The angle on NGS-HSC Lesson 9

I get night terrors about math. When I took my GMAT exam, I got a deck of flashcards for the multiplication tables. It was officially time to learn them. Approximately 20 years later than I should have learned them. I’m sorry Mr. Moehnke!

Then I took the Land, Lots of Land: Learning the Ins and Outs of Land Records with Kevin L. Meyers at Angelina College Genealogy Conference in Lufkin, Texas in 2010. Part of the class obviously included land platting because the list of supplies included a protractor and graph paper. No fear at that point, it was just school supply shopping. And what genealogist doesn’t like school, ahem, office supplies? The platting exercise there rapidly became a dim memory, like all my knowledge of math and math related “stuff.” My usual response, which has worked for me (but not so much for my mother) for the last 30+ years: “when will I ever need this?”.

I need it for Lesson 9 of the NGS-HSC. I’m not done with this lesson because I still need to make the time to visit the state repository for the second assignment. But, for now, I’ll share with you my recommendations about assignment 1 and using the dreaded protractor.

First of all, practice using the example in the lesson until you get it perfect. Really, really, really.

When you use your protractor (which I will occasionally call a compass just because, well, see the second paragraph), I have to say I like this one:

Fiskars 12-95400B Assorted Colors Swing Arm Protractor

rather than this one:

Fiskars 01-004305 Protractor Recycled 6-Inch base

Yes, they do the same thing but somehow I like it better. I don’t know.

There’s two rows of numbers on the straight edge, inches and centimeters. OK, I’m solid so far. The curved part also has two numbers. Basically the same 180 degrees starting at opposite ends. Choices?? You can Google anything, ya know. Some school (as in maybe middle school) website said to think about the angle to make sure you’re using the right row. Doh! So if it’s 28 degrees but the angle I’m trying to draw is obtuse, then I’m being obtuse and using the wrong row. Ahhh, math clarity. (No worries, I’ll explain. The acute angle is less than 90 degrees, 90 degrees being the angle that makes the corner of a box or an “L,” and obtuse is greater than 90 degrees.)

Draw away! The instructions say to label the North, South, West, and East edges of the graph paper. I also labeled the lines and the landmarks on each corners (e.g., trees, corners of others’ property) per the steps in Locating Your Roots (affiliate link) by Patricia Law Hatcher. Yes, there are ways to double-check your assignment with free online tools but you can do it! Don’t check the answer until you’ve made some good attempts!

So there’s my shameful math secret exposed for the entire world to see simply because I want you to succeed with Lesson 9.

Categories: Education, NGS-HSC | 2 Comments

Hello PaPa, thinking of you on this Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, I pulled out what I had as service records for both of my grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather, Hugo Morris WEBB, Sr., was a member of Battery B of the 547th antiaircraft artillery battalion. The campaigns listed on his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge

are Rhineland and Central Europe and GO 33 WD 45 (from what I can see, this may be an additional decoration/citation that is actually pertinent to the box right below this one). One day, I’d like to trace his path with records, journals, diaries, compiled histories so I can better see what those three years were like.  Here’s PaPa Webb:

As I started exploring this idea, I found an outstanding resource at Dad’s War. It was created by  Wesley Johnston in honor of his father, Walter G. Johnston, Jr. who served in World War II. The home page is crucial as it describes “First Steps to Finding Your Dad’s Story — Start Here.” So start there.

I don’t have as much good stuff from my maternal grandfather, Rueben HENNEKE who left the service as a TEC 4. PaPa Henneke:

But Mom has requested the records as next-of-kin from the National Archives so we’ll see what arrives. Grandma’s record in the family bible (below) contains the only details I know.

