Sunday, April 13, 2014

SNGF: Source/Citation Stats

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge posted by Randy Seaver on his Geneamusings blog is as follows:

1)  Have you done a good job of citing your sources in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How are you doing?  How many source citations do you have, and how many people are in your tree?  What is the sources to persons ratio?

2)  Which master source (e.g., 1900 U.S. census, Find A Grave, specific book, etc.) do you have the most citations for?  How many?  How did you figure this out?

3)  Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or on Facebook or Google+ in a post.  Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post on this blog post.

When I read this challenge yesterday, I drew a blank. I could not figure out how to obtain the requested information from my FTM2014 databases. Russ Worthington kindly provided some insight into where some of this information is contained in Family TreeMaker.

So....using my SWICEGOOD FTM2014 file, which contains primarily just my maternal line, in the "Plan" area I see the following statistics:
     Number of People: 14,968
     Number of Marriages: 4,962
     File size: 29,344 KB
     Generations: 13
     Surnames: 2536
     Facts: 50,227
     Places: 4,779
     Sources: 580     Templates used: 0
     Citations: 4,368
     Media: 29

The 580 Sources are actually "master sources"; there are multiple unique source references within each of these source groups. I see that I have a LOT of work to do to clean these up. I've been using genealogy software since the 1980s and just keep transferring my old files to newer software over the years, keeping all of my old sources and citations. Much of my real source information is in the "Notes" sections of each person's entry, not in the "Facts" entries.

As an example of how totally un-standardized my sources are, these are the "Sources" for the 1880 US Census:
     1880 Census > includes 16 different "citations" that link to 41 different "facts"
     1880 Census listing > includes 6 different "citations" that link to 29 different "facts"
     1880 Soundex > includes 2 different "citations" linked to 6 different "facts"
     1880 United State Federal Census > includes 1 "citation" linked to 10 "facts"

For the master source "", I apparently have 50 different citations! They appear to be linked to 196 different facts. I'm guessing this is the source with the most citations, but I would have to work through each source to figure that out.

Needless to say, the sources and citations in my FTM2014 Swicegood file need a lot of work. In my own defense, there were no templates or suggested formats when I started creating my sources, so I just created my own with as much information as I had at hand. It's obviously time to either (a) work through all of these sources and citations and standardize them, or (b) start over with a new FTM file and carefully source/cite EVERY fact in a standardized fashion.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Redlands Connection

Many years ago I began ordering the Hickory County newspaper, The Index, on microfilm from the State Historical Society of Missouri. I'd order them through ILL (Interlibrary Loan) at my public library and spend 40-50 hours per roll reading and transcribing them, also printing longer articles and family obituaries. I have hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of notes from 1885 until the early 1930s.

Hickory County has never had much to offer young men coming of age. There's never been any industry in the county to speak of, so jobs have always been scarce. Farms were usually pretty small; certainly not large enough to divide among multiple sons and be economically viable. Many Hickory Countians ended up migrating to Redlands and vicinity in San Bernardino County, California. I found some old letters from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother when they were courting in 1891 and 1892 that were postmarked Messina, Calif. From what he writes, I assume this place was near Redlands, but I can't seem to find it in a gazetteer or on a map.

In working through my Index notes from 1885 through 1911, I've found the following names of people who either moved to or were already living in the Redlands area:
before 1890 - John D. Cooke (died Sep 1892)
1906 - E V McShane; J E Brock; Mary Lightfoot & Mrs. Anna Solberg (sisters); Miss Mary Bandel; Miss Ethel Brent (married Ed Moore, Oct 1906); Robert Clark
1907 - W H Gist; Harve Paxton; Miss Winnie Paxton; Mr. & Mrs. D. A. Pine, daughter Missie (living at 202 Washington St., Redlands); Edward Brock
1908 - Clark Sutt (lived at Dearborn SE & Sylvan); J. D. DeWitt; Homer Bennett & daughter Rebecca
1909 - Mr. & Mrs. S. R. Bailey, son Elmer; C. V. Edwards; Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Pine; John Crates, Buell & Clifford; John D. Blair
1910 - W. Y. Harlan; George Wilson & wife; Miss Mada Edwards & Otto D. F. Krull; C. E. Hinkle; S. E. Pine, pastor of Holiness Church; Cora Langford; W. E. Rickett (sister of Cora Langford); Denton Iams & wife
1911 - Walter Delmont (East Highlands); Stephen Nix; B. W. Whelchel; Mrs. Jennie Hinkle-Poe; Luther & Leonard Gist; Arie H. Harlan

I'm hoping to visit the Heritage Room at the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands next week and learn more about these people. The library is in this incredible historic building. Built in 1898, the building has been used as a library since its construction and was donated to the City of Redlands by Albert K. Smiley, a wealthy hotelier. It is noted for its archives. I'm hoping they'll have information on some of these Hickory County transplants and be able to help me understand why so many moved to the Redlands area.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SNGF: Surname Counts

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver asks us to figure out how to count the number of people with each surname in our genealogy management program and report on our findings.

