Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quality

what we all strive for - quality in our genealogy
I am always fascinated when someone mentions how many individuals they have in their family database. In their race for big numbers (or quantity), they forget that research is necessary to flesh out those individuals in their family (quality). That is the difference between being a name collector and a genealogist. Conducting our research in a serious and thoughtful manner (getting it right) is what quality genealogy is all about. So what is quality genealogy and what features in Legacy help us achieve it?

Of course quality genealogy is a bit subjective but I think it means that we dive deep (we are looking for breadth and depth).

  • We want to get those names, dates and places correct
  • We want to ask and answer specific questions
  • We want to build on a solid foundation - understanding the places and times our ancestors lived in so we research based on what was (take off those 21st century glasses and see life through their eyes). 
  • We need to follow the clues, review the documents, and reach some preliminary conclusions. 
  • We need to cite our sources and test our preliminary conclusions.
  • We want to take advantage of original sources
  • We want to continue to build on our strong foundation by finding new information as it becomes available (online and offline).
  • We need to be willing to correct our errors and modify our conclusions when necessary.
  • We need to understand that quality genealogy is a never ending quest!
These are some of the features in Legacy that I use to help me check the quality of my data entry and information. 

potential problems - a great way to check your work

make your list and then check it -
make corrections and clean up your Legacy database

the search feature provides lots of options
to look for what you are missing
focus on one area at a time to help you get through these projects

master lists - a quick scroll through
on a regular basis keeps these clean and tidy

Bottom line - quality depends on me, this is not a once and done project. What Legacy features do you use to help you check your work?

See you back here tomorrow for the letter R.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Physical Description

Our family reunions are always fun because we make an effort to include some family history mixed in with the visiting, eating, swimming, hiking, and hanging out. I have mentioned the types of activities before, but at our most recent family reunion we also included several short games, a 20 questions quiz, and a team scavenger hunt. It's all done to have fun, learn something about our ancestors, encourage the generations to work together, and award prizes (we are quite competitive and we love prizes!).

We also take lots of pictures and share family pictures during our reunions (and at every gathering we have). One of the reasons is because seeing our ancestors in photographs or having them described to us by the elders (we usually have an open mic and recording system set up so we can share stories and remembrances) gives us a better sense of who they were. We are always amazed when we look at those photographs to see similarities across the generations. Oftentimes the younger children want to know who they look like or who they take after. Whether it is the hair coloring, the freckles or lack thereof, the height, the bone structure, the eye coloring, or any number of other features that make up a physical description - it is fascinating to go through old photographs to check on resemblance.

We can find physical descriptions from a number of sources - passport and citizenship applications, military registration and enlistment forms, family photographs, newspaper articles, medical records, and obituaries, just to name a few examples.

I like to personalize my entries (use given name) and
here the notes are included as part of the sentence (customize!)
Do you include physical description as an event/fact in your family history database? Now is the time to check out those photographs and ask your elders to describe people in your family file so you can learn more about your ancestors. 

Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Monday for the letter Q!