Friday, December 30, 2011

Sharing means give and take

This week I was contacted by a new cousin on one of my branches (Thielke) that I have been struggling with. This will be my first contact for this branch of the family and I am very, very excited. I am a firm believer that we as family historians need to share our family research with as many family members as we can.

However, sharing means give and take. I don’t like it when someone contacts me and takes my information and never shares their information. Thus I have been a little more cautious when sharing my family data. First, I must know where you exactly fit into my family tree. This way, even if I don’t get information back, I know where you fit, and can prove you are indeed a distant family member. Second, I keep my family tree’s private, where others can match my people in my tree, but I don’t share my entire tree anymore with just anyone. I have had too many people take my information and turn around and present it as their own information. Sometimes I get the last laugh, when I discover problems with my data and later correct it. Unfortunately, this means the bad information is out there for the world to see. When I discover major corrections to my data, I always share it with those who have previously contacted me or those I am working with.
This brings up another subject, what it means to work with others on your family research. To me it means, we both work on the family line and we touch base with new finds and share it with each other. Or we just touch base and see if any new information has been found. Other times it can mean, we pick branches we will be working on and set a date that we will share the data. Usually, my sharing falls under the first case, because let’s be honest, we don’t have the time we want to research on our families.

I did spend a year working with my aunt on her maiden name and helped her publish a family history. That was a wonderful year, working directly with another researcher. We would go to a library and as a team work together, gathering information. The next day, we would sort through our information and compile and add it to our database. I learned a lot that year. However, back then I wasn’t too concern with documenting where I found that information. That would be my biggest regret on that joint effort. But I would not trade the experience I learned that year, toning my research was wonderful.

So the moral of this story, share your family history with others so that they can find you and you can expand your research. However, be cautious on who you share information with. Make the requestor give you enough information that you can confirm they are a member of your family. If they don’t want to share sensitive information on living family members, then don’t share your information on your living family members with them. In the end, you might find some wonderful distant cousins who share your passion on family history. I feel a special relationship with all my distant cousins who share my passion.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I received an email that now offers mobile access to your database. Take your Family Tree on the go, good for iPhone, iPad and even Android. Anyone can download the apps for free.

I only have the Free Basic subscription to MyHeritage which only allows 250MB of storage and up to 250 people. My database does have more than this, so I have only uploaded my direct ancestors to the site. It also allows you to upload pictures. This allows other's to match to my ancestors and the theory is that we can share information. You can specify who and what people can see of your tree.

I am able to view the "Smart Matches" to my tree. I can view their tree and see their information as long as the tree isn't private. However, unless you have a premium subscribtion, you won't beable to join their site or contact the person. But, you can use their tree as clues to names of people you might not have on your site. You might beable to do a people search and find their contact information via the "white pages" lookups or perhaps they submitted information on other sites like that you can contact them thru that site.

Being able to take your tree with you, means you can (as in my case) view all my direct lineage. I can show family as I am visiting them, the direct lineage and perhaps get more information from them. Sometimes it is nice to show them a visual of what I have found or show how far back I have research certain branches. I'm always trying to get more family interested in my research efforts so that they share information about their branch of the family with me.

I like because it does offer you a way to print out charts and a new feature is a book feature. I have used the Fan charts, because I like the fact I can print it out on about 12 pages versus my genealogy software package which wants like 50 or more pages. I tape the pages together and can display it on my wall or download the pdf and view later. There are a few customization options to make it worth while.  I usually only upload my tree to the site if I have made changes/updates/additions to my direct line of ancestors, since this is all that I upload.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CSI has Genealogy Plot

Last night while watching one of my favorite shows “CSI” the original that takes place in Las Vegas, featured genealogy. Now I wasn’t too happy that a genealogist was killed and they were figuring out why he was killed. Also, I wasn’t too happy when he was killed for opening up some skeletons in closets.

However, this brings up a good point, what do you do with information you find that is a skeleton in a closet.  My theory, which is only my opinion, is to leave the door to the closet shut, especially if it involves living people.

You might ask, what was this terrible skeleton? Well, let’s remember this was TV and the story line would be rare, at least I hope no one has come across such a story line. A young woman wanted to find her grandfather, since this would be the only male that would be able to walk her down the aisle for her wedding. The Grandfather and Grandmother divorced many years prior and no one has heard from the Grandfather. The young lady had one male uncle who was in prison for life for the three strikes you are out rule. However, it was discovered that perhaps the grandmother was pregnant at the time of the divorce and left the male baby at an orphanage. The genealogist tracked down the orphan who then became curious of his ancestry. He followed the genealogist back to his mother and when the orphan contacted the mother, she wanted nothing to do with him because “He was the spawn of Satan” as the mother stated. Turns out the mother molested her 13 year old son who is the one currently in prison and became pregnant. Might be why the grandparents divorced in the first place. Well the orphan killed the genealogist, you know “killed the messenger”, for opening up the closet and letting the skeleton to fall out. So moral of the story, leave those damn closet doors shut and you might want to nail them shut.

