october is national family history month
october 19, 2014
How are you going to celebrate this month? It is National Family History Month. You should not let it go by without doing some genealogical research, write about a family member or history, or correct and organize your collected data—collected data you have researched and confirmed yourself I hope.
I chose to correct, add pictures to my database, organize, and write some of my memories both as a child growing up and as an adult and add favorite family recipes to a cookbook I am compiling. I have already added Henry, the newest member’s picture, name and vital information to my database. Next, I reviewed my research to be sure all the information has the proper footnotes so that future researchers have a road-map back to the proof of statement or event.
Normally, I check for additional indexes added on the Internet in January each year, but I am doing it now because I am checking the other information and preparing to rewrite particular portions. I checked for new indexes on particular counties and state archives to see if any finding aids have been added.
After finishing the rechecks, I have begun to organize and rewrite my notes. In my Legacy database’s notes section, I type all research findings and proof in Research Notes so that when I begin to write the history of the person in the General Notes section, all the information is readily available. When I write, the proof, or footnote, is within the sentence inside parentheses. I found that with genealogical databases coming and going over the years that I had begun to loose research information. Therefore, I devised this method, which saves my data when I am forced to leave one database and go to another. I began my family history journey long before home computers were available. In fact, my husband wrote the perfect program for me in Dbase. Since the beginning of home computers, I have probably used 6-8 different databases over the years, maybe more.
Maybe you choose to write some of your personal stories of when you were a kid or maybe newly married. All of these are interesting to your family and maybe even friends with whom share them with you. When you write, try to use words as pictures for interest.
Alternatively, attend a family history conference. There is one this month in Plano: The Genealogy Friends All-day Workshop whose theme is “Follow Your Ancestors Home”. It is Saturday, October 25 at the Plano Bible Chapel. Or take a genealogy course from Barbara Coakley at Collin College.
A tip for all of you, like myself, whose many ancestors are named John and females named Mary. Never assume that records with senior or junior are related. One might be a son, a nephew, or no relation at all. Sometimes senior is added to the surname to distinguish an older person in the community from a younger one by the same name. I do add 1, 2 or 3 to distinguish quickly in a direct bloodline one John Burns from another in my database and in conversation. Of course, an individual number in the database identifies each person, but I cannot always remember if the person is number 157, 228, 913 or 52.
Another tip is to check and research the names mentioned in deeds, wills and immigration records. I found where Martin Kellow and his wife were listed on a passenger list and after closer examination; I found his sister was also on board. Check out those additional people by the same name on any document.
Family History Month is a time to return to your roots by adding, correcting, organizing, adding pictures with identities, rewriting and writing family histories, and maybe even cooking a meal commonly prepared in your family through the generations. I did that just last night and finished by writing down the recipe and sending it to our children and nieces. Talk and record the memories of those still alive before it is too late. You never know when the next time you want to talk is too late. Take a day trip to a favorite place and write about the good times. Time is of the essence. If you have not begun honoring your ancestors and your descendants, begin now.
ANCESTRY COMES TO OKLAHOMA CITY: Ancestry.com premieres the American Indian Archives collection at the Oklahoma Archives the week of November 7 and 8. For further information and details on the agenda for the event, go to the Oklahoma Genealogical Society webpage, www.okgensoc.org, or the Oklahoma Historical Society webpage at www.okhistory.org. Attendees may wish to stay at the downtown Renaissance Hotel that is connected to the Cox Convention Center where the event takes place.
PLANO’S HISTORIC CEMETERIES: The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc. recently announced the release of the book “Plano’s Historic Cemeteries.” It is available via www.amazon.com, Interurban Museum, www.barnesandnoble.com and at select area retailers. I already have my copy!
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.