Genealogy Journey
Almost hit major problem today.  Well, actually I did hit a major problem today.  I decided to let my security software scan for any viruses.  It found 3-4 and I promptly deleted them.  All's good, right?  Um, not so much.  I went to get into my Family Tree Legends software tonight and nada!  It was giving me an error message and wouldn't open at all. 

I'm usually really good with missing DLL files as long as I know what they are.  But this was giving me an 'error 126' with a long string of gibberish right before that error.  A google search revealed that several others had received the same message with the same software and there were no successful repairs out there!  I tried installing the software on top of the old.....didn't work.  I tried uninstalling, rebooting, and reinstalling the software....didn't work. 

I had the forethought to copy my "familytree.flt" file before doing anything.  I knew that I had close to 1,000 names already in that file since I started putting stuff in last week (I still have a notebook full to update the file with as well.)  I decided to look for something to convert that file to something readable (ie flw, ged, etc) to another tree program since this obviously wasn't going to work on this computer.  There was nothing out there to convert it.  You had to be able to get into Family Tree Legends to convert the file.  Well, I wouldn't need to do that if FTL was working.  I decided then that IF I did get the software to working again, the first thing I would start doing is making a GED file every now and then (read: everytime I finish a session) as a backup. 

I finally decided to go into the restore feature and selected a file from yesterday, when I knew that the software was working properly.  It took a while, but I figured that it would be worth it, if it worked.  Especially with the thought that if those little files could adjust that software, there is other software in my computer that could've been affected and I might not detect it for a while.  Better to fix it now than fret more later.

It said that it didn't change any files, but that wasn't totally true.  When I went to open FTL, it started reinstalling the software again.  I thought, here we go....dead end again.  But this time it actually worked!  I went back to my familytree.ftl file though and it had significantly reduced in size.  Knowing that meant that it had gone back to a time before all of the additional entries, I closed the software back out and copied my stashed file back over the newly written file.  All is right in the world again.  Well, maybe not everything...but everything is right with my software again! 
I've hit a good stride this week in finding information.  So fast that I haven't really been able to coordinate my thoughts enough to put them down here or even organize who all of these people are that I'm finding!  The oddest thing was finding that a paternal first cousin once removed married a Charles Newton Myers...well my Great-Grandmother was married to Charles Albert Myers.  It was so odd when I saw that name pop-up last night.  I'm pretty sure there was no relation other than my connecting the two.  It was odd none the less. 

I am still keeping the internet window open while utilizing the software.  Thus making it easier to pull up a "kinship report" telling me how I'm connected to each Tom, Dick & Hariett.  The next thing is going to be figuring out how to rid myself of duplications without screwing it up.  I've found that two sisters in the family married the same man - at different times of course...we're not talking Sister Wives...not yet anyway.  I'm just not sure how to connect the two without putting him in two times?  That's going to be something to figure out hopefully before the program reaches it's maximum number of entries!  I've heard that it has one but I haven't found out what it is yet.
I'm still looking through my father's side of the family.  I wasn't intending on doing any today but I got sucked in.  I've found that a Great(x4) Grandfather was a long-time member of the House of Representatives and another relative was a US Senator for Tennessee (how ironic?).   I was at least able to return to Find-A-Grave to find some of them. 

I still have a LOT of blanks on the way up.  I'm trying to work around this software to find out the minimal waste of paper and ink while still making it easier on myself to navigate through.  I got further back today than I ever have getting into the early 1600's.  I'll post more details when I'm able to figure out exactly what I've got.  Today has been really encouraging to keep going though. 

At least maybe it won't be as hard for me to start drudging through the census reports again!  The tediousness of it at least gives cause for excitement when I actually find a match!
Off and on, I'd looked at records for my father's side of the family.  I kept hitting brick walls in the very early searches in looking through census records.  I finally had a breakthrough last night simply by googling!  I was able to go directly back as far as my Great x3 Grandparents (born in  1814 & 1819).

With this latest find, it looks like I could be distantly-related to one of my best friends from high school.  Possibly.  It's a common name though.  I also found the surname of another friend that's not as common but it appeared to be questionable.  Definitely intriged to do some more digging to find out!

I started trying to put everything that I was finding down on paper.  I really didn't want to sit here and print the amount that I was finding knowing it was going to take a TON of paper and ink.  But then I found that I was getting myself confused with my notes when you get into children of this one and that one. 

I finally decided to split the screen and open up the Family Legends software and put them directly in there as I clicked on the next finding.  I put a lot of information in there last night.  Luckily, the software has a "relationship" button and I was able to find out who some of these people are to me without a lot of brain power.  Goes back to that "...for Dummies" thing!  Maybe they need to have a series ".....for Blondes!"

I suddenly looked up last night from what I was doing and realized that it was 3am!   I still had a lot of links open though.  I ended up saving all of them to a desktop sticky note and then realized that it wouldn't have saved the "back" feature when I did that.  So I may have to do some redigging...but this time I will have the software open instead of trying the paper and pen route unless it's to make notes about what to look up later at the library.

I guess I learned to never underestimate the power of google!  Well, google or organization!  I'm finding that organization is key and trying to tame myself into not jumping around from relative-to-relative in searches unless I have to.  Sometimes it's unavoidable, but I'm trying to be better about it.
I love!  Every now and then I look for whatever software I might be in the market for before going out and trying to purchase it.  I downloaded a few the other night and then started working with Family Tree Legends.  It's not been bad to work with so far.  As with everything, I'm sure there's a little of a learning curve.  I also haven't found any significant restrictions considering it's a free software!  Make sure to get the "key" off the download page for your set-up, if you decide to download it yourself.

