08 September 2017

Using Exploring Family Trees

This morning I was catching up on reading my blog feeds. I came across a post on Lara's Jewnealogy from September 7th called Endogamy, A Closer Look (Part 1). I admit that most of Laura's analysis is over my head. However, the visual display of the tool she used from https://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/ is intriguing.

This tool allows you to upload a GEDCOM for your family. In the above case my GEDCOM contains a few too many names. However, the tool allows you to switch the beginning person for the tree.

One thing I noticed in this tool is where the branches of my tree cross. I have never seen this type of relationships shown before.

One of the options in the charting is to display country flags of birth. The right hand side of my tree has a whole branch from Scotland. My wife's family on the left has a branch with the Welsh flag.

You can select each node or flag to find out information about the person. You can also flip the chart to see the descendants of each person.

The creator of this tool has posted Features of a Web-Based Family Tree Visualization Tool where he gives instructions about how to use the tool.

I like the tool and the depth of information it provides. Thanks again to Brad for making the tool available and for Laura in posting about it in her blog.

02 April 2017

History of Martha Jane Johnson Taylor

Written by her oldest daughter Elma Taylor Haws, June 1979

My mother, Martha Jane Johnson was born to Benjamin H. and Sara Jane Tidwell Johnson on June 5, 1875 in Scipio, Millard County, Utah. She attended school there and when she was 18 years old, she went with her sister, Ida to Juab, Juab County, Utah to work for my grandmother Taylor, who ran the hotel there. Juab was a railroad center at that time and there were 35 or 40 families who lived and worked there. It was while she and her sister were working at Juab that they met my father, Theodore Thaddeus Taylor, and his brother, Nephi Martin Taylor, and married them. Father ran Grandfather Taylor’s store and was paid $35 a month, but when he got married, his pay was raised to $40 per month. They were very frugal and were able to manage on this small amount. They lived in a little apartment that my grandfather owned. When I was only 1 year old, my parents went to the Manti Temple [27 Jan 1898] and were married, and had me sealed to them.

When my brother, Theodore, was just a baby, father was called on a mission to California [21 Oct 1899]. He became very ill and was sent home after about a year [20 Mar 1900]. We lived in a two-story house, and a family named Carter lived in part of it.  Mr. Carter worked in the round house where the engines and railroad cars were repaired. They were a very musical family.  Mr. Carter played the violin, Jim played banjo and mandolin, and a daughter, LaReal, played organ or piano. They played for the dances and entertainments in all the towns around. We had a large living and dining room combined that took 40 yds. of homespun carpet. When the neighborhood wanted a dance, up would come our carpet and mother made all the arrangements for an evening of festivities. Everyone brought something for the for the lunch and they would put all the children to sleep on the floors. How I remember those big thick meat sandwiches and homemade ice-cream and cake. They would sing and dance for hours and when the Carter’s needed a rest, father would play the harmonica. He would put a frame over his head and sometimes he would play the mandolin. What wonderful times we had, as we had to make our own fun.

Besides the large room that we used as dining room and parlor, our house had two small bedrooms and one big bedroom upstairs. On the west of our house we had a large summer kitchen we used in the summer. In this kitchen was a trap door, that went into a big cellar. This is where mother put her fruit, butter, milk, cream, vegetables, and eggs, or whatever she had to store. She was a good wife and mother, an excellent housekeeper, and a wonderful cook. We always had hot biscuits, some kind of meat, fried potatoes, she had boiled the night before, and some milk and jam for breakfast. None of us liked milk very well. She was very particular about her bed and stove. She always got up before anyone else to polish her stove, which was done with a black polish clean and then brushed until it would shine. Her bed was always spotlessly clean and had a pretty spread and shams on it. No one got into this bed unless they were sick. She always used a big drawer in the book case where the baby clothes were kept. We always had our clothes washed and ironed neatly, mended and the buttons sewed on. We knew that our Sunday clothes were to be changed after church and neatly put away.

