Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reviewing February Goals

Hard to believe that another month is almost over and it's time review goals again. And speaking of goals. If you haven't already done so, how about joining the effort to index the 1940 U.S. censusRegister now and be ready to go to work on April 2nd. The sooner it's indexed, the sooner we will all be finding the records we want. 

Now, here's a look at what I did in February.

Process everything from my Family History Library research.
    • Information added to my database, to do items updated (some closed, some revised), new to do items added, digital copies filed. 
Attend RootsTech! 
    • Done!
Attend 2nd Saturday Family History Workshop sponsored by Kentucky Genealogical Society and Kentucky Historical Society.
    • Something had to get missed. It's an 80 mile drive for me to Frankfort so when there was snow on the ground that morning and more predicted (which, of course, didn't actually show up), I decided to stay off the road. I should have gone.
Complete and submit lesson 4 of NGS Home Study Course (rolled over from last month).
    • Submitted.
Write 8 blog posts.
    • This is post #10.
March goals coming up on Monday.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ruby's Birthday

Ruby Marie Hopkins was born 88 years ago today.

Ruby was the daughter of Elmer Dennis Hopkins and Emma Ewers Taylor.
There aren't many pictures of her because she only lived for 20 months. 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anticipation: Waiting for the 1940 U.S. Census The upcoming release of the 1940 U.S Census is the talk of the genealogy community. Everyone is so excited and anxious for April 2nd to get here. I'm excited buy my excitement is a bit reserved. Why? Because, until the index is available, it is unlikely I'll be finding any of my "most wanted" people. After all, they are most wanted because I don't know exactly where they were in 1940.

I know where my four grandparents (and along with them my parents) were in 1940. I know where my four living great-grandparents were. Of course, I want copies of their census records but I'm not expecting to find much there that I don't already know. I want the census records that can fill in some blanks. Here's a few of my most wanted.

Where was my grandmother's brother, Elvie Hankins? After growing up in Hopkins County, Kentucky, Elvie moved around a lot. He was in Reno County, Kansas in 1910. I still haven't found him in 1920 but in 1922 he was living in Nampa, Canyon County, Idaho. By 1930, he was living in Park County, Montana. He was in Spokane, Washington when his mother died in 1944 so maybe he was already there in 1940. Maybe, he was somewhere else. Elvie was married several times. No one in my family seemed to know exactly how many times but I've identified four wives. Is there a fifth one waiting to be found in the 1940 census?

Where was my grandfather's brother, Joseph Frederick Lanier? Fred was in Floyd County, Georgia in 1920 and Marshall County, Alabama in 1930. He eventually lived in South Carolina; at least that's where he died in 1960. He could have been anywhere in 1940.

Where was my grandfather's brother, James Dolphin Lanier? I haven't located James in a single census after 1900 when he was just a kid living with his parents. I know he survived long after that. He married and had children. I've corresponded with one of his grandchildren. He died in 1959 in Mobile, Alabama but why can't I find him in 1910, 1920 or 1930? If he managed to evade all of those censuses, will he show up in 1940?

Where was my grandfather's sister, Lillie Vashti Lanier? I haven't found her in a census after 1910. She was living with her 1st husband, Jesse Walls, in Atlanta at that time. I know from her mother's obituary that she was married to someone named Roberts and living in Atlanta in 1926. Some cousins who knew her say she lived in New Orleans at some point. Part of my problem in locating Lillie in 1920 and 1930 is not knowing what her name was at the time. I know of three husbands, there could have been more. But I know she married James Henry Dixon in 1935 and they were together until he died in 1951 so she should be find-able in 1940.

Where was my grandfather's sister, Louisiana Lanier? (There seems to be a theme developing here. Those Lanier siblings aren't easy.) I have no clue who she married or, really, if she married. She was last seen in the 1900 census with her parents but a 2nd cousin who was close to Aunt Lillie remembers Louisiana was "short and plump with white hair" and called Aunt Lou and Aunt Lula. Maybe she lived somewhere fairly close to Aunt Lillie (back to needing to find Aunt Lillie).

See? I really, really need that index. So, instead of spending hours browsing through those 1940 images, devote some of those hours to indexing. I would seriously appreciate it and, honestly, so would everyone else.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Will of William Hankins

The will of William Hankins was proven in Frederick County, Virginia on 4 Jun 1782.

