My Family View: Timeline

The Timeline report in My Family View is a traditional timeline, that automatically includes: the birth of a child, death of a minor child, death of spouse.  This provides you with a more robust timeline as of the person.

The columns in the Timeline report are:

  • Age: the persons age (may be estimated) at the time this event occurred
  • Date: the date of an event
  • Cits: the number of unique citations that support this event
  • Media: the number of unique multimedia files associated with this event
  • Notes: the number of notes associated with this event
  • Event: the type of event
  • Location: the place this event occurred at


Posted in Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is My Family View?

My Family View is a view in GenDetective, which combines traditional genealogy reports with the graphical representation of your family created by My Personal Research Goals.  Remember, the goal of GenDetective is to shuffle your data and present it in different formats to trigger thoughts on ways to break through your brick walls.

My Family View

My Family View can be accessed in multiple ways:

  1. The View Menu
  2. The Current View toolbar button
  3. The Family button on the toolbar
  4. By clicking on the details of a person in any other view in GenDetective (My Research Progress, My Maps, My Tree)

My Family View provides a way for you to select the report format that you most prefer to work with.  GenDetective has taken “standard” genealogy reports and customized them to fit the way that GenDetective views each person.  To change the report that is generated whenever you click on a person, click on the Report: link (in picture labeled Report: Research Progress).

My Family View Pick Report

This list appears when you click on the Report: link.  My Family View will generate any one of these seven reports for you to use.  A sample of each of these reports is displayed below.  Be sure that you view one of your people in each of the different reports to help you determine which reports you prefer to work with.  A detailed post discussing each of these sample reports will be coming soon.



This post will be updated with the link to each report post when it is available.

Report Name Sample Report


Detailed Worksheet

Detailed Worksheet

Document Inventory

Document Inventory

Research Progress

Research Progress

Research Worksheet

Research Worksheet

Source Timeline

Source Timeline



My Family View also incorporates an additional filtering option which we will discuss in another post.  Experiment with these key individual reports to pick your preferred report or three.

Posted in Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Those Darn Well’s .. Starting With Marriages

In Those Darn Wells’ .. The Problem, I detailed a family lineage error that is at about 150 years old, an unfortunate error that has been perpetuated in books, letters and online trees.  After a trip to Salt Lake City I returned home with 9.85GB of data distributed between 35 PDF’s and 1,662 photos.  In the post Those Darn Wells’ .. A Mountain of Data I detailed our methodology that we were going to use to sort out all of these resources and the various Wells families in Colonial Maryland, using an example from the “Baltimore County Marriage References and Family Relationships, 1659-1800”.

I have been struggling with how to convey our progress sorting through these resources.  I decided to use a simple table to track our progress, with an entry for each book we “process”.

Trees and People Added From Marriage Resources

So what do the columns mean?

  • Num. Trees: the number of trees we currently have in our RootsMagic database.  We hope that as we progress in our research, the number of separate trees will decrease as we establish additional family relationships
  • Families: the number of unique families in the database
  • New Families: the number of new families that were added based on this book
  • People: the number of people currently in our database
  • New People: the number of new people added to our database from this book
  • People Merge: the number of people that we identified as already in our database and could be merged into a single person.
  • Author: the author of the book
  • Desc: a short description of the book
  • Book: the full title of the book

Our hope is that by starting with the marriage related records we can build nuclear families, and then as we start into estate/probate records and other kinds of records we can establish parentage and relationships between these families.

Posted in Genealogy software | Leave a comment

Those Darn Wells’ .. A Mountain Of Data

In Those Darn Wells’ .. The Problem, I detailed a family lineage error that is at about 150 years old, an unfortunate error that has been perpetuated in books, letters and online trees.  After a trip to Salt Lake City I returned home with 9.85GB of data distributed between 35 PDF’s and 1,662 photos.  Where to even start?

We started by creating a new family tree (called Those Darn Wells’).  We are using RootsMagic as it easily allows you to have one file that contains multiple trees. We started our tree with our (hopefully) ultimate destination: “Our Richard Wells” tree.  This tree contains 17 people, spread among 11 families.








The next stand-alone tree we added was the documentation of the Dr Richard Wells family (Col. George Wells parents), and their tree.  Where did we get this information?  One of the sources we made photocopies of in the Salt Lake City, from a book “Anne Arundel Gentry, A Genealogical History of Some Early Families of Anne Arundel County, Maryland” by Harry Wright Newman published in 1971.  The biography is on pages 496-516, and added 25 new families and 39 new people.

The trick with this overwhelming quantity of data is to take each stand-alone fragment and and create a “little tree” that only contains the people mentioned in the fragment.  Examine these entries for a Richard Jr, Thomas, William and William Wells.

Create “mini-trees” for each entry

From these entries I can create 4 tiny trees for the cited events that occurred in Baltimore County, Md:

  1. Richard Wells Jr whose wife is Jane Renshaw, daughter of Jane Renshaw (we don’t know who here husband is yet), who left her granddaughters Cassandra, Laurana, Elizabeth and Susanna an inheritance on 07 Aug 1754 (2 families, 7 people)
  2. Thomas Wells married Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Joshua Howard on 16 Sep 1736 (2 families, 3 people)
  3. William Wells married Sarah Jenkins, daughter of William Jenkins on 04 Sep 1760  (2 families, 3 people)
  4. William Wells married Fenecil [Rachel?] Jenkins, daughter of William Jenkins on 01 Sep 1763 (2 families, 3 people)

Notice we created two different William Wells trees.  Nothing in this information tells us that it is the same William marrying two different daughters of William Jenkins.  In fact, unless we do some additional research, we don’t know that this is even the same William Jenkins.  Instead, it may be two completely different families.  So, until we have additional information, these are 4 families, with some information, but we do not yet combine the William Wells or the William Jenkins families!