I use Family TreeMaker (FTM) as my genealogy management program. Unfortunately, I don't have all of my families in a single FTM database. I maintain 3 separate files: my mother's lines; my father's lines; my husband's lines. Since I started using genealogy programs many, many years ago, I had to split my files to be able to back them up onto floppy disks and because, in the early days, the programs just couldn't handle very many names, dates, places, etc.

I upgraded to FTM 2014 last Christmas (thank you, Sara!), but still had two of my main files in FTM 2009. 2009 apparently doesn't have the capability of counting surnames, so I had to import those two files into FTM 2014 for this task.

In FTM2014, select PUBLISH; then PERSON REPORTS; then SURNAME REPORT. Select to include all individuals and to sort by count. To find alternate spellings, I also sorted alphabetically.

BROOKSHIRE = 777 individuals (+69 with variant spellings), 1680-1994
SWICEGOOD = 268 individuals (+21 with variant spellings), 1600-1995
SHARP = 174 individuals (+28 with variant spellings), 1655-1985
WOOLERY = 177 individuals, 1739-1919
RYASON/RYERSON/REYERSE = 164 individuals, 1664-1893
SOMMARSTROM = 156 individuals, 1778-1988

Numbers 1, 2 and 4 are from my mother's side; #3 and 5 are from my father's side; #6 is my husband's line. Because his line is Swedish/Finnish, the surname Sommarström wasn't established until the late 1770s. Before that the family used patronymics, changing the surname each generation.

One of these days I need to combine my three main files, but I keep thinking I should get them all cleaned up first. Somehow that just hasn't happened.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SNGF: Sharing Childhood Memories

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week is derived from Judy Russell's keynote address at last week's RootsTech 2014. Judy asked if you knew the stories of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and posed six questions. Randy asks that we answer them for OURSELVES.
  1. What was your first illness as a child?
  2. What was the first funeral you attended?
  3. What was your favorite book as a child?
  4. What was your favorite class in elementary school?
  5. What was your favorite toy as a child?
  6. Did you learn how to swim and, if so, where did you learn?
These are hard for me to answer for myself, let along for my parents or grandparents!

For me.....
1. I have no idea what my very first illness was, but have seen pictures of me with the mumps when I was about 2-1/2 years old.
2. The first funeral I attended was my father's in 1978. He died at 60 and the only way I kept myself from falling apart was squeezing my 3-month-old daughter.
3. My favorite book as a child was Misty of Chincoteague. It was a bit of a let-down when I visited the island in 1970.
4. My favorite GRADE in elementary school was 4th grade with Mrs. Torkelson. I still have a postcard she sent me the next summer. As for subject, I always loved math, even if girls weren't supposed to [until 9th grade geometry, that is].
5. My favorite toy would have been whatever sporting equipment was needed for the season. Baseball, glove and bat; bicycle; ice skates; skis; tennis racquet; basketball.....
6. I learned to swim at the officer's club at Vint Hill Farms Station outside of Warrenton, VA at about age 7. I remember begging our Dad to swim with us and that after he did, he spent weeks with his ears painted with some red-orange stuff. But it sure was fun being tossed around in the pool!

I keep hoping our kids will be interested in our lives at some point, so hope this blog will still be around when they are!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SNGF: Children/grandchildren in Matrilineal Lines

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for tonight involves counting the number of children and grandchildren for each woman in your matrilineal line--so mother, mother's mother, mother's mother's mother.....

My matrilineal line:
1.      Nancy Leah Swicegood (1917-1996) had 5 children (1 died in infancy), 2 grandchildren
2.      Molly Fay Brookshire (1894-1966) had 6 children, 15 grandchildren (1 died in infancy)
3.      Nancy Jane Collins (1873-1966) had 3 children, 8 grandchildren
4.      Rebecca Jane Campbell (1842-1882) had 8 children, 25 grandchildren [3 husbands; 3 children died young]
5.      Sarah Anne Crabtree (1817-1856) had 8 children, 30 grandchildren
6.      Rebecca Sally Holeman (1774-185x) had 10 children, no idea how many grandchildren
After a long day of driving, I was too tired to generate outline descendant charts for each woman and seriously study the results. I just looked at each generation in FTM 2014 and added the child counts. I think my research is pretty complete through the 5th generation, but haven't researched most of Rebecca Holeman's children.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

SNGF: My Ancestor Score

Randy Seaver's challenge for this week is to calculate you Ancestor Score. You can check out his blog post here for the details.