A large family by the name of Stephenson lived across the street from us. Brother Stephenson was the railroad foreman who kept the tracks in order, and was also our bishop. When the railroad moved to Lynndyl most of the people went there also. When they left, my mother and father took over the hotel from Aunt Mame and Uncle John Nighton. 
We cooked for the freight crew, when they would call from Nephi and tell us how many to prepare for. We had to have the meal ready by the time they arrived in Juab. We also cooked for Mr. Clinton, the Station Agent. It was very hard for my mother to take care of a big family and have so many other jobs to take care of, too. The hotel was located between two railroad tracks. You could touch the trains as they passed by. The children were taught to run for the house whenever the train was in town. People from all around the area would stay with us when they were taking the train to Salt Lake City or Calif.

Mother was always happy to help out whenever anyone needed help. Mrs. Hoover told me today that she never could have raised her family if it hadn’t been for my mother. The Hoover’s lived across the street from us in Provo, Utah and we have always been real close and good friends of the family. Mrs. Hoover is still living near me and is in her nineties. Mother was a very unassuming person and never talked about people. She liked to be seen, but not hear, and never liked to be on the front seat. Father was a good provider and tried to help mother with her large family by getting new and useful things for running the house. We had the first gas lights, water in the house, record player, radio, and washer that run by water. When we were young, mother hired a Mrs. Shepherd in Levan to make out best dresses. I remember going with her to take material for all of us, and to get measured. When I grew older, I did the sewing for the family. Father would go to the Knight Woolen Mills each summer and get material for all of us a coat, and then I made them up for winter. Father was a good buyer as he had worked in the store for such a long time. He went to Salt Lake City and bought our shoes, and often sent away to England for materials.

One of the saddest things in mother’s life happened on December 8, 1908. A little son, Ralph, was accidentally shot and killed by his playmate after school. They had taken a gun from the teacher’s desk, that an older brother brought to school, and the teacher had taken away from him. This was a terrible shock to the whole family as he was such a sweet, loving child. He looked a lot like out brother, Grant, and was not quite eight years old. Mother was never well after this, as the shock was so much for her.

Father, and the whole family, mother, me, Theodore, Mabel, Lucy, and Emma were called on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands in the Fall of 1910. This was a great sacrifice for my parents and especially for mother. The sold their furniture and belongings, or gave away to relatives or friends. Aunt Loretta got mother’s prize stove and book case, Uncle Will got our organ, and I don’t remember where all of our things went. We left for our mission in Feb. It was so cold and we knew not where or what we were going to and mother was expecting her next child in April. She had a strong faith and was willing to go wherever the Lord called her. She was the Mission Mother and father was in charge of the mission store in Laie. 
Theodore T. Taylor can be seen in the back of store on the right.
Whenever Brother Wooley, the Mission President, was away, father was put in charge of the mission. At conference time, there would be 52 Elders and Sisters at the Mission Home, and it was mother’s job to take care of them. Cook their meals, change their beds, and even see that their laundry was done by the Japanese laundress. Oh, how I hated to iron those pleated white shirts and big dusters that brother Wooley wore. We had to use charcoal irons and they were a big job. If any of the missionaries were sick or needed help, mother was there to do her duty, even though her health was getting quite poor. She often carried meals to the sick or listened to people who needed advice. She was a peacemaker at all times.

In 1911, we were released to come home as mother was very ill and the doctor said she should go to a cooler climate. We came to Provo to live, as our parents wanted us to go to BYU. We rented a house belonging to a Sperry family on the corner of 4th North and University Avenue. Later, father built a house at 593 North 1st West. We all attended BYU from kindergarten to high school. One year, nine of us attended. Mother felt better back in Utah and her health improved. She became the mother of twin girls, and also had another boy. This completed her family of nine children, two boys and seven girls: Elma, Theodore, Mabel, Lucy, Emma, Laie, Fay, Fon, and Grant.

The flu was raging over the country in 1919 and while father was away in Juab, mother and all of us children were stricken at once. Mother was not very strong and therefore unable to withstand the disease. She died on April 4, on her 25th wedding anniversary. Grant, the youngest was only 2 years old, and since father had to be away on the ranch in Juab, Bruce and I were married on April 16, and immediately took charge of the big family. It was quite an experience for us, but I had had training from my mother and Bruce was a big help. He never complained about the many tasks as was so willing to help out. I had to do all the sewing, cooking, washing, and ironing to keep them going. I have always been thankful I was able to stay in the home and take care of my brothers and sisters so as to keep them all together. Mother was very fond of Bruce and all during her sickness, she would ask to have him come and be with her. He had already contracted the disease while in the Army in France so was able to come in where all of us were so sick. He was with her when she died. Her back bothered he so much all the time, and she fought so hard to live and be able to take care of her husband and raise her family.

We were all blessed in having such wonderful, good parents and such a sweet loving mother. God bless her memory, always.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

These words were written by her son-in-law, Wilford BruceHaws, who knew and loved her so much:
I write these few words in eulogy to one of the dearest little mothers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Martha Jane Johnson Taylor. She was a dear friend to be possessed by anyone.

She was small of stature and plain of face, yet possessed the virtues only to be found among those proven Saints who had been driven into the West, where the worship of God and the living of an honest life could be enjoyed.

She was the mother of my wife, Elma, and having known the mother, bore a living testimony that if the daughter followed in the footsteps of the mother, she couldn’t help but be a choice spirit.

14 January 2017

RootsMagic vs. Legacy?

This my third journal entry for my BYU-Idaho FHGen120 class. I did not post my last entry because it was a little too personal for me to share publicly. Each journal request begins with a quote.

 "After you find the first few generations, the road will become more difficult. . . . You will be tempted to stop and leave the hard work of finding to others who are more expert or to another time in your life. But you will also feel a tug on your heart to go on in the work, hard as it will be. As you decide, remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. . . . Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them."
Henry B. Eyring, in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 82; or Ensign, May 2005, 79-80. 

What were your experiences?
This week was all about RootsMagic. This class focuses on using technology for family history. Because of the many different programs available BYU-I has decided to use RootsMagic as a tool for their students to use. I understand the need for a database of your own. I have been a Legacy user for longer than I can remember. I attended a Family History class at my church and the couple teaching the class were legacy users. I began using Legacy while PAF was still available but I never used PAF. I feel I am an advanced user of Legacy. I have taken several classes, watched the Legacy Webinars with Geoff Rasmussen since they started. I even met Geoff and took a selfie with him. I guess I am some sort of Legacy fanboy. 

When Legacy 8 rolled out I was impressed with some of the functionality but also dissatisfied with common program errors I was seeing with the source clipboard. If I leave Legacy open for more than a day or If I added more than two sources the clipboard would be blank the next time I opened it and Then the program would shut down. I had to restart my computer to get the clipboard to work again. I remember speaking to a Legacy representative at the Legacy booth, at the Ogden FamilySearch Library Conference at Weber State University, and telling him about my frustration. He took me aside and had me show him on my computer the error I was getting. Luckily, I was familiar enough with the program I could replicate the error in no time. He told me they would address the issue and thanked me for drawing it to his attention.

The next year at the same conference he asked me if the error had been resolved. I told him no. He took my information and had a tech call me to get information about my system, the other programs I use and how to generate the error. Within a few weeks they made an update and made the error much less frequent. Then they made another update and the error returned. I have modified the way I use the source clipboard to reduce the number of errors I get. Now I cannot predict when it will happen. I just shut down my computer much more regularly.

I paid for and downloaded RootsMagic almost two years ago when I started my classes at BYU-Idaho. I soon after attended RootsTech and visited the RootsMagic booth. I asked how to get me carefully crafted sources working in RootsMagic and they told me it was impossible. That the import would only transfer the information as text instead of the active database I have crafted for over ten years. I am at a crossroads and I am still not sure what path to take.

One things I can say about Legacy is that I feel very comfortable using it. I know it inside and out. I also see the same representative at their booth at the different conferences I have attended here in Utah. He always remembers me and seems sincerely interested in me as a consumer and friend. When I attend the RootsMagic booths they seem like a real circus. I get different answers depending on who I talk to. They appear very polished and well-funded compared to Legacy. RootsMagic also seems very popular with conference attenders and my fellow employees.

