Learning to Use RootsMagic Lists

Research Logs / To Do Lists

When I first started my genealogical research, I had some great mentors that encouraged me to keep a log of all of my research — including finding nothing (NIL). I was fairly successful at this when doing paper genealogy. When I started using PAF (Personal Ancestral File), I continued using my paper logs. However, when I switched to TMG (The Master Genealogist), I began to slack off with this aspect of my research. I tried the tools built into The Master Genealogist, but I never incorporated them into my research process. I have citations written according to the standards of the time, but I don’t have a record of unsuccessful searches.

When I switched to RootsMagic, I elected to use OneNote and a spreadsheet for my research log and todo list. Unfortunately, I was having issues with the syncing of OneNote between devices. Thus, I started looking for other solutions — including Evernote and RootsMagic’s built in tools.

Knowing that RM would keep all of the info together, I decided to try using the Research Manager and To-Do List within the program.

My first major use of the Research Manager was during a trip to the Midwest Genealogy Library in Independence Missouri. As I was working my way thru my Excel To-Do for the library, I discovered that I really liked using RM’s Research Log.

  • Prompted to record info to build a citation
  • Prompted to include repository
  • Transcribed information directly into log

By putting all of this information in the research log, I have everything needed to enter an event into RootsMagic, – including the citation information and ‘detail text’. A second advantage, is that the information is stored within RootsMagic for later usage.

Based on my positive experience with the research log, I decided to expand and use the TO DO list. Knowing that we would be making a research trip to the Kansas State Historical Society, I transferred the information from my Excel To-Do list into tasks on RM’s ToDo list. For my research trip, I printed a report showing only those tasks that could be completed at the KSHS. I quickly learned

  • Task headings need to be more specific: event, name(s), date(s), place(s) and possibly a call number
  • Task details matter
  • Transferring the task to the research log did not mark the task as completed

I do like the feature to transfer the task to the research log. This allowed me to easily transcribe the items directly into the Research log.

For both research trips, I used the iScanner app on my phone to take pictures of the source. I tried the free version but ended up purchasing the full app. I like iScanner because it keeps all of the images from one source together. Thus, I can take a picture of the title page and of desired pages and know that they go together. I can export the images as images or as a PDF document. I included a not that I used iScanner to take the pictures in my Research Log entry.

Even though I’m still learning to use these tools, I hope that I can improve my research skills thru their use.

 

 

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Elwood Cemetery – What is the evidence?

About a month ago, I discovered my great-great grandfather, Albert Hutchinson, listed on Find a Grave. Albert and his first wife, Julia Harding, have been one of the challenges in my search for the family history. I think I have Julia’s heritage figured out but Albert appears to ‘just hatch’ in Iowa. Both just seemed to disappear from this earth with little or no evidence of their passing. At least, until I found Albert on Find a Grave as being buried in the Elwood Cemetery.

But wait! Elwood is only 60 miles from me. Don’t you think I would have already found his grave? But does Elwood even have a cemetery?

Finding the Elwood Cemetery – OR – disproving its existence was a challenge to me. In the process of figuring out this puzzle, I realized that this task provided an excellent opportunity to apply this week’s ‘Finally Get Organized‘ task. This task involved looking at sources, information and evidence to be able to write a conclusion based on a preponderance of the evidence.

I started by conducting some ‘Internet’ research to see what else I could find on this cemetery.

  • Source: Find a GraveElwoodCem1
  • Information: Latitude: 39.76523, Longitude: -94.87605

Armed with the Find a Grave map, I then checked Google maps and clicked on the ‘Google Earth’ button, I was able to see a satellite view of the land.

 

 

Source: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Elwood,+KS/@39.7645554,-94.884329,1593m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x87c01ad8c4755eff:0xd2255ec1e61ba8ba

ElwoodCem2

Comparing the satellite view with the map from Find a Grave, there is a clump of trees in about the area indicated as a cemetery in Find a Grave. However, zooming in on the clump of trees, I did not find tombstones, but what appear to be boulders.

ElwoodCem3

Doing some background research, I found a list of Doniphan County cemeteries from 1906. In 1906, the Kansas State Historical Society compiled a list of cemeteries in Doniphan County and published them in their Transactions of the Kansas State Horticultural Society, vol. XXVIII (1906), pp. 325-377. The Family Search wiki has an expanded list of cemeteries for Doniphan County based on this 1906 list. Neither list contains an Elwood Cemetery.

After discussing this with my husband, I elected to check Google Earth itself.

ElwoodCem4Source: Google Earth search for Elwood, Kansas and then zooming in

Note that the clump of trees (and boulders) shown in the satellite image on Google Maps is missing from the image on Google Earth.

