How I use my “We’re Related” Application

How I use my “We’re Related App.

Russ Worthington posted a question in his “We’re Related” Facebook Closed Group, asking how we use our We’re Related app. I posted a quick answer.

Then I decided since I was working with a new hint from my app, I would record each step in a blog. It showed that the quick answer I gave Russ left a few steps out of how I use the application.

This is MY Own Way of Researching. You probably have your way.

My goal is to show one way to research those hints from the We’re Related app.  The same principles can be used for any hints you find.

My second goal is in honor of Women’s History Month, I plan to find one new female ancestor each week in March 2017.


  1. I add the people hints first to my Excel Spreadsheet Data, using Russ Worthington’s format.
    We're Related App
    We’re Related App

    2. I check my Main Ancestry Tree, to see if the people are there.

    Ancestry Fowler Search
    Ancestry Fowler Search

    3. I continue searching until I find the generation in my tree. No “Ring” Surname, then checked Colby. I do have a Judith Colby the mother of John Collins in my Ancestry Family Tree.
    4. Using the information from the We’re Related Application on Ancestry’s search

    Ancestry Search Bar
    Ancestry Search Bar
    Ancestry Search page
    Ancestry Search page
    Judith Colby results
    Judith Colby results

    5. I NOW have 153 hints to research

    6. I do the same filter search in Family Serach

    Judith Colby Family Search Results
    7. It yielded only a Family Tree, no records. I do not search Family trees, unless I hit a brick wall. Thia prevents ME from becoming lazy in my OWN research.


    8. I compare my person, Judith Colby, with my Ancestry Tree information I already researched. I also check my shoebox for any save records that may be for Judith Colby. I did have one for birth for a Judith born of Judith and Er Colby on 7 Oct 1764. I also had save to Judith a Find A Grave Record with the same birth date.

9. I DO NOT add this birth record to my tree. The other hints from my Ancestry search need to be evaluated for location, and possible parentage of Judith.

10. I will go to the next generation, Judith Ring and do the same research I did for Judith Colby.

11. I will research, town histories, deeds, [no censuses for this time frame will give me names of the household members,] marriage records and death records. This is just a few of the records I research and compare, before adding Judith Colby’s parents.

Source information:

  1. Ancestry We’re Related App, (accessed 3 Mar 2017) via IPhone
  2. Ancestry, Stearns Butka Family Tree (accessed 3 Mar 2017)
  3. FamilySearch Rights and Use Information (Updated 2/3/2015) | Privacy Policy (Updated 3/18/2014) © 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  4. com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.




De-cluttering = Disencumbering Your E-mails, too!


De-cluttering can be a challenge at the best of times. We all have our goals of when and what to discard. It seems like it never ends. Today I’m discussing de-cluttering our e-mails.

June's Inbox
June’s Inbox

I spent last Saturday with my family. (I blogged about it on #365daysofjuneday 9) That meant I spent the day not looking at my e-mails, except before leaving in the morning, until the Sunday morning. It is easy to check your e-mails from a Smart Phone while lying snug under the covers in your bed on a cold morning with Ninja Buddy tucked behinds my knees sleeping away.  Sunday morning’s e-mail greeted me with 465 messages in my inbox. I deleted 48 messages in the morning before leaving on Saturday. I didn’t empty my deleted folder. I prefer to manually empty it in case I need to close my e-mail before reviewing the folder. I like to review my deleted folder before emptying in case I accidentally moved an e-mail in it.

I deleted 39 messages before I realized I may not be the only person with this problem. So the idea of blogging about how I de-clutter my e-mail. The image above gives you an idea of how I organize my inbox. The arrow beside Bills, Blog Posts, Family, Genealogy, Health and Wellness, Registrations, Society Memberships, Webinars and Writing indicates a drop down menu for each folder. (Example below.)

