August 2013 - Howse it going?

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mardler
Site Admin
Posts: 236
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 6:28 pm

August 2013 - Howse it going?

Post by mardler » September 2nd, 2013, 11:31 am

Hello everyone. I know it's not August any more. In the few days in the month when I wasn't sailing I spent most of my time furthering the transition to our new family history software. Turns out that there are some subtleties between the programs which aren't at all obvious and it looks like I've goofed somewhere too. I'll explain more later. First, what I hope is some interesting stuff.

Edward Mandell House
I heard reference on a US radio program to a "Colonel House" who was an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson. It sounded like a character from the "Cluedo" game to me, but it didn't take long before google revealed the history of a fascinating man named Edward Mandell House who was a behind-the-scenes operator for the Democrat Party in the early 20th century. Once I make the website update, you'll see a narrative about him on his page (just type Mandell into the First Name box and hit enter).

Thomas William House
As I researched Edward House's family via US census records, I then came across his father, Thomas William. This gentleman really got my attention! Born in the small village of Stoke St Gregory in Somerset, England in 1814, he emigrated to the US, worked as a baker, then became a banker and ice-cream maker in the City of Houston in the 1830's! The book, The History of Texas credits him as one of the engines behind Houston's growth. In the 1860 census, TW was recorded as owning $500,000 worth of property! He also helped to finance and supply the Confederacy in the US Civil War.

I've yet to prove who his parents were. Perhaps he came from a non-conformist family and consequently may not have been baptized in the Established Church of England. Can anyone help?

Two tips for using the site
As we have added more names to the site, we know it has become more and more difficult to locate your ancestors from the handy name search at top left. There are now over 1,600 people named William xxx Howes, alone! If your Howes/House ancestor had an unusual given name, just typing that will often find the person immediately, as per our reference to Mandell above. For others, though, a handy trick that we often use is to search for the person's spouse instead. Unless it's something like Smith, you'll find the person quickly and then click on their Howes/House spouse's name.

Associated with this idea is to use the Ancestors or Descendants tabs at the top of every individual's page. Then just click on the name of the relative you want to look at.

A puzzle
Does anyone have any information on the Howes Tannery in Pocahontas County, West Virginia? See this reference: http://www.wvculture.org/goldenseal/Fall11/Tannery.html
Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't think we have anyone from this family yet in our database. Can you help?

For the record
We added only 184 lives last month, probably our lowest month ever. Read on and you'll see why! We now have 77,800 people in the database and passed 800 correspondents signed up during August.

Problems with the Website
When I tried updating the website for the first time after the switch in software, I found a few things that will become apparent to you when I do update it.
- first, the new software is not as simple as Family Tree Maker in allowing us to select a preferred fact. We record every fact that we find about a person to allow others to check our work. Often that means several different ways for recording a date: a year (sometimes estimated from a census), a quarter or an exact day. Within FTM, you merely right click on the date you want (exact or your best estimate) and that's how the person appears in the index. The new software simply takes the earliest one of these and assumes that's the main one. That wouldn't matter except that the website your ancestor might now appear in the index with the wrong date, perhaps only a year, even though we know his/her exact birth date. I stress we haven't lost any information - that's all still displayed - it might just be a tad harder to find the person you want.

- second, some facts such as Witness now appear with the word ATTR. Don't worry when you see this. Perhaps I'm tempting fate when I say this but I have a feeling this is something which is easily sorted out!

- third, somewhere I appear to have goofed up. All of the people in the site have had their index numbers changed. For most people, there is no effect, but all of the references from the 1,600 pictures and certificates are now pointing at the wrong person or place. These will all take some time to fix. Please bear with us.

- fourth, I noticed that a few sources, particularly those for Military facts, didn't transfer over correctly. If you spot any of these, please let us know and we'll fix them.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. I am convinced that the switch to new software will be a benefit and see these only as teething problems, but they will affect how the site operates for a few weeks, and consequently will slow down our ability to put up new information that you have sent in. Please don't stop with that!

All the best
Paul

hughar
Posts: 4
Joined: August 30th, 2012, 12:33 am

Re: August 2013 - Howse it going?

Post by hughar » September 2nd, 2013, 4:50 pm

An old post at http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/t ... 0895903303 suggests that Thomas William House's family were Methodists.
Regards, Hugh Smith

mardler
Site Admin
Posts: 236
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 6:28 pm

Re: August 2013 - Howse it going?

Post by mardler » September 2nd, 2013, 8:53 pm

Thanks very much, Hugh.
Paul

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