Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thomas Robinson and Jane - Untangling The Robinson's Of Charlotte County, New Brunswick

In my previous post, I shared why I believe that Thomas Robinson and Jane King are not the parents of the Robinson siblings who are connected to the Gibson family in New Brunswick.  This leaves the question just who is the parents of:

  • Christopher Robinson b. Abt. 1821 Ireland, died 23 September 1895 married to Caroline Hitchings
  • Thomas Robinson born abt. 1822 Ireland, died 15 November 1900 married Dorothy S. Gibson
  • Mary Ann Robinson born abt. 1826 Ireland, died 26 November 1898 married Alexander Gibson
  • John Robinson born abt. 1831 County Fermanagh, Ireland, died 19 October 1910 married Pheobe Annie Campbell

Perhaps the first question we should ask is are these 4 Robinsons really siblings?  I believe they are for many reasons however the only documents I have that link these families together specifically are their obituaries.

Christopher Robinson was the first of this known group to die in 1895.  There are 2 obituaries found for him on the New Brunswick Archives in their vital records from newspapers database.

Daniel F. Johnson : Volume 96 Number 1156
Date September 25 1895
County York
Place Fredericton
Newspaper New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser
Christopher ROBINSON died Monday morn. at the residence of his son-in-law, Henry BLAIR, Brunswick Street, Fredericton. Mrs. Alex. GIBSON of Marysville is a sister of the deceased and Thos. ROBINSON of Blackville (North. Co.) is a brother.

Daniel F. Johnson : Volume 96 Number 2234
Date September 23 1895
County York
Place Fredericton
Newspaper The Gleaner
Christopher ROBINSON, an old and respected resident of this city, died this morn. at the residence of his son-in-law, Henry BLAIR, who lives on Brunswick Street. He had been ailing for some time, but had been confined to bed for a week only. Mrs. Alexander GIBSON of Marysville is a sister of the deceased. Thomas ROBINSON, manager of the Blackville mill is a brother. A daughter and one son survive him. The former is Mrs. Henry Blair of this city and the latter is named Howard ROBINSON and lives at Marysville. The funeral will take place at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon from his daughter's residence on Brunswick Street to the Marysville Cemetery. Rev. W.W. Lodge of Marysville and Rev. G.B. Payson of this city will conduct the services. The arrangements will be in charge of undertaker John G. Adams.

Both of these obituaries state that Thomas Robinson who was the manager of Blackville mill was his brother and that Mrs. Alexander Gibson (Mary Ann Robinson) was his sister.

I haven't yet received the obituary for Thomas Robinson and Mary Ann Gibson nee Robinson so I can't comment on that yet.  I do have the obituary for John Robinson.

Death at Marysville
The death occurred last night at the home of Mr. A. G. Robinson, of John Robinson. 80 years of age. The deceased was the brother of the late Mrs. Alex Gibson and has been a resident of Marysville for a great many years where he is well and favorably known.
19 Oct. 1910 The Daily Gleaner pg. 12

John's obituary clearly lists him as the brother of the late Mrs. Alex Gibson who is Mary Ann Robinson.  So with the obituaries we can tell that Christopher, Thomas, John and Mary Ann are siblings.  The A. G. Robinson mentioned in John Robinson’s obit. is Alexander Gibson Robinson, John’s son named after his brother in law.

So when I started looking over all of the records I've been able to gather on this Robinson family group, this time knowing that Thomas Robinson and Jane King are not their parents I noticed something interesting.

1851 Canada Census Christopher Robinson

In the 1851 census Christopher Robinson and his wife Caroline are living close to Alexander Gibson and his wife Mary Ann Robinson.  Staying with Christopher's family are 3 children with a different last name.  I do wish that the census at that time listed the relationship between people in the home!

These children are:

  • Elizabeth Whisker age 11
  • Thomas Whisker age 7
  • James Whisker age 5

I've wondered for a long time who these children are and I think they are the key to solving the Robinson group.  Why?  Well because that surname Whisker was stuck in my head.  Some years ago I had found another burial that listed Robinson's and Whiskers together.

