Saturday, January 3, 2015

What's Your Number 2014

So this time last year I started the year out with finding out what/who I do know, with What's Your Number.  Taking the number of possible people in your family tree and comparing that to the actually number you have discovered.

I didn't do that much discovery this year.  I spent almost all my time renaming and cleaning up all my files Keeping Your Leaves in Order... File Naming.  Bad part is I only got through my paternal tree, 600 some files, it was a lot more than I imagined to would be. What time I didn't spend in file organizing I spent in DNA.

2014 wasn't a lose though, I did find 19 new family members and hope to make many new finds with the updates made on AncestryDNA.  I will say cleaning up my files really was a confidence booster. organizing my paper trail of family members and having proof not just a name and date.

All in all it was a 2% increase, which is always a win.  It's only a couple of days into the new year and I already have some prospects to research that will increase my numbers even more for next year.  I have my maternal side to file clean up but the number of files on that side aren't as big so hopefully it won't take me a year.

Leave me a comment below and let me know your numbers and happy hunting in 2015.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Memorial May

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, it's been a busy spring both at home and work. Anyways May is one of my favorite months, and with all the relatives I have found and mapped, I can't go see them all on Memorial day. I usually am able to fit in about a hand full of cemeteries before it's an all day event. So that being said I am declaring the month of May "Memorial May" because it will take me a month to go see most, not even all the known cemeteries.

Last year was the first Memorial day after I had met Mandi Brown with her knowledge of cemetery preservation, and the use of the chemical D2. You can learn more about my initial review of D2 in my blog post called "Preserving Family Memories... Making Stones Last Forever". Well its been almost a year now, I have already bought another gallon of D2, and getting excited to visit other cemeteries that I missed last year.

I have already been to three cemeteries so far, but revisiting Sugar Creek Cemetery was the first time since the family reunion last October. Wow was I surprised. I didn't imagine D2 would keep working through the winter, not that there is a reason to just didn't think about it. So here are some photos again of D2 at work. I did go ahead an re-spray the stones this year, I plan to do so each year to keep them clean and to help preserve them for future generations. Check out the captions of the photos I will leave some details there. Also thanks to Tom DeBerry who has done a great job through Find A Grave to make sure every memorial in Sugar Creek is documented.

Pre D2
Photo by Tom DeBerry 2011
12 Months after D2
Photo by Eric Stitt May 2014
5 Months after spray with D2
Photo by Eric Stitt Oct 2013

12 Months after D2
Photo by Eric Stitt May 2014
Pre D2
Photo by Tom DeBerry 2011
12 Months after D2
Photo by Eric Stitt May 2014


Monday, March 24, 2014

Keeping your Leaves in Order... File Naming 2

So I am been using this new file naming scheme, well new to me, for all my genealogy records. I use Family Tree Maker so that I have a offline version of my Tree. I love how I can make changes at either location and my trees are synced and updated. I am only about a quarter of the way through my files but I'm making progress.

The reason I am writing about this again is its just so cool. Now that my files are all properly named, you almost don't even need the software, its so nicely organized from birth certificate to death certificate and every document in between. It's so easy to look at now to find each person, the only pitfall and why you need the software, is to be able to link files to multiple people unless you wanted to attach a file to each individual, in a census that could really take up some space. I know some of my census images are 2MBs and if you got sometimes 10 people living together on the same census that's a lot of images.

I will admit when I started I wasn't the best genealogist, shoot I wouldn't even say I was good but, I have learned from my mistakes and trying to make up for it. Now that I'm getting organized I have been able to find some new records and relatives with ease.

Hopefully I can get all my files renamed in the next few weeks and then I am really going to sit down and start tackling these genetic cousin hints I have got from my DNA kits. Then maybe I can find and discover some cool family mysteries and stories to share with everyone.

If you are wondering what I am talking about in reguards to file naming you can check out my previous blog post called, Keeping your leaves in order... File Naming

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Learning New Tricks 2014

Hi all well it's almost conference time again in Kansas City. I wanted to share this with you all before it happened so that if you're in the area and want to attend yourself you can get signed up.

 So here is the breakdown, the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence is hosting "Genie Tech 2014".  Their two speakers are Lisa Lousie Cooke and Kathleen Brandt.  Both speakers are going to be sharing with us the latest technology tools to do your family research.  I am excited about both speakers as Lisa will be bringing one of her google earth classes and Kathleen will be presenting on the DNA side of genealogy research.  Genie Tech 2014 will be on March 8th, if you plan on going let me know so we can share highlights from our notes.

