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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 15, 2002

LESSON 1 Solving Genealogy Problems Using Traditional, Internet and Computer Sources/Methods
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

ORGANIZATION

The Olympics just ended in Salt Lake City where we witnessed teamwork in motion -- a wonderful thing to watch. Teamwork in research can also be successful if family members (even internet families you meet on the web) can divide up the work according to their unique abilities, talents, tools, and experiences. Watch what happens when our "genealogy" family gets together.

FAMILY MEMBER #1 I'm "Tim." I like to do genealogy the traditional way. I tell everyone the rules for success:

  • 1. "Write everything down."
  • 2. "Use a full sheet of paper because scraps get lost."
  • 3. "Write information involving separate surnames on separate pieces of paper so that later, you can file them more easily."
  • 4. "Organize your family into groups called 'family groups.' Put them on Family Group Forms."
  • 5. "Make a lineage-linked form of all the families you are researching so you will stay focused. These are called 'Ancestry Charts' or 'Pedigree Charts.'"

FAMILY MEMBER #2 I'm "Gwen." Since I'm always on the computer, "Karen" suggests that I work on the online portion of our project. I've heard that http://www.Mytrees.com has a great online genealogy program, so I decided to give it a try. The first thing I noticed was that some services were free! Could this be for real? The further I investigated, the more I was convinced that the MyTrees Online program would work great for our family.

At MyTrees.com, under the Free Member Services heading, is a link to MyTrees Online. To use it, I needed to register. Registration was pretty painless. Once I was logged in, I had two options for entering my family's information. I could submit a GEDCOM file, or I could manually type in the known information. Luckily, our cousin Jessie had sent me a GEDCOM on a diskette, which included four generations of our ancestors. Instead of retyping everything, I chose to upload the GEDCOM. As an extra bonus, since my information consisted of at least 15 families and 60 individuals, I received a free month of subscription services. It just keeps getting better.

FAMILY MEMBER #3 I'm "Karen." I work on the computer like "Gwen" but I'm into entering families, documenting sources, scanning documents, analyzing information, answering genealogical questions, and generally finding easier ways to deal with sources. If I hadn't taught my cousin Jessie how to make that GEDCOM, "Gwen" would still be hand typing family names into MyTrees.com.

"If I hadn't organized the information for both of you," Tim reminded us, "we might never have gotten this much onto the internet."

"You're right," we said.

Following the simple instructions found on the MyTrees.com site, Gwen uploaded four generations of our southwest Virginian Vaughan families. It was instantly available for us to view in the MyTrees Online portion of the web site. Gwen received an email message in minutes saying that the data would be made available to MyTrees.com patrons within 24 hours. We couldn't wait! We had to see what we had just posted online.

From the main MyTrees.com page, Gwen clicked on the MyTrees Online link, entered her user name and password, and was taken to the page where she could view the information. Next, three generations of our pedigree chart appeared, with hyperlinks to each individual.

"Look," said Gwen "You can upload pictures, biographies, and even print a beautiful wall chart, and we don't even have to own a program like Karen has."

Tim had many pictures he wanted to put up and was already thinking of a wall chart for the family reunion. Karen reminded him that we didn't have names for some of those pictures and by posting them on line we might find other relatives that would help us identify them.

"Oh, no!" said Tim. "Look how Jessie entered those names. Sometimes she has spelled the surname one way and later another way. Didn't we all decide that we should standardize the spelling on our charts and in the notes reference how the names appeared in the records?"

"That's right," said Karen. "Standardizing the names and localities in a database assures that focusing in one area or on one name is more successful, especially when a genealogist is trying to keep track of all the possibilities in which a name can be spelled or used."

"Look here!" said Gwen. "We can request a MyTrees PLUS search on our family tree. Within an hour or two, MyTrees PLUS will have matched the names in the family tree to the pedigrees of other genealogists searching our lines. This will save us many hours. AND there is a place to click to select a search for similar name spellings even if Jessie entered them differently."

