Homework: ESM QuickLesson 6

April 18, 2016

The Research Plan: Two-step Next Steps?

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “The Research Plan: Two-step Next Steps?” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage(https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/research-plan-two-step-next-steps : accessed 30 Sept 2015).

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Two-Step Next Steps, was an interest question, based on a project I am working on, in a Class I am teaching.

The basis for the class is a chart I created based on a number of other resources. Mostly from Cyndis’ List, but also from the Genealogy Class that DearMYRTLE Study Group did.

HV_00-ResearchProcess

I like the image of going in circles. Starting with ONE Question and trying to find the answer.

A student presented her question. It was a very simple question, where was this person born.

Using the Google Sheet we used with DearMYRTLE: bit.ly/CousinRussResearchSheets we did a search for a Census Record for this person, using the search feature on FamilySearch.org. We were successful.

The next day, I ran into my student and she was all excited that she FOUND the ANSWER to her question.

The problem was that she has jumped based a couple of steps along the way. We in fact had a 3 times “around the circle” plan to find her answer. The problem is that she Jumped to a Conclusion too quickly or she skipped “Evaluate Sources” step.

She did find AN answer, or the answer she was looking for, but not THE answer.

What she will learn in the next class is that she ran into the Genealogical Iceberg. That record isn’t only (yet) according to Family Search.

With the circle approach, for me at least, is that the Question needs to be changed a bit. Not the Town he was born, but was he born At Home or in a Local Hospital.

We. as a class. are developing a Research Plan, but need to make adjustments based on the “new information” that we find as we go along.

The QuickLesson told me, that a revision in THE PLAN may change, based on the current findings. But my caution to the class will be Don’t Jump to a Conclusion too quickly.

Lesson Learned: Stick to the plan and make adjustments as you go, as required.


QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof

March 21, 2016

QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage(https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-2-sources-vs-information-vs-evidence-vs-proof : accessed 20 Mar 2015)

ESM_QuickLessons

Have spent the past day or two, spending time NOT researching but really looking at my Citations in my Genealogy Database. This QuickLessoin is very timely for this review.

For a very long time, I learned that I really, really, don’t like the term “Source Citation”. My software uses that term on some of the labels on the screen. I can NOT use those words together. In my mind, I can’t have a Citation, without a Source, but I can of a Source without a Citation.

To me, a source without a Citation is like a couple of the books in my Genealogy Library that I haven’t look at yet.

A Citation without a Source, is that loose piece of paper in a research paper in a folder without a label. Where on earth did I get that one from.

The two terms work TOGETHER, but they are two separate items. I have a Source with Many citations. A Book (source), with many pages where I took information from are reflected in the Citation.

This lesson, for me, starts with the Source. It has in it, INFORMATION that I might want to use in my research. I have learned, that IF there is a possibility that the Information is about my research Question, I am going to start to Craft a Citation. Why do that up front, you might ask, for me is slows me down to really make me LOOK at the information that I might use.

Starting the citation process early, for me, puts me into an evaluation mode, not gathering up the pieces and getting them into my database. My first part of the evaluation is to determine what the Source is, or the Container is. A Source being a Book, it different from a Source that is an Official Document. By putting the Source into the Primary Source of a Secondary Source category, will help me down the road, especially if I run into conflicting or information items.

There is Information in the Source that I might use, but how did that information get into that Source and who provided that information.

In my evaluation of a Marriage Record, that I have in my hands, I might consider it a Primary Source. The information says that the parents of one of the individuals was born on a specific date and place. The document was signed by the party whose parent has been recorded, so that specific piece of information is NOR Primary Information, but Secondary, as the person was not there with his or her parents were born.

At this point, using this example, I have to cycle back to what was my question that made me look at the Record (Source). If my question was about a couple’s marriage, that Birth Information would be just that Information. Now, I am going to record it, but it does NOT prove when and where that parent was born.

Then I need to understand where in the marriage paperwork process that Marriage Record is. Was it a license to get married or an official return from the appropriate authority that signed the document that I am looking at. The license would be evidence that the person was going to get married, but the officially signed an returned might be proof that the person / couple did get married.

But, I know that I can’t stop there, with one piece of information, which may be proof, but I know I need other documents, difference sources to really prove the answer to my question.

If I am trying to prove that tis couple actually did get married, I would see if I could find a record for the person to preformed the marriage. In the state of New Jersey, several groups of people have the authority do perform a marriage. Being part of their normal business, the will probably had to have some record that they officiated at that marriage. A Marriage book in a Church, if it was a Church wedding, is where I would look. In the Church records that I have seen in my research, a copy of that document that I first had in my hands would be stapled on the page that was filled out, at the time of the wedding, signed by the persons present at the wedding.

Bottom line, for me in this lesson is that I would need at least two sources, containing information, that are helping be develop the evidence that proves that the person really did get married.

