The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “ancestry.com”

The Online Genealogist questions Annecestrees* answer

No, I’m not aiming towards an Ancestry.com mutiny with this recent run of posts; it just so happens that they’re so HUGE and have SO much going on!  And as I will point out, it’s a double-edged sword.

Check this out…

Ask Anne

Ahhh, yes.  This is the genealogical equivalent to a debate on religion or politics.  There are some strong opinions out there, for sure.  Foreshadow, foreshadow…  And check out the pages and pages of comments!  Which I will read AFTER this post.

I fully agree with Ancestry Anne’s answer… to a point.  You just knew that was coming, eh?  If you’re the number one genealogical website, shouldn’t there be some types of *gasp* standards set for the massive amount of Public Member Trees (PMTs) they host under their Ancestry.com name?

I can’t go merrily updating James Brown‘s Wikipedia page claiming that he has risen from the dead and will be appearing for a limited engagement at Bellagio’s poorly-named O Theater in Vegas.  Wikipedia won’t allow me to do that!

Why do we use Wikipedia?  Because, overall, it is the most reliable encyclopedia of EVERYTHING; because they have standards.  Why doesn’t Ancestry.com have the same mentality when it comes to their PMTs?  Huh, Anne??

Ancestry has no checks and balances when it comes to the “factual” information their members are adding to their trees.  Heck, I could totally manufacture a tree on there.  I’d link existing families to other non-related families; what’s to stop me? Or create a completely ridiculous, totally fabricated member tree; like so…

X-Men

But who should I be: Fantomex or Shard?  Hmmmmmmmm…  Yes, some would suggest Bird-Brain – heh.

OK, a show of hands…  How many of you clicked on one of the three hyperlinks, bringing you to their Wiki page?  Come on, admit it – when you did see it was Wikipedia, was there an immediate sense of relief because you KNEW that the information on their website was probably 99.999999% accurate?

Now, if you tried to post erroneous info on Wolverine‘s Wiki page, rabid fans would be looking for a bounty on your head!  But what if the X-Men links led to a “legitimate” Ancestry.com Public Member Tree?  Would your confidence level for Ancestry be comparable to that of Wikipedia’s; or more towards their “leftover” .000001%?

Don’t get me wrong, Ancestry.com is usually the first site I hit for family history research.  But when it comes to their PMTs, I was already following Ancestry Anne’s suggestion of having little trust for the information provided on “her” website.  OK, that’s not quite how she put it, but in so many words…

Did Anne’s watered-down quasi-excuse address any of these issues?  Heck, no!  It’s Ancestry’s 800-pound pink hot potato in the room.  Huh?!?  “Since we can’t control how accurate our PMT info is, we’ll wash our hands of it and say ‘You’re on your own!'”.  Think you’d see anything like that from Wikipedia?

“We’ll return to The Online Genealogist’s post in just a moment; right after this timely semi-related chuckle…”

MAD

Granted, many Ancestry Public Member Trees are fantastic; wonderfully documented timelines with viewable source images included for all to see.  But those are the exceptions and not the rule.  Tell me again, why isn’t ANY kind of proof a requirement to add a “fact”?  Have the PMT “lunatics” taken over the “asylum”?

I feel as if I’m beating a dead horse, as I know this has been a major bone-of-contention for long-time Ancestry subscribers.  Most of who would’ve never included so many bad clichés in one blog post.  Then again, maybe we DO need to yell our heads off so the PMT Dept. can hear us!

So, Ancestry Anne – if there’s even such a person – did you have to bite your tongue… uhhhhhh, bite your FINGERS, while replying to “Vicki”?

Ancestry – you expect the gazillion documents in your collection to be accurate and reliable; why not the similar high-quality standards for your PMTs?  I know of several members who have brought this issue to your attention with specific examples, yet to see no resolution.

And, no, I refuse to play the New Membership Trumps Public Member Tree Accuracy card.  Doesn’t even need to go there.  Or did I just inadvertently use it by saying I wasn’t going to??

