Friday, January 29, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized--Week 4

I am still transcribing documents, as they are NUMEROUS!!!  I would imagine that
my transcribing will be a long-running assignment for me!  LOL!  
BUT.......  I am so grateful to finally be moving forward on these!
Thank you Dear Myrtle!!!

From Dear Myrtle's Blog:

Here are our items on this week's checklist:

This week takes a different tack - it's pay back time. 

Now to branch out a bit, we’re going to do some online indexing and have a little fun.
 1. Volunteer at FamilySearch Indexing.  You’ve probably heard about this massive project. Nearly 6 million records were indexed in 2015. There are currently 592 projects with varying degrees of difficulty. Multiple languages are offered, as wFamilySearch continues collecting records from countries throughout the world. If you are fluent in Spanish, go for indexing one of those record sets.

This is a way for you to pay your dues, genealogically speaking.
It is amazing what we can accomplish together. 

Do not worry. There are two people indexing each page, and an arbitrator that resolves any differences noted by the FamilySearch computers. Each month Cousin Russ and one of DearMYRTLE's very distant cousins records an indexing session. In the embedded video below, names were indexed as they appeared in a variety of obituaries. We all know how valuable obituaries are for providing clues about other family members.

This is a new venture for me!  I went to and researched
Indexing.........I downloaded their indexer.........
and I have been indexing!!!!  WOW!  This is so wonderful!
It is not difficult.....I thought that I would have to
know ....things..... about the computer, and about the documents.....
but truly, the training read-outs and videos are great!

I am so grateful for an opportunity to "GIVE BACK" to the 
Genealogical Community.  I use the FamilySearch  site SO often,
as so many do.  I was able to index some Probate records in
the U.K., and have indexed some Delayed Birth Certificates. This 
is a project that I believe I will continue to give of my time to.
Great idea Myrt!

2. Learn to browse the image collections at .
There's a method to Ol' Myrt's madness. Since the majority of the records at FamilySearch are not yet indexed, researchers must spend most of their time browsing, not searching by name. So do not type in an ancestor's name. Scroll over and down to click the "Browse all published collections" text.

I can relate here...... I spend a lot of time b-r-o-w-s-i-n-g 
the records here, and I am so very grateful for
all the records that FamilySearch shares.  I have 
found Probate records, Wills, Marriages and other
documentation----each deserving of a BIG "Hurrah"
once found!

  3. Create surname binders for yourself (if female) and your mother's maiden name, but leave them at that for the moment. No need to worry about color coding, we are making coffee table books for the non-genealogists in the family.

As previously mentioned, due to space and weight
limitations, my Binders are digital.  I do
have both of these Binders created.  I hope to look into
digital scrapbooking down the road to "dress up" 
my Binders.  I have also made hardcover books of 
some of the family members, making it easy to share with family.....
plus they make nice gifts.

 4. Update your genealogy program to include your siblings with birth and marriage information. Make sure photos and documents are transcribed and cited before attaching to the appropriate individuals as well. 

My brothers are entered into my genealogy programs
with birth, death and marriage info, as well as
medical.  I am still seeking some of their documentation, 
and have added the photos.  I don't add all of the
photos, as there are so many.......sometimes it is difficult to
decide which ones to include.


Usually this time of the year here in this area of Texas
shows us browned dry, brittle grass......
but all of the rain that we had this fall
has given us swollen lakes and beautifully green meadows......
It won't be long and the trees will be budding,
the Redbuds will be glorious!
Spring is just around the corner!

So long from Texas-------

Thursday, January 28, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized! Week 3

Last week, DearMyrtle's family was dealing with the loss of a dear member........ Our days on this earth are finite, that fact is so very easy to forget.......  It would be wonderful to make sure that we take every opportunity to let our family and friends know how much they mean to us and how much they are loved.  Not just verbally, but with our actions.........  Our prayers continue for her sweet family.

This weeks' homework came a bit later on in the week.......which worked out just fine.  

WEEK 3: Jan 17-24:

  1.  Transcribe every document you've collected on the first 4-four generations in your surname/maiden name binder.  We are talking word-for-word, every letter, precicely as written or typed, stamped or printed. Nothing more, nothing less. Abbreviations and missspelled words just as they are.
  2.  Refile each document in the Surname/Maiden Name binder.Ol' Myrt here understands some of you had documents you hadn't finished scanning. With this transcription assignment above, you simply had to get each document scanned for those first four generations. And yes, I know we still haven't dealt with adopted, sibling and females after marriage. We simply must get the system down pat before progressing.

And so, the "system" seems to be:
-Add the person/and/or generation
-Scan the documentation (and photos)
-Transcribe the documentation
-Refile the documentation

  1. I have been transcribing the vital records and documentation that I use in my family tree software in the source forms.  I will use the software Transcript for my transcribing to put into the person folders.  I have used this program for some documents that were difficult to read, not thinking about using it for all the documentation, what a great idea!  This will make sharing information, especially bits and bobs, so much easier..... just copy and paste!
  2. Each document that I have transcribed has been refiled into, or added to, the proper person/family folder.
Note**  There is much to be gone through that are physical records needing to be scanned.  So, as time allows, I will continue my journey of digitization, and will work on the transcription and filing as I go.  

G'night from Texas!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized--Week 2--Homework!

Week 2 (Jan 10-16)  FINALLY: Get Organized

This week's checklist is a bit more involved.....oh, but it feels so good to be moving forward in organization!
  1.  Backup data--essential action for preservation-----records, documents, letters, photos......treasures all!
  2.  Decide upon a Genealogy Management Program
  3.  Starting with myself, enter the personal data into my Genealogy Management Program for 4 generations going backward, beginning with me
  4. Begin a 3-ring Binder for my maiden name--    
           Tabs (marked and put into binder) for each of the 4 generations
           Print out Family Group Sheet for each of the generations and put in proper place in binder
           Scan and file photos and documents relating to each of the 4 generations, put original                             copies into archival safe sheet protectors and put into binder in proper tab
           Create an "Introduction" for "those that follow"---explaining my filing system, both                                physical and digital.....list the Genealogy Programs that I am using, plus any files that                          contain family history, also any databases that I use for the same.
               Explain that all the photos and documents are attached to the Genealogy Program
     5.  Consider leaving a copy of this intro with a trusted relative or atty, that includes the password             to my computer/laptop
     6.  Consider adding a Genealogy Codicil to our Will


e-drive on the computer, and flash drives at the ready.....


Having a workable backup plan for our photos and data is essential. . . . .  I like the 3-2-1 Backup Plan.  This plan suggests that you have 3 copies of your files, photos, etc.;  2 of those sources will be local (on-site) and 1 will be off-site (such as cloud-based).   My photos and documents are stored on an external hard drive that I keep attached to my laptop most of the time, and are also stored on MyCloud, a personal storage cloud that resides in our trailer.  The off-site storage for our files is e-drive, a cloud-based storage company.

 Another aspect of backing up one's information is frequency.  I prefer to follow the pattern of a multitude of genealogists and family historians, and backup at the first of the month.  I have a reminder set on my calendar that syncs with my devices for the 1st of each month---BACKUP! 

Another tool that I use for backing up files, and sharing, are flash drives.......fabulous little gadgets!


I have been using Family Tree Maker for several years, and enjoy it.  I realize that the decision has been made by not to go forward with this software.  I will continue to use the software for the time being.  A few months ago, before the announcement of Family Tree Maker being discontinued, I downloaded the full Legacy Program.  There are several things that I like about Legacy, and I have been using it to "clean up" my family tree.  So, going forward, I will be using both programs, from the ground up with Legacy, and building upon what I have with Family Tree Maker.


I am using the Legacy program to do this...... This will ensure that I have the pertinent information added and that it is current.  Deciding on which photos will be added is difficult, plus an on-going ritual.  There is source documenting that needs to be completed as well for a few items.  I have each of the 4 generations near completion.

The sunset highlighted this tree so beautifully!


One of my goals that I hope to accomplish
with "Get Organized," is to free up some
space, and some weight--paper equals
weight and space in our 5th Wheel!
So, my 3 Ring Binder will be of a digital sort.  

Right now, I have digital surname folders that I use as "binders."  They reside in a folder named FAMILY HISTORY on my external hard drive.  As I do research
on a family member, a folder is created for that person in 
the appropriate surname folder, and all applicable files, 
documents and photos go into their folder.  I also have a 
Vital Records folder in the Family History folder for quick access to birth, marriage, death, deed, divorce, etc records.

I do keep some essential documentation in paper, such as vital records, and some special items (such as military service records) and have safe off-site storage for them.  I need to put these into archival safe sheet protectors, and a new archival safe box.

This week I will be working on my "Introduction" to my filing system.  Each of our adult children will be keepers of this paperwork.  

It has been a beautiful day here in Texas......I hope that each of you had a bit
of sunshine in your day as well!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized, Week 1

Hi There!  My name is Debbie and my Sweetheart of 45 years
is Bob, my husband, my encourager, my soulmate.......
He cheerfully moves me forward in our family history, helping
me with research, be it at the courthouses, libraries,
cemeteries......or at home talking me through a brick wall!
What a Team!!!

We live a life-style that is becoming fairly common place......
We live full time in our 5th Wheel RV.  We sold our
house a few years ago, and have not
regretted it even a little.  When it comes to
doing genealogy, our mobility has amazing perks!
One of the trade-offs is space.....and that
is probably the biggest challenge, when it comes to working on
our genealogy.  We are actively learning to
live a more digital life......and are thankful for "THE Cloud!"

 I am beginning this blog 
predominantly for the 'year of organizing' that I will be 
going through with DearMyrtle  (a name known to most genealogists
and family historians) and followers.  I had been rolling around 
in my mind, the idea of a blog dedicated to our family history for a while now,
 and this Finally Get Organized group was the catalyst for me.

So, thank you for joining me with both ventures......... I am glad 
for the company!

Week 1: 3-9 Jan 2016:  FINALLY Get Organized

This year is my year to complete my scanning of documents, notes and photos! (Well, genealogically speaking!)  I will be working through the year with DearMyrtle and Cousin Russ and a multitude of Genealogist/Family Historians to organize our Genealogy, and the trickle-down effect should run over into all areas of our lives…….. I am excited about the process as well as the end result, looking forward to the direction given, the sharing and camaraderie.  My “One Word” for the year 2016 is JOY, and it is with great JOY that I begin this journey!

Homework Checklist:

  1. Clear off computer desk and make piles for everything:  i.e. To Be Filed; Letters/Emails to Write; Photos to Be Put Aside; Research to Do; Books
  2. Check office supplies, replace needed items
  3. Set up computer desk and area to how I really would like it to be
  4. Create a Red Clipboard for Computer Issues/Help
  5. Create a Green Clipboard for Genealogy Challenges

My Actions:

My Desk and Bookstand......

  1. Computer Desk and Area:  My “desk” is a large sized standing TV tray……..  It is used mainly for my laptop (which only gets put away when we are on the road), but must be able to be used for other things as well.  I have a book stand (the stand used to be my paternal grandmother's, given to my father by his mother, and then to me) by my chair that houses my small spiral notebooks, pens and pencils, etc.  (This needs to be re-worked to be more useful to me)  I also have a surface near me that holds my Ott lite, and overflow items.  I like to have various post it notes available for quick, short notes, plus pens. My post it notes were always escaping…….. I found a lidded container that works perfectly for the notes and an open container for my micron pens that I use when journaling (also done at this “desk”). My everyday pens, markers and magnifying glass are in a jar that rests on my small  book stand. Piles……. mine are held in containers that can be moved about, consisting predominantly of “to be filed” and “research to do” as well as my "digital" piles.  Photos are already put aside in archival boxes, letters and emails are kept up with (generally speaking), physical books are kept at a minimum----my books are usually e-books on my Kindle.
  2. I replaced the few office items that I needed----hurrah for Amazon!
  3. Setting up my desk and area is a frequent and ever evolving action, I enjoy trying new arrangements…….as always, am in the quest for a way to make this area more efficient and the workflow to be easier.
  4. Red Computer Issues Clipboard: I created this as a Notebook in Evernote*
  5. Green Genealogy Challenges Clipboard: I also created this as a Notebook in Evernote*
  6. I LOVE the Quick-Store idea and am looking for a file box that will work easily in my little area…...YAY
*I am also trying out OneNote and have the same clipboards there, will see which works best for me for this use.

Some of the challenges that I am facing:

  1. I have notes in many notebooks that need to be found and gone through……. I am still working on this process
  2. The small area to work with when doing genealogy is a challenge to me…… I have found that in the past 3 years of traveling, I have become more organized….. yet there is much to be done to improve my workflow
  3. My “to scan” pile is rather large…...LOL…….
  4. Self discipline to upload, date and transcribe items when they are fresh in my mind---this is a BIGGIE for me.

I believe that our life-style of living full-time in our RV works in my favor helping me become a more focused and efficient genealogist… creates a discipline for me, one that I need.  I am anticipating a fabulous year working with the DearMyrtle community to FINALLY Get Organized!

Whew!!!  Week 2 begins today..... so, I am off to gather my checklist and get to work!

Till next time!

This is our Grizz, our faithful companion 
(or should I say "Fur-baby")
 of 12 years so far......