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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Research Logs and To-Do Lists

This month at the Special Interest Group Meeting for both Roots Magic and Family Tree Maker the discussion started with Research Logs and To-Do Lists.

The difference between To-Do Lists and Research Logs is that a To-Do list is a simple list of things you need to do. Such as find the birth certificate for your grandfather, write a letter, find an obituary or many other things. A research log on the other hand is a record or log of the research you have done. Research logs can be for an individual, a couple, a location or a repository. These two software packages handle the solution in different ways.

At the RootsMagic group meeting, we first watched a video through the Roots Magic’s website at This video was very informative and even though it was shown using an older version of Roots Magic, you should be able to do everything and probably more with a more current version.
Select List on the Main Toolbar and you will find both the To-Do List and Research Log options. The research logs will let you keep track of the research you have done on a person, family or place. 

Options include Add, Edit, Delete or Print your research log. You will probably not be deleting too many research logs, I could see deleting a log you might have for the wrong person, family or place, or if you accidentally created a duplicate log, otherwise you want to keep your logs. The purpose of a log is to be able to review what you have done to determine what you still need to do.
To find out more about what each field could be used for see .
What I like about the Roots Magic research log is that it is basically “fill in the blanks” and you won’t forget to put some important information or fact into your log. Since the log is really easy to use, there should be no excuse not to use this feature. As with anything, you may need to develop a habit of doing a research log.

Now on to Family Tree Maker, under each person, you will find Notes, you have person notes which are by default public, you have research notes which by default are private and then you have tasks which would be a To-Do list. Now the private and public notes are important to remember when you share your database to or as a Gedcom that it will include public notes but not private notes and facts.

To find out more about how to use research logs within Family Tree Maker please refer to

Anyway, the Research notes field is an open area where you just type. So take a page from Roots Magic and think about some of the fields they give you that you might want to include in your note. Such as today’s date, your research objective or goal, what source you used, what was found or not found and conclusions you came to or new goals you may need to make.

Even though not as dummy proof as Roots Magic, it is still a very useful feature to have. I have decided to create a template of sorts under my record in my database. Most likely I will not have research notes for my information therefore it will be an easy place to find what I want for my notes.

Family Tree Maker has been handling To-Do Lists for quite a while. They call them “tasks”. You can access them through the person view and then view them all from the Plan view. Even though through the Publish feature you can print out your tasks, you will find the print option via the Plan view much more useful. You can filter out your task based on user defined categories. Categories could be surnames, locations, record types, etc… I love being able to create any category I want. Plus you can assign more than one category per task. For example: Perhaps you need to find a death certificate, you can assign it to the category by surname, by the county it is in and that it is a vital record or death certificate. Finally, you can flag them completed when you do the task. I love printing out To-Do Lists by category. If I will be visiting a cemetery and I want photos, I can assign them to the exact cemetery and then print out a To-Do List. I just check them off as I walk around taking my pictures.

I may like Roots Magic Research Log, but I love Family Tree Maker’s Task list more than Roots Magic To-Do List. One nice feature of Roots Magic To-Do list is the ability to transfer the completed item to the research log. If you are on a person and select the To-Do list, you have the option to create a list for a person, or family (person’s parents). If the person is married you could also choose your person and spouse (family) for the list. You are given the ability to select an address or repository for the location.

However, Roots Magic doesn't give me the sort option like Family Tree Maker does. As for addresses, I created general task for my repositories and if it is a county look-up, I make sure I have a task with the county courthouse information. I have addresses for not only courthouses, but cemeteries, and libraries. I always have my Task list of just my repositories and it is the first thing in my research folder that I take with me on all trips. I don’t haul my laptop with me to all my repositories, I will write notes on my Task lists and when I get back to the hotel or my home, then I update my research logs and task list with my notes.

Therefore, my Tasks (To-Do) Lists and Research Logs work closely together. My To-Do lists are Tasks that I need to get done and my Research Logs are the results of said tasks.  So now go out there and start recording all your research, not just the successes through your source citations!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Creating an Tree

This week I had the pleasure to help another society member create her first tree on She was adopted and wanted to do a tree on her biological mother's family, since she doesn't know the name of her father, yet!

Anyway, I don't use Ancestry as my genealogy software inputting program, I have Family Tree Maker and my tree syncs with Ancestry. However, I do not input new people, facts or anything else via Ancestry. My Tree(s) on Ancestry are cousin bait or what I use to show family members via my laptop or iPad when I am visiting with them.

