Let Your Genealogy Software Do Much Of The Work For You
SHARON TATE MOODYAre you getting the most out of your genealogy software? Here are a few ways you can get even more bang for your buck.
Published: December 28, 2008
Published: December 28, 2008
1. Explore your "Facts" or "Events" options. All software programs come with default categories that include such topics as birth, death and marriage. Most allow you to create other categories.
For example, two events I create are those of "witness to a document" and "heir in estate." Documents that show your ancestor as a witness are important and may play a key part in later analysis. So even if he was not the grantor or grantee in a deed, you can enter the deed as an "Event" and show him as a "witness to document."
Another event I add is "migration." Every time you find evidence that your ancestor moved, you should enter the years that may have happened.
For example, hypothetical ancestor George Moss in 1850 appeared on the census in Hall County, Ga. He had four children in the household. The census showed that George was born in Pennsylvania in 1815. Mary, the oldest female in the household and probably his wife, was born in 1817 in Virginia. Based on the ages shown for the children, you determine that the oldest was born about 1835 in Virginia. The next child was born in 1837 in North Carolina, the third in 1840 in Georgia and the youngest in Georgia in 1842.
Using the children's birth years, you can develop an approximate migration chart for George. It appears he migrated to Virginia between 1815 and 1833 (probably the approximate date of his marriage based on the age of the oldest child). He migrated to North Carolina between 1835 and 1837, and then to Georgia between 1837 and 1840.
Go to your genealogy software and enter each of these migration events or facts. Also make sure that each census year (1800, 1810, 1820, etc.) is an "event" and that you enter each one in which you locate your ancestors. In this way, the software's event tracking can be valuable in creating a timeline of your ancestors' activities and locations.
2. Track people of interest. You probably often find people you don't know listed in your ancestors' documents. You should enter them into the program so that you can find them again. Most genealogy software allows you to enter an "Unrelated individual" who isn't a known member of your family.
Let's say you have the Mills Family in your software. You find an 1840 deed in which Herbert Mills sold property and Solomon Morris witnessed the deed. Create Morris as an "unrelated individual" and under his "events," you can enter that he "witnessed" a Herbert Mills deed in 1840.
Morris' name will appear in the Mills Family Tree index. That beats the heck out of racking your brain and spending days going through reams of documents searching for a name you think you've seen before.
If you later learn that Morris was related to Mills, you can add that connection and he no longer will be an "unrelated individual."
3. Enter your sources. Long after you've entered this information, you likely won't remember where you got it, so make sure you enter the source at the same time you enter the details.
Your source on each of the migrations would be the 1850 Georgia Census, but you also would add specific census details, including county, district or town, the census page number, dwelling and family numbers.
Readers and students often ask me which genealogy software I recommend. Not normally a fence sitter, I'm reluctant to recommend a specific one because the truth is, there are several very good ones on the market. The top-rated genealogy software programs are so user-friendly, if you can use a keyboard, you can teach yourself how to use them.
Legacy, www.legacyfamilytree.com; RootsMagic, www.rootsmagic.com; and FamilyTreeMaker, www.familytree maker.com, consistently are rated among the top performers. All three cost $29.95 each. The most popular Mac software is Reunion, www.leisterpro .com, at $99.
Online Jewish Classes
JewishGen will kick off the new year with an online beginners' course. Starting Thursday, the course will consist of eight lessons provided online twice weekly. Topics include genealogy formats, organizing and tracking information, Jewish naming conventions, U.S. vital records, census and passenger manifests.
Tuition is $50. Enroll at www.jewish gen.org/education.
Tampa Chapter 113 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will celebrate the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at its Jan. 10 meeting. Reservations must be made by Jan. 5 by calling June Bolen at (813) 685-4026.
The meeting will be at Perkins Restaurant, 12650 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.
If you are fortunate enough to find your ancestor's personal papers, can his handwriting tell you anything about him?
Pasco Genealogical Society President Mike Shires thinks it can, and she'll explain why at the group's meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 10 when she introduces graphoanalysis.
The group will meet at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9016 Fort King Road, Dade City.
For information, go to www.rootsweb .com/~flpcgs.
Sharon Tate Moody is past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Send your genealogy questions and event announcements to her in care of Getaway, The Tampa Tribune, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606, or e-mail wmoody3@tampabay
.rr.com. She regrets that she is unable to assist with personal research and cannot respond to requests for locating or researching specific individuals.