27 July 2015

Do you know your aunts and uncles? 52 Questions W8

This week we will focus on the question -

Do you know your aunts and uncles? 52 Questions W8

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this questions are:
How many of your aunts and uncles have you met?
Which ones are older and younger than your parent?
When did you last see them?
Where do they live?
Do they look like or remind you of anyone?

Aunts and uncles are members of your extended family. They are your parents' brothers and sisters, and their spouses. You don't need a blood connection to be an aunt or uncle. Your father's sister's husband is your uncle. In terms of family history and genealogy your aunts and uncles are key resources for information about your living relatives as well as ancestors. They also are likely to have family pictures, documents or heirlooms.

Everyone's family relationships are different. They ebb and flow over time, location and even size of families. Understanding the relationships of your extended family will help you in future research for branches of your family tree.

When I was a child I would see my aunts and uncles regularly. The Trotter's went on family camping trips. We would cross-country ski together to my grandpa's cabin on Elk Ridge. We also would go and gather wood together. I do not remember any of my uncles first wives. Divorce changed our family outings and dynamic. However, I have connected to one of my aunts through Facebook.

Pictured above from left to right are my uncles Cory and Darce, my brother Mike, my mom, uncle Dick, and my dad.
Since my childhood I have gained two more aunts, Nancy and Diane. I love them both and we stay in touch through Facebook and family reunions. I have spent the most time during my life with my uncle Dick. He has spent almost every major holiday with my family as long as I can remember. He knows my children and they know him. I am very close to my aunt Connee. For the last few years we have spent more time with her, and my uncle Aaron, than almost any other relatives. We have attended the last two RootsTech conferences together and we get together whenever she in in Northern Utah or we are in Southern Utah. My youngest daughter refers to her as grandma Connee and I am pretty sure my youngest son would almost rather live with her than me. My uncle Darce stood as a witness for me when I was married in the Ogden Temple. He and my aunt Nancy visited Israel and brought me a gift from the trip with religious significance for me. My uncle Cory was like my older brother. He was quick to tease me but I knew that he loved me and always had my back.

The spending time with the Bartholomew's was like going home. My aunt's were all like second mothers to me. I spent many summer days in their homes playing with my cousins. My aunt Judy lived in California when I was a child. Her home was a magical place at the end of the freeway. She and my uncle Mike treated me like royalty. It was always a special occasion when we spent time with them. I only have the fondest memory of my Bartholomew family aunt and uncles but I have not seen any of them since my grandfather's funeral in 2002. I am in touch with some of my cousins on this side of the family but those stories are for a different post.

Last week I talked about sources and their importance in genealogy. I have learned many things about my aunts and uncles searching newspapers.

The bottom left of the above page has an article about a band called "The Brass Cork,"
The rock group which recently won a Battle of the Bands contest at Saratoga Resort, is composed of four young men and a girl vocalist. Included are two sets of brothers. Dick Trotter, 17, and Darcy Trotter, 16, are brothers. Dick plays the brass guitar and Darcy the organ. Darcy also sings... Linda Bartholomew, 20, is the vocalist. All are of Provo, except Linda who is from Orem.
Yep, my uncles and my mom were in a band that won the Battle of the Bands.

The top center article above is a wedding announcement for my aunt Lou Anne and uncle Mark Bartholomew. Besides the engagement information it says that he played football and rugby, attended Snow College, and taught at summer camp for alpine school district. [Check out those Saddleback Denim Jeans, they sure are groovy.]

There are many resources on the internet with indexed newspapers. You can check the newspaper section on my Internet Resources page. I also suggest that you check out the Ancestor Hunt blog by Kenneth Marks. Ken is all about newspapers. you will find 1000's of links to newspapers, and around 50 different tutorials and other information to help you find information in newspapers.

23 July 2015

FamilySearch test view

For the last few weeks I have been using a version of FamilySearch to test certain new functionalities. This is not the beta version which has older data a test version that is ready to be deployed. It does not have all of the whistles and bells like the messenger features some are seeing in the beta version. I am not sure how broad the test is but I find the changes encouraging.

You may have heard me refer to myself as a forest ranger of family tree. I find myself going through others source additions and changes to make sure everything is correct. The test home page has a giant list along the left side of the recent changes and additions to my tree. I am able to flag the change or follow the link to she what was done. I can also sort the changes by Favorites, Photos, Documents, Audio, Stories, and sources. VERY HELPFUL for us Forrest rangers.

Along the right side are recommended task for record hints, a custom to-do list, recently viewed ancestors, personal statistics, and help information. I was very interested in the record hints that showed up. Not because I haven't used Family Tree hints before but because there was a new link for family in obituaries.

I have documented hundreds of obituaries over the years. This has to be the easiest way to find information. I am not sure why I only had one relative show up but it was enough to demonstration the functionality of the page before launch.

There is even a link to show me how I am related to the person in the obituary.

The other features are nice. I wasn't sure how many namesI had reserved but this number is close. I am really surprised that I have added so many people. I do not believe that the majority of the 118 I have added are included in the 119 I have submitted. I wonder how to parse that. I am impressed by the forward thinking and direction that FamilySearch is taking. Although I takes time to keep up with all of the changes. They show enough promise it is worth the time spent. I wish I could share the information I have about the changes and where they are beaded.

