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Archive for January, 2012

I’m most challenged by and thankful for my Green family ancestors. I never knew my grandfather was from rural North Carolina until his death when his brother and nephew attended the funeral. This was long before I was interested in genealogy and I was surprised to meet my “country cousins” who I never even knew existed.

I’m from the suburbs of a large city and so their experience was much different from mine. North Carolina began keeping vital records rather late and I don’t live close enough to North Carolina to visit very often so its been a challenge researching them particularly because Green is a very common surname, but it has taught me a lot about keeping track of my steps and how to do cluster genealogy.

The challenging ancestors are the ones that teach you the most. I’m looking forward to the time when I can actually go and visit Hertford County although whenever I mention this to my dad or my aunts they all look a little worried. Apparently, their trip to Hertford as a children was a bit eye-opening for them.

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I love doing offline research. I live overseas in a country far from my ancestors so its something that I have to plan ahead. When I’m in the states I’m typically in the Washington DC area so I’ve done some great research at NARA and the DAR Library. But on a personal note, my most significant offline finds have been at the Maryland State Archives.

According to family traditions, my great-grandfather dropped his pregnant wife off at the hospital to give birth and never returned. I’ve always heard that he had a second family which is why he left. There wasn’t much good said about him. Census records have been difficult to follow and online searches didn’t reveal much.

In one afternoon at the Maryland State Archives I was able to find my great-grandparents divorce records and two marriage records from his subsequent marriage. I also found his death record and the death records of his parents which eventually led to a cemetery visit.

The most fascinating part was that the divorce record had sworn statements from my great-grandmother (who died when I was in high school) and himself (who I never met.) It humanized him in a very personal and touching way.

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Vacation Time

GraveyardSo I’m heading off to another island to enjoy a bit of fun in the sun. I’ve been trying to brain storm something that I could do on my vacation without having to bring my computer. So far, I haven’t come up with anything. I might just close up my genealogical shop for the week and spend a bit more time reading and relaxing.

I’m working through the conversion of iPhoto to Evernote. I think that I’ll leave all the actual scanned picture in iPhoto for now although I might move them over at another time. I eventually would like to move back to having one iPhoto library. I tried to have two: one for regular pictures and one for genealogy content, but it ended up being unmanageable.

I’m mixed up about pictures of graves. I think that I’d like to move them to Evernote because they are sources. There are a few with me in them which I took more just as a memory keepsake and some of the cemetery in general. These I think I’ll leave in iPhoto, but the shot that shows the information from the grave I may move over to Evernote., but that might be a project for another week.

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My favorite free website has to be google. I know that it isn’t particularly original, but it is the glue that holds all of the other free information together. I go to google time and time again and through fancy searching have found all sorts of records that I would never have found before. Plus, I love the simple interface. Cheers!

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21COFH – Week 3

I haven’t been on any research trips in a bit so my camera was all clear. I don’t have a flip pal (although I’d like to get one). I did decide to take the time to move all of my iPhoto document pictures to Evernote. I like the way that iPhoto handles scanned pictures, but I prefer to have all of my sources in Evernote. So that is what I’m working on for the week.

I like Evernote because I first write the source citation and then I add the scanned copies and then if I’ve transcribed the document I add that below. In the past, my scanned images were separate from the citations and the transcription.

Right now, I’m about halfway done, although I’m going to attempt to finish it prior to leaving for vacation on Monday.

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I’ve decided to abandon my hard drive all together and store all of this type of data on Evernote. Evernote makes it really easy to have notebooks and files within the notebooks. It is also very easy to tag. Although to be honest, I don’t use the tags that often. Typically, I just use the search function although I often search within a particular notebook so I know that I’ll limit my search a bit.

Currently, my genealogy related Notebooks are

* Articles – Where I put interesting articles that I’d like to reference again
* Blog – Ideas and information related to this blog. My internet is broken (which happens a lot) and so I’m writing my blog post in Evernote. I’ll cut and paste it into wordpress when the internet fixes itself.
* Checklists – This is a holding tank of sorts which is related to organization. I’m working on standardizing templates and checklists and this is where I put other people’s templates and checklists. Eventually, all of these will be moved over to the Organization section. For example, I had several people’s version of a request log and when I finalized my version, I deleted all the ones in this section
* Class – These are my notes and assignments from the BU course that I just completed. I’ll probably go through these and move some of these to other folders now that the course is completed.
* Current Projects – This a temporary, easy access file for my focus ancestor. Right now, James N. Green from Bertie County. It is also where I put emails from fellow genealogists who are looking for a source or additional information.
* DAR Library – I have several folders that have specific items that I’d like to look at for the next time I am at that repository. I just finished my DAR trip, so I can probably delete most of these items, but I accessed this list from my iPhone and made sure that I pulled all of the books and files that I wanted. I also had the address and the hours stored here for easy reference.
* FHL – Microfilms that I would like to order
* Organization – See checklists
* Library of Congress- Books that I’d like to look at from the Library of Congress
* Links – Interesting links
* Notes – I have a standard title system for these, “Notes for James N. Green.” This is where I put my general notes that haven’t been finalized, outstanding questions, and ideas that pop into my head.
* Other’s Research – Emails and pdf’s from other genealogists in my family and things I’ve found online. I keep these separate because they are not really sources, but I still like to have them handy.
* Places – I may have to break this one down more, but these are place specific websites and information.
* Progen – Files and assignments related to the progen course
* Requests – These are not pending requests, but instructions on how to make requests at different agencies. I’ve found that it is easier to keep them on Evernote then to continue to reference them on their webpages.
* Sources – This is where I store scans and pdfs of sources. I like Evernote for this because I put the citation on the first few lines and then add the file and it is all stored together. This is also my main goal for the year. A number of my sources are stored in iPhoto and I’d like to move them all to Evernote and make sure that they are properly cited.

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Regularly updated record database – For me, this is the most important thing. I like to see that the money that I’m paying to use their site is helping expand the site for myself and others. This is also what encourages me to renew my subscription. If nothing is being updated there isn’t a reason to stick around.
Advertisement free – One of the things that drives me nuts about free sites is messy advertisements. I don’t mind tasteful advertising or affiliate links, but some sites are essentially just advertisements and that irks me.
Good search functionality – When you have surnames like Green and Gordon, it is wonderful to have good search functionality. For me personally, I like the ability to drill down. You start with all of the hits on the name and then move to all the hits in a state, a county, for a time period. Gold.
Advocacy for record access – This has been a hot topic. I think that record access is a good thing for genealogy and for society. A subscription site has more clout than an individual.
Privacy Settings and Site Security – I think its important to share your data, but for me I’d like to reserve the right to remove something from a family tree and to make certain items private. I personally do not put any information in a public setting about living individuals or those that could possibly be living.

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