Thursday, May 14, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Cycle 2 Week 6

This week's Do-Over focuses on:
  1. Evaluating Evidence
  2. Reviewing Online Education Options

Evaluating Evidence

In the past, I did use fairly good judgment as I analyzed the information I had, but it was a very informal evaluation. I would take notes and figure out the best possible answers for the scenarios, but I didn't break it down and do a formal evaluation by creating a written proof statement. I see where this is beneficial, so I am using my Evidentia as a way to analyze each piece of information and evaluate its relevance to the proof point I am trying to make.

I must admit that this is a very busy time of year for me. As an educator, we have the annual state mandated tests to administer. I give the oral exams for several grade levels, so many days are long and tedious. I haven't had much free time to delve into my sources and put them into my Evidentia, but for the ones I have done, I am able to see how they are relevant and put them into perspective as I do my analysis.

Putting it into action, I sought to prove my grandfather's date of birth. I had some conflicting evidence, so I added all of the sources into Evidentia, cataloged my claims, and began to analyze my evidence. I wrote up a summary conclusion which is like a proof statement. I am still not great at writing a strong proof statement, but I will keep practicing and I'm sure I will improve over time. This is a screen shot of the first page of the proof statement. It is actually three pages long. It itemizes each source and its assertions, and uses end notes.

Reviewing Online Educational Options

As for reviewing online education options, I reviewed Thomas MacEntee's list and was amazed by all the resources he had listed. I knew about some of them, but many more are available than I ever imagined. I decided to create my own list of online education options as a page on this blog, so others may use them.

As I reviewed the abundance of online educational resources, I decided to set my educational goals for 2015. These are some areas I am weak in and could use some guidance.

My Educational Genealogy Goals for 2015

1. Researching my German ancestry --- I was able to locate a webinar on Researching German ancestry online through the Southern California Genealogical Webinar series. I have signed up for that one and I am continuing to search for more on the subject. My mother is German and I would love to learn how to research her line.

2. Breaking down a brick wall (wills and probates) --- I plan to discover more about locating wills, probates, and other records to help me prove/disprove that John William Wickliffe is the father of Charles Wickliffe.

3. Join a Genealogical Society to advance my skills --- I used to be a member of a local society, but with work and school, I wasn't able to attend. I plan to join a local society and another in an area that I am researching for my family. I hope this will help me glean insight into records available in the area and perhaps clues into my family's whereabouts.

4. Learning more about writing my ancestor's stories --- In February, I joined The Family History Writing Challenge, but was unable to keep up. I have purchased Lynn Palermo's ebooks and they are an excellent resource. Lynn's blog, The Armchair Genealogist, at is another excellent resource for helping me achieve this goal.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Cycle 2 Week 5

This week's Do-Over consists of:
1) Building a Research Toolbox and 2) Citing Sources

I had fun this week! I was able to retrieve tons of genealogy websites and tools that I had bookmarked over the years. I decided to create my genealogical toolbox as a page on this blog. By doing so, it will be available anywhere I have access to the internet, and it allows others to see and "steal" any links they may want to use. As I worked my way through the bookmarks, I found a few dead links. I used that as an opportunity to delete and reorganize the bookmarks to make them easier to access. See the before and after images below. I also viewed some of the tools from other bloggers, checked them out, and added the ones I liked. I know that having one document where I can find all of my tools will be very beneficial to my searches. 



The second part of this week's Do-Over has been to cite sources. In my younger years, I didn't see any reason to cite sources that were oral, letters, or in email. I just added the information. If I found the information online back in the day, I just cited as from Ancestry or Family Search and left it at that. It wasn't until about ten years ago, that I saw the importance of needing more from my citations. I have spent the better part of the last seventeen years, working full time, raising four children (and grandchildren), while going to college. When I would need to put my genealogy on hold (sometimes for more than a year), I would have a hard time picking it back up, because I couldn't remember where I left off, or how to re-locate the information I had already obtained. Just citing didn't work. I began adding more information to my citations and that helped. Now, over the last two years, I've been learning more and more about citing sources in a more uniform way designed for genealogists. I bought the book Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills and I am trying to learn the proper way to cite my sources so I can keep my place, track my research, discover discrepancies, expand my research, determine source reliability, and establish proof. By learning and using these proper citations, I will be more confident in my own assertions.

I have received information about births, deaths, and marriages via Facebook private messages and emails. Learning to cite those has been challenging, but I think I covered it enough so that others will know how and where I received the information. I am excited about how my genealogy resources and knowledge is progressing.

