Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Updated

I think I've mentioned that my primary genealogy software is MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder.  I've also used Family Tree maker, and played a bit with Legacy 7.5 and RootsMagic 4. 

Today when I started up Family Tree Builder, I was notified of the availability of an update from version 5.0 to 5.1.  I downloaded and installed it.   There aren't any obvious changes.  Rather, here's what the update consisted of, from the MyHeritage website:

New features in Family Tree Builder 5.1
Last update: May 21, 2011
Major new features
  1. New genealogy file importer
    • The program's file importer was enhanced. In addition to importing GEDCOM files and Family Tree Legends (FTL) files, you can now directly import family tree files from 4 additional genealogy programs. This allows you to move over family tree data with photos from other programs directly to Family Tree Builder without losing information or going through GEDCOM export/import. This is especially useful if you no longer have or are no longer using the software used to produce the family tree files.
      Support was added for importing Family Tree Maker files (FTW, FTM or FTMB file extensions), Personal Ancestral File files (PAF extension), Legacy files (FDB extension) and The Master Genealogist projects (TMG, PJC or VER extensions). Importing family tree files directly from other programs is based on GenBridge(tm) technology under license from Wholly Genes, Inc. This new functionality is available from the "Import GEDCOM or genealogy file" entry in the File menu
    • New super-fast scan tool was added for finding lost genealogy files on your computer. Also available from the "Import GEDCOM or genealogy file" entry in the File menu, you can have Family Tree Builder scan your computer for all family tree files (of different programs) and then select which one to import into Family Tree Builder

So, all of the recent discussion about interoperability and the ability to import and export files from one software to another has been heard!  The software developers are definitely getting the message that GEDCOM is no longer sufficient for transferring and exchanging genealogy data.  FTB is not the only software to get a recent change allowing import of other software's' formats.  Note the blurb above says the import capability is based on GenBridge from Wholly Genes, Inc. 

This is a Good Thing.  It's not a complete solution, for sure, but it's a good start.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Monday

I would like to take a moment on this Military Monday that is also (in the United States) Memorial Day to remember, honor and thank all of those who serve or have served in our nation's armed forces.   This includes a number of my ancestors, both living and dead.  If you are reading this and are a veteran, it especially means you!  Your service is appreciated!

Peter Dillman Co. D 144th Ind. Inf.

 This stone is for my ancestor, Peter Dillman.  He served in the Union Army during the last part of the Civil War in Company D of the 144th Indiana Infantry.  Records I have found say that he enlisted as a Private, but was mustered out as a Corporal.  I have found only a basic synopsis of what his unit did:

Name of Regiment: 144th Infantry Regiment Indiana
Date of Organization: 06 March 1865
Muster Date: 05 August 1865
Regiment Type: Infantry
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0
Officers Died of Disease or Accident: 0
Enlisted Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0
Enlisted Died of Disease or Accident: 47

Regimental History
One Hundred and Forty-fourth Infantry

One Hundred and Forty-fourth Infantry. -- Col., George W.
Riddle; Lieut.- Col., Henry C. Ferguson; Maj., Thomas Clark.

The 144th was organized at Indianapolis in March, 1865, being
composed of companies raised in the 2nd Congressional
district. It was mustered in March 6, and left the state on
the 9th for Harper's Ferry, Va., where it was assigned to the
1st brigade, 1st provisional division, Army of the Shenandoah.

It was ordered to Halltown, and was stationed at different
times at Charlestown, Winchester, Stephenson's depot and
Opequan creek. It was on guard duty until Aug. 5, 1865, when
it was mustered out.

Its strength was 1,036; and it lost by death, 46; desertion,
19; unaccounted for, 1.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 3, p. 188

Military Monday – We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History..   (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Find A Grave

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings is back again this week with more Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Hey genea-searchers, it's SATURDAY NIGHT ... time for more GENEALOGY FUN!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Find-a-Grave website (www.findagrave.com) and search for ancestors that you don't know the burial location of.   How far back in time did you have to go to find this person?  Hint #1 - use your ancestor list to help you.  Hint #2 - don't forget to use the last surname for females!

2)  If you think that Find-a-Grave will not have your persons of interest, then check another burial index that might help you.

