWorks when HyperTalk became too cumbersome, then graduated to FileMaker (version 1) when the size of my first database outgrew AppleWorks. I pay for an upgrade to each uneven numbered version of FileMaker Pro in order to keep my software compatible with the current operating system, because that database tracks a family library (mostly fiction) approaching 10,000 print volumes plus currently entered ebooks numbering more than 60. (I don’t count the ebooks very often, I know that 60 is too low a number.)

As a final word, almost every person in the Genealogy Do-Over group (if not all of us) uses a database and most of us love it, whichever one it is. From Family Tree Maker to Reunion, your genealogy software is a dedicated database. Most databases that appear on our computers are dedicated databases like our genealogy software. They have been prepared by professional programmers and are tailored to specific needs. The “do-it-yourself” programs are much more rare.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 2: Final Assessement of Our Tasks for Week Two:

Task One: I have transcribed my Self-Interview in a word-processor document stored in my computer with my Genealogy Do-Over “homework.” (I have also given a copy of this to my husband and asked him to provide a similar set of information for his life.)

Task Two: I have begun to do similar narratives for my mother’s families and my father’s families. This will take longer to complete than the Self-Interview did; I now have enough of this entered into the computer to work with the upcoming homework during the remaining weeks of Genealogy Do-Over. I will continue to work on this document until I have recorded these memories.

(I also have two related tasks not directly related to our “homework assignments” but to skills I feel sure are necessary to me in order to become efficient in working in genealogy — more of a “real genealogist”: I need to become more skillful in my use of Evernote and I need to become more skillful in my use of Evidentia. From the discussions within the Facebook group many of my fellow Do-Over comrades relate to these needs.)

So this is where I am as we approach the beginning of Week Three, with the exception of the final task for Week Two

Task Three: Research Goals:
I’m not sure I can stay in step with Thomas here. (But one of the GREAT things about Genealogy Do-Over is that we’re encouraged to shape our plans to fit our personal traits!)

My revised and evolving narrative Research Logs appear to be tied into a research plan and research goals which are to developed, followed, and evaluated for each individual I enter into my tree. I think these need to be tied to a still-to-be-developed To-Do list (perhaps in a database?) If I keep the To-Do list, the tree in my software, and the research logs together while I work, my specific goals should become more systematic and my research should stay organized. As I pursue my research, I will continue to mine sources I have found in my last seven years of research, evaluating them, evaluating the areas that lack data, and preparing proof statements. Proof statements are a level of research that I hanen’t yet reached.

I DO have a general plan as to how I will “climb”my tree: Starting with myself in the initial position, I will research, verify and “prove" the sources and data for me, my first husband, and my current husband. For each person in this generation (my generation) I will include available information on the siblings, spouses, and children of each basic individual. I will be very thorough about the three main people — the starting persons of three separate lines. For the siblings, children, and spouses I will be less exhaustive in my searches but I plan to gather enough information to fill in a reasonable family history for each line in my tree.

When this generation is “finished" to my satisfaction, I will proceed to the next older generation. I’ll treat this next generation the same way: exhaustive research on the direct-line parents and spouses, less thorough but still reasonably complete research on the siblings, spouses, and children. A genealogy chart (tree) gets larger with each generation. In order to keep track of my generations, and to be sure I am adhering to the direct line, I will follow the Dollarhide numbers which I have already assigned to the people in my tree.

In my system, I am Dollarhide 5.0, so my father is 10.0 and my mother is 11.0. My current husband is Dollahide 4.0, his father is 8.0 and his mother is 9.0 and my first husband is Dollarhide 6.0, his father is 12.0 and is mother is 13.0. (Yes, in the direct line, Dollarhide and Ahnentafel numbers are the same.) The exhaustive research is done for the people with the Dollarhide/Ahnentafel numbers. In each generation there are related numbers to indicate the generation and the relationship of an individual to the individuals of the direct line; individuals with these related numbers will be given the thorough, but less exhaustive research I have described for my generation.

In following this pattern, I plan to "ignore" any descendants of the people in that generation, except for a simple listing of their names and birth and death dates as available. This leaves pointers to the “shiny objets” but keeps me focused on the direct line.

The siblings, children, spouses, and in-laws of each generation are some of the “friends, associates, and neighbors”of that generation. They can help widen the search when your studies are blocked.

