Monday, April 17, 2017

Using TextExpander to Speed up Source Citations

I’ve recently started creating source templates for source types that I use quite often, such as census records and cemetery markers, to save time when I’m writing research plans and reports. I’ve been placing them in Evernote, creating a linked table of contents so I can quickly find the correct source template. Here’s my Table of Contents and template for the 1930 U.S. census:

Table of Contents for Source Templates in Evernote


Template for the 1930 U.S. census in Evernote


While these templates did save me time on the research report I wrote last week, I couldn't help wondering if there was an even better way to automate the process. I’ve been using TextExpander at work, but not using it to its full potential. TextExpander is a great time-saver for those things you type over and over again. To use it, you set up a “snippet” for your text, and create an abbreviation that expands to the text when typed. The snippet can be used in Word, a web browser, genealogy software – basically anywhere you type information. For example, I can type “;name” and the abbreviation expands to my first and last name - Marceline Beem.


Today I decided to see if I could make a better source template in TextExpander, and it works beautifully! The program has the ability to use macros and variable fields in snippets, which make it ideal for source templates. After some experimenting, I came up with the following snippet for the same 1930 census shown above:


TextExpander snippet for the 1930 U.S. census


For reach variable, the left bracket was replaced with "%filltext:name=" and the right bracket was replaced with "%." TextExpander makes it easy to do this by pushing a button and typing in the name of the variable.  I use a semicolon to start each of my abbreviations, and my pattern for the federal census records is "fed" followed by the year. My abbreviation for the 1930 census is ";fed1930". 

Now when I type the abbreviation ";fed1930" into my Word document, I get a pop-up that allows me to input the variable data (Note: Be sure the cursor is where you want the text to appear when you type the abbreviation):

TextExpander form to fill in variable data for the 1930 U.S. census snippet



After completing the form, the text is inserted into my footnote:

 Completed form for the 1930 U.S. census snippet

 Footnote in Word, created from the TextExpander snippet


Of course, I would pick an example in which Ancestry.com used an FHL film, instead of a NARA publication, as its source, but that is easily fixed by editing the inserted footnote:

Corrected footnote, citing FHL microfilm instead of the NARA publication



From here, it was pretty easy to add templates for the remaining census years. To speed things up, I pasted each full reference note into Word (all remaining census years) and used the "search and replace" function to quickly edit the {brackets} with the correct syntax for TextExpander variables. I also changed the "accessed date" to record the current date, using TextExpander's native macros for date formatting. 

Do you use TextExpander or other software to automate your source citations outside of your genealogy management program? Which ones, and what do you like best about your system? Tell us about it in the comments!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

GPS Study Group Week 5: Who was the father of Benjamin F. Horton?


Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group
Homework
Chapter Five – Writing It Up
Marceline Beem


Reference:
Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.

This week’s chapter, the final one, focuses on writing up your research findings in one of three formats: proof statement, proof summary, and proof argument. Our assignment is to take one event in one ancestor’s life and write our conclusion. The format of the written report (summary, argument, or statement) depends on the complexity of the evidence.


Content
Use when…
Format
Proof Summary
Evidence used & how we arrived at conclusion
Evidence contains no conflicts
Bulleted/numbered list
Narrative (multiple sources)
Proof Argument
Narrative of analysis, evaluation, and conclusion
Evidence is complex (combination of direct and indirect) and/or has conflicting information
Written, documented narrative (footnotes or endnotes)
Proof Statement
An assertion of the fact with citations
Evidence contains no conflicts
1-2 sentences with citations

My topic for this week’s study is Benjamin F. Horton, my 2nd-great-grandfather. He was born in Coal Creek, Anderson County, Tennessee in March 1854. Determining the identities of his parents relied on both direct and indirect evidence, so according to our text, a proof argument is needed to show that his parents were Richard D. Horton and Rhoda Frost of Anderson County, Tennessee.

Research question: Who was the father of Benjamin F. Horton?

