Saturday, July 31, 2021

Making Progress on the Dachtera Immigration Story

I've plunged ahead with the immigration story of my paternal Great Grandparents, Joseph and Magdalena Dachtera. The first draft of the narration is 99% complete. Still thinking about how to end the story. It’s been “resting” for a couple of days so that I’ll start editing with a fresh eye.

Spent a couple of days researching and finding images to flesh out what began as a GoogleEarth tour. Went back to the BaSIA  database to try to clarify and add information.

There are two wonderful Wielpolski databases – both built by volunteers.

The Poznan Project works to transcribe all 19th century marriages in the province. Information given includes film numbers for the appropriate microfilms at Family Search.

BaSIA is a much broader project to transcribe all vital records from the province. Images from records may be from church or synagogue records or from civil records. Available records may be from the 13th century to the 19th century.

For now, it’s time to get started with the editing.

In addition, I’ve also spent some time looking at DNA info, making sure that I’m up to date on matches from various sites. It’s time to get up to speed on the tools at GEDMatch

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Fork in the Road – What to do Next


Well, I accomplished one task I mentioned in my last post – I found the connections between my Minnesota Ganas clan and the ones that settled in Milwaukee and Buffalo. We are all descended from Johann Ganas, b 1779, d 1830

Martin Ganas came to the US in1890 and settled in Buffalo.

Johann arrived in 1891 and settled in Milwaukee

Ignatius (My Grandfather) immigrated in 1892.

Makes me wonder whether these semi-distant cousins were in communication about their emigration plans while still in Poland.

All records are from the town of Czerlejno which you can find with Google earth; and even do a Street View tour along the two main crossroads.

I am truly grateful for the work of the volunteers who transcribe  these ancient records for databases that allow us to find our ancestors.

What’s next?

Finishing the Google earth trip/tour of my paternal immigrants seemed like a good idea for the next project until I found that Tour Builder is no longer supported. So that project turns into a YouTube project. This will take a while. Storyboard and finding the right images. I also need to improve my narration voice.  I’ve done a few other family stories on YouTube. See them here: Family Stories

And also -

I’ll continue to look for resources for my kids’ Bohemian heritage.

I’ll continue to check for new DNA matches.

Time to start working on a storyboard.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Resuming My Quest


I quit doing genealogy research a couple of years ago because I was just plain burned out.  I simply stopped. Left projects half-done or barely started.  Since then, I’ve dabbled a bit.

Recently I’ve tried looking at my children’s paternal line but have gotten nowhere because I cannot find where they lived in Bohemia in the 19th century. It’s been an exercise in frustration.

Now my cousin, Jeanne, is resuming her research; and that has inspired me to get back to mine.

But how do I begin to pick up the pieces? There are so many of them. Which pieces to pick up first? Can I find where I left off?  Going back to my Bullet Journal should help.

I’d started:

·       A Google earth trip showing my paternal ancestors path from their home in Poland to their new home in St. Paul, MN.

·       A search for possible Polish relatives who settled in Milwaukee and in Buffalo.

·       A story about the times my parents grew up in.

And there are other loose threads, too.

Hints on have shown diminishing results over time.

I think I’ll take a closer look at Smart Matches on My Heritage.

Here goes.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

On a Long, Long Break

I did not realize that my last post was more than a year ago. 

Fact is that I just burned out. For years my enthusiasm had me treating my research like a full-time job but I'm too old to have a full-time job. On top of that I spent 3 years in a fairly demanding position in my local genealogy society (I should have quit after 2 years). Then add the kinds of things that tend to lead researchers into a slump.

It was as though someone had pushed my “off” button.

I was in the middle of creating Google earth family history tours of my immigrant ancestors from their arrival in the US to the cities where they eventually settled. With photos along the way. I stopped dead. Now my interest is beginning to reawaken after ignoring genealogy for many months. I’ll probably get back to it before long.

In the meantime, I’ve begun a new hobby that is engaging and stimulating – amateur microscopy. It is a huge learning experience and fun. I even started a blog mostly as a summary of my progress Microscopy:Confessions of a Newbie  I’m hoping that this will provide a distraction that will keep me from obsessing on genealogy while still making progress.

