Notes from the past…


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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #28: Mistakes

Genealogy research mistakes are wonderful learning experiences. They can be blessings when they show you how to improve your genealogy research. Which Week genealogy research mistake in your past has provided the most benefit to your present? How did you discover the mistake and what steps did you take to correct it? Sharing about these experiences will help others who are figuring out their own ancestral paths.

Booboos, made lots of ‘em! Hummm, where to start… :)

My most “beneficial” mistake? The same one probably every genealogical researcher has made on Day 1: Name Collecting.

You know, when you make your first stop at Ancestry.com (or similar site), put your great-grandfather’s name in the search box, which promptly returns 50 hits for that name, pick the name and data that seems closest to your own “knowledge”, and… DOWNLOAD THAT ENTIRE GEDCOM INTO YOUR OWN DATABASE AND ACCEPT IT ALL AS GOSPEL!

Name Collecting.

I did that very thing  and felt proud of myself for finding so many ancestors on the first day of my research. Wow, was I smart! This genealogy thing is great!

But after a while, my eyes slowly began to open. I started reading genealogy blogs and looking at what other researchers were doing and gradually realized that my database was worthless. No sources. No documentation. No proof.

So one day, I started a new database and began to enter people individually, one-at-a-time, by hand. I started with me, then my parents, then my grandparents. People I had actually known. Events and facts that I knew to be correct. I remember 2 of my great-grandmothers, both having died when I was a teenager. I talked to other relatives, collected photographs and documents and documented my findings.

And now, if I don’t have at least 2 verifiable sources for a person, then she/he doesn’t land in my database. There are a very few folks that I feel really good about who are in the database without decent documentation, but even so, I am still looking for proof.

I frequently read about other researchers who have thousands of people in their databases. Good for them! Is each person documented?

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.


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1940 Census Saturday (a new daily blogging prompt): Jesse Leonard Allen

Well, looks like most all of the 1940 U S Federal Census is now available to us researchers, much of it indexed by name. And back in February, I created my 1940 Census “Wish List” page, which contains 132 names of ancestors who are supposed to be in that census.

So guess what I’ll be posting about for the (hopefully) next 132 Saturdays…?

Jesse Leonard Allen (1869-1940) was the husband of 1st cousin 4x removed Julia Jefferson Hibbler:


(click to enlarge)


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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #27: Genealogy Publications

Genealogy publications are great for education and entertainment. Which one is your favorite? Who is the publisher? Why do you like this publication? How has it enhanced your own family history experience? Share any details you want potential readers to know about including features, articles, style, etc.

Most of the genealogical publications that I read are online, but one old favorite “paper & ink” journal is Family Tree Magazine. It is jam-packed with interesting and most useful information for beginning-to-intermediate level family historians. Getting-started and how-to articles fill its pages, all arranged in an eye-pleasing and very user-friendly format. When I first began my own research, I subscribed to this magazine and eagerly awaited its bi-monthly editions.

I think my only complaint concerning Family Tree Magazine would be that it is only published 7 times per year!

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.