The Citations (more than one) for a simple Marriage Fact or Event would have to be clear enough to let someone else reading or using my  information could find the same information that I used.

The Citations would be to lead the reader back to the Sources but not to tell the story about that Sources and where in the sources might I find that information.

Example:

This image is with the Marriage Record I have on file.

QuickLesson-2-a

This is to Marriage Applicants with information about what the person needs to do. In this case, the parish priest needs a Marriage License for the marriage, and in the State of New Jersey, they are acting on behalf of the state, so they have the authority.

At the time of the marriage, copies of this multiple copy license is stapled into the Church Records, as as the instructions say, a Pink Copy will be returned to those being married.

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This is just a part of the pick piece of paper. Interesting that this License has the date and time of the application, the date and time of the license being issued, and a time when it would expire. The instructions clearly say “The copy is NOT a Certified Copy, but merely a copy for your records. If the instructions were followed, this would have been provided Post Marriage.

The top part of THE Certified copy of the marriage certificate.

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Just below the above part of the one page is this. The Certificate of Marriage.

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and below that the Marriage License

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Did the marriage happen? Yes, but what isn’t in these images is the signature line just above the Marriage License section of this one page document. It has a Date and Signature of the “state” official. In this case a township

The Pick Copy, received at the ceremony did NOT have that signature but Certificated copy did.

This example is a 21st century document, that would probably equal to a number of documents for our ancestors.

The other copy of this multiple page form, is stapled and signed by all parties in the parish register. (sorry, no scan for that one)

There is no information on this form that would not have been secondary information.


FINALLY Get Organized–5 Generation Status

March 20, 2016

I started out in one direction, but changed, base on the FINALLY Get Organized project from DearMYRTLE. My project started by trying to prove or disprove a Mayflower connection. It didn’t take to long that the information suggested by the Mayflower Society at Roots Tech was not going to work. RelativeFinder.org and the FamilySearch Family Tree results had issues. Did a straight line back 17 generations and knew there were issues.

So I decided to change that project to a more worthwhile and meaningful use of my time. Just focusing on 5 Generations.

IMDoingIT

I have had other status reports and events as the project has moved along.

Because I am giving a presentation at the Fairfax (VA) Genealogy Society in April, I wanted to capture some real data on how the research process I use for Information Overload really works, when I use that process and follow those Shaky Leaf Hints.

Fairfax Genealogical Society: DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ’ presentation topics

Here is an update on a fresh database that I created on 08 Feb 2016:

People

231

Generations

17

Surnames

68

Facts

2,525

Places

253

Sources

96

Citations

339

Media Files

294

I have followed 228 Hints and have successfully used 156 of them. Having worked those 155 hints, 57 other hints disappeared, as expected. 14 Hints I have ignored based on the reliability of those hints. They are on my ToDo list if I need hint for those individuals. 2 were not for my person. That was due to limited data on that person in my file at the time I ignored that hint.

107 of the Media files were pictures that I had taken or scanned images that I have in my files. An additional 15 Media files were from the linked Ancestry Member Tree that had Photo Hints. As it turned out many of them were from may main file with 9,000 plus people in it.

All of my Citations are in the Template format, meaning that they are very close to the Evidence Explained format. (that is a work in progress). I have no undocumented Facts. Each of those 2,545 facts have at least one citation linked to them.

Research Log for each person and a ToDo list with 448 items. 235 Items on my ToDo list, of which 15 are notes about the file in general, not work items.

The fun is the stories that are starting to develop. For example, my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother had 10 Children. At no time was there a census record that found the entire family at the same place at the same time. However, one census record did have a child who only lived a couple of months. Another of the children who died early had a Shaky Leaf Hint that was an Index hint, that actually let to the record that the hint was base on. I had blogged about that From an Index to an Image.

Lesson Learned: Having some organization in how I named my files, made my finding those images, specifically, very easy. I knew where to look and new what the filename should be.

I have added some of the data learned from the Finally Getting Organized project to my upcoming presentation.


FINALLY Get Organized–Office Organization

March 18, 2016

In my office needed, I needed a little organization, at least on the Shelf above my computer monitors. I took a few minutes to clean up my act.

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My lamp for Hangouts is clipped to this shelf just above the right monitor.

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Getting ready for a Monday with Myrt

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Coffee is front and center, ready to go. Trello on the Left (main monitor), the HOA on the Right.


FINALLY Get Organized-Filenaming

March 11, 2016

On the post recent Mondays With Myrt, we talked about File Naming, for our Digital Files and how we file them on our computer.

This project of Getting Organized and this new file I am working on, have come together.

IMDoingIT

I am working on my 5 Generation file, staying focused on the Descendants of my Great Grandfather. He specifically, so that I can create a book for my new cousin.

