About Me

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I am a genealogy enthusiast with over 40 years of experience in assisting others complete their family trees. I love helping others complete their own personal ancestory. I specialize in Research and Data Entry with an emphasis on Southern Research. I am vailable for Lectures on numerous topics and am always open to creating a class on a new Subject. I am a Member of the DAR, the DUP and Acting Vice President of the SCGA


Bringing life to your ancestor

I often thought that the word Genealogy was a very cold word. It is a science in which a researcher brings names together through documented proof thus establishing family ties. Genealogy does not give the names characteristics or personalities. It does not create a history in which the names existed or explain the pains and reasons behind the footsteps they made for succeeding generations. Genealogy is a fact gathering science. I prefer the name Family Historian. The science of genealogy is kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and I often find myself searching for that lost piece. As I go I organize like pieces together in groups always searching for the one piece that will make them all fit together. Along the way I have discovered that the facinating part of the search is not the names but the History that links the pieces together. A puzzle piece with a personality has much more meaning to me than a piece with only one color.

I have often been asked how do I move the theory of genealogy to the practice of Family Historian. A good genealogist takes the time to become more than just a name gatherer. They become historians of the times, the places, and the movements of the names they are working with. They are constantly looking at neighbors, migration trends, history of the area, epidemics, political movements, and churches that might have affected the movements of the names they are gathering. History Books become relevent parts of their research. Land Records become more than just deeds and titles but stories about real people and real needs. Wars become more than just history but an intregal part of a names life often explaining sudden deaths, migrations, and missing family members. Political movements touched the lives of many names throughout history creating stories that should be written, explained and learned from. Wills often shed light on family relations both good and bad adding detail and life to otherwise simple names.

Genealogy may be a cold name but adding depth and history to it makes it a warm and satisfying experience. I may be a genealogist but above all I strive to be a Family Historian, creating stories with facts and personalities to the names I find. Creating a legacy of hope and honor filled with Pioneer determination for my descendents to read, understand and learn from. There is so much to be learned by adding the history to the names for those who walk after us.

Take the time to look a little deeper add the history to your ancestors. Gather more than just names. Remember they were once people with personalities, hopes and dreams and they each had a story to tell if you will just take the time to find it.


Sharing your knowledge

This week my goal was to see what I could do to help someone else with their genealogy and still sit in a hotel room all week. My options were my computer, the internet and the phone. I discovered that there are lots of ways to help without being gone from home all day long. First I tried indexing records for Family Search. By working about 20 minutes a day I was able to index 200 names in 3 days from the North Carolina 1920 census records. I also discovered that I could contribute to wiki.familysearch by contributing knowledge I had about the cemeteries in Fresno County. That project took about 4 hours as I learned to link each cemetery with an online database contributed by someone else. My new project. Putting together the cemeteries in Wilson County Tennessee, their location and linking them to online databases. Rather than searching in several databases you will be able to go to the wiki, find out the names of the cemeteries in Wilson Co and link to an online database. Pretty good I think. I even found some data that would help me with my own research in the process. By use of my phone I was able to help a friend back home work on her genealogy as she called to ask questions about how to do something. I discovered that a person can contribute to the genealogical field and help someone else from the comfort of a home or even a motel room. The possibilities are endless and the time spent on the projects much more productive than many other things I could find to spend my time on. Making research a little bit easier for someone else is well worth the effort that it takes to spend a little time each day contributing to indexing or the wiki projects and its a great way to learn to use your computer a little better.
I would challenge anyone who has some knowledge about the area they live in to take a few minutes each day and share it with others. Contribute your knowledge to the field of genealogy. You never know when your contributions will be just the clue needed by someone else to break down their brick wall. Above all have fun and enjoy the work you accomplish


Document as you research. A genealogist's lifesaver.

