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Methodology
User Rank: Contributor
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 24


Created By:Virginia

 I would like to start a discussion about strategies on various methods of genealogical research and how my fellow researchers organize their material.

Specifically, I am working on several extended family relationships in an attempt to link them with my known ancestors.  The purpose is to prove  or disprove these connections.

Do you use your genealogy software to accomplish this or do you use other methods?

From my experience with several genealogical programs, I find that they are great at recording facts, but not so great in helping to analyze possible, but not yet proved relationships. 

Thanks,

Ginny 


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 14


Created By:Maureen

I bought a version of Family Tree Maker about 6 years ago, but found it cumbersome and a time drain with not much to show for the effort to keep it accurate (I don't think it ever was).  I don't think I was ready for it. 

 

Over the years, Ancestry.com  has provided me with many connections but it is always up to me to verify.  I think of the trees as works in progress and only attach records.  I have found some useful leads in the trees, but wouldn't trust them in general.  Even my own as there are parts I haven't worked on in years and they're out of my vision most of the time.  That's why I make mine private as I don't consider it a done project yet. 

 

I have 3 or 4 file drawers full of manila folders of names full of the info I've been gathering.  I've been transcribing everything from my Ancestry tree into notebooks for the past year.  I make a copy of every record and each family gets a family sheet.  It's very time-consuming (especially when I'm adding and searching new stuff as much as I'm transcribing the old!) but gives me much pleasure to see the physical result.  And unlike a software program, it looks and feels like I'm making progress when I start a new notebook. 

 

I've found my on-line tree has lots of clutter that you can't see (mostly because it's out of sight unless you look for it)  until you go through and painstakingly have to remove every duplicate or unconnected name.  That is what I am trying to do for a half hour per day lately since I did just invest in the 2012 FTM.  I mostly want to use it to number the individuals in my tree so I can more accurately label the people in my notebooks.  There are other nifty features I know I will use, as well. 

 

The Ancestry option to "view relationship to me" is very useful in helping decide if someone already attached to a tree is really connected (sometimes it says there is no connection if it's a duplicate and that is helpful too).  I've been using that as I go through the list of people in the tree page by page to delete.

 

The Places section of FTM is fun, but I haven't figured out how to get it accurate yet.  My mother was born in South Boston, but it places her in France.  I think the confusion has something to do with place names of records attached to my tree.  But as I plan genealogical trips to places my family once lived, it's helpful to see if the street still exists and to see a somewhat recent bird's eye view of the area.  That way I won't get too excited thinking I'll be going home to the farm and find an industrial complex waiting.

 

So, no, I would not rely on any software to make any connections, but it can provide tips and enhance and organize the results.


User Rank: Contributor
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 24


Created By:Virginia

I do use Ancestry's family tree section for some of my known ancestry.  But, I hesitate to post my unproved line or lines.  I do think it could be useful to expose this proposed line in hopes that a cousin might see it and confirm or disprove my connections.

But, my main question involved how do other researchers keep track of "possible" connections, while working through the process of researching?  I am tracing a great grandfather trying to identify his parents.  There is no birth record, he was likely orphaned at an early age, He owned no land, paid no taxes.  So, I am trying to nail this identity down by researching his siblings, and perhaps, cousins.  I have all these (for now) unconnected individuals.  I have them on my genealogy program (TMG), but I can only see one family at a time this way. 

I did create a chart with my proposed gg-parents in the center, with spokes radiating outward for each child, and from them for each grandchild.  This does help for a quick review.

So, I'm looking for ideas on how others handle this problem, and if your strategies are useful to you.  

