31 August 2015

Do you have any official family documents? 52 Questions W13

This week we will focus on the question -

Do you have any official family documents?

Good follow-up questions that go with this question are:
Do you have birth, marriage, or death certificates for family members?
Do you have deeds, wills, or similar old items which mention the family?
Do you possess or know of certificates or papers from lodges, clubs, or veterans groups?
Do you possess or know of military certificates, discharges, or papers?
Can you give locations of family burial plots?

Now is time to gather family documents. The FamilySearch wiki lists official documents as:
  • Certificates of birth, marriage, and death
  • Wills, deeds, and property records
  • Military service and pension documents
  • Passports
  • Naturalization documents
  • Medical records
  • Licenses (business, marriage, fishing, driving)
  • School records
  • Insurance policies
Search all of your family storage areas, closets, basements, garage, trunks, safe, deposit boxes, and so forth. Encourage your relatives to make similar searches in their storage areas. You may have a relative who may have already gathered some family information.

Keep a record of contacts with family members on your research log. This will help you avoid duplicating your work and can help in following up later. Write notes about interviews, meetings, and reunions. Make copies of e-mails and keep copies of letters.
A research log is a comprehensive list of sources you already searched, or plan to search including the purpose of each search. A summary of significant findings and comments about your search should also be included.

Organizing and documenting as you go saves time in the long run. Documentation makes it easier to find and evaluate your of sources of information. If you wait, you may never do it. This results in lost and wasted time gathering information. You can have a research log for each location, ancestor, or family. Keep it simple. There are different formats for research logs depending on what information you are trying to find.

As a Legacy user I have been using the To-do list as my research log. This is one of the suggestions made in software training's I have taken. The results tab allows for you to report what you have or haven't found and the result of your search.

26 August 2015

Where is your family from? 52Q W12

This week we will focus on the question -

Where is your family from?

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this questions are:
Does your family identify with a specific culture?
Do you follow customs or traditions that were passed down to you?
Can you identify a family members who emigrated to your country?
Do you have family groups in other parts of the country and world?
Do you know the family members who migrated to your area?

Immigration is the movement of people into a country to which they are not native in order to settle there, especially as permanent residents or future citizens. Emigration is the act of leaving one's native country with the intent to settle elsewhere. Migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location.

The usage of family in this question refers to your family in general and not necessarily your immediate family. Family groups form over time and through marriage. Families also migrate and emigrate to different areas. Following these groups of families can help you to trace your family history.

Where is my family from?
This is a question that is based on perspective. My wife and children live in Ogden, Utah. My mother and father also live in Utah but live just over an hour away in Provo. They live in my paternal grandparents, home. Both sets of my grandparents lived and died in Utah during my lifetime. I can safely say that my family is from Utah.

How did they get here?
This for me is the bigger question. As we trace our family history is it important to understand how they arrived where in the location they or their records are found. The four main branches of my family are a great example.

Samuel and Emma Facundus Trotter

The Trotter family came to Utah in 1899 from Louisiana. Samuel Trotter and Emma Irene Facundus investigated and were baptized members if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons in Saint Helena Parish, Louisiana in 1896. almost four years later they boarded a train that brought them west to Utah. They had eight children, one dying as an infant, who were all raised and lived in Utah. I have record of 243 of their descendants in my personal database, most of whom live in Utah.

Benjamin Franklin Taylor migrated twice. First in 1817 with his parents to Lorain County, Ohio from Berkshire County, Massachusetts. In 1840, Benjamin and his wife Ann were baptized members of the L.D.S. Church and started migrating with the Saints in 1843 as they were persecuted in the Midwest and by wagon train to Utah in 1850.

Joseph and Polly Benson Bartholomew
The Bartholomew family came to Utah in 1820 from Indiana. Joseph Bartholomew was raised by his grandfather after his father died when he was 7 and his mother followed in death when he was ten. A family history tells that Joseph was not treated well by his uncles and his grandfather was consumed by political and land dealings. Joseph followed his older sister Christina who had been baptized a Mormon and was leaving Illinois because of persecution. Christina died on the journey and Joseph was taken in by a Mormon family named Benson. Joseph later married Polly Benson and they settled in Fayette Utah.

Alfred and Henrietta Moler Merrian

The Merrian/Marriam family came to Utah when my grandmother Wilberta Merrian Bartholomew moved here with my grandfather to settle and raise their family. They met in Reno, Nevada. I mentioned them in my W6 grandparents post as well as the W2 Where were you born? post. My great-grandfather died in Nevada in 1947 and then my great-grandmother moved to Utah and married again.

The Merrian/Merriam family story is a complicated one. I hope I have documented it correctly and I will review this line as I take classes at BYU Idaho in the Family History program. I believe that they changed their name as they moved back to the United States from Canada in the 1880s. I say back because the Merriam's were loyalists during the Revolutionary War and fled to Canada when the war ended.

Where is my family from?
I understand how my family arrived in Utah. Most of the migration was because of the LDS church and its Westward migration. In the case of the Merrian's, they came to Utah for through marriage. But how did these families come to be in the United States.

