Learning the ABCs of genealogy

Diana Tibert
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Recently, someone posted Genealogy from A to Z on a mailing list.

Recently, someone posted Genealogy from A to Z on a mailing list. Although the article was credited to Michael John Neill, there was no mention of where it had been published. Searching the Internet, I found Neills website, Rootdig.com, which contains several genealogy articles, but not this particular one. Searching, I found it on Family History Circle (blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2263). Neill took each letter of the alphabet and turned it into a genealogy tip. For example, A is for accuracy. While researching, we must be as accurate as we can when copying information from records. Another important tip is under the letter C: cited. It is extremely important to accurately and consistently cite the many sources used while researching. If you need to find the information again, youll know exactly where to look. The letter H is for home. Did your ancestor go back home to marry, have a child, die, or to be buried? Not looking for records at the church in the original home of one of my ancestors stalled my research for years. I had not expected them to travel 200 miles to baptize their children. N is for new. New websites, books, magazines, records, databases, CDs and indexes are becoming available every day. Find a way to keep up-to-date on the new information available by joining genealogical groups, subscribing to mailing lists, reading genealogy magazines and visiting the archives. One of the most important items in this alphabet is under O: organization. There is no way any real progress can be made if the information is not put in some sort of order. Organizing the data in a genealogy program or in another format is essential to sort out the information you have and to see what is missing. I can honestly say I follow the recommendation with the letter Y: You. Have you written your life story? Dont leave behind piles of information on long dead ancestors and precious little on yourself. Everyone should write his or her autobiography, not just the rich and famous. Variant is under the letter V. Standardized spellings of surnames began only about 60 years ago. Also, what one person says and another person hears and records can be very different. Education and language differences also played a part in the misspelling of names. When searching records, always check for variant spellings. Although not meant literally, X recommends that you X-ray genealogy documents. Reading between the lines and studying a document can reveal clues to further your research. For example, when checking death records, read a few entries before and a few after the person you are researching to see if someone else died at the same time of the same thing. This might lead to discovering another family member also dying of consumption or details of an accident that claimed several lives. The lack of a word for the letter Z reminds us of an important fact: not every question can be answered. Even the best of us after decades of work are left with some missing information. Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living in Milford. Submit a query. Its free!: RR No. 1 Milford, Hants County, NS, B0N 1Y0; email: tibert@ns.sympatico.ca

Geographic location: Milford, Hants County

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