Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Genealogy Goals

This week's 'Saturday Night Genealogy Fun' challenge was to create at least one genealogy goal for 2018. Thanks to DearMyrtle's Wacky Wednesday on Bullet Journaling, one of my goals for 2017 was to learn to use a Bullet Journal. I can truly say that I've accomplished that goal since I've been planning my 'journal' for 2018.

In the process of that planning, I've written several goals in my genealogy journal. Knowing that I need specific goals that I can check off (i.e. SMART goals), I have broken them down into smaller steps. Below are some of  my broader goals:
  • Get my tree indexed on Ancestry!
  • Reduce number of shaky leaves on Ancestry
  • Use RootsMagic's link to FamilySearch to add sources for my direct line ancestors
  • Connect with cousins on Facebook by sharing family photos
  • Blog about my ancestors 
  • SCAN -- I still have some photo albums to scan
  • Clean up files (sadly I have duplicates of some photos and others that need re-scanned)
  • DNA -- update my spreadsheet of matches
  • Finish doing visual phasing with my brother's DNA results and then hopefully add a cousin or two 
  • Attend a genealogy conference 
  • Participate in genealogy study groups and round-tables
Perhaps I need to add a goal of tracking my progress!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

RootsMagic Source List Bloat

My list of sources has a LOT of duplicates. The vast majority of these duplicated sources are coming from Ancestry.

When it comes to census records, it appears that citations from Ancestry 'lump' all records for a census year into one citation. As shown above, the citation is for the 1930 census. Specific details (such as the county and state) become part of the citation details.

If Ancestry is lumping citations, then why am I getting multiple citations for the same census year? If I'm counting correctly, I have 27 citations for the 1940 census. My theory is that I have a separate citation for each time I have a 1940 residence event in my RootsMagic tree.

To verify this, I decided to work with John Frederick Mentzer. Since I've already worked with this family, I know that I should find him living in Woodson County, Kansas in 1940. His Ancestry screen shows that I don't have any Ancestry sources attached to him and currently have 11 hints.

Since none of those hints are for the 1940 census, I did a search for him in the census.

The detail screen for the 1940 census in Woodson County Kansas helps me verify that this census record is for the John F Mentzer in my database

From the Detail Screen, I can click on Save to get to the option to save this record to John Frederick Mentzer in my tree.

Since I haven't changed my current 'census' event for 1940 to a residence event, Ancestry is prompting me to add a new event. I go ahead and accept the suggestion knowing that I probably need to delete my census event for John Mentzer in RootsMagic.

After clicking "Save to Your Tree" the record is saved to John Mentzer's fact screen on Ancestry. Since this is an Ancestry source, it is appearing in the 'Ancestry' section above the 'Other Sources'

Now that I have a new event on Ancestry (with an attached Ancestry source), I need to transfer that event to RootsMagic via TreeShare. On the TreeShare screen, I have two new residence events in Ancestry: 1935 and 1940.

I elected to add these two events to RootsMagic:

Once the transfer is complete, the two events have been added. Ancestry's citation for the 1940 census is listed as the source.

Now the question: how may 1940 census sources are in my source list? This time, I found 28 references to the 1940 census in my source list. I added 2 events referencing the 1940 census. Based on my original theory, the number of entries for the 1940 census should have increased by 2 to 29. Since it only increased by 1, my new theory is that the duplication of the source is tied to individuals and not to events.

Since I've verified that this bloat is related to TreeShare, I'm wondering:

  • Can I merge these sources?
  • Am I processing these sources incorrectly and thus creating the duplication?
  • Or, is this a TreeShare issue?
There is a discussion on the RootsMagic forum for a related issue: duplication of media files. User mjashby is dealing with the issue of duplicated media by using RootsMagic 'memorize' button to copy/past the source from one family member to another. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My DNA Story

Ancestry recently made some changes to their Ethnicity display. I first became aware of this change during a webinar. I was reminded of this change this morning when I read "Ancestry Updates DNA Ethnicity Presentation" on The Genes Blog.

Thus, I decided to check out my Ethnicity screen.

The 'new' part of the presentation is the time line. As I began clicking thru the time line, it showed the migration from Europe to the United States.

I still need to learn about these maps and how they can help me with my paper research!

Learning to Use RootsMagic Research Log

My first 'research logs' were paper based and I was fairly consistent about keeping those records. However, when I started using software to manage my family tree, my diligence in recording what sources I had used began to slip. My software of the time, The Master Genealogist, had the ability to maintain a research log but I incorporated that tool into my research process.

Recently, webinars and blogs that I follow have emphasized the need to maintain an accurate log of sources used. Knowing that I was lacking in this area, I decided to try the tools within RootsMagic to see if I could improve my research process.

I first tried this logging process while on a trip to the Midwest Genealogy Library. I transferred data from my TODO spreadsheet into tasks on RootsMagic.

During my visit to the library, I was able to mark the task completed and transfer it to the Research Log. With the Research Log window open, I then entered the bibliographic information and transcribed data directly into the log.

At the end of the transcription, I noted where the images were stored.

