Notes from the past…

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How to keep a document always on top on your computer’s desktop

Ever try to study a photo or transcribe a document, but find yourself having to toggle back & forth between the image and your notepad/blog/genealogy program?

A pain in the backside, ain’t it?

I found a very simple and free solution to this problem.

This morning, I was trying to transcribe the information from some of my Mom’s documents into my RootsMagic database source citations. I had several windows and programs open as I researched these documents. I was getting pretty annoyed, having to toggle back to the document in question and getting lost among all the open pages and programs.

Why can’t I have that document “always on top” on the desktop?

So I Googled my question and this is what I found:


See that red circle and the little stick pin inside? Here it is in action:


Just click on the stick pin and that image will stay on top of your desktop. Click it again to disable the pin.

How simple is that! It works with images and other programs, too, such as Evernote and Paint Shop Pro. 4t Tray Minimizer is a free download recommended by, one of my favorite tech sites. Check it out!


A source is a source is a source…. NOT!!!

Keep CalmFor the past several days, I have been reviewing/reworking my source list for my RootsMagic database.


When I moved my genealogy database from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic almost 5 years ago, most of the sources and citations came through… sort of… kinda like when your house comes through a tornado…

When I originally created those sources and citations for FTM, I didn’t do them correctly (not a clue!).

A couple of years ago, I started a project to go back through my RootsMagic database, examine each person’s information and create new/correct old sources and citations, since I still hadn’t done many of them correctly (still clueless…).

But a lot of the sources and citations are still not quite right (pardon my OCD).

Ok, but what is the correct way to cite a genealogical source?

After a couple of long days of online research, I discovered that there is no one correct way!  Many different citation styles…

Well, that certainly cleared things up!

My solution is an Alphabet Soup of sorts. These are what I am using to learn to “correctly” cite my sources:

I had purchased both the Citing QuickSheet and Evidence some years ago and have never really used them, so I haven’t spent any new money on this project. I eventually want to get Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, but at $59.95, it’s a bit out of my budget right now.

I thought about changing all of my citations to a free-form format, but with 189 pages of sources… not gonna happen. So I’ll use RootsMagic’s Source Templates, except for census entries and a couple of other much-used sources, such as’s various Texas Death databases. These master sources have been used hundreds of times, so I’m not too keen on rewriting each and every citation. Enter Randy’s post above.

Yesterday I reworked several citations in my Mom’s file. A lot of work, but I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it. Remember:

“Genealogy without proof is Mythology”


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Amanuensis Monday: John Hamilton’s Republic of Texas claim

This document is part of my 4th great-grandfather John Hamilton, Jr’s (ca 1810-1860) Republic of Texas claim.


No 246

This is to certify that John Hamilton has appeared before us the Board of Land Commissioners for the county of Bastrop and proved according to law that he arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in the Army of Texas and has an honorable discharge and is a married man and entitled to one League and Labor of land, upon the condition of paying at the rate of five dollars for each Labor of usable land and two dollars and forty cents for each Labor of pasture land which may be contained in the survey secured to him by this Certificate. Given under our hands this the 2nd day of April 1838.

    Attest                                                                                                                                                   S B Patton, Pres

R B Craft, Clerk                                                                                                                                          Moses Gage, Asst Comm


The Republic Claims series of Comptroller’s records includes claims for payment, reimbursement, or restitution submitted by citizens to the Republic of Texas government from 1835 through 1846. It also includes records relating to Republic pensions and claims against the Republic submitted as public debt claims after 1846. The files include supporting documents such as vouchers, financial accounts, military records, receipts, notes, or letters.

A league of land equals 4,428 acres and a labor, 177 acres, combined they add up to 4,605 acres [19 km²]. This was the
amount of a headright (first-class) granted to “all persons except Africans and their descendants, and Indians, living in Texas
on the day of the Declaration of Independence… if they be heads of families… and if a single man, 17 years or older, one-third
league” (1,476 acres).

A special headright was issued for military service. Soldiers who arrived in Texas between March 2, 1836 and August 1, 1836 received the same amount of land given to original colonists in a first class headright (4,605 acres for the head of a family).

On 15 Dec 1837, in accordance with the provisions of the Land Law, Samuel B Patton, Moses Gage and R B Craft were elected officers for Mina (later Bastrop County), Texas.