Saturday, May 31, 2014

Analyzing Carmen's Entry: RAGU Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE!

During April and May my DearREADERS contributed write-ups to the RAGU Challenge: 3-2-1 Cite! The RAGU part of the challenge referred to my initial post titled You are bigger than your genealogy program.The concept was to use 3 documents, compose 2 paragraphs about 1 event in an ancestor's life. For many it was the first time they "thought outside" their genealogy management programs. And for all it was considered a valuable learning experience.

Carmen Cross's entry was posted in a series of comments on Facebook.  Her initial post included everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, so she needed practice in narrowing it down.

Participation in this RAGU Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE! was to encourage writers to include all four elements, specifically to not overlook the citations. My DearREADER, Carmen interpreted that direction to include everything she knew about the ancestor. Carmen told about her precise cousin relationship relationship to the soldier, his upbringing, marriage, etc, etc, etc.

After several rewrites, Carmen narrowed it down to this post. While still wordy, Ol' Myrt here didn't want to ask her strip out his birth and parentage, or her initial paragraph about why she likes genealogy, because at that point I didn't know Carmen well enough to push just two more steps. This is my weakness as a mentor.

We don't need the ancestor's entire biography, as we are just "documenting" 1 event in the ancestor's life.

Imagine if we added the lengthy bio
to every event
in an ancestor's life. 
The resulting printout would be fraught with redundancies. 

This is how I would have composed the write up. NOTE: I used reverse order to remind me to refer ONLY to 1 single event in the life of the ancestor.

1 event - Isaac S. Cross' death

2 paragraphs - 

To prove our Isaac S. Cross died at Andersonville Prison, it is necessary to include his enlistment in Company D, 21st Regiment Illinois Infantry to fight with the Union in the American Civil War (1).

Isaac's unit was captured on 20 September 1863 after the Battle of Chickamauga (2), fought in northwestern Georgia between the armies of William Rosecrans and Braxton Bragg 19-20 September 1863. Isaac died on 6 September 1864 of scorbutus at Andersonville Prison in Sumter County, Georgia (3).

3 documents: 

  • (1) “U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” images, ( : accessed 17 March 2014), Isaac Cross; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group 110. 
  • (2) "Andersonville Prisoners of War,” database, ( : accessed 17 April 2014), entry for Isaac S. Cross. [Original data: Andersonville, Georgia. Andersonville Prisoner of War Database. Andersonville, GA, USA: National Park Service, Andersonville National Historic Site.]
  • (3) “Georgia, Andersonville Prison Records, 1862-1865,” images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 March 2014), Deaths and burials > vol 28 Prisoner burials 1864 Feb-1865 Apr, no 1-2356, 5851-7450, 7501-12848, image 205; citing NARA microfilm publication M1303, entry for I. S. Cross, no. 7982.

Note the text in red in item 2 above reading [Original data: Andersonville, Georgia. Andersonville Prisoner of War Database. Andersonville, GA, USA: National Park Service, Andersonville National Historic Site.]

Genealogists don't normally cite indexes except during the research process, when that's all they've uncovered thus far. A final report, summary or proof argument would most certainly not include an index unless that is all that has survived. I suspect Carmen included the the indexed entry because it is the only thing she has collected thus far that states:

  • capture at Chickamauga
  • specific date of death
  • cause of death
IMPORTANT: Subsequent research would be to determine the source of the National Park Service data and to locate the original document providing the information.

So for this challenge, +Carmen Cross wins the supply of RAGU Spaghetti Sauce. (Just send me your mailing address, and Ol' Myrt here will have her remote offices at Amazon ship ASAP.)

Image: Courtesy
Our conversations via Facebook and during Mondays with Myrt (Hangout on Air) have brought home the concept that I'd like to take the Writing and Publishing for Genealogists track coordinated by NGSQ co-editor Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Previous participants reported it's all about getting our text down to the essentials.

This rewriting to simplest terms is sure hard for people like Ol' Myrt here who does soooo like to "embellish." things a wee bit.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate all of Myrt's wonderful feedback! I just finished reading Isaac's widow's pension file, and she gives the number of his grave at Andersonville Prison, which is the same on the prison's burial list and Find-A-Grave memorial page with a photo of his tombstone.