The three of us couldn't wait for tomorrow and we didn't have to. Gwen requested the search, and was told that the results would be ready within 5 hours. About 10 minutes later, she received an email telling her that they were ready. We were amazed, 56 possible matches were found. We weren't sure though if these matches were found from the MyTrees.com site's database, or if they were results from other areas of the Internet since the MyTrees database includes indexes from many websites. Regardless, we had a great place to begin.

Just like that, our genealogy was online for our family to view. We were so excited that we called up some other family members and told them the good news. We were delighted to hear that they had good news for us too. One had found a new ancestor in this family and was anxious to share it with us. Sharing like that is contagious, and lots more fun.

"This is amazing," said Tim. "Traditionally, the next step in researching an ancestor is to do a survey of previous research in order to avoid duplication of work. By posting information on line, the chances are much greater that we will find more relatives to join the team, and greater results."

SURVEY OF PREVIOUS RESEARCH

We now had a new ancestor to put into our program. Karen learned how to enter an individual directly into the program. (This is often the fastest way when you are only adding one person.) Gwen is always excited to dig into new original records, but doing the preliminary survey first helped her learn what's already been done so we don't waste valuable time redoing work that someone else has done.

The internet is a great place to start, but it can be risky. Even if we find something on our new ancestor, we must carefully analyze the information. Because of the fast and easy transfer of information, if inaccurate information has been posted online, the rate at which the inaccuracies multiply is tremendous. That makes for wasted time later unraveling the path to the true ancestor.

By starting our internet survey at MyTrees.com with the MyTrees PLUS search, we found several individuals who looked identical to our ancestors. Each entry listed the submitter's name, address, email, and telephone number so that we could get in touch with a possible distant cousin. Many of the entries had sources and notes attached -- great news! This is a good indication that the submitter cares about their work.

At the top of each new pedigree is the option to download a GEDCOM. We could easily import this GEDCOM into our existing MyTrees Online database. We noticed that MyTrees Online will even match and merge any possible duplicates. But we need sources, evidence, and documentation before we randomly do that.

SHARING

"I wish people knew I was looking for documentation about this new ancestor so we could work together on research" Tim said. Using his traditional methods he went off to "make some phone calls to all the relatives and see what I come up with."

Karen went back to her computer, "I can use the computer to keep track of relatives and collateral individuals who we come across on the Internet. That will make it much easier to find them when the time comes. I can put them in my name and address PDA or into a simple database program."

Gwen responded, "Now that our database is available for the public to view, wouldn't it be great if we received an email notification whenever someone else uploaded a GEDCOM that contained some of my ancestors? I will bet with the power of the MyTrees PLUS search, this could be accomplished in the future if not right now. Just as we found others' submissions, hopefully others will find ours, and we'll be able to collaborate our research."

The team had been strengthened because they learned a great principle that day: By sharing, we can progress much faster in our research.

Article written by Karen Clifford and "our genealogy family" from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 15, 2002

LESSON 1 Solving Genealogy Problems Using Traditional, Internet and Computer Sources/Methods
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

ORGANIZATION

The Olympics just ended in Salt Lake City where we witnessed teamwork in motion -- a wonderful thing to watch. Teamwork in research can also be successful if family members (even internet families you meet on the web) can divide up the work according to their unique abilities, talents, tools, and experiences. Watch what happens when our "genealogy" family gets together.

FAMILY MEMBER #1 I'm "Tim." I like to do genealogy the traditional way. I tell everyone the rules for success:

  • 1. "Write everything down."
  • 2. "Use a full sheet of paper because scraps get lost."
  • 3. "Write information involving separate surnames on separate pieces of paper so that later, you can file them more easily."
  • 4. "Organize your family into groups called 'family groups.' Put them on Family Group Forms."
  • 5. "Make a lineage-linked form of all the families you are researching so you will stay focused. These are called 'Ancestry Charts' or 'Pedigree Charts.'"

FAMILY MEMBER #2 I'm "Gwen." Since I'm always on the computer, "Karen" suggests that I work on the online portion of our project. I've heard that http://www.Mytrees.com has a great online genealogy program, so I decided to give it a try. The first thing I noticed was that some services were free! Could this be for real? The further I investigated, the more I was convinced that the MyTrees Online program would work great for our family.