My Facebook private message citation using EE 3.42 Email & Instant Messages:

Margit (Knott) Sußbauer, Straubing, Germany [(ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Renita Ford-Collier, Facebook private message, June – Oct 2013, “Lukas family births, marriages, deaths”, Personal Correspondence Folder, Ford-Collier Research Files; privately held by Ford-Collier [(ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE)], Glenn Heights, Texas, 2013.

There is so much to learn! How are you doing on your Week 5 Do-Over?

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub Co, 2007.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 2 Week 4

This week's Do-Over consists of:
1) Managing Projects and Tasks and 2) Tracking Searches

This week has caused me great stress! I tried to use the Project Management spreadsheet, but I became very confused. It seemed too much, almost as if it were redundant. I couldn't get used to changing the colors, cutting and pasting to the bottom, and then transferring to another sheet. I use a calendar/day planner to track my genealogy and work projects. I have used this for years and it works well. For all of my family's activities, I use a large wall calendar and everyone is responsible for writing their activities on it, so I can coordinate my jobs and projects around theirs. 

The other problem for me this week was tracking my searches! It wasn't difficult to do, but it just seemed senseless. I usually check back on the same websites about every 6 months, and it may take a different type of search at that point to locate new data. I am trying not to be so resistant to change, so I have decided to continue tracking my searches until the end of the Do-Over, just to see if it makes more sense to me later.

How did your Week 4 go? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Cycle 2 Week 3

Sorry, I am late posting for week 3, but I have had a bad case of bronchitis. Still not completely over it, but I'm back to work at least.

Week three's main focus has two parts:

  • tracking research
  • conducting research

I have been anxiously awaiting this week. My old tracking system (or lack of one) left many holes in my research. I would follow a shaky leaf or some other BSO, and after a brief analysis (usually on a legal pad -filed and forgotten), I would attach it to my tree and move on to the next interesting "fact" that caught my eye. I would jump around from ancestor to ancestor with no real plan or purpose in place.  Looking back over those records, I realized they pointed to other records which I either neglected to search for or ended up with a negative search. Without tracking my research, I have no idea what I did years ago.

In the last post, I had developed a tracking To-Do list, but it was complicated and it didn't feel right. So, after researching and practicing many new tracking tools, I have decided that my process will be to use:

1. A research tracking sheet I found on Genedocs. I will use a different sheet for reach family group and it is easy to add/delete/change the column headings. It is easy to determine what I still need to look for, or what doesn't apply to each individual.

2. Using the Genedocs spreadsheet, I will begin my research. I just recently ordered and received Evidentia and after watching a webinar on it, I am going to use it to document, catalogue, and analyze my research. I am even able to document negative search in this program. I have chosen to attach the document to the program, and keep it with the citations.
I LOVE how Evidentia's templates are so easy to use and provide great Evidence Explained citations. I no longer worry about if I am doing it right. The program also provides the First (Full) Reference Note citation, the Source List Entry, and Subsequent (short) Notes citations in all of its reports. The program allows the user to run numerous types of reports. I am so glad I purchased this program!

Documenting a source:

Catalogue all claims:

Another screenshot for cataloging claims:

And finally analyzing all of the evidence:

These two tools will help me to see the gaps in my research and to help me make sense of what I have found. There is still much to learn about how this program can be utilized and I look forward to learning more. Next, I need to work on how to write strong analysis conclusion statements. I know there is a correct format out there, and that will be my next area to work on.

How was your Week 3? Did you find the research tools best for you? I hope to be on track with Week 4 very soon. See you then.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Cycle 2 Week 2

Week 2 of the Do-Over consists of 1) Setting Research Goals, 2) Conducting Self Interview, and 3) Conducting Family Interviews

What I did:

  • I thought I had documented all the important information on myself. Boy, was I wrong! I had input the usual data into my FTM: birth, marriage, children, etc. What I never thought about doing prior to this was including ALL of the milestones in my life. I had never thought about how many years it would be before family could find me on the census records! It would 2042 before they would find me listed as a 9-year-old in the 1970 census! Since, my dad did contract work and we traveled a lot. I sat down and wrote a timeline of where I lived (in as far back as I could remember - wish I had thought to ask him about all of that before he passed!), schools I went to, clubs I joined, and colleges I attended. I learned how to cite a first hand knowledge source (i.e. my self-interview). I used this citation for all of the information I entered. I then located and scanned diplomas, transcripts, and other documentation when possible to prove these facts. One thing I realized when I started this Do-Over during Cycle 1, was that although I had recorded my birth date, I didn't even have a copy of my birth certificate. So, I ordered mine and my husband's back in January. They just recently came in, so I added them to my FTM along with the citations! Thanks, Thomas MacEntee! Without this do-over, and taking the time to slow down and start with myself, I wouldn't have even realized I was missing these important documents.
  • Sadly, most of my older relatives have all passed, so I am unable to glean any more tidbits from them. I am working on an interview for my mother, but it will be a few weeks before I can make it down there to see her. She doesn't do Skype, and trying to have a conversation on the phone usually goes awry. I have been in touch with my siblings to get as much information from these as I can. I am going to continue to seek out extended family members and interview them.
Citation for self-interview using EE 3.32 Private Holdings: Interviews, p 147.

