13 June 2013

My Heritage or Ancestry?

The Internet has greatly changed the genealogy scene since the late 1990s.  Numerous archives both domestic and international have their holdings available for online searches.  This is great for us.  Research at your own leisure from your home.  How can it get any better?

It does get better.  For me, I have been using Ancestry.com for a little over a year now and I am very pleased with its record searches.  I have found numerous records and expanded my tree greatly.  The "hints" that ancestry provides are also very helpful.  The access to all census records up to the recent release of the 1940 census is phenomenal.  I am not an expert on Ancestry but it helps my research and I would recommend it to anyone.  Unfortunately I do have one "beef" regarding Ancestry but it is not with the site itself.  It is with some of its users.  I will get into that later.

Just last week I signed up and paid for another genealogy subscription with the addition of My Heritage to my regular online search databases.  I was hesitant to do this at first because I was already paying for Ancestry and My Heritage offers many of the same searches that Ancestry does; so I would be paying for the same thing twice.  Hopefully they balance and complement each other.

So far I am very happy with My Heritage.  I have not yet done any specific record searches on My Heritage but I am very impressed at the "Smart Matches" that My Heritage has found for me by comparing my uploaded GEDCOM tree to other subscriber's trees.  Presently I have over 3900 individuals in my The Master Genealogist (TMG) database.  After I imported a GEDCOM file of my tree into My Heritage, I came up with over 4700 matches/hits from over 900 subscribers trees.  Obviously many of the matches are incorrect and I am "rejecting/ignoring" those hits.  It will take me quite a while to go through all of these matches.  I am trying to review a number of these each night.

What I am finding with these Smart Matches is that many of the subscribers who have posted their trees online are also direct descendants of my ancestors.  Meaning we are cousins.  Now part of the reason I believe that I am getting so many matches is because most of these hits are on my "Dutch" side.  From what I gather, genealogy is very popular in the Netherlands.  Also Dutch vital records are outstanding.  Civil registration for births, marriages, and deaths began in 1811.  Most of these civil records are searchable online directly from the appropriate provincial archives.

Now with these Smart Matches, I am able to review them and send a confirmation that my "individual" matches the corresponding person in another subscribers online tree.  It is almost an instantaneously way to find others who are researching the same ancestors as you.  Also, after you confirm an individual, the other subscriber can either reject or confirm your find.  Everyday I have been getting almost 100 confirms from other researchers.  I will have to check the sources for this new found data but it appears to be a very quick way to find distant cousins who are also genealogists.

Very soon I will be contacting these new found cousins of mine and hopefully I will not end up with the disappointment that I have had numerous times when I contacted other cousins who listed their trees on Ancestry.  Perplexing I find it when someone posts their tree on Ancestry and when I contact them about "our" relative, especially with stories about these individuals, the other person does not respond to your query.  Now these are not people who listed their trees a few years ago.  They are very recent users who still access Ancestry on a regular basis, when I checked their profiles.  They are also local to where I live.  They must be half-hearted genealogists; not in with both feet.

As mentioned, I am happy so far with my little experience on My Heritage especially with the smart matches, I hope that my Dutch cousins will be interested in swapping data afterwards.

12 June 2013

National Palantines to America National Conference

An interesting upcoming genealogical conference coming to Albany next week at the Desmond Americana Hotel is the National Palantines to America National Conference.  Details are below.

Palatines to America Calendar Details

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Palatines to America, 2013 National Conference will be held June 19-22, 2013 in Albany, New York at The Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12211, phone 800-448-3500
Enjoy speakers Henry Z “Hank” Jones, Jr. F.A.S.G.,Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer, Joseph Lieby, Jeff O’Connor, Hans Pohlsander, and Ernest Thode and Peter Christoph.
Take advantage of a bus trip to the Mohawk Valley historic sites on Wednesday, the 19th before the conference formally begins! It will be a full day bus tour of the historic sites in the Mohawk Valley area. It will cost $60.Departure will be at about 8am and return to the Desmond at 6pm. A description of this bus tour is attached.
The second tour is the trip to the NYS Library and Archives. It will take place on Thursday, the 20th. It will leave the Desmond at 9:30 am and leave the Library at 4:30 pm to return to the Desmond. The trip will tour some of the historic sites in Albany before doing to the Library for an orientation and the opportunity for research. The cost of that trip will be $40.
Palatines to America, PO Box 141260, Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-267-4700
E-mail: palatinenotes@gmail.com

02 June 2013

How time changes things

Time flies.  We all know that expression.  And it does.  Time passes by very quickly and things change along with it.  Recently I was looking at some photos of some cousins at their home on Central Avenue from the 1940s and 1950s.  I knew the address and I am familiar with the area where it was located but could not picture this home in that area.  

At that time the exodus out of the city into the suburbs had just begun.  Central Avenue in the Roselleville area up to Fuller Road was still somewhat rural.  There was very little commercial expansion; simply a few small farms, single family homes, and a few two family flats.  Below is a photo of my cousin's home from the 40s-50s.

It looked like a very nice well kept home with brown cedar shakes.  I just could not picture this house; being somewhat perplexed I decided to head over and check it out.  What I found was a little surprise.  Over the past 70 years, I am sure the property has changed hands numerous times with each owner doing their own revisions to their own tastes.  Below is a photo of the home today.

Over the years I am sure that this building was converted into a commercial property with a business on the first floor and a small apartment on the second floor.  I think that there are two apartments in the home today.  We all have own tastes and likes.  I like the way my cousin's home looked in the past with landscaping, grass, and walkways not the commercial look of today.