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. 

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