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The Good and Bad of Historic Monuments

Yesterday I remarked on/in the community discussion of whether to rename Faneuil Hall by saying there was wisdom to be found in Mayor Marty Walsh’s statement that “If we were to change the name of Faneuil Hall today, 30 years from now, no one would know why we did it.”

Walsh went on to tell the New York Times (in June 2018, showing how this isn’t a new proposal), “What we should do instead is figure out a way to acknowledge the history so people understand it. We can’t erase history, but we can learn from it.”

Acknowledging and learning from history is, I hope we all agree, a Good Thing. So what’s the best way to accomplish that?

Having a large public building named after certain people, or prominent statues or monuments honoring them, strikes me as communicating one of two messages. The simplistic takeaway is “These people were important and admirable in every significant way.” Historians and most laypeople agree that no one’s perfect. Conveying that would be a Bad Thing.

The more nuanced message that most adults understand is, “What these people did was important and beneficial enough to outweigh their flaws and mistakes.” But of course, that’s a value judgment reflecting the social power structure of the society that confers those honors. It reflects who benefited from those people’s actions and whose suffering the society deemed to be of less weight.

Retaining such honors for particular people after a public discussion about their place in history suggests that the present society has reached the same conclusion about the balance of their activities as the society that conferred those honors in the first place. Perhaps we’ve come to recognize more of the honorees’ flaws or how their activity didn’t benefit everyone equally. But the final judgment is the same.

It can therefore be hard to see a difference between those assessments. A statue of Columbus that says, “We honor this man because of how he helped Europeans take over the Americas,” can look a lot like a statue of Columbus that says, “We honor this man despite how he helped Europeans take over the Americas.” Declaring that it’s a shame historical figures kept hundreds of people enslaved, but not enough to outweigh the benefits they delivered to other wealthy white men, can’t help but carry the message that some people still don’t matter as much. And that’s the Bad Thing these reconsiderations are supposed to halt.

Then comes the possibility of renaming landmarks, removing statues, or otherwise changing monuments. That certainly avoids lionizing those historical figures, the first Bad Thing above. It also leaves no doubt about the change in society’s values, recognizing people who were once dehumanized, demeaned, or overlooked. Generally that’s a Good Thing.

But simply removing a problematic honor by renaming places or removing monuments has some drawbacks as well. It can suggest that the problem reflected in the choice to honor those people has been eliminated—but if the problem or its legacies remain, ignoring those would be a Bad Thing.

This is why I think Mayor Walsh was onto something when he spoke of the importance of retaining a public memory of when and why society changed how it honored certain people. I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusion about not renaming Faneuil Hall, but I do think the community would have to find a way to visibly preserve how the building was once named Faneuil Hall. That would have three benefits:

  • A new name would demonstrate that our society no longer overlooks the enslaved people who suffered for Peter Faneuil’s wealth and Boston’s good fortune.
  • Maintaining the memory of the old name would make it impossible to miss how our society once ignored that wrong but has since tried to recognize and correct it.
  • Juxtaposing old and new names would demonstrate historical change and the possibility of change in the future.

All of those would be Good Things, acknowledging and learning from history.

So what’s the right approach? I’ve written about it before.

TOMORROW: Planned iconoclasm.

Who Was Colonel Griffith J. Griffith?

OK, here is your history trivia question of the day: who was Colonel Griffith Jenkins Griffith?

I can tell you that this man with identical first and last names was once an impoverished 14-year-old Welsh immigrant who made good in his adopted country. He was born in Bettws, Glamorganshire, Wales. When he arrived in New York City, he had no money, no family, and no education. Years later, as a multi-millionaire when a dollar was still worth a dollar, he donated 3,015 acres of prime real estate to the City of Los Angeles. He also spent several years in jail and probably was one of the wealthiest inmates of the time, if not THE wealthiest. His prison sentence was for attempted murder of his wife. Colonel Griffith J. Griffith believed that she was in league with the Pope to poison him and steal his money.

Oh yes, there is no record of his ever being promoted to the rank of colonel, even though he always used the title.

Griffith Park, the location of the famous Hollywood Sign

“Colonel” Griffith J. Griffith’s name is almost unknown today although the land he donated to Los Angeles still bears his name: Griffith Park. He previously had established an ostrich farm on the property when ostrich feathers were popular in ladies’ hats. Griffith Park now contains the world-famous Hollywood sign. He also donated money for the park’s Greek Theater and for the Griffith Observatory. Why would such a wealthy benefactor be ignored by history?