Looking in the cemetery database on the New Brunswick Archives we find a Thomas Robinson who died 2 March 1851 age 66.
It lists him as the husband of Jane and a native of Ireland.

Jane's record:
Jane Robinson died 1 August 1841 age 54 years wife of Thomas.

In the same grave is a James Robinson died 14 February 1833 age 13.  Also a Elizabeth Robinson Whiaker died 6 April 1846 age 40, wife of Hambleton Whiaker.

They are listed as buried in the Old Loyalist Burial Ground in St. Stephens, Charlotte County, NB.  I looked up the St. Stephen, Charlotte County GenWeb page and found a transcript of the cemetery. It's lists that Elizabeth Robinson Whiaker was buried in plot 11a along with young James Robinson.  Thomas Robinson and wife Jane were in plot 11b and there was a photo of that gravestone.

Still since there wasn't one for Elizabeth's grave I tried looking at Find A Grave and I'm glad that I did.  You can clearly see on Elizabeth's gravestone that her married name was WHISKER not Whiaker.  Also although they are in 2 plots all are recorded on the same gravestone.
Transcriptions are a wonderful help but it's always best to try and find an original source!

1843DEC31 M-CAN-NB-CharlotteCO-Alexander-Gibson-&Mary-Ann-Robinson

My next clue is when Mary Ann Robinson married Alexander Gibson on the 21 December 1843 one of the marriage witnesses was a Hamilton Whisker.

Marriage Record
Alexander Gibson of the parish of St. David yeoman & Mary Ann Robinson of St. James parish were married in this parish by licence with consent of parents this thirty first day of December 1843. By me Shiffton Thomas L LD Rector. This marriage was solemnized between us Alexandor Gibson, Mary Ann Robinson In presence of us John Gummer, Hamilton Whisker.

I believe that this Hamilton Whisker is the same Hambleton Whisker listed as the husband of Elizabeth Robinson who died in 1846.

I've been working at trying to trace the Whisker children and so far only had some luck with the son James Whisker who often used the surname spelling Wisker but that's for another post.

Right now it looks to me that the parents of this Robinson group is this Thomas Robinson and Jane (surname unknown). If this is correct then the family looks like this.

Thomas Robinson born about 1789 in Ireland married Jane. Thomas died 2 March 1851 in Charlotte County, NB. Jane was born about 1787 in Ireland and died 1 August 1841 in Charlotte County, NB.

Their children:

  • Elizabeth Robinson born about 1806 Ireland and died 6 April 1846 in Charlotte County, NB. Elizabeth married Hambilton/Hamilton Whisker about 1840 based on the ages of their children.
  • James Robinson born abt. 1820 Ireland and died 14 February 1833 in Charlotte County, NB.
  • Christopher Robinson born about 1821 Ireland and died 23 September 1895 in Fredericton, NB. Christoper married Caroline Hitchings.
  • Thomas Robinson born about 1822 Ireland and died 15 November 1900. Thomas married Dorothy S. Gibson sister of Alexander Gibson.
  • Mary Ann Robinson born about 1826 Ireland and died 26 November 1898 in Marysville, NB. Mary Ann married Alexander Gibson.
  • John Robinson born June 1831 Ireland (possibly Ballymackilroy, Co. Fermanagh) and died 19 October 1910 in Marysville, NB. John married Pheobe Annie Campbell.

There are still questions to be figured out on this family group.

Is Elizabeth a daughter of Thomas and Jane or a younger sibling of Thomas? If her age on the gravestone is correct she was born in 1806 and it'still very possible that she is their daughter. However there is a large gap in dates between her birth year for 1806 and the next child James in 1820. So if she is their older daughter then we are likley missing some children in between these years. Did they die in Ireland? Perhaps they are some of the many Robinson's in Charlotte County I haven't been able to fit together yet.

I've been trying to find a marriage for Elizabeth Robinson and Hamilton Whisker without luck so far.  Also after her death, I can find no record of him anywhere.  It's possible that he died also but it's not recorded in a NB cemetery.  Some of the records for the son James Whisker/Wisker say that he was born in the USA.  It's possible more information could be in Calais, Maine since it's right beside St. Stephen, NB many people went back and forth often.  I've had a hard time finding records for that town.

I would like to see if there was a will made by Thomas Robinson that might give more clues for this family group as well.

Are you related to this family or have information about them?  I'd love to hear from you!



FamilySearch, "New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( downloaded 20 December 2015), Alexander Gibson & Mary Ann Robinson, 31 Dec. 1843, St. James, Charlotte County; citing Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 845,795., 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.Original data - Census of 1851 (Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada.Census of Nova Scotia, 1851. Halifax, Nova Scotia,), Christopher Robinson, household, Image 12, St Stephen, Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Schedule: I, roll C_995, Page 22, Line: 20.

"Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics," database, New Brunswick Archives, The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( accessed 23 September 2011), Christopher Robinson, death notice, 25 Sep 1895; citing Daniel F Johnson.

"Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics," database, New Brunswick Archives, The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( accessed 23 September 2011), Christopher Robinson, obit, 23 Sep 1895; citing Daniel F Johnson.

John Robinson, death certificate no. 3288 (19 October 1910), Vital Statistics from Government Records, New Brunswick Archives, 23 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H1 Canada.

New Brunswick Archives, "New Brunswick Cemeteries," database, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( : accessed 20 December 2015), Thomas Robinson, died 1851-Mar-02, Old Loyalist Burial Ground St Stephen, Charlotte County.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Thomas Robinson and Jane King A Robinson Mix Up

Many years ago I did a lot of research on the Robinson family of my Grandma's stepfather.  I haven't looked at this line in quite some time.  So when I received a message from a Robinson descendant a few weeks before Christmas I decided to take a fresh look at the records to try and answer her questions.  In doing so I believe that I've found a mix up in the Robinson family lines.  It is so easy to do when you have such similar names and ages in a close area.

1859OCT18 M-CAN-NB-CharlotteCO-James-S-Robinson-&-Elizabeth-Robinson

The person who wrote to me was specifically asking about Elizabeth Robinson who was born about 1830 in New Brunswick, Canada.  She married James S. Robinson.  James was born abt. 1828 in Ireland and died 5 Feb. 1888 in Calais, Maine.  Elizabeth and James married 18 October 1859 in St. James, NB.

I went to FamilySearch to see if I could find more records on Elizabeth since the last record we have of her is in the 1920 census in New York. 
I filled in the search form with the surname blank and the parents as Thomas Robinson and Jane King.  This is when I found my surprise!

I found a burial record for a John King Robinson who died in Utah on 22 October 1866.  Wait a minute!  If their son John King Robinson died in the USA in 1866 then they couldn't be the parents of the John Robinson who my step Great Grandfather descends from.

I went to the New Brunswick Archives website and had another look at their vital records from newspapers database.  There I found a newspaper notice of John's assassination in 1866.  It clearly says that he was the son of Thomas Robinson Esq. of Bailie, Charlotte County.  The article also mentioned his brother T. A. Robinson of San Francisco and a William S. Robinson.

Daniel F. Johnson : Volume 24 Number 2233
Date November 2 1866
County Charlotte
Place Saint Stephen
Newspaper Saint Croix Courier

A Salt Lake (Utah) telegram of 24th Oct. says - John King ROBINSON, formerly Assistant Surgeon at Camp Douglas, was decoyed from his home at a late hour on Monday night, under a protest that his services were professionally required, and murdered within a half a block of his own house. His funeral took place today under the direction of the Order of the Odd Fellows. - The deceased was a son of Thos. ROBINSON, Esq. of Baillie (Charlotte Co.) The brother of the deceased, T.A. ROBINSON, San Francisco (California) had gone to Salt Lake City on hearing the sad news and this telegram was sent in answer to an enquiry over the wires from here respecting the truth of the report. "Salt Lake City, Nov. 1, 1866 - To: William S. ROBINSON - Brother J.K. ROBINSON assassinated midnight Oct. 22nd (signed) T.A. ROBINSON."

So I looked to find Thomas A. Robinson in San Francisco and he was very easy to find.  His funeral home record is for 7 June 1912 in San Francisco and lists his place of birth as New Brunswick.
This also is a red flag because this Thomas Robinson can not be the same Thomas who is the brother of John our Thomas was married and still living in New Brunswick when Thomas A. Robinson was in San Francisco.

1851 Canada Census Thomas Robinson

I can see how this error was made because both Robinson families were living in Charlotte County, NB at the same time.  The 1851 census shows the family of Thomas Robinson and Jane King living there with their children.  Thomas and John's ages fit pretty close to my Robinson line except the census list their birth place as New Brunswick.  My John and Thomas always list their birthplace as Ireland.

From what I've researched Thomas Robinson was born about 1809 in Ireland and he died 22 Jun 1871 in Baillie, Charlotte County, New Brunswick.  His wife Jane King was born about 1810 in Ireland and died 27 February 1892.  Both are buried in the Baillie Baptist cemetery in Charlotte County, New Brunswick.

Their children are:
  • Elizabeth K. Robinson born abt. 1830  married James S. Robinson.
  • James Robinson born abt. 1832
  • Margaret Robinson born abt. 1834
  • John King Robinson born 12 July 1836, died 22 October 1866 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Thomas A. Robinson born abt. 1838, died 7 June 1912 San Francisco.
  • Eleaner Robinson born abt. 1840
  • George Robinson born abt. 1842
  • William S. Robinson born abt. 1844
  • Jane A. Robinson born abt. 1847
  • Joseph Millen Robinson born abt. 1850, died 14 November 1939 in Manhattan, NY.  Married Jessie Thorburn.
All were born in New Brunswick according to census records and/or death records and are living with them in the 1851 census.

I don't know if this group of Robinson's is somehow connected to the other group or not.

Thomas Robinson and Jane King are not the parents of:
Christopher Robinson b. Abt. 1821 Ireland, died 23 September 1895 married to Caroline Hitchings. Thomas Robinson born abt. 1822 Ireland, died 15 November 1900 married Dorothy S. Gibson Mary Ann Robinson born abt. 1826 Ireland, died 26 November 1898 married Alexander Gibson John Robinson born abt. 1831 County Fermanagh, Ireland, died 19 October 1910 married Pheobe Annie Campbell

So who are the parents of my Robinson group?  That I think I have figured out, but it will be for my next post!

Sources (I have more but this is for the major facts listed in this post):, 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.Original data - Census of 1851 (Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada.Census of Nova Scotia, 1851. Halifax, Nova Scotia,), Thomas Robinson, household, Image 44, St James, Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Schedule: I, roll C_995, Page 44, Line: 1.

"Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics," database, New Brunswick Archives, The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( accessed 2 November 2011), Thomas Robinson, obit, 26 Jan 1871; citing Daniel F Johnson.

"Index to Marriage Bonds 1810-1932," database, New Brunswick Archives, The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( accessed 17 December 2015), Elizabeth Robinson and James Robinson, 1859, Charlotte County, New Brunswick.

FamilySearch, "New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( downloaded 19 December 2015), James Robinson & Elizabeth Robinson, married 18 Oct 1859; citing Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 845,795.

"Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics," database, New Brunswick Archives, The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick ( accessed 19 December 2015), John King Robinson, death notice 2 Nov. 1866, Saint Croix Courier; citing Daniel F Johnson.

FamilySearch, "United States, Burial Registers for Military Posts, Camps, and Stations,1768-1921," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( downloaded 19 December 2015), J King Robinson, died 22 Oct. 1866; citing Burial Registers for Military Posts, Camps, and Stations, 1768-1921, NARA microfilm publication M2014 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1; FHL microfilm 2,155,570.

FamilySearch, "Utah, Veterans with Federal Service Buried in Utah, Territorial to 1966," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( downloaded 19 December 2015), J. King Robinson, died 22 Oct. 1866; citing Post Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, military unit 3rd Cal Inf, Army, Civil War, State Archives, Capitol Building, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 485,491
FamilySearch (San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States), FamilySearch, digital image ( : downloaded 20 December 2015), Thomas A. Robinson, died 7June 1912; funeral home Halsted & Co., San Francisco, San Francisco, California, record book Vol. 2,, 1898-1913, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco History and Archive Center.

FamilySearch, "California Death Index, 1905-1939," database, FamilySearch, FamilySearch ( accessed 20 December 2015), Thomas A. Robinson, died 1912; citing Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.

FamilySearch, "Canada Marriages, 1661-1949," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( accessed 30 December 2015), Joseph M. Robinson and Jessie Thorburn, 1 Nov 1880, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

FamilySearch, "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( accessed 30 December 2015), Joseph Miller Robinson, died 14 Nov 1939, Manhattan, New York; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,110,604.

Friday, January 8, 2016

rootstrust 1.0 To Be Launched February 2016

I received the following press release from rootstrust.  rootstrust is a new cross platform (Windows, Mac and Linux) genealogy program that has been under development and soon to be officially released.  I've been trying the Linux version out this past year and it has some great features!


rootstrust 1.0 to be launched February 2016

Atavus, Inc. announces that it will be releasing version 1.0 of its advanced, multi-
platform genealogy system rootstrust in early February 2016. “Taking on board
valuable input from a team of international beta testers over the past twelve
months, we have invested another 2000 highly targeted programing hours to
refining and improving the program’s functionality. The result is very stable and
the import of GEDCOM files from FTM, TMG, and other programs can be achieved
with relative ease and speed,” explains Brooke Nelson, founder of Atavus, Inc.
and developer of rootstrust. “Formal release is scheduled in Salt Lake City at
Rootstech 2016. Please visit us at our booth.”

rootstrust is a software system designed to manage genealogy data. It is one of
the few genealogy programs that can be operated on the Windows, Mac OS, and
Linux operating systems. It is written in Java and the same program runs on all
three operating systems. The database is also independent of the operating
system, enabling users to access and preserve genealogy data regardless of the
computer they may be working on. The database can be synced with the Cloud.

rootstrust can be downloaded onto Windows, Mac, or Linux PCs or it can be run
on a specially formatted USB device to enable full portability of the program and
database across computers and operating environments.

Key features of rootstrust include:

  • Flexibly displays information, allowing users to switch back and forth
  • between 9 data views.
  • Includes informational files, “how to” videos, and context sensitive help.
  • Unicode international character set supports most of the world's languages.
  • Provides advanced tools including relationship calculator, gravestone
  • calculator, Soundex generator, Roman to Arabic numeral converter and 8
  • exotic date converters.
  • Documents biomedical information and DNA haplotypes.
  • Time-saving data entry through event sharing.
  • Generates a full range of charts and reports.

About Atavus, Inc.: Atavus, based in Sterling, VA, was founded in February 2013
to commercialize rootstrust. The founder, Brooke Nelson, is a veteran software
developer and genealogist. Nelson began developing rootstrust for his own use in
1999 to address unmet needs in the market for commercially available genealogy
software. His vision was to create a system that provided Unicode support, event
sharing, the ability to define relationships between persons that are not relatives,
and the facility to link places that are historically related to one another such as
New York and New Amsterdam. Most importantly, he wanted to be able to move
the program and / or the database and the document and multimedia image files
that are linked to the database without permanently breaking the linkages.

Interested persons should visit:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How To Use Windows Live Writer When It Won’t Connect To Blogger

 How to use Windows LIve Writer when it won't connect to Blogger | Footsteps of the Past

Earlier this year Google changed the way Bloggers login authorization worked.  Unfortunately this caused a lot of problems for bloggers who used offline blog editors!  Now Google did give advance notice that these changes were coming, however many of these popular offline editors are not being actively supported anymore.

One of the most popular programs being Windows Live Writer (WLW).  Thankfully at the time Microsoft and Google reached an agreement that would allow Windows Live Writer to bypass the new authorization methods.  This meant we could all go back to happily blogging on Blogger with WLW!

Last week it was announced that Microsoft had agreed to release WLW as open source software.  I was thrilled to hear this as I’m a big fan of open source programs.  I know that there has been a group of programmers at Microsoft that had been working for a few years to make this happen.  So if your reading this, a huge thank you to you all!

The new open source version is called Open Live Writer.  It’s in it’s early stages of development and you can read more about their plans on the Open Live Writer website.

Now unfortunately about the same time Open Live Writer was released Google took down the workaround that had let both Windows Live Writer and Open Live Writer access Blogger.

