Friday, April 1, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized!, March 6th-12th, 2016

Sunday, March 06, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 6th-12th Mar Checklist

Here in the United States we celebrate March as Women's History Month, so let's focus on the wives of your first four generations in your family tree. We've got some simple rules to follow that will make things a lot easier for you in the long run.


  • If the christening record of a child list "John and Mary Smith" then you are to enter "Mary" as the given name, leaving the surname field blank. 
  •  If the marriage record lists "John Smith" as the groom and "Mary Morgan" as the bride, then you may begin to construe that "Morgan" was Mary's maiden name. Is this always true? Well, be sure to see if "spinster" is listed, meaning she had never married.
  • With this same couple, never list Mary as "Mary Smith" as that implies you know her maiden name is Smith. Indeed it is possible that a woman marries a man with the same surname, but that is usually an exception. Think of Megan Smolenyak who married a man whose surname is Smokenyak. She then became known as Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Like I said, highly unusual.
  • If you do not know the given name for "_____________ Morgan" merely list her surname as "Morgan." In other words, do not assume anything.
  • It isn't necessary to use the terms like "unknown" for either the given name or the maiden name.
  • Do not refer to an unnamed wife as Mrs. John Smith, as this is confusing, particularly when the gentleman in question was a remarried widower.
It would be much easier if the women of the world
merely kept their birth name 
after marriage.

  1. Enter the names as you know them for the wives of the first four generations in your family tree. These may be your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and so-forth.

Done.  Each of the wives are listed, with their maiden names;
Dorothy Ellen Carlson Dostal (my mother); Lila Mae Cooper Carlson Fredericks (my mother's mother); Mable Irene Parmelee Cooper (my mother's maternal grandmother); Anna Cristina Karlson Carlson (my mother's father's mother); Evelyn Frances Gaffney Dostal (my father's mother); Etta Flood Gaffney (my father's maternal grandmother); Caroline Meyer Dostal (my father's paternal grandmother).

  2. If you have the names for the spouses of your ancestor's brothers and sisters, go ahead and enter their names as you understand them. Remember we are concentrating on just the first four generations, so we are assured of assimilating high-quality principles of data entry, citing of sources, analysis and correlation of information items within each source and overcoming conflicting information when arriving at conclusions about individual and family identity.

I have had about 75% success with this, 2 of my great grandparents who came from Germany are incomplete, both with the known siblings and their spouses.  Also, my great grandmother who immigrated from Sweden had at least 2 siblings, likely more, and I have not found any of their spouses to date.  The browsing in the Swedish records are slow-going....but I have had much success finding birth records and marriage records when I knew the date and area for my ancestors there.  The German records are much more difficult for me, as I have not spent as much time researching how to use them.
  3. Gather with other local genealogists. Back in 1995, when Ol’ Myrt here first began this organization checklist, I was encouraging folks to break out of their comfort zones, and join the local genealogy society. Boy, did I get a lot of flack about it. People didn’t want to join a local society when their ancestors had never lived in the area. But joining the local family history or genealogy society is sort of like joining AA – where we learn we are powerless over paperwork, the internet, burned courthouse and 15 ways to spell names like Smith.

So ask around at the public library and local Family History Center to learn about genealogy society meeting times and dates. Attendance will open up opportunities to meet interesting folks with varied talents and experiences who might be able to help you learn better research techniques.  At the very least, they will understand what it means to be ancestrally challenged by those aggravating brick walls.

IMAGE: Licensed from Adobe Stock.
At my local genealogy societies in Florida, Ol’ Myrt here found friends who are very good with computers and are willing to share their talents with others. During the past 18 years of membership in two local societies, I cannot think of more than five meetings devoted to Florida research. Topics have included:
  • tracing immigrant ancestors
  • report on research trips overseas
  • what's new at our local Family History Center
  • migration patterns
  • New England
  • printing a family history book
  • preserving photos
  • new software options
  • inferential genealogy
  • ordering microfilm
  • websites worth visiting
I attend every meeting and note that during the introductions of new members there is always someone in our society who has experience researching in the area the newbie finds challenging.

I plan on joining the one in Texas where we spend a few months wintering......I have no ancestors from there......but I look forward to the fellowship of genealogists!  I know that I have SOOOO much to learn, and what a fabulous way to grow!  DearMYRTLE, thanks for the boosts that you have given in this organizing series to try new things!  Truly, it has been the push that I needed!

  4. Join an interactive DearMYRTLE hangout.  You know you've been meaning to tune in to the live Mondays with Myrt (Noon Eastern US) or WACKY Wednesday (9pm Eastern US), so you can ask questions in real time, and interact with the participants. It is much easier now that we've enabled logging in via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. You'd only need to use your Google account if you wish to be a panel participant. Here's where you register for the hangouts each week:  

We will be discussing this week's checklist during our Mondays with Myrt hangout. 

Here's the link to the calendar of other upcoming DearMYRTLE genealogy hangouts:

I have not been "at the right place at the right time" to be able to join one of the hangouts live, but I have finally been able to listen to several after-the-fact!  I am hoping in April that we will have Internet without limits and with plenty of strength, so hope to be able to sit in soon!
Check out all previous DearMYRTLE's Finally Get Organized! Checklists.

Please note: the above information (apart from my answers in red) has been
copied and pasted from DearMYRTLE's website.  If you have not visited her site before,
I am sure that you will find it so interesting!  

Beautiful Texas skies!


Blue Bell Ice Cream serving station at the DAIRY PALACE in Canton, TX

Have a great week!
I am off to "tip-toe through a few generations!"

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