Ford-Collier, Renita. Glenn Heights, Texas. My Self-Interview by Renita Ford-Collier. 08 Apr 2015. Transcript. Privately held by Ford-Collier, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Glenn Heights, Texas. 2015. 

  • Set research goals. After completing my self-interview, and gathering information from other family members, I sat upon the task of setting my research goals. I have been using my To-Do list in my research log to keep me more focused. This has been the hardest part for me - writing it all on the list. This is what it looks like. I think I will make some changes, but for now, it works.

Although I am anxious to do research, I know that this week has been very enlightening! It has taught me the importance of slowing down, setting goals, and looking at things in a different way. It was important (and fun) to touch base with other family members and learn more about them and to document their lives. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

What's In a Name?

Have you encountered some “exceptional” names in your genealogical searches? Over the years, I have seen melodic, happy names such as Christmas and Spring, and other names that leave me wondering what the parents were thinking, such as Looney and Sleepy. Each name conjures up a picture in my mind’s eye of that person; their features, personality, and characteristics.  It is helpful to keep in mind each person’s heritage, culture, and the era in which they lived. Names that sound odd to us now, may have been very popular during an earlier time, and could possibly have had different meanings than the current ones we know. For centuries, names have been generational and often have cultural significance.

For most soon-to-be parents, they carefully weigh baby names. They know that a name can hold great power or bring great woes. Your name says a lot about who you are. That name is how you will be judged. Do people hear your name and associate you with synonyms like trustworthy, dependable, and honest, or does it conjure up ill feelings? Have you ever judged someone erroneously because of their name? 

My grandmother, Ethel Wickliffe, always told me that your name “stands for something and it’s up to you to make it stand for something good.”  We may not have control over what our parents name us, but we have control over what our name stands for. How we treat our family and friends, and how we conduct ourselves when we think others are not looking, tells the world who we really are. What's in your name? Do your actions reflect positively on your name? I certainly hope my grandmother is looking down on me, and is proud that of the way I handle my name.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Add a Custom Fact in FTM 2012

I have had several people ask how to add the custom fact into Family Tree Maker, so I wanted to share the steps with you. I have FTM 2012, but it is probably similar in FTM 2014.

First, in the People Workspace, click on Customize View (at the bottom).

This brings up the Customize View screen. Down at the bottom click on New Custom Fact and then OK.

This gives you the Add Custom Fact screen. Under the Fact label, type in what you want: GoOver, Verified, Proved, etc. and check whether it is to be an individual fact or shared fact and what information you want to show: Date/Place, Description Only, etc. Then click OK.

This puts the new fact under Selected individual facts (or shared facts, if you chose it). Next, click OK.

It automatically adds it to your People Workspace.

I hope this helps. Thank you to all those who viewed my post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 2: Week 1

Although I have been working on my family tree since the 1980s, I made many mistakes in those early years. I didn't always cite my sources, and when I did, they weren't always done correctly. I've decided to join Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. I won't be doing everything on his do-over list; it's more of a go-over, but it will give me the time to slow down and go over everything from the beginning.

So here goes:

Week 1 of the Genealogy Do-Over is about 1) Setting Previous Research Aside, 2) Preparing to Research, and 3) Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines.

Setting Research Aside

  • Rather than setting aside all of my previous research, I have been organizing my files, both the digital and the paper. I chose an image/document naming format and began changing all images previously saved to the new format. My format is LAST NAME_First Name_What it is_Year_Place.  The majority have been converted, but I still have a few more to work on. I also purchased binders, archival quality sheet protectors (a lot of them) and tabs. I have been working on sorting through all of the old handwritten notes and putting them in a basket to look at later when the Go-Over is completed. 
  • Since I am not doing a complete Do-Over, I needed a way to keep track of when I had checked all the facts for an ancestor, so I added a GoOver section in my FTM 2012. This allows me to add the date everything has been verified.

  • I then created binders for each of my four grandparents lines and began putting all of the printed family group sheets and information in the appropriate binder. All of the birth, death, and marriage records that I have purchased over the years have been put into one binder for future review.