It seems that the Colonel was disagreeable, if not a downright scoundrel. He collected many more enemies than friends. The fact that he was convicted for attempted murder also gave good reason for his name to be dropped from polite conversation.

Griffith Jenkins Griffith arrived penniless in New York in 1866 and, a few years later, became a reporter, covering mines for a San Francisco newspaper. He also engaged in a lucrative side business, preparing confidential mining reports for the nation’s richest men. His early knowledge of secrets not known by other investors gave him an edge long before the creation of “insider trading” laws. He invested his profits into other mining operations, sometimes losing money, but more often turning large profits.

By 1882, Griffith J. Griffith was rich. He obviously loved the role of millionaire. While short of stature, he wore the longest of long cream-colored overcoats in an age when overcoats usually came to the heels. The agate buttons on the coats were huge; each button probably cost the equivalent of a workingman’s weekly wage of the time. He often wore a top hat. He also carried a gold-headed cane.

One acquaintance described him as “a midget egomaniac.” Another wrote that the colonel “was a roly-poly, pompous little fellow” who “had an exaggerated strut like a turkey gobbler.”

It has been claimed, but never proven, that Walt Disney modeled the comic book character Scrooge McDuck on the normal appearance of “Colonel” Griffith J. Griffith.

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith also married well. Christina Mesmer was rich. In fact, her father probably had more money than the “Colonel.” She was also dignified and respected. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was a match made in society heaven:

“The bride has been educated in a superior manner, as befits the owner of so vast an estate. Her singing and playing are exceptionally fine, and her taste for flowers is remarkable (as is well illustrated in her mother’s garden). She can speak four languages, while the happy bridegroom can converse in three, including Welsh.”

They remained married for 16 years, but things went sour in the last year. Griffith started acting in a strange manner. He compulsively bit his nails, his manicurist said. And he was a sneak drinker, his lawyer said, privately putting away two quarts of whiskey a day while publicly donating money to the temperance movement.

While the couple was on vacation in 1913, Griffith entered their hotel room with a prayer book in one hand and a revolver in the other. He handed the prayer book to his wife, then shot her. At least, he tried to shoot her. Christina Griffith apparently jerked her head to one side as a reaction. That movement saved her life. She then jumped out a window, landed on an awning below, and crawled to safety through another window. The experience left her disfigured and blind in one eye.

The trial was almost an open-and-shut case, despite Griffith’s high-powered defense team. An ex-governor of California headed the prosecution team. Griffith was found guilty but given a light sentence of only two years in jail.

Once in San Quentin and denied access to alcohol, Griffith’s personality seemed to change once again. He turned down easy prison jobs and volunteered to make burlap sacks in the prison’s jute mill, one of the least desirable work assignments available. When he was eligible for parole, he refused to apply. He served his full sentence.

When released from prison, Griffith was still a multi-millionaire but was hated by most everyone. Many people feared that he was crazy.

In 1912 he offered the city of Los Angeles $100,000 to build a popular observatory atop Mt. Hollywood. The mountain formerly had been known as Mount Griffith, but the city had re-named it when he was in prison. One prominent citizen wrote a letter about the proposed gift to the editor of a local newspaper, which published it on the front page. The letter stated, in part, “On behalf of the rising generation of girls and boys, we protest against the acceptance of this bribe . . . This community is neither so poor nor so lost to sense of public decency that it can afford to accept this money.”

The city council refused the money.

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith then created a trust fund to create the Greek Theater and the Griffith Observatory. The city did not accept the money until some years after his death.

Tombstone of Griffith J. Griffith  in Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of FindAGrave.com.

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith died rich, but unloved, on July 6, 1919.

Christina (Mesmer) Griffith never remarried but lived as a virtual recluse with her sister Lucy’s family, dying after a long life in 1948.

Although Griffith Park is well-known and visited by millions, few people today recognize the name of the park’s benefactor.

Freemasons, Minnesota Suffragettes, Thunderbird, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, August 30, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

Ballymena Times: Freemasons complete online legacy during Covid-19 Lockdown. “Project organisers, Freemasons Ivan Gillespie and David Martin were determined to move their stunning collection of interesting artefacts and documents into an online museum for all to see.”

