Thursday, September 21, 2017

RootsMagic, FamilySearch Family Tree ID Numbers, & RootsMagic Facebook Page

My genealogy program of choice is RootsMagic which I use in conjunction with FamilySearch's Family Tree.  Each individual on Family Tree (FT) has a unique ID #.  Robert Laws's number is KDQ1-33T.

When I research on FamilySearch and find a document that I want to add as a source to an individual, I need to know the person's ID #. 

Ideally, I would like to be able to click on RootsMagic, find the person, check the number, then return to FamilySearch Family Tree and choose the individual with that number and add the source.

I scouted through Bruce Buzbee's book, Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic 7, but was unable to determine how to add an ID # and have it appear next to the surname.  I finally decided to add it manually, adding a few spaces after the name, then typing the number in parentheses.  Perfect, I thought.

But not so perfect.  When I looked at the list of individuals on the left sidebar of RootsMagic I saw the usual alphabetical list -- except that Robert Laws was not in order because the ID # had prevented it.  Darn.  That didn't work.

The light bulb came on and headed to the RootsMagic Facebook page. 

Last evening I posted my question.
I know there must be an easy way to add FamilySearch Person ID#s to the individuals in my RootsMagic tree but I have been unable to find out how. Can anyone help, please? 
Within an hour someone had responded with clear, concise directions.  By the time I checked Facebook this morning, others had chimed in with more questions to determine exactly what I wanted to do and exactly how I wanted the results to appear and responded with comments.  More clarity about using RootsMagic's FamilySearch Central came soon after.  Family historians are the best and I'm becoming a fan of Facebook!

If you're like I was and want to add the FamilySearch Family Tree ID #s to your individuals in RootsMagic, these are the steps:
> Click File at the upper left of the program.
> Choose FamilySearch Central.  It will ask you to log into FamilySearch.
> Click AutoMatch at the top of the screen and let the program do its work.

AutoMatch will match individuals from Family Tree with individuals in your RootsMagic program without adding any data.  According to Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic 7 it must be an "undeniable match" which, I assume, would include name, birth and death dates and locations, parents, etc.  But, of course, you can match each person individually.

Now I'm a fan of RootsMagic's FamilySearch Central, too.  Technology is so amazing!


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jurisdictions and Civil Divisions in England for RootsMagic Citations

Locations are simple here in the U.S.  From smallest to largest they are town/village/city or township; county; state; and country.  When I look at U.S. census records, the forms name the kind of location (such as city, village, township; county; state) and therefore the locations are easy to decipher, clear and concise, and fit in the appropriate spaces in my RootsMagic program.

But in England?  Perhaps it's because I don't live in England that I am challenged trying to decide the order in which to place the locations on a census record.  British census records from the 1800s have spaces for these locations:  parish or township; ecclesiastical district; city or borough/municipal borough; town; village; municipal ward; parliamentary borough; hamlet; tithing district; local board or improvement commissioners district; and urban sanitary district.  Not every census year has all of these options but beginning with 1851, each year has at least five of these options, and 1871 and 1881 have spaces for eight locations.

This is the order I think the most common ones belong in, from smallest to largest.
  • Township - sub-divison of a Civil Parish
  • Civil Parish - territorial designation; lowest tier of local government
  • Borough - an administrative division
  • District - a level of sub-national division used for local government purposes
  • County - a sub-national division such as Durham, Yorkshire, Northumberland, etc.

This question of how to order/organize these locations came about because I began entering census records for some of my English ancestors in RootsMagic.  Below is a screenshot of part of the citation/source page where I will add the information from a British Census record.

Jurisdiction and Civil Division are the two categories I'm uncertain about.  Below is the information from the screen above.
Jurisdiction  - place where the census was taken
Hint behind the ?:  Monmouthshire, Wales (omit Wales if part of Census ID)
Civil Division - divisions represented
Hint behind the ?:   e.g. Bedwelty, Glammorgan Mountain Ash

I believe jurisdiction should be county and country, for example, Northumberland, England.

But Civil Divisions are less clear cut.  Are they all the locations named on a census other than county and country, or only some of the locations?  And if only some, which ones?  In what order should they be placed? 

Are these the Civil Divisions for my ancestors in the the census of England in
1841:  Wingate Grange Township, Kelloe, Easington?  (In Durham)
1851:  West Sleekburn, Morpeth?  (In Northumberland)
1861:  North Seaton, Morpeth?  (In Northumberland)
1871:  Cambois, Morpeth?  (In Northumberland)

If the census and RootsMagic had the same identifiers it would be easier to know the placement of location names.  Does the order of location names matter as long as they're all included?  Does one add the names as they appears, left to right, on the census form?

