Monday, January 17, 2011

Private Investigators with a Bit of a Twist!

This is pretty much a back to basics lesson in how to research. You employ the good old fashioned "rules of a journalist" You remember them don't you, they are those lovely people that chase down all of the facts and if they are any good at all, it is only the facts, no conjecture, no gossip, no rumors.
Who do you know the most about? Yourself, of course.
What were you? Boy or Girl.
When were you born? Month, Day, & Year
Where? City, County, & State
Why? Well, the answer to that one can be any number of things and it can determine you next step. Were you given up for adoption, was it a cold winter night or spring time, when love making runs rampant.  The answers to why can be very interesting and multi-faceted.

You answer those five questions about everybody in your line.
Who did you marry?

When you are trying to learn about your ancestors you are going to run into all sorts of people with the same name most likely, and you want to keep track of them as well as the particular ancestor that you are looking for. That is what your "sources" are for. They help you eliminate people and places until you track down the right person.

Genealogist are truly Private Investigators, with a bit of a twist.  We seek the dead instead of the living, and sometimes (usually) they are a lot easier to get along with than our living relatives.  Death certificates are more likely to be available than Birth or marriage certificates, so you go after them first.  To find a death certificate, you go to the health department or to vital records at the state capital.