Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Bloggiversary to Me!

Wow, I can't believe it's been 7 years since I started blogging. Yes, it has been a while since I wrote a post, but still, for me to keep on keeping on with it is amazing to me!

2016 was an epic year. One of the highlights was finding an obit for a woman that I'd been hunting for 12 years. And the fact that said woman died in 1849 and even had an obit is saying something. Also, our family had a vacation together for the first time in many, many years. Our destination was Pigeon Forge and we had a great time. We were very sorry to hear of the devastation due to the wildfires. And I finally got my wish with the addition of an above ground pool. One cannot survive the heat in humidity in Tennessee without one.

We had our share of low spots this year also. We lost our Aunt Shirley Kardux Percival back in March. While not a blood relative, being married to my dad's brother, she was still a fun and loving member of the family. Also, our younger daughter had a split with her long-term boyfriend. I won't get into the all the crap her boyfriend caused, but I truly feel he will get what he truly deserves some day. In the meantime younger daughter is working on getting herself back together. Her dog, Raz, is a big help in that.

Older daughter graciously opened her home to her younger sister, so now both are only 3 blocks away. I don't think her 4 cats are as gracious, but hopefully are beginning to adjust to the turmoil caused by Raz.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, October 28, 2016

Written in Stone

I hate that phrase. It's written in stone. So what. Doesn't mean it's right.

Case in point. This past week I spent some time at the Lexington, Kentucky Public Library, ensconced in the Kentucky Room at a film reader printer, searching for the last three pages of obituaries, marriage and birth announcements. The list ebbs and flows, but it is always there. It is based on abstractions from the Lexington Public Library Local History Index. I have used this index for many years. Indeed, I've been actively searching that index for more than 10 years. And, the oldest items on this list date back more than 12 years. For death notices and obits, I have also cross referenced with the Lexington Cemetery interment index. Imagine my confusion when I found this one:

Name: Amelia Stanhope
Death of Death: 8/12/1849
Date of Burial: 8/30/1867
Section: B
Lot: 3

Three items are correct: her name, the section and lot. If she died August 12, 1849, why was her obit indexed as June 21, 1849? And the burial date? After a lot of research, I discovered that a lot of burials were relocated from family cemeteries into "legal" cemeteries all the way into the 20th century and a lot of my family members were among these reburials.
 Here is the headstone. Clearly says Amelia died Aug 12.

Below is the obituary. It was in the July 21, 1849 issue of the Lexington (KY) Observer & Reporter. It also says that she died of the prevailing epidemic. I presume it means the cholera epidemic of 1849, since every issue I viewed listed the number of dead from Cholera throughout the country. Presumably, the stone carvers were busy, and the death date is just an error.

So when someone tells you something is carved in stone, take it with a grain of salt.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Post DNA Post

Over a year ago, my DH and I got the results of our DNA testing. I had lots of hits - especially the leaf hints on my DNA because I linked a tree to my results. Hubs had lots of "4th cousins or closer" but none of the leaf hints in his DNA result. Most of the "4th cousins or closer" still don't have a linked family tree. Blah!

Now, if my in-laws didn't lie to me/us, I can trace my DH's line back to Poland, and in one instance back into the 1760s. I had one person contact me because we had a link, but that person still hasn't shared their tree.

Color me frustrated. Yes, my DH is an only child. I know who his first cousins are and I think I've met all but one of the living ones.  You would think we'd start filling in some more blanks. Nope. My big concern, still, is the 46% European Jewish result we got. I was so gobsmacked by that, that I had our daughters tested, because that just couldn't be right, could it? I was gobsmacked again because one daughter is 25% and the other 19% European Jewish. Who knew?

If you have done or are intending to have DNA done, link your tree to your results. That's when it works best.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Memorial Says It All

I have been working the last few days on finding Indiana death certificates from 1899 to 2011 on I have worked my way down the list of people who I suspect died there (Percivals, Chinns, Kirtleys, etc.) to those I know died there. Today, I hit Julia Owens nee Stannard. I knew how she died, but the Find-a-Grave Memorial here says it all.

Here is the report in the Utica (NY) Newspaper.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Busy Spring Time

It's been a few weeks since I last blogged. It was a very busy month of May. Husband and I moved some stuff around in the yard and relocated our garden. I like the new location. It gets 6 hours of sunlight followed by some shade. If the darn critters would stay out of my raised beds that would be good. They decimated my cantaloupe plants.

When shopping for some plants, I picked up a large pot single-handed. Big mistake number one. Big mistake number two? Not wrapping it. Here I am about two weeks later, with a wrist brace. It makes typing less painful but also gets in the way.

