Feb 27, 2015

When Boredom Creeps In . . . Try Something New!

I've been feeling pretty bummed about genealogy since I got back from Salt Lake City -- don't know why, exactly, but it seems as if I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.  I've tried spending more time going collateral but haven't uncovered much new about the Ortmanns.  I've requested a few things, especially the medical records of an ancestor who died in a mental institution, but haven't heard back.  I've emailed a few possible connections through Ancestry and My Heritage, but have gotten no response.  I could write away for more certificates, but I'm kind of broke right now.  So what to do?  I've been googling this and reviewing that, going over my tree and cleaning up sources, thinking about what microfilms I should order next from Salt Lake . . . there are, in fact, many tasks I could be doing, but it's mostly tedious work and I just don't feel like doing it.  Frankly, I'm bored with the whole thing.

But, I'm keeping up with reading related to the Do-Over.  The other day, Thomas MacEntee posted a link to this article:  50 Best Genealogy Brick Wall Solutions and I thought I'd give it a read.  In an article full of interesting tips, one in particular caught my eye -- searching by village.  When you become frustrated searching by surname for an ancestor who came from a small town or village, the writer suggests that you try searching the name of the village and a significant year, and see what you find.

I'm always willing to give something a try.  I entered the village and the year of my great-grandfather's birth:  Oberglogau 1840.  Much to my surprise, up popped information from an Ortsfamilienbuch (a record of the history of families in a particular town) not from Oberglogau but from Leobschuetz, a village I've never heard of.  And there before my eyes was a record of my great-grandfather marrying a woman in a town other than his the village of his birth.  The record included the fact that my great-grandfather was working as a Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), which confirms other information I have, and also on another page has a notation that his parents, Anton Langer and Barbara Kura, were never married, which is probably why my attempts to find a marriage record for them have come to naught.

Wow!  What a find!  This at least begins to fill in the large gap between Maximilian Langer's youth in Oberglogau and when he shows up in Bremen and marries my great-grandmother in the 1880's.  I'd like to find out what happened to Marie Baumert -- the record says they had no children.

It has been my experience that, along with the grunt work that produces records where you expect to find them, pieces of information will pop up when you least expect them to.  The moral of the story, I guess, is to keep trying, even if you're kind of disheartened and even bored with the whole thing.  A small find like this one, a complete surprise, really, can be energizing and exciting.  So keep going!  Try something you haven't thought of before!  You honestly never know what you'll come up with.

Feb 24, 2015

The Ortmanns of NY and NJ: An American Family

Long ago, when I first started ancestor hunting, I read the advice that if you get very stuck on something, just write down everything you know.  I've gotten myself frustrated with my grandfather's family, so that's what I'm going to do.

My grandfather, William J. Ortman Sr., was estranged from his family, so we never knew any of them.  I have no pictures or other memorabilia; I actually have very little at all from my dad's childhood, I don't know why.  I've been trying to "go sideways" lately, doing collateral research on my grandfather's many siblings, but at this point I feel as if I'm spinning my wheels.  So here goes with what I know.

Joseph Ortmann (b. 1845 in Erkeln, Germany) and Anna Christina Schwietering (b. 1856 in Nienborg, Germany) met in New York and married at St. Joseph's Church in Tremont, The Bronx, NY on September 26, 1874.  The church had just opened six months before they were married.

St. Joseph's Church, Tremont, The Bronx, 1874

Joseph and Annie wasted no time in starting a family; Anna was born in 1875 (a little too soon after the wedding, actually), Amelia also in 1875 (she must have been born very prematurely and did not live), Mary Theresa in 1876, followed by Augustus in 1878 and Adelaide in 1880.  These children were followed by Joseph B. in 1883, Bernhard in 1885 (he did not survive childhood), Catherine in 1886, Herman in 1888, Henry in 1891, and William in 1893.  Annie started at the age of 19 and gave birth to 11 children in 18 years. 

