Sunday, September 29, 2013

SLCC Genealogy Course: Post #6 - 100 Point Assignment and I'm not Done!

The last week of the month is always hard for me because I have multiple projects due at that time. Then I had to help my 30 yr old son with his cataract surgery.  Which the eye doctor by the way says, is a very impressive cataract. It wasn't until late Saturday afternoon before I could start on my next assignment on sources, which is due this coming Wednesday. The reading and videos we needed to watch took up the remainder of Saturday for me. We needed to search for all censuses that applied to our family in the 1900's. So that is all the 1900-1940 censuses that the family members could have been listed in. This class assignment is worth 100 points.

Saturday evening I was proudly giving myself a pat on the back that I had already gone over my families and created a research log with all the United States Federal Censuses they would have been in. I thought of how wise I was to have that for-site. Then I realized I totally missed adding all the State Censuses that my families could have been in. Suddenly I didn't feel wise and my list became longer.

Sunday morning my goal was to actually find the census records, save them, and create the source citation. We just needed to hand in one family's research log and family group sheet.  How hard can that be? Apparently really hard this morning.

Even though I have a lot of the census records already I decided I was going to start all over again, like I never had them. Then I could also make sure I cited the sources correctly and added everything just right. FamilySearch seemed to be working but it wouldn't return any historical records search results. That part of the website must be down. I decided to see if another avenue would work for me. I went to Family Tree and click on the link "Search Records". Yay! my plan of going through the back door to the Historical Records worked. I couldn't exactly say what my search criteria was, but I figured I would just do the search again later when the Historical Records search was working and fill it out on my Research Log. I thought I was in business.

Now the family I am working on are my paternal grandparents. In the 1940 census they are living with his parents so I had to figure out how to label the census when my grandfather isn't the head of household. I just can't tell you how much time I wasted over deciding how to label that census.

Next, I simply needed to transcribe that census record and create a source citation. I realized I wasn't familiar with the column headings on the 1940 census. I had found my family earlier in the 1940 census when it first came out, but I didn't transcribe them. Now I needed to know what the headers were. That lead me to searching the internet for a 1940 census spreadsheet. The assignment never said you needed to create a spreadsheet with your census result, but I got it into my fat head that, that was something I wanted to do since I was starting over. I found one on FamilySearch Wiki that was a fill-able PDF. I was happily filling it out and then I discovered that some fields were already filled out with info from earlier fields. I didn't think I had done that but I went ahead and fixed it.  Then when I looked back I saw the earlier fields were now replaced with the text in the other columns. After all my hard work getting the family into the spreadsheet I realized the spreadsheet was just formatted incorrectly and I couldn't use it. So I scrapped it and began again.

I used to have the spreadsheets for the census created by CensusTools. I couldn't find them on my computer, anywhere!  I went to the website and you could only buy them on CD. I swore they used to be a free download with a donation. I put a request on Facebook asking if anyone knew were I could get the census spreadsheets. I did get help with finding a copy of the Census Tracker but that's not the full census spreadsheet.  I went ahead and bought CensusTools again but have no idea when it will get here. The website did have the download of the 1940 US Census for free so I used that.

I get really obsessive about making sure I'm following instructions exactly. I was stressing myself out over getting the transcript right. But the example given me for the 1940 census didn't have all the info in it that I wanted from the record.  I wasted a long time trying to get things exact. Then I decided to create a source WebTag that would link back to the record online.  Well you can't create a WebTag until after you saved the source citation. When I realized that I hit cancel and ooops I also canceled out of the source citation I was creating and it was all gone.  All my hard work vanished. So I started over again.

My mind still wasn't settled on the transcript so I finally determined I wouldn't get "docked" if I just added the additional things I wanted off the census. So I went about filling it out as I wanted it to be. It was almost perfect and then the power blipped off and on in the house for a second and I had to restart my computer. Yes, everything was gone, AGAIN!! RootsMagic automatically saves to the database as you add data, but if you are adding a source citation and haven't saved it yet that just disappears when the power goes off. Obviously it doesn't save sources like it does when you working in other parts of the program.  I was really getting frustrated.

Church started at 1:00 pm so I did quickly filled out the census citation and transcription again. I kept saving it while I was filling out the source citation so history did not repeat itself. Now I only have one census record and there are many more to do. When church was over I planned on working on my genealogy some more, but I think this 100 point assignment is going tor require more time then I can dedicate to it today. I have to stop and help my husband and son prepare to leave for a trip to visit family in Massachusetts now. I hate leaving things this close to the deadline. So the pressure is on.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

No comments: