Catching Up

I’ve been absent lately because I’m finishing a degree. I hope to post regularly in April.

Let me record the little bit of research I’ve been doing.

I’m still plugging away at tagging by family group and noting the lineage of each DNA match with common ancestors. I know they’re not always correct, but doing so gives me a good idea of how I’m related to DNA matches who don’t have a tree attached or have a very abbreviated tree. I’m done with my mom’s matches. I only have 50 more for my dad’s. Again, I don’t research this information. I’m just recording names and possible relationships for when I do research.

Tagging family lines and noting the lineage also helps me get a sense of how I’m related to the fore parents whose exact relationship is unclear to me at this point. I’m thinking the Bashams and the Brocks in particular here.

A few weeks ago, a Romine cousin on my dad’s side mentioned she found a new surname she had never heard before, the Sivelys or the Scivallys. I offered to show her my files for them. When I looked in my Google Drive I realized that my documents for this family were from when I first started researching my family tree. That is, before I was careful about source information. I also hadn’t done any foundational work with the descendants of this line to make sure my connection to them was correct.

So I started going through the documents I have for my Romine great-grandparents, finding any missing records and filling in that individual’s timeline, especially for connective records, records that directly name my known relatives to their parents, siblings, and grandparents.

During this process with the Sivelys, I found myself building a spreadsheet to record a person’s census information through the decades, so the spellings of their name, their locations, and their ages are all in one place. I’m finding it pretty useful to pull up when I’m creating searches in search engines. It gives me a sense of how census takers may have misspelled names and solidifies the year ranges of births and deaths. It’s also good to pull up when analyzing ancestor records. I’ll give you an example: If all the censuses for Jane Doe say she was born in Washington state or Oregon between 1851 and 1855 and you’re looking at a Jane Doe record saying she was born in Florida in 1875, it’s probably not the right person.

I’m curious to hear other people’s methods of verifying their ancestors. As in, you pulled all the paperwork together from the shaky leafs in Ancestry and then you realized those hints aren’t always correct: cousins linked to people with similar names or relationships based on a name someone heard someone say was written in some family bible no one’s ever seen.

Do you know about Amy Johnson Crow’s WANDER method? Did it work for you?

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I am a writer for an e-Learning course vendor near Chicago.

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