Monday, December 17, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Tracking your photocopies
While any organizing system is personal and should be adapted to one's own style, a few general principles can help.
When making photographic copies (photocopies) in a library or elsewhere, or when researching using online document images, it's always important to document and record or cite the exact source and its location on the photocopy itself and in a research log, making it easier to transfer that information to a genealogy software program, if you use one. Family researchers typically accumulate a volume of photocopied documents in the course of their research: the problem then becomes organizing those documents so they can be easily located.
For printed documents, you want to keep them in the most logical place where they can be easily accessed. For example, keeping all documents for a particular family or individual together in one file folder or notebook. It is also a good practice to keep a list, something like a Table of Contents at the front of the folder or notebook, listing the documents inside, providing a ready reference.
For documents stored online, a simple but consistent way of naming image files is important (e.g. name>document type>location), as is keeping the documents together in a documents folder by subject: both such practices make searching for a document easier. Today, documents can also be attached to individual files within one's genealogy software or stored and accessed online; even so, the researcher's own practice of recording and labelling documents is still paramount.
Don’t forget that you can store copies of the same document in different places. An additional copy, such as a marriage certificate in both family folders, may save you time searching later.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I recently came across a press release from the British Home Office warning about unofficial sources offering British Birth, Death & Marriage certificates. The Registrar General has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about misleading websites that imply they will supply official certificates. The full article is at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/press-releases/unofficial-certificate-websites .
It is always more efficient to deal direct with the General Register Office (GRO) for your family certificates. The cheapest way to obtain an English or Welsh certificate is online through the GRO website for more info at www.direct.gov.uk/gro where payment by credit card is required and standard certificate costs £9.25. (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/Login.asp )
How’s your handwriting these days? Texting and typing rather than writing? Do you keep handwritten notes, or are they all electronic now? You may not be the only one whose handwriting is suffering. Schools are placing less emphasis on handwriting and children are using print more so than running writing (cursive script). So will your children be able to read hand written records when it comes to their family history?
Gene Weingarten addresses the question in an article in the Washington Post Magazine at http://goo.gl/8m3Hs. Although this is an American story, such influences are becoming more widespread. It is not only today’s youth – how are you at deciphering old records? There are many transcription mistakes in the current databases available, and it is always worth going back to the original. I have had many people confuse ‘T’, ‘L’ & ‘S’ when capitalised. I spent many hours looking for ‘Solano’ (someone’s ancestor’s maiden name) but after checking a copy of the original document, found it was actually ‘Tolano’. You can image the effect this had on my research.
Cyndi’s List website has a section with links to numerous articles about handwriting and interpreting writing from times past.