 

 

Challenged by this mystery, my husband and I took a trip to the Elwood/St. Jo area to try and figure out if there was a cemetery in Elwood.

KS-Doniphan-CemeteriessmOur first stop was the Harman-Rohde Funeral Home in Wathena, Kansas. When asked about a cemetery in Elwood, Paul Rohde responded, ‘If there is, it’s not used any more.’ When asked about evidence of such a cemetery, he checked his files and produced a map of Doniphan County cemeteries. (pictured on right)

Lo and behold — #89 says Elwood and may be the number in the bend of the river. Not only is it listed, but there is a check mark by it that indicates it ‘still exists.’ This map was created by Francis Burbridge in 1984.

Even though the map indicates the cemetery still existed in 1984, Paul Rohde was not aware of any burials in that cemetery. When asked about where residents of Elwood are buried, he said they are either buried in Wathena or in St. Jo. Unfortunately, the funeral home records only go back into the 1930s. Thus, they won’t shed any light on whether Albert Hutchinson is buried at Elwood.

KS-Doniphan-Elwood-6th-looking-northOur next stop was the Elwood city office to see what we could find out about a cemetery at Elwood. When asked about a cemetery in Elwood, the city staff said that Elwood did not have a cemetery. She indicated that the town moved South to its current location around 1916. As we discussed the Find a Grave entry showing a cemetery on N. 6th street, the city staff remembered that at one time city workers used an area on N. 6th as a dump. When asked if the city had maintained any death records, she said that they did not have such records and that the courthouse in Troy would be the place to look for death records.

(6th street in Elwood, Kansas looking North.)

 

KS-Doniphan-Elwood-5th-looking-NW

Since it had rained recently, we didn’t try to go down the dirt road. However, we couldn’t see any evidence of a cemetery between our location and the bluffs formed by the river.

(Right) View from 5th street looking Northwest towards the Missouri River.

Photos were taken on March 15, 2016

The Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society has a plat map of Buchanan County, Missouri hanging on the wall of their library (dated about 1939) that gives a good visual of where Elwood, Kansas is in relation to the Missouri River.

MO-Buchanan-Plat-Elwood-1939sm

 

Knowing that Elwood lies in the flood plain of the Missouri River and that Elwood was under water during the 1993 flood, it makes me wonder whether a cemetery would have survived so close to the river.

So what is my conclusion? Even though I found information (a map) indicating that there was a cemetery North of Elwood, I don’t feel like I have evidence of such a cemetery. I also conducted interviews indicating that there isn’t a cemetery in Elwood. Since the map and the interviews are contradictory of each other and since I haven’t personally seen the cemetery nor found any photographs of it, I don’t believe there is enough evidence to support a conclusion either way.

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad – Seaman 1st Class

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-Navy-SailorPiecing together dad’s military service is a challenge! This is because all of the documents indicate that he graduated from high school while enlisted in the service. His ‘Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service’ indicates he entered active service on 15 Feb 1945 in Gulfport, Miss and served for 1 year, 5 months and 17 days. At the same time, his diploma is dated 17 May 1945 and his name is listed on the program for the 58th Commencement of Dodge City High School held on 17 May 1945.

Even dad had a hard time putting it on a timeline. At two different times, he recorded the events of his military service for me. There are similarities between the two timelines, but there are also differences.

Transcription of first recollection:

  • Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-WWII-Service-Record-Recollection1Enlisted for a minority (age 21) ans was sworn in 2/15/1945 in Kansas City went home [17 years old]
  • May ? 1945 went on active duty / sent to Great Lakes Naval Station for boot camp
  • 7 day leave after boot camp
  • Reported to Wright Jr College radar tech school for 1 month 6 weeks
  • Assigned to Gulfport Naval Station radar Tech school
  • While in school Navy decided that students who wished to continue in school had to enlist in regular navy. Parents agreed so I enlisted and received a 30 day leave. Returned to Gulfport to find out the Nave had changed there mind so I was discharged from the regular navy and enlisted in naval reserve
  • Flunked out of school
  • Became Master of Arms of barracks (Gulfport)
  • Sent to Great Lakes Naval training. Put in charge of serving line at recruits mess hall
  • Put on troop train for Treasure Island [Naval Station Treasure Island – San Francisco]
  • Went on board

Transcription of second recollection

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-WWII-Service-Record-Recollection2Date of Service 2/15/45 to 8/1/46

