Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How to Get Through That Wall With Ease

How to Get Through That Wall With Ease 

We've all been there -- stuck at a wall in our family history that may seem impossible to get through, but trust us, you can get through it by taking advantage of a few resources. 

Reworking the problem

First, when you are reworking a problem, a researcher should make sure they've really done an exhaustive search.  Besides searching again for new sources, one must contact other researchers found working on the same information in any online databases and check to see if there are any new sources they have uncovered in their research.  Beyond that, good genealogy researchers will always drill down to the original source.  Databases and Indexes are not records.  They are a means to finding the original record.  Extracted information can be wrong.  One should always look up the source of the source. Then, a researcher can re-analyze their findings to make sure they have scoured every piece of information.

Consult with a professional
Hiring a professional genealogist doesn't need to be a huge commitment. A professional can pull records for you at a library or archive, provide translation help, decipher handwriting, share specific knowledge about a localized area or just be a second set of eyes for your problem. Sometimes it can save you tons of time and money spent getting education, or reworking a problem, when a professional can help you in as little as 30 minutes or an hour.  A consultation can also quickly get you up and running with the records in a new area.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sizing Matters

Controlling the size of your chart

When the size of a chart gets unwieldy, there are three items to consider: paper size, font size and the number of people on the chart.  One of the three needs to give in order to accommodate the other two items. If a large font is desirable, a chart would either need to be on a large piece of paper, or have a smaller amount of people in order to enlarge the font size. 

A circle chart is good to get multiple generations into a small amount of space and leave blanks to show where more information is needed.  However, circle charts are not ideal to add extra information such as extensive geographical information, stories or pictures.  Regular box charts are ideal to be able to add extra information and leave space for additional images.

Left to Right (or right to left) and Top to Bottom (or bottom to top) charts can be very different in size depending on the information a chart displays.  With large amounts of people/generations, a left to right format can save about 1/3 the space because of the way the boxes layout.  The chart size is determined by the size of largest generation.  On a left to right chart each individual box can be laid out to take less space in the overall generation.  For a top to bottom chart, each individual box has to be a certain width to accommodate long names and the way our language moves from right to left.  So top to bottom charts have to be larger to have room for each individual’s information. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Why Behind Genealogy Charts

There are as many reasons to create a genealogy chart as there are genealogists.

For the person doing the research:
·      Charts can get your research out where you can see it and keep it in front of you where you can mull over ideas. Sometimes getting things off the computer and out where you can see them can help you think of other research ideas 
·      Charts can help you find errors or problems you didn’t realize were entered wrong. 
·      Charts can keep comparisons of unproven lines straight.
·      Charts can be good for collecting information from living relatives (especially descendancy charts.)
·      Charts can help you stay organized.
·      Charts can help engage the non-genealogists in your family with their family’s history.

For clients and non-genealogist family members:
  • Charts explain the research that has been done to someone who hasn’t been involved.
  • Charts can engage a person in their family history and surround them with the feeling of love that comes from knowing they are enveloped in a family.
  • Charts foster the confidence of realizing the potential embedded in their inherited traits. 
  • Charts can nurture emotional healing by creating more understanding of the family’s past history.

Regardless of if you’re a professional genealogist or just a family history enthusiast, a genealogy chart is invaluable to helping your family document their origin story. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Basics of Creating a Chart

The visual expression of a family’s history can be a powerful communication and research tool for the genealogist as well as the non-genealogist. Charts are an inspiring way to show a span of a family. Over the 15 years that we have been printing charts, we have had people ask us for all sorts of charts that have been used in many different ways. Whether you use a printing service, or draw one out yourself, charts can really help you discover your origin story and get more work done. Here are some of the basics to get your chart started: 

Who to include in your chart:

Start with your siblings, parents and grandparents, then add in-laws and their ancestors and descendants, divorces, adoptive family lines, step-families, and even Pets! The beauty of creating a custom chart is you can go back as many generations as you want. 

What to include?

You'll want to include the most basic information like birth, marriage and death dates and places to give a chronological and geographical frame of reference. You can add spaces to fill in missing information, but here are some ideas for information you can include: family quotes and titles, health issues or genetics, stories (how the couples met!), pictures, immigration (Mayflower, pioneer, first-families), ethnicity, languages, talents, religions, accomplishments and offices, quotes, maps, flags, military service, documents, current address, age, physical attributes, character attributes, religious events (baptism, bar-mitzvah, offices held), criminal records, royal lineage, education, occupations, nicknames, heritage and culture, personality, citizenship, telephone numbers and even social networking information. With this, you can be as detailed as you want. The more information you include about specific ancestors, the longer their stories will live on.