Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why I use the "FamilySearch Matches" tool at WikiTree

My family history research and some of my One Name Study has been on WikiTree for years. It's my only online public tree. For reasons why I use WikiTree, please read my earlier article: Zen & the Art of Genealogical Maintenance

WikiTree released a new tool last month. It's called the FAMILYSEARCH MATCHES tool. What it does is matches all your WikiTree profiles to the FamilySearch records or FamilySearch Tree. I was also a beta tester when FamilySearch Tree first started testing their product. When Chris Whitten, the master developer behind WikiTree, created the "FamilySearch Matches" tool, I was, at first, skeptical but now very excited about how it works for my research. To access the FamilySearch Tool, one needs to get to it from their own MY WIKITREE MENU from FIND; slide down to FamilySearch Matches. A window will open up; You will see that it is FamilySearch certified and you need to put in your WikiTree login information as well as your FamilySearch login information.

Next, your WikiTree WATCHLIST will be displayed with potential matches at FamilySearch. In this example, I have one match at the FamilySearch Tree so I clicked that it was a "certain match". If I want to remove the match, I can always do so. You also have the option to check that a match is "uncertain". Now here is the REAL reason why this tool is very exciting ! If you look at where I placed a YELLOW STAR, this is a baptismal record that I did not know that was indexed in FamilySearch under "New York Births and Christenings". I have been finding records, left and right, for all the people in my WikiTree Watchlist !
When this tool finds the record matches, it does not transfer the records automatically to your WikiTree profiles. What I do is copy the source citation from the new record at FamilySearch and paste it in the WikiTree profile (I always work with two windows open). Chris Whitten explains at length about FamilySearch Matches in this document: You can also click on the "more info" link which is at the top of the FamilySearch Matches list.

The great thing that WikiTree DOES DO is add a MATCH LINK automatically on the WikiTree profile that looks like this:

It's important to note that the WikiTree FamilySearch Matches, like the FamilySearch Tree and records, is user-generated. Therefore, the information may be incorrect and needs to be verified by the researcher (that's you !). I actually have not had one wrong match and I have 1662 profiles. I think a lot depends on how much data entry are in your WikiTree profiles to get the closer matches but I have had so many surprises, especially for my One Name Study profiles. The great thing about this RESEARCH section is that you can quickly check from your WikiTree profiles if new matches or records have been located.

By the way, in terms of navigating the FamilySearch Matches Watchlist, there is a pagination tool on the bottom that's very handy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking in Michigan Marriages


       My Great-Grandparents lived in Michigan, specifically the Hungarian neighborhood of Del Ray. They married in 1899. I have been looking for their marriage record since 1980. Over a cup of coffee and coffeecake one morning at her kitchen table, my Grandmother suddenly brought out a slip of paper from her dresser with the family dates on it that were copied from a book from my Great-Grandparent's house. It was not a family Bible like most Hungarian kept in their homes. It was either a lexicon, geography or encyclopedia book written and probably published in Hungary as my Great-Grandfather was not Catholic. He supposedly eschewed all manners of institutionalized religions. He himself was christened as a Calvinist back in Hungary.
I have never seen the original data or the "book" so I was looking at secondary evidence, copied by my Grandmother. I did not weigh that date too heavily until I saw the same marriage dates for them in his naturalization records. TIP : Naturalization records for immigrants MAY CONTAIN their marriage date and place.
With that marriage data in hand, letters flew back and fourth to many government levels of Michigan looking for a marriage registration with no results. Simultaneously, there were many years of letter-writing with various ecclesiastical locations trying to pinpoint their marriage record. They did not marry in Hungary either.
So imagine my delight when Ancestry released the Michigan marriage database ! See Michigan Marriage Records, 1867-1952
The original images are wonderfully preserved and detailed. They have couples' birthplaces, parents, occupations and the name of the pastor/minister who registered the marriage ( which one can cross index with city directories to locate the actual parish to receive more marriage data).
There is an index but with Eastern European searches, I heavily use the side panel BROWSE THIS COLLECTION.
1) Click a record type group ( Certificates or Registers)
2) Decide on a range of dates
3) Under the Description label, choose a location.
Happy Hunting !

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Creating your own Source Template in RootsMagic

I am a veteran PAF1 user. I have been using PAF literally since I was a baby. I did not have a computer but our Family History Center had one and it was love at first sight.

Later, I married someone who was a computer geek. We had an Amiga for years and PAF worked on it. Then progress followed, all the way up to version 5.2. But this is not an article about PAF. When FamilySearch announced that they were discontinuing PAF downloads from their website, I reinvigorated the ROOTS MAGIC ESSENTIALS ( the free version) on my desktop. I have since updated to their current version 7.
Like many genealogists, we have our "staple" data entry genealogy software and then, our prospective ones. Because PAF is gone, I am allowed to flirt with other programs out there. Roots Magic 7 exports spreadsheets so that was a determining factor for me. I also found out that you can create your own source templates.

On the RootsMagic Forum, Renee Zamora mentioned that one can create their own source templates which interests me because I use a lot of European sources that just do not cookie-cut into the templates at RootsMagic. So using Elizabeth Shown Mill's Evidence Explained2 examples, it has been an intriguing temptation to create my own.
So get a look at the templates that have been created already at this Roots Magic Homegrown Templates site and see if you like them. By the way, if you working with English records, someone has created some GRO templates already for your research.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do you know what your ancestral home looks like ?

     When you do research on all your families as you crawl back in time, do you wanderlust about the places they lived in? Of course, as we go further back, our wish list of "travel ancestral home visits" gets bigger!

    Last spring, I had a client and she was traveling to her ancestral village to solve more mysteries. She asked me where my family lived in Abauj- Torna. I mentioned that they were 1/2 mile from the border of Slovakia. One day, I opened my mail, lo and behold, there were pictures of my ancestral village, Jablonca ! And not only of Jablonca but my Grandfather's family ancestral homestead in Hungary ! Still standing and obviously, in beautiful condition and surroundings.  Thank you, Cathy!

  In Hungarian records research, house numbers are noted quite frequently in church and census records so I knew that my Nagy family lived in Jablonca No. 9 [3]  for many generations. Eventually, the only remaining child that lived on, with descendants, immigrated to America and a paternal Aunt lived on at No. 9 Jablonca.

Jablonca 9,by Cathy

Here is my family from Jablonca No. 9:

István NAGY  Born 15 Jan 1842  Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [1]
Christened 16 Jan 1842 Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary   [2] 
married Susanna SEBÖ,  ( b. 16 Jan 1838, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary ) They married on 15 Apr 1863 in
Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [2] (witnesses at their wedding: Pal Zeman & Istvan Lorintz)
1. István NAGY,   b. 25 May 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 25 Sep 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
2. István NAGY,   b. 1 Nov 1865, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 10 Feb 1875, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
3. Lajos NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1869, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 19 Jun 1896, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
4. Maria NAGY,   b. 13 Oct 1871, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 23 Aug 1873, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
5. Joseph NAGY,   b. 19 Jul 1874, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 18 Aug 1953, Toledo, Wood, Ohio,
6. István NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
7. Maria NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 5 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary

4Jablonca from Cathy.JPG.crdownload

1) Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Rec# 2.

2)Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Other Entries.

3)Népszámlálás 1869 (Hungarian 1869 Census) .Author: Magyar Statisztikai Hivatal .(Manuscript/Manuscript on Film,Salt Lake City, Utah.Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998-1999)