Timeline, Spring 2015 to present

Each life has its place‘ is from the song Virginia Woolf  by the Indigo Girls, 1992.

Things I keep in mind:

  1. family history is online only recently, for everyone, large sums of money and travel time no longer required.
  2. it seems like there’s no standard for anything except the 1996 GEDcom.
  3. language and vocabulary are sometimes puffed up and pretentious with a tone of exclusivity.

And: of all the facts I collect, gender and race are the least useful, providing the least actual information, unless in social contexts.

  • My great grandma couldn’t vote until she was 29 years old. She was just as awesome, capable and smart at age 18, but was a woman- so no vote until current social customs ruled she was good enough.
  • I like the way Chris Rock talked about race in 2014, “To say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person … qualified … there’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years … smart, educated … my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced.”

2022 July: Winter, Spring & Summer. The thread I lost in October 2021, still very thin, hard to see sometimes. Serious family history research happens maybe once a month or so. The 1950 US Census was released in April, pretty cool. I’ve added this census to a few families. The 1950 census had a back side page with answers on lifestyle: a kitchen sink, a television, etc. This back side wasn’t scanned so isn’t included in transcriptions, details. My mom is pretty sure they did not have a kitchen sink in 1950. My dad’s family probably did, country vs. townie.

2021 October: Summer and Fall, Iowa is back where we were this time last year, COVID and leadership wise. Most everyone goes day by day. Feeling like I’ve lost a thread of family history, maybe forgotten a lot, not spending as much deep focus time working on people, their stories, so many great stories. RootsMagic 8 is a go, released in the last couple days. User comments on the Facebook group are mostly complaints, things not working quite right. I may wait awhile to install the software, can’t wait to work with it.

2021 March: Same COVID but with vaccines, most likely for everyone in USA by summer. Family history is hit or miss, early morning is most promising, weekends are 50/50, I open RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker about once a month. Ancestry Library edition at home continues, it is awesome, these handwritten records from England, Germany, Netherlands. Volunteers indexed the records, incredible.

Here’s Grace Bett, last on the list her baptism in London, St Giles’ Cripplegate parish, she’s last on the list with her dad, Thomas. Barely readable, written on or around January 24, 1629, a volunteer transcribed this. “Grace, dau of Thomas Bett”

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2021 January: And still, same COVID pandemic, still same slow motion free fall. One positive is the Ancestry Library Edition can be used from home so I can access international and all Ancestry records through my library card log in from home. I’ve found birth, baptism and marriage records for the Frerichs, Henrichs and Roose families with more details on their actual home place. RootsMagic released a beta version RM8 for anyone to evaluate- it’s pretty awesome. I’ll wait for the final final before moving everything to RM8.

2020 October: Still same COVID pandemic, still same slow motion free fall. Working on life sketches or stories, cleaning up some records. The RoostMagic 8 update, long promised still in process, will make updating and double checking in RM a breeze, so kind of paused RM major work till the update.  I spend time working through Evernote Notes and Notebooks, added a Family Stories Notebook with 263! stories written.

2020 July: Summer time, in the midst of same COVID pandemic. USA is in a free fall. I’ve been doing small clean up tasks on RootsMagic, FamilySearch and Ancestry, now as a guest didn’t renew my subscription. Most pressing is the Mayflower application form, getting those birth certificates and completing the process. I’ve got a whole new line for Clementina Benight that connects her to the Tracy Parrish families on the Miller side.

2020 March: On Spring Break and the coronavirus, COVID19 a pandemic is on earth. Still waiting for RootsMagic 8 update, it’s been more than a year I think, RM still working on bugs. The Organized Genealogy group on FB, a person shared family history with bullet journaling, the method with photos. Quarantine or ‘social distancing’ may be a great time to begin something similar.

2020 January: Just like Peter Miller’s family, Esther Young’s family came from Stark Ohio, her dad Michael was involved in local politics, the Youngs like the Millers, Bairs, Druckenbrods, Harters, Malones, etc were part of Stark County’s beginnings. Those early families stayed together, created communities, like the Jefferson County, Ohio Speedys, the Roger Williams group in Rhode Island and the German immigrants in Butler County,  Iowa.

2019 October: Ancestry has a new feature asking subscribers to explain why a Hint has been accepted or ignored. Are you kidding? I love giving my opinion, judgement, on what I accept and why. I usually take the time to comment only on weekends when I have extended hours to work on family history. And no idea who sees the feedback- other subscribers, or coders manufacturing the Hints, no idea. Not all my opinions are negative, there are great Hints, just not so many.