Our hope is that over the next weeks and months, as we assemble additional fragments of names from the gathered sources including: deeds, taxes, marriages, births, deaths, estates/probate and other records that these “little families” will assemble themselves into fewer larger families, as we figure out family relationships, and we hope that by the end of this process we will discover whose family “our Richard Wells” belongs too (if any).

More to come ..

Posted in Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Those Darn Wells’ .. Our Haul

In Those Darn Wells’ .. The Problem, I detailed a family lineage error that is at about 150 years old, an unfortunate error that has been perpetuated in books, letters and online trees. Recent biographies of the Col. George Wells family by Robert W Barnes and Henry C Penden do not include “my Richard” in this family, which confirms an error has occurred, but does not answer my fundamental question: who are the parents of the Richard Wells, whose daughter Frances married Daniel Kenley in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1739?

During RootsTech my cousin Elisa and I spent a week in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library and worked our way through the catalog (non-online items), making photocopies and taking pictures.

A Row of Microfilm Cabinets. I will miss microfilm, but love being able to view the images at home

The majority of resources we worked with were books, but some of the material was still on microfilm.  With the current rate of microfilm to digital image conversion projects we discovered the majority of microfilm has already (at least for these 3 counties) been converted to images, and can be accessed through the FamilySearch

Vertical microfilm storage (top half of each cabinet)

Horizontal microfilm storage (bottom half of cabinet)

catalog. If the material is available online, then we skipped the resource; we can access the material from the comfort of home.



So, how much material did we find in the library? 9.85GB worth for 3 counties in Maryland!

  • 35 PDF’s: pages we printed out from 35 different books or books that we found digital versions of online at google books or other online archives
  • 515 photos: from 15 different items specific to Anne Arundel county
  • 589 photos: from 19 different items specific to Baltimore county
  • 269 photos: from 17 different items specific to Harford county
  • 289 photos: from 13 different items for all counties in Maryland

What are we going to do with this mountain of information?  Stay tuned ..

Posted in Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Darn Wells’ .. The Approach

In my last post, Those Darn Wells’ .. The Problem, I detailed a lineage error that is at about 150 years old, an unfortunate error that has been perpetuated in books, letters and online trees.  What to do?  My cousin, Elisa, and I decided to meet in Salt Lake City for a week, attend the RootsTech Conference, and spend every free minute in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City!

Baltimore County Resources in Family History Library, Salt Lake City

Our approach?  Identify the counties that were settled early (our Richard was born in the 1690’s), and the parent county of the area where our Richard lived.  Our list:  Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford counties!  Next, I went into the FamilySearch catalog, and conducted a search for each of our targeted counties.

The FamilySearch catalog has a feature that allows you to build a printable list by adding an item, book, microfilm or digital collection, to a Catalog Print List.  I examined each of the resources in each county and built a list of items to pull in the library.  I excluded any resource that is online and can be accessed from home (with a non-LDS account).  These resources can be perused from the comfort of home.  I also excluded any resources focused on the years after Richard died (he died in 1782).  My goal was to identify all of the books and microfilm’s that we could only access in Salt Lake City!

Our Research Plan for Baltimore County

I printed the list for each county and took them to Salt Lake City. Looking at the Baltimore county list, you will see I hand wrote the format, BK (book), PDF (digital book that can only be accessed in a family history center), and MF (microfilm), ONLINE (for resources online access in FHL).

These printouts formed the core of our Research Plan.  These are the list of books and microfilms we wanted to examine for any and all mention of the last names we were looking for: Wells, Wilson, Wright and Kenley.

My next post will discuss our trip and how well our research plan worked.

Posted in family history, genealogy, Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Darn Wells’ .. The Problem

On 06 November 1739, Daniel Kenley married Frances Wells in Aberdeen, Harford County, Md.  Frances was the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Wells, my 7th great grandparents.  I still don’t know Elizabeth’s maiden name.

Every place I research, online, in books, in books printed in 1800’s, and in letters in various manuscript collections dating from the mid-1800’s, the parents of “my” Richard Wells are listed as Col. George Wells and his wife Blanche Goldsmith.  The parents of Col. George were Dr. Richard and Frances Whyte Wells.

Col. George Wells and Blanche had a family of 5 children: Blanche, Benjamin, Frances, Susannah and George. Each of these children were identified in the will of George and Frances’ separate will.  Nowhere, in either will, or the remaining probate records, is there mention of a child named Richard.  Col. George’s will was drawn up more than a year before his death, and Blanche’s will was written about a month prior to her death.  However, for each of these children, there are many surviving records: deeds, probate records, church records, tax records, governing council records, etc.

Conclusion: Col. George & Blanche Wells Are NOT “my” Richard Wells’ Parents!

While it does make sense that there would be a son Richard, after all Col. George’s father was named Richard, what does not make sense, is that given the prominence and assets of the family (thousands of acres, with each of the 5 named children receiving 600-1500 acres each, cash, crops and cash equivalents), provisions should have been made for such a young child, 10 years younger than his nearest sibling, born when Blanche was 45.  While having a child at 45 years of age is not unheard of, I should be able to find some evidence of his connection to Col. George and Blanche, or to their equally prominent children, given the large quantity of primary records that remain, documenting this prominent family!

Since I find no records to support Richards connection to this well-known, well documented, and established family, despite the many books, letters and online trees that state there is a connection, I have come to the conclusion, that while my Richard Well’s father may have been named George, his father is not the Col. George Wells married to Blanche Whyte.  As a note, I have not located any information that identifies my Richard’s father.

In my next post, we will explore my new research direction, and I will continue to chronicle my progress, or lack of progress thereof, in determining the parents of “my” Richard Wells.


Posted in family history, genealogy, Genealogy software | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments