Thursday, October 3, 2013

Creating your own Source Template in RootsMagic

I am a veteran PAF1 user. I have been using PAF literally since I was a baby. I did not have a computer but our Family History Center had one and it was love at first sight.

Later, I married someone who was a computer geek. We had an Amiga for years and PAF worked on it. Then progress followed, all the way up to version 5.2. But this is not an article about PAF. When FamilySearch announced that they were discontinuing PAF downloads from their website, I reinvigorated the ROOTS MAGIC ESSENTIALS ( the free version) on my desktop. I have since updated to their current version 7.
Like many genealogists, we have our "staple" data entry genealogy software and then, our prospective ones. Because PAF is gone, I am allowed to flirt with other programs out there. Roots Magic 7 exports spreadsheets so that was a determining factor for me. I also found out that you can create your own source templates.

On the RootsMagic Forum, Renee Zamora mentioned that one can create their own source templates which interests me because I use a lot of European sources that just do not cookie-cut into the templates at RootsMagic. So using Elizabeth Shown Mill's Evidence Explained2 examples, it has been an intriguing temptation to create my own.
So get a look at the templates that have been created already at this Roots Magic Homegrown Templates site and see if you like them. By the way, if you working with English records, someone has created some GRO templates already for your research.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do you know what your ancestral home looks like ?

     When you do research on all your families as you crawl back in time, do you wanderlust about the places they lived in? Of course, as we go further back, our wish list of "travel ancestral home visits" gets bigger!

    Last spring, I had a client and she was traveling to her ancestral village to solve more mysteries. She asked me where my family lived in Abauj- Torna. I mentioned that they were 1/2 mile from the border of Slovakia. One day, I opened my mail, lo and behold, there were pictures of my ancestral village, Jablonca ! And not only of Jablonca but my Grandfather's family ancestral homestead in Hungary ! Still standing and obviously, in beautiful condition and surroundings.  Thank you, Cathy!

  In Hungarian records research, house numbers are noted quite frequently in church and census records so I knew that my Nagy family lived in Jablonca No. 9 [3]  for many generations. Eventually, the only remaining child that lived on, with descendants, immigrated to America and a paternal Aunt lived on at No. 9 Jablonca.

Jablonca 9,by Cathy

Here is my family from Jablonca No. 9:

István NAGY  Born 15 Jan 1842  Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [1]
Christened 16 Jan 1842 Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary   [2] 
married Susanna SEBÖ,  ( b. 16 Jan 1838, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary ) They married on 15 Apr 1863 in
Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary  [2] (witnesses at their wedding: Pal Zeman & Istvan Lorintz)
1. István NAGY,   b. 25 May 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 25 Sep 1864, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
2. István NAGY,   b. 1 Nov 1865, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 10 Feb 1875, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
3. Lajos NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1869, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 19 Jun 1896, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
4. Maria NAGY,   b. 13 Oct 1871, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary, d. 23 Aug 1873, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
5. Joseph NAGY,   b. 19 Jul 1874, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 18 Aug 1953, Toledo, Wood, Ohio,
6. István NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary
7. Maria NAGY,   b. 3 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary,   d. 5 Feb 1877, Jablonca, Abauj, Hungary

4Jablonca from Cathy.JPG.crdownload

1) Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Rec# 2.

2)Church Records: Jablonca, Abauj-Torna,Hungary, Magyarországi Református Egyház, (Microfilm ,Genealogical Society of Utah), FHL 1924854., Other Entries.

3)Népszámlálás 1869 (Hungarian 1869 Census) .Author: Magyar Statisztikai Hivatal .(Manuscript/Manuscript on Film,Salt Lake City, Utah.Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998-1999)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Zen & the Art of Genealogical Maintenance


Apply to your genealogical matters :

"You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge".

"The pencil is mightier than the pen.”