The best thing about download is that when other people have tried it and found failures with it, they tell you on the site before you mess with it or mess up your computer! 
I just found that Who Do You Think You Are?, the television show, has a book available on Amazon!  They also have a good selection of other books covering the subject....and yes even the "Idiots" and "Dummies" series.  I think they have books on that series for everything now!  I'm expecting the "Idiots Guide To Being An Idiot" soon!!!  Anyway, below is a direct link to the list of books on Genealogy.  I will place a permanent link over to the right as well for when this post gets bumped!

Win a trip to research your ancestors.  Enter here every day until April 8, 2011.  At that time, the contest and this entry will self-destruct! 

The Grand Prize includes
$20,000 in travel money, plus:
  • Up to 8 hours of consultation time with an expert genealogist
  • Help from up to 5 experts in fields relevant to your family history
  • A yearlong World Deluxe membership for you and 5 family members
20 First Prize winners will get an annual World Deluxe membership.
One of my favorite new shows...well if you count 2nd season as Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC.  Last season, they had a really good episode with Matthew Broderick.  Had an interesting outcome, but they don't have it in the full episodes available online. 

They've also put some "extras" online with a Lisa Kudrow Q&A as well as some deleted scenes from a few episodes.  My guess is that they will only keep those on for a short time as they only have scenes from four of the most recently aired episodes (as of this posting).

You can watch all of Season 2 here.  Episodes air each Friday 8pm ET/7pm CT on NBC.
Genographic Map
A few years ago, I saw that our local library was conducting an introduction to genealogy course. Because it was somewhat last minute, and across town, I called my mother. Being closer to that location, she dropped by and just opted to fill me in later.

That day, she found out that they were given a grant to conduct 10 DNA tests of participants in the next class. We both signed up and went. Only 9 people showed up, so everyone was going to get tested. Because we were the only mother-daughter there, they still wanted to test both of us to see if it really only followed the female side or if it pulled from the female side on my father's side as well? (The result was that it only pulled from my mother's side - our results were identical.) We got a package, including a DVD detailing how they go about the testing along with some other information. The great thing about the tests is that we can contine to login to their site and they will continually update with things found.  If you are a female, you can only be tested for the female line.  Males can have either line tested.  Thus if you are a female and have a brother, you can get more info!  I have no connection to these people, other than they have a swab from the inside of my cheek and thus my DNA info on file, and get nothing from this but if you want to look into having a test done, click here for the website.  Well I guess I do get something out of it, if we find out we're related!

We did learn that the Nashville-Davidson County library has availability to HeritageQuest (good resource for Census reports - which you can access from your home computer with your library card login) as well as the coveted (only accessible from the library's network - also your laptop when you're on their network). It's really not the ideal to have to go into a regular branch and sign up for utilizing one of their computers on a weekday. You're usually limited to about an hour and then you have to sign up for another session and may have to wait for another to come available. If you're able to carry in your own laptop, you can go to a much less populated (read: QUIET!) section of the library and spread out with your work on a table.

I've discovered that it's easier for me to keep a notebook with various family trees - just to keep my blonde brain straight - and to make notes for myself of who I want to look up on Ancestry when I get back to the library. Also, I will "test" out a name and date just to see if a particular relative is listed on Ancestry and may have other documents that I want to see later (read: my Great-Grandparents Marriage Certificate....SCORE!).

The first thing I started doing was playing in HeritageQuest from home. I started with what I knew (my Grandfather and his rather large family) and was able to find a few census records. I started a "Genealogy" folder on my laptop - and even one on a thumb drive that I keep in my purse at all times - and a sample of how I save any files by " - Census - " I am realizing that I need to keep myself another spreadsheet with all of the family members with the census availability years - 1930 and before - and start marking how old they would've been then and which ones I have with them on it. There are a lot of downloadable forms available on the internet...but I always have a tendency to want to tweak what I find. I guess that comes from (formerly) working for a forms company and creating all of my own forms and spreadsheets while there! I've learned that organization in this is your best friend as are notes!

Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another GREAT source for information. Find-A-Grave! The first time I checked was a few years ago and I didn't hit on too much, but I did create a page for my grandfather. Admittedly, it was very disappointing. Last year, when my grandmother had a health scare and I spent several months with her back in North Carolina, I spent a LOT of time scanning in photos and obituaries (needed to do more!) from her photo albums, Bibles and various other stashes. I decided to go back into Find-A-Grave and put some of those photos along with the previously created pages and to also add a cousin that we lost while I was there. Plus I had taken some photos of some family members' gravesites that I knew hadn't been picked up for the site. I also decided to go ahead and do some searching and see if anything new turned up and was able to find that a very sweet lady had taken photos and made entries for the cemetery that most of the family is in. She was very nice to transfer those to me recently for my care.

I also just heard that the Nashville Archives has records for North Carolina and Tennessee. I had figured that they only had Tennessee. So I'll have another place to take a field trip to when I can get everything in order. I'm sure you can't really ever be fully in order though, right? At least it's not like I have to take a major day trip to get there but figure I need at least a full day to spend there to take better advantage of the time.
I've already made a major dent in my findings...but I do hope to update this blog as I find futher information. As I do, I'll probably also end up going into previous findings as well.