Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Tool to Change the Way You Conduct Collateral Research (Census2Ged v2.1)

Table of Contents

1. Links 
2. Introduction
3. Wait, What is Collateral Research?
4. So, How Does Census2Ged Help With Collateral Research?
5. Installing Census2Ged
6. Prerequisites
7. Using Census2Ged
     a. Gedcom Name
     b. Country
     c. Census Year
     d. Sourcing
     e. Source List Name
     f. Everything Else in Sourcing
     g. United States Tags
     h. Swedish Household Examinations
     I. Swedish Household Examination Tags
8. Cleaning Up the Final Gedcoms


1. Like Census2Ged? Consider sending a couple dollars to my PayPal to support its continued development: https://www.paypal.me/ReneeSchmidt
2. Census2Ged on Github: https://github.com/xXReneeXx/Census2Ged
4. Join the Census2Ged user group on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1386416641488942/


Eleven months ago I published version 1.0 of my software, Census2Ged. It was buggy, had no customizability, and had an appearance reminiscent of the dark days where graphic design and software had an oppositional relationship.
Census2Ged 1.0
I am happy to announce that those days of visual and operational vulgarity are now over, thanks to the advent of the latest version, Census2Ged v2.1.

Census2Ged 2.1
The functional differences between v2.1 and all previous ones are massive, and the program will change the ease of conducting collateral research for all who use it.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Laughs From the Past: 100 Year Old Humorous Quips

Often when I am perusing old newspapers I come across some rather interesting sections devoted to satisfying the distinctive brand of humor characterizing the tastes of the century to which they belong. In my time traveling adventures, I have discovered specimens representing everything from the dry and crass to the strange and sickly sweet. I have included a sampling of some of these below ordered chronologically.

June 23rd 1853 Wayne County Herald
Awkward Dance—Forward two—and hit
your partner in the bread basket; dos-a-dos—
turn to the right and kick your partner on the shins;
 shassey all—promenade to the left, and
accidentally knock down two attendants carrying

June 23rd 1853 Wayne County Herald
A western editor says he heard a young
lady at the table ask for “hen fruit”—meaning

Friday, June 15, 2018

Using FTDNA's API: Commands and Explanations

After hearing from all of you, I am now fairly certain that anyone is, in fact, allowed to access FTDNA's family finder API. And, as a bonus, I learned some new things about how APIs function in websites as well (special thanks for that goes to the anonymous commenter on the previous post). The question that remains is whether or not programmatically accessing it is against FTDNA's terms of use, and if anyone knows anything about that I'd be very happy to hear it, as I can think of a few things I want to try doing with the API and my best friend, python.

Anyways, this new post will go over the ways you can use the API and the different requests you can send to it. It's not all-inclusive and only includes the things I thought were important/most useful.

Please note, this post will include a lot of technical words without a lot of detailed explanation. If you just want to try it out for yourself simply click one of the links in the post to see the match data after signing into ftdna in your web browser.

How to Send GET Requests (In General)

There are two ways you can send Requests. The first is to just put the URL in your browser and the 2nd is to use Postman. For the most part, I use because making requests in it is faster and its easier to change parameters, however, I will use my browser in this tutorial because that will make it easier to collapse things/ limit the amount of censoring I have to do.

Match Lists

Basic Match List

The JSON Data for the Basic Match List

To return the information for your first 9 matches in JSON format (the same number as you would normally see on the screen) Use the following url:

Full Match List

You'll notice that the first line of JSON data returned by the last command has the total count of matches you have. You can use this number or any number larger than it in the url to print out that number of matches. In the url set page=1 (to start on your first page of matches) and set pageSize=numberofmatches. Here is an example url:

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Edit 1 5/11/2018: Note that this does not mean anything bad for you at all and you can continue using ftdna as normal, it's a fantastic site. Also, there is a possibility that the information I was sent regarding who was supposed to be able to use the API could have been incorrect, see the comments section for an interesting discussion on that. I think that the big takeaway from this post should be if you want to use the API for your company it is worth checking in with ftdna to ensure you have permission to do so.

Edit 2 5/11/2018: I have been looking into it more, and I believe that this is not in fact an issue at all which I am very happy about. I am still confused about why ftdna told me otherwise, and it may be that you are technically still not supposed to use it, but I'm really not sure at this time. Special thanks to the anonymous commenter for clearing things up!

