Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree Database?

We're looking at information in our family tree programs this week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here) is to:
1.  Go into your genealogy management program (GMP; either software on your computer or an online family tree) and figure out how to count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2.  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3.  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

4.  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in a Google Plus Stream post.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP, use the Help button in your program and search for "count surnames", then follow directions.

Let's see how I do.

I am currently using Family Tree Maker 2019.  I couldn't figure out how to find the surnames easily, so I did look under Help.  "Count" got me nowhere.  "Surnames" led me to information about the "Surname Report", which "lists the total number of individuals with a specific surname, the number of males and females with that surname, and the earliest and most recent year a surname appears in your tree."

I remembered that reports are under the "Publish" menu.  It took me a couple of attempts to figure out which submenu the Surname Report fell under — "Person Reports."  I generated a report which was really short and discovered that for some reason the default was for surnames of extended family only.  When I clicked on "All Individuals" it generated a new report that is 51 pages long instead of merely half a page.  I then told it to sort by surname count:  "List the surnames by order of most occurrences in the tree file."

I couln't find how many total surnames are in the report for All Individuals without counting manually, which is kind of annoying.  That doesn't seem to be one of the statistics that FTM provides.  My rough count is 4,868.

I can say that the report shows I have a total of 10,114 individuals in my database, of which 5,144 are male and 4,953 are female.  I added 5,144 and 4,953 and got 10,097, which is a difference of 17 people.  Since one of the variables is to limit the counts only to included individuals ("Only count surnames of individuals who are included in the report."), and that's turned on, I can't explain who these 17 people are.  Maybe they're people for whom I have some sort of information but haven't entered any name?  I would have thought I had way more than 17 people like that in my tree.

Instead of the top 10 or 20, I took a screenshot of my report showing surnames with at least 30 individuals in my database.

One of the names is "Unknown", with 42 occurrences.  I just looked in the database, and yes, I have 42 instances where I have entered "Unknown" as someone's name.

I was not surprised to see that the top three names are Gaunt, Sellers, and Gauntt.  Between them, Gaunt and Gauntt, which are spelling variants of the same name, total 841.  Gantt, much further down the list with 37, is another spelling variation.  That's my paternal grandmother's family, which I've done a fair amount of research on during the past couple of years.  Sellers is 574, not really a close second.

I was kind of surprised to see that the fourth-most common name was Allen, which had 143 individuals.  That's a branch of my Gaunt/Gauntt/Gantt line.

The highest number for a line on my mother's side of the family is Garfinkel, at 45.  That is not an ancestral line but a collateral one.  I have met several cousins from the Garfinkel branch of my family.  The highest number for an ancestral line is Gordon, at 44, but I don't think all of them are from my mother's family.  That family name was originally Gorodetsky, and immigrating family members changed it to Gordon after coming to the United States.  I believe I have some Gordons in my tree who are not connected to the Gorodetskys.

It is amusing to note that several surnames which are extended family have higher counts than the ones from my mother's family.  The most is Fuller, at 104.  The Fullers are one of my aunt's ancestral lines, going back to early upstate New York.

Unlike Randy, I see no need to retype the information that appears quite nicely in my graphic.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mother's Day 2022

For Mother's Day this year, here is my maternal line in photographs.  I have five generations.

My mother Myra with her three children:
me, my sister Stacy, and my brother Mark

My mother Myra, her mother Lily (my grandmother),
and *her* mother Sarah (my great-grandmother)

My great-great-grandmother Rose Dorothy on the left

And somewhere I have a photo of my great-great-grandmother with my great-grandmother.  I really need to find that.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Excites You about Genealogy Research?

Randy Seaver came up with a different approach to genealogy for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here) is:

1.  What excites you about genealogy research?  What part of performing genealogy and family history research really excites you — what keeps you coming back day after day?

2.  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.

These are my thoughts.

• I think the puzzle-solving aspect of research is what I enjoy the most.  I like figuring out how one person is related to another, where an immigrant came from, or just when someone was born.  I enjoy hunting for clues that will help give me an answer.  One of the reasons it is so exciting is that every family is unique; although there are many similarities between different families, every family's history is going to be different in some ways, so I am never reading the same story twice.

• I love connecting with relatives, even if they're distant.  It's fun to figure out exactly how I'm related to the cousins I communicate with and which family lines we have in common.  I sometimes have been disappointed when the cousin doesn't feel the same way, but most of the time the enthusiasm is mutual.

• Something else that's fun is finding new kinds of documents to help with family history.  I always tell people that I am obsessive and that I want to find every single piece of information out there, no matter how insignificant someone else might think it is.  Everything adds up to a fuller picture of the person and family I am researching.

I'm glad Randy enjoys writing up documentation, because I sure don't!  It's a necessary evil, but it definitely does not excite me.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Keeps You From Doing Genealogy?

I find this week's topic for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun somewhat ironic, because the main thing that has been keeping me from doing genealogy in general is pretty much the same thing that has been keeping me from posting on my blog, including for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

1.  What keeps rou from doing genealogy?  What real-life activity do you have to do, or like to do, that takes time away from genealogy research?

2.  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.

My thoughts on the subject:

The primary thing that has been keeping my from genealogy during the past three to four years or so is my health.  While I absolutely love living in the Portland area, having moved here from Oakland, California in 2017, I have had an unfortunate series of health events that have prevented me from doing everything I want and need to do.  Most of them are resolved now, and I am hoping that I will regain my strength and really be able to start catching up.

That said, the other activity that I love to do that sometimes might take away from genealogy voluntarily is spending time with my grandchildren and other family members.  One of the wonderful benefits of having moved here is that all five of my grandchildren are within easy driving distance.  I admit that I take every opportunity I can to visit them.

I do have a few favorite things to watch on television that take up about ten hours a week:  the nightly news and weather forecast, Chopped!, Name That Tune (notwithstanding the constant mugging from Jane), and The Masked Singer.  I actually watch much less TV now than I did in California.

And, like Randy, my body does need sleep every night, although I usually get about 6 hours.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Honoring the Lost Members of My Family on Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah is the annual day of rememberance to commemorate the approximately 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust during World War II.  It falls on 27 Nisan on the Jewish calendar, which measures days from sunset to sunet.  This year on the Christian calendar it began at sunset on April 27 and will end at sunset on April 28.

The following is the list of my family members I have been told died in the Holocaust.  All of them are from the Mekler/Nowicki branch of my family and lived in what was Grodna gubernia in the Russian Empire (now in Belarus).  May their memory be for a blesisng.

Beile Dubiner
Eliezer Dubiner
Herschel Dubiner
Moishe Dubiner
Sore (Mekler) Dubiner
Aidel Goldsztern
Golda Goldsztern
Josef Goldsztern
Pearl (Gorfinkel) Goldsztern
Tzvi Goldsztern
Esther Golubchik
Fagel Golubchik
Lazar Golubchik
Peshe (Mekler) Golubchik
Pinchus Golubchik
Yechail Golubchik
Mirka (Nowicki) Krimelewicz
— Krimelewicz
Beile Szocherman
Chanania Szocherman
Mobsza Eli Szocherman
Perel Szocherman
Raizl (Perlmutter) Szocherman
Zlate Szocherman

Auschwitz processing form for Mobsza Eli Szocherman, dated January 31, 1943.
He is presumed to have been killed at Auschwitz that day or the day after.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Jill Ball's 2011 Ancestor Meme Revisited

It's hard to get back into the swing of things when your routine has been seriously disrupted.  So I didn't quite post for last week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, although I intended to.  But I'm gamely trying again this week, as Randy Seaver brings back a meme from 2011 for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (which we did a variation on in 2017).

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is to:

1.  Participate in the Ancestors GeneaMeme created by Jill Ball on the Geniaus blog back in 2011!

2.  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post or in a Facebook Status post or note.

The Rules:

The list should be annotated in the following manner:

Things you have already done or found:  bold face type
Things you would like to do or find:  italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to:  plain type

You are encouraged to add extra comments after each item.

