Thursday, November 1, 2018

Genealogy Do-Over - November 2018

I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


  1. Reviewing Social Media Options
  2. Building a Research Network
  3. Reviewing Research Travel Options

1. Reviewing Social Media Options

About 8 years ago, before I decided to have a 'genealogy blog do-over', this blog and I were active in genealogy social media - Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest. 

With challenges in other areas of life, and because I was following too many social media feeds, I found myself quite overwhelmed with information and suffering from a sort of 'genealogy burn out'. I decided to cut back quite a lot. I stopped reading blogs all the time and stopped using Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. I continued on Facebook but limited the number of pages and groups I was following. I am hoping to continue this way but I am always on the watch for 'information overload'. If the noise becomes a bit too much, I know I need to cut back and simplify. 

I have had a look at one of the resources recommended for this months task - the Genealogy on Facebook List. There are quite a lot of groups and pages to listed there for people just starting out exploring genealogy social media. My best advice is to remember not to overwhelm yourself by trying to follow too many things at once!

2. Building a Research Network

My steps to Building my Research Network at this stage are -
  • This blog
  • Facebook - Following a manageable number of genealogy groups and pages, and creating groups for descendants of my ancestors (I have a couple of these so far, some more successful than others). 
  • Wikitree - I still feel like quite a newbie at Wikitree, especially to the collaborative side of the site, but I hope that I can continue to contribute and learn. 

3. Reviewing Research Travel Options

I don't travel often, for several reasons, but I hope to make a few small genealogy research trips in the future. With my genealogy do-over in mind, the first thing I need to do is to travel to the cemeteries, buildings (or the locations where the buildings used to be) and landscapes that relate to my closest ancestors - my parents, my grandparents, great grandparents etc. I will start with the locations that are closest to where I live. 

Travelling overseas to the UK and Ireland to explore the places my more distant ancestors lived and to access archival sources not online, is unfortunately not something I expect to be able to do. Thankfully technology such as Google Earth allows me to virtually explore locations I would otherwise be unable to visit. And there is an ever-increasing amount of archival documents being digitised and made available online. 

The recommendations for do-it-yourself research trips listed in this months genealogy do-over tasks are useful to keep them in mind.  

A good plan for my research trips will be essential. I will have to make sure the goals for the research trip are specific and achievable within the time frame. Checklists will be a great help too. What do I want to photograph? Whose grave do I expect to find at that cemetery? Do I know the location of the grave? I need to ask all these questions and more before I head out on any genealogy journeys. 

The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

© 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/11/genealogy-do-over-november-2018.html
Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Genealogy Do-Over - October 2018

I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


  1. Reviewing DNA Testing Options
  2. Organizing Research Materials – Digital

    1. Reviewing DNA Testing Options

    I am already familiar with DNA testing options as I have tested with Family Tree DNA (in 2012), Ancestry DNA and LivingDNA. I have also transferred my DNA results to MyHeritage and Gedmatch.

    For those already familiar with DNA testing options, Thomas MacEntee suggests for this months genealogy do-over task that we make sure we are "using all the possible tools at your disposal for interpreting and connecting with others".

    The tools I currently use the most are Genome Mate Pro and DNAGedcom Client. I have also started to use DNA Painter and I am interested to try the bulk import functionality.

    I have used the following Chrome extensions to help with my DNA research:

    I have also used Shelley Crawford's NodeXL techniques to visualise my DNA matches from AncestryDNA. You can learn more at Shelley's blog Twigs of Yore and on the Facebook group Network Graphs for Genetic Genealogy.

    I have also tried Visual Phasing, as my father and two of his siblings have DNA tested. You can learn more about Visual Phasing as the Facebook group The Visual Phasing Working Group.

    I also recommend using Wikitree for DNA research.

    Other Facebook groups I recommend:



    2. Organizing Research Materials - Digital

    Naming Conventions

    After looking at many examples from other researchers I have decided on the following naming conventions for my digital files. 

    SURNAME_Given names_Year Born_Year of Record_Record Type

    If the file relates to more than one person - a marriage record, for example - I will first name the file with the groom's name as follows:


    SURNAME Groom_Given names Groom_Year Born _Year of Record_Record Type 


    Then I will create a shortcut to that file and name it for the wife as follows:

    SURNAME Wife_Given names Wife_Year Born_Year of Record_Record Type - Shortcut

    Here is the marriage certificate image file and marriage certificate transcript file for my great grandparents as an example. 