I discovered that even though, I have heard that Trees inputting is very similar to doing it via Family Tree Maker, I sort of agree and disagree. Adding a new person is very similar and very simple but attaching documents and such seem cumbersome.

Because the society member is not computer savvy and I wanted this process to be as easy as possible so that she maintains and grows her tree, I helped her with the first three people.

We decided to make the home person her mother and thus we inputted her name, birth date and place and death date and place. Next we added her father and this is where we were allowed to create a tree name and set up privacy settings. Since she wanted to make her tree totally private, I went back into her tree settings, and verified her Privacy Settings were set as Private Tree and then also checked the box next to "Also prevent your tree from being found in searches". At this time, she is not thinking about cousin bait as much as recording her family history.

I also added her grandmother's name and facts we knew. Next I wanted to know how to add a source and or media file. I clicked on 'add media' and it allowed me to either choose from media that is already in my tree or upload media or even create new media such as write a story, record audio or record video. What I wanted to do was add a record transcription found via that was saved as a PDF. However after I attached it, you can't just see the attachment, it wants you to download it and then open it. Not exactly what we wanted, so we decided to change the record transcription from PDF to a jpeg image file. Now you can see the attachment, but we still didn't know if this is what we really want to do, because some of the images she has came from from the Library Edition, since she doesn't have a paid subscription and I felt that it wasn't proper to attach something saved from a "Paid" Ancestry account to your tree for anyone to see (if her privacy settings get changed to public). Even though I haven't read all the way through all the legal stuff on Ancestry's page, I would think this would not be the proper thing to do.

Next we looked at Facts and Sources and I tried to add a source citation. I looked at all the fields and wondered if my society member would be up to keying in all this information? Again, it seemed cumbersome and to me it is so much easier to create a source in Family Tree Maker so we scraped this idea too.

What we really wanted was for her to be on the Overview of the person's page and be able to see the timeline with all the facts and perhaps a title of where she found the information. She has all the sources either printed out or on her flash drive.

I clicked on her mother's birth fact to see what would come up. The fields are Date, Location and Description. I wondered what they meant by description but thought this would be a great place to put the title of her source. For example, we found her birth date as part of her Find a Grave Memorial therefore, the description became Find A Grave Memorial # 99999999, where the 9's are the actual memorial number. If the fact was found via the US Social Security Index on she would put in the title of the source as found via their Card Catalog such as US Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ~ This will enable her to find the documentation again if needed.

Here is an example of what it looked like, I modified one of my entries to show you.
As you can see, my sources added through FTM are view-able when you click on the down arrow next to Sources. It might not be the best solution, but at least it is a start for her to record sources for each fact. If she has multiple sources, she could just add another line in the description for the next source. Since this tree is totally private, it is basically for her to view the lineage and the sources she has used. 

I know this is not totally the proper way to do your genealogy, but I didn't want to discourage her and with her advance age, I wanted her to discover this family that she has never known about and get excited about doing it. Also, as she gets more familiar with inputting facts and such, she can always decided to do sources in more detail. So I guess my objective with this training lesson was to get a system she could easily follow and do. Not bog her down with so much learning that she would give up and quit.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Genealogy Websites

If you are like me, you find that you tend to use the same websites for your genealogy research. I received an email from one of our Society members who too, shares my downfall when researching. She stated that she welcomes ideas about different sites or resources that she may not have tired.

She recommends Legacy Family Tree which offers free weekly webinars online on a wide variety of genealogy related subjects presented by many different experts in the field, mostly on Wednesdays but occasionally on Fridays as well. The webcasts last for about an hour to one and a half hours long. Check out the schedule at for upcoming sessions. I personally have attended these and learn a lot from them. Since I normally volunteer on Wednesdays at my local genealogical library I miss the live presentations, but they offer one week of free viewing afterwards. However, you can purchase a membership and view hundreds of hours of past webinars and print out handouts too.

Another site this member suggested was that has an extensive offering of books and guides about all phases of genealogy, research and history. They offer a free Genealogy newsline email newsletter. I too found this website and subscribe to the newsletter and enjoy reading it weekly.

She finally asked, aside from some of the standbys like Ancestry, Find a Grave Fold 3 and other well-used sites, what are some resources that have helped you?

Before I answer her question, I would like to say that after volunteering in the Library and teaching some beginning classes, the only website that most people know about is Many don’t know about Find A Grave, Fold 3, and others. 

I personally seem to use, and Find-A-Grave. I have a subscription to Ancestry and is mostly free until it directs you to other sites for the images. One of the sites it directs you to is Ancestry and thus I am cover but the other is Fold 3 which I don’t have. However, our Society offers Ancestry, Fold 3 and on their three computers from October through May. All I have to do is bring a flash drive and save whatever I find.  

After receiving this email, I decided to look at and revamp the links on our society webpage at . I made sure all the links still work, I group our local links on top and some tools way at the bottom.

I find a lot of new links to try from my subscription to Family Tree Magazine plus on their website at Just change the year in the link to 2013 or 2012 and you will find past years links back to 2010. A lot are duplicates, and older list might have broken links to websites that don’t exist or if they changed their address, but are still fun to look at.

So what are some resources that have helped you?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Social Media Advice

I just read a blog as part of LinkedIn that is titled “7 Worst Advices We Ever Heard About Social Media” and it struck a chord with me.
First of all, I agree that Social media accounts can be a wonderful thing because this is a way your society can stay connected with their members and supporters. However, our genealogical societies cannot afford to have a negative impact with our online presences.

The first advice I have heard is “Create accounts on all social media websites”. When I first heard this I thought YEAH. But being the person who must maintain these presences I thought “UM, wait a minute, do I have time for all of this.” This is exactly the point the Blog made too. The more accounts you have, the more time you will need to manage and be active on each one.
Therefore I thought, I would post the same update on each social media site. However, they warned me that the same people may follow you on multiple sites and your followers don’t want to see the same thing everywhere. Plus different sites expect different types of content. Their example: on Twitter users mostly want text based updates, while Facebook users want image posts.

So let’s say you decide to have only one online presence, they also warn about posting too much or too many posts each day. We all want to be active but let’s face it; none of us want to appear desperate either.  Too many posts can turn our followers off and in turn they may turn you off or unsubscribe and stop following you.
The articles fourth point is one not to overlook: Social media can replace email marketing. Luckily I knew this was not true. I personally know many society members who have no social media accounts. I find that email is still the best way to contact our members, we even have a few members with no email and we still connect with them the old fashion way via snail mail. It is important to keep all your members actively involved in your society. I use social media as a way to inform those followers who are not members of our activities. If the followers are members too, a lot of them know to check their email for more detail.
Points five and six I didn’t know really how to do. Point five was about using a robot to post updates automatically and six about using popular hash tags to gain more views. I know how to write blogs and schedule them to post at certain times and days but not how to have automatic updates done by an outside system. Even though I know about hash tags and some social media platforms automatically add them, I don’t know how to change those automatic ones. Of course I have seen those Tweets with tons of hash tags which are a little overkill. I understand their point that using popular tags does not promote your organization, but use popular, general ones sparingly.

Finally, the last advice that if your Industry doesn’t use social media, neither should you. Well, on this note, you might find your society doesn’t want to use social media, but I would advise against that option. How are people going to find your society? Many societies have “static” webpages and when I mean static, they don’t change regularly. Some I have noticed don’t even change for years, a big mistake. But that is for another Blog, social media sites such as Facebook allows you to post current events or activities for the world to see. If your society is an active society perhaps people want to come and join. Social Media is a great place to post your meetings, your programs, your speakers, your classes, your trips, your projects, and any other information. Your website might tell this information but social media is like a press release and gets the information out around the time of the event and is like a reminder for your followers.

Their final advice: target one or two major social media accounts to use all the time. Post real updates when you have to, with valuable information. I totally agree, so know I need to revisit my societies social media presences and see which ones are really used and should keep.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursday's Treasure - More Treasures from the Archives

by Laurie Scheeler
2nd Vice President

Keyes & Hentz families

On my latest “library” treasure hunt I came across a great collection featuring the Keyes and Hentz families. Unfortunately we found no information about who donated the material or when. After trying to contact two local Keyes families listed in the phone book and having no luck, I did a search on for persons researching this family and emailed several of them. Two people responded and were very interested in the material. After they discussed it amongst themselves, a family member in Georgia was willing to share the material with others and the box was shipped to her.

This is a fascinating family which includes authors, poets, and artists as well as military, political and
istorical figures.

Our journey begins with a journal written by Marianna Hentz in beginning in 1861, her journal begins with a family history relating to Nicholas Arnould Hentz in France during the French Revolution. Nicholas was an appointed member of the National Convention in 1789, this convention eventually led to the Revolution. He became a General for the Revolution and was imprisoned in the Castle of Ham, which was a famous prison which contained many famous prisoners including Napoleon III. The prisoners were allowed some freedom and Nicholas lived under an assumed name of Arnould. After the
Revolution he was ordered to leave the country within 30 days
, along with all the survivors who signed the warrant for the execution of Louis XVI.

