Saturday, April 30, 2011

SNGF: Data Problems - FTM and RM4

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings issued this challenge:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Open your genealogy software program (on your computer or online), and use the Help function to determine how to make a "Problem Report" or "Data Error Report" (or something similar).

2)  Create a "Problem Report" or "Data Error Report" in your software for the persons in your tree (either everyone in the tree, or for a selected number of generations of your ancestors.  

3)  Tell us what type of problems or errors that your report found.  Tell us how many errors were found.  Tell us what problem or error surprised you.


Because I'm transferring all my data from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic 4, I decided to run the report in both programs.

My FTM file has 3,231 individuals and my RM4 file has only 70 people (gimme a break! It's slow going transferring everything by hand!)

So ... I ran the report in FTM and the first time it was 47 pages long.  I almost had a heart attack!  Then I realized that it was counting anyone missing a birth date and anyone missing a marriage date.  In my opinion, not data errors.  After filtering those out, the report magically shrunk to 2 pages.

1. Lots of individuals were flagged because their children were out of order.  Indeed they were.  A click of the "resort children" button fixed all of those problems, and reduced my report to less than a page.

2. Katherine [Huber] was flagged because apparently she was born (1864) after she was married (1860).  I checked my information and found a typo.  She was actually married in 1880.  This also fixed the problem with her husband being flagged for marrying someone younger than 13.

3. Margaret Egan was flagged for being born more than a year after her father died.  Unfortunately, this is a glitch with FTM - her father died sometime in 1862.  She was born in December 1862.  Thus, not a year later, but FTM reads it that way.

4. There were a couple of individuals flagged for having an "illegal character" in their name, where I had typed the last name as Brown/e or Crow/e.  A couple more were flagged as including a title.  Two had the first name of Dean, the third was Father Leonard F. Zwinger, who was - indeed - a priest.

5. The remaining problems were not problems as much as they were multiple dates for a single event that conflicted with each other - but this will get sorted out once I obtain the proper documentation.

My RM4 problem report consisted of two entries:

1. My grandmother is flagged as having been married at age 80.  This is true.  Go Gramma.

2. My GGgrandfather, Joseph Huber, was flagged as being "born after birth."  This is also true -- sort of.  I have two birth dates entered for him because I still do not have his birth certificate and have conflicting information elsewhere, so his birth dates are one year apart.

I'm glad Randy issued this challenge tonight.  I knew those reports were there, I just forget to run them periodically.  Maybe I should set up a schedule entry to run those reports the same day I do my backups!

Post-Storm Update ... and message to Greta Koehl

First, my apologies to anyone out there may have been waiting for a response from me about anything.  Due to the demon storms that ran through here last Wednesday, I have been without power (and subsequently, no internet) from Wednesday morning until this afternoon.  I have had to use my phone (sparingly) as my only connection to the outside world since the only way to charge it was in my car - engine running - at $3.75/gallon.  I hope to get emails answered, blogs read, etc., in the next several days.

Second, I would like to thank Greta Koehl at Greta's Genealogy Bog for mentioning my website in her Follow Friday post!  A message to Greta: When I tried to go to your blog to post a comment expressing my appreciation, I got a big warning that said your blog contained content from another site known to distribute malware, and that I might get a virus from your blog! 

Erring on the side of caution, I decided to post a message to you here instead.  I'm not sure if you have recently added some "margin goodies" (that stuff everyone has in the margins of their blogs) that have this content or not, but I thought you should know.  I've never gotten this warning before, on your site or anyone else's.  I hesitated to post a link to your blog, but then thought ... maybe I'm the only one having a problem.  If no one else gets a warning (using Google Chrome), please let me know.  Maybe it's me.

