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Genealogy Gazette

Volume 7, Number 15
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
August 19, 2015
Publisher's Notes
In this article we discuss a quick way to organize your family information so that you good outline of your family as to who, what, where and when in their life. It is always good to have a basic understanding of your family line and then go back in and try to find out a fuller picture.  
Since it is Back to School time, we are having a 20% sale today through Sunday, August 23rd. Just type in BTS20 in the coupons and codes section on the shopping cart page. The code must be entered to receive the discount.  
Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press
Our main goal in doing genealogical research is to find a complete history of the family or at least as complete as possible. There are hundreds of ways to accomplish this goal. Here is only one of those ways to get a fuller picture of the family through the years or even centuries. I have found records that trace one family line through thirty-eight centuries. You don’t believe it? I have my doubts also, but that is what the report says. The line traces the family from north Africa through Spain and into the royal line of Irish kings. If any of you are tracing the O’Driscoll or Driscoll line, let me know.
Back to our short cut to build a family story; not necessarily a tree. I would start with one ancestor and their known children. One of my lines had a number of children, but I understood that it was not complete. I had birth dates for each child that I knew about, but my gut feeling was there were more children. One very hot summer Sunday afternoon I received a telephone call from a lady I did not know and she had traced her family back to a certain person, son of ... etc. I did not know that “son of”, but he fit into the line of children I knew as there was a gap of five years between children and he fit right into that five year slot. I received her material and everything fit perfectly. She had twenty-four letters he wrote during the Civil War and mentions his siblings and they all fit.
Now here is a quick way to organize your research. Take each child that you know and begin to make a chart with the child’s name down one side of the page. Then you can add boxes after each child such as date of birth. This might be approximate and if you are lucky, you can pin this down to month and year via the later census. Once you have gotten the children in some kind of birth order, you can begin with another column putting down where they were born if that is known at all.
With my wife’s family, her mother was one of nineteen children. Each of these nineteen were born in a different place. I was lucky in that the majority of them were still alive at the time I was doing my research, and they could tell me about each of their birth places. Some of them were gone by this time, but the others knew their birth location. They must have moved every time the rent came due. Some were born in Arkansas and most were born in Tennessee. Knowing this, you can get locations as to where to look for information as time goes on.
The next column you might want to compare all of the children with the census. Since we have the census for the most part from 1790 until 1940, there are plenty of choices for comparison. If the ancestor was born about 1840, you might start with the 1850 in one column. Most of the children will not be found there, but you can find where the ancestor was and with whom they lived. Then go to the 1860, 1870, 1880, etc. Give each year a column and make notes as to the ages, in school or not, note any that suddenly appear or disappear in each column. A disappearance is a good side bar. What happened to them at this point? Did they get married? Were they killed in a battle? Any number of questions can now be answered.
If the children are all in a close area of the county, then marriages, births, death records can come into play. You can add any number of columns that you wish for each child until you have the kernel of a story going.
Along the way, you can search out wills and probate records for each of them. Don’t forget the land records or any other of the normal court records that are helpful. Knowing the area of interest helps to identify your family and their connections with others in the area. Even a spouse’s family might be helpful as sometimes the subject goes to help the father-in-law in their business and thus this takes you down a totally different path.
Keep the chart form simple with key words and not full explanations. This will help to give a direction and paint the portraits of the family in broad strokes. Final touch ups can come later when you write the full story.
This short cut gives just a bare outline of the life of the family, but it is so important as you have a sketch of who, what, where and when in their life. No one can write an exhaustive story of a single family. There are always small side notes that can be added. As an example, in my father’s father’s family, all of the men, that is to say my grandfather and his four brothers, made up the crew of a N&W train out of Bluefield, WV. As time passed the company instituted a testing of all crew members for color blindness. All five failed the test and my grandfather retired as a results since he was the oldest. My father was always upset about this as they could not tell the difference between light green and light blue, but they all could see the red, green and yellow of traffic signals. This is a side bar that you will not find in most of the family stories, but it does make for an interesting story. Keep looking for your story!!!
Happy Hunting!
Back to School Sale

Now through midnight on Sunday, August 23rd, receive 20% off all books and maps when you enter BTS20 in the coupons and code section of the checkout page. The code must be entered for the discount to calcualte.  


New Books



Holt County, MO Records
Brief history of the county, abstracts of wills and administrations, marriages, Soldier's Discharge Papers and Patrons of the Atlas of 1877.  

Laclede County, MO Records
Brief history of the county, wills and administrations, marriages, and the Centennial Address from 4 July 1876. The Laclede records includes over 4,500 names in the index.  

Miller County, MO Records
Brief history of the county, marriages, church records and wills.  




If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions, please email us at jimd@mountainpress.com.