03 August 2010
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.
This is the second in a series of three articles explaining basic genealogical forms: pedigree chart, family group sheet, research log
Genealogical Form-family group sheet
Welcome, to the second in this series on genealogical forms. A question asked by someone new to genealogy may be: “Where do I write the names of my brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles?” In this series of articles, the new family historian will be introduced to three forms: the pedigree chart, the family group sheet, and the research log. Each form will be explained with examples and definitions. Have a pencil and copy of the form available to complete your family pedigree chart, family group sheet, and research log.
In research, always work from the known facts to the unknown facts. In the first article, the pedigree chart demonstrates the fact that two separate men are named John SCHULER. The researcher will write out a family group sheet for each man as head of a family. The name John SCHULER, Jr. will appear on two separate sheets. His name is in the family group sheet for John SCHULER as one of the children. In his individual family sheet, John SCHULER, Jr. will appear as a head.
The following definitions are for words used in this article on family group sheets:
A document is a source of information such as a newspaper, a book, or a birth certificate. This document or evidence allows the researcher to draw conclusions as to family connections. Example, John SCHULER, Jr. is enumerated as head of the household in the microfilm document of the 1910 federal census for Lockport, Will County, Illinois. Laney is listed as his wife; Edward is listed as a son; Nellie is listed as a daughter. Another article will explain the value or weight of evidence.
The citation is a statement to identify your source for the drawn conclusion. The Chicago Manual of Style is used by genealogists. For more information regarding citations, the genealogist may consult Evidence! or Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. One example of the citation for the census record mentioned above is “1910 U.S. census, Lockport Township, Will County, Illinois, population schedule, town of Lockport. Micropublication T624, roll 333. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.”
With the family group sheet in hand, fill in as much information as possible. As preparer, always put your name and the current date somewhere on the form. Even with subsequent updated information, keep this form to demonstrate your progress in research. At the top of the form, fill in the name of the biological parents. Fill in as much information on the couple as possible. Next, all the children born of this couple are written on the family group sheet. As each child begins his/her own family, a new family group sheet is written.
The citations are placed at the end. On the family group sheet, this may be at the bottom, the back or on a separate page. Next to each detail, write a superscript number and correspond this number with the appropriate citation. Even though the citation may be used for more than one point, it is written only once. In the example above, the 1910 census citation will be written once on the family group sheet. The superscript number given to the citation will be written next to John SCHULER’s birth date and location, his marriage date, and his parents’ nativity. Also, the superscript number will be written next to the appropriate information for his wife and children.
The researcher should never be satisfied with one document. Different census record years may offer conflicting information. Example: Lena is the given name of John’s wife; but in the 1910 census, her name is listed as Laney. Contradictory information may be noted between any two documents. The genealogist will learn to weigh and evaluate the information. A genealogist is to learn the history and purpose of the document used in evidence. Future articles will be written about documents, citations, and conclusions.
Using the above completed family group sheet as an example, it is time for the new researcher, you, to take a pencil and a family group sheet and fill in your family information.
- With the information available, write what you discern about each individual.
- Write complete citations.
If you have any questions or comments on your family group sheet, please contact me.
Genealogical Form-Pedigree, Generational or Ancestry Chart
This is the first in a series of three articles explaining basic genealogical forms: pedigree chart, family group sheet, research log.
Welcome. Some of the first questions asked by someone new to genealogy are: “How do I keep all this information straight?” or “I can’t remember the name of my great-great grandmother on my father’s side.” In this series of articles, the new genealogist will be introduced to three forms: the pedigree chart, the family group sheet, and the research log. Each form will be explained with examples and definitions. Have a pencil and copy of the form available to complete your family pedigree chart, family group sheet, or research log.
In research, always work from the known facts to the unknown facts. Example, while searching for the parents of John Schuler of Lockport, Illinois, another John Schuler was discovered. After filling in a pedigree sheet with the dates, one man is clearly the son of the other. Also, other facts, dates, and documents lead to this conclusion. A written pedigree chart displays this lineal line of descendants.
In order to fill in the forms, a few genealogical definitions are necessary:
A pedigree chart, generational chart, or ancestry chart all refer to the same format of writing a generational list of lineal ancestors.
The surname is a person’s last name. In the example above, SCHULER is the surname. A surname written in capital letters is easily spotted.
The given name is a person’s first name. In the example above, John is the given name.
An ancestor is someone born before the person. In the example above, John SCHULER is the ancestor of John SCHULER, Jr.
A descendant is someone born after the person. In the example above, John SCHULER, Jr. is the descendant of John SCHULER.
A lineal line is in a direct blood line - either ancestral or descendant - such as parent, grandparent, or son. In the example above, John SCHULER, Jr. is the son of John SCHULER.
A collateral line is an indirect blood relative such as a brother, sister, cousin, aunt, or uncle. In the example above, Charles Henry SCHULER is the brother of John SCHULER, Jr.
The paternal side of the family is the father’s blood relatives. As an example, John Jr. and Charles Henry SCHULER’s father is John SCHULER.
The maternal side of the family is the mother’s blood relatives. For example, John Jr. and Charles Henry SCHULER’s mother is Anna VON GUNTEN. Anna VON GUNTEN’s parents are Johannes VON GUNTEN and Elisabetha BUHLER.
The pedigree chart is a four- or five-generation form in lineal format. The form represents a skeleton of your blood relatives with information such as names, dates and places of birth, marriage, and death.
Start with yourself as number one - whether you are male or female. After your name, all the male names will have even numbers and the female names will have odd numbers.
Number two is your father. Your father’s ancestors are written in the boxes above your name. Your father’s father, who is your paternal grandfather, is number four. Your father’s mother, who is your paternal grandmother, is number five.
Number three is your mother. Your mother’s ancestors are written in the boxes below your name. Your mother’s father, who is your maternal grandfather, is number six. Your mother’s mother, who is your maternal grandmother, is number seven. Female surnames are the maiden name. Again, if the name is unknown, either leave blank or write unknown. Example, the wife of John SCHULER is Anna VON GUNTEN.
Write all names as surnames and given names; for example, surname - SCHULER, given name, -Charles Henry. Don’t use familiar names such as Uncle Charlie or Cousin Charles. These names are too confusing. If a name is unknown, the space may be left blank or write in unknown.
In genealogy, dates are written as day, month, and year. The dates are to be written out completely without abbreviations. For example, 6/3/10 can be June 3, 1710; June 3 1810; June 3, 1910; June 3, 2010; or March 6, 1710; March 6, 1810; March 6, 1910; or March 6, 2010. The format, 3 June 1910, describes only one date.
Many different styles of pedigree forms are available. Some forms offer room for marriage dates or event
locations. The location of the event is written out in full. In the example above, the family information is Lockport, Will County, Illinois. As city names or county formations change, a future article will explain how to identify locations according to specific dates.
Always write your name with the current date on the chart: “prepared by . . . .” Even as additional information is found, keep these charts to follow your progress.
The form may be printed in many designs. For variety, search www.FamilyTreeMagazine.com or www.cyndislist.com. For genealogical terms, search www.cyndislist.com.
Now it is time for the new researcher, you, to take a pencil and a pedigree form and fill in your family information.
- Write your name in the first box.
- Write your father’s name in the second box.
- Write your mother’s name in the third box.
- Write the dates that you know for each person.
- Write your name and the current date as the preparer on the page.
If you have any questions or comments on your pedigree chart, please contact me.