Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Unknown

always on the lookout for those maiden names
I have 250 females in my Legacy family file with an unknown surname. These are the women who we find in the census or city directory or voting rolls or newspaper articles listed with their married surname. These women are the "married-ins" or the mothers of "married-ins." Oftentimes in newspaper articles they were referred to as Mrs. Harry Smith (not even their own first names were used!). For most of these women, I have not yet found a marriage record or any indication of their maiden name.

I know that many genealogists leave the surname entry blank but I prefer to use Unknown - I know I don't have the surname yet, but I am always on the lookout. I have also made a general note in my Legacy family file that I use Unknown intentionally (and for those whom I don't have a surname) - I would not want anyone to think that Unknown is an actual surname or that all my Unknowns are related (I once heard a presenter tell that story but I really hope she was joking!).

Do you use Unknown to indicate an unknown surname or do you leave the space blank?

See you back here tomorrow for the letter V.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Travel

Oh the places we go! 
Today we focus on the letter T and so it is all about travel. Do you include travel in your family history? I may be wrong (I often am!) but for most of our families, travel was a nonexistent luxury until the late 20th century. I know that my none of my Swedish, Norwegian, Slovenian or Irish ancestors ever had the means or opportunity to travel and visit family and friends in the old country. They were all too busy working their farms or raising their families to think about travel or (or even) vacations.

I remember when my niece showed my grandmother her scrapbook from a trip to Disneyland and provided running commentary of the week, including the park, the hotel and pool, and the restaurant meals. She then asked Gran (my mother's mom) about the trips she took as a child. Gran responded that times were different when she was young - she worked on the farm as a child, helping with chores and the hens, and any visiting that took place was to neighboring farms where extended family lived. From discussions with my Aunt, I know that although later in life my grandfather (my father's dad) wanted to travel back to Newfoundland, he was afraid to fly, thought the train and boat trip would be too long and difficult, and sadly never ended up making the trip (that might be one reason I made the trip in 2009).

Times have changed - and we can see it in the ship and flight manifests, travel journals and diaries, family scrapbooks and many other records that show recent generations have become travelers. Do you include the information you find about travel in your Legacy database? The major websites have some great records that provide lots of interesting information if you are lucky enough to have adventurous family members. From records I have seen, lots of my extended family went back to Newfoundland for holidays (and oftentimes it was show off their children or to spend Christmas with their family). When I find this information in the records, I include it as a travel event/fact. I have also included our family's travel (my mom always kept a notebook detailing each day of our trips). I love to travel and will take a trip whenever I can. I include travel as an event and write up a bit about each trip (passport stamps, photographs, and references from my journal notes).

Take advantage of the travel event/fact and include information about any trips you or your family members have taken (find those photographs to help tell the story). Was it a road trip across America, a voyage to a distant land, or perhaps a trip back to your ancestors' homeland? Why not share the story so future generations will learn about your adventurous side.
editing the travel event definition - to make it less formal 

finding the travel information
(passenger manifests and customs information)
adds to your ancestor's story
As a total aside, although I use lots of Legacy features, one that I have not made use of is the sharing of events feature. I happened to notice it today while working on this post. Are you using this feature? Is it everything you thought it would be? Does it export well into a GEDCOM, a report or another genealogy program? Just wondering.
a feature that seems better in the idea than the execution
not sold on this one, but could be convinced
See you back here tomorrow for the letter U!