Sunday, March 06, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 6th-12th Mar Checklist

Here in the United States we celebrate March as Women's History Month, so let's focus on the wives of your first four generations in your family tree. We've got some simple rules to follow that will make things a lot easier for you in the long run.

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  • If the christening record of a child list "John and Mary Smith" then you are to enter "Mary" as the given name, leaving the surname field blank. 
  •  If the marriage record lists "John Smith" as the groom and "Mary Morgan" as the bride, then you may begin to construe that "Morgan" was Mary's maiden name. Is this always true? Well, be sure to see if "spinster" is listed, meaning she had never married.
  • With this same couple, never list Mary as "Mary Smith" as that implies you know her maiden name is Smith. Indeed it is possible that a woman marries a man with the same surname, but that is usually an exception. Think of Megan Smolenyak who married a man whose surname is Smokenyak. She then became known as Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Like I said, highly unusual.
  • If you do not know the given name for "_____________ Morgan" merely list her surname as "Morgan." In other words, do not assume anything.
  • It isn't necessary to use the terms like "unknown" for either the given name or the maiden name.
  • Do not refer to an unnamed wife as Mrs. John Smith, as this is confusing, particularly when the gentleman in question was a remarried widower.
It would be much easier if the women of the world
merely kept their birth name 
after marriage.

  1. Enter the names as you know them for the wives of the first four generations in your family tree. These may be your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and so-forth.

  2. If you have the names for the spouses of your ancestor's brothers and sisters, go ahead and enter their names as you understand them. Remember we are concentrating on just the first four generations, so we are assured of assimilating high-quality principles of data entry, citing of sources, analysis and correlation of information items within each source and overcoming conflicting information when arriving at conclusions about individual and family identity.

  3. Gather with other local genealogists. Back in 1995, when Ol’ Myrt here first began this organization checklist, I was encouraging folks to break out of their comfort zones, and join the local genealogy society. Boy, did I get a lot of flack about it. People didn’t want to join a local society when their ancestors had never lived in the area. But joining the local family history or genealogy society is sort of like joining AA – where we learn we are powerless over paperwork, the internet, burned courthouse and 15 ways to spell names like Smith.

So ask around at the public library and local Family History Center to learn about genealogy society meeting times and dates. Attendance will open up opportunities to meet interesting folks with varied talents and experiences who might be able to help you learn better research techniques.  At the very least, they will understand what it means to be ancestrally challenged by those aggravating brick walls.

IMAGE: Licensed from Adobe Stock.
At my local genealogy societies in Florida, Ol’ Myrt here found friends who are very good with computers and are willing to share their talents with others. During the past 18 years of membership in two local societies, I cannot think of more than five meetings devoted to Florida research. Topics have included:
  • tracing immigrant ancestors
  • report on research trips overseas
  • what's new at our local Family History Center
  • migration patterns
  • New England
  • printing a family history book
  • preserving photos
  • new software options
  • inferential genealogy
  • ordering microfilm
  • websites worth visiting
I attend every meeting and note that during the introductions of new members there is always someone in our society who has experience researching in the area the newbie finds challenging.

  4. Join an interactive DearMYRTLE hangout.  You know you've been meaning to tune in to the live Mondays with Myrt (Noon Eastern US) or WACKY Wednesday (9pm Eastern US), so you can ask questions in real time, and interact with the participants. It is much easier now that we've enabled logging in via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. You'd only need to use your Google account if you wish to be a panel participant. Here's where you register for the hangouts each week:  

We will be discussing this week's checklist during our Mondays with Myrt hangout. 

Here's the link to the calendar of other upcoming DearMYRTLE genealogy hangouts:

MARCH PARTICIPANTS are eligible for a $250 Amazon Gift Card, but must complete the form here:
Check out all previous DearMYRTLE's Finally Get Organized! Checklists.

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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