Saturday, August 18, 2012

Questions about Facebook, Missing Children, Conflicts, and How Big is Your File

Question from Dana:
Do you ever use Facebook in your research?

Yes I do. I have tracked down several descendants of persons of interest using Facebook. This works well if you have someone with a rather unusual name. If the name is more common then you might send out many messages before you get the right person. I also belong to several genealogy specific pages. I try very hard to keep up to date with what is going on in the world of genealogy. You will also find me on Google+.

Second question from Dana:
What do you do when you are at a total brick wall? When do you give up?

I never give up. What I will do is set the brick wall aside for awhile (sometimes a month or two) and then I look at it again with fresh eyes. Sometimes when you go back over the information that you already have you will notice something that you didn't see before. Also, with more and more resources coming online every day, it is always a good idea to search for new records groups that you didn't know existed before.

Question from Denise:
When the census says, "Mother of 7 children, 5 children living" do you record the two missing children even if you don't know who they are?

Most definitely. If the child was born and died between the census years you won't automatically know who they were, however, you might be able to figure it out with Bible records or cemetery records. Even if you never figure out who the missing children were, you still want to record that they existed.

Question from David:
How do you handle census records that don't agree? My great, great-grandfather is listed throughout the census years being born in three different places and a date of birth spanning 12 years.

This is a VERY common problem. The first thing I do is try and pull in other records to substantiate the year of birth and place of birth. Sometimes those records will conflict too. Death certificates are a great example. The dead person isn't the one giving the information so the information given is suspect. I will put the information that makes the most sense (considering everything that I know) in the database fields and then I will record everything else as conflicting data. All genealogy database programs have a way to record conflicting or alternate vital statistics type information. You should always record ALL of the conflicting data so that you have it available to analyze as new data comes in.

Question from Bennie:
How many people do you have in your personal file?

I have 8672 linked individuals in my file. I think this is probably about average. I know of researchers who have more and researchers who have less. The number of people you have in your file is not indicative of how good of a researcher you are. I would rather have 100 well documented individuals that are completely sourced than 50,000 names that were added to the file just because.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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