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Genealogy basics

No change in size, 04:12, 30 January 2008
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* '''Be descriptive.''' Don't limit your record to names, dates and places. Genealogy is not just a study or analysis of what happened, but why it did and how the descendants might have been shaped by the events they went through. Plus, a charming narrative here and there goes a long way to making your family as interesting to others as it is to you.
* '''Be as accurate as you can.''' Don't make assumptions when recording primary information. Write it exactly as you see it, and then use bracketed comments to indicate your insertions, deletions or side comments. Use of the Latin "[sic]" is standard to confirm the accurate transcription of an apparent error. You may find afterwards that what you thought was an abbreviation or misspelling was actually a handwriting variation common to the period or a distinction in two facts with similar spellings.
* '''Get everyone.''' Record all the individuals you find at an event. Families often lived, worked, and worshipped together, so the relatives of an individual can show up at events of syblingssiblings, neighbors, and local churches.
* '''Plan your efforts.''' Knowing what you are looking to accomplish saves valuable time. Special trips to see original documents, burial places, libraries, or to interview individuals can not be repeated. Make sure you get everything you come for and record as much as you can while you have the chance. It is unfortunate to return from a trip to find that you omitted an obvious piece of information that passed right under your nose.
* '''Look closely.''' Sometimes re-interpretation of a group of seemingly unconnected pieces of information suddenly reveal a colorful period in the line you never expected. Abrupt changes in a family, such as what happens at a move, immigration, a marriage, death, or birth can point the direction for more research.

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