Backup Your Research

Always back up your research. Whether you are using pen and paper or a computer database, backup your work. Make multiple copies and label them. If you are using electronic files you can use a cloud service or an online email service (by emailing the file to yourself).

Flash drives are also convenient for backing up databases, notes, pictures, etc. The cost is low, size is large and the ease is great.  You can back up your work on multiple flash drives and share them with fellow family members for safe keeping.

Today I used a device that automatically backs up everything on my hard drive with the click of one button.  This device is very handy when the inevitable hard drive crash or virus intrusion disables your computer. The cost for a professional retrieval can be very high.

Share your work with your family, allow them to share in the excitement of the chase. It is very inexpensive to copy and bind your work. (I’ll touch more on that in a later post.) We never think that our files will be lost. However, natural or man made disasters can befall any of us.

Happy Hunting!

Nichelle
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Separating Fact from Fiction

Separating Fact from Fiction

It’s important not to have knee-jerk reactions to images on the internet. Google recently posted a Google Doodle Tribute to Harriet Tubman. As a student of history I immediately recognized the picture and was excited about clicking on the link and learning more information. On Twitter a well known entertainer blasted the Doodle as racist and inaccurate. I could not understand for the life of me what was wrong with the picture. The entertainer did suggest that they might have been overly sensitive. I would answer yes. The problem we have here is that many people haven’t studied history and aren’t making informed statements. Clicking like and send is frequently done without forethought to the veracity of the post or tweet. The photo montage is courtesy of Black Press Radio. The top picture is the Google Doodle the bottom picture is an actual picture of Harriet Tubman.

The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step . . . How to begin your research.

Today I want to talk about how to start your genealogical research.  I’ve been researching for many years and people always ask me, “How do I start?”  The beginning of your research is such an exciting time. You have everything to learn and no bad research habits to break.

A few things you need to have.

An Ancestral Chart.   Follow this link for a chart.   http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/charts-forms/

Either Pen & Paper or a Computer/Laptop.

Willingness to be organized.

When beginning your genealogical research begin with yourself and work backwards, towards your parents, grandparents, etc. Resist the urge to start with Great Grandma Rhodes who your family has always spoken about. Researchers have wasted years going down the wrong path, because they didn’t start with themselves work their way back and then confirm or deny word of mouth information from family members.

Write down everything you know about yourself. Your full name (legal and nickname), when & where you were born, parents names (adopted, foster, etc), where you grew up, siblings (half, step, full).  After you have written down everything you know, attempt to confirm the information with documentation. Frequently individuals have assumed something ie, I was born in KY, only to get the birth certificate and realize you were born in OH.  This could have happened because all the other siblings were born there and you just assumed you were too. Never assume! Be open to the facts. Also be open to not being able to confirm every fact. I will talk frequently about a “Preponderance of evidence”.

Sidenote – when documenting the names of women, write down their BIRTH NAMES (maiden). It becomes very difficult to trace women when their last names at birth are unknown or shrouded in the mystery of their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd husband.  A fellow researcher, Charles Kenneth Barker, remarked how hard it was to trace his female ancestors. I let him know that it wasn’t an accident that women are hard to trace. Society pressures women to give up their names and there by their connection to their birth families and their connection to history.(Stepping down from my soap box.)

After writing down everything you know about yourself, write down your parents’ names full name (legal and nickname), place of birth, date of birth, place of death and date of death if applicable.

Next, write down all of that same pertinent information for your grandparents, great grandparents, etc as many generations as you can.

At this point you have a lot of information written down. This is a good time to decide what kind of organizational method you will use, folders, binders, computer files, etc. Most people will use several of these tools. You can conduct research without a computer.  However if you enjoy computers using a database program can help you organize your research. There are several great programs out there.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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Roland L. Hayes – Gospel Singer

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Roland (at the end on the far left)

Roland Hayes was born in Smith Grove, KY on  April 1, 1915. He was a gospel singer in Kentucky and later in Indianapolis, IN. He was the father of Ronzo and Albert. He also worked as a night watchman at Cornell-Dubilier company from 1951 – 1954. His employers noted he was a, “Good worker and a trusted employee”.   According to the Indianapolis Recorder, March 27, 1954 he lived in Indianapolis from 1951 – 1954. Roland was a member of Greater Zion Baptist Church  and the Greater Indianapolis Temple of the Elks 899.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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Family Sheros and Heroes – Black History Month

This month I will be posting stories about some of the important people in my family. Black History Month is always a great time to reflect on significant people in our history. No people are more important than the ones closest to us. If you have a person you would like to share, email it to me and I will also post your story.