Thursday, January 28, 2016

Are You Having Problems Finding Your Favorite Blogs?

Are you having problems accessing your favorite blogs? If so, you can thank Google! I have noticed this week a significant decrease in my followers but I wasn't sure what the problem might be. I am not exactly a computer wizard. Then this morning my fellow blogger, Jana Iverson Last posted on Facebook that she had noticed the same issue. She also provided the link to an article that had been posted by Blogger back in December 2015.

In  2011, Google announced that they would be retiring Google Friend Connect. In December of 2015 they posted an update on this plan. The post comes from Michael Goddart, Software Engineer and you can find his post here.

In a nut shell here is what the post from Mr. Goddard said, over the next few weeks Google will be making changes (in an effort to streamline) which will require readers of our blogs to have a Google account in order to use their Google Friend Connect service to follow any blogs using the Blogger platform.

In Mr. Goddard's press release he said, "...we'll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other Openld providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time we'll remove non-Google Account profiles so may see a decrease in your blog follower account."
What does this mean for my readers? It's a simple fix and easy to do. If you don't already have an account with Google, you will need to create one. To create a Google account go to this link and create your Google account. If you already subscribe by email you should be fine.

Photo Credit: ( : downloaded 28 January 2016)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I'm Still Here...

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I am still here. January is always busy with closing of the previous year, annual doctor visits (for me anyway) and just getting ready for new year ahead. I am still working behind the  scenes though trying to plan out my blog posts, building new trees with correct citations, finding pictures to go with up coming posts and gathering up documents from local research facilities.

I have made some changes to Dawning Genealogy. My eyes aren't what they used to be and bright colors are giving headaches. I think that the changes are good and make it look sharper. I have also changed to a different font and made it larger. Yes, there is an upcoming eye doctor's appointment in my future! I would really appreciate your feedback on the changes!

I have also been working on my new blog, The Other Side of Scarlet. Firming up previous research, working on my DNA matches through Ancestry and trying to see if I can locate these matches at Gedmatch. It has definitely been time consuming going back and forth but I know in the end it will be worth it. The closest relations I am finding so far are 3rd cousins but most fall into the 4th to 8th cousin range. I am also awaiting my son's DNA test to see where his paternal lines will lead me.

January is almost over but I am working on posts for February!

Take care,



Friday, January 8, 2016

What I am Seeing From Stat Counter After Just 1 Week

Last week I wrote a post about adding StatCounter to my blog so that I can better handle on the statistics for my blog, Dawning Genealogy. Within a day or too I saw the need to upgrade from the Free account offered based on the number of hits I was getting with the free account. The cost to upgrade was $9.00 per month. You can also change the plan at anytime once you see how things are going. Choosing this upgrade will allow up to 100,000 hits and keep track for 13 months. Now please know that I don't get anywhere near 100,000 hits! That being said, according to Blogger's stats I have had 38,830 page views of all time. Dawning Genealogy has been up and running for 559 days. Now if I divide 38,830 by 559, I have an average of 70 hits a day, per Blogger. 

Note: That all of the numbers for StatCounter are for the period of December 29, 2015 to January 6, 2016, which was the day I did the screen captures. I am saving my comparison between StatCounter and Blogger for my one month post. However, the only comparison I will be making between the today are the pageviews by country. I find that Blogger's accuracy is way off especially in the amount of my Russian readership.

The picture above is from Wednesday morning, January 6th, 2016. The one thing I like about StatCounter is that it breaks down the numbers better than Blogger. For example, when you ask for a monthly view for Blogger is very misleading. I checked today and it says I have 6,074 views for last month. That simply isn't true. I don't know how or where that number comes from but I find StatCounter to be much more accurate.

This is what my statistics from StatCounter looked liked for the week of December 29, 2015 to January 6, 2016. I forgot to capture this picture when I took the others so I manually changed the dates so that I could show you what I am seeing in just a week.

Stats by Country

This is the map from StatCounter that shows me where my readers are by country. Below is the statistical breakdown of this map. As you can see 83.18% of my readers are from the United States. My biggest surprise is from Australia who is the second highest group of readers for my blog at 6.36%. Just behind Australia are Canada, United Kingdom and Sweden!

The picture above are my pageviews by countries provided by Blogger. Of course, once again most of my readers are from the United States. However, according to Blogger, Russia is second place with more than 1000 viewers. Why do they show that many readers in Russia but StatCounter does not? 

