Scott_J on FamilyTreeCircles - journals

Scott_J on Family Tree Circles

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Looking for Guest Bloggers and Writers for FamilyTreeCircles

Here at FamilyTreeCircles, we have a large community of genealogy hobbyists and professionals. Our user base is growing toward 100,000 and we have an opt-in mail list that exceeds 10,000 members.

We're looking for bloggers and genealogy experts who are interested in reaching an audience of genealogy new-comers, enthusiasts, and professionals alike.

Writing for FamilyTreeCircles is a great opportunity to help establish yourself as an expert in the genealogy community.

If you are interested in contributing genealogy-related articles to the FamilyTreeCircles blog and email newsletter, please contact me at scott@familytreecircles.com or through the Private Messaging system on FamilyTreeCircles.com.

Help Support FamilyTreeCircles

When I started FamilyTreeCircles nearly a decade ago, I never imagined it would grow to nearly 100,000 members. It's humbling to be able to provide a resource that has brought so many people together in the common interest.

FamilyTreeCircles has always been a labor of love for me, but with the growing membership, usage, continuing to add new features, and fighting spammers, costs grow as well.

What you may not know about me is that as an entrepreneur, I actually run another web startup. This takes 60-80 hours of my time every week, and I have little left for much else. If you're interested, that's a web publishing platform called Shareist. I think it is a great resource for genealogists.

I would never have been able to even get this far without the patience and support of the people who use FamilyTreeCircles every day, and particularly those who volunteer to help moderate the activity. It's truly a wonderful community. I'd like to not only keep things running, but do even more.

For example, one thing that I've tried to start up several times, but have not been able to do so because of the costs is a periodic newsletter with great genealogy stories and content, as well as featuring fun stuff from FamilyTreeCircles members. But the cost of doing so has been prohibitive. I'd love to be able to do this as well as continue to add more features.

From the start, I promised that FamilyTreeCircles would be a free resource and I have no intentions of going back on that. Over the years, I have received generous offers from people that they would be more than willing to pay for this resource.

In response to that, I've finally added a way to do that, for those with the means to do so, while keeping the service free for the rest.

If you enjoy FamilyTreeCircles and want to see it continue on as a strong and independent genealogy resource, I hope you'll consider contributing even a small amount to its upkeep and further development. If you cannot, no hard feelings here.

Go here: FamilyTreeCircles Patronage

Thank you very much!

Scott

4 comment(s), latest 6 years, 5 months ago

Pearl Harbor Day, and My Own Great Uncle Lost at Sea in WWII

Today is Pearl Harbor Day here in the U.S., the anniversary of the day Japan executed a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941, killing and wounding thousands, and ushering the U.S. into World War II.

I can imagine that day must have felt a lot like 9/11 to the people of the US, though news surely travelled much more slowly in 1941 than it did 60 years later in 2001. Most Americans surely learned about it in the daily newspaper.

While I had no family members directly affected that day, the course of events led to both my Grandfather and my Great Uncle serving in that great war. I think of my poor grandmother who had both a brother and a husband serving in the war. My grandfather returned home after the war (thankfully, as I would not otherwise exist), but my grandmother's brother did not.

Corporal Arnold Gene McIlwraith was an Engineer gunner on a B-24. He was on flight from Mather Field in Sacramento, CA to John Ridgers Field in Hawaii on Feb 28, 1945 when his plane went missing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

I discovered this image recently in the Missing Air Craft Reports (MACR), available in the National Archives, and indexed on Fold3.com.

What's odd to me is that by my reckoning, the coordinates on the report put their airplane well beyond Hawaii, close to Japan.

Did routine B-24 flights from CA to HI have them going via Japan? I don't even think their plane's final point was in range from California. I guess we'll never know.

5 comment(s), latest 7 years, 4 months ago

Explaining Genealogy to my Five Year Old

This evening, I sat down to dinner with my family and said to my five year old son, Alex, "Do you know who the Pilgrims are?"

"Yeah, they had a very tough boat ride," he said. "And then they were friends with the native Americans."

"That's about right," I said with a big smile. It was all my wife and I could do to contain ourselves.

Then I said, "So, do you know what a 'great-grandfather' is?"

He looked at me sort of puzzled.

You see where I was going with this? My goal was to explain to him that his 11th-Great grandfather, actually two of them, were on that boat ride.

Then I pulled out a piece of paper, and drew a short family tree starting with him. His little brother, who was listening intently said, "Hey, where am I?" So I added him in, and their big sister Sarah as I knew that was next, though she wasn't there for the discussion.