I recently started using the IOS app, iScanner. This app allows me to group all images from a source into one folder. I can export the images as a .pdf file or as individual .jpeg files.

By using the Research Log in this way, it is harder for me to loose track of research notes. Once ready to input the data into RootsMagic, I can just copy/paste the transcription info and attach the .pdf file or individual media files.

Oct 31, 2017 -- This issue has been confirmed by RootsMagic support. Contrary to my theory, they found that the note stuck to the FIRST event. Until the update comes out, the suggest was to transfer these notes one event at a time.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Renaming Ancestry Tree & TreeShare

Historically, I have published most of my genealogy research under 'Heartland Genealogy'. When RM introduced TreeShare, I was having trouble getting a new tree established with that name. Thus, my TreeShare name is currently called 'Crawford-Briles'. For the sake of consistency, I would like my old tree name back. Thus, I asked the Facebook community if it was possible to change the name.

So, I'm going to try to change the name of my tree. I have closed my tree in RM and backed it up. Dropbox is in the process of syncing both the file and the backup.

On Ancestry, I opened Tree Settings and changed the name of the tree.

I then re-opened RootsMagic. In RootsMagic, my file is called Crawford-Briles. Hopefully, it will still link to my renamed tree on Ancestry - Heartland Genealogy. To test that, I clicked on the TreeShare icon. Thankfully, it is telling me it is connected to my Heartland Genealogy Tree.

RootsMagic TreeShare / Event Notes

Due to my tree not showing in a search on Ancestry, I'm learning more and more about how TreeShare works. 

One of my observations is that I often have a 'note' at the bottom of my sources on Ancestry. One of those notes was a 'burial' note. Most of the time, they are titled, 'residence note'. Pictured is such a note on the record for George Mentzer in my Crawford-Briles tree.

When I followed the purple lines, I discovered that this 'note' is attached to the following facts:
  • 1910 Residence
  • 1905 Residence
  • 1900 Residence
  • 1895 Residence
  • 1880 Residence
  • 1871 Residence
  • 1870 Residence
  • 1869 Residence
  • 1861-1869 Residence
  • 1850 Residence

When I view the Residence note, it is obvious it is a note for the 1910 census.

On RootsMagic, I have a different note attached to the other events. Pictured is the screen for the 1850 residence event.

My theory about how this happened is based on how I did TreeShare. Since I had lots of 'data' to transfer at one time, I simply clicked on each RM residence fact and checked the box to upload the NOTES. Thus, the notes for numerous residence events were transferred at one time. I'm guessing that the last residence fact uploaded became the residence note on Ancestry and, unfortunately, linked to all of the residence facts I uploaded at the same time.

Thus, I am deleting those notes from Ancestry as I find them in my tree. 

On RM, I am putting all of those event notes into the person note. I have verified that those notes will transfer to the NOTES window on Ancestry.

Friday, October 27, 2017

TreeShare / Sources / Images

After working thru my 'study' of what happens to sources with TreeShare, I wondered whether an image gets downloaded multiple times when attaching a census source to individuals of a family.

In my previous post, TreeShare and Sources, I looked at the 1900 census for Paul Emory Mentzer. In that census, Paul was listed as a 4 year old son of Charles Mentzer.

Prior to accepting any Ancestry hints for the 1900 census for Charles Mentzer, I had one source attached to that event.

After accepting the hint on the Ancestry side, TreeShare now indicates that there are 2 sources on Ancestry and 1 source on RootsMagic.

Thus, TreeShare prompts me to add a source to RootsMagic.

Now, I have 2 sources attached to the event: my original source and the newly downloaded Ancestry source.

When I look at the Media tab for the Ancestry source, it is linking to a file named 4120168_00936.jpg [Note the following information from the windows that are partially obscured: Individual's name starts with CHARL and the Source name begins with 1900 United Sta.]

If I go back and look at the citation for the 1900 census attached to Paul Emory Mentzer (Charles' son), the file name for the attached media is the same.

Hoping to be able to identify this generically named image in the media gallery, I clicked on the properties button so that I could add a caption to the image. [I did this on the citation attached to Paul Mentzer's event.]

If only one image is being downloaded, then that caption should also appear on the citation for Charles Mentzer's event. When I checked the citation for Charles Mentzer, there was no caption tied to the image.

Out of curiosity, I checked the media gallery to see what was happening with these images. The Media Gallery contained THREE versions of the image: two without the caption and one with the caption. [Note: This particular source has only been downloaded for 2 individuals: Charles and Paul Mentzer.]

Captioning images is a skill that I am developing. Thus, most of my images are not currently captioned. However, those that are captioned have not been duplicated in the Media Gallery.

Since the image appeared THREE times in the Media Gallery, I was curious as to how many copies of the same image I have on my hard drive. I discovered TWO copies of this image in the generic media folder.

Each of these images are almost 2 GB in size (1,905 KB). There are 4 people in this particular family. If I accept the hint from the Ancestry side and am fortunate enough to have Ancestry pick up the entire family, I'm guessing that I would only have 1 copy of the image downloaded. Working from the RootsMagic side, I have not experienced the ability to attach one hint to an entire family. [Note: I am not using the family version of the event since I want to be able to put in individual notes.]  Thus, I am getting one copy of the image for each family member.

