Archives for : November2014

Ancestor Lists from Wikitree

I’ve just added ancestor lists for both me and Cyndie, transferred from my online work at wikitree.com.I have also added them to the drop-down menu so you can go to them directly.

Each list is seven generations (126 people) long. There is a placeholder for missing ancestors, that is, those you don’t have any information about or haven’t researched yet.

The other nice thing is that when you click on one of the ancestor names, it takes you to their ancestor list on wikitree. I think it may allow you to move around much more quickly on the site than was possible any other way.

Each person has a profile link based on their last name and the number when it was entered. For example, my link is Thomas-10705, meaning mine was the 10705th name unloaded under the surname Thomas. If you have both the surname and number, you can move around fairly quickly on wikitree. Almost everything you do on the site is based on those two bits of information, including searches and merges, two of the most important things you can do on the site.

How Do You Archive Your Records?

I didn’t work at all yesterday due to Veterans Day, but I did spend a good share of the afternoon the day before trying to clear out my Genealogy records.

I have two sets. I used to have four sets, so I’m getting better! I usually run with a working computer and an attached external hard drive. Periodically, I make sure everything on the computer makes it to the hard drive. Problem is, however, when the hard drive is full, I swap it with another external, fully intending to clean it off for reuse. I do eventually get to it, but not on any set schedule.

Anyway, I decided to try to combine the two so I had ONE set of files.I have software that reads and compares two drives, allowing me to delete duplicate files, but I couldn’t put my hands on it easily. Ignoring the external hard drive files, I decided to attack the computer files, instead.

I had two directories – one for my wife and related files, and one for mine. I found several things I could move out first to another location. Before I did a lot, however, I started a directory with folders based on surnames. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Everything I could find in our directories that could be tied to a name went into the new name folders. That made quite a dent in our two folders but left me with quite a few other files that didn’t fit. I needed other categories, so I cleaned up my older system of directories – Royalty, Historical Topics, Research Resources, Continents, Military, Immigration, and others – all folders I’ve used in the past to file Wikipedia information, books I’ve downloaded, e-mail sources I’ve collected, and so on.

As I moved things around, I found duplicate files and folders and used those opportunities to delete them. At the same time, I still have my untouched, albeit non-updated, external files if I should run into problems.

Keep in mind, these are just my DIGITAL files. I’ll discuss how I handle my PAPER files, books, and other things we end up with as we do our research. That’s a whole other story.

The lesson, I think is this – if you only have a few individuals or families to research, you don’t have a big problem organizing your data. As your research expands, so does the amount of material you end up storing.

If you have a lot of names, over 25,000 in my case, the job is not impossible, but it is daunting, at best.  I try to include a lot of information in my database, and I rely on it 100% for names, dates and places. Everything else is support material – sources, references, contacts, projects to undertake, background information, printouts, and so on for use while I’m working.

Now that I’ve found a few of those “gems” I knew I saved, they should begin to show up on this site.

PGM – The Puritan Great Migration, Links to the Past

If you were able to trace your ancestors back far enough, you can probably claim a relationship with a Puritan who emigrated to this country from England. If your ancestors came from another part of the world – Canada, South America, Europe, etc. – and came sometime after the mid-1600’s, you probably can’t.

mayflower

First, let’s differentiate. PILGRIMS came on the Mayflower in the early 1600’s, landing on Plymouth Rock, now located in Massachusetts. PURITANS (most) came a short while later. Pilgrims were Puritans and Separatists, but not all Puritans were Pilgrims. Got it?

Puritans had a special set of religious beliefs, and the Separatists just wanted to get away from England. Between the years of about 1621 and 1640 (0r 1650) in some opinions, Puritans left England to come to the American Colonies in droves. As many as 20,000-40,000 people came in those decades, and the era became known as the Puritan Great Migration. In your genealogical records, you will find all were born in England, but most died in the colonies. Some were disheartened by the rough and tumble land they arrived in and decided to go back to England, but most stayed. Those who did were a mix – farmers, shopkeepers, pastors, bondsmen, indentured servants and, yes, criminals, but they were also joined by wealthy members of English society (to be called aristocracy) who would go on to become famous landowners, politicians and soldiers.

