Category Archives: Misadventures of a Genealogist

Hello Out There!

First of all if you’re reading this, back up your files…

It seems I’m always apologizing to my blog for being neglectful. Here I am again. I can’t tell a lie to my blog or what blog readers stumble across me here. These computer issues really threw me for a loop.

So to sum up,  in September I made an expensive decision to finally replace my aging desktop computer. At the time my computer was still limping along and I thought it was the perfect time to actually prepare for a computer swap before it needed to happen. Then the computer got delayed in production… Yikes.

About the time of the delay, my old computer did the unforgivable, it crashed unexpectedly and uncharacteristically, and it corrupted my working family file. I still cringe thinking about it. Luckily my new computer got here and I was able to start slowly working my way through getting things moved in an organized way.. Then….

If you’ve made it this far, back up your files…

My second hard drive corrupted itself. Luckily I had been scared enough by all my issues that I had been backing them up in various places and I was able to get all my files back onto my main computer, just with no extra hard drive to share the burden of a digital file hoarder.

I limped along again, downloading my synced tree from Ancestry, merging it with my working family file and now making one universal file. I’m not going to pretend that I was spending a ton of time on that, because I wasn’t. It’s very monotonous what I’m doing and I’ll get more into that another day.

If you’re still reading back up your files…

That’s right there’s still more to this story. Apparently my new Alienware computer was too much for my old battery back up because one night in stinky, smoky fashion, that too decided to take a permanent break.

So at this point I realized enough was enough. I was done limping along on my shiny new cluttered computer.

My new battery backup
My new battery backup

I got myself a new battery backup that self tests and lets me know all kinds of useful electricity information that I don’t know how to use.  The important part though is that it works and it works well. In fact, when there was a power surge, the backup immediately switched to battery for 1 second until it was over. I have no idea why we had a power surge but it’s good to know my battery backup has my back.

My new external hard drive
My new external hard drive

I also purchased myself a new external hard drive. This one is pure backup. In fact I have it set to automatically back up. It’s also connected to my Dropbox account which is going to be super handy.

The third thing I did was take the hard drive out of my old desktop and I formatted it. This one is now in my new computer as my “Genealogy Drive” and it is also set to back up to the external drive.

External Hard drive
External Hard drive

I’m still not completely comfortable using my old main hard drive as my genealogy drive but at least it is backed up onto my external every time there is a change made. This buys me more time until I’m able to purchase another internal hard drive that is the size and price I like.

So now after all this technology breakdown, I am back up and running, but very behind in emails and having to cancel most of my genealogy memberships due to the price of all the new equipment. I’ll get back up there though! Just slowly. ;)

How do you deal with full equipment breakdowns? Replace, repair, or give up completely?

Disclaimer: I am not connected to any of the companies I listed in this post. Just a paying customer and I didn’t receive any compensation to write this post.

The Absentee Genealogist

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season! No matter what you celebrate I hope you’re able to spend lots of quality time with your families and friends.

I certainly never expected to be absent this long from my blog. However, looking back I usually am during this time of year. My new computer is running just fine, only a few hiccups related to my old hard drives.

Here are the things I’ll be working on as a priority:

  1. Cleaning out all my hard drives and condensing them down. Partially due to the issues I’m experiencing with one of my extra drives.  I’ll be backuping them up to CD, flash drive and Dropbox. Lots of work, but it’s long overdue!
  2. Re-syncing my Ancestry Member Tree and my FTM 2014 trees. I’ll be honest, I haven’t touched my family tree since getting the new computer. I even let my memberships lapse again, but this time I’m going to experiment with other methods of getting my data since I used my extra money to purchase a new computer. There are plenty of options out there and I need to focus on what information I already have anyway!
  3. The website. There’s been a lot going on with my website for a few years that I’ve been ignoring. Including an over abundance of domain names and duplicate TNG installations. So I’ve got to do a clean out of not only my personal computer but my internet files also.

I think that’s enough for now! I’m hoping that cleaning out the mess from before and after the computer switch will get my head back in the game. Right now I’m having a hard time making any sense of my files, so anything I can do has to be progress.

Do you have troubles getting back into the swing of things after a break? Any big plans for the holiday? My house is finally decorated so it’s time to relax for us!

Happy Almost November!

Wow guys! I sure didn’t expect to be down a whole month from the blog. I had told you about my ordering my new computer, and I was happily still working on my cleaned up files until about 2 weeks before the computer came. Then my old computer committed an unforgivable act. It corrupted my working file. Fortunately for me that was the day my computer was originally scheduled to be delivered. Unfortunately, the computer was delayed twice due to parts being out of stock. I was scared to use my old computer so I just put up my genealogy and worked on quilts. I was very lucky that I had just backed up, so I lost almost no progress. Phew!

Now I have the new computer and it’s wonderful! I didn’t realize how much my computer had slowed down and didn’t work until I had a working one again. The only problem is now I’m faced with the mess I left behind with the old computer. Good news being that I lost zero files.

