Saturday, July 29, 2006
Pick one ancestor to start with. Then of course there are more forms to use! Also you will need a computer database to enter you information into. It really will get overwhelming if you don't.
Census Charts These charts will help you to read the originals or you can use them to transcribe the information from the originals that pertain to your ancestors.
Individual Research Chart These will help you record all information about one particular ancestor as well as a chronological list of event in their life that will aid in your research.
Another Great Web Site of Genealogy Forms and Chart
Now that you have an ancestor to research and you know what information is unknown. There is a few more forms you will need!
Research worksheet This one is a must. I used this form and added a few things to it. This was the first page. The second page has a section to write down all the questions that need to be answered. Then the bottom half of the second page has three columns; Set Goal, Source, Results. If you would like a copy of this form please email me. I would be glad to share it.
Now lets get started. The first place I recommend any beginner to start is on Ancestry.com. Ancestry seems to always have a two week free trial period. Take advantage of it. Here you can find census records, birth, death, and sometimes marriage records. The census records and the WWI records you can view and print the originals. Most other records are just indexes so you will need to send off for the originals. There are also some newspaper articles available on Ancestry. Simply enter you ancestors name and date range as well as the place they were born, died and or lived. Be open to misspelled names as well as census records with other incorrect information. You may actually find your ancestor and not know it if your don't consider all possibilities.
Another place for online research is on RootsWeb. Again there are index records and family trees and histories to look through. Searching for your ancestor works the same way as ancestry. Enter as much information as you can. The best part though is Roots Web is FREE!
Always keep in mind that other people do research and post their information on these websites. Consider anyone else's work only a clue to your ancestors existence. Do not look it as fact. There is a great deal of information posted on the web that is incorrect. Use what you find to give you a clue as to where you might find you ancestor. Also contact anyone who appears to be researching the same family line. You will be amazed at how many people love to share their information. You may even be lucky enough to find someone with photos of your family members.
Remember keep your files organized, use as many forms as possible that help you in your search, contact others researching the same family or surname, post what information you can prove at least on Roots Web so others can find you, and if you ever get stumped I'm here to help.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
It turns out this gal who contacted me for help is Bobette Bryan a web graphics designer. She signed me up today for a life long membership to access of her web graphics! I am flattered. I didn't think I had helped her that much, though I'm certainly not done looking, but this was so unexpected. I do this because I love it, but if I'm looking at making money at it in the future I guess I'm on a roll.
Check out her web site. I absolutely feel in love with her Vintage Collection!
Now I just need to find out how I can add some of her wonderful vintage pieces to this blog. I'm sure Bobette can help me since I'm not a web designer!
Thanks Bobette, this is truly a wonderful gift.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
James finally had to give in a call in sick to work yesterday. He has pushed himself to the limit and his body refused to get going yesterday. What ever time he hasn't spent working over time to pay for this endeavor he has spent working on the remodel project.
We only have enough for my front window that I need to order, left. So this little project will be coming to an end after we finish the front porch, which we have the wood for. I don't know if I will get grass this year, that may have to wait. But it really looks amazing compared to the old front yard. For the life of me I can't find a picture of the old front yard. I'll have to keep looking because it is a big difference!
For now I will post a serious of photos of what it currently looks like.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
So lets get started. The first thing you will need to do is download and print several charts and forms for compiling your information. You need to write down everything you know about your family in an organized set of forms that will help you to start searching. Here are all the forms you will need:
Family Group Sheet
These are the two main forms to get started. Grab a package of sharpened pencils and set down and fill in as much information as you can using the photos, documents and your memory. Now for some of you this will be easy and you will have a great deal of information to start off with. For others this may be more difficult.
Here are two more pieces to add to your arsenal of information gathering.
Family Interview Also on this site you will find other related articles to help you learn how to interview your family members in order to efficiently unlock the clues of the past.
Very Detailed Family Interview!
Interview as many relatives as you can about themselves and what they remember of the family. It's important to keep in mind that unless they are speaking of themselves consider the information just clues. Second hand accounts may be inaccurate.
Keep a log of your interviews and interview attempts. You may have some relatives resistant at this time, but when they realize the rest of the family is really getting into what you are doing and it gets exciting they may be willing to get involved later. So keep a log that you can go back to and try to revisit those relatives.
