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Yikes I Don’t Know

My current “project”

I’m currently in the process of cleaning up my hard drives and my family file.  While I do this, I’m also checking out RootsMagic Essentials. I kind of fell in love with it to be honest. It’s making my source citations so much easier to manage! I’ve been a long time Family Tree Maker user, there’s no doubt about that. Before Family Tree Maker, I used something called Ancestry Family Tree, I think… I don’t exactly remember the name, but I know it was free and it’s no longer available. So I’ve watched Family Tree Maker evolve. It’s a snazzy little program now.

I really enjoy the layout of the ‘People’ tab and the family section. It’s so easy to navigate.

Roots Magic isn’t as snazzy. It’s a little harder to navigate through the families. The main complaint from me is that the Pedigree and the Family listing are on two different tabs. It’s such a little thing, but it’s one of the things that bugs me the most. I’ve become so accustomed to it on Family Tree Maker. Not having it now, it’s kind of frustrating, but I realized it wasn’t as important as the big pro I’ve found with RootsMagic.

This is the source citation page. The yellow section is for the “Master Source.” I like that on this I can keep all 1860 Morgan County, KY census citations on one Master Source. Then I can go into more detail in the green section. This is what I mean by cleaning up my family file. I very much prefer this citation method.

This makes for a very clean Source List. There are probably even more bells and whistles but I can’t do those because I spent my extra money on upgrading my Family Tree Maker. It was before I knew about RootsMagic 😐

In Family Tree Maker, it’s not as easy to do the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I could be completely missing it.

There is this screen, but when I try to add the details on this screen, it stays attached to the Master Source. Which would mean I’d have to have a “Master Source” for each household. With 4000+ people, that can really add up and make for a very messy Source List.

This is the Source List of my current Family Tree Maker File. I’m sure that Source Citations screen in the middle is for something, but I’ll be darned if I can figure out how to do what I want in Family Tree Maker. I’m sure if I bought the Family Tree Maker manual they’d be happy to tell me, but I just can’t throw anymore money at this, especially when I figured out how to do it in RootsMagic within the first hour of using the program.

I’m still using both programs. I’m determined to figure out the source citation process in Family Tree Maker. It’s got to be easier than I’m making it.

Ancestry’s Family Tree option

I have a problem folks. I like to change my mind. Some will say it’s because of my gender, others will say it’s because I lack focus. I’m sure all these things are true. The one thing related to genealogy I can’t seem to make a decision on is’s Family Tree section.

In the pro column, I love the look of it. I love the feel of it. I love the layout. I even love how having it on site helps you to search better. It’s so easy to link to sources and never again wonder if you’ll be able to find William Moore in 1880 again. It won’t matter how much they always seem to shift Brooklyn around, because you’ve linked that record to that guy. It’s a beautiful thing. In fact, I have to restrain myself from once again uploading a GEDCOM.

They make it so easy to be split on this decision. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve uploaded and deleted my GEDCOM from their site about 5 times, I would do it again. Unfortunately there are also things I don’t like about it. Some of the things I don’t like, I also like, so this is why I keep changing my mind.

The most I can really say is that I knew when uploading things to that site and my own, that I was putting it out there for everyone and their brothers. In fact, I love sharing my pictures and stories. It’s the greatest reward that comes from doing this. The only problem is that with that I have a responsibility to only put up things that I’m comfortable sharing. Sometimes I forget that in the heat of the moment. I love to try new things. One day though, I was wondering around the Family Tree section. I was looking at the few trees that have the Thorward family in them. Then I noticed that a lot of those trees were using my pictures of the Thorwards. Which is totally fine, don’t get me wrong. The only thing I saw a problem with is that this completely cuts out the middle man between my fellow genealogists and those pictures, which is me.

I don’t mind them using the pictures, I gladly welcome it. The only problem I have with it, is that it made me think of that other side of my tree. The one I don’t have all the documentation and pictures for. Can someone just come along and take the information without even having to verify it with me? What happens if something I have is completely wrong and the next day I delete it. Then this person has merged my tree with theirs thinking that it’s proven fact, but it’s not! In fact, I have to hold myself back from deleting the information in my website right now. It really does freak me out that something I entered in error could be floating in someone’s tree for years because they haven’t taken the time to check my sources first.

This is why I’m so split on this subject. I could always make my tree “private”, there is that option. What I realized though is if I have the tree up on Ancestry, I immediately start working there exclusively. I stop working on this site that I’ve had and loved for so long.

It may not be as fancy and glamorous as the Ancestry site. It may not have all the convenience. It’s mine though. I use software called The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. It gives you full control of your tree. I know a little about coding, someday I’ll learn more, but this program does the hard part. I can customize the layout or download one of the templates. In fact until my current layout I’ve always used one of those templates.

It certainly doesn’t lack anything that I would need. I guess what I’m saying is, I’d probably keep the Ancestry Family Tree section going if I didn’t have this wonderful site and tool at my disposal. Now I just have to work on optimizing why I opened this site in the first place. I’ve finally found the two mediums I want to use on the site. A great genealogy program and a great blogging platform. Now I have to bring them together. Once I do that, I doubt I’ll be flip flopping on the Ancestry Family Tree section anymore.