2019 August: It’s funny how 20th century genealogy focused so much on nobility and, I think, had such disdain for everyday people. My bona fide 10th great grandma, Mary Barnard, is identified as a ‘maid’ in a Rhode Island Historical Collections article from 1918. The article uses a paragraph or more to explain how it was possible a person of Mary’s ‘breeding’ could be a maid. Link to the article: The term “Maid” as applied to Mary Barnard is not to be understood in the sense in which we would use the word to day.” Pretentious.

2019 July, almost August: Ups and Downs in family history research. Continuing the Google Doc research log, works well. Continuing RootsMagic pedigree update, that’s updating pedigree people from a list of descending last updated, every once in a while updating a non-pedigree person. So many issues on Ancestry, I’ve started saving Error Snapshots to the person and then to my profile so the Error Snapshots are hidden. It looks a little crazy but I can’t spend time figuring out what’s broken on Ancestry. Error facts keep things current.

In updating pedigree people I generally add FamilySearch or American Ancestors sources instead of Ancestry sources. The citations, web links and overall organization are so much better.

July 2019 Error snapshot on Ancestry

Errors on person pages

2019 July: There’s something sinister in denying another human’s existence.

2019 June: American Ancestors is an unbelievable value for the subscription price. New England Marriages to 1700 online database is just a single source and provides a lifetime of clues.

This record is an index, not an actual source. American Ancestors includes all sources used to imply this marriage. Peter and Hannah’s marriage has 16 actual sources I can evaluate, most will be free on Archive.org and HathiTrust, most will provide person information in addition to their marriage. It’s a jackpot. There is a readymade citation, a permanent short and sweet link, an intro or how-to on using the source and a sheet of source abbreviations!

Here is one of Peter Cloyes’s 3 marriages: “CLOIS, Peter 1640-1708, Framingham and 1/wf Hannah LITTLEFIELD 1633-ca 1680; ca 1662; Wells, ME/Salem McIntire Anc. 214; Johnson Anc. 34; Warden-Davis 31; Spear Anc. 82; Cole Anc. (1935) 58, 59, Cunnabell 13; Reg. 67:348, Stevens-Miller 166, Salem 3: 110; Salisbury Fam. 575, Framingham Hist. 211; Framingham (1887) 507, Harris (#12) 7; Wells (#5) 110; GDMNH 152, 435; ElHC 61:431, 438.”

New England Marriages to 1700. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.


2019 April. Rewarding, shows progress and learning. I’m reviewing pedigree persons in RootsMagic and deleting bogus source citations. In my early days when saving a Massachusetts Town and Vital record, Find a Grave record, or family history book, on Ancestry, the record autosaved as a citation for birth, marriage and /or death facts. When first starting family history that seemed right, those sources seemed bona fide and impressive. Now those same sources seem bogus and can count as a name and location fact, but rarely as a vital birth, marriage or death fact.

Current death source for Henry: Keeping Great Migration which provides sources for death fact, even noting the Grant source ‘day and month not given’.



Previous death sources for Henry:


2019 March 22: Such unappealing words for children: descendant, spawn, issue, progeny, offspring, lineage, posterity, pedigree derivation, forbears. Unappealing words in general for families: step mom, step brother, half sister, illegitimate -what is that?, because i had a child as a single person the child is somehow not bona fide? Unappealing and maybe a little appalling.

2019 almost Spring: I have an AmericanAncestors.org subscription instead of an Ancestry.com subscription. Within the first few days on AA.org I found proof of Cynthia Hill’s marriage to Asa Angell which cemented the Mayflower relation to John and Elizabeth Tilley Howland, I think. I’m trying out a Google doc as a research log. totally forgot today until now, but opening each AM when I start research. It’s instantly updated, easy to add links. I have matched Ancestry/FTM names with RootsMagic names.

FamilySearch added a DNA info page with FAQs and the best explanation ever for types of DNA used in genealogy.

Trying a Google doc as a research log: Research log real time. It’s pretty handy because it’s live, I can insert links to additional info, search the log Command + F and can close out each year or month, customizable.

2019 mid January:

Citation was:

Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880. Census Year: 1870; Census Place: Butler, Butler, Iowa; Archive Collection Number: T1156; Roll: 6; Page: 7; Line: 31; Schedule Type: Agriculture

too many commas, semi-colons, colons, words, repeats

Citation is:

Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880. 1870 Agriculture, Butler, Iowa; Archive Collection T1156, roll 6, page 7, line 31.

[Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880] this is formatted in Ancestry if I change it the FTM Ancestry sync falls apart so it is unchangeable.