    For documents related to a married woman, I will save the file under the surname used in the document but will also create a shortcut to the document using the woman's maiden surname. 

    If the document uses a different spelling for the surname than usual, I will save the document under the spelling of the surname used in the document but also include a shortcut using the usual surname spelling. 

    Metadata

    After reading about Metadata I have decided on a Metadata Workflow as follows:
    Title: Name of File
    Subject: Record Type (I will progressively create a master list of record types, under the categories as described on the FamilySearch Wiki)
    Rate: a rating of the quality of the image
    Tags: 

    • Record_Type e.g. marriage_certificate
    • Event e.g. marriage
    • Individual Name e.g. smith_jameswilliam_1872
    • Locality e.g. elmore
    • Dates (Year) e.g. 1910
    • Surname e.g. smith 

    Comments: Source citation
    Authors: original authors e.g. Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria
    Date taken: if relevant, the exact date of document/event
    Date acquired: Date the image was downloaded or scanned.
    Copyright: if relevant e.g. FamilySearch and include a link to the catalogue entry

    Folder Organisation

    I have decided to use a folder naming system based on the record types described on the FamilySearch Wiki
    The main folders, under GENEALOGY, will be:

    1. Finding Aids
    2. Background Information
    3. Compiled Records
    4. Original Records
    I anticipate that most of my files will be saved in the folder "4. Original Records".
    There will be subfolders within that folder as follows:
    1. Vital Records
    2. Residency
    3. Ownership
    4. Occupation
    5. Immigration
    6. Civil Action
    7. Institutions
    8. Special Groups
    9. Personal
    I won't have any further subfolders under these folders but I will save all relevant files under one folder for each record type. For example, in the '1. Vital Records'  folder I will save records related to any of the following (as listed on the FamilySearch Wiki) :
    • Birth Records
    • Marriage Records
    • Death Records
    • Church Records
    • Cemetery Records
    • Funeral Records
    • Obituaries
    • Divorce Records
    • Newspaper notices for vital events

    I will be able to sort them easily using Metadata. 

    If this file system doesn't work well for me I may decide to change it in the future. 

    Backup Plan 

    The primary copy of my genealogy information will be in a folder called GENEALOGY on my desktop.
    I will then use GoodSync to backup the GENEALOGY folder to a second hard drive and to the cloud.



    The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

    © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/10/genealogy-do-over-october-2018.html
    Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.

    Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Genealogy Do-Over - September 2018

    I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


    1. Conducting Cluster Research
    2. Organizing Research Materials - Documents and Photos

      1. Conducting Cluster Research
      This month's first task for the Genealogy Do-Over is 'Conducting Cluster Research'. Thomas MacEntee lists useful '
      Best Practices for Cluster and Collateral Searching' in this month's Genealogy Do-Over post on his Abundant Genealogy website.
      I have previously used cluster research strategies with success. For example, I was able to find where my 3 x great grandparents - William and Mary (Dunne) Fullerton - were married in Ireland after researching some of the other Irish passengers who arrived in Melbourne on the same ship.
      As I said in my Genealogy Do-Over post for August, I have enormous amounts of existing research of this nature saved on my computer that I will have to consult during my Genealogy Do-Over. 


      2. Organizing Research Materials - Documents and Photos
      I am hoping to keep my research mostly paper-free so next month's task for keeping digital items organized will be more relevant for me. For research items that I acquired in my previous research, there are some that I will want to keep in hard-copy form as well as digital - for example, certificates purchased in hard copy and original photographs.

      I have been intending to buy some archival quality photograph albums, particularly one to give to my uncle who has many original photographs from the paternal side of my family. This month's task has reminded me that
      • I need to look at some of the options for archival quality photo albums available here in Australia. Does anyone have any recommendations?
      I have several folders of family history notes that my Mum and I have collected over many years.
      • I need to sort through these folders, scan or photograph items and assign them to either the 'keep' pile (for certificates and photographs etc.) or to the 'recycle' pile (for scraps of paper with research notes that can be discarded once scanned or photographed)


      The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

      © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/09/genealogy-do-over-september-2018.html
      Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.

