FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

Legacy Never Ceases to Amaze and Please

I often talk about my love of Legacy Family Tree. I’ve been a beta tester for products from Legacy and their parent company, Millennia for many years and know how input from users of Legacy has shaped the products we see today. Ken McGinnis, Dave Berdan, Geoff Rasmussen and crew listen to the beta testers and to users in general and it shows.

I own almost every genealogy package on the market, but I use Legacy as my main family history software.

Legacy 7 will be released in the next month or two and I’m really looking forward to the new features in it. If you have attended any of the larger genealogy conferences in the past few months, you’ve probably seen Geoff and Ken there making presentations about the new features and talking to folks who are visiting their booth.

Download the free version of Legacy 6 here. You can buy the deluxe version of Legacy now and upgrade to version 7 in a few months to access the new features. Legacy 6 already has so many features that it is mind blowing. I’m sure there will be an upgrade path for new buyers of Legacy Deluxe. You won’t be sorry if you start using Legacy today.

Dear Myrtle recently interviewed Geoff Rasmussen for her podcast. You can hear Geoff extol the virtues of regularly helping with FamilySearch Indexing and talking about Legacy 7 here.

Another old friend, Dick Eastman, interviewed Ken at the Saint George conference in early February 2008. You can see that interview here….

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25 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , , | Leave a comment

Danish Census Records


Staying with the Danish theme of an earlier note, it isn’t difficult to read Danish Census records if you understand certain key words. A number of years ago, a good Samaritan researcher helped me read the census records associated with my ancestors. She sent me a document that I’ve used in my Danish research ever since. I’m sure you’ll find it to be very useful too in your own Danish ancestral quest.

You will find Danish census records in English here although most of them haven’t been translated yet. I have more luck searching in Danish here.

Fixed surnames were more common in the towns than in the countryside. However it was still not uncommon for males to create a surname by adding ‘sen’ (‘son of’) or, for females, ‘dotre’ (‘daughter of’) to their father’s Christian name. Thus Ole Mortensen would be the son of, for example, Morten Hanssen. In this case the former’s sons would, in turn, be called e.g. Jon or Jens etc. Olsen, his daughters e.g. Maria or Petra Olsen. Note too that a woman kept her maiden name after marriage, a distinct advantage for those now engaged in genealogical research or other nominal record linkage work.

The head of the household was usually male, hence husfader (house-father) but could be female, in which case husmoder (house-mother) would appear. Sometimes neither husfader nor husmoder was entered. The list continued with (hans) kone (his wife), søn (son), datter (daughter). Other terms to be found occasionally in this column were:

Antaget barn = Adopted child
Bedstemoder (fader) = Grandmother (father)
Brodersøn = Brother’s son
Datter datter = Granddaughter
Deres børn = Their children
Deres søn (datter, barn, broder) = Their son (daughter, child, brother)
De to forriges søn (datter) = The above two’s son (daughter)
Disses moder = The above persons’ mother
Enke (enkemand) = Widow (widower)
Fader (modern, søster, broder) = Father (mother, sister, brother)
Familie fader = Family head
Farmoder = Grandmother on male side
Fattiglæm = Pauper
Foranståendes barn (kone) = The above’s child (wife)
Forældre = Parent
Fostersøn (datter) = Foster son (daughter)
Frillesøn (datter) = Son/daughter/born outside marriage
Hans hastru = His wife
Hennes søn (datter, mor, far) = Her son (daughter, mother, father)
Hennes søn med 1ste mand = Her son by first husband
Husbestyrerinde = Housekeeper
Huseier = Houseowner
Husfaderens moder (søster) = Household head’s mother (sister)
Husholderske = Housekeeper
Husjomfru = Housekeeper
Konens (mannens) moder) = Wife’s (husband’s) mother
Logerende (logerer) = Lodger
Logi i huset = Lodges in house
Midlertidig logererende = Temporary lodger
Pleieson (datter, barn) = Foster son (daughter, child)
Stedson (datter, barn) = Stepson (daughter, child)
Svigermoder (søn) = Mother (son)-in-law
Svoger = Brother-in-law
Søster (broder) til konen = Wife’s sister (brother)
Uægte barn = Child born out of wedlock”

24 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

Wikipedia and Dutch Occupations

Wikipedia County Lists

For some reason, I haven’t been using Wikipedia effectively in the course of my ancestral research. I haven’t searched the site for the counties of U. S. States.

Searchresults provide not only maps of all the counties in a state, butcensus bureau stats, history of the county, information about the county seat and often the eytomology of the name of the county. All of the information is a boon to family history researchers.

To find counties in a state, go to wikipedia.org and search for “List of counties in _____” and include the name of the state.