3)  Tell us about your search - who did you look for, and who was the first ancestor that you found that you did not have a burial location for previously?  Write your own blog post, or make a comment on this post.

Well, unfortunately, I've been using Find A Grave for so long that it would be difficult to find someone for whom I have not already searched and found an entry, or searched and found none.  It would go quite far back!  The other side is that I am at work and not at home, so don't have full access to my data to play along this time.

That said, I fully encourage you to give this a try, as Find A Grave is a great place to find information about ancestors.  Many entries have a copy of the obituary and photographs of the gravestone, but even those that don't usually have at least some interesting information, such as birth and death dates and locations, and the location of the burial, at least the cemetery.  I've gained quite a bit of information about some of my more (physically) distant ancestors this way, since I was unable to travel to the actual gravesites in person.

If you find a entry for one of your ancestors and you don't see a picture of the gravestone, you can request that one be taken, and nearby volunteers will be contacted to let them get an image to post for you.  I am very thankful to a number of kind volunteers who have done this for graves of my ancestors.  I have also taken photos of graves in nearby cemeteries for others who have requested them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Military Record Pt. 4

Transfer of duty station.

The first item today is a document indicating a change in duty station, or where the service member lived and worked.  This particular example shows Estel Dillman completed duty under instruction (training) at the Naval Training Station near Cleveland, Ohio, where he took a course on Engineering, and scored 3.75 out of a possible 4.  Not a bad grade!  Training being ended, he's being transferred somewhere that the Navy can make use of this newly trained individual, namely the Navy Yard at Mare Island, California.  There, he is to join the crew working to complete the USS Le Hardy (DE-20) and to join the crew of said destroyer when it is commissioned.  Again, this is data we can use to construct a timeline of service for a service member, locations where they were at a given point in time, and to some degree, what they were doing.

The second document for today is  a happy thing.  It shows that Estel was promoted from Machinist's Mate 1st Class (MM1c) to Chief Machinist's Mate (Acting Appointment) or MMC (AA).  Each branch of the service has their own points considered major milestones in a career.  In the Navy, probably the biggest milestone is the achievement of the rank of Chief Petty Officer, or E-7.  There are further ranks above this, but this particular promotion has special elaborate private ceremonies of other Chief Petty Officers and above (often in times past including hazing of the promoted individual), and additional public ceremonies or parties for friends and relatives to celebrate the promotion.  Chief Petty Officers usually have their own separate mess (dining) facilities aboard ship, with separate cooks and menus, and food purchased by the CPO organization aboard ship.  The general consensus is that the Chiefs' Mess has the best meals on the ship, better even than the Officers' Mess.  So at least on board ship, being a CPO is the thing to be.  
Chiefs are the middle management and mentors of the Navy.  While they're usually not afraid to get their hands dirty, they tend to spend more time directing the efforts of subordinates, and providing them with the benefit of their wisdom.  Just as an Army Lieutenant would do well to heed the advice of their sergeants, a Navy officer would do equally as well to pay close attention to the advice of their Chief Petty Officers.

Treasure Chest Thursday – create a post with the main focus being a family treasure, an heirloom or even an every-day item important to your family. A special thanks to Leslie Ann Ballou of Lost Family Treasures for suggesting Treasure Chest Thursday as a daily blogging theme!  (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Pitchfork

What's going on in this picture?  Guess in the Comments!

Wordless Wednesday – a great way to share your old family photos! Create a post with the main focus being a photograph or image. Some posters also include attribute information as to the source of the image (date, location, owner, etc.). Wordless Wednesday is one of the longest running “memes” in the blogosphere and is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wordle

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for us this week:

Hey genea-kids, it's Saturday Night - time for lots of Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Wordle site - www.wordle.net and create your own unique Wordle  - it's a word cloud.  You can use either a clump of text, enter your own words (say, surnames, or given names), use a blog page address, or something else.  Your choice!  Be creative with the fonts, colors, backgrounds, and layout. 

2)  Save it as an image (I used Print Screen, pasted it to a Word document, used the Windows snipping tool to edit it, and saved it to a file).  Tell us how you did it.

3)  Show us your handiwork!  Add the image to a blog post of your own or on a web page of your own.  Tell me in a comment here where it is.  