Nicholas and his family left from Havre, France for New York where they landed March 25, 1816, with the little fortune which survived the Revolution. His descendants and their families are listed in detail in the book. The remainder of the book is filled in longhand, details of the politics behind the Revolution, quotes from Nicholas and perhaps many historically significant events. Since the writing is quite small and lengthy, although quite legible I will leave it to historians to sift through.

The next generation sees 4 children who include Nicholas Marcellin Hentz noted artist, entomologist, identifying 124 species of spiders, medical doctor and Professor of languages at several Universities. He married Caroline Lee Whiting, noted novelist, most noted for her opposition to the abolitionist movement. She was a major literary figure in her day, often compare to Harriet Beecher Stowe, her contemporary but opposite in feeling on slavery. Her Feelings would come into play in later years in the family during and after the civil war.

Nicholas Marcellin Hentz and Caroline lee Whiting had 5 children, one of whom died early. Their daughter Julia Louisa Hentz married into the Keyes family and became a well-known poet in her own right. Her poems earned praise throughout the Confederacy during the Civil War. There were copies of many of her poems in the box of material as well as poems by several other family members. One envelope contained some family letters written by Julia from Brazil after the War. They were marked as original and the only ones "Known to exist".

The Hentz and Keyes families lived in the South and were primarily pro slavery, as depicted in many documents, copies of speeches and family letters. After the Civil War many members of the family chose to leave the United States and move to Brazil, along with many other Southern families. The Emperor of Brazil offered incentives for Confederate families to come to his country to help develop plantations educate and build railroads.

A copy of a 212 page typewritten manuscript titled "Our Life in Brazil" was included in the box. (It was printed in the Alabama historical quarterly, vol 28, no. 3-4, pages 127-339 which can be found at this link ttp://

There was also a published short story titled "When Americans were Emigrants". This story was published by a Kansas City Paper, June 16, 1912. It is quite an interesting short story about the history of this family and others during the time shortly after the Civil War. I retained a copy of this story for our library plus a copy will be published to our blog at a later date. Most families returned to the United States after several years in Brazil. (If you have family from the South that disappeared after the civil war you might look into this possibility.)

Two copies of another interesting booklet titled "A Sailor's Manuscript", published by the University of Pennsylvania, dated 18 Dec, 1859 were found in the box. It depicts a history of the Keyes family, coming from England. One copy was retained for our library.

Many items in this box are duplicates of material found in collections owned by The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and The University of Alabama. They are important historical documents.

Of equal importance is the rich history and detailed family trees found in this collection.

At some point after World War 2, Merrit Hentz Keyes and his wife Nancy found their way to Lake Havasu City, most likely during the 70's or 80's. Merritt died in Lake Havasu in 1992 and is buried here. It would seem reasonable to assume this is how this material found its way to our library. After many years of safekeeping we a pleased to reunite it with the rightful family and know it will help with their genealogy projects. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Sharing - History of Dr. Dana Gibson and Rosemary Bower Pierce Gibson

By Laurie Scheeler
2nd Vice President

In going through the Archives at our genealogy library, we came across a box donated by Dr. E. Dana Gibson, prior to his death in 2000. This box has been just waiting for use to open and discover the treasures inside.

Dr. Gibson, a Lake Havasu resident from the early 80's to his death in 2000 was renowned expert in early data processing and business automation. he co-authored a number of business education textbooks and classroom resources with his colleague Lynn Straub while they were on staff at San Diego State University. His wife Rosemary was co-authored of some books with her husband. Dr. Gibson was considered to be about 20 years ahead of his time in business automation and was named Professor Emeritus of Information management at San Diego State University after his retirement.

Dr. Gibson and his wife were world travelers, including Africa and Central America, where they were often involved in research project relative to the evolution of business methods within various countries. Dr. Gibson was very generous with his resources, The Presbyterian Community Park on Avalon Ave had its origins in his Generosity.

The couple left no children or known relatives according to his January 16, 2000 obituary. Further research found that Dr. Gibson was born in Worthington, Minnesota on April 5, 1906 to James and Genevieve (Jennie) Gibson. He has two sisters, Ermie (1906), Ruth (1908) and a brother Dyerald (1913). He married Rosemary Pierce in Las Vegas on June 16, 1956. His given name was Ernest Dana Gibson.

