Your Quick Tips, 28 July 2008

Buried Tombstones
My step son’s family comes from rural Missouri. He and his mother went to find the old family cemetery and after “beating the bushes” and hiking through tall grass could find very little other than a few fence posts and depressions. An old local farmer watched for a while and queried them on their purpose there. Once he was convinced they were, indeed, the family members of those buried on the property he explained why they could not find the gravestones. It seems that years ago the family members who visited the burial ground noticed how faded and worn the markers were. So they laid them down and buried them under four to six inches of soil. The farmer showed my step-son and his mother where to look and they spent the rest of the day uncovering markers and recording their information.

Kathleen Libbey
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The Answer to the Race Question
Always check the actual census image, especially if something in the index seems fishy. In searching for my African American ancestors and other African Americans in census records, I have discovered numerous occasions where the race of a person or family is listed as “white” instead of “black,” colored,” “mulatto,” or “negro” on the census index preview. When I clicked the actual record, it clearly said the correct race, which is not white. I have almost overlooked many a records because of what race is typed on the census preview. It is most common if the person you are looking for lived in a predominantly white part of the county or town.

Kimberli Jordan

Economical Wall Chart
I always look forward to receiving the Ancestry Weekly Journal.  I find the articles helpful in my own research and love what I learn in the articles entitled, The Year Was…  I have a suggestion for printing large wall charts. 

I recently hosted a “cousin party” for my husband’s relatives.  I wanted to hang an hourglass wall chart so that family members could see the ancestors and descendants of the patriarch of their family.  

Family Tree Maker 2008 has an “export to image” option in the Publish section of the application. Rather than printing a large chart in .pdf and taping together, or exporting the chart and sending away for professional printing, the chart can be saved as an image file, taken to Staples and printed on their large format printer for $0.50 per foot!  I’m sure other office supplies/service retailers have the same services. Here’s how: 

After creating a chart, click the “Share” icon (beside the “Print” icon in the top right corner) and choose “export to image.” I saved my paternal hourglass chart as a .jpg image.  Save the file on your computer and then copy it to a thumb drive or CD and take it to the office supply/services store. They will format so that it looks the best on the particular width of paper they use.  Our Staples has a plotter than prints on 30” paper.  My chart was seven feet long–it was black and white and nothing fancy, other than the formatting I did within Family Tree Maker 2008.  It was perfect for our party!

We hung the chart at the party and asked guests to fill in missing people and dates and to add descendants.  I now have tons more research to do to verify the information but I also have tons more clues to use to find those missing family members!

M. Livingston
Ancestry.com member for a very long time!

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: mailto:juliana@ancestry.com . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!

Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the “Ancestry Weekly Journal,” please state so clearly in your message.

3 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 28 July 2008

  1. Great suggestion for the wall chart!!!

    Also, the issue of race is a good reminder to check everyone on an index whose data matches your person regardless of race, but alsoif one of the names is “off.” The mis-reading of hand-writing is common. I have discounted an item and then tried it at a later date, in desperation, and found that it was the person/family that I was searching for.

  2. I too really liked that wall chart idea and how it can be used at a family function! Thanks for sharing your great idea — plan to use it soon.

  3. Another hint to finding a “lost” relative in a particular town, is to ignore the last name, and search for the first name. People are less likely to typo a common first name, than a multitude of spellings of last names.

    It especially is handy if they have a spouse, child, or sibling with an uncommon given name.

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