Sunday, January 17, 2010

Preparation Sunday - Step 5 of 7

Over the spam of seven Sundays, I am sharing with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]
If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join - and participate in the discussions.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

Our focus today is on Research, the fifth of the 7 Steps.

Your Research To Do List should have been started in Step 4, if not before. With your list, as usual, of course, you need to 1) set priorities and 2) establish specific goals. A list is nice, but until you decide what research techniques to use, how and when to use them and when you can reasonably be able to accomplish them, it is still just a list.

I would suggest that a first step might be that you will need to check and confirm vital facts that you picked up from family tradition stories. Some of this can be done online, fairly easily. You may want to call some people as well. Birth, death and marriage details may be easily available from other family members. Relationships also need to be confirmed... and, don't forget to get correct full names, while you are talking about these folks.

For 1930 and earlier, I always like to look at the U.S. Federal Census and the state census on the 5 years in between the Federal Census, if available, as an example of a specific to check. If a lot of the people of interest on your list are local, you may want to schedule a trip to the local county courthouse. You may want to consult the archive copies of local newspapers as well. These are just a few suggestions. The possibilities are endless, that is for sure. That is why you need priorities and a timeline for doing the work. It will never be DONE! Get what you can, the best you can... and document where you got what. You will appreciate it very much, in the future, if not right now!

If  you have a favorite research technique, or other references, please fell free to include them in your comments. We can each learn from each other. Thanks for your interest and suggestions.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

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