Category Archives: Personal Family History/Research

Time for a Change

I am in the processing of doing something that I never thought I would do — that is porting my genealogy database to a different software package. After using Legacy Family Tree since 2004, I have decided it’s worth the pain to switch to RootsMagic.

Don’t get me wrong — Legacy is a great program. But lately I have been feeling an ever growing disconnect between the features I want in a genealogy program and what Legacy provides. So I decided it was time to take another look at the competition to see if there was a better fit for me.

The first time that I took a close look at the competition was when Legacy V6 was released without the much anticipated “witness” feature which would have provided for shared events. We (the users) were told that the programmers wanted to include it, but it required too much “restructuring.” At that time I looked at RootsMagic as well as other products. My perception was that RM did not support tagging, and that was a Legacy feature that I did not want to give up. After evaluating the competition,  I decided to stick with Legacy and hope shared events would be addressed in the next release.

Fast-forward about 7 years. Legacy is now on Version 7.5. It still doesn’t support shared events, and, as I blogged about before, it also doesn’t support shared source detail (citations). These 2 pet peeves, coupled with some other minor annoyances, caused me to really give RM a good look when I got the email about their Version 6 release. And the more I looked, the more I liked!

The more I looked into RM’s implementation of shared events – or as they call it, shared facts – the more I decided it was a must-have. First and foremost, this feature allows you to create, for example, a single census event/fact and have it attached to all the members of the household. As a software engineer who specialized in database design, I personally feel this implementation is much better than having multiple copies of the event – as Legacy would have you do. (Or my work-around which was to create the census event as a marriage event and basically ignore attaching it to the children.)

Additionally, shared facts allow for the capturing of relationships beyond spousal and parent/child. For example, a baptismal or christening fact can be shared with the godparents and even the officiating clergy. RM did an excellent job implementing shared facts in a very flexible and powerful way, including user-definable roles and sentence structures.

Sadly, RM does not support shared source citations, but shared facts are a step in the right direction.

And what about tagging – the lack of which stopped me from switching to RM all those years ago? I have found that the named groups give me about 80% of the functionality of tagging — and I can live with that. I am also liking the interface now that I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks.

On the other hand, there are certain things that Legacy has that I miss – like hovering the mouse over a child in the family view to see the spouse list and all the shortcut mouse clicks. But all in all, I think (hope) that I’ve made the right choice – for me, for now.

I am now going through the tedious process of cleaning up – changing the christening facts back to baptism, fixing up the place list, changing the census (family) fact to a shared census fact, etc. And then there’s sources.. That can of worms probably deserves a separate post!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Wedding Day

Today my Aunt and Uncle celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary! Here’s a scrapbook layout with their wedding photo. (Used a scrapbook kit that I am currently working on.)

Anna Maria Who??

Although it’s way late, today’s post was inspired by Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Who is Your Third Most Recent Unknown, as well as an email I received from a lady whose husband is also a descendant of Anna Maria and David.

Rather than just a plain vanilla blog post, I decided to work this in to a project that I’m doing in my “other life” as a digital scrapbook designer. My latest venture there is into the world of Art Journaling – which I’m doing with a vintage/heritage flair.

So here’s the page I made:

Anna Maria Who scrapbook page

And here is the text:

One of my 4th great-grandmothers was Anna Maria (nee Unknown) Reinert. She was the wife of David Rienert and mother of Elizabeth Reinert who married Matthias Levengood (my 3rd great-grandparents).

Anna Maria was born circa 1765 and likely died prior to 1820. Her first name is known from her children’s baptismal records. David and Anna Maria lived in Colebrookedale, Berks County, Pennsylvania. David died between 10 Mar 1840 (when he wrote his will) and 13 Sep 1842 (when his will was proved). Early census data appears to indicate that Anna Maria died prior to 1820, and, indeed, David does not mention a widow in his 1840 will.

So who were Anna Maria and David’s FANs (Family, Associates and Neighbors)? Well the census records for Colebrookedale in the early 1800s were (loosely) alphabetized, so we can’t say for sure who were their close neighbors without looking at land records.

Most of David and Anna Maria’s children were baptised at New Hanover Lutheran Church. The surnames of Davidheiser and Gilbert appear most often as baptism sponsors. Among the Davidheiser sponsors were Henry and wife Catherinne in 1790 and again in 1794. Online trees show a Henry (1732-abt 1810) married to Anna Catherine (1735-1795). Tax records and early census records show a Henry Davidheiser living in Colebrookedale – presumably the same Henry Davidheiser that was married to Anna Catherine.

Henry and Anna Catherine are known associates (through the baptismal records) and potential neighbors (per census and tax records). They are also of the age to be potential parents of Anna Maria. Unfortunately I cannot find a comprehensive list of their children. None of the online trees include an Anna Maria; however, there is a gap in the named children where she could fit. In addition, there is no estate file listed for Henry Davidheiser in Berks County and no baptismal records have been found for his children – yet.

So the search continues and the question remains — Anna Maria Who??

As always, if you are related to Anna Maria and David Reinert or have any further information on this couple, I would love to hear from you!!

Fun with Surnames

Too many elusive ancestors caused me to need a little “creative” break. So I used wordle to create the surname collage, added a background and a couple of embellishments and voila — a surname graphic!

Brick Wall – Jacob Garber/Garver/etc born about 1800 in Pennsylvania

After finding the maiden name and parents of Mary Swavely Dilliplane, I am now down to one 3rd great-grandparent for whom I have not been able to identify either parent. This one is Jacob Garber (aka Gerber, Garver, Carver, Garvey). As you can see, one of the problems is the various spellings of the last name as recorded in various church and civil records for him and his children.

Jacob was born about 1800 in Pennsylvania, probably Berks County. He was married to Ann Campbell in 1825. They had five known daughters and one known son: Mary Ann (b. 1825), Rachael (b. 1827), Elmira (b. 1829),  Catherine (b. 1832), Harriet (b. 1836) and Samuel (b. abt 1842). Jacob was enumerated in the 1850 census in Amity, Berks, PA with daughter Elmira and son Samuel. Ann was not with the family and may have died in March of that year. The 1860 and 1870 census show a Jacob Carver in the area, but I am uncertain if he is my Jacob.

I have more detailed information about this brick wall on my website [link]. Any information is greatly appreciated!