The Tree Sync inssue
The Tree Sync issue

Being honest with myself tells me that no matter what happened, the second I bought my computer I was going to have to face this issue. No getting around it. After reading the FAQ on Ancestry and thinking out the situation I think I know how I’m going to proceed.

Bottom Line = New Computer means that my Online Tree and FTM file are no longer synced. There isn’t a way to connect the two again except for the options I’m about to outline.

Option 1: Upload FTM file to new Ancestry.com tree

Option 1: Re-upload Family File
Option 1: Re-upload Family File

I can upload my current file to Ancestry.com as a brand new tree. I have a few problems with this. #1 being that I’ve had a public tree and people have saved my pictures to their trees. I would like to keep these links between trees in tact. For the collaborators and myself. I like having the links, it’s partly why I went public. I like being able to easily share my images with my spread out extended family. A lot of times I can get the pictures to them faster by just putting them in the tree attached to who they belong to.

Option 2: Download from Ancestry.com to new FTM file.

Option 2: Download from Ancestry
Option 2: Download from Ancestry

Option 2 leaves all the links in tact and the only drawback being that all my pretty sources are in a bit of trouble. Still I don’t think it would take much to get these in order. I’m still unsure on how to get the media files back into my organization method without breaking the link. I’ll probably try that a few times with a test tree before fully committing to option 2. This one seems like the most likely way to get back to business for me.

No matter which option I choose, I’ve still been working on my family file cleanup. I’m actually almost done with it. This also throws a kink into Option 2, but I’m debating fixing the 50+ person difference with a merged file.

Oy, tons and tons of decisions to make. I don’t regret the new computer and I can’t wait to be fully operational again.

Moores in 1915, driving me crazy

One of the things I’m doing is trying to find my Moore families in the New York state censuses. It’s not easy because of their commonly used names, but it’s fun looking anyway. I had found William H Moore Jr in 1915 at his usual address in Queens. In 1920, he lives at the same address, but in Brooklyn not Queens. I checked the map at the time and when I did, I completely understood!

47 Crosby Avenue in Google Earth
47 Crosby Avenue in Google Earth

The green line you see is the county line. It separates Kings County (Brooklyn) from Queens County. No doubt that border moved itself a bit before finally settling where it is now. Fun fact: That big green area is  The Evergreens Cemetery where the Moore family is buried.

1915 census of New York State, Queens County, New York. Evergreen town, New York City AD 03, ED 36, p. 052 (penned), William H Moore; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).
1915 census of New York State, Queens County, New York. Evergreen town, New York City AD 03, ED 36, p. 052 (penned), William H Moore; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

The above image shows where I had found William Jr‘s family in Queens in 1915. Just where I knew they would be, living at 47 Crosby Avenue.

This week I was working in Family Tree Maker. Making everything neat and tidy. Really just working on what I can without all my files, since I’m still waiting on the new computer. Imagine my surprise when a little green leaf showed me something a little surprising and informative!

1915 census of New York State, Kings County, New York. Brooklyn AD 22, ED 23, p. 053 (penned), Wm Henry Moore; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).
1915 census of New York State, Kings County, New York. Brooklyn AD 22, ED 23, p. 053 (penned), Wm Henry Moore; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

William Jr‘s family was enumerated twice! This isn’t the first time this has happened to someone in my tree. It is the first time I’ve gotten extra information though, which is awesome. This one finally, finally, finally, suggests something I suspected, that the H in both William’s names stands for Henry. It also led me to William Jr‘s brother and business partner John. He is about 5 households up the street in this census.

I made an expensive decision!

I bought a new computer. It’s been on my mind constantly for almost a year now. Lately my computer has been having more and more problems. I’ve fixed it again and again. Finally, I decided I just wanted to go ahead and get the new computer. It’s been over 7 years since I purchased a computer, so it’s going to be a huge upgrade for me!

I’m not going to go into the logistics of it but I made the right computer decision for me. It won’t be here for 2 weeks though. The wait just might kill me! In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do. For the first time ever, I’m going to have a new computer before the old one is beyond saving! This means I can get everything in order on my second hard drive before the new one gets here! Then I can just put my second hard drive into the new computer and have a seamless (hopefully) experience… After the programs I use are installed of course. Unfortunately and fortunately with my ongoing computer problems, I’m an old hat at that part. I’ve had to “re-install” Windows every 6 months for the last few years at least because of a reoccurring problem no tech expert could figure out.