      Friday, August 24, 2018

      Genealogy Do-Over - August 2018

      I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


      1. Conducting Collateral Research
      2. Reviewing Offline Education Options

        1. Conducting Collateral Research

        This month's first task for the Genealogy Do-Over is 'Conducting Collateral Research'. Thomas MacEntee defines Collateral Research as:
        "A search for those who are not direct line ancestors, but who are considered part of the same family. These include siblings, half-siblings, in-laws and others through marriage." 
        In my previous genealogy research before this year's Genealogy Do-Over, I spent a lot of time on collateral research, as well as FAN or cluster research and family reconstitution techniques. I have enormous amounts of existing research of this nature saved on my computer. I will have to consult this research during my Genealogy Do-Over. 

        I am also hoping as I progressively add my ancestors, their siblings and their spouses to WikiTree that any collateral research I undertake will become a lot more useful both for me and for others. My research will no longer be stuck on my computer and could benefit other genealogists across the world. Now for the time and patience to enter the data for all those people!

        2. Reviewing Offline Education Options

        In my previous genealogy research before this year's Genealogy Do-Over, I gathered a collection of genealogy books and journals. I still have most of these on my bookshelf and they are still useful. 

        This month's task also mentions genealogy conferences. While I never attended any genealogy conferences in the past I have previously been to some interesting genealogy talks. However, I don't often travel for several reasons, so my offline education opportunities are for the most part confined to books and journals. 

        The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

        © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/08/genealogy-do-over-august-2018.html
        Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.

        Monday, August 6, 2018

        Genealogy Do-Over - July 2018

        I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. I am running a little late with last month's tasks.


        1. Reviewing Genealogy Database Software
        2. Digitizing Photos and Documents

          1. Reviewing Genealogy Database Software

          For several years I have had three different types of genealogy database software installed on my Windows PC.
          When I originally started genealogy in the early 2000s I was using Personal Ancestral File. I started using Legacy Family Tree in 2005. Later, after reading positive reviews of Family Historian software, I was fortunate enough to win a copy in about 2011. Since then I have not added any new data to my genealogy software on my computer. Though I have still been maintaining quite a few 'working' private trees at Ancestry and adding some data for my ancestors at WikiTree.

          As part of July's Genealogy Do-Over tasks, I have looked at the Comparison Chart of Genealogy Database Software on Wikipedia. I have decided to use Family Historian as my main genealogy software, with Family Tree Maker and Legacy Family Tree as secondary software options (for charts, reports etc. and for syncing with my 'working' trees on Ancestry in the case of Family Tree Maker.) Once I have proven data about my ancestors (to the standards of the Genealogical Proof Standard) I will input the data into Family Historian and then update WikiTree with the same data.



          2. Digitizing Photos and Documents

          I have a CanoScan LiDE 500F scanner which I have had for quite a few years now, but still works well. I also have a FlipPal mobile scanner, but I was disappointed after purchasing it several years ago to realise it only saved in JPEG format. I always prefer to save any scans I make in TIFF format.

          If there was one tip I would give for scanning family photographs from an old album it would be to make sure you take a photograph of the photographs as they are placed within the album. Several years ago my Mum and I were given an old family album by my Mum's cousin. She didn't have any idea who the people in the photographs were, but Mum and I looked at them and immediately saw a resemblance to the Hehir branch of my family (my great-great grandmother was Susan (Hehir) Ellis). The album was old (probably 1890s era) and was in disrepair. I enthusiastically removed the photographs from the old album and scanned them. I realised too late that I had not taken a photograph of the photographs in situ in the album. The order in which they were placed within the album may have been significant. I will never know now, but I will hopefully learn from my mistake. While the people in a couple of the photographs have been identified, most remain nameless faces from the past. 

          My to-do list after this Genealogy Do-Over topic:
          • I want to create a genealogy scanning/digitising workflow. I need to make sure I don't miss any important steps. I don't want to have to repeat my scanning tasks again at a later date.
          • I still have a lot of my Mum's handwritten genealogy notes to digitise. Where quality is important, I will scan these notes. Otherwise, I will photograph them. 
          • I need to review the quality of photograph and document scans I have made in the past. In some cases, I may need to re-scan these.
          • While my FlipPal mobile scanner only saves in JPEG format, if I use a higher resolution this may be sufficient quality for my families pre-digital camera snaps. I want to get my FlipPal out and use it again.