Example

Here’s a typical scenario:  In comes a new (free) Ancestry.com member.  She adds her known family information and receives several “shaky leaf” hints.  Unknowingly, she attaches herself to an erroneous PMT, which propagates further as it shows up in other members’ hints; repeatedly… “Wow!  I found a bunch of new relatives!  Where do I join?”

So, again – Anne’s advice is sound and should be heeded, but with the above added caveat lector, emptor, venditor and a bunch of other Latin words.  Tiny  Jeez, I’d be completely lost without the internet.

Time for Ancestry.com to roll out their new PMTs slogan?… “Don’t fully trust our Public Member Trees; just use them like really good hints!”  OK, so it could use a bit of tweakage.

Now to spend a few hours reading this post’s 127 comments accumulated over the past 12 days…  I’m surely not the only one to bring up these issues.

And here’s hoping you never receive a shaky leaf for your newest “relative”, Fantomex!

* combo of Ancestry Anne, Ancestry.com Public Member Trees (PMTs) a.k.a. “Ancestry’s Trees”.  Which I realize should be Tiny

 

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

 

 

Just in case you have a few billion dollars kickin’ around

Big news of the day is that Ancestry.com is pondering a sale of their website.

Two people talk at the Ancestry.com booth at the Rootstech Conference sponsored by Family Search in Salt Lake City, Utah February 7, 2014 REUTERS/George Frey

Two people talk at the Ancestry.com booth at the Rootstech Conference sponsored by Family Search in Salt Lake City, Utah February 7, 2014 REUTERS/George Frey

Hell, if I had the money, I’d put in a bid!  Better yet – why don’t subscribers pool their funds to buy it?  Owner benefits would include a free lifetime World Explorer Plus membership!

Going in another direction, what if the LDS folks snatched it up?  Combining Ancestry.com with FamilySearch.org would be HUGE.  Sure, there’s much overlap; but each offer their own great collections of exclusive information.  And both have already been partnering with other major genealogical websites!

I would have NO problem with paying for a subscription to AncestryFamilySearch.com.  That “extra” money would go towards the acceleration of LDS’s digitizing microfilm for online databases; a massive undertaking.  How incredible would THAT be??

Yes, many would yell “Monopoly!”, but don’t these two websites, the TOP TWO of 2015 (and located less than an hour’s drive of each other!), combine to be a sort of monopoly anyway?  And what would be wrong with that??

aFS

Logo courtesy of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org and Photoshop and John B.

Finding the majority of your sources on AFS.com would surely make online research just that much easier.

Yes, it’s always nice to imagine the possibilities.

 

 

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

 

 

The Online Genealogist is thankful for… online genealogy!!

OG 01

When I began my family history research in 1989 and someone told me I’d be The Online Genealogist in 2014, I’d reply with “On WHAT line?  My paternal or maternal??

Boy, have we come a long way in 25 years!  When historians look back on genealogy as a whole, there’s probably NO other quarter-century period where SO much has changed.  I say for the better, but others mainly those stubborn non-technical types wouldn’t be so quick to jump up and down in excitement for online genealogy and what’s in store for the future.

OG 02

So I thought now would be the perfect time to compare family history research, then (1989), now (2014) and in the future.  Remember that old song In The Year 2525?  Well, we won’t go THAT far ahead… How about 2025?  Which, of course, would be all speculation on my part.

OG 03

Then:  The majority of genealogical research is conducted in libraries.

Now:  A large percentage of genealogical research can be conducted via the internet.

Future:  The MAJORITY of genealogical research can be conducted via the internet.

Then:  The research you’re undertaking is heavily dictated by what repositories you can physically visit and when.  You’re at the mercy of the hours they’re open and when you can get there.

Now:  The research you’re undertaking is heavily dictated by the research path you’re following online – 24/7.  A MUCH more natural and efficient way to conduct ANY type of research!.  The “old” method is seriously backwards and counter-intuitive.  Instead of going with the flow, you’re often swimming upstream; researching what you can where you’re at when you can.

Future:  Even more “now” research and less “then”, which is inefficient and “highly illogical”.  Thank you Mr. Spock!

OG 04

Then:  A specific research plan can take weeks – even MONTHS – to complete.

Now:  A specific research plan can take a few hours – even MINUTES – to complete.

