Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Info Sheets, Records, etc.

It came to mind that I need to explain a little bit about my research and family history project. I started the family trees by entering information about my siblings, myself, nieces, nephews, etc. The information sheets I sent out to people are to gather the information I don't have. When I get your information sheets, I enter all the new information. Then I look at all the records available on the Internet, and review each record to make certain that the information is for the person I am researching and not someone else with a similar name. Censuses, birth records, military records, city directories, death records including Social Security info, etc., are available.  It takes hours. For example, I have been working almost five hours now on one person's family. Each person has two parents, each of those parents have two parents, etc., etc.

When I find a record, I don't take it for granted that the info is correct. Some of it will always be correct, for example, if a person, say John Jacob, is enumerated on the 1940 Census, I know that he was alive in 1940, I'll know where he was living at the time, how old he was (approx), if he rented his home or owned it, etc. The things that might be incorrect would be the spelling of names. So often the transcription of a record has the name spelled incorrectly and I look at the original image of the record and see that it was written correctly but the transcriber typed it wrong.  And the transcription doesn't always have all the info, either. The occupation is usually not transcribed and that interests me, the neighbors interest me, etc. Sometimes the writing on the records is beautiful and sometimes it looks like chicken scratch, which makes it hard for the transcribers. (And me!)

The records, for the most part, are legal records. The information is cited with sources. I often keep a copy of the document but most of the time I do not save the image of the record to my family tree because it is cumbersome. For example, my family tree of the Burnetts now has 1,503 people, 2,298 records and 232 photos.

When I send out your family printout, I will not send you a copy of each record or document. I'll basically send you a listing of the direct lineage for your family.  And if it gets to be too big a project to mail out, you might not get it until the book is finished and it can be sent with the book. That will be determined later on.

This information will be for you, all of your children, their children, etc. You will have a family tree to pass on to the generations. Maybe someone in your family will add to it to keep it current.

There is one thing I need to say: if you don't send in your info, your family tree will not be complete. Been married a few times and embarrassed? Don't be - there are lots of people with multiple marriages. I am not going to judge you. Adoption? Tell me how you want to list it in your family tree. We adopted our son, Zachary. We talked it over and his biological parent will be listed as well as us, his adoptive parents. We've never kept it a secret. There are others who do not want that information out there, I'm sure, and that's fine. Not married? There's a designation for "spouse, partner, other."

When you fill out your information sheet, just do the best that you can. If you don't have all the information, that's okay. Sometimes I can find it anyway.

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