Familiar Friends and the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to visit the Ogden FamilySearch Library, formerly known as the Ogden Family History Center. It is unusual that my wife actually wanted to go and take me with her. Usually I want to go and take her. My wife is a reporter for the Ogden Standard-Examiner and she was covering the center's guest speaker, Michael Landon. Landon spoke about Mormon Battalion as well as Mormon Migration, the wagon trains & handcart companies.

I will not write a lot about the presentation except to say I learned many things. I want to purchase his book to learn even more. Once my wife's story is published I will post a link to it here.

As we were leaving after Landon's presentation I ran into one of my scouting friends that I have known for several years. He and I served on Wood badge staff together. He had also served as a member of the Young Men's General Board for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but had we had lost touch over the last few years. I asked him how he was doing and what he was doing in scouting these days. He told me he was out of scouting for now and had just stepped down from our council's Executive Board. I must have looked surprised when said, "My wife and I are serving a full time mission as the Directors of the Ogden FamilySearch Library.

Elder David and Sister Cindy Erickson

I am excited that such a great man is taking charge at a very important time for Family History and the Ogden FamilySearch Library. He of course immediately hit me up to teach a reoccurring genealogy merit badge class at the center. I could not refuse my friend.

One thing that Michael Landon did mention was the revamped Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website. The website includes more than 57,000 individuals, 370 companies, and has utilized extensive information collected from thousands of original trail documents including rosters, journals, letters, and other primary sources.

I have been aware of this resource for several years. I have many pioneer ancestors who traveled the plains and mountains to Utah. I have found most of them in this resource.

My personal favorite is the Joseph Outhouse Company of 1852. I have several relatives who traveled in this company.

Bartholomew, George Marston Infant 5 November 1851 12 September 1925
Bartholomew, John 6 11 September 1845 23 September 1914
Bartholomew, Joseph 32 16 January 1820 28 May 1901
Bartholomew, Joseph 2 5 January 1850 9 April 1912
Bartholomew, Mary 5 29 Apr. 1847 8 Nov. 1937
Bartholomew, Polly Benson 36 12 February 1816 19 December 1912

Joseph and Polly Bartholomew are my 3rd great-grandparents.

The new website includes information about the Mormon Trail including sites of interest along the trail. Many of them I had not heard of before like Sugar Creek, Richardson's Point, Locust Creek, Confluence Point, Ash Hollow and Golden Pass Road.

There is a tutorial about how to use the database as well as new keyword search functionality. There are also several clipping from journals called Humor on the Plains. One such entry by John Clark Dowdle follows:

"We then travled on our homeward journey feeling firstrate, from heare we traveled some hundreds of miles without scarcly seeing such a thing as a tree or a stick of wood thus being forced to burn for fuel bufalo chips for to cook our food. this being in the travels of the buffalo known as there excavations, or sometimes caled by the boys, chewed grass. sometimes while geathering these chips one must be very carful in examening the under part or they might find them not so hard as he would wish. There is one little circumstance connected with this part of the program worth mentioning[.] it stands with me as well as some others as a rich joke". There was in our train a very nice young lady who was very fond of assisting here [her] parants in all kinds of camp duties expecly [especially] here [her] mother, expecly in gathering chips." not with standing the abhorance she had in regard to them." On evening while geathering them for there evenings use and not being very far from camp, and watching very clostly to see if anyone was looking in her direction and on beinging convinced that all was right, just at this time turning over one very nice large one, and finding something rather soft and getting some thing on it that did not suit her, she gave her hand a turable [terrible] shake making some of the teamsters think that she was bitten by a rattle snake, she not wishing to let the secret be known. yet it was mistrusted what the alement was" that she had pressed the chip rather hard and the affect being not very plesant, so the reader can well imagen the effect of the joke. However this little affare was a very agreeable one."
Time using this website will be well spent even if you do not have relatives mentioned. The Mormon Trail is apart of the westward migration in United States history.

20 July 2015

What do you remember about your great-grandparents? 52 Questions W7

This week we will focus on the question - 

What do you remember hearing about your great-grandparents?

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this questions are:
Did your great-grandparents come to the U.S. from a foreign country? What stories are told in your family about their journey?
Did you ever meet any of them?
Do you remember seeing any pictures of your great-grandparents?
When and where were they born? When and where did they die?
Where did your great-grandparents live?

Family History gains personal value when we get to know our relatives that we haven't known very well. Of my eight great-grandparents, only four of them were alive when I was born but I only really remember one of them.

My great-grandmother, my father's mother's mother, Clara Mae Orton Taylor, passed away during my freshman year in college. She had gone blind later in life but could play the organ. She was the organist at her church for 60 years. She loved to crochet afghans I even have a couple that are prized possessions.  I remember when she would come to dinner and my grandmother's house. My grandma would dish up her plate of food and then tell Clara Mae where the food was on the plate like it was a clock, turkey at 3 o'clock and potatoes at 6. The grandchildren lovingly called her blind granny. I remember being scared of her when I was little. She would play my grandma's organ for Christmas when she would come. I also remember visiting her home several times. She had a large TV set but I could never understand why, if she was blind why did she need a TV? I was her first (and favorite) great-grandchild.

Two of my great-grandmothers died within five years before I was born and three of my great-grandparents died within four years after my birth. Besides my blind granny, all of the knowledge I have of my great-grandparents was given to me by others. Some of the tidbits were true and some are questionable.