  • Sworn in active duty KC Mo last Sat May 1945
  • Great Lakes Naval Training Center Boot camp – 6 weeks
  • One week leave
  • Wright Jr College Chicago Ill 6 weeks (VE day) [claimed to have celebrated VE day with his cousins in Chicago – VE Day 8 May 1945]
  • Gulfport Naval Station Gulfport MS
  • Discharged from Naval reserve
  • enlisted in reg navy for a minority
  • 30 day leave
  • discharged from reg navy
  • enlisted in naval reserve
  • flunked out of school
  • spent Christmas leave in Gulfport
  • Barracks commander — over 200 men in barracks

1946 [turned 18 in Dec 1945]

From his Honorable Discharge

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1946-Military-DischargeEugene David Crawford Seaman First Class V-6 USNR is honorably discharged from the U.S. Naval Personnel Separation Center in Norman, Oklahoma and from the Naval Service of the United States this 1st day of August 1946.

From the ‘Affidavit Concerning Naval Record’ on file in the Ford County (Kansas) Courthouse

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1946-Affidavit-Naval-Record2Eugene David Crawford, 343 46 97 SLC V-6 USNR, U.S. Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve), being first duly sword do submit the following information concerning my naval record which is necessary to complete my record of naval service and do hereby certify that it is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief:

“That I have served outside the continental limits of the United states (outside the three mile limit), while aboard the U.S.S. Oneida (APA-221) from 20 May 1946 to 24 July 1946. This ship operated in the Pacific ocean, around Guam and Samar. I left the States the 1st of June 1946 and returned 16 July 1946.”

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1946-Navy-Sailors-Back-Right

Eugene Crawford – back row far right

Who Is Jenny Neal?

This weeks Finally Get Organized checklist deals with applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to four generations on my Crawford line. Basically this involves evaluating the quantity (reasonably exhaustive search) and quality of sources for these four generations. The second part of the task is to re-evaluate how those sources support the events in each life and whether a source or sources raises additional questions about that persons life.

Conducted a Reasonably Exhaustive Search? That should be easy, right? After all, I have  75 footnotes on my dad, over 90 on my granddad and 54 on my great-granddad. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Since I have participated in the Genealogy Do-Over,  I was reminded of the basic research skills that I used when I first started. Knowing that I hadn’t completed a ‘checklist’ on these men since the early days of my research, I elected to resurrect that skill and complete ‘checklists’. Low and behold, I discovered that I hadn’t found my great-grandfather in the 1925 Kansas Census after it became available. I had the 1930 and 1940 census records for him but not the 1925.

Some would argue that since he and his wife lived in the same town, same house for most of their lives getting the 1925 census wouldn’t be necessary especially since I had the 1920 and 1930 records. However, reasonably exhaustive search (and my previous experience) says that every source is an important source and that the 1925 census might shed additional light on the family.

So, I set off on my trek to find the 1925 census records. In the early days of my genealogical research, this would have meant a trip to Topeka to view the microfilm. However, most of the Kansas census is now available on Ancestry, including the 1925 records. So it was off to Ancestry for a quick search to locate the record and then record the info in my database.

Crawford-Judson-b1866-1925-Kansas-Census

Not only did I find Judson Crawford exactly where I expected (504 Avenue G in Dodge City), but I found the younger children still at home. But WAIT! Who is this Jenny Neal, a twelve year old female born in Kansas? Since NEAL sounded like a surname I had data on, it was off to RootsMagic to try and figure out who this young lady might be.

I did find some NEALs in my data but from over 100 years earlier. Could she be descended from them? It’s possible since a lot of the family migrated to Dodge City. Could she be related to Judson’s wife, Josie. That’s another possibility but I don’t have anything to indicate that relationship. Could Jenny’s father be a deceased railroad worker that the Crawford family took in? That’s another possibility since Judson worked for the railroad and was an active member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.

So, the next step is to try and learn more about Jenny Neal so I can answer the question:

Who is Jenny Neal?

 

Technically – Failed

After a hiatus from actively working on my genealogy, I’m playing catch up. As part of that ‘catch-up’ process, I’ve participated in the Genealogy Do-Over and am now participating in ‘Finally Get Organized‘. I am learning a lot thru these activities and actually making lots of progress on my goal to digitize my files.

Since I started doing genealogy over 35 years ago, I have a lot of paper. Fortunately, almost all of that paper has been sourced! Unfortunately, it hasn’t been scanned or in most cases transcribed.

