Saturday, April 26, 2014

SNGF: My "Real Life" outside genealogy

Tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge posted by Randy Seaver is to write a blog post about our "real life" hobbies and interests outside of genealogy and family history activities.

I'm not sure I'm up to this challenge, but will try.

1. My husband and I like to travel. He prefers cruise ships and driving trips; I'm generally up for going just about anywhere just about any time. If we're driving, I can usually squeeze in some genealogy research or at least snap some courthouse pictures. I have a "thing" for old courthouses. ;-> Many of our driving trips end up being to the Minneapolis area, where our daughter lives. And every year we drive to/from Arizona where we "snowbird" to avoid the cold and wet of Seattle's winters.

2. I love sports. Since I'm too decrepit to play them any more, I watch on TV or in person. I'm an avid volleyball fan and have had season's tickets to the University of Washington volleyball program since they started selling them. We used to be part of a season ticket cartel to Seattle Mariners baseball, but that group fell apart a couple of years ago and now I'm lucky to get to one or two games a year, but did finally make it to a spring training game this winter. And, of course, after almost 40 years in Seattle, I'm a Seahawks fan. Everybody in Seattle is, at least this year!

3. Since retiring in 2006 I've taken up quilting and absolutely love the feeling of creating new pieces. I haven't yet managed to combine quilting and genealogy, but that's coming.

4. I like to garden and have our yard looking nice. I've gotten into saving seeds from year to year and starting all our tomatoes and some flowers from seed. As I get older, I have trouble with the acidity of most tomatoes, so this has become a necessity. Unfortunately, we're often traveling in the fall when our tomatoes finally get ripe, so we miss the fruits of my labors.

5. I read lots of mysteries. I have a fairly long list of authors that I check for new offerings from every 3-4 weeks through our local public library. Many years ago, I made a conscious effort to diversify my mystery reading geographically and love reading mysteries set in locales I've visited. Examples: Mary Daheim (Seattle area), Joan Hess (Ozarks), Jess Lourey & Monica Ferris (Minnesota), Susan Wittig Albert (Texas & Mississippi), Earlene Fowler (Calif. coast), J A Jance (Seattle & Arizona). In the last few years, I've sought out mysteries related to quilting and sewing. It's amazing how many fun stories there are out there!

6. And, of course, I love spending time with friends and relatives. We're still waiting for grandkids, but do have two wonderful kids and a host of friends, most living close by. My "neighborhood" bridge group of 25+ years has diversified in the past few years, but over half of our members still live within 10 blocks of us.

Probably not a very exciting life by most standards, but it works for me!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Memories

I'm a day late writing this because I couldn't decide whether to post about Easter or not.
I remember family Easter egg hunts in our house--the eggs hidden in the "holes" in our bamboo furniture we brought from Japan.
When we still lived at Vint Hill Farms, Virginia, I have a vague recollection (perhaps from a photo?) of getting all dressed up on Easter Sunday, my sister and I usually dressed in matching outfits, and going off to church on the Army base where we lived. I'm sure there must have been a big post-wide egg hunt, but I don't remember them.
As our children were growing up, we did the egg dying and hiding of both "real" egg and plastic eggs stuffed with candy and coins. Those hunts were almost always inside, thanks to the early spring weather in Seattle. But the kids loved them.
But my fondest Easter memories were when I was growing up in State College, PA. I don't remember exactly when I joined St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the church choir, but I looked forward much of the year to the annual Easter sunrise service on the steps of Old Main.  Old Main is the original administration building for Penn State University and is basically across the street from our church, which was on College Avenue, the street that separated "town and gown" in State College.
For Easter, there was always a brass band at the top of the stairs, between the columns and in front of the building's doors. Our youth choir was usually right in front of them, or to the sides. I so loved hearing the clear brass tones ring out, echoing under the overhang, and watching the sun come up. Luckily I've forgotten the Easters when the weather was cold and snowy or rainy.
After the sunrise service, we would all go over to the church for breakfast, then sing for one or two more services. Most of my best friends were in the choir with me, so we always had a good time.
I've never found a similar service here in Seattle. A couple of years ago a cousin and I attended Easter sunrise service in Weaubleau, Missouri, but it was held inside the church. How useless is that? You couldn't see the sun come up!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SNGF: Random Research

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver at the Geneamusings blog asks us to:
1. Go to the Random Name Generator website and generate a name (first and last);
2. Enter that name in the SEARCH box at;
3. Research the person by that name who appears in the first census result listed;
4. Learn whatever you can about that "random" person;
5. Share your findings.

Since it's a rainy, crappy day in Seattle and I'm climbing the walls from being laid up for over a week, I'll try this one.

1. The first name generated for me, Allyson Bentley, had NO census results at using the "exact match" requirement on the name. The second name, Charles Shelton, had 4087.

2. The first Charles Shelton who shows up in the census results is for the 1940 US Census:

1940 United States Federal Census
about Charles Murphy 

Name:Charles Murphy
[Charles Shelton
Estimated birth year:abt 1918
Marital Status:Single
Relation to Head of House:Daughter
Home in 1940:Washington, Marshall, Iowa
Map of Home in 1940:View Map
Inferred Residence in 1935:Rural, Marshall, Iowa
Residence in 1935:Rural, Marshall, Iowa
Resident on farm in 1935:Yes
Sheet Number:5A
Occupation:Hired Man
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:Elementary school, 8th grade
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census:80
Class of Worker:Wage or salary worker in private work
Weeks Worked in 1939:52
Income Other Sources:No
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Note that the census listing is actually for a Charles Murphy, NOT Charles Shelton. It's not clear why Ancestry gave the alternative name. I'm a bit suspicious that this is an error, given that they didn't record the guy's gender and relationship correctly (clearly an "M" and "hired hand" on the census page).

3. I attempted to find more records for this "Charles Shelton", born about 1918 (+/- 1 year), born in Minnesota and came up with zero results at I think this person is Charles W. Murphy, for whom I found an "Iowa World War II Bonus Case Files" record indicating that he was born in Spring Valley, Minnesota, on 25 Feb 1919. In May of 1949, when this application was processed, he was living at 116 No 11th Ave., Marshalltown, Marshall Co., Iowa. Mr. Murphy served from 16 June 1943 until 2 Sep 1944 and was credited with three months of foreign service, from 14 Dec 1943 until 24 Mar 1944. He served in the 762nd Tank Battalion, 6th Army.

4. Curiously, I couldn't find any other records for this Charles W. Murphy born Feb 1919 in Fillmore Co., Minnesota on I've done some Minnesota research in the past, so know that birth certificates from 1900 to 1934 are indexed on the Minnesota Historical Society website. There I found that Charles Wilson Murphy was born on 25 Feb 1919 in Fillmore County; mother's maiden name was Lindamond. I returned to and entered "Charles Wilson Murphy" as the name, relaxing the "exact match" a bit, and his mother's maiden name and found him in a submitted tree titled "Elliott Family History." It lists his parents as Harry Guy Murphy and Ruby Ila Lindamond and says he died in Jan 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona. No records or sources are attached; 5 sons are shown as living. I found an apparently matching record on FindAGrave (name, birth year, death year) showing that he was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Marshalltown, Marshall Co., Iowa, along with his wife, Doris V. Murphy, who died in 1999.

5. See above. An interesting exercise, but a bit frustrating that it's based on an erroneous census listing on As a side note, I was hoping that Charles Ira Shelton, a first cousin of my mother's, would show up as the first census record.  ;->

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.