How did they get here?
I am at a brick wall with the Trotter line in Louisiana. Although Samuel's travel to Utah is documented little is known about his father. I have information about his mother but nothing about her relationship with Samuel's father.

It looks like the Taylor family came to Connecticut from England around 1640. I have not documented this line so this may not be the truth. However, several family histories have this line as their story.

The Bartholomew family emigrated to Philadelphia aboard the ship William and Sarah from the Netherlands in 1727. Johan and Dorothy Endt Bartholomew had 16 children. I cannot image how many descendants they have.

I found success in tracking the Merriam family across Canada from Connecticut but I am at a brick wall beyond this loyalist ancestor and his wife, John and Susanna Johnson Merriam.

17 August 2015

Have any old family photos, tintypes, portraits, or other likenesses? 52Q W11

This week we will focus on the question -

Do you have any old family photos, tintypes, portraits, or other likenesses?

Other questions that go with this question are:
Can you put a name to a face in your family pictures?
What type of enclosure are your pictures in?
How are your family members dressed in the pictures?
Do you have the original of the picture?


Unless your ancestor was very wealthy, and artist or knew an artist it is not common to have many portrait paintings. However for your ancestors born before 1750 this is your best chance to see what they may have looked like.

I have an image of a painting of my 5th great-grandfather Gen. Joseph Bartholomew. It is the only portrait I know of him. His story is for another blog post.

Even more rare than paintings of your ancestors are sculptures of them. Most people can trace one of their family lines to royalty or a famous figure. These are the best opportunities for a sculpture of a family member.

I have several drawings, sketches and renderings of family members. My post about The Story of the Sensational Shooting in Springfield several of my relatives pictures were drawn for the paper.

Victorian Silhouettes  (1790 to 1840)

During Victorian times Silhouettes became very popular. Although you cannot see their faces some silhouettes give a sense of what they were like.

Daguerreotypes (1839 - 1870)
Daguerreotype of Nauvoo Temple after restoration

Daguerreotypes are early images formed on a polished silver surface. The above image is of the Nauvoo Temple. Very few images of the temple were ever taken and few of those survive till today. This was found in Cedar City and had been donated to the Cedar City chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. One of the archivists for the LDS Church noticed it hanging on the wall.

Daguerreotype of Nauvoo Temple before restoration

Both the Iron Mission Museum where the image was hung and the Daughters of the Utah pioneers thought this was a mirror. Scott Christensen notices the etchings and brought the image back to view. This image played a key role in the design and reconstruction of the temple in Nauvoo. He said the thing that first drew his attention was that the frame was very nice and he couldn't understand why it would hold a mirror.

Calotypes (1845 - 1855)
Calotypes ate early photographs using paper coated with silver. The exposure for the image was near an hour until a chemical process sped up the time. However the image was not as clear as the Daguerreotype so the process never became prominently used.

John Crompton

Ambrotypes (1854 to the end of the Civil War)
Photographs set to glass. These images were very clear but the glass could be easily broken. They are usually encased in a frame or box. My mother has a couple of these on the walls in her home.

Tintypes (1856 to W.W.II)
The tintype was essentially a variant of the ambrotype, replacing the glass with a thin sheet of metal. Ambrotypes often exhibit some flaking of their black back coating, cracking or detachment of the image, but the image layer on a tintype has proven to be typically very durable.

William and Sarah Orton
Cabinet Cards (1866 - 1906)
This style of photograph was mounted on a card. It is said to have been the most common family picture.

11 August 2015

Pedigreeable a new FamilySearch compatible app

Pedigreeable is an app that allows you to produce artistic and well designed family trees for display. The description from the website says Pedigreeable allows you to, "Easily create beautiful, modern family trees in minutes."

The first step is choosing between a circle, balloon or tree template.

The second step is choosing the theme and color scheme of your template.

The third step is filling in your data. This is where linking into FamilySearch comes in handy but you can enter the data if you would prefer. When importing from FamilySearch they give you an option to decide who is the subject of the Pedigreeable.

The app then walk you through a shopping cart with different pricing options. The above tree is the actual size of the free sample.

The different templates and themes give you several different options.

I wish the free images were a little larger because they are a little hard to proof but larger versions are available from the app and allowing you to hand edit the names makes this project a perfect way to display your family tree.

Kinpoint a new FamilySearch compatible app

The description from the Kinpoint download page says, "Kinpoint makes it easy to do Family History by providing a customized experience, focused on what matters to you. Quickly find missing information in your family tree and discover insights into the lives of your ancestors."

Kinpoint provides a way to discover a visual to-do list as you explore your family tree. The basic software allows you to see gold and orange dots where there is missing birth, marriage and death information as well as any ordinances that could be reserved. The premium version allows you to see red, green and blue dots to highlight any timeline, duplication or clean up issues. Missing sources and Record matches that are missing are also shown.

With the app you can grab the section of the tree for any person and drag them to the middle to see their tree. This is a quick way to search and find work that can be done. The left side of the window shows vital, marriage and ordinance information for the person in the center of the tree.