I've attended a few webinars on the Legacy Family Tree Webinar site recently. Very informative. While waiting for the webinar to start on Wednesday, I discovered Indiana death certificates. Oh yeah! Found a Percival I didn't know about on! Very cool.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thriller Thursday - Charles A. Watkins Family

 Charles Allen Watkins was my grandfather John S. Percival's cousin. He was born December 31, 1887 in Richmond, Missouri. He married Elizabeth Drake and they had two children, Martha and Charles. This is the newspaper account of  their deaths.

Four In Family Drown in River

Fort McPherson Captain, His Wife, and Two Children Die When Auto Plunges Into the Coosa River.

Center, Ala., July 3. (AP) -- Captain C. A. Watkins of Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Ga., his wife and two children were drowned last night when their automobile plunged into the Coosa river, at the Leesburg ferry, near here. The bodies of Watkins and his five year old daughter have been recovered.

According to information obtained here, Watkins and family were on their way to Nashville ans Red Boiling Springs, Tenn., to visit Mrs. Watkins' mother, Mrs. Boyd L. Drake.

It is presumed that Captain Watkins was unfamiliar with the highway at this point and did not realize he was approaching a river crossing.

The ferryman, who was on the other side, immediately summoned aid and the automobile was dragged out of the stream after about 30 minutes.

The body of Watkins' five-year old daughter was found in the machine and that of the army officer in the water nearby. Search will be continued tomorrow for the body of his wife and two year old son.


Atlanta, Ga., July 3 - (AP) - Inquiry at Fort McPherson late tonight developed only that Captain C. A. Watkins, his wife, young son and daughter, reported drowned near Center, Ala., were absent from camp on an automobile trip. Their intended destination was unknown.

Captain Watkins was a resident of Atlanta.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 29, 2016

My Heritage Book Matching

Legacy Family Tree offers free webinars. Friday's was presented by Mike Mansfield from My Heritage and was title New Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage.  It was very informative and I just had to try it out.

I chose the name Alexander Maitland, figuring it would find stuff on my great-great grandfather, born in 1839 in Toronto and died in 1924 in Missouri. Sure enough, it did, it brought up the 1914 History of Northwest Missouri, but only two pages. Alex's bio extended over 4 pages. The nice thing about their book matching, it gives you the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in a nice copy and paste available box, which you can than copy and paste into your genealogy program. You can print the page, you can download it, and it works just fine.

If you would like to watch this webinar, the link is here at Family Tree Webinars.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If They Can't Read It?

 I found this page (The Basia Project) as a link on the Poznan Project. The Basia Project is wonderful for looking up indexed records, mainly because there is a link to the scan of the actual record. And they aren't limited to just marriage records like the Poznan Project. It includes birth, baptism, marriage and death records, both church and civil records.

I found a marriage record for Anna Klijewska, daughter of Leon Klijewski and Appolonia Pilarska. It sort of blew me away since I never found a birth record for her. Anna married Valentin Jednoral, or maybe General or Genczal or Jednoralski. I'm not really too sure because who can read the darn record, and obviously the indexer can't! And I thought Ancestry's indexing was the worst.

The sampling is rather limited at this time, but who knows when the information will show up that you need.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thriller Thursday - A Tragic Accident.

First, the Missouri Death Certificates for 1965 are now available online at the Missouri State Archives site here. One of the first things I do is to search for my family surnames. So when I searched for Percival, this is what I found. Five members in the same family died on the same day in a tragic automobile accident. An account of the accident can be found in the June 27th edition of the St. Louis, Missouri Post-Dispatch on the first page.

The first four listed died instantly and it everyone from the Percival car were thrown from the vehicle. The other child, Rebecca died later of her injuries. In addition to these family members, two other children survived with minor injuries. Mrs. Percival's parents were also killed in the accident. Also killed in the accident were Mr. and Mrs. Burgman who were in the other vehicle involved. Mr. Burgman was the only one not thrown from a vehicle. All told, 9 people died as a result of the crash.

This was one instance, when I was glad they weren't my Percivals.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, March 26, 2016

They Were From Where?

I saw this meme circulating around Facebook and thought I would give it a try. It's actually a cool way to document migrations. 

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 25, 2016

What The ??????

My mother's uncle George Zimmeth (he died in 1918 before her parents were married) was married to Julia Blust. After George's death Julia remarried to William McLinden (or McLindon) depending on the record you look at.  I knew from church records that Julia died December 9, 1925.

I finally found her Sunday, by searching not on but Great site. But her death record left me confused. You see, it had her name as Mary June McLinden, daughter of Joseph Blust and Barbara Berger.

So, why does her death record refer to her as Mary June? Maybe an error in transcription from the death record to the certificate?

I always thought that Julia died from being pregnant too much. I found evidence of 12 children. Three lived to be adults. And indeed, Julia had a miscarriage and a D&C on November 30, 1925. But not according to her death certificate. She died of ptomaine poisoning from chicken soup prepared at home. I don't buy it.

