by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article appeared in the July 2015 issue of the Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter]
Our last post discussed analyzing each piece of evidence found in each source. We recognized that a single source may contain various types of information and evidence, and that a single source may provide evidence of varying degrees of reliability. That’s why it’s so important to conduct your search over a broad range of sources: you can correlate what you find and arrive at a sound conclusion. Continue reading
by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article appeared in the May 2015 issue of the Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter]
We’ve explored basics of source analysis by defining the differences between resources, sources, information and evidence. Now let’s analyze those sources in the context of their value and reliability for answering research questions.
We access many sources in our quest for information that produces evidence. Good news: any source can be right! Bad news: any source can be wrong! Confusing news: some sources can be both right and wrong!
How can this be? Let’s work through an example step-by-step with this death certificate for Martha Lydia Wilson.  Continue reading
James A. Garfield
4 March – 19 September 1881
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard. New York: Anchor Books, 2011. 198 pp. Photographs, index, source notes. Paperback.
Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield, by Kenneth D. Ackerman. Falls Church, Virginia: Viral History Press, 2011. 486 pp. Photographs, index, source notes. Paperback.
It has been some time since I last offered a book review from reading through the U.S. Presidents. Frankly, when it came to James Garfield, my initial enthusiasm was lacking—after all, what could possibly be said about a man who served less than a year in office? Continue reading
Does your genealogical work space look like this? As family historians, we tend to be the “Keepers of Everything,” from treasured original family documents and photographs to printed copies found online and at repositories. It’s difficult not to become overwhelmed and disorganized. When you reach the point that it’s easier to print new copies of records than to find your old copies, you know you’ve arrived at critical mass. Continue reading
by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article appeared in the March 2015 issue of the Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter]
Step 3 of the GPS cycle requires thorough analysis and correlation of information. Understanding some basic terminology is necessary to effectively evaluate your research findings.
Part of developing your research plan included locating resources where you might conduct your search. Resources are places or media that house sources. Resources include libraries, repositories, courthouses, microfilm, the Internet.
Sources are the “containers” for the information you are seeking. You task is to identify the most-likely sources for the information you need, then locate the best possible resources for accessing those sources. Continue reading
by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the January 2015 Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter.]
How often have you come home from a research trip with a fistful of photocopies, only to realize you have no recollection of the source you copied from? You can and you should record your sources, and it’s not as complicated as you might think. The goal is to document your research effectively so others can retrace your steps, find the sources you used, and hopefully reach the same conclusions. Continue reading
Charles and Mary Jane “Mayme” (Wescott) Edwards
2015 marks the beginning of my fifth year as a professional genealogist, and my first full year as a board-certified genealogist. I’ve enjoyed educational opportunities taught by the leading members of the genealogical community, networked with wonderful genealogy professionals, and experienced the joys and challenges of diverse client projects.
My very first client project was for a lovely lady in Canada named Joanne Barnard. She was searching for the mother of her great-grandfather, believed the family had Iowa roots, but had hit a brick wall. It was a perfect fit for me as a new professional, and I tackled the project pro bono to gain experience. Continue reading
It Starts With a Plan
by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the November 2014 Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter.]
You know what you want to know about your ancestor, and you’ve crafted a focused research question. How do you apply the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) to answer that question? Let’s take a closer look at step one of the GPS: the “reasonably exhaustive search.”
The GPS calls for a “reasonably exhaustive search” of all sources that might answer your research question. But how do you know you’ve met that standard? There are certain steps you can take to ensure you’ve done your best to locate every relevant, available source. Here are some tips to help you formulate an effective research plan. Continue reading
by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the September 2014 Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter.]
Questions, questions—we all have unanswered questions about our ancestors. The Genealogical Proof Standard is a great tool for addressing those questions. But The GPS works best when our question is clear, concise, and focused on a specific problem. It’s necessary to organize not only our thoughts but our information in a targeted way that leads to a well-defined research goal. With a clearly articulated, specific goal, you can put the GPS to work! Here are a few tips to get you started. Continue reading
Davis County Courthouse, Bloomfield, Iowa
Family History Month in Iowa got off to a fine start Saturday with the 40th anniversary celebration of the Davis County Genealogical Society. Sometimes the very best in genealogical education is local—as demonstrated by the marvelous local historians and genealogists who provided the day’s selection of educational presentations.
Special guests Deana Pitman, DNA researcher; Rudy Evans, noted Davis County history buff; Dave Snyder, Jacobs Ladder Cemetery Restoration; and Barbara Sandstrom, Native American descendant were on hand to share their knowledge and experiences. DCGS also very kindly allowed me to share some of my own research of Davis County families, and I am very appreciative of their gracious hospitality. Thank you, Davis County Genealogical Society, for a wonderful, memorable day! Continue reading