Also, Greta, In response to your other comment about Weebly ... my website is done with Weebly (see my original post here).  I went ahead and bought the domain.  It was only $68 for 2 years to own the domain.  I also upgraded to the pro version, which was another $48 for 2 years.  It's a lot of money to plop down all at one time, but bonuses at work tend to enable my genealogy addiction quite nicely.  I don't really know about posting linked genealogy information yet, but I intend to find out.  I know that RootsMagic 4 will create a website, but I'm not exactly sure what to do with it after I create it.  I'm hoping for a webinar ... (hint hint)

My main purpose for my website was for use as a genealogy toolbox, but now that I see what some other folks are doing, I have big plans for my website.  Hopefully, I'll be able to tackle them all before my domain expires! LOL

Since I'm playing catch-up, I thought I would share something good that happened this week.  I received my genealogy contact cards in the mail.  Here's what they look like:

I also got a tote bag and a t-shirt with my logo.  I got them from Vistaprint.  They aren't expensive at all (250 cards cost around $20).  Check them out.  They have a lot of great stuff.  (You can upload your own logo - I just used a stock logo they already had).*  I plan to use these at future genealogy conferences and anytime I run into anyone who might be related to me.

*Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with Vistaprint.  I just like their stuff, and it's inexpensive.  However, if you sign up with them, be prepared for a LOT of marketing emails.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparing for the Release of the 1940 Federal Census

As we all know, in less than a year from now the 1940 federal census will be released to the public.  Unfortunately, the census will not be indexed when it is released, and probably not for several months afterward.  Even though the census will be released digitally (sorry guys, no public microfilm this time), we're going to have to take our research old-school.  We will have to browse the records by hand to find our ancestors.

In an effort to prepare for this long-awaited release, I have added some links on my website here: 1940 Federal Census.  These are PDF documents that can be found on the NARA website that give a lot of information about the census and what to expect from a research-significant standpoint.

Fortunately, the National Archives (NARA) has indicated that they will be splitting the census up by state, county, and enumeration district.  Unfortunately, the enumeration districts are numbered differently than in the past.  So, I have also included a link to Steve Morse's handy-dandy tool to convert the 1920 and 1930 enumeration districts to the 1940 enumeration districts, which will save a ton of time - and can all be done before the census is released!

Hopefully, others will find this useful and time-saving.  You can use the link above or, if you already have my toolbox bookmarked, I have placed the link to the page on the home page:

Don't hate on my mad mouse-drawing skillz!

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm going to have quite a list.  Hopefully, I'll have time to actually use these links before time runs out.  April 2, 2012 will be here before you know it!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Ancestors Were Abducted by Aliens!

What?  It must be true.  This is the only logical conclusion based on the information available.

My great grandfather, Harold John Crowe (Sr.), was born in 1899 in Cannelton, Perry Co., Indiana.  His parents were Charles C. and Ida Mae (Gray) Crowe.  I have found the family on the 1900 U.S. Census (Perry Co., Indiana) and the 1910 U.S. Census (Spencer Co., Indiana).

Sometime between March 1910 and September 1920, the entire family was abducted by aliens, forced to wear military uniforms, have their photographs taken, and who knows what else!

As you can see, the photo purports to have been taken at Davis' Studio at 35 W. Forsythe Street, Jacksonville, Florida.  Likely story.  Here is that address (courtesy of Google maps):

Shortly after returning from outer space in September 1920, Harold John Crowe married Lucile Francis Stiker in Mt. Vernon, Posey Co., Indiana.  I wonder if she had any idea where he had been.  Certainly, it must have affected their relationship somehow.  Perhaps she was sworn to secrecy.

I pick up Harold's family again on the 1930 U.S. Census in Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, where Harold works as a mechanic in a garage (obviously from the extensive training he received during his abduction).   Harold is listed as a veteran of "WW" (which I take to mean World War I) on the census.  I guess this is the only way he could explain the photos in military garb.

