Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines

Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines
How many Ancestors Can you Find?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rootstech 2015 Keynotes

.....I, like many, was amazed to learn Donnie Osmond would be a keynote speaker.  Then a prominent author was announced as another one.  Then David Archuletta and another top performing troop were announced.  most recently Laura and Jenna Bush were a huge surprise announcement that clearly will have heightened security in place.

I can't be the only one wondering if this was the vision Rootstech founders like Anne Roach had in mind when they started off on this remarkable adventure - at least the high end celebrity aspect of it.  Between performers and keynote speakers, I think a pinnacle was reached last year with Spencer Wells and some others although I really enjoyed the 2013 group more than I could ever have imagined.

Is anyone else left with a longing for more relevant stars of the genealogy world or will the venue continue to seek out huge names to draw even bigger and bigger record crowds of attendees in the years to come?

Regardless, even though 2015 is not possible for me to go, I am setting a goal to not only attend in 2016, but also strive to be a presenter, if not also a service vendor so you know I have big things planned for Genedocs to blossom in 2015.  Please join us in all the fun next year on facebooks Genedocs Templates group because...

The year has certainly flown by...again!  December has not been without its discoveries as I embark on a new chapter after promotion to Archives Technician at NARA:

1.  I am working on Dad's units awards and decorations from WWII before wrapping up a book on the mighty 410th Bomb Group and I think this misclassified as SECRET document might entitle the unit to a seventh campaign star on their ETO medal/Ribbon:

2.  A completely unexpected great group yearbook photo from Brookings SD college showed up on ancestry.com from 1922 also (front row third from left):

Discoveries like these at least a few times a year remind us as family researchers just why our time and effort spent are so very worth it!

Whether you find yourself this December with family in the same room, a phone call away, or halfway around the world and just jotting a few lines of holiday spirit, be sure to include something special for the family to remember in the coming years - we hold the power to make some great family memories every day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Genedocs Templates membership still Exploding on Facebook

In August much of the work I had done over the past four years as Genedocs Enhancements and Genedocs Wetpaint was suddenly lost after I had a marathon membership push in one weekend with the new group Genedocs Templates.  Facebook shut down my main profile and I was left only with my name profile all because they claimed Genedocs didn't appear to be a name.  The group remained with its 1273+ members gained in just two days and a couple of members took over as admins in my confused social networking state.  I rebounded claimed my rightful place as the founder now under my own name and pressed on.

We now have almost 2100 members in just a few months - it took four years to gain the 1300+ friends of Genedocs enhancements so the Group is much more effective!  Also the group adds the following perks:

1. The File area contains all the templates for FREE download to members
    That's 30 Featured templates, 10 bonus templates, and many more series exclusives like the new Military research log format/version:

2. The threads allow for multiple examples to be on display and explained including how to tutorials when members aren't sure how something is actually done.

3.  Member only content like links to Youtube.com private videos showing how to do more complex tasks like crop people out of portraits, use GIMP to alter view angle perspective, and inserting cropped ancestors onto altered chart perspective views.

You should be joining us on facebook if you haven't already - just search Genedocs Templates!  See you there!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to Blogging after a Family Death

I need to post a piano composition here...to honor departed Mark Flugge

I am working on a piece and then yesterday, I combined a haunting minor melody with lyrics from Thanotopsis by William Cullen Bryant and it is worthy of a recording even in its infancy!

Genedocs Templates: New 2014 Facebook Group Spreading Like Wildfire!

Nearly 1,800 members today - 1,274 of them added in the Groups first two days - see what all the excitement is about with this grass roots give it all to them for free genea-effort!

All of the templates are being shared in the file area - featured, bonuse, series exclusives, examples, tutorials and even private Youtube how to demonstrations for the 3-D effects everyone loves.  Please join us!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

KEY UPDATE:  What is going on?  Where did Genedocs Enhancements go on facebook !!??!!??

Answers:  If you are on facebook, then let this be a huge warning - if you have a profile name for a hobby, change it right away to a person's name or variant of your own!  Facebook can delete it in an instant and without warning if you do not.  That is what killed Genedocs Enhancements formerly Genedocs Wetpaint for over 1,200 long time friends and followers.

What was lost?  About 2,000 genealogy minded friends and family and thousands of photos

However, all was not lost!

