Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Sale Bible Update

Whittier Public library book sale

Uinta Chieftan November 3, 1883, page 3

Glad to have heard from a person related to this family. So glad to get to additional info on this family from them. After picking this bible up at a used book sale at Whittier Public Library's store I had wondered who the family was? There are no surnames listed in the bible. I was only able to find the surname after the US Census was posted on the Internet. 
Wyoming Territory sounded so isolated I wondered if this family had much support when their first child died only a few weeks after his birth? It was nice to see later children survived infancy. The Uinta Chieftan obituary did mention the support of friends. Evanston was not as isolated in 1883 as I was thought. His father Victor Engstrum was born in Sweden and  was a Jeweler and involved in the cattle business. 
If you would like to know more about this family Find-A-Grave has more info. Godfrey's Tombstone and info
Father Victor's Tombstone and info

Below is the entire family record as recorded in the bible.
Presented by Mother to Victor in 1880

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Much Space Do I have left in the Free Cloud?

After two days of syncing space in the free cloud it's filling fast. I would like to save space for the future so I am going to start slowing down syncing. I have been syncing the most import things first. Personal pictures are the most important and hard to replace so they are uploaded first. Hard to replace documents second, and so on. I have to figure out which videos to save first because they take up lots of space. My videos alone take up a little over 5 GB.
I am using 73% of my Drop Box space and 53% of my Google Drive space without the videos. It looks like I can't save videos to Skydrive. So I will have to divide them between Drop Box and Google Drive.
I am finding the syncing is going slowly and it's best to upload one file folder at a time. It would cost $9.99 a month for me to buy additional space at Drop Box, which I don't want to do.
I started moving things to Drop Box a year ago. I should have been updating it as I got documents I wanted saved to the cloud. It becomes confusing if you wait and later forget which files you already uploaded. I started fresh with Google Drive which is now the most complete backup. Moving everything on your computer to the cloud can be time consuming but worth it when you think of the time it would take to replace everything or losing things which can't be replaced.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What to keep and what to toss? My cluttered Cloud

I tend to like to hold on to things. My father used be the tosser/organizer in our household. He would sometimes get carried away and toss important stuff. I on the other hand would keep too much stuff and the important stuff would get lost in it all. I am trying to find a happy medium between these two extreme styles. I've quickly filled up my free cloud storage at Google Drive and Drop Box (I am now going to open a Skydrive account at Microsoft for additional storage). I don't want to pay for cloud storage I would rather put that money towards other things. Over the years even a small cost adds up.

I've been catching up on my backups to the cloud. Doing this I've noticed how bad my computer filing has been and how inconsistent I have been when it comes to putting things in the right folder. So I am cleaning up  sweeping out and reorganizing as I go along. What I am discovering as I go along is:

  1. I should try to limit the number of folders I have because that it over complicating my filing.
  2. I should toss duplicates because I am backing up to several places anyway.
  3. I need to keep the collateral information separate I have some merged with my own line.
  4. When it comes to backing up first save what can't easily be replaced ie stuff that's not already stored in digital form on a reliable site like or Family Search where I can access again.
  5. All my important documents linking generations need backing up no matter how easy I can replace them.
  6. Name my files appropriately so they will come up in my searches. I sometimes download and don't name something or give the file an obscure and can't find it again.
  7. I should backup any new document or photo I get immediately, otherwise, I will forget later whether it had been backed up or not. I don't have enough space to back up everything over and over.
The advice given on "The Hoarders" show regarding keeping and tossing can also apply to my digital files. Can this info be easily accessed again? Is it irreplaceable? Do I really need to keep everything I've collected over the years? I am finding that some things can certainly go without compromising my research. The Free storage offered by most cloud services is actually more than enough to keep my important stuff. It's just going to take me some time sorting out the important stuff. I feel like one of the Hoarders not wanting to part with anything and wrestling with every file I have. I am starting to let go slowly.
Thinning the volume out is going to help me focus and find what is most important. I won't get a headache every time I open my genealogy folder.

Friday, July 20, 2012

DNA Progress Report Update

Checked Family Tree DNA and found out my kit was received today! I think this is interesting because today would have been my father's 79th Birthday.  I mailed it from California on Monday. Hopefully being checked in on my father's birthday will be a good omen!

