Archive for February, 2012

It’s Arrived!

A few months ago I decided that I would order Family Tree Maker for Mac and reenter all of my genealogical data. From there, I would also organize all of my genealogy related information that is stored on my computer. I live overseas so it took a bit of time for it to arrive and when it arrived it was cracked. Horrors! Fortunately, the customer service was quick. I emailed them and in less than 24 hours they had sent a second disk out to the address. Unfortunately, I still live overseas and so it took another couple of weeks to arrive.

My very first goal is to print out a list of people that I have on my current software so that I can keep track of who has been added to the new software. This is going to be a task so hopefully I’ll find the time to get it all reentered. I know that I can transfer it using GEN, but you know the phrase: Garbage in, garbage out.

Some of the information I have is just garbage and the easiest way to sort out the unsourced data from the sourced is to start from the beginning and put data points in one at a time.

Wish me luck!


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I’m pretty well stocked up. I did a large project for my grandmother a few months ago that still needs to be completed which covers most of the truly old photos that I have. My other photos are from my lifetime and I’m currently in the process of scanning and organizing them. I’m focusing more on catching up and I’m checking mini-albums off my inventory, one album at a time and so I’ll keep puttering away at that for this weekend.

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I took a slightly different approach and just started with the top of the list. Partially because I don’t have anything that is in desperate need of rescuing. I just started with the first (digital) album and processed it and then did a second file.

Here are the questions/steps that I took:
1) Are they all photos? I’m moving all of my pictures of sources out of my iPhoto and into Evernote. In this case, they were all photos.
2) Delete the terrible photos. It’s easy to delete the blurry shots and bad angles, but I also went through and deleted photos of moments I didn’t need to remember. My first album was a bunch of random shots of my family through the years. Most of these made the cut. Although there were a few, where there were two or three of essentially the same moment, so I picked the best one and deleted the rest. The second album was pictures in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. I’ve gone through this album before and deleted a bunch of photos, but this time I was a bit more merciless. The reality is that no one wants to look through hundreds of shots of flipped over cars and destroyed houses, but it was a significant event for me so I wanted to remember it. I went through and deleted poor shots and got it down to a reasonable number.
3) Label the people
4) Identify the date, place, and occasion
5) Fix up the photos. Crop, Red Eye Reduction etc.
6) Double check that there aren’t any hard copy photos of the same event. I thought that I had print out pictures of Louisiana, but I went through my photos and couldn’t find any so this step was pretty easy.

None of these pictures had anything particular to do with genealogy, but I’m honing my skills and my disorganized mess of pictures has a residual effect on my genealogy so I think it counts.

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I really enjoyed gathering the historical documents related to my great great grandfather’s Civil War pension file. At the time, I was living in Washington, DC and I could actually touch the documents and see my great great grandfather’s original signature. The file explained when he married his first and second wives and when his first wife had died. It talked about his service, his illness related to his service and even his death and how much his burial cost.

It was an incredible experience when they brought out the box which contained the original documents and to be able to add details of his life from these document.s

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21COFH – Take Inventory

This is an excellent idea. The majority of my photos are digital which actually makes it a bit more tough, but I think that I have an excellent inventory going in a note in evernote. Most of my hardcopy photos are all in one place, but I did remember that there were some photos on the wall and also a handful from a leftover project for my grandmother which I forgot to return. For the hard copy photos, the main issue is that I need to scan them and then put them into books. Very few of them are historical photos, but many are irreplaceable.

For my digital files, I’d like to separate them into pictures of documents and traditional pictures. The traditional pictures, I’d like to keep in iPhoto and the pictures of documents I’d like to move to evernote. I have a good inventory of where the pictures and hiding throughout my computer so the next step is to pick out one of the folders and process it until completion.

Finally, I have my wedding photos which are on a paid site out online. I’d like to select a handful of these and make a photo album.

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I’m a little too young to actually have heirlooms, but there is one particularly famous heirloom which is owned by my grandmother. It’s an elephant’s footstool. That’s right an actual elephant’s foot which someone made into a stool.

My grandparents were missionaries in Southern Sudan during the 1950s. As the story goes, one day my grandfather came home with two elephant’s foot stools. The next day, the man who sold them to my grandfather said that his daughter was upset that he sold them and so my grandfather gave one of the footstools back. She still has a few other African memorabilia pieces and they really are an incredible piece of history.

Word is still out on who will inherit the stool, but maybe it will end up in my house. Who knows? I didn’t have an actual picture of the stool, but it looks a lot like this picture which I borrowed from Christie’s the auction site. If you’d like your own family heirloom, you can buy it for about $558. Ours is a little less moth-eaten and has a wooden seat not a horsehair one.

The post has inspired me, the next time I’m at my grandmother’s I’ll have to make sure to take a picture of this heirloom.

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So I’m going on vacation this week so I won’t be able to do much by way of organization. Fortunately, I have this week’s challenge already completed. I have an office which is just for me. I’ve spent time over the last few months working on my office so its in pretty good shape.

The key elements are a filing cabinet, a bookshelf, a desk and a scanner. I would like to move my scanner so I can scan more easily. I’ve been working on a lot of pictures and I wish the scanner was within arm’s reach of my computer so I could do other things while I scanned and then reach over and flip the project. Putting the scanner on the desk would make the desk too cluttered so I have a bit of a creative challenge.

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