I’ll be back.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I Now Have a Research Disciplinarian

No whips. No threats of harm to me or my family.  It’s software that forces me (sort of) to do step-by-step research planning and gives me a place to put research notes. This is necessary because I have no self-discipline.

I mentioned Research Ties in my 4 Feb 2018 post Getting my Act Together…
I learned about it in Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy  4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood. He implies that he uses it. It is a cloud based program specifically designed for family history.  I signed up for a 2-week trial.

It was a rocky start in spite of having a Beginner’s Guide and a series of tutorials. Even with that help, it was non-intuitive to me. Could have been crystal clear to other folks, but not to me. I stuck it out and now think I’ve mostly got the hang of it. Mostly.

Research Ties leads you through your research step-by-step.  You can upload a Gedcom file or enter individual names manually.

You first state an objective.
Then one or more searches to accomplish that objectives.
Then the results of each search.

The discipline comes in defining each step and then carrying it out. The sequence is very logical. Left to my own devices, I tend to jump all over the place and have vague plans, if any. I go down rabbit holes and lose track of what I was looking for. I write (often abbreviated) results in a notebook - some of the times.  I am poor at citations. When I go back later, I can barely read my own handwriting let alone figure out my abbreviations.

There are two great benefits: a) because it’s in the cloud, I can use it with my tablet when away from home; b) it has excellent report capability.  Reports can be downloaded in either MS Excel or PDF format.

I have now signed up for a $30 annual subscription.

DISCLAIMER: This works for me mostly because I use 2 displays. When doing online research, I have Research Ties on one screen and do my searches on the other.  I am not certain this I would be so enthusiastic using only one screen and having to switch back and forth between applications

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Aunt Martha - a Role Model

 Aunt Martha was unique in my family. As a child, I didn’t understand what a role model she was. Martha was born in St Paul Minnesota in1907; the 7th child of my maternal grandparents Ignatz and Stella Ganas. 

She was the only one of my mother’s 10 siblings who moved away from St. Paul as a single person. I’ll never know why she left, but the most common of the family lore says that she fell in love with a Jewish man. Religious conversion was not in the cards for either of them. So, she got on a train with a couple of friends and headed west sometime in the 1930’s.

After visiting towns in North Dakota and Montana she spent a season working in. Yellowstone National Park. She took a lot of photos, but not one has a date on it.  By 1938 she was in Pasadena, California taking snapshots of the Rose Parade. She finally settled in Oakland, California. She travelled the west coast and made regular trips back to St. Paul.

My first real memories of Aunt Martha were her visits to us in Chicago.  She was a superstar to me because of her travels but mostly because she traveled by air. What luxury that seemed to me! We’d go to Chicago’s Midway airport (this was way before O’Hare), go out on the observation deck and watch the planes arrive and depart.

Martha would arrive on a TWA Constellation.  (Here's another article.)  What a beautiful plane! I fell in love with it and still love it to this day. The sleek and graceful curves truly set her apart from other planes of the time.

I loved Aunt Martha because she was a loving, kind, gentle woman, and also because she was never condescending to a little kid like me.

I grew up in a time when girls were still expcted to grow up, become secretaries, get married and have babies. I grew up appreciating Martha her for her spirit, her poise, her wanderlust and her independence. All were an inspiration to a young girl. Thank you Aunt Martha.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Getting My Act Together Version (too many to count)

I’m pretty much a “big picture” person, preferring to look at the larger scope of things. That means that many of my i’s are left undotted and not all of my t’s are crossed.  Over the years, I’ve made several attempts at keeping a research log. Some lasted longer than others. I get distracted and then cannot remember exactly what I did about whom. Well, here I go again.

 Inspired by Val D. Greenwood’s 4th edition of The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy I will again try to keep (get) things organized. In chapter 7: Organizing and Evaluating Your Research Findings,  p.143.   He makes very specific recommendations for paper based forms and methods using a Research Log in conjunction with Research Notes, and how to synchronize them.

But what got my attention was his discussion of a software program called Research Ties. Apparently, Mr. Greenwood uses it.  It was developed by Jill Crandall specifically for genealogy research.  There’s no need to download anything, it is all in the cloud.  I’ve signed up for a free two-week trial.

On the first pass, it doesn’t seem very intuitive to me even though I’ve printed the Beginner’s Guide, so I guess I’ll actually watch the tutorials.