Thursday, July 26, 2012

Foliage Fun (Part 3)

This week I am writing a blog post mini-series about the trees in my town.  Read the first two installments at Foliage Fun (Part 1) and Foliage Fun (Part 2).

#9 - This tree has little clusters of leaves that are growing at the ends of the branches.  It looks like the person researching this tree has found ancestors and attached them to their tree without proving the intermediate generations.  I do not recommend this style of research.  You need to start with what you know and work out from the trunk of the tree.  It is time for this tree to apply the Genealogy Proof Standard!

#10 - The most abundant tree in Northern California has to be the mighty Oak.  Every hillside you look at has at least one oak growing on it.  I love this Oak tree by my sister-in-laws house.  It is HUGE! My guess is that it is easily 60-70 feet tall.  Looking at this tree makes me think of the researchers who have thousands of people in their genealogy software databases.  You have to be a strong tree to handle that kind of genealogy weight.

#11 - We went to Yosemite last week to visit with my husband's brother and his wife.  They are so lucky to live in such an amazing place!  Walking across the meadow near the Swinging Bridge, I noticed this tree because of the two branches it has at the top.  I have no idea why this tree has grown this way but it looks nothing like any trees near it.  It reminded me of the the research I had to do regarding Pietro Ciardonei (I wrote about it in (2Matteo + 2Lucia) - Pietro(Teresa/Antonia) = ?!?!).  A quick recap is that there are two men named Pietro Ciardonei in Cossano Canavese, Italy in the late 1800's. I had to figure out if they were the same person and if not, which one was I related to.  I had to build two separate trees going back a couple of generations because both sets of parents were named Matteo Ciardonei and Lucia Avetta.  The answer was in the third generation.  Gotta love naming conventions!

#12 - This is my favorite tree in our neighborhood.  It also happens to be in my in-laws front yard.  Yes, my in-laws are three stop signs away.  I also have a sister-in-law that lives about 2 miles away.  It is convenient, especially since they all work together at the family business.  I digress, back to the tree.  I don't know what kind of tree it is but it stands about 35-40 feet high.  When the wind blows, which is often, it makes a gentle rustling sound.  It is very relaxing.  The tree is tall, strong, and has many branches and leaves.  I hope that someday our family tree resembles this tree.  I have a few huge brick walls to tackle first!

Thank you for joining me on a tree trip though my neighborhood.  If I come across some other interesting trees that make me think of genealogy I will be sure to share them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - The Publish Button Is Important!

I meant for my Foliage Fun mini-blog-series to run every other day this week.  I made a mistake and forgot to click on Publish after setting up the scheduled time.  I posted the next installment today and have rescheduled the final post (Part 3) for Thursday.

So please feel free to learn from my mistake and always remember to push the Publish button when you are finished writing a blog post.

Foliage Fun (Part 2)

This week I am writing a blog post mini-series about the fun trees I see on my walks.  Read the first post at Foliage Fun (Part 1).

#5 - When you live in Northern California you can always spot some Redwood trees.  There is a grove of them up a nice hike at the western edge of my town.  This tree, like the families of the pilgrims, has been around for a long time.  I call it the New England Family Tree.  The coolest part is the base is about 5 feet in diameter.

#6 - This funny looking tree is the ultimate brick wall!  None of the branches grow vertically.  It looks like someone has done an immense amount of FAN research but cannot find the next generation.   I will never grow a tree like this in my yard.  I would not want to jinx my research with this tree.

#7 - The neighborhood where my home is located used to be a walnut tree orchard.  Most houses still have one or two on the property.  Many trim them each year to nubby branches at the top of the trunk so that walnuts do not grow on the branches.  Each year small branches grow with the leaves on them.  Almost all of these trees end up with an almost perfectly balanced, round top.  I see these trees and think of the organized researcher.  All of the data in their software is cited and the originals are filed correctly.  There are no piles of research that needs to be digitized or entered in software.  When we moved into our house, our walnut tree had to go because it was ruining the sidewalk.  Good thing,  I would not want anyone to get the idea I was super organized!