Around 1939, Harold went to work as an engine inspector for Allison Gas Turbine (a division of General Motors specializing in aircraft engines - coincidence? I think not.) in Indianapolis, where he stayed until his retirement in 1964.  He died in September 1971 in Indianapolis and is buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.  His obituary in the Indianapolis News on September 20 says that he was a member of St. Catherine Church, the Speedway American Legion, and 40 & 8 "and was a WWI Army veteran."  I'm not sure what 40&8 is ... but I bet it's a coded message for other abductees.

In all seriousness, I have exhausted every search I know to do.  I have looked in city directories in Mt. Vernon, Indianapolis, and Rockport - nada.  I have looked for WWI draft cards and veteran lists - nothing.  I have looked for newspaper articles - zilch.  State census records have not been indexed or do not exist for most counties.  (And, yes, I checked the census in Jacksonville, Florida also).

I did some research on this 40 & 8 club (official name: La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux - or - the Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses).  Apparently, it is a branch of the American Legion that honors those soldiers who were transported through France on railroad cars during the Great War.  Each rail car had a symbol on the side "40/8" which meant the car would hold 40 men or 8 horses.

I have sent emails to the American Legion and the 40 & 8, so hopefully they will be able to provide some information that will fill in the gaps.  I am pretty sure that he missed the census because he was still overseas or returning from overseas, but I could be wrong.  I know very little about World War I (I'm rethinking that whole not-paying-attention-in-history-class thing now, though), so if anyone out there can shed some light on what might have happened between the "official" end of the war in June 1919 and the census in March 1920, I would be most appreciative!

Happy Easter!

Now that my daughter is grown, I don't really get to do the Easter basket thing anymore (at least as far as anyone knows).  I miss Easter.  I miss Easter baskets.  Okay, it's really the candy I miss.  Sue me.

Since I was reminiscing about candy Easter, I figured I'd share one of my absolute favorite photos of my daughter in her Easter bonnet.  This is one of the few photos I have taken that actually turned out normal.  This was taken (I think) Easter 1994.

Check out those dimples!

As you can tell, she hated having her picture taken! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow Friday ... or How To Lose 3 Hours of Your Life In One Sitting

Thanks to Greta for leading me to d kay s days' "Tuesday's Tip" blog post Build a Research Toolbox and Include Cornell’s Making of America, and Apple's comments on the same post, pointing me to another Making of America website at The University of Michigan.  I decided to check them out.  Wow.  Just wow.  Turns out Cornell and U of M collaborated to get the whole project done.  Each site has links to the other.

First, I started browsing the Cornell site ... not looking for anything in particular, just wondering what was there.  I spent at least 45 minutes reading The United States Democratic Review, of all things.  Then I noticed a link that said "browse civil war documents."  Hmmm.  Goodbye, hour and a half.

Then I looked at the U of M site.  The next time I looked at the clock, another 45 minutes had passed.  Seriously, I could spend the rest of the month between these two sites and still not be bored.  They are that fascinating ... even when the information isn't relevant to anything you're researching.

Both sites have the option of searching, or browsing by title, author, or subject.  You can even save stuff to your "bookbag" to email or download later.  Way cool.

So ... my sincere thanks to Greta, dkaysdays, and Apple for giving me yet another excuse for not being able to do my homework! :)

Disclaimer:  Don't claim that you haven't been warned of the addiction potential here.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Genealogy Goals - update #2

So, here it is the middle of April and I haven't updated my goals for the year since February.  I figured I might as well face the music ... 

1.  Plan (and execute) a trip to the National Archives in D.C. (to coincide with my visit with my mom! I'll be dragging her along with me so we can play with my new Flip-Pal that she got me for Christmas).
Check.  You can see the "results" of my efforts here.

2.  Request pension files for my military ancestors.
Still working on which ancestors actually served in the military before I can request these records.  I've decided to break it down by war (starting with the Civil War), then look into peacetime enlistments.  In addition to the one ancestor I knew for sure was in the Civil War (which I wrote the other day about here), I have found four others, and I'm still looking.  I have been able to find quite a bit on each of them between Ancestry, Footnote, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  I've also posted on a few message boards once I discovered their regiment, etc.