Future:  A specific research plan can take minutes – even SECONDS – to complete.  OK, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you surely get the gist.

Then:  Roots.

Now:  Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, Who’s In My Line?

Future:  Instant Connections, Ancestral Challenge, Genealogy Update.

OG 05

Then:  Hours and hours are spent traveling to and from each research repository.  Which adds up to dollars and DOLLARS.

Now:  You only travel for research if you can’t find what you’re looking for online.  And more often than not, you won’t be leaving your chair.

Future:  You only travel for research if you absolutely MUST.  More will be found online, thus less time spent in your car or on a plane.

OG 06

Then:  You’re overwhelmed with paper copies.

Now:  You’re overwhelmed by all the original records online.

Future:  You’re overwhelmed by immediate access to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING genealogy.

Then:  You need to make the most of your library visits; often working on several ancestors at once.  See counter-intuitive above.

Now:  You can research your ancestors ONE AT A TIME online.  Which is 100 times more productive and a whole lot less confusing.

Future:  You’ll research your one ancestor with much more ease and less mouse clicks.

OG 07

Then:  You either transcribe a document or make a paper copy of it.

Now:  You either download an image of a record or physically take a digital photograph of it.

Future:  99% digital, bay-bee!

Then:  Correspondence is mainly done via the United States Postal Service.  You can expect a reply in maybe a month or two.

Now:  Correspondence is mainly done via email.  You can expect a reply in maybe a week or two at the most.

Future:  Less and less correspondence will be required, with the immense amount of online offerings available.

OG 08

Then:  NOTHING is online because there IS no online!

Now:  5% of genealogical records are online.  Pffffft!

Future:  More than 6% of genealogical records are online.  Heh.

Then:  DNA is unreliable and not accepted as evidence in court.

Now:  DNA is heavily used in our justice system as well as for genealogical research.

Future:  More and more people will have their DNA tested, thus making it a more reliable and essential research tool.

OG 09

Then:  An Everton’s Genealogical Helper subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Now:  An ancestry.com subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Future:  An All-Access Online Genealogy subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Then:  “Dear local genealogical society…”

Now:  Dear Myrtle!

Future:  “Dear XJ-1B Automated Genealogy Assistant, please locate for me…”

OG 10

Then:  “I found dozens of ancestors!  But it took me an entire YEAR.”

Now:  “I found hundreds of ancestors!!  In just a few months.”

Future:  “I found THOUSANDS of ancestors!!!  In a non-stop two-week online marathon session!”

Then:  Contacting and connecting to newly-found living relatives can be a chore.

Now:  Ancestry.com shaky-leaf hints, Facebook, email, Skype, etc.

Future:  ?????

OG 11

So, as you can see, I am VERY optimistic regarding the future of genealogical research; especially online.  The speed and sheer numbers of digital records being added DAILY is mind-boggling.

In this day and age, those not embracing all this technology are at a serious disadvantage.  Even if you visit a repository in person, the first thing they’ll have you do is get onto one of their computers to access what they’re already offering online anyway.  So, there’s no excuse NOT to be keeping up with the times and taking full advantage of EVERYTHING online research has to offer!!

OG 12

Then:  The Yugo.

Now:  The Prius.

Future:  Flying cars!!!

Eh, there’s hope yet…

 

Then:  John Brugliera, Genealogist.  Zero clients.

Now:  The Online Genealogist.  Several clients.

Future:  The Online Genealogist Co., Inc.  Hundreds of clients!!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

How many genealogy pay sites does one really need to subscribe to?

Ancestry

I wonder if any fellow researcher has determined how much it would cost per year to subscribe to ALL of the major annual-payment genealogy websites.  What do you think that dollar amount would tally up to?

Just off the top of my head, I’d say $1,000 would be a good ballpark figure.  Of course, only the (wealthy!) genealogist who needs access to EVERYTHING would ever dole out that $1k each year.  So, we can probably agree that subscribing to ALL of them is not necessary.

So, how many and which ones should you cough up the dough for?