Note: If you want to email it to me (rjseaver@cox.net), I'll put it up here on Genea-Musings for you as an update to this post.

Well, I did this once, a few months ago, not long after starting this blog.  Maybe it's time to give it another whirl.

Click for larger view

Well, as you can see (assuming you've been following my blog), Wordle takes a sampling of recent blog entries and uses the words found in them to create a word cloud.  It even grabbed the rant on Commercials I just uploaded a few minutes prior, while leaving out a lot of material I've covered less recently.  In fact, from this cloud, it looks like my blog is more of a tech blog than a genealogy blog!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Commercials

Week #21 – Commercials

Week 21. Commercials. Do you remember any commercial jingles from your childhood? Share them here.
This challenge runs from Saturday, May 21, 2011 through Friday, May 27, 2011.

WHERE'S THE BEEF?  Remember that series of Wendy's commercials?  They were so popular that it was national news when the little old lady in them died a few years ago, many years after the campaign had been off the air.  

Commercials are designed to get us to know and remember brands and products, and the experts on Madison Avenue are extremely good at making those things stick in our heads.  So good that even decades later, we still remember the product, company and even the jingle that was associated.  When you think of Alka Seltzer, your brain starts singing, "Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!", doesn't it?  That campaign debuted back in the black and white days of television, at least 40 years ago.

Conspicuously absent from my childhood was advertising for cigarettes, which had been common just a few years earlier.  In fact, The Flintstones were originally sponsored by tobacco companies!  By the time I got old enough to see and remember commercials, those had been banned from television and radio.  Also missing were ads for hard liquor, which were allowed in magazine print ads, but not over the airwaves.  And it's only been the last 10-15 years where pharmaceutical advertising has been allowed as well.

I remember far too many old commercials from my youth, and I will not repeat them all here.  I am of the opinion that Madison Avenue has got us all trained to accept that they have the right to insert their messages anywhere and everywhere, and we do not have the right to say no.  They work very hard to find ever more ways to insert their insidious messages into every corner of our lives.  Ever wonder why so many computers on TV and movies are Apple Macintoshes?  Apple makes it very easy for the studios to use their trademark apple logos and products, where some other computer brands demand licensing.  Noticed one of your favorite TV shows has an abundance of a particular product showing up in it?  That company paid for product placement.  

It's getting worse, too.  Older TV shows were filmed and edited to fit a certain number of minutes per hour of program, with breaks for a certain number of minutes of commercial messages.  But those shows need to be re-edited for reruns, as there are now more minutes of commercials per hour than there were in the past.  So we lose some of the content of those old shows to new commercials.  Who decides what gets cut?

Don't get me wrong, some commercials I remember were very funny and entertaining!  I enjoyed them when they ran, and I still recall them with friends on occasion.  I'm not saying all commercials are bad, and I understand that the advertisers subsidize things like television and radio programming in return for inserting the advertisements at the commercial breaks.  It's what makes radio and over-the-air TV "free".  But when advertisers start planning to insert advertisements into the ebooks on our Kindle readers, I feel they've gone too far.  When billboards are lighted and capable of playing video, that's too distracting for drivers on the road.  When advertisements like wall posters have the capability to "target" me because of something I am carrying, or other identification schemes, that's too invasive.  This isn't science fiction; all of these are proven technologies that have been tested in the real world, and are in use today.  And it's only getting worse.

Okay, that was far too much of a rant, so I'll stop.  Suffice to say, I remember the advertisements all too well.  How about you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Frank Milo Day

Frank Milo Day was my great-great-grandfather.  All photo dates and photographers unknown.

Wordless Wednesday – a great way to share your old family photos! Create a post with the main focus being a photograph or image. Some posters also include attribute information as to the source of the image (date, location, owner, etc.). Wordless Wednesday is one of the longest running “memes” in the blogosphere and is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maritime Monday - Service Record Pt. 3

This time we'll look at another page from the service record of my paternal grandfather, Estel E. Dillman.  Last time we looked at a page that contained several types of entry, and today's example likewise contains more than one kind of entry, one of which is significantly more interesting than the other.

