Searching In GEDCOMs

I’ve been thinking for a long time about what things I can do with a .gedcom file.  A GEDCOM is a plain text file, which means you can read it in a text editor as well as being able to search it and extract data from it for statistical and other purposes.  That is how our genealogy software programs use it.  It is a file type which isn’t tied to any particular software program either.

This is what a .gedcom file looks like in a text editor.  It needs to be laid out in this format for genealogy programs to be able to understand it.

As you can see from the first few lines of the file, I create my family tree on Ancestry.  I regularly download my .gedcom file from Ancestry as a backup and keep copies of it on my laptop and in my Dropbox  cloud account.  If you don’t know how to download your .gedcom from Ancestry I have a tutorial here.

One of the things you can’t do on Ancestry is search your tree by location which I find really annoying.  One of the ways I’ve found to combat this is to download the .gedcom file, open it in a plain text editor and search it.

I’ll show you what I mean.

Say I want to find anyone who was born or lived in Flaxley.  Having downloaded the .gedcom file already I open it in a plain text program.  You may need to tell your computer to open it in a text program rather than a genealogy program by clicking the right mouse button on the file, as shown below, and click Open With Text Editor.  You may need to click the Open With option and choose a program from a list.  On Microsoft Windows you can use the Notepad program.

 

To search the .gedcom file press and hold the Ctrl key and press the F key on your keyboard.

Type in the place or word you want to search for and click Find.  When it finds the word you’re looking for it highlights it.  Keep clicking Find to go to the next instance of the word or place in the .gedcom file.

This is one way I can find anyone who ever lived in Flaxley or any mention of the place.

It may seem like a complicated process to find a simple piece of information but, as I said at the start, it is also the beginnning of my thinking about what other things can be done with a .gedcom file.  I guess it’s a case of what can I do myself rather than using a software program.  I’m not a computer programmer but I am interested in how programs work, how they handle data and what they can be made to do.  The same goes for web apps and to a lesser extent mobile apps.  I can’t make my own software program but I may, with lots of help, be able to do something with a web app.

What is something that you can’t do with your genealogy software program or with one of the online genealogy programs?  Do you have a particular bug bear which you would like to find a solution for?

People Present At William Chapman’s Funeral

Update: Since writing this blog post back in June 2012 I have since found out that my maternal Auntie’s husband is descended from William Thomas Oke who was at William Chapman’s funeral, they may have even been friends.  If anyone else has any information to add please leave a comment here or send me a message.

There were many people listed as attending my 3x great grandfather’s funeral at West Tce cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia.  Here is the previous blog post about  William Chapman.   In that post I asked if anyone recognised any names or could provide more information.  Thanks to those who responded and a big thank you to Michelle S. for searching the Biographical Index of South Australia and coming up with the following information.  Not everyone listed here was at the funeral.

I love how this puzzle of family and social history fits together.  The more I research the more I find the inter-connections between people and events fascinating.  The who knew whom, and how they knew them, and why they worked together or how they met is intriguing to me.  There are themes which are repeated throughout history, couples who met at church or at work, parents’ friends who gave their children jobs, musicians who played together, those who were part of the same organisations and had similar interests it goes on and on.  We are made to be such relational beings!

 

GOODEN Jas Ed par: Gus and Ellen nee CANEY
b: 23.12.1845 Brentford SRY ENG d: 17.7.1913
bd: Payneham SA arr: 1848 THOMAS LOWRY
occ: Cricketer, Collector, Clerk res: Norwood
m: Mary Ann ch: 2 children, Rose Emma
(1877-1880)

OKE William Thomas par: Paul and Lavinia, b: 30.9.1855
SA occ: Coachbuilder res: Nth Adelaide, Malvern
m: c1879 SA Jacobina nee STIRTON ch: Paul, Joanna
Elder (c1885-), Kath Gardiner, Irene HENWOOD

CONIGRAVE Joseph b: 5.12.1841 SA d: 3.4.1905
Adelaide SA lid: WTC 0cc: Policeman, Postal
Employee res: Glenelg, Adelaide
m: (1/2) 30.5.1872 Jane nee MIDDLETON
par: Joseph and Eliz b: c1843 d: 3.8.1893 ch: Elsie
Joseihine McFEAT, Arthur Hedley (1879-1900),
Florence Evans STROUT (1877-1968), Harry Stanley b Feb 1882 d Dec 1968, (Harry survived 4 months at Gallipoli in WWI) Kate Muriel CROSS, Dudley Garfield (1887-1978)
a : (2/2) Mary

Update: New information from the family of Joseph CONIGRAVE.