If someone from England (or anyone else) reads this post and can explain the order in which to list the locations from a British census record, I hope you will please leave a comment.  Thanks.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

England Census Dates

If you're like me, you like to know the day/month/year dates when adding census records to your genealogy program.  These are the U. K. Census Dates from 1841 to 1931.  Every census date is a Sunday.

1841 Census     June 6, 1841
1851 Census     March 30, 1851
1861 Census     April 7, 1861
1871 Census     April 2, 1871
1881 Census     April 3, 1881
1891 Census     April 5, 1891
1901 Census     March 31, 1901
1911 Census     April 2, 1911
1921 Census     June 19, 1921
1931 Census     April 26, 1931

It's true that the census may not have been taken on that date but information in the census was to have been reported for that date.  And since the U.K. census records I've looked at recently have not had dates, I'll use the ones above when adding census information to my genealogy program.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Good Grief, Henry!

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week at Genea-Musings was this:
Please answer the question - "Which ancestor gives you the most
researching grief?"
My great-grandfather, Henry Meinzen, began giving me research grief immediately after I found him in the easy U.S. resources -- 1870-1920 census records, city directories, death certificate, etc.  He was one of the first ancestors I began researching nearly 10 years ago -- and will probably be the person I will be researching on my death bed (if I can still research on my death bed).

Here's Henry's information, collected from various records:
  • July 25, 1837 - born in Hanover/Prussia/Germany
  • June, 1866 - arrived in the U.S.
  • April 24, 1870 - married Elizabeth Armitage in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
  • October 9, 1871 - became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.
  • December 30, 1925 - died in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
  • He attended Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Steubenville.
  • He was a laborer, a gardener, a grocer, a carpenter, and wagon maker.
  • He was the father of at least 14 children.
  • He was survived by a brother, Fred, in Germany.
  • His father's name was Karl/Carl. 
  • His wife and all but 6 children died before him.

And then there are the "legends" and conflicting records

Legend #1
A cousin reported to me that Henry and two brothers departed England on January 31, 1865, on the S.S. Virginia, arriving in New York in 1871.  The ship sank in port but they managed to get safely to land and travelled by train, headed to Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henry made friends with another traveller and when the trained stopped in Steubenville, Henry stayed.

The Problem with this Legend
That's a lengthy passage from England to the U.S.  Other math doesn't work in this scenario.  Henry was already married and living in Steubenville in 1871.  Surprisingly, the surname Meinzen appears in Fort Wayne city directories, newspapers, and census records after 1870, but I've been unable to make a connection.

There was a Henry Meinsen, born September 4, 1836, who lived in Columbus, Ohio, in 1900, and died on December 4, 1920.  His father's and mother's names are "not known" on his death certificate.  I haven't researched him.

Legend #2
There is a Civil War Graves Registration card for Henry C. Meinzen suggesting that he served in the U.S. Navy at the rank of Seaman from August 11, 1862, until August 10, 1863, on the ships "Brilliant" and "Cairo."

The Problem with this Legend
Having researched Civil War records and information about both the "Brilliant" and "Cairo" I've been unable to find Henry C. Meinzen in any of them.  Could he have come to the U.S. just to serve in the Civil War and then returned to Germany?  I've not found him on a passenger's list. 

Conflicting Information
Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp's obituary lists Henry C. Meinzen of Steubenville as her brother, and Kropps did appear in a newspaper article about one Meinzen marriage and may have attended more.   Her certificate of death gives her father's name as Deidrick.

The Conflict
Henry and Sophia do not give the same father's name.  Henry claims his father's name was Karl.  It's possible Henry used his father's call name and Sophia used his first given name.  German naming conventions can make it hard to tell who's who.

The Other Scrap of Information
And what does one do with this?  It is a transcription of an 1866 Castle Garden immigration record for Ernst Meinzen, carpenter, age 28, travelling on the Atalanta from Bremen, Germany, arriving on June 8, 1866.  His declared destination was Ohio.

Every part of this information matches -- age, country of origin, arrival date, and destination -- except this man's name is Ernst and my great-grandfather's name is Henry.  (But was it always?)  I've never found an immigration record for Henry (except on his naturalization papers).  And I've been unable to find Ernst Meinzen in any U.S. documents.  I often wonder if this is really my great-grandfather Henry or not.  Considering German naming conventions, I think it's possible but I'm not willing to assume.

