A Day of Silence

Although I have plenty to blog about (!), tomorrow my blog will be silent as a tribute to the victims of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, as well as to their families. See www.onedayblogsilence.com, and please join me as we pay our respects.

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A Day of Silence

Although I have plenty to blog about (!), tomorrow my blog will be silent as a tribute to the victims of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, as well as to their families. See www.onedayblogsilence.com, and please join me as we pay our respects.

What I’m Reading These Days – Part 4

I’ve discovered a great printed resource in Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research (published 1999 by Betterway Books). My filing system has been needing revamping for a while. For many years, my records have been filed in folders categorized by surname (Midkiff, Robbins), location (Kent Co., Michigan; New York), and interest area (articles and seminar notes on probate records, censuses, etc.). While the location and interest area folders will probably remain the same, the surname folders are getting quite large and unwieldy. In many cases, I have three or four folders of information on the same surname, usually from different sources.

After browsing the Family History Store, I decided to switch to a color-coded system using Ahnentafel numbers as my filing sequence. My father’s ancestors will be filed in blue folders, my mother’s in red, my father-in-law’s in green, and my mother-in-law’s in yellow folders (I’m using my own products purchased at Office Depot). Using the recommendations from Sharon’s book, every family group or couple that I am researching will have their own folder, marked with “M24/25” or “N16/17,” etc. to indicate that this folder contains information on Miriam’s ancestors (numbers 24 and 25 on her pedigree chart) or Norm’s ancestors (numbers 16 and 17 on his pedigree chart).

Each folder will hold information on the couple’s children. If the folder gets too unwieldy, I’ll create a folder for each of the couple’s married children, marked “M24/25.1” or “N16/17.3”, showing that it contains information on the first child of my ancestors whose ahnentafel numbers are 24 and 25, or the third child of Norm’s ancestors whose ahnentafel numbers are 16 and 17.

Color-coded family folders, labeled by surname, containing general research information, correspondence, and photographs will still be used, but will be much thinner and easier to manage than if they had all the documents for family members stored in them. Locations and interest areas will continue to be stored in manilla folders. I am also going to use orange folders for my mother’s step-father’s line and purple folders for my paternal grandmother’s adoptive line, as I have done extensive research on these families. Although not biological ancestors, they have greatly influenced what my family is and who I am.

Organizing Your Family History Search is not just about organization of documents and records. A look at the table of contents gives a broad picture:

  1. Why Genealogists Need to Be Organized
  2. Creating and Maintaining a Family History Filing System
  3. Oh No! Not More Files!
  4. Making Your Research Trip Count
  5. Packing for Research Trips
  6. Organizing a Research Project
  7. There’s More to Organize Than Your Research
  8. Finding Room in Your House for Your Genealogy Stuff
  9. Organization for Professional Genealogists
  10. Organizing and Preserving Your Genealogy for the Future

The book also includes an appendix, addresses, a bibliography, organization forms for genealogists, and an index. All of the forms in this book are freely available online at Family Tree Magazine. I can’t recommend this book enough. Check it out at your local library or bookstore and see if you don’t agree that this is a useful resource!

What I’m Reading These Days – Part 4

I’ve discovered a great printed resource in Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research (published 1999 by Betterway Books). My filing system has been needing revamping for a while. For many years, my records have been filed in folders categorized by surname (Midkiff, Robbins), location (Kent Co., Michigan; New York), and interest area (articles and seminar notes on probate records, censuses, etc.). While the location and interest area folders will probably remain the same, the surname folders are getting quite large and unwieldy. In many cases, I have three or four folders of information on the same surname, usually from different sources.

After browsing the Family History Store, I decided to switch to a color-coded system using Ahnentafel numbers as my filing sequence. My father’s ancestors will be filed in blue folders, my mother’s in red, my father-in-law’s in green, and my mother-in-law’s in yellow folders (I’m using my own products purchased at Office Depot). Using the recommendations from Sharon’s book, every family group or couple that I am researching will have their own folder, marked with “M24/25” or “N16/17,” etc. to indicate that this folder contains information on Miriam’s ancestors (numbers 24 and 25 on her pedigree chart) or Norm’s ancestors (numbers 16 and 17 on his pedigree chart).

Each folder will hold information on the couple’s children. If the folder gets too unwieldy, I’ll create a folder for each of the couple’s married children, marked “M24/25.1” or “N16/17.3”, showing that it contains information on the first child of my ancestors whose ahnentafel numbers are 24 and 25, or the third child of Norm’s ancestors whose ahnentafel numbers are 16 and 17.

Color-coded family folders, labeled by surname, containing general research information, correspondence, and photographs will still be used, but will be much thinner and easier to manage than if they had all the documents for family members stored in them. Locations and interest areas will continue to be stored in manilla folders. I am also going to use orange folders for my mother’s step-father’s line and purple folders for my paternal grandmother’s adoptive line, as I have done extensive research on these families. Although not biological ancestors, they have greatly influenced what my family is and who I am.

Organizing Your Family History Search is not just about organization of documents and records. A look at the table of contents gives a broad picture:

  1. Why Genealogists Need to Be Organized
  2. Creating and Maintaining a Family History Filing System
  3. Oh No! Not More Files!
  4. Making Your Research Trip Count
  5. Packing for Research Trips
  6. Organizing a Research Project
  7. There’s More to Organize Than Your Research
  8. Finding Room in Your House for Your Genealogy Stuff
  9. Organization for Professional Genealogists
  10. Organizing and Preserving Your Genealogy for the Future

The book also includes an appendix, addresses, a bibliography, organization forms for genealogists, and an index. All of the forms in this book are freely available online at Family Tree Magazine. I can’t recommend this book enough. Check it out at your local library or bookstore and see if you don’t agree that this is a useful resource!

Free Access to World Vital Records at Family History Centers!

Leland Meitzler at Genealogyblog.com has just posted some very good news: free access to the relatively new genealogy website, World Vital Records, will soon be available at Family History Centers everywhere! Go here to read all the details.

Free Access to World Vital Records at Family History Centers!

Leland Meitzler at Genealogyblog.com has just posted some very good news: free access to the relatively new genealogy website, World Vital Records, will soon be available at Family History Centers everywhere! Go here to read all the details.

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 7

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I am posting lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

I have already mentioned one of my paternal great-grandmothers, Marie LEWIS here, and in this post we will take a look at her parents, George Emmett LEWIS and Mary J. WILKINSON. They had a large family of 13 children, eleven of whom survived infancy. Their eldest son, George R. LEWIS was killed as a young man in a motorcycle accident in 1913 (read about it here). So in 1930, George, Sr. and Mary had ten living children and were living in a rented home at 1320 Sixth Street in Ward 1 of Muskegon Heights, Muskegon Co., Michigan.

(The census image has been removed)

Although they had 10 children, only three were living at home (Donald, Bertha, and James). Four of their children were living as adults in their own homes: Harrison, my great-grandmother Marie, Percy, and Leslie. Three of their children I’ve not been able to find in this census: Horace, David, and Bonnie (who was married to a William SMITH at this time, making things just a bit tricky when it comes to searching for her!).

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12)