As far as I can tell, they do not exclude any countries from their statistics however to be sure I have sent them an email asking this very question. StatCounter is based in Dublin, Ireland and their response may not arrive before I post this message however once I received their answer I will update my post.

Stats by Visit Length

I really like the pie chart that StatCounter provides regarding Visit Length. This tells me that maybe I should consider changing up my posts. Perhaps some of my posts are too long if no one is staying 5 seconds or less or perhaps my posts are too short, for example my posts for Surname Saturday's or Family Photo Fridays are what they are looking at. One is a picture I create using photo editing software and the other is from my personal photo collection. Both include a short description of the who, when and where if it is known. It should be noted that Blogger does not show this type of figure in their statistics.

Stats by Incoming Traffic

The chart about represents incoming traffic, 59% of my incoming traffic is from social media (blue). I use Facebook, Pintrest and Twitter to promote my blog posts. Then 20% of my incoming traffic is from direct traffic (yellow). I would think this is by email or perhaps someone who follows my blog on a regular basis. Now 15% of my incoming traffic is from referring websites (green). I would think this is generated by Twitter, Pintrest and Facebook. The last of the incoming traffic information says that 7% of the incoming traffic is from search engine referrals (red). I would like to see some improvement from the search engine referrals and direct traffic too. I will have to figure out how to do that. 

Stats by Browser

StatCounter uses browser statistics as does Blogger. Below are my stats from StatCounter. Now according to StatCounter they have the big ones such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari however, rather than listing specific mobile browsers they are all lumped together under the category of "mobile browsers".

Stats by Operating Systems

StatCounter also gives you stats by operating systems and I really like the breakdown that is given which is perhaps a little broader in terms of systems recognized.

Finally I really like this particular StatCounter feature of the Browser Wars.  Obviously, Google is the big winner but since Blogger is a part of the Google umbrella this does not surprise me.


Family Photo Friday ~ My Dad and My Sister, Susie

The first 2 birthdays of the year in our family are my Dad and my baby sister Susie. So I thought only fitting that the first Family Photo Friday should be this picture. Susie married her husband, Jason on September 18th, 1999. (personal collection).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goals for 2016 and Beyond

I have been thinking of my genealogy goals for 2016. I have read several of my fellow bloggers goals for 2016 and have been inspired by several as well. I think these goals are all attainable by the end of 2016. Now some of these goals are also long term goals too. 

Thank you to Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, for her post, He Will Live On Through My Words about keeping the story of her son Peter and her family's memories of him alive for future generations. Her post and one of my goals for 2016 were inspired by an article written by Ryan Kelly for Ensign Magazine in February of 2015. The article is titled, Loving Those Who Have Gone Before Us.

I have started a new blog, The Other Side of Scarlet, about my journey for searching for my birth family. Making that journey into a blog became goal in the spring of 2015. Now that I am writing for 2 blogs I need to really sit down and plan a new schedule for both Dawning Genealogy. Both blogs will have similar posts such as Tombstone Tuesday and Surname Saturday. I also want to write 2 or 3 posts a week for both. With this in mind here are my goals for 2016 and beyond.

My Goals for 2016

  • Begin the NGS's American Genealogical Studies program no later than April 2016.
  • Find more genealogy webinars and/or programs that are going to help me reach my goal of becoming a Certified Genealogist.
  • Progress from writing for one blog to two. 
  • Contribute 2 to 3 posts about family for both blogs. Not including already set weekly and/or daily posts.
  • Plan for at least one cemetery research trip close to home.
  • Plan for at least one research trip for this year. Ideally I would like to plan at least one out of state and maybe 3 or 4 small day trips that are close to home.
  • Add one new series of posts. That would be my "Remembering Those From the Past for the Future" inspired by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen and Ryan Kelly. I will publish these posts once a month.
My Long Term Goals - Hopefully all completed by 2020.

  • Complete the American Genealogical Studies program.
  • Begin the process of becoming certified.
  • Join all the state genealogical societies for the five (5) major states I research in.
  • Go to The National Genealogical Society Conference for 2017 in Raleigh, NC.
  • Go to Roots Tech.
  • Go to at least one institute study week.
  • Plan my first research trip to Salt Lake City.
I believe that my 2016 are reasonable and not to far out of reach. I also think my long term goals are attainable but whether they are all attainable by 2020, I am not sure but I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens. As I check off each item for 2016 I will write a post about my accomplishment, good or bad. 


Lauritzen, Peggy, "He Will Live Through My Words", Peggy Lauritzen, Anxiously Engaged, 1 January 2016. ( : 2016).