Preparing to Research 
  • TIME! - Make sure I have the time needed to begin the research. This will keep me from rushing the process.
  • My research spreadsheet needs to be open, so I can input any additional research that needs to be done in the future. This will keep me from getting sidetracked with all of the BSO's!
  • A copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills "Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" must be beside me, so I can make sure to cite my sources correctly.
  • A copy of Thomas W. Jones' "Mastering Genealogical Proof" will be readily available. 
  • Notepad and pencil

Establishing Best Practices and Guidelines

What I gained from this week's assignment was that I really needed to slow down. As a teacher, I usually only have the summer to devote to extensive research, so I tried to make the most of my time during those three months. This, along with other inexperienced research methods, left my family tree in somewhat of a mess. I vow to take as much time as I need to research, track my work, and to analyze each bit of information and only add new information to my software when I am certain it belongs there. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Memories

As I reflect upon this Easter Sunday, I can't help but remember those that have gone on before me. When I was young, my grandmother used to tell me wonderful stories of her childhood. She talked about growing up in church and living a "good life." She didn't just talk the talk, she walked the walk. Oh, she made mistakes, as we all do, but she loved God and was a faithful servant to Him. Of all the people I have known, I know she is in Heaven waiting for me.

I remember a conversation I had with my grandmother, back in the '80s. I thought she grew up Pentecostal, but she told me that she nor my grandfather had grown up Pentecostal. She had been Methodist and he was Lutheran, and when they got married they couldn't decide where to attend church. They compromised and joined the Pentecostal church. They raised their children in that faith and later, her grandchildren.

My fondest memory of Easter as a child, was my grandmother making pretty Easter dresses for my two sisters and me. We were close in age, and my grandmother would always make our dresses the same, with only one little thing different; maybe a little trim around the sleeves on one, around the hem on the other, and around the collar on the third. People would say we looked like triplets. I loved my new dress each year and it made me feel special.

Another memory I recall with fondness is the Easter egg hunts we had immediately following Easter church service. All the parents brought the boiled and dyed eggs to church and the Sunday school teachers usually hid them during the Church service. It was so fun to learn about Christ and Resurrection Sunday and then find the eggs that symbolized renewal and rebirth.

As I remember the Easters of my youth, I am filled with love. Love for my family, young and old, past and present. This Easter, I got the news that I am to be a grandmother again. This will be grandchild number nine and I am tickled pink! More love to go around.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do. 

Here is one of my favorite images from my collection:

 This picture was taken in 1994. My dad, Clay Ford, is spending time with his grandsons, Terry and Elisha. He would always sing songs and play with them like he did with my sisters and me when we were little. His favorite song to sing was "And the Green Grass Grew All Around." He would sing it until he became out of breath. The boys would always beg for that song when he came for a visit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - William Ezra Ford

William Ezra Ford was the son of Arthur Elisha Ford and Ethel Wickliffe Ford. He was born June 11, 1922 in Quinlan, Hunt County, Texas. He moved with his family to South Texas after his younger brother, Clayton Richard Ford died in 1941. 
William enlisted in the service on 09 Nov 1942. He was living in George West, Texas at the time. After only a few months, he became ill and was honorably discharged on 30 Oct 1943. He later became a truck driver. He was driving a rig through the Valley in South Texas, when his rig jackknifed and killed him instantly. His brother-in-law, Jimmy Elmer Green had been driving a rig behind him and witnessed the accident.  Although William never married, he was loved by all who met him. 
The military erroneously inscribed Exra instead of Ezra on the headstone and refused to fix the problem. He is buried in George West, Texas.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Census Sunday: Arthur Elisha Ford, 1930 Hunt County, Texas

It's Census Sunday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The census today is the 1930 U.S. Census for my grandparents, Arthur Elisha Ford and Ethel (Wickliffe) Ford, in Quinlan, Hunt County, Texas:

The Arthur Elisha Ford family entry is:

The extracted information for this census is:

* Elisa Ford, head of household, renting, lives on a farm, male, white, 33, married, 24 years old at time of first marriage, he can read and write, born in Arkansas, parents born in United States, speaks English, occupation- farm laborer, trade - farm, class of worker - W, actually employed, veteran of W.W.

* Ethel Ford, wife, female, white, 28, married, 19 years old at time of first marriage, can read and write, born in Arkansas, both parents born in Missouri, speaks English, is not working

* Ezra W. Ford, son, male, white, 7, single, in school, born in Texas, both parents born in Arkansas

* Daisy R., daughter, female, white, 5, single, not in school, born in Texas, both parents born in Arkansas

The citation for this census is:

1930 United States Census, Hunt County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct #7, enumeration district (ED) 116-38, sheet 7A, line 32, dwelling 137, family #137, Elisa [Elisha] Ford household; digital image, ( accessed 08 Aug 2012); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, roll 2360.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do. 