“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. ”

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

How many years have you been doing genealogy? What do you have to show for all your hard research, encased in your gedcoms programs on your computers ? Are they bundled in file boxes of notebooks and if you found time, you patiently printed out pages of your work ? This is not an article about genealogical organization; there are plenty of them out there.  I was recently inspired by Valerie Elkins Brown when ROOTSTECH 2013  live-streamed  her "gen-organization"  talk. Her motto was to give yourself a break and do it your way.

Three things that strikes me these days when I look at my genealogical life  :

1) Less is more

2) Don't be a genealogical hoarder

3)  Keep it simple.

I have been doing it various ways, for many years, rotating different methods through desktop genealogy software. Life got busy and there were more challenges in getting the research out there which became more stressful. Then I read this inspiring article written by Lianne LaVoie of "Stories of a Canadian Family":

Like Lianne, I use Wikitree all the time. I research with one tab open and make a profile in the other tab in WikiTree. Sometimes I categorize the profiles by locations. Sometimes I edit, write some biography or post a follow-through on the sources I have accessed. WikiTree is a great genealogy cloud if your hardware at home fails. I am not big on uploading gedcoms to public trees so I enter my findings one-by-one manually as I work which helps me analyze my research deeper. It's extremely convenient to access wherever I am located. It works great on my Kindle Fire when I am traveling.There are many "widgets" to view your input. I like the privacy settings, the geocoding and the printing capabilities. I can also upload images of documentation (like a free cloud). I did not mention the side benefit of other family collaborators that found me on WikiTree.

My family research is still lodged on my computer software and I will always have my spreadsheets but it's very liberating to use WikiTree to share your research. I am not going to say anymore on how WikiTree can help you but it's working for me. You can become a guest at to see if the WikiTree way works for you and then, join, for free.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Military Monday : Adam Upperman of Philadelphia, a Hessian Soldier who became a Patriot.

       Adam Upperman ( Opperman ) is listed among the Hessians who signed the Oath of Allegiance in the State of Pennsylvania between 1777 and 1789. This list was taken from the book by Thompson Westcott, “Names of Persons Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania between the Years 1777 and 1789, with A History of the “Test Laws” of Pennsylvania.”3

The Hessian soldiers were mercenary soldiers that were employed by the English to fight for the British's goal of squashing the spirit of American independence. They were hired in units, not as individuals and deployed by their princes in Germany. They received wages, but the prince of their respective states received most of the funds; Britain found it easier to borrow money to pay for their service than to recruit its own soldiers 7

A mercenary soldier usually have no ties to any country. Wikipedia defines them as " soldier who fights, or engages in warfare primarily for private gain, usually with little regard for ideological, national or political considerations. However, when the term is used to refer to a soldier in a regular national army, it is usually considered an insult, epithet or pejorative."  A response from a moderator5  on the genealogy mailing list at roots web ( AMREV-HESSIANS-L) said that the term as used in the Declaration of Independence, WAS USED AS AN INSULT. It did not correctly name these soldiers, and it was because of this insult that some families hid their Hessian ancestors
After the war ended in 1783, 17,313 Hessians returned to their homelands with about 5000 remaining in America.

Adam Opperman , born in 1757 in Hachborn, Hesse-Kassel,Germany, did not go back. Four years previously, he served in the Hesse-Kassel Jäger Corps and while marching through with his troop through New Jersey, he fled and deserted them. He married an American girl, pledge allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania and became a Patriot.
A "Patriot" was someone in the Colonies who fought for our independence from the King of England. (There is an addition to this, which was a person who assisted in some other way can also be considered a patriot.) Taken from Hessians who signed the Oath of Allegiance in the State of Pennsylvania 1

Pg. 77
Aug. 6, 1782
Francis Otto, deserted the Brittish Service about 4 years, a Hessian; by trade a book-binder.
Johannes Parkmann, deserted the Brittish Service & Hessian Line about one year; by trade a tanner & currier.
Johann Bishop, deserted the Brittish Service & Hessian Line about one year; by trade a Shoemaker.
Adam Opperman, deserted the enemy & Hessian line about 4 years; by trade a Weaver.
William Garman (his mark), a Hessian deserter from New York; Labourer.
Merz, Johannes Helmut. Guide to help you find your Hessian soldier of the American revolution [Hamilton, Ont. : J.H. Merz, 2001]

