Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Facebook and other Technology Tips

Tuesday's Technology Tips
Although it kind of feels like Monday because we had a lot of snow so the kids around here didn't have school yesterday.
Do you get sick of people posting "following" on a Facebook post? Or so many people saying "thanks for adding me" giving the 1000 people in the group notifications. Yeah me too. So here are some tips for Facebook and maybe a few other tech tips.

1. You don't have to type "following" on a Facebook post you want to follow. There is a little arrow up at the top by the post, click on it, and select "turn on notifications".

2. By the same token, did you comment on something to be helpful but don't want to receive more notifications. Use that arrow to turn off notifications.

3. Did someone post an ad for UGG boots or sunglasses in your genealogy Facebook group? Use that same arrow to "report to admin". The admin should then remove the post, and maybe the spammer.

4. Is a web site down? You don't have to ask all your Facebook friends or Twitter friends. There's a web site for that!! It has such a clever name: http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/
That's right! Is It Down Right Now dot com will tell you if it's the site or just you.

5. Okay no easy tip for this one, just don't do it. I know you're being polite, but the other 1000 people in the group don't need a notification. Don't post "thanks for adding me." If you're going to do that, AT LEAST post something relevant to the group such as "I'm researching the Smith family from Cook county, Illinois." Of course that sort of post should go in a group for the Smith family or Cook county, Illinois, NOT in a group for organization, DNA, etc.

6. Which brings us to the next tip: PLEASE please please (yes I'm begging) stay on topic. Don't post a DNA question in organization; don't post a genealogy program question in a group for Illinois, etc. Make sure you are in the right group and post a relevant topic.

7. Did someone post a link you want to read but the phone just rang or you have to go to work and can't read it right now? Facebook added something to help. Find that little arrow again in the upper right corner, click "save name of article". Then it will be on the left under the ones that say "SAVED". The key is the next time you're bored on a Saturday night to go back and read them. Okay that never happens but just in case, now you know.

8. Also remember to check your "other" inbox folder in Facebook from time to time. Anyone who is not your friend may send you a message and it may end up there. So you might have been able to sell that box of junk you posted 45 times in the group, or your distant cousin may want to exchange photos! You get the idea.

Of course, Facebook may send out an update tomorrow and this may all be irrelevant but maybe, just maybe it will help someone at least for a day.
This post is meant to be helpful and not criticize anyone, so please take it that way. Thanks.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Ancestor: Charles Alexander Foster

This month is nearing an end, so I better get my blog on my ancestor done.
This month I am focusing on Charles Alexander Foster, my father's mother's father (my great-grandfather).

Charles Alexander Foster was born on December 14, 1875 in Manchester, Adams County, Ohio to Nathan M. and Mary M. Foster. In 1880 we find him in Adams county, Ohio in the census with his parents and siblings. The next time I can find him is in 1900 in the census, where he is listed as a servant living with the McIntosh family in Madison county, Nebraska. So why did he move from Ohio to Nebraska? And did he come by himself, and if so why? This I don't know (yet).

Then on February 22, 1904 Charles marries Edith Adel Hanks in Tilden, Madison county, Nebraska. They then become the parents of 4 daughters. The first two, Berniece and Mable are born in Tilden. Then some time between 1908-1910 the family moves to Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. Viola is born in 1910 in Nebraska; I am uncertain which county she is born. Then Genestia is born in 1912 in Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. On the 1910 census, the Charles Foster family is listed as living in Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. On September 12, 1918 Charles signs his World War I draft card, where he is listed as a farmer with dark hair and blue eyes from Sidney, Nebraska. The next 3 censuses 1920, 1930 and 1940 find Charles living in Sidney, Cheyenne County, Nebraska. Charles continues to be listed as a farmer in 1920, 1930 and 1940.

Charles passes away February 27, 1951 at the age of 75 while in San Jose, Santa Clara county, California. I'm guessing he was there visiting or living with his daughter Genestia and her family. He was brought back to Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska for burial. His wife passes away less than a month later, on March 21.

Along with the censuses I have found him in, and the draft card, I also have his marriage certificate, a photo of his gravestone, and his obituary. It would be good for me to look for some land records for him, since he was a farmer and owned land. I wonder if this land he owned prior to 1920 is still the land my uncle farms and my family owns. It would also be nice to find out more about the years between 1880 and 1900. The 1890 census burned so it isn't accessible, and unfortunately Ohio didn't take any state censuses. I don't find him in the Nebraska 1885 state census, and since he would've been only 10 years old, I don't think he would be in that census (away from his family). His parents did live in Illinois for a while, but Illinois did not have any state censuses after 1865.