Just days before, I had established a brand new facebook group called Genedocs Templates that astonishingly welcomed over 1,250 new members in only its first two days of being up and running.
In its first week we are still seeing new members and are nearly at 1,300 strong!

Join this group where the actual templates of Genedocs and Examples of each are all in one convenient and dynamic place!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 5th 2014:  Genedocs Enhancements on Facebook finally reached the Milestone of 1,000 genealogy minded friends!  Maybe rootstech 2015 T-Shirts will look like the image above.  Who knows what comes next?  It will need to be outstanding to top the past three years of networking, school, and moving thousands of boxes each day for NARA.

Perhaps Rootstech will go 3-D with their logo next year.  Who knows?

Maybe a disc can store images up to 10 or 20 lifetimes, but who will be around to vouch for it lasting that long and still working in the year 3014?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Unveiling Series E-Magazine Articles

Since I have an extra moment and the last such post had 77 reads...here is some more of the e-magazine article reading:

Birth and Death Records - Basics and Beyond:
      Birth and death records comprise the foundation of vital records since most vital statistics are commonly available on both certificates.  The basics of either are the full names of all individuals listed, dates, and places of key vital events, and the relationships positively identified on the documents.  Going beyond these basic records involves commonly associated available records.  When a child is born there may be an announcement, invitations, memorabilia with hand and footprints, etc.  Similarly, when any person dies there are often many records associated with the death certificate such as funeral home and cemetery records, will and estate records, an obituary, etc.  Often times there are now videos and or groups of pictures on video presented at a memorial service for the departed family member.  Just remember to consider all of the possible records generated for these and other vital events.

Immigration and Emigration:
     What is the difference?  Immigration is when people move from one country to another permanently while emigration is when people move within a country settling from place to place.  Often times our immigrant ancestors are also emigrant ancestors who crossed the pond and moved around a bit after they arrived here.  Many researchers are fascinated with the fact that ancestors crossed an entire ocean to get here, but it is just as amazing to track how they moved from place to place within their new homeland.

Using Familysearch.org LDS Website for Research:
     Familysearch.org is a great website from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints often referred to as the Mormons.  They have been collecting and preserving family records for so long that Mormons have become synonymous with genealogy.  The site is very simple to navigate a search from – just type in a name.  You can narrow the search by adding or changing first and last names, places of birth, locations of vital events, etc.  Just give it a try and you will soon see how helpful their site really is.

Using Google.com for Research:
    Google is another amazing site to conduct family research on.  Just remember to note that sources are still critical as everything you read on the internet hasn’t been verified with primary source documents.   Try searching people’s names first then add a place name and watch the results narrow from thousands to a handful.  Then add a year and maybe you’ll get lucky.  Try this will all of your ancestors and just print anything that matches up and attach it to a completed research log for ancestors’ folders.  It doesn’t get much easier.  Google also has some amazing Map features these days where you can not only view an address from a satellite view, but you can also get a photo view of most major and many minor streets.

Also you can search Google news to brows newspaper articles for notorious ancestors.  There seems to be no end to how Google can help a researcher.

NARA Preservation Presentation earlier this week by Pamela Najar-Simpson

This week I was fortunate enough to enjoy Pamela's presentation during an odd and extended lunch time break.  It was nice to see some preservation intense information from NARA D.C.

The following are my highlights/notes from her very worthwhile presentation. I hope you will be as surprised by some of her insights as I was.


Preservation of records - general rules to prevent damage and reduce deterioration:

0. - If what you are planning to do isn't reversible - then simply don't do it!
1. Lower temperatures - keep them cool.
2. Lower humidity - keep them dry
3. Low light - keep them in the dark
4. Low air pollutant levels -

Foxing - records with rust looking stains from higher humidity
Mold & Insects also cause deterioration and damage

Confusing and Clearer Preservation Terms:

"ARCHIVAL" - it actually has no meaning from a presevation standpoint and is primarily for mere advertising to convince you that some product is better than another.

"ACID FREE" - not a good term because no sold paper or sleeve or folder is completely free of substances that deteriorate over time.  Wood pulp with high cellulose makes paper that can last longer naturally, but it still deteriorates.

"CHEMICALLY INERT and STABLE" - as any product holding documents ages, your goal is to slow down the deterioration/natural breakdown of that inevitable process.