3.  Break down the brick wall that we call my grandfather's biological parents!
Still no movement on this one.

4.  Scan and organize all of my photos.  I may have to become a regular at the ScanFests!
I have continued to scan some photos, although I've had some scheduling conflicts with the Scanfests for the past 2 months.  I have been able to scan roughly 50 or so more since my last update.

5.  Re-source all of my research ... well, some of it is sourcing for the first time, but I just need to make sure everything has a source!  I guess before I do this, I really need to pick a program and stick with it.  I'm bouncing around between 3 or 4 different ones right now ... mainly because I don't have access to the new FamilySearch yet, so RootsMagic has kind of taken a back seat, and I like the layout of Family Tree Maker, but sourcing is confusing to me.  Ugh.  So many decisions!
I have managed to transfer between 4 and 7 generations of data (by hand) in RootsMagic (depending on the branch) and add sources and media to everyone.  I continue to coordinate those efforts with my new filing system and trying to keep up with DearMYRTLE's Organization Checklists.  Slow down, Myrt!  I'm still working on January!

6.  Keep a to-do list in ONE place, and actually work on it!  (Thanks to all you folks who have posted some great ideas on how to do that)
I continue to transfer my to-do list to RootsMagic as I transfer all of my data.  I've actually been able to check off a couple of things on that to-do list, which is definitely a plus!

7.  Increase my FamilySearch Indexing output by at least twofold.
Check.  As planned, I attended the Super Indexing Sunday bash that Ken Sisler started on Facebook and managed to meet, and exceed, this goal.  I will continue to index, but it has been put on the back burner for now, with finals looming and graduation coming up!

8.  Finally take a trip to the Family History Library in Ooltewah, TN (yes, it's only about 15 minutes away, I just keep forgetting to go!)
Still need to do this.  Again, it may have to wait until after graduation.

9.  Transcribe all the documents I have obtained (and will obtain).
I continue to work on this goal while transferring my data to RM4.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

10.  Last but not least ... start writing my family history!  Note: it will probably be 2064 before I actually FINISH it, but at least I can start writing it.
I am missing a key piece of source information before I can call John Charles Slowey's bio complete (namely, his &*%$&%*$% birth certificate).  Otherwise, I have started bios on 3 other ancestors.  It's still a work in progress with no end in sight, but at least it's in progress!

I'm glad to see that I actually managed to check two of these goals off my list!  Maybe I'm not doing as horribly as I thought.  Well, I've been working my butt off in school for the past 3 years, but it finally paid off.  I received my Summa Cum Laude award last week (3.9 GPA or higher), along with an award for Outstanding Leadership while serving as President of the Paralegal Association at school for 2010-2011.  Three more weeks and school will be over ... HOORAY!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cpl. John W. Crow, 10th Alabama Infantry, Company A, 1841-1865

I haven't really been concentrating on the Crow side of my family lately, but since Bill West issued his Civil War challenge here, I thought I'd go ahead and put together what I know about my 3rd cousin (5x removed) who perished in the war.

John W. Crow was born March 8, 1841 in Ashville, St. Clair County, Alabama.  He was the third of 10 children born to Roland Bryant and Elizabeth (Lankford) Crow.  I know very little about his childhood at this point, except that his father was a farmer.  I have been able to get my hands on some of his military documents from Footnote and Ancestry, and I am hoping to obtain some additional documents from the archives in Alabama when I make the 4-hour drive to Montgomery in a few weeks.