#8 - This tree represents the researcher who has carefully pruned their tree so that it looks like they want it too.  They have snipped off all of the skeletons and not so positive stories.  They do not want anyone to think badly about their family.  What they are left with is a freaky looking tree.  It is kind of like some of the women you see in reality TV.  They have so much makeup and plastic surgery that they end up looking odd.

The conclusion of my mini-series will be up in a few days.  Join us for Part 3!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foliage Fun (Part 1)

Last month I read a great blog post on  The post, written by Chris Staats, is entitled Researching Collateral Lines: A Visual Aid.  The visual aid is a photo of a tree he took on a walk near his home.  It really helps to drive home the point of how working "sideways" can aid your research.  

When I read the blog post, I could not help but laugh at myself.  I walk all over my town pushing my kids in a stroller in a bid to keep fit.  I, like Chris, look at trees while walking and think of genealogy.  I used to look at trees to identify one that portrays my family tree.  Now I look at trees and make up a story about what kind of family they belong to.    

I have decided to write a  mini-blog post series inspired by the blog post on  It will capture a sampling of some great trees I see on my walks.  Warning : You are now entering the mind of an obsessed genealogist!

#1 - This palm tree represents a family that does not use birth control.  Each branch of the family has A LOT of kids as shown by the number of leaves on each branch.

#2 - This is what can happen to your research when you blindly copy other people's trees off of  Rot creeps into your tree if you do not verify sources.

#3 - There is a home in the front left portion of this multi-acre orchard.  I am positive that a professional genealogist lives here.  Each tree represents a different family that he/she has researched for a client.  They must be one of the best paid researchers out there because there are a couple hundred trees on the property and they are all mature, large trees.

#4 - I think the tree growing in my front yard is a Japanese Maple.  It has these crazy branches that shoot out as it grows each year.  This tree is a perfect visual of a night that I get on a roll and stay up all hours to work on a suddenly expanding branch of my family tree.  You know those nights - your research log gets thrown out the window so that you can quickly jump from website to website as new ancestors throw themselves at you from digitized records.   

Come back for more foliage fun - the next post will include a photo that represents the worst brick wall I have ever seen.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leaving My (Water)Mark On Social Media

Blogging is like anything else in life.  You have to invest in continuing education.  Genealogists are usually really good at this.  You take the time to learn about different techniques to break down that wall, read history books to create context in your ancestors life, and attend conferences to learn even more.

Helping to evolve the family business, my husband has become a social media addict.  Acknowledging that the yellow pages are not what they used to be, he spends about an half hour a day writing blogposts, twitter & facebook updates, pinning work photos to Pinterest, etc, etc, to advertise in the digital world.

We tell each other what we learn about blogging.  I mostly learn by reading other blogs.  My husband has had other opportunities such as working with a digital media consultant.

We have been talking a lot lately about how far and wide your data can travel in the digital age.  The discussion came up after my mom who lives on the East coast starting re-pinning photos my husband was posting of windows and doors.  The terms of service for Pinterest puts the responsibility on users to follow copyright law.  It also asks that you follow pin etiquette and credit your sources.   All of that being said, Pinterest is still a playground for copyright issues.

In order to be sure that we receive credit for our photos, my husband and I agreed that we both need to start putting watermarks on the photos we post to our respective blogs.  Not only will this help discourage people from blatant stealing but it can also push traffic back to our websites.  I know that a watermark will not stop a true thief so I am also going to include my information in the metadata for each photo.  

We recently purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 10.  It is so much fun and there are so many cool functions.  I have been playing with some photos the last couple of days to figure out how to use the software.  The picture below was one of my test photos.  It was taken on a family weekend in Truckee this past winter.  Riley, my dog, is waiting for the next snowball to come her way.  I have figured out how to create a watermark using a text layer so I am now in business.

Now I need to continue my education and sign up for a Photoshop class!

My sweet girl Riley

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - John F Flock and Amner C. Flock

The post I wrote last week about Matthias Flock's family helped me realize some holes in my research on the family.  I am not sure how but in the early 2000's I found information that John Flock might have lived in Enid, Oklahoma at the end of his life.  My early research was not always done well.  I know now the importance of using citations and research logs!