Good grief, Henry!  Don't you think you could help just a little?  Another clue or two?  Just one really good lead?  I'd like to know who your parents are, where you came from....  But once again, for now, I'll lay this search to rest for a while.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Feedly Changes

I suppose most readers know what a feed reader is but for those who don't, it's a website where you can create an account, add the url of a blog, and each new blog post will appear in the feed.  You can add many blogs and read through each new post without having to go to each individual blog.  Feedly, The Old Reader, and Bloglovin' are three that I'm acquainted with.  Some display the complete blog post, others a few sentences, others an image and a title; it varies by reader.  Some readers are free, others are not.  I appreciate free but understand that businesses need to make money to continue.

Feedly has been my primary feed reader since Google Reader was discontinued a few years ago.  I use it for family history blogs, quilting blogs, and a few other miscellaneous blogs of interest.  In fact, I probably follow several hundred blogs.  Thank goodness they don't all publish a post every day!

When I opened feedly yesterday I found no feeds and an offer to create my first feed.  What?!  How could that be?  I logged out, then logged back in.  The same thing.  What could be the problem?  I posted a question to their G+ page but no one responded.

This morning I was scouting around on the Feedly website and found this:

Suddenly and without notice or warning, Feedly's free (or Basic) "subscription" allows only 100 feeds.  I can only guess that they deleted my several-hundred-plus feeds because I don't have a Pro subscription (being unaware that I needed one).  If I upgrade to Pro, will my subscriptions suddenly be available again?  If I don't upgrade, how will I decide which of the many blogs I followed in Feedly will become part of the chosen 100?

Thank you, Feedly, for several great free years.

I scouted around and found a post that lists six other free readers, seven including Feedly, but haven't looked into any of them yet.  I'll have to decide whether to limit my reads to 100, pay the cost for unlimited feeds, or switch to a different reader. 

Do you use Feedly?  Have you had a problem or do you have a paid subscription?  If you don't use Feedly, which feed reader do you use?


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Touch of Mytreeitis

Ron Tanner has talked about mytreeitis for a number of years at RootsTech.  It's the non-infectious disease of being too possessive about one's FamilySearch Family Tree and the individuals who are added there.  For the longest time I've had not problems with others adding the wrong individuals as ancestors, probably because not many people were working on the same lines.  But when I began looking at "my" tree more closely this week, I've seen several problems.  And now... now I have mytreeitis. 

Family records tell me that Robert Laws and Elizabeth Thompson are the parents of my great-grandmother Elizabeth Laws Doyle.  Family records stop with Robert and Elizabeth so, in truth, I don't know who Robert's parents are.  Maybe they are Robert Laws and Ann Maddison but if they are, wouldn't it have been kind of the person who added Robert and Ann to have also added sources, or at least a reason statement, to help document this parent/child relationship as well as their marriage?

When I search for Ann Maddison I find no record on FamilySearch or Ancestry that connects her with Robert Laws, let alone Elizabeth Laws Doyle.  But the fact is, I can't definitively say that Robert and Ann are not the parents of Robert Laws.  However, other sources on FamilySearch seem to indicate that Robert's parents may be Margaret Burton/Buston and George Laws.

Maybe I'm too careful.  I don't add individuals to my genealogy software program (let alone an online tree) until I have enough information to be relatively certain of names, relationships, and dates.

I would like to ask my cousins and other relatives who add people to FamilySearch Family Tree to please leave "my" tree alone.  But I won't.  While it may be frustrating, challenging, and annoying to have people on the tree without any documentation, I know having these unknown individuals and relationships will encourage me to research more and, hopefully, make me a better and more careful researcher.

Ah, the joys and challenges of a shared, online family tree.  And the challenge of mytreeitis.  I'll recover.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New Technology in the Lives of My Ancestors

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, proposed by Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, sounded fun.  These are the questions to answer:
  • What technology changes did your ancestors see?
  • What technology changes have you seen?
  • Did your family own one of those early changes? - such as television
  • Do you like or dislike technology?
  • What do you think has been the best technological change in your lifetime and historically?

Before writing this post I briefly researched major inventions and realized that the years most inventions were created were not the years they came into regular use.  For some, it was several decades before they became common in homes.  More recent inventions seem to have hit the market and become popular more quickly.

For example, the compact cassette player was invented in 1962 but did not become popular until a few years later.  I graduated from high school in 1968, went off to college, and in 1971 or 1972, was required to use a cassette recorder for a linguistics course.  Not owning one and choosing not to buy one, I borrowed one from the university.  I took it home over a weekend to work on the project.  My father wanted to see this machine and learn what it did.  He was fascinated.  I think he bought one within a week or so.