Service Record Entry
We see some of the same data as on the previous post's example.  Service member's name, rank and service number are on most of the pages in the service record.  This facilitates keeping the records together in the correct person's folder.  We also see the same ships reported to and coming from, as this wouldn't change often.  We will see later that a change of duty station did happen on this page.

First, we see the important, significant entry: Estel was aboard on 3 Sep 1942 when the USS Brooklyn, as part of Task Force 38, was involved in the rescue at sea of 1173 survivors of the USS Wakefield, which experienced a major fire onboard.  As one of the diesel mechanics onboard the Brooklyn, my grandfather was essential in ensuring that the ship was in good running order to assist in rescue of the troops on the Wakefield, which was serving as a troop transport.  It took damage control people over four days to finally put out the fires on the Wakefield.

Fire is one of the worst events on a ship at sea, as there is nowhere to escape the fire.  Virtually everyone on modern Navy ships goes through some sort of firefighting training and is assigned at some point to damage control parties that would be responsible for fighting fires in case of emergency.  I personally went through Shipboard Aircraft Firefighting school not once, but twice during the three and a half years I was on Sea Duty.  I was trained in use of 1.5" and 2.5" high pressure hoses and a variety of firefighting chemicals.

The next event we see on this page is a transfer to US Naval Training Station in  Norfolk, VA, to attend Diesel Engine School (Surface).  As you can see, this happened on 27 Sep 1942, a couple of weeks after the end of the Wakefield rescue.  This was in the works before the incident, but the record does not say this directly.  It is hinted at in that the authorization listed is a letter of 4 Aug 1942.  As part of the transfer, we see the Ship or Station  being the new command, or N.T.S., NOB Norfolk (the Navy loves acronyms!  This one means Naval Training Station at the Naval Operations Base in Norfolk, VA), and the Ship From is listed as USS Brooklyn, where he was stationed.  This sort of transfer for schools happened fairly often, and was usually for a period of a few weeks or a couple of months, and then the service member would return to their originating ship or station.  Sometimes the training was in conjunction with  permanent transfer to another ship or station to report to a new job with fresh training.

These two events add more data points to the timeline we can develop from study of a service record.  Are you beginning to see some value to ordering a copy of  a service record?  While they can be fairly expensive, there is a lot of information you won't find anywhere else about your military relative!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cloud Genealogy

We hear a lot about "Cloud" computing or services these days.  What does that mean? 

     Cloud computing refers to applications or data storage that is not local to us - meaning it is somewhere out on the Internet.  Why is this called "Cloud" computing?  Well, technical people know that for decades, in network diagrams, computers have been represented by icons, and networks by lines connecting the computer icons.  This works well for documenting a building's computer network, but when you start diagramming many buildings or even the entire Internet, the connections get to be too complicated to diagram exactly. 

     In the case of the Internet itself, it gets more complicated in that the infrastructure of the Internet is designed to be flexible in the exact network paths data can take to get from you to your destination and back.  This makes the Internet very robust as a delivery mechanism, in that it can (and is specifically designed to) route around a damaged or very slow section by using an alternate route, transparently.  It makes diagramming very difficult, as paths can change rapidly, even many times per second.  So, to represent that uncertain path, network diagrams have traditionally used a cloud-like symbol to signify the Internet.
Cloud network diagram.  Source: Wikipedia

     So, Cloud computing or storage refers to applications or storage that resides "in the cloud" out on the Internet.  Why would we want to do that?  Well, "cloud" providers are able to set up large datacenters to host all of this, which allows them to offer services at very low cost due to economies of scale.  Also, cloud storage is off-site, which is an appealing thing for backing up data in that if your location gets hit with a large-scale disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake, your data is still safe in a remote datacenter location, able to be restored.  Also, these services have staff who can maintain your server or data storage, freeing you from the responsibility of doing so.

     Okay, so this Cloud stuff sounds pretty good!  Why doesn't everyone do this?  Well, last week's Blogger outage is one example.  If you hosted your blog on your own server at your house or office, you would never have known there was a problem blogging.  If you own a Sony Playstation game console, you're probably aware that the Playstation Network has been down for nearly a month!  Just because something is hosted in a datacenter does not mean it's immune to failure.  Most have many redundancies built-in to try to minimize down-time, but nothing is foolproof, right?  Major power outages have been known to take datacenters offline.  Communications lines have been cut, both intentionally and unintentionally.  Human error has also caused major problems as well. 

