Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tombstones, Trove and Doing Over: Genealogy Notes 16-23 Jan 2015

Well I seem to be in the group of doing big changes and this week I started another one. I have been thinking about changing my genealogy software for some time and have been talking to others and reading up on what is available. Back in the 90s I started out with Brothers Keeper and after many years I swapped over to Legacy Family Tree. My conversion didn't go quite to plan and I had to do a lot of manual changes and I said I would never swap again.

However over the last 20 something years of having my family history in a database I have changed how I record things, what info I capture, style, citations and so on. So to tidy everything up I either had to do a major rehaul of my Legacy databases (38 years of research) or start again in new software.  Another friend lost all her data in a computer crash (not sure where her backups were but then do we ever check that our backups would work in the event of a crash) and she reentered all her data. I'm not sure that I totally believe that it didn't take her that long to reenter, but I can see the advantages of starting fresh and being consistent.

So I downloaded Family Historian V6 which I know many geneafriends use and I listened to Jill Ball's Google +hangout (recorded on Jill's You Tube channel) with Jane Taubman, a speaker on the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruises, on using FamilyHistorian. While it was on I had Family Historian opened and added myself and my parents while Jane was talking. I was surprised to see that it came up with matches to My Heritage (which are probably mine but I will check).

I am now thinking of perhaps only doing a complete reentry of my own family line and using a gedcom conversion for my son's family line on his father's side. I forgot about the arthritis in my fingers and wrists or perhaps it is just the wet weather we have been having this week! This is part of my participation in Thomas MacEntee's genealogy do over project for 2015.

With my Library Thing project, I am finding it easier to rearrange the books into shelves first and then enter the books into Library Thing so I am surrounded by piles of books waiting to be data entered. I love it when the ISBN is recognised, saves so much time, but it is surprising how many titles I have that have to be entered manually.

Scanning photos and documents is still incredibly slow and I suspect there is no speedy way there!

Tombstones were the topic of this week's blog in my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. There are so many clues that we can get from tombstones, if we are lucky enough to have them.

I have been working on finalising a new research guide for Unlock the Past and I was looking for a good example using one of my families in North Queensland. Searching Trove for them made me realise that quite a few more northern newspapers have been digitised and added to Trove. I found some nice pieces for my book but temptation took hold, as it always seems to do in Trove, and I started putting in lots of names and finding lots more info. One discovery brought me to tears and will be the subject of a future blog post. And that was just one family.

I have been working on my three talks for the Maryborough Family Heritage Institute seminar in February and I am looking forward to going back there. It should be a really good afternoon and anyone in the area can attend, it is not just Institute members. My Norwegian ancestors settled near there in the 1870s and we will also take the opportunity to pop up to Bundaberg and see Max's aunty and cousins. Details of my talks in Maryborough are on the Events page of my website.

Another rainy day here so I am planning a big data entry session. To avoid distractions I am going to turn off Facebook, Google+ and Twitter so that I don't see all those tempting posts with exciting links telling me to look at this new resource or read this blog for inspiration and so on. Sometimes I wonder how we ever did research our families back in the 70s!
Happy researching until next week.


  1. I think you will be happy with Family Historian, Shauna. As with any software it will be a steep learning curve but well owrth the effort.