Tag Archives: family historian

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 49)

29 Nov

Most of the week was pretty quiet, but I made up for it yesterday with almost a whole day devoted to family history. My Christmas Tree Project will be my main priority this week, both searching and working on the presentation of the chart.

  • Continue working on the Christmas Tree project, filling in missing details. This week will mainly be the East Sussex side of my tree, around Framfield, Blackboys and Buxted. I noticed the other day that I am missing lots of death dates for my ancestors from there.
  • I still haven’t prepared a plan for a visit to the London Family History Centre. I put off a visit this weekend to give me more time to prepare, but I am rapidly running out of time.
  • I need to create headshots of my ancestors to appear in my Christmas Tree chart. Cropping the photos I have and linking them into Family Historian. Also create a generic “missing photo” headshot.
  • I also need to work on the text scheme for the chart boxes, trying to make the data I have look neat and tidy, be easy to read and informative.
  • Try and clear some more paper from the stuff to sort folder. There are no large collections left in it now, so it is just a question of picking out one page at a time and deciding what to do with it, before I throw it away.

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.

Another family tree milestone passed

28 Oct

Yesterday I passed another milestone in my family history, with the addition of the 1000th individual Family Historian.

I know a 1000 individuals doesn’t really sound a lot, especially given all the work I put into my family history, but I like to think in terms of quality not quantity.

All these 1000 individuals are as a result of my own hard work, not downloaded from someone else’s online tree. All of them (I think) have source records attached in one form or other.

There are many ways I could have boosted my numbers, but to me there doesn’t seem much point, I am not trying to win any prizes, and I have the rest of my life to add people to my tree.

The 1000th individual was Ann VINALL (born in Buxted, Sussex around 1851), the grand-daughter of my 4x great grandfather John VINALL.

Normally I wouldn’t have included her in my tree at this stage, after all I am still trying to trace all not 4x great grandparents not all their descendants as well. It just so happened that in the 1861 census my 4x great grandfather is living with Ann, her parents William and Louisa VINALL and some of their other children.

I could have just entered John VINALL, and left the rest, but I don’t like leaving a family half finished, as there is a good chance I might never get around to entering them for years.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 44)

25 Oct

Last week was mainly about consolidation. Very little was actually added to my family tree whilst I spent my time planning some next moves for finding the last of my 4x great grandparents. This week I need to get those plans documented and ready to implement over the next few weeks.

  • Continue working on my stuff to sort folder, last week I discovered a collection of parish register transcriptions that weren’t on my spreadsheet, so that will be my focus this week.
  • Prepare a plan for identifying the parents of Susannah POCOCK, ready for a visit to Hampshire Record Office.
  • Decide whether I should order a copy of the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY or whether to try and locate a copy of the parish register.
  • Start working on Phase II of my Christmas Tree Project, by preparing a query in Family Historian to identify the gaps in my research for all my ancestors.
  • Prepare for a visit to the West Surrey Family History Society Family History Fair at Woking, Surrey next weekend, to make sure I get the most out of the day.

Time for a lie down in a darkened room

12 Sep

My head is spinning, I think I have over done it today, I have indulged in too much organising and I don’t know whether I am coming or going at the moment. I am sure that when I close my eyes to go to sleep I will still be able to see census images!

I have spent much of the day going through folders and sorting out stuff again. The spare bedroom is looking much tidier now, and I am almost at the point where I wanted to be by the end of the week, I have a small pile of papers to go through tomorrow and then everything will be in folders or in the bin.

There are still three or four certificates to scan, but at the moment I don’t have the energy to get up and lift the scanner lid (actually clear the books from the top first then lift the scanner lid), so those will have to wait until tomorrow.

I have added several individuals and families to Family Historian, as well as filling in lots of census data and other stuff that I should have done before. It has been surprising today just how many loose ends I still have, it has been quite useful visiting old research again as it has reminded me of much I still need to do and how I really ought to finish one thing off properly before moving onto something else.

This whole organising process is really making me think long and hard about how I go about my research, I certainly need to make sure I never print out another census image unless I really have to. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen Thomas KINGHORN in the 1851 census today.

The other thing it has brought home is how huge my family tree is becoming, I have been all over the place today revisiting ancestors from many parts of England (although mostly the South East) and across many years, and it really is becoming very difficult to remember what I have and haven’t done. Once I have everything organised I really need to have a thorough review of my tree (perhaps down to every individual) and decide what else I would like to do.

Thinking about place name structure

5 Jul

This afternoon I was thinking about how I record place names in my family history database (Family Historian). I suppose this is actually part of my database cleansing operation, in that I want make sure all place information is in a standard format, but also I want to make sure it is the best way of recording it.

Family Historian uses the GEDCOM standard, and has two fields for storing location data within events and attributes. These are place and address. So using my 2x great grandparents Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN as an example their location data would be:

ADDRESS : 2 Shenley Villas, Hurst Wickham

PLACE : Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England

The address field contains a house number/name (or farm name) and a street name (if there was one) within a parish. There may also be an area or district included if there was one within the parish (in this case Hurst Wickham).

One element I need to standardise and check my database for is when the event referred to takes place in a church, such as a baptism, marriage or burial. In this case the address field would contain the name of the church, such as St Peter’s Church. I need to make sure they all have consistent format, capitalisation and punctuation.

The place field contains the Parish, County, State (not really sure if England is a state or not). This is alright for rural parishes, but for urban parishes where a town may contain more than one ecclesiastical parish things start to get untidy, examples of these from Sussex would include Brighton, Lewes and Chichester.

In one of these cases I would record the place as: Town/City (Parish), County, State. So as an example: Lewes (All Saints), Sussex, England. The first element is standardised so that if I generate a report from Family Historian which includes the place then all the town or city will show up first, rather than having some events listed under All Saints Lewes and some under Lewes All Saints.

The other advantage to this system is that it matches the Parish, County, State format when the actual parish is not known. For example when someone gives their place of birth on a census return as Lewes, Sussex. All places beginning with Lewes could be listed together on a report regardless of whether they have an ecclesiastical parish included or not.

Of course there are always going to be places which don’t fit into this format, the main one being the registration districts listed in the GRO BMD indexes. These I simply record with the district name, such as Lewes District or Brighton District. The theory being that these are only temporary records, and one day they will be replaced by more precise data. I am not sure whether I should change the format and record Brighton District as Brighton Registration District, Sussex, England. This is more long-winded, but probably more descriptive and helpful.

I would be interested to here what you think about my place structure in the comments below. Do you have any suggestions for improvement? How do you record registration districts?

Family Historian 4 available from Calico Pie

26 Apr

The latest version of the UK authored, Windows family history program Family Historian is now available from the Family Historian website.

I have been using Family Historian since June 2002 (version 2.0.7) and have had no call to change in all that time. I love the flexibility in it’s diagrams and queries, and it’s records window just seemed so intuitive to me when I first started, although I know it is not to everyone’s taste.

Details of what’s new in version 4 can be found on the website where you can also download a free 30 day trial (existing Family Historian users should make sure they read the note about installing the trial version over their existing version before downloading).

I will be downloading the upgrade shortly and will give you an update on it’s new features in due course.

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