Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Evidenced-Based Research

Blogging has taken an interesting turn, for me. Actually, expanding how we can use Blogs to learn how to use our favorite Genealogy Management System to do our research.

Fellow Genea-Blogger, Randy Seaver and I have gone back and for a number of times on how we user our software to do our research. Clearly we do "things" differently, but our readers / followers can look and compare to see what works "for them".

This blog post is another one. There has been discussions, in February about Conclusion Based and Evidence Based Research. Randy posted this blog post:

Trying to be an Evidenced-Based Researcher- Does This Work? 

As always, he is a great read. Based on the various blog posts, I guess that I am an Evidence Based Researcher. I collect evidence, but don't draw a conclusion too quickly. I may make a conclusion at a specific point in time, but will continue to research to fine tune my conclusion.

Let me use an example: The example is of one of Randy's Brick Walls. I have spent a couple of months researching William Knapp (1777 - 1856). Here is a piece of what I have collected, as seen in Family Tree Maker, Version 2012, in the People Workspace, Person View.


I need to state, that I record what I see and put a Citation on that entry. Reason: If someone else, like Randy, were to look at my research and he went to that Source, he would see what I saw.

 Looking at the above, I have a number of Birth Entries. For Example:

Abr 1775 in Dutchess, New York

Abt 1775 in New York

Abt 1776

Three or more pieces of Evidence were used, each would be seen in the Right Panel with the Fact (Assertion) selected. Since I have multiple Birth Facts, I choose a Preferred Fact. So, at the moment, the About 1775 in Dutchess (county) New York is my Preferred Fact. I suppose, that might be considered a Conclusion, but I don't. 

If I look at the Citations, of which there are 5, one might think That IS my conclusion. But, in the list of Citations, 2 are from Randy, which was his initial file that I received from him, the second was an updated file he sent to me. 

Not questioning his data at all. But 2 of the 5 Citations were from Randy.

The other three Citations appear to be from a New Jersey Death Record. They were, but found in three different Sources.,, and the New Jersey Archives.

It appears that the Ancestry and Family Search sources were information taken from the image in the New Jersey Archives. In fact, I went to the New Jersey Archives and saw the image of the Record from Sussex County, New Jersey. It was a Film of the Page.

However, I am NOT going to jump to the Conclusion that William Knapp WAS born in 1775 in Dutchess County, New York, based on the Evidence that I have so far.

OK, why not,. you might ask. The real question has to do with the Image of that Record, that shows up in three different places. On this record, is a place for the Name of the deceased Parents. That field, and Randy's Brick Wall, is Blank.

The only Death Record found, contains missing information. Who gave that information to the Clerk in Sussex County? It could have been his wife, or one of his children. I am guessing, that it was Williams son Manning M Knapp. Manning was a lawyer at the time of his father's death. Why the missing information? Perhaps William never told his family, or never knew for sure who his parents were, or exactly when and where he was born.

Looking at the rest of the Facts (assertions) for William, there are Time Gaps, where there aren't records, or we haven't found records. His death record says 1775 (I always change a Birth Record YEAR Only to include About). OK, for arguments sake, I'll go with 1775. The next time we find William is at his Marriage in 1804. But not in New York, but in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Mid 1700's from Dutchess County, NY to Woodbridge, NJ, makes me wonder. What, Why, and How - the change of location.

Creating a time line, for this Brick Wall was very helpful. For me, this is another reason that I like Evidence Based Research. I can enter Facts, with their citations, and run a Time Line for example. It was very helpful here too, because William didn't show up in a number of Census years, when we should have found him. Then he shows up in Sussex County. 

The hint was to create the Time Line showing his Family Events, especially the birth of his children. Some of his children were born in Middlesex County, then the rest in Sussex County. Why? Why couldn't he be found in Middlesex County between 1800 and 1830 when he appears in Sussex County.

Looked at the Time Line for his wife, didn't see anything there, Except when I added Her family, I saw that her father died in 1823.

Back to William and his children, a child was born in 1823 in Middlesex County, and the next child in 1826 in Sussex.

Don't have enough Evidence, but I can guess, that William and his family may have been living with the "in-laws" until his wife's father died, then they moved to Sussex County.

A little more information that makes this living with the "in-laws" is that he does not appear to have owned any property. There is a Deed of someone else, that reflects that William was the current resident on that property. Based on other information, it was probably a shoe store.

I have a picture of the Family, base on the Evidence that I have found and recorded. Not to many pieces of conflicting information, but a number of wholes in the data / Evidence that I have found to date.