Maybe some of this is set up for GEDcom format?  The GEDcom ‘industry standard’ is from 1996. I was still young then! that was 23 years ago from right now! Why would this still be an industry standard? It’s a 23 year old computer program from the previous century!

2019 January: Before Thanksgiving I received my DNA results. I have just a summarized understanding and need to watch videos, read pages to get a fuller understanding about this DNA field. Every living thing has DNA including strawberries, so weird. I think names of places don’t mean a lot, locations on the world map show the location. The yellow and two shades of green areas are overlapping and contained within each other, so there’s that at 92%.

The DNA ties in exactly with my research. I’ve confirmed a couple hunches and added a whole branch after the uncertain 1880 census of my great grandmother on the Cable side was confirmed with a DNA match through another Ancestry . com tree. My $ Ancestry . com subscription is expired for awhile as I work through the RootsMagic tree, verifying pedigree persons and tidying up sources. The only progress made in paper records is continuing the biggie 5 x 8 index cards from summer.


2018 October: I found, with the help of another on Ancestry . com, the parents of Peter Miller, who it turns out had a family established in the Stark County, Ohio area just like his daughter in law Fiana Druckenbrod (Harter, Bair) Miller. I miss summer and I miss the Family History Center visits and all those primary records. I’ve started making 5 x 8 biggie size index cards for pedigree family as I work thru their RootsMagic profiles. Still no printed pages, still not sure exactly what to print. Digital seems so much better.

2018  July: Summer goes so fast. I’ve barely opened RootsMagic, been focusing on FamilySearch.org and Johann Roos Roose and family. I visited the  awesome local FamilySearch.org Family History Center, got a lot of questions answered, took my MacBook  because I had shortcuts and links saved. Next time I’ll use one of the library computers, big screens and access to more record images. The FHL genealogist volunteer confirmed that Johann’s parents were the Garbrand and Catharina mentioned in a few records. It’s then a mystery why Johann isn’t in his siblings obituaries and in the big celebration for Minnie’s 99th birthday, front page news in Grundy Center, Iowa 1965. Ancestry . com was broken most of May and June so just recently renewed, the site is working a little better but there are still sync issues because FTM limits sync when Ancestry . com is unstable- a good thing.

2018 It’s almost Summer!: I am in the Gs on RootsMagic working through an alpha list, clearing up sources, webtags, facts, etc. Some people I skip: William Cable and Mary Fries are examples. Their person profile will take about 1 summer day to work through. I’m thinking a lot of paper organizing. I’ve got Evernote digital files categorized by grandparent families: Speedy, Roose, Cable and Miller. Speedy and Miller have 4 times the sources and persons as Roose and Cable. And it is Mary Ella Gaines on the Miller side and Delia Viola Angell on the Speedy side that come with pretty well verified and true ancestors of the 1600s. For a short time I had a DiVA and MEGa tree for the D V Angell side and the M E Gaines side. Delia 1839-1916 and Mary Ella 1855-1917 probably crossed paths at least once in the Butler County area. How weird.

2018 March:

Some of the custom facts I was adding 2016 Late Fall on Ancestry and FTM aren’t needed on RootsMagic because family and family events are part of the person’s facts. The more I use RootsMagic the more I like it. The set up seems more logical, more ordered? not sure.

I am slowly moving the ancestor stories from Facebook to this site then tagging with surname. Turns out a link copied from Facebook includes Facebook.

So a link I have typed in on Facebook



https: // l. facebook.com/l.php?
and more and more and more and more 4 lines of symbols, letters and numbers

when copied from Facebook. Same thing using a(n) URL shortener such as Bitly. Something to remember. The best plan is to write up the stories with text, images and links in Evernote then copy to WordPress, then copy to Facebook.

And I still have no kind of paper organization. I’m pretty sure I’ll color code by my 4 grandparents with Family Group Sheets. MacFamilyTree has beautiful charts  Fan Chart Elizabeth Matilda Speedy

2018 Late Winter:

On RootsMagic working through person A to Z, just completed Cs (not William Cable that will take a day or 2 in the summer). I check facts, sources, citations, relationships, all that stuff then write a short bio and start a Research Log. RM has Research Logs, awesome. Ideally I’m updating Ancestry/FTM as I go. By this Spring Break I wanted to have moved to some kind of paper  organization, still haven’t but keep thinking about it. I purchased my first original bit of evidence, a death certificate for John Cable through Cook County records. I think it was $18 and pretty easy to purchase, then download.

