I use a program to display my online family tree called TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Software).

It is a dynamic website that displays information and photos about people from a database (rather than the “old-fashioned” approach of static html files for every page).

I was reminded this weekend that there is a great report section, allowing easy creation of reports from the databases on a variety of topics.

I remembered that I have a report called “Military Service“, that lists all of the people in my database that have served in the military.

Unfortunately, I have done a poor job identifying and tracking those people who have served. (For example, my dad isn’t listed, and he retired from the Navy after more than 20 years of service).

First, I need to use a standard convention for tracking the “event” of military service (I have been using a mixture of about 7 different events).

Second, I need help finding out from my cousins and aunts who they can remember.

Third, I am going to use Fold3 and Ancestry.com to look up older relatives’ data.

If you know of anyone who served in our military (or in any government service), please let me know.

Although we were a Navy family, and moved often when I was a kid, I consider Ledyard, Connecticut my home town.

In school, in Boy Scouts, and in my spare time I learned about the history of Connecticut, and its founding. It still fascinates.

My best friend Noel’s mom was a State Rep, and she often took us to Hartford with her while she worked.

On the way into Hartford along Rt 2, we traveled over “The Founders Bridge“, which always impressed me with its link to history and grand-sounding name.

The Founders Bridge

The Founders Bridge, Rt 2, Hartford, CT (wikipedia)

It turns out that 7 of the 163 men and women considered to be The Founders of Hartford are my direct ancestors.

Founders Monument in the Old Burial Ground (flickriver.com)

Founders Monument in the Old Burial Ground (flickriver.com)

The 163 people are considered the founders, as they are listed in the Book of Distribution of Land as those who settled in Hartford before February 1640.

There is an interest group called The Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, which I had a brief thought to join, but the $300 dollar fee is steep, and the requirement of “is of good moral character and good reputation” (although I believe I qualify) is off-putting.


The Connecticut Historical Society Manuscript blog has a great collection of old manuscripts and photos.

Only a few of the volumes we have provide detail about the equipment issued to soldiers. This example includes socks, shoes, shirts, pants, and a rubber blanket. Ms 101722

Only a few of the volumes we have, like this one for the 7th Infantry, provide detail about the equipment issued to soldiers. This example includes socks, shoes, shirts, pants, and a rubber blanket. Ms 101722

A letter of support from Amos Laurence to Abby Smith for refusing to pay her taxes to the town of Glastonbury. Ms 38267

A letter of support from Amos Laurence to Abby Smith for refusing to pay her taxes to the town of Glastonbury. Ms 38267

They have been adding new content since 2007, and there is a LOT of material in there.

The site highlights new additions to their physical archives, and does a great job explaining why each document is so important to our history.

I am combing through it now to find a couple of easy matches to my ancestors, but I think it is going to take months to get through just reading the backlog.

Great resource.

This photo is a class photo from the Johnson Schoolhouse, School District No 4, Haynes Township, Alcona County, Michigan in 1910.

The photo is in an old family photo album owned by Milo Napier Johnson, of Haynes and Harrisville.

The photo was taken by Fred Card.

Class photo @ Johnson Schoolhouse in Haynes, Alcona County, Michigan, 1910

Class photo @ Johnson Schoolhouse in Haynes, Alcona County, Michigan, 1910

When I was back in Harrisville in 2003, we toured all of the old farms and homestead out in Haynes Township with Bob Merkel, and visited the schoolhouse.

Johnson Schoolhouse, 2003

Johnson Schoolhouse, 2003

It has a new job, but looking pretty good for its age.

I have been using Legacy Family Tree software by Millenia for the last 6 years. I was very happy with the software, and understood it very well.

2 years ago I switched both work and home computers to Macs, which presented a problem in that Legacy does not offer a Macintosh version.

I solved this for a while by using Wine Bottler to create a Mac app using Wine and Legacy, which fakes a Windows virtual server on a Mac. This worked, but crudely. The copy/paste keys were intermittent, and the output gedcom file was rife with bad entities (mainly /par strings instead of actual line breaks).

Cleaning these gedcom files before importing them into my web site admin took an hour or more each time, and the quality of the cleanup was never good.

I realized I needed to do something because I had not updated my family tree online in over 9 months. Totally due to the software issues.

Over Thanksgiving I tested out 5 new Mac-based software packages to help me manage my data. I decided to purchase Family Tree Maker by ancestry.com, as it had decent ui, good integration with online data sites, and acceptable source treatment. The $70 price tag made me think twice, but I decided it was necessary.

The initial import went great. I spent about a week entering new and corrected data (catching up on the months of helpful emails from relatives). And then it crashed.

And would not restart.

Family Tree Maker would start, place an icon in the dock, switch the menu to the app, and then die before any window appeared. Dead.

I went through all of the help files online, including Troubleshooting issues with Family Tree Maker for Mac. I sent in 2 tickets with their tech support (who did nothing but refer me to the online help files). And spent 10s of hours trying and retrying their steps. No luck. I finally sat down with google and OS X Mountain Lion: The Missing Manual, and figured out how to completely delete the software and start over from scratch. The help files were incomplete, and required the removal of more cache and settings files in the OS to eradicate the software and restart clean.

Besides the plist files mentioned on the above article, I also removed all mentions of ancestry and family tree maker from the following folders:

  • ~/Library/Saved Application State
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/Application Support
  • ~/Library/Caches
  • /Library/Saved Application State
  • /Library/Preferences
  • /Library/Application Support
  • /Library/Caches

And I was back in business.

I spent another week fixing data and finally was ready to export and post onto my website.
That is when I found out that FTM2 (Family Tree Maker) changes the IDs of the people, families, etc, and pads them with leading zeros.
I99 (me) became I00099.
Unfortunately for me, this would either not replace my existing data (creating a second record for every person), or I would have to change all of the URLs for all of my pages. This would severely impact my google visibility, and break all of the links and bookmarks that exist from other sites/pages. I need a better solution.
I ended up instead rewriting the TNG import for my site, scrubbing the leading zeros from my data before adding it to my database. (I can share the change if anyone else has a FTM->TNG import issue with leading zeros)
And with that, I am able to finally update my online family tree!!!
So if you have any corrections or additions to our tree, please let me know. I can finally do something about it.

Birch Evans Bayh III is a politician, lawyer and lobbyist. He was born December 26, 1955 in Shirkieville, Indiana.

Birch Evans Beyh

Birch Evans Beyh

He was the junior senator from Indiana from 1999-2011. Before that he served as the governor of Indiana from 1988-1999, and Indiana Secretary of State from 1986-1988.

His father was also a senator.

Senator Birch Evans Bayh, III is my 11th cousin through our common ancestor Thomas Hull

Jerry Milo Johnson to Senator Birch Evans Bayh, III


Richard Gere was born on August 31, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For anyone not aware of his career, he is an acclaimed actor, and lately an outspoken political activist and humanitarian.

Richard Gere

Richard Gere

My personal favorite Gere movie has to be An Officer and a Gentleman, followed closely by Pretty Woman.

He is my 10th cousin once removed through our shared ancestor George Hull.

Jerry Milo Johnson to Richard Tiffany Gere



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