Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines

Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines
How many Ancestors Can you Find?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monday's blog articles from February 2009 Genedocs E-Magazine Issue:

Get an Edge on Documenting Research:

     The first featured form this month is the Research Log which is a no nonsense template that researchers can use with every new finding to capture and categorize additional information and source citations all on one form.  Many times researchers just rush in to get the information they are looking for and don’t bother to jot down where they are finding it which can later come back for a haunting head scratching moment.  A research log prevents those moments by reminding you to be thorough from the start.  Organizing your ancestors into individual file folders also keeps you self organized just like keeping file folders in one common place such as a box of file cabinet.  Folder labels give you an edge by keeping those files in a simple sequence; be it alphabetical, numerical, or any other helpful filing sequence.  You can clearly see the advantages of the three forms in this issue and how they will give you an edge on the documentation of you research.

Establish a Solid Foundation for Staying Organized:

      The File Folder Cover Sheet is also one of several ways to set a solid foundation to stay organized.  The template of the sheet clearly organizes individual information on each ancestor for a quick at a glance summary of what has been found band filed by category and what remains to be sought out.  Things not listed on the folder cover sheet are the precious tidbits that end up in the file folder itself.
Whenever taking notes be sure to date every page and list your source and source location.  This alone can save you hours on file management.  Keep you files organized by name, pedigree number, or any method that will help you retrieve information easily and quickly.

Utilize Visual Aids for Quick Reference Information Retrieval:

     The third featured from in this issue, being the Photographic Folder Label template, is one of several very useful visual aids key to providing quick reference information retrieval.  The retrieval by portrait recognition versus name or number system creates a personal quick reference dimension that most filing systems lack.  Seniors particularly find this feature helpful since a picture is worth a thousand words.  Why?  Because it allows a researcher to take advantage of personal experience yet it is backed up with a number and names for others to find who are not familiar with faces.

What Family Research Means to You:

     Is your research a hobby, a passion, an obsession, an education, a mystery, a part of your identity, a therapy, or a clue to your destiny?  For those who have dug deeply into their roots the answer to all of the above may be yes and even much more.  For those just starting it may just be a hobby or challenge.  Since researching family is a journey the meaning of research grows with time and effort invested.  Similarly the meaning is also reflective like a mirror of your daily life events.  Enjoy every moment of your journey as it takes you down each unexpected path.

Interviewing Relatives:

     Since time is the enemy when it comes to getting research answers from older living relatives the rule of thumb is start with the oldest and work your way to the younger generations just to maximize the opportunity from who has the most years full of memories of family experiences.  Be sure to be respectful and be prepared with questions and memory jogging photos you may need help with identifying individuals.  Do not force audio or video taped interviews out of respect for others wishes- just be sure to take good notes if they decline the media interview methods.  The new research log may be very effective in an interview, but supplement it with notebook paper notes of the interview questions and answers. Once you are finished be sure to sincerely thank every relative that you interview and offer to provide some help to them in return – perhaps a copy of the family tree you are working on, providing an heirloom photo chart, helping them chores around the house or even with organizing some scrapbooks or photo albums.  After all, a second friendly visit usually can’t hurt.

Organizing Photos on Your Computer:

     Before I begin explaining this subject I do agree there are amazing programs like Google.com’s Picasa that can help organize your photos on your computer.  However, these programs usually don’t thing like a genealogist and sort them into individual portraits, family groups, couples, special events, etc.  so it is probably best to start sorting them and electronically filing them on your own first.  Most programs such as windows allow you to view computer folders and files in many different ways.  Some settings let you preview pictures on a file folder cover even before you click to open it.  A great folder view option is thumbnail view or slideshow view available on newer versions of MS Office.  Using this view allows you to create new folders and simply click drag and drop all the applicable thumbnail pictures into the file folder you want them in.  Organize your folders into common areas for photos such as:
            Individual Portraits
            Family Groups (couples with children present)
            Places (where they lived, worked, served in military, etc.)
            Other Events
            Mystery Photos
After you organize your folders to your liking then just scan pictures, save them, and drop and drag them into the folders where you would like them stored for later reference.  If you use software to enhance or restore your photos you may seriously want a separate folder for “Enhanced Restored Photos” so you can keep original scans intact.  I do strongly recommend back up saving rare or one of a kind photos by burning them to CD or flash drive and of course printing a quality copy on photo quality paper for each ancestor’s or relatives hardcopy file folder.