Back in 2013, I wrote a post about Joseph Ortmann in which I mentioned the various occupations I had gleaned from census data and directories -- he was a variety/candy store owner, a butcher, and a cabinet maker.  They also moved very frequently (it seems to me) -- I have them living in at least six different places in less than 20 years.  What would it be like to have to move with 6 or 8 kids running around in the house?  I know that Annie had four or five brothers, so maybe they helped.  And they were always renters, never homeowners.  And how big could their apartments have been?  These were obviously not wealthy people, and at times they had people living with them besides their nuclear family:  in the 1880 census, there's an Irish woman, a dressmaker, living with them; in the 1900 census, Annie's brother Herman is living with them; in 1910, Adelaide has returned home with her son, Louis.  In the 1900 census, there are 12 people living in the apartment -- even if the apartment had four bedrooms, which I doubt, that's still a pretty tight squeeze.

Joseph died in 1911; Annie lived on until 1936.  There's a very interesting story in Joseph's pension file that I'll tell later, when I get it sorted out.  But what I'm most interested in is what became of all those children.   I'll tell you what I know about each one.

Anna:  Never married; lived with her mother until Annie died in 1936; from then on, she lived with her brother Henry.  She worked as an "operator," which I think means she ran a machine, mostly in an underwear factory.  She died in 1943.

Mary Theresa:  Worked in the millinery business; married at the age of 28 to Joseph Schumm; had six children.  She died in 1935.

Augustus:  At the age of 26, he was married to Adeline; by the age of 31, he was living in Wilmington, Delaware, with Adeline and a daughter, Anna, four years old.  He was an electrician.  In 1917, he was living in Reading, PA, working as a superintendent for a substation of Metropolitan Edison.  He died in 1941.

Adelaide:  In 1906 she married Louis Schulz, who seems to have died in the next couple of years; by 1910 she's back at home with a son, Louis.  After that, I lose track of her.

Joseph:  I've written the first part of Joseph's story here.  He was the adventurous Ortmann -- he went to Missouri, Texas, Mexico, and California, working mostly in the restaurant/hotel business.  He married two sisters, Clara and Mabel Manson.  It's a story with a sad end that I'm hoping to be able to tell soon.  He died in 1967.
Bernhard:  Died at some point in childhood, though I haven't yet found a death notice.

Catherine:  Married Charles Hoertel and had two sons.  They lived in New Jersey.

Herman:  I've written the story of Herman here.  He had a successful career as a printer and was prominent in the social and civic scene in his community.  He had no biological children; when he married Mary Gross, he acquired a stepson, Herbert.  Herman died in 1960.

Herman Ortmann is second from the right in the top row.

Henry:  Henry's first job was driving an "ad wagon" -- I assume some kind of advertising that was driven around the streets.  By 1917, he's married to Mabel and they have two daughters; he's working as an auto mechanic.  By 1920 he's working as a "chauffeur" in a lumber yard.  I'm not sure what that is -- and in 1940 it looks as if he's a "patrol man."  I can't find a death date for Henry.

William J.:  My grandfather.  Born in 1893, by 1910 he was working as a clerk in an automobile business.  He married Mary Siegler on 29 June 1921, and they had one child, William John Jr., who was born on April 6, 1925.  By 1930 he was working as an auto mechanic, and by 1940 as a distiller in a distillery company.  I loved my grandpa -- he would save up the funny papers from the Sunday newspaper and then send them to us, usually with some cookies from the corner store.  The papers smelled of his cigars.  He died in 1955.

A typical American family, I guess.  No black sheep or loose women, just a family of hardworking siblings.  While they could all read and write, it seems that none went very far in school.  It interests me that, having grown up in such a crowded, poor, and probably chaotic household, most of them had only a few children.  And of those children, only two of them were sons born with the Ortmann name:  Joseph Bernard Ortmann, Jr., who died without either marrying or having children, as far as I can tell; and William John Ortman, Jr., my dad, who had one son.  So of all the possible branches of the family, only one, ours, carries on the Ortman name, and how ironic that it's the one branch that was lopped off the family tree.  How strange, but it's another explanation for why I have trouble finding cousins -- they would be named Schumm, Hoertel, or Schulz.  So far, I've only found one Schumm cousin.