Death occurred 9 days after her miscarriage. I'm betting septicemia. Just my opinion.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thriller Thursday: The Real Story?

I finally found newspaper accounts of my great-great-great grandfather's death - Alexander Oliphant that is. Alexander was a surveyor and often traveled into Kansas. These are the accounts of his accident.

From the Leavenworth (Kansas) Times, September 21, 1878:

Out of the Second Story

A Guest at the Continental Falls From the Window of His Room in the Second Story.

Yesterday morning, about four o'clock, Mr. A. Oliphant, of Ray county, Mo., fell from the window of his room in the second story of the Continental hotel, and received injuries, while painful and severe, will not by any means prove fatal. Being unable to unfasten hi door, he went to the window to call the porter, and leaning too far out lost his balance and fell to the ground, a distance of perhaps thirty feet. He was picked up and taken to his room again, where an examination was made, but no bones found to be broken.

Well, okay, doesn't sound too bad, huh? The man was 72 years old, let's be real. Here is the follow-up.

Same paper, September 24, 1878:

Died of His Injuries.

Mr. A. Oliphant, of Ray county, Mo., who fell from the window of his room in the second story of the Continental Hotel, last Friday morning, died from the effects of his injuries on Sunday morning. His son arrived Sunday morning, but after his father's death. The remains were embalmed and shipped to the late home of the deceased in Ray county. Mr. Oliphant was about seventy-six years of age.

So apparently, the first account was not that accurate. The story varies from what my dad's aunt told him, slightly. I like this version better, but who really knows.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Outside Stuff

Last week, we had almost perfect weather. It certainly did not feel like winter at all. DH and I worked outside trying to figure out some gaps between the fence and house (taken care of ), did some planning and leveling to put in a solar lamppost in a planter in our back yard, hubby did some tilling and helped me install a post for the solar lights around our little swing cover (no swing, a glider). We had one day where it hit 84. Saturday was cooler and Sunday it got downright cold (first full day of Spring) and it snowed. Nothing stuck fortunately.

Unfortunately, we use our garage as a staging area, setting up work bench, sawing, drilling and all that great stuff. But hubby shifted enough stuff to get the vehicle in the garage. If the sun comes out again I will get some pictures.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sorry, Wrong Number

From time to time, I get comments on my blog from people who think they might be related. Ninety-five percent of the time they are. The latest one, I was sorry to say was not related, at least that I can document. Spouses are different, death dates are 10 years apart. Nope. So I regretted having to tell him we weren't connected. Hope he finds his connection though.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, March 21, 2016

Shared Hints on Ancestry DNA

This is really a nice feature, but why months *after* I made notations on someone with whom I share ancestry am I getting this *new* match? And one of my daughters got a notice too, on something I made a notation of ages ago. Arggh. And my poor hubby still has only 2 shared ancestry hints - our daughters. But more 4th cousins or closer than I do. Not bad for an only child.

And, people, if you don't link a tree to your DNA results, you aren't going to get any shared hints at all. Just sayin'!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, March 11, 2016

And Yet Another Zimmeth Relative!

I found another Zimmeth relative, or rather, he found me. And he still lives in Lancaster, New York. I think that's amazing. It's pretty hard to keep track sometimes of the Zimmeth, Zimmeht, Simmet lines all around the country. But it is darn exciting to find a living branch!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

The Inimitable Shirley Percival, Part Deux

I have loved reading all the comments to yesterday's post, and all the comments on my Aunt's Facebook page. It shows how much she will be missed by friends and family.

I think I have some unusual memories of Shirley. First of all, she was a great cook, and so willing to share her recipes. She made great meatloaf, wonderful breakfasts and hamburg soup. The latter was shared with us several years ago. She used ground beef, I cheat and mash up meatballs. It's what we're having for dinner tonight, as I always have soup ingredients handy. And she collected recipes. I remember a long box of mostly handwritten recipe cards.

Speaking of soup, I'm sure anyone peeking in her freezer will find soup. Maybe even soup made from the carcass of a turkey.

When we were little and would visit, I would search out the bathrooms and marvel that their old house on Lakeshore Drive in Holland, had no tubs. They all took showers! Wow. I remember getting a bath once in the kitchen sink. I was really young at the time. Later, they moved to the house on the lake, which they built. We always had great times with the Holland Percivals.

I also worked with her looking for her Dutch ancestors. I learned how to sort of read the records from the Netherlands.

I will miss her emails. She was a great correspondent.

The photos are from our last visit to Holland in 2013. We had a wonderful time!
Sally & Aunt Shirley

Shirley, Sally, John & me

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Inimitable* Shirley Percival

We don't like to think about our own mortality, let alone those of loved ones. However, my Aunt Shirley Percival nee Kardux, passed away in her sleep this morning at the age of 94. I had thought she would live forever because she was very active.

She lost her husband, my uncle John, in 1982, not quite 34 years ago. I mark the date with the birth of my younger daughter, when he fell ill. He died two months later.

She was not one to stay home and whine about his loss. She stayed active. She loved playing bridge, going to Hope College basketball games and traveling.  She dearly loved her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and still had enough love for her nieces and nephews.

This is one of my favorite photos of my Aunt Shirley. It shows her adventurous spirit, and it was taken when she was 90. She was a lot braver than I am. I will miss her dearly.

*The definition of inimitable is a person or thing that's too good to be copied. That definitely describes Shirley.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ancestry DNA

After the first few weeks after receiving our DNA results, the "glow" has worn off a bit. Mostly because of my hubby. You see, he has only shared ancestor hints - our daughters.

Me, on the other hand, I have 65. And then I saw something different on the page. I have a new potential relative that I've never heard of. John Cyrus Schoonover. As I look at the information, and click on the list. And it shows me I have a DNA match to two members of the circle. Clicking on that, I find Huber. Not sure if it connects to my Huber or not.  Very interesting. Their Huber goes back to 1750 and a birth. Mine is my 5th great grandmother, who married Jean Theobold Zimmeth. She died in 1750.

Oh well, back to working on the piles.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 22, 2016

Another Branch of the Zimmeth Family.

I was trolling for information online earlier.  I noticed that had some Iowa deaths online (index only) and thought I would check for surnames. I always find something. After all, it is kind of naive to think that only my great-great grandfather and his children came to America, right?

Then for some reason, I put the surname "Zimmeth" in the search box. I came up with a Louis/Lewis Zimmeht in Kansas. This person was born in 1835 in France according to the 1895 Kansas State Census. A quick check of Find-a-grave revealed a headstone with his birthdate, April 19, 1835. B-i-n-g-o!

Next stop was family trees. No one has his parents. But, one researcher has gotten as close to Strasbourg. It was the Strasbourg Arrondisement, but the parish where they lived was Roeschwoog. Hot Diggity!

So now, I add another spelling for this family. Ziemet/Zimet/Zimmeth/Zimmet/Zimmeht/Simmet.

That doesn't even take into consideration that I found him in Kansas on the 1900 census as Louis Jarnet.Or 1880 in New York as Louis Zeminhut. And Simet in 1870.

A week or so ago when I was contemplating whether I would renew my Fold3 account (I did) I rationalized the renewal by the availability of Civil War Records. I'm really glad I did because I found this gem. He became the one and only Zimmeth/Simmet/Zimmeht to serve during the civil war.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 20, 2016

One Down ....

One of my goals for 2016 was to finally fill all the blanks in the photo frame that hangs in my back hallway. All the spaces were blank. Well, not exactly blank. There were fake photos in there. Which was good, because I knew where to place the ones I chose and finally printed out and put in the frame. I had to lean it against the door to the garage to get a picture of the whole thing.

Some of the photos  had to be re-oriented to fit in the allotted spaces, and weren't really suited to that, so I worked a little magic with My Memories Suite v 7. I am very happy with the results. And. It's. Done.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Birthday Post!

Really, I should have posted this earlier BEFORE DH and I went to the winery, but here it goes.

I was born 28+ years ago in Detroit, Michigan. To future genealogists, the age is a lie. To those who know me, the age is a joke! Also, its a hint of where to look for more info since I now live in Tennessee.

My Older Daughter wrote a very nice post about me last night, that you can read here. I read it very early this morning (around 2 am) in bed trying not to laugh out loud and wake the hubby.  Instead, I held it in and just shook with laughter. You see, she gets me. My younger daughter also gets me and if you are a FB friend, you likely saw her post, too. They obviously inherited my sense of humor, and possibly my love of putting words on paper or computer screen.

It's wonderful when you can look at a child and say, they have grandma's nose, daddy's mouth and mommy's sense of humor!

The picture of me was when I was four. It was not my birthday, but a trip to the Detroit zoo with the neighbors. I was in a dress. That's what little girls wore. Obviously, I did not have the "sit like a lady" thing down yet.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Thanks, BUT Can't You Index Correctly?

I really appreciate people who transcribe records. I just don't understand how someone can look at a name like KEENE and transcribe it as KENNE. Or KIRTLEY as KIRKLEY. The names were very easy to read. Grr.

Sorry for the rant.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, February 12, 2016

What's that name again?

Ever go looking for information on someone and not find anything beyond the last census you found her on (1900) with her family? No marriage record, no death record, nothing.

Then I realized I had never pulled census subsequent to 1900. Duh. 

You can see that I've indicated on both census records which child I am referring to. In 1900 she is listed as Laura B. Demoss. Which may have indeed been her name. But in 1910 she is Lala B. Demoss.

