Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mocavo? Your Advertising Needs Work!

Today I got an e-mail from Mocavo attempting to get me to sign up for their site.  Far from encouraging me, it set me into active avoidance mode.

Mocavo.com, in case you haven't heard, is a genealogy website specializing in search and records.  They are adding thousands of new databases every month, attempting to join the other genealogy "big boys", Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com in providing tons of records and images to search for your ancestors.

 I've actually searched on Mocavo before, using their free access model on most occasions, and the Gold Access model during a free trial weekend.  Using it, I was able to find a few records, but the vast majority of my searches on Mocavo brought loads of unrelated records, with no real easy way to filter them out without also filtering out valid results as well.

That brings me to today's e-mail. They sent a message saying they had found a new result for someone I had previously searched, Clyde Dillman.  Clyde was my paternal great grandfather, and is one of my main touchpoints in my tree.  The e-mail included an image of what they'd found, but the image was unusual, so I went to the website to check it out.  Here's what I found:

As you can see, the image is of a group of men in hats, upside down.  Notice the yellow bars?  I'm guessing that's supposed to be text saying "Clyde Dillman".  As close as I've been able to check, there is no text in there at all.  Further, Clyde lived in Crawford County, Indiana for most of his life.  As far as I am aware, he was never in Racine County. 

So, we have a useless record return.  That's not unusual, and normally not something I would bother commenting about.  However, you'll note that Mocavo is using this as bait to get me to sign up for their Gold Service at $9.00/month.  Um, hello, Mocavo?  You should probably try to make sure a return is at least plausibly valid before using it as an enticement to subscribe...  I know it's a tough problem given the vast number of records, and the serious automation needed to make this all happen, but this kind of thing will cause people to actively avoid your service as incompetent, rather than luring them in.

I'm hoping they can improve their service as well as their advertising.  I really think we need more than just the big two services out there, and Mocavo looks to be working hard to catch up.  So I'll continue to keep my eye on Mocavo in the future.  But this just isn't getting me to join today.  Sorry, Mocavo!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2014 by Daniel G. Dillman

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SNGF - John Smith?

Thanks to Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings,
It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  How many persons named John Smith do you have in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How many persons named John Smith are ancestors?

2)  Pick out one of those persons named John Smith and do some online research for them in Ancestry, FamilySearch, or another set of record collections.  Your goal is to add something to your database.

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine:

1) I was somewhat startled to find I have but a single solitary John Smith (of any spelling variant) in my tree of over 6,100 individuals.  And that John Smith is not a direct ancestor, his daughter Mary Smith married into my Day line.

2) So, here's what I know about John Smith prior to doing any further research today:

A) John was born in 1637 in Wethersfield, which is in present day Hartford County, Connecticut.  He married Mary Partridge on Nov. 12, 1663 in Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts (bearing in mind that county boundaries changed a bit in that region, it may not have been Hampshire County at the time!) and died on May 30 1676, with notes that he was killed by Indians.  Every source I find tells me this.  I remember at one point having some details on this, but I am not able to find them at the moment, as I am out on my laptop, not on my home computer.  Also, in checking this, I find I have a discrepancy in that his daughter Mary Smith's birth date is given as over a year after John's death.  Hmm, can't have that!  

B)  Searching on MyHeritage reveals a huge pile of MyHeritage Family Trees which contain this John Smith and Mary Partridge, and the dates line up with what I have.  Unfortunately, I would rather find some more solid documentation, so I'm wading through the stack in hopes of something more concrete. I also located four entries in the WikiTree and two entries in the Geni World Tree.  So much for solid documentation.

C) Find A Grave has an entry for John Smith:

Birth: 1637
Hartford County
Connecticut, USA
Death: May 30, 1676
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA
He was the son of Lieut. Samuel Smith and his wife Elizabeth. He was born about 1637 at Wethersfield. He married Mary Partridge, the daughter of William Partridge November 12, 1663. He fought in King Philips War and was in the Turner's Falls Fight. He was killed by Indians in Hatfield Meadow just days after the Falls Fight. His widow Mary Partridge married Peter Montague in 1679 a few years after his death.

Children of John Smith and his wife Mary Partridge:

1. John Smith who married Mary Root.

2. Samuel who died at the age of 14 by falling off a horse.

3. Rev. Joseph Smith who married Canada Wait.

4. Benjamin Smith who settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut and married Ruth Buck.

5. Marah Smith who married John Day.

C) SmithConnections DNA Project for Descendants of Northeastern U.S. Smith Families (http://www.smithconnections.com/index.cgi) supposedly has an entry for this John Smith (along with hundreds and hundreds of others) but I could not find it in the time available to me.  It was referenced in one of the WikiTree entries.

D)  He is mentioned briefly in Genealogies of Hadley Families on archives.org (p.97) as being the deceased husband of Mary who had later married Richard Montague.

