Great Big Thank You To…..
Talbot for answering
the “Help Wanted” placed in the last newsletter.
Marlys is transcribing the Anoka County Minute book from
microfilm to hardcopy. The
minutes start with the very first meeting held in Anoka County.
A copy will be kept in the research library for all to view. Thanks again for taking on this big project.
go to Lucille Elrite and Linda Mundle.
They have started a new book that consists of the obituaries
placed in the Fridley Sun Newspaper from 1959-1973.
The completed book will be kept in the research library.
Tips for Genealogists
to Save You Time and Frustration
neatly, file your papers, keep Soundex cheat-sheet, collaborate
with others...these simple tips can really help your research in
the long run. Michael John Neill recommends things you can do to
make the most of your research time.
all genealogists have limited time and limited money. Saving time while
researching allows time for other activities, most importantly doing
more research! What follows are some time-saving techniques I have used
in the past. However, don't limit yourself to these ideas — you can
probably think of many others on your own. However, remember that
timesaving techniques are only "time-savers" if they don't
result in wasted time later. Make sure that you aren't cutting corners
in the wrong place.
you visit a library, visit it online.
can help you save time in three ways:
check the basic information about the facility, including its
location and hours. You don't want to plan a trip for the wrong
if the Web site contains an overview of the collection, it may help
you determine if the library is one you actually wish to visit.
you may be able to access the library's card catalog through their
the catalog from home before your trip may save significant amounts of
on-site research time, allowing you to spend more time with the
materials you came to see.
one bibliographic page for each book or source you plan to use.
your research is extremely important. However, it frequently slows down
on-site research. To allow you to spend more time with the materials
when you go to a library or archive, create one sheet for each book or
record you plan to search. If you've used the online card catalog, copy
and paste the bibliographic information into a word processor, using one
sheet for each book. Make research notes on the sheet for use at the
library or archives. Then when at the facility, you can make additional
notes regarding the success (or failure) of your search. If you make
copies from the source, attach them to the sheet for ease in tracking
sources and entering data when you return home.
all information from each source or record at the same time.
entry is not fun, but it makes information analysis and pattern
recognition much easier. When entering information from records, don't
sift through all your records looking for information on one person.
Instead, enter all information from each source at the same time. Data
entry with most software programs (including Family Tree Maker) is
easier if you enter information about one document completely before
starting on another one, and you may be able to copy and paste
repetitive information during the data entry process. If you aren't
constantly flipping through documents while entering data, you also
reduce your chances of making errors.
as you go to avoid hunting in the future.
short amount of time it takes to file a record copy or other document
will be time well spent when you are looking for that document a few
months or years down the road. Spending an entire afternoon searching
through your stacks for something is not time well spent. You might also
want to include the name of your file folder in your notes or sources
when performing data entry. This will make locating information even
it down, neatly.
spent writing something on paper and filing it is time well spent. Do
not trust your memory, or you will find yourself back at the library
again. Do not write sloppily or you will misinterpret what you have
written. Do not use scraps of paper that are easily lost. Do not use a
crayon or lipstick that will be impossible to read next year.
on one line or family at a time.
mindlessly surf the net (or the library) for information on "as
many of your families as possible." Focusing on one line or family
makes better use of your research time and keeps you focused and sharp.
If I plan to go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake and work
"a little bit" on all the lines of my children, I might end up
a tad bit confused. Just tracking back to their 3rd great-grandparents,
my children have Ostfriesen, German, Irish, Swedish, Swiss, Belgian, and
French Canadian ancestry. And that’s just those who were not born in
the United States. Researching families from all these ethnic groups at
once is likely to leave me confused and wasting time. There are too many
languages and cultures for me to effectively digest simultaneously. I'd
probably do best to focus on one or two groups at a time.
what indexes and records you can use online.
and more information is becoming available
online (either free or fee-based), which can save a trip to
the library. In some cases, the actual records you wish to use may not
be online, but even if indexes to those records are online, you can save
time by doing a little digging at
first and then making more effective use of your on-site time.
