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.