Blog Post drop down menu
Drop Down Menu

The folders with Highlighted numbers indicates to me that I have unread e-mails in the folder. I most likely did a quick read of the e-mail and prioritized it for later at a time more convenient to me.  Sometimes I may add a reminder. You right click on your e-mail and a drop down menu appears, move your mouse to the Follow Up arrow, chose Add reminder

Add reminder menu
Add reminder menu

I right click the follow up arrow, giving me multiple choice of how I want to follow up with this e-mail.

Add Remider Custom Box Date Choices
Add Reminder Custom Box Date Choices
Add Reminder Custom Box drop down menu
Add Reminder Custom Box drop down menu

I use it like my “To Do” List. In the top of the two images above you see arrows by the date to right click on, change it to the day you want to follow up on that e-mail. I use this option as a reminder for upcoming webinars, when to follow up to a “cousin” e-mail requesting family information or just to postpone the reading to a convenient time.  I will respond to the “cousin” e-mail with a follow up of my response. I like to verify what I may be sending, including source/s where I found the information, so they may view it themselves, if they choose.

Late Add Reminder
Late Add Reminder

Sometime when I don’t get to the follow up at the scheduled time I get a RED highlighted e-mail along with the pop-up reminders it gives you on the day and time you scheduled it for.

Now to the fun part, HOW to reduce the number of e-mails and still follow your friends, groups and pages on Facebook. I found most of my e-mails with Facebook notifications.

When I first join a page, group or accept a friend I keep the notifications on. I “cruise” the pages, so to speak. When l eventually know and feel comfortable with them I decide if notifications stay on or off.

Friends: If a newly accepted friend only posts game invites, they will be unfriended by me. I DON”T DO GAMES ON FACEBOOK, PERIOD. If my friend post other interests I want to view I turn of notifications and go to their timeline at my convenience. I will still get the post on my Facebook feed, unless I un-follow them. Facebook doesn’t post all posting, as you probably have noticed, that is why I go to the person timeline to update what is happening with them.

Notification post off

My genealogy friend, Janice Webster Brown, allowed me to use her post for this blog, as long as I didn’t un-follow her. It was never in the back of my mind to un-follow her.  When on Janice’s individual post, not the whole time line, you can right click on the arrow to the right of her name. A drop down menu gives you options of what you want to do with this post. The more options was Embed post. I have never embedded a post, so I not sure exactly what it would do.  I go down and highlight, right click on it. You will receive a notice above the post stating “You’ll no longer get notifications about this post. Turn on notifications.”  The turn on notification is there if you accidentally clicked the notification off or want to resume notifications. You can do the same for your own post. (Shown In the image below.)

Notification Timeline Post
Notification Timeline Post

Pages/Groups: Is a little different for Pages/Groups. When I join a group/page I leave the notifications on until I’m comfortable. I turn off notifications at that point.

Group Notifications
Group Notifications

I can follow Pages/ Group by looking on the left side of my home page. I can click on each one, at my convenience, to become updated on what is happening. The image below shows my Pages/Groups/Friends; how many posts were made since I last looked at their Facebook timeline, with a number to the right of the title.


My Facebook Home Page
My Facebook Home Page

I do the same thing for newsletters I subscribe to. I “Cruise” for a while, decide if continuing with the newsletter or just go to the web page when I want something.

Making these few changes can reduce the number of e-mails in your inbox. YOU HAVE CONTROL, when you want to receive and when to stop.

I would like to say I try to update my notifications monthly, I’m human, life gets in the way. I know it is time to revisit when I go one day without e-mail and find over 400 waiting in my inbox the next day.

Take Control! De-Clutter your e-mail and Facebook page. You will be happy you did.

#Wk4GeneanolgyDoOverBlog: Managing Projects and Tasks, Tracking Searches



A Thomas MacEntee GeneaBlogger Community
A Thomas MacEntee GeneaBlogger Community


Week #4 Goals:

  1. Managing Projects and tasks
  2. Tracking Searches

You will see how I manage my time and projects as I review and update you on each week’s goals for the Do-Over.

Let’s start with an update of my Do-Over:

Week #1 went along easily enough setting aside previous research, preparing to research and establishing base practices and guidelines. It is an ongoing project.

I set aside an hour each day for paper filing. Once I have all my files where they should be, one hour will keep me up to date and on target. I was feeling overwhelmed at the amount of research that had not been filed, so I decided to dole it out into manageable size. It still allows me time to do my research, homework, spend time with family and friends, with maybe a little time for housework, if I so desire to spend my time that.

Anyone who is a genealogist or family historian must know that housework is always at the bottom of the list unless it is related to feeding, clean clothes and walking the dog, right?

My digital files are also an ongoing project with the new naming system. I decided as I need the file for my research- it will be renamed in a modified version of Diana Ritchie’s naming system. (STEARNS June b19XX birth certificate, STEARNS June B19XX marriage certificate, and so on.) It not only places all my records related to each person together, I can quickly see what file I haven’t added yet.  An easy way to track progress at a glance.

Preparation for research is always on going. I will make every effort not to follow BSO’s (Bright shinny objects.) When I find something in my reading or even on Facebook post, it is added to my ever growing “To Do List.”

I WILL NOT research when I am rushed, distractible or fatigued. This only leads to errors.

I WILL slow down in my research making sure I capture all the document, story, or photo has to offer.

I WILL learn new methods of tracking my research, new places to research and new tools will be added to my Genealogy Toolbox.

In regards to best practices I will continue to tweak and improve them.


I WILL follow my research plan:

  1. Find the person; write what I know; write I hypothesis I want to prove; identify the sources and my research strategy. Answer my Who, What, Where is, Where in, When, Why and How questions.
  2. Keeping in mind the GPS standards: a reasonably exhaustive search; complete and accurate citations of sources; analysis and correlate collected evidence; resolve any conflicting evidence and write a reasonable, coherent written conclusion.
  3. Follow the Thomas MacEntee’s 10 Golden rules of Genealogy: remember there is no easy button; research from a place of “I don’t know;” track my work and cite my sources; ask for help; I will start my research-no blank pages; think like my ancestor; share my information (I don’t own my ancestor); be nice-play well with others; remember to divide your information into required, important and optional.

The hardest one so far is sorting information into categories. I’m greedy. I want it all. I need to remember the purpose of why I am researching, that way I can add the facts but keep the “fluff” for later. The fluff is important when telling your family stories. It give your ancestor personality but it can distract you from your research. Document it, source it so you can go back later, add it to the “To do list” for later.


Week #2 Goals:

Setting my Research Goals were part of my preparation I mentioned in week one.

I conducted my self-interview.

See for my goals and my self-interview obituary.

Family interviews will be conducted when weather permits. I did send out a worksheet of questions that I will ask for them. Hopefully they will find photos and documents to back them up with. I have my portable scanner, IPad and worksheet with a written interview release form all set up in a packet for each family member I will interview.


Week #3 Goals:

Tracking research- I attended Thomas MacEntee’s Boot Camp on using an excel worksheet and citing our sources. In becoming proficient in the use of the Excel worksheet, I have watch the video multiple times. I also watch Dear Myrtle Wacky Wednesday Excel Worksheets video #1, #2 and #3.

Last week, I posted that learning the worksheet was easier using ourselves for importing the information. I hit a little roadblock when I tried to advance my learning but adding to the spreadsheet my own section. I froze myself out of my worksheet. I had to start again. Entering the information into the second worksheet did go faster, but I still not sure how comfortable I am with excel spreadsheets.

I will continue to use the spreadsheet and research log spreadsheet through the thirteen week Genealogy Do-Over. If by the end of that time I am not comfortable with them I will return do my word document type of documenting my research. The goal is to make research easy, cite all source, track your progress, follow GPS standards, answer the 5 W’s and how questions, follow your research plan and share with others.

Bottom line is what makes you most comfortable in adhering to them is the best plan for you. I have noticed that I did cite my sources, tracked my progress, and followed the GPS standards prior to the Do-Over. Yes, my citation are improving. I have slowed down in my research but I think it is more because of the learning curve than to not taking time to mine the records for all data.  I was documenting everything I saw on a document or in a photograph prior to the Do-over, just in a different manner.

Conducting research- I am learning new website and resources as to where to find my ancestors. Everyday there is something new to learn. I will grab every bit of information that people are willing to share. I will also share what I have learned with others.

I have mainly been researching my immediate family records. I have found little tidbits of memorabilia that have yields past residences, birth, marriage, death dates and brought back floods of images and memories I had forgotten about. Items found-recorded-sourced and tracked properly for future use by others.

Week #4 Goals: Managing projects and tasks; Tracking searches

Managing projects and tasks- I watched Thomas MacEntee’s video on project management. I have put his method of managing on my “to do list.” I am having enough of a struggle with the spreadsheets now without adding another one into the mix.

That doesn’t mean I am not tracking my project and tasks. I am scheduling a certain portion of each day and some times a day of the week for each task on my list.

Daily task include: upon waking take scheduled medication/vitamins, check bank accounts and e-mails for 30 minutes, check Facebook for 15 minutes,(Facebook and e-mails get checked again at lunch time and dinner time), take Ninja Buddy (my Italian Greyhound) out for a walk, feed us, take next round of medicine/vitamins, 15-30 minutes filing, repeat- meals, walk the dog throughout the day, before settling in for the night final e-mail and Facebook check, walk the dog, snuggle in for the night.

Sunday: Scanning documents and photo day-at least 1 hour at some point during the day (sometimes 3pm EST with Facebook group when home), Family and friends day.

Monday: clean the Bathroom, watch Monday’s with Myrt, plan research goals and task for the week. Work 1-4 hours on research of my husband’s line, read any homework chapters of current classes or Do-Over (1-2 hours,)

Tuesday: clean kitchen, research on my mother’s line 1-4 hours, read or watch video/webinars as needed for research/education goals, CARD NIGHT with the ladies (usually finish around midnight) I’m glad it is where I live so I don’t have to travel that late at night alone.

Wednesday: Laundry day while watching Legacy Family Tree Webinar at 2 PM EST, currently also watching Beginning Genealogy with Dear Myrtle at 12 Noon EST and Dear Myrtle’s Wacky Wednesday at 9 PM EST, Research 1-2 hours either side.

Thursday: clean bedroom, research Dad’s line 1-4 hours, grocery shopping, relaxing from the long days of Tuesday and Wednesday, and maybe starting my Blog post for this week.

Friday: prepare weekly meals in individual servings and freezing them for later use, this is my open research day depending on how I feel, what needs to be followed up on from the week’s previous research, CARD NIGHT with the ladies. Post my weekly Blog post.

Saturday: family day, open research day, or whatever I feel like day, Watch Genealogy Game night with Dear Myrtle 9 PM EST if awake and home.

Once warm weather returns and the roads are passable I will add research trips to my schedule during the week. Most of our local historical societies are closed during the winter months.

Tracking searches is an ongoing process. Currently using a handwritten log book and word document for the person I am researching. I have a word document for each person or subject I research. I’m starting to add them to the excel spreadsheet along with my other research. SLOW learning curve with the Excel spreadsheet continues.


Reading material for Blizzard Juno
Reading material for Blizzard Juno

This week we had a visitors on the East Coast call Blizzard Juno. Where I lived we were lucky not to lose power. I was prepared with emergency food, water and reading material by flashlight or battery operated lanterns. Our snow total in Merrimack, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire in the historic Reeds Ferry district was 22 inches of light, fluffy, crystalline snow. Easy to sweep and shovel as needed for Ninja Buddy’s walk.  I posted updates on my Facebook Pages June Stearns Butka and Where in the State is Mom.


Blizzard Juno visits
Blizzard Juno visits