     Okay, so cloud services have issues, too.  But right now, "Cloud Computing" is a hot buzzword in the IT industry.  All of the consultants are pushing everyone to put their data and hosting in the cloud.  In fact, they often encourage businesses to outsource their IT needs to the cloud.  It's so much cheaper to host a company's IT needs in the cloud than to hire a staff of IT guys to build and maintain your own, they say.  And they might be right, except that what happens when the cloud fails?  Your business goes right along with it, and you have no way to operate until the cloud is back online.  If you host your own servers on-site, you at least have access to immediately work on repairing or replacing the failed equipment.  At the very least, you probably need a minimal IT staff on-site to maintain the local network infrastructure and computers.  Cloud computing services don't deal with the equipment on your premises.  In the cloud, you have to trust that the hosting provider will be diligent in getting you back online ASAP.  Since their contracts usually specify some level of service guarantee, they usually try pretty hard to keep you online, or get you back up quickly, as their reputation and business live or die by that ability to keep you working.

     There's another downside to Cloud Computing: bandwidth.  If your storage is all out in the cloud, there has to be a way to get the data to and from that storage.  That's your Internet connection.  Is it fast enough to handle the load?  Does your Internet Service Provider place a cap on the amount of data you can send and receive in a month?  With the ever-increasing size of our data files these days, this is an important consideration.  If your data is local, it's not an issue as your network is much faster than the Internet, and you have no imposed limit on how much you can use it. 

     Are these downsides enough to rule out cloud storage?  For some, it might be.  For the average blogger?  Not really.  Even many businesses find these negatives are more than offset by lowered costs of operation, or ability to get hosting by someone with the knowledge and staff to properly maintain it.  It tends to work better for small businesses that can't afford an IT staff with the variety of knowledge needed in today's business world.  Large corporations will tend to maintain their own network servers and storage in-house, as they prefer the immediacy of having the data on-site and have the staff to dedicate to keeping it running.  Whether a cloud model works for your situation or not will depend on many factors which you will have to weigh carefully before committing to one method or the other, or even a combination.  Just consider carefully, and don't be pushed into the cloud because some sales guy said it was all the rage and the perfect solution, because as recent events have shown, Cloud Computing isn't perfect!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Blog-less!

More SNGF from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings!   Mine is late because I was working and did not see Randy's post until this morning...

Hey genea-philes - it's Saturday Night - time for lots more Genealogy Fun!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) We all know that Blogger (www.blogspot.com) was down for 20 hours from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. What did you do with yourself during that time period?

2) If we lost our blogging platforms for awhile (but not the Internet as a whole), what would you do with your genealogy time? What projects would you start, continue working on, or try to finish instead of blogging?

3) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this post, or in a status thread on Facebook.

Here's mine:

The Blogger meltdown actually did affect me, as I had a Treasure Chest Thursday post I wanted to send out.  I tried various times over the course of the day to send it.  Even after someone (Randy?) posted on Friday morning that Blogger was once again working, I couldn't post.  It took me a bit to figure out that I needed to get out completely and come back in, then my post worked.

So, to follow the SNGF challenge, what did I do?  Well, I did spend some time trying to figure a way around the problem, to no avail.  Then I gave that up and found other, mostly non-genealogical, things to do.  I'm not retired, so I do have to work daily, and have kids with activities I must attend.  I did those things instead of any genealogy work.  Second, I've been guilty in the past of poor research, accepting a lot of information on  faith from other people's work, without proper documentation.  We've all done it at some point, it's human nature to take easy data at face value, and rely on it far too much in place of real documentation.  I'm now working to correct this by reviewing and researching the proper documentation to verify that what I had is correct.  Some of it has been proven out, while other bits have been proven to be false, or at least, not entirely correct. 