New technology popularly used in my dad's lifetime, 1913 to 1987, included sound movies, ballpoint pens, photocopies, microwave ovens, transistor radios, 8 mm film for home movies, pocket calculators, and electric refrigerators which were surely a welcome technology to the women who probably used them more than anyone.

Dad disdained the use of pocket calculators, but that's because he could do the math in his head faster than anyone could punch in the numbers.  But he bought and used a movie camera in 1966 and used it for years.

I think my father liked new technology when he was introduced to it, though he didn't seek it out.  In about 1960 we visited his aunt whose daughter and son-in-law owned a restaurant.  After eating dinner there we ordered pie a la mode.  The pie was warm, the ice cream cold.  Dad asked if the pie had just come out of the oven.  No, they'd put it in the microwave to warm it.  And the ice cream?  Was that added after?  No, they put the ice cream on the pie before putting both in the microwave.  And the pie was warm and the ice cream cold!  Amazing.  I think we were the first in our little town to have a microwave oven.  Of course, Mom and Dad used it for not much more than to heat water for instant coffee and warm pie.

Going back one generation to my grandparents, who lived roughly between the years of 1888 and 1979, they were blessed by the invention of radios, movies, the zipper, airplanes, automobiles, and, especially appreciated by the women, electric vacuum cleaners and electric washers. 

And going back two generations to my great-grandparents, who lived from about the 1840s through the 1920s, they would have seen the inventions of electricity to power electric lights and electric vacuum cleaners;  anaesthesia and pasteurization for health; safety pins and sewing machines; plastics, including celluloid, polyethylene, and bakelite; the telephone, the phonograph, and the gasoline engine.   

Going back to my third generation of ancestors, my great-great-grandparents were born in the in the the early 1800s and lived until nearly the end of the 19th century.  Those ancestors would have appreciated the steam locomotive, the telegraph, and Daguerreotypes.

I imagine all of these inventions would have made the lives of my ancestors easier and/or better.  I try to imagine living without some of the technology we have now -- especially in the medical fields -- and can't.  I can't even imagine going back to only the technology available during my childhood.  What would I do without a computer, a printer, a scanner, a tablet, a cell phone, the internet?  It would feel like the dark ages without them, even though I'm often technologically challenged.  One of the earliest introductions to technology was when our first TV came home in the early 1950s.  I remember how exciting it was to watch the children's programs.  How did they make the people so small that they fit inside the box?  And how did they get out of the box?

To me, one of the best and worst technology inventions is the internet and all the ways we have to connect to it.  It offers so many learning opportunities, contains so much information and, in many ways, it helps people who live at a distance connect to each other.  But I also see it isolating and preventing people from interacting with each other.  Instead of talking face to face, I see eyes focused on gadgets, ignoring the people sitting next to them.

Interesting topic, Randy.  Thanks for choosing it.


Atari image courtesy of Bibly on Wikimedia Commons.

Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hints for My Ancestors

"We've found a hint for your ancestor" was the title of the email from FamilySearch.  Great, I thought.  I could use a hint.  When I opened the email, this is what I saw.

Did I need a hint for Gust Froman?  I'd already found my grand-uncle Gust and plenty of information about him, too.  But the little blue button invited me to "Review My Relative's Hints."  Okay, let's see what the hints are, I thought.  So I clicked.

And look at the list of hints FamilySearch found for my ancestors and relatives.  Forty of them, all neat and tidy in alphabetical order by first name with direct links to the possible supporting documents.

To be sure, only a quarter of them are for direct-line ancestors, but even so I'm grateful for the hints, especially when my goal is to gather enough information about family members to recreate the family unit.

It will take me a while to work through this list of documents, evaluate them, attach them to individuals on FamilySearch Family Tree, and add the information, sources, and citations to my RootsMagic program.  I think the information will fill in some blanks and answer some questions.

I know Ancestry offers similar hints but I don't have a tree in Ancestry.  And RootsMagic offers hints which (in my opinion) are not the quickest nor easiest to use.  It's only recently that I began attaching documents more consistently on the FS Family Tree.  I wonder if that's why they sent this list.

One of the exciting aspects of these hints is that they can help find the women in our families.  Our ladies can be hard to trace if we find them after they're married and don't have a maiden name, or if we find them before marriage and don't have an idea who they married.  In this group of hints was a marriage record for one of my great-grandfather's sisters.  I had not searched for her marriage and still don't have a death date but now that I know her married name I can find her in census records and search for death information.