So my quandary continues!

I want (need) to accept Ancestry's shaky leaf hints
  • to allow my tree to appear in searches of public member trees
  • to generate more 'Member Connections'
  • to help find sources I haven't already used
I don't want to use TreeShare to pull those hints into RootsMagic
  • image files are generically named
  • image files can be duplicated
  • source citations are less detailed
SO -- I need to learn how to work with the images to give them specific names and prevent the duplication! And, I need to decide to either accept Ancestry citations OR quit using TreeShare.

TreeShare and Sources

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to handle Ancestry hints, TreeShare and sources.

I have a fairly well sourced database that includes a lot of census research. Some of that census research dates back to the microfilm days. I tried to use the standards of the time to write citations for the data. My original citations would have been written in PAF as a NOTE. Some of those citations still exist in my current data. When I transferred from PAF to The Master Genealogist, I tried to go back thru my file and convert those NOTEs to facts. In the process, I also started using one of the citations templates provided by TMG: Richard Lackey's Cite Your Sources (c1980). Since the Master Genealogist community promoted the use of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence! Citation Analysis for the Family Historian, I switched to that set of templates for my sources.

When my data was transferred from TMG to RootsMagic, I also participated in Thomas McEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. In the process, I soon realized that my source citations were not detailed enough and definitely short of the current standards. I also realized that when possible, I needed to add images of the source to the citation. Thus, I started working my way back thru my tree to update those older citations using Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.

I was thrilled when RootsMagic announced they would develop the ability to sync my data between my RootsMagic database and Ancestry. Thus, I volunteered as a beta tester. From my experiences as a beta tester, I knew that I had to select either my Ancestry tree or my RM database. I also knew that there was an issue with at least one image in my database since uploading my entire database with images never completed. Thus, when TreeShare was released, I uploaded my RM database without images to Ancestry.

I recently discovered an issue with the way I was using TreeShare to accept the hints -- especially in regards to the sourcing of the events. Unfortunately, this issue affects the way my tree is handled by Ancestry.

To explain what is going on, I'm going to use the 1900 census event for Paul Emory Mentzer in my Crawford-Briles tree on Ancestry. All of my RootsMagic sources transferred to Ancestry but are listed under 'Other Sources'.

If I scroll down his page, I can find the citation for the 1900 census.

When I look at the TreeShare comparison for the source on the 1900 census, they appear to be identical.

However, Ancestry doesn't recognize that I've already used the 1900 census. Thus, I get webhints on Ancestry and a yellow lightbulb on RootsMagic.

Since I want to get rid of those yellow lightbulbs, I've been clicking on the link to pending hints and working my way thru the hints. This process has allowed me to make sure my citations have been updated and to recheck my data.

Because I already have this data in RM, I rarely check anything on the right side of the screen.

Since I'm still transitioning from TMG to RootsMagic, I often have to add the note and verify that the sentence structure reads correctly.

When I look at TreeShare for Mentzer, Paul Emory, there is a box next to the 1900 residence entry on RM -- due to the added note.

Even though, I accepted the 1900 census at the top of the AncestryHints window, the source isn't pink on the TreeShare window.

If I go back to the AncestryHints window and click on the Residence fact on the Ancestry side of the screen, I'm given options to update my RM Data.

I've been ignoring this since I don't want to change the date, place or add the description. So -- I just clicked 'OK'. Now I have an Accept Changes box.

Now, when I go to TreeShare, the RM source is pink. If I click on the pink box, I can see the source changes.

By clicking to Accept the change on the Ancestry Hints window, I've added a second source for the 1900 census to my RM database.

When I select the 1900 residence event in the TreeShare window, I'm given the choices of updating the sources and the note.

After selecting to update the source and the note, I click the Accept Changes button and the data is now uploaded to Ancestry

On Ancestry, the source now appears under the list of Ancestry sources.

If I go back to RM and look at the sources for the 1900 census, there are now 2 sources listed -- both for the 1900 census in Woodson County, Kansas.

My original source has research notes/comments while the new Ancestry source (shown above) does not.

My source has media attached. Since I downloaded the media directly from Ancestry, I was able to organize it and give it a recognizable name. If desired, I am also able to use that one piece of media for multiple source citations.

The Ancestry source also has media attached. This media file is dumped into a folder containing all media from Ancestry and given a generic name.

My list of sources also has a new entry: 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry Record). Thus, Ancestry is lumping all 1900 census into one source.

I haven't been lumping all 1900 census together. Instead, I have been lumping by the year and county. Thus, I have a source for the 1900 Woodson County, Kansas census.

I don't really want duplicate sources in my RM database. I don't really want generically named images dumped into a folder. And, I really don't want multiple copies of the same image on my computer. However, right now, it appears that is what has to happen to keep RootsMagic and Ancestry in sync AND to have my tree show up in an Ancestry search.