Archive for April, 2012


Society Saturday: Why Bother To Join?

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Geneabloggers, Genealogy, Research

Proven information! In a nutshell, there’s a TON of information out there in the societies.

Now, you still need to verify the information, especially if it’s fairly old. Organizations 100 years ago didn’t ask for documents to prove you were descended from somebody – normally you only had a letter from someone saying that Joe’s cousin Sally was your grandmother’s sister.. or something along those lines. So, you have to use a good dose of skepticism when you look.

My paternal grandmother is a line I know little to nothing about. In 1928, her DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) application was hand-written and while it does have her address on it, and it does state that she’s married to my grandfather, it does NOT tell us when she was born or married! The DAR at that time only asked where you were born: “I was born in _______, County of ________, State of ________.” That’s all. Her “proof” for her information consisted of “Family Bible” “Heitman’s Historical Register, page 299″ and “See National Number #145919″ After the application was verified, it was stamped, “Verified By National Number 145918″ Not a lot of information to help us out!

But I had two new applications to look at: numbers 145919 and 145918. 145918 – the ‘earlier’ application – was Rebecca Moore Darden Snow, whose grandmother was Rebecca Moore. Since the patriot for this line is Peter Moore, you can see there may be a naming pattern going on. But, this application does the same thing that my grandmother’s does: it only gives us names and years of birth, death, and marriage – no dates, no places. But certainly not a dead end!

On the later pages of the application, it tells me that Peter Moore was married twice: to Sarah Littleton at Franklin, VA in 1775 and to Mary Ellis at Franklin VA, in 1795. So searching on Sarah Littleton online, I found this information:

Peter Moore. b @1750; d 1820 Southampton County, VA
Married Sarah Littleton: children by her
  Elijah (no wife known)
  Littleton m Margaret Daughtery
Mary Ellis about 1795 in Southampton County, VA
  Sarah, m. Jason Gardner
  Mary, (never married)
  Nancy, (m Joseph Buxton)b @1798; d 1870
  John, (Delilah Edwards)
  James, (no information)

Nancy Moore m Joseph Buxton: children
  Elmina Cephus Buxton m Allen Hardy Cotton (1826; d 1894)
  Lydia Marian Buxton
  Margaret Buxton
  George Edward Buxton
  Joanna Buxton
He has two other wives and 4 more children

So by using the resources available to you through lineage societies, you can often find good leads to help you fill in your own genealogy. I’m off to follow up on this information and see what I can learn about this branch of the family tree.

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Double Double, Lots of Duplicate Trouble!

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Genealogy, Research, Software, Technology

One thing I discover is I’ll often have to clean up after myself on the computer. And that can be really tedious. You know what I mean, we go out and shoot a bunch of digital gravestone photographs, and the camera names them DM308393.jpg, DM308394.jpg, DM308395.jpg, etc. Once I get home, I save and scan through them for the best ones for my personal use, and will then rename them JohnPaulJones1831-1898.jpg so I can see what each photo is easily. Sometimes I resize them down to smaller images. But the end result (besides some great documentation!) is that I end up with multiple copies of the same file on my computer.

Have you ever downloaded your pictures one weekend, then the next time you use the camera, it downloads the old ones again along with the new ones? Again, another easy way we end up with multiple copies of the same file.

Normally, I want to keep just two: the original, which is stored in folders sorted by date the image was taken, and the renamed one I’m using as my source within my research. Invariably, I end up with three or four copies, and that can really clutter up your hard drive.

Along with the other regular maintenance I do on my computer (yes, you SHOULD be doing computer maintenance!) I’ve been checking out duplicate finder software, which does just what it sounds like: it scans your system, looking for duplicate images. Not only can it search and compare by file name or size, but also by visual similarity. But a word of warning: DO NOT run these programs expecting them to scan your system while you wait! The scan can take quite some time, especially the first time you run it. These is an excellent tool for someone who takes a ton of pictures and wants to easily find the best ones to keep or print. WARNING: if you take three or four photos of the same headstone, just at a slight angle of difference or distance, these programs may tell you each photo is a duplicate, when they are actually slightly different. These programs allow you to choose the best one for your purpose and remove the others, if you want to. Easy to use, and they certainly free up disk space on your computer. Simply search on Google for “duplicate photo cleaner” or “find duplicate photos” – be prepared to sort though quite a few. Just remember there is no “right” program for everyone – other than the one you will actually USE!