Thanks,

Ginny


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 14


Created By:Maureen
I add a question mark after the name on my Ancestry tree to remind me it hasn't been verified.   That should alert others on a public tree, as well, yet allow you to continue to search/connect with others.
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 1/31/2012
Posts: 1


Created By:Susan Eldridge

 I use a combined approach. I started with FTM about 2-3 years ago, and put all the information that I could find about anybody to get my information organized. I broke all the rules and did a scatter-shot, rather than methodically doing one person at a time. I am fortunate to have both parents alive at 84 and 91, who have tons of pictures and stuff and can remember their grandparents. I also have unusual given and surnames, so with simple Google searches, I can find some relatives. I also have some famous relatives, such as foreign ambassadors, who are Congressional Records. There are 2 published sources that I can find my grand and great-grand parents in, so I could easily go back 9 generations on my mother's side.

 

Just about 2-3 months ago, I crossed my finders and published (privately) to Ancestors.com and came up, literally, with hundreds of leaves. I waded through these and sorted out probable vs. garbage. I am now going back through FTM, person by person and validating the information and making comments in the Notes section of to-do items, such as finding a missing census, or puzzles, such as why a mother-daughter pair is in 2 census records, one with the daughter's husband, and one without. But I know that the husband travelled as an engineer designing bridges, so maybe they were "summering at the shore" during the census. I am printing the FTM pages, alphabetically in a notebook.

 

Each environment has its advantages. FTM is a database front-engine, and Ancestry.com gives me easy access and linkages to all those references. They work hand-in-hand.

 

However, I also use paper and pencil to scratch out a new branch. For example, I have a typed letter from my father written by an Emma Newberry, who claims to be a decencent of Jerimiah Newberry who faught in the Revolution. There are apparently tons of Newberrys. There is a Thomas in the Great Migration book, who went from MA to Windsor CT. I have little scraps of paper on my desk everywhere with each sub-family, and have started a separate family in FTM-Ancestry to keep it organized, but it's still mostly on paper. However, I don't know how Emma relates to me ... sigh.

 

Hope this helps.


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 3/4/2013
Posts: 3


Created By:Terry G

I also use ancestry.com.  I have it linked to my FTM 2012 software as well, and I like the look/feel of the online tree.  The way I currently handle large chunks of new information that are not completely documented is to upload that information as a new tree.  (It can be merged into my tree only when proven with real sources and citations).

For example, one cousin has done a huge amount of research on his family.  I share a view into his tree on ancestry.com, and he shares a view into mine.  When we are comfortable with the data on a person, we copy each others info to our respective trees.   In this case, finding records on familysearch.org has helped prove out certain connections.

I found another link to my husband's Italian relatives, and found that there was a ged.com file containing many names.  A researcher was hired to pull this tree together years ago.  (although no backup documentation is connected with this file)   After many many weeks of digging through the un-indexed messina births/death/marriage records online, I found the proven connection to this family group!  However, I still won't bring all these names into my database until I have records for each of those people mentioned.

I have four different family trees that I use as reference data ..they contain the probable family branches that others have put together.  This method works for me right now, since I always know that my data is correct in my own family tree...and my best clues are sitting in those reference trees.

 


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 3


Created By:Lenora

I am sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of paper I have.  I use Ancestry and FTM.  I keep a copy of family group sheets in binders.  I keep source materials and notes in file folders (books go in the bookcase).  I periodically review a family file and the group sheets and charts and update programs as needed.  Sometimes I just need a fresh look to see something I missed, or to analyze something I received and filed because I was busy with another family.

I wish FTM and Ancestry would display two colors (red for maybe and black for certain).  I will, for example, include a child in a family and in the story indicate it has not been proven that the child belongs in that family.  

I have informal charts.  Sometimes it helps to see a husband and wife, all their children, and their children's children.  

I chase a lot of rabbits (siblings and their husbands, wives, children).  I want to avoid chasing the wrong rabbits and claiming someone as an ancestor who clearly is not.  

I don't think there is any program (FTM, Ancestry, etc.) that will make the analysis of material an easy process.  Paper, pencil, and sometimes staring at a page full of notes or a chart for hours is what we are stuck with.  That's part of what makes this so much fun and makes the "finds" exciting.  



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