31 May 2015

What is in a name?

Nearly four years ago we were blessed with the birth of our youngest daughter. She was born five years after our then youngest and 16 years after our oldest. We call her our bonus because she is a true prize. Like most parents we came to a point where we were discussing names for our new baby girl.

Our oldest daughter we named after a prominent character from the book series The Work and the Glory by Gerald N. Lund. For those of you who may not know, the nine-part series chronicles the early growth of the LDS Church and ending in 1847 when the pioneers settle in the Salt Lake Valley. The story line includes both fictional and actual events. The release of the last two books coincided with the birth of our oldest daughter. My wife first suggested the name but one night and while I was reading I came to the same conclusion. We loved the classic pioneer name Lydia and the values the character from the book held. Her middle name is my grandma's maiden name - one that is closely tied to our family.

When we were discussing what to name our oldest daughter, another name in the running was one of the character's names from the T.V. show Party of Five. I admit my interest in the name Julia was partially because I liked the nickname they used for the character -- Jewels. When my second daughter was born this name came into play again because it also ended in the letters IA, like my oldest daughter's. We soon knew this was the name that we wanted. Her middle name is my wife's first name as well as a great grandmother among others.

When my youngest daughter was born we struggled finding a name that we really liked. We wanted a classic name to go along with her sisters but none of them really spoke to us. I googled,"names that end in IA" and got a list that included; Alexia, Alivia, Alexandria, Asia, Cynthia, Georgia, Leia, Malia, Virginia, Nadia, Portia, Octavia, and Gloria. The funny thing was that my grandmother's name was Gloria but it didn't seem to fit. I also had a relative named Octavia, which sparked a genealogical interest in me. How many relatives do I have whose names end in IA?

A quick search in my Legacy database gave me a list of more than 350 females with the letters IA in their given name. I sorted out those that ended in IA; Octavia, Gloria, Maria, Livinia, Sophia, Aqualina, Celia, Julia, Anthonia, Lydia, Leticia, Olivia, Victoria, Cornelia, Amelia, Angelia, Pamelia, Berthia, Patricia, Cordelia, Clestia, Lorania. Nellia, Armedia, Elviria, Euphemia, Letia, Eugenia, Mahalia, Lelia, Loucia, and Idoshia. That does not include the names that sound like they end in IA like Keziah or Mariah. Two of these names we had already used, one my sister-in-law used for their daughter and a few were other cousins or their children's names. Some we admittedly did not even consider because they were too obscure or odd.

I could not believe how many female relative had names that ended in IA. But a name did not jump out at us from the list. We decided to look at a group of names that end in A. Wow! I was blown away. My mother, sister, both daughters, both grandmothers, three of four great-grandmothers, and five out of eight of my great-great-grandmothers all have names that end in the letter A.

According to statistics from the Social Security Administration, names that end in the letter A make up 25%-40% of all female names. This is a trend that began in the 1930's when female names that end in E declined in popularity just as names that end with A began to become more popular.

Similar statistics for the letter A can be found in a different configuration below. A link to the source of this and more information can be found here.

