Lifetime of Challenges

WINNLEON240As a wife and mother, my grandmother, Winnie Crawford, had more than her share of challenges. She married my grandfather, Leon Crawford, at age 16. About a month before her 18th birthday, she watched her first born child, Betty Jean, die within a day of birth. My dad was born just a couple of years before the start of the great depression. Winnie and Leon managed to struggle thru the dust bowl and depression of the 30’s even with my grandfather being laid off of work for about a year. Before the age of 60, Winnie would bury her third child, L.R., who died suddenly while in college.

Winnie’s life of challenges actually began at the age of 10 when her mother died. Below are her words.



The poem, God Hath Not Promised, was on her funeral card and sums up her attitude toward life:

God hath not promised
skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
all our lives through;
God hath not promised
sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
peace without pain.

But God hath promised
strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
help from above,
Unfailing sympathy
undying love.

Do-Over Week Three

Scanning, scanning and more scanning! My ‘paperless’ project and my ‘genealogy do-over’ projects merged this week. I switched from scanning my file folders to scanning my family notebooks. Scanning the notebooks is slower, but it has allowed me to check and update source documentation as I go.

In the process, I’ve been learning my way around Roots Magic and source citations. I’ve tried to be diligent about adding the media to the source and about designating the quality of the source. With this slow process, I am about to finish scanning and documenting my parents, my brothers and their children.

During the week, I picked up on two ideas that I want to implement. The concept of using a closed Facebook group to share family photos jumped out at me as I’ve been scanning a lot of photos this past week. This should be a great way to share those photos with distant cousins.

The second idea is the use of a timeline. By tracking events in this manner, it should help identify issues with data as well as provide hints for finding more information. While driving around Emporia this week, I started wondering where all my grandmother had lived. The various locations had been mentioned by my mom over the years but I didn’t have any street addresses. Since I had time while driving thru Topeka, I stopped and did some research at the Kansas State Historical Society using old TELEPHONE BOOKS. I had never thought of using phone books as a genealogical source, but they proved to be a great tool. I’ve now tracked my grandmother from 1940 to 1960. I even took my time and added each telephone book to my ‘research plan’ document for my grandmother!

Even though I haven’t added a single person to my tree, I feel that this week has been very beneficial in that it has caused me to go back thru documentation and to ask questions about missing information.


The Piano in Our Lives

195312MarciaCrawfordPianoStoolRobertaCrawfordWEBIn pondering my musical heritage, one of my early memories is of the piano stool at Grandma Crawford’s. As kids, would love to sit and spin on it. I even had the privilege of having the piano stool for my seat at the family dinner table. Outside of those family dinners, the stool resided in my grandmother’s bedroom in front of her piano. I only have vague memories of her playing the piano and have no idea what happened to that piano.

1960CrawfordDavidwithgrandadCrawfordWEBThe musician in our family is actually my mother. She played the French horn in high school and the piano. Mom had a gift with the piano. She could play a tune using chords similar to guitar playing. I remember the family waiting for her piano to arrive after my parents purchased a house in Dodge City. I learned to play on mom’s piano and even had lessons on playing with chords. To mom’s regret, I did not inherit her musical talent. Mom’s piano followed us to Emporia where it graced our living room. That piano is still in the family – residing in my brother’s home.


Road Trip Memories

CrawfordMarciaDavidTerry1962NewMexicoFishingVacationWhile living in Dodge City, the Crawford family would pack up each summer and go camping. We usually ended up in a Colorado forest, but also made treks to the Tetons, Flagstaff, Arizona and Taos, New Mexico.

My earliest vacation memory is probably from a family movie and not an actual memory. When I was about 3 or 4, we went camping with my Crawford grandparents to Colorado. Mom, grandma, my brother and I got to sleep in the tent with the floor. My dad and grandad slept on cots in what I envision to have been an old army tent with no floor. That tent was also our ‘dining hall’. Whenever we would watch those movies, my grandmother would tell a tale of it being so cold that she and mom bundled up us kids and we all slept in the car.


Those camping trips were times when we would explore. Hiking and rock climbing (not what you think of today – just small boulders) usually meant that I came home with skinned knees.

CrawfordDavid1962NewMexicoFishingVacatioinAbout the only time that we actually went fishing was in New Mexico. Mom and dad took us to a fish farm where each of us could fish. This was one of those places where all you had to do was put your bait in the water and you had a fish. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me I could only catch one. With three kids to help and everyone quickly catching fish, I had two caught before they realized it. Needless to say we had trout for supper.