If I were unable to blog for a while, I would simply use that time to improve my database - either through pushing my lines back further, or by searching for documentation to improve the quality of my data.  Actually, that latter activity is where I've been spending more time lately, for two reasons.  First, my lines go back pretty far as it is, far enough to make further discovery quite difficult.  All of the lines go back to Europe a couple of centuries or more back, and really effective research would require travel to various places for hands-on digging into parish records and such.  As I'm not loaded with money, this won't be happening anytime soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Fame

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.
  • Week 20. Fame. Tell us about any local brushes with fame. Were you ever in the newspaper? Why? You may also describe any press mentions of your family members.

Well.  While I do have some friends who have some measure of local celebrity, I don't have any that are known outside of the local area, or perhaps Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Most of those are musicians in local bands. 

I've never had any brushes with fame.  The closest I would consider would be having met and had stuff signed by a couple of NFL players from the Minnesota Vikings.  When I was rather young, Bob Lurtsema was often around on tours meeting the fans, and I recall on more than one occasion seeing "Benchwarmer" Bob in person.  He was always smiling and cheerful, a great guy to the fans.  Much later, I also met John Randle (#93), also a Minnesota Viking from a later era.  He signed a small foam football for me. 

In a similar vein, and of more significance to me as a science fiction fan, I once met Ray Bradbury.  He came to town when the local State University opened a shiny new library facility, and spoke at length about his career and books, and about libraries.  He was charming and very patient with the large crowd that turned out, and spent a long time signing books for the fans, despite his advanced age.  He was almost 90 at the time. 

I suppose I did have a little brush with fame.  I used to attend science fiction conventions, and have met a couple of actors associated with Star Wars.  One was Peter Mayhew, the really tall guy under the hair of Chewbacca.  Nice guy, looking for a place to sit down to have a smoke.  Alas, the party suite I was in was a non-smoking room, so we had to turn him away.  Another year I spent some time with Michael Sheard, known in Star Wars circles as Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back.  One of the admirals that Darth Vader eliminates for failure.  What a charming man!  Rather than hole up in a room like many convention Guests of Honor do, he was out and about sampling the parties the fans were holding all over the hotel.  He sat in our party room for quite some time telling stories and just hanging out with the fans.  At the end of the convention, he and I pulled up the plastic carpet protectors from the walkways.  Not afraid to get his hands dirty!

But really, that's all.  I appeared in a local newspaper when I was a teen, once, anonymously, so it doesn't count, right? 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Military Record Pt. 2

Add caption
This post would have been online yesterday, but Blogger was unavailable for some sort of "maintenance" work.  Thanks, Blogger.  This is one reason why cloud-based applications aren't always the great solution that their proponents would have you believe they are.

This page from the service record is somewhat unusual in that it documents several different things all on the same page.  In my experience, the military prefers to use more paper and document one incident or one type of thing on a page.

In this page, we see first the service member's full name, service number (serial number), rate (or MOS), when the person reported to the current command, what that command is, and where the service member was stationed prior to the current command.  My grandfather, Estel Elmer Dillman, was a MM2c (Machinist's Mate 2nd class) on board the U.S.S. Brooklyn, and was previously stationed on the U.S.S. Chaumont.

While on the USS Brooklyn, he did cross the equator on 7 Mar 1941, and participated in a Shellback ceremony, which I talked about in an earlier post about his Navy Log.  This page confirms what was in the log, and we love to have confirming evidence about our ancestors, even if it doesn't directly further our family lines.

The next bit shows that a week after crossing the equator, he crossed the International Date Line.  There's no corresponding ceremony for this particular event, but apparently it was worthy of mention in a service record.

Next we see that the USS Brooklyn was in the first expedition to Iceland on 22 Jul 1941 as part of Task Force 19.  She escorted convoys carrying Marines to Iceland.

Lastly, this page shows that he was promoted to MM1c (Machinist's Mate 1st class) on 1 Nov 1941.  This is the only time I've seen an advancement included on a page of other documentation.   It's usually important enough to warrant a page of its own.

You can see that even on a single page, we're starting to develop a timeline of events for this person's service.  A full service record can do a good job of recreating the whole timeline of events for that person's time in the military.  This can help fit other life events together, including marriage and descendant births. 

Treasure Chest Thursday – create a post with the main focus being a family treasure, an heirloom or even an every-day item important to your family. A special thanks to Leslie Ann Ballou of Lost Family Treasures for suggesting Treasure Chest Thursday as a daily blogging theme!  (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers!)