Better Materials to Use:
Polyester is a good example and Gaylord and Hollanger both sell preservation materials that are reliable in these two regards (Chemical Inert and Stable).

Beware of general plastic especially if it designed for long term storage of food products. i.e; baggies and cellophane, etc.

Acid Free Folders, Acid Free Document Boxes, Other Ideas:

The Container Store sells some pricey materials labelled "Archival"

New Terms:  "Buffered vs. Unbuffered" - buffered adds recyclable materials to reduce acid levels, but alkaline issues can be problematic - pH is a delicate balance.  Unbuffered has cellulose only so it is best.  Acetic acid was mentioned several times by Pamela which is essentially vinegar in various pH concentrations.  A difference of just a few % strength can mean a world of difference with paper, folder, and even cardboard deteriorating more quickly.


Black and White photos are more stable and usually fine to last a long time when not interfered with by other adjacent less stable materials.

Color photographs, however, are problematic due to the vast array of less stable ingredients used in the various dyes so Copy/scan & digitize them for longer preservation options.  You may want to modify scanned color images with the MSO Picture Manger back to black and white and save under a slightly different name, print and file that if you like - this is incredibly easy on most recent computers.  Below are two images as an example of one of my compilation images switched to B & W which took only about five seconds to modify and save:

Image Permanence Institute - dates back to early Kodak history see also Rochester Institute of Technology.

Storing Portraits:
Polyester  L sleeves - top and side open for less restrictive storage and easier access to documents within.
Polypropylene is good too.

Problems Old Photo Albums:
(This is where Thomas MacEntee would plug the remarkable usefulness of the Flip-Pal scanner as well)

Preserving Books:
Keep in original format - spines are biggest hurdle to scanning and preservation efforts.
Box them for protection - several companies sell custom sized versions just for books.

Shelving Books:
Keep Same or similar sizes together for support.
Store large volumes flat for stability.

Over sized items (Maps, blueprints, large family tree charts, etc):
$465 will get you a 41 inch wide five drawer cabinet at the time this article was published and that is a cheap one:  Deluxe Steel Flat File (Gray)Deluxe Steel Flat File (Gray)

These are pricey flat storage cabinets with large to huge drawers, but for a more typical budget...

1. Roll these items loose with a larger diameter and wrap with plastic and tie for protection.
2. Always avoid folding oversize items when possible because deterioration is often accelerated along any creases/folds.

Magnetic media storage (Cassette and VHS tapes):
These are short term options with a life expectance of about 20 years even when professionally done - not at home.
Technological Obsolescence: - outdated Floppy Diskettes went by the wayside too

Electronic Media: - even worse 
Physical Item is fragile and damage to it could be a total loss
CDs & DVDs - Archival Gold CD & DVR: 

Pamela hadn't heard of the Millenniata M Discs to my surprise, but who of us will even be around to know if they work in 1,000 years?

American Intuition for Conservation


Sunday, March 23, 2014

                                 Transcribed From My Writings on Reflections at Work in Jan 2014

The intent of a document is critical to understanding it.  Only so much can be inferred by the reader.  Beyond that, the designer of the template must include his or her specific intent textually somewhere within the document.  Whether he or she chooses to make this statement of intent visible to the naked eye is entirely up to the designer.  Beware of white of near white text since it can be sifted through via click and drag or Optical Character Recognition (OCR) programs’ detection abilities.

Some Key Questions to Ask when Reviewing Any Document:

Q1.  Why was this document generated?

Q2.  What agency or organization generated this particular version of this document?

Q3.  Is this version of the document possibly a copy and or altered?

Q4.  What benefit could be gained by altering and/or copying this particular document?

i.e;  Any DD Form 214 clearly states that it is for official discharge from United States Military Service using a template that clarifies all of the particulars of the listed service member’s time in that specified branch.  Recent versions have a particular anti-alteration background for sections of the document that might be used for nefarious benefits eligibility so they require verification of the member’s copy to the government filed original prior to issuance of such benefits.    

I see I now have 25 blog followers!  Thank you all for reading my fairly sparse posts here - I hope to improve my frequency once better paying work can be acquired as you can surely understand.

 - Eric

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Balancing your time is a challenge as a creative genealogist!