2018 Winter:

54 out of about 1030 persons on RootsMagic verified, simplified. I think I started this last week. Opening each person record, checking sources, cutting citation webtags and moving to person webtags, removing bogus birth and death citations. Ancestry uses census forms, etc as a birth source but really it can only be a birth source if the month, day and year are included right? This is slow going but what a great way to review and clear away stuff not needed. I’ve also added a research log, one for each person’s general clean up and some additional to do more research on like Martha Olney challenging her husband Stephen Angell’s will in Court but the Court went ahead and approved it. There’s a story there.

I’m using RootsMagic as my final presentation. FTM and Ancestry are like workbooks. On Ancestry I’ve begun keeping track of errors so I can quickly see what sources or persons have issues, I enter Error as a Fact. I’m still using Civil as a fact and added Family Events with births, marriages, deaths of children, spouses, sometimes parents, family events. And I’ve added Clue as a Fact. On Martha Olney’s page I just entered a Clue fact so I don’t forget about the will issue or if I find other sources supporting I’ll connect to the Clue Fact. No idea what I’m doing, just trying out to see what works and what fits.

FamilySearch has begun requiring a sign in to view anything so I may put switching all possible sources to FamilySearch on hold. Free viewing still beats paid viewing but required sign in like on Facebook and Pinterest is not good.

Summary: People 1054, Photos 483, Stories 36, Records 2904 (was 2967 records, less now because I’m moving from $ Ancestry sources to free sources, Ancestry counts only $ Ancestry sources, not other sources such as FamilySearch, Archive and HathiTrust.  I have 5495 citations on FTM)

2017 Winter:

In October I began writing short life stories for a Miller and a Roose then posting on Facebook. It’s been a great way to further fine tune sources, citations, facts, residence and such. I randomly choose one person from each branch. Sometimes the stories write themselves. The plan is to then put these short stories on this site or on the RootsMagic hosted site, not sure, This is all a juggling act, no idea what is going to work. I’ve got a winter break from work so am planning a move to paper. I think I’ve got it and will start today. FamilySearch.org offers great ideas clearly explained .

Summary: People 1041, Photos 470, Stories 32, Records 2967 (was 3740 records, less now because I’m moving from $ Ancestry sources to free sources, Ancestry counts only $ Ancestry sources, not other sources such as FamilySearch, Archive and HathiTrust.  I have 5418 citations on FTM)

MFT tree: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/101568384/family

2017 Fall:

November: I’m matching RootsMagic person summaries with FTM person summaries, starting with my paternal and maternal grandparents then moving back, pedigree only. Slooooow going, should have done this in summer when I have free 8 hour blocks of time. Also majorly distracted by Future Islands one of my son’s favorite bands.

I listened to Seasons at least 20 times yesterday, the Letterman and studio version. And they have a newer album The Far Field, and another amazing song and video, A Song for Our Grandfathers.

One big project is taking the $ Ancestry Greene and Iowa Recorder sources and changing them to the free Greene Public Library Digital Recorders and other newspapers of the time and area, free.

Summary: People 1033, Photos 459, Stories 32, Records 3740

2017 October 21:

I’ve spent some time importing most additional persons from FTM/Ancestry to RootsMagic. I love RootsMagic. I’ve quit importing or updating already established persons, I end up with duplicate facts and sources. I’ve spent just about 1 hour verifying Hannah Adams’s record, one marriage, 5 sources, no children or additional facts. I’ll call her done. I ran an individual summary with sources to double check. So if I have about 1000 people I think it will take me 4 hours a day + forever to update.

October 12: My Ancestry $ subscription is cancelled until around February. I’ll take this time to make my RootsMagic and FTM synced Ancestry trees match. I’ve got a citation for every single source.

Summary: People 1030, Photos 465, Stories 34, Records 3770.

2017 Late Summer: It’s like an anthropological study.

2017 Summer: Where does the time go? MFT tree is at 895 persons (from a RoostMagic report) and 944 on MFT Ancestry.com tree. I work between RootsMagic and Ancestry.com, manually adding people, sources, citations, media. Family Tree Maker was relaunched from the new owner MacKiev. For awhile I could sync between the new 2017 version FTM and Ancestry. Now for about 1 week sync has been disabled, maybe the second or third time- MacKiev is trying to get it right. Even though it’s annoying I much prefer this to syncing and then having my tree ruined.

I’ve got a six month Ancestry subscription. So will work through the summer on citations, persons and  places. I do like viewing other public family trees for sources used and relationships.

I’m rediscovering FamilySearch.org- that’s where I first started exploring Family history. Fabulous set up, numerous guides, great source citations and source links.