So, doing this has been helpful, to do a bio of a whole family instead of just one person.  I'm still working on a couple of the individual stories, but it's hard.  This is not a family that left a lot of traces; only Herman, with his civic involvement, and my father, with his theater work, made it into the papers regularly.  I know of no letters or diaries, though I would be thrilled if they existed somewhere.  I'd particularly love to know more about my great-grandmother, Annie Schwietering; for some reason I feel drawn to her.  But I imagine with all those children running around, she had little time for reflection and diary writing. 

I will forge on, accumulating information that will allow me to write the stories of ancestors' lives.  And I'll keep seeking those elusive cousins, in the hope that they will have more photographs and information for me. 

Feb 21, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

I love playing Six Degrees of Separation.  I can easily get to many famous people within a few degrees.  For example, a good friend of mine (one degree) dated Jermaine Jackson (two degrees), who obviously knew Michael Jackson (three degrees).  I can continue that one to four degrees -- Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Shields, etc.   Or two degrees from Mae West -- my grandmother used to ride to work with her on the bus to Manhattan when they were working girls.

Randy Seaver of Geneamusings has asked us to play for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  How far back can you get in four degrees of separation from your ancestors?

Here's one:  My grandfather, William Ortman Sr. (1893-1955) knew his father Joseph Ortmann (1845-1911), who knew his grandfather Conrad Ortmann (1810-1888), who knew his father Conrad Ortmann (1777-1823).

Or, here's another one:  My grandmother, Sophie Berneburg (1886-1981) knew her mother, Christiane Bellmer (1859-1938), who knew her grandmother, Anna Margrete Otten (1800-1868), who knew her mother, Anna Adelheit Wellbrock (1767-1842).

Randy got back to the 1600's -- unfortunately, I can't get back that far.  But I did spend an afternoon with Kenny Rogers, who of course knew Dolly Parton, who knows Linda Ronstadt, who knows the Governor of California, Jerry Brown (formerly known as Governor Moonbeam).

I could go on, but I'll spare you.  Who are you connected to?

Feb 19, 2015

New Technologies

 Back from RootsTech with new technologies.  I'll be having fun learning how to use these --

1.   At last, I have a new scanner!  I got myself a Canon LIDE 220, and so far I like it very well.  It's small enough that I can use it while sitting on the couch watching TV (because as we all know, scanning is crashingly boring).  Now that I have it set up, I think, it's making good copies.  Here's a nice old family photo from 1960:

Uncle Eric, Grandma B, Deb, Lise, Chris, Aunt Hilda, Grandma O, and Mom.  Dad must have been behind the camera.

I believe that this picture was taken at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, when the New York relatives came to visit.  I'm pretty sure that Grandma Sophie was still living with us and Grandma Ortman was just visiting.   I'll be having fun with this new scanner!  

2.   I've purchased Evidentia and hope to be watching a webinar tomorrow on learning how to use it.  While participating in the Genealogy Do-Over, I've come to realize how deficient my sourcing and documenting have been.  It seems like a monumental task but a very important one for me to work on, so that it becomes an automatic part of the process.  I've heard great things about Evidentia and I hope it will become an important tool in my toolbox.

3.   At RootsTech, I attended a session on Artisan, software for digital scrapbooking.  I've never really gotten into scrapbooking, digital or otherwise, but I'd like to, and Artisan looks like it's pretty easy to use.  I'd like to make a couple of books for various purposes, and have already started making pages.  It's fun!