Treasures in the Box

1950 Yearbook-DEL SUDOOESTE COLLEGE which is now known as San Diego State College. The book is in fair to poor condition with many pages stuck together. Dr. Gibson is listed as a Professor of Commerce at the school during this time.

Rosemary Bower Pierce was born February 15, 1914 in Trafford, PA to Howard Leroy Pierce and Mary Elizabeth Bower. She was the only surviving child, a set of twins died as infants prior to Rosemary's birth. Rosemary died February 17, 1978 in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Most of the material in the box relates to Rosemary Pierce's family. a full genealogy book is included giving education, church and political affiliations, birth, death, marriage, children and occupations of her family members. The bulk of the research began with her father and there is a full folder containing correspondence between Mr. Pierce and the Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, New Jersey, ( during the 1940's.

The Pierce family seems to be early settlers in New Jersey and are of the Quaker Faith during this time. Their roots lead back to England.

  • Typewritten listings of Gandy Family Bible, from 1798 to 1914 plus another listing from Wolf Bible from 1797 to 1882.
  • Type letter dated 1945 with family stories.
  • Copy of the last will and testament of James Poarce, dated 1694. This will was found in the Books of Wills, Secretary of State's Office, Trenton, NJ, pg 138. I found this person on spelled this way, the name was later changed to Pierce.
  • Pierce family notes
  • Pages of real estate papers, maps, etc.
  • Large group of vital stats from Trenton, NJ about the Pierce family
  • Album with Pierce family data and photos from early 20th century to 1940's
  • Album with Pierce family data, 1st page is interesting giving history of Puritan (New England and Quaker Pennsylvania relationships)
  • Album with Harris family data tied to Gandry family
  • Listing of Settlers of Fairfield, NJ, dated March 2, 1912
  • Land records search by Hazel Simpson, letter to Howard Pierce, dated Oct 28, 1942.
  • Correspondence to Howard Pierce regarding deeds, plats, research.
  • Typewritten letter to "Barbara" from "your Uncle" presumably Howard Pierce. Lots of good family information and history, dated 1945.
  • Handwritten letter from Howard Pierce to Mrs. Theodore C. Schumacher
  • Misc. handwritten notes, regarding Pierce family
  • Typewritten notes Pierce family 4th thru 8th generation - 1768 to 1920 1 page of 2nd gen 1694
  • Typewritten history of Gandy family of West Jersey, 1635 to 1932 including lists from Gandy Bible and Wolf Bible - 2 copies, original and Xerox copy
  • List of marriages in Cumberland and Atlantic counties since 1848 to 1876.
We would like to reunite this information with the family so they may enjoy the multitude of facts, history and stories about this early colonial family.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Online Learning

Even the most experienced researchers need to continue their learning. We might be strong in one area and weak in another or perhaps we just want a refresher or a different perspective on a research topic. Whatever the reason, we can always find online learning to take our family history research to the next level.

Therefore, when I received an email from the New England Historic Genealogical Society ( that talked about what is NEW at the Online Learning Center, I thought I should share this with my genealogical society.

The library will be closing soon for summer, since many of us travel during the hot summer months of Arizona. Thus, our share sessions, general meetings and special interest groups will be halted too. But our learning doesn't have to stop just because the library will be closed.

Check out the following:

New at the Online Learning Center
Watch How-To Videos and Lectures 
Want to learn how to get the most from How to write and publish your family history? Or how to find your early New England ancestors? Our video series, featuring NEHGS experts, can help! 

Archived Webinars 
Watch previously broadcast webinars on topics ranging from using to Irish research to writing and publishing your family history. (Videos range from 45 minutes to a little over an hour in length.)

Brief Video Lectures 
Get a quick introduction to best practices in genealogy, identifying Civil War ancestors, and more. Created in partnership with Family Search. (Videos are approximately 10 to 15 minutes long.)

How-To Videos 
Want to learn how to save searches on, or how numbering works inahnentafel or Register-style publications? Our short how-to videos can help! (Videos are approximately 2 to 3 minutes long.)

Our growing Online Learning Center contains subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, informative videos, webinars, online courses, and more. If you have questions or feedback, contact Online Education Coordinator Ginevra Morse at

So whether you will be traveling or staying this summer, try to fit a little learning in each and every week. Life is short and before you know it, summer will be over and what will you have to show for it? Come back in the fall or next spring and share what you learned through online learning!