You are also able to view descendants of the person with and you are given the same functionality and information at the previous view.

You can also add or remove generations from your tree view. This view shows me gaps in my lines as well as family groups I can focus working on.

I like how easy it was to navigate through the site. The integration with FamilySearch makes all of the picture and documents available and presented in a visually pleasing way.

The Family view from the top menu bar allows to to graphically visualize the makeup of the family and the work that is available to to for each member of the family.

The bottom of the Family page also shows your relationship to the person and the available pictures of the people in the family line.

The timeline view takes the location from events and sources and plots them on a map. I love this view and the perspective it gives. I also love to see the more information I have the more plot points are added.

For visual people this is a great way to view and explore your FamilyTree. I am seriously considering purchasing the full version of the app for the added functionality it provides. What do you think?

10 August 2015

Hope Chest a new FamilySearch compatible app

When logging in to FamilySearch today and saw a link from the home page for the app gallery. I saw a couple of icons I didn't recognize so I decided to take a look.

Sure enough there was a new app called Hope Chest.  The description of the app says, "Hope Chest will save hours of time clicking through your tree.  Find what you are looking for without all the tedious effort." This is the only directions you get for the app.

I uploaded the app to chrome and gave it a whirl. After installing a Hope Chest icon appears in the top right corner of the web address bar. After navigating to a person in your tree you can search for ancestor or descendants of that person.

I first ran a scan of my own ancestors and after a good hour I was presented with a report of 23 temple opportunities. Most of them were for sealing to spouse. Six of them were for All of the ordinances and four of those were either duplicates or within the 110 year rule.

I then navigated to my 5th great-grandfather and chose a descendant search. After about 45 minutes I got 106 results. Twenty-three of the finds were for all ordinances and only a handful of them were duplicates or under the 110 year rule.

With the free version of the app you need to follow the link to each individuals page and reserve their work. This process was much faster than doing ti by hand. You also can watch as the app moves through your tree finding information.

I will use this tool in the future.

09 August 2015

Do you have any hand made sources of family information? 52 Questions W10

This week we will focus on the question -

Do you have any hand made sources of family information?

Good follow-up questions that go with this question are:
Do you have or know of a family Bible?
Do you have old books with the family name noted?
Do you have letters (especially before 1900) from or to family members?
Do you possess or know of diaries, notebooks, or samplers kept by family members?

Years ago, many Mothers and Grandmothers kept Family Bibles, where they wrote information about Family members, such as births, christenings, marriages, deaths and burial information These Family Bibles are very valuable and when hand written as the events occurred are most usually very accurate. Many Family Bibles are in the family for several generations and contain some information that may not be found at the local court house.

Other items, such as letters, newspaper cuttings and photographs, might also be placed inside a Family Bible. In the United Kingdom, they were common in the Victorian period, and are also found in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. They are often used as sources for genealogical research. Family Bibles that are no longer in the possession of the family may be at a historical or genealogical society. They are sometimes transcribed and published in genealogical periodicals.

The above image is a record of births as recorded by Polly Benson. The first line of the page reads Children born to Joseph and Polly Bartholomew.  These records appear to have been written all at the same time and with the same ink. These records are not considered as accurate as those that are entered as they happen. 

This is the Benson family bible that Polly recorded the information from for the previous bible record above.

The book is well worn and shows its age but is an invaluable resource for our Family History and genealogy.

The above letter is from my 3rd great grandfather James Facundus from Magnolia Louisiana. These type of documents are wonderful resources for your Family History.

The above is a letter from my children's 2nd great-grandfather to their great-grandfather written in 1957.

03 August 2015

Do you know all of your cousins? 52 Questions W9

This week we will focus on the question -

Do you know all of your cousins?

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this question are:
Do you know all of your cousins?
How many of them have you seen?
Who are the new ones?
When did you last see them?
When will you get a chance to see all these relatives again?

As I have grown older my relationships with my cousins has generally become more distant. As we spread across the country it is natural that we are not all as close as we once were. Facebook has helped with this in a lot of cases. I have cousins in Washington, Florida, Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada that I keep much closer tabs on that I could have before. I also have developed relationships with cousins that are related past the first degree.

Cousins can be a great source of information for your family as well as fellow workers in Family History.

My grandfather built his own boat that he would take us fishing in. On a Family Facebook page I asked if anyone had a picture of the boat and my cousin sent in this picture. My cousin and grandmother are in the picture on the boat. Off in the distance is a landmark we used to find out fishing hole on Strawberry Reservoir.

I have another cousin who I barely knew when I was a child. My aunt and uncle were divorced and she and her mother moved away. We went to school together for a year in junior high school but besides that I did not know her much. Now we interact monthly, if not weekly. We both have sons on missions, she knits like our grandma.

I cannot say that I know all of my cousins. But I am excited to get to know more every day. It is important to record the information and pictures that you can. To organize family reunions and information exchanges. Their memories, stories and photos are a valuable resource for Family History.