As we compile our family histories the evidence or sources we use to support a fact becomes very important. Not just for documenting the person to whom the source is about but also to find other possible relatives and clues to help us to build our family trees.

Please do not let sources or evidence become a barrier to your Family History work!

There are two different types of evidence, direct and indirect. Direct evidence points straight to a fact. A death certificate is direct proof of the person's place, date and cause of death. Indirect evidence is circumstantial or allows a person to infer information. The year of birth can be inferred from a baby's christening record. The year of death can be inferred from a burial record.

Sources are different types of evidence. Sources can come in two forms, primary and secondary.
"Primary Sources are documents, oral accounts, photographs, or any other items created at the time of an event. Some primary sources include birth and marriage certificates, deeds, leases, diplomas or certificates of degree, military records, and tax records. 
"Secondary sources are documents, oral accounts, and records that are created some length of time after the event or for which information is supplied by someone who wasn't an eyewitness to the event. A secondary source can also be a person who was an eyewitness to the event but recalls it after significant time passes." Genealogy Online For Dummies, 7th Edition.
Death certificates can be both primary and secondary sources. They are the primary source for the date, place and cause of death but most times a secondary source for the date and place of birth. Census records are a primary source for the place of residence and makeup of the family but a secondary source for birth dates and the spelling of names.

A common mistake among beginners is that they do not keep track of their sources. We I first started my research I came across a document about my grandmother's first marriage. Later I tried to add his name to my database and I could not find the information. It took precious time to research this one piece of evidence.

A second mistake beginners make is not to record all of the information contained within a source. It is very common to see multiple family names in close proximity within a census record. The witness or informant in a death certificate is commonly a relative, friend, acquaintance or neighbor of the deceased. These types of clues can lead to more relatives and ancestors for your family tree.

There are several sources that are commonly used. These sources are easy to use and cover large portions of the population.

  • Birth, Marriage and Death Records - Usually held in either government or church records.
  • Census Records - Usually held by national governments. Census records document the makeup of family and the locations where they live.
  • Draft Cards - within the United States these records contain not only the names of those who are registering for the draft but also the names a parent and location where they live.
  • Social Security Death Index - This is a United States record of those who have died within the last 100 years. This is a great source of place and location information as well as death date.

The above 1910 census record shows my great-grandmother Clara Mae with her mother, father, three brothers and a sister living in Parowan, Utah.

This above 1920 census record shows Clara Mae in the household of her step-father with her mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother all living in Kanosh, Utah. The changes between these documents allow us to infer information and create a plan to find more information. What happened to Clara Mae's father, uncle and grandfather? Have her sisters all married? All of these people are my direct relatives. Because if these two sources I have 12 different relatives who I could possible do work for.

This obituary for Clara Mae shows evidence of her birth, marriage, death and burial dates. It also lists the names of six more relatives for a total of 17 between the three sources.

As I build my family tree I add these names and use them as a to-do list of those I need to do research for. Although my example is not typical, I have found over 10300 relatives using the above outlined method. I strive to have at least three sources for each person, some I have more and some less.

19 July 2015

Family History Shuhari

This week I attended a meeting that discussed the usage of the FamilySearch website and the tools and statistics our analysts use to increase usage and functionality as well as reach the end goals of FamilySearch. I was impressed by the information presented and the lengths FamilySearch has gone to increase successful usage of its website.

As part of the meeting we also discussed barriers both members and nonmembers of the LDS church have in using the website. Research has shown that, among the many barriers discovered, most Family History Consultants are barriers for church members who are beginning users.

Yes, the Family History Consultants.

I was very surprised by this until we began to discuss the reasons why this could be. I am what is considered an engaged user. I frequent the site, use most of the tools, and find relatives I then do work for in the temple. I have done this process more than three times. However, the standard the analysts use for an engaged user is three separate submissions.

They have classified two types of beginner users: those with a full tree and those without a full tree. These beginners make up the largest pool of potential engaged users. An end goal for FamilySearch is to engage members in the use of the website.

You can see how it would be a barrier when you log onto the website and your family tree is full and it appears that all of the work has been done. Members of the LDS church are encouraged to be actively engaged in Family History work. It would be hard to do work when you don't know where to begin. This is why there are Family History Consultants.

The official role of the Family History consultant is to:
"...help members identify ancestral family members. They help members prepare information so that temple ordinances may be performed for their ancestral family members. They help members who do not have access to computers or who are uncomfortable using computers. Where possible, they provide this assistance in members’ homes...They serve regularly as staff members in a local family history center, as assigned. They may also be assigned to teach family history classes in the ward."                                                                                                    Church Handbook 2 - 5.4.4
Shuhari and genealogy
I do not claim to be an expert in Family History or Genealogy. I am less than a beginner when it comes to understanding Shuhari. I will try to explain how the concept was used within context of our conversation about Family History consultants and Family History.
Shuhari is a Japanese martial arts term which describes the stages of learning to mastery. It has also been used as a way of thinking about learning techniques and methodologies for software development.

Shu is the first stage of learning fundamentals. A learner concentrates on how to do the task, without worrying too much about way. "The student works hard to copy the techniques as taught without modification and without yet attempting to make any effort to understand the rationale of the techniques of the teacher." In our context a Shu learner can follow steps to a desired outcome. They cannot reach an outcome without following the steps they have learned. A beginner with a full tree can:

Step 1 - Log onto the website.

