My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Keeping Track - Part 1

Not all genealogy buffs use genealogy software. That has become rather apparent to me this past week. For example, one friend of over 35 years called to discuss our rather close line through Nathaniel Foote of Connecticut. (We are 9th cousins, twice removed.) She has been doing genealogy for a very long time, and is a DAR member, and she doesn't use genealogy software.  In our long telephone conversation from Kansas to Massachusetts, we verbally over her line. I'm sure there are many others out there who are like her, who have written their lineage on pieces of paper. And two days later, I have been in contact with the person who left a comment to my blog Tombstone Tuesday - Van Woert. He is new to genealogy, and he doesn't use genealogy software.  How do they keep track?

So how are these genealogy friends going to keep track of everything, without software? I sure hope not like I did when I first began! About eight years ago, I taught a number of beginner genealogy classes. And beginner it was. No software was used by the students. So I devised a method that they could use to keep track of their ancestors. The page below is one of the two methods I came up with.

In the locations where I have ancestors, I have listed the states in alphabetical order, then the county, then town/city. Within the towns, I then listed my surnames in alphabetical order, followed by their spouse and what personal event occurred there, such as birth-marriage-death, with the dates. I entered all my surnames this way, and kept the pages in a binder. For years, I would bring the binder to libraries. Why? It was the easiest way to see what families I had in each state and in each county. Many genealogy libraries have books shelved by state, and then county, so this method made it a breeze to go down an isle (say Vermont) and see those I have for that certain area (Vermont).

If your library doesn't have open stacks, but instead, you need a staff member to get your books (closed stacks), you first have to use a card catalog or an online catalog to see what is available. An example, search Massachusetts, then Middlesex County, then Andover to see what the library has in their holding.  Having all your states and towns typed and printed out, makes it easier to go down your list against the catalog.

I do not use this system any more; I have way too many names, towns, towns, counties and states. However, if somebody is just beginning out, I think this is a easy and free method. Of course, this only pertains to locations. What if they don't have a computer, a person can easily hand write everything.  My form for names will be shown tomorrow. The example below was done in MS Word, but you can now use Google Docs or any other document software. (Further down, is the page in a pdf.)

ANDOVER  (all the below had residency in Andover)

William Ballard / Grace Berwick—He died July 10, 1689. She died April 27, 1694.
Joseph Ballard / Rebeckah Rea—He born abt. 1645, married Nov. 15, 1692, and died Sept. 29, 1722. She died Feb. 11, 1739
Josiah Ballard / Mary Chandler—He born June 22, 1699, married Aug. 7, 1721, and died Dec. 26, 1780. She born March 8, 1701 and died April 3, 1779.
Josiah Ballard / Sarah Carter—He born August 14, 1721.
Simon Bradstreet / Anne Dudley—She died September 16, 1672.
Thomas Carter / Ruth Phelps—They married Dec. 25, 1706. She born June 1, 1684.
Thomas Chandler / Hannah Brewer—She born Oct. 25, 1630. He died Jan. 15, 1702 and died Oct. 25, 1717.
Thomas Chandler / Mary Peters—He born Oct. 9, 1664. They married May 22, 1686. She died July 21, 1753.
Andrew Peters / Mercy Beamsley—They married 1659 poss. here. or Ipswich. She died Nov. 5, 1726. He died Dec. 4, 1713.
Edward Phelps / Elizabeth Adams—They married 1651 here or Newbury. She died May 4, 1718 here or Lancaster.
Edward Phelps / Ruth Andrews—They married March 9, 1682.
Maj. Nathaniel Wade / Mercy Bradstreet—They married Oct. 31, 1672. She born 1647.


Heather Rojo said...

Barb, I love it! I'm forwarding this to my godfather right now. He can separate out his Essex County, Massachusetts ancestors from his Rockingham County, New Hampshire ancestors into similar lists. He can start right at his library in Rye, or at the library in Hampton,NH which has a great genealogy section.

Wendy said...

I see 2 more sets of ancestors I share with you on this list. LOL We're probably like most New England families and very inter-related.

When I started in 1986, my grandmother had a Wang computer and a dot matrix printer. I kept notes on paper until I finally got one of those fill-in-the-blank family tree books.

In the 1990's, one of my husband's great-aunts gave me a pile of blank pedigree charts to help me get organized.

Then software showed up, and now I keep both a handwritten/paper system (organized alphabetically in binders, with printed indexes I create and maintain in Word), and the electronic version (backed up regularly, along with any genealogy documents saved to my computer as PDFs, Word files, images, etc.).

It is great that you have shared this method for those who prefer not (or maybe can't afford) to use genealogy software.

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

You have more patience than I do. It brings me to tears when someone is rustling papers at the end of the calls, and deciphering their handwritten notes. I will reference your message/methods as a recommendation the next time, I find myself in tears.

Barbara Poole said...

Hi all, the heck with the Olympics, although, Wendy in So. Korea, I don't know when they are on, your time, I would rather reply to you all, and thank you for writing. Heather, I'm glad you were able to figure out what I was saying (I do get wordy). Good luck to your godfather. Wendy, Heather has NE roots as well, so maybe we are triple cousins. Nice reply, but...who are our common ancestors?
And, Kathleen, it was fine in this case (this person is a good friend, and even copied my cemetery series to take to her gen. mtg.) A guy called last Sat. at 9 PM, from his car, he just left the FHL in SLC and had a question, now that drove me nuts.