16 October 2015

Writing My Life Story

I am working on writing my life story. In some ways that is what genealogy is all about; writing the story of the life of my family: where they came from, who they were, what happened to them in their journey. But what about my life, my journey? Wouldn't I be the best one to tell that story rather than some as yet unborn descendant?

My mom was also very interested in learning the history of her family, yet when she found out she was dying of cancer and I wanted to get HER story she wasn't interested in working on that. She felt it was no longer important. I would love to have her story in her words, not only for myself but for my children who loved her, and her great grandchildren who never had the opportunity to meet her. Only I didn't have the words to explain to her that it was important to me!

There are others in my family tree that I wish so much I had a written copy of their story. Sadly, I don't.

A couple of things happened this year that gave me the push to finally start putting pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and start writing the story of MY life. The first was Thomas McEntee's Genealogy Do-Over Project. I decided if I really was going to start over at the beginning, which means starting with me, I needed to write my story before it was too late. The other push was joining Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I ended up writing 50,000 words in one month. It showed me I could do it, IF I just sat down for an hour a day and typed.

Granted some of those 50,000 words are just a rough chronological outline with very few details. But it is 50,000 more words than when I started. Have I kept it up? Sadly, no. But I am trying to get back into routines now that the days are turning cooler, or at least the nights are. We have had some really beautiful days recently, more like Indian Summer than fall.

I have a lot more words to put down before I am ready to go back and start editing it. But I will get there, as long as God allows me enough days to get it done. But since none of us are promised tomorrow, I am trying not to put off those things that are important to me.

I thought I would share the introduction of my "story" with you, in hopes that it might encourage you to also write your story.

Who Am I?

By Linda D Newman

I have been putting off writing my story for our family history, after all who would be interested in me and my story? I am just a regular person. I don’t think I am anything special. I haven’t done anything extraordinary. Although, when sharing this introduction with my friend Rochelle, she scolded me for thinking I wasn’t anything special or extraordinary. She said, “You are special, you are extraordinary. The things you do and have done are extraordinary.” I do know that I am special in the sense that I am a unique individual created in God’s image, but beyond that I don’t stand out from the other more than seven billion people on earth (except to those who know me personally). I guess I will leave it you to you the reader to make your own judgments about whether or not I am extraordinary.

Then I think about what I would give to be able to read about one of my ancestors. Especially something they had written themselves so that I could get to know them as a person and not just know the names, dates, and places of their life. I would love to have them tell me about what they believed, the things they experienced, what a typical day was like, the important things that happened in their lifetime and their reactions to them.

So based on my desire to get to know my ancestors better, I figure at some point one of my descendants might say, “Who is this Linda person who is my great grandmother? What was she like? What was life like for her?” I hope that this piece will, at least in part, answer some of the questions my grandchildren and their children may one day have about me and my life. That I can flesh out my life for them, instead of just leaving the dry skeleton of names, dates and places.

This book will have several parts to it.

Part One will be a chronological telling of my life story.

Part Two will be my responses to the question “Who Am I?” which was a writing prompt I found on a website designed to help you write the story of your life. They said to ask yourself the question “who am I?” twenty times and write down your responses. That concept really stuck with me, and I thought it would be a good way to maybe explore parts of me and my life that might not get covered in a chronological style telling of my story.

Finally, Appendix A has an ancestor report, listing the basic facts of my ancestors. The names, dates and places of the major events of their life. To learn more about their stories you can read more about them in the different books about their branch of our family tree.

Yes, what I am doing is a major undertaking, but then I am a writer at heart. The way you decide to write your story is up to you, and even that decision tells people about who you are. If you are crafty maybe you will decide to tell your story with pictures in a carefully crafted scrapbook. If you prefer to tell you story using spoken words rather than writing, get a digital vocal recorder and start talking. When you are done you can always ask someone to transcribe it into written form, but the extra special part of leaving a digital recording is that your descendants will be able to actually HEAR your story in your own voice.

But whatever form you decide to use to share your life story I encourage you to start today so that one day your descendant aren't saying, "I wish I knew more about my grandparents and what their life was like."

