Ruth's Genealogy

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


In review, this first week’s topics:

Setting Previous Research Aside– While I haven’t physically moved any data, I have committed to use only original or scans of original documents and photographs.

Preparing to Research– I have created a new database in RootsMagic, a new master file on my desktop and a new data-management notebook in Evernote, also backup systems at OneDrive and on an external hard drive. I have also facilitated the use of my Chromebook with my RootsMagic database by creating read-only access to that database through my iPhone and online RootsMagic database.

And finally…

Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines– a new start, a new mindset

  • Focus-treat each ancestor to be researched as the end-all and be-all
  • Think outside of the box- use traditional and not-traditional resources
  • Meticulous- complete each database (Research Plan, Research Log, consistent file names, scan everything and file appropriately, CITATIONS)
  • Passion- relax, don’t rush, have fun!

red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


Ok, it’s Week 1 of Genealogy Do-Over 2015, and this is what I’ve done so far:

  1. “set aside” all old research notes and my entire RootsMagic database, but keeping handy any original documents and images (as I look at each ancestor, I plan to weed through his/her folders, both real and virtual, and toss everything except photos and original docs)
  2. created a new database in RootsMagic, appropriately named Do-Over 2015
  3. created a new master file on my desktop, also named Do-Over 2015
  4. set up a new stack in Evernote for research notes and collected images, and its name is…
  5. also created new folders in OneDrive and my external hard drive for backup
  6. restored the RootsMagic app to my iPhone with an updated GEDCOM
  7. updated my site with a current GEDCOM

blue notebook and pencilWait! One more thing…

A fresh, original, made from real trees college ruled spiral notebook with freshly sharpened pencil, for head-scratching, brainstorming and genea-doodling! All this modern technology is wonderful, but sometimes you just gotta have a good ole’ pencil and paper!


red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


I bought a Chromebook about a year ago and instantly fell in love!

It is very light-weight, lightning fast, doesn’t get bugs, has good battery life and is simply a joy to use.

But…. it won’t run RootsMagic.

Now in the past few months, I have debated what to do about this problem. I want to be able to work on my RootsMagic genealogy database with my Chromebook, which I can and do take anywhere, rather than be stuck to my desktop PC. I have:

  1. uploaded my GEDCOM to WeRelate and used that as my primary database- but I don’t like the way it handles source citations
  2. purchased The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding and installed in at my website- I really like TNG, yet it seems to have a lot of bugs and doesn’t always work and play well with my RootsMagic-generated GEDCOM
  3. recently signed up at a new site, Famberry, which currently offers 1 TB of free forever storage- haven’t really used this yet

So, what to do?

Well, for the time-being, I have installed the RootsMagic app on my iPhone and uploaded my new Do_Over 2015 GEDCOM to it, and have also created a new website at my site, again with the new GEDCOM. While both of these are “Read-Only” and cannot be modified, at least I will have my most recent database with me while using my Chromebook at the library or other far-away location (my bedroom!)

I’ll use Evernote for taking notes and saving images, then transfer those to RootMagic when I’m back at the desk. Not terribly happy with this solution, either, but it’ll have to do.

red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


Week 1 – 2-8 January 2015

  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines


Setting Previous Research Aside

This will be a bit of a challenge! Ok, time for Spring Cleaning (current weather in Benbrook, Texas: light sleet. wind chill 19º). As per Thomas’ instructions, I’m keeping all original docs, photos and anything that I have previously purchased. But everything else, including my actual database, will go in a box, virtual or otherwise, and be set aside. It’s back to Square One with Ancestor One!

First off, I’m not going to physically “move” my files, whether digital or the real deal. There are too many, and I have learned the hard way that if digital files get moved around too much, they tend to disappear…

What I have done is create a new database in RootsMagic, pristine and completely barren of any facts, sources, places and media, appropriately named Do-Over 2015. And as I begin to add ancestors and digital photos/documents, I will set up a new surname file system. Both the database and the surname files will be in a new location on my hard drive, or perhaps on my external hard drive (>87 GB available) or online at OneDrive (>24 GB available). My current master genealogy file tops out at 4 GB, so I have plenty of storage space. Of course, the prudent thing to do would be to save the files to ALL 3 LOCATIONS (note to self!)

Preparing to Research

Ok, I’ve already created a brand new, empty RootsMagic database and set my old records and notes “aside”. What else can I do in preparation for my new genealogy life?

