The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except December) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego.

Visit our website for more information and driving directions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Living on the Prairie" by Jamie Lee McManus Mayhew

[Jamie will be at CGSSD this Saturday to present "Across the Prairie: Land Records in the Public Land States".]

Living on the Prairie
By Jamie Lee McManus Mayhew

Hot summers, cold winters, dirt, bugs, mice, and snakes were an everyday part of living on the prairie during the expansion of our United States. Pioneers moving to the Great Plains soon realized that a log cabin was not going to be built on their homestead. Buffalo grass, a thick grass with heavily matted roots was to the prairie as trees were to the forest. Buffalo grass was the raw material available to build shelters for the new settlers. 

Many pioneers began their life on the prairie in a dugout cut into a hillside later to be expanded on several sides with sod to create a “cozy,” if not very clean, home. As time went on, the settlers would build an actual sod house with a door and windows. The laborious job of cutting sod with a spade was soon replaced with the use of the grasshopper plow which greatly eased the work of building a soddy. Strips cut approximately six inches deep and one foot wide by two feet long were used to build the walls. Laying the sod, grass side down and two to three rows wide, created a wall about three feet thick. A space was left for the door and windows were framed. Every few rows, the direction of the sod was changed to increase the strength of the wall. The roof was made in several ways most commonly by creating a wooden frame, sometimes covered with tar paper or straw, with a thinner layer of sod on top. Eventually, the roof might sprout a spring flower garden. Inside the house, the homeowner might hang cheese cloth from the ceiling to catch the bugs and grass that would drop down on the evening meal.
Library of Congress photo

The sod house was cool in the summer and warm in the winter although susceptible to heavy rain, they lasted a long time, frequently becoming a storage room or barn when a newer home was built. Wood was sparse so most of the soddies were heated with buffalo or cow chips. Eventually the family got used to the smell. Water was precious and hard to come by. Fortunate settlers settled near a spring or stream otherwise it was necessary to dig a well, a chancy and dangerous activity. Winter brought long days of loneliness with the nearest neighbor miles away.

We might think that this life was unimaginable and wonder why anyone would choose to live in this way but, although failure was high, the sodbusters brought settlement to the Great Plains by the early twentieth century thereby helping to expand the United States.

“There are no renters here,” Homesteading a Sod House.  Women of the West Museum. http://theautry.org/explore/exhibit/sod/daily.html. (accessed 15 June 2014)
Vick Fite and Nancy Hendrickson, Frontier Traveler, The Kansas Soddy, http://www.frontiertraveler.com/kansas/the-kansas-soddy/. (accessed 15 June 014)
Sod house. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sod_house (accessed 15 June 2014)
Homestead Act: The Challenges of Living on the Plains. Nebraskastudies.org, , http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0500/frameset_reset.html?http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0500/stories/0501_0108.html (accessed 15 June 2014)

Homestead National Monument of America. National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/home/index.htm (accessed 15 June 2014)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Family Tree Maker User Group Meeting 17 May 2014

Submitted by Ken Robison / FTM Group Leader

Here are the notes from our most recent meeting
 Together we know more than any of us alone.
FTM Users Group May 17 2014 

Getting into and out of trouble 

“Anyone can make a mistake to really mess things up you need a computer.” 

1. Open discussion              Questions, Problems, Issues or New Discoveries? 
2. Prepared discussion         Do you have two of the Same Tree?
    The Robison Taylor Family Tree.ftm
    The Robison Taylor Family Tree1.ftm

Step one Make a backup of both or all trees and name files so you can distinguish between/among them

Create Reports (In Publish)

1. Select “List of individuals Report”

                Review available reports

                        Click Create Report

                   Under List of Individual Report Options Individuals to include: All Individuals

             Set Report Title to File Name ( Robison Taylor Tree 1 Listing)

         Print out or save report to review and compare details to see if all individuals are in both trees

Note: To Switch between Reports Click on Collections to display available reports

2. Select “Media Usage Report”

Click Create Report

Under Media Usage Report Options Individuals to include: All Individuals 
There are many choices for Items to include and Filtering. Review the options and test 
effect by generating reports and see if anything is missing when items are selected or 

Note: Like in Individuals Report above Use Report Title to Identify the File (RobTay_FT1)

If you find that one file has different information or individuals you can merge those individual records into the tree you want to be your master or complete file.

Once you are confident that you have all the information in one file you can rename that file, back it up and if you are brave (or foolhardy?) delete the unwanted file. Hover over file name and select option. If you select Delete you will be prompted for your Ancestry password before deletion.
Once deleted the file cannot be recovered! 

Resources: FTM Help Menu/Tutorials, Online videos–You-tube FTM, google The Barefoot Genealogist great short topics

Beyond the Basics A Guide for Advanced Users of Family Tree Maker 2011 Pgs. 74-80
1. Creating a file from a PC for use on a Mac
        Knowledge Base on www.familytreemaker.com
              Click on Technical Support, enter “5313” in search to get Mac Migration Utility
2. Moving Tree to a new Computer
3. Maintaining a tree on Two Computers (e.g. Desktop and Laptop..Husband & Wife or Cousin on different computers.

See you next time at the FTM meeting...