She indicates that he entered the service on 3 May 1945 as a Private at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. She described his service as:

  • Private, at camp Fort Bliss (Texas) from May 1945 to Oct. 1945 (I also have a certificates of completion for automotive mechanics training at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas for 28 Aug. 1945 and 15 Sep. 1945)
  • Private, at Fort Ord (Calif.) from Oct. 1945- 2 Nov. 1945 (this date was significant to Grandma as it was her 27th birthday)
  • Left U.S. from Fort Lawton, Washington on 2 Nov 1945
  • Arrived at Nagasaki, Japan on 27 Nov 1945
  • NOTE: I have a medical certificate dated 26 Aug. 1946 from the Headquarters 65th Engineer Combat Battalion, Office of the Surgeon, APO 25 (Kanacka Barracks), Honshu which is basically a medical release since he had been in “areas having high incidence of malaria, Helminthiasis, and Amoebic Dysenteries.”
  • Returned to U.S. 17 Sep. 1946 with rank of TEC 4 at Oakland Army Base, California on the ship Patrick Henry
  • Discharged at Fort Sam Houston, Texas on 25 Oct. 1946

Branch of Service says:

197 Eng. Dump Truck Co.
Automotive Mechanic
65th Combat Batt.


Categories: military, Surname: HENNEKE, Surname: WEBB | Comments Off

SNGF: List Your Matrilineal Line(s)

Randy Seaver at Genea-musings hosts a round of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun every, yes, you guessed it, Saturday night.  His instructions are in blue:

1) List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

  1. moi
  2. Patricia Ann HENNEKE married Delbert Monroe WEBB
  3. Ruby Lee REINHARDT (1918-1997) married Ruben Henry HENNEKE (1913-2003)
  4. Helen Anna RABKE (1881-1954) m. Henry Christian REINHHARDT (1882-1968)
  5. Marie GOHLKE (?-?) m. Adolph RABKE (? -?)
  6. Augusta SASSE (? – ?) Johann F. R. GOHLKE (? – ?)
  7. it sure did fizzle out quickly, didn’t it?

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

Huh? No.

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.

You’re lookin’ at it.

4)  If you have done this before, please do your father’s matrilineal line, or your grandfather’s matrilineal line, or your spouse’s matriliuneal line.

Another day…I’m already a day late to Saturday.

5)  Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?

Yes! Always!

Categories: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Surname: GOHLKE, Surname: HENNEKE, Surname: RABKE, Surname: REINHARDT, Surname: SASSE, Surname: WEBB | Tags: | Comments Off

SNGF: Spokeo

Randy Seaver at Genea-musings hosts a round of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun every, yes, you guessed it, Saturday night. Be very afraid. Your local genealogists are ganging up and prowling the night hours, especially on the weekend. Sometimes this is our only opportunity to get some good, solid work done.

This is my first time reporting my participation.  This week it is What does Spokeo know about you? His instructions are:

1)  Go to Spokeo – and put in your name (or any name).  

In this case, I used my real name, not “Geeky Texan.” It certainly found me.  To my front door. It has a picture of my house to prove it. I entered my city when I first searched. But by entering my name and “Texas” it gets 15 results in the large metro area in which I live.

2)  See what Spokeo says about you.  Is it accurate?  

Overall, it is more or less correct.  However, I’m now a Scorpio instead of Sagittarius. I don’t know if my birthdate changed or if the stars re-aligned…. Overall, it’s decidedly creepy as all sites like this are.

3)  Share what you want to share with us in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook, or in a Stream post on Google Plus.

you’re lookin’ at it

Categories: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun | Comments Off

Proof is in the pudding, er, Cheetos

I’m continuing my month of evidence (not that you could tell since it appears that I dropped off the face of this planet) and am still working through various readings (I think now I’m just checking for consistency and procrastinating on the actual ProGen assignment).  So, many hot chips with lime later (you know, CHEETOS® Crunchy FLAMIN’ HOT® Limon Cheese Flavored Snacks), here is what I’m currently reading.

James Tanner of Genealogy’s Star posted a whole series on evidence, proof, facts, information, data, etc. (other key words related to good genealogical practice….).  He’s an attorney but his blog posts are very readable (I work with too many lawyers to count and I don’t think I create have a 100 word sentence if I tried) and pertinent. Here’s what he’s been saying on this subject this summer:

What is evidence? What is proof?

What you really want to know about evidence

Digging into evidence

I Move Exhibit Three Into Evidence, Your Honor.

From Information to Data to Facts to Evidence to Proof

What Me Worry? Who needs evidence?

Information or data? Facts or evidence?

We must begin with doubt

When is there proof?

Prove it if you can

Fact? Evidence? or Proof?


But don’t stop there.  There’s much more good reading on his blog.  It seems slightly slow running in both Chrome and IE (at least as far as I’ve experienced), but it is worth it.  So grab some cheetos and settle in for some good reading!

Categories: evidence, ProGen | Comments Off

what have I done?

I had a four day weekend. That I spent trying to maximize my use of Ancestry’s free week of Immigration and Naturalization records since I mistakenly think that if I don’t subscribe I can a) save that money and b) don’t spend all my time doing haphazard searches. Well, I showed me! I spent all weekend doing haphazard searches. And I have about 18 hours before I have to go back to work.

This weekend, I found Galveston port arrival information (that was a quick win, I knew the info was there but since it was on my orderly (e.g., non-haphazard) research log I hadn’t done it yet. I found that one of my ancestor’s entry to Virginia was as an apprentice and the ancestor arriving in Pennsylvania was a voluntary indentured servant.

I’ll do three short posts in the next couple of days about these. I need to reach a stopping point so I need to capture what I’ve done, even if I have done it like a bull in a china shop.

Categories: Migration and Settlement | Comments Off

What I learned Wednesday: living intentionally

To current life standards, my 20s and my 30s were not what I would have wanted if I had known myself as well as I do now.  But looking back, my childhood and teen years established the role of family in my life.  My 20s established the role of love in my life and my 30s established the role of career in my life (it appears I’m not a good multi-tasker).  Spirituality has been the most pervasive theme in my life and physical body and health the most neglected (at least I’m consistent).  All those decades, and all that education, mistakes and all, have crystallized into “me.”  The totality of me as was never defined before (I’m on a theatrical kick, aren’t I)?

I went to the Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 6, 2011.  It was held in Atlanta and telecast to other locations.  One of the speakers was Suzy Welch whose presentation was about her 10-10-10 strategy.  Any decision she makes is based upon evaluating the 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years ramifications.  In addition, she provided three other questions to guide decision making:

  1. what would make you cry with regret at your 70th birthday party? (what is your legacy?)
  2. what do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? (speaks to your values that are most important to you)
  3. what did you love about your upbringing?  what did you hate? (keep it in perspective so you don’t repeat the past)

I really enjoyed her presentation so went to buy her book 10-10-10: A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and with Your Family (affiliate link).  I read it one weekend and I very much recommend it.  (In addition, I recommend the Leadercast.  I got a lot of good stuff out of it although admittedly I’m a bit of a self-help junkie.)

On page 223, she discusses a dinner party where the attendees tried to name 12 people who were actually living the life they wanted.  She says: “Candidates don’t need to be without battle wounds; they didn’t even need to be successful by society’s standard measures.  They just needed to be , we all agreed, at peace with themselves.”

She hopes that by sharing the 10-10-10 strategy, she can get people closer to that peace.  On page 21, she describes a client’s moment of breakthrough as “the peace of mind that comes with intentionality.”  Wow, I feel “more “intentional” and in control than I ever have in my life (though not completely there) AND realize it (I’m a little dense occasionally).  Do you?  Good, then let’s all join hands and sing…..

Categories: legacy, What I Learned Wednesday | Comments Off

legalese please

As a point of reference as we discuss evidence, keep these definitions from the 6th edition of  Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link) handy:

Evidence: Any species of proof, or probative matter, legally presented at the trial of an issue, by the act of the parties and through the medium of witnesses, records, documents, exhibits, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or jury as to their contention.

Proof: The effect of evidence; the establishment of a fact by evidence.

Evidence and proof distinguished: Proof is the logically sufficient reason for assenting to the truth of a proposition advanced….But “evidence” is a narrower term, and includes only such kinds of proof as may be legally presented at a trial, by the act of the parties, through the aid of such concrete facts as witnesses, records, or other documents. Thus, to urge a presumption of law in support of one’s case is adducing proof, but it is not offering evidence. “Belief” is a subjective condition resulting from proof. It is a conviction of the truth of pa proposition, existing in the mind, and induced by persuasion, proof, or argument addressed to the judgment. Proof is the result or effect of evidence, while evidence is the medium or means by which a fact is proved or disproved, but the words “proof” and “evidence” may be used interchangeably. Proof is the perfection of evidence; for without evidence there is no proof, although there may be evidence which does not amount to proof…


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Evidently we have more to learn

I mentioned in my post on the NGS-HSC Lesson 1’s extended reading that we needed to discuss more. I gave a short list of items to review in that post but as I approach the ProGen topic for September, Evidence, it’s time to take a look-see and make sure we have a good foundation.