His surname was Americanized to " Upperman" shortly after he swore allegiance to Pennsylvania in 1782.
  3. Thompson Westcott, “Names of Persons Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania between the Years 1777 and 1789, with A History of the “Test Laws” of Pennsylvania.”.
  4. Merz, Johannes Helmut. Guide to help you find your Hessian soldier of the American revolution [Hamilton, Ont. : J.H. Merz, 2001]
  5. Nelda Percival is the web moderator of  the AMREV-HESSIAN MAILING LIST WEBSITE.
  6. Merz,Johannes Helmut Deserters of the Hesse-Kassel Fields- Jaeger Corps, in Hessian Guide:Hessians remaining in America [Johannes Helmut Merz, 72 , 2005, Secondary quality].

Monday, March 4, 2013

Military Monday: Private William Doll

Source: New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts.1

       William Doll was born on 15 January 1841, and baptized at St. Louis Church at 35 Edward Street in Buffalo, New York . His godparents were Joseph Fougeron ( his maternal Uncle ) and Mary Ann Fougeron. He was the first child of Michael Doll, a grocer from Baden, and his wife, Mary Francoise Fougeron .2  They lived in the Black Rock section of Buffalo by 1850 and then moved to Washington Street. His parents, and a little sister named Hattie Doll, were deceased by the cholera epidemic by 1857.2,4

      William worked as a butcher in Buffalo, most likely at his maternal Uncle's grocer on 127 Niagara Street, Buffalo. His physical description was described as black hair, black eyes, dark complexion and he was 5 feet, 8 3/4 inches in height when he enlisted.
Doll,Williamb.1841_Bull_Run_2_moreSource:Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War

      William Doll enlisted on the 9 MAY 1861 in Elmira, Chemung, New York. He was with the B 21st Infantry 3.

      Private William Doll fought at Rappahannock Crossing, Cross Keys, Cedar Mountains, Fords of the Rappahannock, Sulphur Springs  and Groveton . At the age of 21 years old, he was killed in action at the  "Second Bull Run" on 30 August 1862. 3,

       His burial location is cited as being buried at the site of battle, according to this record here :

Doll,Willian b. 1841_Bull_Run_2

 Unless further research proves differently, he was buried at the Monument of Unknown Soldiers in Arlington, Virginia  :

UPDATE : In looking for him in the Soldiers and Sailors Database,  he is definitely in the index but under the wrong spelling for his surname.

  1. .Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts of New York State Volunteers, United States Sharpshooters, and United States Colored Troops [ca. 1861-1900].(microfilm, 1185 rolls). Albany, New York: New York State Archives.
  2. St. Louis Church Records (Church Rectory,1985 ).Baptisms.Buffalo,New York.
  3. Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War,[ ca 1865–1867] (microfilm , 37 rolls). New York State Archives. Albany, New York.
  4. 1850 United States Federal Census . Buffalo Ward 4, Erie, New York;(Images, Roll: M432_502); Page: 350A

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 1 - Favorite Female Ancestor

Note : Lisa Alzo from The Accidental Genealogist has a blogging prompt series dedicated to Women History in the month of March. I decided to use these prompts to train me to get back into the habit of blogging while researching a brick wall ancestor . More about Lisa's series here :

Annie Jones

 My 1st of March prompt for favorite female ancestor will be on my Grandmother's mother, Anna Loretta Jones. I dedicated this months' research to working on my Jones family so it will be all about Annie. The reasons why :

1) She was a fearless female ancestor who was brave enough to have 12 children. She died with her 13th pregnancy.

