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


Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Goals

I've had my goals for 2017 bouncing around in my head since late December, but I do need to get them in writing. I'm a little late, but it's still January, so this has to count for something, right?!  This year I want to focus on organizing my paper files, honing my writing skills, and solving a couple of complex research problems.

Organization

  • Organize paper documents for each direct line ancestor. Scan documents, create source citations, and document in Legacy. Toss or file papers.
  • Index and summarize pension file for Arthur Beem (this is such a huge file that it deserves its own place on the to-do list)
  • Organize paper documents for siblings of direct line ancestors through the 2nd-great-grandparents. Follow same process as with direct line ancestors.

Writing

  • Proof statements for each direct line ancestor. Topics: relationship to father, relationship to mother, birth, marriage, death. Copy to Legacy & Evernote.
  • Research plans for any missing parts of the proof statements for each direct line ancestor
  • Two weekly blog posts
  • Proof statements & research plans for siblings of direct line ancestors through great-grandparents

Research

  • Determine where Joseph Horton lived before moving to Tennessee
  • Continue to research the lives of Rebecca & Elizabeth Horton. Why didn't they marry? What happened to their land? Are there any candidates for the fathers of their children?
  • Research William Cail's FAN club to determine family relationships
  • Identify Richard Green's family in New Jersey

Education


What about you? Have you written any goals for 2017? Feel free to share in a comment! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

GPS Study Group Week 4: Where Was James Baldwin Born? (Revisited)



Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group
Homework
Chapter Four – Case Studies
Marceline Beem


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


Where was James Baldwin born?

James Baldwin was a wealthy farmer and pioneer in North Florida, settling here shortly after statehood.1 He lived in several places in North Central Florida, finally settling in Putnam County in the 1860’s.2 He died in Melrose on June 12, 1884 and is buried at Eliam Cemetery.3 He had eight known children, seven surviving to adulthood. All of them remained in the Melrose, Florida area.

James lived in North Carolina and Florida at a time when neither state issued birth certificates. Some areas of Florida began recording deaths in 1877, but compliance was inconsistent, especially in rural areas. No local or state-level death records have been found for James Baldwin. To answer the question of where James Baldwin was born, a variety of documents were analyzed and correlated to determine that he was born in Columbus County, North Carolina.

James Baldwin is enumerated in the 1850-1880 census records in North Florida: 1850 in Duval County (36 years old)4; 1860 in Alachua County (49 years old)5; 1870 (60 years old)6 and 1880 (68 years old)7 in Putnam County. Although there are slight variations in the age, which is not unusual in census records, the census does consistently point to a birth location of North Carolina.

Other records were used to narrow down a more precise birth location. James Baldwin’s tombstone states he was born on April 14, 1812 in Columbus County, North Carolina (Figure 1).8 From a receipt in his probate packet, we know the tombstone was purchased by his heirs (most likely his son, Leonard) shortly after his death on June 12, 1884.9 None of the family remaining in Florida at his death would have had first-hand knowledge that James was born in Columbus County, but his older children were born there and were old enough to have their own memories of where they lived before coming to Florida in the late 1840’s.10,11

Going back to the 1840 census, a James Baldwin Jun., aged 20-29, is enumerated in Columbus County.12 There is only one other James Baldwin Columbus County in 1840, aged 50-59. Leonard Baldwin consistently gave his birthplace as Columbus County, North Carolina, providing evidence that James Baldwin, Florida pioneer, is the same person known as James Baldwin, Jr. in Columbus County.13,14

The only record that gives a different place of birth for James Baldwin is the 1940 death certificate of his daughter, Caroline Baldwin Price (Figure 2).15 The informant, her son Russell Price, gave the birth location of Nichols, South Carolina. Russell was born in 1892 (Figure 3) – eight years after James Baldwin died - and did not know either of his maternal grandparents.16 His paternal grandmother, Sarah Price, though, was born in Nichols, which is just over the state line from Columbus County.17 Russell would have known Sarah well, as she lived in the same community and died after he was married and had his own child. Perhaps in the stress and grief of losing his mother, he mixed up the birth locations of his grandparents. An earlier record, a newspaper article noting the 50th wedding anniversary of Allen and Caroline (Baldwin) Price, identifies her father by name and gives Columbus County as the family’s previous residence.18

Only the tombstone located in Eliam Cemetery (Melrose, Florida) directly identifies James Baldwin’s birth place as Columbus County, North Carolina. A variety of records link this James Baldwin to James Baldwin, Junior of Columbus County, North Carolina. Only one document, created fifty-five years after James’ death, with information provided by a family member who did not know him personally, provides conflicting information. With the evidence currently available, there is no reason to doubt the veracity of the birth location etched on James Baldwin’s tombstone.