I pointed at the first stick figure and said, "OK, this is you...and this is me and your mother."

Then I pointed to my parents and said, "Who are they?"

"Grammy?"
"Good."
"Grampy?"
"Yep!"

Then I pointed to his mother's parents...

"Grandma?"
"Grandpa?"

Wow, he's getting it.

Then I drew two more lines and stick figures for my grandfather and grandmother.

"Who are they?" he asked.

"That's my grandfather and grandmother."

"What are their names?" he said, more interested than I expected.

"Robert and Helen," I replied, "That's where you got your middle name. They are my grandparents and they are your great grandparents."

Then what he said next floored me.

"Does it keep going Dad? Who's above them?"

OK, here we go. This was easier than I thought. I drew the next two above my grandfather.

"And what were their names?" he asked excitedly.

He was truly interested in these people and their names and then he started asking if they were still alive. I explained that they were born a very long time ago.

"Vickery Baker was born in 1797. That would make him over 200 years old today."

His eyes lit up, "wow."

I kept going and drew the tree, only including the line up to Stephen Hopkins, and explained who he was.

"Was he the boss of the ship dad?" (heh, 5 year olds have their priorities.) "Well, no."
"How old would he be?"
"About 420."

Alex then wrote, "40020" at the top of the chart, which is his version of Four Hundred and Twenty.

"Does it go all the way back to the cavemen, Dad?"
"Well, I suppose it does, Alex..."

Which sort of blows my mind to contemplate that.

Here's the entire chart. It starts at the bottom right.

As I was going through this exercise, I realized that I had never actually drawn that tree by hand. What a shame that I had never done that, and that I couldn't do it from memory. And while I did know that I'm 13th generation Mayflower ancestor, I couldn't have told you without looking it up that the male line includes one Hopkins, Five Snows, and Five Bakers before it changed to my surname with my father.

I'm not sure who learned more, my son or me.

I look forward to more genealogy sessions with Alex.

7 comment(s), latest 7 years, 4 months ago

Announcing: New User Profiles on FamilyTreeCircles

FamilyTreeCircles.com has been around for over 7 years now, and has been in a constant state of development.

I'll be the first to admit that most poorly crafted area of FamilyTreeCircles has been the user profile pages. And as I've been making improvements to the platform, I'd also say that it's been the most neglected.

This week I've taken steps to resolve that with an entirely newly designed user profile.

Your Own Home Page

Your user profile on FamilyTreeCircles is now your genealogy homepage. Your own journals and posts are featured prominently in chronological order, newest first. Until now, your own journals were relegated to a list, and reading them was an exercise in clicking around a lot.

Now your homepage is a very easy-to-read list of all your journals. As you post journals, your latest ones appear at the top.

This makes it very easy for other FamilyTreeCircles members, and even people searching the Internet for the information that you write about, to find and read your journals.

That means more people see your journals, which means that your information and your own queries are seen by more people, resulting in a higher chance that you'll connect with distant cousins and researchers looking for the same ancestors.

Here's what the new profile page looks like:

Hey, This Sounds and Looks Like a Blog

Essentially, your FamilyTreeCircles profile page is a blog. Blog comes from the words Web Log. A blog is quite simply a web page containing a log of your writing. Web log...weblog...'blog.

The writing activity that you do posting Journals on FamilyTreeCircles is no different than that of "bloggers" that we hear so much about.

Now in addition to how your journals were seen before in the activity lists, your information is organized like a blog and you get all the benefits of blogging:

  • Research: By getting your and your genealogy research out there, people who are researching the same ancestors will find you. You may even break down some brick walls just by posting them for others to find and help you out.
  • Sharing: Posting your genealogy information helps others, and many times it comes back
  • Connecting: There are countless connections that people make with distant and lost relatives through publishing a blog.
  • Community: The genealogy blogging community is a friendly, helpful group of genealogists, professionals and hobbyists alike. By starting a blog of your own
  • Fun: Writing can be a fun, creative way to express yourself. Some people even think it's therapeutic.

The good news is that just by signing up for FamilyTreeCircles, you now have a blog.

How cool does that make you?

View your new profile here. Or click on the "Your Home" link in the header.

Examples?

Here are a few great FamilyTreeCircles profiles to take a look at for inspiration:

38 comment(s), latest 4 years ago

My Mayflower Connections - 2. Stephen Hopkins

This week, Thanksgiving here in the U.S., a number of genealogy bloggers are posting their Mayflower connections.