Step 2 - Select the tree page.

Step 3 - Find an ancestor born before 1830 and click the tree link for that person.

Step 4 - Change the tree view to descendancy.

Step 5 - Find an ancestor with an orange temple and complete the work.

Ha learners start to learn the underlying principles and theory behind the technique. They also start learning from other masters and integrate that learning into practice. They can find the exceptions to the steps that Shu's follow. Ha learners are if-then practitioners, if this, then this. If you cannot find any work within your ancestry tree check the descendency view. If you cannot find a relative enumerated in the 1860 census on FamilySearch then it is worth checking the 1860 census on ancestry.com. If there are duplicate entries for my relative then I need to work through them until one file remains. If your relative was born less than 110 years ago then you must have permission from the nearest living relative to submit their name to the temple.

In the above image, for Shu step five, the person selected was born less than 110 years ago and had duplicates in the database. A Shu user does not know how to resolve these issues. A Ha user can navigate through these issues.

Ri learners are masters of their discipline. They aren't learning from other people, but from their own practice. They create their own approaches and adapt what they've learned to the circumstances. "One must now think originally and develop from ones own background knowledge, using original thoughts about the art and test them against the reality of his or her knowledge..."

The Ri masters of Family History and Genealogy are very skilled. We know them as the Family historian or the aunt that has done all of the work in the family. Many wards and stakes have Ri masters that are called as high counselors and Family History consultants.

The analysis from the data collected shows that Ri Family History masters have become so good at their art that when beginners come to them and ask for help instead of showing them a Shu level answer they overwhelm them with their knowledge. The business analyst said that family history consultants need to be Shu level teachers. When asked a question about if a person can find an ancestor to submit to the temple a Ri level advisor says, "it depends" because their experience and learning has taught them that not all orange temples found means that there is work to submit. However a Shu level teacher would walk a beginner through the five steps they know. This is why the brethren are pushing for more and more youth consultants. They only know the five steps and can easily teach it to someone else.

I was taken aback by this analysis. I am not sure I consider myself a Ri level family historian but I am definitely not a Shu. To say that I am a barrier to members of my ward and family to do Family History work really stings.

I have thought about this for the last few days and I think he may be right. I have done enough work to know that an orange temple does not necessarily mean I have a name to take to the temple. My high priest group leader, who I am related to, praises his daughter for the number of names she has found and the joy they have at going to the temple together as a family, while I am cynically thinking of all of the duplicate work they must be doing. My wife has told me a number of times that I make doing the work harder than it needs to be. She just wants to get online, find a name and do the work. I have told her that it is not that easy, maybe I should have just said, "it depends".

Not every user of FamilySearch wants to become a Ri level genealogist. They do not want to be a master. They want things to be simple - easily understood and easily done, like they are being instructed it is by our religious leaders. Some of the negatives of this approach have been duplicate records and work being performed by those who are distantly or even unrelated. FamilySearch has recently programmed rules that forces users to resolve duplicates and observe the 110-year rule.

I believe there is still room for the Ri teachers and learners in wards and stakes. We just need to keep them progressing at their own pace. Family History Centers and conferences like Rootstech teach at different skill levels.

More importantly I believe that with the focus of FamilySearch moving from genealogy to FamilyHistory there is a lot of learning for everyone to do.

13 July 2015

Who were your grandparents? 52 Questions W6

This week we will focus on the following question -

Who were your grandparents?

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this questions are:
What were the names of your grandparents?
When and where were they born? Where did they live?
Did they have any brothers or sisters?
What did they do for a living?
Do you have any personal memories of them? What were they like?

I have also included a list at the end of this post of 88 questions to ask your grandparents (if you can).

This week's questions set the foundation to your family history. Our grandparents define the four main branches of our family tree. Not everyone has known their grandparents but many have. I knew all four of my grandparents. I was the oldest grandson on both sides of my family. My father's parents lived in our same neighborhood, just up the street from my elementary school. My mother's parents lived in the next city over and I spent most of my summer days at their home.

Richard Junior Trotter
My father's father, grandpa Trotter, was a World War II veteran and worked at Carpenter Seed before he retired. He was always busy doing something. He liked to take me fishing at Strawberry Reservoir. We would always leave really early in the morning. We would stop for Dunkin Donuts on the way. We liked to troll for fish. We used different types of lures called spoons. They were different shapes and colors. He always seemed to know just the right color to use. The fishing rods we used were not made to be cast into the water but for the line to be let out slowly behind the boat as it moved through the water. The line was different colors. I can't remember the length of the color but my grandpa would tell me how many colors to let out so the lure could sink deeper into the water. We always caught our limit of fish but we had to hold out mouths just right before we could catch them. I remember spending many weekends with my grandpa fishing. I don't remember other grandkids going with us. That doesn't mean they didn't, I just don't remember. He would always clean the fish at the cleaning station. He would always tell me that my Grandpa B was really good at filleting fish. We would drive home in his truck and I would fall asleep next to him. I loved the way he smelled. When I was a little older my grandpa would take me fly fishing. We would take a summer trip in his RV to Yellowstone. We would fish at Fishing Bridge and along the Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley. I remember his taking the time to teach me how to cast and how to hold the line. Where to try and land the fly and when to pick it up out of the water. I cherish the time I spent with my grandpa Trotter. He died in his RV. They had just returned from a trip and he was cleaning things up. They found him sitting in my favorite chair.

