Sunday, July 24, 2011
First of all I'd like to welcome any newcomers to my blog. I would like to tell you why/how I started genealogy and show you the information I request when starting work for a client.
As a child, my mother was always involved in this thing called "genealogy". I knew what the word meant, but really thought that she was a little "crazy" for spending hours transcribing cemeteries, cutting out obituaries, going to the LDS library and reading microfilm, etc. My brother and I would just roll our eyes and dad patiently took her on little trips to "research".
I grew up very close to my paternal grandparents, but never knowing my maternal grandparents as they had already passed away. Any maternal relatives lived hundreds of miles away and we visited them on train trips a few times during my childhood.
As I went about my life, my family grew smaller and smaller very gradually until my paternal grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of nearly 107. I hadn't really experienced much death and I was already in my forties. I had since become interested in scrapbooking, but realized that I had very few photos of my extended family and began to think of those grandparents that I never knew. As a matter of fact, I had never even seen a photo of my maternal grandmother. I began wondering if I looked or acted like her. I knew that I looked like a clone of my mother. I began wondering what my mother's childhood had been like, and how she grew up. I wanted to make a photo album for each of my grandparents and their lives. I asked a scrapbooking expert how I could make a scrapbook album for my maternal grandmother or other ancestors when I didn't even have photos, or know anything about them. The expert suggested that I write a letter to my grandmother, ask her questions, etc., and scrapbook that. As I contemplated doing this, my curiosity got the better of me and I prayed to God that I would be sent a photo of my grandmother so I could just see her.
Now I knew God wouldn't just email me a photo and so I started to ask cousins, looked for more distant cousins and family to see if they had photos. Soon I had to start family group sheets to keep them straight, search for addresses and phone numbers online. In a very short time I started to have more and more "cousins" and my family grew. Before I knew it, I was infected by the genealogy bug. As the disease grew, and I searched, I began sharing what I had learned and doing RAOGK (random acts of genealogy kindness). People had helped me and I wanted to pay it forward.
Two years ago I was in a bad car accident. I became disabled and found the time to look at my life and ask God what he wanted me to do with it. I feel that I have been given a gift to connect people with their loved ones, and their heritage. I have decided to try and make this not only a hobby, but my life's work. People always say, "find what you love and do it", and that's my story.
I've helped friends and strangers. I've recently started a website which is at the top of my blog. I still do RAOGK and free work for benefits and referrals, or just for fun, but I also need to make a living like everyone else. So far God has provided me with "enough", but as that old joke goes, if God sends you a boat as your floating out in the middle of a lake with out a paddle, you better grab on for your life.
As a side note, I'd like to advise you all to write down those little gems your family tell you, even if you think they're insignificant or that "you will always remember". I wish I would have picked up a pen and journal years ago. Start asking questions....do you know your dad's favorite color, or what was his favorite Christmas present? What does your mother remember about her grandparents. Are you sure you know where she was born? Do you know who is in their old photographs that have been hidden away for years, or maybe they've been hanging on the wall and "just always been there".
I am posting my initial questionnaire for starting work for a client. Maybe it will help you get started. There are free genealogy forms on the net (if you can't find them, contact me). There are also some ideas and techniques for interviewing your family to get started.
Just one warning though....you may become "infected"!!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Recently I asked a family member to review a client folder for me. He is intelligent and has been around people who do Genealogy all his life. He reviewed the folder for me, but said as a layperson he did not understand the charts that I had included. Specifically he did not understand what a Pedigree Chart or Family Group Form was, what the abbreviations meant, or how to interpret them. In this post I will attempt to explain what these charts are and how to read them.
The first Chart that is essential for a genealogist is a Pedigree Chart. See the image below:
The way this chart would be read or filled out would be to put your name on the most left line. Then you might see underneath b, p, m, p, d, p, or pb. These abbreviations are for "born", "place", or "place born", "marriage", "marriage place", "death", "death place". On some charts such as this there is a line underneath the primary or first person. This line is for the spouse of the first person (your) spouse. Next you will add your father, up and to the right, then his father (your grandfather), and on as far as you can go. Then go down and to the right of the primary person (you), and do your mother's line (maternal), her parents, etc. If you need to go to a second sheet, the last grandparent on the right hand of the sheet as the primary person (there will be a number by there name), On the top of the page write this is the same as #? on page #1.
Now for a Family Group Sheet, you are making a chart for just one parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle. This is where you can list/find cousins, who they married, etc. and get a little more detail and insight into one specific family or generation. See example below:
The rest of the chart is pretty self explanatory. You would write the head of the family that you are completing the chart for, then his wife, then their children and all the information that you know about them.
When I started genealogy my goal was to find family photos to scrapbook. It was important for me to find living descendants of these families to obtain photos for their ancestors who would be related to me, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Quite often if an elderly parent died near a child or in their home, that child would have inherited family photos.
Sometimes if you can't find a grandparent on a record for your direct line on a resource (marriage license, death certificate, obituary, etc.), you might find it on one of their siblings records. This sheet will come in handy for many reasons.
These blank charts are readily available online for you to print for free. I don't want to mention specifically where on my blog, as these may become dated, and I don't want to promote just any particular site. Search any engine to find them, or...
If you have any questions about these forms, please feel free to email me at:
If you'd like some assistance in researching your ancestors, you may find my services and rates on my webpage at:
Saturday, April 16, 2011
While searching the net for ideas to created a "gratitude" jar, I pieced together what I think is a great, inexpensive Mother's Day gift. This idea is called a "Memory Jar". Using a large, wide mouth jar, or purchased clear plastic, round jar (found at a craft or scrapbook store) decorate the jar w/a "memories" or "Mother" theme. Think of 52 memories that involve your mother and you throughout the years, and type or write these memories onto pretty paper. Cut these into 52 separate pieces and place them in you jar. Tie a ribbon around your jar w/instructions to your mother to pull out one memory per week throught the year, for a priceless gift. *Note: If you do this w/one or more siblings, you can probably come up w/tons of "memories" in minutes.