Month 2 – still working on the re-organization of paper files and completing worksheets. I started with in-law files then decided to tackle the more difficult files- my dad’s. I am still spread out on our dining room table. By the end of the month (February, 2017), dad’s files were done and I began on mom’s files. Once my documentation system was in place, the process went a little smoother. As I quickly reviewed dad’s files to write this blog, I realized that I had forgotten an important item on each document – signing and dating each form. I didn’t start doing that until I was into mom’s files. So, two months later and I am back into the paper files to make sure that each document is signed and dated.
Why is signing and dating a worksheet or family group sheet so important? First, it tells who filled in the blanks. Many forms have space for this information. Unfortunately, the forms that I chose do not have a designated space to fill in. Second, date tells when the form was filled out. I found many old forms with dates as early as 2001- 2002 and one or two from the 1990s. There had been numerous updates to most of the information since the original form was filled out. However, I am keeping the old forms as a record of my research at that time. Also, these old records helped me to identify research habits that needed changing.
Which brings me to the focus of this month’s activities : 1) establish base practices and guidelines and 2) setting research goals. Recognizing the need to ‘clean up my act’ was the motivating factor to do this in the first place.
Where to begin? Start with myself . Goal #1 for month 2: Collect and record information for myself, husband Jay and our parents. Outcome: Completed for Jay (husband) and myself on February 2, 2017. Completed for both sets of parents by the end of February. This was relatively (excuse the pun) easy. In 2011, I became an official Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) and had collected my documents for that application. In 2013 and 2014, I created family history scrapbooks for my in-laws and had collected many of their documents. A DAR application for my mother-in-law finished the collection. Birth, death, marriage, divorce certificates are now in appropriate folders for these two generations. Individual checklists are filled out as much as possible. Our siblings have their own family group sheets and checklists. However, I don’t have their birth & marriage certificates. More items for the To-Do list! Oh, well!
Now, onward to Generation 3 , grandparents. I have the documents for my paternal grandparents as result of DAR application. My maternal grandparents were born in New York in late 1890s. I began getting certificates last year but not in any systematic manner. Last year, I had written for, and received, a death record for my great-great-grandfather, who died in 1898 in New York. New York has wonderful records!I already have my grandfather’s birth certificate, sent to me by a New York cousin, so my grandmother was next on the list. Birth certificate received on March 14, 2017! Here’s a partial transcript.
Full name of child: Amalie Charlotte Maurer Sex: Female. No. of child of mother: 5 Date of Birth: 26 May 1892. Hour of birth: 4 pm Place of birth: Hopkins Street Mother’s full name: Anna Maurer. Age: 28 years Mother’s maiden name: Klee Birthplace: Brooklyn Father’s full name: Herrman Maurer. Age 32 years Father’s occupation: mat???llmoulder Birthplace: Brooklyn
Seems like routine information. But, there were several surprises. First, name of child. I had always heard that Gram’s name was Charlotte. Family and friends called her Lottie. Her middle name has been reported as both Anna and Amalie. Amalie was her first name! Make corrections to all of my records. Second, she is reported as 5th child of her mother. Wait a minute – according to my records, Amalie Charlotte was Anna’s 4th child! Another item for the To-Do list: discover 5th child born to Herrman and Anna between December, 1883 (date of their marriage) and May, 1892. So tempting to follow that BSO now! And, finally, just what was Herrman’s occupation??
Enough for this post! In my next post, I will explore more of my not-so-wonderful research practices and what I am doing to improve.