Note: I actually wrote this all the way back on March 12th. I had notified FTDNA of the fact that their API was accessible by the public even before that. I am publishing this now because I feel it is my right/duty. They made the decision not to fix it or notify the public that they can use the API, so I think that somebody should. I'm hoping that this post will perhaps raise awareness about this and make FTDNA make a definitive choice about whether they want their API to be publicly available (which I personally think would be fantastic).


This document will serve to explain the process through which I found a security vulnerability in the FTDNA web API, as well as the process I went through in reporting said vulnerability and what I would have done differently if given the chance.


Some company names and terms used in this document will undoubtedly be unfamiliar to those reading it. This section will serve to clarify said terms.

How OneNote Can Help You Transcribe Documents

One Note Interface

OneNote is my program of choice for transcribing newspapers. It's OCR tools, instant copy paste photo insertion, and flexible formatting functionalities make it a breeze to transcribe documents in no time at all. This post will take you through my transcription workflow, allowing you to just as easily transcribe your source material in a matter of minutes.

What is OCR and Why Should You Use It?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. A character is a single letter within a word. OCR programs will 'look' at an image and identify the characters inside, allowing you to copy and paste text from an image. Using OCR programs will make transcribing go much quicker since the computer does most of the work, allowing you to spend more of your time researching and making discoveries.

1. Insert Your Source Image into One Note

There are lots of ways you can do this, but I will just show an example of one. Much of the time I am not transcribing a full image, but just a portion of one. Thus I usually only want to import a portion of an image into One Note. Windows operating system has a nice little tool called 'snipping tool' which will capture just a section of your screen for you, which is exactly what we need.

For my main image, I will use page 40 from the 1931 Bethany Daisy, my largest currently ongoing transcription project. Here is the image if you wish to follow along:
Bethany Daisy
Page 40 of the Bethany Daisy

Monday, April 23, 2018

1931 Bethany Daisy: The Junior Class pt. 1 (pg. 38-39)

This is part one of the Junior class photos and part five of my ongoing series of pictures and transcriptions of the 1931 Bethany Daisy that belonged to my great grandma Frances Elsie Caroline Gustafson.
Junior Class History

ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1928, there arrived on the campus of 
Bethany College a group of bashful, bewildered seekers of 
higher knowledge. After wandering through dark halls, climbing 
numerous stairways, and peering into a seemingly endless number 
of vacant rooms, we were finally directed to the library to go through 
the tedious process of enrolling. 
The next event was to appear before the august Miss Magnusson 
for our entrance examinations; everyone seemed to survive. Then 
we were received with malicious joy by the "Ruf Nex" and upper- 
classmen who for a few weeks would not let us forget that we were 
But it was not long until we became accustomed to the life at 
college including the visits to the dining hall during chapel exercises, 
cutting all unnecessary classes, and the duty of visiting the college 
library either with a studious intent or merely with the motive of 
creating some hilarity among the more studious upperclassmen. 
Our career as a class during the Freshmen and Sophomore years 
has been, with the exception of an occasional party, rather unevent- 
ful. However, as a Junior class, we are interested in publishing the 
best annual in the history of Bethany and also in entertaining the 
Seniors at the annual Junior-Senior banquet. 
Variety is recognized as the spice of life, and we endeavor as a 
class to follow this axiom. We range in mental ability from Lucille 
Holmberg to—no fair to tell a class secret; in height from Carl 
Larson to—we'll let you decide that; in athletic ability from Kenneth 
Monson, basket ball player de luxe to Floyd Peterson, "champion 
sleeper" ; and in musical ability from Pete Moline, whistler, to Harold 
Carlson, chief of the fourth-floor warblers. 
But from the beginning we have been imbued with the Bethany 
spirit and our loyalty has been shown by the number from our class 
who have been on forensic teams, athletic teams, and numerous other 
campus organizations. 
Now we are nearing the close of our third year in the halls of 
Bethany, and may we fully realize that from Bethany we receive the 
influence that is moulding our lives and characters and may we 
realize these benefits and express by our future lives in service to 
humanity our true esteem of the ideals given to us at Bethany.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Lets Talk Metadata

Metadata is one of the most valuable tools you can use to organize all the photos and documents you have accumulated through your genealogy work. You can have an easily searchable folder of photos named with random strings of characters so long as you have written quality metadata to go with them. Do I recommend naming all of your files randomly and putting them in the same folder? Absolutely not, but the point is that metadata is incredibly powerful and in this post, I will tell you everything you need to know to get started with using it.

What is Metadata?

Viewing the Metadata of a File