Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Relocated

This blog has been relocated to Please click on the link to join me in the new location.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Moral of the Story. . .

Since my last post, I’ve decided to completely redo both the genealogy site and the blog and now I’m left with a mess that includes not only a partially functioning database and loss of all my media links, but also a renewed determination to make this thing work like I want it to.

The Backstory

From the beginning, I’ve wanted a website that included a blog as the home page and the genealogy database (referred to hereafter as TNG) as a subfolder, with the two linked together, so that blog posts could be accessed from TNG and the TNG menus could be accessed from the blog. This is not easily accomplished with TNG, because of the way the style sheets are set up (however, it is still the best genealogy website software available; I certainly don’t want to switch). At the time (December 2007), I couldn’t find any examples of TNG websites that worked like I wanted; several people in the TNG forums were working on solutions, but none had achieved the kind of integration that I wanted.

My first priority was the genealogy database, so I decided to focus on that and set up the blog at Blogger, with simple links back to each on their respective homepages. This worked fine for a while, but I soon tired of editing the static html home page on the TNG site and of logging into a separate application to make blog posts (hence the lack of blog activity over the past few months).

The Past Week

I stumbled across a website that integrates Wordpress and TNG exactly the way I want (and also includes some cool TNG mods). What’s more, the owner includes instructions on her site for accomplishing the “mashup,” as she calls it. I can’t really code on my own, but I can certainly follow directions. Oh, if it were only that easy.

So far, I’ve installed and reinstalled Wordpress four times. I’ve edited all the files as directed, but I can’t get the theme to work; it’s just a gray screen. On the TNG side, I’ve tried moving the files into a subfolder, deleting, reinstalling, restoring, repeat, repeat, repeat. Each time, I discovered one thing I wish I had done differently.

However, I made one, almost, fatal flaw. The last time I did a reinstall, I uploaded a gedcom backup. I had exported said gedcom last weekend, before I started the TNG upgrade mentioned in the previous post, so I didn’t think I needed to do another export, as I had made no content changes during the week. In the midst of the upload, I realized that I hadn’t included media links when I exported the gedcom. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t get them back. I’ve decided I can live with it; I’ll have to manually link all my photos and other media.

The moral of the story? Do a fresh backup of everything, absolutely everything, whether you think you’ll need it or not.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Website Update

This summer, TNG came out with a new version of the software I use to power my genealogy website. I had put off upgrading, because, frankly, I was apprehensive; I was afraid I would "break" the site and I wasn't sure how much time would be required to redo all the modifications I had made. I know just enough about coding to be dangerous.

Since the weather wasn't great yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet. I downloaded the upgrade, transferred all the files to my host, Simply Hosting, using Smart FTP. I followed the instructions step-by-step, until I got to the point where I was supposed to open the instructions from the website, rather than my local computer. I couldn't figure out how to do that. So, I forged on as best I could, but, sure enough, the site was broken. I played around for awhile and finally figured out how to open the file using Legacy File Manager, rather than File Manager in cPanel. This allowed me to click on a link to run a script and voila the site was fixed.

However, as I had suspected, many of my prior mods were gone. Rather than try to fix them, I decided to switch templates to create a new look and feel. I had been thinking about doing this for awhile, so it made sense to spend the time modifying a new template instead of the old one. (TNG users: I switched from template 6 to template 4.) I had always liked the layout of template 6, but I found the brick red color scheme too harsh. I had changed many of the colors in the old template, so I knew I could change this one also.

I'm happy with the new layout, but I still have some work to do. My next post will be about the specific changes I've made and how I did it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pre-Civil War Wills

I've just come across the will of an ancestor dated 1831. Each of his sons was bequeathed a male slave and each of his daughters a female slave.

It's like a train wreck - fascinating and appalling, all at the same time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Columbus Public Library

On a recent business trip, I visited the Columbus Public Library in Columbus, GA. What an amazing genealogy collection! They have as many stacks in the genealogy wing as my local library has in the whole adult section. They also have wi-fi throughout the library, so I was able to post my notes directly to my website, rather than trying take notes for later.

As soon as I walked into the Genealogy wing, I saw several stacks of family histories. A quick perusal and I had in hand The Mackeys and Allied Families by Beatrice Mackey Doughtie. This very large book has a section devoted to my ancestor, Thomas Mackie, who immigrated from Ireland, lived in North Carolina, and died in Georgia. I had always wondered how he ended up in Georgia and now I have the answer. After the Revolutionary War, he drew land in Wilkes County, which later became Elbert County, Georgia.

I didn't have time to look at anything else, but I travel to Columbus several times a year, so I will be making repeat visits for more research. Bravo to the Columbus community for this outstanding library and to the library staff for their wonderful genealogy collection.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maternal Lineage Updated

In anticipation of receiving my mtDNA test in a few weeks, I've been researching my direct maternal line. When I last posted on this subject, I could only confirm up to Catherine Powell. Today I've added confirmation of Anna Barbara Albright, Anna Maria Keller, and discovered a potentially different mother for Anna Maria Keller.

Starting with my great-grandmother, here is my direct maternal lineage, as far as I can trace it (some are not verified):
Rachel Louisa Johnson
Martha Jane Garrett
Nancy Emeline Brookshire
Elizabeth Tilley
Catherine Powell
Anna Barbara Albright
Anna Maria Keller
(unconfirmed from here down)
Juliana Kleindinst or Catharina Wirth
Anna Maria ?

It is more difficult researching maternal lineage, especially prior to 1850 when all household members were enumerated in the census, but I've found some excellent resources. With diligence and patience, the results can be found.