Minnesota Historical Society: MNHS Marks 100 Years Since Passage of 19th Amendment with Online Exhibit. “Developed in partnership with the League of Women Voters Minnesota, the exhibit shares the stories of more than 40 Minnesota women whose commitment to civic responsibility, as well as the many voices who have been left out, can inspire us to participate more fully in the democratic process.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

ZDNet: Thunderbird e-mail client survives Mozilla layoffs. “Recently, Mozilla laid off almost a quarter of its staff. That meant bad news for its flagship Firefox web browser. And some people wondered if this also meant that Thunderbird, Mozilla’s e-mail client with 25 million users, was on its way out. It’s not. Thunderbird is safe.”

USEFUL STUFF

Bustle: 3 Free Apps That Make It Easy To Edit TikTok Videos . “There is a plethora of different video-editing apps out there for you to try your hand at. But picking the right editing app for you takes a little time. Plus, if you aren’t in the mood to drop some cash on editing apps, filtering apps that are free is important as well. Lucky for you, you don’t have to spend time scrolling through the hundreds of different apps available to you in the App Store. There are a few solid fan-favorites out there when it comes to editing apps for TikTok videos — and the best part is that they’re all free. This way, you can make fun and creative TikTok videos without breaking the bank. Win, win!”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

BuzzFeed News: The Latest TikTok Trend Is Venting About Your MAGA Parents. “TikTok is where Bridgette Olek told the world she had to leave her father’s Minnesota lake house after he discovered she’d protested at a Black Lives Matter rally in Fargo, North Dakota. Tensions between the two had been brewing for a while. He’s Republican and a Trump supporter. She’s ‘the polar opposite.’ Olek said the final break came when she went to a protest instead of entertaining family members who were visiting for the weekend. Her father asked her to leave, so she packed up her van and headed to other parts of Minnesota, then North Dakota, then Arizona, and finally North Carolina — for now.”

New York Times: Big Tech’s Domination of Business Reaches New Heights. “American tech titans flew high before the coronavirus pandemic, making billions of dollars a year. Now, the upheaval has lifted them to new heights, putting the industry in a position to dominate American business in a way unseen since the days of railroads.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Facebook employees internally question policy after India content controversy – sources, memos. “The world’s largest social network is battling a public-relations and political crisis in India after the Wall Street Journal reported that Das opposed applying the company’s hate-speech rules to a politician from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party who had in posts called Muslims traitors.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Committee to Protect Journalists: Facebook India executive files criminal complaint against journalist. “Facebook regional director Ankhi Das should withdraw her criminal complaint against journalist Awesh Tiwari, and respect citizens’ rights to criticize her, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On August 16, Das, Facebook’s public policy director for India, South, and Central Asia, filed a criminal complaint with the cyber unit of the Delhi police, accusing Tiwari and other social media users of threatening her, ‘making sexually coloured remarks,’ and defaming her, according to news website Newslaundry and a copy of the complaint shared on social media.”

CNET: Facebook sues company allegedly behind data-stealing scheme. “Facebook filed a lawsuit Thursday against MobiBurn, alleging that apps using code written by the data monetization company harvested information about the social network’s users without permission.”

The Hill: Trump asks Supreme Court to let him block critics on Twitter. “The Trump administration on [August 20] asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that found President Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking his critics on Twitter. The lawsuit arose in 2017 after Trump’s social media account blocked seven people who had tweeted criticism of the president in comment threads linked to his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

CKPGToday: New interactive map allows British Columbians to view river quality trends across B.C.. “Using an interactive map of B.C., people will now be able to view 10-year water quality trends in certain rivers with data compiled from the Canada-B.C. Water Quality Monitoring Program. The program has been in place since 1985. Data collected is also used to determine the current status of water quality, detect emerging issues that may threaten aquatic life and support the development of guidelines for water, fish and sediment.”

Penn State: Mining Twitter data may help National Parks staff gather feedback faster. “The National Park system has been referred to as one of America’s national treasures. A team of Penn State researchers in the department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management and the Social Science Research Institute, report that mining tweets about the park may open up a rich vein of information that could lead to better service for park visitors while still protecting these national treasures and their wildlife.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Ancestry security team confident Family Tree Maker vulnerability has not impacted Ancestry’s systems

We have been alerted to a potential security vulnerability at the MacKiev Company, which owns Family Tree Maker software. While we no longer have formal affiliation with the company, Family Tree Maker is used by some Ancestry customers to sync family trees between Family Tree Maker software and Ancestry. Based on our investigation, we do Read More

The post Ancestry security team confident Family Tree Maker vulnerability has not impacted Ancestry’s systems appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

DearMYRTLE’s March 2020 Webinars

DearREADERS,

Here is the lineup of DearMYRTLE webinars in March 2020. Attend the live sessions to get all the URLs and pose questions. The archived webinars will post to YouTube usually with 24 hours of the broadcast. See:
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Times posted are Mountain US – daylight when applicable.

Monday, March 2
10:00am

 Mondays with Myrt
Wednesday, March 4
7:00pm

 WACKY Wednesday with DearMYRTLE
Monday, March 9
10:00am

 Mondays with Myrt
Wednesday, March 11
7:00pm

 WACKY Wednesday with DearMYRTLE
Monday, March 16
10:00am

 Mondays with Myrt
Wednesday, March 18
7:00pm

 WACKY Wednesday with DearMYRTLE
Monday, March 23
10:00am

 Mondays with Myrt
Wednesday, March 25
7:00pm

 The Archive Lady joins WACKY Wednesday
Monday, March 30
10:00am

 Mondays with Myrt

If you value the interactive genealogy education provided in DearMYRTLE webinars, please consider donating. THANK-YOU in advance.paypal.me/DearMYRTLE
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE

Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

http://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE
https://www.facebook.com/groups/organizedgenealogist

Announcing: Mini-Myrt Meetings

UPDATED: Now that many churches are offering virtual services, we will hold Mini-Myrt Tuesdays through Saturdays.


DearREADERS,


Cousin Russ and Ol’ Myrt here are excited to announce Mini-Myrt Meetings to be held Tues-Sat starting at noon Eastern (daylight when applicable.) People have been clamoring for more time together, but I think study groups would be too intense. If we must practice in-person social distancing, virtual meetings are the way to go.

We have “Mondays with Myrt” webinars at Noon Eastern. These Mini-Myrt Meetings will be 20-minutes Zoom meetings, and less formal with likely more conversation.

GOALS

🤗 PROVIDE an upbeat diversion during the pandemic isolation period.

🤗DEMONSTRATE how easy it is to use Zoom meetings.
🤗ENCOURAGE others to use free Zoom technology to keep in contact with their FAN club.

DIRECTIONS
1. With your web browser go to https://bit.ly/minimyrt
2. Register once. This is what the Zoom Meeting completed registration screen looks like:
LEGEND
A. Meeting Registration is approved.
B. Dates & Times are Mountain Time. Your time zone will show up appropriately because of the date/time set on your computer.
C. You may click “Add to Calendar” and choose from Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar (.ics) or Yahoo Calendar.
D. Join using a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device including Chromebooks, and below find your personal link to the meeting. You will also receive a confirmation email with that personal link to join. Do not lose that email.

E. You do not have to attend every Mini-Myrt, and you may cancel at any time.
MYRT’S HELPFUL HINTS
Zoom Meetings are easy to attend. Click on your personal URL, and you’ll will be in a waiting room until the host (me!) opens the meeting. As we have been practicing Zoom Meetings in our Zoom Webinar after parties, this will be  super  easy. Those of you who have attended SLIG Virtual Courses, Zoom Meetings were the format used there. (One exception – Virtual Nordic was in webinar format, because SLIG wanted to record and possibly distribute the lectures at another time.)
Zoom Webinars – You arrive as an “attendee” and will see designated panelists and whatever screen sharing is permitted by the host. Panelists must turn on their mics and webcams for you to hear and see them. You may communicate with others using the typed chat option  unless the host/co-host turn on your mic, or changes your status to panelist. 
Zoom Meetings – Everyone arrives with equal status, though the host/co-host have additional authorities. You have control of your mic and webcam. You do not need a mic or webcam to participate, as the chat dialog box is available to all.
Note: DearMYRTLE has set up her Zoom webinars and Zoom meetings to prevent file sharing and 1on1 chats, to avoid hackers sending a virus or distributing unsolicited business offers. There are additional Zoom options, but Ol’ Myrt here is keeping it simple.
Set up your own Zoom account herehttps://zoom.us/pricing
Yes, Zoom meetings have free and paid ($14.99 month) options. This video conferencing is fast becoming possible for keeping in touch with your FAN club. See Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-11-identity-problems-fan-principle : 23 Mar 2020).