Occupations in Dutch & English

If you don’t speak Dutch, reading census records is often difficult. It doesn’t take very long to understand the relationship titles that are used repeatedly, but the words for occupations rarely easily convert to English phrasing. Here’s a list of occupations in Dutch and their English translation to help you in your own ancestral quest.

Akkerbouwer – Farmer (without cattle)
Ambtenaar – Civil servant
Arbeider/Arbeidster – Laborer
Bakker – Baker
Bakkersknecht – Baker’s assistant
Bediende – Servant
Beeldhouwer – Sculptor
Bierbrouwer – Brewer of beer
Bierhuishouder – Owner of a beerhouse
Blikslager – Tinsmith, tinker
Bloemist – Florist
Boekhouder – Bookkeeper
Boterfabrikant – Owner of a butter factory
Bringer Faendrig – Warrant officer
Brouwer – Brewer
Chef – Station-master
Coiffeur – Hairdresser
Colporteur – Canvasser, hawker
Commissaris – Commissioner, chief constable
Cuyper – Barrel Maker
Dagloner – Day laborer
Deurwaarder – Doorman, Usher
Dienstbode – Maid servant
Dienstknecht – Hand servant
Dienstmeid – Maid-servant
Fabrikant – Manufacturer or owner of a factory
Gepensionerd – Retired
Grofsmid – Blacksmith
Handarbeider – Labourer
Handelaar – Salesman, broker
Heelmeester – Physician
Hengstenhouder – Owner of stallions
Herbergier – Innkeeper
Herder – Shepherd
Horlogemaker – Watchmaker
Houtzager – Sawyer
Huishoudster – Housekeeper
Ingenieur – Civil Engineer
Jager – Hunter
Kantoorbediende – Office worker, clerk
Kantwerkster – Lace worker
Kapelaan – Chaplain
Kastelein – Innkeeper or Bartender, Publican
Keukenmeid – Cook’s helper
Kleermaker – Tailor
Kleinlandman – Small-scale farmer
Klompmaker – Maker of wooden shoes
Knecht – Assistant, apprentice
Koehouder – Cattle farmer
Koetsier – Coachman
Koewachter – Cowherd
Kok – Cook
Koopman – Salesman, merchant
Kroeghouder – Owner of a bar or cafe
Landarbeider – Agricultural laborer
Landbouwer – Farmer, agriculturalist
Landman – Farmer
Landvrouw – Farmer’s wife
Leerling – Apprentice
Letterzetter – Compositor, typesetter
Leurder/Leurster – Hawker
Logementhouder – Hotel or lodging house operator
Machinist – Engine driver
Marsdrager – Pedlar, hawker
Matroos – Sailor
Mattenmaker – Mat maker
Meid – Maid
Metselaar – Mason
Milicien Soldaat – Soldier
Molenaar – Miller
Molenaarsknecht – Miller’s helper
Monteur – Mechanic
Mutsenmaakster – Maker of caps, bonnets
Naaister – Seamstress
Onderwijzer – Teacher
Particulier(e) – Self-employed person
Plafondwerker – Maker of ceilings
Polderwerker – Worker in a Polder
Pottenbakker – Potter
Rademaker – Wheelmaker
Schaapherder – Sheepherder
Schepen – Sheriff
Schilder – House painter
Schipper – Skipper
Schippersknecht – Skipper’s assistant
Schoemaker – Shoemaker
Schoolmeester – Schoolmaster, Teacher
Sjouwer – Porter
Slachter – Butcher
Slager – Butcher
Smid – Blacksmith
Smidsknecht – Smith’s assistant
Snoeier – Pruner, trimmer
Spoorbeambte – Railroad employee
Stoker – Fireman
Strandwerker – Beachworker
Suikerwerker – Maker of confectionaries, Candymaker
Tapper – Tavern keeper
Tapster – Tavern keper, Publican
Timmerman – Carpenter
Touwslager – Rope maker
Tuinier – Gardener
Varensgezel – Seaman
Veehouder – Cattle farmer
Veldwerker – Fieldhand, laborer
Verpleger/Verpleegster – Nurse
Vissersknecht – Fisherman’s assistant
Voerman – Driver, carrier
Vrachtrijder – Lorrydriver, carrier
Wagenmaker – Cartwright, wagonmaker
Werkman – Male Laborer
Werkmeid/Werkster – Charwoman
Werkvrouw – Female Labourer
Winkelbediende – Shop Assistant
Winkelier/Winkelierster – Shopkeeper
Yker/IJker – Inspector of weights and measurers
Zager – Sawyer
Zakenman – Businessman
Zeeman – Mariner
Zilversmid – Silversmith

17 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | Leave a comment

It’s Not Too Early

Have you started shopping for your Christmas 2008 gifts yet? If you want to give unique gifts, it isn’t too early to make a plan and start creating them.

