Technology Tuesday: Awesome New Tab Page

Last week, in the Facebook group Technology for Genealogy, Thomas MacEntee shared a link to a MakeUseOf.com article about the Chrome extension, Awesome New Tab page. Since iGoogle is going away, this could be a possible replacement. 

I’ve never really been a user of iGoogle – though, I did have a page configured. I never really cared all that much for the look and feel of it. However, I did like it for accessing my Google Bookmarks (which I am in the process of switching to Chrome Bookmarks).  I tended to mostly  just use the apps view of Chrome as my default homepage. But, I decided to give Awesome New Tab a twirl and I’m so glad I did!

click to enlarge

This is my current new tab configuration. I have easy access to my favorite websites & Chrome Web apps, all creating a colorful display.  As the MakeUseOf article states, it is “..no longer just icons.” 

I have set it so upon Chrome launch, this comes up + a page for my gmail – this is a timesaver for me.  The images you see can either be from the Web Store, added yourself, or even use a screenshot. 

I love the access to many Google services all from the green box near the top left corner.  That box is bordered by several small icons for Google services – including Reader, News, Drive, Play, Picasa, YouTube, Google Image Search, Google News, and so many more!

I’ve not configured all the spaces (the black spaces) and that gives me room to grow. Additionally, I can drag the page to the right if I want more space. There is an icon already marked for the Chrome Web Store to get more to add and I’m going to enjoy myself the next few weeks getting everything finalized. 

With this very Windows 8 look, Awesome New Tab page is quickly becoming my new best friend. :-)

 

SNGF: My Maternal Grandfather’s Paternal Line

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise tonight is as follows:

Find a living male person in your database from your maternal grandfather’s patrilineal line who could take a Y-DNA test.  

Then, we are tasked to answer several questions.  Here are my responses – fortunately, this was a very easy topic for me given all the testing I’ve been able to do under the auspices of the 23andMe’s Roots Into the Future Initiative.

1) What was your mother’s father’s name?

Herman Robinson.

2) What is your mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Herman (1926-1986)  –>  Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson (1886-1928) –> William Robeson/Robinson (1830-?) –> Bob Robeson (1800-?).    Bob & William were former slaves from Columbus County, NC as best as I have been able to determine to date.

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your mother’s father, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.  

Yes, I can identify living male descendants and one of them has already been tested – my mother’s brother.  His 23andMe results show his paternal haplogroup to be E1b1a8a, a haplogroup with deep origins to Africa.

This post is a reminder to me to upload his info to Gedmatch.com so I can check his yDNA against others. I’m off to do that now!

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Week #3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools

With the new year, I am planning to do more blog posts for Amy Coffin’s 52 Weeks series.  This is now week #3 and the topic is “Free Online Genealogy Tools.”  Specifically,

Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?

 

My favorite free online genealogy tool is the USGenWeb Project, hands down.  When I started my genealogy research in 2006, the USGenWeb was a fundamental component of the early successes that I was able to achieve.   The Washington County, NC page contained a very comprehensive listing of deaths from the county that had been compiled by local volunteers.  Due to the extensive coverage (from 1913-1980) and the wealth of information included in the index (names of parents for example), I was able to connect many families together in my tree and obtain vital records information.  Then, as a result of gathering those details, I ordered certificates galore.

Then, because of the benefit I’d gained from the volunteer works of others, I knew I had to find a way to give back and I sought out a way to join the USGenWeb Project myself.  I started by becoming the site coordinator for Blount County, Tennessee.  Though I had no personal research connections with the area, I planned to use my proximity to the Tennessee State Library and Archives as a source of material.   Soon after, I became webmaster for the NCGenWeb, took on several counties with them (including Washington County!) and this summer, became the State Coordinator of the TNGenWeb Project.

I value the USGenWeb’s efforts because in many cases, the site coordinators just wish to provide resources to help others.  One of my fellow coordinators in the NCGenWeb, Lisa Frank,  recently wrote a fantastic blog post about the USGenWeb that is a must read.  Each county is unique and you never know what you may find — this makes it all that much more interesting to peruse.

I am extremely passionate about the mission of the USGenWeb, wish to see it continue to grow as a resource to all, and am proud to be a part of it.  I love browsing and searching pages across the site looking for tidbits about those I research.

Tombstone Tuesday: Filling in Our Find-A-Grave Entries

Sunday afternoon I was reading Susan Petersen’s post on her Long Lost Relatives blog about how to make the most use of Find-A-Grave.  It’s a useful article and while I do most of what she discusses, as I read it, I was inspired to create the memorial for my grandmother that just passed away on Mother’s Day.

So, I went ahead and created hers, then realized I did not have memorials for her mother, nor three of her brothers – all have predeceased her.  I was busy Sunday afternoon creating them, then linking the family together.

Now, she and all her brothers are there and linked to their parents, Abraham Lincoln McNair Sr. and Martha Jane Walker McNair and each has pictures added.

I am so glad I’ve done this.   I have more family members to add of course, but it was important that I do her family cluster right away.  With her passing, all of their children have now died.

Part II – There is another part I need to add onto my original post.  I wrote this Sunday, but Monday morning when I logged onto my email I had another tombstone treasure — someone was nice enough to send me a picture of my 2nd great-grandmother’s headstone that he’d taken! This is the headstone for Polly Hood Holloway.  I was tickled pink!

 

I then went over to Find-A-Grave to see if she had a memorial and sure enough someone else had added it and an picture back in November.  See, Susan is right – you must go back to review regularly! Thank you Susan for the inspiration.

My Genea-Wish List

This week Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one I could do quite easily without a second thought.  Here’s the task:

1)  Think of the genealogy related wishes you have – what education, database, or information would make your genealogy research dreams come true?  Be specific – as many wishes as you want to list!

2)  Tell us about some of your genea-wishes in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

I have one wish:

that every issue of every extant newspaper was fully name-indexed and searchable at the county level

See how easy that was? :-)

I hope genealogy database vendors are paying attention to this week’s topic – there are some excellent suggestions circulating the blogsphere!

 

Tombstone Tuesday: 1,000 Photos!

This weekend I reached a milestone on Find-A-Grave.  Since joining in 2007 I have added over 1,000 photos to the site!  I know there are contributors that do a lot more, but I was pleased to reach this milestone :-)  Let’s see how long it takes me to get to 2,000.

In addition to the photos I have also contributed 1200 memorials, yet only fulfilled 2 photo requests. Admittedly, I have a hard time with photo requests.  I’m much less inclined to seek out a specific headstone as opposed to taking random pictures of headstones – this is why I greatly appreciate those that do.  However, I am hopeful that someone stumbles across one of the photos I’ve added and it is meaningful to them.

As an active FindAGrave user, I love the site, but sure wish they would make some enhancements. Here’s to hoping.  Meanwhile, I continue to cemetery hop and take as many photos as I can.