Wednesday, May 27, 2009


SO MY LAST POST LEAVES US WITH 'WHAT IS LEGWORK RESEARCH?' Well, 'legwork' is literally that--'legwork!' This is where you get in your car and/or start walking and sniff out the clues you've already obtained by doing your interviewing process. By that I mean you are visiting cemeteries, research facilities, doing all the running around that fills out the picture of your family roots. You will find yourself on adventures that you never dreamed of! Genealogists have traveled all over the world following their leads, although that can be an expensive endeavor! But in today's environment, we can eliminate that huge expense due to the wealth of information that now exists on the internet.

As long as the information you are tracking down on a website is correctly DOCUMENTED [here we are back to that all important word again!] and it is a legitimate source, as I covered starting with the DOCUMENTATION OF SOURCES posting [Blog Archives Tuesday, April 28, 2009], then you can use that information to back up your data. Once again, follow the form I provided, DOCUMENTATION FORM, and fill in whatever information is appropriate. I'll remind you that if you are using a source located on the internet, always write down the web address. That is necessary to your documentation, and if by chance you realize you forgot something to notate within your documentation, then it is easy enough to go back and obtain what you need. I would also suggest that you review your web resources once in a while as you may find additional information has been posted, and you might find something that was newly discovered by a fellow genealogist! At times, it can be just a lead, but there have been many, many leads in my 30 plus years of researching that have led me to documentation that broke the BRICK WALL! What in the world is a 'Brick Wall?'

I doubt there is anyone researching their family roots out there who hasn't run into the dreaded 'Brick Wall!' That would be that moment when you realize you cannot find any headway on a piece of your puzzle! I'm sorry to tell you, it may be years before you get your next lead....and that would be your 'Brick Wall!' But, that's okay, we all have them! I personally had one for nearly 20 years!! Don't panic!!! It doesn't necessarily take that long....that just happened to be one situation for me! However, the good news is....I broke through the 'Brick Wall' and came out on the other side with a BIG smile on my face! There is an incredible feeling that comes along with breaking those walls...and it's worth the time and effort! So don't ever despair, if you look long enough and follow even the tiniest of clues, you will eventually break nearly every dreaded "Brick Wall" that you encounter! You want to approach researching family roots as if you are a detective. You will have to use common sense and logical deduction at times to decide which trail you are going to follow next. There isn't just one formula to track down your evidence, and the necessary documentation. But I'm going to do my best to give you as much guidance as possible to send you off on your search, and we have a lot to cover! There are a lot of things to consider when you are looking a particular time lines in your family history, but that will be another posting at a later date!

Recapping, Legwork is actually looking up records, finding physical evidence of your ancestors existence to place in your report. One little fact can change the direction of your search, SO DON'T DISREGARD ANYTHING! You will be amazed at how many times the tiniest bit of information was the one piece of the puzzle that made the whole picture clear--and broke through one of your 'Brick Walls!'

I'm certainly not done further discussing pursuing the information you obtain through the interview process. My next posting will continue on that subject. So once again, I invite any questions or suggestions! The door is always open!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Re: Guest Comment 5/26/09

I just wanted to acknowledge Betty-Lu Burton's great input in regards to those who do research on the FamilySearch Indexing Site! By the way, this site has an incredible wealth of information and I have used it countless times over the years! I will be addressing searching the internet for family records at a much later date, but I felt it was really important to notate Betty-Lu's comment at this time. I have copied and pasted below what she wrote:

Anonymous said...
I do indexing on the FAmilySearch indexing site. One thing you might want to emphize is when you use the internet and you can view the original record from the index DO IT! Not everthing is indexed, and sometimes you might read the record differently. Some of those writing the records a first grader could have written.
Betty-Lu Burton
Her suggestion is a perfect example of the things we all learn as we gain more experience in researching family records. Betty Lu's emphasis here further supports the absolute need for proper documentation! When you are searching the internet, you are usually relying on someone else entering the information from the original document! We all have the greatest of intentions, but we are still human and therefore, errors can occur when we least expect it! So compare the information in various documents and if you find discrepancies, you will have to do your best to find other avenues of documentation, and if at all possible, view the original document! Again, I will address this further at a much later date, but felt it was necessary to thank Betty-Lu and applaud this very important notation from someone doing the actual hands on indexing for this most valuable site,

Thank you, Betty-Lu!

If there are any other researchers who would like to contribute suggestions to our beginning genealogists, please feel free to enter your comments in the comment forum! The other option is to contact me about doing a guest article! You can email me at and put "re:" in the subject area of the email!

Thank you all! This is an open forum that invites guest articles and questions from our new genealogists!