31 May 2009

What is "Large"?

I saw a link this morning on Twitter to an article by Tamura Jones about GEDCOM file sizes and what a "large" file is. It's a great article, comparing different genealogy websites and vendors and their definition of a large GEDCOM file. In the end, the author defines a file of 5,000 individuals as small and 25,000 as medium.

I can understand this number in terms of file size and what technology should be able to accomplish. The article really puts into perspective the different capabilities of each site/vendor and the way each one creates their own "large" definition. And the article chastises those who only support smaller file sizes and call them large. Makes a lot of sense.

But, this article got me thinking. I'm curious: how large is the average GEDCOM of a hobbyist researcher? Does the average researcher ever reach "medium" size in their own GEDCOM? It seems so large to me!

Personally, my GEDCOM has 2,430 individuals and is 980KB (using Reunion). I suppose it would be defined as x-small. :)

I have three lines that go back 10 generations, my shortest is only 5, and the average is 8 generations. Lately I've been more concerned with adding supporting research than expanding my tree. I do research collateral lines, though I often stop after two or three generations away from my direct line.

So, to anyone reading this: How big is your GEDCOM and what is your research strategy?

29 May 2009

Sharing Family Photos

I like to post all of my family photos to my Flickr account. My hope is that relatives will see the photos and leave a note with information or identify individuals. This has happened, but not often.

But I've noticed something lately: folks are finding the photos and taking them to add to their own online family trees. I've found my photos (and yes, they are my edited scans) being used online on trees, like those hosted at Ancestry.com. And let me say: this is fine - it's why I put them out there. I want to share my photos with other family members.

Sally Ruth Evans Craft and her children But, I'm missing out on another goal: connecting, communicating and sharing information. For example, I recently checkout out my "shaky leaves" for my Craft family line at ancestry.com and found a few exact matching trees. From there, I once again saw some of my scanned photos (shown). I only knew the identity of three of the folks in this photo, but the person who'd added it to their tree had identified everyone!

Sarah Britt Craft & Frances Craft AdamsI was very excited to be able to identify these relatives, but at the same time it's a little frustrating. I'm sharing my information and would hope that other researchers would reciprocate by sharing their information - not just take mine and run.

Also, there is no information on where the photo came from, or "credit" given. Personally, for my research, I want to be able to talk to the person who owns the original before I take the photo for fact.

I hope that in the future, researchers will consider an information exchange in such situations, and not just take and run.

The Evolution of Betty

I have more photos of my maternal Grandmama, Betty Huyler Albea, than of anyone else in my family tree. Thanks to her mother's photo albums, I can see my Grandmama as she grew. This is especially unique because she was very averse to having her picture taken, especially as she grew older.

Here's a photographic timeline of my Grandmama:

Ruby & Betty Huyler

Betty Huyler
(c. 1932)

Betty Huyler
(c. 1932)

Betty Huyler

Betty Huyler

Betty Huyler
(c. 1942)

Betty Huyler
(c. 1945)

Betty Huyler

(c. 1947)



roy & betty 1992

my family

24 May 2009

Vexations of Childhood

There are certain things that I look back on from childhood that I regret. One of those is the way I treated my elementary school yearbooks. My parents always bought their children a yearbook each school year when they were available. I have copies of K, 1, & 4-12. The condition of the yearbooks... well, it's regrettable.

I have a vague memory of browsing through my Kindergarden and 1st grade yearbooks with pens, markers and scissors. Yup - I destroyed them! I remember wanting to "protect" and "preserve" certain pictures and memories. I cut out photos and drew all over the pictures of my classmates. Here's what's left:

Kindergarden (above) is mostly intact. I colored over most of my classmates, leaving my own image clean. I cut out the group photo and it is now missing.

First Grade (above) is almost all missing! I assume the blue arrow indicates where my photo was - before I destroyed it.

I think that I might need to make a trip to my old elementary school (nearby, thank goodness) to make copies of the pages that I destroyed. It won't be the same as having the original book intact, but it would be better than the way things are now.

20 May 2009

Tracking Grandaddy

My Grandaddy, Roy Albea Sr., was born in Greenwood County, South Carolina in 1926. His parents were mill workers and Roy started working in the mills as well when he was a young teen.

The family moved around a lot, going from mill to mill. My Grandaddy said that they spent only weeks or days at one location before moving on to another. He would often come home from work or school to find the family's bags packed and everyone ready to move on. Once, his father came up to him at work saying, "Let's go, Roy - we quit."

My Grandaddy picked up this habit of moving around for himself, which can make him a bit hard to track. His parents, C Vernon and Auline (Witt) Albea divorced around 1945, with Auline moving to Atlanta with her unmarried children, including Roy. But Roy didn't stay put. In 1947 he was back in South Carolina - in Greenville, where he married my Grandmama, Betty Huyler. For the next few years they continued to move around, from job to job, until Betty put her foot down and demanded a permanent home.