So here’s an expanded list of evidence-y analysis-y resources. And, yes, I’ve repeated myself since that other post, but there’s some new goodies also. Coming up soon are some legal definitions that we want to hang onto and another laundry list of blog posts on evidence-y analysis-y stuff. Hang on! Here we go!

“Board for Certification of Genealogist Abandons Term ‘Preponderance of the Evidence'” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 85 (September 1997): 227.

Board for Certification of Genealogists. “The Genealogical Proof Standard.”

Board for Certification of Genealogists. The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. (affiliate link) Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2000.

Devine, Donn. “Do We Really Decide Relationships by a Preponderance of the Evidence?” National Genealogical Society Newsletter 18 (September-October 1992): 131-132.

Devine, Donn. “Evidence and Sources – And How They Differ” Ancestry 15 (May-June 1997): 26-29.

FamilySearch. “Evaluate the Evidence.” Family Search wiki.

Greenwood, Val D. “Evaluating Evidence” Genealogical Journal 25 (1997): 51-62.

Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, Third Edition. (affiliate link) Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. See esp. chapter 4 on “Evaluation of Evidence.”

Ingham, Norman W. “Some Thoughts about Evidence and Proof in Genealogy.” The American Genealogist 72 (July 1997): 380-385.

Jacobus, Donald Lines. “On the Nature of Genealogical Evidence.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 92 (July 1938): 213-214.

Jones, Thomas W. “A Conceptual Model of Genealogical Evidence: Linkage Between Present-Day Sources and Past Facts.”  National Genealogical Society Quarterly 86 (March 1998): 5-18.

Jones, Thomas W. “Inferential Genealogy.” FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 120:00. 28 Apr 2010. (Grab the course handout before starting.)

Leary, Helen F. M. “Evidence Revisited: DNA, POE, and GPS.” OnBoard 4 (January 1998): 1-2, 5.

Meyerink, Kory L. “Evaluation of Evidence.” Ancestry Newsletter 10 (November-December 1992): 1-3.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. “Analyzing and Reviewing Published Sources.” OnBoard 3 (May 1997): 16.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. “Building a Case When No Record ‘Proves’ a Point.” Ancestry 16 (April-May 1998): 29.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown, ed. “Evidence.” Special Issue, National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87, no. 3 (September 1999).

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. (affiliate link) Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009. See esp. chapter 1 on “Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis.”

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. (affiliate link) Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997. See esp. the chapter on “Fundamentals of Analysis.”

Mills, Elizabeth Shown, ed. Professional Genealogy. (affiliate link) Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008. See esp. chapter 17, “Evidence Analysis” by Donn Devine.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. “The Kinship Maze: Navigating it with Professional Precision.” Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly 20 (June 2005): 61-70.

Paul Drake “Some Thoughts Concerning Genealogical Evidence and Proof: Part II: Establishing Proof” National Genealogical Society Newsletter 17 (November –December 1991): 153-155.

Rose, Christine. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case. (affiliate link) San Jose, CA: CR Publications, 2009.

Rubicam, Milton, ed. Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources. (affiliate link) Washington, D.C.: American Society of Genealogists, 1980. See esp. chapter 3 “Interpreting Genealogical Records.”

Sheppard, Walter Lee Jr. “What Proves a Lineage? Acceptable Standards of Evidence” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 75 (June 1987): 124-130.

Stevenson, Noel C.  Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship and Family History. (affiliate link) Laguna Hills, CA: Aegean Park Press, 1989.  See sp. chapter 21 “Rules of Evidence Applied to Genealogy” and chapter 22 “Hearsay Evidence.”

Tolman, Tristan L. “Evidence Analysis, Part II” FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 27:00. 10 Mar 2011.

Turner, Kathleen. “Mentoring Class 7: Evidence Analysis.” FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 37:00. 17 Nov 2010.