Family Tree Maker 2014
Family Tree Maker 2014 – 

While I’m preparing for that I’m also working with the new Family Tree Maker 2014! One thing I noticed about it right away is that it’s FASTER. Very noticeably faster on my current computer. I used to have to add someone, wait 5 minutes, add a birth date, wait 3 minutes, and so on. I was constantly compacting the file, and I did all the suggestions from Ancestry to make the program move faster, it just didn’t want to cooperate. The new version is lightning fast for me now and I’m making so much progress on my family file cleanup. Which is drawing to a close hopefully by the end of this year! I did have to pause a few lines because it was just out of control, but I’ll make it back to them at the end of the cleanup. I just wanted to feel like I was making forward progress again and those huge families make you feel lost in the 1800s! I’ve made it up to the Applegate line which is already almost done. Which is good because I feel like I’ve been doing this project for years, oh wait, I have! :)

I did make a few boo-boos when I was getting everything set up. Nothing completely permanent if I wouldn’t mind taking back some progress made because of the new lightning fast speed. Though the biggest damage was my synced tree on Ancestry.com. That’s currently a mess and I’m working on getting it cleaned up. Had I not already been entrenched in computer issues at the time, I might not have made those mistakes but I can’t take back hitting the unlink button now and they did warn me! So onward without looking backwards. That’s my new motto!

That’s the latest that’s happening here in Maryland. Just thought I’d give you an update on what’s been happening in my progress.

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie, Onwards and Upwards

bellbrodie-00

It’s that time again! I’m truly coming to enjoy spending my Sunday afternoons on the hunt for Bell. Then I can write about it for Monday!

I decided after last week, to just go ahead and search the Canada census in London, Ontario for a Bell Brodie to see what happened. I don’t have an Ancestry World Membership, so I’m making do with the FamilySearch indexes! No problem!

"Canada Census, 1871," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M47C-2BZ : accessed 25 Aug 2013), Isabella N Brodie, Ward 03, London, Ontario, Canada.
“Canada Census, 1871,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M47C-2BZ : accessed 25 Aug 2013), Isabella N Brodie, Ward 03, London, Ontario, Canada.

The birth year is estimated around 1835. If this is my Bell, that would put her as the right age to be a cousin of Jane Menzies-Love. Jane is the person who I originally believed to be the recipient of the letter.

I can’t get much more just from the indexes on FamilySearch until I transcribe who I believe to be in the household. I’m too pumped with what I’m doing to do that this second. I decided to keep going a little bit, just to see if it was worth the trouble. I went to Ancestry.com and just did a general search.

Ancestry.com simple search
Ancestry.com simple search

I just plugged in what I knew from the 1871 Canada census transcription. Isabella N Brodie and a birth year of 1835.

Ancestry.com Search results
Ancestry.com Search results

Results! I was very, very excited to see that the 1871 census came up along with the 1910 US Census. I was especially excited because it shows Isabella living in Detroit. I’ve got pictures in Llewellyn’s archives that have Detroit written on the back and I know family members traveled there also from her diary.

When I clicked on the 1910 census result to see what it said I was surprised and overjoyed with a few different things!

1910 US Census
1910 US Census
  1. The first thing that I noticed was that it showed Isabella’s parents were both of Scottish origin. Which fits perfectly with both the Menzies and Love side of the family.
  2. For some reason I can’t bring to mind immediately, the name Marjorie Peel is very familiar to me. I must have read it somewhere and not remembered where. {Note to self: You really should have taken better notes in the beginnning.}
  3. In the sidebar under suggested records I tried not to get too excited when I saw the 1851 Canada Census. It shows the name Isabella Ferris. Ferris being the maiden name of Jane Menzies-Love‘s mother!
Menzies/Ferris family
Menzies/Ferris family

My plan in my free time this week is to go through what I’ve found and organize it in a research notebook (digital and paper). There’s a lot of information coming in fast and furious now, so I don’t want to get so swamped in the search that I forget to properly document and makes notes from what I’ve found so far, if this is even my Bell. Though I’ve found some very interesting things already, so I’m leaning towards yes!

Previous Finding Bell Brodie entries:

  1. Finding Bell Brodie, the original letter
  2. Finding Bell Brodie, part 2
  3. Finding Bell Brodie, Canada edition

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie, Canada edition

bellbrodie-00

I had a pleasant surprise in my email on Sunday morning. It was from my long lost cousin, Grace. (I love calling her that for some reason :)) I have communicated with Grace over the past few years thanks to my blog bringing us together. We’ve shared a lot of information on our linked Menzies/Love connection over the years. Lucky for me, she had something to add to the mystery of Bell Brodie!

She sent me three different letter transcriptions. Then she suggested that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be looking in London, England for Bell, but London, Ontario, Canada! Before I even consulted anything else having to do with the mystery of where Bell Brodie belonged, I brought out the map.

Canada?
Canada?

Once I brought up the map, I let out a big old “oooooohhh!!” Not only did London fit what I was looking for, but in Bell’s letter she also mentions “Sister Hellen is going to be married next week she will live at Port Stanly”. SCORE! I see Port Stanley on the map.

As if I needed further coaxing, I decided to re-read the letter I thought might have also been written by Bell (I was wrong and that transcription is coming soon). That letter is from another cousin of Jennie who is writing from Glencoe. Which is also visible on the map if you look to the very far left.

So folks, it looks like this search is going to be taking place in Canada. Which I know exactly zero about. Looks like it’s time to learn a new area for me. Any tips on Canadian research that you think might help me find Bell Brodie?

Disclaimer: The map used is copyrighted to Google. They have awesome maps. I use them daily!
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