  • Evernote- I have been using Evernote for my finances, and it works well. Time to use it for genealogy. So I created a new “stack”, again named Do-Over 2015, and a notebook for templates (currently working on a Research Plan/Log report). I will create Surname notebooks as my research progresses.
  • File-naming strategy- something along the lines of  “SurnameFirstMI_YYYY_Title/description”. I’ve used a system similar to this, which works very well when I use it. Just gotta get consistant… ;)

So that’s where I’m at today, the first day of the New Year and the first day of my Genealogy Do-Over 2015.

Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines- well, that’s gonna take some more head-scratching and a later post.

Happy New Year, everyone!




About a year ago, I decided I needed to start over again in my genealogy research. I wanted all my source citations to be accurate and consistent, and my database needed a general cleanup and reorganization.

I tried several different things that I thought would help me to get my database in tip-top shape, but in the long run, I still wasn’t pleased.

So, I sat back and tried to look at the big picture again, and I realized something: genealogy wasn’t fun anymore.

That was an eye-opener. Ever since I was first bitten by the genealogy bug back in 2003, it has been a passion. CSI in my own living room!

But, somewhere between trying to make all of my citations perfect, and that oppressive sensation of spinning my wheels and not accomplishing anything, the light almost burned out…

I’ve even considered quitting (but I can’t quite get over the thought of nearly 12 years of work, all for nothing!)

Then a few days ago I saw a Facebook post from Thomas MacEntee about his Genealogy Do-Over program. And that faint light began to flicker again.

Perhaps this program is what I need. A little guidance, a little direction, a little encouragement… maybe even some fun!

So, what are my objectives for my Genealogical Do-Over?

  1. Feel the passion again!
  2. De-stress my sources citations- accurate, complete, but without that sense of a medieval torture chamber
  3. Learn to create and use a research plan for each individual- Evernote vs Tiddlywiki
  4. Desktop or online- much as I love my desktop RootsMagic, I can’t use it with my Chromebook and I do love my Chromebook!
  5. Consistent naming of image and document files- I created a system years ago that works well, especially when I actually use it.
  6. Start blogging again- my poor little blog has been woefully neglected, too

More details on my objectives in a later post.

So, Thomas, thanks for creating this 13-wk program and… I AM READY!

My daughter stopped at a garage sale after work yesterday. She was about to leave when she spotted a small, black photo album. It looked to be pretty old, so she picked it up and looked inside.

There were many old photos is it, as well as a few documents. Many of the pictures showed men in uniform. Military uniform. The papers appeared to be some type of military documents. My daughter called and told me about the photo album and I told her to grab it, quick!

For $2, that old photo album now had a new home.

When she got to my house, she brought the old book in and opened it on my kitchen table:

One document contained a full name and social security number and another indicated that this man was a member of the US Air Force and was stationed in San Antonio in 1946.

So, armed with his social security number, I quickly found him in the SSDI. And since he was once stationed in San Antonio, I took a chance that he might have remained in Texas after his Air Force days and checked FamilySearch’s Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976 database. And there he was! He died at age 46 in 1976 at Carswell AFB hospital, right here in Fort Worth. According to the death certificate, he lived in White Settlement (a Fort Worth suburb) and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery, also in Fort Worth.

Next stop was Find-A-Grave and Greenwood Cemetery, where I didn’t find him but did find his wife, who died in 2010 at age 94. On his wife’s Find-A-Grave page was her full obituary, as published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The obituary listed no children, but many great nieces and nephew and some “very special friends.”

As I went to the Tarrant (County, Texas) Appraisal District’s website to try to find some information on who now owned her house, hoping it would be a relative, my daughter started looking online for her “very special friends”, hoping they could lead us to family members. Turns out the friends’ address was located on the same street and very near to our Mystery Man’s house. My daughter found a phone number for the friends and immediately called them.

Would these be the very special friends listed in the obituary and could they put us in contact with family members who might want this old photo album and its treasures?


My daughter talked to this friend for about 20 minutes, and we found out a lot of details about this lady and her husband. They did have no children, but there were many step-kids in Oklahoma from previous marriages and a great nephew in nearby Weatherford, Texas who would be very interested in getting our $2 garage sale find.

So, tomorrow I plan to scan everything, then we are gonna try to get together with these special friends and the great nephew and get this wonderful old photo album back into the hands of family, as it should be.


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