English law prevailed, as did customs and traditions brought with them from England. As the settlers built towns and cities, they named them for locations they had known in England. As counties were created to consolidate the needs of several towns, they too were named for English locales. Naming conventions followed by parents and children also transferred across the oceans. If you study England in the late 14th Century, you know what America was like in the early 15th Century.

This is where things begin to get interesting! At least I think so, from a historical viewpoint. Mayflower descendants are families who can trace their lineage back to the original passengers, numbering approximately 100 individuals plus 30 crew members. What they accomplished against the adversities they faced is nothing short of remarkable, and deserves to be recognized as such. Many of the adversities didn’t change, however, for those who came later. They just didn’t have to start from scratch after the arrived.

norman conquestmagna carta

Taken together, the Mayflower families and PGM families offer links, for those able to find them, to families who remained in England and carried on the history of that nation. Aristocrats who came to America left aristocratic families in England. Many of them, if not most, were involved at some point in every important historical occurrence in England, from the time of the Romans and Celts. These include (in no particular order) the Norman Conquest of Britain, the Magna Carta, the expulsion of the Romans and Vikings, the beginnings of the feudal way of life, the Crusades, wars with Ireland and Scotland, and more.

If you never liked history in school, I think it’s difficult to be really successful in Genealogy. The best researchers I’ve run across have been avid history buffs. The two, Genealogy and History, seem to go hand-in-hand. That will be evident in what you continue to read here.

You can find our PGM ancestors here: http://allinthepast.net/usancestors/pgm.htm

Who Am I? What Are My Credentials?

Mike_April-2005

I am a retired high school Applied Technology teacher and Technology Coordinator. Also an Army veteran, I have been a community activist, newspaper publisher, water gardener, prize-winning newsletter editor, and now publish the website and newsletter for my local gun club.

My father was in the US Navy during World War II and came home to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. He and my mother were married shortly before he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the late 1940’s, foreign jobs paid well, so he took a job with American Smelting and Refining (ASARCO) in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I was born in El Paso, Texas while he was training for his job.

ASARCO smelter, San Luis Potosi_0001ASARCO smelter, San Luis Potosi_0002

We lived in San Luis Potosi for a few years, during which time my mother returned to Colorado and filed for divorce. After the divorce, my dad got a promotion as Plant Engineer at the ASARCO smelter in Denver, Colorado, his home town. I grew up in Aurora, a suburb east of Denver.

I got started in Genealogy asking questions about my mother. I loved my stepmother dearly, but still needed something more. After my dad passed away in 1994 and my stepmother moved to Texas to be with her sister, my research shifted into high gear. I found notes from a cousin in my Dad’s papers, and soon had everything I could get on my paternal lines, which really wasn’t much.

Whosbetterlookin

Computers were just coming into widespread use, and I was still searching for my birth mother and my maternal line. I always joked that I didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day because I was German, but after I re-located her in 2005, I found a rich heritage of aristocracy all over Europe and tons of settlers of Colonial America.

As I was working on my lines, my wife started wondering about her lineage. More and more records were showing up on computer by this time, and our research uncovered several cross-over ancestors, especially royalty in Scotland and France. Where my ancestors tended to settle in New England and move West, hers settled in the South and moved to the Northwest.

Before changing my major in college so I could teach, I had been a History and Political Science major and, to this day, I find myself going off on tangents as I’m working. At times, I’m finding the historical times of my ancestors are far more interesting than my ancestors themselves.

Scottish Clan Updates

crest-tartan-bckg-173x173murray_crest

I am the manager for several Scottish Clan sites on wikitree.com, a free Genealogy site that is worth your time (http://www.wikitree.com). I manage the profiles for BRUCE, GORDON, KEITH, MURRAY, and SUTHERLAND, as well as related history and other material about the Clans. That same material, and then some, is now available on this site from the Scottish/Irish Clans link on the Menu Bar on the Home Page. Other Clans connected to us, including Seton and Gunn, are managed by other members of Wikitree.