  • You need time to research
  • You need time to create
  • You need time to network on-line
  • You need time to network offline
  • You need to work and pay the bills until your genealogy ideas can support you
  • You need to continue learning new applications and tips
  • You need to branch into other related fields
  • You need to somehow find a few hours to sleep each day!
No wonder we feel so spread out most days!

Since I am feeling transcendental today:

Beware when God lets loose the Great Thinker on the earth for then all things are at risk... @ H.D. Thoreau

Very well then I contradict myself. @ W. Whitman

Have a great weekend!  - Eric/ Genedocs Founder

Saturday, February 8, 2014

As rootstech 2014 wraps up today and the endorphin of all the fortunate attendees race wildly winding down after three days in genealogy euphoria, I have resumed blogging and welcome everyone to share this blog as the Opportunity Series begins.  Over 880 genealogy minded friends and family members have been reached on Facebook through the Genedocs Enhancements profile and everyone keeps loving it more and more that FREE templates that have been improved by someone who has sauntered through the trenches of tough research.  I am delighted to help as always, but must begin to focus on the business opportunity Genedocs presents...while the National Archives supports our small family, the bills have out grown it and we as degree holding Americans simply must earn a better living.

    I vow to keep the Forms Library FREE.

    I vow to add new Bonus and Series templates as time allows.

    I vow to not stop loving my family and working on my family tree.

   You can find the amazing stories of your family with only a little time and effort.

Have a phenomenal Valentines Day, February, tax filing season ;-) and 2014!

Preparing My Military Service Book as Rootstech 2014 Commences.

I am gladly knee deep in formatting my latest work for publication which should have been done a good while ago - preserving my own military service legacy in a written work.  It's hard not to specialize in military research after you have served and have so many family members who have not served.

     I know the cover isn't to rich on graphics and I have an idea for a relevant background image or two that would draw viewers in, but the writing is going really well within.  I am amazed at the number of names my brain can still recall - and a few that it is surprisingly struggling with!  It wasn't quite a lifetime ago (the 90's) but it is becoming more an more history each day that we don't preserve it.  Remembering how much easier it was just to find employment back then is truly remarkable compared to 2014 for most people even with degrees!  May America triumph over these tough times as well.

   Oh, also the table of contents aren't to exciting, but here is a shot of that as well:

Wishing I was at rootstech again, but I still keep very busy here with so much to do at home.
as always thanks for reading and remember to tell your military family members to record their stories too and soon before most is forgotten.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Amazing Great Grandparents # 8 - 15

My research began with a fascinating great grandparent responsible for granting us the Jelle name after travelling from Norway in 1882 so why not pay tribute to all of my great grandparents?

#8 Jacob H Jelle: (Dad at left with Jake seated (after 1932))

Jake was a brick mason in the Garretson, SD area who came to America in 1882 from Odda, Hardanger, Norway.  He and two wives brought up 9 kids from three marriages. He lived near in MN near the SD border for many years prior to moving to Garretson and remarrying his brother's widow.

Inger and Jake in 1884 - likely Wedding portrait together

#9 Inger Oliner Olson: 

Great grandma Inger has a really short life passing from TB at age 30.  She was from Malselv, troms, Norway and they likely met on the ship.  Her legacy was three healthy sons.

#10 John Martin Nelson:

Martin as he was referred to was another ancestor who traveled from Denmark to the US with his whole family.  he farmed a fraction on the MN Sd border for years and years.

#11 Victor Gustaf Edlund:

Victor is yet another emigrant ancestor who came from Hogsby and Gotteborg to New York.  He ran his own hamburger shop in El Campo, TX

#12 Bertha M Tucker 

Bertha was mother of eight kids with Victor.

#14 John T Dawes  - Postmaster murdered in Crockett, TX

#15 Johnnie A Gause

Johnnie was a remarkable widow raising eight children mostly by herself after husband J. T. was murdered.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy 2014 Genedocs followers and new viewers!

Thank you all for keeping an eye on my blog when I am so rarely here.  Perhaps 2014 will allow more time for blogging.

Facebook note - I just added to the Genedocs Successes blog thanks to at least 22 folks from the Organized Genealogist page friending me after a few friendly sample image posts - who you guys and gals are hungry for better looking and functioning research, charting, and legacy preservation tools as well!

That is fine because I am usually quite happy to share!

I raise my cup to you with a big smile!    Thanks to each of you for making a little but important difference!

Here's to a bright New Year!!!