Correspondence Log This link will take you to a great article about maintaining a correspondence log. Also included in this article is another link to many other useful forms such as the ones above.
Keep in mind that you need to gather as much information as possible before you start your search. Your search will be a great deal easier if you gather information about relatives living in the 1930's and before. For me that was my grandparents, but where I had information on great grandparents my search became much easier.
The title of this page will take you to a website of someone I consider to be very helpful for the beginner. Emily Ann Croom is the author of Unpuzzling Your Past, a wonderful book. I bought her book of worksheets a while back and it has helped me to be even more efficient in my search. Take a moment to read some of her articles as well.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Now it's time to organize all the paperwork you have that pertains to your family history. You will need a file cabinet or files boxes, hanging file folders, and manila or colored folders. There are three ways you can choose to organize your files.
- Surname: You can choose to organized based one each surname in your family. Create a hanging file for the surname and then create a manila folder for each family group, using the head of household's name (and possible birth year if the name repeats).
Location: File everything based on the state then subdivide by county or even city. This maybe useful if you have different surnames from different locations and you do most of your searches based on location.
Document Type: File each record based on the type of record. Keep marriage records together or death records together. Then assign a sequential number to each item and write it on an index at the front of the folder.
Next decide on the system that works best for you. For me I choose to use the surname system, but I took it one step further, by color coding the files. First assign a hanging file for each surname. Next I created a file folder for each family group with in that surname. Last I created a color chart and color coded the folders. My chart looked something like this:
1) Ancestors of James Shannon Crooks (my hubby)
a) Earl Porter Crooks
b) Ruth Ann Ward
c) Sam Clifton Riddle
d) Estelle Connor
2) Ancestors of Amy Christine Woolsey
a) Albert Lee Woolsey
b) Olivia Joyce Jenkins
c) Von Joseph “Rusty” Roe
d) Mary Ellen Hayes
Then I applied my chart to all of my folders. All folders that pertained to my husband family had a thin blue highlight across the top, and for my family it was pink. Then the four ancestors below our name represented our four grandparents and their family lines. So that each file a one color at the top to represent mine or my husband’s line and then the rest of the tab was color coded according to the family line that the file belonged to. I will say this method has worked wonderful for me. When I research I generally stick to one person or one particular family. With this method I can go to my file pull out the family I want to work on and set down at my desk with out. If I’m going to the library I may take out a few families I hope to find information on and take with me. With this method it is neat, organized, easy to use, and easy to transport.
Now that you have the system that works for you it’s time to starting filing. In each file I also made sure to include a family group sheet and at the front of each surname file was a pedigree. However you may not yet have that, and I will discuss both of these forms later. First you need to just start filing. As you add more generations and families to your pedigree you will also add more files.
Photo copies; there are certain things like newspaper articles, documents, and scraps of paper that you will want to photo copy as you go. Newspapers will yellow and crumble over time, as will old documents, so it is a good idea to have a photo copy as a back up. Place your originals in an archival safe sheet protector to keep them unnecessary damage. All those scraps of paper you have been write notes on photo copy them on to 8.5”x11” paper so that your files stay neat and don’t bulge with little sheets of paper, also there is a greater chance of loosing the little pieces of paper rather then the full sheet.
Once you have photo copied and filed all your documents, letters, and notes you will be on your way to a much more organized and less stressful search for your ancestors. The next step is to begin searching. I will get you started on that in my next post. Until then you may want to consider other areas of your desk, office and work space that may need to be organized to make you search more efficient, such as a card file for contact information, holder for pencils, pens and highlighters, all of which you will need, a shelf for books you will buy to improve you methods of searching, and last a few files for articles you will collect about genealogy, areas you are searching, and history for time periods you are searching.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
To me the most rewarding part of my search for my ancestor are the photos I find and that others so graciously share. When you can put a face to the name and see that they really did exist it's indescribable the way you feel.
There are several different ways you can organize and preserve your photos. You can chose one or a combination of methods.
- Scrapbooks This method is fun. It is also a great way to show off your photos and include information about the people and events in the photos. However be careful when scrapbooking to make sure that all material is acid free. Also as much as you want to do not cut your photos. What may not be important to you now may be invaluable to a genealogist in the future. Such as a car with a license plate, or a picture of the family in front of the house that 10 years later is torn down, these items can help to date a photo. If you would like to do scrapbooking you can check it out by searching the internet, there are too many sites to list, check out your arts and crafts store, photos shop, or even Wal Mart carries a good selection of scrapbooking material, though read every label to make sure it is archival safe.