Personally, I (Michael) link to Clan Gordon about 13 generations back on my mother’s side. As I follow Gordon ancestors further back, they intermarry and I also become part of Clan Murray. I also have maternal links to Clan McMahon from County Clare (probably!), Ireland, although little is known about them in Ireland. They came to the U.S. during the Irish Potato Famine in the early 1800’s, and far more information is available on this side of the ocean than where they came from.

Cyndie is from Clan Murray, but through various links can also identify ancestors in Clan Bruce, Clan Gunn, Clan Keith, and Clan Sutherland. We have followed Cyndie’s lineage back to when the Murrays were Norman knights who came from Belgium to fight in England in the 1oth Century, and stayed on as landowners, politicians and soldiers. Many of our Clan members fought in the Crusades, but we haven’t hashed out exactly who and when yet.

Bruce and Keith are Lowlands Scots, while the others are Highlands Scots. Various alliances were established in Scottish history to defend against the invasions of warriors from Scandinavia, England, France, and other locations in Europe. The easiest way to differentiate the two areas is to say the Lowlands included the large cities, farms and industry, while the Highlands remained a relatively-undeveloped area with some farming and livestock as the principle source of income. On the Clan map on our Scottish/Irish Clans page, the Highlands are the darker areas in western and northern Scotland, and the lighter areas to the south and east just above England are the Lowlands.

keith_crestbruce_crestsutherland_crest

 

Common Ancestors

Donald II (Domnall), King of Scotland (862 – 900)
Renaud De Roucy, Count of Rheims, France (ca 931 – 15 Mar 973)

Donncuan MacDunlaing O’Toole, King of Leinster (950 – 1018)
Robert II Le Fleming, Count of Flanders, Belgium (1065 – 1111)

Earliest Ancestor

Laamech ibn Methusaleh (born ca 3130 BCE)

Housekeeping Items – Please Read

Before we begin sharing our heritage gathered over a period of two decades or more, let’s get a few housekeeping things out of the way. As I do updates to this site, they will be posted under the obvious category, SITE UPDATES. Other items will more than likely fall under RESEARCH NOTES, and a few will be covered by ADMINISTRATION. As I develop the site, it may expand into other categories.

FTM

I have a database run by Family Tree Maker 2014 software. Actually, I have TWO databases. One is my working database located on my computer; the other is the database that appears online that you look through. The computer database is constantly updated (several times a day at times), but the online database is only updated when a major change (usually in the number of ancestors displayed) is made. Uploading it to the Internet is a chore since the software I use for the conversion creates a few thousand files that upload one at a time.

My online database, uploaded last on October 22, 2014, has profiles on 25,223 individual ancestors, 4473 surnames, 7398 marriages, and covers a total of 141 generations. A typical generation is usually considered to be 25-30 years, so you can do the math, or take my word for it – 3525-4230 years! Now, I’m not going to tell you everything you see is “gospel,” but I didn’t make it up, either. All the information you see is online somewhere, however source information and accuracy of information may be scarce in some instances.

I was once told that Genealogy research was difficult, at best, unless your ancestors owned property, belonged to a church, or did something important while they were alive. Truth be told, many of our ancestors weren’t the kind to leave much of a mark on the world and were forgotten, resulting in only a few generations of records. On the other hand, others have books written about them, we find them in encyclopedias, or they did remarkable things  in politics, the military, the church, or some other endeavor to the point that someone wrote down and saved information about them.

Some who work on Genealogy are “snobs,” thinking that only the most complete and most accurate paper trail defines their ancestors’ value to the story of mankind. Personally, I believe a few generations is all it takes to put a question mark on what one sees and reads in their research, unless it is verified in other sources. Sources are hard to come by for most people, so oftentimes we work on Genealogy for the fun of it, taking what we find with a grain of truth that still needs to be proven by other means. In short, Genealogy is not worth getting upset about if the truth is somewhat lacking; you just keep looking for it. No one’s information is really any better than anyone else – that’s why we collaborate, constantly sharing and comparing.

Finally, we get to the legal stuff. This site has been online in one form or another since 2006. All information is Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved, so please credit “http://www.allinthepast.net” as the source of any information you reuse.