Google, you have really bad timing with this!  It’s the Christmas season and bloggers are busy!  I know many of my blogging friends are frustrated and I really understand this.  WLW was the main program I used for my blogging as well.  The people working on Open Live Writer are actively trying to get the Blogger authorization fixed and hopefully it will be soon!  In the mean time there is still a way to make this work for now.

 Adding images to Blogger | Footsteps of the Past

What I do is I start  by making a new post in Blogger.  I upload any images I need for the post first.

Blogger image size | Footsteps of the Past

When your in the html window and add an image Blogger gives you this popup box asking what the size and alignment of the image should be.  You can pick any alignment you want, but for the size select original.  Otherwise if you try to make the image larger in Windows Live Writer than what you selected in Blogger the image will be blurry.

Posting in Windows Live Writer | Footsteps of the Past

Then I switch over to Windows Live Writer and write my post. 

Blogger Image Links | Footsteps of the Past

When I need to add a image to my post I go back to my Blogger post and grab the image URL from it.

Windows Live Writer Image Insert | Footsteps of the Past

Than I use Windows Live Writer option to insert a image from the web.

When my post is finished and formatted the way I’m happy with I click the source tab in WLW and copy the html.  The go back to Blogger and make sure your on the html tab.  Delete any code in that view and past your new code from WLW.

After that I add my labels and search description.  Preview your post if you want, then publish.

It’s really not that much harder to work this way than it is to do everything from with in Windows Live Writer.  Hopefully Open Live Writer will be up and working soon and this work around won’t be need anymore!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ancestry Announces The Retirement Of Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker

Yesterday I received an email notice from Ancestry that as of December 31st, 2015 they would no longer be selling Family Tree Maker.  Support for the program will continue until January 1st 2017. 

You can read the full details on Ancestry’s blog.  From what they say during this time features like tree sync will keep working and major bugs will be fixed.

So What Does This Mean?

If your a user of Family Tree Maker you might not care because your not planning to run out and switch your genealogy software.  On the other hand you might feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you.  You know you have only 1 year of support for your software left and after that time if you run into compatibility problems with Windows or Mac your out of luck.

I have to admit this was a very big shock to me!  Although I don’t use Family Tree Maker as my main genealogy software it is a popular product and loved by many.

This change wont have a huge impact on my every day genealogy, however it will be like turning the clocks back a few years in some ways.  RootsMagic has been my main genealogy software for years.  I also keep a copy of my family tree on Ancestry.  It used to take me a lot of time to copy and paste updated information from one tree to another.  They were almost never in perfect sync.

My Experience

My experience with Family Tree Maker started with the 2011 version.  I was so excited to get it because I loved the look of the software.  It was visually appealing and modern looking.  Sadly when I received it I found it almost unusable.  It took a long time to open and crashed constantly.  So I decided to stay with what had been working for me. 

Then they came out with Family Tree Maker 2012 and I decided to try it again, not as my main genealogy software but as a way to sync my tree with Ancestry.  I often exported branches of my tree from RootsMagic and imported and merged them in FTM then uploaded the changes to Ancestry.  It saved me so much time!  That is when it worked.

The down side was that the sync has been so buggy.  More then once it’s caused large groups of multiple copies of people, records and media in my Ancestry tree because it crashed while syncing.  If you’ve gone through that, then you know just how frustrating that is!

My hope is that Ancestry will licence their API to other genealogy software companies so programs like RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree etc. can sync with users trees on Ancestry. 

If you use Ancestry Family Tree or Family Tree Maker

1.  Family Tree Maker is not going to stop working over night.  If you want to buy a copy you can do so until December 31st 2015.  It will be supported for major bugs until January 1st, 2017 and according to Ancestry tree sync will function during this time.  After that I don’t know because Ancestry hasn’t released that information that I have seen.

2. If you have a family tree on Ancestry the only way you can extract ALL of your information is to use Family Tree Maker to download a copy of it including your media and source media.  You should know that any user can download their media but only users with a paid subscription can download source media.

3.  For the long term solution you should start testing other genealogy programs.  You might be able to use Family Tree Maker for years to come yet, however if you have bugs after Jan. 1st, 2017  Ancestry will not support it.  You can export a gedcom from Family Tree Maker and import it into any genealogy software with gedcom support and still have your media etc. attached.  You will have to do some data clean up but it’s better then having to re-enter every person.

There are many genealogy programs to chose from.  RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Gramps, RootsTrust are just a few that I’ve tried and liked.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

SNGF ~ How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree Database?

I’m joining in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun blog meme hosted by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings.  This weeks challenge is:

1) Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2) Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3) Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries. If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5! Or 10!! Or 20!!!

4) Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google Plus Stream post.

My main genealogy database is in RootsMagic 7.  I do use a number of programs but chose RootsMagic for this challenge because has my largest database currently.

To find out how many surnames are in my database I went to the Reports menu tab and selected List.  From that popup menu I chose Surname Statistics List.  The surname statistics list offers a number of sorting selections.  I chose to sort by surname frequency. 

RootsMagic Surname Report

This produced a 78 page report and each page contained about 49 names.  I wasn’t going to sit and count them all!  This gives me an estimated number of surnames 3822.

My top 20 surnames are:


  • MCINROY 429 people from 1781 to 1998
  • UNKNOWN 420 people from 1741 to 1973
  • GARDINER 344 people from 1645 to 2010
  • GALLANT 304 people from 1712  to1996
  • HASLETT 298 people from  1712 to 2006
  • ANDERSON 290 people from 1620 to 2008
  • FERRIER 264 people from  1753 to 1982
  • ROBICHAUD 233 people from  1609 to 2012
  • SPITZ 232 people from 1657 to 1933
  • MCKEOWN 218 people from 1805 to 2010
  • HAZLETT 198 people from  1760 to 2009
  • MILLS 197 people from  1672 to 2014
  • MCCREA 196 people from  1725 to 2000
  • WILSON 189 people from  1678 to 1998
  • REID 189 people from  1838 to 1988
  • @@ 167 people from 1808 to 1985
  • WATSON 161 people from 1676 to 1981
  • HEATH 153 people from 1793 to 1993
  • BADGEROW 152 people from 1745 to 2006
  • HOWATT 143 people from 1763 to 1997

This was an interesting topic to look at.  First I’ve discovered that I have way to many “unknown” names for my liking.  These span a wide range of time.  Some of these are in my direct lines, however many are in distant cousin branches.  It’s on my to-do list to try and figure out who these people are.  I also see that at some point I’ve imported/merged a cousins database who used @@ symbols in the name field.  ARG!  I no longer import gedcoms into my master file, but I will have to go back and clean that up as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Margaret Alice Colgan (1891-1965) – 52 Ancestors #2

My Grandmother Margaret Alice Colgan was born 10th of August 1891 in Osprey township, Grey County, Ontario.  Her parents were John James "Jack" Colgan (1854-1928) and Indiana Lovica Badgerow (1866-1937).

Margaret was the second oldest child born to her parents, her siblings were:

Sarah Elizabeth Colgan (1889-1978)
John James "Jack" Colgan Jr. (1898-1961)
Mary Ann Colgan (1900-1952)
David Henry Colgan (1905-1991)
Julie Colgan (1907-1952)
Jessie Minerva Colgan (1907-)
Albert Wellington Carter Colgan (1913-1953)

Charles Mills & Margaret Colgan Marriage Margaret married Charles Edward Mills on the 25th of September 1912.  The wedding took place at her family home.  I've previously posted their marriage notice and photo in my post about her husband Charles Mills.
Charles and Margaret farmed in Melancthon township near Dundalk before retiring and moving into town.  Here they raised their children Alice Odeca (1915-1915), Charles Roy (1916-1990), John Emerson (1918-1987), Thomas Nelson (1920-2007), Margaret Aileena (1925-1997) and Norman Leslie (1922-1989).

Margaret died on the 1st of March 1965 in Center Grey Hospital, Markdale and is buried with her husband in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dundalk, Ontario.

Margaret Alice Colgan & Charles Edward Mills Gravestone

Do you have information on this family or are you related?  I’d love to hear from you!


Joining in the 52 Ancestors challenge  Amy Johnson Crow at the blog No Story Too Small.