Genealogy Do Over Week Two

Thomas McEntee's topics for Week Two are:
1) Setting Research Goals,
2) Conducting Self Interview
3) Conducting Family Interviews

In looking over my blog posts from January I see that I didn't blog anything about these topics. So let's see what I can manage to do this time through.

Thomas talks about setting research goals in Week Two, but what does he mean about setting research goals? In reading Thomas' blog I find that he is talking about making specific research goals to prove (or disprove) facts about an individual.

I find that I was ahead of the game on this part, a few years ago I had created a template for making research plans to help in my research. Now, I don't have research plans created for very many people at this point, but I do have one for my great grandmother and some of her immediate family, because I have a brick wall in finding her paternal grandparents. I have found my research plan is a great way to see what I know as well as what I don't know, then to plan what and where I am going to look next.

I think that doing one of those research plans on myself would satisfy the "conduct a self interview" part of this week's assignment. I am sure everyone will understand that I am not going to post that research plan online. The names, dates, and places it would contain would be giving away too much personal information on myself and my living family members. But I encourage you to also make a research plan with yourself as the person being researched.

I know many of us haven't fully written out our lives, even though when anyone is starting to work on their family tree the advice is always to start with ourselves. So we put our names, birth date and birth place, then we add our spouses, children, parents, siblings. But do we remember to add all the little things to our own profile that fill out the skeleton of names dates and places to make us a fully fleshed out person to those who will look at our work years from now?

I am taking the time now to start over and do this right. And that means starting with myself and putting in ALL the facts with proper sources and citations. And to do that I need to make a research plan for myself to remind me of all the documentation I need to find about my life.

I have a couple of maternal aunts and one maternal uncle still living, and the widow of my paternal uncle that I should interview before I lose those resources. I need to find a way to do that sooner rather than later. Two are active online so they will be easiest to chat with, the other two will take more effort on my part. I know I won't regret making the effort, I will regret it if I don't.

Here is a blank version of my research plan for your use, I have this in my word processing program which means I can type as much as I want under each heading:

07 October 2015

Bright Shiny Objects

Bright Shiny Objects (BSO) catch our eye, I think it is human nature. In the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group I have also heard some people call them rabbit holes. They have the potential to totally distract us from what we are trying to do, IF we let them. The trick is to acknowledge them without letting them divert us from what we are trying to do.

Let's start with an example, then we can talk about some of the ways to acknowledge a BSO without allowing it to get us off track of our current research goal.

Let's say my goal is to research everything I can find on my grandfather Frederick John Newman's WWI military service. My grandfather had a brother, Eric Alexander Newman, who also served in WWI. Both of them were born in England and living in the USA at the time period I am searching. Let's say I am on ancestry.com and I am searching for Frederick Newman in the military records. Chances are Eric's name will also pop up in search results.

It might be tempting to look at both Frederick's and Eric's results. But that isn't the goal for this search, only Frederick's military service is. Chances are if I click on something for Eric I will then see the "you might also be interested it" type of links, then there I go chasing those bright shiny objects relating to my great uncle and totally lose focus. Two hours later I will find that not only have I not found anything about my grandfather but I might not even be looking at things that relate to my great uncle but some distant relative in England!

You might be saying "But what's a person to do when those BSO cross my path?" Let's discuss strategies....

First and foremost, I hope before you start you have a research plan so you know the "Who, What, Where, When, How/Why" of your search. This allows you to focus your search so that you can make real progress, instead of wandering aimlessly through the ancestry website (or the findmypast. familysearch, genealogybank, etc websites).

Second comes some sort of research log.

I have to admit in my past research I have been BAD about this step. I can't tell you how much wasted time this has caused as I repeat searches for things I already have, or repeating searches with parameters that did not produce results instead of trying new parameters. Part of my problem with research logs has always been that those printed versions always seem to have such small boxes there was no way to efficiently use them, at least for me.

Genealogy Do-Over has encouraged me to start experimenting using a spreadsheet for my research log.

A spreadsheet allows me to make the boxes whatever size I need them to be (plus typing tends to take up less space than my handwriting). It also allows me to move columns around until I find a format that works for me WITHOUT losing the data that is already in the database. Plus I can sort by the different columns. Meaning if I want to find all my research on an individual I can sort by name. If I want to see all the vital records I have I can sort by Record Type. If I want to see all the records I have found on Ancestry I can sort by that. All of this without having to rewrite (or retype) lists or losing any information.

One of the benefits of using a spreadsheet program, especially when it comes to those BSO's, is I can have different pages in my document. I can have a page for my research log, or I can have separate pages for the different surnames.

I can also have a page for my to do list. This is where I can list those bright shiny objects. I can put their name as the site lists them and any other identifying information about that potential document. You can even copy and paste the information, including the url, to help you find the information again. Then I can go right back to working on my goal for that day's research without worrying about whether or not I will be able to find the information about that other potential lead at a later time.

If you have other ideas and suggestions on how to deal with BSO please feel free to share them in the comments section.

06 October 2015

Rebooting my Genealogy Do-Over

Thomas McEntee has just started his fourth cycle of his Genealogy Do-Over Program. Each cycle lasts just 13 weeks.

I was so psyched when I first heard of his project late December 2014. I thought, "This is just what I need to get my personal genealogy project into shape! I can go through my research and my mom's research and make it into one coherent project." Well, life and health interfered.

I had surgery in March. Then after I was finally feeling healed from that I fell and hurt my ribs. Plus I started on Cymbalta for my Fibromyalgia. Now that med may work great for some, but for me it caused major depression like I had never experienced in my life!

Ribs are healed. I am off the Cymbalta and my moods are finally back to normal. So here I am ready to get back into the swing of things.

I decided since Thomas is just starting another cycle I will start back at Week One too. This will allow me to refresh my memory about what I am doing and how I want to proceed. Week One's topics/assignments are:
1) Setting Previous Research Aside,
2) Preparing to Research, and
3) Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

Well, I had set aside my research in January, so that was easy.

Preparing to Research?!?! Aren't you supposed to just decide to open Ancestry and randomly search? I am just joking, I think. But all too often that is what I have done. I have some time, my mind wanders to the subject of my family history and I open up my tree in Family Tree Maker and log into Ancestry.com.

In the discussion of topic 2 "Preparing to Research" Thomas mentioned having a "Warm Up Routine" and that got me to thinking. I know an athlete should warm up his muscles in preparation of working out. I know a singer warms up their vocal cords before singing (or they should). What do I, as a genealogist, need to do to be "warmed up" or prepared to research?

From thinking about that came this first document, "Linda's Warm-Up Exercises." Use my list as a starting place for you to think about what you want to have on your list.

The final topic for Week One is about establishing Base Practices and Guidelines. I had written my "Base Practices and Guidelines," back in January so I decided to just review what I had already written.

1. Track ALL work! including dead ends, negative results and non-productive searches. (If non-productive make a notation of why it was non-productive: tired? interrupted? bad copy you couldn't read? Also make a record of what search terms you used -- later on you can go back and see that you didn't try wildcards, or a certain wildcard pattern, or you didn't swap the surname and given name.)
2. Diligence and integrity are essential in doing genealogy research.
3. Always use proper source citation when entering information, if it doesn't have a source it doesn't belong in the database!
4. Take the time to do a careful and thorough search, whether in a database or on a document. Don't rush you may miss something important. If it takes an hour to carefully look at 1 document, then that is what it takes, there will always be another day to look at other documents.
5. Don't get sidetracked by shiny objects. Write them down to look at later, stick with your research plan for that day.
6. Stop working on genealogy by 11 pm so you can get to bed at a halfway reasonable hour.

For the most part I think what I had was pretty solid, but that maybe it needed just one more item.

7. Develop a work flow chart to make sure you don't skip steps when doing research and reviewing documents.

So that is where this document came from. It is a visual flow chart of the process I want to go through when doing my research. Again use this as a starting point for you to think about what steps you need to be including in research habits.

