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25 July 2010

If I’d known then. . . genealogical methodology

Lockport City Park, Lockport, Illinois
If I’d known genealogical methodology, my family tree would have more leaves on the branches. The genealogy mistakes made were in the area of citations, research and locations. With the information available at that time, I made my best choice. My mistakes have provided me with a motive for teaching.

Citations are one mistake that may take hours to correct. A citation is a written statement to identify the source of a particular fact such as birth. Genealogists rely on the Chicago Manual of Style. Mistakenly, I choose to wrote the library name and reference number. Later, the collection was moved rendering the information invalid.

Another mistake, I failed to keep an up to-date research log. During two different trips to Illinois, I searched, found and paid for a copy of the same death certificate. A completed log would have noted the results of the previous trip.
The third major mistake I made was on the topic of the location for an event such as birth. The event, the date and the location all need to correspond. Many hours were wasted looking in the wrong county. The location did not change; the boundaries for the location changed.

With the information available at that time, I made what I felt were the best decisions. All three of these mistakes are taking time to correct. But, I did the best I knew how with the information I had; correct methodology is my aim for teaching genealogy.

02 July 2010

Planning a Genealogical Research Trip: Flexibility

The first rule of planning a genealogical research trip is to have a definite plan. The first law of Murphy is that the plans you have so meticulously made may ALL change.
Time to regress - in all my years of living in Joliet, Illinois, I listened to family members tell me there is nothing to be known about our family and definitely nothing of interest. After I moved from Illinois to Georgia, genealogical research proved this statement false. Now, I plan at least one research trip to Illinois each year. After spending many hours with books, emails, and phone calls, my to-do list had been completed. The surnames, objectives, and repository names had been combined. Within the first week in Illinois, all of my research plans turned upside down.

In genealogical research, flexibility is the key. Make plans and be ready for change. What follows explains how my research plans changed and the many new and unexpected research details that were uncovered.

My original plan was to research repositories indoors. After twenty -plus years living in the South, the brightness of the fall colors enticed me to spend as much time as possible outdoors. The golden yellow, the bright red and the vivid brown leaves begged for my eyes' attention in reverence and majesty. With camera in hand, the grave markers at Lockport South (St. Dennis) cemetery and Lockport City cemetery competed with the trees for attention. The sun and the angle of light brightened many otherwise unreadable markers. After about 700 digital photographs, it was time to download to

Another original plan was to research tax records for Will County in the 1850-1900 era. Earlier trips to Joliet revealed the tax records were on microfiche. These records were in the county building known as the old Sears building. Then I discovered the tax records were no longer accessible or at this location. Where were the early tax records? Many of them were published in the newspapers in the early 1900’s, offering an alternative source. Also, early newspapers are full of personal information. Through them, I learned that in 1900 Nettie Couch, my maternal grandmother, had a severe case of poison ivy. Another newspaper announced the quarantine of the home of William Schuler, my maternal grandfather, for whooping cough in the summer of 1914.

A third original plan was to spend days and days searching for obituaries on microfilm newspapers at either the Lockport or Joliet Public Libraries. A few days of research offered questions such as what type of cases are covered by the Will County Chancery Court. A family name appeared on the Chancery Court docket above one of the probate announcements. A telephone call revealed that the Will County Court has an archive in Joliet. The helpful staff at this facility researched my Chancery Court case and printed me a transcript. Also, the county probate record books are indexed and open to researchers. I acquired probate records for John Kampe, my paternal great-grandfather. In the probate record is a list of all of the immediate family members with their addresses.

A to-do list is necessary to offer structure and guidance. But! The researcher must be flexible.

• Don’t miss opportunities. The vividness of the colors and the serenity of the season fade only too fast.

• The records may have been relocated, so search for alternate lists.

• In the newspapers, read more than birth and death announcements.

• Get acquainted with the staff at the facilities you visit. People offer a wealth of assistance and alternative ideas.

Take pleasure in a changed genealogical schedule. The friendships and records are worth the adjustment.

photo: Schuler Texaco Station, 9th street, Lockport, Illinois

01 July 2010

Selma KAMPE SHUTT BLACKMON Ancestral Pedigree

Who am I?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, genealogy is defined as:
Genealogy: an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor; the study of family pedigrees; an account of the origin and historical development of something.
Ø In genealogical research, the pedigree is the skeleton. The pedigree consists of names, dates and places.
Ø In genealogical research, always search from the known to the unknown.
Ø In genealogical research, always document your findings. Genealogy without documentation is mythology.
My physical characteristics are a combination of my ancestors. A few of the surnames in this physical history are: ARMSTRONG, BAKER, BAUMGARTEN, COUCH, DRALLE, DUNHAM, ELSNER, HERMANN, KAMPE, KOPPELMANN, PRESTIN, SCHULER/SHULER, SIELING, VON GUTEN and WREDE. Future articles will include collateral family lines.
My personality is a combination of these ancestral lines with the added influence of my environment. Joliet, Will County, Illinois, is the location of my birth to young adult life. My paternal ancestors were farm families in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois. My maternal ancestors were Illinois and Michigan Canal boat captains and workers. They lived in Lockport, Will County, Illinois. My maternal grandfather made sure the boat reached Seneca, LaSalle County, Illinois, on Sunday to enjoy a chicken dinner and the company of a certain young lady. Subsequent articles will tell more about all of these families. Articles about my family and my research are the reason for this blog.
My real identity or spirit is that I am made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27. According to the Holy Bible Authorized King James Version, I am a child of God, Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 2:16, 20, and Galatians 3:26-28.