If you are working with co-operative trees online, these people help you determine if the connection between your tree and another tree is a viable connection. If the R. P. Jones suggested for your tree has children very different from the names in your tree, he probably isn’t "your" R. P. Jones.

And, finally, those names will answer every new-comer’s question, “What will I do when I finish my genealogy?“ OK! —you experienced genalogists, when you have finished laughing! — THESE names are the bright, shiny objects that keep luring us away from our objectives. By listing them this way, we will never lose sight of them but we can push them aside while we follow our main trail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 2

Thomas MacEntee gave us three assignments for week two; since today is Wednesday and I haven’t finished any of them, I decided to post samples of what I have achieved.

Before we began this week’s work, I got into a discussion about how we preserve our family stories. As I did the Self-Interview, I was reminded of many of these stories. I entered keyword reminders following the various paragraphs of my self=interview; I can return to the keywords and produce the stories. I’ll be less likely to forget this way. So thanks to all the folk at the Facebook page for triggering this interim solution. The keywords won’t mean anything to the blog readers, but many of them are meaningful to my children and my husband, so this is a good first step.

I began a narrative- style first interview. This is the most-nearly completed assignment. A pencil draft has been completed, but the edited, computer entry hasn’t been done for the final part (about two-thirds of one side of a looseleaf notebook page).

Self-Interview; first paragraph:

I was born September 9, 1927 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Clayton, St. Louis county, Missouri to Robert Ellsworth Strickler and Adelle Dorrance. He was 30 and she was 36 (the birth certificate says 34, she was never honest about her age, because she was ashamed of being 6 years older than he). The apartment which was my first home was on the third floor of the apartment building on the northeast corner of Henrietta and Theresa. Later, we lived on the second floor of the building in the middle of the complex, facing on Theresa, and finally we lived on the first floor of the building on the southeast corner of Theresa and Lafayette, facing Lafayette and Compton Heights Park. I don’t have the exact addresses for any of these apartments; the 1930 census gives one of the addresses, but as of how I don’t know which one we were living in.
{name story; tornado story, Una story/picture on St. Mary’s roof}

I highlighted the keywords for the purpose of the blog, the inserted line is enough for the actual document. 

There are some factors to be considered about the Family Interview. I’ll let you read the first three paragraphs and then discuss my concerns.

Family Interview. first three paragraphs:

When I took my first course in genealogy in 1998 at 78, I was already the oldest living person I knew of in my family. When I restarted my efforts at family history in 2007 with new and better software and better internet access to records tere were no older relatives to question. What I did have were various family memories that my relatives told me, and various discussions I had overheard. What I can do in this section of Week 2 studies is to record these memories as best I can.

Interviews with (from oldest to youngest) with: Rose Dorrance, Olive Dorrance Pursell, and Adelle Dorrance Strickler (my mother and her older sisters). Mother almost never talked of her family; Rose and Olive did so more frequently.

THE DORRANCE FAMILY: Aunt Rose told me that her grandfather William T. Dorrance was a soldier who had been on the Fremont expedition that had climbed Pike’s Peak, that he was a supply sergeant stationed in New Orleans during the Mexican War, that he had married in New Orleans at the Catholic Cathedral there, and had moved to Jefferson County, Missouri before the Civil War. The Fremont connection was pretty well disproved while I was in high school, because I looked up the expedition. which wasn’t Pike’s Peak; There was no Dorrance listed among the expedition members. (I never tried to alter the family memories.)

This narrative is much less smooth than the Self-Interview. But it is going to have much more detail than I had gathered when I began to work in either the abortive attempt of 1998 or the more successful beginning in 2007. So thank you, Thomas for suggesting this technique for the Self-Interview. It works well for the missing Family Interviews also.

The instructions to beginning genealogists always include “Interview your older family members.” I am very sure than there are many beginning genealogists who began to work in their retirement years and who found themselves in my position. There WERE no older family members. When we teach beginners, we should address this possibility, and provide more help. Thomas’ narrative style is working well for me, perhaps that suggestion should be included to help the older beginner?

Somewhere recently I read a statement that a genealogy shouldn’t have citations of online-trees, because of all the errors they contain. I call these sources “Springboard" sources. I see them as the equivalent of the Family Interview. I research them in the same manner that I research any source. They go into my research logs. They contain valuable pointers as to where to look.