A. Dale Bartholomew
My mother's father, Grandpa B, was a carpenter and he raised birds when he retired. He was always busy doing something. He liked to roll his own cigarettes. Whenever he was doing something he would whistle. I would give anything to hear him whistle again. He liked to take me fishing at Strawberry Reservoir. We would always leave really early in the morning.  He built his boat out of wood. It was blue and had a steering wheel and everything. He always kept Pepto-Bismol flavored candy in the compartment behind the steering wheel. The life jackets in the boat were red and white striped and seemed really old. He kept them in the head of the boat below the bow. The fishing poles fit neatly under the seats in their custom built spots. We had a special spot in the middle of the lake where the tree line and the inlet of stream met up. I can still see it in my mind. His homemade boat also had homemade anchors that he would throw overboard. We used all kinds of bate like worms, marshmallows, and different kinds of cheese: stinky, Velveeta and Power-bait. He made a device that hooked up to a car battery and after he irrigated his lawn he would but the spike in the ground and hook up the battery and the earthworms would wriggle out of the ground onto the grass. Then we would collect them and put them in Styrofoam cups to take to the lake. We would also ball up the cheese and then pull a treble hook into the center and smooth it out. Grandpa B taught me how to tie a fisherman's knot. Once we were fishing and he baited my hook and then I cast out the bait and caught a fish before he could bait his hook. After we brought the fish in he handed me his rod and began to bait mine again but I caught another fish before he was finished. He made me feel proud of being a good fisherman. He had a special tool that helped him get the treble hook out of the small fish that we threw back. The other end of the tool he used to wack the big fish so they would stop squirming. He would always clean the fish out on the boat in the water. He said that the other fish would be nourished from the fish we caught so they will be bigger when we come back. He always told me what a great job my grandpa Trotter did at filleting fish. We would drive home in his camper pulling the boat. I would ride in the loft above the cab. It felt like I was flying. It is against the law to do now but I guess we didn't know better back then. I cherish my memories of my grandpa B. He died on July 5th. I was in Provo on the fourth and was going to go visit him but time got away from us and I didn't. I wish I had.

Gloria Taylor Trotter
My Father's mother, grandma Trotter, worked at Sears for as long as I remember. She worked in the office upstairs and when we would go and visit her everyone knew my name and where I was headed. I always knew I was her favorite grandchild, I think we all felt that way. She was one of the funniest people I ever knew and she always was the life of the party. I loved her cooking especially her waffles, gravy, rolls, and riced potatoes. She thought I loved her frog-eye salad but I was afraid of the frog-eyes. Her favorite holiday was the Fourth of July. We would all get together and go to the parade, then have a big BBQ and water party. Then we would take a nap. Then we would go see the fireworks. She taught us how to ooh and aah at the beauty of the fiery display. She always had soda and ice-cream bars in her outside fridge. She would go with me and grandpa to get wood. We would drive into the middle of nowhere Utah and cut Piñon pine. She would always ask me questions. She brought the best treats. She would let me sleep a little on her arm. Once I stepped on some cactus and it stuck into my shoe. When I got into the truck I slid across the seat and sat on the cactus stuck to my shoe. She told me that was a real pain in the butt, she didn't say butt. We went to Yellowstone for several years together in her RV. Grandma Trotter taught me how to read a map and follow along when we drove. She also shared my love of Curd Cheese and would make sure we would stop in Star Valley to get some. She liked to play cards with me. Grandma loved the WWF, especially Hulk Hogan. She also had a radio scanner and would listed to the police and fire department. Her favorite holiday was Christmas. I can tell you how many pairs of Tough-skins, underwear and socks I received over the years. She would wrap all the packages and keep them in the closet upstairs. I remember bringing them down all together and putting them around her tree. She would knit sweaters all year long. They were the prized gift of the Christmas season. I received five different sweaters from my grandma. I wish they fit me now. After she moved to St. George she learned how to email. She would email me dirty jokes and sometimes clean ones. I think that as a young adult I felt the closest to my Grandma Trotter. I got to go to the temple with her when she was sealed to grandpa. She died from cancer, I didn't know she was sick. She never got the last email I sent to her.

Wilberta Annette Merrian Bartholomew
My mother's mother helped to raise me. I knew she loved me and I loved her. She would always hug me whenever she saw me. I remember the way her sheets smelled. Grandpa built her a clothesline in the back yard that had swings on it. She had a collection of sea shells that she would let me look at and listen to. She loved to play card games with me. When we played go fish I could cheat by looking at the reflection of her cards in her glasses. When the game Uno came out we became champions together. She loved to play Uno. We used to watch The Price is Right together. She liked to guess the prices before everyone else.  I can remember her potty training me. She wanted me to fold the paper and not crumple it up in a ball. She loved to read and would read to me when I was young and encourage me to read when I was older. I remember her taking me to church with her a few times. It seems like she was a primary teacher but I am not sure. She would take us to the Scera theater to see the latest Disney movie. She also took us to the Pioneer days parade by her house in Orem. I can remember making her mad but I knew she still loved me. We would decorate her tree for Christmas. She took me to Disneyland when I was eight. I remember going into the submarine with her. I think she loved Sea World better than Disneyland. Se made me Buddig meat sandwiches with Miracle whip and cheese. She also made Macaroni and Cheese with Spam. She would let me pick the flavor of Kool-aide that we drank. She had special cups and plates for us to eat on, I still have them and use them today. Grandma B got sick and was bedridden for many years. When I brought my wife to meet her she was in bead. She was put in the hospital and we thought she was going to die. My wife and I drove to Provo so I could give her a blessing. I remember her bishop asking her is she had a testimony before I gave her a blessing. She lived for two more years. Her funeral was not sad, we all love her very much and we knew that she loves us.