year letter contains initial final sex
1880 a 74.52002 10.25793 34.5587 F
1881 a 73.86439 10.22783 34.34397 F
1882 a 73.31201 10.20028 33.87668 F
1883 a 73.29374 10.35594 34.1251 F
1884 a 72.94415 10.32692 33.85469 F
1885 a 72.65341 10.09883 34.12724 F
1886 a 72.16987 9.973432 33.97055 F
1887 a 72.07258 10.16358 33.52605 F
1888 a 71.66794 9.925096 33.27642 F
1889 a 71.06888 9.917304 32.87136 F
1890 a 70.78339 9.770562 32.7312 F
1891 a 70.30779 9.684985 32.66175 F
1892 a 69.73444 9.53251 32.17799 F
1893 a 69.17856 9.464226 31.85475 F
1894 a 69.04433 9.412709 31.68418 F
1895 a 68.74601 9.29714 31.24714 F
1896 a 68.50438 9.25009 30.92736 F
1897 a 68.29945 9.079808 30.80602 F
1898 a 68.03982 8.914025 30.58677 F
1899 a 67.89158 8.990529 30.3455 F
1900 a 67.57361 8.794808 29.99073 F
1901 a 67.55282 8.859448 30.15931 F
1902 a 67.26472 8.862499 29.46694 F
1903 a 66.96046 8.790949 29.44147 F
1904 a 66.61752 8.773223 29.1246 F
1905 a 66.4471 8.823449 28.82948 F
1906 a 66.28841 8.949821 28.36317 F
1907 a 66.07694 8.770894 28.35465 F
1908 a 65.85693 8.744709 28.05043 F
1909 a 65.44659 8.565487 27.69376 F
1910 a 65.54522 8.597112 27.3392 F
1911 a 65.33518 8.50459 27.05126 F
1912 a 65.0141 8.441961 26.72905 F
1913 a 64.89015 8.346371 26.59693 F
1914 a 64.69564 8.318866 26.23658 F
1915 a 64.42025 8.249278 26.15908 F
1916 a 64.43673 8.102422 26.06758 F
1917 a 64.30105 8.029007 25.87358 F
1918 a 64.13086 7.814209 25.7134 F
1919 a 63.80567 7.658949 25.53694 F
1920 a 63.77343 7.514951 25.23755 F
1921 a 63.90863 7.428988 25.28748 F
1922 a 63.81817 7.302301 25.26306 F
1923 a 63.40946 7.144894 25.1091 F
1924 a 63.32793 7.029301 25.27369 F
1925 a 63.14525 6.938364 25.42985 F
1926 a 63.03616 6.866805 25.4158 F
1927 a 63.0742 6.623449 25.50903 F
1928 a 63.25977 6.531078 25.64643 F
1929 a 63.40437 6.381267 25.48332 F
1930 a 64.10109 6.265058 25.61394 F
1931 a 65.06745 6.193562 25.78578 F
1932 a 65.91598 6.111032 26.13958 F
1933 a 66.72413 6.004704 26.21639 F
1934 a 66.98664 5.849401 26.19668 F
1935 a 66.55249 5.702531 26.0573 F
1936 a 67.86346 5.65234 26.26164 F
1937 a 69.39654 5.49249 27.44675 F
1938 a 70.30747 5.322434 27.94419 F
1939 a 70.71503 5.103105 28.30608 F
1940 a 71.15364 4.909787 29.09582 F
1941 a 71.96129 4.594606 29.50641 F
1942 a 72.93857 4.34592 29.59836 F
1943 a 73.34266 4.168121 29.82674 F
1944 a 73.27979 4.031697 30.11592 F
1945 a 73.71489 3.993885 30.55909 F
1946 a 74.12495 3.840462 30.95404 F
1947 a 75.0905 3.661339 33.23117 F
1948 a 75.61626 3.598272 33.98351 F
1949 a 75.96036 3.516051 33.82277 F
1950 a 76.14923 3.537081 33.65552 F
1951 a 76.22307 3.490477 33.78995 F
1952 a 75.93782 3.494524 33.69351 F
1953 a 76.05362 3.520718 34.28271 F
1954 a 75.46679 3.460659 34.23176 F
1955 a 74.60811 3.522066 34.28779 F
1956 a 73.82887 3.677775 34.12489 F
1957 a 72.71391 3.714535 33.71853 F
1958 a 71.81864 3.926097 33.10452 F
1959 a 71.82456 4.162689 33.79188 F
1960 a 71.45237 4.396511 34.18437 F
1961 a 71.38987 4.481171 34.42071 F
1962 a 71.04506 4.629981 34.70586 F
1963 a 71.07125 4.920509 35.46933 F
1964 a 71.01789 5.356587 35.47587 F
1965 a 70.94085 5.873634 36.26026 F
1966 a 69.89726 6.037679 36.41239 F
1967 a 69.76717 6.626788 36.63929 F
1968 a 69.25942 6.764074 36.54414 F
1969 a 68.98531 7.034294 36.2349 F
1970 a 69.15822 7.653253 35.89144 F
1971 a 69.16791 8.393432 36.37819 F
1972 a 68.65932 8.569965 36.66013 F
1973 a 69.24464 9.14052 36.75871 F
1974 a 69.51673 9.788963 36.66867 F
1975 a 70.65961 10.81685 36.92111 F
1976 a 71.84192 10.99666 36.98978 F
1977 a 72.0654 10.8712 37.34323 F
1978 a 72.393 11.08134 37.48599 F
1979 a 73.2616 12.00301 38.15735 F
1980 a 73.576 12.08846 37.82477 F
1981 a 74.31998 12.24014 37.7197 F
1982 a 74.83111 12.37926 36.93488 F
1983 a 75.70983 13.36083 36.3424 F
1984 a 76.58066 13.59029 36.32794 F
1985 a 77.38397 14.09718 36.29746 F
1986 a 78.01985 14.53631 36.43987 F
1987 a 78.84387 14.98302 37.24889 F
1988 a 79.16256 14.5784 37.24228 F
1989 a 79.52662 14.59811 37.5996 F
1990 a 79.73598 14.53891 37.88208 F
1991 a 79.79202 14.37685 37.93236 F
1992 a 79.94197 13.9194 37.86326 F
1993 a 80.18098 14.03269 37.64151 F
1994 a 80.23309 14.1828 37.42792 F
1995 a 80.30071 14.13233 37.44394 F
1996 a 80.53618 14.18185 37.38367 F
1997 a 80.93557 14.53033 37.58975 F
1998 a 81.28899 14.78679 37.51978 F
1999 a 81.01342 14.62272 37.39282 F
2000 a 81.06005 14.92776 37.23858 F
2001 a 81.20947 15.49007 37.44748 F
2002 a 81.10929 16.14537 37.95363 F
2003 a 81.00319 16.2188 38.5146 F
2004 a 80.93975 16.25751 38.75734 F
2005 a 81.1341 16.54111 39.44685 F
2006 a 81.1969 17.0129 39.72795 F
2007 a 80.89849 17.47492 39.2715 F
2008 a 80.29398 17.31019 38.40526 F
2009 a 79.85439 17.49569 38.2201 F
2010 a 79.04827 17.58943 38.12531 F
2011 a 78.37639 17.75527 37.46902 F
2012 a 78.17938 18.09132 37.2413 F