E)  As you may have guessed, I found conflicting information on the Family Tree sources.  As I am out of available time, I will have to schedule John Smith and his family for some later research to correct discrepancies. 

3) Here it is!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2014 by Daniel G. Dillman

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SNGF - Life Stories

Hello!  Did you think I had quit, or died?  Well, I wouldn't be surprised.  It has been some time since I last posted, due to a number of life circumstances.  Well, tonight I have some time, and tonight Randy Seaver of Geneamusings has provided another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, so here goes...

It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Judy Russell asked six questions in her Keynote address at RootsTech to determine if audience members knew certain family stories about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  She demonstrated very well that family stories are lost within three generations if they are not recorded and passed on to later generations.

2)  This week, I want you to answer Judy's six questions, but about YOUR own life story, not your ancestors.  Here are the questions:

a)  What was your first illness as a child?

b)  What was the first funeral you attended?

c)  What was your favorite book as a child?

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child?

f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn?

3)  Tell us in your own blog post, or in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

Here are my stories:
a) To the best of my recollection, my earliest illness would have been chicken pox.  I've seen pictures of my brother and me full of spots.  I was immunized pretty well against all of the other typical childhood diseases, so never had measles or mumps, etc.  I had colds and such, but I was usually a very healthy boy.

b) The first funeral I attended would have been that of my great grandfather, Clyde J. Wyman Day in 1973.  He was the first relative to die after my birth, and I recall going to South Dakota to be at the funeral.  I remember him being laid out in the casket for viewing.  It was all a bit much, as I was only six years old at the time.

c)  I couldn't even begin to pick a favorite book!  We had so many, all of the Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, and so on.  I was always a voracious reader, too, so even as I grew into elementary school I was always reading books.  All of the Danny Dun series, Hardy Boys, and so forth.  Plus, I read a lot of non-fiction books, mostly about science.

d) I don't remember having a favorite class in elementary school.  Perhaps Reading.  We didn't have a separate Science class, or that would have been it, hands down.  I do know that I was always on the upper end of the charts, and got bored easily with easy classwork.  That sometimes led to problems with teachers who wanted me to keep doing homework for stuff I had already shown I understood.

e) I can't think of a particular favorite toy, as it would have changed through the years as I got new toys.  Anything space related would have been at the top of the list.  Star Wars stuff.  I did play with the little green army men a lot in the back yard.  I do still have the teddy bear I had when I was a year old.  It's in my baby pictures from that year.  It's a bit worn, but still in one piece.

f) We did get swimming lessons at various local swimming pools.  I never got to be very good at swimming, and I blame it on lessons one year.  We were in lessons at the local college's pool, where the shallow end was 3.5 feet deep.  I was about 7 years old, and not 3.5 feet tall!  I could not touch bottom.  At one point, they made us let go of the wall and try to swim out.  Well, not being a good swimmer, and not being able to touch bottom, I panicked, and was sure I was going to drown.  I don't even remember how I got back to the side, but that was it for me.  No more lessons.  Since then, I have never been a big fan of swimming, although I do enjoy snorkeling, and I did take a SCUBA class in college.  I also passed the Navy's basic swim requirements, so I guess I can do adequately well.

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2014 by Daniel G. Dillman

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another Trip Around The Sun

I was just looking through the history of this blog, and noticed that we've reached another milestone.  The first post was made on this day in 2011, giving us three full years of Indiana Dillmans. 

I am not done with it yet, despite my recent lack of posts.   If you have something you would like me to discuss, please let me know. 

Thanks for reading!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2014 by Daniel G. Dillman

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Still Alive... A Few Thoughts

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2014.

I haven't written much lately, it's been almost a month.  Chalk it up to busy holidays and not much to say that other geneabloggers were not already covering in sufficient quantities.

And chalk it up to a lack of inspiration, I guess.  I'm still working my lines, mostly by filling in citations and adding documentation to existing people in my tree, but with some occasional additions.  Of most note for that has been working the US Censuses to document people.  I find often enough that when I look at the Census entry or a person, I've missed one or more people from their family.

If you're relatively new to genealogy and still discovering a lot of people in your ancestry, you should strongly consider taking the time to do the documentation up front, as you find people.  I know it's exciting to discover more and more names, tracing your lines back further into history!  I got sucked into that, too. But there comes a point when you reach the end of what's relatively easy to discover, and you start looking for something to make your genealogy better.  That's where the documentation process often starts.  You read other blogs and see how much supporting data others have on their lines, then look at yours and wonder how they got all of that information you're missing...

That's when you go back and start looking at where you can possibly find all of that.  And if you're new to genealogy, you're doing about 99% of it online.  Most of the oldtimers did it all with pencil and paper, and books, and writing letters to various local, state and federal record holders, paying for photocopies to be sent through the postal system.  Snail mail.  Those folks will tell you that the vast majority of records are still not online, that you're missing a lot of information despite the treasure troves you're finding.  And they're right, despite the torrid pace of digitization efforts everywhere.