- Boxes Okay I know I told you to get your photos out of the boxes, but you can still use boxes, but they just need to be organized and labeled in some fashion that will make it easy for future generations to search through and view your life. There is a large variety of boxes out there for photo storage, Clamshell boxes, crafted removable lid boxes, photo frame boxes, wooden, plastic or cardboard. It doesn't matter what style you use, what you need to make sure is that it is archival safe and organized. Now you can organize them by surname if your purpose if for mostly family research, or by events in chronological order, or a combination. Maybe you want a tab with a surname behind that tab are all pictures that pertain to that surname, but then maybe behind that you want a tab for weddings with those pictures, anniversaries, reunions, graduations, and so forth.
- Photo Albums These are the great old time favorites of most families. I'm sure some of your photos are already in a few. These are also just as great as scrapbooking, though not as decorative. However, they are still a great way to create a book with pictures and captions talking about the people in the photos so that you can share them with others. Some people find photo albums a little easier to do the scrapbooks. There are also many beautiful photo albums out there to use. Again make sure that the pages are archival safe.
What ever method you choose to use, here is what you must consider.
- Is is archival safe? I can't stress that enough. You don't want your great granddaughter to come across you wedding photo some day in an album and not be able to see your face because the photo has faded beyond recognition.
- Is it simple enough that you will continue to use it? Don't choose scrapbooking as your only method if you are only going to get one book started and then throw everything back in a boxes and gine it back to the dark, dreary basement again. That doesn't serve the purpose. If you don't have a lot of time then simply choose the box method. Make tabs and then organize your photo in the boxes. Make sure to write information on the back with a soft pencil as you go.
- Will future generations be able to view and understand the people and events when you are gone? Make sure to label all photos either on the back or with a caption below it. Include name, dates, places, and events.
- Last but not least make copies and give to other family members. This way in the event something catastrophic happens to your home and contents those photos will not be lost forever. I'm sure they will be gracious enough to make copies and give back to you.
The last thing to think about is what will happen with your photos and heirlooms when you are gone. Make sure that you have a data base or a file somewhere that expresses who is to get what item when you pass away. This way there is no question to your intentions. The best method is to have a will with every precious item listed and the recipient. Then to further enforce it find a way to put that person's name on the item, or on the container it is stored in. If each generation the item is passed down to continues to do this then it will also serve as a record of each person who has owned the item.
If you have any other methods that you and your family use to preserve, label and designate the next heir of your precious heirlooms and photo please share them with us. I'm sure there are many other methods out there. What ever works for you just make sure it will preserve and be very clear for the next generation to come.
He got a new bike from Grandma and Grandpa for his birthday and is loving life right now.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Right now they are in serious need of formula. Maybe you have some still left from your baby that you just switched to milk. Those of you who live in the Spokane and Cda area know this nursery well. Lets help them out. They have helped so many families. The key is they also help the families work through their crisis in order to stay together as a family, so lets not leave them in crisis.
I guess some of my buddies on Huckleberries Blog had a challenge going for elected officials to donate formula. I have yet to hear how that went, but that doesn't mean more of us can't get involved. They will appreciate any help they can get.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The first part of your family search is gathering information. Where do I start gathering information? In your own home. Go through you attic, basement, chests, and hutches. You will want to gather up all of your photos, certificates, letters, heirlooms (or at least a list of the items), diaries, and books about your family.
Okay, now what do you do with that pill in the living room floor!!? Don't panic, but do pick a place where you can spread everything out for a few days while you work on this. Preferably where the dog won't get it, your hubby won't trip over it, and the kids won't get their sticky paws on it.
Now start separating all of that into piles. One for photos, one for letters, one for heirlooms, another for books and diaries and so forth. Now the books and diaries are the easiest, start there. These are either yours or they have been passed down in the family. What you don't want is for them to deteriorate, so you can pass them on for the next several generations. Air and sunlight are their enemy. As much as I'm sure you would love to display them on a shelf with pride, DON'T. What you need to get are some book boxes to put them in. They need to be archival safe boxes. Here is a list of websites you can visit that offer many types of archival safe products.
Check out these websites to get an idea of the types of boxes you want and will need to preserve your books. Gravity is also another enemy of books, especially heavy ones. So once you get your boxes, label them on one side so you can see what book(s) you placed in them and then lay the box flat on the shelf, not on it's end.
If this is not an option for you then what you can do won't be as good, but can help to prolong the life of you families books. Find a dark and dry room with very little dust and a moderate temperature, and put your shelf there. Then place your books on that shelf again laying flat, this will save the spin for years to come.
Now the books are out of your way. It's just a dent, but your making progress. Now lets set down and work on the family heirlooms. Some may be very large, others may be small like rings. As much as possible you want to set down at your computer and type up information that you will then attach to each family heirloom.
The information should include the first ancestor to first own it and how it was passed down in the family, and if there is any certain pattern to be followed for the future generations. The date if know when it was first purchased or given as a gift to the first ancestor, and by whom the gift was given. Also include any special story that tells if it was given for an event in that persons life or just because great grandpa cherished and loved great grandma.
Now find acid free labels to print the information on. You may want sheet size so you can cut it to whatever size is needed. Then attach it in a very inconspicuous place. For example on great grandma's oak table attach the label on the underside of the table, you may also want to put a smaller one on each of the chairs so it is understood those chairs stay with that table. But then you will have many items that do not have that kind of room or that you do not want to attach a label to such as a purse or quilt. If it is cloth you could consider making or having made an embroidered label and attach it so that it does not distract from the heirloom.
The only reason I say label each item if possible is if for some reason it is stolen or if you pass away and the rest of the family doesn't pay attention, they may see this label later and realize what they have, or someone else may find it and make an effort to reunite it with your family. But no mater if you use labels or not, you most definitely should create a data sheet of your heirlooms, listing the items, a description, who was the first ancestor, how it was passed down, the dates and places as well as the story behind each item. Then put it in a safe place, like a fire safe, make several copies and give to your children or other family member, and then just cross your fingers that nothing bad ever happens. But if God forbid you have a fire, robbery, flood or any other disaster hopefully you will be able to recover the items or at least prove to you insurance, though anything they pay you in restitution would not even compare to it's real value to you. Also include photos of each item.
Next lets tackle the pictures. Some of them you treasure and hang on your wall. I do too, but are they safe from their natural enemies, sunlight and moisture. Yes the ones on your walls are just as important to organize as the big old box from you basement. Check through these steps for each wall photo
- Get it OUT of SUNLIGHT! If you want to show off your photo then consider a low watt spot light in a darker room.
- Get the GLASS OFF the PHOTO! If you want glass over the photo to protect it from dust, flies, and scratches you can. The only safe way to do that is with a matting around the photo, or if it is in a frame you can't part with then consider taking the photo out and placing thin strips of card board between the glass and the photo, but where the frame will hide it this will put space so that the glass does not touch the photo. But be careful when removing. Move slowly because it may already be too late. If your photo has stuck to the glass, stop don't go any further. Consult a professional framer or photographer. They may or may not be able to help you depending on the damage.
- Make sure that you label the back of the photos. Use a soft pencil to write down the names of all in the photo, as well as the place and date it was taken and by whom.
- Last find a nice place as described in 1 to display your wall portraits with pride and place your spot lights on them if you choose.
Then the fun begins. But I'm going to stop here. I will continue this later. The next thing we will go over is that pile of loose photos. So for now work on your heirlooms, those books, and your wall portraits. Believe it or not this is just as important to find and preserving you family history as the hunt that will follow later, but if you don't organize first the hunt may become too daunting later.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Okay now here is where I am going with this blog. Several months ago I discussed going in a genealogy direction with it. Some suggested I only put up information on "how to," But to do that it takes a lot of time to find new material. Then as I discussed yesterday someone found me through Googleing a name of our ancestor that brought her to my blog. So this is what I will do. When I can easily come up with ideas and suggestions for "how to" I will post it, but in between will be blogs of ancestors I am looking for, interesting stories of my ancestors, as well as my business. Yes that's right I am in the process of doing this professionally.
The name of my business will be Untangled Family Roots. I am almost done with UPS. Justin has his surgery (it's minor to remove his adnoids) in a few weeks, we got our glasses, and we are almost done with the dentist. So I should be quitting here in about one to two months. When I do I will start doing research not only for myself but for others who don't have the time and patients to set and do what I do all do. I also plan to ad on two other related pieces to my business. One will be photo restoration (when I get the software) and the other will be selling individual digitally printed books to people from things relating to family events, a person, or their genealogy.