It was hard to think that we had inadvertently named both of my daughters with names that ended in A. But this made me even more convinced that I was on the right path for my third daughter. We settled on the name Eliza. Her middle name is both my grandmother's and my wife's grandmother's middle name.

26 May 2015

Relatives in FamilySearch with multiple spouses can be easily identified.

The FamilySearch Blog this week released a list of newly certified partner products for the month of May. According to the post:
“Certified” means the product is compatible with FamilySearch.org and has features that conform to our strict standards of quality. FamilySearch works with a variety of partners to help provide you with as many ways as possible to find, add, and share about your family members.
The list of new partner products includes Familienbuch, Fast Photo Game, Match Game, Multiple Parents, Multiple Spouses, and RootsBid. Two of the apps that stood out for me are Multiple Parents and Multiple Spouses. Both apps are similar in their function. The apps search the first 32 ancestors of the person whose FamilySearch ID is entered.

The Multiple Spouses app shows those relatives who have more than one spouse. The description for the app says, "This is aimed towards patrons who are looking for 'step-ancestors' of whom they can search for their ancestors." With my Mormon heritage this app could come in handy, but I believe the bigger impact may be for those who are unaware of spouses their relatives may have.

The Multiple Parents App can come in handy finding errors in lines as well as adoptive relationships. The above Annie James has another set of parents with the Bartholomew surname. Annie James married Joseph Smith Bartholomew and somehow someone has combined another record that appears to be incorrect that shows her with an additional set of parents. I have another relative who was adopted by a family when he was left orphaned while crossing the plains. In some documents he has his birth father's surname and in others he uses his adoptive family name. This app would help highlight relatives with unique or erroneous relationships within Family Tree.

Both apps are by Debbie Holtzendorff, her linkedin profile says she is an LDS Church Tech Service Missionary for FamilySearch. Debbie, along with Harold G. Lee have developed several apps and have published them on their website woodenvillage.org. These apps include: Record Hints for Your Relatives, Relationship Finder for Family Tree, Automated Research Indicators for Your Relatives, Missing Parents, Pick an Ancestor, Descendants with No Children, Research Indicators for Descendants, Duplicate Ancestors, Ancestor Memories, and Ordinances Needed for Your Relatives.