The other conference I am excited about is the GenealogyKC.  It was hosted last year during RootsTech but this year they moved it back so that some speakers from RootsTech could attend. There is 132 classes being put on on both Friday and Saturday March 21 & 22, 2014.  This year they are really focused on Technology and Youth.  I am already signed up for my classes and can't wait for it all to start.  I plan to be at this one all day both days so if you're attending this one look me up.

The thing I am most excited about with the GenealogyKC conference is I am going to be presenting my Google Earth research, it's called "Follow Your Family's Trail With Google Earth".  I will be demonstrating how to use Google Earth for your family research on both Friday and Saturday. Click on "Follow Your Family's Trail With Google Earth" and you can see the times I am presenting.  If you can't wait for my class or don't have time to attend you can check out my other blog, Genealogy Through Google Earth to get started on spinning your own globe of family history.

Before I go, I wanted to give a shout out to the Iowa Genealogical Society, about their Genealogical Name Tag.  Originally I found out about this on Beth Foulk's blog Genealogy Decoded - A Family Tree Name Tag, and I immediately wanted one.  You can order them from the Iowa Genealogical Society here at Genealogical Name Tag, I ended up ordering two.  I got a call the very next day confirming the order and within a week received my new name tags, and I was really impressed.  They look really sharp and are a pretty high quality name tag.

So if you are going to attend either of these conferences, or any others in your area, you should get yourself a professional name tag.  Don't forget to look me up and hope to see you soon.

Happy Researching.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Keeping Your Leaves in Order... File Naming

I guess you can say I am like everyone else, where I create New Year Resolution. My Resolution for Genealogy this year is organizing my files.  I like to think of myself as a Digital Genealogist. I do almost all my research from home and even if I do run to a courthouse or the library, I always convert my findings into a digital format.  However I never figured out a good file naming scheme, which makes looking at my files difficult, especially trying to sort out duplicates.  I asked and searched but couldn't find something that made sense to me. Finally I found a system that Natalie Cottrill from ProGenealogist shared in her blog Computer Tricks 3 – Naming Electronic Files, and so far it has been great.

This is Natalie's system:

 "[surname (or) maiden surname][first name][middle name][birthyear]
[date of event or date document created][event or document name]"  

It's really nice, after you put the name in, the birth year takes care of multiple generations using the same, so you shouldn't have a problem with all those John Smith's in your tree.  I use the Head of the Household to name the census which has really cleared up my census pages.

After that the computer takes care of the organizing for you.

"...they will end up automatically sorted by the operating system alphabetically by name 
and then chronologically by date of birth and then chronologically again by date of event."

It doesn't get better then that, now I just have to go and rename all my files, which is going to take some time. When its all said and done its going to be so easy to find all my files. Even now you can see the story of someones life just from the thumbnails.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's Your Number

I am feeding this off another blog Genea-Musings who posted this post called What's Your Number.  The premise behind this is to look at the numbers and gauge where you are at discovering your ancestors.

Here is the formula, first there is you, then two parents and they each had two parents, so as you go up to the next generation your number doubles.  Going off Genea-Musings post, I went back 10 generations which when you add it all together means you are searching for 1,023 people including yourself.  Then figuring who you have discovered over the ten generations you divide them from the number of possible people and that lets your know the percentage of family members you have discovered.

So below are my numbers, I was kind of shocked, not that I thought I was reaching the end but how little I have actually discovered.  I usually stop researching a branch once I've figure out who the immigrant to the United States is, mainly because there its tons to discover on this side of the pond and I haven't started paying for an international subscription to  I will have to post later if I ever do the math of the number of discovering the American families and don't count it against me if I stopped researching.

This sure seems like a lot of people and to think that ten generations is only about 300 years.  I guess I have plenty more searching to work on, it's at least good knowing where you stand, right!!!   Will have to keep this post going each year and see how the numbers grow.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings in Google Earth

This past year 2013 has been a great year for genealogy research, which has lead me to starting a new blog called Genealogy Through Google Earth.  I am creating this new blog to help my Google Earth audiance have a clear place to go for ideas and support, while this blog can stay more show & tell, story based.  I am still working on posting at both blogs biweekly.

Genealogy Through Google Earth, starting out I am explaining how I use Google Earth to find and share my family research.  Then I will go more indepth with how you can create these interactive projects with your family.

I really hope you have enjoyed my blog this year and will continue reading it as well as Genealogy Through Google Earth.  My first post will be Jan 1, 2014.

Thanks for a great year

Eric Stitt