At MyTrees.com, under the Free Member Services heading, is a link to MyTrees Online. To use it, I needed to register. Registration was pretty painless. Once I was logged in, I had two options for entering my family's information. I could submit a GEDCOM file, or I could manually type in the known information. Luckily, our cousin Jessie had sent me a GEDCOM on a diskette, which included four generations of our ancestors. Instead of retyping everything, I chose to upload the GEDCOM. As an extra bonus, since my information consisted of at least 15 families and 60 individuals, I received a free month of subscription services. It just keeps getting better.

FAMILY MEMBER #3 I'm "Karen." I work on the computer like "Gwen" but I'm into entering families, documenting sources, scanning documents, analyzing information, answering genealogical questions, and generally finding easier ways to deal with sources. If I hadn't taught my cousin Jessie how to make that GEDCOM, "Gwen" would still be hand typing family names into MyTrees.com.

"If I hadn't organized the information for both of you," Tim reminded us, "we might never have gotten this much onto the internet."

"You're right," we said.

Following the simple instructions found on the MyTrees.com site, Gwen uploaded four generations of our southwest Virginian Vaughan families. It was instantly available for us to view in the MyTrees Online portion of the web site. Gwen received an email message in minutes saying that the data would be made available to MyTrees.com patrons within 24 hours. We couldn't wait! We had to see what we had just posted online.

From the main MyTrees.com page, Gwen clicked on the MyTrees Online link, entered her user name and password, and was taken to the page where she could view the information. Next, three generations of our pedigree chart appeared, with hyperlinks to each individual.

"Look," said Gwen "You can upload pictures, biographies, and even print a beautiful wall chart, and we don't even have to own a program like Karen has."

Tim had many pictures he wanted to put up and was already thinking of a wall chart for the family reunion. Karen reminded him that we didn't have names for some of those pictures and by posting them on line we might find other relatives that would help us identify them.

"Oh, no!" said Tim. "Look how Jessie entered those names. Sometimes she has spelled the surname one way and later another way. Didn't we all decide that we should standardize the spelling on our charts and in the notes reference how the names appeared in the records?"

"That's right," said Karen. "Standardizing the names and localities in a database assures that focusing in one area or on one name is more successful, especially when a genealogist is trying to keep track of all the possibilities in which a name can be spelled or used."

"Look here!" said Gwen. "We can request a MyTrees PLUS search on our family tree. Within an hour or two, MyTrees PLUS will have matched the names in the family tree to the pedigrees of other genealogists searching our lines. This will save us many hours. AND there is a place to click to select a search for similar name spellings even if Jessie entered them differently."

The three of us couldn't wait for tomorrow and we didn't have to. Gwen requested the search, and was told that the results would be ready within 5 hours. About 10 minutes later, she received an email telling her that they were ready. We were amazed, 56 possible matches were found. We weren't sure though if these matches were found from the MyTrees.com site's database, or if they were results from other areas of the Internet since the MyTrees database includes indexes from many websites. Regardless, we had a great place to begin.

Just like that, our genealogy was online for our family to view. We were so excited that we called up some other family members and told them the good news. We were delighted to hear that they had good news for us too. One had found a new ancestor in this family and was anxious to share it with us. Sharing like that is contagious, and lots more fun.

"This is amazing," said Tim. "Traditionally, the next step in researching an ancestor is to do a survey of previous research in order to avoid duplication of work. By posting information on line, the chances are much greater that we will find more relatives to join the team, and greater results."

SURVEY OF PREVIOUS RESEARCH

We now had a new ancestor to put into our program. Karen learned how to enter an individual directly into the program. (This is often the fastest way when you are only adding one person.) Gwen is always excited to dig into new original records, but doing the preliminary survey first helped her learn what's already been done so we don't waste valuable time redoing work that someone else has done.

The internet is a great place to start, but it can be risky. Even if we find something on our new ancestor, we must carefully analyze the information. Because of the fast and easy transfer of information, if inaccurate information has been posted online, the rate at which the inaccuracies multiply is tremendous. That makes for wasted time later unraveling the path to the true ancestor.

