Tag Archives: chart

Fiddling with my Christmas Tree

26 Nov

Last night I got distracted and started fiddling with the layout of the chart for my Christmas Tree Project. I was mainly looking at the layout within the boxes on the chart, experimenting with some different options and wondering about whether to include photos or not.

My big concern is that I don’t really have enough photos of my ancestors, so those ancestors that I do have photos for will stand out more (and receive more attention) than those that I don’t.

I had planned to use a headshot of the individual, to try and get some sort of standardisation across the chart, and when I tried it out on a couple of people I thought it worked quite well.

To try introduce some standardisation, I would like to include a generic image of the same size as the headshot, for those individuals where there is no actual photo. The next question is what should that image be? The size of the image will be 120 pixels by 150 pixels, the same as the photos. The problem is that I can’t decide what to put in image.

I did think a silhouette or outline of a headshot would be good, but after a quick search online I couldn’t find any that I liked, most seemed to have hats or fancy hair which would make them stand out too much and probably not representative of my ancestors.

I did wonder about a few words such as “No photo available” or ‘”Do you have a photo of this ancestor?”. If the text is greyed-out then it shouldn’t detract too much, but to me it still seems a little too cluttered and not really necessary.

I did think I might just put in a large question mark, greyed-out so it doesn’t stick out too much. I think a question mark would get the message across, that I don’t know what they looked like.

What do you think? Have you had the same issue with a chart? What do you do when you have no photo of an ancestor? Am I worrying too much?

Another Christmas Tree Project update

25 Nov

Time has nearly run out for my Christmas Tree Project, I think I have about two and a half weeks before I have to stop and get it printed.

I did a trial run a couple of days ago, creating a large scale pdf chart that I should be able to get printed, at a normal print and copy shop without too much hassle. Using my Family Historian software it is quite straight forward to create the chart.

The research side of things is still ongoing, I have pretty much given up on find the three 4x great-grandparents that are still missing, although I may still be in with a chance of finding the mother of Sarah LAY if I can find her baptism record.

I still need to order a birth certificate for one of the children of Thomas and Rebecca BATEMAN to try and confirm Rebecca’s maiden name, although I am pretty certain it is TOWNSEND it would be nice to confirm it once and for all.

Other than that it is pretty much a case of filling in more gaps. Most recently I have been working through my ancestors making sure I have all the birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial details for them where possible. Most of these are not going to be exact dates, because I can’t afford to buy dozens of birth, marriage and death certificates.

In terms of census details I don’t think there is much more that needs finding, as I think I already have most of them, but I will have to have another check in a week or so just to make sure.

Next week I need to start work on the actual text scheme that is going to appear in the boxes on the chart. I am thinking about leaving out photos, because I don’t have enough of them, but I need to make a decision on that soon.

Even with the information that I have on my the tree so far I think it is going to look quite impressive, or at least I think it will, whether my relatives will be similarly impressed remains to be seen.

My Christmas Tree Project

5 Oct

I have mentioned my goal of having a chart of all my ancestors back to my 4x great grandparents printed in time for Christmas several time recently, but I thought it would be a good idea to go into some detail about my why I want to do this and what I want to achieve.

I have decided to call it My Christmas Tree Project because it is my family tree and I want it to be ready for Christmas, but mainly because I needed something short and simple to call it when I write or talk about it.

The finished product will be a printed chart, showing all my direct ancestors up to and including my 4x great grandparents. I am not sure if it is all going to fit on one chart and still be readable, I may have to have it printed in two halves.

The choice of 4x great grandparents was purely because that seemed the most achievable. I could have chosen 3x great grandparents and printed it tomorrow, but that would have given me nothing to aim for. Instead I now have a challenge to work towards, as well as a deadline.

I want to be able to show the tree around at Christmas when families gather, or visit. It will be a talking point, and whilst I don’t expect anyone to be able to add anything else to earlier generations, I do hope that I will be able to draw out information, and possibly photos of more recent ancestors.

Naturally part of it is an ego trip for me, being able to show off what I have achieved and show that all the time spent in front of the computer or in the record office and library has achieved something tangible.