With census being taken only every 10 years (and only available up to 1930) this family can be hard to track. I'm fortunate that these family members tended to stay in metro areas: Atlanta and Greenville. I'm then able to track their movements through city directories. I recently found Roy and his parents in Greenville City Directories.

Roy - 1946

Here, he's shown in 1946/47 as a utility-man working at Brandon Mills. He's living on Osteen Street, which is part of the Brandon Mill Village (I know this from Google Maps and having visited the area). Above him is, possibly, his father, working at Woodside Mills (check the front of the directory for abbreviations!).

Thanks to these directories I've completed a better image of my Grandaddy's movements and have been able to estimate his parent's divorce and track his movements:
  • 1945 - 302 Glenwood av SE, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1946/47 - Osteen St, Greenwood, Greenwood, SC
  • 1950 - 400 Whitehall SW, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1953 - 714 Shelton av SW, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1955 - 1177 Moreland av, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1956 - 1177 Moreland av, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1960 - 500 Amal Dr, Apt 1, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1962 - 500 Amal Dr, Apt 1, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
  • 1963 - 2925 Thompson Cir, Decatur, Dekalb, GA
  • 1964 - 3542 Larkspur Ter, Decatur, DeKalb, GA
  • 1965 - 3542 Larkspur Ter, Decatur, DeKalb, GA
It is important to note that these listings are not foolproof and are prone to error, just like any other document. For example, my mother and aunt believe that the 1962 listing is incorrect and that the family already lived at their 1963 listing by late 1960.

Regardless of possible errors like these, I still really love city directories as genealogy resources.

19 May 2009

Notes from Ancestry.com Military Webinar

Some notes from the 19 May Military Webinar on Ancestry.com. These are the things that caught my attention about new additions coming soon:
  • My sound didn't work the first 15 minutes. It was something wrong on the part of my computer, I think. I restarted the webinar three times and the sound came in.
  • Civil War records
  • - Promised "exciting" collection for the Civil War Anniversary (I missed the date) and they said we "won't be disappointed."
    - Are working especially hard on Confederate records from a "huge variety of sources."
  • WWI records
  • - They recognize there are issues with draft cards, including missing and unreadable cards. They are looking into fixing the issues and its just a matter of "ongoing prioritization."
  • WWII records
  • - Again, they recognize issues, which they believe they "should fix fairly quickly."
    - "Young men's" draft cards are slowly becoming available, and they will add them as they can
    - Will be "hopefully" adding Illinois draft cards this week
  • US Navy Cruise Books
  • - Have a small collection now, but will have a "nice steady flow" added "hopefully at the end of this year."

Tombstone Tuesday - Evans

"Little" Luther Evans is buried near his parents at Rock Branch Baptist Church in Elbert County, Georgia. He was the son of my Great-Great Grandparents, John H. and Leila Frances (Craft?) Evans. He was 1 year and 294 days old when he died on 28 June 1905.

luther evans

18 May 2009

Weddings - Not Just About the Bride and Groom

In 1980 my cousin Carol got married. I wouldn't be born for another four years, so I don't feel much of a connection to the event. But, the wedding did create some lasting memories: photos and information about the family and friends who attended.

First is a photo of my paternal Grandparents, Thomas and Sarah (Britt) Craft, posing with the bride. There aren't an extreme amount of photographs with them together, so it's great to have this photo.


Next, a photo of my grandparent's children. As would be expected with seven children, it can be hard to get them all in one place for a photo to be taken. The last one had been taken during the early 1970s and the next one wouldn't be until 1995. In this shot, you can see that '70s fashions haven't died yet.

They are (left to right): Wayne (1947-2008), Kenny (1955), Gary (1952-1995), Greg (1952), John (1962), Charlotte (1941) and June (1943, mother of the bride).

Craft Siblings

I also have a newspaper clipping of the event:

From this clipping, I learned a lot about the date and place, as well as members of the family and friends: Parents of the bride and groom, names of siblings and close friends. Also, they were married in a church - this might be a place to look for further family records.

So, even though I wasn't there, I have these photos and records to provide great information about the event. And it's not just about the Bride and Groom - it's about everyone who was there.

Monday Memories - Childhood and Encyclopedias

17 May 2009

Personalizing the Census

I've said before, that one reason that I love Footnote.com is the way that you can connect documents and records. This makes it easier to browse information about an individual, by connecting it all together.

Another reason why I love Footnote is along the same lines (connections are part of it): You can personalize documents, such as census records. What does this mean? Here's an example.

In 1930 the Britt family (Nathan, LeDora, Ollie, Sarah and Evoid) lived in Emanuel County, GA. They appear there on the census. There's a lot that you can learn about this family from the census, but it is very finite information, speaking only the the past and present. But what about the future? What about the aspects of life that the census form does not ask about? Well, there are lots of other records that you go searching for, or, if you're on footnote.com, you can continue to use the census to answer these questions.