Here is one of my favorite images from my collection:

This photo is so very special to me. It is one of the last ones with my dad. This picture is of my sister, Lisa, my dad, and me. It was taken in June 2010 at a Chinese restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas, just two months after discovering he had pancreatic cancer. He passed away that August. I am deeply grateful for the time I had to visit with him and say good-bye. We are not always so fortunate to have that time with our loved ones before they pass away.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Census Sunday: Arthur Elisha Ford in the 1940 Census

It's Census Sunday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The census today is the 1940 U.S. Census for my grandparents, Arthur Elisha Ford and Ethel (Wickliffe) Ford, in Quinlan, Hunt County, Texas:

The Arthur Elisha Ford family entry:

The extracted information from this census record is:

*  Line 18, Household 98, Family 98, Renting, Monthly rent $4.00, not a farm

* A. Eligh Ford - head, white, male, 43 years old, married, 4 years of education, born in Texas, seeking work, laborer, farm, type of work PW, worked 8 weeks in 1939, income received in 1939 - $40

*  Ethel Ford, white, female, wife, 36 years old, 7 years of education, born in Texas, working as a seamstress, WPA, worked 30 hours the week of March 24-30, 1940, type of work GW, worked 52 weeks in 1939, income received in 1939 - $396

*  Ezra Ford, white, male, 16 years of age, son, no school in 1940, 4 years of education, born in Texas, seeking work, new worker

*  Dasie R. Ford, white, female, 14 years of age, daughter, no school in 1940, 5 years of education, born in Texas, kept house

*  Clay Ford (twins), white, male, 5 years of age, son, no school in 1940, education, born in Texas 

*  Claton Ford, white, male, 5 years of age, son, no school in 1940, no education, born in Texas

It appears that Arthur Elisha Ford gave the information for the census. Have found several errors in the census. Ethel left school in third grade to pick cotton in the fields. This information came from Ethel in an interview in 1985. Elisha and Ethel were both born in Arkansas, not Texas. This evidence comes from other census records found in Arkansas and from the interview with Ethel.

The citation for this census is:
1940 United States Census, Hunt County, Texas, population schedule, Quinlan, Justice Precinct #7, enumeration district (ED) 116-36, sheet 5A, dwelling 98, family #98, A, Eligh [Elisha] Ford household; digital image, ( accessed 07 Apr 2013); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T627, Roll 4072.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Immediate Ancestors

             Back row (left to right): Lola Wickliffe, William Ezra Ford, Daisy Ruth Ford
         Front row (left to right): Ethel Wickliffe Ford, Clay Franklin Ford, Arthur Elisha Ford

Arthur Elisha Ford (my grandfather) was born in 1896, the 5th of 6 children. His father, William Preston Ford, died in Arkansas when he was 12 years old. He moved to Quinlan, Texas with his mother, Sarah Elizabeth (Dodd) Ford and younger sister, Mary, when he was about 17 years old. There he met, and fell in love with, Ethel Wickliffe. They married on 14 Mar 1920 in Quinlan, Hunt County, Texas.

Ethel Wickliffe, born in 1903 in Mountain View, Arkansas, was the oldest child of Richard Franklin Wickliffe and Estelle Lynn.  She had 4 younger sisters and a young brother who died when he was about four years old.
Ethel and Elisha had four children. William Ezra (1922-1950), Daisy Ruth (1925-2012), and identical twin boys Clay Franklin (1934-2010) and Clayton Richard (1934-1941). After Clayton died in 1941, Ethel struggled to overcome the depression. She would sit at the cemetery every day and cry. In order to help his wife, Elisha decided to move his family to south Texas to his sisters' ranch. They eventually settled in Corpus Christi, Texas.
As part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Elisha dug ditches for the government, and Ethel worked in a sewing room. They became members of the Pentecostal Church of God, 501 Cheyenne Street, Rev. CC Hurst, in Corpus Christi. Elisha started having numbness in his feet and eventually was paralyzed from the waist down. Ethel would put him in his wheelchair before she left for work, and he would wheel about the house, cooking, sweeping, and cleaning. Many different doctors checked him out, but couldn't come up with a medical diagnosis for him. He died two years later on 19 Oct 1946.

They are all gone now. I miss them all so much. I never knew my grandfather or my uncle, as they died before I was born. My grandmother’s stories about them and her life are what got me interested in doing genealogy. I never tire of searching for an elusive ancestor and I have several of those.