DeedMapper Deed Entry Form

How to force the DeedMapper software program to display the Deed Entry Form every time a new deed is entered.

I received and installed the DeedMapper 4.2 upgrade about two weeks ago and immediately wanted to get started platting some of the 19th century New Jersey deeds that I have transcribed this year. Problem is, when I launched the program, I did not know where to start. I expected the Deed Entry Form to open when I opened a new deed, but it did not. All I saw was a vast empty screen:

deedmapper-main-windowThe DeedMapper Plot View screen

Here is how to activate the Deed Entry Form:

deedmapper-edit-deed-button

In the Plot View window, click the Edit Deed button shown above, just to the left of the Annotate button (the one that looks like a T). The Edit Deed button also appears on the Table View window.

deedmapper deed entry form
The DeedMapper Deed Entry Form simplifies deed data entry but is not enabled by default.

The Deed Entry Form was one of the enhancements in version 4 of the software that simplifies data entry but is not enabled by default. To force the program to open the Deed Entry Form every time a new deed file is started go to View > Options  and select the Text View tab. Under New deed entry on the left, click the radio button to select Deed entry form. The next time you open the program the Deed Entry Form will display automatically.

deedmapper view options window

I have used my new DeedMapper software upgrade to successfully plat three metes and bounds style surveys of land that I believe are relevant to my early Carson family research in Mercer County, New Jersey. The next order of business is to actually place these plat drawings on a contemporary New Jersey map. I have consulted a gazetteer to hone in on what hamlet or township various features described in deeds were located in to track down the proper maps.

deedmapper data entry form with first call
The land described in this 1842 deed from Abraham Rogers and wife to Aaron Eldredge was acquired by Daniel Carson just a few years later. The data entry form above shows the first call in the survey.

Carefully reading, transcribing and platting deeds surveyed using metes and bounds methods will reveal relationships and neighbors, and is a useful exercise in your genealogy research.

Archive E-mail to Evernote

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Evernote is a great tool for genealogists. Did you know you can archive e-mail directly to Evernote folders for later retrieval? Watch this short video to learn how:

However, Evernote announced three days ago that this would become a paid feature beginning July 6, 2015. Here is the link to the available plans, pricing and features.

 

Digital Organization and File Naming Conventions

Last week I returned from a genealogical research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The result of my three days of research was more than one hundred digital images of microfilmed documents, mostly consisting of 19th century New Jersey deeds for Middlesex County and daughter county Mercer, created in 1838. I was in information gathering mode and did not have time to read through more than a few of the documents while on-site. I needed a quick way to catalog my finds so I could see at a glance what I had already scanned and what was still outstanding from my to-do list.

For this project, I chose to first create an Excel spreadsheet where I entered in selected entries from the deed index available on microfilm at the library. Since I am exploring connections between the Tindall and Carson families post-Revolution in the aforementioned counties, I chose to focus on deeds where people with these surnames were grantors and grantees on the same document, or documents that indicated “heirs of” or “estate” or similar verbiage.

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Portion of my Excel spreadsheet showing deed research underway on the Tindall family of New Jersey.  [Click to enlarge this or any other photo.]

I then pulled the relevant microfilm, scanned the film, and saved an image file to my FHL 2014 folder on my thumb drive. Every evening when back at the hotel, I copied the contents of the folder to my laptop and to Dropbox for safekeeping.

I chose to save copies of the microfilmed documents as JPG files at 300 dpi or better (depending upon legibility of the microfilm). All saved files were named in a similar fashion, with one example shown below:

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Elements of the file name, from left to right
Repository: FHL
Microfilm file number: ####### (7-digits)
Volume number
Page number
Surname
Type of document (i.e. deed, death record, etc.)
Miscellaneous: this field may or may not be used; if I imaged only a portion of the full page, I might include “top” or “bottom” or “light” or “dark” depending on how I may have cropped or edited the file.

Note that I use no spaces in the file name, and separate the various elements with a hyphen. This will improve readability and sorting, and if I choose to upload the file to my website, I will not get those %20% space fillers in online URL links.

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Files in my Data > Genealogy > FHL 2014 folder

Not only does this file naming convention help me stay organized, it also helps me to maintain the necessary information for later crafting of a source citation. How many times have you gotten a copy of an item, only to later be unable to recall the source of that file or photocopy? By including the repository and the film number in the file name I have that information close at hand, and can later pull title information from the institution’s online catalog. Although not shown above, I typically include an image of the spine of the filmed book to aid me in creating accurate source citations as well.

Assembling the various images that make up one document into a single PDF file and abstracting and transcribing that information will keep me occupied over the next few months. I plan to also plat out the various metes and bounds parcels using DeedMapper (or similar software) at a future date.