Fold3

Not to sound all wishy-washy, but it depends on YOU and what kind of family research you are doing.  Some of us are perfectly content in sticking with the multitude of free websites available, but others (such as myself) do realize that the information we glean from the pay sites is WELL worth the cost of admission.

Let’s take me, for example.  To me, subscribing to Ancestry.com is a no-brainer.  And I’m just talking the U.S. Discovery package here.  I was a World Explorer once, but with going pro (again), I really only needed the States stuff – which is sufficient.  The breadth and scope of Ancestry’s domestic offerings are just what the doctor ordered for researching successfully for myself as well as others.

When it comes to military records, Fold3 is tops in my book.  They’ve got everything from enlistment records to actual pension FILES; and everything in between!  And now, under the Ancestry umbrella, military searches on there may bring up results linking directly to Fold3.  Pretty slick, I say!

NEHGS

As my research specialty is New England, NEHGS’s American Ancestors was another must-have.  They’ve got the Barbour Collection (CT vitals), The Great Migration Begins 1620-1633 (earliest immigrants) and their NEHGS Register, with Volume One dating all the way back to 1847.  Yes, there was genealogy back then.  The major selling point for me, though, was the ability to access Deaths Reported in the Boston Recorder and Telegraph, 1827 & 1828!  <–Joke.  And a bad one at that.

Is that it?  Of course not!  Just today, I decided to sign up for WorldVitalRecords and GenealogyBank.  Both offer trial periods (free and not), and I’ve had them on my to-check-out list for a few months now.

WVR

GenBank

Why these two?  Well, WVR because of their world vital records (duh) and Everton’s Genealogical Helper, an old favorite that I just enjoy flipping through.  For you young folk, it was THE genealogy magazine, before this whole crazy interweb thing.  Yes, a magazine.  Kind of like a book, but more flexible and chrono-relevant. 

GenealogyBank has newspapers, newspapers and MORE newspapers.  But again, this was after finding that it had the best selection of New England newspapers, compared to all the other guys.  Newspaper.com, NewspaperArchive.com and MORE newspaper-prefixed dot-coms.  GB also appears to have top-of-the-line OCR (Occasionally Correct Reader) software.  I was very impressed on a few of the items found, given the original papers’ condition and film quality.

Whenever I’m checking out any potential pay site, the very first thing I do is enter my name in the “free search” box.  No first name; only the last.  It’s uncommon enough so that I can tell what they have by what results come up for it.  You may want to try one of your obscure family names to get the same idea.

Speaking of free searches, I use Mocavo only for the search results and then find the links on my own.  As it’s a Google for genealogy, most things can be found easily enough once you know what they are.  If that makes any sense.  Sorry, Michael.

Bottom line: try before you buy.  LOOK at what records they actually HAVE, which I know can be difficult to do with some of them at times.  Do a few of those oddball searches, and if you go “Oooooooooooooooooooooo!” upon seeing the results; you’ve got your answer (heh).

And going back to the aforementioned Genealogical Helper, here’s a page from 25 years ago!

GenHelper

Pretty scary, eh?

 

And if YOU’RE looking “for a CHEAP estimate”, contact ME… The Online Genealogist!!!  Replace “Brockton, MA” with “West Lebanon, NH” and “Southeastern Massachusetts” with “New England, New York and Eastern Townships (early Quebec)”, and we’re there!

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

The Online Genealogist sez “Great Scot!…but still UK”

110 PercentRegardless of CNN’s bad math (heh), it appears that Scotland will remain as part of the United Kingdom.  Why do I care?  Because I’m roughly 3/16th of Scottish descent!

My great-great-grandfather, James Morison, emigrated from Glasgow around 1886-1887.  He and his family spent most of their American life in South Boston, MA – at ten different addresses.  Which was NOT unusual for immigrants in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

Being The Online Genealogist, I thought I’d share some of the best links for Scottish research.

I’ve definitely had the best results using Scotlands People.

ScotPeeps

Even though it’s a credit-based service, if you can pinpoint where your ancestor lived via other methods, it’s well worth the cost.

Besides the usual FamilySearch.com, Ancestry.com, Cyndi’s List (etc.), here are some other links I’m SURE you will find helpful!

