Friday, December 30, 2011

Where Did 2011 Go?

Last December I outlined my genealogy goals for 2011. At that time, I admitted that I am great at starting projects but terrible at finishing them. Nothing happened in 2011 to dispute that. 

Things got off to a good start and I was pretty much staying right on schedule through January and mid-February. By the end of March, when I thought about a quarterly update, things had already slowed down enough that I decided to wait for a mid-year update in June. By June, goals were no longer even on my radar. 

The good news is that I still managed to accomplish several things on my list, apparently by accident. (We won’t talk too much about what all I failed to get done.) 

Working on the brick wall that is Theodocia Smith Lanier was at the top of my list. I didn’t make any real progress with her but have chipped enough pieces off of another brick wall to make a reasonable conclusion as to the father of my 2nd great-grandfather, John R. Petty. (Analysis/proof argument written and John R.’s father and siblings added to my database.) 

Traveling for research was high on my list – specifically to the Georgia Archives, the North Carolina Archives and Laurens County, South Carolina. I made it to Laurens County but did not make the other two. Even though I missed two of my three goal locations, I did manage to visit several other places. I researched in Pope County, Illinois, Livingston and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky and Whitfield, Murray and Forsyth County, Georgia. 

Now if I just had all of that research processed. 

I intended to write research plans for six brick wall ancestors and actually completed four so that’s not too bad. 

Blogging more about research challenges and successes was also on my writing list. I did a decent job with that, mostly covering my Petty research. Writing about what I had and where I needed to go next not only helped me sort things out and see what I had but it also attracted several other Petty researchers. 

This is the category where I accomplished the most in 2011. I attended NGS, FGS, Georgia Family History Expo and the KGS Annual Seminar. I started the NGS Home Study Course and completed four of the six lessons on CD 1. The last two lessons are both in progress and should be finished before my year is up in March. 

Attending only four (instead of six) 2nd Saturday Family History Workshops hosted by KGS and KHS was the only slip in my education goals but I think I made up for that by “attending” at least a dozen webinars and some live sessions from Rootstech and SCGS Jamboree

This was (and always will be) my weakest event. I just don’t like the grunt work but did complete one big goal – reorganizing my digital genealogy files and moving them to Dropbox*. That is about all I accomplished in the maintenance category. There are still sources to clean up and stuff to scan. Maybe next year. 

Overall, this wasn’t actually as bad as I expected but it proved what I really already knew - yearly goals just don't work for me. I think it’s that feeling that I have all year to get it done that is my downfall so I’m thinking about a different approach for 2012.

*If you use the Dropbox link to set up an account, you will get a little extra free space and so will I.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Years!

Atelier Tally birthday cake: 2 years old

Time really does fly when you're having fun.

I had no idea what I was actually getting into two years ago when I started this blog but it remains the best genealogy related decision I have made. My genealogy life would definitely be different today if I had not taken that step. 

I wouldn't have nearly as many Facebook friends. It's unlikely I would be using Twitter or Google+. I probably wouldn't have attended two FGS conferences, one NGS conference and two Family History Expos or be planning a trip to Salt Lake City in a few weeks for RootsTech 2012. I wouldn't have so many genealogy friends. 

If I hadn't started a blog, I would still be plugging along with research and enjoying the process but it wouldn't be the same. It would not be nearly as much fun.

Image © ateliertally via Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You Really Should Have a Genealogy Website

If you are doing genealogy research and don't have a website, you do not know what you might be missing. Even after almost two years of blogging, I still get far more inquiries because of my website simply because there are so many more people listed there than I have written about here. 

Today, I received an e-mail from a Neely family researcher. She found my website searching for her great-grandfather, Jefferson Davis Neely, and wrote to let me know that I had an extra "e" in his last name (I had it as Neeley). I have not done any research on Jefferson. I'm not actually related to the Neely family and only had him in my database because his daughter, Alma, married my grandfather's brother, James Dolphin Lanier.

After responding and thanking her for the correction, I heard back from her a little later. By that time, she had found my photo of Roy Neely's headstone. This time she told me that Roy was Alma's brother. She wondered about Roy's relationship to the Lanier family. Well, Kathleen's mother, Hettie Lanier, was James' sister so that means Kathleen married her uncle's brother-in-law. I had no idea that Roy and Alma were siblings and had never even realized that they had the same last name (maybe because I had the extra "e" in Alma's name but probably because I had not paid close enough attention to these people who married into the family).

This Neely researcher also told me that Kathleen was in a Maytag ad in the 1960s. When I started typing a Google search for the ad, I really didn't expect to find it. But I did. She appeared in at least two issues of Life Magazine, probably many more considering the two I found are six months apart. This one from 17 Nov 1961 and another issue from 16 May 1962 are available in Google Books. There are even a couple of the actual magazine pages for sale on ebay for a few bucks. (Yes, I ordered one. How often do you find a relative in Life Magazine, even if it was an ad?)

from ebay

Granted this is not a big brick wall breakthrough (although I've had those thanks to both my website and this blog) but it is still interesting information that I might never have found on my own.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blog Caroling

by footnoteMaven
It almost Christmas so that means it's time for 

My entry is:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by The Temptations

Burl Ives didn't sing it like this.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Rooted Technology - a Meme

With Rootstech 2012 fast approaching, Jill Ball of Geniaus started this meme about technology for genealogy. She invites everyone to join in the fun.