Of course, they contain errors; so did Aunt Rose’s story of her grandfather’s service. In 2007 and 2008, I researched any connection between William T. Dorrance and General Fremont and came up with a negative; as I have always suspected, Aunt Rose was wrong. I then learned to look into military records in general (it is much harder for the regular army than for the volunteers). I found his land grant; it was for service in the Florida wars. There is lots more work to be done before I find out WHICH William T. Dorrance from Connecticut is my great grandfather, but the “Springboard" source lead me in the right direction.

As to a citation to such a source, I would feel like a thief if I didn’t acknowledge the work of someone who lead me is such a useful direction. (And don’t forget here, that a negative answer is a help, don’t insist on Fremont, or your impression that your immigrant ancestors landed in New York. If you can’t find the answer where you thought, then you’ve learned to look in other areas.) The proof argument doesn’t depend upon the “Springboard" source, but the cousin or family connection who pointed you in the proper directions does deserve mention.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Here is my new attempt at a narrative style research log. At this time it appears to be combined with a research plan. This works for me, but may not work for other folk.

A log will have more than one entry (unless you have done only one search which found only one document). In a spread-sheet style, each line is an entry. In a narrative log, these should be arranged by the order in which you found them. Today, I have used bullets to separate the logs;  I think a numbering system would be better, but I can't figure out what system should be used. — What would you do?

I've been struggling with logs since the day I started to use Reunion in 2007; log information is all over my computer. This style seems to come closest to meeting my requirements. But I also need to be clear to other workers.

Lynn Dosch sent me some good questions and suggestions after reading my first attempts, which I tried to incorporate into this version. Please, Lynn, and anyone else do the same for this one. I hope you readers will tear this apart and add more suggestions.

Goal: Who are the parents and siblings of Sue Strickler? (Born: 1927 – Living)
Immediate documents to search for would be 
Birth certificates
Baptisms (I was not baptized as an infant; there are no church records)
  Census records: 1930, 1940
As other sources become available, they will be added; as:
Email Attachment from {name withheld} {place withheld}

Research Log: 

Document Description: Original Birth Certificate (Long form) description to come. As of January 4, 2015,I could not find this document online at the Missouri State Archives, Ancestry, or FamilySearch. The originally issued copy is hidden (filed in the notorious “nice safe place” somewhere inside my house and cannot be accessed at this time. The physical search for my copy is continuing. Source 1tk.

Document Description: Missouri State Issued Birth Certificate, amended to show the spelling change I initiated at age 12. Source 2

Background/Evaluation: ALL my official documents except the original birth certificate are spelled “Carolyn;” this amended birth certificate is the only official record of that change in spelling. The certificate gives as Authorization “CHAPTER 193 RSMO.” I haven’t research the laws behind this statement.

The original source citation: Birth Certification for Carolyn Sue Strickler
Missouri. The Department of Health of Missouri.
State Registrar of Vital Statistics. Privately held by SWM
accessed 10 Sep 1996

At the present time, I plan on keeping this citation format.

Storage: In Dropbox: Reunion Files>Files for Both Versions>!Reunion Pictures>Documents>Birth>StricklerSue 1927 Birth.pdf

Document Description: Descendants of Joseph Kimmell, a 36 page unsourced descendancy chart (list) sent to me via email by my fourth cousin Mike. Source Z

Background/Evaluation: This is a “springboard" source. Much of the other information I received from Mike was carefully sourced, but this chart is unsourced. There are 2182 individuals in this chart.

I will use this chart along with all other appropriate documents as I prepare proof statements using the Evidentia program.

History: I first met Mike when he responded to a query about his tree at RootsWeb. Through much of 2008, he corresponded with me via email, patiently answering my questions, sending me some of his materials, and teaching me my first immediately applied lessons in genealogy. I consider this correspondance as a twenty-first century equivalence to the older style voice interview.

In 2008, I entered the 2182 names into my Reunion software. This was a useful activity at the time; it taught me how to understand the structure of this form of genealogical information. It also gave me lots of practice with using my very new-to-me software. It was this list that showed me my first example of genealogical collapse (families who intermarry in more than one generation).

Today, I know that my tree is full of non-information: 2182 persons whose histories have never been researched and perhaps will never be researched. Because this document provides names and relationships that alert me to possible connections, I will use it in my research as a source which is valuable to me. I do not consider that the information here a strong part of my evidence.

Storage: As of 4 January, 2015, this document is stored in my Dropbox files: Dropbox>Reunion Files >Files for Both Versions>eDocArchives>Mike {private}>{surname private}; Strickler, Carolin Sue; 2008-02-29; Email Attachment; {places private}

Other Documents attached to this goal: As of  4 January, 2015, other than the two documents listed above this entry, there are no other documents at this time.

