Thursday, January 31, 2013

So much to learn

I spent the better part of the day planning and thinking how to handle a project I am working on. It really made me realize how much I have to learn.

But! I am determined. I registered for a class on brick walls with Family Tree University. It’s a power course. I’m in dire need of ideas!

Off to read!

Family Tree University is a part of the +Family Tree Magazine family

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Volunteer Genealogy

I just finished another pro bono report for a client. He told me, “You have done more than what you've agreed. This is great.”

There is something very rewarding about helping someone resolve a problem they have been struggling with for so long.

While I wasn’t able to draw any decisive conclusions (courthouse fires – Ugh!), I certainly believe I was able analyze what data is currently available and draw a reasonable, well thought out conclusion as to the most likely parentage for this particular gentleman. I was also able to locate some records that they hadn’t seen before, and make recommendations as to other avenues of research they might consider.

Of course, with each of the pro bono cases I have worked on I have found myself so engaged in the project that I went beyond the allotted time. Well, it’s good practice, good customer service, and quite frankly – enjoyable!

Have you ever found yourself so caught up on in someone else’s work that you forgot your own?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Working today

Today was a day of work.

I a bit of did pro bono work for a client. Both the surname and given name were extremely common and made for a lot of digging and a lot of throwing away. Eventually, though, I was able to pinpoint the right family, and I believe I have given them enough information to further their search for a while.

I've decided that there never will be one perfect genealogy software, as much as I would like there to be. I've tried Legacy 7.5, MyHeritage Family Tree Builder (definitely a winner in the free category), MagiKey and their census tracker (too complicated in the end), and RootsMagic, which I have been actively using. They each have features I wish the others had.

So, I tried out something new today. It's called Evidentia. It's not a database, however - its job it to provide you a place to gather, catalog, and analyze data from any given document. It provides a framework to help ensure compliance with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

There's a 30 day free trial so I'll post my thoughts on it after the end of the Family History Writing Challenge.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge

We've accepted the challenge so for the 28 days of February you can follow us as we delve into our family history.

Expect this spot to be full.

Are you ready to blog?

+Lynn Palermo source citations

In the genealogical community there's a bit of a saying - if it isn't documented then it didn't happen. is a wonderful and amazing resource that allows family historians to not only research their ancestry but share their work with others. Unfortunately, all too often the work is incorrectly cited, if it provides any sources at all. Therefore many professional researchers will often ignore this information altogether.

In my work, however, I have decided not to ignore this information. Just because I can't verify it doesn't mean it's not correct, and I feel I would be doing my clients a disservice by not sharing all data I have found, no matter the source. The caveat here is that I cite this information extremely well, and reiterate to the client that I found no supporting documentation for the claim.

Do you share undocumented work with your clients as a way to offer them clues for future work? Or do you ignore this work entirely, opting to use only information you were able to locate records for yourself?

If you do use it in a report, how do you cite it?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why Converging Roots?

My roots are Southern - mostly, anyway. And I've begun to dig them up.

My mother's family is from sandy Southern North Carolina with a little bit of Georgia clay thrown in. My grandmother Bernhardt was a Pound from South Carolina. I do have some roots from the north but they aren't very deep, I lay claim to being a full-blooded Southerner.

Grandmother was very prim and proper. So, that is what I expected from her side of the family - nothing interesting, rather dull, and easy to tie together. She married Grandpop in Philadelphia. I still haven't figured out how a quiet South Carolina belle ended up married into a big city German family like Grandpop's, but she did, and they flourished, spending nearly sixty years together.

Grandaddy - now his family was robust. With all the legend and lore surely deep, dark secrets awaited me on my search! While I have found an interesting tale or two, for the most part they seem to have been a quiet family of farmers. The Cain's migrated to Southern North Carolina in the mid-1700's. Grandaddy's grandfather moved to Georgia in the 1880's but North Carolina must have been in the blood because Granddaddy came back before WWII where he met and married Grandmama.

Grandmama - I didn't have any real expectations when I started my search, but I certainly didn't expect what I found. Her family was large, and the county was small, so there were a lot of families marrying back into the same families...and they may not even have known it. I've since learned about "pedigree collapse" as explained by +Family Tree Magazine , and my family seems to have a lot of it.

So, I've decided to chronicle my journey along these "converging roots", and share with others what I have discovered and learned - not only about my family but about the trip it was getting there.