Essentials of Scanner Use:
  The above image is a bitmap scan with greater clarity than a JPEG!

     While we are on the subject of scanning photos to your PC of CDs it is important to note the essentials.   First keep the scanner glass clean and dust free.  Second gently wipe off any dust from the original photos prior to laying face down on the scanner glass.  Before saving scans be sure to choose the size, cropping, and format (jpeg (medium quality = small memory space) bitmap (high quality = large memory space) etc) that you require.  Don’t leave your originals on the scanner especially if you are using someone else’s scanner. 
Here is a short Draft that was Leftover from rootstech...yes we were very busy! ;-)
 Surrounded by hundreds of youthworking on their family trees.  Brothers and sisters, parents and children, calling on iphones to grapndparents for more information.  THIS is where a wave of social desire for family heritage begins!
     After some much needed R & R in San Antonio and Galveston Island, I am ready to blog!

I notice there is one more blog viewer here and welcome you to my lesser know and not too active writing corner of the web.  Most of the activity these days is on Facebook including my posting of exciting examples of Genedocs templates nearly every day.
    Many of my final course at DeVry were great in that they allowed me to showcase how great Genedocs Charting would be as a business from pre-rootstech until practically graduation day.  I have the concept and principles down, but just need to execute a controlled launch with Pay-pal and easy to complete templates that customers would love to e-mail for the transformation into a much better charting option.  I will keep after this as more money could keep some bills paid ;-)
...anyway on to the blog material.  I have many exciting articles to share that merely need to be extracted from the 2009 - 2011 E-Magazines preserved digitally on my computer so let the fun begin!

Here are the first three articles by Eric Jelle in the January 2009 Unveiling Issue:


How to Maximize the Impact Photos Have on Your Family Tree:

            The common expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” still holds true.  Carefully using the family photos you collect through the years can tell novels about your family without the help of a single written word.  However you’ll definitely want to elaborate on the details and lives surrounding each of those precious moments captured in time.  For instance what time frame was the photo taken, who are the people pictured, and what occasion was important enough to capture on film (or memory card)?  Take time to note these and other important details especially since, with time, everyone’s memory fades.  To honor family each of us should spend some time daily preserving and recording such priceless heirlooms.  One day perhaps we’ll thank our descendants for doing the same for us.

How Siblings can Help You Crash Through Your Brick Walls:

Most of the Dawes Children of John Thomas Dawes and Johnnie Augusta Gause

            Some sibling rivalry can result in a tussle and maybe even a few damaged walls if not controlled, but that is not how brothers and sisters in your family tree can help you solve the most stubborn family mysteries that researchers commonly refer to as “brick walls”.  A good bit of research back through generations can be completed by merely searching for the parents of an individual and, if you’re lucky, one child leads you straight to their parents’ information.   But, in many cases if that child doesn't have a direct record linking them to their parents due to a fire, adoption, etc., then your research stalls to a stop.  You might even end up so frustrated or distracted at that point that you put your research on hold for precious years.  To prevent such a costly delay one proven technique is to take a step to the side of that child to each of his or her siblings’ records and more often than not, BAM!  You find their parents and are right back on track.  Persistence pays off many times in genealogy so remember not to give up too easily.  Also be creative and who knows – you may be the next Sherlock Holmes in your family tree.

Researching vs. Preserving Your Family’s Legacy

            One of the founding principles of Genedocs is to vicariously overlap family researchers’ goals with the overall goal of preserving their family’s legacy.  Many genealogists find out very late on their quest for ancestors that they have a duty to also preserve the essence of their family history and even more don’t even realize their full role in maintaining their family’s legacy through protecting their own family and assets before they themselves depart this world.  Only you and you alone can ensure that you preserve more than monetary assets for generations to come.  


Of course it is highly recommended that you seek counsel with your most trusted family and professional ad visors – only those who have consistently demonstrated the responsibility, maturity, caring, and respect worthy of contributing to your family’s legacy.  Be wary of the black sheep in your family especially one whose actions have been clearly only self centered, wasteful, and/or inconsiderate.  Trusting a financially irresponsible family member to honor their word can quickly reveal a sheep in wolf’s clothing waiting to plunge a knife in your legacy’s back - solely for their own gain.  Just remember that you can spend decades creating, building, and preserving a priceless legacy for your loved ones, but all it takes is one foolish moment to have it all washed away forever.  Now that you know what is at stake let’s get back to research.