Beginning My Autosomal DNA Journey

Kappel Cousins

I took advantage of the recent sale at Family Tree DNA to order an autosomal DNA test. This test generally does not track as far back generation wise as the Y and Mt DNA tests.  It can, however, on occasion capture a distant relationship. The reason for this is Autosomal DNA is non sex linked DNA which is divided into smaller and smaller segments as it is passed down in the family. Everyone inherits half of their parents DNA. This half can be scrambled in any way. So siblings would inherit different segments. We all have small fragments passed down from previous generations. As DNA is passed from generation to generation many segments are lost. So traces of our earliest ancestors can no long be found in our DNA. This test is very accurate going back 3 generations, and occasionally there is a small fragment which can lead us back to 5 generations and little beyond.
Forgey Cousins
I received my test kit in the mail a few days after ordering it. I was so excited about it that I tested the very day I got it. I was a little surprised that the scrapper was so abrasive on my check that it caused irritation and bleeding. You have to suffer for your family history sometimes. It was very easy all in all. I did have some difficulty ejecting the scrapper into the vial. It took a few pushes to finally get it in. Everything else was easy because an addressed envelope is provided with the kit.
Now it's just a waiting game. I went into the site and provided them with all the info I know about my ancestors in the form of a gedcom file. They also wanted to know the name of my earliest male ancestor on my father's side and the earliest female on my mother's side. They are Andreas Koppel b. 1780 and Elena Gracia who I have no additional info on.
The fact I don't have any stats for my Great-Grandmother Elena points up the problem with several lines. Loss of records and the inability to gain access to records in Nicaragua has created a brickwall nearly impossible to breakdown. I also have a difficult brickwall for my Great-Grandmother Helen Mullen-Mason in Ireland due to record losses. DNA may be the only way to scale these brickwalls.
Another problem on my father's Kappel side is loss of contact with most of his uncles, aunts and cousins. This has left a serious gap in my knowledge of that family which has been a complete mystery to me since childhood. I had heard many stories about my mother's family, but few about the Kappel family in Chicago. I had wondered whether the family was Jewish? I had heard this talked about at my childhood at family gatherings. We were Catholic so the Jewish side was mysterious to me and I wanted to know more about them. There seemed to be a complete backing away from this side of the family due to possible Jewish origins. The sad history of the Jewish people causes many to turn their backs on Jewish heritage in their family. It's too painful for some to deal with. I didn't want to turn my back on this possibility. I wanted to know how the Holocaust may have affected our family in Austria? I was not able to get any answers until recently. I am hoping my DNA test will lead me to a greater understanding of the origins of this side of my family. I have no pictures of my Kappel Great-Grandparents and would like to make contact with a cousin who might have some? Above is a chart showing my current knowledge regarding cousins in this line. As you can see there were 11 children and I only have data for a few. Contrast that with my Forgey family where my knowledge is complete. Even more striking is the nearly complete lack of any knowledge for my grandmother's family owing to the near impossibility of getting anything from Nicaragua, and my young when my grandmother died.
So this DNA test has the potential to expand my family history in many ways. My ethnic breakdown will be as interesting as finding new cousins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Euros For Ireland & "The 1766 Religious Census"

