31 July 2008

Ancesty.com's New Search Webinar

Last night, ancestry.com held a webinar for their new search. They announced this webinar back on 18 July. Although skeptical, I signed up. In my opinion, which I commented on the blogged announcement, 

"Not *trying* to be negative here, but my initial thought is: why do I need a webinar to learn how to use a site that I’ve used for 5+ years? Although it’s always nice to learn new search hints, I’m concerned that perhaps this new search requires too much work.
I think the key problem here is that a transition from an old to new search should be relatively seamless - and this change is not.
But, I’ve signed up for the webinar to see what you guys have to say."

After participating in the hourlong webinar last night, I have a few thoughts.
  1. This was advertised as for "intermediate and advanced researchers." The actual webinar actually seemed to be geared more toward new researchers or, a least, those who had never used the new search (which based on a poll taken during the webinar was about 40% of participants). The webinar took participants through walkthroughs of the new search and explained such exciting things as how to change the font size (heavy sarcasm). They honestly did not go over anything that anyone might learn from a day or two of exploring.
  2. They didn't address any major issues. They noted two "myths" - that they new search and new home page were connected, and that ancestry isn't listening. That's it! They really didn't go much more in depth about the issues raised by their paying customers.
  3. During the web walkthrough, when we were shown example searches, the "most relevant" results that Hulet got seemed to be mainly from his own family tree. Then he had 500,000+ results. This is a major concern brought up by researchers that he really didn't address. Just, "ok, change up your search criteria."
  4. OK, why should I have to keep changing my search criteria. Why should I have to take out the death date in order to get results from databases that don't include the death date (ie census, births, military, etc). Why can't the search just ignore this data if it doesn't apply to that database? The "old" search didn't have this problem. And, though I submitted this question, it was not answered.
  5. And that brings us to the Q&A portion of the webinar. Very weak. Most of the questions were downright easy. Does the new search use soundex, can we still use wildcards, should I put 'born in USA'... The didn't answer any of the in depth questions that have people upset.
  6. One question that was asked, and that I think is very telling (going back to points 4 & 5) was when library editions would be able to access the new search. Hulet responded that, because librarians have to field so many questions about ancestry and how to use it, that ancestry wants to wait to roll out to libraries until they have the new search at a "good point." In other words, until people can use the new search successfully. So, why are they pushing the new search on us when it is not at a "good point?" Why do we have to suffer
So, all in all - the webinar was not effective or useful in any way. They had a survey at the end and I pretty much told them that. I also left a comment on their blog that I would love to see an extended Q&A answer report posted on the blog. Maybe then they could answer some more helpful questions.

ATL directories - pt 2

Mom & I went down to the Fulton County Library Central Branch Today. We once again looked through the Atlanta City Directories to find our city dwelling ancestors. I really love these city directories. They make it so easy to track ancestors, especially between censuses or after 1930.

We've actually found quite a lot. Here's the summation of our research to date:

1947 Albea June M r 400 Whitehall SW hsekpr The Frederick Hotel
1945 Albea Mama A Mrs. r 302 Glenwood av SE icer natl Biscuit Co
1947 Albea Pansy r 400 Whitehall SW hsekpr The Frederick Hotel
1950 Albea Pansy r 400 Whitehall SW
1945 Albea Roy V h 302 Glenwood av SE mech White Motor Co
1950 Albea Roy V (Betty D) r 400 Whitehall SW order filler Atl Economy drug
1953 Albea Roy V (Betty D) h 714 Shelton av SW driver D & D Trans p46
1955 Albea Roy V (Betty D) h 1177 Moreland av driver overnite transportation
1956 Albea Roy V (Betty) h 1177 Moreland av driver overnite trans.
1948 1949 Huyler Mack (Ruby W) r 127 Rawson SW emp Black & Munn p765
1936 Huyler Ruby L, Mrs. r 376 1/2 Decatur SE p689
1948 1949 Huyler Ruby W, Mrs. r 127 Rawson SW emp Exposition Mills p765
1928 Mitchum Edw M (Ethel) ??? h 1272 N Highland ave NE slsmn p887
1919 none
1954 none
1930 Price Alma r savannah se p925
1931 Price Alma r Fair SE p976
1932 Price Alma r savannah se p882
1938 Thompson Thomas A (Alma) h 397 Central av SW pntr p1368
1939 Thompson Thos A (Alma) h 397 Central av SW pntr p1231
1955 Turner Bobby E (Pansy) r 400 Whitehall SW chkr Overnite Trans
1956 Underwood Alma Mrs. r 258 Hendrix av SW cash Am Associated Co
1956 Underwood Betty J Mrs. h 833 Confederate ct SE apt b opr SBT&T
1956 Underwood Jack (Betty J) h 833 Confederate ct SE apt b radar tech state Natl Guard
1943 Waters Jack F r 182 1/2 Rawson SW lab
1931 Waters Leve E (Louise) h Fair SE barber T Pearl White p1217
1942 Waters Leveret (Louise) r 242 Memorial Dr textile wrkr Piedmont Cotton Mills
1928 Waters Leverett (Louise) r 148 Baker NE barber p1246
1937 Waters Leverett E (Louise) h 366a Fair SE barber T Pearl White
1929 Waters Leverette E (Louise) h 264 1/2 Decatur SE barber p1336
1930 Waters Leveritt (Louise) h savannah se barber p1146
1936 Waters Levert E (Louise) h 376 1/2 Decatur SE barber T Pearl White p1302
1938 Waters Levert E (Louise) h 264 1/2 Decatur SE barber p1437
1932 Waters Levi E (Louise) h savannah se barber Mark L Wages
1939 Waters Levrett E (Louise) h 372 Fair SE barber 286 Grant SE p1294
1943 Waters Levrett E (Louise) 182 1/2 Rawson SW barber
1942 Waters Lewis (Viola E) h 115 Fulton SW clk Big Star Store
1945 Waters Lewis (Viola) r 189 Rawson SW USN
1956 Waters Lewis C r 189 Rawson SW electn Cleveland Elect
1948 1949 Waters Lewis C (Viola E) h 189 Rawson SW electn Cleveland Elec p1535
1951 1952 Waters Lewis C (Viola E) h 445 Pryor SW electn Cleveland Elec p1577
1955 Waters Lewis C (Viola M) h 255 Richardson SW electrician
1947 Waters Lewis C (Viola) h 189 Rawson SW clk Big Star
1953 Waters Lewis C (Viola) h 535 Washn SW apt 4-D electn Dixie Elec p1309
1947 Waters Milton r 160 Rawson SW clk Colonial Stores
1943 Waters Milton (Augusta) ??? r 182 1/2 Rawson SW USN
1948 1949 Waters Milton (Kath) r 394 Washn SW clk Colonial Stores p1535
1950 Waters Milton (Kath) r 307 Crew SW clk Colonial Stores
1936 Waters Milton (Lyda M) r 362 Cooper SW clk GtA&PTeaCo
1937 Waters Milton (Lyda M) r 433 Crew SW clk GtA&PTeaCo
1931 Waters Ruby L r Fair SE p1218
1938 Whitfield Cecil (Ruby L) h 403 Central av SW clk p1470
1940 Whitfield Cecil (Ruby L) 405 Central av SE
1941 Whitfield Cecil (Ruby L) h 413 Central av SW hlpr p1542
1939 Whitfield Cecil (Ruby) h 403 CENTRAL AV SW lab p1325
1937 Whitfield Cecil M (Ruby) 229 Simpson NW clk p1467
1925 Whitlock John B (Martha) r 93 E Baker lab p1201
1927 Whitlock John B (Mary E) h 133 (95) Harris NE p1307
1927 Whitlock John M (Ema T) h 133 (95) Harris NE mgr Sou Gro Stores Inc p1307
1928 Whitlock John M (Emma) h 148 Baker NE br mgr Sou Gro Stores Inc p1273
1929 Whitlock John M (Emma) h 86 Harris NE br mgr Rogers Inc p1365
1939 Whitlock John M (Emma) h 287 Forest av NE wtchman p1326
1941 Whitlock John M (Emma) h 258 Hendrix av SW wtchman Rich's Inc p1543
1925 Whitlock John N (Emma) h 93 E Baker br mgr L W Rogers Co p1201
1928 Whitlock Mary E r 148 Baker NE p1273
1953 Wilson Jas L (Arlene W; Frederick Hotel) h 400 Whitehall SW p1368
1955 Wilson Jas L (Arlene W; Frederick Hotel) h 400 Whitehall SW
1951 1952 Wilson Jas L (Arline W; Frederick Hotel) h 400 Whitehall SW p1648
1956 Wilson Jas L (Arline W; Frederick Hotel) h 400 Whitehall SW
1947 Wilson Jas L (Arline) h 400 Whitehall SW mgr The Fredrick Hotel
1932 Frederick Hotel p1529

23 July 2008

World Archives Project at Ancestry.com

From me, to ancestry.com support:
"I just received an invitation to participate in the World Archives Project. When I went to download the software I found out that this program is only for Windows. I'm very disappointed that ancestry is, once again, ignoring their non-windows users. I participate in Family Search's volunteer indexing program using my mac - why can't I participate in yours?

Other non-windows concerns:
-I can't upload gedcoms in Safari
-I can't always change trees in Safari
-FTM is not available for mac users

I hope that you are seriously considering fixing these issues."

From ancestry.com support to me:
"Thank you for your feedback.

I have forwarded your suggestion on to the development team.

Thank you,


As a customer service response, it leaves much to be desired. Maybe, "we value macintosh users" or "we hope to soon have a program available for our mac users," etc. But nope, nothing. Don't I feel that my response has had an effect.... not really.

22 July 2008

more photos

Dad brought home more photos from Granny's. These photos are much like the last set: old & contemporary photos as well as some newspaper clippings. I'll have to go through and organize these with the others.

Many of the photos seem to be from Great-Aunt Ollie's & her husband (Joseph John Funston Jr. of PA). I've posted on message boards and mailing lists to try and make a connection on these. So far, no one has contacted me.

09 July 2008

at the library

Today Mom & I went down to the Fulton County Library, Central Branch. This branch has a genealogy special collections section up on the fifth floor. I'd done a little bit a little bit of research before going and hoped to find some information on my Elbert County, GA ancestors. Unfortunately, aside from a few marriage records, I didn't find much on this side of the family.

However, I did find some interested information on some Atlanta ancestors. Mom pursued the Atlanta City Directories for our Waters family ancestors. Some things we discovered:
  • Leverett & Louise & their family never lived in the same house two years in a row!
  • Ruby Waters Huyler Whitfield Huyler stayed with her first married name from her marriage in 1930 through to 1936. She was married to Cecil Whitfield by the time the 1937 directory was published. But, by 1948 she had remarried her first husband and was again Mrs. Ruby Huyler. (we never really knew the dates for her second marriage and subsequent remarriage to her first husband).
  • The sisters Ruby & Alma Waters were living with their parents in 1931 - even though I can't find them in the 1930 census. Alma was married and not listed with her husband and Ruby is not yet married.
I hope to go back soon to pursue more directories. The only limitation: $12 parking and 60 miles there and back is mucho gas $$$.


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