Saturday, February 9, 2008
Raggedy Aud and Other Tales.
Well, since I have not had much to write about in the past few days, I thought I would share a little about one of my favorite hobbies. It ranks right up there with traveling. That hobby is Genealogy.
When I was a little girl I always knew I had lots of relatives - they always came to visit. Some stopped for overnight. A lot of them stayed at least a week or more. Some just moved in for awhile. They always had stories to swap. I was always curious and asked who the man was that came to visit. He told me "I am your cousin Raggedy Aud". From that day to this I have always called him Raggedy Aud. When I started doing genealogy, I found out he wasn't even related, his wife was a distant cousin and he just came to visit with my grandparents.
The picture above is My Grandfather Ham Swift, My Grandmother Laura Alice Arnold Swift and three of their eight children, Wiley, John, and Stacy Swift. It was taken around 1908.
When I was in my thirties, I decided to start tracing my family history. I have a database of over 25,000 people all related directly to me. I wanted to share a few pointers on how to start your own family tree.
Start with what you know. Begin with yourself. Add your parents, grandparents and if you know the names of your great grandparents list them also. Also keep them numbered, It helps when you have additional names and keeps them straight.
2. Your Father
3. Your Mother
4. Your Father's Father (grandparents)
5. Your Father's Mother
6. Your Mother's Father
7. Your Mother's Mother
8. Your Father's Paternal Grandfather (great grandparents)
9. Your Father's Paternal Grandmother
10. Your Father's Maternal Grandfather
11. Your Father's Maternal Grandmother
etc. etc. You will see a pattern beginning with #1 The father is always listed as even and the mother as odd numbers. Each generation back doubles the number. #2's father is #4 and #4's father is #8.
Start asking questions. Talk to your parents, grandparents, anyone who will listen. In my opinion we never talk to our parents or grandparents enough. They will have wonderful stories to tell. Make sure to always have a notebook and pencil or a tape recorder with blank tapes. Document everything. Even the minutest piece of information can be helpful and it may be the clue you need later on. Always date where and when and who you got your information from. That was a big mistake I made early on. So I have information i know is correct but can't remember where I got it from. Don't forget to talk to other members of your family (aunts, uncles, etc.) . They will give you a different perspective.
By keeping good records you can transfer all the information to Family Group sheets and pedigree charts. This keeps it organized so you don't need to look for it later on.
A good software for computer use is Brodebrund Family Treemaker. It is user friendly. You can also add to it at any time. It keeps it straight and you can print out your pedigree charts and Family Group Charts for your working notebook.
With a good base, you now become a detective as you start to look for missing information. Census records, obituaries, cemeteries, courthouses, birth records, death records, service records are all great places to collect information.
How far you search and what you do with it is up to you. Everyone's family is different but this is a hobby well worth pursuing. Just be prepared to learn a lot of history and have fun doing it.
Ini the words of my Father, "That's it For Today."
Posted by Jenny Johnson at 7:44 PM