What did you learn?
I learned that RootsMagic has many of the same functions as Legacy. I assume that most genealogy programs have to have similar functionality because they track similar items and their users have similar needs. I learned that RootsMagic also has record numbers but I find the way I use the RIN numbers in Legacy would not be as useful or helpful as the comparable record numbers in RootsMagic.

My naming standard for files of images and documents in my database use the person’s name followed by a dash, then a keyword about the type of record, then the RIN number of the person in my file. RichardJuniorTrotter-birth-RIN11.jpg

I can find people in Legacy by RIN number more easily as I can by their name. This functionally may be available in RootsMagic but I am not as familiar with the program as I am Legacy. This is a base function of Legacy and a key to the personal resources I have gathered.

I also learned that RootsMagic has a built-in research log! As I have taken classes from Legacy they have downplayed the need for a research log. They have said that the Events/Facts that are assigned to each person serves as a log, along with the To-Do list with the ability to report and track needed items and results of the search. The Legacy To-Do list can be assigned in-general and to individuals. I admit I do not use the functionality of the To-Do list as much as I feel I would a research log.

RootsMagic has a real research log accessible throughout the program. You can name the log, assign it in general or to a family, person, event, or place. You also define the objective of the log and then can add separate items to the log. Each item has a date and reference number as-well-as the ability to state what you are trying to find, what source you checked, where you checked, and the results of your search. The tutorials from RootsMagic, like Legacy, suggest that you also use the To-Do list in conjunction with the research log. Tasks can be defined as well as the details of the task and where you suggest to look for the item/fact. I LOVE the fact that from each To-Do task you can click a button and transfer the task to the research log. This resolves so many questions I have had about incorporating a research log with my database. Knowing what I know now, this functionality alone may have sold me on using RootsMagic.

The last thing I would like to mention about what I learned about sourcing in RootsMagic. Much of the way sources are created is the same between Legacy and RootsMagic. They have some subtle differences but both do a good job creating the information. However, Legacy allows me to not only create the source but also to add it to the source clipboard. This subtle difference may be lost on some but for me it is a huge difference, and the reason I now understand why transferring source information from Legacy is handled so poorly.

The source clipboard in Legacy allows you to attach the source you have entered to specific facts or events. For example, I find a census record for a family. I can enter the source and add it to the clipboard. Then I can simple click one button and add the source to each data entry point. This is useful because the census record may have a different spelling for a name than you have recorded. You can add the alternate name and tag just that name with the source. Then later when you are evaluating or doing further research on that person you can look at all the alternate names to see which one has the most sources. If you are confused about where to look for records you can pull up a residence location and see how many documents point to each location.

This is different from RootsMagic in that attached sources are for events/facts in general, not for each fact. An individual’s record is made up a many details; names, dates, locations, evidence/facts. In Legacy each detail can be sourced, in RootsMagic all the details are treated as one fact and sources as applied to all details as a whole. This makes weighing and evaluating your research harder. It also makes those who are following your research look through many more files for specific details. For this reason alone, I have so far decided that Legacy will be my main database and research tool.

What obstacles did you have and how did you overcome them?
There were no real obstacles for the class this week. Honestly, this is the best week I have had in classes from BYU-I. I feel a learned a great deal about what they wanted me to learn and I also answered many other questions I had about RootsMagic. This truly is a great tool for beginner and intermediate users. If I were not 11,000 plus sourced names in Legacy I would have switched. I am hoping the ability to source small details truly helps my research more.

What tender mercies or miracles did you witness?
I have long had the knowledge of the importance of a personal family history database, and also of the power and importance of sourcing information. This week I saw a glimpse of how a research log can help me and how it can work with a database. This is a clearest view I have ever had about research logs. I will need time to see how it will benefit my research.

As stated above I have learned many things this week. A tender mercy that was witnessed to me this week was that I trust Heavenly Father. He loves me. If I live worthily he will bless me. I have the ability to accomplish his work. I need to continue to trust in him. I have more than a hope of his love for me, I believe do does. This tender mercy came to me through work related experiences that were revealed this week and not necessarily though this specific assignment.