In the name of God Amen I William Hankins of the County of Fredrick and Colony of Virginia former being very Sick and Week in body but of Perfect mind and Memory thanks be given unto God Calling to mind the Mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die I do make and Ordain this my Last Will and Testement That is to say Principally and first of all I Give and Recommend my soul to the hand of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a Desent Christian manner at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurection I Shall receive the same again by the Mighty Power of God and as ??????? such Worldly estate Wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give dismiss and dispose of the Same in the following manner First I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Jane Hankins two cows and her thirds of all the Movable Estate her Life time and my Land I leave to my three Youngest sones Abel Asa Amases Hankins when they Come of age to be Sold and Equally divided amongst them unless Either of them Shall Chose to keep it and pay the others
I also Give and bequeath to my Son John Hankins one horse or Mare and two yearling calvs one ew and lamb and one weather [wether*] I also Give and bequeath to my Son Richard Hankins one horse or Mare two yearling calvs one ew and lamb and one weather [wether] I also Give and bequeath to my Son Abel Hankins one ewe and lamb and one third of my Land unless it is Sold and the money divided I also Give and bequeath to my son Asa Hankins one ew and lamb and an Equal Portion of the Land or Money I also Give and bequeath to my Son Moses Hankins one ew and lamb and and his Sheer of the Land or money I also Give and bequeath to Eldest Son William Hankins the some of one Shilling Sterling I also now leave the rest of my Estate to the Discretion of my Executors to pay all my debts and funarel Charges I also aknowledg this to be My Last Will and Testament as witness thereof I have Set my hand and Seal this Twenty fifth day of Frebruary 1782

William Hankins [signed by his mark]

I also appoint my beloved friends Peter Catlett and John Sherman Woodcock to be my Executors
Witnesses present
John Mead
Abraham Clevinger [signed by his mark]
John Sharp [signed by his mark]

*A few days ago when I was transcribing this will, I became stuck on an item that William was leaving to two of his sons. Both John and Richard were to receive one horse or mare, two yearling calves, one ewe, one lamb and one "weather." A weather? That made no sense to me. I tried searching but all I got was weather reports so I posted a clip of the will on Google+ and asked for help. It wasn't long before Carole Riley of Genealogy in New South Wales responded with the answer I needed. A "wether" is a castrated ram. Thanks again, Carole.  

An easier to read PDF copy of the will is here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

62 Years Ago Today

David Hankins McCauley and Uta Faye Hopkins
18 Feb 1950
Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take Notes and Find Them Later

Do you take notes on a legal pad at workshops and conferences and a variety of other places then come home, throw them and the accompanying handout in a pile in the office never to be seen again? (I can't be the only one.) Sometimes, I file them in a notebook but that doesn't make them much easier to find later. At one point, I started taking notes on the handout so that at least they would be together when they were lost forever.

I think I've found the solution to my problem - Antipaper Notes in combination with Evernote

In my effort to find more uses for my Android tablet, I found a handwriting app that turns my tablet into a legal pad. Granted, I could type notes during presentations but I can still write faster than I can type on a small virtual keyboard so I put it to the test at RootsTech. I'm happy with the results but it does take a few tries to get the right feel for it.

Here are a few tips:
  • You can write with your finger but it works much better with a stylus. 
  • Do not rest your wrist on the screen because it may close your notebook or make unwanted marks on the page.
  • Use the zoom function for writing (see photo). It allows you to write bigger without taking up a full line with just two or three words.
  • Lock your screen in portrait mode. The page doesn't rotate but the zoom splits down the middle of the page in landscape mode. 
  • You can send each page of Antipaper Notes as a jpg or png file to Evernote, Dropbox, email and a number of other apps on your device that work with sharing a file.
  • To share your note with another program, select menu > email page. Even though it says email, it will display the list of apps you can use.
  • A stylus does NOT like a squeaky clean screen.

My handwritten RootsTech session notes along with the related handout are now in Evernote. Next time I want to refer to them, I'll be able to find them in a few seconds from any device I own or any random computer. 

I'm starting to like my tablet much better. We got along pretty well for a week in Salt Lake City. Apparently, the key to liking it is to use it more. 

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Antipaper Notes. All opinions are my own based on my use of the app. There is a different version of this app called "Antipaper Notes HD" but according to the Android Market it is no longer updated and "Antipaper Notes" should be used instead. Antipaper Notes is for Android but there are handwriting apps available for iPad - I just don't know anything about them.

The apps for both Antipaper Notes and Evernote are free. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Two Degrees of Separation

Over at Genea-Musings, Randy Seaver's inspiration for this week's fun came from the recent news that President John Tyler, who was born 222 years ago, has two living grandchildren.

This week's mission:
1) Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born? 

2) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.