Figuring out my ancestor score was a tad more complicated than for others, it seems. I keep my maternal and paternal lines in separate Family TreeMaker files. I tried Randy's technique of generating an Ahnenfelt chart in FTM, but it was way too cumbersome, as it included all of my notes. So instead, I generated 10-generation pedigree charts for each of my databases and just counted the number of lines that had names on them. Granted, some of the wives in earlier generation only had given names, but I counted those anyway. And, to be perfectly honest, I'm not absolutely convinced that all of the 9th and 10th generation ancestors in my trees are correct.

So....drumroll results:

Generation Relationship Possible People People in MY Tree Percent
1 Me 1 1 100%
2 Parents 2 2 100%
3 Grandparents 4 4 100%
4 Great-grandparents 8 8 100%
5 2x Great-grandparents 16 16 100%
6 3x Great-grandparents 32 28 88%
7 4x Great-grandparents 64 28 44%
8 5x Great-grandparents 128 35 27%
9 6x Great-grandparents 256 24 9%
10 7x Great-grandparents 512 21 4%

Can you tell that I'm not a genealogist who focuses on seeing how far back I can take a line? I get really hung up on the stories and trying to prove or disprove them. Not surprisingly, I don't have many stories from earlier than my 3x great-grandparents, so I don't spend much time on them. And my paternal ancestry is more sparse than my maternal one. Through 6 generations I'm 100% on my maternal line, then my percentage drops fast. Overall, my ancestor score was just 16% for the ten generations. Maybe I'll try to focus on filling in the 6th and 7th generations this coming year.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SNGF: My 2013 Dear Genea-Santa Letter

So....this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver is to write a letter to Genea-Santa, including information on how good/bad you've been this year and what you'd like Genea-Santa to bring you in terms of genealogy gifts this year.

Dear Genea-Santa,

I may have sloughed off a little this year in the genealogy good deeds department, because after 4 years I finally rotated off the Seattle Genealogical Society's Board of Directors the first of June. That doesn't mean I've stopped volunteering; but I have definitely cut back from my 20 to 40 hours per week I had been putting in over the last 4 years. I did still write 3 grant proposals, managed another funded grant (for digitizing and indexing VFW membership cards we found in our storage area), made several presentations for SGS (with another one next week) and several more for other area genealogy societies, served as desk volunteer in the SGS library at least once a month, proofread the SGS Newsletters and Bulletins, and helped at least a dozen people with their family history research. I also attended my first RootsTech (never again) and submitted 5 presentation proposals for the 2014 FGS conference (all declined, so likewise never again).

In theory, not being on the Board should give me lots more time for my own research, but that really hasn't happened. My husband and I have done a lot more travel since June, but he's not terribly patient when I veer off to visit courthouses and cemeteries. We did stop in Oquawka, my father's father's father's birthplace and burial place to half of his US ancestry. But that was for less than 4 hours; I could have stayed for several days digging into the Henderson County courthouse and surrounding towns. And I have managed to convince a couple of relatives (one I've never met) into doing DNA tests for me. But there's a lot more I'd like to do.

What I would love to see under our Christmas tree (if we manage to get one up this year; we're still on the road right now), dear Genea-Santa, are the following genealogy gifts:

1. Leads to finding direct line male descendants of my Henry Collins (abt. 1802-1852) and Nicholas Campbell (1808-1876) who are willing to have their DNA tested.

2. An introduction to one or more of my living SHARP relatives who is interested in our family history and willing and able to share stories, photos and information about my Dad and his family.

3. A good quality, lightweight LCD projector (link is to one on sale at Staples, but if you know of a better deal....) so that I can offer a beginning genealogy class to the folks at Desert Gold RV Resort where we spend February and March. I promise I won't charge for teaching the class.

4. A pile of money and willing relatives to fund more DNA tests (especially FTDNA Family Finder tests) so that I can better respond to queries I receive about how I'm related to other people with matching strings on individual chromosomes.

This is beginning to sound a bit greedy, so I'd better stop here.

I can't promise there will be treats left when you get to our house, but I will put them out. The kids will be home and may beat you to them. If there's any left, be sure to try our family's favorite holiday cookie, Chocolate Krinkles, and some of the Caruva Horchata Cream liqueur.

Thank you for whatever you bring me to help with my genealogy pursuits, dear Genea-Santa. I know there are many family historians more needy than me, but I have been at this a long, long time and would really love to break down some of these pesky brick walls in 2014.