Kelly, Ryan, "Loving Those Who Have Gone Before Us". February 2015. E-journal. Ensign Magazine, ( : 2016).

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Have You Chosen Your Replacement for Family Tree Maker?

Well you have one more day to take advantage of the deals that were offered in December as alternatives for Family Tree Maker (FTM). I have checked out Family Historian 6, Heredis 2015, Ancestral Quest 14 (AQ14) and Roots Magic 7 (RM7). There are many reasons to choose or not choose any of these programs. I need something that is easy to use, produces beautiful charts, reports and other publications that will not frustrate me to death!

What I am Not Choosing and Why

Family Historian 6

I liked the demo version of Family Historian 6 (FH6). Of course, it is only a 30 day trial and the trial version doesn't allow full access to all of the functions of the program. It looks like a powerful software program for any genealogist. Many of the features listed are not necessarily available in the trial version which made it difficult to determine what I needed and what was on my wish list. The other determining factor was cost. The price for FTM users is $37.20 (regular price is $46.50) and one of the higher prices offered for FTM users.

Heredis 2015

I found Heredis to be awkward to use and again trial versions don't have all the bells and whistles so it was hard to determine whether it would have been a good fit for me personally. There were some things I didn't like such as the "Moveable Feast Days". I knew most of them because they are familiar from my religious education. What I don't understand is why they would be included in a genealogy software program. It was then that I remembered that Heredis is a genealogy software program designed for France and England. While their price is great at $14.95 for FTM users I decided that I would pass for now.

What I am Choosing and Why

In the end I am choosing to use RM7 and AQ14. I found aspects of both that are very similar and I find that they are easier for me to use. I purchased both RootsMagic 7 ($20.00) and Ancestral Quest 14 ($19.95). I simply can not decide between the two and while there are multiple similar features what it came down to for me was not only the prices for each program but the differences too. 

RootsMagic 7

RM7 is capable of handling very large trees and that is extremely important to me. My master/working tree on Ancestry/FTM14 is approaching almost 100,00 people. I don't want to lose all of that work even though their are mistakes (mostly source citations) in it and because it is a working tree I will continue to add more families to it as I work on them. From my master/working tree I will add new, smaller trees to RM7 with correct source citations. Here are a few other reasons I like RM7.

RM7 will allow me to connect to Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage. It's in-app browser will allow me to do internet searching on Google, Bing and Yahoo too. I also like that I can customize categories for family facts. It is also portable which I consider to be a big benefit. There is also the fact that I can synchronize a my tree on FamilySearch with my tree in RM7. I will be starting a tree on FamilySearch.

What I am most excited to learn and use with Roots Magic is their scrapbook feature and family reunion planner. Especially, the family reunion planner as I have been asked to plan one for this year! There are multiple reports to choose from, editing options are good and include being able to record DNA tests. You can also choose color printing if needed. Another feature that I like are the wall charts, though I may have to go to printing place such as Kinko's or Fed Ex to get them printed.

The multimedia features are great! I can not only add photos but sound and video clips but perhaps I will finally have a place to put my son's entire recorded funeral mass which was recorded at the church where his service was held. Documents are in Word or PDF format which can be attached to people, places, sources and events. 

Ancestral Quest 14

Like RM7, AQ14 can handle large trees, a plus in my book. I can also connect to Ancestry, FamilySearch and World Vital Records. I cannot synchronize my tree in AQ14 like in RM7 but that is okay. In general there features are very similar.

I believe their charts and reports to be a little better than RM7.  In looking at a review of the top 10 genealogy software programs for 2016 , RM7 offers only 6 chart types while AQ14 offers 24, that is a big difference. Like RM7, AQ14 will also allow me to record DNA results. I am curious to see how this function works in both programs. 

I do know that the relationship calculator on AQ14 is much better than on RM7. AQ14 also has a "ditto tool" that I am looking forward to using. The "ditto tool" allows you to connect individuals in bulk such as siblings and multiple marriages. I am hoping this feature comes in handy for events such as 50th wedding anniversaries, birthdays and other large family get togethers.

Most genealogy software have the same basic functions but they are not all created equal. I am pretty sure that I am not the only person who uses more than one genealogy software program. I will from time to time throughout 2016 post my favorite and not so favorite features of both RM7 and AQ14 as I learn these two programs together.


"The Best Genealogy Software of 2016, Reviews and Comparisons", Top Ten Reviews ( : 12 December 2015).