NatScot

ScotLib

ScotLib2

GenReg

Origins

ScotArch

SGS

GenUKi

IGS

ScotLinksThese are ALL great starting points for your online Scottish genealogy digging.

Here are a few websites specifically for Glaswegian research.

GlasgowHist

HistGlasgow

GlasgowDirs

GCCSpringburn is the village of Glasgow where James Morison lived prior to coming to America.

SpringAnd yes, it’s always fun to brag that my great-great-grandfather IS “Jim” Morison – heheheheh.

Jim2

Do you need help to Break On Through (To The Other Side) with regard to your family history research? Assisting with tearing down your genealogy brick walls would surely Light My Fire!  OK, this is The End of bad Doors references.

Anyway, you could always hire ME!…The Online Genealogist!!!!  And NOT feel like Riders On The Storm.  Sorry, it slipped out.

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

A few recent genealogy items worthy of note

FaGraveFind A Grave (via Ancestry.com’s blog) announced that the 100,000,000th photo was uploaded onto their website.  Yeah, I could’ve written it as “100 Million”, but look at all those ZEROES!

That’s a great milestone and pretty impressive for a website that many originally blew off as a celebrity-worship “ooooo, this is where he’s buried!” novelty destination that would be gone in a few years.  But after 19?  Boy, did they prove ME – errr, THEM wrong!!  Find A Grave is a definite boon for genealogists, historians and the entire goth community!  Me eating crow.  Poorly.

And has THIS finally been successfully proven?

Mail OnlineMr. Edwards claims he was able to extract DNA from a shawl found by one of Jack’s victims. How??  Ya gotta buy his BOOK to find out!!

JackEh, in all fairness, the article is rather meaty and has several photos, so I will not mock.  Thank you, Mr. Edwards!  The free plug for his BOOK should make up for any ill will.  Fascinating stuff, for sure!

And NOT to sound like a broken record regarding online records, but here’s MORE!!

FamilySearchScroll down a bit for the numbers.  FamilySearch.com is surely living up to their promise of a continuous flow of digitized records – indexed and non-indexed!  So, instead of waiting for the entire indexing process to catch up to the records (a few years??), they keep adding all sorts of goodies for us to BROWSE through.  Did I ever mention I love to browse? 

Well, even with all the indexes, I often end up browsing anyway.  Whether it be to find the actual ancestor I’m looking for or learn more of what and who’s around that ancestor if some promising results came up in the initial search.

These two FamilySearch items are of special note to U.S. researchers, as they are NEW sources; the others were updates to existing collections.

FS New 01FS New 02I’ll close out with something I came across today, from nearly 100 years ago, it’s the 1915 Norwich, Connecticut Tax List via the Norwich Bulletin!

NorwichThis is a great mid-decade resource for placing your Norwich, CT ancestor.  Check it out.  You could actually find someone you “know” in there!

But if your ancestors never lived in Norwich (99.9999% of us), I can still help you out!  Hire ME — The Online Genealogist!!!

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

The Online Genealogist asks “Why is CITING so often unexCITING?”

Citation Tools

As genealogists, we know that we need to cite each and every record used in our family history research.  That much I’m sure we all agree on.  But HOW we do that is where much disagreement arises.  The topic could fill a book.

In fact, it already has; several of them at that.  These are the two biggies when it comes to genealogy.

Evidence           Cite

I must admit, I’ve always had trouble with citations and footnotes in general; how to format them, where to put them.  Which comes first – the author or the date?  Should the footnotes be on the same page or at the end of a chapter?  Do we really need to be so particular as to how they’re constructed?  Apparently so!

It used to be acceptable to include enough information so that if someone else were to come across our research, they could easily determine where a particular record originated from.  But apparently, that’s not good enough anymore.  Now it seems they need to be constructed perfectly, with all items in a particular order as if our research report was some major term paper to be graded by a panel of red marker-holding genealogy professors.

apa-1-intext

The date should NOT be written in Roman Numerals as it appears in that old book!  City of publication, publisher and date HAVE to be in that order, WITHIN parenthesis!  You’ve got a COMMA where a SEMI-COLON should be and a SEMI-COLON where a COMMA should be!  It’s enough to drive a genealogist MAD!  Or at least write a blog post about it.