Doing these blogs always make me realize how much I don't know and could still do on my ancestors. I may know their birth date, and birth place, but there are still parts missing to their stories. I don't think I have a photo of him either. It would be nice to find one of those, but I don't know which family member might have one or if they got thrown away (gasp!).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Goals for 2015

Happy New Year! I can still say that right? It's not April yet. The temperature outside says I can say that until the temperature reaches my age. So it's time to set some goals for 2015, and try to have them measurable and realistic. There is some SMART acronym for goals, specific, measurable, assignable or achievable (well I'll go with achievable because they are all assigned to me), relevant or realistic and time related. Well these are all to be achieved within a calendar year, but some of them I chop up into smaller goals so I can better achieve them.
I like to divide my genealogy goals up in 3 categories: Personal, Professional and Volunteer

Professional:
1. Attend at least 20 sessions of #genchat this year on Twitter
     So do you #genchat? It's a chat session of genealogists usually on Friday evenings at 9 pm central. Find the schedule here: http://www.genealogygenchat.com/schedule.html

2. Do 2 webinars or videos for genealogy education

3. Plan a spectacular state conference, attend it and one other genealogy conference

4. Blog twice a month or 24 times a year
   Included in this is blogging about 1 ancestor per month or 12 per year, I put my list of ancestors in an Excel spreadsheet for easy reference. This year I intend to include a few of my husband's ancestors as well as mine.

5. Continue with a research project (for a client)

6. Continue scanning land records (for another client)

Volunteer:
1. Update the cemetery directory in May before Memorial day

2. Continue adding photos on Findagrave and taking more

3. Continue indexing marriage records and put online, do 3 surname letters

4. Continue regular (quarterly?) updates of my GenWeb site

Personal:
1. Do timelines for 12 ancestors

2. Continue regular (quarterly?) backups of data to external hard drive and cloud

3. Finish husband's Mayflower application

4. Do my DAR application and state pioneer award

5. Continue working on research as on Ancestry to do list (mark off two?)

What are your goals? Do you set them? Stay tuned to see how I do. I try to make quarterly goals to help me attain them, or monthly. Whew! Got it done within the first week of the new year. Happy 2015!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review of 2014, did I meet my goals

Well it's the end of the year, time for goal reviewing and setting.

My professional goals:
1. Attend 20 sessions of #genchat
        I attended 22
2. Do 2 webinars or videos for genealogy education
        I can't remember that I did any so need to do better at this
3. Go to 2 genealogy conferences
        Done
4. Blog twice a month or 24 times a year, and blog about 12 ancestors this year
     I think this makes blog #25, and I did blog about 12 ancestors, done

My volunteer goals:
1. Finish cemetery directory by Memorial day
        Done on the Tuesday before Memorial day
2. Finish photographing one cemetery and add photos to another on Findagrave
        Done taking the photos in one, and made progress on the other
3. Start indexing marriage licenses and put online
         Done with surnames A, and they are online
4. Update my US GenWeb site
         I did some of this, so made progress

My personal goals:
1. Finish husband's Mayflower application
        Made progress, sent an email asking how I'm doing, and ready to order another record
2. Go to Family History Center to research
         No, didn't do this one, so maybe next year
3. Continue working on research
          Yes, did some so progress made
4. Continue regular backups
          Did some so progress made, not sure about the "regular" part
5. Do timelines for all my ancestors
            I did 2 in the year, so progress made, and I probably bit off more than I could chew in saying "all" my ancestors, I probably should've limited it to 12

So overall not too bad, especially considering I have 2 young children (one school age and a toddler), a husband, and a part time job. So I have to keep the house running too, maybe when I'm retirement age and my kids are adults I will be able to take on more.

With my goal setting, I feel it helps to separate them like this, put them in an Excel file where I can regularly look it up and keep track. Stay tuned in the next few days when I hope to blog about my 2015 goals. Happy New Year's Eve!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Ancestor: William F. Foster

My ancestor for this month is from my dad's side, William F. Foster. From me, he is my third great grandfather: me, my father, my grandmother, my great grandfather, my 2nd great grandfather, then my 3rd great grandfather William F. Foster.

I have William F. Foster was born in Fleming county, Kentucky 27 Jun 1813 to Samuel Foster and Mary Powell. I don't know much about his early life.
He married Jane Kirkpatrick in Ohio (likely Adams county or the next county over) in 1847. William and Jane become the parents of a number of children (3 sons and 4 daughters), namely Hiram Irving (born 1848), Nathan Miller (born 1850), Mary Margaret (born 1853), Elizabeth Louisa (born 1857), Alexander Douglas (born 1860), Martha Ann (born 1862) and Sarah E. (born 1864). From 1850 to 1880 I find William and Jane living in Liberty Township, Adams county, Ohio.
William F. Foster dies in Adams county, Ohio 17 Aug 1893, and he is buried 2 days later in Hopewell Cemetery. My efforts to request a gravestone photo have not yielded one, so I assume he has an unmarked grave.

