Thursday, 31 March 2016

Thanks Paul for #MyColorfulAncestry

J Paul Hawthorne came up with a way of visualising our family history data. #MyColourfulAncestry which has taken Facebook by storm

Paul has provided a downloadable 5 generation chart Thanks Paul!

Sometimes looking at our data in different ways can show perhaps where we are missing data or just show things in a different way. 

I took it up a bit to a seven generation chart showing the birthplaces of my ancestors.  By just looking at the birthplace it is cleaner without all the other data showing.

My father was born in Kent England and as can be seen by colouring the places of birth and seeing all that yellow, I have a lot of Kent ancestry!


There are a lot of things you can do. I have always been a strong advocate of researching your health history and so of course I had done a cause of death chart previously but have done it again. This shows the cause of death and the age.Cancer shown in red occurs more often than I would like. Tuberculosis also occurs as does heart disease although pretty good ages for most of my ancestors.



Emily Schroeder of GrowingLittleLeaves blog showed how she used the chart to interest her daughter in her family history by using the colours on the chart and colouring a map to match those same colours. A fantastic idea to get children interested!

Others have shown the religious affiliations of their ancestors. Some have done occupation charts. I am not sure about that as so many people have varied occupations during their lifetimes. My great grandfather was a tailor most of his life but became ill and in  the last period of time became an insurance salesman which is what was shown as the occupation on his death certificate. 

And didn't that create an argument with my grandmother when I said he was an insurance salesman! Having said that I changed from using Personal Ancestral File to Family Tree Maker many, many years ago as my partner had five generations of blacksmiths on his line and I really wanted to be able to show it on a chart!

There are many things you can do in Excel (or any spreadsheet) to help in your family history. Facebook has a group Excel-ling Genealogists which has over 1000 members.

YouTube is another great resource and if you do a search for Excel and Genealogy you will find over 1400 videos. A YouTube channel I would recommend is Tessa Keough who has done a whole series of videos on Excel and also on Legacy. Tessa, like me, is also a One Name study researcher and uses Excel extensively for her study. Tessa's YouTube channel can be found here.

So why not give it a go and visualise your data in a different way?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Like Topsy It Grew!

So many things can hinge on a simple decision. For all of us in the genealogy world it was a decision  that changed things for the better for all of us.

The decision to collect the known at that time online links to sites useful to genealogists and then putting the whole 1125 of them on a website because "somebody might find that list of links useful"

led to a site beloved and essential to many.







That decision was made 20 years ago today! So it is Happy Birthday to Cyndi's List!!!!!



That 20 years has seen the list of useful sites to the genealogist grow from 1025 to over 330 788+ links!

If you went to each and every link and spent just one hour at that link you wou need to spend 24 hours a day for the next 37.76 years!

That is 330 788 links that have been checked and categorised for us to use. This is not a one time job. Links constantly change and need to be repaired. Categories need to be expanded and new categories developed, indeed a never ending job.

A never ending job for a site that is totally free, yes that is correct, free for all to use.

What is even more amazing is that this is not being done by the very large team of people you would expect. Instead, apart from some limited help from a family member a number of years ago, all this work was done and is being done by one very amazing lady!

The amazing Cyndi Ingle, the lady who never sleeps!

I was privileged enough to meet Cyndi in person in person at RootsTech in 2013 and she is truly an amazing person who I am honoured to now call my friend.

Me with Cyndi Ingle (centre) and Alona Tester (right)

Thank you Cyndi for all you do!

We can all help Cyndi by reporting broken links (and I don't mean just filling in the webform Cyndi provides by saying the link is broken!) It is a broken link form after all!

However we can provide the new URL. If we are a society webmaster and we change links we can let Cyndi know, we can submit new links ideally with some information about the link  The submit a new link, report a broken link, update a link buttons are visible on every page.


We can all help Cyndi by saving her time so she can continue to make her creation even better!

We can also click on the Donate to CyndisList to help Cyndi keep the site running and help pay the outstanding costs of the major upgrade of the site. The major upgrade and face-lift of the site  was many thousands of dollars.  

So to celebrate the 20 years of fantastic many hours effort every day by a fantastic lady why not consider donating an amount for all the help you have received by using the links Cyndi has put together for you.

Thank you Cyndi and Happy 20th Birthday to Cyndi's List!