2017 Late Winter: I’ve started adding W L to some persons. It stands for Weak Link (not in character but in ancestry). A ‘W L’ is possible but not yet probable. I just experienced this sinking feeling in looking at Elizabeth Marsh of John and Susanna Skelton Marsh who married Thomas Olney of Thomas and Mary Ashton Olney. I’ve got slim proof that this is the correct Elizabeth Marsh- she was in Salem, Thomas in Rhode Island, so now Marsh is a weak link. Olney has other ancestral relationships. Update Elizabeth Marsh and family are gone from the tree. In The Ancestry of Emily Jane Angell (borrowed thru interlibrary loan) there is nothing about Thomas Olney’s wife Elizabeth Marsh or March being the daughter of  John Marsh so that branch is gone. Smith, Dean Crawford. The Ancestry of Emily Jane Angell, 1844-1910, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992

2016 Winter: The MFT tree is at about 850 persons. I’ve shelved my Ancestry.com subscription until about February. I spend time tidying up records, sources, citations, media, connections, maintaining stuff. No need to keep adding new stuff. In the back of my mind is a paper record. Maybe cards for each person. I’ve started this a couple times, then abandoned- paper is so final and unchanging. Electronic records can be tweaked and redone and corrected, continually improving. Paper records can too, but with a lot more time and resources used or wasted.

2016 Late Fall I’ve begun adding a few Custom Facts to person.

  • Parents- explains itself, perhaps the most important life event in family history? RootsMagic has a nice parent set up, missing from FTM.
  • Widow- explains itself, some persons were three times widowed, in a lifetime.
  • Civil with several descriptives
    • land
    • elected
    • charged in court
    • jailed
    • taxed
    • parent/spouse/child civil event
    • wills
    • non population census, their farm details

This is a beginning.

2016 Fall: My new MFT has almost 600 verified persons. I’ve begun deleting from the two sync wrecked trees as I transfer information. I continue to find a new fascinating story each time I work on the tree.

2016 Summer: I’m starting from the beginning, with me and am now building 1 single tree, going slowly, not adding persons until I have documentation. It’s awesome. Looking at records/sources I’m finding even more details on ancestor’s lives. And I still have my sync-broken trees on Ancestry.com so can check names, dates, sources, etc.

2016 Spring: I have two semi broken trees on Ancestry.com. One has completely quit syncing with FTM, both have citation errors and oddities. I think in editing the source titles I helped to create errors. (An example: in a list of sources I wanted them alpha by title. But some titles are US record, or U. S. record, or U.S., record, any number slight differences in periods and commas made a clean alpha list impossible so I changed source titles by removing unneeded punctuation. Probably shouldn’t have. That may have led to sync issues. So I’ll not change any Ancestry.com source titles while syncing in FTM. In Mac Family Tree I can create a source list, naming the sources as I want no syncing, no syncing issues.

2015 Winter: I am about 6 months and 1 year into my family history project. I have two family trees, one for both my parent’s ancestors. At one point I had about 2000 ancestors on each tree. I’ve spent the last few months or so doing some major pruning. Even though my dad’s grandfather’s first wife’s family has a very interesting story- I cannot keep the whole family in my tree, just my great grandfather’s wife, their children, her parents, and her brother that married my great grandfather’s sister.

My two trees, the Miller family tree and Roose family tree now have about 1000 850 people. Generally I kept the ancestors that are closely related and that I have some type of proof of the relation. The exception is Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Miller family tree.

I struggle between paper and digital. I need to start creating stories about ancestors

Facts things I add Further developing my family tree I needed more facts. I need the Facts to tell the person’s story. Losing a spouse, parent names, travel, life changing events need to be listed. I also needed a note to designate definite and not definite.

2015 Spring: I began a free Family Search.org family tree. It is amazing the billions of online records that one can piece together to create a family’s history and story. The United States Census records were my favorite for a time. Now I like the 1000+ page books that list genealogies and life details for whole lines of families.

About 25 years ago I would have needed plane tickets, hotel reservations and a great sense of direction to access these huge resource books. Now I just need the internet and massive amounts of time. Many genealogy books are in the public domain @Archive.org or HathiTrust, many are on Ancestry.com.

Daunting but doable: I’m replacing Ance$try.com sources with free sources. It’s a little annoying to be an unpaid member of ancestry and not be able to view the records I’ve studied, renamed and saved. I understand access to records is their profit, why would they offer these records freely? but still an annoyance. So because some records are freely offered at FamilySearch.org I’m changing to FamilySearch.org’s free sources. I’ve started with census records. Slow going but I think a benefit: the record view is free.