Okay, here are my answers.

The Meme
Which of these apply to you?

1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents (I can also do this from memory)
2.  Can name more than 50 ancestors (yup)
3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist (so far)

6.  Met all four of my grandparents
7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents (so I was told)
8.  Named a child after an ancestor
9.  Bear an ancestor's given name/s (but have the initials of two of my great-grandfathers)
10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland

11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
12.  Have an ancestor from continental Europe
13.  Have an ancestor from Africa (do I count what shows in my DNA?)
14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer (many)
15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings

16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man:  minister, priest, rabbi (ministers and rabbis!)
17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife
18.  Have an ancestor who was an author (would be nice)
19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy, or Jones (plenty of cousins, but no ancestors)
20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki, or Ng (I have some Wongs in extended family, but that's it0)

21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z
23.  Have an ancestor born on 25 December
24.  Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day (whose New Year?)
25.  Have "blue blood" in your family lines (everyone with ancestors from Western Europe is descended from Charlemagne, right?)

26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the 18th century
29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the 17th  century or earlier
30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents

31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence (I think so)
34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
35.  Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (oh heavens yes)

36.  Have published a family history online or in print
37.  Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries (in beautiful New Jersey)
38.  Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family (I believe so)
39.  Have a family bible from the 19th century
40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Four Things!

Well, I certainly haven't posted in a while!  My last post was January 15 for my blogiversary, and before that it was December 1.  I have nothing but my health to blame, but I've decided I need to start writing again anyway, and what better day to start than on my birthday?  I turned 60 today, and coincidentally Randy Seaver provided a theme for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun that works nicely with a birthday — writing about myself.  So let's get back in the blogging habit!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

1.  Let's have some genealogy fun tonight and answer some family-history-related questions with four responses (Four Things!).

2.  Share your answers with us in your own blog, in a Facebook or Instagram post, or in the comments on this blog post.  Please leave a link to anything you post elsewhere in a comment.

Okay, here are my answers.

Four Names I Go By
1.  Janice
2.  Jan-Jan (but only for my maternal grandmother)
3.  Bubbie
4.  Amanda Rycroft (Faire character)

Four Places I've Lived (Resided)
1.  Maroubra Junction, New South Wales, Australia
2.  Niceville, Florida
3.  Oakland, California
4.  Gresham, Oregon

Four Ancestral Places I Have Been
1.  Mount Holly, New Jersey
2.  Manhattan, New York
3.  Miami, Florida
4.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Four Interesting Places I Have Been
1.  Athens, Greece
2.  San Sebastian, Spain
3.  Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4.  Tallinn, Estonia

Four Favorite Ancestors
1.  Ann (Ridgway) Gaunt, 1710–1794
2.  Gershon Itzhak Novitsky, ~1858–1948
3.  Minnie Zelda (Nowicki) Meckler, ~1880–1936
4.  Moses Mulliner, 1741–1821

Four Favorite Genealogy Record Collections
1.  Historical newspapers
2.  Religious records (all, not just BMD!)
3.  Probate files
4.  Military pensions and service records

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Eleven Years of Blogging

Yup, that's right!  Today is my 11th blogiversary.  It almost slipped by me, because I have not been keeping up with my blog as well as I would like.  I keep trying to get healthy, and that just doesn't seem to be working.

I was surprised when I saw how many posts I managed to write last year:  265!  That's sorta kinda close to one post every other day, which I don't think I've accomplished before.  It was primarily due to picking up again on my project to write about every birth, marriage, and death that I have in my genealogy database.  And I hit that total even though the last date I documented was November 15, which is when those annoying health problems popped up again.

So now I'm behind on that again, behind on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, even behind on my end-of-the-year thank yous and statistics.  On the other hand, I did finally write about my Revolutionary War ancestor Moses Mulliner, which I had been intending to do for several years.  I also described the detective work I did to track down my father's youngest half-sister, so I could give her several photos of herself and her mother.  But I have a lot of catching up to do when I get my energy back, which I fully intend to do soon.

Like I always say, hope springs eternal!