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. 

                        Friday, March 2, 2018

                        Genealogy Do-Over - February 2018

                        I am taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year. March has arrived without me having posted my February update!


                        The Genealogy Do-Over tasks for February were:

                        1. Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines
                        2. Setting Research Goals

                        1. Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

                        I read and reflected upon the base practices and guidelines of other genealogy researchers last month. For example Thomas MacEntee's The Genealogy Do-Over: My Golden Rules of Genealogy, Alona Tester's 27 Golden Rules of Genealogy, and on the FamilySearch Wiki - Principles of Family History Research and Genealogical Standards and Guidelines (National_Institute).

                        I have decided to prioritise the following Base Practices and Guidelines for my own genealogy research:
                        • Plan my research
                        • Follow a research process
                        • Work from the known to the unknown
                        • Learn about the history and geography of the areas where my ancestors lived
                        • Slow down. One objective at a time, one person at a time, one family at a time.
                        • Keep a research log
                        • Record Sources, cite correctly, give credit
                        • Try to see the original document (or images of the original document) 
                        • Record every detail from every record
                        • Track everything - what found and what not found, correspondence etc.
                        • Analyse sources, resolve any conflicts
                        • Be consistent in the way I record my data.
                        • Back-up my data
                        • Share my research
                        • Keep learning
                        I also worked last month on customising my own genealogy research process/workflow using examples from other genealogists. The sections of my genealogy workflow are:

                        1. Preparing
                        2. Planning
                        3. Researching
                        4. Analysing
                        5. Resolving
                        6. Concluding
                        7. Saving
                        8. Sharing

                        2. Setting Research Goals

                        My initial research goals will be very simple:

                        • Who were my maternal grandparents?
                        • Who were my paternal grandparents?

                         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-february-2018.html.  Genealogy Do-Over is © Thomas MacEntee. 

                        Wednesday, January 10, 2018

                        DNA Do-Over - January 2018



                        In addition to taking part in the Genealogy Do-Over, I have also decided to follow along with the new DNA Do-Over

                        The topic for the first month of the DNA Do-Over is:

                        "Downloading your DNA Test Results and Uploading to Other DNA Vendor sites"

                        I have tested with Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA and Living DNA. I have uploaded to Gedmatch and MyHeritage

                        Before I tested with these companies or uploaded my raw DNA data I made sure I read the terms and conditions and the privacy statements for each site. I strongly recommend that you do the same. 

                        In my opinion, the benefits of testing with different companies or uploading your raw DNA data to different DNA vendors are:

                        • You have access to different databases of testers. A cousin who holds the clue you need to break a genealogy brick wall may have only tested at one company. 
                        • You can access different ethnicity estimates. Ethnicity estimates differ between companies as they are comparing your DNA with different reference data sets. 
                        • You can access different useful and advanced features. I particularly recommend that people who have tested at Ancestry DNA consider uploading their raw DNA data for free to Gedmatch and/or Family Tree DNA, as both these sites have chromosome browsers and segment data. What is the benefit of chromosome browsers and segment data? They allow you to know where on your chromosomes you match your DNA matches and whether they have DNA matches in common with you on the same DNA segments. When people all match on the same DNA segment we can know that they most likely inherited that DNA from a shared common ancestor. If I match a known cousin (say a third cousin who shares common great-great grandparents -Tom and Jane Surname) and both my third cousin and I share a match with another (unknown) person (A) on the same segment of DNA, my third cousin and I can tell that our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) with person A is very likely among the ancestors of Tom and Jane Surname. We can contact person A and/or view their family tree, looking for potential clues such as locations and surnames. This process is called 'Triangulation'. Another benefit of a chromosome browser and segment data is that it allows you to potentially create a 'chromosome map', showing the segments you have inherited from ancestors you share in common with your DNA matches who are known cousins. If three or more siblings have DNA tested, chromosome browsers and segment data can potentially be used for an advanced process called 'visual phasing'. Another benefit, in my opinion, is that segment data can be loaded into Genome Mate Pro software, which I find an extremely useful tool for keeping track of all my DNA matches, discovering triangulated groups of matches, and mapping segments to certain ancestors or geographic localities. 
                        I am looking forward to following along with the DNA Do-Over! 


                        © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at https://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com/2018/01/dna-do-over-january-2018.html. DNA Do-Over logo by Thomas MacEntee. 

                        Saturday, January 6, 2018

                        Genealogy Do-Over - January 2018

                        I have decided to take part in the Genealogy Do-Over this year.
                        I have a new (second-hand) computer, so this feels like the perfect time to start afresh with my genealogy research.

                        The Genealogy Do-Over tasks for January are:


                        1.  Setting Previous Research Aside
                        2.  Preparing to Research

                        1. Setting Previous Research Aside

                        My existing genealogy digital files are stored:


                        As suggested for this months Genealogy Do-Over, I am going to place all my digital genealogy files in a 'Hold' area, and as they are needed I will make a task on my to-do list to consult them.

                        My existing genealogy physical files include photocopies of archival documents and certificates, photographs (some originals and some copies), as well as research notes from my mother's family history research in the 1980s-90s. These are stored in binders categorised by surname. Similarly to the digital files, I will create to-do tasks to consult these records as they are needed. 



                        2. Preparing to research

                        In the past, my research habits have been very haphazard. 
                        • I jump from one branch of my family tree to another 
                        • I have no plan for what records I will search, and when and why I will search them.
                        • I often follow any 'bright and shiny objects' (BSOs)- newly digitised collections, new DNA matches.
                        • I have not kept an adequate research log.
                        • I have not achieved the vague goals I want to achieve ('Write the Fullerton history' has been a goal for over a decade now)
                        • I have neglected using complete and accurate source citations.
                        • I have felt overwhelmed and unorganised.
                        • I have felt tired - staying up too late searching and not achieving anything worthwhile.
                        • I have neglected genealogy correspondence - some emails have been left unanswered for far too long.
                        This year I hope to FINALLY make progress with writing a history of the Fullerton family. For this, I need to plan and create concise, focused and achievable research goals. 

                        The changes to my research habits that I need to make include:
                        • Create concise, focused and achievable research goals
                        • Use a research log
                        • Use a to-do list
                        • Use complete and accurate source citations. 
                        • Instead of following BSOs, take note of them and look at them at another time if they don't relate to the research goals for that day. 

                        As the Genealogy Do-Over progresses this year, I hope to learn more ways to improve my genealogy research habits.

                        © 2018. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally posted at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.au/2018/01/genealogy-do-over-january-2018.html. Genealogy Do-Over logo by Thomas MacEntee. 

                        Monday, March 13, 2017

                        My First DNA Circle on AncestryDNA!

                        This morning I was excited to see that I have my first ever DNA Circle on AncestryDNA, for my Great Great Grandfather Thomas Davey Smith. I tested about 14 months ago.


                        © 2017. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally published at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/my-first-dna-circle-on-ancestrydna.html