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It’s not often the likes of little ol’ me gets to do something big but I’m involved in something BIG!The In-Depth Genealogist (IDG) is an online community of genealogists helping each other in their research. With a well developed website, all genealogists can read the free monthly online newsletter, forums or blog. Readers are encouraged to leave comments or ask questions about specific aspects of their genealogy research. IDG has a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter too, adding fun to our genealogy research.
IDG is genealogists helping genealogists and I happen to be a part of this generous community! I write a monthly column for The In-Depth Genealogist. It’s Tracing Blue and Gray. Each month I write about the best methods of Civil War Research and also look into the real aspects of what our ancestors endured during their Civil War service. My first article debuted May 2012 and I’ve been with the newsletter ever since.
That is until this month. No longer is The In-Depth Genealogist a monthly digital newsletter. It’s now a monthly digital MAGAZINE!! Launching their premier issue yesterday February 15th, IDG is an expanded, beautifully formatted, treasure trove of guest articles, columns and genealogy resources. All free! If you haven’t seen the new IDG Magazine just click here! You’ll be amazed at all the info packed inside and if you haven’t subscribed yet click here, so the next issue of IDG is delivered to your inbox.
Kudos to the editorial staff of Terri O’Connell, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman, Jen Baldwin and Jen Alford for putting together such a magnificent publication! They’ve earned a big pat on the back and many thanks for allowing me to be a part of this exciting venture!
What do I do with the small scraps of paper, hastily scribbled ideas and the sticky notes plastered everywhere!
After writing yesterday’s blog post on digitizing my genealogy records I started to mentally plan the process. It wasn’t long before I realized I had left out a component.
If you take a quick peek at yesterday’s post you’ll see I’m taking a pledge to reduce paperwork but my plan only addresses actual documents as they relate to myself and my ancestors. If I’m to attempt a paperless desk (attempt being the key word here!) I need to eliminate the small scraps of papers on my desk with hastily scribbled notes and research ideas. Also the sticky notes plastered everywhere!
What do I do? I remembered a blog post some time ago by Marian over at Marian’s Roots and Rambles. I searched through her many excellent articles to find the one I remembered. Marian cites in her post: Taming all that Information! – Part 1
“The capturing of data for me can take these various forms but the filing of data remains consistent. I’m not sure if I discussed this in the webinar or not. I am not a paper person so I really don’t keep paper files (I will lose them!).
All of my information whether handwritten transcriptions, photographs or scans gets put into a project specific directory in my computer with a long descriptive filename. The longer I have been researching the longer my file names have become! I try to put
I doubt there is a genealogist around who hasn’t come up empty when searching for names in a data base. When our first attempt with the actual surname draws a blank we vary spelling or try a wildcard.
One family name on my research list is Waller. Of course this particular family was not to be found in the 1860 census even though I knew they where they lived in Ohio. Varying Waller to Walker, then to Walter turned up my missing family on the third try.
An even simpler way to research these MIA ancestors is by using wildcards. When used on a database like Ancestry.com you would use an asterisk * that can be inserted for up to 6 characters in a name. I’m (un)lucky enough to have Williams as a surname I’m researching. Using a wildcard I’d type in Will* and come up with Wills, Willis, William, Williams, Williamson, etc. These are all variations I want to look at. Enumerators and transcribers have been known to have bad days and my Williams’ may be hiding from me behind one of these variations.
Just remember in using the asterisk * on Ancestry you always have to use at least the first three letters of a name. You can’t use “Wi*” but can use “Wil*”.
If you only want to replace a single letter in a name just use a question mark. Nant? Will return Nantz, Nants, Nanta or Nanti. That last letter in a surname can be hard to read on a census roll and is then indexed incorrectly.
If all this fails, which it has for me, I have gone though each individual name in a township’s records, expanding to the surrounding townships as well. This admittedly tedious process did turn up the Nance family I was searching. In the 1860 census their surname was listed as Vance, a variation I would never have guessed.
Just remember as you research to keep some kind of log documenting who you’re searching for, what variations of spelling/wildcards you have used and what databases you have searched. Unfortunately I haven’t always done this and found I’ve duplicated some work! It was a lesson learned. Who has enough time to do all the research they want let alone do the same research twice!
Good luck on your hunt for those elusive ancestors!
**Previously published for IDG digi-magazine but I thought you’d like it here too!**
Today is the follow-up of this soldier’s life.
After coming home from his three month stint in the Civil War, Mart Armstrong could have resumed studying law. He could have become a well known attorney, maybe even entered politics. He had served his country well, he was home safe and sound, but that’s not what he chose for his life.
After Mart’s three months with the 20th Ohio he came home to Allen County a changed man. He was convinced of the justness of the war and was very active in organizing another company of volunteers. He enlisted again as a captain on August 30, 1861 and was commissioned in September with Co. B, 81st Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI).
As Captain he took it upon himself to write letters to both editors of the weekly newspapers giving updates on the company. Sunday’s in camp meant lighter duty and the ability to write home. Armstrong states, “I promised, and will fulfill that promise this Sunday morning, as duty is light on the Sabbath; we rest this day, being free from drill duty. “
The folks back home learned about camp life and the activities of the regiment as it marched. Mart Armstrong was so highly admired he was drafted to run for
What is IDG you ask? Well it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread! IDG is short for The In-Depth Genealogist, a digi-magazine for all genealogists, from beginner to pro.
BUT you get more than a twice monthly info packed digi-magazine! There’s also a daily blog on the website with genealogy help, tips and links.
You can also join in on the IDG conversation on the facebook page. There are questions, very informal surveys and your chance to comment or respond.
So IDG with us. Learn and share with other genealogists and have a great time doing it!