If you have a FamilySearch account and add sources to its Family Tree, do you receive emails like this one?

Thank you for the hints, FamilySearch.  I appreciate the help they are.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Citing a Source as a Collection or as an Individual Document

While adding sources to RootsMagic today I've been thinking about whether (and when) it may be better to cite a collection as a source and/or whether (and when) it may be better to cite a single document as a source (even if it's part of a collection). 

A collection such as FamilySearch's "Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953" can be cited as a source.  Within that collection I may find 20 or 30 death certificates for ancestors and relatives that I will want to include as sources in my genealogy program.

If I cite that collection as a source
  • I can use the source for more than one document.
  • I can use the collection for more than one individual.
  • I will need to add only the individual's information to the citation.
  • I cannot use an individual document in that collection for more than one individual.

If I cite a single document as a source (even if it's part of a collection)
  • I can use that document for many individuals.
  • I will have a longer list of sources than if I cite a collection as a source.
  • I will need to type some information again and again, information that I wouldn't have to if the collection were cited as the source.

As I see it, there are times when one citation is preferable over the other.

I will want to cite a document as an individual source even if it is part of a collection if it has information about other individuals in it.  A death certificate often names the deceased's parents which can become sources for them.  An obituary usually lists parents and other relatives which I'll want to use for more than the individual who died.  There are other times when multiple names and relationships are noted in documents, including census records.  When that happens I think I should always write a citation for the individual document.

When a collection includes documents that name only one individual and no relationships I think that would be an excellent time to cite the collection as a source.

It's possible that I'm missing or misunderstanding the options available in RootMagic or the reasons for citing one way or the other.  If so, I hope you who have more experience will please share your knowledge.

Whether or not you use RootsMagic you probably have to choose which way to cite collections and the individual documents in collections.  How do you choose?  What do you do?


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Done Is Better Than Perfect

When it comes to source citations I'm coming to believe that done is better than perfect.  Slap-dash, haphazard, careless, half-hearted, inaccurate source citations aren't acceptable, at least to me, but a best try that will lead me or anyone else back to the original source and document the live of ancestors is better than perfect sources never cited or recorded.

For too many years I've hesitated to add sources (and the ancestors they support) to my genealogy program because I didn't want the citations to be wrong.  (This is an imperfect perfectionist typing here.)  I worried about format and style and correctness so much that having a citation that led to the original source of the document went by the wayside.  That resulted in no record of the document and no citation in my genealogy program.  The documents and sources stop at the paper on which they're printed or an image saved to my computer.  I've always carefully recorded the source's information:  the url, the website name, the collection information (title, volume, page, line, etc.), and any other notes that clarify the source and information about the document.  Sometimes I go so far as to write a blog post about the search and the results.  And then I add the paper to a stack or a surname file. 

And you know what happens to all those papers, right?  Stacks.  Notice the photo above.  Those are 8" of papers in an open file box awaiting action.  And the stack at right is about 5" high and sits precariously on top of my scanner.  Do you know how many papers it takes to reach 13"?  I don't want to count.  The fact is, those papers stacked near my computer are nudging me out of my work space. 

My non-citing of sources has to stop.  About two months ago Colleen Brown Pasquale wrote a post, Mastering Genealogical Proof & Mastering Genealogical Documentation, on her blog, Leaves & Branches.  In the post she reviewed Thomas W. Jones's books by the same name and described how helpful the second book been to her in overcoming "citation anxiety."  From a conference talk by Dr. Jones she shared his belief that "content is more important than form."   Done is better than perfect, right?  A best effort is better than no effort at all.  Thank you for the motivation, Colleen and Dr. Jones.

Yesterday I pulled out half a dozen obituaries (dating from 2013 to this year) and a copy of a 1901 news article about my g-grandfather that I've had for months, opened RootsMagic, chose a fact to add to each individual's page, chose the closest source type, and added the information.  Perfect?  No.  Several of the obituaries I found online and I didn't find an exact source type in the RootsMagic list.  But I found one that worked and all the information I had about each item was included.  Anyone who wants to find that document will be able to.

It might take me many months (or years?) of consistent entering of documents/citations to my genealogy program to move the papers from stacks to their appropriate places but what a relief it will be to have the information all in one place and organized for each person/family in my genealogy program.  What a relief to see what information I have for each ancestor.

I can do this!  Done -- and done as well as possible -- is better than perfect.  Thank you again to Colleen and Dr. Jones.

Do you have or have you ever had "citation anxiety?"


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.
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