I would normally have the Find-A-Grave website pretty high on my list of websites to work on. In this case it is NOT. Mostly because I do a lot of detailed work on the information from that website, especially if there are links to other family member which takes time. I am  using the Index Hints from Ancestry.com as a breadcrumb to go to the Find-A-Grave website late. (no ToDo lists for them, because I’ll work off of the Citation List from the Ancestry index.

Since I have done a lot of work taking photos and uploading them to the website. I have about 1,600 photos in my collection. Then it dawned on my, I have those photos already organized. But I needed to  check it out, and I do.

My filing system for Cemetery Photo’s isn’t difficult but here is goes. It is made up of 4 major components:

  • State
  • County
  • City
  • Name

Notice, NO Cemetery Name. That is because I FILE these files by Cemetery.

For me, it’s all about sorting. I  use an Underscore to make the filename more readable, for me at least.

Here Is a screen capture of my spreadsheet on how I track these photos to show it it pays off for me.

2016-03-08_183645

This starts a column “S” to get to the filename. There are columns for the State, the County, the City, the Cemetery to the left. My spreadsheet is also about Sorting and Filtering.

I use these photos for a number of reasons as well. These are my photos but I want to use them for another Blog that I have, for uploading to the Find A Grave website, and for my own use.

That is where this organization (for me) paid off. This 5 generation tree is “my folks” many of whom lived within a couple hour drive so I have taken my own photos.

You will notice some cells in Yellow. That is how I KNOW that I have added them to file.

When I brought these photos into my database I navigated to that Cemetery Folder and selected and brought a COPY of that image into my database. It only took a couple of minutes to get those images into my database. The spreadsheet had the data I wanted in my database but I worked off of the Image that is now in my file. Yes, all properly cited.

At the end of the name part of the filename, I will add things like –1, or –plot, or –sign, because when I take the photos, I book end the pictures in the cemetery with a sign or two OF the Cemetery. They are also in this spreadsheet AND my database.

Filename Format:

ST_County_City-Surname_FirstName_MiddleName-[number] if required.

Do make this work a little easier, I put the photos in Folders.

Folder Format:

ST-County-CemeteryName

2016-03-08_193424

If you can read that image, you will see that I have pictures from 4 different cemeteries in Baltimore County. It has worked for me, to stay at the County Level, and not create a City level or piece of the filename.

This system has worked for me, but it took a little thought, and to figure out how best to sort the information. It also helps keeping  names consistent.

I do a lot of copy / paste of the Filename. I use a Type Once, Paste a lot mindset.

Here is a link to the Mondays with Myrt Hangout I mentioned earlier.

PromoSHOA

Mondays with Myrt – 07 Mar 2016


FINALLY Get Organized–Check In for January 03

March 9, 2016

Better late than never.

Because I started late, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on FINALLY getting organized. In fact, I have. I have set aside some time, almost every  day, to get “my stuff” organized. Living in an apartment for years, meant stuff in storage or some where away or better said, In The Way.

Getting the house in order, gardening, getting those “shaky leaves”, you know the real ones, the grass, and keeping the birds and squirrels happy takes time. With the Christmas break and not being able to do “stuff’ I am taking the time to get the Genea-Cave in order.

So, how have I stacked for the January Check List:

IMDoingIT

Date Task Status
01/03/16 Clean off the computer desk and make piles for everything That was done, but making the desk workable, is “work in progress”
  Check your office supplies With an office supply house just down the street. done
  Set Up Computer Desk I had a plan to have someone build me one like the one that Mr. Myrt build for DearMYRTLE – Change in plans have turned out OK
  Designate a Red and Green Cliipboard Didn’t do this one with clipboards, but with specific workspace for that

There has been some fine tuning during this process, but the process is starting to pay off.


Finally Get Organized–Part 3, Scheduling

March 7, 2016

The calendar has rolled over to March. Yeah about a week ago, but …

This whole calendar thing might have gotten me off track for getting Organized. All of the Letters, All of those Photographs, so little time. Did I mention that I now have 4 large envelops of letters from my Cousin?

But looking at the next couple of months, my usual calendar for out side the home activities is pretty much under control. But, there is that word again, the person leading this FINALLY Get Organized, DearMYRTLE and I are jointly giving four presentations in Fairfax, Virginia the first weekend in April and I have one of them to do. Not a new presentation, but one that I had “retired” due to the subject at hand and some other events in the community that I hang out it.

IMDoingIT

The topic that Myrt and I thought I could present was a talk on “Information Overload”, well hope appropriate is that.

A couple of comments I have seen as this series of blog posts have made their rounds folks want me to follow those BOS’s (Bright Shiny Objects). Since Information Overload is about several thousand Shaky Leaf Hints, talk about BSO’s, I wonder IF there is time to GET ORGANIZED.

Stay tuned as I go through my Genealogy Tool Box to see if there IS a way to do “all of the above” and to get organized while doing that.

I’m thinking about getting back to those 5 generations item on the FINALLY Get Organized Check List has a role in THIS Information Overload.


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