Tuesday, June 9, 2015

As Summer Approaches - Some Genealogy Tips for Your Tuesday

Tuesday's Tip for June 9th at the Legacy Virtual Users' Group Community
The weather is warm, no it is downright hot (it's in the 90s in the Pacific Northwest and it is early June!). The Portland Rose Festival usually gets a bit of rain or drizzle, but this year everyone was told to hydrate and wear sunscreen as they were out and about for the parade and all the citywide activities. Our family spent the better part of the last few weeks with graduations, weddings, and family get-togethers. On the East Coast  of the USA, genealogists and celebrity watchers were part of what was billed as the largest family reunion. And those who could not make it to New York held satellite family reunions at family history facilities throughout the world. I didn't keep up with the whole "we are cousins" thing (I have plenty of cousins, sometimes too many), but it appeared to generate lots of media interest. I wonder if it will generate an interest in actual genealogy research. What do you think?

Since I was away from the online genealogy world for the past two weeks, I spent part of the weekend playing catch-up (thanks Google+ - I simply scroll through my stream and check out any of the blogs, images, websites or articles that catch my eye). Because these posts were so interesting and helpful, I decided to blog about them, share their links, and also provide a few reminders for our Tuesday's Tip in the Legacy Virtual User's Group Community on Google+. So let's get started!

  • Review, Review, Review by Karen Ansley Krugman of Genealogy Frame of Mind reminded me of a very important task to use with our genealogy research. Karen writes that she dates her genealogy file folder with the last time she worked on it and what she was doing. When she pulls the file she quickly knows where she left off (and where she needs to pick up). We all know we should do this (both with our online and offline files), but do we? I know that in business, law and medicine - it is common (perhaps mandatory) to make this type of notation. What a great idea - if you are not doing it already, perhaps it is time to start. Be sure to read Karen's post and give this idea some thought. 
  • Did you miss SCGS Jamboree? So did I! But Randy Seaver blogged about Jamboree at least once a day (I don't know how he does it) and he pulled together a compendium of all the blog entries about Jamboree (SCGS Jamboree Blog Compendium). As you click through to read the posts, you almost feel like you were there. If you haven't attended this conference, why not check out the posts and the photos - as well as the recordings of talks that were live-streamed - and then plan on attending Jamboree in 2016.
  • Are you planning to take any research trips this summer? Perhaps you are going to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or another research facility (local libraries, state archives, land records, NARA centers, cemeteries, or historical or genealogical society facilities). Be sure to check out Getting Started in the Family History Library, Part 1 and Part 2 by Jenny Lanctot at The In-Depth Genealogist. These tips are very helpful for the FHL but many apply to any research facility. I am going to add many of these tips to my checklist for visiting research facilities.  
  • I know we are "encouraged" to backup our genealogy files on a regular basis and certainly at least once a month (thanks Thomas MacEntee). And we all know the importance of doing so. You only need to lose your work once (and have to do it over again) to become religious about back-ups. Something I do in addition to monthly backups is a mid-year and end-of-year backup (for me June 15th and December 15th - I don't know about you but the last two weeks in December are never a time when I get to genealogy or any of my regularly scheduled tasks). These backups serve as a "this is where I was at during the year" timeline (I have kept these since I started doing genealogy in 2005). I also take a screen capture of my genealogy database statistics - just because I am nerdy that way. Whether you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or semi-annual backups (it really depends on how often you add to your genealogy database) - just do them! And don't forget to backup all your genealogy files (those images, documents, spreadsheets, research reports, etc.) so you have all your work saved.
  • This week there are two webinars through Legacy Family Tree Webinars. On Wednesday, June 10th - Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar with Jana Sloan Broglin and on Friday, June 12th -10 Tips for Using Legacy with Specialized Studies with the Legacy Family Tree Panel and Tessa Keough (that would be me!). If you do any work with the education arm of genealogy associations or historical societies, Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar will prove very useful (I certainly plan to attend this one!). And whether you use Legacy (or some other software) only for your own genealogy or you use it for additional projects, the 10 Tips for Using Legacy will provide practical how-tos on using Legacy features. The Legacy Panel should be able to not only answer our questions but also show us a few extra tips. Please post questions you have in the comments section below and I will try to include them for the Legacy Panel (let's get our questions answered before they all head off on their Caribbean cruise!).  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Those RootsTech 2015 Surname Cards, Part 1

the first dozen surnames are done! thanks for your patience

Last weekend I posted that I was working on all those surname cards that those who attended my RootsTech 2015 presentation filled out. It was a simple matter of including their name and email as well as the surname they were interested in on the surname card. Then the fun started as I researched each of the surnames and put together a short report to help them get stared with their one-name study research.  The first dozen reports went out in the email this weekend so if your surname of interest was Allred, Barta, Baumgardner, Bridwell, Brock, Bryan, Burdick, Castle, Chadwick, Clark, Coffield or Cramer - watch your email!

So what did I put together for those attendees who turned in a surname card?
  • I gathered some preliminary information about the classification, origin & meaning of their surname (lots of great websites out there and several were listed on the worksheet I handed out during the presentation - a link to the worksheet was provided in last week's blog post)
  • I checked whether their surname is a registered study with the Guild of One-Name Studies and, if so, I provided the name of the Guild member they can contact
  • I provided some preliminary information about the definition of their surname and the top countries and regions where their surname is found (two great resources are the Dictionary of American Family Names and Public Profiler - websites everyone should check out when researching their surnames)
  • I did a surname frequency analysis using the census collections at FamilySearch.org for both the United States census and the England & Wales census
  • I ran their surname through Surname Atlas to provide a map of their surname in the 1881 UK Census together with a numerical listing of the results (my thanks to Guild member and software author Steven Archer who graciously allows the Guild to provide these search results to individuals at Guild booths and events)

What did I find most interesting with the first dozen surnames?

There were a few surnames that I thought would be more common (or frequent) than they actually were and are (we are working with censuses from 1790-1940 and 2000 for the USA as well as 1841-1911 for England & Wales). Two of the surnames do not appear in the Surname Atlas (meaning there are no instances in the 1881 UK Census - Barta and Baumgardner). Only two of the surnames are already registered one-name studies with the Guild (Bryan and Burdick). One of the surnames is huge - along the lines of the Smith one-name study (Clark). The dozen surnames are varied and have Hungarian, German, Irish and English origins.

USA Results for Allred-Bryan
have you done a frequency analysis for your surname?

England & Wales Results for Allred-Bryan
it is useful to check out census data for country of origin and major migration

USA Results for Burdick-Crews
as you can see some surnames have many instances, others very few

England & Wales Results for Burdick-Crews
check out the potential size of a surname before getting started with your one-name study
how much work is ahead of you and can you share the workload!

The next dozen will be sent out on May 30 and I will have some more insights to share then as well as an example of results from Surname Atlas. This is an interesting project and I hope that the reports will help the attendees get started with their one-name (surname) research and studies. 

Until next time,