Saturday, July 25, 2020

Genealogy Record Keeping - Part 1

Or how do I keep track for what data I have.

This topic is so huge and complex, I'm not sure I can even address it all.  With the wealth of online data available I can sometime download 5 or more data items in a session. Now what to do with the data?

I know, I know. Keep a research log. Enter the data into a spreadsheet or some other software tool. But what and how.

Searching the world of information - which is there is too much of - there is a way of collecting, analyzing and storing data for every person who posts - no two are the same.  After spending weeks and months reading about and testing different methods, I created my own way of doing things. 

It works for me, so it is right.

So where to start - I decided to focus on my filing system first.

Over the years I've collected a large number of hard copy documents, original documents like birth and death certificates, and soft copy records from a wide variety of sources. And I also found myself collecting the same data over and over again.

Yes my wife calls me a disorganized person, but really I'm not... well yes I am.

My in development approach to cataloging the data.
  • Setup a external hard drive for data storage
    • I'm currently using a USB 1TB drive
      • Why - because that is what I had sitting on the desk unused
      • Assigned it a drive letter R: so no matter what computer I plug it into it has the same drive letter
        • This way when I set up file locations in applications I can always use R: regardless of what computer I use
      • Note - the application software is loaded to the default C: drive locations and is not on the backup
    • This drive is backed up to:
      •  Network attached storage (NAS) device (Synology 218J with 2 - 4TB WD Red HDs) - which acts as my cloud
      • Scan Disk 32GB USB drive (for quick getaways)
      • Future - possible online cloud
  • Collect the data and store it to a folder called '1 New Data to Catalog'
  • Once analyzed as relevant move to data file and name it
    • Data not useful will be stored in a separate location
  • Use a standard file structure and naming system for the files
  • Enter relevant data into Clooz
    • Add to research log
  • If confidence is high enter the person into Family Tree Maker

Software Used

Current software in use as of Jul 2020 that I am using or testing are:

  • Family Tree Maker – images / PDFs should be embedded in software
  • Clooz
  • Evidentia - testing
  •  Zotero - testing

How is each application used / results of testing

  • FTM is used to build the family tree
  • Clooz is used to document the records collected
  • Evidentia is used to prove the evidence – least useful so far of the programs for what I want to do
  • Zotero
    • Is a note taking system with ability to generate source citations
    • Using for one name studies
    • Great for a research project which generates a final paper
    • Use to collect notes while at research location
    • Saves data to cloud for access by multiple systems

R: Drive - Radloff Genealogy File Structure:

  • 1 New Data to Catalog
  • 2 Genealogy Data
  • 3 Data with Unknown Relevancy
  •  Clooz Databases
  • Evidentia Databases
  • FTM Databases
  • Photos
  • Reference Material without names
  • One Person Studies
    • Radloff, Louis USMC
    • Radlof, Louis USA
    • Radloff, Clarence USA
  • Manuals
  • Zotero Databases
  • ZZ Licenses and downloaded application files

Next blog... file naming system and indexing

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Fading Battlefields of WWI

World War I Battlefields

The scars of WWI are still quite evident parts of France and Belgium. But like all scars over time they fade. This article by The Atlantic shows some of the healing after a 100 years. And also shows how somethings worth saving are disappearing or how some things might never disappear.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Maps, Maps, Maps - Where To Find WWI Maps

Maps, Maps, Maps - Where To Find WWI Maps

Well there are lots of maps available of the War but the best ones are still in hard copy in some archive somewhere.

I eventually found some really good sources for maps which are online and some with extremely high detail.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) has some really high resolution maps of the various battles along with other books in PDF format. At the webpage you will find the major maps as you scroll down the page. You can download these or contact the ABMC's Office of Public Affairs and they will send you a link for super high resolution maps. The image you download from the website is about 13,000kb... while the super high resolution one is over 220,000kb.

Also available on the ABMC page is the AABEFINAL_Blue_Book.pdf which is the "American Armies and Battlefields in Europe" which has a number of maps and data on troop movements, but I digress.

Other map locations out there include:

  1. The National Archives. If you are looking for the map related to where your soldier was or was buried there is normally a map and grid reference. In my case I needed the Verdun 35 map
  2. The Hathi Trust has numerous maps, unit histories, and other WWI documents. While all are viewable not all can be downloaded, unless you have the right user credentials.
  3. The Osher Map Library at also has some interesting maps.

And don't leave out Google Maps or Google Earth in your searches for maps.

Many people have created downloadable files, called KMZ or KML files, of trench systems, troop movements and battlefields. At this blog site,,  has created some KMZ files of some trenches and machine gun emplacements.

Some great downloadable files can be found at the USNA Ruffin_Project site where they have overlaid a number of maps on Goggle Earth. Using these maps you can see the units movements over various battlefields over time.

I like Google Earth because you can put down pins for various points of interest such as tracking the movements of a division, unit or person.

If you are concerned about matching up WWI maps to Google Earth or Maps, don't be. Seems somethings don't really change much, as you can in this image where the roads, forests and clearings all still match up.