Here are the rules:
  • Technology you already use: bold face type
  • Technology you would like to use or learn more about: italicize (color optional)
  • Technology you don’t use, have no interest in using or no longer use: plain type
  • Explain or give opinions in brackets [ ] at the end of each bullet point.
Here are my answers:
  1. I have a tablet computer such as an iPad that I use for genealogy [An Android tablet that I'm still learning to use to it's fullest genealogy potential.]
  2. I have downloaded one or more apps to a Smart Phone or similar device. [Many, although there are just a few that I use on a regular basis.]
  3. I belong to a genealogy society that uses social media.
  4. I use GEDCOM files and understand the various compatibility issues involved. [I actually don't use them very much because of those compatibility issues.]
  5. I have added metadata to some of my files and digital photos. [Trying to do this as I go now but still have thousands of files that haven't been done.]
  6. I have utilized an API from a genealogy-related application or website.
  7. I have taken a DNA test related to my genealogy research.
  8. I have used the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  9. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly for genealogy.
  10. I use tech tools to help me cite my sources in genealogy research. [Mostly the sourcewriter feature in Legacy Family Tree software.]
  11. I have developed a genealogy-related app for a Smart Phone or similar device.
  12. I use a genealogy database program. [Legacy Family Tree]
  13. I use cloud computer resources to store my genealogy data. [Dropbox, Evernote, Mozy, SmugMug]
  14. I have made one or more contributions to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  15. I have attended a genealogy webinar.
  16. I have organized and administered a DNA testing group related to my genealogy.
  17. I use apps involving GPS and Geo-caching for my genealogy research.
  18. I have a Google+ account and use it regularly for genealogy.
  19. I have created and published a family history e-book.
  20. I have created a wiki related to my genealogy research.
  21. I have conducted a genealogy webinar as a presenter.
  22. I read genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [Of course! Hundreds of them.]
  23. I have one or more genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research.
  24. I have a Twitter account and use it regularly for genealogy.
  25. I have one or more genealogy-related websites which I run and administer. []
  26. I have created a screencast or video related to genealogy and posted it at a video sharing site (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).
  27. I use one or more digital tools to capture and record my family history. [Camera, Voice recording app on smart phone]
I just noticed that this is my 500th post!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Friendship Cemetery

Friendship Cemetery is located in Forsyth County, Georgia near Cumming. It is across the street from Friendship Baptist Church on Friendship Circle off of Hwy 20. The GPS coordinates for the cemetery are 341437.531N - 0841113.774W.

Overview of older section

Mary E. "Mollie" Petty, daughter of John R. Petty and Margaret E. Thomas

Also buried in this cemetery:
Benjamin H. Hawkins (Mollie's husband)
Robert Lee Hawkins (Mollie's infant son)
Velvie Hawkins Bramblett (Mollie's daughter)
John Bramblett (Velvie's husband)

Bramblett and Hawkins Plots

Friday, December 2, 2011

Testing My Android Tablet

I'm still trying to figure out what my Toshiba Thrive Android Tablet (running Honeycomb 3.2.1) can and cannot do. Here are a few things I recently tested.

Dropbox* - Using their Android App, files that were already loaded to Dropbox can be viewed or downloaded and new files can be added from the tablet. Works well.

Blog Talk Radio - I started testing this on some random show one Firday night and continued playing with it during a episode of GeneaBloggers Radio. There is an Android app for Blog Talk Radio, which is good for listening. If you want the chat board, you have to switch to the browser and use the website. From the browser, I could see the chat board and could post to it but it wasn't all smooth sailing. When I started to type a comment, the virtual keyboard covered the window where I needed to type into so I had to adjust that every time I wanted to comment. This might work better with a real keyboard but I don't have one so can't test that. The scroll bar in the chat window doesn't like to go backwards so it was hard to look back at anything I missed. Bottom line - listening to Blog Talk Radio works but the tablet would not be my device of choice if I wanted to participate in the chat.

CoverItLive - This is the live blogging platform used by Miriam for Scanfest and my favorite sports site for live blogging games. I tested it on the sports site and found that it works pretty well. I could see what others were posting and could make comments myself but it did not auto-scroll so I had to do that manually. It turns out that auto-scrolling is a nice feature.

Webinars - GoToWebinar does not work in the browser and I could not find an app. When trying to connect from the e-mail link to the webinar, I received the message "your computer's OS or Web browser are not supported." The recorded webinar's from Legacy Family Tree that are available for a few days after the live presentations will play. The tablet must be in vertical position because in horizontal only the upper part of the slide can be seen and there is no way (that I could find) to reduce the size to get it to show the full frame. I have not tested webinars from any other platform or provider yet.

YouTube - I tried several random videos and they played fine in both small and full screen mode.

There is still more to test so there will be more results later. Let me know if you have something specific you would like to see checked out.

*If you create a Dropbox account using this link you will get a little extra free space and so will I. 

Other posts about the tablet:
Blogging from My Toshiba Thrive
The Paperless Research Trip Was Successful
Why Don't I Love My Tablet

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mama McCauley

Verda Waller Hankins McCauley (my paternal grandmother) was born 127 years ago today. 

abt. 1904

Verda and Will with daughters, Vernon and Gladys
abt. 1908

Verda and Will with John, David and Kathryn

Jimmie, Verda, Will, Kathryn and David
abt. 1937

Will and Verda
abt. 1941