Then I went looking again for a marriage record. First, you'll notice that the 1900 and 1910 census were in Grand Pass Twp, Saline county, Missouri and Mayview, Lafayette county, Missouri. They're about 40 miles apart in today's miles.

I did find a marriage record for a Lolla Belle Demoss who married an Ernest Powell. They married in Boone county, Missouri in 1913.  Now Columbia, Missouri in Boone county is 87 miles from Mayview. This was 1913. I'm not sure why either one was in Columbia, even though it is the home of University of Missouri. Ernest was, after all, a farmer. But, they are both listed as residents of Odessa, Lafayette County, Missouri! They lived in Washington Township in 1920 - with his parents - and in 1930 on their own with their own children.

Being the persistent researcher that I am I kept looking. I eventually traced them to Colorado in 1940. They were buried in Cortez, Colorado in 1966 (Ernest) and 1973 (Lollabelle.)

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Disappointing Death Notices!

Some other trolling I did was an actual search for an obituary or death notice for Katherine Webb Demoss, who died in Missouri in 1969 at the age of 102. I did find it, but they listed her as Elizabeth Katherine Demoss. Since she was known as Katie and all other info I have on her is Katherine E., I think it was an error.  Sadly, living to 102 wasn't special enough, and nothing of her family is mentioned. She did have at least one daughter still living in Missouri (who died in 1979) and one living in Colorado. I couldn't even find a mention of a 100th birthday celebration when I searched 1967.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Can't Tell the Players Without a Scorecard?

I admit I was trolling for records the other day. Mostly, I was looking for Manville Joseph Chinn who died in Alabama in 1956. I found him finally, after locating a marriage record to his second wife.

Then I got curious about how he was related to me. Eight ways, through the Webbs, Chinns, Graves (4 different ways) Kirtleys and Bufords. The Chinn and Graves line cross as do the Chinn and Webb lines, as well as the Webb and Graves lines.

His first wife, Lucile DeNevers Carter, is related to me in two different ways. Obviously through the Carters and then through the Vivians.

But then, Manville is also related through the Carters (his grandmother was a Carter) and the Vivians who married into the Webb line and the Carter line. So you see, both have separate connections to me and then to each other.  So their children, Mildred and Lester are not only siblings, but third cousins once removed, fifth cousins, fifth cousins once removed, sixth cousins and seventh cousins once removed. Holy cow!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ready, Set, All Stop!

Just when I think I've got everything organized for a new project and I'm all set to go, reality sets in. In this instance, the weather here in mid-Tennessee. Freezing weather gave way to milder weather which in turn turned into rain then snow. Then cold. Then thaw, then snow, then thaw. This led to massive sinus problems on my end. So much so that I sat the last few days with blinds drawn and begging hubby to turn off lights. My sinuses are very light sensitive and bright lights lead to intense fits of sneezing.

Finally, on day four, I'm able to spend a little time (still with blinds drawn) with lights on and in front of the computer.

This project is one several years in the making. I was gifted with a large photo collage frame with openings for 21 photos. The photos in there? The ones that came in it. When people ask who those people are, I just laugh. Now, I am just inspired to print the photos and put them in. I'll let you know how it comes out!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What About Us?

I've been working on census, birth, marriages and deaths for so long that I've neglected something really important. And it goes back to February of 2014. Well, earlier than that, but 2014 was when I was sidetracked.

On February 16th of that year, I was going in our back yard to do some spa maintenance when I missed a step and broke my ankle. Actually it was an avulsion fracture and pretty nasty as the soft tissue goes. It kept me out of my office for at least two months and longer since I found it difficult to sit without my ankle swelling for quite a while.

Previous to the break, I had started saving current pictures so that I could add them to my database. I just couldn't while I was taking pain meds. Then they got pushed aside for other things.

This weekend I opened my database and realized I hadn't added any family photos since the end of 2012. OMG. I found a good routine of copying them to a holding file, renaming and dating them and then adding to the database. A little slow, but I made it through May of 2013.

Sure, I still have death certificates, census, marriage records, birth records to add, but I am working on my immediate family and that feels good. And its really good to get to dating those photos and identifying while I remember the occasion, the date and the subjects!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Trouble with Databases ...

Back on December 19th, I did it. I made the move BACK to RootsMagic. Let's just say it wasn't all smooth sailing. When looking over  some people in my database, I noted that a few census sources were missing. How did I know? Well, the census image was there, but no source. So I ran a list of people with missing census sources. I made a fact list for the census and then ran a tag for people who had a census fact but were missing the source. I'm sorry to say it was 48 pages long.

