03 August 2010
Genealogical Forms – Pedigree Chart, Family Group Sheet, Research Log (3)
This is the third in a series of three articles explaining basic genealogical forms: pedigree chart, family group sheet, research log
Welcome to the third of this series of articles on genealogical forms. After filling out a pedigree form and a family group sheet, the researcher realizes that not all information is complete. The next question is “How do I fill in the blanks?” As the reader has undoubtedly noticed, genealogy creates more questions than answers. The rest of the family historian’s time will be spent in gathering and evaluating information. This hobby consumes more and more time and may be considered a disease by the rest of the family.
The author of the following is unknown. It has been reprinted in many genealogy newsletters.
The symptoms are a continual complaint as to the need for names, dates, and places. The patient has a blank expression and is sometimes deaf to spouse and children. He has no taste for work of any kind except to feverishly look through records at libraries and courthouses. He has a compulsion to write letters. He is mad at the mailman when no mail is received. He makes frequent visits to strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote, desolate country areas. He makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from his spouse. He mumbles to himself and has a strange faraway look in his eyes.
The treatment of the ailment finds medication useless. The disease is not fatal, but it does get progressively worse. The patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines, and be given a quiet corner in the house where he or she can be alone.
The prognosis is that no known cure is known, but the disease can be contagious; and the sicker the patient becomes, the more he or she will enjoy the ailment!
In this series of articles, the new genealogist already has been introduced to the pedigree chart and the family group sheet. The research log or to-do list completes the series of three forms. With known information written on the first two forms, the researcher is ready to start a research log. Have a pencil and copy of the form available to complete your research log. After reading this article, the family historian will understand how to spend many enjoyable and sometimes frustrating hours in an effort to find and evaluate elusive and pertinent data to complete the forms or family lore to flesh out the family history. Again, the location of the elusive information or evaluation of the collected information will be reserved for later articles.
In research, always work from the known facts to the unknown facts. In this article, the example will be taken from my paternal ancestor, my grandfather. After attending the funeral of my grandfather William Kampe in 1960, I have not been able to locate a copy of his death certificate. The following example is how to fill in the research log.
In order to fill in the to-do or research log, several genealogical definitions are necessary:
The researcher is you; for example, me, Selma Blackmon.
The ancestor is the family or person that is being researched; for example, William Kampe, my grandfather.
The locality is the area to be researched. For example, William Kampe lived in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois.
The time period is the date of the event to be researched. William Kampe died in July 1960.
One specific detail is the research objective, example; verify the death data of William Kampe by locating his obituary. The research objective is derived from the blank spaces on the pedigree chart and family group sheet.
A repository is the location for the document. For example, the obituary may be found in the Joliet Herald News, a local newspaper. The Joliet Public Library, Joliet, Illinois, is the repository for the microfilm of the newspaper.
Research results can be “yes” the obituary was found or “no” the obituary was not found. The obituary for William Kampe was found on the microfilm for the Joliet Herald News in the 11 July 1960 issue on page 14. A copy of the microfilm was acquired for evaluation.
Future research is specific to what the researcher plans to do next. In the example of verifying the death data from the obituary for William Kampe, the future research will be to obtain a death certificate from the Vital Records Office, Cook County, Illinois.
The Search Date is the date the researcher checked for the objective at the repository given. This is important as new information is constantly available. New documents are found or donated to repositories. New databases are added to Internet websites. It is necessary to revisit research objectives periodically.
While filling in the pedigree chart, if a date or name is missing, this presents an opportunity for a research objective. Be specific!!! Find death information for William Kampe is not specific. The objective needs to define how or where to search, such as an obituary, a death certificate, a cemetery record, or a funeral home card. With a specific objective, the results can be measured. The item was or was not found where the researcher looked. In turn, this leads to future research.
If the results are negative, it is important to write down all items checked. For example, the Joliet Herald News obituaries were read from June to August 1960. The future research may be to check other newspapers in the area or to check with the cemetery or funeral home to verify the death date. If the objective is not met, this is noted so that the same search will not be duplicated in the near future.
The research log is specific in information to assist the researcher in keeping track of what is to be searched and where to look. The research log is continually being updated as new information is found or not found during the search. With pencil and log in hand, it is time to plan your genealogical research.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Illinois, Joliet, Joliet Herald News, Scattered issues.