Just read a comment in the Do-Over Facebook Group about a "Cool Down" Routine for what they will do at the end of each research session. I will have to think on that idea and come up with something for that too I think.

03 October 2015

New Facebook Group for Busch Researchers

Announcing a new Facebook Group for those who have a Busch Line on their Family Tree. Please join us in helping each other find our Busch ancestors and connecting with our Busch Cousins!

02 October 2015

New Facebook Group for Antrim Researchers

Announcing a new Facebook Group for those who have an Antrim Line on their Family Tree. Please join us in helping each other find our Antrim ancestors and connecting with our Antrim Cousins!

New Facebook Group for Boyer Researchers

Announcing a new Facebook Group for those who have a Boyer Line on their Family Tree. Please join us in helping each other find our Boyer ancestors and connecting with our Boyer Cousins!

14 September 2015

Genetic Genealogy

Genealogy can be an exciting hobby. There is the excitement of hunting for a missing piece of information; the satisfaction of figuring out a puzzle that others couldn’t solve; and the joy of adding a new person to the family tree.

In recent years there has been a new tool to help locate relatives and verify the connections on your family tree. That tool is DNA testing for genealogical purposes. The three main companies that do DNA testing are 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and AncestryDNA.

Segments of DNA are measured by centimorgans (cMs). Usually the more cMs that 2 people share the closer the relationship is. The chart below illustrates how the amount of DNA we inherit from our ancestors can vary widely, even by the time you reach the Second Cousin level of relationship.

If you look closely at the following chart you will see that second cousins John and Allison share 330 cMs of DNA, while John only shares 31.3 cMs with Albert another one of his second cousins. That is quite a difference, yet both relationships are that of second cousins. Yet, the amount of DNA that Jeanetta shares with those same two second cousins is much closer. She shares 120 cMs with Allison and 124.5 cMs with Albert.

This is because of how dna is recombined and passed down through the generations. I plan on doing a more detailed description about that in a future post, for now I just wanted to share this part of it.

1. Frederick J. Newman and Louise Grace Boyer are the common ancestors for: Linda, Mark, Albert, John and Jeanetta.
2. Walter Lucier and Ellen Bownes are the common ancestors for: John, Jeanetta, David and Thomas.
3. Thomas Riordan and Grace Janvrin are the common ancestors for: John, Jeanetta, Heather and Allison.

23 August 2015

Life Happenings, and Hoping To Get Back On Track!

Sometimes life seems to get in the way of what I really want to be doing.

I had surgery at the end of March to repair my severe hiatal hernia and to remove my gall bladder. That required a week's stay in the hospital, plus another 7 weeks at home to heal.

Was finally healed from surgery, and then I took a fall when I was outside. I fell so hard that I do not remember the fall. One minute I was walking and the next my face was an inch from the ground a second before I hit it. Ended up with a black eye from the nose piece of my glasses, a fat lip and hurt ribs. They weren't broken but boy did they hurt! It took about 5 weeks for the ribs to heal.

About the same time I fell I started taking Cymbalta for my Fibromyalgia. They warn that it can cause depression, let me tell you for me it did.

I may have sad moments, like when I miss someone who has died, but never in my life have I had depression like I got from taking the Cymbalta!

With my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) I have periods of time where I have the desire to do things but not the physical ability. After 22 years with this I know that while I might not have the physical ability to do something right then, that I could do it as soon as my health cooperated. Being on the Cymbalta things were flipped. I had good days physically but my mental attitude was I don't want to and I don't CARE that I don't want to. I had lost the desire to DO, and that scared me. It was so totally opposite of the way I normally functioned at first I didn't realize what was happening. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my doctor and talked to them.

I am finally weaned off of that and am REALLY hoping that there are no other major things happening to me so I can get back to what I want to be doing. Namely Genealogy!

Have a great day! and I hope this finds you in good health.

Back to the search :)

09 August 2015

Me and Louise Grace (Boyer) Newman

Genetics can be a wonderful thing to explore, they are what make us who we are. I have really been enjoying learning more about how genetics work and using that knowledge to try and find how my genetic cousins fit into my tree.

But while that is a very fun part of genetics, I also find it very interesting to see the physical evidence of how I have inherited certain characteristics from my ancestors. As you can see from the picture below, I strongly inherited my physical looks from my paternal grandmother. I believe she is close to the same age as I am currently in the picture, although she might be a little older than me, depending on which of my cousins was in the picture with her.

I wish I could ask her who she resembles, but she died just before I turned ten so I can't do that. I don't even know if she knew who she resembled because her mom, Emma (Antrim) Boyer, died when she was still a child. And her dad, Frederick R Boyer, didn't seem to be in her life after that. If anyone seeing this is a cousin on those lines and sees a family resemblance to your branch I would love to hear from you!

02 June 2015

Looking At How The X Chromosome Is Passed Down

I have been doing more research and learning about how to use DNA to try and find relatives. The specific part that I have been looking at concerns how the X chromosome is passed down from generation to generation. The X chromosome is NEVER passed from Father to Son. It can be passed Father to Daughter, Mother to Daughter or Mother to Son. Again it is never passed from Father to Son. This narrows down which lines you will look at in trying to find the match for someone who you match on the X chromosome. There are some good charts and information on DNA - Genealem's Genetic Genealogy Blog. I downloaded her graphic for the female being the 1st person on the chart and filled it out with the names of the ancestors I know. Below is that fan chart filled out with my ancestors that could have passed an x chromosome to me.


Edited on 7 January 2018 to add: I really should update this fan chart to include the ancestors I have managed to find in the last 2 1/2 years. But while this chart may not reflect all the names of the ancestors I now know, it does show that of the 128 ancestors at the 5x great grandparent level I could have only inherited DNA on the X chromosome from 34 of them. It really does help narrow down possibilities, especially if you also match on other Chromosomes. BTW for Males, the number of ancestors at that 5x great grandparents level you can received DNA from on the X Chromosome is down to 21 people.

10 May 2015

FamilyTreeDNA and the tools available on that site

I have written in the past about having my DNA tested at both AncestryDNA and at 23andMe. Those are not the only two companies that do DNA testing, and a couple of those companies allow you to transfer your Raw DNA data from either Ancestry or 23andMe. I have taken advantage of FamilyTreeDNA's (FTDNA) service and gedmatch. With FTDNA you transfer your DNA and then have a choice of either paying $39 to unlock your matches or to ask 4 other people to also transfer their DNA to their company using a specially generated link. Gedmatch is a totally free, volunteer site. But today I am going to talk about a couple of the tools available on FTDNA

There are two very useful tools that I have found on FTDNA. The first is the "in common with" and the second is the "chromosome comparison."

The "in common with" tool allows you to search for people that share DNA with you and another member of their database. Say for example you have a confirmed 2nd cousin on FTDNA, you could then use the "in common with tool" to find others that also match the 2 of you to find other potential cousins. At this point I do not haven any confirmed matches on FTDNA, so I used it in a different way.

The first thing I did was find someone that I shared a good sized segment of DNA. I then clicked on the "in common with" tool and found we had 25 people that in one way or another we share as a potential match. I then used the second tool, the "chromosome comparison" tool.

Using the chromosome comparison tool I found out that 12 of the 25 people we had as common matches matched both her and I at the same area on chromosome one.

What does that mean? it means that at some point in our trees the 14 of us share a common ancestor, or ancestors. Now working together we can try and figure out who that ancestor is.

There is just one problem, when writing these matches I am finding some of them are not understanding what I am talking about when I mention the "in common with" tool and the "chromosome comparison" tool. So I have made the following pictures to hopefully help others understand these tools and how I used them.

If you have questions or something isn't clear, please contact me so I can try and make it easier to understand. Happy hunting!

06 February 2015

Using DNA Test to Find Relatives.

