Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday’s Tips --- Where Is It? Organizing My Laptop Files

Flickr Puzzle 2 By Willi Heidelbach
via Wikimedia Commons

About once a year, I take a serious look at the organization of my genealogy files on my laptop computer.  I’m usually spurred on to this task because I’m looking for something, something I know is there but just can’t find.  That is where I found myself last week.

Looking closely at my laptop, I found genealogy files everywhere.   In Pictures, Downloads, and Word documents.   In Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, My Scans, e-mails, and more.  I needed to have this wide variety of files in one central file. 

Previously I had a Genealogy File in my saved Word Documents and a Genealogy File in my Pictures Library.  That had been enough for several years.  Now that I have been saving more and more genealogy things to my laptop, these files were growing.  In addition, I had also gotten into the habit of saving downloads and imported materials with the name suggested from the original source.  It was time for some changes. 

The Organized Genealogist Group on facebook has an ongoing discussion of tips for digital file organization.  Some of them I had even downloaded.  The ongoing thread of the discussions stresses two simple points:

  • Use consistency in file names
  • Organize in the way that fits with how you think.

Over the weekend, I was able to go from files scattered across my computer to having things organized in one place.  Here are the steps I followed using the Windows 7 structure of my laptop.

Step 1:  Set up a Library titled “Genealogy Laptop”.  This is now my one place to save anything related to genealogy - photos, copies of records, maps, e-mails, anything.

Step 2:  Establish a consistent format for labeling my files.
  • For a file related to a person: 
    • Last name, First name – descriptor (ie, grave marker, photo, 1860 census, WWI Draft Registration Card, etc.  If I have more than one photo, they are numbered photo 1, photo 2, etc.)  .
    • Files which covered multiple family members such as family group photos, copies of a family tree, etc, are labeled with just the family name, ex: Camp Family – photo 1
    • Since some records for married women (such as a pension application) contain only a women’s married name, I labeled these files with her maiden Last name, First name, MARRIED NAME in caps
  • For a file not related to a person: 
    • Type of file – descriptor.  For example: Template – Research Log  or  Book – Title of book
    • Geographical files are labeled by name of the state:  example:  Georgia – Counties, Towns, and History

Step 3:  Label every genealogy related file I came across in looking through the file structure of my computer.   Admittedly it took looking back over the trees in Family Tree Maker to know how to correctly label the files for a number of married women.  After labeling all the files found in one section, I moved them to the Genealogy Laptop Library (GLL).  For e-mails and a few miscellaneous files, I ended up having to make a copy to move the file to the GLL.  Within a few hours I had hundreds of labeled files arranged in one alphabetical list in the GLL.  I was surprised to see the number of files (mainly photos) which were duplicates.  Some deleting trimmed my number of files

Labeled files after move into the Genealogy Laptop Library

Step 4:  Using Family Tree Maker, I generated a Bow Tie Family Tree.  This quickly provided me with the names of my 16 2nd Great Grandparents.  In the GLL I created a folder for each of these 16 families.  I followed this same step to create folders for each of my husband’s 16 2GGs.

Family and Topic folders for my labeled files

Step 5:  Since I had previously labeled all people files last name first, it was a simple task to cut and past all people files into the corresponding family folder.  Once inside the family folder, I could see all files for a specific family member and know immediately if it were a photo, a census record, or other document.

Labeled files in the Camp Family folder

Step 6:  Back-up the Genealogy Laptop Library.  I didn’t want to lose all of my work!

Lessons Learned:  Now that my system is in place, in the future it will be easy to label a file correctly when I save it.  Then I will save it in the appropriate folder.  As a friend says, “easy-peasy”.  It turned out to be a simple project to complete, and definitely worth the time.  Plus, when I do my monthly backup of my family tree software, it is easy to also backup the entire Genealogy Laptop Library.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Naming a New Baby

By Photographer "Roberts of Llandrindod Wells" [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
Last Sunday was Grandparents Day.  What a perfect day for the christening of our youngest grandchild.  Along with all the holy and joyful moments shared with family members, I later pondered on two thoughts related to celebrating our family stories.

This newest grandchild carries the names of his father, a maternal Grandfather, and a paternal Great Grandfather.  He will grow up knowing his father and Grandfather, having his own stories to share of special times.  It will be through pictures and family stories that he will come to know his paternal GreatGrandfather.  If the rest of us do our part, this little one will come to know a skilled craftsman, sharer of family stories, and teller of country yarns, his GGrandfather Nelson.  He will get to know GGrandfather Nelson as a person, not just as the middle name on his birth certificate or another name on a family tree.

A few days prior to the family christening, I had been at the local university doing more rainy day research.  After looking for the books on my To Do List, I started browsing the shelves.  There in the stacks I saw a copy of The Registers of North Farnham Parish.(1)  The book contained transcriptions from the early 1700s 
of church records for births, marriages, and deaths in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, home to many members of the Tarpley family.   