2) She has been my brick wall ever since my Grandmother died. Her death certificate, according to the records, is lost in a courthouse fire. Her place of birth in earlier records says "Ireland"; the latter records say ' USA".

3) I did not think to ask my Grandmother about her but my great-Aunt May thought the Jones were from Listowel.

4) Her death date is March 6th so every time I see that death date, I reinvigorate that search for her family roots in Ireland.

5) Megan Smolenyak has a great research story for the true identity of Ellis Island's Annie Moore It always inspire me look under some more stones for my Annie mystery.

6) I have a sister named Annie, after this Great-Grandmother, so I feel a need to complete this namesake ancestor for her !
    The link to Megan Smolenyak's story about her hunt for Annie Moore is here :

Thursday, February 28, 2013

French tables

I am not talking about furniture or a good table in a restaurant, although I would probably adore them. I am looking at the civil indexes of my Fougerons in the Etat Civil of France. These are the civil records for France. The civil records are different from the church records for my villages in the Belfort Territory of France. The ones I am looking at are bounded in books, in volumes, by years, for each village or town. But the thing that is so lovely about them is instead of squinting through each individual entry of marriage, birth or death, I flip over the pages to the end of each year and the registrant hand - drew a table and indexes all the entries within each year.

An example for the registration of Joseph Jules Fougeront, and for a death table for
Jean Joseph Clerc in 1871 (click to enlarge) : JosephJulesFougeron1871

You can read more about the fascinating history of French civil registration at this lovely website ( and Google will ask if you want to read it in English because it will instantly translate it for you ). It's here at : History of Civil Registration in French Government 1.

According to the author of this website , the "Code Louis" (Order of Saint-Germain-en-Laye April 1667) requires the keeping such records in duplicates, one (the "minute") remains in the parish and the other (the "big") is always transmitted to the court nearest you. But it is only from the new code of 9 April 1736  that the parish registers were held routinely in doubles for all the parishes in France. So many European countries are lucky that the law requested duplicate records. I have learned about the beauty of having duplicates sometimes in doing Hungarian records.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Governess from France

Eugenie Fougeron, Governess, 1905

My family of Fougerons immigrated on the 23rd of August in 1829 from France. Dabbling in Ellis Island passenger records one night to see if any of the descendants visited France, I came upon two siblings, respectively called Eugene and Eugenia Fougeron,  both born in France, specifically in Petitmagny in the Territoire de Belfort, France where my Fougerons hailed from 80 years earlier (See Fougeron Immigrants & The French Cousins? )

The Fougeron family that I study is very large and has many descendants that I collected from 1829 to early 1900's in the United States. They were the only Fougeron family in America for almost a century. There were a couple stray Fougerons in early Quebec, and in early Louisiana, but further research did not show them linked to my family.

So that's why I was surprised to spot Eugenia Fougeron, a 24 years old governess working in New York City for the Constantine Aillary  family at 75 McDougall Street in Manhattan and New Bedford, Massachusetts through the 1895 - 1905 time period. It made me wonder if she was connected to my Fougerons. She appeared a couple more times at Ellis Island, probably sojourneying home and back. Also appearing to travel back and fourth was a young, single man (chestnut hair, 5'4 in his physical descriptions) named Eugene Fougeron, from the same region of Petitmagny, Terrotoire de Belfort in France - and going to the same Aillary family of 244 North Fourth Street and later, 195 Collette Street of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Were Eugene and Eugenia brother and sister ?

Looking further at Eugene's passenger record concluded that they were siblings. Twenty four years old Eugene, who was listed as a baker, stated that he was headed to his sister, Eugenia Fougeron, at 224 North Fourth Street, as his American destination with $20 in his pocket.

Eugene and Eugenia Fougeron 16 Nov 1902

In another passenger record, both Eugene and Eugenie reported an address of Collette Street. Seeing a street called COLLETTE made me wonder if there was a French neighborhood in New Bedford which is pretty much, in my mind, a Yankee New England whaling town. A quick glance at Wikipedia stated that "The French (chiefly French-Canadian) also secured a foothold in New Bedford at about the same time, and they built the Church of the Sacred Heart in 1877"(1).