I did not intend to go into to much detail about my grandparents. I did however want you to know that I knew them and I loved them. I have many stories and pictures that I can share about them for my Family History. When I went to the hospital to see my Grandma B they asked me what room she was in, I did not know. They then asked me her name, I didn't know. I told the lady "Grandma B", with a smile on my face. I knew that B stood for Bartholomew. So eventually we found the right person but I did not know her first name.

There are details about our grandparents that we may not know, for example birth dates or wedding dates and places. My Grandma B's name is Wilberta but she went by her nickname Berta. She was named after her father Alfred Wilbert Merrian when he thought he may not have a boy.

My Grandma Trotter had been married before she married my grandpa. A fact I did not know until I began to do research about her. The genealogy part of family history is important too. In order to document and learn more about our relatives we need to know their birth, marriage and death dates and places. We need the lines before we can add the color.

I remember when my Grandpa B had shoulder surgery and could not work as a carpenter anymore. My mother told me it was because of damage he suffered from being hit by lightening. I assumed he had the surgery because he had just been hit by lightening, the reality was that he was struck earlier in his life and the damage was a presumed result of that. For years I have told my children that my grandfather was struck by lightning while working. It wasn't until I asked the question to a forum of my relatives that the true story came out.

It is always best to get answers about an individual from that individual but when that can't happen then we need to try and verify the story before we use it as fact. Next week we will talk about sources.

1. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
2. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
3. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
4. Describe a typical family dinner, did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
5. Describe the personalities of your family members.
6. Did you ever go on any family trips as a child? What was your favorite?
7. Did you go to college? What did you study? If you didn’t go to college, do you wish you had had the opportunity? What did you do instead?
8. Did you have a special place that you liked to go as a child?
9. Did you have any pets growing up?
Did you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
10. Did you live in a house or an apartment? What was it like? What was your room like?
11. Do you belong to a church or a religion? How has it affected your life?
12. Do you know any stories about the history of the family name, or the origins of the family?
13. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
14. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
15. Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
16. Holiday?
17. How did you find out you were going to be a parent for the first time?
18. How did you like school?
19. How did you meet Grandma/Grandpa? How did he propose?
20. How old were you when you met/got engaged/got married? What was the wedding like?
21. How did your family come to live there?
22. How many children do you have? What were they like when they were growing up?
23. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
24. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
25. In your religion, what callings or positions have you served in?
26. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
27. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
28. Favorite songs and music growing up? What about now?
29. Tell me about the day my mom/dad was born.
30. Tell me about your first date.
31. Favorite things to do for fun?
32. Favorite toy and why?
33. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
34. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
35. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
36. What advice would you give to new parents?
37. What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
38. What are some special memories you have about your children?
39. What are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?
40. What are the names of your grandparents?
41. What are your children’s names and when and where were they born?
42. What are your favorite things to do now?
43. What are your strongest memories from your time in the military?
44. What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up?
45. What did you do for fun as a child?
46. What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
47. What did you want to be when you grew up?
48. What did your family enjoy doing together?
49. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
50. What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
51. What do you know about your family surname?
52. What do you remember about your parents? Your grandparents?
53. What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
54. What has been your favorite place to visit or travel to as an adult? What did you do there that I should do when I go visit?
55. What is the most important lesson your parents taught you?
56. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?
57. What is your earliest childhood memory?
58. What is your earliest memory of me? What is your favorite thing that we have done together (or that our family has done)?
59. What is your happiest memory of your father? Your mother?
60. What is your happiest memory of your grandfather? Grandmother?
61. What jobs have you had?
62. What kind of games did you play growing up?
63. What kinds of clothes, hobbies, and slang terms were popular when you were a teenager?
64. What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
65. What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren?
66. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
67. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
68. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
69. What trips or vacations do you remember? Which one was your favorite?
70. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
71. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
72. What was your favorite color and dessert as a child? What about now?
73. What was your first job? What was your favorite job?
74. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
75. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
76. What were your favorite games and hobbies? Did you play any sports? What else did you do for fun?
77. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
78. What would be your recipe for happiness?
79. What’s your favorite book or movie and why? What was your favorite when you were young?
80. Where did you grow up?
81. Where have you lived?
82. Where is our family from in the world? How did we get to be located where we are today?
83. Where is our family originally from in the United States (or whatever country you live in)?
84. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
85. Who were some of your friends? What did you do with your friends?
86. Who were your childhood heroes?
87. Who were your heroes or role models when you were young?
88. Why did you choose your children’s names?

10 July 2015

Printing Features at FamilySearch: If it was a snake it would have bit me.

I have been using FamilySearch Family Tree since it was in beta. I love the functionality of the website and the focus on pictures and stories and how user friendly it is to everyone including beginners. I think I have become so focused on finding my people that I have ignored or not noticed some of the features that are available.