Now, 98% of these were shared census facts. In other words, if a person were married and/or had children who appeared with them on a certain census, I could share them among the family members. I really like this feature but, it did cause a headache. And not only did it print out census that was missing the sources, but mostly every census each person appeared on whether the source was missing or not. I spent two weeks after New Year's straightening that mess out.

When I uploaded my database onto dropbox to enable use in the RootsMagic app on my android devices, I discovered another issue. RootsMagic wasn't building the thumbnails for my multimedia items. I knew this would be a huge issue since I have over 16,000 images linked.

I worked with RootsMagic support over this, and Renee Zamora helped me figure out how to find the culprit(s). There were five of  them, and that has been straightened out. Whew!

One of these days I'll actually get to do data entry and research again!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Database Evolutions

Many years ago - back in 1987 when we got our first computer - I started seriously working on my genealogy with a program called Genealogy on Display. A friend referred to this program as GOD. It was a pre-Windows program that ran on our Tandy 1000. When we bought this behemoth, it did not even have a hard drive. You ran programs off floppy disks.

When we upgraded that Tandy 1000 with a hard drive and swapped out one of the 5.25" floppy drives for a 3.5" floppy, we thought we were really moving with the times.

Somewhere in there, I upgraded from GOD to Brother's Keeper. It was a great program and I used it for years. I much preferred it to the LDS church's Personal Ancestral File.

Then I found Family Origins and it was wonderful in Windows. I started with version 2 or 3. Like Brother's Keeper, you could link images to each person, but at the time, you could only link one. How limiting. But the program grew more wonderful with each generation until finally it evolved into RootsMagic.

Again, the program got better, but it had issues. For years, I could not print or even display a decent narrative report with footnotes rather than endnotes. At the time I wanted to print out everything on my mom's Zimmeth line.

I was hearing good things about Legacy. One of the things I liked the most was being able to backup your images (not just the links to the images) with the database or without.

I had owned version 7.5 deluxe for years but really wasn't impressed. Version 8.0 deluxe had me. I switched my stuff over there, did some database cleanup. And used it but a few things really were lacking. Most important, I missed being able to find someone by hitting Ctrl-F. I am a keyboard user. I was a medical secretary for 9 years and a library clerk for 10. I used the keyboard whenever I could. It was faster.

Well, after two years of using Legacy 8.0, I am making my way back to RootsMagic, current version 7. I am glad I am doing it, although it's not without its own issues in transferring.

Continue to watch for more on this. I am hoping it ends well.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thriller Thursday - Death Certificates - You Never Know What You'll See.

I am working on transcriptions for the state of Missouri Death Certificate project. As my followers know, this is a project near and dear to me.

You see many odd things on these death certificates. Some are nice, some are ridiculous (almost) and some are thoroughly tragic. Nice: the decedent work for the State Historical Society; ridiculous: he was born in Frankenstein, Missouri. Hey, you can't make up this stuff. Tragic: the young man of 35. I always look to see why someone that young dies. Usually it's due to an accident.  Since this death was accidental, I was surprised to see he died in a car due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Apparently this man was trying to keep warm with a camp stove.

The truly sad and tragic, was the death of a young 22 year old man. Cause of death was legal execution. This was also the last gas chamber execution in Missouri. I looked it up here.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1965 is Waiting!

It's here! My favorite project of the winter, the 1965 Missouri Death Certificates are ready for transcription. Do you have relatives who lived or died in Missouri?  Are you housebound by the snow, cold or the sniffles? This is the chance you were waiting for, transcribing the death certificates. It is so easy to do.

If you are already a volunteer, you got the notice. If you would like to sign up, go here. This is the one project I will put ahead of my personal projects. I wish more states were like Missouri.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Relative or Not?

Sometimes you need to be a detective to figure out the census. For instance, in 1920, I cannot find my John J. Ochsenfeld/Ochensfeld/Ochenfeld anywhere. He was probably born in Detroit, although I find no record. He was married the first time in Detroit, Michigan, his children were born in Michigan and in 1910, he is living in Detroit. In the 1919 and 1920 City Directory he is living in Detroit. So where the heck is he in 1920. His first wife died in Detroit in July of 1920. He married his second wife, my mother's aunt Rose, in Detroit in 1921. My mother lived with Rose and John in Detroit. In 1930 he is in Detroit. I guess in 1920, he was abducted by aliens. Along with his whole family.

Then on my dad's side - the Oliphant line, Alexander Oliphant is in Holdenville, Oklahoma in 1910, with his wife and some of his children. In 1920, he is still living in Holdenville with his wife and his three sons, Ralph, Alex and George, all minors, are listed as boarders. What?

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, January 22, 2016

Making Sense of the Census.

I started looking at census many, many years ago. And I did it by scrolling through rolls of census microfilm. Mostly, I either copied the film page or transcribed it. And it is by actually scrolling through these pages on microfilm where you see a lot of the mistakes census transcribers make.