There were a few other things in the story I didn’t like, for example CSI tracked down the dead genealogist partner who was at a cemetery teaching a group of people how to rub gravestones. OUCH! I thought this was a no, no because it can damage stones. One of the “students” asked about rubbings and she stated that is why she uses rice paper and rubs lightly. In my opinion, this was just a stupid scene to show.

Second, when this same genealogist was helping one of the CSI people to track down the young lady’s family, she asked “what information did they already know. “ She then recorded this information onto a Descendant tree. When was the last time someone actually filled out a Descendant tree? Well I am sure it was because people would feel comfortable seeing this form. Personally, I would have used a family group sheet.

The plus side of things, it talked about genealogy and one of the CSI people became interested in genealogy. I hoping someone in the audience has become interested in genealogy because of this show. This would be a win, win situation for our hobby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I have been using for getting files from my computer to my phone. But after coming back from a Genealogy Seminar, I was shown how he used it to share his genealogy files between his Desktop and laptop. The presenter was using Legacy and I used FTM 2012 with Tree Sync. I know that with TreeSync you can only have it sync to one computer, but if I used Dropbox would it remember that I have it Sync on one computer.

So my experiment went like this. I took one of my smaller files (my half-sibling tree) and move it to the Dropbox folder that was created on my desktop when I downloaded the Dropbox software. Oh Dropbox gives you 2GB free. There are ways to earn more free space up to 8GB free. Then I sync to, please note my file is private but will be listed in the index so people can match to my tree. I closed down FTM 2012. I went to my laptop and downloaded Dropbox and told it I already had an account which it found and then moved all the files to my dropbox folder on my laptop. I opened up FTM2012 and it told me this file was not sync, which I already knew, because I sync via my desktop. I made changes/corrections to my place names (about 400 place names), something I had not done yet when I upgraded to FTM 2012. I also added a task on the to-do-list. I closed down FTM 2012. The next day I opened up FTM 2012 and the first thing it did was sync my tree to So it worked.

What does this mean? If you want to work on selected desktop files on your laptop you can. You can “TreeSync” even if you don’t have FTM 2012 and  But if you want to use FTM 2012 Tree Sync on more than one computer, this is a workaround. No longer will you have to copy to a flash drive and then copy it to your laptop. Then you won’t have to remember to copy it back to the flash drive and re-install it on your desktop before doing any more changes. Your files will be the same automatically for you.

If you don’t have a desktop and laptop, use Dropbox as a backup drive. It will always have the most current backup of your genealogy files. If you want to share that file with someone else, you can open up the folder it is stored in and share it with as few or as many people you want. You can have multiple people working on the same genealogy database (as long as they have the same program) and make changes. Or perhaps you just want to share the file and it’s too big to send via email.

Try today and experiment with it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Well it is Monday and my week is starting as busy as ever. My things to do and I am not sure genealogy will be on the list. I already made a visit to the DMV to register my vehicle, but I need to go back tomorrow to get my husband's name on the title. I ran to the drug store to get medicine because it seems that Hubby, youngest daughter and now me are getting the creepy crude that is running around. Your throat tickles and you get this little cough that gets worst. Your voice is horse. I am only in the early stages so hopefully I can fend it off. Then I had to make vet appointments for two of my cats, actually one new kitten and the other the cat.

Once I get on the computer, especially on Monday's I need to go through all my emails and delete those I don't need, flag those I want to reference later and reply to some. I subscribe to some points earning sites that I earn points for each email I read. I turn those points into gift cards. This year I was able to redeem two $50.00 gift cards to Game Stop, which means more money I can spend on my genealogy. But going through those emails take time. I normally don't get on my computer on Friday through Sunday and thus I have three days worth each Monday to get rid of. Monday's take alot longer to get through them. Normally it is less than an hour.

But I had better get back through my emails...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

This is my first post for my first Blog. I guess we all have to start somewhere and this is my start. This blog will be my way to record my own research efforts. I am hoping to start recaping my research efforts so that I will be able to remember where I left off and where I need to begin. We would all like to beable to research everyday, however life gets in the way. I'm hoping this blog will keep me focus on the task at hand and when I find an interesting site, that I record it so that I can find it again. Plus during my research efforts if I find out about new technology that will aid my genealogy efforts that I will remember to record how I used it. As the title states, this is just "My Simple Genealogy Research Blog". I hope other's will enjoy it and that I develop a habit to start using it.