The 1766 Religious Census is an important source for Irish research. It actually covered a very small segment of the population, but because of heavy record loses in Ireland is important to consult.  It looks like my ancestors were part of the lucky few recorded on it. Only a transcription is available at The original is housed at the National Archives in Dublin. Many of the original pages are missing. I lucked out again in the fact that Creggan Parish lists survive.
I decided it would be best to have a copy of the original. It is always important to use the best source which would be the original. When I tracked down the location of the original at the National Library I sent an email  to them requesting instructions on how to order a copy and the cost. The cost was reasonable $3.30 or 2.60 Euros. I forgot to ask about what form of payment would be acceptable to them. Since it takes a while to receive an email reply I used some credits at Google Voice to call them. Had a little trouble getting the call to go through. I found out you have to leave out the city code in the number. I was told a bank draft in the form of Euros or an international postal money order would be acceptable. I was also directed back to their website where there were similar instructions ( I could not find this page when I looked the first time).
These instructions seemed reasonable and doable. I immediately consulted the US Postal service website to find out how to go about getting an international money order. I soon found out that these money orders could only be cashed in a few mainly third world countries. I Ireland was not on the list of countries which accepted these. So I then turned to my bank asking if I could get a Euro Bank draft. The Chase customer service person was very confused by my request. After waiting on hold a few minutes I was told that a cashiers check would be the same thing. No actually it would not. The Archives wanted payment in Euros and the cashiers check would be made out in Dollars. I contacted and visited several local banks asking about how I might be able to get Euros to Ireland at a reasonable price. I had been told about electronic transfers which were expensive, over $40. I was not willing to pay over $10 to get a record which cost $3.00 or 2.60 Euros. No one had any idea how to do that. One person did think that a regular money order could be easily cashed in Ireland, and should not present a problem for them.
This was not as easy as I hoped it would be. I did want to comply with their instructions and get some Euros over to them. I thought maybe I could just send the Euros in cash which I could buy at the bank. I didn't realize that anything under 5 euros would only be available in coins not paper money. I could have sent 5 Euros but they may feel obligated to return my change, or just not accept it at all and return it to my. The fact that the cost was so small was actually presenting problems at this point.
I did finally discover that Well Fargo had an international division. I found out that it would cost $30 to get a Euro draft from them and I would have to open an account with them. I would loved to leave Chase bank, which I hate, but $30 was out of the question.
I decided to go the the recommendation just to send a regular money order. If they accepted it that would be great, if not there was nothing else I could do.
Happily they accepted the payment and I received a large envelope from them yesterday. I got much more than I expected. I was just requesting one page, but got 7 legal size pages for all of Creggan Parish.
What immediately jumped out at me is the fact I had the County wrong. Most of those listed were in Armagh. I thought my family was in Armagh. The Forgey and Reynolds families both were located in Louth. They were among only 33 Protestants residing in Co. Louth. The other nearly 1000 people were residents of Armagh. They have these 33 people misidentified as living in Armagh at
Sadly the exact townland they lived in is not recorded. They lived in an area described as Five Towns. No one is certain which towns were being referred to? They could be any of the 10 townlands in Creggan Parish Co. Louth.
I also don't see any other Forgeys or Reynolds amongst the nearly 1000 people on these lists. So we have a James and Andrew Forgy and Hugh Reynolds. I might deduce that the Forgy family came from Co. Down where the name was more common, and only fairly recently to 1766 migrated to that area.
Reynolds family researchers found marriage documents for their family in Dundalk Co. Louth. These families likely lived near Dundalk. Lease records may provided more info on these families.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Excuses for Not Indexing the 1940

If you need a reason not to index the 1940 Census anymore here are some deemed acceptable:

  • Actually I have been diligently Indexing but my Cat or Dog keeps hitting keys on the computer and deleting all that I have done.
  • My internet has been down.
  • My computer isn't working.
  • My cat or dog sleeps on the keyboard and I can't use it.
  • I can't find my keyboard because of the stacks of genealogy paperwork on my desk.
  • My family hogs the only computer we have.
  • My family wasn't in this country in 1940.
  • This project is full of idiots who can't read even the best handwriting and I don't hang out with idiots.
  • The arbitrators are unfair and I am on strike. 
  • Low scores on my indexing has hurt my self esteem I am seeking therapy.
  • This whole project has gone on longer than I expected and my attention span is short.
  • The handwriting is too difficult to read.
  • I have actually been working at a paying job to feed and shelter my family (I can't miss Phineas and Ferb during my off hours either)!! 
  • I don't do anything for FREE.
  • I've found my family so I'm OUT.
  • Doing my own genealogy research is more fun.
  • This Indexing thing isn't working out for me (sorry can't be more specific).
  • This Indexing stuff looks and feels like real work! I am allergic to real work and break out in hives.
  • Just plain BURNED OUT!! I've indexed over 50,000 records and I am ready to snap! (this is the most acceptable excuse)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Early Transcribers Preserved Records Later Lost

The Irish religious Census and Quebec Tanguay records are examples of how early transcription preserved the contents of records later lost. Anyone with ancestors in Quebec or Ireland should be grateful to these 19th century genealogists who transcribed  records in these areas. 
Father Cyprien Tanguay was a Priest and Genealogist. He was born in 1819 and died 1902. He was appointed to the Dominian Statistics Department because of his interest in the records kept there. He spent many hours consulting these records and compiled  "Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes françaises depuis les origines de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours" a set books containing detailed family trees for every early settler. I am lucky he transcribed the records for St-Augustin Quebec because many of the pages are now missing from the church records. Sometime between the late 19th and recently someone removed whole sections from the church registers. When offered free access to Canadian records a couple of weeks ago I took that opportunity to collect some family records. That is when I found out the St-Augustin book was butchered. Most of my family pages were missing. When I laid out everything I had as far as connecting generations in the Martin family I recognized how indebted we should be to Fr. Tanguay. His transcription is the only way we can bridge the gap between records. I've posted all of my relationship proof records here You can see where the missing records are and Fr. Tanguay records fill the gap.
Another person I am indebted to is Tenison Groves. He copied many records which were later destroyed in the Four Courts Building fire during the Irish Civil in 1921. He was a professional genealogists whose reports now form a very important record source in Ireland. He transcribed the 1766 Religious Census of Ireland (see right) We believe that Andrew Forgey and Hugh Reynolds are our ancestors? Few original pages still survive making this an important document collection. It's one of the few surviving sources of family info during that time period; and the only source for some areas.
We are also indebted to an unknown family member who was doing Mason Family research in the early to mid twentieth century. I believe it's a she? The distant cousin who provided me with the copy of the handwritten family history didn't know who actually wrote it or when? A small example of the writing is right. Who ever wrote this did a wonderful job. Everything I've looked up is correct. This is very unusual because most of the family histories passed on to me have contained major errors. Ida Mason daughter, of Peter and Mary Mason, may have made this out but we can't be sure? We would have had a very difficult time locating the family in Quebec if this information had not been recorded. The person who put this together had first hand knowledge of the family location in Quebec.
The really Herculean efforts of these pre-computer age genealogists have provided us with valuable records, and family traditions which otherwise would have been lost.