With footnote.com, you can personalize and give life to the names on the census. Take Nathan Britt for instance. Click on his name an a window will pop up, giving you a bunch of options to add comments, photos, stories and relationships. I prefer to simply click on the "View Person Page" link on the top right of the window. From here, you will be able to do all of the previously mentioned options and more. This is the same page that you would see for a SSDI listing on footnote. If you've already personalized a SSDI page for this individual, scroll down to the "Related Pages" section and connect that page to this one as "The Same Person." Also, add relationships to other family members. This is as close to a family tree as you'll get on footnote.

Picture 5

If you haven't yet personalized a page for this person (I have not with Nathan), go ahead and do so with this one for the census listing. Add photos, vital record information, stories and more. Don't forget to Bookmark the page so that you can find it easily.

My page for Nathan now looks like this:
Picture 4

When you're done, go back to the census page. Nathan's listing is now personalized. Instead of just a name, I now have a photo. Changing tabs, I can see more details on his photo and relationship links. And I can click on "View Person Page" for more information.

Picture 1

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be researching a person, finding them for the first time, and finding information like this immediately? A genealogy jackpot! I really hope that this feature takes off with genealogists and would encourage others to play around with these features.

(Also, don't forget to click on "I'm related" on any of these pages. Your account will be linked to the page and other researchers will be able to contact you.)

16 May 2009

Death Certificates Have Arrived

I sent off for three GA death certificates on April 9th and they have arrived! Yay! These death certs represent a direct line in my genealogy research: Father, Daughter and Grand-Daughter. They don't provide any new information, so much as act as proof of previously discovered information. This is also the line that I plan to apply for the DAR with.

One thing I did hope to discover: cause of death. But I was thwarted! The CODs have been blanked out. What gives? I've never had this happen before. I checked out the GA Vital Records website and it doesn't say anything out not releasing COD information. I think I'm going to contact them to find out the policy on this. I really was curious to learn why my Great-Grandmother died at age 37.

Here are the death certs (click for larger):

Stephen T. Boatright, my Great-Great-Great Grandfather
Stephen T. Boatright

Susan Frances Boatright Barfield, my Great-Great Grandmother
S. Frances Boatright Barfield

Sallie LeDora Barfield Britt, my Great Grandmother
Ledora Barfield Bratt

13 May 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Albea Family Home Video

A recording of old silent film and of 1989 Family Reunion. I've created and posted this before, but I re-did it in a slightly different way and took out the "Unknown" folks.

"State fires head of Office of Vital Records"

Maybe this is why I haven't gotten any of the death certificates I've requested recently...

"[Georgia] State officials have fired the head of the office that handles records on births, deaths, marriages and divorces, saying he displayed gross mismanagement, officials said Tuesday.

“Our internal review revealed gross mismanagement and a lack of professional integrity on the part of the office director, which resulted in his dismissal,” said a statement by Taka Wiley, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Human Resources."

read more

12 May 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Smith

Heading straight up my maternal line, my Great-Great-Great Grandparents are Richard (1829/30-1920) and Rachel (Garman) Smith (1850-1915). They lived their lives in what is today the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area, but was farmland and small villages during their lives. They are buried in the Old Milstead Cemetery in Milstead, Rockdale, GA, next to their son, Albert.

10 May 2009

07 May 2009

Wm & Nina Get Married

Marriage, Wm Albea and Nina Sprouse
(From the GA Archives, Lincoln County Marriage Book K(5) (White), 1890-1904, Lincoln Co. GA)

Since I've found Wm & Nina's obituaries, I've been working on the Albea family - which is one of my brick walls. I want to send for death certs for the sister of his that I've found, as well as for a man's who might be his brother.

But, I'm still waiting on four obits to come back that I sent for a month ago from another family line (not an unusual wait). I wonder if there's only one person in the Atlanta Office who copies death cert requests? They probably recognize my address by now.

05 May 2009

New Links, Obits, and Clues

Thanks to Saturday Night Genealogy fun over at Genea-Musings, Greta's Genealogy Blog posted a list of her top genealogy sites, which included the Greenville SC Library Obituary Index. I haven't been to this website in years and was unaware of this index. I have a good amount of family in this area and was excited to hear about this.

I searched for surname, Albea, and up came my results. There were 7 results, 6 of which I knew were part of my family tree. The index provided me with their name, obituary publication date, and page number. But I don't live in Greenville and don't have access to the Greenville News microfilm. However, a quick search on RAoGK showed that there are quite a few researchers doing obit lookups in the county. I picked one and sent them the information I'd found. Within 24 hours (so fast!) I had the three obituaries that I had requested.

I was very excited about one in particular, for William A. Albea. William is one of my brick walls. I have some suspicions on who his parents are, but no proof. Thanks to his obituary, I now know the names of three of his siblings that I hadn't known before! Hopefully this will prove helpful in my research.

Wm Albea


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