This week I attended a meeting where we discussed some of the exciting new features that are being developed for FamilySearch. I finally had time to sit down and blog about the news and started going through beta.familysearch.org to create screenshots for the blog. I started with my person or profile  page and was clicking through the print options on the right hand side of the page.

When I saw the portrait pedigree option I thought about my 52 Questions week 3 post and thought I wish these new features were out when I made that post. I jumped onto my blog and scrolled through my posted and there in my post about Family Search Photo Finds is a screenshot of a profile page and the print options are on that page too. I quickly realized that the beta site that I currently have access to is not the same beta site I saw in my meeting and that these printing features are live on the site right now! I will have to get access to or find images for that gamma site for a later post. I figured that since this was new to me, someone else may appreciate the information. If you already know about it then you'll be left with only the references I made about new features.

The first printing option is the Pedigree Chart. This record makes me glad to know in a time when we are focused on Family History that staples of genealogy are still being thought of and cared for by FamilySearch leaders and developers. This pedigree contains all of the vital information and LDS ordinance information for the person selected and the next three generations of ancestors.

This view of the data in FamilySearch is a good way for me to see any data that is not correctly formatted or missing. I have found plenty of edits I need to make. I am not sure if or when I would print these out. but it is a great way to have off line data in an organized and readable way.

The second printing option of Portrait Pedigree is not a form but a visual representation of the person from whose profile page you selected to print from. The above Portrait Pedigree shows my 2nd great-grandfather, his spouse, children and their spouses, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. I can see I have more pictures to find and link for this part of the tree.

I have discussed the Fan Chart in previous posts. This is a great visual way to display your pedigree or a pedigree of someone in your family. You can also save this as a pdf for your electronic files. I have had this or similar Fan Charts on the wall in my office for several years. This also is a good way to see where possible work may be done in a family or tree.

The Family Group Record information is automatically filled out for the family, including LDS ordinance dates. To my delight, this page is an editable pdf. The blue fields you can see allow you to add or change information. It makes me think of those dot matrix printed sheets that my uncle Michael Hill painstakingly filled out on the computer or the thousands of hand filled Family Group Records genealogists faithfully filled out for their descendants.

The difference between printing Family and Family with Sources is simply the addition of sources. Above is one of 15 pages of sources tied to Samuel and Emma Trotter and their family. Not all Family Group records will contain this many records but they will contain all of the records that are attached to the profiles of the people in the family you are interested in.

That's it. There you have it. Print away.

05 July 2015

What is your mother's name? 52 Questions W5

This week we will focus on the following question -

What is your mother's name?

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this question are:
When and where was she born?
Is she still alive? When did she die?
What is your most vivid image of your mother?
What are some of the most valuable lessons your mother taught you?
Is there anything that you wish you had asked your mother but haven't?

I have also included at the end of this post 105 questions to ask your mother (if you can).

This weeks questions seem a little redundant compared to last weeks. When we begin our family history we need to start with what we know and gather the information we have. This week I had a coworker ask me about how I source my information. I simply said that I started with what I knew and built on that.

In last weeks post I focused on our father's names and the surnames that we have. Western society is tilted toward the male role and family name. I cannot speak as to why that is but to ignore our heritage from our mothers is missing half of the picture, or like a painting without color.

Last December I blogged about some Homemade Genealogy Christmas Gifts I had made for my mother, sister and niece. For the gift I focused on ten generations of their maternal line. I find it fascinating that a direct line of 10 women, each having given birth to the next, are each given different surnames and places on charts in different families. It is equally as fascinating that my daughter has a completely different maternal line.

Anna Catherine Leib (1739) Mary Turtington (1746)
Anna Catherine Weigel (1759) Hannah Merriott (1785)
Sarah Hoblit (1786) Mary Taylor (1807)
Margaret Lucas (1822) Hannah Crompton (1842)
Mary Charlotte Wood (1850) Mary Penelope Thompson (1868)
Henrietta Inez Moler (1896) Penelope Mary Williams (1893)
Wilberta Annette Merrian (1922) Mary Fern Morris (1917)
Linda Lee Bartholomew (194?) Vicki Dee Furniss (194?)
Melissa Trotter (197?) Rachel Jackson (197?)
Alixis Dawn (199?) Lydia Trotter (199?)

matriarchal family can be described as being full of strong women usually headed by a grandmother. My wife's family is definitely matriarchal. When her grandmother was alive everything ran through her. I am not saying that her grandfather did not play an important role but grandma Furniss was a feisty lady who knew how to get others to tow the line. The fact that she only had daughters, who are all equally feisty, makes this a multi-generational matriarchal family.

A matriarchy is a social system in which the mother is the head of the family and the society is governed by women. 
"Anthropologists and feminists have since created more specific classifications for female societies, including the matrilineal system. Matrilineality refers not only to tracing one’s lineage through maternal ancestry, it can also refer to a civil system in which one inherits property through the female line. While the legendary Amazons (probably the most widely known matriarchy) are relegated to mythology, there are a handful of female-led societies that thrive in the real world today."
Many of the traditions, customs, beliefs and values we gain from our mothers. The culture of our family is made up of their contributions and can be a trademark of our families as much as our surnames. The foods we eat, clothing we wear, traditions we hold are all part of our culture. Our heritage can also passed to us by our mothers. In legal terms heritage refers to objects that are passed down or inherited. In Family History terms our heritage is more than objects, it is traditional, a mix of cultures and customs. Heredity has to do with the genetic passing of traits from parents to children. Eye and hair color are examples of these traits.