Setting and Sticking to Your Research Goals

            Before researching it is best to have an idea of why you’re starting and what you hope to learn on the journey.  Whether you are a seasoned researcher or just beginning your quest grab a pen and paper (or open a new document on your computer) and take a few minutes to annotate exactly what it is that has inspired you to start your family research and some of the main things you want to try and discover the answers to in your family.
Some of your questions might be...

Are you related to someone famous or royalty?

Are you conducting medical research for a genetic family illness?

Do you have a unique last name you want to find the origins of?

Why are there 5 people named Henry in the near branches of your tree?

Why did grandpa serve in the military during a war?

How did my parents or grandparents meet and fall in love?

Where exactly is that family farm I hear cousins talking about?

Why is grandma’s grave missing a headstone?

            Believe it or not many of these same questions were right where some of the best researchers started their quest to know more about family.  These questions and yours help establish the starting goals of any research into family.   I say starting goals because research is very dynamic and, as you answer one question/reach one goal, another pops up right in its place or even two or three.  This is part of the reason that genealogy is considered addictive because it turns you into the family bloodhound tracking down one mystery after another - perhaps hot on the trail of a the answer to a brick wall that no one else has been able to topple for over 200 years.  Family research at first may seem dull, plain, and like someone else or someone older will do it – but actually it is usually up to people just like you with the energy, excitement, and inquisitive nature to begin it all.  Now that you have some goals established remember to keep your list handy to remind you what you are after, what you have achieved, and what is next.


Using Computer Programs to Your Advantage

            A benefit of living now in this new millennium is that nearly everyone has a personal computer available for use in their home or at least available at the library or a friend’s home.  The majority use Bill Gate’s Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, Paint, etc.  There are free similar versions at Google.com’s documents section with a simple sign up.  I refer to Microsoft programs simply because they are the tools I used to create many if not all of the forms in the Genedocs series.  I highly recommend taking a class or two or just tinkering on your own with these programs to create some templates, presentations, charts, graphs, stories or whatever you enjoy.  The resulting benefits are twofold:  first you develop a new skill and second you learn some creativity while working on your hobbies – hopefully most often genealogy.  Strive to learn more and before you know it you will be an intermediate or master user of these and other useful programs on a PC or laptop.

Staying Organized and Keeping Creative Flare


            One essential part of research to implement early is organization.  You will likely be gathering paperwork, copies, notes, photos, heirlooms, and anything family tree related so it is essential that you have a method of organization especially for records, notes, and irreplaceable photos/heirlooms.

q       First buy a box of file folders just for genealogy – manila with 1/3 cut tabs is fine to start but as your collection grows you’ll start seeing the advantage of more pricey expandable folders with several section dividers and two metal prongs per section to keep everything in place. 
q       Second buy at least one records storage box 10” x12” x 16” with side handles and a lid or dedicate a locking file cabinet (possibly fireproof if you can afford it now) to place files in.
q       Buy lined paper, printer paper, and a box of reliable pens – multicolored if you are the more creative type.  A highlighter set is a really good idea too for some added color flare.
q       Each file folder is labeled with one ancestor’s name, but starts the first file with you, before working to your parents, grandparents, etc.  To start I recommend 31 files to cover five generations including you.  Every bit of information you gather on each individual will be placed in their individual file.  Keep the contents organized by priority:  Birth, Death, Marriage info. first, then follow with education, employment, military service, photos, etc., whatever you need.

How you chose to display all of your findings is entirely up to your own unique creativity so brainstorm whatever you like and write your ideas down so you can come back to them when you get pulled away.  Use colors to distinguish events (green for birth, red for death, blue for marriage for instance) to keep the visual impact of your records, files, and creations.  Collect less documented research data - family house blueprints, recipes, garden arrangements, household inventories are only but a few examples.

Outlining Your Life Story Made Easy:

     Here is a commonly used content outline for many life stories:

            Early Childhood                                   
            School Years                                       
            College                 (if applicable)           
            Employment         (if applicable)           
            Military Service (if applicable)
            Marriage              (if applicable)           
            Parenthood           (if applicable)           
            Memorable Vacations
            Significant People in My Life
            Significant Personal Events
            Significant Lessons Learned
            Thoughts About Me
            My Legacy
            My Ancestry (back at least 5 Generations)
Using this format I completed my own Personal History in under a day – which even surprised me.


   I hope you enjoy these.  There are a whole bunch more!