          The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

          © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/08/genealogy-do-over-july-2018.html
          Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.

          Tuesday, July 10, 2018

          Update - 8 DNA Circles at AncestryDNA

          Back in March 2017 I blogged about my first DNA circle at AncestryDNA.

          Since then I have a further seven DNA circles


          Six DNA circles from the paternal side of my family.

          One DNA circle from the maternal side of my family.

          DNA circles on Ancestry only show if DNA matches also have a public family tree attached to their DNA results and their ancestor's names with the same spelling etc. 

          I have identified my most recent common ancestor (MRCA) with many other DNA matches at Ancestry, but they don't appear in my DNA circles as they have slight differences in their family tree (spelling etc.) or they don't have a family tree. 


          © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally published at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/07/update-8-dna-circles-at-ancestrydna.html

          Monday, June 18, 2018

          Genealogy Do-Over - June 2018

          I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


          1. Evaluating Evidence
          2. Reviewing Online Education Options

            1. Evaluating Evidence

            Since I first started my genealogy do-over in January I have been progressively educating myself about the methods for source analysis and evaluating evidence. This month I have been putting those methods into practice. 

            I started by evaluating the evidence on my own birth certificate. I have purchased a copy of Evidentia 3 software (watch this YouTube video for more information about Evidentia 3 - Evidentia 3 for Beginners - June 27) which has made the process of learning to evaluate evidence much easier for me. I still have a lot to learn though. 

            I classed my birth certificate as a 'Derived Record' because, while it is a certified copy of an original held by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria, it is still a copy and not the original document. 

            In Evidentia 3 I recorded the claims made by my birth certificate and classified the information from each claim as primary, secondary or indeterminable. I then selected the facts (e.g. birth, mother's name, father's name etc.) for which these claims gave evidence. 

            Some examples of the Primary information from my birth certificate included:

            • My name.
            • My birth date and place.
            • My mother's name.
            • My father's name.
            Examples of the Secondary information from my birth certificate included:
            • My mother's birthplace.
            • My father's birthplace.
            Evidentia 3 also allows you to classify the evidence provided for a fact as direct, indirect or negative. For example, my birth certificate provided direct evidence for my birth date and place - the date and place were directly stated. 

            I am still finding myself a little confused when classifying information and evidence and I know I will have to continue to learn. While I continue to learn I have created some checklists in Evernote to check each time I am analysing a source and evaluating the information and evidence. 

              2. Reviewing Online Education Options


              This month I have viewed the PDF Thomas MacEntee created - RESOURCES Free Online Genealogy Educational Resources. I hope to get some new ideas for genealogy education options from this resource list.

              In the past, I have watched educational genealogy videos online. Examples of the YouTube channels I have subscribed to include: Ancestry, AncestryAU, AncestryUK, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, Genetic Genealogy Ireland, Guild of One-Name Studies, Calico Pie (Family Historian Software) and Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems.

              I have also learned a lot in the past by reading the content on the FamilySearch Wiki.

                The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

                © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/06/genealogy-do-over-june-2018.html 
                Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee. 

                Saturday, May 12, 2018

                Genealogy Do-Over - May 2018

                I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


                1. Citing Sources
                2. Building a Research Toolbox

                  1. Citing Sources

                  I have tried to keep source citations in the past but always ended up becoming lazy with the method I used, or forgetting to record citations at all for some data I entered in to my genealogy software. As I progress with my Genealogy Do-Over I want to make sure I have a complete and accurate source citation for very piece of data I enter in to my genealogy software. I don't want to have to go back again over my work, so I want to do it correctly the 'first time'. 

                  I bought a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace several years ago. The copy I have is the first edition, published in 2007. I have been reading the introductory chapters again to refresh my memory. I intend to keep my copy on my desk, next to my computer, so I can use it as I proceed with my Genealogy Do-Over. I have also started a Notebook in Evernote of Citation References, where I intend to keep citation templates for sources I use most frequently. 