So I hunted for their existence in New Bedford, Massachusetts but ended up in the archives of the Territory of Belfort to get the answer to my question!
(To be continued)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dedicated to all Geneabloggers everywhere .......


I have to confess that I am more of a blog reader than a writer. Michelle of nominated the and blogs for the "Wonderful Team Member Readership Award " on 4 Jan 2013.

Thank you, Michelle, as I surely do not blog as well as you. Nor have I been steadfast at it so your vote of confidence will hold me to share more in 2013. I am so impressed at the caliber of people out there who research and write so beautifully that I had difficulty in deciding which of the bloggers to nominate. And only 14 is a tough call!

So to narrow down my choices, I then decided to select blogs from the main tenet of Rule #4


#1 Don’t forget to thank the nominator and link back to their site as well.

#2 Display the award logo on your blog.

#3 Nominate no more than fourteen readers of your blog you appreciate and
leave a comment on their blogs to let them know about the award.

#4 Finish this sentence: “A great reader is…”

My definition of a great reader is: “A great reader is a colleague blogger who helps you or let you know that they learned something from your articles"

I can't nominate Michelle back again so my nominations for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award are:
(1)   Theresa -
(2)   Susan Clark –
(3)   Cassie Sanford – and
(4)   Kathy Reed  – and
(5)   Jacquie –
(6)   Grant Davis –
(7)   Jim –
(8)   Nick -
(9)   History Chick -
(10) Lisa -
(11) Doreen -
(12) Donna -
(13) Marian -
(14) Elizabeth - and
and a big thank you for Thomas MacEntee, who helps all geneabloggers, and also has his own family blog :

Monday, January 7, 2013

Problem-Solving at "Mondays with Myrtle"

This afternoon, on the "Mondays with Myrt "(, they had an interactive problem - solving session about a grave that was found by someone at the Iowa graveyard site. This is a glimpse of the actual gravestone where a father and three children perished in the span of twenty days in the year of 1879. Here is the actual stone at :

What happened to them ? What happened to the family left behind ? Myrtle and Russ Worthington asked the other listeners to work on the problem using online resources. Of course, the mystery require deeper sleuthing after the webinar to solve the problem but there were many helpful ideas. During this webinar, it rang a vibe of familiarity to me. I could not help but think about my find in an old Catholic cemetery looking for Müllers years ago when I stopped at the old stone written in German. My Dad was alive then and no one alive knew how they were related. Like the Iowa stone, it also mentioned a father and children dying but all on the same day which was such a horrible thought to a 14 years old genealogist!  I ended up getting the cemetery records to locate the church easily and then read the church records which solved my mystery. The cause of death in my family was cholera. I was further rewarded with an obituary for the mother who died in 1901 which mentioned that episode of sadness in her life.


The link to the original story is at :

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I dreamed of genealogy ~ in Slovakia at Family Search.

Looking for George, John, Paul but not Ringo .
          This is a glimpse of what I dreamed last night!  As any genealogist knows, they mostly live, eat, sleep and breathe around the timing of when Family Search will "update" their digital images of records from their archives. For many months, I have not had the urgency to check the digital archives online as I knew (by heart) when their last updates surfaced and already mined what I needed.

Digital images online are a godsend. I still order many, many films and wait the proper 4-8 weeks at our library to read them at scheduled intervals but there is no doubt that as life gets more complicated with schedules, online research is a lifesaver. There is no thrill like seeing these hand-written books online .

Late last night, when I was resigning to an early bedtime, a colleague sent out the crucial alert on our forum that the LDS updated the Slovakia Churches and Synagogues collection ! Not only did I not sleep, but a blizzard pulled in to keep me working ! 

So if anyone is working on their Hungarian, Slovakian, Croatian records, the website is :
And if you not sure of the locations of the records, check the locations table at :