SCHEDLICH Carl Gustav par: Carl Gottfried
b: 22.4.1821 Dresden, Germany d: 8.8.1901 Mannum
SA arr: 1847 occ: Farmer, District Clerk, Postal
Employee res: Bugle Ranges, Macclesfield, Adelaide
m: 20.10.1853 Bugle Ranges SA Ann Euphemia nee
LINN par: Matthew and Ann nee DICK b: 8.5.1834
Kirkliston SCT d: 1906 Ch: Matthew Carl (1854-),
Carl Gustav (1856-), Mgt Christina (1858-1866),
Christian Whme (1860), Ann Euphemia
(1862-1866), Caroline Whme (1864-), Jane (Jenny)
Latta GOLDRIN(1866-), Alfred Louis (1868-),
Ferdinand Fried (1870-1951), Henry Jas (1872-1936),
Marie Louis REID(1875-), Jas Henry (1878-1878)

VIRGO Ed Lewes par: Jas and Lucy nee LUXFORD
b: 6.10.1840 SA d: 3.7.1905 occ: Postal Worker
res: Adelaide
m: 31.1.1861 Nth Adelaide SA Sarah nee PARKER
par: Abraham b: c1837 Bristol GLS ENG
d: 12.11.1919

CONDON William b: c1830 d: 20.9.1916 bd: WTc
arr: by 1878 occ: Mail Guard res: Adelaide rel: RC
m: Bridget b: c1838 d: 24.7.1916 ch: Wm
(1861-1936), Jas( 1863-1916), Thos (1864-1936),
Nellie (1867-1907)

GURR Valentine par: Geo and Ann b: 6.3.1841 Ssx
ENG d: 28.9.1915 bd: WTC arr: 1850 SULTANA
0cc: Postal Employee res: Adelaide
m: Mary b: (1850 d: 6.4.1924

KIDMAN Saml Geo par: Saml John and Caroline
b: 6.7.1838 SA d: after 1885 occ: Letter Carrier
res: Adelaide rel: C/E

My note: If this is the right person then he must have died after 1897 otherwise he couldn’t have been at William’s funeral.

HAMLYN Arthur par: Arthur and Honor Gudge nee
GARNAUT b: 20.3.1870 Pt Adelaide SA d: 25.1.1922
bd: Cheltenham SA 0cc: Letter Sorter res: Pt Adelaide
rel: Bapt
m: 5.7.1899 Alberton SA Thursza Cath nee BASS
b: 12.11.1872 d: 8.8.1935 ch: Arthur Henry
(1900-1972), Mabel HUGHE(S1 901-1959)

MADDERN John par: John b: 1860 Adelaide SA
d: 1912 occ: Postal Clerk res: Adelaide
m: Lydia nee POMERY par: Jas Rowe and Mary
Ann nee BOASE b: 1857 SA d: 1905 ch: Florence East
(1886-), John Carrington (1887-1941), Norman
Pomery (1890-1967), Edith Grace MASON (-1970),
Cecil Boase (1894-1957), Hilda Vera MOAR (1896-),
Stella Beatrice POTTER (1897-), Evelyn d(8), Fred
d. inf

MALEY William b: 9.9.1829 DUB IRL d: 1920
bd: WTc arr: 1854 occ: Postal Clerk, Postman
res: Adelaide rel: Meth
m: 1854 unknown d: 1909

HOWELLS Philip Arthur par: Philip and Janetta
b: 29.11.1853 SRY ENG d: 24.8.1921 Adelaide SA
an: 1855 COROMANDEL occ: Music Seller res: Nth
Adelaide, Prospect, Adelaide rel: Cong
m: 28.11.1878 Nth Adelaide SA Harriet Maria nee
NEWMAN par: Geo Gough b: 3.11.1855 SA
d: 3.10.1939 ch: Edith Emily ANNELLS (1880-1963),
Alice Ruby STAFFORD (1883-1965), Clarence Newman
(1884-1885), Hilda Marian DALL (1885-), Dora
SLOMAN (1887-1968), Arthur Victor (1889-1890)

FRAY John Hill art: 1884 GARONNE occ: Professor
of Music res: Adelaide rel: C/E
m: Alice Emily nee SMITH ch: John Leslie Hill
1896-)

GRIGG Thomas b: 28.8.1859 Teignmouth DEV ENG
occ: Music Teacher res: Adelaide rel: C/E
m: 7.7.1879 SA Rachel Ellen nee WORTHLEY ch: 5
dau

CAWTHORNE Charles W. par: Wm Anderson and
Mary Ann Georgiana nee MOWER b: 1855
d: 26.6.1925 bd: Nth Rd SA arr: by 1870 occ: Music
Warehouse
m: Amanda Dorothea b: c1864 d: 18.9.1923
ch: Augustus Eckersley (1886-1937)

PYBUS Wm Richd par: Wm b: 9.10.1848 Adelaide
SA d: 11.11.1917 bd: Nth Rd SA 0cc: Music Professor
res: Adelaide
m: 27.9.1880 Annie Emma nee SWEET par: Capt
b: c1857 d: 30.5.1950 ch: Gladys Marguerite
(1886-1956), Doris Marjorie CUMING (1892-1972), dau

