Genealogy: Focusing on one ancestor at a time keeps the work simpler
When doing family history work, it's important to focus on one ancestor, one question and one record at a time. I refer to this as the "Power of One."
Conducting genealogy research means finding answers to questions. When I first started researching my ancestral lines I found myself overwhelmed with questions I wanted to answer for each ancestor, such as the following:
- What was his name?
- When and where was he born?
- When and where did he marry?
- Whom did he marry?
- How many children did he have?
- What were the names of the children?
- Where did he live?
- What type of work did he do?
- To what religion did he belong?
- Was he in the military?
- Did he belong to any other organizations?
- What did he look like?
- When and where did he die?
- What was the cause of death?
- Where was he buried?
Choose one individual, family or generation to focus my research on. Use pedigree charts and family group sheets to help identify problems to resolve, such as:
- Missing information: names, dates or places.
- Incomplete information: part of a name, date or place is missing.
- Unverified information: information cannot be traced to a credible source (that is, someone who would have known the information firsthand).
- Conflicting information: facts from two sources do not agree.
As I begin, I then outline the task in detail by asking myself questions such as the following:
- What is my goal for the task?
- What information do I have already?
- What resources will provide the answers I am looking for?
- Do I have the desired information in my records already?
- Do I have the knowledge to complete the task? If not, what do I need to learn about? Where can I find the answers?
- Do I need help from others? If so, who?
- Do I need to conduct Internet research?
- Do I need to go to the library?
- Do I need to contact another family member or genealogist?
Barry J. Ewell is author of "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History" and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.
- When Satan steals your motherhood
- Wright Words: Idaho woman learns to...
- Some LDS missionaries coming home from...
- LDS leader describes writing Elder Neal A....
- Elizabeth Smart encourages BYU audience to...
- Family of BYU student hit by car say they are...
- Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit offers chance to...
- Temple tax: European court rules LDS Church...
- Temple tax: European court rules LDS... 96
- Ask Angela: LDS women have unrealistic... 53
- Family of BYU student hit by car say... 39
- Wright Words: Idaho woman learns to... 35
- When Satan steals your motherhood 33
- LDS missionary from Utah dies in Sweden... 23
- Defending the Faith: Where is Mount Sinai? 21
- 'Son of God' is strong on production,... 20