I did not have death information for John F Flock or his wife, Amner Caroline Flock.  I decided to follow up on the information that I already had about the family and see if I could confirm my earlier research about Enid, Oklahoma.

I started by locating Amner Flock in the 1910 Federal Census.  She is living in Enid, Oklahoma and listed as widowed.  This is a good start, especially since I know that John's brother and mother are both buried in a nearby county.

I then followed up with a search on of Enid, Oklahoma.  When I searched for Flock in the Enid Cemetery, I found Lillie Flock Janeway.  The genealogy hairs on the back of my neck stood up because John and Amner had a daughter named Lillie.  The birth date for Lillie on her gravestone matched the information I have found for her.  I was unable to find an entry for John and Amner when using the search term Flock.

Using Lillie's FindAGrave page, I requested assistance to find her parents whom I suspected were nearby.  I received an email the next day from a volunteer in the area named David Schram.  He let me know that there was in fact a memorial page already set up for John and Amner and that he had gone and taken a picture that morning.  He is a genealogy angel!  With the memorial numbers I was given, I was able to find the FindAGrave page for John and Amner.  I am going to follow up with an email to FindAGrave about my search parameters and how they did not work for something that was really there.

Transcription - 

Our Loved Ones

Amner C.
His Wife
Born Nov. 29, 1840
Mar. 4, 1933

John F. Flock
Died Amy 30, 1909
Aged 68 Yrs, 4 Ms & 10 Ds


A few holes in my research have been filled this week.  I also did an updated search at to see if there was any new information available.  There is a picture of John and Amner Flock on Ancestry!  I have emailed the person who posted the picture to see if I can use it.  Hopefully, I will have another post to show you who my g-g-g-grandparents are!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mappy Monday - The Many Moves Of The Flock Family

Matthias Flock is my 4th great grandfather.  (me->my mom->Roberta Mitchell->Opal Strickler->Effie Flock->John Flock->Matthias Flock).  He was born about 1813 in New Jersey.  He died between 1860-1870 in either Appanoose County, Iowa or York County, Nebraska.  He married Margaret Fankboner in 1835 in Tuscarawas, Ohio.  I have documented 11 children born between 1835 and 1860.

One of the things that really sticks out to me about this family is how much they moved during their lifetime.  I created a timeline in excel to get a better idea of when and where the family lived.  As they moved from place to place, they seemed to leave a couple of kids behind in each location. (Not Literally! The kids would stay in a town after they married.)

Using the information I had gathered in the excel sheet, I created a google map to get a better visual idea of how the Flock family moved around the United States.  First they moved west, then South.

The excel sheet was pretty long so here is a quick snap shot of the family's moves:

about 1813 - Matthias Flock is born in New Jersey
about 1815 - Margaret Fankboner is born in Pennsylvania
1835 - Matthias and Margaret marry in Tuscarawas County, Ohio
1835-1850 - The Flock's live in Tuscarawas, Ohio as seven of their children are born
1850-1854 - The Flock's live in Coles County, Ohio and have 2 more children
1855-1865? - The Flock's live in Appanoose County, Iowa and have their last child
1865?- 1878? - Margaret now a widow, lives in York County, Nebraska.  One of her son's remainded behind in Iowa and did not make this move.
1878-1884?  - Margaret moves in with son John and his family in Washington County, Kansas.  She has left another couple of sons in York, Iowa.
1884- 1904 - Margaret is no longer living with John.  She is found again in 1904 in the Cemetery in Ringwood, Oklahoma.  One of her sons, Charles, is also buried there with his family.  It is possible that she lived her last years in Oklahoma with him. An interesting note is that another son, John, died in Enid, Oklahoma.  Enid and Ringwood are only 21 miles apart.  For this family, that is a small distance.

When my ancestors moved in the mid and late 1800's, they were definitely part of America's great Western Expansion.  I took a look at the BLM website to search for any land patents.  I was amazed to see that most of Matthias and Margaret's sons applied for patents in Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  I will have to spend some time learning more about the Homestead Act of 1862 and my ancestors roll in populating the west.