Second Steps with GenDetective

Last week, I wrote about my very first foray with GenDetective. I had a number of questions, particularly why the report said no media files were attached. I mentioned last week that Sandy, the tech support person asked that I share my GEDCOM so that they could see what was going on. I sent it off and received a fairly lengthy reply, which I will share below.

I used my 5x great grandfather, Anders Molin of Sweden, as the subject of the report.

I decided to run a second report on someone much more recent – my grandfather, Vernon Tarbox Adams, as he was born, lived and died in the U.S. Choosing him might remove some of the expected problems with GenDetective in terms of not having to read foreign alphabet letters or to deal with colonial American double dating methods.

Here is a screen shot of Vernon’s report. Again, I’ve cropped the bottom, which has my phone number on it, and I haven’t printed the second page of the report to protect the privacy of the living, as his children are listed there.

Vernon Tarbox Adams
GenDetective Report

I have to be honest here and say that this report concerns me more than the first report of Anders Molin? Why? I have complete dates and personal documentation, i.e. birth, marriage and death certificates, for my grandparents. Yet, this report give April 1899 as his birth date. That was taken from the 1900 census, which not only incorrectly lists his birth – he was born 3 May 1899 – it also lists him as his parents’ DAUGHTER. Yet, it appears that GenDetective bypassed the exact birth date that I entered in my software program and used census information.

It also says the 1910 and 1940 censuses are missing. That isn’t true, either, since I went back and looked in the program from which I created the GEDCOM. Those censuses are, indeed, both attached to him. I saved all the census images the same way – without using source citation boxes built into the software – so why are two of the five censuses not showing up in his file?

Lastly, his death date is given only as DEC 1968, which I am sure was taken from the Social Security Death Index. His exact date of death, 7 December 1968, is also entered in my software program. Again, GenDetective appears to have bypassed information that I entered by hand.

I’m a bit disappointed in this second report. I realize that computer programs only do what they are programmed to do and GenDetective seems to only accept information that has been sourced using software citation templates.

Sourcing information is of paramount importance in documenting family history, but since my method has been to source my data within the notes portion of the program, it doesn’t mesh well with GenDetective.

Here is Sandy’s reply to my questions:

1. Dates for the dual calendar — this is an issue that we have not found an “ideal” solution to.
2. Vernon Adams having the wrong birth date. — Look at Vernon and you will see he has 5 different BIRTH events.  GenDetective picks one birthdate but there is no way to “guarantee” which date is picked.  This happens in FTM as you merge records from Ancestry in they create multiple events with differing dates based on the way the FTM merge of events works.  At this point we do not have a solution to deal with the issue, and even if you were to remove the “extra” events from your people as you use the merge functionality you will continue to get “new duplicate events”.
3. Mangled Swedish locations.  I know that exporting your GEDCOM file from FTM UTF-8 seems like the best character support, but it doesn’t really work, in practice.  If you use wordpad.exe to open/browse your GEDCOM file that you sent me, search for Sweden.  The first several locations appear correct, but about the 5th or 7th location you will start seeing mangled characters in the location name.  GenDetective can only deal with what it is provided.  Try exporting your file as ANSI or ASCII character sets and see if you get better results. (Doing this is beyond my capabilities, but I fully understand the mangled Swedish place names. This isn’t really an issue for me.)
4. Media files in Research Progress report.  In order for media files to show associated with each event, the files must be attached to the individual events.  GenDetective picks up and recognizes your media files (I misunderstood and thought it wasn’t picking up any media files).  If you go to the Create Reports tab and select:
a.  Tell me about my family
b.  My documentation
c.  Pick any of the following reports: My multimedia summary OR My supporting docs OR My documentation inventory
You will see that GenDetective does know about and recognize your media files, but since they are not associated with specific events in your family tree it has no way of “knowing” which files are supporting documentation for each event.
5. Census records, lack of recognition.  — This is a combination of issues.  In FTM these events are recorded by residence vs census.  GenDetective has a function where it “recognizes FTM created the GEDCOM file” and makes a behind the scenes switch.  This is not happening automatically, which means I need to make a code change for the latest versions of FTM.  However, the GOOD NEWS is you can manually make the change, which will address the issue until you take a new update of GenDetective.

I think for now, I will step away from GenDetective. When I have some time to create a new family tree using software citation boxes and implement a couple of Sandy’s suggestions, I will take another look at this program.


Newspapers Solve Family Mystery – Lewis M. Stufflebean, 1837-1937

The family of John Stufflebean and Matilda Peavler of Linn County, Missouri was fractured by the Civil War when John died in Nashville, Tennessee in 1864. Their children were enumerated in their own household with teenage sister Mary as the head of their household in 1870.

