Thursday, 16 July 2015

7 Back to Basics, the Willy Nilly "S" Theme

It's summertime here in the USA.  Which translates to busy, fun, vacations, friends visiting, grandkids and camp, mucho yard work (it has been quite wet here in SE Michigan, the weeds are growing, like, well, weeds.).

All in all, time has been flying by.  But, I still try to sneak in a wee bit of research, scanning and input every evening, or at least on as many evenings as I can keep my ole tired eyes open.

So, I thought this month, I would do a quick review of seven of what I consider to be some of the basics of research and recording/input. (Of course, there could be many more basics, but for lack of space and time, sticking to seven.)

This approach assumes you are actually using a computer data base, but, if you are not, you can think out of the box and still use many of these seven.

1.)  Spelling don't count (and grammar not much either).   Names just do not get recorded every single time in the same way.  They are not always transcribed or extracted the same way either.  Lashbrook, the surname I have researched the most since 1991 has been found recorded just a few other ways (wink wink, note a bit of sarcasm? yes, you do).  Lashbrook, of course.  Lashbrooke is also prevalent.  I have found Ashbrook, and others, but, I do believe my all time favorite might be Sashfrsch.

2.)  Source everything.  Add a birthdate, or birthplace to the data base.  Source it and source it NOW.  If you cannot source it perfectly, by the book, do it a bit imperfectly, but, SOURCE IT NOW.  You can fix it, tweak it, or change it later.  But, if there is nothing there, kinda hard to fix.  Source everything.

3.)  So that's logical?  Really?  Before you willy nilly add a name or a date or children or parents, stop a moment, and determine, is it logical?  Did the father die 7 years before the child was born?? Is the mother 9 years old at the time she gave birth to child # 3??  Is it logical??

4.)  Sensus, ok, play on the "S" theme here, since spelling don't count.  (Sorry, early morning caffeine starved humor here.)  Census.  Have you found your ancestor and family on all available census enumerations?? Skipped 1910 (US)?  Why??  Go back and review all your notes, sources, documents.  Missing census, our sensus, err senses, (double sad humor/play on the theme and words here) tells us to fill in the blanks.

5.)  Share.  Yes, share.  Share with any family that will listen or engage.  Share with other researchers.  Share online.  You get to choose how to share online.  My current choice is via my blog. Some choose to use one of several different ways to post their tree online.  Study the ways, use what is within your current comfort zone.  Be open to review your choices, maybe change them. (OH, and remember, what I practice, only put online what you are happy to have "borrowed".  Once posted, it will be read, reviewed, borrowed and reused.  Sometimes without your even being aware.  If you don't want to find it on another web site in the future, if you don't want that specific photo or information shared willy nilly, simply do not post it online.)

6.)  Skipping generations.  DON'T DO IT!  Never ever skip generations, especially going "back" in time.  As reported previously on my personal blog, Reflections From the Fence:

Many many years ago a news article was written about an English gentleman, we shall call George. George researched for something like 20 years, personally interviewed over 2000 of his closest kin. Finally got around to interviewing his aunt (no times removed, just his aunt) and, the very first thing out of her mouth was,

"But George, you were adopted!"

As far as I know this is a true story, but, even if it is not, I think you get the lesson.

7.)  Selebrate (oh, there I go again, with that "S" theme)  OK, CELEBRATE.  Now and then, sit back, and Selebrate your skills, Survey the progress, acknowledge the "Sad" that you sometimes learn about those ancestors and their Suffering,  and please do Snicker and giggle a bit.

There you go, seven of my basics.

Enjoy the summer weather here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Before we know it, the leaves will be changing and it will be time to stay inside and devote more hours to our favorite addiction - - family research.

*Graphic courtesy of



  1. Fun and informative post Carol. Thanks for taking the time.

  2. That would certainly pull me up short if I interviewed my aunt and she informed me I was adopted. Yikes!

    1. Wouldn't it tho Kristin?? After 20 years?? WOW.


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