The lines between culture, heritage, and heredity are sometimes blurred. We deal will all aspects in family history but should be mindful of the differences. According to traditional Jewish law, a person is Jewish if they were born to a Jewish mother. Although being Jewish is not in someone's DNA the tradition holds that the soul is more directly shaped by the mother than the father.

105 Questions to ask your mother:

1. Are you living your dream or are you chasing it?
2. Can I have the recipe?
3. Can you remember one memorable thing that each of your children said, something that surprised you, amused you or impressed you that still sticks out in your mind? 
4. Did you ever win or earn an award?
5. Did you have big fights with your mom when you were growing up? If so, what were they usually about?
6. Did your parents or grandparents ever lose their jobs? What happened? How did they start over?
7. Do you believe in God?
8. Do you believe snitching is a good or a bad thing? Have you ever snitched on a friend?
9. Do you consider cooking and cleaning a woman’s work?
10. Do you have a favorite band or song?
11. Do you have any regrets for something you wish you would have done?
12. Do you like ice cream? What is your favorite flavor?
13. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness?
14. Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family?
15. Has anything ever happened at a family wedding that you’ll never forget?
16. Have you ever been fired before?
17. Have you ever quit anything before?
18. How are you most different from your parents and grandparents? How are you the same?
19. How did you and dad meet?  Why did you marry him?
20. How did your parents change after they retired?
21. How do you deal with criticism?
22. How do you discover new ways to do something i.e. did you brainstorm and put in on paper, did you daydream etc.?
23. How has being consistent changed your life?
24. How important is personal appearance?
25. How much education is enough?
26. How much money is enough?
27. How would people who knew you in high school describe you?
28. How would you define a mother’s role at home?
29. How would you like to be remembered?
30. If you could go back to one day in your childhood, which day would that be? Why?
31. If you could know anything about our family history or about a relative who has passed away, what would you want to know?
32. If you were to win the lottery how would you spend the money?
33. In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?
34. Is there anything that you wish had been different between us? or that you would still like to change?
35. Is there anything that you wish you had asked your parents but didn't?
36. Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?
37. Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?
38. Is there something that you wish you had experienced that you haven't yet experienced?
39. One thing you wanted to hear your father/mother say to you?
40. Tell me a story about a family reunion or family party that you remember attending as a child.
41. Tell me something unique about each of your children?
42. Think of some relatives that have passed away in the last few years. What would they be doing right now if they were with you?
43. Were you a giver or a taker?
44. Were you ever in the newspaper or on television?
45. What are key ingredients for strengthening a family? 
46. What are some of your earliest memories?
47. What are the three happiest moments in your life so far?
48. What are the three things in life to never do?
49. What are the top three things that you stand for?
50. What are you most grateful for?
51. What are your best memories of holidays or family gatherings as a child?
52. What are your favorite childhood memories?
53. What are your favorite stories that grandpa/grandma told (or still tells)?
54. What did you have as a child that kids today don’t have?
55. What did you want to be when you grew up?
56. What did your grandparents do with you that you loved? What did they do that you didn’t enjoy so much?
57. What do you remember about the houses you lived in as a kid? Which one did you like the best?
58. What do you remember most about your dad?
59. What do you remember most about your mom?
60. What habits do you have that are not aligned with your core values?
61. What has been your greatest accomplishment?
62. What has been your greatest struggle?
63. What has been your strategy in challenging your children to do more?
64. What has brought you the most joy?
65. What has surprised you the most in your years?
66. What is better about the world today than when you were growing up?
67. What is the best thing that your grandparents ever cooked? What about your parents?
68. What is the most embarrassing thing your mother or father ever did to you?
69. What is the most rebellious thing you ever did in high school?
70. What is your favorite National Park?
71. What is your favorite hobby?
72. What is your favorite joke? Why?
73. What is your favorite movie or book now?
74. What is your favorite thing to eat?
75. What mistakes taught you the most about life?
76. What talents do you have?
77. What three adjectives would your grandparents use to describe you?
78. What traditions your mother pass on to you and you passed to your children? 
79. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child? How did you overcome it?
80. What was your favorite movie or book when you were a kid?
81. What was your favorite movie or book when you were my age?
82. What was your favorite pet when you were a kid?
83. What was your favorite subject in school?
84. What was your first job and how did it go?
85. What was your greatest trial?
86. What was your relationship with your father like?
87. What was your vision and purpose for your children?
88. What world events have had the most impact on you?
89. What's the greatest game you ever saw?
90. What’s one thing you wish you did differently before you got married or had kids?
91. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
92. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
93. What’s the best thing I can do for you right now?
94. What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a mom?
95. What’s your philosophy on motherhood?
96. What’s your secret to building true friendships?
97. What’s your strategy for taking major risks?
98. When you were a teenager, which family member did you go to for advice? Looking back, was it good advice? 
99. Which do you have more of courage or integrity?
100. Which family member has been your greatest coach in life? How have they coached you? What has made them good at it?
101. Which mistakes taught the greatest life lessons?
102. Which was more important to you being a mother or being a wife?
103. Who were your best friends and why?
104. Why did your parents give you your name?
105. Why do you live here now?