For instance, I was on the other day looking for an 1860 census record for Isaac Shelby Kirtley, his wife Susan Anna and those children who were born and survived to be counted. I had the reference for the page and the location and still couldn't find it. Then I remembered a lot of people who index can't really read everything and whomever actually transcribed the information to the census sheet made an error.

I did find him eventually, Shelby Kietley, his wife Anna and those kids. After carefully downloading and saving the image to be linked to his census event, I took the time to correct the transcription. It may help someone else, or me when I go to search for him again for some reason.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

That Census Mess!

I knew I was going to have an issue with my Kettler line. I just knew it. Sure enough, I have no idea what I was thinking when I linked some of these censuses. After I untangled August Christian Kettler with August Ludwig Kettler (the latter I think also had a twin who died near birth by the name of August Friedrich Kettler) I went to untangle some of the William Kettlers. Actually, it wasn't much of an issue since William Christian Julius was also know as Julius Kettler, and was the son of William Kettler. It is this senior William Kettler who is giving me a headache.

You see, I think he was married more than once. Especially since I find him with two of his children, Julius and Sophia in the 1860 census. Julius was born in 1852 and Sophia in 1854. The problem? The only recorded wife, Regina Wilhelmina Louise Henriette Donnerberg (and variations in the arrangement of her names) weren't married until 1861. For most people, that probably wouldn't be an issue, but I doubt these people had 2 children before they married. The real problem? William appears on that 1860 census with the two children, and Charlotte, born around 1830. William the senior was born in 1828. I think if Regina were their mother, she'd have been enumerated with them. And Charlotte was not one of her multiple names.

Also enumerated with William the senior is 82 year old Mary Kettler. Hmmmm. His grandmother possibly? An aunt? More investigation is in order.

At this point, I have to honor Lucille Francis, who lives in Ohio and is adding biographical info to Find-a-Grave. She is a very special person. Thanks, Lucille!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

It's Happening Again!

As I straighten out the mess I call the census - somehow people came unlinked in these shared facts and I have no idea how - I am finding stuff. Stuff that doesn't pertain to census at all.

For instance, Jane Percival, whom I think is the daughter of Timothy Percival and Louisa Shattuck. She married Henry W. S. Field in 1824 in Boone County, Kentucky, where a lot of my Percivals married. Her age is sketchy in the census. Let's just say she was born between 1798 and 1807. I do believe I found her headstone on Find-a-grave. It gives her age at death, if you can believe it. But no death date. And of course no birth date. So I printed all this out and stuck it ... under my pile of census to fix. Refiling now into the cemetery folder I have. And I have them in 1850 and 1860. The 1850 census says she is 46. Maybe. The 1860 lists her as 52. Um. Probably not! She is gone by 1870, so probably have the correct stone in Missouri. Time will tell.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, January 18, 2016

I'm NOT Talking to You! Or: Yes, I AM Talking to You.

I grew up in a family of six children, five of whom were girls. I can only imagine what it was like for my dad.

In moving through my LONG list of census to fix, I came across this household in the 59th district of Fayette County, Kentucky in 1880:

Arthur DeLong (head) age 28
Etta (wife) age 24 *Real name Henrietta*
Henrietta (daughter) age 2
Henrietta Berkley (mother-in-law) age 53
Sallie Curtley (aunt) age 68.

Are we seeing the problem here?  I never understood the concept of giving a daughter the same name as the mother. It's compounded obviously by the grandmother also being called Henrietta. Arrgh. I'm sure Mr. DeLong referred to her as Mother Berkley and not by her first name, but I am sure there was a lot of confusion anyway.

And poor Aunt Sallie. They spelled her last name wrong. It should be Kirtley.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, January 15, 2016


I've been doing a little census housekeeping recently. Basically making sure all my censuses are sourced. It's a little confusing because I printed out a census list that had missing sources. Some of the ones they say are missing aren't.

One of the people listed was Lucile DeNevers Carter.  She is memorable, to me at least, by the fact that she married a relative of mine by the name of Manville J. Chinn, Jr.

Her 1920 census record was added to my database before I started linking the actual images, so I thought for the heck of it I would look for her and her husband and children on 1920 again. Indeed, she was there not only with her husband and children, but her parents. Her parents were Robert E. and Ida B. Carter. For the heck of it I decided to look for them in my database because I have tons of Carters in Missouri.

That is when the bells went off! I had both her folks in my database, but the age on the census was 8 years younger than their death records. I did indeed have a couple by the name of Robert Ewing Carter and Ida Bell Vivian, both of whom are related to me separately. It took a very careful perusal of Ida's death certificate to see that the informant was Lucile Chinn. Then, after a little more digging I found the Social Security application index record that gave Lucile's parents' names. I love it when things work out like this.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Where There's a Will ... NOT!

