Friday, April 15, 2016

FINALLY: Get Organized! March 13th - 19th

 1. Consider the differences between sources, information and evidence.  Are you drawing on the most original form of first-hand information? Certified Genealogists Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones discuss these concepts in their published works and methodology presentations.

If we are able to determine the informant, we may decide if the information he provided is primary or secondary. Primary information is an eyewitness account. Secondary information is just that - second hand or hearsay.

When selecting evidence to answer a specific research question like "What is this couple's marriage date?" it's a good practice to obtain direct evidence wherever possible. Occasionally, we are forced to rely on indirect evidence, though a written proof argument should be created to explain why we have made the decision to answer our research question with less than stellar information.

  • An example of direct evidence of a couple's marriage would be a marriage return, signed by the justice of the peace or church minister who officiated at the marriage.
  • An example of indirect evidence of a couple's marriage would be an indication on a death certificate of the surviving spouse's name. Though this may be a clue, we would consider this inadequate to fulling answering the question of the date and place of the couple's marriage as it would be preferable to obtain the marriage return, the first published document that the marriage took place.

As I work through my family history and family tree, my "quest" is always to attempt to 
find the most original copy of the sources, and what a bonus it is when that
information comes from a Primary source!  It is so interesting learning
about all the different levels that a source can be, and the levels of the evidence.
I am learning to "question everything" in areas that I had not questioned before.
My family may be tiring of my questioning their "facts" when chatting, asking them if 
indeed what they are saying is actually a FACT, or is it an assertion (theirs or someone else's) 
with or without the needed information that gives evidence to prove this assertion ......LOL!
But, I am happy to be able to encourage our grandchildren to " question" and
not just accept.

  2. Organize your thoughts, "current thinking" as Cousin Russ calls it. Take the time to write a paragraph or more justifying your "current thinking" for each parent-child-spouse family relationship in your genealogy database. Do this for each event in an ancestor's life. This keeps you from having to rethink the conclusion, until perhaps additional sources of information come to light. We have previously reminded you to look at a series of DearMYRTLE Study Group sessions titled The Written Conclusion, based on Chapter 7 of Mastering Genealogical Proof cited above. It may help to study two of Elizabeth Shown Mill's posts:
We are only dealing with the first four generations, starting with yourself.
Though your compiled genealogy may contain more generations, we are working to learn correct research principles.

DearMyrt, thank goodness that we are just working on the four generations at this time!
This is an area that I feel very weak in. I think that I am trying to make it much more difficult than it really is....... I am re-reading chp. 7 of Thomas W. Jones' book,
plus I have also re-read the Quick Lesson 16 and Conclusion or Confusion.  
Practise, practise, practise..........!  I am working on applying this
to a few "sticky situations" in my tree, and will continue on with writing 
my "current thinking" on each of the relationships in the four generations.

  3. Start planning your summer vacation. Check to see which towns of interest to your ancestors are along the route. Make a point to stop by, even if the focus in now research. You will learn much about the lay of the land. For instance, during Ol' Myrt's 1995 research trip to Germans I noticed a striking similarity to the place of origin on the Nckar River valley (east of the Rhein River) and the Tupelhocken Valley of Pennsylvania where my Palatine immigrant ancestor eventually settled. The impact of that familiarity still brings tears to my eyes. The hills rolled about the same, and the familiar orange geraniums grew wild here and there along the roadside in both places.

This is one of the areas in which the "gift of being mobile" has been so nice for genealogy!
This summer, we will spend some time in my place of birth (and my parents' and some of their parents' as well) and also in the place of my husbands' place of birth and the place where his family name ancestors migrated to.  We will continue in our research in each of the places, Michigan and Indiana.  Every summer we try to do some research while we are there.  This year, I hope to find a few divorce records and some probate files.
It always feels so good to be "Home....."

 4. Paper-oriented genealogists need not be confused when filing papers.  It's appropriate to file photos and documents mentioning a female before marriage in her maiden name binder, immediately following the family group sheet where she appears as a child with her parents. Once she is married, the marriage certificate, birth records of children, census records and family portraits are filed in her married name surname binder, after the group sheet where she appears as the spouse/parent in the family. Should she be widowed and subsequently remarried, that information would appear in the surname binder for her subsequent husband. 

When you reprint the family group sheet where she appears as a child with her parents, the name of her spouse will be shown. This provides the reference to the new family group sheet where she appears as the mother/spouse reflecting her new family situation.               

*** A NOTE:
There have been no further weekly checklists added, and so
it seems that our Get Organized project is either finished, 
or put on a shelf for now.

I will try to continue with the blog
as I continue to 
Tip-toe through our Generations!

Have a great weekend and "Till Later"
from Abbeville, South Carolina.........


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