So, tackling the weekly checklists for ‘Finally Get Organized’ is helping me stay focused as I wade thru all of that paper. I can truthfully say I’ve accomplished the following:

  • Verified that my files are being backed up to the cloud and to USB drives
  • Cleaned my desk — including opening my computer and blowing out all of the dust
  • Have data for myself and my Crawford line in Roots Magic (my dad, granddad, great-granddad and great-great grandad)
  • Printed family group sheets — I did this, but am not happy with the format. Because I have lots of events for each person in Roots Magic, these are not the ‘traditional’ style of reports with just birth, marriage, death, but much longer.
  • Create a binder for my dad’s line and put the family group sheets in the binders with documents behind each family. Well, instead of ONE binder, I have FIVE thick (3″ or 4″) binders full. Since my binders already had family group sheets in them, I left the old ones and did not use the ones I printed out. I’ll replace them when I figure out how to do that in Roots Magic or find another way.
  • Scanned all of the documents for my male ancestors in my dad’s line thru my great-great grandfather
  • Put the documents in chronological order — while making sure they were in archival safe sheet protectors
  • Indexed records on Family Search (Iowa Delayed Birth Certificates)
  • Made sure info on my brothers is in RootsMagic (was completed over the summer when I scanned their binders)
  • Create a binder for my mother’s line — already done but again multiple binders (and not yet scanned)

Where I’ve failed is with the task to TRANSCRIBE ALL DOCUMENTS in the binder. I have transcribed SOME of the documents but am nowhere close to transcribing all or even all of the handwritten documents. Since this task is going to take a while, I’ve marked my place and left it for later.

Thus, I can’t claim that I’ve completed the January tasks. However, I am thankful for the opportunity and will continue accepting the weekly challenges!

Transcribing – Failed (for now)

Binders – Success!

IMG_3437

 

 

Simple – yet Huge

Finally Get Organized Checklist — Jan 17th – 23rd

Only Two Tasks: Transcribe / Refile – Should be manageable, right?

Task 2: Take the surname binder for my dad’s line and put in chronological order starting with my parent’s family at the time of their marriage, working back for 3 older generations.

I can happily say that I have completed the re-filing task for my father, grandfather and great-grandfather — in THREE separate binders. Thankfully, I ordered a couple of larger binders (4″ D ring). Otherwise, the binders were overstuffed and page turning would be difficult.

Task 1: Transcribe every document for the first four generations

This is where I get an ‘F’ for the week. This is also where the quantity exceeds the available time. My bulging notebooks also mean lots of time spent transcribing. I am using the free program, Transcript, to read some of the handwritten documents. I am putting the transcription in the ‘detail text’ field for the source. I am also creating a word document with the transcription followed by the image. The word document is being saved as both a .docx and a .pdf file. This takes a few extra clicks but is similar to ‘backing up’. I’m getting the transcription saved in multiple places / ways.

I have adopted a file naming system similar to Dear Myrtle‘s but slightly different. This system was suggested by another participant in the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group.

surname-Firstname-byyyy-yyyy-description

Crawford-Leon-b1894-1960-Railroad-Retirement

Since I have several lines where the same name appears throughout the line, I need a way to keep the individuals separate. Thus, I rejected a lot of other file naming suggestions. At first, I was going to reject the one above, but after thinking about it in relation to four generations of Hiram Currey’s I’ve elected to adopt it.

My naming convention will keep an individual together and then put the documents in chronological order. The convention that Dear Myrtle uses will put the documents in chronological order – similar to the binders.

Since I already have the ‘F’ for the 17th-23rd tasks, I’m going to move on to one of the tasks for this next week – volunteer indexing. Then I’ll come back and continue working my way thru the huge pile.

IMDoingIT

 

 

File Types & the Future

As indicated in yesterday’s post, Paper Outlasts Digital, my paper documents are outlasting my digital files. Before continuing my scanning project, I wanted to see if I should switch how I’m storing my scanned images.

After a quick Google search for ‘file formats that last’, I found some advice from what I would consider to be ‘experts’

First, I found a post by the National Archives and Records Administration regarding Digital File Types. From this article, I learned that NARA’s Photographic Imaging, Microfilm and Textual Preservation Lab uses the TIFF format for master preservation and reproduction. Thankfully, that is the format I’m using to scan the majority of my paper. When it comes to sharing files, the JPG format is also used.

However, I may have to re-think how I’m scanning multi-page documents. I’ve been using the PDF format. According to the article, the Photographic Imaging, Microfilm and Textual Preservation Lab are using the PDF format for distribution purposes only. Thus, my practice of using PDF to store what I would call ‘master’ files may need to be changed.

Secondly from the PC World article, “How to Archive Files so They’ll Stay around for Years”  by Lincoln Spector, comes the advice

“And just to be safe, if it’s possible, save the same files in more than one format. Save and store documents in .docx, .doc, .pdf, and .html. For photos, go with .jpg and .png. For music, .mp3 and .wav.”