Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Blog Has Changed!

You may notice that I haven't posted in a few months. I had some technical issues and I have now transferred all of my posts to my new blog: The Genealogy Grandma.

Please visit my new blog:

Now that I am back up and running again, keep checking in for new posts!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Respect for Indexers

I have been participating in the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project this weekend. This has been a first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. I started off with several of the beginning projects and my arbitration results were 96%, so I gradually moved up to the intermediate batches.

I have been working on indexing Kentucky marriage records. Some records date as far back as 1861 and others as late as 1940. I love the idea of giving back to the genealogy community, and it has definitely been exciting. Most of the records were clear and fairly legible, while others were more difficult to read. This project has given me a much deeper respect for all of the volunteers who have all ready given so much of their time to index the billions of records I take for granted on FamilySearch and other databases. I encourage others to join the indexing project and help make more records available online. By volunteering, you are giving back to the community and making it possible for others to find their ancestors.

Want to help? Click here to go to FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project and get started today!

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Know More Than You Think - Ask the Right Questions

Recently, I was able to do some research for a very good friend of mine. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young and although she had limited contact with her over the years, she didn't know that much about her mother's family. She was no longer able to get more information since her mother passed away a few years ago. She had also lost touch with her mother's siblings and longed to reconnect.

Her mother had been adopted when she was a young girl, and I had done previous research on the adopted family, but she was eager to find information on the biological family. This summer I made it my priority to help her find out where she came from.

I would talk to her and gather information, do some research and call her back. Each time I talked to her, I was able to obtain new information. The key was asking very specific questions. Even though she thought she had given me all of the information she had, I discovered that she neglected to tell me certain stories because she didn't think they were important. There were also times when I would tell her what I had found, and that would trigger a vague memory, which in turn brought about new discoveries.

I'm happy to say that she now has information on two new grandparents and four new great-grandparents on her mother's side. I was also able to locate records on her aunt and uncle and used that information to track them down using social media. She was so excited to get this information and she has since talked to both of them by phone several times and has even reconnected with cousins she hasn't seen since she was very young.

Just goes to show that even when a person thinks they don't have much information, they usually have more than they believe they do.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Census Sunday - Eliza Ann (Wickliffe) Wright 1840-1899

This is the 1870 Federal U.S. Census for Tom Township, Benton, Missouri. This is one of my favorite census records, because three of my Wickliffe ancestors are enumerated in a row. My third great-grandfather Charles Wickliffe is enumerated first, just under him is his son, my second great-grandfather William H. Wickliffe, and next is William's sister, Eliza Ann Wickliffe enumerated with her first husband William Harrison Wright.

Eliza Ann Wickliffe and William Harrison Wright married on 14 Jan 1858 in Benton, Missouri. I found them in the 1860 census as a young couple without any children. A decade later, they are listed with three children.

I am working on the descendants of Eliza Wickliffe and William Wright. The transcription for the Wright household is as follows:

* William Wright, 35, Male, White, Farmer, Personal Estate Value - $500, born in Virgina, male U.S. citizen 21 years and up
* Eliza Wright, 30, Female, White, Keeping house, born in Indiana
* Ellen Wright, 11, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri, attended school, cannot write
* Alfred L. Wright, 4, Male, White, at home, born in Missouri
* Laura Wright, 1, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri

By the 1880 Census, William Wright is not listed. According to Find-a-grave, he died in 1876. Eliza married Alfred F. Wight on 17 Dec 1876 and is enumerated with him in the 1880 census. It lists another child, Celeste, 6 years old, as being Alfred's step-daughter. So it appears that Eliza and William Wright had at least 4 children before his death. The 1880 census also lists two more children in the home: Ruffian, male, 2 years, and Daisy D., female, age 4 months. These are Eliza's children by Alfred. I have not discovered any other children as of yet. Eliza Ann Wright died in 1899 according to Find-a-grave.

The source citation for this census is as follows:

Benton, Missouri, population schedule, Tom Township, sheet 283B, page 20 (handwritten), line 18, dwelling #139, family #150, William Wright household; digital image; ( : accessed 15 May 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 759. 

FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event

I received an email invitation this morning. FamilySearch is looking for volunteers to help with their worldwide indexing project. It is a 3-day long project running from July 15-17, 2016.

FamilySearch is a free site that has helped me solve several family mysteries over the years. I have found many wonderful records on FamilySearch that I couldn't find on any other site. If it wasn't for other volunteers giving freely of their time, I might never have found the documents I needed. 

I love looking at old records and I want to be a part of making these historical records free and searchable. I have already downloaded the indexing software, and I'm excited to begin on this project. If you would like to be a part of something bigger and help make more records available, click here to join the FamilySearch Indexing Event!