It is exciting to see the work that is being done to help FamilySearch users parse data and use unique ways to find research opportunities for our relatives. I will review these apps and information I have found using them in later posts. Until then please try all of the above apps and let me know what you think of their functionality and how you have applied them to your research.

20 May 2015

Dot the i and cross the t in cryptic

This post is related to this blog but the focus is on me and my recent experiences and not on genealogy or family history directly. I will forgive you for not reading this post if you forgive me for posting it.

The last three and a half months have been a roller coaster of emotion, trials, and success. It has been a time of change and growth like I have not experienced in the last ten years. I am grateful for the changes in my life but it was not easy to go through. I have been told that I have been too cryptic in my social media posts and that people don't understand what I am trying to say. I suppose this is true but to explain I have to tell the whole story. 

For the last 14 years I have worked for a marketing company as their computer guy. I hired on to do web development and site management, but after two years had worked my way into management and was in charge of all the computers, servers, and network. My business card said Mat Trotter, Computer Guy. When I started at the company there were 13-15 people and we worked in a small office building Layton, Utah. As the business started to grow we moved into the former Iomega corporate headquarters in Roy, Utah.  At the peak there were over 40 employees. I feel like I had a huge role in helping the company to grow and expand as well as diversify the products that they offered as well as their reach into the niche markets they explored.

In September of 2014 we lost a contract with our largest  client. The Christmas season was the smallest in over a decade. I knew the company was hurting and that layoffs might be a possibility. On Thursday February 5th, 2015, I was called into the boardroom with the owners of the company and was laid off. I did not think I would be a casualty of the lost contract. I thought I was in a great position to help to find new clients and contracts. Needless to say, I was caught completely off guard. They had me sign an agreement that I would continue to work for them up to 60 hours a month for the next three months in order to get a severance package. Considering the 14 years I worked there the severance I received was less than you would expect. However, they paid out a month of vacation time and offered to pay almost 60% of my COBRA insurance for the three months of what they called the "transition" period.

That following weekend was a blur. I only remember coming home and telling my wife and the tears that followed. I sent a text to my LDS bishop and then my wife sat down our four oldest children who are living at home and told them what had happened. The first of the following week I met with a lawyer to go over the transition contract and I opened my file with the Utah Job Service. I met with a former vendor about the possibility of working for him and I worked for my former company.

I had already paid and was planning on attending Rootstech in Salt Lake City and my wife was covering the conference for our local paper, the Standard-Examiner. So February 12-14, 2015 we attended the conference. I had blogger credentials and was allowed access to areas not all conference goers could enjoy. However, my focus was changed and I spent most of the conference trying to network with vendors and and people who worked for FamilySearch. I figured I didn't have a job so why not look into the possibility of working in the industry that my hobbies align with. You can read other posts on this blog about some of my experiences at Rootstech. What those posts don't say is that I felt like there was not an immediate opportunity for me at any of the places I was interested in, especially FamilySearch.

The following Sunday I counseled with my bishop and he recommended that I go to the LDS Employment Center in downtown Ogden, Utah where I live. Through the training I attended there and the Accelerated Job Search (AJS) program I joined, I had a game plan that set the pattern for the next three months of my life. As part of AJS I agreed to meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:30 in the Ogden offices with other members of the program. On Tuesday we met in Layton with the members of thier AJS program and on Thursday we all met in Centerville with all of the AJS members from the three different areas. It was a great way to network and learn about job openings, other possibilities and ideas from people who were all having the same experience. I also agreed to follow The Daily 15-10-2 Approach where I identify 15 new resources, make 10 contacts, and hold 2 face-to-face meetings or interviews each day.

Over the following three months I only missed four meetings and that was because I had job interviews. I applied for a 104 different jobs and had 23 interviews. I received 26 rejection letters from my efforts but only heard back from a fraction of those who interviewed me. This was a frustrating and humbling experience. I was embarrassed because I didn't have a job but it was through no fault of my own. It seemed as though because I was unemployed I was damaged goods. To many being laid off is equivalent to being fired. I would explain that I was still doing work for the company and that the layoff was because of a lost contract but I could tell it did not matter to them.