In 1860 and 1870, Benjamin F. Horton and his twin brother, Elijah, are enumerated in a household headed by Rhoda Horton (Figure 1).1,2 No adult male is listed in the household in either census. In examining marriage records for the Anderson County area, two Horton men married a woman named Rhoda:

  • B.F. Horton married Rhoda Hendrix on September 22, 1847 in Anderson County3
  • R.D. Horton married Rhoda Frost on October 14, 1852 in Anderson County4

Neither men were found in the state of Tennessee in 1860. Broadening the search, B.F. and Rhoda Horton were found enumerated in Kansas City, Missouri, making it likely that R.D. and Rhoda Horton were the parents of Benjamin and Elijah.5

Eventually other records were found that confirmed this theory:

  • The Anderson County courts granted a divorce to R.D. and Rhoda Horton in 1861.6 R.D. remarried a year later in Knox County, explaining his absence from the household headed by Rhoda in 1870.7
  • In the 1880 and 1900 census, Rhoda is living with Elijah and identified as his mother (Figure 2).8,9
  • Death certificates for Benjamin F. and Elijah give March 13, 1854 as the date of birth for both men, confirming that they were twins (Figures 3 and 4).10,11
  • Benjamin’s death certificate identifies his parents as Richard V. Horton and Rhodia Frost.12 Elijah’s gives the names R.D. Horton and Rhoda Frost.13

Although Benjamin Horton never appears in a document with his father, evidence from marriage records, census listings, and the death certificates for both Benjamin and his twin brother, Elijah, show that his father was Richard D. Horton of Anderson County, Tennessee.


References

  1. 1860 U.S census, Anderson County, Tennessee, population schedule, East Fork, p. 48, dwelling 685, family 685, Rhoda Horton; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Mar 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1239.
  2. 1870 U.S. census, Anderson County, Tennessee, population schedule, District 4, p. 40B, dwelling 225, family 225, Rhoda Horton; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1513.
  3. Anderson County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1847: 81, Horton-Hendrix; digital images, “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Dec 2015); citing Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.
  4. Anderson County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1852: 11, Horton-Frost; digital images, “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Dec 2015); citing Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.
  5. 1860 U.S. census, Jackson County, Missouri, population schedule, Kansas City, p. 161-62, dwelling 1333, family 1363, B.F. Horton; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 625.
  6. Hutton, Edith Wilson. Anderson County, Tennessee: Divorces and Naturalizations, 1844 through 1920. Knoxville, Tenn.: E.W. Hutton, 1992.
  7. Knox County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1862: 172, Horton-Trail; digital images, “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Jan 2017); citing Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.
  8. 1880 U.S. census population schedule, District 5, enumeration district (ED) 138, p. 1A (stamped, 1 (penned), dwelling 7, family 7, Elijiah Horton; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 April 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1244.
  9. 1900 U.S. census population schedule, Fifth Civil District, enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 31A, dwelling 590, family 604, Elijiah Horton; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 April 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1557.
  10. Knox County, Tennessee, death certificate no. 5568 (1912), Bengiman F. Horton; digital images, “Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Dec 2015).
  11. Anderson County, Tennessee, death certificate no. 488 (1928), Elijah Walker Horton; digital images, “Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2015).
  12. Knox County, Tennessee, death certificate 5568 (1912), Bengiman F. Horton.
  13. Anderson County, Tennessee, death certificate 488 (1928), Elijah Walker Horton.

 Images
Figure 1. Rhoda Horton in the 1860 census, Anderson County, Tennessee
Abstract:

Rhoda Harton, 29, F, Domestic, b. Tenn.
Eijiah W., 6, M, b. Tenn
Benjamin, 6, M, b. Tenn
George W., 3, M, b. Tenn

Figure 2. Elijah Horton in the 1880 census, Anderson County, Tennessee

Abstract:

Elijah Horton, W, M, 26, b. Tenn
Rhoda Horton, W, F, 47, mother, b. Tenn

Figure 3. Death certificate for Benjamin F. Horton
Abstract:

Name: Bengiman F. Horton
Date of birth: March 13, 1854
Name of father: Richard V. Horton
Maiden name of mother: Rhodia Frost


Death certificate for Elijah Horton

Abstract:

Name: Elijah Walker Horton
Date of birth: March 13, 1854
Name of father: R.D. Horton
Maiden name of mother: Rhoda Frost