Likely no birth records exist back that far, so a baptism or church record is probably what I need to look for. I have not located a marriage record either as I am not sure what county they were married in, but I could try Adams county. I have found him in the US Federal census from 1850 to 1880. I don't have a death record either, as I have just not put as much money into records for this line.

I do not have any photos of him. There is a Foster reunion held in Eastern Illinois held and attended by many of his descendants in Ford county. I had the pleasure of attending that reunion one time many years ago with my parents before my father passed away. I really would like to go back and see if anyone has any photos or documents that I don't.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Dear Genea-Santa

Well tonight is Saturday night so Randy Seaver proposed we write our letter to Genea-Santa. Well we don't teach our kids to believe in Santa. When the clerk in a store told my kids and I that Santa was there, my son responded that he's not real. But in case anyone wants to know what's on a genealogist's list, this is mine.

Dear Genea-Santa:

I tried very hard to be a good genealogy girl this year. I have worked hard doing a few presentations: two at Family History Expos and one for the Northeast Library group. I met with my local genealogy friends, attended many sessions of #genchat on Twitter, attended 2 genealogy conferences, am planning a genealogy conference, tried to write 24 blog posts, indexed marriage records and put online, took many cemetery photos and put online, and worked some on my own family as well as my husband's and a few clients'.

Thank you (and my husband) for last year's gifts. I liked all the genealogy books I received but I haven't had time to look at and read them all. You know that job I have now and my 2 kids and life makes it hard to get much reading done.

Well you know everyone always asks for WAY too much, like my son wants all the toys in the catalogs, so here goes.

1. Genealogy books from my Amazon wish list, I would say "Mapping and Documenting Cemeteries" would be near the top, and "Digging for Ancestors: In-Depth Guide to Land Records"

2. Organization of my genea-piles, so send an organization fairy please

3. Break throughs on my brick walls: Williams Lindsey's parents and my Irish ancestors, more on my Dacy family

4. More digitized records everywhere! And not just so we have easier access but to preserve them in case another courthouse burns down (or floods, or tornado, or some natural disaster).

That's pretty much it. Yes I'd like Windows to get a decent operating system figured out so I could get a new laptop, and while my camera is fine, now they have cameras with GPS.

Oh, and world peace.
Merry Christmas all!

Friday, November 28, 2014

November Ancestor: George Sickmon

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday! Well November should mean I focus on a war veteran ancestor because of Veteran's day this month, right? Or perhaps focus on a Mayflower ancestor because of Thanksgiving? Well this is what happens when you make up your blogging schedule in January. Neither of those is my focus ancestor for November. Maybe next year....stay tuned

George Sickmon is my ancestor for November. George was born in Erie county, New York on January 11, 1819, the son of Henry Sickmon and Susan Francis. According to Roy Regnier (George's grandson, and my great-grandfather), Roy thinks George's father (Henry) died when George was young and the responsibility of raising the children fell to him. I have that George was the oldest of 5 boys born to Henry and Susan, so that could possibly be true. I also have that his father died in 1835 in New York, and I believe it was some sort of work accident. So if he died in 1835, that would leave George as being about 15 or 16 years old. Other people have he died as the result of drowing in a creek in Erie county, New York while building a dam. They also have he died in 1852 which seems too late to follow was Roy has about him. George's obituary has that he was the 4th of 12 children so I am missing some of his siblings. George's obituary also has that his father died when he was quite young, although it was the age of 11.

In September 1842 George Sickmon married Sarah Greene at her home in New York. Two years later, they moved to Warren county, Illinois. They settled on a farm 2 miles southeast of Monmouth. George and Sarah had 6 children, 4 girls and 2 boys, namely Sallie M, Susan E, Winfield S, Anna E, Eliza J. and Charles. The Sickmons raised their family on the farm for some time, then moved into town for a short while, back out to the farm, and then retired in town. Dates are a little fuzzy here.

He served several roles while in Warren county, Illinois including city alderman, on the board of supervisors, church deacon, and church elder. He was a member of the Christian church.

George passed away at the age of 89 on May 28, 1908 in Warren county, Illinois. He is buried in the Monmouth city cemetery in the Sickmon plot. I have visited his grave in person several years ago.

I have the photo above labeled as Sickmon family, but I don't think it is George and Sarah and their children as they had 4 girls and 2 boys, not 4 boys and 2 girls. So I am thinking this is Henry and Susan (seated) and some of the children standing. If anyone knows more about this photo, please let me know. I can't remember where I got this photo, probably from the internet unless it was from my great-aunt's stash.

Meanwhile I found this photo on my drive while looking for his gravestone photo. Here it is:
Sickmon gravestone, Monmouth cemetery

So the documents I have for George include the following: US Federal census for 1850, 1880 and 1900, a cemetery photo and his obituary. So I could look for his marriage license and earlier documents. Thanks for reading.