Lewis Michael Stufflebean was the fifth of the eight children born to John and Matilda. I had collected basic information about the family. Lewis was born on 22 August 1857 in North Salem, Linn County, Missouri. He died on 14 March 1937, also in North Salem and he is thought to be buried in North Salem Cemetery, although there is no gravestone for him there.

Lewis is likely the “L. Stufflebeam” in the household of Jno. G. Peavler in the 1880 census of Colusa County, California. Lewis’s mother was a Peavler and he apparently lived with an aunt and uncle for a while.

Lewis apparently returned to Linn County, Missouri to  marry Elizabeth J. Cornett there on 29 March 1883. She was the daughter of Jefferson Cornett and Nancy Ann Bennett. He may only have returned to Missouri to marry, as their first two children were born in California.

Lewis and Elizabeth had eight children, although only five of them survived to be listed in any census.

1. Allie Edith, born 17 December 1884, Colusa Co., CA; died 4 March 1936, Brookfield, Linn, MO. She married John Jimmerson.
2. Bertha May, born 21 June 1886, Colusa Co., CA; died 1954, Pueblo, CO. She married Marion Douglas Robison on 4 January 1905, Linn County, MO.

There may be a family Bible record around somewhere because several online trees include these three children. Census data does support the death of three children before 1900.

3. Lawrence Fredrick, born 30 April 1888; died 31 August 1890
4. Florence R., born and died on 6 April 1890
5. Truman Jefferson, born 8 February 1893; died 30 September 1899

Next, from census records:

6. Amy Belle, born 17 February 1896, Linn County, MO; died 19 July 1923, Visalia, Tulare, CA. She married George Dunkle, 21 June 1914, Laclede, Linn, MO.
7. Ethel Ada, born 22 September 1900, Linn County, MO; died 30 January 1990, Brookfield, Linn, MO. She married Frank Ambrose King, 10 April 1917, Laclede, Linn, MO.
8. Elsie Hope, born 19 October 1904, Linn Co., MO; died 30 October 1989. She married Wardie L. Wilson, on 4 June 1921, Chillicothe, Livingston, MO.

Okay, so where is the mystery here? I have Lewis with birth and death date, marriage record and quite complete information for his children. Well, the mystery was with Lewis’s wife, Elizabeth J. Cornett. Since Lewis isn’t my line, I never delved too deeply into this family and while I had a birth year of about 1861 for Elizabeth, I had no death date or burial place for her.

I last have the family in the 1910 census in Laclede. Elizabeth’s father, Jefferson Cornett, is living with them.

By 1920, L.M. Stufflebean was a gardener living in Noble, Cleveland, Oklahoma. He may have gone there because his brother, John Henry, lived there with his family. He is listed as a widower.

I mentioned a few days ago that I have been checking Chronicling America for newspaper tidbits for various family names. I was checking Missouri newspapers for “Stufflebean” and “Stufflebeam” and up came a 1909 article in The Laclede Blade for L.M. Stufflebean. This article was the push to make me look deeper for Elizabeth Cornett Stufflebean. Instead of looking for her death record, I looked in a totally new direction.

L.M. Stufflebean Notice of Separation

With this new information, although the family was intact in the 1910 census, Lewis and Elizabeth were having marital difficulties. I have seen more than once where divorced couples report on the census that they are married or widowed, when they are neither.

Now, I was searching for a marriage record for Elizabeth Cornett Stufflebean between 1910-1920. (I didn’t look for a divorce record because those aren’t readily available online.)

Lewis and Elizabeth had divorced sometime after the 1910 census. On 3 September 1913, in Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri, Elizabeth Stufflebean and George Moran, both of Laclede, MO, were married.

A check in Missouri Digital Heritage brought up her death certificate:

Elizabeth J. Cornett Stufflebean Moran
Death Certificate, 1935

Elizabeth died in Blue Mound, Livingston County, Missouri. So, not only was the mystery of her death date and place solved, but the newspaper “Notice of Separation” painted a much more personal picture of the life of this family in the early 1900’s.

You never know what you might find in the newspaper.

Happy Halloween!

Michael in Halloween Outfit
Halloween 1989, not quite 2 years old

Halloween has changed dramatically since the time of my childhood, but even since my son Michael’s childhood. Here is his first Halloween costume, worn for actual trick-or-treating. Even though he wasn’t looking super happy in this picture, he liked his clown costume (minus the mask, which he didn’t like) and loved Mommy pulling him in his red wagon to a few neighbors’ homes on our street to collect candy in his plastic pumpkin. After about a half hour, he was pooped and ready to go home and go to sleep!

Today, families more often attend Halloween parties affiliated with churches, schools, youth organizations or private parties. However your family chooses to celebrate, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Genealogy Tips & Family History