Monday, March 5, 2012

The "WHY" of the Story

This has been my mantra for several years...filling in the story so that you can understand the "WHY". I borrowed these helpful tips from I hope they will be of help to you as well. It’s easier to understand why when you see a person’s actions against the backdrop of history. And the best way to do that in your own family tree is to plot your discoveries on a timeline. Step 1: Start with the facts. Create a simple timeline with pen and paper or a word-processing document. Add basic information you know about a relative and his or her immediate family. Jot down names, dates, places and key events in chronological order. Add details from census records, family stories and any records you find at home. Step 2: Add history and supporting records. Give your timeline context by adding historical events. Include big ones that may have affected your ancestors and smaller ones specific to your family. Use these events to help you find additional records like draft cards, newspaper articles, yearbooks, obituaries or city directories. Step 3. Analyze. Look at your timeline. Does everything add up? Gaps and inconsistencies can show where and when to look for records. For example, a widow with a six-year-old child in 1910 is an invitation to look for the husband’s death certificate between 1904 and 1910.

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