I've got two documented, William Brewster and Stephen Hopkins. Both are accepted by the Massachusetts Mayflower Society.

Here's Stephen Hopkins.

  1. Stephen Hopkins b: 29 Oct 1581 in Wotten-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England, d: 27 Jul 1644 in Plymouth, Massachussetts
    +married: Constance UNKNOWN m: Bef. 1605 in England, d: Aft. 22 Dec 1609 in London, England
  2. Constance Hopkins b: 1605 in Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, England
    +married: Nicolas Snow
  3. Stephen Snow d: 17 Dec 1705 in Eastmam, MA
    +married: Susanna Rogers m: 28 Oct 1663 in Eastmam, MA, d: 1701
  4. Ebenezer Snow d: 09 Apr 1725 in Eastmam, MA
    +married: Hope Horton m: 22 Dec 1968 in Eastmam, MA, d: 1725
  5. Thomas Snow b: 01 Feb 1702 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., d: Bet. 1765-1766 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
    +married: Abigail Doane b: 29 Dec 1706 in Eastmam, MA, m: 27 Jan 1732 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., d: Aft. 07 May 1765 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
  6. Elnathan Snow b: 02 May 1734 in Eastmam, MA
    +married: Phebe Sparrow b: 03 Jan 1738 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA, m: 04 Dec 1755 in Eastmam, MA
  7. Abigail Snow b: 28 Dec 1766 in Eastmam, MA, d: 30 Jun 1840 in Sterling, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, USA
    +married: Benoni Baker b: 1755 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States, m: 19 Sep 1783 in Eastmam, MA, d: 01 May 1838 in Sterling, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  8. Vickery Baker b: 22 Jul 1797 in Orleans, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA, d: 12 Jul 1870 in Brookfield, Orange, Vermont, USA
    +married: Priscilla Walker b: 02 Apr 1787 in Orleans, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts, m: 27 Nov 1817 in West Boylston, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, d: 06 Oct 1886 in Northfield, Washington, Vermont, USA
  9. Joseph Baker b: 20 Jun 1841 in Brookfield, Orange Co., Vermont, d: 15 Apr 1924 in Northfield, Washington, Vermont, USA
    +married: Coralinn Slade b: 11 Oct 1843 in Northfield, VT, m: 31 Dec 1863 in Northfield, VT, d: 17 Jun 1926 in Chittenden, Vermont
  10. Arthur Garfield Baker b: 02 Jul 1881 in Brookfield, VT, d: 12 Apr 1965 in Wakefield, MA
    +married: Harriet Helen Hurley b: 05 Feb 1882 in Northfield,VT, m: 24 Oct 1908 in Northfield, VT, d: 14 Sep 1949 in Melrose, MA
  11. Robert Slade Baker b: Abt. 7 Dec 1915 in Massachusetts
    +married: Dora Helen McIlwraith b: 12 Sep 1915 in Melrose, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, d: 03 Aug 1982 in Sarasota, Florida, United States
  12. Living
    +married: Living
  13. Scott Jangro
4 comment(s), latest 4 years, 4 months ago

A Thanksgiving Genealogy Reading List

As I read around the genealogy blogging community, there are a number of posts related to Thanksgiving. Of course, since the pilgrims are some of the oldest US-based ancestors (non-native, of course), Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on our ancestors.

Here is some great reading, in no particular order...

Update:

And I humbly add my own to the list...

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you here in the States.

3 comment(s), latest 7 years, 8 months ago

My Mayflower Connections - 1. William Brewster

This week, Thanksgiving here in the U.S., a number of genealogy bloggers are posting their Mayflower connections.

I've got two documented, William Brewster and Stephen Hopkins. Both are accepted by the Massachusetts Mayflower Society.

Here's William Brewster...

