Tag Archives: family historian

Statisticly Speaking: Missing birth and baptism events

12 Jun

I have decided that I would like to be able to use Family Historian to produce lists of individuals based on certain criteria, such as a list of all those men who might have served during the First World War.

To be able to produce these queries I need to have an idea of the lifespan for each individual and for this I need to have a birth/baptism event and a death/burial event for each individual.

I have been taking a look at how much work would be needed in making sure that I know where and when everyone was born. It looks like I have quite a bit of work to do.

Out of a total of 1797 individuals currently in my database there are 769 people (42.8%) without birth dates and 845 people (47.0%) without a place of birth. The discrepancy between the two is not really surprising, there are many occasions where there is not clear evidence where a person was born, even if I have a date of birth.

The situation with baptism events is not quite so good, there are 958 people (53.3%) in my database without baptism dates and places.

The fact that the number of dates and places match is consistent with the fact that all the baptism records are all coming from the same source (parish registers) so they should match, however the birth records come from a variety of sources, some providing only dates and other dates and places.

The good news is that there is only a partial overlap between the births and baptisms which means that there are only 379 people (21.1%) without a date for either their birth or baptism.

I am not sure yet where I shall focus my attention, the 379 people without a birth or baptism date is the obvious place but it might be better to tidy up the existing data first before adding any new data.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 6th May 2012

6 May

It was another good week, although most of what I did wasn’t really what I had intended, but it was interesting and varied, which certainly helps keep me motivated.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

I have to confess that I didn’t get very far with sorting out all the stuff that I have on Patrick Vaughan. I did make a start, but was almost immediately distracted by another part of the Finding Minnie story that needed sorting out.

One day I will get around to telling the story of these relations of Minnie Allison and answering the question Who Was Daisy Denyer? The information I has bundled up with that of Patrick Vaughan, so it made sense to get that sorted out at the same time.

There were two reason why I chose to start with this information, first I didn’t think it would take too long and secondly it was all English so I wouldn’t have any problem entering and sourcing the information, whereas Patrick’s was Irish, Scottish and Canadian and that would take some time to work out my source citation.

Thomas Acock of Malvern, Worcestershire, England

I decided that I would also like to clear a couple of items from my to-do list as well this week. Both of these items involved Thomas Acock who married my 4x great-aunt Anna Trower.

Anna was his third wife, so I wanted to include some details from these previous marriages in my database and I wanted to expand on the information that I had on their descendants.

I was able to delete these two entries from my to-do list although I really need to add a new one that will remind my to keep a look out for the parish registers for Malvern so that I can verify the work that I have done.

Upgrading Family Historian

Version 5 of Family Historian (my genealogy software of choice) has been out several weeks and this week I finally got around to paying for and downloading the update.

As expected everything went smoothly and I think the only thing I had change was the default project on opening, all my other settings were exactly the same.

This is just the sort of upgrading I like, whilst the core of the program looks and behaves the same as before there are several new features that are waiting to be explored. I had a quick play with the new fan charts and can see I am going to be having some fun with them in the future.

British Newspaper Archive

Part of the reason I didn’t get very far sorting out the Patrick Vaughan stuff was because I decided to take the plunge and buy a few credits for the British Newspaper Archive.

It has taken some getting used to and some of the image quality is dreadful, but there are more stories of interest than I had first imagined, but finding them has proved a big challenge requiring some careful searching. Capturing the information proved to be a bigger challenge in many cases, and my Print Screen button has not seen such use for many a year.

I still have a few credits left and a few hours to use them, so I will make the most of them to try to uncover more of what my relatives got up to.

Future Challenges

There is no question, no excuses, next week I must carry on sorting out the Patrick Vaughan information. I know that with the searching of the British Newspaper Archive I have gathered even more information to be sorted, but I will try to put that to one side for now and work on Patrick.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Challenging times: Updating facts without sources

9 Apr

On top of everything else I ought to be doing with my family history this week I have decided to set myself a new challenge.

A couple of months ago I used a query on Family Historian which shows all the facts in my database without sources, this brought up a list of entries, around 25 in number, which I didn’t think was too bad for a database of 1700+ individuals. In the intervening weeks I have nibbled away at the list so that yesterday the list was down to twenty.

Yesterday evening I decided it was time to tackle the remaining twenty entries, so this week I am going to attempt to clear the list. Last night I cleared another five entries so it is now down to fifteen.

Most of these entries on the list shouldn’t cause too much of a problem (I could probably do it in an evening), most of them are where I have either got carried away and forgotten to add a source or I have merely added a temporary fact, such as a birth year and place from the census, with the intention of putting in a more detailed entry later but never got round to it.

There are a few foreign entries which need a bit more thinking about because I lack the experience of citing those sources, however I never said that the source citations had to be perfect, just functional.

Hopefully by this time next week I will have this little list cleared and if it proves to be a helpful motivational exercise I might see if I can find a similar challenge for next week.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 16)

18 Apr

Last week I was a bit of a genealogical magpie, gathering all sorts of  information from various places (mainly local libraries) and taking loads of photos. The problem is that I have taken all this “shiny” information back to my nest and not done anything with it.

This week I really need to get this information sorted out, transcribed and where necessary entered into my family tree. This week I am going to try not to gather any more information until I have sorted out all the new stuff that I have recently acquired.

  • Sort out all the information I have gathered. Scan documents, transcribe my notes, update Family Historian and sort out the digital photos.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Email East Sussex Record Office to find out which of the GEERING records I want to view are held onsite and which I need to order in.
  • Attend the South Coast Family History Fair on Sunday 25th April 2010 at Worthing, West Sussex.

That should be enough for this week. I really need to get my notes sorted out, and will be happy if I can complete that this week.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 7)

14 Feb

There doesn’t really seem to be much focus in my research at the moment, I seem to be darting all over the place at the moment as I tidy up lose ends and sort through my files.

Occasionally I will settle on one particular family or individual and dig a bit deeper, filling in more details and deciding in which direction I want to take my research.

This week I expect more of the same, with one exception. I have learnt about a book by Thomas GEERING entitled Our Sussex Parish which was first published in 1884. The parish in question is Hailsham, Sussex. My GEERING ancestors have been traced back to Hailsham, so there is a good chance that Thomas GEERING was a relation. This needs investigating, and may provide some clues to my own ancestry.

  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Make another attempt to find something about the BATEMAN family from Gloucestershire that is going to get me hooked on researching this family.
  • Find out who Thomas GEERING was, and investigate the GEERINGs in Hailsham to see if I can make a connection and progress my research on that branch of my tree.

My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 5)

31 Jan

Last week was again spent sorting through more digital files, it seems to be taking a lot longer than I had originally anticipated.

All the information from my last visit to the West Sussex Record Office is now on spreadsheets, and most of it is entered onto my database, I just have the Framfield burials to enter into Family Historian, but that is going to be a major job so I haven’t started on that.

Working through my hard drive is taking a long time, mainly because I keep getting side-tracked into other areas I wasn’t planning to. I have been working on this for several weeks know and am still only on the As and Bs in my surname list.

I have started digging a bit deeper on the BATEMAN surname, hopefully in preparation for a visit to Gloucestershire Record Office to fill in some gaps, I will probably spend some more time on the BATEMANs this week

So this week will be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.
  • As it is a new month tomorrow I shall probably order another set of birth, marriage and death certificates, so I need to decide which individuals I want to find out more about.
  • Continue work on the BATEMAN family, trying to identify what happened to the siblings of Henry BATEMAN my 2x great-grandfather, from Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
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