Happy 4th birthday to me.

Today is my Blogging Anniversary. I received a post from Geneabloggers the other day about the sites that are having anniversaries that reminded me that my blog anniversary was coming up. I was startled to see them reporting that My blog started in 2011.  I thought it can’t really have been that long.  I double checked and I see I actually started the D Taylor Genealogy blog in 2012. That set me to thinking about my blog and how it has grown over the past four years.

It doesn’t seem like it has been four years to me.  That said, the growth of my blog has been amazing. That first year (2012), I was receiving 100 to 150 page views per month. In just January and February of this year, I’ve received well over 10,000 page views. It also looks like my blog following is continuing to grow.  I would like to think that it is because my content is better and I am writing more interesting things as I go along and not that there are just that many more people using the Internet.

Lisa Louise Cooke has called blogs “Cousin Bait,” and my blog has acted like “cousin bait.” Numerous times distant cousins have contacted me because of the blog, as well as my Facebook, and Twitter presence. I have received dozens of photos of my direct ancestors that I would never otherwise have received.  Some of those photos have led to additional research and new findings. Of particular interest to me was a photo of my Grandpa Dick as a young man on a basketball team in Panama in 1928. The photo proved a family story that my grandfather had been in Panama where he met my grandmother. That photo let to many other discoveries. It also has led to my adding a trip to the National Archives to my “to do” list to find out more about his activities in the Army in Panama in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  I am so grateful to cousin Beverly for the photo.

Dick Brown – on 1828 Corozal (Panama)
championship basketball team. 

On another occasion, a cousin entered her grandmother’s name in a Google Search and discovered my blog because of a post I have regarding Bert Allen Roberts. She then contacted me and facilitated a potential half-sister to contact me. I’m still waiting for DNA test results to come back, but I’m fairly certain of the connection. I am so grateful to cousin Melody for her reaching out.

I think my biggest surprise, in terms of blog statistics, is that my number one most viewed post was a 2013 post regarding a review of Family Tree Maker Mac 3.  It has had over seven times the page views as my second most read posting. It makes me think that maybe I should do more reviews. Likewise, my second most-read post was my “rant” regarding Ancestry’s decision to drop Family Tree Maker. That post also received the most comments, by far. Maybe, I should write more rants. (Then again, maybe not.)

It isn’t until I reach my 3rd most read posting that I get to a biography about an ancestor. In this case, my wife’s fourth great grandfather, William Price. Writing about ancestors’ lives and documenting my sources is what this blog is about.

Looking at the various statistics reminded me to consider, what is the purpose for the Blog.  Is it to act as “cousin bait,” or is it to get the most traffic possible so I can have some income from my affiliate links? Both of these are important, however, as I ponder its purpose, the primary reason for this blog is to act as a journal of my genealogical efforts.  The act of journaling, of expressing genealogical findings in a clear manner, helps immensely in assuring my research conclusions make sense. It provides a forum for me to assure I have my sources and that I’ve reached reasonable conclusions and that everything fits together.  If it doesn’t then it provides a means to know what is missing and what I should do to reconcile any issues.

This  blog is more for my growth and understanding than it is about writing for others.  I try to add hints and  items of interest for others. They help remind me of things I shouldn’t forget.  But, again the process of journaling makes me stronger.

If I ever write something that you think is wrong, please let me know. If you write via the comments form, I will likely publish your comments to the blog, if appropriate and not self-serving. If you respond via Facebook, I will consider your comment as communications between the two of us and private. Either way, please give me feedback, what should I focus upon, Brown, Roberts, Howell, or Darling lines.  Should I write more about Donna Montran’s vaudeville life, DNA, my various Projects, or other things? Let me know if there is something specific you would like me to write about. Also, if you have something that is appropriate for this blog and would like to submit it to me for publication, I do accept items from guest bloggers.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

The links to outside websites may be connected to an affiliate program that provides a small reward to me if you use my link and purchase from them.  My process is to write what I desire without regard to any affiliate programs. After my content is written, I look for opportunities to link to my affiliates, if appropriate.  I also may include an affiliate ad in the body of a posting on a random basis. My affiliates include the following:

23 & Me
Carbonite Online Services
SOS Online Backup

Please consider purchasing using my affiliate links. They will help me maintain my blog.  Thank you.

I Switched to Heredis

Frustration strikes again…

My continuing problems with Family Tree Maker (FTM) for Mac 3.0 occurred again. I saw that my synchronization to my on-line tree was broken once again. In addition, I found that several of my sources were corrupted. Therefore, I decided to give up. Interestingly, the same morning I made that decision I received an email from Heredis letting me know that their new 2015 product for the Mac was now available. It is also on sale for 50% off until July 19th. It seemed like a sign, so I purchased it.

Heredis Installation & Import

Heredis give you to option to purchase from their site or purchase through the App Store. I purchased from the App Store. It downloaded and installed automatically. I used Time Machine to restore my FTM to a version before it corrupted. Then opened up FTM and exported my file in GED 5.5 format. 

Next, in Heredis, I opened a GEDCOM file, selected the file I had exported and it imported successfully. Then Heredis asked if I wanted to import my media. I said yes and selected the appropriate Media folder. It pulled in all the media that it knew about. Very easy to do.

Heredis Features

I then began looking at some of the features of Heredis. I was immediately impressed with the way it handles sources. When you open a source, besides the expected basic information that you would expect, a huge note area allows you to format the text you write nicely. I like using the “vertical display” which puts the image on the left and the note text on the right. I found usage to be smooth and easy. For example, I went to Family Search, found a record I was looking for. On Family Search, I selected copy and I downloaded the image. When I went back to Heredis, I just pasted the copied information into the note, and then dragged and dropped the image into Heredis. I added the header information based upon what I had copied — Just a series of copy & pastes.

Title: 1940 Census – Document: [Head of Household’s Name] – Repository: Family Search – Author: NARA – Date: [Today’s date] (‘cause I found it today), Website: I entered the exact familysearch.org URL. I was done. I did add the address of the individual, which the person rented, and a couple other items but it was good to go.

Although the source page does show what events are associated with it there isn’t a way to add an event through that page, however, I went to the Head of the household in my people entry form and input a Census record for 1 Apr 1940 with the key information for the head. A really cool feature is to share that event with other individuals. That feature keeps you from needing to reenter the same information on the records for everyone in the household. In a comment line, it is easy add the information that is different from the head, such as wife, son, daughter, or mother-in-law as appropriate. I like the system.

Heredis default on-line
search locations.

Another very cool feature is the Search. They populate several popular web search engines, Ancestry.Com, FamilySearch.com, Find-a-Grave, etc. You can add more or disable them as you wish. On the next tab over from the Search is “Research Note.” It is a great place to enter notes regarding what you have searched already. I like it.

I found the selection criterion for finding people is flexible. For example, you can select by surname individuals whose parents are unknown.

Another awesome feature is to work on a branch. Select a person then you can select ancestors or descendants of that individual. It is kind of like an automatic filter system. You can also show just the treetops, which can give you a visual look at individuals you may want to spend more time researching. Reports are everything you would expect or want. It is very impressive software.

It is perfect, no. There isn’t a way for an individual to have multiple surnames. In my family, there are several (male) individuals who had multiple surnames and for whom the surname wasn’t related. Using a “nickname” or considering it an alias doesn’t work well. My grandfather was born Clifford Brown, Married and had children as Richard Durand, and went by Richard Brown in his later years. I’ve never encountered a reasonable explanation for the name changes. In addition, of course, he did have the nickname of “Dick,” as do many Richards.

The bottom line is I’m really happy (so far) that I made the switch to Heredis.

————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-


Happy New Year – 2015

Happy New Year!  

I hope your holidays have been a lovely and joyous as mine and that your New Year be safe and prosperous. In ending my 2014 year I thought I’d update everyone on what I anticipate for the new year. The big news for the new year is my new domain.


I’ve decided to add a more professional look to my
genealogical efforts.  To help that look,
I have gotten an internet domain name: 

The first thing you may notice is that when you go to this
blog via a bookmark, or direct entry, to dtaylorgenealogy.blogspot.com you will
find that you are directed to blog.dtaylorgenealogy.com.  I am still using Blogspot to host my blog but
have made an entry in my domain to direct blog.dtaylorgenealogy.com to the
Blogspot site.
I also added a Google Sites website for “D Taylor Genealogy”
and have directed www.dtaylorgenealogy.com
to the Google site. It is still under construction but I plan to use it as a
location to show the kinds of things that I can and will provide as
genealogical services.

Next, I created an email account through Go Daddy.  I am still having trouble with it.  I am receiving email through them okay but
can’t seem to send email from Apple Mail or Outlook. I can send from the web
interface fine though.  I’ll see if I can
fix it soon.  In any event, you can send
mail to me via “don (at) dtaylorgenealogy.com” and I’ll receive it.


Over the past few weeks I’ve received a lot of things to
work on.  On the Brown/Montran
Research I’ve received a letter and some eMail’s from my Uncle Russ that will
help put some additional information regarding my great grandmother, Ida Mae
Barber, and her husband Harvey Knight.  I
also received over 800 photos of various relatives from a cousin.  It will take some time for me to categorize
those photos and incorporate them into my research.

On my Madonna Montran
research, I have dozens of additional bookings that I know of and will continue
bi-monthly posts regarding her vaudeville life.

Joyner Library
Clock Tower – Joyner Library
East Carolina University
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons 

On the Howell/Hobbs
research, I recently received a book through inter-library loan from the J. Y. Joyner Library about Martin County History. It is a two
volume set and has dozens of references in it regarding the Howells including
the Armstrong, Bryan, Hobbs, Howell, Johnson, Long, and Price families that
lived in Martin County.  I’m looking
forward to researching them. I am so grateful for the interlibrary loan system.

On the Darling/Huber
research I have several areas of research that I’m going to pursue.

Finally, on the DNA research front,
I’ve encountered another person for whom I have a DNA match on my paternal
side.  Unfortunately this individual only
has the surnames for 9 of his 16 2nd great grandparents named and
only 10 of his 32 3rd great grandparents.  Family Tree DNA is suggesting that he and I are
related as 2-4th cousins so we are likely to need to go back to the
3rd greats to find a common ancestor. We will see.


One minor project I’m doing is posting poetry written by my grandfather, Dick Brown, to my facebook wall. I typically find an appropriate graphic to accompany it and post it as public.

On my projects for friends, I have six different ones.  I use these
projects to help hone my skills by exploring other people’s family histories.  I try to give each of these projects a day’s
work every 6 to 8 weeks. The projects I am working on include
the following:

Adair,  Burlison,  Kirks*,  Pettus,  Rode,  and Smith.
I will be replacing my “Web Pages” tab on the blog with a
page that speaks about these projects and moving “Web Pages” to the www site. 


I have recently updated my “Getting to Know You”
presentation.  I don’t currently have a
good way to display the presentation.  The last time I gave the presentation, I
copied it to a thumb drive, and connected the thumb drive to someone else’s
computer that was connected to a large screen TV.  It worked fine for the venue I was at, but probably
won’t work well elsewhere.  I will
probably need to get a projector and a way to connect it to my iPad to better show
it to groups.

Also, I’ve been thinking
about putting together a networking presentation that describes how to use social
networking to improve your genealogical research.  I have a lot of the material and many ideas about
how to approach it.  I just need to put the
presentation together.  I know I can get
some offers to present that type of material.

* Note: I am a contributor for the Kirks tree, not the owner/manager
of that tree.
————Disclaimer ————-