If you haven’t heard of Canvas on Demand yet, take the time to visit the site and review their work. They transfer digital images or scans of photos to canvas. I’ll focus on the family history aspect of their service, but when you look through the pages of the site, you’ll see many other applications as well.

Find those favorite old photos of your ancestors, scan them at 300 dpi, save the file as a .jpg and send it to Canvas on Demand. Ask them to repair any problems on the image, choose the size and frame you want and in two weeks, a wonderful canvas of the photo will be delivered to your door. The large canvases can be expensive but may be the perfect gift for that special someone in your family.

Another gift idea will take a little more planning and effort on your part, but it is well worth the investment of time and money.

Write and publish a book using Lulu. You can publish a family history, a collection of ancestors photos, an ancestors diary or letters and print as many or few of them as you want. Tour the Lulu site and let your imagination wander. You’ll quickly see how easy it is for you to become an author.

While making your plans, you may want to consider putting your books up for sale. Lulu can handle that for you too. It is a great way to publish a family history with very little out of pocket capital because the books are printed on demand. Set the retail price and give family and friends the address to Lulu so they can order copies of your work.

The last idea is for those of you with quilting skills. Last year I asked my wife to create a family tree wall hanging of our family. We took silhouette photos of everyone early in the year. I resized them and printed them as patterns for the wall hanging. My wife and I designed the form and size of the tree and she applied her considerable skills as a quilter. Christmas 2007 arrived and I received a wonderful gift. Our 3ft by 5ft family tree now hangs on a wall in our home for all to see.

I don’t know how much you would pay someone to make a tree like mine, but most of us couldn’t afford it. However, by planning ahead and leaving plenty of time for construction, anyone can enjoy a fantastic gift like mine.

It’s not too early to plan your 2008 Christmas gifts.

9 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , , | 1 Comment

Zoom. Write and Learn

Google Earth never ceases to delight me. I use it frequently in my family history research to find cities and towns associated with my ancestors. It can be used to search the surrounding areas for cemeteries, towns and probable migration paths. In many cases, the image quality is so good that you can see the headstones in cemeteries and if you know which stones belong to your family, you’ll quickly locate them.

A couple of years ago I enjoyed touring the 1906 San Francisco earthquake on the USGS website using Google Earth. You’ll enjoy seeing the fault lines, before and after photos and the areas that will be impacted by a similar quake today.

I use Google Earth on one of my websites to track the events in the lives of my ancestors and extended family. Additionally, I have most of the cemeteries they are buried in marked in a Google Earth file that takes me on a visual flight around the world, zooming in to a cemetery and then hopping to the next and then the next This is very useful to me in helping me visualize the migration path of my ancestors.

Microsoft’s Live Search Maps is equally wonderful and in some locations offers higher quality images than Google Earth. This isn’t a definitive statement, because both of companies are constantly adding new images, features and ‘whiz bangs’ to their sites and applications.

Download either or both of these free applications and take them for a spin. You’ll quickly discover the downside of having them installed on your computer though. Several hours after you launch them, you’ll look up and realize that your entire household has gone to bed while you toured the pyramids of Egypt, flew up the canals of Holland and followed the trails that you ‘ve hiked over the years.

Addictive? No, they aren’t addictive, but during these cold winter months here in the northern hemisphere, they let you vacation on Bondi Beach in OZ or hike Table Mountain in Cape Town and enjoy, at least in your mind, their warm weather.

If you use PAF but don’t think you are utilizing all of the tools in it, take the free and excellent tutorial offered by BYU by clicking here.

I’ve mentioned several free online Office type programs in earlier postings, but they need to be mentioned again. I use them all of the time as I’m working and researching on the go. I don’t carry a laptop with me most of the time but rather use the Internet connected computers at my destinations. My documents go with me because I keep a copy of them online.

If you haven’t given these applications a try yet, here are two that I use and recommend. ZOHO and Google Docs

Write your documents and save a copy of them on line. They will be there when you need them and can be saved locally as a Word document or in other formats.

Lastly, if you aren’t searching for information on your ancestors in Google Books, quit reading this and start searching for them now. I have used the numerous Vital Records of Massachusetts cities and towns frequent over the past year for additional primary sources for my records. Additionally, I’ve found gold in many of the family genealogical and town history books on the site.

Our research quivers continue to fill with these free but excellent web-based tools that allow us to stretch our family history budgets.

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3 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , , , | Leave a comment