My little son, only a few hours old --

4.   Finally, I've decided to start using RootsMagic.  I started fiddling with it before I went to Salt Lake but gave up because it was too much to deal with at that point.  I'm encouraged by the possibility of syncing with Family Search, reducing the necessity for putting my family tree on the website one by one.  I'll update on how it's going!  

So I have plenty on my plate at this point!  I'll be busy at least until the SoCal Jamboree comes around in June.  Do you have advice for me on any of my new technologies?

A page I made in Artisan --

Feb 16, 2015

Salt Lake Roundup: Final Thoughts

I'm back home and have caught up on my sleep -- because I had a 7:30 AM shuttle on Sunday, of course I didn't sleep one minute on Saturday night.  And now that my head has cleared a little, I can pull together a few thoughts on the Family History Library/RootsTech experience.

1.   It's a good thing I didn't invest in those snow boots I was looking at; the weather was unseasonably warm.  I think I put my jacket on once, when walking back from the Library.  Because a door to the Salt Palace was right next to the Radisson, I didn't really need it.

2.   Salt Lake City has some beautiful things to see -- the mountains all around, the beautiful Temple Square, a lovely, clean city.

 Credit to Ken Lund  on Flickr; Creative Commons license

3.   The Family History Library has a reputation for being difficult to use -- whole books have been written about how to get the most out of your visit.  But if you've done your preparation ahead of time, it's not hard at all.  Have a list of resources you want to find.  Know how to use the microfilm machines (give them a try at your local Family History Center ahead of time, if you can).  Everything is arranged logically, from the collections on different floors to the banks of microfilm storage.  And if you need help, there are plenty of people to help you. 

4.   Before I visited the Library, I heard online about folks being unhappy -- some microfilm readers had been removed, and people were worried that researchers would be shut out.  I can attest that at what I'm sure would be the height of Library use -- the day before RootsTech started -- the Library was very busy but there was enough room for all to work.

5.   All the preparation in the world isn't a guarantee that those brick walls will come tumbling down: I had five questions I wanted to work on; I found the answer to one.  I counted my time a success!

6.    What can I say about RootsTech?  The word I heard most often was "overwhelming."  This can be a mixed blessing -- on the one hand, it's an embarrassment of riches, but at the same time, it can make your head spin a bit.  Which of the six sessions I'm interested in should I go to?  Is half an hour long enough for me to run to the restroom (and then stand in line) and still get a seat at the next presentation?  Being able to have a copy of the syllabi of presentations you don't get to is a great bonus.

7.    Even if you go by yourself, you won't be alone.  Even if you're an introvert, you will be drawn out of your shell.  Genealogists are a friendly bunch, and they will start a conversation, ask where you're from, first time at RootsTech?, seen any good presentations, tried any good apps . . . on and on.  Trust me, you won't be alone.

8.   Be prepared to walk.  A lot.

9.   You'll go home with so many things to check out, try out, get into, read, watch, listen to -- you'll be busy for a long time to come.  Actually, probably until it's time to go to RootsTech 2016.

So, I'm home, with new friends, lots to think about, plenty to work on.  A good time was had by all, including me -- and here's to next year.

Feb 12, 2015

Salt Lake Update: RootsTech Day 1

Whew -- what a day.

We bloggers started at 7:30 this morning with a guided tour of the Exhibit Hall.  It was amazing to see how vast it was, and how many vendors' booths we would have to explore.

I marked my Expo Hall map with stalls I would like to visit later.

After the tour, we were escorted into the main hall where the morning keynote would be held.  At this point, I was enjoying the experience of looking at fellow bloggers' faces or name tags and saying, "I know you!"  It's a great pleasure to meet those you have only "known" on line to this point.  We bloggers were given special seats near the front, which was wonderful.  Soon the program started, and we all turned into cheering fans when Josh, Kenyatta, and Mary from the Genealogy Roadshow were introduced. 

So much fun to see them!

