15 Jan 2011 1 Comment
Blogging is a fantastic avenue when you begin to write your family history. Blogging allows genealogical researchers to write out their brick walls and frustrations. Sometimes other researchers are able to offer suggestions on how to break down those walls. For some researchers, just simply putting a research problem out there and walking away can lead to more success on that issue down the road.
The photo is of my great, great grandfather, Jan Zajicek. Family story is he lived in Chicago during the Great Chicago Fire and saved the dining room table during the blaze. I heard this story when I was in my mid-20′s and had just started researching. My initial thought was Jan was a married man working as a tailor and perhaps the dining room table was where he did some of his work. To me, it made sense he would try to save it.
Fast forward a couple of years and some major research time. I discovered Jan was not a married man but a teenager! He was working as a tailor but I was no closer to discovering the truth about the table. His family did live in Chicago during the time of the Great Fire, but my brick wall is locating his 1871 address. This remains a brick wall for me, but I have blogged about it so who knows. Maybe an answer will present itself or another blogger will suggest a resource I overlooked.
Some genealogists and family history researchers use blogging as a tool to publish their family histories. What does it mean to publish though? Publish means to write up and present the information to someone, whether it is a family member or local genealogy society, national journal, or publish an actual book.
Blogging allows people to explore many of their family history topics in depth and in a more shallow way. These blog posts can eventually become the beginning of a family history book. Blogging also allows connections to be made between researchers who share the same ancestors.
Where do you start to create a genealogy blog? Check out Geneabloggers. Thomas MacEntee, of High-Definition Genealogy has created a site full of resources for those just getting started and seasoned bloggers. Blogs are submitted and listed by type of blog. There are daily blogging themes posted to help provide blogging topic ideas. Thomas also posts interviews with people around the genealogy community, reviews of books and products, and online safety information we all need.
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and go explore some of these genealogy blog resources and get started today. Leave a comment and post your blog if you begin. I’d love to stop by and read it.Tweet
13 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
Yesterday I looked at using Census records for beginning research. Continuing on my quest to explain how to begin genealogical research, let’s look at home sources today. There are many types of documents that family historians use to locate genealogy information. These include:
- Birth, marriage and death records
- Diaries and journals
- Address books
- Old day planners
- Recipe books
- Military records
- Previously completed genealogy records
- Funeral cards and programs
- Wedding photograph books, programs, etc.
- Books (those written by a family member or about the family)
The list above demonstrates many varieties of home sources where genealogy family data can be located. This list is not extensive. Each item should be evaluated, the information recorded and the source cited. When information on an individual differs between sources, note that. Additional evidence will be required to prove which fact, if either, is correct.Tweet
12 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
Census research is an important part of genealogical research especially when building family group sheets. Using the U.S. Federal Census allows researchers to help prove, disprove, and collect information on ancestors. These documents have been around since 1790 and are enumerated every 10 years. Records can also be searched for the same surname in the area in which your ancestor lived to possibly link new family together.
What information is available?
A U.S. Federal Census typically contains these items:
- Street Address
- Age or birth month and year
- Immigration and naturalization information
- Home ownership
The enumeration forms vary year to year. Additional fields that are included in some census years are:
- How many children born to mother
- How many children still living
- Veterans status
- Mother tongue
- Does the person speak English
- Employment information: status, how many days unemployed, occupation
Tips on using the census
It is important to start with the most recent census available and work backwards. Work with what is known to the unknown basically. Record all the information you find each enumeration on an extract sheet or in your family tree database. Note the source, where the information came from, so you can refer to it easily again if needed. Search on spelling variations because census takers did not always spell the names correctly or when the record is indexed to be searched online, the transcriptionist wrote it down the way she saw it which may not be the same way someone else sees it.
Where can I find the records?
Records can be found online at several paid genealogy services such as Ancestry. The National Archives has the records on microfilm. Family History Centers, major research libraries, state archives and state libraries are all places to check.
So what are you waiting for? Start researching your ancestors in U.S. Federal Census Records today! Their stories are waiting to be told!Tweet
08 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
My name is Jennifer Holik.
Born in the suburbs of Chicago and spending many years growing up in Missouri, I returned to my roots in the Chicago area in 1999 after finishing my B.A. in History, to attend graduate school. Upon my return to the area I worked in the Education Department at Shedd Aquarium for a year before moving to the I.T. Department to serve as a Database Administrator for a special project. I spent five years creating databases, writing reports and training manuals and teaching. I attended one semester of graduate school before starting my family and focusing on my career and personal research.
My interest in genealogy began in 1996 when I completed a project for a history class. Since that time it has blossomed and I have made the move from hobbyist to professional. I believe we must incorporate history into our family stories and we must view our families within their historical context, not ours. I have an eye for detail, love a challenge, and enjoy helping people discover their family stories.
Contact me: Jennifer Holik
©2011, copyright Jennifer HolikTweet