I have mentioned in previous posts (see blogs dated 2 Aug 2014; 24 Apr 2013; 2 Sep 2012; 8 April 2012) that I have tested with both 23andMe & with ancestry DNA tests. And that 2 of my 4 children have also taken the 23andMe test. A paternal male cousin (our fathers are brothers) has too, so that should get us the Newman line. This cousin's son has taken the ancestry DNA test, so I have a link to my paternal line on that site too.

I have done a little bit to try and contact those that are matches on to me on those 2 sites. So far no close relatives have responded to me. However I have been able to connect my 2 kids to three 2nd cousins from their fathers side. One from their paternal grandfathers line and two from their paternal grandmother's line. One of those from their grandmother's line was part of a closed adoption so doesn't have any clue to her ancestry. It made me happy to be able to tell her that while I couldn't tell her who her mother or father was, and I could only tell her that her grandparent was 1 of 13, I could tell her that her great grandparents were Thomas Francis Riordan and Grace Lillian Janvrin. I am really hoping my kids will reach out to this 2nd cousin and maybe together they can find out more for her, or at very least be a connection to her birth family for her.

On a personal side I have just joined a facebook group called "Ancestry-Gedmatch-FTDNA-23&me-Genealogy and DNA" It is a pretty large (6000+ members) and active group and I hope to learn more about how I can use these DNA tests to connect to my relatives.

I have also uploaded the raw data from the 23andMe test to FTDNA, and if I get 4 people to add their DNA test through this link I will fully unlock the site and be able to find matches on their site too for free.
Click Here if you are willing to upload your raw data to FTDNA and help me unlock the features. If I don't get 4 others to help I will have to pay $39 to unlock it and I really don't have that in my budget currently.

The people in the group have also been talking about genmatch, and when I went to upload my raw data to that site I discovered I had uploaded it July 2011! My kit number is M173936 if you are also on genmatch and want to see if we have a match.

To help me remember where I have memberships and subscriptions I have started a sheet in my research log for "online presence" where I can list all the links to websites where I have an account of some type. I have a columns for website name, url, username, password, subscription information (for those that are subscription sites), and notes. Hopefully that will keep me from forgetting where I have uploaded trees and other info!

01 February 2015

What's in your toolbox?

It's a new day, new week, new month.... the new "assignment" for week 5 of the do-over is: Building a Research Toolbox and Citing Sources.

Building a Research Toolbox basically means locating websites that will be useful to you in your research and then organizing the list in such a way that you can actually FIND the link that you are needing. One way to do that is to make folders in your browser's favorite or bookmark list to organize them. Another option is to use a spreadsheet like Excel to organize them. Or you can use a program such as Evernote or One Note to organize them. Another choice would be to share them on your blog so that others can also benefit from your work.

The assignment is to figure out what would work best with your style of working, and then be consistent in your use of it. You also have to be able to keep your links up to date and be able to remove links that no longer work. Thomas MacEntee shared with us a free program called AM-Deadlink used to verify links in your current bookmarks (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome) or links pasted into a text file.

I downloaded the program and when I ran it I did find a couple of deadlinks, but not too many. So in that aspect I am doing good. I have decided that I will just get all my bookmarked sites together in one browser (I have IE, Firefox and Chrome all installed on my computer and I have 2 computers so have a bit of combining to do). Once they are all in one browser I will then get them organized in folders and subfolders to make it easier to locate the links that I want easily.

Once I get it all organized I will share my personal toolbox with you. It may take me a bit to get it done but hopefully sometime this week I will be able to say I have finished this part of this assignment.

28 January 2015

My progress on the Genealogy Do-Over

Technically we are into week four of the do-over, but that is not where I am at yet. And that is ok with me because I know I need to get some basics in place before I get too deeply involved with working on research.

The first thing I have to do is make sure the space I am going to be working in is set up in such a way that I can function in it. That means I am taking some time to get my house in order, in between taking care of some health issues as well as watching my granddaughter while her mom is at work.

While I can work with some disorder around me, I know I will function better if part of my mind isn't worried about the dishes in the sink, or the laundry that needs doing. And I know I can make better progress if I don't have to stop and search for a pencil or pad of paper when I want to jot down a note.

