Thursday, January 21, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 17th-23rd 2016

Several remarked about DearMYRTLE's "Coffee Table Approach to Genealogy" from last week's FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 10th-16th Checklist. Sometimes our coffee tables aren't big enough and reminds me of a marvelous "hide what I'm currently working on" table one of my Florida friends purchased.

IMAGE: Hamlyn Coffee Table from Ashley Home Store.
I need this type of storage for my life, but I digress.

This week has a mighty big assignment - TRANSCRIBE. 

 1. Transcribe every document you've collected on the first 4-four generations in your surname/maiden name binder.  We are talking word-for-word, every letter, precicely as written or typed, stamped or printed. Nothing more, nothing less. Abbreviations and missspelled words just as they are.

You may enjoy using a program called Transcript by Jacob Boerema. His nifty free-ware program permits you to zoom in and scroll around on a scanned document, while typing what you see in the bottom half of the program. As I typed and pressed enter, the image is moved slightly up to reveal the next line of information:

IMAGE: Screen shot of Myrt using a program called Transcript to
view her grandmother's marriage license application (above) and
transcribe, typing word for word, in the lower portion of the software screen.
The Transcript program is free for personal use, and works on Windows, linux and Mac with a Windows emulator like Crossover. This is not an OCR (optical character recognition) program, but one where you simply type what you see on the split screen. The interface is avalable in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Czech.

Although Ol' Myrt here has three monitors, I appreciate that the document moves up, as I type on the next line.

If you cannot read the handwriting, consult various paleography websites such as:

  2. Refile each document in the Surname/Maiden Name binder.
Ol' Myrt here understands some of you had documents you hadn't finished scanning. With this transcription assignment above, you simply had to get each document scanned for those first four generations. And yes, I know we still haven't dealt with adopted, sibling and females after marriage. We simply must get the system down pat before progressing.

Why surname binders and digital folders work
Last week, my friend Louis Kessler objected vehemently to organizing our compiled genealogy by surname. He thinks this is outdated and that documents should be filed by source, say census records, marraige records, death records, etc. Well, Louis, we will just have to differ on this. It would work fine if one document = 1 event in an ancestor's life.

But as Dr. Thomas W. Jones' notes, sometimes no single document answers the research question.
When it comes to complex individual or kinship determinations, all related documents must be in one place for analysis and correlation. Conflicting evidence must be resolved then and there in a concise, clearly written conclusion. Filing documents by surname makes more sense, since the related documents will be in one place should we wish to revisit our conclusion if/when an additional document comes into play.
Why Ol' Myrt doesn't use a document numbering system 
Some people prefer to file their documents away as document 1001, 1002 and 1003, or census 1001, census 1002, census 1003. This is a BIG problem since one man’s document #1001 is another man's document #4509.

So my digital files are named:
1925FROMANLowell_Goering_Marriage Certificate_JacksonMissouri_A16869

Then within my genealogy management program:
1. Open up Lowell Froman's profile.
2. "Add a fact" for "draft registration" typing in the date, and locality.
3. Clicking the "note" button where I can transcribe the document and copy the text to the computer's clipboard.
4. Click the "sources" button to cite the source, paste the text of the image and attach the image. to this fact. This is a simple fact with one document. Other "facts" are derived from a variety of documents where the "note" button is the space that contains the proof argument.

For my paper-oriented, non-genealogist brother David, I'll file these documents as follows:
  • The 1918 Draft Registration document is filed in the FROMAN surname binder, after the family group sheet where Lowell is a child in his parents' family. Please note he lists his mother as next of kin, not a wife. When I locate his birth certificate, I'll place that after this same family group sheet where he is a child, but in date order before his draft registration.
  • The 1925 marriage application and marriage certificate (A friend found the second months after I located the first) are filed in date order in the FROMAN surname binder, right after the family group sheet where the groom Lowell is the husband and my grandmother is his wife, my mother is his child. These marriage records are a necessary component when describing their marriage, so the document should be there. If I had a wedding portrait, I'd include it there as well.

Why filing documents by archives doesn't work either
Another well-respected friend Sue Adams writes:
Think like an archivist.
Don't duplicate.
Don't shuffle.
Organise (arrange) by provenance and catalogue information about the item and its relationships to other items in the collection and how it was derived from an original. 
I agree that provenance and catalog information must be part of the equation. However, my brother David is not a researcher, he isn't going to be digging through my files to find all documents pertinent teach kinship determination on his side of the family.

The solution that meets Louis and Sue's requirements is to ensure that each document is:

  • transcribed word for word
  • cited to include where the original document was located at the time you obtained the copy.
  • attached to each person mentioned in the document within your genealogy mangement program.
  • filed in the binder where the person is a child if the document is about his childhood) or behind the family group sheet where he is married if the document is about his time after marriage. Subsequent marriages gifure in with additional family group sheets. No problem.
  • filed digitally in his surname folder on my hard drive

Our surname binders will then read like a coffee table book. Related documents must be right there in the surname binder with the appropriate family group sheet, so it is easy for the non-genealogists in the family to read. It follows that the same organization system must appear digitally on our hard drives, for consistency.

  • ANNOUNCING: FINALLY Get Organized! 2016 Weekly Checklists
  • ANNOUNCING: Finally Get Organized! 2016 Weekly Checklists
  • FINALLY Get Organized! Participant Badges
  • FINALLY Get Organized! Monthly Awards
  • FINALLY Get Organized! One place to look for all checklists 
  • FINALLY Get Organized! My desk is ready, is yours?
  • FINALLY Get Organized! 3rd-9th Jan 2016 Checklist 
  • FINALLY Get Organized! 10th-16th Jan 2016 Checklist 
  • FINALLY Get Organized!17th-23rd Jan Checklist (This is it!)
  • FINALLY Get Organized! 24th-30th Jan Checklist
  • FINALLY Get Organized! 31st Jan- 6th Feb Checklist
  • Jan 2016 Participation Form (If you want to be eligible for the January prize!)


Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it's simple. If you value the work Ol' Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you'll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.

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