If you value the interactive genealogy education provided in DearMYRTLE webinars, please consider donating. THANK-YOU in advance.
paypal.me/DearMYRTLE

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE

Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

http://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE
https://www.facebook.com/groups/organizedgenealogist

UPDATED: You, too, Can ZOOM!

DearREADERS,
Cousin Russ and I just completed an updated version of “You, Too, Can ZOOM!” and the video is embedded below. We host Mondays with Myrt in Zoom Webinar format and recommend the less formal Zoom Meetings for family gatherings and business team meetings.

Our recording explains the basic differences between the more formal Zoom Webinars ($$) and the free Zoom Meetings. 

Here’s the link to DearMYRTLE’s “I ZOOM, Do You?” handout that describes the equipment we regularly use. It’s of course, a shared document in Google Drive! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DjCfPPalVdmwnp_K-SmdVnYkpyvrrg76/view

RESOURCES
  • Zoom’s YouTube Channel is chock full of short 1-2 minute training videos. Some are from the attendees’ point of view, others from the host point of view. Ol’ Myrt here particularly recommends the “How to ZoomPlaylist located here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKpRxBfeD1kEM_I1lId3N_Xl77fKDzSXe
  • DearMYRTLE & Cousin Russ are on standby to assist with a free 15 minute consultation.

If you value the interactive genealogy education provided in DearMYRTLE webinars, please consider donating. THANK-YOU in advance.

paypal.me/DearMYRTLE

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE

Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

http://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE
https://www.facebook.com/groups/organizedgenealogist

What’s “Zoom Bombing” and WHY you should care

Avoiding “Zoom Bombing” takes planning. 

DearREADERS,

Today’s news reported the sad tale of a naked man interrupting a school committee meeting. 
Though such disruptive behavior is referred to as “Zoom Bombing,” literally any virtual meeting platform can be vulnerable. This would include the service you are considering for your society and family group meetings, such as Web-X, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect, Stream Yard, YouTube live streaming, Facebook Live and Webinar Jam – to name a few. 
Avoid such disruptions by careful event set up and employing only tech savvy hosts supported by multiple co-hosts. The number of co-hosts should increase as does the size of your attendee list. Each co-host accepts a specific monitoring assignment. 
For optimum security, be sure the service chosen has the ability to:
— require registration (the perp can be tracked down via law enforcement.)
— require a waiting room
— set “do not readmit if removed.”
— banning
— set attendee webcams to off on arrival
— use webinar (with a dedicated panel, but can turn on mic and/or webcams for an additional panelist one at a time) 
— for high-profile public meetings, use a tightly controlled virtual platform 
— do not permit change in virtual background while live. 
— set so only 1 participant can share screen at a time. 
— set so only host can screen share 
— have multiple co-hosts (1-2 to admit people, 2 to watch chat, 2 to watch attendees profile pics, 2 to watch Q&A, and grow these number as participant list grows, etc. etc.)
— change chat to “host only”
— use Q&A instead of chat
— do not permit renaming one’s profile. 
— etc.
— etc. 
Google Meet is particularly vulnerable for very public meetings, as it has fewer controls than most virtual meeting platforms. However for what we’d consider a select, private audience like an elementary school setting, Google Meet may work well with the added benefit of a Google Classroom integration. 
There are enhanced security settings that can be employed at additional cost:
— permit only domain-specific attendees (everyone uses their company email to register)
— 2-part authentication 
— sign-in with SSO
— logins as required by DOD
There are reasons I’d currently recommend Zoom or Stream Yard. 
In all the years of hosting virtual meetings Cousin Russ and I have had two intruders (audio, chat) that were immediately banned. We’ve never had a streaker. 

I can only surmise that the school committee meeting in the news article didn’t have enough experienced staff to employ built-in Zoom safeguards. It takes a dedicated IT person to keep on top of industry standards. 
We all need a Cousin Russ. 🤗
————
If you value the interactive genealogy education provided in DearMYRTLE webinars, please consider donating. THANK-YOU in advance.
paypal.me/DearMYRTLE

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE

Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

http://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE
https://www.facebook.com/groups/organizedgenealogist

Dear Randy: "How Can I Find Living Descendants with the Surname of a Historical Person?"

A Genea-Musings reader asked this question in email recently because they want to find someone descended from a War of 1812 soldier in their home town with the same surname.