By starting our internet survey at MyTrees.com with the MyTrees PLUS search, we found several individuals who looked identical to our ancestors. Each entry listed the submitter's name, address, email, and telephone number so that we could get in touch with a possible distant cousin. Many of the entries had sources and notes attached -- great news! This is a good indication that the submitter cares about their work.

At the top of each new pedigree is the option to download a GEDCOM. We could easily import this GEDCOM into our existing MyTrees Online database. We noticed that MyTrees Online will even match and merge any possible duplicates. But we need sources, evidence, and documentation before we randomly do that.

SHARING

"I wish people knew I was looking for documentation about this new ancestor so we could work together on research" Tim said. Using his traditional methods he went off to "make some phone calls to all the relatives and see what I come up with."

Karen went back to her computer, "I can use the computer to keep track of relatives and collateral individuals who we come across on the Internet. That will make it much easier to find them when the time comes. I can put them in my name and address PDA or into a simple database program."

Gwen responded, "Now that our database is available for the public to view, wouldn't it be great if we received an email notification whenever someone else uploaded a GEDCOM that contained some of my ancestors? I will bet with the power of the MyTrees PLUS search, this could be accomplished in the future if not right now. Just as we found others' submissions, hopefully others will find ours, and we'll be able to collaborate our research."

The team had been strengthened because they learned a great principle that day: By sharing, we can progress much faster in our research.

Article written by Karen Clifford and "our genealogy family" from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 15, 2002

LESSON 1 Solving Genealogy Problems Using Traditional, Internet and Computer Sources/Methods
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

ORGANIZATION

The Olympics just ended in Salt Lake City where we witnessed teamwork in motion -- a wonderful thing to watch. Teamwork in research can also be successful if family members (even internet families you meet on the web) can divide up the work according to their unique abilities, talents, tools, and experiences. Watch what happens when our "genealogy" family gets together.

FAMILY MEMBER #1 I'm "Tim." I like to do genealogy the traditional way. I tell everyone the rules for success:

  • 1. "Write everything down."
  • 2. "Use a full sheet of paper because scraps get lost."
  • 3. "Write information involving separate surnames on separate pieces of paper so that later, you can file them more easily."
  • 4. "Organize your family into groups called 'family groups.' Put them on Family Group Forms."
  • 5. "Make a lineage-linked form of all the families you are researching so you will stay focused. These are called 'Ancestry Charts' or 'Pedigree Charts.'"

FAMILY MEMBER #2 I'm "Gwen." Since I'm always on the computer, "Karen" suggests that I work on the online portion of our project. I've heard that http://www.Mytrees.com has a great online genealogy program, so I decided to give it a try. The first thing I noticed was that some services were free! Could this be for real? The further I investigated, the more I was convinced that the MyTrees Online program would work great for our family.

At MyTrees.com, under the Free Member Services heading, is a link to MyTrees Online. To use it, I needed to register. Registration was pretty painless. Once I was logged in, I had two options for entering my family's information. I could submit a GEDCOM file, or I could manually type in the known information. Luckily, our cousin Jessie had sent me a GEDCOM on a diskette, which included four generations of our ancestors. Instead of retyping everything, I chose to upload the GEDCOM. As an extra bonus, since my information consisted of at least 15 families and 60 individuals, I received a free month of subscription services. It just keeps getting better.

FAMILY MEMBER #3 I'm "Karen." I work on the computer like "Gwen" but I'm into entering families, documenting sources, scanning documents, analyzing information, answering genealogical questions, and generally finding easier ways to deal with sources. If I hadn't taught my cousin Jessie how to make that GEDCOM, "Gwen" would still be hand typing family names into MyTrees.com.

"If I hadn't organized the information for both of you," Tim reminded us, "we might never have gotten this much onto the internet."

"You're right," we said.

Following the simple instructions found on the MyTrees.com site, Gwen uploaded four generations of our southwest Virginian Vaughan families. It was instantly available for us to view in the MyTrees Online portion of the web site. Gwen received an email message in minutes saying that the data would be made available to MyTrees.com patrons within 24 hours. We couldn't wait! We had to see what we had just posted online.

From the main MyTrees.com page, Gwen clicked on the MyTrees Online link, entered her user name and password, and was taken to the page where she could view the information. Next, three generations of our pedigree chart appeared, with hyperlinks to each individual.

"Look," said Gwen "You can upload pictures, biographies, and even print a beautiful wall chart, and we don't even have to own a program like Karen has."

Tim had many pictures he wanted to put up and was already thinking of a wall chart for the family reunion. Karen reminded him that we didn't have names for some of those pictures and by posting them on line we might find other relatives that would help us identify them.

"Oh, no!" said Tim. "Look how Jessie entered those names. Sometimes she has spelled the surname one way and later another way. Didn't we all decide that we should standardize the spelling on our charts and in the notes reference how the names appeared in the records?"

"That's right," said Karen. "Standardizing the names and localities in a database assures that focusing in one area or on one name is more successful, especially when a genealogist is trying to keep track of all the possibilities in which a name can be spelled or used."

"Look here!" said Gwen. "We can request a MyTrees PLUS search on our family tree. Within an hour or two, MyTrees PLUS will have matched the names in the family tree to the pedigrees of other genealogists searching our lines. This will save us many hours. AND there is a place to click to select a search for similar name spellings even if Jessie entered them differently."

The three of us couldn't wait for tomorrow and we didn't have to. Gwen requested the search, and was told that the results would be ready within 5 hours. About 10 minutes later, she received an email telling her that they were ready. We were amazed, 56 possible matches were found. We weren't sure though if these matches were found from the MyTrees.com site's database, or if they were results from other areas of the Internet since the MyTrees database includes indexes from many websites. Regardless, we had a great place to begin.

Just like that, our genealogy was online for our family to view. We were so excited that we called up some other family members and told them the good news. We were delighted to hear that they had good news for us too. One had found a new ancestor in this family and was anxious to share it with us. Sharing like that is contagious, and lots more fun.

"This is amazing," said Tim. "Traditionally, the next step in researching an ancestor is to do a survey of previous research in order to avoid duplication of work. By posting information on line, the chances are much greater that we will find more relatives to join the team, and greater results."

SURVEY OF PREVIOUS RESEARCH

We now had a new ancestor to put into our program. Karen learned how to enter an individual directly into the program. (This is often the fastest way when you are only adding one person.) Gwen is always excited to dig into new original records, but doing the preliminary survey first helped her learn what's already been done so we don't waste valuable time redoing work that someone else has done.

The internet is a great place to start, but it can be risky. Even if we find something on our new ancestor, we must carefully analyze the information. Because of the fast and easy transfer of information, if inaccurate information has been posted online, the rate at which the inaccuracies multiply is tremendous. That makes for wasted time later unraveling the path to the true ancestor.

By starting our internet survey at MyTrees.com with the MyTrees PLUS search, we found several individuals who looked identical to our ancestors. Each entry listed the submitter's name, address, email, and telephone number so that we could get in touch with a possible distant cousin. Many of the entries had sources and notes attached -- great news! This is a good indication that the submitter cares about their work.

At the top of each new pedigree is the option to download a GEDCOM. We could easily import this GEDCOM into our existing MyTrees Online database. We noticed that MyTrees Online will even match and merge any possible duplicates. But we need sources, evidence, and documentation before we randomly do that.

SHARING

"I wish people knew I was looking for documentation about this new ancestor so we could work together on research" Tim said. Using his traditional methods he went off to "make some phone calls to all the relatives and see what I come up with."

Karen went back to her computer, "I can use the computer to keep track of relatives and collateral individuals who we come across on the Internet. That will make it much easier to find them when the time comes. I can put them in my name and address PDA or into a simple database program."

Gwen responded, "Now that our database is available for the public to view, wouldn't it be great if we received an email notification whenever someone else uploaded a GEDCOM that contained some of my ancestors? I will bet with the power of the MyTrees PLUS search, this could be accomplished in the future if not right now. Just as we found others' submissions, hopefully others will find ours, and we'll be able to collaborate our research."

The team had been strengthened because they learned a great principle that day: By sharing, we can progress much faster in our research.

Article written by Karen Clifford and "our genealogy family" from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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