Friday, January 15, 2021

James Tanner's Rules for Genealogy


James Tanner’s Genealogy’s Star blog, 11 July 2020:


A New Rule of Genealogy Discovered: Number Thirteen

 Here are the previous 12 Rules.

·                     Rule One: When the baby was born, the mother was there.

·                     Rule Two: Absence of an obituary or death record does not mean the person is still alive.

·                     Rule Three: Every person who ever lived has a unique birth order and a unique set of biological parents.

·                     Rule Four: There are always more records.

·                     Rule Five: You cannot get blood out of a turnip. 

·                     Rule Six: Records move. 

·                     Rule Seven: Water and genealogical information flow downhill

·                     Rule Eight: Everything in genealogy is connected (butterfly)

·                     Rule Nine: There are patterns everywhere

·                     Rule Ten: Read the fine print

·                     Rule Eleven: Even a perfect fit can be wrong

·                     Rule Twelve: The end is always there

As I said back in November of 2019, you never know, there might be another rule somewhere out there in the genealogical universe waiting to be discovered. Well, here it is:


Rule Thirteen: Genealogists abhor a blank field

 Other than my obvious borrowing from the old scientific saying from physics known as, horror vacui, or plenism, commonly stated as "nature abhors a vacuum," attributed to Aristotle, this came to me as I was correcting entries in the Family Tree. It seems like some genealogists are compelled to fill in a blank even if they have no idea what should go there. Hmm. I might say that some people are compelled to fill in a blank even if they have no idea what should go there and not attribute all that extra stuff to genealogists but in my experience, it is genealogists that obsess over empty fields such as birthdates before there could possibly have been any birth records. 

 Genealogy should be source-based. This means that when we add information (an event) to our family tree, it should be based on a valid historical source not just our speculation about the event. You might want to look at Rule Two (above) and think about the fact that empty fields may simply reflect the last of a record and not a failing on the part of the researcher. 

 Take some time to think about what you are adding to your own family tree and take some more time to think about what you add to an online public family tree. 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Graves In Germany Are Recycled


Bet you didn't know that graves in Germany are recycled??  

I read about this in an article in Der Ahnenforscher, the monthly newsletter of the German Genealogy Group (based in Long Island, NY; Google it). James Derheim wrote that if you're planning a research trip to Germany and you want to visit your ancestors' graves, you will most likely be very disappointed. "With 83 million people living above ground in Germany, a country the size of Wisconsin, there isn't much room leftover for new burial plots. The outlines and dimensions of a cemetery are usually constant, kept the same as they have been for hundreds of years." 

So what do Germans (and other Europeans) do? After a period of about 15-20 years, if the family no longer pays for the upkeep and "rental" of the burial plot, the remains of the person buried there are removed, the headstone taken away and a new person buried in that spot. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Genealogy Pit Stop: Research in 15-Minute Increments


You know what a pit stop is right? It can be a much-needed break on I-90 driving to Seattle or perhaps a Daytona car race type. Bottom line, though, a pit stop, means a very short space of time to do something.  

Thomas MacEntee offers a free presentation on YouTube about how you can really accomplish something with your genealogy research in just 15 minutes. Sounds impossible, doesn't it?

Thomas explains that to have a successful Genealogy Pit Stop you must (1) have a sense of focus;  (2) have the ability to ignore BSOs (bright shiny objects); (3) have the tools at hand to track where you started last and where you left off; and (4) have helpers such as pre-formatted source citation templates or evaluation cheat sheets.

Do you have 15 minutes in your busy day to have a Genealogy Pit Stop? Spend that first 15 minutes watching Thomas' YouTube video. You'll be hooked, I guarantee. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

New Website To Me:


Ever heard of, or maybe used, this website, a "free online encyclopedia of Washington state history?" Below is a snip from that website following a search for "new years day." Sorry it's Seattle but the quotes from the paper for that day are delightful to read. 

Go take a looksee for an article/topic of interest to you...... as it pertains to the Evergreen State's history. 

"The first day, of the first month, in the first year, in the twentieth century, is here" (The Seattle Times, January 1, 1901, p. 6).

"Those who watched the 'new year in' did something which they will never do again. They witnessed the 'birth of a century'" (The Seattle Times, January 1, 1901, p. 6).

Every whistle, bell, and gun in Seattle greeted the New Year to the full strength of its noisy power. The hour of midnight was clear, the night air still and cold. The result was that the entire city heard what it already knew, that a new Year was born" (The Seattle Times, January 1, 1901, p. 6).

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year's Advice from Thomas MacEntee


Thomas MacEntee used this image in a recent blog post and I quite loved it. "Shift" does happen, and it did happen big time in 2020. But Thomas' advice to us in that post was "okay, 2020 is done with, it's time to have an attitude shift towards what good things 2021 will bring!" I really think he's quite right.

     Let's all have an attitude shift and start today looking forward to   all the opportunities, adventures and blessings sure to come in 2021.   Start by calendaring the three EWGS meetings per month onto your calendar (EWGS, TAG, GRF) in order to take advantage of all the learning offered to you via EWGS.

Happy New Year of 2021!