Genealogy Goals For The Fall

Inspired by Astrid’s blog, “Of Trolls and Lemons,” who was inspired by Tina Lyons’s “Gen Wish List,” I am making a Fall genealogy to-do list. Here’s mine, in no particular order:

  1. Organize my website Lamberson surname project into groupings of likely related families as promised.
  2. Open and sort at least 3 boxes’ worth of backlogged and unsorted data, sort it and incorporate it into my research.
  3. Scan at least 3 photo albums from my recently deceased grandmother’s collection and tag and package the photos for distribution to my cousins/
  4. Update my existing family pages on my website.
  5. Make family pages for the branches not currently well represented (e.g., Wright, Reeves, Whitledge, Winn, Isley, Willis families).
  6. Improve mapping and graphics included.
  7. Work out the search engine results so they go directly to the subject in question not just the right page.
  8. Scan in lots of the Swedish records I have copied and insert them into my database.
  9. Consider the ProGen course as well as other online offerings (including the online offerings I just heard about but haven’t looked through).
  10. Participate in as many of my fellow genealogists’ blogs as I can.
  11. Apply new techniques to some of my old lines I haven’t worked on for a long time (like the Andrews and Carroll lines).

Well for me, that’s quite a list, but making it will certainly help me achieve the goals I want to meet. What does your fall genealogy to-do list look like?

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UPDATE: NSSAR Library, Louisville, KY

As promised, today I contacted the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution for an update about their nearly completed new research library facility at their national headquarters in Louisville, KY.a graphic of the new facility as planned

Rae Ann Sauer (email), NSSAR Archivist, confirmed for me that they will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new facility for their membership on 25 September, 2010. They project that it will take about 3 weeks to move in, though, so they expect to be open to the public around Oct. 18.

The NSSAR’s library collection includes about 58,000 volumes including state & local histories and a large percentage of family histories, both published and unpublished. They also offer access to the major online databases and HeritageQuest for the in-house user, and their card catalog can be accessed via the internet for those who would like to preplan their visit. Access is free to SAR/DAR members and I believe $5. per day for nonmembers (please see their website for details).

The NSSAR has long-term plans to renovate a second building at the same location and move their headquarters, but they expect this to take several years.

Being the national headquarters for the Sons of the American Revolution, this library is of national scope, and it’s worth a look, particularly if you’re nearby. They’re excited about their new facility, and so am I. If you’re anywhere near Louisville, I encourage you to have a look.

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We Are All Cousins: A Video by Elizabeth Shown Mills

With a hat tip to the National Genealogical Society as well as Dick Eastman, here’s a little video clip from noted genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills reminding us not to put our ancestors (or anyone, for that matter), into a box. Good stuff.

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Treasure Chest Thursday: Hair Wreath

woven from the hair of the women of the family, 19th century south central Illinois.

The Hair Wreath

One of my families, the Carrolls, had a very odd family heirloom for over a hundred years: A hair wreath. Apparently, it was some sort of tradition that the women of the family would weave their hair into a large wreath that was made up of other family members’ hair. This practice went on for about 4 generations, I believe, and it included the hair of my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Jernigan Carroll, born in 1812, her children, grandchildren and a few of the next generation. This hair wreath was rarely if ever added to after the turn of the century in 1900.

When I visited the original Carroll home place in 1982 where some descendants still live, the wreath was very fragile and beginning to show signs of disintegration. We took several pictures of the oddity.

When passing through about 20 years later, one of the granddaughters of the previous inhabitant of the farm told me that the wreath had long since disintegrated. Attached is a picture of the strange, beautiful wreath made up of my ancestors’ hair.

Has anyone else heard of such a thing?

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Wordless Wednesday: Uncle Wayne Andrews, Illinois State Champion, Long Jump, 1922 and 1923

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New NSSAR Genealogy Library Progress

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the male counterpart to the better-known Daughters of the American Revolution, is nearing completion of their new library facility in Louisville, KY. Watch their update video:

The date for the groundbreaking ceremony for this facility is 24/25 September, according to their website. Unfortunately, they were already gone when I attempted to call them for an update this afternoon, so I’ll give them a call another day soon.

Their website also has been updated significantly, and they now have an online library catalog. This organization, while not quite as well-known as the DAR, is making significant strides towards providing more resources for genealogists, thus helping to preserve history. If you’re anywhere remotely close to Louisville, KY, I encourage you to stay tuned, keep informed and perhaps plan to visit their facility in the future.

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The Genealogical Proof Standard – Why isn’t this incorporated into my genealogy software?

I ran across this in my mail from Rootsweb (which, incidentally, seems pretty moribund these days…). I wish applying this standard was better integrated into my genealogy software (The Master Genealogist) and all those available that I’m familiar with:

Preponderance of the Evidence vs. the Genealogical Proof Standard
The final step in proving ancestry lies in the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

Until recently, researchers cited evidence based upon the legal principle of preponderance of the evidence – meaning that if definitive proof documents could not be located, and if all evidence pointed in the right direction, then a lineage or relationship was accepted as true.

But there are numerous examples of why this might not be true.  In my own ancestry, there were three William Harrells, recorded on early census records in Wythe Co., Virginia.  A logical assumption might be that they were kin, given that they shared names and lived in the same vicinity.  But DNA studies imply that they share a more distant relationship, despite the preponderance of the evidence.

Although certification is not a requirement for proving ancestry, you may wish to review the five elements of the GPS, established by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).  They recommend that a strong genealogical proof should include:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

via RootsWeb Review.

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Barn Raising about 1922

My grandmother, an avid photographer all her life, documented her father’s building of a new barn in the early 1920’s in central Illinois. These pictures are at the beginning of her second picture album and demonstrate a keen eye for perspective as well as the engineering involved in doing such an ambitious job without the aid of modern machinery.

Barn Raising c. 1922
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Scotch-Irish in New England

The most interesting of the purely Irish families, who came with the Scotch to Worcester, with whom they had contracted relationship during their long residence in Ulster, or become attached by community of sentiment and suffering, was the Young family, four generations together. They brought the potato to Worcester, and it was first planted there in several fields in the spring of 1719. The tradition is still lively in Scotch-Irish families (I listened to it eagerly in my boyhood) that some of their English neighbors, after enjoying the hospitality of one of the Irish families, were presented each on their departure with a few tubers for planting, and the recipients, unwilling to give offense by refusing, accepted the gift; but suspecting the poisonous quality, carried them only to the next swamp and chucked them into the water. The same spring a few potatoes were given for seed to a Mr. Walker, of Andover, Mass., by an Irish family who had wintered with him, previous to their departure for Londonderry to the northward. The potatoes were accordingly planted; came up and flourished well; blossomed and produced balls, which the family supposed were the fruit to be eaten. They cooked the balls in various ways, but could not make them palatable, and pronounced them unfit for food. The next spring, while plowing the garden, the plow passed through where the potatoes had grown, and turned out some of great size, by which means they discovered their mistake. This is the reason why this now indespensable esculent is still called in New England certainly, and perhaps elsewhere, the “Irish potato.”

via Scotch-Irish in New England.

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Pennsylvania County Maps and Atlases

Pennsylvania County Maps and Atlases.

Lately I have needed a good historical county map for Pennsylvania. Follow the “Rotating Formation Pennsylvania Boundry County Maps” on this page for a good one.

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