We were also treated to excellent talks by Dennis Brimhall from FamilySearch, Mike Mallin of MyHeritage, and Tan Le of Emotiv Lifesciences.  Tan's story of her early life in Vietnam, her escape with her sister, mother, and grandmother to Australia, and her relocation to the U.S. was extremely moving and inspiring.

I attended a very interesting talk on digital scrapbooking with Artisan.  As someone who has not yet  scrapbooked, whether digital or on paper, I was encouraged enough by this presentation to download the trial version to give it a spin.  I could see right away that it's a complex program yet one that's not difficult to master.

I also enjoyed the only lunch I'd signed up for, one hosted by FamilySearch.  I wound up at a table with a lively group of genealogists who all shared their research, travels, and experiences with a rapt audience of fellow genealogists -- I ask you, how often does that happen?  We enjoyed a good lunch and an even better talk by John Huff from FamilySearch who was very funny while conveying his message of uniting family.  I think we all appreciated it very much.

 John Huff, way off in the distance.

Following lunch, I decided to walk through the Exhibit Hall and wound up spending more time than I'd intended to.  I visited many different booths, signed up for the new Ancestry beta, talked with the head of Ancestor Cloud, promised myself I'd return to Genealogy Wall Charts with a GEDCOM tomorow, watched a couple of demos, and visited many more interesting exhibits.  It's a treasure trove --

So after that, I have to own up to it, I was toast.  I made my (long) way back to the Radisson and wound up crashing until dinnertime.  Tomorrow I think I'll sleep in a bit and head for a full day of sessions.  But for a first day of RootsTech, this was pretty great.

Feb 11, 2015

Salt Lake Update: Part 2

Another great day in Salt Lake! 

I got going pretty early so I could have breakfast and take care of my conference registration before I went to the Library.  Here's one thing I learned right away:

The Salt Palace Convention Center is huge!
A lot of things here are huge -- the things that look like a block on the map are actually about two long blocks, in my estimation, and since I'm having a bout of back trouble, they seem like two miles.

I was happy when I booked a room at the Radisson and their website said they were right next to the Salt Palace.  This morning I went in the door that is indeed right next to the hotel, and I walked . . . and I walked . . . and I walked.  A man directed me to walk down the hall and go up an escalator where his wife would give me further instructions.  She told me to go all the way down and turn right and go a long long way and then down an escalator again.  When I finally got there, I felt as if I'd found the holy grail!  I made sure I found out which exit would bring me out closest to the Library, and I headed over there.

Just one of the many rows of microfilm storage drawers . . . 

I'd decided yesterday that I would start with Joseph Ortmann, so I headed upstairs to the U.S. collection on the second floor.   I found Joseph and Mabel Manson's marriage license application in Houston records, but I couldn't find anything about Joseph and Clara's marriage in St. Louis.  Were they ever actually married?  Maybe it was someplace other than St. Louis.

After a couple of hours in the U.S. collection, I went back down to the International floor to look further for Anton Langer's death notice.  This time I lucked out, finding what I'm sure is the right one.

I know this is impossible to read (I did get a good digital copy), but it definitely says "Meister Weber," which Anton was (a master weaver), and at the end, it says he was survived by two children, Anna and Maximilian, my great-grandfather.  This settles the question of whether Anton emigrated to America, but it raises another question because the wife listed here is not one I'm familiar with.  It's always something.

If I can sneak a little more time, I'd like to go back and look for one more thing, official records for my great-grandmother Anna Schwietering.  The convention starts tomorrow and the schedule is pretty full, but I might be able to squeeze in another hour or two.

Tomorrow starts at 7:30 with a VIP tour of the Expo Hall for bloggers.  The fun begins!

Feb 10, 2015

Salt Lake Update: Part 1

Well, here I am in Salt Lake City!  Got here yesterday after a nice flight and wound up sharing a shuttle with three others who were, of course, headed for the Library and FGS/RootsTech.  It's not hard at all to make friends -- so many people are here for the same purpose, and genealogists are by nature very friendly.