BASSE Frederick b: c1852 Dusseldorf, Germany
d: 7.4.1913 SA 0cc: Jeweller, Gold and Silversmith
res: College Pk, Norwood rel: He
m: 4.1.1883 Adelaide SA Annie nee UHLMANN
par: H. C. ch: Elise Elsa (1886-1886)

TODD Sir Charles b: 7.7.1826 Islington LND ENG
d: 29.1.1910 lid: Nth Rd SA arc: 1855 IRENE
occ: Postmaster General, Government Astronomer
res: Adelaide rel: C/E
m: c1854 Allice nee GILLAM b: 7.8.1836 d: 9.8.1898
ch: Eliz SQUIRES(1856-1937), Chas Ed (1858-1917),
Hedley Lawrence (1860-1907), Maude (1866-1929),
Gwendoline BRAGG(1870-1929), Lorna Gillam
(1877-1963)

 

I hope this list can help someone piece together a bit more of their family history!!

St John Ambulance Cadets

I was going through a box of memorabilia tonight when I came across my St John Ambulance cadet certificates and badges.  I think I was missing a couple of service stripes for my years as a cadet.  I remember doing the drill and training but not so much the exams.  I loved the events that we went to to provide first aid support to the senior officers.  We went to agricultural shows, the Schützenfest at Hahndorf, South Australia and Christmas Pageants.  As it says in the Wikipedia link the Schützenfest was held in mid summer resulting in many cases of too much to drink, heatstroke and extreme sunburn for us to treat.

 

Our uniform was a white dress and black beret with a grey wool cape for winter.  It wasn’t very practical at all.  Thankfully in later years it changed so that women could wear trousers.  The below photos show cadets from another South Australian country town, during the time I was a cadet.  I couldn’t find pictures of my own cadet division online.

 

The Ancestral Places Geneameme

Thanks to Alona from Lone Tester for this geneameme.  Using the alphabet how many letters can you name ancestral places for?

  • A – Adelaide, South Australia (Willison, Scadden, Buring)
  • B – Berlin, Prussia (Buring)
  • C – Cornwall, England (Scadden)
  • D – Draughton, Northamptonshire, England (Heeps)
  • E – Elmore, Victoria, Australia (Heeps, Boyd)
  • F – Flaxley, South Australia (Willison)
  • G – Geelong, Victoria, Australia (Welsh)
  • H – Hindmarsh, South Australia (Willison)
  • I – Ireland (Plunkett, Hayward)
  • J – Jamaica (Carousa, Caransa)
  • K – Kettering, Northamptonshire, England (Bodger)
  • L – Littlehampton, South Australia (Weller, Wigzell)
  • M – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Welsh)
  • N – Nottinghamshire, England (Wigley)
  • O – Oxford, England (Tibbatts)
  • P – Prussia, Germany (Buring)
  • Q – Queenstown, South Australia (Welsh)
  • R – Richmond, South Australia (Chapman, Weller)
  • S – Scotland (Reid, Willison, Burnett, Boyd)
  • T – Tylden, Victoria, Australia (Humphrey)
  • U –
  • V – Victoria, Australia (Heeps, Boyd)
  • W – Westminster, Middlesex, England (Chamberlain)
  • X –
  • Y –
  • Z –

Preparing For The Researching Abroad Roadshow

How do you prepare before attending a workshop or conference?  I haven’t always done this as well as I could have so this time I would like to be more prepared.  The two principal speakers are Chris Paton and Dirk Weissleder.  Chris will be speaking on the UK and Ireland and Dirk on Germany.  I have ancestors from all of these areas so their presentations will have significance for me.

It’s easy to look at a conference program and be overwhelmed by all the talks on offer.  I’ve done here what I’ve previously done with the OzComicCon program.  I pull out the main speakers and topics I am interested in. Below are the presentations from Chris and Dirk the key speakers.  This is taken from the Adelaide roadshow program.

Chris Paton

  • British and Irish Newspapers
  • Scottish Research Resources Before 1800
  • British Censuses and Substitutes
  • Irish Family History Resources Online

Dirk Weissleder

  • Primary and Secondary Sources on Genealogy in
    Germany
  • Introduction to European Research
  • The International German Genealogical Partnership
  • Archives, Libraries and Institutions for Genealogical
    Researchers in Germany

I will also review the information I have on my Scottish, Irish and German ancestors and make notes to take with me of surnames, era of dates of birth, and birth places/counties or parishes. Eg. Buring/Biering, Berlin, Prussia early 1800s.  Willison, Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland. Reid, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 1800s.

What I will do next is prepare any questions, I might have, for the speakers.  It’s best to ask generic questions at a presentation and keep specific questions for one on one time. Eg. What might have happened to an ancestor if they disappear from records in 1840s in Germany?

Lots of other bloggers have mentioned the things to take to a conference so here are just a few: pencil, notebook, drink bottle, fully charged electronic gadgets, comfortable clothes and business or geniecards.

I’m looking forward to two great days of learning, catching up with friends and meeting new people.