On Tuesday May 5th, 2015, three months from the day I was laid off, my LDS ward was given an opportunity for four people to volunteer at the Ogden cannery. They were making beef stew and I volunteered to work from 10 am - 4 pm. After I arrived I had the opportunity to load newly washed potatoes onto a dicing machine. The 230 pounds of potatoes were then added to 300 pounds of beef and other ingredients into a large machine that put the food into cans. Just as the first batch of potatoes were mixed into the machine something happened and the machine broke possible putting shards of metal into the batch. So the whole batch could not be used. They ended up shutting down the line and we spent 2 1/2 hours deep cleaning the plant. Although I worked I felt my efforts had all been thrown away. You are not allowed to have phones in the plant because they can be easily ruined. When I got out to my car I check my messages and email and had two rejection letters from two different companies where I had had multiple interviews. I felt the lowest I had since the day I was laid off.

Wednesday May 6th, 2015, I woke up and didn't feel like going to AJS at 8:30 am. My loving wife encouraged me out the door and I arrived a few minutes late. There were three other AJS members and two employment missionaries in the room. I proceeded to hear that all three of the other members were expecting to receive job offers later that day. I was so discouraged. As I left the meeting I felt like crying. 

Just before arriving home I received a call from a lady who said that she wanted to schedule an interview for me. I was planning on taking my oldest daughter to Colorado Springs and back over the following two days so she could receive a scholarship award from the Exchange Club. She had to be in attendance to receive the award. I told the lady I could not come in either Thursday or Friday but could I come in the following week. She said that would not work so we agreed to schedule an interview that afternoon at 1 pm. She said I would be interviewing for an IT Manager position and that they were located in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. She said that security would have an id badge for me in the lobby and to take the elevator to the appropriate floor. "Get off the elevator and follow the picture of Christ in a red robe, turn left and you will find us," she said.

When I arrived and found them, I was taken into an office and interviewed by a person who was leaving for a different position within the Church. Then I had a 55 minute interview with the manager over the open position. Some of his questions were very different than any I had answered in interviews before. He asked me about the callings or positions I have held in my ward. He asked me what was my favorite calling, I told him Scoutmaster. He asked me what my hobbies were and I told him scouting and genealogy. Then he asked me what my dream job would be. I told him about my experience at Rootstech and how I had tried to find a job at FamilySearch. He said, "this position would be great for you then." I asked him why he said that and he replied, "this position is for FamilySearch, didn't you know?" I told him that I didn't know what job I was interviewing for and that I have applied for several with the church. (A huge no-no I have been taught about in the employment workshop.) He reached into his drawer and pulled out my resume. Then he said, "Oh, I remember. You never applied for this position. I received your resume from a coworker and added to the pile of applicants. I really liked it so I had them call you in."

I really don't remember what else happened. I was so shocked. As I left the building I called my wife and I was overcome with emotion. I could not believe what had transpired and I told her that I thought I would get the job. I was so overcome with the feeling of the holy spirit that I just felt so hopeful that this is where I needed to be. 

My trip to Colorado Springs went as planned and on Monday morning I reported what had happened in my AJS meeting. After I arrived home I received a call with a job offer. I started just over a week ago and I am enjoying the experience so far.

I apologize for the long slightly off topic post and the somewhat cryptic social media messages. I went from feeling so ashamed to so overjoyed. I did not want to tell more than I needed to but I also did not want to seem boastful. This was a true trial for me. An experience I am glad I had but one I would not ask for. I have felt Heavenly father nudge me in a different direction. A nudge I needed. I was so comfortable at my last job I stopped seeking for more. I was complacent. I am so happy for this opportunity. I never would have imagined I would be working for FamilySearch six month ago. I am excited for what the future may bring. I am so thankful for the LDS employment center and the help and guidance they have given me. I am also grateful for the people who were in AJS with me. I consider them my friends. I am so glad my bishop counseled me to go to the center. 

One last note...It is a tradition that after you get a new job that you take donuts to the following AJS meeting. When I arrived that morning three of us walked in with donuts and I had also missed donuts on Friday when I was in Colorado Springs. That AJS program really works!