So far most of my research has been trapped on my PC and more recently with the purchase of a netbook I have been able to share it easier, but I think people will be able to relate better to a printed chart than a small computer screen.

Of course a printed chart will only be able to contain a fraction of my research, for starters it will only have my direct ancestors on it, and I won’t be able to go into much detail on each individual, and will miss out some of the more interesting characters I have come across in my extended family.

The process of researching and preparing my data will also force me to review my data and fill in a lot of gaps that I have either forgotten to finish, or just skipped over on the way to something which seemed more interesting.

Currently I have twelve of my 4x great grandparents still to find, and five 4x great grandmothers whose maiden names I do not know yet. This week I will be putting together a plan to identify each of these seventeen individuals.

Some will be quite straight forward, such as requiring the purchase of a child’s birth certificate to provide the mother’s maiden name, but some are going to be more tricky because they are before the start of civil registration and detailed census returns.

Over the next couple of months I won’t be working exclusively on this project, and in many cases it will necessary to wait for a certificate to arrive or to get chance to visit a record office, so some of my other projects will get a look in. Also I won’t just stop at my 4x great grandparents, whilst I am at an archive it makes sense to carry on and try and go back further if possible.

Ultimately if I don’t find all 64 of my 4x great grandparents I am just going to have to live with the fact that my tree won’t look perfect, but in nature trees seldom do, so I shouldn’t get too hung up if mine doesn’t either.

Planning my next big challenge

10 Sep

I have been looking ahead to a time when all my organising is complete and all my files are in order, and thinking about what I want to do next.

I know I have several more detailed projects already on the go, but what I would really like to do is have another intensive genealogy weekend like I did earlier in the year. This time I would like to try and identify all my 4x great grandparents.

I had a quick count up last night and found that I already have some details for half of them, so that only leaves me another 32 ancestors to go.

I realise that 32 ancestors in a weekend is probably not going to be achievable, especially as some of these individuals are going to require a trip to the record office or London Family History Centre.

So in the next few weeks, as I transition from organising to researching, I am going to start doing some groundwork, pick off some of the easy ancestors and identify some of the problem ones.

I also need to go through and make sure I have all the details for the earlier generations and make sure I have all the basic information for them, so that means birth, marriage, death (or baptism and burial) and census details for all available years. Fortunately I can run a query on Family Historian which will show me which data I have and what is missing.

And the reason why I want to do this? Well, by the end of the year I would like to have printed a family tree of all my ancestors. Not as a Christmas present for anyone in particular (other than me), but as a talking point for when the family gathers at that time of year, hopefully to stimulate a bit of interest in our ancestry.

So by the end of October I would like to have the majority of the research done, I can then spend November adding as many photos as possible and worrying about presentation and then in December I can get it printed, and perhaps a working copy to scribble on around the table after Christmas dinner.

Filling in the gaps in my tree

8 Apr

I have been looking at my family tree recently, when I say family tree I mean the chart or diagram that shows my ancestors, and I have noticed there are one or two gaps which are making it look untidy and which I need to do something about.

A couple of things prompted me to look closely at my tree. Firstly, I wanted to put some details of my ancestors on this blog, probably starting with my 2x great grandparents, in the hope that they will catch the eye of a Googling distant cousin.

Secondly, it has now become relatively cheap to get a large family tree printed at my local print and copy shop, and I think it is about time I had something to show for my research, other than a bookcase of folders and a computer database.

Before I can do either of these I need to get my data in a presentable state. For the chart that means I would like to have names, key life events and census information (where available) for everyone back to my 3x great grandparents, it needs to be big chart so I can show off just how much work I have done!

For this blog I will probably start with my great grandparents (I think they are ready to go) and followed up a short while later by my 2x great grandparents. The 3x great grandparents will follow on several weeks later I think.

I believe I have most of the data already for my 2x great grandparents, but just not entered into my family history software. This will be a useful organising exercise, as well as highlighting any potential issues that might require a trip to a record office.

And why am I telling you all this? Well, hopefully by making a public commitment might encourage me to actually get it finished!

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