I will say, that in Family Tree Maker, I have not found a way to make or indicate a Conclusion. The best that I have is the Preferred Fact. When I make a Fact the Preferred Fact, that is an indication of the best information that I have so far. Others may take that to mean a Conclusion, but I haven't completed my Exhaustive Research yet. So, I just keep collecting Evidence. 

________________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you ready for the 1940 Census - Follow Up

In my earlier Blog Post:  Are You Ready for the 1940 Census GeneaBlogger Randy Seaver made a comment on that Blog Post and he made his own Blog Post on this topic.

Making a List of Persons Alive in the 1940 US Census

He got me to think about 1840 vs 1940 as the Birth Year. So I did a little study. I wanted to see how many of my folks did I find in the earlier Census Records.

Records in my file: 8,315

Born After 1900: 562
Born After 1840: 1,299

Found in 1930 for 1840: 14
Found in 1930 for 1840: 26

Besides being aware that I am behind in my Census searches, I will adjust my Born After to 1840.

The good news is that I have testing of the Filter Out to see how I am doing when the 1940 Census Records are available.

With the list of people in the Right Window of Selected Individuals the Filter OUT sequence for me would be

Residence (Fact) Date Does Not Include 1940.

Note: I enter data from Census Record is entered in the Residence Fact, with the Census Year in the Year Field; the Place being the accepted Place Name Authority Name for the Location field, and more detailed information for the Household in the Description Field.

I should also mention that I do my research in Census Records for the Head of Household BUT record all Related members of the household that appear on that Census Record. Using this method, I can pull a report by household later on in Family Tree Maker.

Randy also brought up the Female Name for Census Records.

Here is my Plan.

Do my normal research, with my Direct Ancestors first, focusing on the Head of Household. Then word the Descendants of my 8 Great Grandparents, still working on the Head of Households. When I have that done that, I will re-evaluate the remaining list.

I have posted how I do a census search for females, which I will use.

A note of Thanks to Randy Seaver.
Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Are you ready for the 1940 Census ?

I am giving a presentation at my local Family History Interest Group tonight on Volunteering to help Index the 1940 Census tonight. Thought I should get my list of "Who To Search For" when the 1940 Census is made available.

My file, at the moment, has 8,315 people in the file. A Custom Report with everyone (All Individuals) would take 374 pages. Not doing that. So, how to generate a more useful list.

Go to the Publish Workspace, and select the Person Collection.

Select Custom Report.

Remember that you do not have to wait for the report to complete before you start making changes to the report.

The information that I want to see is the Name, Birth, Marriage, and Death information for each person, and that I want the Preferred Only Facts. So, select the Items to Include ICON (Right Hand Panel, Left ICON). That will bring up the Items to Include Screen.

The Name sort Order will work for now.

Now to reduce who to show in the report. For this first draft of the Report, I am only going to list Who was Born AFTER 1900.  (this can be adjusted later). The thought is that by the age of 40, the person might own, or be part of a House Hold.

In the Right Panel, Selected Individuals button is selected.

Will Select Filter IN >, in the Center Panel, Select the Birth Fact, Date, and Is AFTER, 1900. This will move everyone who was born AFTER 1900 from the Left Window to the Right Window.

That got the list down to 542.

Next would be to remove (< Filter OUT) anyone who had died BEFORE 1940. Selecting < Filter OUT, select Death, Date, is BEFORE 1940.

That didn't do too much. So, the next would be to Remove (< Filter OUT) those born AFTER 1940.

Again, Selecting < Filter OUT, Select Birth Date is AFTER 1940.

That's more like it. The result was 246 People, on 16 Pages. Entered the Title of the Report Who to look for in 1940 Census and Saved the Report (Right most ICON in the Right Panel) so that I can bring that report up again.

Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pennsylvania Birth and Death Public Records Report

Recently some records have been made available in the State of Pennsylvania. For details, please visit this website:

As I have many ancestors in Pennsylvania I wanted to see what records I could find and order them if need be. The website talks about:

Act 110 – Public Records

(formerly known as Senate Bill 361)

It says: "This legislation provides that such documents become public records 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death." Looking at this means that only births before 1906 would be available. On the website, they only have 1906. But for deaths, it would be for years prior to 1961. Looking at the site shows that these records start in 1906. Each type listed by year.
Creating a report shouldn't be an issue. But, this list is not indexed, nor can it be searched. Browsing the lists is required. This isn't too bad as when you get into the website, the break down the list alphabetically.
EXCEPT, from the website: "Several years of indices (1920-1924 deaths and 1930-1951 deaths) are listed according to the Russell Soundex method of indexing." Soundex, when was the last time we had to use a Soundex, but this one is very specific. The Russell Soundex is a link to a simple worksheet on how to us it.
Cheyney [ C heyNey ] becomes C 500
Bartram [ B aRTRam ] becomes B 636  
Parameters are, for death records, 1906 to 1961.
In Family Tree Maker (Version 2012), a Custom Report can be run. Since it might be easiest if the Dates were obvious in the report. So, go to the Publish Workspace, Person Collection and select Custom Report.

