Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Putman - Lasiter

My Great-Grandfather James Putman Lasiter (1908-1974) in the middle
His Mother, Rosalie Putman (1875-1961)
His Father, James Franklin Lasiter (1876-1968)
Fort Smith, Arkansas, c. 1912

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google+ ...Geneabloggers are All ABuzz

Everyone in the Geneablogging community is all abuzz about Google+ these days and how it compares to Twitter and Facebook. As Banai says in her post Google+ vs Facebook vs Twitter - 10 Things: “People are flocking to Google+.” Several bloggers have written about the similarities and differences between the 3 and I have included their posts below, with highlights and my thoughts about them. Please feel free to weigh in and if you’ve tried Google+ let us know what your experience has been like thus far.

I’d like to start off by pointing you to PCWorld’s post, 9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+.

# 3 Better Mobile App - Integration with Android Phones - I forgot that Google runs the Android system. So of course it will be a superior product. I can't wait to try this!

# 5: Can you get your data back: This was a huge concern for me, especially around sharing genealogy information with cousins or other researchers. The new FB group features makes this easier because you can now get notifications via email which I can save. But prior to that, this was not an option and things posted were lost in the feed down below. Well this was not really the point about Google+; the point was that you can walk away from it and take your information with you.

# 6: Better photo tagging - Google+ displays a warning to you that the person you are tagging will be notified that they are being tagged. Facebook does not do this, allowing for the possibility of unflattering photos to be posted without knowledge or consent.

#7: ad hoc group VIDEO chats using the Hangouts feature and the group text feature called Huddle on the Android sound really cool! I can't wait to try them!

So…thoughts from some actual geneablogging users…

Tamura Jones' post Double-Plus Good, from June 10, 2011, emphasizes that Google+ will become a non-desktop Cloud environment where everything can be controlled by Google services without leaving Google.

So far you may have noticed that Google Photos has taken over Picasa Web Albums and Google Blogger has taken over Blogger. Has your Blog URL switched over to the new Google one yet? Tamura also comments that he wouldn't be surprised if the commenting function on blogs is replaced with the one in Google+.

Google+ has “Hangouts” which is an ad-hoc video group chat.

Everyone in the geneablogging community has been wondering what the Google +1 is. We’ve had it sitting at the bottom of our blog posts for months now, not really sure what its purpose was. Well it was a kind of like a “see how this feels” button and precursor to Google+’s Facebook “Like” button.

With regard to Google+ circles versus Facebook friends lists, Banai says that Facebook friends lists have been around for a while, but they are difficult to find and maintain.  

I agree. I have friends lists in Facebook as well, but I don't use them to be selective about who I sent posts to. I use them to be selective about who I READ posts from.

And yes, Banai is right, you used to be able to see what list your friends were in in FB, but now you can't do that anymore. It's difficult to do now.

Banai tried the Hangout and thought it was totally cool.

According to Google's help page, you should be able to start a hangout by clicking on the "Start a Hangout" link on the left of your stream, however I do not see mention of this anywhere on my stream or profile. They also provide a link to click on, however that sent me to a page that said the information requested could not be found.

Update - I found the hangout link on the RIGHT side of my stream page. I will try this at home tonight when I have my camera hooked up. Is anyone game? 

Banai goes on to say that one big difference between Facebook and Google+ is that there are no walls in Google+. You interact with your friends by leaving comments on each others' posts. Another thing that makes Google+ superior over Facebook is that you can edit your posts which you cannot do in Facebook.

Another difference has to do with how your friends are organized and how you interact with them which is a combination of Facebook and Twitter. With Google+, you can add someone to your circle and not be in theirs and vice versa. If someone has you in their circle, their posts will show up in your feed.

By the way, did you know that TwitPic changed their terms of service recently and now they are claiming ownership of all your pictures?

Thanks Banai for reminding us of this!

Randy Seaver talks about his experience on his blog, Genea-Musings and has a fun little graphic about Google+. He also notes that there is not a character limit on posts and there seems to be a lot more genealogy content!  

Lorine McGinnis Schulze talks about her experience in her post Jumping on the Google+ Bandwagon where she has some tips for all the Google+ newbies to make the transition smoother, including to fill out your profile completely and with a photo of yourself, and how to add your blog posts updates to Google Buzz, and how to see your Google+ notifications right from your gMail account.

If you have any tips and tricks to share or thoughts on your experience, feel free to share them in the comments below.

My biggest fear with Google+ is that things won't work the way they say they will, the features won't be as powerful as they claim, and there will not be enough, if any at all, support documentation and available technical support staff to contact. But I am certainly willing to give it a try.

This photo was copied from the New York Computer Help Blog, 11 July 2011. I chose this photo because it has a hockey circle. And yes, I have one hockey friend so far in Google+.  And the crazy circle...well if you are friends with Greta, then you are already part of her Crazy house (see her elevator speech). 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow-up Friday Post – July 7, 2011

Death Certificates:

                In last week’s Follow-up Friday post, I mentioned that I ordered 5 death certificates from the State of Arkansas Department of Health Vital Records Section in Little Rock.  I received the first 2 of those death certificates in the mail this week. I scanned, transcribed them, and entered them into my notes and as new sources in my RootsMagic database.
                I received the death certificate of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Edward Peters from Pocahontas, AR. He died in 1948. Unfortunately it did not list his parents’ names, however it did list his date of birth as March 10, 1874 and place of birth has Thomasville, Missouri. This information correlated with his obituary; however, most of his census records said he was born in Illinois. Click here to view his death certificate. 
                Follow up: I feel more comfortable going back and combing the census files again for Peters families in Thomasville (also Moore Township), Oregon County, Missouri now.
                I also received the death certificate of my 2nd great-grandfather, James Franklin Lasiter from Fort Smith, AR. He died in 1968 at the age of 92. I found a photo in my grandmother’s collection of him and someone called “John Riley Lasiter,” presumably his father. The death certificate stated his father’s name was John R. Lasiter and his mother’s name was Emily Jones. His mother’s name was new information to me.
                Follow up: I can now start looking for records for Emily Jones Lasiter and John Riley Lasiter including census records, death records, and marriage records.

