Friday, April 22, 2016

2nd Genealogy Class: The Research Process, April 13, 2016

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Now that we have recorded all the family information we know, it’s time to begin the research process. With the wealth of information on the internet it is very easy to get sidetracked. That’s why we need a plan before we start. Instructor Margie Beldin provided a detailed outline for making that plan in her handouts available at the TCGS website (click here to go to the Education page).

Her advice is to work on one family at a time and include all family members, their friends, associates, and neighbors (the F.A.N. Club). Margie included a worksheet template for recording our research plans. Besides working on one family at a time, Margie says we should limit the research to one individual in the family and one specific question at a time. Here again this will keep our research from getting sidetracked on rabbit trails. She suggests we pick off the easiest objectives first.

A little time spent planning where to search can help this process. Margie provided a copy of the U.S. Record Selection Table with sources for life events. She brought a copy of the book The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Third Edition (the latest version) by Szucs & Luebking containing just under 1000 pages of resources. Both Richland and Kennewick Family History Centers have copies of this. Kennewick may have the latest version but Richland does not. Family History Wiki has the latest version available to anyone.

It also helps to learn about records in the places your family members lived. The Family History Wiki also has the Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Red Book is organized by state and is very easy to use. It led me quickly to my mother’s California birth record (I knew the date and town) and the information that birth records were not kept in Kentucky when my father was born. The Kennewick F.H.C. also has the Red Book.

The research plan template in our handout is a place to record the family and person we will research and what we want to know about them. (Remember, one question at a time!) Adding the sources we want to check will make it easier to focus our research. I’ve found this especially helpful when I’m going to the Family History Center or to Yakima for research.

The Beginning Genealogy classes are scheduled through December (except July and August) before monthly TCGS general meetings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. This second class was attended by 26 people and gave me great ideas for my research. The 3rd session of Beginning Genealogy will be on Recording and Sourcing. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finding Our Way through the DNA Maze

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Genetic genealogy uses DNA testing along with traditional genealogy, but it cannot replace
traditional methods. It can add an incredibly useful dimension to traditional genealogy. Margie Beldin and Marianne Orton titled their April meeting program “A Taste of Genealogy.” Their “taste” led us through more science than many of us have seen in years!

The reason for so much science is that there are three kinds of genealogy tests available. To find what we are looking for we need to know what each test can and cannot do. There are also limits to what the tests can find. The more we know about the science behind DNA, the better we can tailor it to our research needs. DNA testing is just one more tool in our genealogy research toolbox.

There is much more to absorb about DNA than can be done in an evening program but Margie and Marianne provided a handout to help that process. It includes sources for written and video formats. If you missed the meeting you will find the handout on the TCGS website (click here to go to the “Meetings and Events” page).

Ethnicity testing is available from all three tests. Autosomal DNA (atDNA) not only suggests your ethnicity but could possibly also find relatives within five generations (for relatives that are also in the database). This test is for both the mother’s and the father’s lines.

Testing of mothers’ lines is done from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Unlike the autosomal, it doesn’t stop at five generations but goes all the way back to deep ancestry. It is the same for fathers’ lines, done from Y chromosome testing (Y-DNA, or guY-DNA).

Something to remember is that we only get half our DNA from each parent. If it is still possible to have your parents tested that is of prime importance. If that is not an option find a sibling or cousin to test or your mother's sisters or your father's brothers. The more people tested in your family the better the results will be because DNA must be compared with others’ DNA to find the links in our ancestry. Testing of the maternal and paternal lines requires direct descendants. If you are female, you would need yourself for your mother’s line and your brother for your father’s. If no siblings are available then aunts, uncles, cousins are another option. Grandchildren would also work but there would be even less of your parents' DNA.

Testing is available from Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe. See the handout (click here to go to the “Meetings and Events” page) for links to their websites. The meeting was well attended with 61 people.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Filling in the Holes, Beginning Genealogy Classes

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep 

Most of us learned genealogy a little at a time as we pieced together our family histories. I started that way about 2 ½ years ago but found this left holes in my background. Margie Stein Beldin gave us an organized way to begin research in this first Beginning Genealogy class on 9 March 2016.

Identify Known Family Information was the March topic. Margie provided sample forms as a starting place. These are available at the TCGS website (click here to go to the Education page). The computer will be a major tool in our research with genealogy software access and on-line searching capabilities.
TCGS Education Chairperson,
Margie Stein Beldin

The second step is to record what you know about your family; she provided a form to free-flow family details. There is also an LDS booklet for recording the same kind of information. You can order this booklet at the website in the 
My Family link.  The third step is to look through your house for family history records. I think many people would be surprised at the records they already have on hand. She also gave us a checklist of documents we might find in our homes.

The nitty-gritty of genealogy is recorded on pedigree charts for multiple generations, and family group records for details of one couple and their children. As you gather information and complete pedigree and family group records you need to think about organization. That was a major hole in my background as I’d gathered a number of documents and it became hard to locate information in the pile. Margie recommended we make a loose-leaf notebook for each of our parents. This can solve the “pile” problem.  I’ve found that a pile will avalanche once it reaches critical mass!

The Beginning Genealogy classes are scheduled through December before monthly TCGS meetings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. This first class was well attended and gave me great ideas for my research.

(or the Education tab on the TCGS website) (My Family tab on the FamilySearch website)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Janis Littlefield Crosses the Pond in Salt Lake City

As the Archived Document Contest came to an end entries submitted in March provided us a lot to appreciate. For an entire year we enjoyed stories of fellow researchers’ successes by finding information to enhance their research in locations that were not on the Internet. It was a little surprising that new sources could be exposed in this last month.

Mary Kircher Roddy submitted a Last Will and Testament that was over 200 years old and was filed in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Mary didn’t find this document online, but she didn’t have to travel to Virginia to obtain a copy of it either. She located it on a microfilm at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City.

Linda Stephens shared a story of heirloom napkin rings that had been turned into Sterling Silver bracelets. The pre-1890 napkin rings had been engraved with the names of family members, and this information led to additional curiosity. The curiosity led to a telephone call to a cemetery, who provided scanned images of 8 documents of family information.

Janis Littlefield won the contest for March with her submittal of a Wurttemberg Emigration document. In the late 1800s individuals that wanted to emigrate (or leave) Germany, often did so through Wurttemberg. In order to be given permission to emigrate they were required to file an application. Many did sneak out of the country, but later found it necessary to send documents back to Germany to complete immigration requirements into another country. Documents collected included family history information often complete with copies of records. This collection contains over 60,000 names and fills 8 volumes. Janis found her family in this collection while researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. She was able to identify three generations in one record. She declares it the best document for “crossing the pond”.

Janis wins an annual subscription to Fold3 for her winning entry. Fold3 is one of genealogist’s beloved websites. It focuses on military history and claims to have more than 482 million original documents available to browse and download.

The Archived Document Contest is officially closed. In the next month the judges have some important work to do. The twelve winning entries from each of the year’s monthly contests will be reviewed to determine two winners. The judges will be reviewing everything from 20th century vital records to Civil War era letters. They will examine documents that tied researchers to various generations of ancestry. They will once again be exposed to records written not only in English, but also in French and German. The two final prizes are a subscription to and Winners will be announced in May 2016 and announcements will be made in this blog and on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page.