Category Archives: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your First Foray into Genealogy Social Media

It’s already memorial Day weekend. This year seems to be flying by. Randy Seaver is keeping with the technology-themed challenges again this week:

1)  What was your first foray into genealogy social media on the computer? 

I was already a long time genealogy addict by the time the internet started to explode. Although we started off with Apple computers, by the early 1990s, we had switched to PCs.

Today, I’m not very much into social media. In fact, the only source I use now – very sparingly – is Facebook. Back in the 1990s, as Randy mentioned, genealogy message boards were extremely popular. I loved the surname boards and browsed quite a few of them, which at the time, were much more plentiful for my mother’s New England ancestral lines as opposed to my paternal Rusyn ancestors.

We never used AOL or Prodigy. Instead, my favorite message boards were the ones that were housed on RootsWeb, then on Ancestry. I think they are still viewable, but have been closed to further comments for a long time.

I found excellent clues and actual facts for many of my colonial American families.

It also brought the first taste of instant gratification with an answer – no need to wait for my favorite mail lady to see if any letters arrived for me.

It hasn’t been all that long – the last few months, actually – since a couple of archived message boards came up when I did a general online search for a family.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then and Now – Oral Interviews

I’m a bit behind this week since I’ve assigned myself the fun task of cleaning up the garage floor this weekend. We have a nice epoxy coating on all three parking spots and I clean it up once a year. This is the weekend I’ve allotted.

However, Randy Seaver, as usual, as assigned us a fun SNGF task:

1)  Then and Now – Did you ever conduct oral interviews of family members or friends and neighbors about your ancestors over the years?  Who did you interview, how did you record the interviews, and what did you learn from them?  Please share your experiences.

Although I questioned a number of relatives about ancestors, I never sat down for a formal interview where I asked and recorded questions and answers.

Both of my grandmothers were instrumental in providing information about their own families and those of my grandfathers, both of whom were deceased by the time I starting working on the family history. The fact that both grandmothers knew their own grandparents, plus maiden names, and my maternal grandmother knew the same for my grandfather, I had a huge head start since I knew names, places and some dates back to my 2X great grandparents.

I also spent a few days and many shared letters with my grandfather’s cousin, Charles, who, at the time, was the only keeper of the Adams line family history.

My aunts and uncle added more details and my paternal grandmother, Nana, wrote to Slovakia to family members asking questions and gave me the names of several of her cousins living in New Jersey.

My dad’s cousins, Nick and Steve, also remembered many old timers from their childhood.

Looking back, I think I was wise to cast such a wide net because the older generation at that time consisted of relatives well into their 80s.

Now, I’ve become the keeper of the family history and my cousins’ children ask me the questions!

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s challenge.


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then and Now – Source Citations

It’s Saturday, once again, and time for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

This week’s challenge, like last week’s, is tech-related to our genealogy research:

1)  Then and Now – How have you documented your genealogy and family history research with source citations over the years?  What did you start with (Then) and what do you presently use (Now).  Please share your experiences.

In my life, I’d written many research papers, both in high school and college. I was in my 20s when I began researching my family history – pre-internet days – and I kept my research results on good old paper. My source citations were very simple at first, e.g. New Jersey Vital Records, but soon evolved into a traditional bibliographic citation, such as would be found in a college paper.

I actually continued with that method for decades, even after I switched to genealogy software, saving my citations in the Notes for each person. That was mainly because using those templates made me a bit crazy.

A couple of years ago, I started making more of an attempt to use generated source citations and tried out EasyBib, Zotero and Cite-Builder. Yes, I have Evidence Explained on my book shelf, but mainly use it for unusual items I want to cite.

Last year, I began my software cleanup, both in terms of adding people and in formalizing citations, trying to use the templates in RootsMagic 7. That is moving along at an okay pace, although I still really, really don’t like the templates. Although I have downloaded both RM8 and RM9, there is a learning curve to the new RM versions. The RM7 templates frustrate me enough that I decided to stick with RM7 until I finish this project. No point in adding a learning curve to my frustration levels, too!

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.