posting some of your data to a Web site.
others know about your research interests is an excellent way to cut
down on your research time, or to avoid spending time researching
records that others have already researched. Users of Family Tree
Maker and Genealogy.com can easily post information on their own Web
pages at those Web sites. You can also post questions or brief
information about your ancestors to the appropriate bulletin board at GenForum.
if others have researched your family.
are many ways to do this. You can search online collections of
genealogical data such the World
Family Tree. Or, look for published information on your
family by searching card catalogs such as the one for the Family
History Library or the Library of Congress. When using pre-published
information, whether in print or electronic form, remember that you
should only use the information contained in these sources as clues,
not as fact. Remember that the quality of the data is the
responsibility of the author or submitter, and it is always possible
for mistakes to occur.
about the records you will research.
not research in ignorance. Learning will invariably save you time and
money. There are numerous printed guides to genealogical research
available for purchase or through your local library. Additionally,
there are online sites such as the Family History Library Web Site and
Genealogy.com that contain information about research and records in a
wide variety of areas. You might also consider attending one of the
many genealogical workshops and institutes offered around the country.
can help you understand locations and may also provide suggestions for
other areas to research. When travelling anywhere to research, include
maps as a part of your research preparation. Maps will facilitate
research in many records and having them will save the time of
locating an atlas and making relevant copies at the library. If you
take a "stack" of genealogical information to the library to
research and do not include relevant maps, you're selling your
research short. Maps can also help you learn how county and other
boundaries have changed. There's nothing worse for wasting time than
looking in the wrong county for your family records.
goals and work towards them.
go to a research facility without a list of specific tasks. These
items should be as specific as possible. Going to the courthouse with
the intent of "learning whatever I can about great-grandma"
will not make effective use of your time. If the exact dates of her
vital events are unknown, estimate them from other records or
information. These dates and approximate locations will help focus
your search. Stating your genealogical goal and then listing the
records and sources that could help you reach that goal will help to
organize your research and make better use of your research time.
your soundex codes in one place.
a chart or table that lists the soundex code for every surname you are
researching. While coding surnames may not take that much time, you
will save time (and frustration) if you have a handy list of your
"personal" soundex codes with you.
title pages to ensure accuracy.
possible, make a copy of the title page of any book that you use. This
reduces the amount of time you spend writing and reduces the chance of
a mistake. If you search a book and are unable to locate any
information, make a copy of the title page and in pencil write the
surnames you searched for. This will make updating your research log
and data entry much easier when you get home.
copying from a file that contains many documents…
a "code" to each document. If a court case contains a
"Master's Report" and a "Response of Defendant"
write (in pencil) MR1, MR2, MR3 on the copies you make from the
"Master's Report" and RD1, RD2, RD3, etc. on the copies made
from the "Response of Defendant." These notations are just
examples; you can make up your own system. The notation is best
written on the back and serves mainly to assist in separating copies
should they become mixed up (some people recommend against stapling).
Even if stapled, this method will prevent confusion should the staple
ever be removed. Remember that one page of each set should contain a
complete citation as to the reference (book or packet number, page (if
appropriate), case file number (or box number, etc.), location of the
are just a few of my favorites, and you'll notice that they don't have
a lot to do with working
faster, but with working smarter and more carefully. Avoiding
retracing your steps can be one of the biggest time-savers of all.
When using additional "timesaving" techniques make certain
you don't end up wasting time or money later as a result of your
approach. Shortcuts are not always "short" and you may
"cut" yourself in the process. Timesaving procedures that
require you to organize information may even cause you to see new
leads and approaches. And what better way to spend the time you've
saved than following up on new leads!
About the Author
John Neill is the Course I coordinator at the Genealogical Institute
of Mid-America and coordinates and presents the "Genealogy
Computing Week" of workshops at Carl Sandburg College. He speaks
on a wide variety of genealogy and computer related topics and is an
instructor at Carl Sandburg College. He maintains a Web site at http://www.rootdig.com.
can you find at the History Center?