That generated a 346 page report, for this file. Not very helpful, but it's a start. Next will name the report Pennsylvania Death Records, then select Items to Include:

The title is filled out, and to the upper left of that title is the Items to Include ICON. Clicking on that will bring of the above screen, where the Death Fact as been moved to the top of the list with the Up Arrow, just below the Red "X" and the Sort Order will be Death Date, followed by the Name. Still at 346 page report.

The next step will be to Select the Individuals for the Report. The default is Immediate Family, but we'll select Selected Individuals. The first thing is to Include Everyone who has Died in Pennsylvania, based on the information in my file. Filter IN, the individuals with a Death Fact PLACE that contains Pennsylvania.

That will reduce the list of 8,310 down to 144. Those names will move into the Right Hand panel.

Because there are only a certain number of years available, we can then Filter OUT those who died BEFORE 1906. Clicking on Filter OUT, we'll select Death Date is Before 1906.

Down to 48 people, but there is no information for anyone who died After 1961. Filter Out again, where the Death Date is After 1961.

This gets us to the report to use for this record set for Pennsylvania.

Here is a piece of that report, where the names within the Red Box will use the Russell Soundex.

Of the 28 people on this report, I was able to locate 27 records. In most cases the data that I had, contained the correct Death Date, a couple contained a different Place Name, and found one record for a cousin what had been trying to locate birth information about her mother.  The place name differences, from what I can tell, without the actual record, was a much closer place of death. Other records showed the neighboring town, while these records showed the Township where the person actually. The town was the closest hospital.

Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Family Tree Maker User Home Pages

RE: Family Tree Maker User Home Pages, for Version 16 and Earlier:

User Home Pages on were created over 10 years ago. We have tried to give our loyal customers the best possible experience, but after 10 years, technology changes and it’s not always possible for us to continue to support these older products. Most software companies discontinue support for their older technologies at some point, and unfortunately Home Pages have reached this point.

For more information about Family Tree Maker 2012 and TreeSync, please click here . We think you’ll find the experience even better than User Home pages and older versions of Family Tree Maker.
  • While User Home Pages had a limit of 2,000 people, trees made in Family Tree Maker 2012 and have no limit. You can even sync them together so changes made in one tree will automatically update to the other!
  • You can update your tree on the go using our free iPhone, iPad , and Android apps, and the changes will automatically update your tree on
  • If you want to collaborate, you can share your tree with other family members, and choose whether they can simply view it or allow them to update it.
We hope the following table will explain the benefits of your upgrade, and ease the transition into our latest technologies.

User Home Pages
Family Tree Maker 2012 synced with
Questions? These articles will help your transition!
Limited to 2,000 individuals
No limit to the number of individuals you can add
Ability to upload charts and reports
Attach charts and reports to people, and they will sync to
Available to search engines
Available to search engines if you choose to make your Ancestry tree public
Difficult to collaborate with others who have pertinent information on their Home Page
Ancestry Member Connect lets you collaborate with the largest online
genealogy community to learn more about your shared family history
No ability to add record images
Search Ancestry’s databases for records and attach them to people in your family tree to provide documentation for your family history

If you have any questions, our customer support staff would be happy to help! Please click here for a list of contact numbers and hours of operation for your area.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Family Tree Maker 2012 - Update to

This update contains important improvements to the FTM2012 product. The improvements address issues with overall stability and performance as well as the new TreeSync feature.
It is important that this update be run."

"This update includes some important improvements for syncing source citations, relationships, and accepted & rejected hints.

It resolves some data issues that were causing sync to fail in some cases.
It includes sync stability and performance improvements.
It is important this this update be run."

It is a mandatory update so should start as soon as you open the program. The new program version is (previous version was .466). You can check the program version on the Help Menu, then select About FTM.

Additional information can be found here:

The Family Tree Maker Blog

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