Today I got up early and headed for the Library -- so did more than a few other people:

When they opened the doors at 8 AM, we all made a beeline for our resources.  I skipped the front desk, where I could have gotten a "first-timer" name tag and watched a video introduction to the Library -- I just didn't want to slow down, and I didn't want anyone asking me if I needed help.  I found a microfilm reader, got out my notes, and headed for the microfilm storage.

Just one of the loooong rows of microfilm readers on the B1 International Floor

I started with the question about my great-grandmother, Christiane Bellmer Schulze.  I'd like to know at what point her mother, Sophie Bellmer, married Christian Schulze, and whether Christian ever acknowledged Christiane as his biological daughter.   I looked for Christiane through two years of birth records, knowing her birth date was December 24, 1859, but also knowing that dates are not always reliable. Sadly, I found nothing.  I then turned to the marriage records, looking through six years but again, finding nothing.  Not knowing when (or if, really) they got married, I can only  continue going on through the records, and if I have enough time tomorrow, I'll do that.

After that, I turned to the question of Anton Langer, my great-great grandfather.  I have some confusing hints that he emigrated to the United States late in life to be with his son, Johann, in Wisconsin.   I haven't found a way to connect "my" Anton to the one in Wisconsin, but I figured that if I could find a death record for him in Oberglogau, Silesia, then that would close the case.  I looked through 30 years of death records, and may have found the one:

This may be it but I can't be sure at this moment.  I made two rookie mistakes in my excitement of being at the Mother Ship today -- I took some pictures of entries that included the day and date but not the year (the year is at the top of the pages), and many of the pictures I took are pretty much illegible.  This entry looks good, but I have to be able to read the occupation that usually comes right before the name, and the age of the Anton Langer is off by a few years, though that is often not an issue.  Tomorrow, I have to get better images, and if I give it a high priority, I can keep going and see if there's another entry in the next 10 years or so.

I have three other questions I can spend time on -- I think I'll start with the ones about Joseph Benard Ortmann, because I'd like to be able to continue that story, and I should be able to go through those records pretty quickly.  I'll do what I can -- I can order the microfilms from Santa Cruz if I can't finish the questions I have.  

Here's the thing about researching, whether at the Library or the Family History Center in Santa Cruz -- it's not fun.  Against all advice, today I worked straight through for five hours, at which point I had a headache, was kind of nauseated (from the microfilm screens whirling by and the closeness of the atmosphere), and felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head.  When I got outside, I had to sit on a bench and just breathe for about 10 minutes.  And here's a tip, if you've never done microfilm work -- pay attention to your posture!  I kept finding myself slumped over the machine, heading for a kink in my back in addition to a sore cranking arm (yes, they're cranking machines, not push-a-button machines).

Oh, I did like the fact that the staff refer to female patrons as "Sister" -- as a senior staff member said to his young assistant, "Clean off that machine there so the Sister can use it."  I found it kind of charming.  

Heading for my second big day tomorrow.

Feb 5, 2015

Genealogical "Extras"

I feel as if I'm marking time for the moment -- the Genealogical Do-Over has me going over previous research, not doing much that's new; on the one ancestor I am working on, I'm waiting for a number of documents to arrive; and I'm counting the days before I leave for Salt Lake City (Monday -- four more days!).  So I don't have much new to write about . . . yet.

I've been thinking about some of the "side benefits" that come from doing genealogy.  These take various forms:  the cousins you discover, the friends you make in the genealogy community, the satisfaction you get from seeing a brick wall come down.  But one of the most enjoyable parts of genealogy, to me, are the subjects and bits of history that open up along the way.  These things can expand our world view greatly, and keep the synapses of those of us pursuing genealogy in our senior years firing.  Here are a few things I've learned about along the way:

1.  The history of the North German Lloyd Company:  My grandfather worked for North German Lloyd for many years, as a machinist, going back and forth from Germany to New York and other places around the world.  Here are the NDL docks  in Hoboken, New Jersey.