When we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, the trips to Colorado stopped. I’m guessing this was due to a lack of funds versus the change in location. Dad was a graduate student at the University of Nebraska and mom was working full time as a medical secretary at a clinic on O Street.

Thanks to my parents, the idea of being together as a family has survived to include the grandchildren and even a great-granddaughter. Destinations have included Estes Park, San Antonio, Bastrop State Park (near Austin, Tx), Branson and more recently an annual weekend Lake Melvern in Kansas. Our idea of camping has also changed from a tent to a cabin, but when we camp, you can bet there’s a fire (unless restricted due to drought). With the exception of my husband, who is allergic to smoke, most of our time is spent around that camp fire. Hikes and even geocaching were also on the agenda – particularly during the longer trips. I’m not sure the other passengers on that Southwest Airlines jet really appreciated us after one of our Bastrop trips. Lots of Febreeze was used and some of our coats were even washed, but after spending four days together around that camp fire, I’m sure we smelled of smoke.

Family and Camp Fire = Fun Times

Week Two Goals

It’s week two of Genealogy Do-Over (cycle 3) and time to get specific on some goals.

  • Focus scanning project on family notebooks
  • Check source citations for events appearing on a family group sheet to make sure they follow current standards (using Evidence Explained)
  • Continue learning by reading blogs and participating in webinars
  • Figure out tagging of files so that I don’t end up with multiple copies of the same file.


Starting Over

For about the past ten years, my genealogy research has pretty much stalemated. This summer, I decided to pursue a project that I had started over Christmas vacation – the digitizing of my genealogy files. This long, slow project is also giving me screen time to explore. During that exploration time, I stumbled across the concept of a ‘genealogy do-over’. Intrigued but not really wanting to start over, I signed up for cycle 3 of ‘Genealogy Do-Over’ on Facebook.

One of the rationales behind a ‘do-over’ is that many genealogies contain data that was imported from other researchers without documentation to support the lineage. I have to admit that unfortunately, I did import another researchers tree in my early years. I learned from that mistake and have been careful about importing data since. This argument along with the valid point that some data may be in a genealogy file that doesn’t have sufficient documentation have caused me to seriously consider an actual do-over. However, the following aspects of my research are causing me to strongly consider a go-over vs. a do-over

  • Same name research: My first encounter with this issue was trying to find my great-grandfather’s grandfather. I knew his name was James Crawford and that his son, Nelson, lived in Warren County Indiana. Since there was a James Crawford family in Warren County of the right age to be Nelson’s family, I tried my darnedest to put Nelson in this family. In the process, I researched not only this James Crawford but three others who were in the same area of Kentucky at the same time before I was able to separate out my James Crawford. My genealogy file contains information on all of these men and their families.
  • Cluster Genealogy: In trying to separate out the James Crawford’s and to potentially identify their migration path and ancestors prior to Kentucky, I have researched a cluster of people that migrated from Kentucky to the same area of Ohio.
  • Collateral Descendants: To help find elusive ancestors, I have tracked information on siblings and their descendants. I don’t have all lines to the present day but I have a lot into the 1900s.

For these reasons, I am going to stick with a go-over starting with myself.

Comparing Genealogy WebSite Generation

Another Master Genealogist user recently asked for URLs of genealogy websites generated with Roots Magic or Legacy software. Curious about the differences, I decided to do my own comparison. For this project, I created a gedcom with a limited number of people from my Master Genealogy data. I then imported that gedcom into a new file in both RootsMagic 7 and Legacy 8. In RootsMagic, I used the default configurations and generated a web site using RootsMagic 6 style website. In Legacy, I used the default configurations to generate an individual style website. Below are the results:

Leon Crawford page – Master Genealogist / Second Site

Leon Crawford – Roots Magic

Leon Crawford – Legacy

Please note that the images did not transfer via Gedcom from Master Genealogist to RootsMagic or Legacy. I also did not take the time to reconnect the images to the individuals. Thus, the lack of images in the test site is my fault and not the fault of the software.

Both RootsMagic and Legacy put the events into a list.





Second Site generates a narrative report for the individual.


Legacy only shows the documentation for the major life events: birth, marriage, death, burial by using superscripts that are linked to the endnotes. However, the other events do not have any link to the documentation.


RootsMagic places a source icon with each event.


Clicking on that icon opens a list of endnotes for that even.


