Friday, August 12, 2011

31-day genealogy challenge - Day 17

Day 17.

After a trip like we did on the day before (visiting a newly found second cousin of my mother) there builds up a little tile of things to do, so I trimmed the family tree. You know, entering new facts I found out the day before, added the beautiful letters my greatgrandfather wrote to his sister in 1907 into the genealogy software I use (Reunion), attaching them to both him and her, adding the identified pitcures to the proper persons, filling out metadata and so on. So, it was a couple of hours of organizing.

There has been a lot written about organizing genealogy. Reading those articles/blogposts, watching youtubemovies and listening to podcasts in the subject and some trial and error I think Ive found a way that suits me. Perhaps Im being a bit overbureaucratic but as long as I find the stuff Im looking for Im happy. Sure, it takes a while to get it as I want it but it turns out nice in the end. And yes, Ive spent MANY hours organizing all the stuff Ive collected (in only a couple of years) instead of doing research but its really needed.

* I always fill out metadata of pictures I take or photos/documents I scan. Doing that, and when I started doing it I decided that the field Keyword always should be the surname/s the document is connected to and field Category would be something I would like to find fast, like pictures of gravestone/church/wedding or documents of a simular type, birthrecord/estateinventory/passengerlists/letter/will. And ofcourse city, region and country. Makes it easy to find everything connected to the region of Blekinge. To help me with this I use a program (on mac) called Qpict where I can sort out like all weddingpictures in the Berlin family or all buirialrecords of the Fridolffamily. Neat. I could also do a search of filecontent in the operatingsystem of everything connected to the Seck family. Metadata is GOOD! And ofcourse, in the Description I fill out everything I know, plan is to transcribe every written record and put it in the descriptionfield which will make everything in it searchable but until Im there I just try to fill out as much as possible (names, dates, who has the original photo and so on).

Everything with the Keyword Fridolf.

Everything in the Category Obituary

*I keep an indexfile of all important records. I have a simple spreadsheet in Excel where I fill out everytime I get my hands on a new record I feel need to be indexed (estate inventory, will, birth/marriage/death record, obituaries). The record get a number which I write in the Descriptionfield and in my index file I write down what kind of record it is, what person it is concerning and if I got it on-line or if its scanned. It is a nice overview of all documents I have on my Nelsonside of the family forexample. To find the document, I just do a search on filecontent the number in the OS and it will show up.

My indexfile of important records (most records are found here)

*I always name the photos of whats in them. If there are three people in the picture I put all the names in the filename with underscores inbetween. If its a picture of a house it get _house in the name and same with gravestone. Going into a folder its fast to find all _house pictures or _church pictures.

*I keep all files colourcoded (works on mac). Ive decided everything on my father side is blue and on mother side is purple. Green is on Christians side of the family. Mainly for a quick, visual view if Im looking for something browsing the folders.

Blue for Dad, Purple for Mom, Green for Christians side of the family. Other colours in my Miscresearch for people not related.
Im still into the phase where Im renaming records, date first and then name of who it concerns, works great for me atleast.

I got my inspiration on organizing mainy from those two sources:

Elyses genealogy videos at YouTube
Family History: Genealogy made easy podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke, check out episode 32 and 33

Day 17 completed:
*Trimming the Family Tree

Thursday, August 11, 2011

31-day genealogy challenge - Day 16

My 31-day genealogy challenge is over, last day was August 7. Its been great trying to do something with genealogy / family history everyday for 31 days and at least one different thing every day. The hardest part has been to blog about it everyday, thats why the posts are somewhat delayed.

Anyway, day 16. About two months ago, going through "hints" on my trees at I found something.. A tree with an cousin of my grandfather I didnt know about. I emailed the person who put up the tree and asked my mother if she ever had heard of that cousin. She had not. I looked into birthbooks and everything with this cousin was accurate. A few days later I got a reply from the woman who made the tree, which is my mothers second cousin. She and my mom talked on the phone a few times and Day 16 it was time to go visit her.

I brought my computer, camera and scanner with me and I went there together with my parents. We had a great time. Comparing photos and noticing we had the same ones. She also had letters written by my greatgrandfather to her sister which I scanned. We went to the cementary (which I ofcouse put up on and we drove by the house where my greatgrandparents used to live. While going on this sightseeing, driving on those narrow roads we ran into one of my mothers cousins who probably hadent met in quite many years. I didnt know, but I and her son are born on the exact same date and year. Cool. She also told us that just around the corner another cousin of mom where working, chopping some woods. We went by and said hi to him as well.

So, I truly had a great time. Some of the photos got identified, that is awesome. I know most of the people on those photos are relatives but it is always nice to know exactly.

Emma Berlin - sister of my
greatgrandfather Nils Anton Berlin.
One of the pictures we got identified.

Even if we thought we knew about all of my grandfathers cousins, we didnt. And that is why it is so good to put your research online, in this case at ancestry where thanks to the hintssystem two secondcousins found eachother. Ive had simular experience at where Ive also found relatives.

Letter written by Nils Anton Berlin
in 1909 to his sister Emma Berlin while
he was in the military.

Day 16 completed:
*Visited my mothers second cousin we never met before
*Went to see my greatgrandfathers house
*Identified a lots a pictures, scanned letters and pictures.
*Added Farstorp at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

31-day genealogy challenge - Day 15

Day 15. Exciting day. We went to the cityarchive of Helsingborg (Stadsarkivet Helsingborg). Ive been there a few times, mainly when they have some interesting seminar or open house, never been there doing any research.

So. We want to find out everything about our house. Its build sometime between 1896 and 1898, we dont have the exactly date. We also want to find out about everyone that has lived in the house. Not to long ago I found out that Christians grandmonthers aunt lived in the house. She died in 1919 from TBC.

Anyhow, we asked for all docoments / files that would have anything to do with our house. Nothing. (Which is strange, there s h o u l d be drawings). They said they had some stuff about another house so we wanted to look into that instead. But when they went to fetch it there was nothing. We found a binder containing an inventory of documents about where we live. Some things looked interesting so we asked for it. And again they came back, just telling it wasnt there. It should be but it wasnt. Finally they came with a box with letters and protocols which was about what they had. It was a bit exciting reading though those documents(from late 1940s and early 1950s). One person asking for permission to arrange a party at midsummer. And a list of everyone paying dogtax. In 1951 there were 189 dogs that were payed tax for. Name of owner, kind and colour of the dog was listed.

Isnt it strange that so many papers just has disappeard? The answer at the archive was that "that happens".

Our house, sometime 1910 - 1920
Day 15 completed:
*An afternoon at the archives