Monday, January 5, 2015

The Ancestor Count By Generation

What's Your Ancestor Count?

It's the beginning of a new year and a good time to review what you have accomplished in your ancestral research to date. Sort of get a big picture overview of how far you have come and map out your direction for the coming year. Several bloggers have published posts detailing their ancestral count and I am now curious about my numbers.


Ancestor Count Desperately Seeking Surnames

In 10 Generations An Individual Has 1,024 Ancestors


I reviewed my Legacy database and I have identified 61 direct line ancestors in 10 generations. That puts my overall completion score at 6%. So. Yeah. I have a long way to go.

I started my genealogy research in October, 2001. That means in a little more than 13 years, I have only found 61 of my direct ancestors. That doesn't sound like a very good success rate (and frustrates me to no end), but identifying a potential ancestor is just the beginning.

Ancestors That Never Allow Us To Prove They Belong


As most of those reading this post know, a researcher can spend weeks, months or even years proving a relationship. And, of course, there are those stubborn ancestors we identify that never allow us to prove they belong to us no matter how much time or effort we devote to them.

I do have more names in my working database (my Ancestry online tree) and a few significant clues to follow up on. But those that I am confident are my ancestor make up the 61 found to date.

Monday, December 29, 2014

They Were My Family All Along

They were my family all along but until I read the instructions the facts didn't support that conclusion.



Ancestry Provides Source and Detailed Information for their Record Sets


It's up to us, the researcher, to take advantage of the valuable information that is available regarding the record sets we access. Time and time again, lecture after lecture, session after session we are told "familiarize yourself with the record sets you are working with." In order to correctly draw conclusions, you have to know what the records are saying and how they are saying it.

The longer I spend performing genealogy research the more I understand how valuable that advice is. Now, thanks to a more studious fellow researcher, I am a total believer. You know that saying "you buy em books and you buy em books but you can't make em read them"? That's me, I wasn't reading more than the covers.

Reading the Enumerators Instructions Can Eliminate Frustration

Enumerator instructions for the 1841 England Census
Ancestry.com. 1841 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2010.

Henry, Jane, James, Esther, Thomas and Sarah were together as a family unit in the 1841 England Census, right where I expected them to be in Mile End New Town. However, I couldn't get past the ages listed, some were wrong. This looked like my family but the parents were too young to be my family, or so I thought.

There was my Brimson family right where they were supposed to be


Thankfully, a very studious fellow Brimson researcher did read the instructions and pointed out to me that the enumerators were instructed to round the ages down to the nearest 5 years. Why? What sense that makes I have no idea but it is what it is. No matter the reason, if I too round down to the nearest 5 years, this Brimson family becomes my Brimson family.

It is now time to go back and read the instructions, all of them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

In 2014 I Enjoyed The Shiny

December is a time for reflection


December is that time of year we reflect on our accomplishments during the year. What goals did we meet and what goals are we going to need to carry over into the new year? What did we do right and what can we do better next year? What did we enjoy this year and what do we not want to repeat next year? 

Me? I enjoyed the shiny.  


2014 I Enjoyed The Shiny www.desperatelyseekingsurnames.com



My 2014 Goals


I set one goal for myself in 2014 and I failed miserably. My plan was to get my digitized documents named properly and filed in the appropriate electronic folder in Dropbox. Needless to say, my digital documents are still patiently waiting for me. No harm done, the documents will be there when I get to them.

Instead of focusing on that goal, I chased various forms of shiny throughout the year. Not intentionally, but you know, shiny just happens sometimes. For example, I finally "got" Pinterest and I love it. I mean I knew what it was and have had boards but I didn't truly understand the power of Pinterest referrals for blog traffic.

That was shiny number one, getting my Pinterest boards in order. I'm still working through them, optimizing my titles and pin descriptions, and they are in much better shape today. Take a look at my boards here and you will see that Pinerest is a very beautiful shiny. 


My own domain name


Also, this year, I decided it was time to purchase my own domain name, which I did. This blog address is now www.desperatelyseekingsurnames.com. No more Blogspot in the address. My blog is all grown up!

This little adventure pushed me to consider updating the look of my blog. You don't see anything different? Well, that's because another shiny took hold of me when I started researching staying with Blogger or moving to WordPress. This, in turn, led me to learning more about Google Analytics so I could determine what pages were getting consistent traffic on my site.

Through my research on blogging platforms and learning how to use Google Analytics, I found a couple of great G+ communities and several new podcasts that I enjoy listening to very much. Shiny can be very educational. 

Yes, this blog still looks the same. However, I have made the decision to stay with Blogger and have the complete vision of what I want the blog to look like and the message I want to convey. I am excited to get to work on that and plan to have the update completed by February. That is, of course, dependent upon no shiny grabbing my attention and distracting me. Shiny can be naughty at times.


Thank you to my blog followers


I appreciate those that read, share and comment on my posts. It is always nice to have feedback to know I'm not just typing to myself here. I am trying to post more consistently, but I still consider myself and "occasional" blogger.

I am focusing on getting my surnames out "there" to be found by other researchers and hopefully cousins. Hence the Surnames I Seek series of posts along with adding more details and interesting information on my surnames page here. Maybe my surnames will be someone else's shiny.

I hope each and everyone of you met your 2014 goals. If you didn't, I hope you enjoyed the shiny along the way.