Endnotes

1. 1850 U.S. census, Duval County, Florida, population schedule, Thomasville District, page 118 (stamped), line 6, James Baldwin; digital image, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 Sep 2016), Florida > Duval > Duval county > image 57 of 62; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.) [The page is hard to read because of faded ink, even when using viewing aids at Ancestry and FamilySearch. In the citation, the line item is used because the dwelling and family numbers are partially illegible.]

2. 1870 U.S. census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Orange Springs, page 46 (penned), 535 (stamped), dwelling 128, family 122, James Baldwin; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Sep 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 133.

3. Eliam Cemetery (Melrose, Florida), James Baldwin tombstone; photographed by Marceline R. Beem, 24 Sep 2016.

4. 1850 U.S. census, Duval Co., Fla., pop. sch., Thomasville District, page 118 (stamped), line 6, James Baldwin.

5. 1860 U.S. census, Alachua County, Florida, population schedule, Division 17 (Waldo Post Office), page 5 (penned and stamped), dwelling 31, family 31, James Baldwin; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Sep 2016), image 5 of 77, citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 106.

6. 1870 U.S. census, Putnam Co., Fla., pop. sch., Orange Springs, page 46 (penned), 535 (stamped), dwelling 128, family 122, James Baldwin.

7. 1880 U.S. census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 11, Enumeration District (ED) 134, pages 17-18 (penned), 89A-B (stamped), dwelling 112, family 112, James Baldwin; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Sep 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 131.

8. Eliam Cemetery (Melrose, Florida), James Baldwin tombstone.

9. Putnam County, Florida, probate file no. 274, James Baldwin (1884), receipt for limestone from James S. Clark & Co., 11 December 1884; “Florida Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 September 2016); the petition is imaged as p. 839 of Putnam County Probate Packets 236-277.

10. “Confederate Pension Records”, database and images, Florida Memory (http://www.floridamemory.com : accessed 24 Sep 2016); Form A, Soldier’s Pension Claim Under the Act of 1909, affidavit taken 25 July 1909 for Leonard Baldwin, application no. A07843, (Bradford County, 1907), for service in 2nd Regt Cav, image 3 of 17.

11. “Florida Deaths, 1877-1939,” database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 23 Sep 2016), entry for Lenard Baldwin (1917); citing Melrose, Putnam, Florida, reference cn 851; FHL microfilm 2,116,887.

12. 1840 U.S. census, Columbus County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 12 (penned), p. 65 (stamped), line 7, James Baldwin, Jun; digital image, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 28 August 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication M704. The roll number is not specified on FamilySearch, but Ancestry cites roll 365.

13. “Confederate Pension Records”, database and images, Florida Memory;  Form A for Leonard Baldwin.

14. “Florida Deaths, 1877-1939,” database, FamilySearch, entry for Lenard Baldwin (1917).

15. Caroline Price, death certificate, state file no. 5308, certificate dated 19 Mar 1940, State of Florida, State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Alachua County, Gainesville, Florida.

16. 1900 U.S. census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 18, Enumeration District (ED) 149, page 8B (penned), dwelling 123, family 123, Allen Price; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Sep 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 176.

17. Florida Deaths, 1877-1939," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FPMT-ZBX : 24 December 2014), Sarah A. Price, 04 Dec 1917; citing Melrose, Putnam, Florida, reference cn 12891; FHL microfilm 2,116,891.