So, I am going back to Step 0 as some have described it and getting my home in order.

I have managed to get my budget in order for the coming year.

I have set up a project management workbook in Excel to make sure I am getting life's to do thing taken care of (thank you Thomas MacEntee for sharing your knowledge and expertise).

I am working on getting some health issues taken care of.

I am working on getting the room that will be my office space clean up and organized so that I have a functionable space.

I have written a list of why I am doing genealogy (see previous post) and I have written a list of my short and long term goals for my research (see my post of 29 Dec 2014)

I am reading the posts in the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group, as well as some of the blogs written by others that are undertaking this journey. I am learning lots from doing that.

This is all progress. And if it isn't as fast as some would do it (or even as fast as I would ideally like to be able to do it), it is getting done. After all slow and steady wins the race, and this is a marathon not a sprint! :)

Why do I do Genealogy?

So why do I do genealogy? Maybe that is where I need to start my do-over. Making a clear statement of the why behind the search. It will help me figure out what direction I am going and the steps I need to reach my destination, or goal.

I actually have a couple of base goals.

Goal One - to get to know who I came from. The names, dates and places are just a start. I also want to know the who the people are beyond the names. What shaped their lives? What were their daily lives like? What were their interests and beliefs?

Goal Two - to be able to share my discoveries with my family. And not just my immediate family, but the extended family of cousins as well as any 2nd and 3rd cousins I can locate, because it is a part of their family story too.

Goal Three - to be able to leave a record of me and who I am in my words, in my voice, so that my children, grandchildren and someday my great grandchildren can know the who I am beyond just a name.

Goal Four - To help others learn about their family by sharing my knowledge and skills in helping them find their roots.

If you are working on your genealogy, what is your why?

04 January 2015

Reorganizing my computer files

One of the things I am working on during this Genealogy Do-Over is getting the files on my computer a bit more organized. To do that I have been considering what would work best for ME. At the moment this is how I have decided to set things up....

I have used the program Folder Marker and used a tree icon for any folder dealing with genealogy. I have started a new folder for doing the Do-over which I have named Genealogy Do-Over

Within the Genealogy Do-Over Folder I have a Folder for my tree, and a Folder for my exhusband's family (he is the father of my children so they will want his side of the family too). I again used Folder Marker to change the color on the folders so that it is easier to see which folder is which.

In each of those folders I have added two folders which I named Places and Surnames. The folder named Places will be for general information about the places my families lived, but don't necessarily mention my families specifically. I will go from Larger to smaller, for example United States > California > Sierra County > Sierra City.

Within the Surnames folder I will make folders for each surname within my tree. Then within the individual surname folders I have a folder for Documents. (Notice I put an underscore before the name, this is so that folder will always be at the top of the list.) In the Documents folder I have 22 subfolders. This where I will put the various documents that have to do with that surname. The reason for this set up is that I have surname binders and those are the tabs I have in the binders. So to me it made sense to use the same set up on my computer.

I have those folders named: General Surname Info, Birth, Marriage, Death, Obituaries, Cemetery Records, Probate, Census, Church, City Directories, Court Records, Divorce Records, Family Correspondence, Land Records, Military Service Records, Military Pension Records, Naturalization Records, Newspaper Items, Passenger Lists, School Records, Tax Records, Voter Records. You will notice that I put a number at the beginning of each name, this is to force them to stay in the order I want them listed (which is the same order that I have the tabs in my binders) rather than reverting to Alphabetical Order.

Also in the individual surname's folders I will make a folder for each individual person. I will again use Folder Marker to change the color of the folders to make them more distinct from the Documents folder. In the individual person's folder I will put anything that deals specifically with them but doesn't belong in one of the documents folderss, for example the research plan for that person.

As time goes on and I am working with this set up I may end up changing things, but for now I think this set up will work. Remember when setting up your organizational ideas to consider how YOU work because it doesn't make any difference how things are set up if you don't use it because it doesn't make sense to you!