Monday, December 29, 2014

The big white binder: how to organize your genealogy research

How do you organize your family tree research?

Organizing the information you find out about your family tree, is a long & exhausting project.  I've taken time over the last couple of months, to try to do just that.  

I have a huge white binder filled with my notes & print outs & pedigree charts.  I've tried to organize according to family, but needless to say, my notes are all over the place.  I have the information according to family surnames, but a few of the documents have been duplicated because the family member is in multiple places in my binder.

It wasn't long before I realized this system was NOT working.  So I started to do what I always do when I can't figure out something with my tree....I researched.

I've found a couple of Youtube videos, but this one is one of my favorites.
Hanging file folders & a file cabinet is a great idea, but before I can get here, I have to find a digital way to carry all of my notes with me.  That's where Google is helpful for me.  I'm a Google addict.  I use Google for everything, including organizing my numerous notes.  Typing these notes out, made me think of them again & see if I have "exhausted my search".

How do you organize your research?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last name: Wickliffe

Google the name Wickliffe & a thousand different things will pop up.

I found everything from cities & counties named Wickliffe to car rental places & pharmaceutical companies.

The surname has no formal meaning, but it is used as both a first & last name.

I'd always believed that it had some German origin, but the surname actually originated in Northern England.

According to the surname database, the name may have come from the term "white cliff".

The spelling varies, but I've seen it spelled several ways: Wycliffe, Wickliff, Wycliff or Wicliffe.   

So how did we end up with the last name Wickliffe?

This is a mystery I'm still trying to solve.

I've blogged about it a few times in the past:
Whether my ancestors were given as wedding gifts or in a will, I'm still unsure, but regardless, we were eventually given the surname from our original slave owners.

 Will the family name continue?

With only a few Wickliffe males left, is our family name being preserved?  

I've never been to a family reunion.  My mother is the only person besides a distant cousin who has ever told me about my family.  

What will happen when they are unable tell their stories?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday's child: Florine (Flarine) Deloris Wickliffe

I'm still searching for our connection, but today's Wednesday's child is Florine Wickliffe.

The spelling of her first name was the first question I had about Florine.  I can't tell from the record if it's Florine or Flarine.  (Can anyone else tell the difference?)

I know that she was the last daughter born to Henry & Fannie Wickliffe.  They would have one son after her, but she was the last girl.  

She died just 6 months after her birth due to nephritis (inflammation of the kidney) due to gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach & intestines).

According to this record, she was only diagnosed a month before her death.

I had no idea how common kidney failure was & still is today, it is the 8th leading cause of death.

Can anyone help me figure out how Florine & I  are related?

Monday, December 15, 2014

My brickwalls: breaking down the mysteries

Why do people call it brick walls when it really feels more like a mountain?

Recently, I re-watched a Youtube video with one of my favorite people, Crista Cowan of   

In this video, she discussed the famous brickwall.  Before I started searching my tree, I had never heard the term used the way she does, but the further along I got in the video, the more I asked myself "What do I know versus what do I think?"  She made me question most of my tree or at least question whether I'm on the right road.  

How do you know if you're right?

My Wickliffe family brickwalls are something that I've blogged about before.
1. Yost's mother:  I don't know if I'll ever begin to break this wall down until I figure out if he even knew who his mother was.  I want to look for any record filled out or had filled out for him that stated his mother's name.  I also thought of looking for info on his brother Joseph Wickliffe to see if his mother was on any of his records.  
2. Emmas' father: I have yet to find out who her father was or who Nancy Gatton (her mother) married after Emma married Yost.  (I'm pretty sure that she marries (again possibly) or dies.)
3. Lou Wickliffe's birth parents:  This was the wall I feel that I have knocked down since I started blogging, but I don't think my journey is complete yet.  I know who adopted my two times great grandmother, but I don't know who her real parents were or if she even knew.

I could have gone on for days about the stuff I don't know, but these three are at the top of my list.  