18. “Mr. and Mrs. Allen Price Celebrate Golden Wedding on Thanksgiving”. [Note: a copy of this newspaper article was provided to the researcher by a family member. There is no indication of the name of the newspaper or the date of publication. Allen Price and Caroline Baldwin were married 27 November 1879, so the article should have been published in 1939. An inquiry to the Alachua County (Florida) Library, which has microfilm copies of the Gainesville Sun for the time period, yielded no results. The records for the Palatka Daily News (Florida) need to be searched to determine if the article was published in that newspaper.] Note: The article identifies Caroline’s parents as “Mr. and Mrs. James Baldwin,” who came to Florida from Columbus County, North Carolina. The article also states that Caroline came to Florida with her parents from North Carolina in 1848. While the relocation date is corroborated with census records (her sister Polly was born in 1848 in Florida), Caroline could not have been part of the party since she was not born until 1851.



Appendix 1
Summary of Findings

Source
Birth Place
1850-1880 Census
North Carolina
Tombstone
Columbus County, North Carolina
Death Certificate for Caroline Price
Nichols, SC
Death Certificate for Leonard Baldwin
North Carolina
Confederate Pension Application for Leonard Baldwin
Does not directly address this research question, but gives Leonard’s birthplace as Columbus County, NC, tying James Baldwin of North Florida to James Baldwin of Columbus County, North Carolina
Newspaper Article for Allen & Caroline Price’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
Baldwin family came to Florida from Columbus County, NC


Appendix 2
Images of Selected Documents

Figure 1, Photograph of James Baldwin's Tombstone, Eliam Cemetery, Melrose, Florida
Transcript:

IN MEMORY OF

JAMES BALDWIN
BORN IN

Columbus Co. N.C.

April 14, 1812

DIED

June 12, 1884

Figure 2, Death Certificate for Caroline Baldwin Price, 1940
Partial Transcript
Mrs. Carolina Price
Date of death: March 19, 1940

Father: James Baldwin
Birthplace: Nichols S.C.

Mother: Mary Nichols
Birthplace: Nichols S.C.

Informant: R.A. Price, Gainesville, FL


Figure 3, Allen Price Family, 1900 Census of Putnam County, Florida

Partial Transcript:

Price, Allen, Head, W, M, b. Dec 1850, 49, married for 20 years
Caroline, wife, W, F, b. Jan 1851, 49, married for 20 years, 5 children (5 living)
Eunice, daughter, W, F, b. September 1882, 17, single
Candasie, daughter, W, F, b. Dec 1884, 15, single
Henry, son, W, M, Nov 1886, 12, single
James, son, W, M, Aug 1888, 11, single
Russel, son, W, M, July 1892, 7, single





Ancestry: Beware of Misleading Database Titles

This afternoon I had a few minutes to research, so headed to Ancestry. As I always do when I haven't been there for a few days, I checked out the "New Records" section to see if there is anything I need to look at. Today an entry for "Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1825-1960" caught my eye. My Nickerson and Robinson lines came from Nova Scotia to Maine in the early 1800's, so I decided to do a quick search for them. My 3rd-great-grandmother, Elvira Nickerson, was born in Maine in 1820, so I knew I wouldn't find her or her parents in the database, but I wanted to see if I could find any Nickerson or Robinson relatives. I put in search parameters of last name Nickerson, born in 1820 +/- 10 years (1810-1830 time span). I also ran the same search with the birth years of 1800 and 1780, which should covered all Nickerson's born between 1770-1830 crossing the U.S./Canadian border. Here's a screen shot of one of the searches:




To my surprise, not a single record was found:


At this point, I decided to look at what crossing points and year spans were included in the database.1 (You can do this by clicking on the "Learn more about this database link" on the left side of the page.) Naturally, the vast majority of the records for Maine took place in the 20th Century, making it unlikely that I'm going to find my earlier Nickerson/Robinson clan in these records. BUT...a closer examination of the description shows that the earliest crossing in this record set, from any entry point, is from 1877, even though the database's title says 1825! If this recordset had an accurate title (e.g 1877-1960), I would not have spent my precious research time on a fruitless effort. Thanks, Ancestry.

So what did I learn from this? 

  1. If I don't find what I expect to find in a search, check the database's description to see what was actually included in the record set and/or index. It may be that the records I'm looking for DO exist, just not where I'm looking for them.
  2. Better yet, especially on days that I have just 10-15 minutes to do a quick search, maybe I should check the database description first, instead of relying on titles, to let me know if I might find what I'm looking for.

References

1. "U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1825-1960",  database,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed January 22, 2017), database description; citing National Archives and Records Administration,  Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85.