Saturday, December 7, 2013

GeneaMusings Challenge Summary

A little over a month ago, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2013 to be exact, my genealogy friend Randy Seaver made this blog post. CrowdSourcing Opportunity: When and Where did John Louis Powell Die?

Always up for a challenge, I thought I would take this project on. I have posted as a result of that challenge a number of time. But, I want to draw this challenge, for me, to a close. I do want to share a couple of things that I learned along the way.

  • Have a Genealogical Question to Answer
  • Stay focused
  • Record what you find (where and when)
  • Don't create a "brick wall"
  • Have a search strategy
  • Review what you have
  • Have a research log
  • Create To Do lists AS YOU GO
  • Establish guidelines when sharing an Ancestry Member Tree
Each of the above could and may become blog posts in the future. This blog post is a summary of the findings. Future Blog posts will probably high light a couple of people in this tree that Randy has blogged about on Geneamusings


Here is what the Plan Workspace, File Statistics show at this point.


With Randy's blog post, I now have 328 people in this file going back 7 generations with 85 Surnames.

All 75 Sources are using the FTM2014 Template Feature. I have added 211 Media items; all of them are linked to Citations. Speaking of Citations, the 187 citations are linked to 3,514 Facts.

Looking at the summary on the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT):


The number of people match, but there appears to be differences in the way Photos and Records are counted.

Of importance here is the number of Hints that can be followed. 202 of the 328 people in the file have Hints, in the AMT.

There is where the plan comes into play. At least it did for me.

My focus was on the "home" person. Randy's friend John. I attempted to stay focused on his direct line. I identified 8 of his 4th great-grandparents, 14 of his 3rd great-grandparents, 10 of his 2nd great-grandparents, all 8 of his great-grandparents. I was able to collect a fair amount of information on 15 of these ancestors.

My strategy was to use three sources to collect and verify as much as possible the information collected. 1) Census Records, 2) Find-A-Grave memorials 3) Ancestry Hints. The census records helped establish family groups; the Find-A-Grave records helped with locations and dates that lead back to census records, and the Hints were part of that mix. BUT I had to stick with the Direct Ancestors or I would never get done. Every couple of days, I would print the Direct Ancestor Chart to keep me focused.

The Ancestry.com website helped with the Census Records. I looked at 43 census records (citations), (back to 1870), and picked up 1,647 links to facts. Ancestry overall provided 78 citations with links to 1,850 facts.

On the Find-A-Grave website, I found 80 memorials (citations) linking to 1,407 facts. One contributor provided over 500 links to facts. In the process I identified 2 or 3 living relatives or suspected relatives for John.

I think the most important lesson for me was that FTM2014 has the features to help do a good research plan. There are features in FTM2014 that were  not there when I started. This specific file I would and have shared with Randy. I want to close this project down so that I can take what I learned, about how to manage a file, to put to use in my own family file.

The second most important lesson that I learned was a way that can be used to Collaborate with another genealogist using the Ancestry Member Tree.

DearMYTLE hosted a Hangout On Air with Randy and I to discuss this topic.

Ancestry Member Trees: Practical collaboration tips


I want to thank DearMYRTLE, and Randy, for having the conversation. From that conversation, I created a Note Person in my family file, in FTM2014, that would be uploaded to the AMT. That person has some Notes about the tree and how I have set the tree up. In FTM2014 I see that in the Plan Workspace, but someone looking at the AMT can't see that. I also added my ToDo list to the person. I have 309 Tasks or To Do Items to be worked on.



I mentioned that I have been keeping Research Notes as I went along. This is something else that an AMT viewer can't see. These tree reports were generated from within FTM2014, saved as an RTF file and was in the Notes for the Notes Person. These three reports show up as Recent Stories on the Tree Overview and the Notes Person profile.

What also can't be seen in the AMT are the 211 media items, of which most are from Find-A-Grave. I don't have permission to post them and FTM2014 allows me to mark them as Private. That is a GREAT feature. Those media files are important to me, as the researcher, so I can see them from within FTM2014. The good news there is that the Citation for the information, from that memorial page, should appear as a link in the AMT, that will go to the Find-A-Grave memorial page where the image resides. I just checked and it  does. There is a Citation and in that citation is a Web Address.

Thank you Randy for the Challenge. I learned lots.
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Copyright © 2013 by H R Worthington

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