The Registers book provided me with additional documentation about a number of the Tarpley children.   There on one page were the names and birth dates of six of the eight children of my 6GreatGrandparents James Tarpley and Mary Camp Tarpley;  their other two children were listed on the following page.  For a number of these Tarpley children, this meant that I finally had day/month/year birth dates.

Children of James and Mary Tarpley, highlighted in red

Granted, these transcriptions of church registers are derivative documents, secondary sources, but they do provide a lot of family information.  I’m thankful that these old registers exist.  I'm thankful that someone took the time to transcribe them and publish them.  It ended up being yet another rainy day surprise for me.

(1)  Standford, George Harrison.  The Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800 Richmond County Virginia,  Fredricksburg, VA: George Harrison Sanford King, 1966.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Marriage Can Lead to a Lot of Things ...

Let me just say up front - There were a lot of marriages between the Tarpley family and the Camp family back in Virginia in the 1700s.  And many people in the two families were named Mary or James or John or Thomas, so biblical.  And it takes repeatedly looking at the family tree to keep everyone separate.

It all seemed to start back in 1733 (or 1734 depending on which record you use) when James Tarpley married Mary Camp.(1) (2)  They were my 6GGrandparents.  James Tarpley and Mary Camp eventually had eight children, four of whom married members of the Thomas Camp family.  The four Tarpley siblings married four children of Mary Camp's nephew Thomas Camp, often referred to as Thomas Camp III.  This nephew Thomas Camp III was the son of Mary Camp's (much) older brother Thomas Camp II. This meant that each Tarpley child who married a Camp child was marrying his or her first cousin once removed.  Today this type of marriage is illegal in many states, but it was not that uncommon several hundred years ago in this country.

With names so common, it took some looking at a variety of resources to be sure I have the actual people who were my ancestors and relatives.  Usually I rely upon databases or transcriptions of marriage records, but for the Tarpley-Camp marriages there was also a lot of information found on applications filed for membership in some of the lineage societies.  Online images and databases for The Colonial Dames of America, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Sons of the American Revolution provided helpful names of the bride, groom, and parents as well as dates.  

The four Tarpley-Camp marriages were:
  • Mary Camp married Thomas Tarpley on 3 April 1759 (2)
  • John Camp married Mary Minnie Tarpley on 1 January 1764 (3)
  • Thomas Camp IV married Nancy Anne Tarpley in 1768 (2)
  • Nathaniel Camp married Winnifred Tarpley in 1770 (4) 
For years the Camp family has been documented by a number of genealogists and family historians.  The Camp-Kemp Family History by Robert Neville Mann and Catherine Cleek Mann is often referred to in articles concerning the Camp family.  Back in the 1920s and 1930s there was a The Camp Family Bulletin which provided a place for genealogists and family historians to post findings about the family.  Locating and reading these resources is now high on my Genealogy To-Do List.

Meanwhile, I've found some additional helpful resources online. Elroy Christenson's Family Records web site presents an impressive amount of resources on a number of families, among them the Camp and Tarpley families.  Professional genealogist Nathaniel Lane Taylor includes The Kamp Papers, volume II by Gayle O Kamp on Taylor's web site.  A final helpful web site was that of the Lawson DNA Group.  It turns out there were a number of connections between the Tarpleys and the Lawsons in Richmond County, Virginia in the early 1700s.  The Lawson web site contains transcriptions of Richmond County documents which show both the legal and the family relationships the Tarpleys had with a number of families.  All three web sites were helpful in learning more about the Tarpley-Camp marriages and their families.

In addition to leading me to study some new-to-me online resources, my search for information about the Tarpley-Camp marriages provided me with enough printouts that I've started a new family folder for the Tarpleys.  New relatives, new resources, even a new Family Folder.  After all, marriage does lead to a lot of new things.

(1) Jeanne Mitchell Jordan Tabb, compiler.  Ancestor Lineages of Members Texas Society National Society Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century.  Baltimore, MD : Genealogical Publishing Co, c1992; accessed on Ancestry.com.
(2) Kamp, Gayle O.  The Kamp Papers, vol. II.  Indianapolis, IN: c1986; accessed on Nathan Lane Taylor web site, www.nltaylor.net.
(3) Supplemental Membership Application, Harrell Case Fountain, #76573, Georgia, on John Camp, approved 30 Nov 1953; accessed on Ancestry.com  
(4) U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, database, Ancestry.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Learning More About the Civilian Conservation Corps

CCC Medallion placed on picnic shelter,
Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth, Georgia

It was the early 1930s.  The United States was still in the midst of a depression.  So many were unable to find work.  President Franklin Roosevelt, as part of the New Deal, proposed the Civilian Conservation Corps as a means of providing work to thousands of able bodied young men.  One of those young men was my father, Oscar Dean Perkinson.

Being in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of many things my father had mentioned in passing.  It was one of those things I didn't really think about until years after his death.  Since then, I've learned more about the role of the CCC and, more importantly to me, my father's part in it.

A few years ago I came across a fascinating web site, The James F. Justin Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.  The web site provided information about the history of the CCC, the quasi-military structure of the organization, and lists of CCC camps around the country.  And, where and how to locate the government records for someone who had served in the CCC.

The records, available from the National Records Service in St. Louis, were free and arrived within a few weeks of my request for them.  The five pages of my father's individual record provided some basic information.(1)  Some was surprising, some I had always known, including:
  • In all the typed CCC records my father's birthday is listed as July 1, 1908.  However, he was born in 1907.  Roosevelt's plan in setting up the Civilian Conservation Corps was to provide employment for young men ages 18-25 who had been unemployed for some time.(2)  When my father enrolled in the CCC at Ft. McClellan, Alabama on 6 Jun 1933, he was a month away from his 26th birthday which would have made him ineligible for the initial program.  Why the incorrect birth year was repeatedly recorded, I'll probably never know, but it was an interesting tidbit to find.
  • The pay for young men in the CCC was essentially a dollar a day, $30 a month.  My dad's records indicate that his mandatory allotment of $25 per month went to his mother, netting him $5 each month of his 12 month enlistment in the CCC.
  •  My father served in Company 488 which was stationed at Ellijay, Georgia. Eureka!
  • His work with the CCC was as a head telephone / telegraph lineman, a job similar to work he had previously performed stringing telephone lines and work he later did with the electrical company.
  • The entrance and exit physicals done of my father indicated that he had 20/20 vision with no mention of his wearing glasses.  Every picture I have even seen of my father from his teens on show him wearing glasses.  Interesting, especially since his exit physical was so specific that it mentioned a scar on one of his fingers.  Perhaps the primary focus of the physicals was to determine if he were a healthy young man, willing and able to do physical labor.
In an effort to learn more about CCC Company 488, I found several photos of their camp on the web site of The Georgia Archives Virtual Vault.  The pictures of the camp located in Ellijay, Gilmer County, Georgia, showed a number of canvas tents serving as dormitories and several large wooden buildings which were probably the mess hall and other common use areas.

A few months later I purchased a book about the Civilian Conversation Corps in Georgia written by Connie M Huddleston.  The book is part of the Images of America series about which I have previously written.  This book was true to form, filled with interesting photos from the 1930s showing the CCC at work in Georgia.  Huddleston's book also indicated that CCC Company 488 had been involved in the building of Fort Mountain State Park near Chatsworth, Georgia.

Last year we visited the CCC Museum at Vogel State Park in Georgia.  The museum's collection of photos, uniforms, and dioramas provided a lot of information about how the CCC was involved in the development of state parks within Georgia and other states.

CCC Museum, Vogel State Park, Blairsville, GA
personal photo

Fast forward to a recent trip we made to Georgia.  One beautiful day we decided to head toward the North Georgia mountains for a picnic.  Randomly, we decided to visit Fort Mountain State Park.  About half way to Fort Mountain, I remembered that was the park Company 488 had worked to build.  Good choice.

At the Visitor's Center at Fort Mountain State Park, I told the park attendant of my interest in the CCC and its work at Fort Mountain.  Although there are no exhibits about the CCC there, the park attendant did mention that a number of things built by the CCC are still in use at the park today.  Picnic shelters.  Rock lined trails and paths.  A rock fire tower.  It was easy to plan the rest of our time at Fort Mountain.  I even have the pictures to prove it.

Picnic shelter build about 1933-34 by the CCC
Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth, Georgia

Interior of the picnic shelter with original stone fireplace

Stone walking path from the picnic area leading up toward the fire tower.

Fort Mountain Fire Tower (currently being cleaned and repaired)

No, I never found my father's initials carved anywhere on a picnic shelter or written in the concrete on a walking path, but our picnic at Fort Mountain State Park make the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps much more real to me.  

Since our picnic, my interest in the CCC has been rekindled.  The other day I came across Ancestry.com's collection of "Happy Days", the weekly newspaper of and for the CCC.  Looking at the issues provides a real snapshot of the everyday work of the CCC, camp life, and the young men who were part of this progrtam.  The newspapers are filled with stories of building parks, fighting fires, controlling floods, doing meaningful work, and protecting public lands around the country.  The legacy of the CCC is something we still enjoy today.

(1)  Individual Record - Civilian Conservation Corps for Dean Perkinson, Perkinson Family Files; privately held by Mary Perkinson Nelson.  Photocopies (5 pages) obtained from The National Personnel Record Center, Sep 2012
(2)  Huddleston, Connie M. Georgia's Civilian Conservation Corps. Images of America Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, c2009.