But, you’re asking, what if I have duplicate files on my computer that are not photographs? Can I do anything about those? You might want to look at WinMerge, another free open source program. WinMerge can compare both folders and files, and it shows you the differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle. When it compares files, it can actually show you the differences within the files – so it’s showing you line by line what’s changed. This may be more than you want to know, but it may also help you not to delete that file you worked on and found all the typos in last week! WinMerge will also allow you to merge changes between different file versions. This program provides a little more than just finding extra copies of files – and it’s free! There are othr

Ever copy emails from one folder to another in your computer and discover you have two or three copies of those as well? If you use Thunderbird for your email, there’s an Add-On called (strangely enough) Remove Duplicate Messages.

I strongly recommend that you consider adding duplicate files to something that you include in regular maintenance on your computer.

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Have You Looked Yet

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Genealogy, Projects, Research, Technology

Have you looked at the 1940 Census? The first day (Monday) was almost impossible – too many people trying to see, to the point where the servers were overwhelmed. The second day was pretty much the same for me, but there were a number of notices of different places getting the images online and so the traffic seemed to ease. (If you’d like to see more on that, NARA and put together a great little graphic that you can see by clicking the left hand graphic or here.) Today, I finally managed to peek online and within just a few minutes, found my mother’s family! It helps that they lived in a smallish town, and I had a pretty good idea where to look – there were only two enumeration districts to choose from, as well.

Fun things I learned: they rented their house for $26 a month, and my grandfather was making $5000 a year. Five years previously, they were living in Beaumont, Texas. I never knew they had lived there, and my mother was too young to have remembered it. So I picked up many small details just from the single opportunity I had to check them out.

If you’re interested in indexing, so that you don’t have to read through page after page of images, you can do that too! Officially known as the “1940 Census Community Project” you go to the site, read all about it, then if you’re still interested, download the software to your computer. (Sorry, tablets and cell phones won’t work.) Family Search says that online volunteers completed the indexing for the state of Delaware in the first 24 hours! But don’t think there’s not plenty still to do – next up are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. And there are other indexing projects that were going on before the census, including WWI Draft Registration Cards. So there’s plenty of work to go around. Join us – and have a great time!

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I’m So Catching Up

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Events, Genealogy, Research, Vital Records

A lot of this and that will go into this post. Catching up with a lot of things at once, so here goes.

Recent research has centered on getting a connection to pre-1687 in Virginia established for a lady who is attempting to get into one of the lineage organizations. Some fairly strict requirements is leading to not only indirect proof, but also a fairly lengthy analysis of the documentation to provide the proper information. As she is the last of her maiden-name line, this is pretty important to her, and I’ve been really working hard trying to accumulate every scrap of information documented and accounted for.

Another project that’s taken time recently is being asked to present a workshop to a group of about 50 people in two weeks. While giving the workshop is something I’ve done before, this group has had me attending meetings prior to the workshop and going over the information I plan on presenting, then asking for specific information to be included, and deeming other information unnecessary. It’s a strange feeling: almost as if they want to give the workshop, and just have someone else actually lead it. I’ll try to keep you posted on how it works out.

And in the middle of all this, the state conference for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) took place, which was just about a week away from home. And while I don’t get any genealogy work actually done while I’m there, I do get to visit with others who research, and we are able to swap information and updates. Sometimes you just need to spend time with friends, and my DAR friends are some of the best.

Lastly, I hope by now everyone’s heard that the 1940 United States census is available. But… it’s not indexed yet. So we’re back to scanning images manually until it can be indexed. You’ll need to know about where the family lived so you can search geographically. There are maps that outline the enumeration districts for the census already online. (Yes, it is being indexed, but it will probably be months before there’s easy lookups.) If you’d like to be an indexer – and possibly find someone in your family! – you can sign up at

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