Sunday, March 30, 2014

One year in! 20,000 people!

This weekend is the end of the first year I've gotten into genealogy.

Coincidentally, I added my 20,000th person to the tree yesterday.  (I suspect that there are duplicates, and a lot are "in law" relations, so its not 20,000 actual relatives - probably more like 12,000 of them.

Things I've learned:

  1. Québec history - especially the 17th century - is far more interesting than what I learned about the Pilgrims!   I still maintain that one could create a RIVETING HBO/Showtime drama series in this time period.
  2. I now know more about Québec names ("dit names", hyphenated names, sets of children with re-used names, etc.) than I thought ever possible!
  3. I appear to be related to the entire "who's who" of French Canadian colonists - especially in Québec.   I have a FEW Arcadian ancestors, and ought to follow up on those lines when possible.
  4. On the other side of the tree, I've found it VERY difficult to make inroads on the Irish side of the family.   It appears that the best way to rectify that would be to make a trip to Ireland.   But - since I've never been there, it probably means multiple trips since it would be hard to go there and NOT try to be a tourist!  (Of course the same is true for Québec - I went there on a school trip when I was 17, and it's ironic that so many of the places we visited have ties to my ancestors (not knowing it at the time).  
  5. It's frustrating that even local records are hard to obtain.   For example, my hometown newspaper STILL uses microfiche and have digitized ANYTHING, even birth/marriage/death notices.  The local churches require you go into Boston to see their records (by appointment only).
  6. It's easier to get information on people who lived 150 years ago than people who are alive today.   The U.S. Census is embargoed for 72 years, so it won't be until ~2022 before we can peek at the 1950 Census data!   
  7. is - despite the heavy funding from the LDS - not a particularly good service.   The web design is very "2008" the database structure and portal is abysmal, and to do any actual statistical research you have to export your tree and write an entire platform to re-ingest the data in a way that's unseful.   THAT is a project for the next year.
  8. My long-atrophied French skills are getting a work out!
Things I want to do:

  1. Write a GEDCOM ingestor to MySQL.
  2. Find a way to have data visualization for large sets of family tree relationships.
  3. Find a way to have geographic mapping of that data.   FTM3 does have this, but you can't filter by time.   It would be great to get a sense of who is where for a particular when.
  5. Get to the Massachusetts archive to fill in some of the holes.
  6. Make better inroads into my dad's side of the tree.
  7. Start contacting my living relatives to collect stories, etc.
  8. Get access to the church records for Lawrence parishes in the 1880-1960 time period.
  9. Get access to the Eagle Tribune's archive even if I have to go through the microfiche one day at a time! 
  10. Reach 40,000 people by this date in 2015?

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