And the RULES vary for each type of record!  Whether it be a family bible filled with names and dates, Burlington Free Press newspaper obituary, Civil War pension application, 1910 census record or Italian marriage allegati, the RULES are different for each type.  One size does NOT fit all.

The consensus seems to be – there IS no consensus!  How CAN there be with so many different types of records that we’re attempting to document?  And these RULES are for U.S.-based genealogists only.  “Our” RULES do not apply to England or France, where they have their own set of RULES for citing reference materials.  Are you somehow getting a sense that I have issue with many of these RULES??

comic28Anyway, enough ranting on the subject; how about a solution to a problem that many of us seem to have when attempting to link a citation to an electronic record, which we’re obviously seeing more and more of these days.  What good is ANY citation “correct” or otherwise if it’s not with the record it pertains to?  You might as well not cite that source at all if you’re keeping the records in one place and the actual citations in another.

But with most electronic files, there IS a way to have the two always connected.  As most of you know, sites such as ancestry.com and familysearch.com have come a long way to help ease our pain with all things needing to be cited.  Most times, when you bring up a record on either site, the citation is RIGHT THERE, available to cut and paste.

So, where have I been successfully storing these handy-dandy citations?  In the electronic file’s COMMENTS area!  Here’s how…

Pick a record – ANY record!  For this example, I randomly chose a New Hampshire marriage record on familysearch.com.

Citation 01

First step, of course, is to download the record.  Then, as noted at the bottom left, is the little “Show Citation” box.  Click on that and up pops the citation for this record.

Citation 02

Hitting that “Copy Citation” will send it to your computer’s clipboard.

Next, go to your downloaded file and right-click on that, then hit “Properties” at the bottom, where you’ll get…

Citation 03

Hit the “Details” tab, then go down to “Comments”.  Place your cursor anywhere to the right and an “Add comments” box appears.  Click anywhere within and you’re now ready to paste the citation you copied.  Like so…

Citation 04

Hit the “OK” button and the citation will forever remain within this .jpg file!  Pretty slick, huh?

And don’t worry about not being able to fit it all in that small-looking box.   You’d be amazed at how much you can get in there!  I have yet to fill it up and for music mp3s, as I sometimes put the song’s lyrics in there no problemo!   So, you can add anything you’d like in there without any Twitter-like character restrictions.

For ancestry.com, the process is similar; they just have a different way of copying the citation to the computer’s clipboard.  The rest is exactly the same.

Two file types I have NOT seen a Comments box in the Details tab is .png (mainly via the Windows 7 snipping tool) and .pdf.  The only way I know of getting around this is to copy the file to a .jpg format in PhotoShop, etc.

The main negative in using this method is that you’d have to (somehow) let it be KNOWN that you’re saving the citations in this manner, as it’s not very intuitive.  But if we all start cutting and pasting the citations and adding them to the comments in this manner, it would be a non-issue!

With this, you’ll never have to look for an electronic record’s citation elsewhere ever again!

Come to find out, though, most of the citations on these two websites are “unacceptable”, according to the two books above.  But I’m not going to worry about that now, because I at least have SOMETHING useable attached to each record!

 

And if you don’t want to deal with citations or footnotes, hire ME, the Online Genealogist!!

TOG WEB
johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

 

Family History Humor, featuring Jean E. Allogee

 

 

Hiney

While researching, I frequently come across records that give me a chuckle; mostly bad name puns and the like.

Or those that are comical all in themselves.  Such as the above 1850 Federal Census extract for Rome, PA.

Yes, Henry Hiney, his wife Sally Ann Hiney and their presumed five children.  George Hiney at the bottom (sorry) could be a younger brother of Henry Hiney.

But the kid’s names are even better… Zepheminah Hiney! C.C. Hiney!!

City directories are a GOLDMINE for such silliness.  Or if not, I just add my own.

Like Jesus Christ is NOT in Buffalo!

No Jesus Christ

He should be between Jacob the carpenter and the John on Clinton Street.

But then I thought, Well, DUH!  Of course Jesus would be UNLISTED!!

And what’s a directory without a few good name and occupation combos?  This from the 1911 Boston Directory.

George Speede Boston 1911

Now, what ELSE would George L. Speed be doing for work??

And a 1932 Columbia, NH entry.

Columbia Directory 1932

E.E. Cass: “You wanna work on my farm and your name is Guy LeGro??  You’re HIRED!!

You know, that’s how many surnames came to be in the first place.

“I am a blacksmith and will forth hence be known as Mr. Smith!”

“Yes, and I own a mill.  Instead of ‘Very Friendly Mill Man’,  I hereby change my name to Bud Miller!!”

“Oh, but I am a DOG CATCHER!  Forthwith and beyond -”

Wait, that doesn’t work out; damn!  Eh, you get my gist.

And maybe we could have farmer Guy above “translate” this ad page from the 1915 Lebanon Directory.

Leb 1915

“Yeah, I need my horse renovated…”

“We’re Rogers & Hubbard!  Your one-stop shop for bone-based fertilizer!”

Cow invigorator??  I don’t even wanna know what that’s supposed to do!  Boviagra?

And don’t forget “Books free. Good books too.”  Ha!

I saw this in unsold ad space in a 1928 Lancaster, NH directory.

LOOK

A raise of hands…

How many of you have come across typographical errors in city directories?

Yep, everyone but that one dude in the back there.  “Yo!  Henry Hiney!!  Research much??”

So, how many people have THEY offended over the years in hundreds of localities across the country?  They should be apologizing here instead of looking for ad dollars!  OK, rant over.

From the Federal Naturalization Index…

Superfine

Lewis Superfine from Russia!  Wonder what his Russian name really was.

And I’ll leave you with this almost-triple-play…

Russell

Yes, it’s Russel Russ, of Russell, NY!

 

Thank you ancestry.com and familysearch.org for most of the above images!

Besides being screen captures, these items have not been altered in ANY WAY.  “If you don’t believe me, you can look it up yourself!” (King of California, 2007)  That’s why I always include WHERE they’re extracted FROM.

 

Because that’s just what The Online Genealogist does.

And don’t forget my Free Quickie Online Ancestor Search!!!  Details upper right.

I would love to research for you!

 

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

Helping to iron out ancestry.com’s rough edges.

ancestry-com

On ancestry.com, what can you do when you find a disparity between what’s on the census page and what’s in their index?  Change it to what it should be.  Yes, ancestry lets you do that!  Of course, they have to approve it, and if so, it will be in addition to the “erroneous” name.

With the Kiltons I’m currently researching, I’ve come across some tricky transcriptions.  Like Kitton!

Ancestry Help 02x

Notice how the assumed crosses for both T’s are floating over the “on”?  How would you really know that it only belongs to one T; not both?  I’ve heard of many a census transcriber jumping out the window after coming across a name like this.  So I’ve heard.

Now I want to change Lovett Kitton to the correct Lovell Kilton (and his family to Kilton as well).  I bring up that bottom Index, hit the name I want to change and add a Reason.  In this case, I enter “I am researching the Kiltons of Grafton; no Kittons in that entire area.”  Or Puppees, for that matter.  …Sorry.

This is what it looks like after I’ve submitted the changes.

Ancestry Help 02a

After ancestry.com approves it, they’ll send me a Thank You email with these three names I submitted.  Why is this a big deal?  Because the next person on ancestry to search for Lovell Kilton in this census will see his name come right up near the top of the results.  Same deal if for some bizarre reason you’re actually looking for the non-existent Lovett Kitton.

Right now, if I do an entire US Federal Census search (1790-1940) for Lovell Kilton, how many correct entries will appear?

1840 Census Kilton

Only ONE!  The 1840 Census.  Now I’ll scroll down below ancestry’s patented yellow “maybe these are a match, but probably not” box…

1830 Census Kilton

There he is in 1830 with a last “L” missing from his first name.  Not too far off.  But that is it for the first page of results.  As Lovell lived to the ripe old age of 92, he should be in SIX MORE available census years!