Speaking of photos I have recently discovered a wonderful website, called DeadFred. One of the most rewarding things when doing your family research is when you find a photo. There are so many of my ancestors that I have all the facts about. I knew where they lived and in some rare, but wonderful, cases I know special details about their life that tell me more about who they were. But to find photos of your ancestors well that's just icing on the cake. For me I have obtained many of my photos through reaching out to other researching the same family lines I am. In the genealogy world, for the most part, it is filled with gracious and generous people always willing to share what they have found and always looking for more. It is because of several new cousins I have found in my online searches that I now have faces of those ancestors to cherish forever. With each one of them I have also been able to share the few cherished photos I had. But DeadFred is another wonderful place you just might find a photo of your ancestor. Check it out. Some photos are simply listed as a mystery photos while others do have details of names and places for one or all people in the photo. Maybe after years of building your cake, you'll finally find your icing.
Another must have for an serious genealogists is a subscription to Ancesrty.com. I know there are other website out there that have some of the same information for free, but if you spend hours looking for your ancestors and maybe helping other friends look for theirs you want access to as many records in one places conveniently searchable as possible. That's not to rule out the other site though, such as USGenWeb, Rootsweb.com, or any of the others listed in my side bar. They are all important for conducting a through search for your ancestor.
But it can't all be done online. At some point you need to take it on the road. I am at that point now. I have found about all I can on our family through online research. My next step is to hit the library, courthouses, and Family History Centers. At this time though I will just have to put it all on hold. Without a second vehicle, the kids home for the summer and still working it's just not possible to do. I hope to start going maybe by October. When I do I will tell you more about what you can find and expect at each place. Then by next summer I hope to load up the kids, maybe my husband, and my in-laws and take their motor home back to Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and at some point South Carolina where many of our ancestors come from. Until then I will post what information I have on my ancestors here in hopes that someone will see and offer or ask for more information, and keep searching online in the hopes that someone has posted something new.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Laura on the other hand I know almost nothing about other than that she married William Monroe Conner and had 14 children.
William Monroe Conner was born 15 Mar 1868 somewhere in Missouri. He meet his wife Laura Alice Barnett and married her when she was only 12 about 1891 in Missouri. This of course didn't set very well with her family since they were to get married later on. I believe there was also an issue with her family because she was full blooded Cherokee and William was only partial Cherokee. Laura was born on 14 Feb 1876 somewhere in Missouri.
It appears that had at least the first and maybe the second child in Missouri before they relocated to Williamson County, Texas. I found them in Williamson County, Texas in the 1900 census.
By 1920 the family has moved to Martin Township, Harmon County, Oklahoma.
Then in 1930 I finally found them on the family farm, that Grandma remembers, living in Dryden Township, Harmon County, Oklahoma.
From what Grandma remembers she believes that Laura died around 1970 in Hollis or Dryden, Oklahoma. I have not been able to find death records for her or a grave in the Harmon County area. Our fear is that the family begin to burry their loved ones on the farm in Dryden and that now the graves are lost. Laura lost the farm because she couldn't pay the taxes after William died, so there is no telling for sure.
Her birth information was copied from her bible many years ago. It now seems to be lost or in the hands of one of the branches of the family we have yet to make contact with. Her marriage was an estimate on my part based on information from different family members and the birth of the first child. However, the cousin who just contacted me may have her marriage record. I'll try to get a copy from her later to confirm a date.
One of the cousins that contacted me last week was the one to confirm what we had suspected for some time, Laura was full blooded Cherokee. She remembered seeing a photo of Laura as a child in Indian attire and standing in front of a tee-pee in Missouri. I wished we knew where that photo was now.
I've tried to put a picture I have of William and Laura on here, but it doesn't seem to be working for me today. I'll try again some other time. If anyone out there knows any information on this Conner family from Texas and Oklahoma there are several of us doing this research and would greatly appreciate any information you can share.
Yesterday I had a distant cousins on my husband's Conner side of the family contact me. She is married to the grandson of Washington Leon Conner. All along our family had thought Leon was stabbed to death somewhere at a young age and never had a family. But here he lived to an old age and died in 1976 after marring and having a family! Now how cool is that!