Categories: books, Education, evidence, NGS-HSC, ProGen | Comments Off

What I learned (day after) Wednesday: ProGen May 2011

The May 2011 ProGen Study Group was on chapter 13, “Time Management” in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (affiliate link) edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. The practical assignment was to keep a time journal for a week to determine what your “time thieves” are and find ways to eliminate the “time thieves” that aren’t as important to you.

As you can imagine, keeping that journal was eye-opening and embarrassing. I do like television. But it put not only home life time thieves into perspective but also work. I will never wonder again where the work day is gone. It’s constant drop-ins and diversions.

One of the additional study suggestions is the famous Randy Pausch’s Time Management lecture. You may not be in ProGen, you may not like genealogy (why are you punishing yourself by reading this blog??) but listen to this lecture. The slides are also posted.  This is a compilation of all good time management strategies, including some you may not have considered, all in a little over an hour. It is worth it.

I missed that month’s discussion. Ironically enough, I completely forgot. Totally unlike me. But looking at the transcript showed alot of good discussion about note-taking systems, to-do systems, and other productivity solutions. In addition, genealogy efficiency solutions were discussed such as GenSmarts. I would call it a “genealogy virtual assistant” and their website says:

GenSmarts Finds Missed Research Opportunites 
Are there research techniques you’ve missed or under-applied? Here’s an example: You’re probably aware that the 1880 U.S. census asked for the birthplace of a person’s parents. Suppose you have an ancestor born in 1780, and his son, your direct line, was born in 1800. Since both the father and son died prior to 1850, you might not think about the 1880 census for this family. BUT WAIT… this son had a younger brother, born in 1815… he might still be alive in 1880, and could give you the birth location of your 1780 ancestor. GenSmarts applies complex research logic like this to identify research opportunities. 

GenSmarts Finds Under-Explored Limbs In Your Family Tree 
How many people do you have documented in your file? 1000? 10,000? 250,000? How do you manage to be on top of all that data? Do you fall into the trap of spending too much time in a favorite/familiar part of your tree? When’s the last time you went through each person and looked for new research ideas? How long would that take you? GenSmarts can cover your entire tree in seconds and point out areas that deserve more attention. 

GenSmarts Makes Research Finds With Sites You’d Given Up On 
Have you under-used some online research sites because they’re just too hard to use? That’s what our customers tell us – GenSmarts has rekindled their interest in sites they could never figure out, or were too slow. GenSmarts can navigate the search screens and fill in the forms for you with just one click. 

GenSmarts Keeps You Current With New Online Research Sites 
Are you up to speed on the latest online research opportunities? GenSmarts stays current with new sites as they become available. And instead of just informing you of the site, GenSmarts tells you why you care – which of your ancestors you should be searching for there. And… gives you a link so you can do that search in a single click. 

I haven’t tried this out but it is on my to-do list. I use toodledo for my electronic to-do list which I can modify (mostly adds, very few completions) from any Internet connection or the nifty toodledo app on my iPhone. Here’s a screenshot of the task I just added:

Another productivity tool I use is EverNote which is a cloud collection of all those tidbits of life. I star blog posts as I  read them on my iPhone and later move the key stuff that caught my attention to an EverNote notebook (work, genealogy, project management are my primary ones) and tag it if appropriate (e.g., copyright, blog idea). I do the same from maillists.  Websites. PDFs I want to read later. I’m content with the free version which can hold images and PDFs. For only $45 a year, you can hold any file type. Dump it all in EverNote and search or browse for the information when you need it.

My calendar is GroupWise at work and only the personal items affecting my work day are included (e.g., doctor appointments or notes to “leave on time you have a ProGen chat!”). I have a monthly paper calendar (can you believe it?) for personal items and things affecting my work day (like a vendor meeting that I need to dress decent for).  Contacts are on iPhone with the two postal addresses I use (my grandma and my brother) written in that dinosaur-like paper calendar. My inbox is my work to-do list (which is a no no according to Randy Pausch) and my sent items are my pending items. Everything else is deleted or archived.

If you feel time management challenged, please read Getting Things Done (affiliate link) by David Allen. And there’s many productivity and life hacker blogs that have great ideas. I follow:


So go forth and waste some quality time on these suggestions!
Categories: Education, Professional, ProGen | Comments Off