Going back generations in my family has been a ton of work.  A daily process when I can, but I think that I am slowly creeping up on the info I'm looking for.  

I think that its time that I made my first road trip to find out what info is available in Kentucky.  I may not be lucky enough to find a birth/death certificate, but maybe I might find some other record that I didn't have before.

Am I on the right track?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ancestry vs Family search: Do you get what you pay for?

I can't imagine how far I would be in my tree if it weren't for

I started working on my family tree through in March of 2006.  I couldn't wait to find a new record with my grandparents name on it or a new person my mother had never heard of that was our ancestor.  It was fun!  I went from record to record, discovering new secrets about my family & had no idea how big of a "project" it would turn into.

One day, a person I'd never met before answered a query I'd posted on Ancestry.  The email helped me find the maiden name of one of my ancestors & introduced me to

I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this site.  I was amazed to find that finding records on Familysearch was easier than Ancestry.  I started using Familysearch to locate certain records & then I would go back to Ancestry to save the record to my tree.  It was a long & exhausting process, but eventually, I developed a tree on Familysearch.  That was not as easy as the tree I created on Ancestry.  

Familysearch has a tough time recognizing step-parents in your tree.  Needless to say that's a problem for me, since a large majority of my family has married multiple times.  

So which one is better?

To me, Ancestry is worth it.  I love the new information they provide, almost daily. 

I've learned so much through the YouTube video they produces monthly.  Crista Cowan, the barefoot genealogist is a genius to me.  She definitely has the coolest job on the face of this earth.   I don't feel like a beginner, but if I were, she would be the perfect person to walk me through how to create the most accurate tree.  Had I watched some of her videos in '06, I wouldn't have the genealogical mess that I have now.  

There are certain areas of Ancestry that are free to view, but for $20 a month, I get more than just access to my tree & family I've connected with.  I also get access to help.  Which is what I need.  I can't tell you the number of times I've found help in their learning center or answered a question on their help page.  

However, Familysearch has a better look.  I love how my tree looks in their fan view.  It's so colorful & spread out.  It would make a great picture to put on the wall, but that's about it.  Adding new information to your tree is a chore sometimes.  I've given up more than once.  I'm trying to learn more about how to use the site, but it's not a priority.  I would rather use a site that is easy to navigate through, than a site that I have to learn to use.  It's just that simple.

Which site do you use to do your research?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday's child: Alverdia Wickliffe

An abscess on her lung, due to tuberculosis, caused by malarial fever.

That's what caused the death of my first cousin, three times removed-Alverdia Wickliffe.

She was the youngest daughter out of 5 children born to my two times great aunt & uncle, Mary & Jacob Wickliffe. 

The first thing I notice about my cousin's death record, is the fact that she died at just 18 years old.  

I've posted about her father Jacob's horrific death, just 3 years before her own in 1916.   

The only other record that I have been able to find for her, is the 1910 census.  She was 11 at the time.  The record stated that the family had 7 children, but only 5 were living.  This record also spells her name Alverta, 

At first, I wondered how she caught malarial fever & then I was amazed to find out how many were affected by the disease.  According to Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900-1950  By James C. Klotter, Kentucky had the 3rd highest rate in the US by 1900.  

Anyone know anything else about Alverdia????????

Friday, December 5, 2014

How I'm making my blog work WITH my genealogy search

Who has time to search their tree & blog?

This is the question I keep asking myself.  If I blog, I'm not searching.  If I'm searching, I'm not blogging, & I love blogging!!!!!

So what's the alternative???

I'm still trying to figure this one out.

When I first started this blog, I thought it would be a great way for me to organize my searches.  I would stop being all over the place with my family tree climbing & get focused.  I was so wrong. 

Now I have even more information to try to track down & even more questions than ever. 

So what do I do now???????

I've done some organizing & I've recently started trying to set a schedule for my blogging & my searches.  

Any advice??????????