The census I made the correction to back upstream was 1870.  After ancestry gives me the thumbs up, a search for Lovell Kilton in the 1870 census will bring up (all together now)…Lovell Kilton!!

Reason #274 Why You Can Not FULLY Rely On Most Any Online Genealogical Search Function.  The results will only be as good as the index it’s working off of.

When I’m done correcting the remaining years and after ancestry does their thing, anyone will be able to find Lovell Kilton in every census he should be in — 1810-1880.  At the top, ABOVE the ugly yellow box!

Here are a few more census records I came across and added corrections to.

Ancestry Help

Now, this one just plain SUCKS for the transcriber.  Can’t quite tell if that’s an ink blot or a hole in the page.  Either way, the name was in the Index as “-ON”.  Not much help looking for anyone in any index.

Fortunately, I know that Lydia Kilton married Robert Allison in 1846, so I add the correction, again, noting the Reason being a result of researching the Kiltons.  Oh and that’s Lydia’s little sister, Mary, living with them.

Then I come across entries where common sense wasn’t exercised by the transcriber.  Like these two!…

Ancestry Help 03

They had Irving as “Iming” and William as “Willian”.  Now, I’m not researching these folks at all; they just so happened to be on the same page as the Kiltons and I spotted them.

I may have let one slide, but not TWO.  Above, Irving has already been added and I’m ready to modify William.

 

Willian?  Seriously?? 

Now, if he was a Brazilian soccer player

 

Willan

 

And if you’ve had your fill of The World Cup, hire The Online Genealogist!!  (OK, lame segue.)

 

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

 

 

It’s a Mocavo Two-fer!

Mocavo

First, big news that Mocavo has been purchased by FindMyPast.

Here is the full announcement on their home page.

I’m almost ashamed to say that I’m not subscribed to Mocavo or FindMyPastAlmost.  I mean seriously, how many of these paid-subscription websites must a genealogist cough up the bucks for?  And with some of them, you do some serious coughing!  But that’s for another post…

Funny that those two were next on my “genealogy sites to subscribe to” list, but only if I really really really really needed to.  As Mocavo is more of a search engine, I’ve been able to locate the information on my own, after their Free Forever search comes back with the results.  Same for the newspapers on FindMyPast – many are already available online for free.

So, what does this marriage mean for us?  A bad name like FindMo’Cavo??

Well, to start, a combined website/yearly subscription would be nice!  *COUGH COUGH*  (The till is dry.)

I’m sure FindMyPast and Mocavo joined forces for the very reason I’ve yet to subscribe to either; they really don’t have enough exclusive material to warrant the extra expense.  It’s almost like they’re trying to snatch up the “scraps” that Ancestry and FamilySearch (and to an extent, Fold3) don’t want.

FMP/M will have plenty to say in these coming months.  But will their combined efforts be enough to get me off the fence?

And did you know Mocavo will scan your genealogy-related books, diaries, photos, etc. for FREE?  (Love that word.  FREEEEEE.)

Simply click that Contribute button on their navigation bar.  (Or you could always just click the clickable “Contribute” I made right there.)

I recently found two local town landowners’ annual reports at a church rummage sale and mailed them to Mocavo for them to scan.  Upon doing so, they’ll add these to their collection of OCR searchable items for ALL!  It’s a GREAT service and I’m hoping that many subscribers (or not) will take them up on this offer.  So, keep an eye out, as there’s lots of genealogical stuff out there for scanning!

One very nice Mocavo niche is the central availability of such annual town reports, many of which contain births, marriages and deaths recorded during that past year.  (Obviously, better chances of seeing those for smaller towns.  Cities will simply give you the grand totals.)  Though again, with some digging, you can find most of these annuals online elsewhere..,yes, for free.

But you probably don’t want to send Mocavo anything that’s near and dear to your heart.  Especially books, as they say they need to remove the binding for better scanning, which makes perfect sense.  Read the fine print.

I’ll let you know when “my” town records come up online there.  (Supposedly, they’ll contact me AND give me credit for the data.)

So, let this be an open challenge to FindMyPast/Mocavo

Knock me off the fence!!!

 

T-O-G Biz 01

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