Many beginning researchers have to learn what it means to bear the burden of proof for what you find. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the find that they forget to gather the proper documentation for the facts they discover. When I first began so many years ago I would visit the Library copy a great deal of information, get excited and then leave. When I got home to put the documentation with the facts I often found my references missing the proper documentation. I knew it was my job to bear the burden of proof; but I was having so much fun that I forgot to copy the first pages with the details on the records I was working with.

Often experience is the best teacher and no matter how many times we hear a principle taught until we run up against the consequences of not listening we don't always remember the best procedures when accomplishing a task.

So from experience I have learned.
1. Always copy the first page of the book or film I am copying and attach it to my papers until I get home.
2. Document as I go not 10 days later when I don't remember all the details of the record well.
3. Create a trail that will lead other researchers to the works I found.
That includes dates, authors, repositories, microfilm numbers, ets.
4. Include all important documentaion pertaining to the original source. What type of record was it. Include Book Number Page or Record Number whenever possible.
5.Keep a reference log of what I use as I do my research. That way I know what wasn't of value and don't repeat my work next time I go.
6. Take lots of pencils and change.
7. Copy, copy, copy. It's faster and I would rather waste a few coins then not have enough time to accomplish my task.
8. Have fun, don't rush.
9. Do my homework before I get to the repository I am visiting. I always take a list of what I want to look at and who I am trying to research on.
10. Always take an alternate research list when I run out of leads on the one I am working on.

When you get home don't forget the 2nd important step in a research trip the evaluation. Once again experience has taught me the following lessons.
1. Document all facts
2. Evaluate each and every record
3. Was the information primary or secondary, original or a copy
4. Why was the record generated
5. What do you know about the author.
7. Attack the Credibility of the Witness. Did they make inconsistent statements. Was the witness biased, was there a defect in the capacity of witness to observe or did another witness have a conflicting story.
8. Ask yourself could the record be wrong
9. Question the custody of Record and where has it been

Many researchers would tell you that any fact is worthless until its source is proven correct. A necessary step in research is proving true the sources you use however all facts gathered whether proven or not can lead to new trails and should be examined closely for possible clues and hints about your ancestors.


Using timelines to bring new life to your research.

A time line can be an effective step in the genealogy research process and can help you to plan new areas of research as you track your ancestor through his life and that of his family.

Successful Research requires the following items:
1. A knowledge of the Research Process
2. A knowledge of the sources of information available, their time period, and their availability.
3. A knowledge of the reference works common to your area of research. These can help guide you through the historical and geographical background of the areas you are working in.
4. A knowledge of the history of your area of research. What was happening on a local, state and national level that might have affected the life of your ancestor?
5. The different jurisdictions that might have affected your ancestor and a knowledge of where to access the records for that area.

A time line can help you put each of these basic research techniques into proper perspective and better help you evaluate you next step by doing the following:

1. Helps place the ancestor in a historical setting by identifing the events of the local, state, or national events which might have been relevant to your ancestor and by helping you to evaluate the possibility of an event happening in the life of your ancestor.
2. As you plot your ancestor’s family you will find ideas for new areas to search.
3. A time line can help to evaluate the possibility of a family tradition and will help to identify international events that could have directly affected your life.
4. A time line can help to figure out Discrepancies.
5. A time line can help to put your ancestor in the right place at the right time.

When considering local, state, national, or international events consider:
Wars, immigration patterns, epidemics, statehood, migration patterns, Indian actions
Building of railroads, Indian displacement patterns, battles in the Civil War, Religious Patterns, military bounty lands, and any other event that might have affected your ancestor and his family.
Consider Encyclopedias, History Books, Source Books, Family History Center Research Outlines and other resource books when considering the events that might have affected you ancestor’s life.
Items you might want to include could be:
Name Place Event Date Historical Event Comments

Remember a time line can be done whatever form which will best suit your needs. It is helpful to leave room at the bottom to site your sources to help with later evaluations. Many genealogical databases now help you create a timeline for your ancestors but sitting down and plotting it your self the old fashioned way helps you understand the movements of your ancestor much better and will lead to the breaking down of those brick walls in your research.