                    2. Building a Research Toolbox

                    I looked ahead at the topics for the Genealogy Do-Over and I have progressively been building my own Research Toolbox since January. 
                    I decided to create my Research Toolbox using bookmarks in Evernote. I am still unsure how this will work and I may decide in the future to use Evernote in combination with Bookmarks in Google Chrome. I already have some of my commonly used genealogy bookmarks in Google Chrome.
                    I have my commonly used Genealogy bookmarks in Chrome.
                    I decided to sort my Research Toolbox using the Record Types from the FamilySearch Wiki:
                    • Finding Aids
                    • Background Information
                    • Compiled Records
                    • Original Records
                    In Evernote I created a Notebook Stack and named it Genealogy Toolbox. Within this Notebook Stack I have Notebooks named:
                    • 1. Finding Aids
                    • 2. Background Information
                    • 3. Compiled Records
                    • 4. Original Records
                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote using the Research Type categories from the FamilySearch Wiki as Notebooks.

                    Each Notebook contains Bookmarks to relevant genealogy resources. Each Bookmark is tagged with a location tag and a tag further categorising the bookmark within its Record Type category (again using the Record Types as described in the FamilySearch Wiki). 

                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote using the Record Type categories from the FamilySearch Wiki as tags. These are the tags under the 'Finding Aids' category. gtb = geneaology toolbox.

                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote using the Record Type categories from the FamilySearch Wiki as tags. These are the tags under the 'Background Information category.


                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote using the Record Type categories from the FamilySearch Wiki as tags. These are the tags under the 'Compiled Records' category.
                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote using the Record Type categories from the FamilySearch Wiki as tags. These are the tags under the 'Original Records' category.
                    My Genealogy Research Toolbox in Evernote. Location tags.
                    I intend to tag bookmarks with more specific locations such as county or state.
                    For example, I have created the tags for counties in England but I have not yet tagged the relevant bookmarks.

                    I went through all my existing genealogy bookmarks and categorised each according to the relevant Record Type (as described in the FamilySearch Wiki). I had some difficulty categorising some bookmarks and I may make decisions in the future to change categories and/or create new categories. 

                      The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

                      © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/05/genealogy-do-over-may-2018.html
                      Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee. 

                      Thursday, May 3, 2018

                      Genealogy Do-Over - April 2018

                      I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


                      1. Tracking Research
                      2. Conducting Research

                        1. Tracking Research

                        I have decided to use Evernote for my Research Log. I am still unsure whether this will work well for me. If it doesn't work well, I will move over to an Excel Spreadsheet for my Research Log.

                        2. Conducting Research

                        During April I started my research by adding my myself to a new blank project file using Family Historian. I added my own birth date, birthplace and parents names as recorded on my birth certificate. I also added the correct source citation for a birth certificate and linked to an image file for the source. 

                          The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

                          © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/05/genealogy-do-over-april-2018.html

                          Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee. 

                          Saturday, March 31, 2018

                          Genealogy Do-Over - March 2018

                          I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. 


                          1. Conducting Self-Interview
                          2. Conducting Family Interviews

                            1. Conducting Self-Interview

                            I decided to use Evernote to record my self-interview. I wrote down my own knowledge of the dates and places of events in my own life. 
                            For example, I recorded:

                            • Birthdate and place
                            • Catholic Sacrament dates and places (Baptism, First Confession, First Communion, Confirmation)
                            • Education - dates and places
                            • Residences - dates and places
                            • Hospitalisations - dates and places
                            • Hobbies

                            2. Conducting Family Interviews

                            I created a Family Group Sheet template in Evernote, and then created one for my immediate family. I filled in the information from my own knowledge.

                            • My next step is to interview my Mum and check if her knowledge of dates and places for our family correlates with my own. 
                            • Then I need to create a Family Group Sheet for each of my siblings' families. 
                            • I have also asked my Mum to fill in Family Group Sheet for her parents and siblings. 
                            Here is an example of a Family Group Sheet from the US National Archives.

                              The full list of Genealogy Do-Over topics for 2018 is on Thomas MacEntee's Abundant Genealogy web site.

                              © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at  https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/03/genealogy-do-over-march-2018.html. Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee.