Monday, February 29, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized! Week 7


I am looking forward to this lesson on citations.....they can be,
well, intimidating.
Reworking the citations that I have attached to the first 
four generations on my Maiden Name tree should help me .....
using repetition and with great direction.....!

  1. Rework the citations for documents and photos you've attached to the first four generations on your surname/maiden name individuals.  When we copy and paste the so-called "source info" from various websites, we find format inconsistencies. Most online citations don't come close to the second element of the GPS Genealogical Proof Statement which reads as follows from the Board for Certification of Genealogists website:

Complete, accurate citations to the source or sources of each information item

For more info see:

  • Demonstrates the extent of the search and the quality of the sources
  • Allows others to replicate the steps taken to reach the conclusion. (Inability to replicate the research casts doubt on the conclusion.)

I have been reworking the citations for my 4 
maiden name citations.  I use FTM, and it has a place in the 
citation pop up for notes, so I have been using that as well.
The citations are not intuitive to me as of yet,
but I know that will come with continued focus and practice.  
I should have these completed soon.

  2. Refer to Citations available online at Elizabeth Shown Mills Here you may join the site in order to search for topics and post comments in the EE Forum. Ol' Myrt here spends time here searching for sample citations that meet my goal to get citations in standard format.

Be sure to see See ESM's "Sample QuickCheck Models" located here:

This is such a wonderful website!  I have gone to it 
in the past to seek answers to questions that I had, but I had not 
joined the site.  I have now joined the site (-smile-), and
am certain that I will frequent it much more often than I had.
I was able to spend a bit of time in each of the areas of 
the website.  I really enjoyed the blog, and the
style with which Elizabeth Shown Mills chose to write it.

  3. Read ESM's Quick Lesson 22: What Citation Template Do I Use? located here:

Excellent quicklesson!  I read it
a few times.....  and will need to refer to it many times
again I am sure!  
FACTS are not necessarily true facts, 
but they ARE assertions.  Looking at the 'kind of' and 'quality of' the source
is critical knowledge before we can believe this FACT.

Once again we see the need to "Question everything"!  

   4. Download a copy of DearMYRTLE's What Does SHE Say? Study Groupcitation samples based on Chapter 2 Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition. Last fall, we challenged panel participants to create citations based on their own research findings. You'll find the Google Sheet here. Note there are limitations using Google Sheets, such as the inability to italicize only part of a cell's content, but the pink column titled "Notes" explains what should be done to make the citation more accurate.

By downloading this file, you can use MS Excel and add to the list once you start crafting citations for documents and photos you've collected during your research.

A wonderfully USEFUL addition to my genealogy references......This will live in
Evernote for my reference and additions.....  Thank you for sharing Mryt!

  4. Explore citation templates in your genealogy software of choice. Here's a screen shot from RootsMagic 7 where I'm planning to create a citation for the 1940 US federal population schedule from digital images online at First I selected a new source, then "filled in the blanks. The red arrows below show where my typing "1940 US Census" end up when the software displays or prints out the citation in footnote, short footnote or bibliography format.

Since the census image "person of interest" is my father, Glen S. Player, I typed it in the field I've now highlighted with a green bordered box. See where it appears in Footnote and Short Footnote side of the dialog box. I've placed a blue oval where I need to type the civil division, enumeration district, page id, household id. What is there in grey text is merely a sample, and will be replaced by my typing.

I have been working with the citation templates in my FTM and in the
Legacy program.  I plan on continuing my use of my FTM, so I am focusing on that
program.  I had added source citations of my own before, but learning to rework
the citations has been very interesting.  It is something that I 
had wondered about in the past, but had never pursued. 
Having this hands-on work and the organization that results has been very helpful to me. 
 Numerous items that I have from the past
have incomplete citations......some I will be able to bring back to life, but it is so 
sad for the ones that I have only a bit or two about.

 EXTRA Credit - Watch sessions 3 and 4 of the What Does SHE Say? Study Group where the panel participants discuss Elizabeth Shown Mills citation formats.

I am hoping that we will have unlimited internet soon, 
and then I will have a "What Does SHE Say?"-athon!  I am 
looking forward to hearing the discussions and anticipate learning

As I am applying the organizational tips and tools to my work,
I am seeing each person's information begin to evolve into a more cohesive
and organized whole, in the software program as well as the
digital "scrapbooks."  Nice!

G'night from Texas~~~

Monday, February 22, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized! : Week 6

I am so thankful that I am working on this Challenge with DearMyrtle and 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 7th-13th Feb 2016

This week's checklist invites us to analyze the sources of information in documents we've collected about the first four generations of our surname progenitors, meaning you, your father, your father's father, your father's grandfather.  Part of this analysis is intertwined in our citations (next week's topic.) We're going back over the documents we've transcribed (word for word) to analyze the information items contained therein.

**This week I am to continue working with the
 first 4 generations 
of MY maiden name.**

Organized genealogists take the time to review what they've collected about each generation of ancestors to determine if direct sources of primary information have been overlooked.

**This is all too easy to do, especially when 
one is finding several new documents, new information, 
etc.  This is a wonderful opportunity to go over 
what I have, review each item thoroughly 
to draw out each and every fact.  
It will take me some time, even for the 
limited number of ancestors.**

Have we become internet-lazy? Have we become quick-click genealogists, all too eager to attach a document to an ancestors because there is:
  • a name match
  • a locality match
  • both have a wife named Elizabeth
  • looks like about the right time period
  • it's in a published genealogy book at our public library
  • an indexed entry listing the ancestor by name
  • the genealogy website suggests this is a match
Any one of these reason may have caused you to add a person or family all too hastily to your genealogy paper files and computer database. You may have encountered some challenges, but gave up and told yourself to "Just Do It!"

Genealogists jump to conclusions when they don't undertake reasonably exhaustive research.
**So very true...I have been 
guilty of this....not taking the 
needed time for appropriate research,
though often the intent was there,
but I was not organized in my research
and data-building**

 1. Print out and study the synopsis of the GPS Genealogical Proof Standard  published by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You may not aspire to take clients or become certified, but we all want to ensure we're climbing the right family trees. Here's the link:

Element of the GPS
Contribution to Credibility
1. Reasonably exhaustive research

  • Assumes examination of a wide range of high quality sources
  • Minimizes the probability that undiscovered evidence will overturn a too-hasty conclusion

Sadly far too many family historians get to the sharing stage before truly organizing their findings. DearMYRTLE's FINALLY Get Organized! Checklists aim to remedy that situation by having participants deal with evidence, sources, citation, analysis, and correlation much earlier in the organized research process.

**I have the synopsis as well as the book that 
they put out a few years ago detailing the 
five elements.  I wish that I had had this information
before I began putting my tree to paper....and to computer.
There is still so much that I need to re-do, properly.
B.U.T..... I am thankful for all that I have learned 
(and continue to learn) so that I continue to 
move forward with much better habits and processes.**

 2. Read the following blog posts, and view the embedded videos:

Elizabeth Shown Mills (ESM) is arguably the expert on citation samples, but a concise discussion to guide the development of our analysis skills are found in chapter 1 of her book:
 Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015). [Book available from the publisher at and in digital format from the author's website]
From ESM we learn that no source provides definitive proof. Now look at your own kinship determinations to see where you can find direct sources of information, as opposed to major, principle or key sources.

Wouldn't you say the point of view or motivation of the source of the information either adds to or detracts from the credibility of the information that source provided about your ancestors?

**We have not been in an area where I had unlimited 
data resources, so I have not yet had the 
opportunity to view the embedded videos, I look
forward to seeing those.  I did purchase the ebook of EE, and
have read the first 2 chapters and am well into the
I do agree about the motivation of the source,
it only makes sense.  Human error, whether intentional
or not is a possibility at every turn for us.
In looking at the 4 generations in my Maiden Name
tree, the bulk of the direct sources of information
come from birth, marriage and death records.  There are
also some first-hand knowledge "records."**

  2. Make research notes on your to-do list where you now realize your evidence is weak.
Remember, we are just looking at those first four generations on your surname. The reasoning here is we are cutting the project down to size so we may concentrate on learning and applying correct principles. We are looking for things like:
  • Find marriage date and place, more reliable than "circa" or "of Clinton County, Missouri."
  • Did my ancestor truly have no siblings?
  • Developing the practice of checking back with genealogy websites for specific record groups before contacting the local courthouse or archive that may retain the record group in textual format.
Organized genealogists collect information on the brothers and sisters of their known ancestors, for that is often where brick wall break-throughs come into play.

**I have begun new research pages for several family
members, listing the items missing from the 
B-M-D list, and notes to search in areas that I might not 
have looked recently for updates.  Also to search out
newspapers online.  Two sets of great grandparents 
immigrated from Germany and I am a complete newbie in
looking at German records.  One set of great grands 
immigrated from Sweden, and that I have just a bit of
experience with (not much....yet!) so those records
are not as intimidating to me.
I am also recalling a statement that Crista Cowan made
in one of her you tube tutorials, "Question everything!"

I am a bit late in posting this blog,
but have just received both week 7 AND week 8
from DearMyrtle.  So......onward....
tip-toeing through those generations!

Have a lovely week!

Friday, February 5, 2016

FINALLY! Get Organized--Week 5

 1. Commence working on your mother's maiden name binder as follows:
Label oversize tabbed 3-ring dividers as follows (without the text in parenthesis): 
For you male genealogists:  
  • 1st generation (youngest, where your mother is a little girl in the family with her parents)
  • 2nd generation (where your mother's father is a little boy)
  • 3rd generation (where your mother's grandfather in a little boy)
  • 4th generation (where your mother's great-grandfather is a little boy)
You want to think of your mother as the youngest direct line ancestor with that surname/maiden name.

For you female genealogists:
Dealing with the maiden name binder, your task is slightly different since you are the youngest direct line ancestor with that surname/maiden name, so:
  • 1st generation (youngest, where you are listed as a child with your parents)
  • 2nd generation (where your mother is a little girl in the family with her parents)
  • 3rd generation  (where your mother's father is a little boy)
  • 4th generation  (where your mother's grandfather in a little boy)

I have this done....digitally.  I did not place myself into
my mother's maiden name folder however,
I placed myself in my father's surname folder, as that is
my maiden name, and I will find and follow
that pathway easier.  I really like the "maiden name"
binder/ is so easy to follow and 
easy to show others the "pathway" that the family

  2. Let's start talking what to do with collateral lines. Yes, those pesky siblings. 

How to handle brothers

Carefully, but I digress. Once my brother married, the family sheet in the Player Family binder is updated to reflect the marriage date and name of his bride. Mike also gained his own 1st-generation sibling tab and accompanying digital folder in my computer hard drive, as he is within that 1st generation of the Player Family. If he and his wife never have children, all marriage documents and photos are filed there.

Once Mike and his wife start having children, I break him out into his own Mike Player & descendants 3-ring binder. After all, I want his children to have a Coffee Table Book to read about themselves while I grab the Player Family binder aka Coffee Table Book so they can learn about our illustrious ancestors.

So from my generation to our children, descendants are listed in descendant family binders by generation. Mike's married children each have a tab in his binder that includes the family group sheets where each is a parent, and all accompanying marriage documents, birth certificates of children and photos are found, until they too begin having children.

How to handle sisters
Once women are married, they are known legally in the US and in my paper-oriented and digitally oriented filing systems by their married name. In the case of my sister, as soon as she married, the family sheet in the Player Family binder is updated to reflect the marriage date and name of groom. Then anything about my sister Sharon after the marriage, including her wedding portrait and marriage certificate will appear in a new surname binder bearing her husband's surname. Basically:
  • File everything on a daughter prior to marriage in her maiden name family binder and accompanying digital file folder.
  • File everything on that same woman after marriage in her spouse's surname family binder and accompanying digital file.
  • If a woman is widowed or divorced, and subsequently marries, file those post-marriage related items in the subsequent spouse's surname and marriage binder
  • But REMEMBER to update the original family sheets in each previous surname binder, so the new relationship is listed by date(s) and spouse(s) name(s).

I have all brothers----five, all younger.  Love It!!!
I have folders set up for each of the boys, 
and inside each of those folders, I have folders set up
for the brother, the spouse and a Descendants folder.
I am also added the important photos there
and the documents for them.
I am doing the same for my parents siblings,
as well as the rest of my ancestors.
This will be so nice to go back to a place of organization like
this, so easy to find, to add photos and docs to.

  3. It's much easier to keep track of a brother or sister who marry and subsequently have children using your genealogy management program. 
I'm glad you've already chosen one. Be sure to get the siblings of your ancestors typed in, and create additional binders for the married women.

I have each of my brothers, their wives and
their descendants all entered into my Family Tree Maker
program and I am finishing entering all of the
information into Legacy as well.
I am doing the same for my parents and am
working down/up my ancestral line, focusing
on the first 4 generations. 

Is it necessary to have a gazillion 3-ring binders? No. You can combine multiple surnames in one binder. Then when one surname becomes to large, break it out into it's own. If the surname you are "breaking out" occurs in the middle of a bunch, then make three binders. This isn't likely to happen since we're only working the first four generations. I've got over 128 surname binders, and I'm downsizing. Here's the lineup of a few of Ol' Myrt's surname binders:

A (including Adkins, Ashbridge, etc.)
B (includes Bassett, Blount, Booth, etc.)
Daines Descendants (my sister's first married name)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016



This morning I had a most delightful surprise as I peeked at
my email...... a $50 gift card from Dear Myrtle!!!

After the first month of FINALLY: Get Organized, with the
4 weeks of homework assignments,  Myrt posted
a link to a form to be filled out about the progress that we were
making with the program.  She spoke about "prizes,"
the first and foremost being how far we 
have all progressed since the beginning of January.
And, she mentioned a $50 gift card from Amazon would
be awarded as well, with some stipulations.

Never had I even considered the possibility of
winning a gift card.......
I was (and am) feeling so grateful for 
the organization project and the camaraderie shared
along the way!

Thank you so very much Dear Myrt, for the gift card,
of course, but for all that you do for 
this amazing community of genealogists and 
family historians!  I feel very fortunate to 
have the opportunity to be a part 
of that community.

Here's a link to Dear Myrtle's blog today........what a surprise!

The sun is shining most beautifully this morning in
the Dallas Fort Worth area.....
there is a lovely chill in the area......