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Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Nothing Wrong With Researching Out On The Limb

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I am waiting for the pecans to be ready for harvest. There are other creatures there taking early samples.  One thing I notice is they know better than to race from the bottom of the tree to the top looking for samples. They go up the tree a little, then they branch out quickly gathering pecans at the end of the limb. Good researchers are just as smart or smarter than raccoons or squirrels. Often in genealogy research, you have to go out on the limb of your tree so you do not miss the treasure waiting for you there.

Like the raccoons and squirrels that I am in competition with this season, I am racing across the branches of my tree.  The great wealth of records coming online now has brought to my fingertips a host of records helping me to go back and link resources that I had not accessed before. I am so glad that over the course of my personal research I took the time to identify and record the descendants of my ancestors along with their spouses, siblings, and children.

Easier finds

Updates in website functionality on FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com have made it easier for me to find records that have been added. I can go out on the limb and grab them and attach them. I am finding that these new records are helping me to understand my family more and are encouraging me to go back up my tree with greater understanding about my progentiors and new insights to document them.

My husband found his first document this month among the probate records on Ancestry.com. He has been coming to classes I teach every Wednesday evening with a renewed desire to experience research for himself. Whomever has the desire to know who they are can find success.  The time has not been better than it is right now to start.

Finding more

I am sure many of my genealogy friends who have been at this for a while are having great eperiences too because of all the painstaking effort put forth on their journeys. To illustrate, I logged onto FamilySearch.org, and received a record hint (I am trying out the test version) on the home page for Henry Vance (b. 1893), a great uncle. As it turns out I only had one source for him, and I had not entered his wife's name.

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11865-104786-54?cc=1388247 : accessed 13 September 2015), 1917-1938 > V > image 7 of 50; citing Clerk of the Orphan's Court. City Hall.

I decided to search for more records on Henry because of the hint.  I ended up not only finding his marriage record, but on the same page I found other records for other members of the Vance family who migrated from South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I would not have even recognized them had I not researched all of the Vance descendants. Since only the spouse's maiden name is entered on the index, I searched for Henry's wife in this database and was able to find her first name.

I love the fact that these databases are not ultimatley leaving it up to us to know records have been added, but they are spoon feeding us with hints.  Every suggestion is just that... a sugestion, but if you are diligent enough to add the sources you find, you will be amazed by what you will discover.  Adding sources teaches the database who your family is. After I add sources, I go back and find more suggested records. I rarely find a suggestion that is not in actually the right person.

The Phildelphia marriage index find has opened up other possibilities for me now to link marriage records to each family member who moved and married in Philly during this time period. I can even order the original marriage records to learn more now that I know the year of marriage. I can go out on the limb and link more and learn more.

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