Monthly Archives: March 2012

Genealogy Proof Standard Webinar Recording Released

I just wrapped up my webinar on the “Genealogical Proof Standard for the non-Professional” today. We discussed:

  • exhaustive searches
  • compilation and citation
  • resolving conflicts
  • and a variety of terms and definitions
Quick easy examples were given–complex problems can’t be used as numerous illustrations in an hour session. My goal was to get concepts across–and I think we did that. I could have kept talking for another hour. The intent of the session was to make the point that all of can learn something from implementing the standards in our research–whether we intend to “publish” or not. 

The recording (video and audio) along with the handout, can be ordered securely here for $8.50. Download is immediate and you can view as many times as  you want.

Wait to Proof Your Stuff

Proofreading your transcriptions of records and your research conclusions is always advised. Don’t proofread right after you finished something. Let it sit for a day or so if possible and go back to it. You’ll be surprised how many things you’ll catch when the material is cold.

And that will help you with some of those research challenges that we sometimes create ourselves.

Why I Cite

We are supposed to cite our sources so that others can find the material we found, we can go back to it if necessary, and we know what version, image, etc. we used. Those are all good reasons for citing our genealogical sources.

Personally I cite my sources because I learn about the sources when I do it. Thinking about how the copy/image came into my possession, who created it, where it was originally filed/stored makes me a better researcher.

Citing makes me a better researcher–even if no one ever reads a thing I write or thing I’ve cited.

Estate Values are Relative

If an inventory of an estate lists appraised values of items, be careful in comparing them to prices today. Values are not easy to “translate” over several hundred years. Try and compare the value of the item in question to other items in the same inventory or to other inventories from the same time period. An 1865 estate inventory indicated the deceased had $200 in a “stock of groceries.” That seemed like quite a bit. In fact that same amount was the listed value for a frame building he owned. This made it seem like the “stock of groceries” was more than what a family would have on hand for their own consumption. It turns out he was a saloonkeeper and the stock might have been used in the course of business.

Try and put amounts in perspective.

Not All Immigrants Became Citizens

Do not assume that every immigrant naturalized in his new country. If an immigrant was not interested in voting or running for political office, becoming a citizen might not have been high on his priority list before the early 20th century. Immigrants could often own land and sell and bequeath it without being a citizen–although those rights were governed by state statute.

So if you can’t find any proof that your 1860 immigrant naturalized, consider the possibility that he never naturalized.

Proving Benjamin Webinar Released

Today I presented “Proving Benjamin” discussing how 1850, 1870, and 1880 enumerations for a man in three different states were shown to be the same man. This New York native was born around 1820 in New York State and lived in Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, and possibly other states as well as Canada. Dealing with individuals with similar names, people who move all over, and conflicting information are discussed.

Compounding the issue is that Benjamin is enumerated with a different name in 1880. This webinar (and handout) can be ordered for $8.00 for immediate download.

Save or Print that Webpage

If there’s a website that has information you need, save the page to your hard drive or print it out for your own personal use again later. You never know when a website will go down forever. There was a website of cemetery inscriptions for one cemetery that after being up for ten years went “away.” And those inscriptions are not on any other cemetery website. Lesson learned.

1940 Census Webinar-1 April 2012

It’s no April Fool’s Day joke–the 1940 census is coming. Originally it will be unindexed–our webinar will discuss search strategies for those who want to search the census before the indexes go online.

This webinar will be held on 1 April 2012 at 3:00 PM Central–4:00 PM Eastern—1:00 PM Pacific.


Join us for “Searching the Unindexed 1940 Census.”
Register online for $4.