Do you have any helpful tips to share?
I would encourage anyone to learn about the Legacy Source Clipboard. Here are several links to learn about it:

A great resource is this free webinar: http://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=201

I would also encourage you to watch the RootsMagic webinar #32 New Research Log and Manager in RootsMagic 5: http://files.rootsmagic.com/webinars/2012-03-29-New-Research-Logs-and-Manager-in-RootsMagic-5.mp4

What resources were most useful to you?
The resources in class pointed to the RootsMagic webinars. I am not sure I can discuss much more than that in a public forum.

In what ways did you receive “more than your own strength?”
I have felt this blessing of more than my own strength many times in my life when trying to accomplish something. The lesson this week brought me clarity of the research tool in RootsMagic. I know there is much work to be done. I have already started my personal research from the beginning. I have learned much and found much in my research. I know there is more to learn and do. This week I learned that I am not the only one who wants the work done. This is where more than my own strength comes from.

02 January 2017

A new year and a new post

I can't believe the year has gone by so quickly. I have fallen off the wagon for posting to this blog. I am still active with my family history. I have been taking family history classes from BYU-Idaho for the last year and a half. It seems this has taken most of my extra time, that and two hours commuting to work and back each day. I think I have fallen into a rhythm with the assignments and classes. It is much harder than I first thought it would be.

This semester as part of my class work I am supposed to keep a journal to record my personal experiences with my lessons and my personal family history. This journal can be a part of my blog which I hope may benefit others. I am supposed to answer the following questions:
  • What were your experiences?
  • What did you learn?
  • What obstacles did you have and how did you overcome them?
  • What tender mercies or miracles did you witness?
  • Do you have any helpful tips to share?
  • What resources were most useful to you?
  • In what ways did you receive "more than your own strength?"
The final question in in reference to a talk by Henry B. Eyring in April 2005.
"After you find the first few generations, the road will become more difficult. . . . You will be tempted to stop and leave the hard work of finding to others who are more expert or to another time in your life. But you will also feel a tug on your heart to go on in the work, hard as it will be. As you decide, remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. . . . Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them."
 I want to share as much as I can but materials from BYU–I and related sites may be protected by US Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. I will share as much as I can while also trying not to violate the copyright agreement.

What were my experiences?

The first lesson was a review of things I already new and information specific about the class and the expectations from it. As part of my introduction to the other members of the class I was asked to read several different quotes from LDS church leaders about the work of family history and technology we use to do the work. I am familiar with each quote especially the remarks from Elder Bednar's October 2011 talk that refers to the the youth having been trained, "to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord."

What did I learn?
I did not learn from my class more than I mentioned above.

What obstacles did I have and how did I overcome them?

Luckily because of the first week I did not have any obstacles, besides finding time to complete the work. This seems to be a theme for me but not just for my class work. I also struggle to find time for a lot of other activities I try to do. I did accomplish getting my hair cut this weekend.

What tender mercies or miracles did I witness?

This week I spoke on the phone with a Steven Gomez, whose father served with my grandpa Trotter beginning at  at Camp McCall. Steven is part of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team and jumps out of a P-57 that was used in operation Dragoon. Steven says there is a man named Fred Brown who lives in Port Arthur, Texas who was in the 460th B battery with my grandpa Trotter. Steven has been to several of the conventions and gatherings for the 517th over the years. He knows a lot about the 460th and their battles in the war. He asked if grandpa has told any stories about the war to me and I said very few. I told him about the interview my uncle Darce recorded with my grandpa and he said he would like to see it. He also said he had a photograph of the battalion with the names of each person that he would send me. I will share when I get it.

I also became reacquainted with the website for the 517th at www.517prct.org.

Do I have any helpful tips to share?

I do but noting new from this week. I have been in several meetings for this years RootsTech conference. I am excited for the opportunity to be involved with the team this year. I am assigned to the mobile app. I will know more about the app when more information is loaded to it but it is now available to download.

What resources were most useful to me?

Besides the 517th website I have been reviewing hints from FamilySearch and MyHeritage. I have also been trying to clean up my Legacy database and sources. It looks like I will be using RootsMagic more this semester so I will be reviewing the way I keep my digital files as well as learning more about using RootsMagic.

In what ways did I receive "more than your own strength?"

I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about the proper way to record my family history and resources I can use to do so.