Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living....

Surnames: Calaway, Dunn, Evans, Johnson, Lindsey, Rollins, Short & Williams

States: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Group Cards.....Part 1

For someone new to genealogy, they will find several different layouts for a Family Group Sheet....a.k.a. FGS. And I'm sure they, as I did, looked at each one, trying to find "the" one that would suit them best. And maybe even try to work up their own FGS, taking a bit here & there from all of the other examples they found. I know, cause I did the very same thing -- matter of fact, over time I probably made over 5 different ones & wasn't crazy about any of them that I came up with. So what is a person to do? Keep on trying...... Believe me, one day you will get something that is just perfect for you. Just remember, what works for you is not necessarily going to work for many others.

Turns out my final FGS isn't even a "sheet" but a 5" x 8" index card. I really like the index cards vs an 8x11 sheet of paper. For me they are: 1) Easier to handle, 2) Easier to take out on a research trip, 3) Take up less storage, being I can fit about 300 in a storage file box, 4) I can get quite a bit of information on it....even if it is only a 5" x 8" card

Here is a copy of one:

As you can see, in this blank example pictured above, I have the vitals listed that I should be able to find/get the information on each person......hopefully. There will always be an exception here & there. :) NOTE: Yes, I did use abbreviations, but in the front of each file box, I keep a "key" listing each of them that I used.

Also, you will notice that I have a "c:" below each vital, this is where "citing" your information/sources comes in. I can't stress enough for anyone new to genealogy, to cite ALL of the information/source/records they acquire for a person. As any seasoned genealogist will tell you, yes what you might remember today for a fact, is not necessarily something you are going to remember 10 years from now & will wonder where you got that bit of information. Plus, if you ever share any of your genealogy with someone, 99.99% of the time, they are going to want to know what your sources are & how it was verified. It's all & well that great grandma remembers her grandparents got married in Your Town, State, cause as she told you, that is just where they were born & lived all of their lives. But come to find out, later on someone sends off for their marriage record & discovers they actually eloped to another town/state to get married! You just never know..... Moral of Genealogy? Citation, Citation, CITATION!!! :) Believe me, you'll be glad you did later on. For myself, I like to have at least 2 forms of citation for my vitals, I just feel more comfortable knowing I've got 2 different sources saying the same thing for a piece of data/vital. But if the only form of citation you have is what your great grandmother told you, put it down.....that is still better than nothing & you can always add any additional citation(s) that you might acquire as you get further in your research.

I'm sure some of you, as you looked over my FGCard, are wondering "Yeah, but what about listing physical traits, schooling, employment, etc.?" I agree, I would LOVE to have a sheet/card with everything listed on it....but truly, how real is that? Knowing I won't have physical traits/etc. on everyone in my family, what do I do? The answer for me is to list anything else I might have on a person in a 3 ring binder (w/tab dividers) under their name. Doing it the way I am, I will have their vitals on the FGCard to take with me for when I do research. And then I have their personal info &/or memories/stories in the 3-ring binder.

One last note here.....on the very last line, I have "Census" listed. What I use this for is as I come across a census' for this person, I list the year/state here. I don't know how many times I've been searching for someone, find them on a 1910 KY census' & get all excited. Only to find out later that I already had that particular census' for them in my files. It is just a quick reference for me to check as I'm working.

Just like I said earlier in my post.....I know the way I do my FGS won't work for everyone, but it might will give you some new ideas about your own FGS & how you do yours.

Later, Deb


Rose Mary said...

The cards are a great idea, Aunt Deb. I knew you were using them but didn't know the exact layout for them. I really love the place for the citations~one of the most important things in research. And just trying to remember where you found some info is not always reliable (at least for me, LOL!).

Deb said...

You're welcome Mary! I too, as a lot of newbies do, didn't even think about citing any of my research when I first started. Over the years I've slowly corrected all those entries that had no citations. And believe me, what a chore it was to try to remember/find what my sources were.

Later, Deb