Genealogical Proof Standard: The Search

It Starts With a Plan 

by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the November 2014 Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter.]

GPS graphicYou 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

Genealogical Proof Standard: The Question

The Question

by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the September 2014 Iowa Genealogical Society newsletter.]

GPS graphicQuestions, 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

Thank You, Davis County!

Davis County Courthouse, Bloomfield, Iowa

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

Iowa’s Courthouse Records: Identify, Access & Understand

by Alice Hoyt Veen, CG [note: this article was featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Hawkeye Heritage]

Jefferson Co. Courthouse, Fairfield

Jefferson Co. Courthouse, Fairfield

Consider your life and the many ways you interact with government: federal, state, county, and local. Your Iowa ancestor was no different—he had to pay taxes, register land deeds, pass his assets on to his children, become a citizen, vote, etc. Each point of interaction with government created a paper trail that reveals a wealth of information about your ancestor’s life and the society in which he lived. In Iowa, especially in early years of statehood, the county was the primary interaction point for your ancestor. It’s important to identify, access, and understand the county records relevant to your ancestor. Don’t settle for the basics—dig deep. You’ll be surprised at what you may learn. Continue reading

Iowa’s Courthouse Records: Plan Your Trip

Webster County Courthouse, Ft. Dodge

Webster Co. Courthouse, Ft. Dodge

Plan Your Trip: Twelve Tips

Each county official is unique in how he or she approaches public access to records. Your experience in one courthouse may be entirely different from what you encounter in another. It takes a bit of patience and perseverance, but onsite research is well worth the challenges. Here are twelve tips to consider as you plan your trip: Continue reading

Iowa’s Courthouse Records: Learn More

Carroll County Courthouse

Carroll Co. Courthouse, Carroll

Resources in Print:

Alice Eichholz, editor, Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004). Visit the Iowa section for county origins, formation dates, and earliest records information. Continue reading

The Power of GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard)

by Alice Hoyt Veen [note: this article is featured in the July issue of the Iowa Genealogical Society Newsletter]

power4What if you could access a tool so powerful it could help you resolve your toughest genealogical problems? Such a tool exists, and it’s available to genealogists at every level of experience. It costs nothing to use and once you understand how it works, you can apply it to every aspect of your family history project. The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is that tool and it should be in every genealogist’s toolbox—whether you are a beginner or an experienced researcher. Continue reading

Learn More About GPS!

Genealogical Proof Standard I

power4Coming this fall to the Iowa Genealogical Society: IGS instructor Linda Greethurst teams up with Certified Genealogist Alice Hoyt Veen to present a series of five classes plus an initial orientation session introducing the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and how to apply it to genealogical research situations.

Goals: to help dedicated beginners understand and apply sound genealogical principles to their new projects and inspire them to reach higher in their goals; to provide all researchers with tools that take their projects to new levels of discovery, understanding, and excellence. Continue reading

Iowa’s Oldest Courthouse

Van Buren County Courthouse, Keosauqua, Iowa

Van Buren County Courthouse, Keosauqua, Iowa

In the past year I’ve visited more than a dozen Iowa courthouses for various client projects and research. Every courthouse is unique, both structurally and in how the courthouse staff interacts with researchers. While I’ve enjoyed each and every courthouse visit, I’m always happy when my travels take me to Van Buren County, home to Iowa’s oldest courthouse.

Keosauqua, the Van Buren county seat, is located at a broad, horseshoe bend in the Des Moines River. Once a thriving riverboat town, the pace is slower today. The courthouse, built in 1843, is a two-story Greek Revival structure situated high on a bluff above the river. Constructed of brick with oak framework, the walls are twenty-two inches thick on the first floor and eighteen inches thick on the second. Native walnut woodwork trims the interior. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the oldest courthouse in Iowa which has remained in continuous use. Continue reading

Warrior President

Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior & President, by Ari Hoogenboom. Kansas, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. 626 pp. Photographs, maps, index & source notes. Hardcover.

Rutherford B. Hayes 19th President 1877 - 1881

Rutherford B. Hayes
19th President 1877 – 1881

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born 4 October 1822 in Delaware, Ohio, the son of Rutherford Hayes and Sophia Birchard. His father, a storekeeper, migrated to Ohio from Vermont in 1817. He died ten weeks before Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born. Sophia did not remarry. Her brother, Sardis Birchard, a strong influence in Hayes’s life, provided financial assistance and educational guidance. Continue reading