Here's what I found.
  • I knew my great-grandmother, Emma Jane Owens Taylor (1882-1968). She knew her father, Madison Crawford Owens, who was born in 1836. I discovered through this exercise that she probably never knew any of her grandparents. Her paternal grandfather died after 1880 but I don't have an exact date so can't say with any certainty that he lived until she was born in 1882. 
  • I knew my great-grandmother, Lucinda Howard Hopkins (1867-1957). She knew her father, John Covey Howard, who was born in 1806. She also surely knew her maternal grandparents, Littleton Morris and Martha Mark, who were both born about 1802 making them just a few years older than her father. Littleton and Martha lived in Harlan County, Kentucky where Lucinda was born and grew up. I don't have an exact date of death for either of them but from census records I know they were both alive in 1870 (when Lucinda was three years old) and Littleon was still living in 1880. 
  • I knew my great-grandfather, John Cook Taylor (1863-1953). Unlike my two great-grandmothers mentioned above, I don't remember him but we lived in the same town from the time I was six months old until he died just before I turned two. Anyway, John surely knew his paternal grandfather, William Taylor, who was born between 1798-1805 (he wasn't very consistent with his age so hard to pin it down any closer). They both lived in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, in the same area of the county. John was a teenager or young adult by the time William died between 1880-1886. 
  • I knew my paternal grandfather, John William McCauley (1875-1959). All four of his grandparents lived in the same area where he grew up along the Alabama/Georgia line in Randolph County, Alabama and Heard County, Georgia so he surely knew them all. The oldest was William Washington Lanier, born in 1813. It's also very likely, that he met one of his great-grandparents. His great-grandmother, Anna Finney Gamble, was born about 1799 and lived just a few miles from Will's parents around the time he was born. Will was almost two years old when she died. 
So. in two steps, I can connect to someone born in 1799, maybe even 1798 (if William Taylor was born that early).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Look Back at RootsTech 2012

Sitting at home last year watching live streaming from RootsTech2011 and following along with social media, I was jealous of everyone there. It looked like the most exciting genealogy event ever and the reviews all seemed to be raves. I wasn't going to miss out again so I registered for RootsTech2012 last September and made travel plans to included three extra days for the Family History Library. 

It was probably impossible for RootsTech to live up to my expectations and it didn't quite make it. 

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy RootsTech, I had a great time. I just can’t say that I learned very much that will actually help me with my genealogy research today or tomorrow. I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything because I did. It just wasn’t at that level of head spinning information overload I get from FGS and NGS conferences. I expected to learn about new software, apps and gadgets that would make my genealogy life easier and more productive. I actually learned that I am a more advanced tech user than I ever thought.

Was it too “techie” or perhaps not enough tech? That is one of the questions Thomas MacEntee asked in GeneaBlogger's Open Thread Thursday post "RootsTech 2012 Review: My Perspective" earlier today. 

From my perspective, RootsTech was not techie enough. It seemed to be geared more toward users just beginning to embrace technology rather than the large numbers of us who already use every technology we can find and adapt for genealogy. I heard several explanations of “the cloud.” I’m all for including those just learning to make technology work for their genealogy pursuits but were there actually people attending a tech conference who were not familiar with that concept? 

If that is really the case, maybe a beginner session for the first time slot each year should be a very basic overview of technology buzzwords and concepts rather than having so many speakers repeatedly explaining the same basic processes. Or have a "things you should know before attending RootsTech" cheat sheet available in advance to bring everyone up to speed on the very basics of the topics to be presented.

A quick count shows 30 beginner level, 34 intermediate level and four advanced level user sessions. There were also 18 sessions billed as "all levels." Most of the intermediate sessions I attended seemed pretty basic. There was obviously a need for more advanced user sessions. Some topics should have a separate session for at least two, if not all three, levels of users.   

Several very popular sessions quickly became overcrowded leaving people sitting on the floor, standing in the back or finding a different session. An online process to let registrants select the sessions they plan to attend in advance (like other conferences use) would allow organizers to better plan room sizes or identify the need for multiple presentations of the most wanted sessions.    

One of the best things about any genealogy conference is the opportunity to meet and socialize with other genealogists. With 4,300 attendees (and nearly 100 bloggers), RootsTech definitely delivered on that front. 

Two of RootsTech’s biggest strengths are promoting the spirit of collaboration between vendors and introducing innovative ideas that will make the future of genealogy brighter. Those things alone make it a worthwhile conference. If you have an opportunity to go, you should take it. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Researched at the Family History Library!

The chance to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City was one of the reasons I wanted to attend RootsTech 2012. I arrived in SLC on Sunday to have three days at the library before RootsTech kicked off on Thursday. I also found time to go back for a few hours on Saturday. Of course, that wasn't nearly enough time. I'll definitely be back.

Entrance to the Family History Library

You really can't tell how long the book and 
microfilm aisles are from these photos.

3rd Floor U.S. and Canada Books

That's Kim von Aspern of Le Maison Duchamp on the far left in the beige sweater.
Kim took time Monday morning to show me and another newbie around FHL.
Thanks Kim.

2nd Floor U.S. and Canada Microfilm with lots of microfilm readers

Microfilm printers - print to paper or flash drive

I have no idea at this point exactly what I accomplished at FHL but I marked off most of the books and quite a few rolls of microfilm on my list. I'll start digging into that soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Birthdays - Aunt Katie and Uncle John

Kathryn McCauley Tomes, David McCauley, Lois McCauley Dockins & John McCauley

Kathryn Louise McCauley was born 88 years ago today.
John William McCauley, Jr. was born 91 years ago tomorrow.