Future Action: As of 4 January, 2014, there is no plan for future action.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Genealogy Do Over | Week 1, About those logs!

Below this explanation are two examples of the narrative-type log I’ve been working with. It appears to combine the research goal and the research log. It works well for me. My problem is with the way I have been storing these; my current method is awkward when I wish to retrieve the log. (Currently each log is tagged to one or more Source numbers from my Reunion Software and stored in folders without much rhyme are reason.)

As I understand it, the point of a log is so you know where you have looked and what you have found or not found. Also you should be able to determine your next step. I’m sure with a bit of tweaking, this would meet these purposes.

But logs have another purpose — they should help people who follow your work understand what your goals were and the paths you followed. SO MY QUESTION to the folk who read this blog, especially those of you who are in the Genealogy Do Over group is:  Does this type of blog work for other people, or is it only useful for my personal outlook?

LOG 1 (A log for working with a census)

Name objective location
Aton, Nelson Hamilton verify residence Reunion Files

Date/ref # goal repository
1 Aug 2012) part of census project NARA
(and 28 May 2013) @

Aton, Nelson Hamilton
Cissell, Elizabeth Ann
Aton, Thomas J
Aton, William Franklin

For the “F. A. N.” transcriptions: I have transcribed 5 pages for Kentucky, Union County, District No. 1. New copies of all five pages were captured and stored in the Reunion Pictures Folder on 28 May, 2013. Pages were transcribed on that day and stored in Dropbox/Reunion/FamilyFile Records/Tools/CensusTranscriptions/1850 SpreadSheets/1850Kentucky147+.numbers.

This log was created 5 Jun 2013. SWM

LOG 2 (A log for a birth certificate)

Name objective location
Robert Francis McCormick find proof of birth Reunion Files

Date/ref # goal repository
10 Sep 1996 find GPS proof of Robert’s Safe Deposit Box
birth Boone County Bank

This is a scanned copy of the Birth Certificate requested while planning for the 1997 British Experience trip.  This is Bob’s first State Certificate Application.

Revised citation and this log entry were prepared 26 Apr 2013. SWM

Genealogy Do Over — Week 1 Goals

Genealogy Do Over: Breaking with the previous research materials and with previous practices •  Preparing to Research

Relocation of physical objects: This activity is on hold until the house has been restored to some semblance of order. I know where these items are and don’t wish to lose them, so they will stay where they are. I won’t dig into them during these 13 weeks, thereby repeating my errors.

Electronic information: I have five genealogy folders on my computer.

Within my Drop box folder, where the files have the advantage of cloud storage and backup as well as backup to my backup hard drive through the Apple Time-Machine app, I;m retaining four folders. “!Genealogy (NOT Reunion) contains largely unsorted old information. I will use this only if I need to search for an image collected in my early work which is necessary for my current work. Basically, this is stored “off-limits” material. A similar folder is on my hard-drive but not in Dropbox.

Within Dropbox, in a folder accessed by my software program, I have organized three new folders.

“Do Over Files.” This folder is brand new; it contains only four items at this point. My new Heredis tree, created so that I can share tree information online during the course of these studies. It replicates as best I can my new data in my software program. A pdf of the manual for the Heredis software (the manual is awkward to use in the furnished version). There is a fourth temporary item: a FileMakerPro database that is a duplicate and extension of my first attempt at log keeping. It doesn’t work, but it will serve until the upcoming lessons and discussions in the Do Over group help me format a method of keeping logs that fit my style and include all the pertinent data. I think the Do Over group is going to keep telling me KISS (Keep It Simple Sue) while I work out my style of log.

Another folder holds the original database and files used in support of this data. This folder and the third folder are required by my database in order for it to reach the information it points to in the files. The original (packed away folder) is called “Reunion Files on Hold;” the remaining folder is called “Files for Both Versions” 

I believe that this work has me ready to address the third aim for Week One: Aim 3- Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines.

This is tough for me. I keep starting off in all directions (maybe that’s why I haven’t done productive research? Maybe this is why I NEED this 13-week discussion/course?) I’m going back the the Do Over Facebook page and pore over the postings there. I’m going to study the blogs that have been produced in the warm-up period. I hope that by the end of week one, I shall have formulated simple Practices and Guideline that will work for me.