Friday, November 23, 2012

Can You Help Identify Minnie?

Minnie (seen below) seems to have been a friend of my paternal grandmother, Agnes Hadden (nee Little). The original photo is printed on postcard type stock by a company named "Jerome." On the back of the photo is the simple wording, written in pencil, "To Agnes from Minnie with Love." There also appears a date - January 1, 1931 - that has been rubber stamped on the back of the photo card.

My grandmother, Agnes Little immigrated to Canada in 1928. My great uncle, Alec Hadden, her brother-in-law, told me she had come to Canada with a friend. Was Minnie that friend?

Agnes sailed from Greenock, Scotland as a third class passenger on June 16, 1928 aboard the S.S. 'Regina' and landed at Quebec City, Province of Quebec on June 23, 1928 according to the ship's passenger list that records her journey. Unfortunately, there is no Minnie listed on the passenger list not anyone whose name might get derived to the nickname of Minnie. The ship's passenger list reveals that Agnes was destined for Salvation Army Hostel in Toronto, Ontario as part of a British Empire settlement scheme in the 1920's. 

Do you recognize Minnie? Do you have any suggestions for identifying Minnie? If so, leave a comment or contact me at Thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My First Look and Feel of the Upgraded RootsMagic 6 Software

I suppose it is the 'geek' in me that caused me to upgrade my RootsMagic genealogy software from version 5 to version 6 within minutes of the newest version being announced. I also felt that for the upgrade price of only $19.95, there was little risk of my being disappointed. And, RootsMagic 6 does not disappoint. 

The download and installation of RootsMagic 6 was completed very smoothly and to only 5 - 10 minutes. All of my various family files held in RootsMagic 5 were converted to the new version at the same time, without any data or media links being lost.

I use multiple genealogy database software products - Family Tree Maker, Legacy and my mainstay, RootsMagic. There is something about each of the products that I particularly like. Family Tree Maker allows me to automatically synchronize my database information with my 'public' family tree on the Ancestry website. Legacy has an interface that I find really helpful, especially for someone visually oriented like myself. RootsMagic however offers, for me, the best overall product especially with the emphasis I have learned to place on source citations. I find citing sources in RootsMagic easier which means I don't skip completing them and I save time that can be spent on other activities (read 'research').

In a 'nutshell', here is a summary highlighting some of the improved features or new features offered in RootsMagic 6:

  • County Check Explorer allows the user to check for historically correct geographic location descriptions covering the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, and includes links for further information about the locations. Location information is  linked to the FamilySearch wiki and historical maps checking is linked to the Newberry Library. As an example, for some family historians differentiating between Upper Canada, Canada West, or as it is known today, Ontario is important when describing where an event took place. This feature provides linked access to the information to get the historical place names correct.
  • Webtags allows the user to link a web page to a person, place, source, or research log item. For example, you could link a Find-A-Grave memorial page to a death or burial place for a person in the database. A useful tool although I really doubt that I will go back and 'webtag' all of the thousands of facts I have entered and cited sources for in my database.
  • Timeline View Edit was the feature that I was most excited about when I upgraded to RootsMagic 6. In version 5, I could view the timeline for a person that included their personal events and the events of their family. Now in version 6, I can edit and add to those facts while working within the timeline view and without having to go back to the 'edit person' screen. A gazetteer function has also been added that I know will be useful.
  • Find Everywhere is a feature that allows you to search throughout the database for any references to words or phrases. RootsMagic 5 had a similar feature but it was really restricted to people only. In RootsMagic 6, this feature has been expanded to included people, places, sources, citations, research logs and notes, as well as media. This is definitely an improvement I will use to filter my information when trying to assist those from whom I receive inquiries.
  • Online Publishing has been available previously. RootsMagic software has offered the ability to create static web pages that could be used to put a family tree online as a big or small part of a personal website. RootsMagic 6 takes this to a whole new level by offering free website space to registered RootsMagic 6 users through The web pages created in RootsMagic 6 are no longer quite so static and most importantly, for those of us (okay, me) who do not yet speak HTML, it is easy to use. These RootsMagic user sites are not currently indexable by search engines such as Google or Bing but that is a likely option sometime in the future. The family tree information currently will only be available to people with whom you share the website URL. 

These are great benefits for RootsMagic fans and for only $19.95 for the upgrade, well worth it. If you haven't used RootsMagic, the full version price for RootsMagic is only $29.95 or, even better, take the free RoosMagic Essentials for a test drive before making any financial commitment. I doubt that you will be disappointed. 

For a more completion demonstration of RootsMagic 6 watch the free webinar conducted by Bruce Buzbee at

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Hadden Y-DNA Results

I have been wanting to have my DNA tested for a long time, but frankly it is not a cheap test to have completed. Fortunately, Family Tree DNA recently had a sale that I decided to take advantage of in order to see what the results might uncover for me.

Genetics can be another powerful tool in genealogy, allowing for a deep look at your ancestral origins. Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) is passed along the male or patrilineal line, that is, father to son, generation after generation, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is transmitted through the matrilinieal line, that is, from mothers to children of both sexes.

While my DNA test was not going give me any names of ancestors, it was going to provide me with my haplogroup, that group to which I belonged, sharing an ancient ancestor.

Well, the Y-DNA test results are in and my Hadden Y-DNA haplogroup is R1b1a2.

I really am a novice with this level of genetic research but so far I have learned that I probably shouldn't be surprised with this haplogroup result. R1b1a2 is the most common group, given ancient population migration patterns, in western Europe. It is most predominant in Ireland, Scotland, and England as well as Germany and Belgium. Today, there is also a strong presence of this haplogroup predominantly in the eastern United States, not surprising considering migration over the past two to three hundred years.

There are more results yet to be received and I have a lot of studying to complete in order to understand the power that genetic tests offer. Good thing I'm now retired as this is going to require a fair amount of time.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Remember

Most were just boys, really. They enlisted with the enthusiasm of youth, proud and invincible in their new uniforms. Their parents likely were frightened enough for them but proud of the young men they had raised. They were off to conquer a faceless enemy and save the world.

The training was tough and the discipline sometimes a difficult adjustment. Both were hopefully thorough in the manufacturing of these young soldiers. For the most part, none had chosen this profession, rather they were farmers, students, apprentices at a trade who would soon enough experience the terror of war.

On May 17, 1916 young Jimmy Gammie left his farm to enlist in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. Maybe he had seen the posters stating, "Your Chums are Fighting, Why Aren't You?" All of 5 feet, 8 inches in height, Jimmy, who joined with his brother Peter, would fight in France with the 46th Battalion. He would know what it was like to hear bullets whistle as they closely passed, he would know the sound and vibrations of bombs exploding, he would know the pain of being wounded, and after recovering, he would know the fear of returning to the front lines. He would know what it feels like to die for his country. 

Jimmy never returned to his farm, there was no repatriation ceremony for him. Jimmy is buried in France, with too many of his comrades, not far from the bridge he was fighting to gain. His grave, pictured above right, marked for all to remember him.

James Little Triggs was even younger, only 15 years of age and just under 5 feet in height, when he and his twin brother Phillip, followed in their father's footsteps and joined the Royal Navy as cabin boys. On May 31, 1916, James toiled away below deck so likely would not have seen the shells coming that would sink his mighty battleship and end his young life.

Today at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we remember them, along with those who did survive but who have had lives filled with memories of the terrors of war. And we remember those still fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of freedom.

The Hadden family motto is 'n'oublie' - never forget. I, for one, will not.