1)  I had two thoughts:

* Search on Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, and other online family trees for the historical person, and see if you can find information down to the present (or the generation that died before now) with that name.  But how do I sort out hundreds/thousands of names to find the ones I want?

* Search on FamilySearch Family Tree, Geni World Tree or WikiTree for descendants of the historical person. Can a Descendants Report be created?

I recalled that Puzzilla could provide a Descendants Tree for a historical person.  I looked on FamilySearch Family Tree for a Descendants Report and did not find the capability.

2)  I recalled that I could import a bare-bones family tree (names, relationships, dates, places only) of a historical person into RootsMagic from FamilySearch Family Tree.  With that tree, I could then create a Descendants list or a Descendants Report that would have names, dates and places, but no sources.  However, it would have only deceased profiles, so to find a living person in the town, I would have to search newspapers, social media, and people finders, but having the bare-bones family tree might reduce the effort of getting to the unknown living persons in the specific town.

In order to demonstrate this process, I’m going to do it with one of my tree families.

3)  Can I find current San Diego residents who are descendants of Valentine Sevier (1712-1803) who settled in Virginia?  Here is his profile (MXM6-X3V0 in FamilySearch Family Tree:

*  I noted the FS ID number MXM6-X3V because I need it to put into RootsMagic.

*  With RootsMagic open, I clicked on “File” and then “New” and saw the “Create a new RootsMagic file” and entered the new file name:

*  When I clicked on “OK” the new file opened.  It was empty.  I clicked on “File” and “FamilySearch Central” and logged into FamilySearch:

*  I clicked on the “Import” button in the top row of icons, and selected “Use FamilySearch person with this ID” and selected 0 generations of ancestors and 12 generations of descendants:

*  I clicked on the “Import” button on the screen above.  There is a message that says it may take a long time.  I started at 2:10 p.m.  Here is a screen shot 20 minutes into the import:

*  I cut the download off after 70 minutes.  There are 7734 persons in the RootsMagic family tree file, all descendants (and their spouses) of Valentine Sevier.

*  Here is the Family View for Valentine Sevier (1702-1803):

*  I can now make a Descendants Report for Valentine Sevier by clicking on “Reports” then “Narrative Report” then selecting “Descendants” and “NGSQ” on the screen below.

*  Now I have a 1107 page report for 6 generations of descendants of Valentine Sevier, with a name and place index.  I can check the town of interest and see what descendants are living in that town.

4)  Of course, this is a family tree from FamilySearch submissions, and any name, relationship, date or place may be wrong.  The names may be incomplete, some dates may be missing, the places may not be standardized, and there are no sources in this import.  However, if I find a descendant of interest, I can go into each ancestor in their line back to Valentine Sevier and check the sources given for each ancestor.  My experience in FamilySearch Family tree has been pretty good – there are many profiles with errors, but if the profile has names of parents, a birth date and place, and a spouse’s information, the information between 1750 and 1940 is pretty good.  In the case of Valentine Sevier, there is a Sevier genealogy book available too from which significant information was obtained to submit to the Family Tree.

5)  In this example, I looked for a deceased Sevier descendant of Valentine Sevier in San Diego County.  I found one Sevier who died in 1949 in San Diego whose family is not in FamilySearch Family Tree.  An obituary for him might provide a wife’s name, children names, etc. California birth records might provide children’s names, and a people finder site might find their phone number. I could contact them if I wanted to.

6)  For my email correspondent, the tree took only 6 minutes to import, had only 474 persons, and RootsMagic created a 57 page descendants report.  I emailed it to her in 30 minutes after starting on the project.  She was thrilled!  She reviewed the report, and easily found a person with the same surname in the town of interest, and used a people finder program to get a phone number, called the number, and a daughter answered, heard her story, and confirmed the descendancy.  The town will soon have a War of 1812 memorial for their honored person who settled there early in the town’s history, and the family will know more of their family history.

7)  It’s amazing what genealogy/family tree management programs can do.  The above is one thing that no online tree can do at the present time as quickly and efficiently as RootsMagic does, IMHO.

=============================================


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Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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Understanding the Importance and History of Juneteenth

Historian and host of the PBS television series “Finding Your Roots,” co-produced by Ancestry®, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes about why we commemorate Juneteenth, and explains the history behind the day (June 19).   “Juneteenth celebrates a declaration of freedom in Texas that occurred two months after Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Union commander Read More

The post Understanding the Importance and History of Juneteenth appeared first on Ancestry Blog.