On June 4, 1861, at the age of 20, John enlisted with the 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment (Company A) of the Confederate Army.  During his enlistment, he participated in the following battles:

Dranesville (20 Dec 1861)
Yorktown (5 Apr - 3 May 1862)
*absent at Williamsburg (5 May 1862)
Seven Pines (31 May - 1 Jun 1862)
Richmond/Frazier's Farm (30 Jun 1862)
Second Manassas (30 Aug 1862)
Harper's Ferry (12 Sept - 15 Sept 1862)
Sharpsburg (17 Sept 1862)
Fredericksburg (13 Dec 1862)
Salem Church (3 May 1863)
Gettysburg (1 Jul - 3 Jul 1863)
Bristoe Station (Oct - Nov 1863)
Mine Run (27 Nov - 2 Dec 1863)
Wilderness (5 May - 7 May 1864)
Spotsylvania Courthouse (8 May - 26 May 1864)
Hanover Junction (23 May - 26 May 1864)
Atley's Station
Siege of Turkey Ridge
Wilcox Farm
Courtesy of Civil War Service Database found at Alabama Dept. of Archives and History

John W. Crow was appointed the rank of Corporal on April 1, 1864.  He was captured at Ream’s Station on June 29, 1864 and taken to the POW camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he died on April 22, 1865 from dysentery and was buried.

I found a record of him at Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery at Find-A-Grave, which gives a bit of history of the cemetery:
Originally, the soldiers were buried in two cemeteries near the prison camp. However, because the cemetery land started to erode into the Chesapeake, in 1870 the state of Maryland removed the remains. In 1910 they were moved again and re-interred in a burial trench one mile inland, near where a federal monument was constructed that year. The 80-foot granite obelisk marks the site, just outside Point Lookout State Park, but the actual boundaries of the pit are not marked.

Point Lookout POW Camp (Camp Hoffman) was established after the Battle of Gettysburg to incarcerate Confederate prisoners.  It was in operation from August 1863 through June 1865. Being only 5' above sea level, it was located on approximately 30 acres of leveled land. It was the largest Union prison camp for Confederates.  Point Lookout was one of the most secure POW camps, being surrounded on three sides by water from the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, with Union cannons pointed toward the prisoners from Ft. Lincoln and guns of Union ships anchored in nearby waters.  Only an estimated 50 escapes were successful.  A more in-depth history of the prison camp can be found here.  Warning: the website also contains stories from some of the survivors of Point Lookout.  They are quite graphic.

The records that I have been able to review show that John was absent at the battle of Williamsburg in May 1862.  It is possible that he was in the hospital during that battle, and I hope to find out for sure if I am able to find additional records in Alabama to fill in the blanks.

Monday, April 04, 2011

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 10

Today was a long day.  We were preparing for a trial tomorrow morning and ended up working until about 7 this evening.  Very long day.  Around 5:00 this afternoon, the bottom fell out of the sky and we have had varying stages of torrential downpour for the past 5-1/2 hours.  I am so ready for it to be sunny and springy.

In any case, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived home and found an envelope from St. George Catholic Church in Scotland, SD.  I knew that St. Kyran, the church where they were married, was no longer in existence.  Several weeks ago, I sent a letter to a nearby parish requesting information on how to find the marriage certificate for John Charles Slowey and Theresa Burns (my great great grandparents).  When I opened the envelope, there was a Certificate of Marriage (albeit recreated from the marriage register)! There is a handwritten note on the back of the certificate that says "St. Kyran's Church do [sic] not exist now. Records (some) kept with St. Columba, Mayfield."  I thought it was very nice of them to let me know!

While I would have liked for it to be an actual copy from the register or a photocopy of the actual certificate, I am perfectly happy with what they sent (especially since it didn't cost me anything!).  At least now I can confirm their marriage date.  I really was hoping their birth dates would have been included on the certificate, since that's a major piece of information that has me tied up in knots at this point, and I have very little hope of ever finding a birth certificate for either of them.

So, it appears that Theresa's father and John's sister were the witnesses.  His mother had passed away two years prior to the marriage.  There's another mystery to solve ... how John's mother died.  The only information I have regarding her death is that she "dropped dead" on 10 Aug 1884.  I assume this is hearsay information I received, since I have no supporting documents and made no notes regarding the source of the information - obviously before I became the source-savvy genealogist I am today!