Second Site generates endnotes for each individual


New ‘Pinning’ Ideas and Tools

Tonight I participated in the webinar, Pinning Your Family Tree, by Thomas MacEntee. This was MUCH MORE than I expected!

The first part of the webinar was on how to use Pinterest — particularly for sharing of family pictures and heirlooms. One suggestion was to scan the fabric memorabilia that has been passed down. I would have never thought of that, but it would be a way to document those heirlooms. Besides using a scanner to get a picture of the heirloom, a cell-phone or tablet could be used with scanner apps such as Shoebox. By using a phone or tablet, it would be possible to obtain an image of a quilt or other large heirloom.

The second part focused on a lot of other tools similar Pinterest – many of which were new to me.

Google Collections allows one to add scanned images to create a visual storyboard for a family member. Based on the presentation, it might not be possible to make them public.

Google My Maps — This tool allows you to add pins at various locations and then save the map. This would be very useful to plot a migration path for a particular family.

What Was There — This website hosts historical photos of buildings and landmarks and links them to addresses. Thus, it is possible to see how an area changed over time. The value of this site will grow as people post the historical pictures.

Historypin – This site is similar to ‘What Was There’ but the pictures don’t have to be of a building or landmark. When I searched for Seneca, KS I found two pictures. One was posted by the Kansas State Historical Society and the other was posted by the Dr. Pepper Museum.

UEncounter.Me – This site is a social map pinning site. The presenter suggested that this was a way to connect with other researchers for a particular locality.

Confusion – Selecting Tool

Thinking thru the process — I like Drusilla Pair’s visual (as posted on the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook page) of the research process but I’m not getting very far with figuring out the nuts and bolts of my process. Since I’m trying to digitize my source files, this do-over process is an excellent opportunity to establish a procedure for moving away from paper research.

My current genealogy software (Master Genealogist) allows for the attachment of images and files to an individual. Images are viewable but the PDF files are not. The software that I may transition to also allows me to ‘attach’ images and pdf files. Both also have the ability to do research logs and task lists. I already have a lot of source templates configured in Master Genealogist.

After reading many of the posts and blogs, it appears that most participants are not going to use their genealogy software to track the research process. Instead they are going to use other resources such as Evernote, OneNote, Evidentia or Google Drive.

Over a year ago, I participated in a webinar using Google Drive to track research. One of the advantages of this tool is the ability to have an online form for each source that automatically populates the spreadsheet. Because questions are built into the form to force one to evaluate the source (primary/secondary, quality of image, etc.) it would be a very valuable tool. However, I’m not sold on Google Drive as the primary tool for the research process.

I have used Evernote in my professional life (a little) and it has a strong following in the genealogy community. I’ve found quite a few templates on Cyndi’s List (

Within the past month, I watched a video on OneNote and became intrigued about using it as my research process tool. OneNote appeals to me visually and so far appears to better organize the information.

Each tool has its advantages/disadvantages. Unfortunately, I need to decide which one to use and then learn how to set it up. Otherwise, I will end up with something in each tool — and a disorganized mess.

Confusion Reigning – ‪#‎Wk1GenealogyDoOver

Genealogy Do-Over Week #1

Do-over? Am I crazy?

With over 35 years of research on all of my lines I think I might be – especially where I’ve already done a ‘do-over’ once. When I converted my data from PAF to Master Genealogist I reviewed my data. During that process, what was a NOTE in PAF became an event in TMG and citations were added. I used Elizabeth Shown Mill’s book, Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian, to create the templates for my citations.

During the early stages of my research, I also ran into the ‘how do I organize’ this stuff problem. About that time, I had the privilege of attending a workshop where William Dollarhide spoke. After hearing about his organization method, I decided to adopt it. Thus, my files of research are in folders by Surname.State.number. This has proven a very workable filing system – especially where I have had to research several lines to begin to identify my own line. I plan to continue using my version of the Dollarhide system as I digitize my files.

So, why am I participating? One of the major reasons I’m participating is to improve my skills. One area that I’ve always struggled with was keeping a research log. From my early days as a researcher, I was aware that I needed to do this but for some reason, I haven’t stuck with it — particularly when documenting resources that did not provide any information. In the process of getting better at logging my research, I would like to learn to use OneNote and/or Evernote.

Another reason for participating is to hopefully learn new research methods to help break down my brick walls – and I have quite a few.

Let the fun being – ‪#‎Wk1GenealogyDoOver‬