  1. William III Brewster b: Abt. 1566/67 in prob Scrooby, Nottingham, England, d: 10 Apr 1644 in Plymouth, Barnstable County, Massachusetts
    +married: Mary m: Abt. 1568 in England
  2. Patience Brewster b: Abt. 1600 in prob Scrooby, Nottingham, England, d: Bef. 12 Dec 1634 in Plymouth, Barnstable County, Massachusettes
    +married: Thomas II Prence b: Abt. 1600 in England, m: 05 Aug 1624 in Plymouth, Barnstable County, Massachusettes, d: 1673
  3. Mercy Brewster Prence b: 1631
    +married John Freeman b: 28 Jan 1627 in Billinghurst, Devonshire, England, m: 13 Feb 1650 in Sandwich, Bristol Co MA, d: 28 Oct 1719 in in Eastham, Barnstable Co MA
  4. Edmund Freeman
    +married: Ruth Merrick
  5. Ruth Freeman b: 1680 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., d: 07 Jun 1728 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
    +married: Israel Doane b: Bet. 1671-1672 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., m: 1697 in , Barnstable, MA., d: Aft. 05 Jun 1740 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
  6. Abigail Doane b: 29 Dec 1706 in Eastmam, MA, d: Aft. 07 May 1765 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
    +married: Thomas Snow b: 01 Feb 1702 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., m: 27 Jan 1732 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA., d: Bet. 1765-1766 in Eastham, Barnstable Co., MA.
  7. Elnathan Snow b: 02 May 1734 in Eastmam, MA
    +married: Phebe Sparrow b: 03 Jan 1738 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA, m: 04 Dec 1755 in Eastmam, MA
  8. Abigail Snow b: 28 Dec 1766 in Eastmam, MA, d: 30 Jun 1840 in Sterling, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, USA
    +married: Benoni Baker b: 1755 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States, m: 19 Sep 1783 in Eastmam, MA, d: 01 May 1838 in Sterling, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  9. Vickery Baker b: 22 Jul 1797 in Orleans, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA, d: 12 Jul 1870 in Brookfield, Orange, Vermont, USA
    +married: Priscilla Walker b: 02 Apr 1787 in Orleans, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts, m: 27 Nov 1817 in West Boylston, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, d: 06 Oct 1886 in Northfield, Washington, Vermont, USA
  10. Joseph Baker b: 20 Jun 1841 in Brookfield, Orange Co., Vermont, d: 15 Apr 1924 in Northfield, Washington, Vermont, USA
    +married: Coralinn Slade b: 11 Oct 1843 in Northfield, VT, m: 31 Dec 1863 in Northfield, VT, d: 17 Jun 1926 in Chittenden, Vermont
  11. Arthur Garfield Baker b: 02 Jul 1881 in Brookfield, VT, d: 12 Apr 1965 in Wakefield, MA
    +married: Harriet Helen Hurley b: 05 Feb 1882 in Northfield,VT, m: 24 Oct 1908 in Northfield, VT, d: 14 Sep 1949 in Melrose, MA
  12. Robert Slade Baker b: 7 Dec 1915 in Massachusetts, d: -
    +married: Dora Helen McIlwraith b: 12 Sep 1915 in Melrose, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, d: 03 Aug 1982 in Sarasota, Florida, United States
  13. Living
    +married: Living
  14. Scott Jangro

Do you have a Mayflower connection? Why not post your own.

Use some of the posts here on this list of Thanksgiving Genealogy blog posts for further inspiration.

Getting Help on Using FamilyTreeCircles

  1. Check out the FAQ page.
  2. Use the contact us form. This is best for issues like password problems, since you cannot use some of the other options without logging in.
  3. Send me a private message.
  4. Drop into the FamilyTreeCircles campfire chat. You can not only chat with me, but with other FamilyTreeCircles members, if they're in there.
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15 comment(s), latest 1 year, 3 months ago

Getting ready for some pretty major changes. And a chance at a Sneak Peek...

I've been hard at work on some pretty significant changes here on FamilyTreeCircles, big enough that I want to roll this out a little more carefully than I usually do.

For now, the only noticeable change is the header.

If yours doesn't look like that with the black bar at the top, try holding down the shift key while hitting the reload (or refresh) button on your browser. Or just wait and it'll update eventually.

So what's changing?

I've completely redesigned the user profile page. My goal is to make your user profile the hub of your activity, a much nicer home for you here on FamilyTreeCircles. The default view will be a full view of all your journals, formatted much like a blog. That way, anyone who follows your every post can easily see what you've been writing. If you organize your posts into categories, that will be much more visible. And your Assist! locations and surnames will be featured prominently as well.

In fact, it's going to be a lot like having your own blog, which is where I am headed with this.

And speaking of following, I'll be reintroducing he concept of "follow"ing. By following someone, you will be able to keep track of their new stuff.

When's it coming?

I'm still testing it out, but if you would like a sneak peek, just comment here on this post and I'll turn it on for you.

I'll probably grow impatient and make it available in the next few days, but I'd love to get some feedback first.

Again, just comment below if you'd like to try it out and give me some feedback.

Thanks!

11 comment(s), latest 7 years, 8 months ago