Richard Smith’s Confederate Service Records:
                As I also mentioned in last week’s Follow-up Friday post, I located the Confederate service records of my ancestor, Richard Smith.  I posted the muster roll cards to my Smith and Fox family Blog here. And I set some new goals and things to follow up on for next time, including to continue looking for his original enlistment muster roll and to see if I can find the Confederate records of Richard’s brothers John and Claiborn Smith who supposedly joined at the same time as Richard.

Fox Family:
                One of my Family Finder matches indicated that we might have a connection via the Fox family in Indiana. My Fox family is concentrated in Arkansas and Oklahoma, however, for some reason, my 3rd Great-Grandfather, John A. Fox, moved to Indianapolis after his wife, Sophronia Maynard died in 1917. I guess his son Dillard Fox lived up there, so he went up there to be with him. Anyways, he was only there for 3 years before he died in Indianapolis. My grandfather had given me a copy of John’s death certificate, which is how we were able to locate him in Indiana.
So I went into my RootsMagic database and “touched” it up a bit by adding my sources and updating my notes in both John and his son Fred Fox’s files. Fred Fox was my 2nd great-grandfather. I did things a little bit differently this time: I added the notes about each source to the individual notes section for each fact. Normally I just add everything to the main notes section under the name fact. I then added my commentary on the source.
I also updated my sources to Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained standards. Boy was that complicated! I encountered several problems with doing this, one of which was that Rootsmagic has several template options to choose from which may or may not follow EE.
As it turned out, my match mentioned Parke, Vigo, and Putnam counties, Indiana and I immediately knew right off the bat that it was NOT the Fox family that we connected on. This location would be my Godwin family that moved from North Carolina to Putnam County, Indiana in 1828. This is the first connection I’ve made with someone on my Mother’s side of the family!
Follow up: I am still waiting to hear back from him to see if he recognized any of the surname I sent to him.

Update ** October 5th, 2011 ** I have heard back from this Family Finder match and he said that he did not recognize any of the Godwin collateral line surnames that I sent to him from Parke, Vigo, Putnam and Clay Counties, Indiana, so we are back to square one! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Follow up Friday Post – July 1, 2011

Death Certificates:

This week I sent off for five death certificates – my 2nd great-grandfathers, James Franklin Lasiter and William Edward Peters, my great-grandparents, Reba Fox Smith and Claude Rual Smith, Jr, and Melvina West Fox, my 2nd great-grandmother.
I was prompted to order the death certificate of William Peters because he was the connection I had to the first person I matched to and talked to via my ftDNA Family Finder DNA results!! I was somewhat embarrassed that I couldn’t provide more information on my Peters line to my match who believed we were close cousins through our Peters line.  And even more embarrassed when I realized I had never ordered William’s death certificate which can oftentimes provide you with the names of your ancestor’s parents. There has been a lot of discrepancy about William Peter’s place of birth as well, so even if his death certificate does not provide me with his parents’ names, I am hoping to get a place of birth at least.
James Franklin Lasiter is one of those so-called “elusive” ancestors. You know, one of those that you know existed but you just can’t seem to find him on those certain records you expect to find him on. I have a photo of him and someone I believe to be his father, John Riley Lasiter, according to the information written on the photo, and I would like to see if the names of the parents are listed on his death certificate and if so, if they match up with what the photograph says.
Back in 2009 I wrote a post challenging myself to see if had copies of the obituaries and death certificates of all 8 of my great-grandparents. Since Claude and Reba Smith were the last of them to pass away, I just never thought to obtain them. And actually I figured my Grandfather had copies of their death certificates already. Since I’m already sending off requests for these other death certificates, I might as well toss two more into the mix…
I was prompted to order the death certificate of my 2nd great-grandmother Melvina Fox from my Family Finder test as well. I matched to a close cousin on my West and Criscillus lines. Melvina Fox was the daughter of Calvin West and Elizabeth Jane Roberts. My match is a descendant of Calvin’s sister, Serepta West. We compared family trees and they were identical. We compared brick walls and they were identical. I did learn that our West family descends from one Robert West b. 1612 in England thanks to her cousin who submitted to a Y-DNA test.

Richard Smith’s Confederate Service Records:

                I finally located my ancestor, Richard Smith’s Confederate Service Records on I have a copy of his pension records and notes from my Grandfather that mentioned Richard’s Confederate service prior to his service in the Union Army. I had trouble locating his records at first because all I knew was that it was Clarkson’s Battalion, Ark and Mo., however when I looked up the records in Footnote, the collection titles went by State first and then by Regiment number. Not having a regiment number threw me off. I finally found one collection title called “Confederate Soldiers – CSA” and that was the correct one. My persistence paid off.
                Of course my grandfather’s notes also said that Richard Smith’s Confederate Enlistment papers listed his parents as David and Sarah Smith. I can’t find a copy of his enlistment papers in any of my files. Does anyone know how to order Civil War enlistment files? And is it common for them to list the soldiers’ parents’ names?