Thursday, July 12, 2012 Beta Test Experience

I've really enjoyed the privilege of being allowed to use MyGenshare site during beta testing . I've just scratched the surface in the past few days. I have spent many hours looking over a wealth of genealogy information shared here. This is certainly a very important site for beginners. It will provide them with a great reference library and how-to articles. I've been researching many years, and I've pretty much read every genealogy book available at the many libraries in my area. I still consider myself at an intermediate level, and continue to pursue further education. I have picked up many great tips this week at MyGenShare. It's been a very fruitful experience. The books and many referenced articles contain helpful advice on every aspect of research. They also contain inspirational articles. The genealogy humor book series "Collecting Dead Relatives" and "Further Undertakings of a Dead Relatives Collector" are at the site. I've read those books so many times and never get tired of them. There is also a genealogy search engine, and link directory which is very extensive.
Some of the notes I made while using the site:
  1. Found a query placed by a Forgey cousin of mine in the 1960's in Everton's Genealogy Helper.
  2. Discovered that Scots-Irish was seen as a derogatory term. Ulster Scot was the term preferred by Scots who settled in Northern Ireland.
  3. When my Ulster Scot ancestors came to America the ship likely only had an approximate date of departure, so they would sometimes spend an extended time living and working in the port town. Liverpool was sometimes a departure port for the Ulster Scots.
  4. Ulster Scots often came over in groups led by a local preacher (you can also sometimes determine a place of origin if you know the date of emigration based on emigration patterns).
  5. Local histories are also a great source for Ireland.
  6. A majority of the felons transported to Virginia were non violent criminals. The transportation of  criminals to the American South during the Colonial period gave the area a bad reputation. These people often served their sentences as slave labor on tobacco plantations.
  7. I found an article about someone with a similar background who had European ancestors who settled in Nicaragua. I believe some of my ancestors were Germans who settled in Nicaragua. I found the research as difficult as the person sharing their story in this article. Did get some good tips. I will try to get a baptismal certificate for my grandmother, if it has survived all the disasters? 
  8. I also was reminded that deeds can be filed well after a person in the deed's death. Someone found one filed 110 years later.
  9. In order to own a piece of property you had to be over 18 years old.
  10. A lease record my be the only way to find out more about the Forgey's in Ireland. These records can contain a significant amount of genealogy. More people leased land than owned land.
  11. Landlords' personal records are a great source for Irish research.
  12.  Talk to members of the local historical society where my ancestors lived. They are the most knowledgeable about local families.
  13.  Between 1922 and about 1940 a woman could lose her citizenship for marrying an alien.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Microsoft Expression Software a Great Family History Tool!

I found a new toy! It's Microsoft's Expression Software. You can record your computer screen with it which allows you to make videos you can post on Youtube. You can make instructional videos showing your screen only, or combine it with other tools such as drawing and Movie Maker to make a creative Family History video.  Expression Encoder offers a free version which only captures your screen in 10 minute increments. You can work around this and make longer videos by combining 10 minute segments in Microsoft Movie Maker.
Here is a tutorial on how to use Expressions:
This wonderful video at Vimeo is a great example of what you can create:

I made this video combining a Google My Map with Movie Maker .

Made this second one using Open Office drawing where I inserted the picture of the map and and picture of a little boat. I then added pictures at Movie Maker. I got the music from Youtube enhancements audio. I figure it's best to use their own selection. which is copyright safe.