Using Google Maps for Genealogy

I’ve recently started piecing together where my family members/ancestors lived and where they moved to.  Using the Google Maps Engine Lite has made that easy, as I can create each ancestor as a layer of my map, give all markers for each ancestor a different colour or style, and write notes on each marker.Google Maps ScreenshotFor instance, if you clicked on any of the markers in my map, you would see the year he lived there, and his occupation.  This information is easy to find in the New Zealand Electoral Rolls – you can find out full name, address (or road), and their occupation.

Google Maps Screenshot - marker closerup

I haven’t yet added in this particular ancestor’s map where they were in World War II – but the best things about Google Maps, is I can add that in at any time.  And change things if I’m wrong!

I’m adding this to my template Trello card for each ancestor from now on – this may take me a while!


Using Trello for Genealogy

I discovered Trello about 6 months ago and use it for everything now.
I use it for brainstorming blog subjects, I use it for brainstorming things I need to do for my business, and most importantly I use it for my genealogy.

Trello is used for project management – a “card” gets dragged and dropped between “lists”, representing where a task is in project stages. It’s basically a to do list!

For my genealogy research, I have a “board” per project, and each project is broke up into the following lists:
– To Do
– Researching
– Complete (if you can ever class genealogical research as complete)

I set up a card per person as I go through the family tree. I have a ever-evolving research checklist that I use for all cards – an example of this is in the screenshot. I can then tick off everything I need to look for as I go.
This is especially useful for my personal research as I am going through 1,800+ family members that I’ve researched and checking for missing information.

All you need is to set up a free account and/or hook it up to your Google Account. It even has an app!

Give it a go for your family research – it might be the online tool to replace your notepads of “Things to Research”.

Screenshot of Trello

Funerals – appropriate time for family research?

I’m going to a funeral this afternoon for my mother’s uncle. Funerals are one of the main times families all get together, but what is acceptable genealogical research to do on this occasion?

– ask family members for email addresses so you can send the information to check

Not okay:
– taking photos of family members to add to your family tree

– taking notes if you find out of a recent marriage or birth

Not okay:
– bombarding grieving family members with questions. It’s a funeral!

Everyone in my family knows about my genealogical research so I find they will approach me with information. However I won’t ask them information today unless it comes up in conversation. Instead we will spend this time reminiscing about our departed family member and remembering the good times 🙂

Part 3 of my search for Barb, Ron and Don

Author: Rachel Bell

I really didn’t consider the future when coming up with this blog title.  I plan on contributing to Find A Grave for a while, so when we get up to “Part 59…”  I’m going to look a little silly!

Somehow yesterday I coerced my husband into a “quick” trip to the Hastings Cemetery to take a couple more photos.  As usual, I chose the hottest part of the day (supposedly we hit 35ºC yesterday).

Even though I’d searched for Barb (Barbara Dryden) in my two previous visits, I took advantage of the second set of eyes, and we looked again.  No luck this time either, definitely going to assume that her plaque in the rose garden is either one of the unreadable plaques, or missing altogether.

We both then went in search of Juanita Dorothy Wini King – but again, no luck.  This should have been easier – as the date of death for Juanita was September 2002 – thus the plaque should have been readable, but nothing.

By this stage, my husband is getting a little frustrated.  “You’ve got me looking in this heat for nothing?”

One more I promised…

Just down from where Juanita was meant to be, we went searching for Phyllis Agnes Walker and Victory Peace Walker (surprisingly born in 1919 – with a name like that, I expected him to be a child of the 60s/70s).

Victory Peace Walker and Phyllis Agnes Walker

Bingo, I found one (or two – depends how you want to count this)!

I also decided to return to the place where Donald Raymond Roe‘s headstone should be (I found the empty plot last time) – to take a photo of the empty plot for his relatives.

Donald Raymond Roe

I find an empty plot like this a little depressing.  Did Donald never have a headstone?  Was it damaged?  Was it stolen?

I’m not sure my husband will ever help me again – but we worked out why I was so nauseous after my last visit to the Cemetery.  I get motion sick really easily, and of course I was walking through the rows of headstones, and the rose garden looking from left to right at each name of the plaques.  Needless to say, the heat was probably a factor as well, but I was more motion sick than sick from heatstroke.

My Find A Grave contributions are now up to 6 – and there are no more new requests for the Hastings or Havelock North Cemeteries.  Does anybody have any New Zealand relatives they need help with?  They don’t have to be from Hawke’s Bay…

The continued search for Barb, Ron and Don

After my previous unsuccessful search for a few of the headstones that I wanted to photograph for Find A Grave, I decided to give it another go yesterday.  I packed up a backpack of my cemetery map, my reference information for each of the 8 people I was trying to find, and a water bottle – and along with a huge hat, I went back to the Hastings Cemetery.  Did I mention how hot it was in Hawke’s Bay yesterday?  It was hot!

First on my list was a Donald Raymond Roe.  I followed my map and went up and down a couple of rows of headstones for a while, before realising that Donald’s headstone didn’t actually exist anymore.  In fact, there was nothing on the exact plot that he was meant to be.  Now I’m only a new contributor to Find A Grave – so what am I meant to do?  Should I take a picture of the big blank plot?

My next search was for Barbara and Richard Dryden.  I had the exact plot number and a map of where this plot was meant to be – but unless it was one of the small plaques that had become unreadable over the years, they were not to be found. Frustrating!

Next was Ronald James Haywood.  By this time, in the heat, I just wanted to find somebody!  Just one headstone I was after.  And after a good 20 minutes looking through all the cremation plaques, I found him.

Ronald Haywood

Yay my first contribution to Find A Grave!

Next was Juanita Dorothy Wini King.  I’ve got to admit, at this point the heat was getting to me.  I’d been at the Cemetery for about 50 minutes, and was starting to get a bit nauseous – heatstroke?  However, I continued.  But Juanita was hiding from me – will have to find her another day (hopefully a cooler one!).

At this point, I was ready to give in, and go home to my air conditioning.  However, I knew Albert Climo was in the RSA Block, and should be pretty easy to find (the RSA plaques always seem to be in good condition).  Sure enough….

Albert Climo

My total so far was 2 headstones from the 5 I was aiming for, and I had one more to try.  So in the heat, I headed to the complete other side of the cemetery and started looking for William Tankersley.  When I searched the Hastings District Council Cemetery Search, there was a headstone image in the search results.  And it’s wrong!  (Must let them know that…)  At this point, I was really nauseous and even the bottle of water that I was continually sipping from wasn’t helping.  However, surprisingly, I found William.  The correct William.

William Tankersley

So from my expedition yesterday, I found 50% of the headstones I was after – not bad!  And they have all been uploaded to Find A Grave – hopefully their relatives will be happy 🙂  I’ve also claimed another two people to find in the same cemetery – but I think this time we will leave it until a cooler day.

(After-note – I got home and was rather unwell after this.  Is that heatstroke?)