Let's make more records freely searchable on the internet and help families find their ancestors!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trello - Organizing Genealogy

I have a natural tendency to be unorganized. Not on purpose mind you. I work hard to get organized, but it usually doesn't last long. One area of great concern to my organization has always been the numerous lists found about my home and office. I make a list for EVERYTHING! My office was always filled with sticky notes, or scraps of paper. These would get lost or accidentally thrown away. It made staying organized almost impossible. I had been using Excel for my genealogical research, so I thought I would try it for organizing my tasks, but it wasn't a nice fit for me. I have recently discovered another online tool that works for me, and I want to share it with you. A  few weeks ago, I read about Trello on The Cousin Detective's blog. It looked easy enough, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I wasn't prepared for the ease of creating the boards and lists! There's only so many hours a day and if you are like me, you look for quick and easy ways to get you through.

How to Use Trello in Just Four Easy Steps

1) Create a FREE account. 
  • What do you have to lose? Click here to go to the Trello site.
2) Create your first board.
  • They were so easy to do, that I actually created 3 - Genealogy, work, and home, in just a matter of minutes. Create and name your board or boards - and don't worry - if you want to change the name later, it's easy to do.
  • The Welcome Board helps to explain everything you need to know and for now, I have decided to leave it up to remind me of all the wonderful tools Trello has available.
3) Create lists

  • I had a ton of things to list, but I needed it to be in an easy to understand, cohesive format. I used these list headings, but you can choose any format that works for you.
    • Someday - these were things I knew I wanted to do in the future, but they weren't top priorities. They were there to help me remember them - like keeping it on a calendar. 
    • Next week - these were jobs that were higher priority and must get done soon.  
    • Weekly - These are for the tasks I do each week. I may at some point go back and add a Daily List, but for now this works. 
    • Tomorrow - I try not to give myself more than 2-3 jobs to do in order to ensure I have time to do them.
    • Today - Again, I list no more than 2-3 jobs. When I am working in genealogy, I am focusing on quality of work, not quantity of items done that day. 
    • Done - For completed tasks.

4) Fill in the lists with cards
  • Now that you have created lists, start adding your cards (tasks to be completed).
  • In order for this work, you don't want to carry anything over to the next day. Keep all tasks short and sweet. 
    • For example, I am checking and re-writing citations if needed, so my goal is to only do small batches of 10 each time I work on them. I have over 4,000 citations, so just saying "Re-do citations" can be too daunting and take much more than one day.
  • I use the "Someday" list as a catch-all. Whenever I think of a task that needs to be done, I place it here and move it to the today or tomorrow list when I am ready to work on it. You may name your lists differently, but find a way that works for you.
  • The Done list -That's my favorite one! You simply DRAG AND DROP the completed item over to the done board! What could be easier? :-)

Okay, now you have your boards set up, your lists created, and you have some cards put in your lists. 

Now let me show you some other cool things Trello can do!

Here are a couple of things I have found to be invaluable to me:

Color-Coding Labels
 Trello offers color-coded labels to help you organize. You may edit each color and assign it a description. I have only edited and used the green and yellow for the moment. You can change what the colors mean at any time.               

Assigning Due Dates

If you have a task that needs to be done by a certain date, Trello makes it easy to set that up. Just click on the due date button on the right, and a calendar pops up. As you see in this screenshot, you can also add descriptions and attachments. I included the URL for the Google+ Hangout I attend each month.

Check out Trello now to discover even more great features like:

  • Adding members to work on group projects
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Adding a calendar
Sign up today and give it a try! This could be tool that gets you organized and ready to tackle those to-do tasks today!

Monday, June 20, 2016

NGSQ Study Group

Although I have been doing genealogical research for years, I feel my skill set has not progressed much over the years. I am able to locate many documents, but there are still so many more sources to learn. I also need to learn how to analyze all of the evidence, including negative evidence. I want to learn more about how to use the F.A.N. method to backtrack and discover the parentage of ancestors. These are just a few of the areas I need to work on.

In order to learn more, it will require actively seeking courses and groups that can advance my knowledge and skills. I have been wanting to join the National Genealogical Society for some time and I finally did it. My wonderful husband paid for my membership! I am so excited to have access to all of the genealogical scholarly articles and to learn from them.  

In addition, I was accepted into the NGSQ study group. I have printed out the June article and I am on my third read through. There is so much to learn. With each read through, I am picking up on something I didn't catch or understand the first time around. I am preparing notes and trying to analyze the process. I can't wait until tomorrow evening when I sit in on the first study group Google+ hangout. 

I will also be enrolling in the American Genealogical Studies in the next couple of weeks. This is through NGS and it is a series of self-graded courses providing instruction, examples, web links, quizzes, written graded assignments, and more. I've got to keep busy this summer and I welcome the challenge!