Monday, February 22, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized! : Week 6

I am so thankful that I am working on this Challenge with DearMyrtle and 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 7th-13th Feb 2016

This week's checklist invites us to analyze the sources of information in documents we've collected about the first four generations of our surname progenitors, meaning you, your father, your father's father, your father's grandfather.  Part of this analysis is intertwined in our citations (next week's topic.) We're going back over the documents we've transcribed (word for word) to analyze the information items contained therein.

**This week I am to continue working with the
 first 4 generations 
of MY maiden name.**

Organized genealogists take the time to review what they've collected about each generation of ancestors to determine if direct sources of primary information have been overlooked.

**This is all too easy to do, especially when 
one is finding several new documents, new information, 
etc.  This is a wonderful opportunity to go over 
what I have, review each item thoroughly 
to draw out each and every fact.  
It will take me some time, even for the 
limited number of ancestors.**

Have we become internet-lazy? Have we become quick-click genealogists, all too eager to attach a document to an ancestors because there is:
  • a name match
  • a locality match
  • both have a wife named Elizabeth
  • looks like about the right time period
  • it's in a published genealogy book at our public library
  • an indexed entry listing the ancestor by name
  • the genealogy website suggests this is a match
Any one of these reason may have caused you to add a person or family all too hastily to your genealogy paper files and computer database. You may have encountered some challenges, but gave up and told yourself to "Just Do It!"

Genealogists jump to conclusions when they don't undertake reasonably exhaustive research.
**So very true...I have been 
guilty of this....not taking the 
needed time for appropriate research,
though often the intent was there,
but I was not organized in my research
and data-building**

 1. Print out and study the synopsis of the GPS Genealogical Proof Standard  published by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You may not aspire to take clients or become certified, but we all want to ensure we're climbing the right family trees. Here's the link:

Element of the GPS
Contribution to Credibility
1. Reasonably exhaustive research

  • Assumes examination of a wide range of high quality sources
  • Minimizes the probability that undiscovered evidence will overturn a too-hasty conclusion

Sadly far too many family historians get to the sharing stage before truly organizing their findings. DearMYRTLE's FINALLY Get Organized! Checklists aim to remedy that situation by having participants deal with evidence, sources, citation, analysis, and correlation much earlier in the organized research process.

**I have the synopsis as well as the book that 
they put out a few years ago detailing the 
five elements.  I wish that I had had this information
before I began putting my tree to paper....and to computer.
There is still so much that I need to re-do, properly.
B.U.T..... I am thankful for all that I have learned 
(and continue to learn) so that I continue to 
move forward with much better habits and processes.**

 2. Read the following blog posts, and view the embedded videos:

Elizabeth Shown Mills (ESM) is arguably the expert on citation samples, but a concise discussion to guide the development of our analysis skills are found in chapter 1 of her book:
 Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015). [Book available from the publisher at and in digital format from the author's website]
From ESM we learn that no source provides definitive proof. Now look at your own kinship determinations to see where you can find direct sources of information, as opposed to major, principle or key sources.

Wouldn't you say the point of view or motivation of the source of the information either adds to or detracts from the credibility of the information that source provided about your ancestors?

**We have not been in an area where I had unlimited 
data resources, so I have not yet had the 
opportunity to view the embedded videos, I look
forward to seeing those.  I did purchase the ebook of EE, and
have read the first 2 chapters and am well into the
I do agree about the motivation of the source,
it only makes sense.  Human error, whether intentional
or not is a possibility at every turn for us.
In looking at the 4 generations in my Maiden Name
tree, the bulk of the direct sources of information
come from birth, marriage and death records.  There are
also some first-hand knowledge "records."**

  2. Make research notes on your to-do list where you now realize your evidence is weak.
Remember, we are just looking at those first four generations on your surname. The reasoning here is we are cutting the project down to size so we may concentrate on learning and applying correct principles. We are looking for things like:
  • Find marriage date and place, more reliable than "circa" or "of Clinton County, Missouri."
  • Did my ancestor truly have no siblings?
  • Developing the practice of checking back with genealogy websites for specific record groups before contacting the local courthouse or archive that may retain the record group in textual format.
Organized genealogists collect information on the brothers and sisters of their known ancestors, for that is often where brick wall break-throughs come into play.

**I have begun new research pages for several family
members, listing the items missing from the 
B-M-D list, and notes to search in areas that I might not 
have looked recently for updates.  Also to search out
newspapers online.  Two sets of great grandparents 
immigrated from Germany and I am a complete newbie in
looking at German records.  One set of great grands 
immigrated from Sweden, and that I have just a bit of
experience with (not much....yet!) so those records
are not as intimidating to me.
I am also recalling a statement that Crista Cowan made
in one of her you tube tutorials, "Question everything!"

I am a bit late in posting this blog,
but have just received both week 7 AND week 8
from DearMyrtle.  So......onward....
tip-toeing through those generations!

Have a lovely week!

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