Surname Saturday: Oy Vey

Today, is Surname Saturday over at GeneaBloggers. I wasn’t even going to post again until Monday or Tuesday. Then I watched the newest episode of Who Do You Think You Are? That show is so great to give me motivation to get off my duff and get back to work on my family file. I really do want to clean it up and get it in order. The right way this time. So here I am, spending my Saturday going through census records on and citing my sources correctly on my website and in my programs. Yes I said programs. I’m a long time Family Tree Maker user but I’m checking out RootsMagic Essentials.

Five out of seven families on this page alone are in my family file. This is what happens when I research my mother’s family. The Whitt, Mays, Adkins, Click, Rowe families of Kentucky all belong to me in some way. They all inter-married at different sections of the tree too. So if I am adding new information in from a record and spy a maiden name of Adkins or Whitt, I know it’s only a matter of time before the tree winds around again. It’s quite interesting and I can’t help but wish I knew the stories behind all these marriages!


The Mays family that I currently have documented originate from Virginia. There is some talk about a connection to Mays’ that ended up in Texas or other points west, but I haven’t been able to find any proof of that yet. It’s hard enough finding information for what I currently have! The first know Mays relative I have is William Mays, he was born around 1777 in Pittsylvania County, VA. As the family grew, they also moved around. I have Mays family members being born in Floyd County, VA. The family that I have found eventually made their way to Kentucky. I have them living all over, Mason County, Elliott County, Bracken County, Pendleton County, Morgan County. Just about everywhere.


The Adkins family first entered my tree when Frances Adkins married my first Mays member, William Mays. I have noted her father’s name as maybe being Moses Adkins, but I have no solid evidence of that yet. Hopefully as I work up my chain, I will finally be able to find a birth or death record for Frances. That isn’t the only place the Adkins turn up in my tree. In fact I have 39 people in my file with the surname of Adkins. All of them are spouses or children of people in my main line. That is without me even trying to research the Adkins family yet. Most of my Adkins people are from Virginia and Kentucky. Where the Mays family is, the Adkins family follows… or vice versa.


The other families I mentioned are really along the same lines of the Adkins family. They turn up often as spouses of my main families, or each other. I have 12 Rowes, 27 Whitts, and 15 Clicks in my family file. All originating from the same places as the other families.

In Conclusion

Sometimes I think maybe these families came over to America together and just stayed together. I don’t know if that’s the truth as I haven’t found the exact origins of these families yet. It’s comforting that I have a big pool of these families brought together, but it can be so exhausting trying to determine where everyone fits in together. It’s mainly why I let my mother handle this side of the family for so long. So that’s why I say Oy Vey!

Surname Saturday is a Daily Blogging Topic that I got from GeneaBloggers. To participate in Surname Saturday, simply create a post in which you discuss a surname and mention its origins, its geographical location(s) and how it fits into your genealogy research.

Backing away from the ledge…

I am having an issue. As I jump into Genealogy blogging with both feet, I also need to remember my responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to correctly show and identify where my information comes from. So far, I haven’t posted anything that I would consider super factual or important. I take a very tongue in cheek, fluffy pajamas method of life. Trust me when I say that I do actually cite all my sources, and anything in my tree that isn’t cited, is not actual information to me. I do joke about things I haven’t “proven” yet, but I don’t actual dwell on those things.

I was reading some blogs today and it struck me that I might not actually come across as a serious person. I do take my family history very seriously, fluffy pajamas aside of course. My problem is that when I began to really delve into my research, I was 18 years old. So even though I have my sources cited, they aren’t cited correctly. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going through one person at a time, and I’m fixing my family tree. I do have the whole tree up on and I’m fixing it as I go. If I were putting my tree up for the first time, I’d only put verified information in. The problem is when I was 18, I published it out there in the world. It was a horrible thing to do but it is what it is. The reason I haven’t taken it down is that many people have emailed me over the years about that tree. Even if I were to delete it, it’s still in’s database. I can’t get it deleted for the life of me. It was almost 8 years ago that I uploaded it there and they’ve changed formats so much that it’s a complicated process to remove it. This is the main reason I’m so hesitant to put another tree on I don’t like that people can just merge the trees and then that’s it. Your information is on someone else’s tree and they take it as 100% proven fact.

I’m hoping that when people cite my website address, it turns that accountability back to me. So this is the place people will always have to come to verify that information. I’m sure that won’t always happen. It makes me feel better to know that in case someone gets the information through another person, they can come to me and I can speak with them personally.

This is an example of something I cite as a source. My mother found this online and printed it out for me. However I have no idea where these people got their information. In fact, I don’t even list these in my family file because I don’t know if they are family.

Need I say anything? Sometimes it’s not good keeping these things around, but I do because of my previous bad experience. So now I have it in case a question ever comes up. It shouldn’t but just in case.

This however I will cite. I have an old cemetery deed for the Moore family plot in Brooklyn. We called the cemetery and verified who was buried there. So I will cite it, and then when I go to Brooklyn I will add the proper official citation. They could only verify who was there and not anything else, so I definitely need to get to Brooklyn!

This is murky ground. This along with my Webb-Taylor tree ARE cited in my tree. They are cited as Undocumented Family Records. These are the original “trees” my grandmother gave me. You can even see where she wrote in that Bartholomew Taylor was her great grandfather. These are the trees I’m currently going through and verifying with census and vital records. My problem is that now that I know more about citing sources, I see how badly I did it in the past. It makes me want to just delete all those horrible citations and start again! That’s why I need to back away from the ledge. Even if they are badly cited sources, they are still my only link to my sources. This is where my patience comes in. I don’t usually have patience, but for genealogy I have an unlimited supply. Who knew!

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