2.  The process of emigrating to America -- what it took to get there, what shipboard life was like (especially for those who traveled steerage class), what was in store for those who made the trip.

3.  The history of many places:  one of my favorites is the history of Jamaica, New York, where two branches of my family lived since the mid-1800s.  I was surprised to learn that many new arrivals wound up living in "Shantytown," a bleak place indeed full of rickety, make-shift shelters.  My great-grandfather George Siegler spent time in a Shantytown.

4.  The geography and history of many places in Germany that I'd never heard of -- the little farming villages of Erkeln, Lesum, and Burgdam, other towns such as Nienborg, Oberglogau (in Silesia), and Lohr.  I've also learned the history of Hannover, Goettingen, Bremen, Bremerhaven, and other larger cities.

Fields in Brakel, Germany

5.  The role of the Union Navy in the Civil War.  My great-grandfather, Joseph Ortmann, served in the Navy on several ships, including the Hibiscus, shown below.

6.  The history of the "lunatic asylum" attached to the University of Goettingen.  My great-grandfather died there in 1896, and I was fortunate enough to discover a book written by the founder of the hospital, who was still the director when my g-grandfather was there.

7.  The stages, progression, and social consequences of syphillis in the 1800's.  Not something I had anticipated having to learn about.

8.  Marriage customs in Germany in the 16th - 19th centuries.   Other kinds of social interactions, occupations, and so on.  The guild system.  Fascinating.

9.   The Silesian weavers' revolt of 1844.  My great-great grandfather was a master weaver at that time, so that bit of history was very personal.  Again, I found an excellent book on the history of that event.

Illustration from a 1927 film about the events.
10.  The workings of Gulf Oil company in Tampico, Mexico.  My great-uncle spent a year there managing the commissary.  
  Carrying pipes out to the oil fields, Tampico, Mexico

11.  The horrifying history of Camarillo State Mental Hospital in California.  I didn't want to learn about this either --

12.  The fascinating history of the migration of my mt-DNA haplogroup, the U4's, to Asia and then to Europe.  My Siberian heritage!

 Courtesy of Serge Bystro, on Flickr

Well, I could go on forever, but that's plenty for today.  What things have you learned about as a "side benefit" of genealogy?

Feb 3, 2015

A Miscellaneous Kind of Day

1.  I've accomplished quite a bit on the Genealogy Do-Over (go-over, in my case); the latest achievement is setting up a "genealogy toolbox" wiki to keep all my links at my fingertips.  My next step, I think, is to go through my tree and eliminate duplicate facts and events (tedious!), just generally clean things up.

2.  I've been trying RootsMagic 7 and have felt very frustrated in doing that -- it doesn't sync with Ancestry, when I import the latest GEDCOM the media files don't come with it, I'm confused about the process of checking links with MyHeritage and Family Search -- I confirm a match, but then the information isn't transferred back to RM -- again, you have to do that by hand.  I think I'll put that aside for now and come back to it.  If you really like RM, please tell me that the learning curve is worth it!

3.  I'm eager to finish the story of Joseph Ortmann and his two wives, but I'm waiting for a number of documents to arrive.  I've gotten interesting information from the orphanage where Clara and Mabel lived, and I'm waiting for information on Joseph from Palacios, TX.  And also an extremely important document from the State of California; I'm crossing my fingers that they will send that one to me (it's pretty sensitive information).  So stay tuned for more exciting developments in that story!

 Jenny Pansing on Flickr, creative commons license

4.  RootsTech!  I'm so excited to be leaving next Monday for SLC and the Family History Library.  Got my ducks all in a row, and I'm I'm hoping to be there by 2:00 in the afternoon, so I can at least orient myself, before spending two full days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  But I have so many things to do before then -- making a list, shopping, packing -- I guess I'd better get cracking on that one!  Only six more days before I leave . . .

Have a great genealogy day, everyone --

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