Another of my ancestors died intestate. John Vivion Webb. His elder children were appointed guardians of the minor children in 1854. John V. Webb died in 1855. He was shy of his 58th birthday. I presume that he was incapacitated in some way that he was not able to write a will. It was astounding to me that in the 1855 probate records that his sons, William and John G. and son-in-law Edward Roth, had to post a bond in the amount of Sixty Thousand Dollars.  That would be about 1.5 million today. Almost speechless here.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Where There's a Will, Part the Second

Reverend Charles Whiting left a will, written in Springfield, Missouri in 1872. In it he names his six boys: Percy Whiting, Charles Whiting, Marcus Whiting, John Whiting, James Whiting and Eugene Whiting; "some of them having middle names which I have neglected to write." Then he mentions his daughter Jennie. What? Actually this must be Virginia Emma, almost always shown as Emma.

This will was written two years before their youngest son was born, Frank Everett Whiting. Maybe Frank didn't make it past the 1880 census, so his father didn't think to change his will?

Reverend Whiting was married to Lucy Mourning Webb, a daughter of John Vivion Webb, another of my great-great-great grandfathers. Lucy outlived her husband by 20 years.  

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where There's a Will ...

Periodically, I have been known to surf through the Wills and Probate Records has recently added. And we have to admit, that genealogy would be so much easier if all our ancestors had wills.

For instance, my great-great-great grandfather, John Stearns Percival, who died in 1841, died intestate. Granted he was only 48. A young man by current standards, extremely middle-aged by the standards of the time. Young, as his own father died in April of 1841 at the age of 81.

I've long looked for any ancestor who had a will. One of my favorite ancestors, great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Oliphant, surveyor, actually took the time and wrote two wills, one in 1872 and one in 1875. Alexander traveled a lot as a surveyor, so maybe he thought he should provide for his loved ones.

It was curious, therefore, when I discovered his will on He left one third of his estate to his son Ralph, one third to his daughter, Mary G. Maitland nee Oliphant and one third to his grandchildren James and Mary Black, children of his late stepdaughter, Joanna Nesbit.

Nice, huh? His widow is not even mentioned. I hope he assumed their children would provide for her. They did. Both his son and widow refused to qualify as executors and instead recommended Alexander Maitland, son-in-law, for the position, which he accepted. All of this information was record on September 28 1878. I don't know how many times I typed it before I realized the significance of the date. One hundred one years prior to my marriage!

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, January 11, 2016

Organization Nut!

Okay, I really do like to be organized, but that pile-o-paper that was on my desk was making me nuts. Or nuttier.

This is how I work. I madly pull all the information I can find from an online database and it sits on the top of the pile on my desk until I add the person/information to my database.  Lately, I've been spending less time on the input than I like. Or I get distracted by seeing what else I can find on the subject of the record. This leads to my Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder.

Last year, I even found a solution to some of my piles-o-paper in this wonderful file box.

 Yeah. The second from top is the "file" section. I finally got to the filing and now that is all put away.

Then I sorted everything in my pile-o-paper. This is what it looked like after sorting.

But I wasn't done. I bought something to keep all this stuff OFF my desk except when I wanted it there. They call them wall pockets. This is clear plastic and open-ended and holds my legal size file folders. Love it.

And now my desk looks like the bottom photo.

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ringing in the New Year

My DH, Older Daughter and I rang in the New Year. Well, actually, DH didn't make it that long. Older Daughter and I watched Annie - the new version and Steel Magnolias - the old version. So we were well into the New Year before we went to bed.

The menu for dinner is simple, usually. We usually nosh on cheese, crackers, salami, pepperoni, kielbasa, and whatever else we can think of. This year, Santa brought me a small snack sized crock pot setup with three crocks. I added a warm spinach dip, pumpernickel bread, a salsa and cheese dip with nachos and a chocolate dip with strawberries, oranges, angel food cake and french bread to the menu. Along with the appropriate alcoholic beverages that is.

New Year's eve, DH came home with the Blu Ray of "A Walk in the Woods" based on the Bill Bryson book of the same name, which chronicles his attempt at walking the Appalachian Trail. After two updates of our blu ray player via a 25 ft ethernet cable, we discovered it was never going to be compatible with that disc. Now, we've had that player for maybe four or five years. It was a hand-me-down from Older Daughter.

Do you remember when Betamax and VHS players came out? They were hundreds of dollars. I  think we got our first one in the mid 1980s. Such wonderful things. But expensive. At least for those times when we had two small children.

The new one was much less expensive and what the heck we bought a sound bar with a separate subwoofer, and now the sound on our UHD TV is awesome.

It really makes watching movies and even regular television programming an event. I wonder if we started a new tradition?

Copyright 2010-2016, ACK for Gene Notes