Every time I
go there I find something new.
records up to 1921 are now in file cabinets in the library and the index
is online at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~relativememory/ACProbate.htm
and archives has thousands of letters, diaries, personal papers,
photographs, newspapers, obituaries, and much, much more!
These resources will help you research the people and places of
is used by students from kindergarten to college for help
Maps, Tax records
showing land ownership
county maps from 1850's to current
specializes in Anoka County resources.
A librarian is available to assist patrons. Tuesday – 10:00
am-8:00 pm, Wed-Fri - 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday-10:00 am-4:00
was the first day of census, and all through the land,
pollster was ready….a black book in his hand.
mounted his horse for a long dusty ride,
book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
woman was tired, with lines on her face,
wisps of brown hair she’d tucked back into place.
gave him some water…as they sat at the table,
she answered his questions…the best she was able.
asked her of children. Yes, she had quite a few –
oldest was twenty, the youngest not quite two.
held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
sister,” she whispered, “is napping in bed,”
noted each person who lived there with pride,
she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
noted the sex, the color, the age…
marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
the number of children, she nodded her head,
saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
places of birth she, “never forgot,”
it Kansas? Or Utah? Or Oregon?…or not?
came from Scotland. Of that she was clear.
she wasn’t quite sure just how long they’d been here.
spoke of employment, of schooling and such.
could read some, and write some…though not really much.
the questions were answered, his job there was done,
he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun.
can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
God bless you all for another ten years.”
& Trees with Rhonda: A Look at Middle Names
Rhonda's Previous Columns
to the names given to children born today and you will almost always
find that the child is given a middle name. Many of us assume that
middle names have always been given to children, but this is a
names are one of the many naming customs that genealogists need to
familiarize themselves with. Just as we need to understand
patronymics when working with those ethnic groups that used such a
naming system, so too should researchers familiarize themselves
with other naming customs. It could prove to be the glue that
brings an ancestor onto the family tree.
names constitute what is almost a separate nomenclature, useful for
minor purposes such as pacifying relations who want their names to live
on, or perhaps genuinely acting as tokens of respect to namesakes,"
says Leslie Dunkling in The Guinness Book of Names. He goes on to
point out that middle names are much like family heirlooms and should be
my husband and I were naming our youngest daughter, we had just lost my
grandfather. Because both of us where close to him, it seemed natural to
us to give his surname as my daughter's middle name. While my
grandfather had one son, the son had all daughters, thus the surname was
ending with that generation. While my daughter will never have his
surname as hers, the name has carried on one more generation and it has
helped her to feel closer to someone she never did get to meet.
others the naming custom may have been passed down through the
generations as a family tradition. In some instances in early America,
women would give their maiden name as a middle name to the oldest son so
as not to have it lost completely.
History of Middle Names
Americans were giving their children middle names in the 17th century
until the German immigrants introduced this naming custom to America.
They were in the habit of giving their children two given names at
baptism. The first given name was a spiritual name, often a favorite
saint's name, and the second one, which would later be known as the
middle name, was the secular name. The secular name, or "call
name" was the name by which the child was known and the name used
in legal records. It was not uncommon for the spiritual name to be the
same for all the children of the same sex within the family.
the Germans would bring this custom to America, it was not until the
early 19th century that the custom caught on with others. By the 1840s,
it had grown into a popular practice. According to a study of college
records, in 1840 about 92 percent of the students at Princeton had
middle names. This custom would continue to grow and by World War I it
was assumed that everyone in America had a middle name.
genealogists, we should be thankful for this practice and how it grew.
Many middle names are family names and when combined with other
research, these names can help in building a case of connection from one
generation to another. This is especially true when the middle name of a
child in one generation is obscure and matches the given name of the
the next time you are working with ancestry, take a look at when middle
names became prevalent in your tree. Does your family follow the
traditions discussed here?