Then there are the ones who tell you in no uncertain terms that you MUST cite your sources!  And you should use (a particular) format!  Well, yes, you really should cite your sources.  After all, citation lets people follow the trail to the document or source so they can also use it, or verify your material.  But you really don't have to use a particular format.  You should at least make it as clear as possible. 

At least you have the advantage of modern computers and software.  And the genealogy software makers have been getting the hint, and making it easier to record citations, easier to find them in the first place.  The online services like Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com and the like have been adding records at a furious pace, and making a simple checkbox all it takes to add a citation to the records you find.

Ah, well, I'm rambling.  But that's where I am, back to filling in the blanks, seeking the documentation I rushed past in my haste to get more names, more dates.  Genealogy is never entirely done!  And I'd hope to see you avoid my mistakes, if you could.  Treat it like the research it truly is, do the work and find the documents, cite your sources.  That way you don't have to go back over it a third or fourth time, adding stuff you didn't bother to look for the first couple of times.

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2013 by Daniel G. Dillman

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A New Genealogy Site

Normally, I leave the new website postings to other genealogy bloggers who specialize in news of that sort.  But today I received an e-mail inviting me to check out this new site, which appears to be a replacement for the now-defunct Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness site.

The web address is http://www.gengathering.com/ (link will open in a new window).  It's clearly a site for offering your services or requesting same from others, in the vein of the old RAOGK site, people helping other people just for the sake of helping.

Take a look and see if you need the service, or can provide some of your own!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2013 by Daniel G. Dillman

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Random Research!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do Some Semi-Random Research
It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Research tonight...

2)  Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very last person on your list of B names is.  Or the last person on your list of D names.  Or H names.  Or any other name you need to research.  Your choice!

3)  What do you know (or not know) about this person based on your research?  It's OK to do more research if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!

4)  How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?

5)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

1)      Okay, sounds like random fun!
2)      I’m using myHeritage Family Tree Builder for this, as I’m more familiar with it than either Legacy or RootsMagic.  My last “B” name was William Evelyn Byrd, but he died in 1704 and came from England, for which I don’t have many readily available resources at the moment.  So I moved up one, and chose Washington Byrd, my 1st cousin three times removed.
3)      I don’t know much about him, just that he was born circa 1850 in Indiana.  Since my ancestry is all from the Crawford County area in southern Indiana, I’ve a hunch he was also from that area.  Washington was the son of Bryant Cole Bird and Mary (Straughan) Byrd.  I don’t even have a source cited for this little information!  I have my work cut out for me.
a.       Washington Byrd shows up in the 1860 US Census for Indiana, right where I expected to find him in Sterling Township, Crawford County, Indiana.  And now I have my first citation for Washington!
b.      I found another MyHeritage Family Tree that claims his name is George Washington Byrd.  That’s not unreasonable, to name a child after our founding fathers.  I will wait until I have better documentation to make a change, as the 1860 census did not show that name.
c.       I found several newspaper entries about Washington Byrd, a Democrat from Virginia in the mid-1950’s.  Obviously not my Washington Byrd.
d.      I found a MyHeritage Family Tree using the BIRD spelling, but otherwise the same family.  It is similarly sparse on details for Washington.
e.      As part of my research, I found that Washington’s father Bryant ole Bird had an erroneous death date of 1843 – before Washington’s birth by several years!  I was able to locate US Census records showing Bryant lived until after 1880, and some MyHeritage Family Trees that show Bryant’s death in 1886 in Grantsburg, Crawford County, Indiana.
f.        I was unable to find any further US Census records for Washington Byrd.  Did he die before 1870?  1880?  Time to search some other records.
g.       Find-A-Grave came up empty.
h.      I found an undocumented Ancestral File on FamilySearch that claims a birthdate of 1849 and a marriage on 15 Nov 1878 to Fetina J McMahel in Crawford County, Indiana. This file uses the BIRD spelling, but has the correct parents.  I also found the 1860 US Census entry on FamilySearch, but found no other records for Washington.
i.         MyTrees.com returned two hits for Washington Byrd, but kept throwing up errors and not letting me see the entries.  This was from within Legacy 8.
4)      As mentioned, Washington Byrd was my 1st cousin, three times removed.  (Doesn’t three removes equal one fire?)
5)     Here’s my results!  Did you play along?  What did you find?

My Thanks to Randy Seaver of GeaneaMusings for the weekly prompt.  This one I enjoyed rather a lot!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2013 by Daniel G. Dillman

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - New Fangled Icebox

Scanned from original negative, ca. 1942 in Huron, Beadle Co., SD

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2013 by Daniel G. Dillman