Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ruth Himan's "Five Generation Pedigree Chart Classes"

written by Ruth Himan

Ruth Himan's "Five Generation Pedigree Charts" workshops on August 14th (at bonita Library) and 21st (at Chula Vista Library) were Spontaneous, Enthusiastic, Informative and Fun. The majority of the 21 class participants were established CVGS members, recent graduates of Genealogy 101 and a few new guests.

At the first presentation, the portion of Ruth's visual presentation available illustrated variances in pedigree charts. Presenting the same pedigree data in different chart types can aid in the analysis and comprehension of a family pedigree. A full 360 degree circle chart with starred special recognition of military personnel, was one fine example of a beautifully displayed pedigree chart.

The importance of three initial tools were emphasized:

1) a daily journal
2) a numbered, date-location formatted pedigree chart
3) a resource log to add research data

Of special note, was the fact to start simple "with what is known." Ruth started with adding her name to the first position on the pedigree chart, and to that were added three small penciled numbers-- 1, 2 and 3. Ruth then referred to her resource log and added her sources of information that documented her birth name, date of birth and place of birth - her birth certificate, her marriage certificate, and a Family Bible.

Next Ruth added her parent’s names, birth date/places and marriage information. She referenced (with small penciled-in numbers) where the data for these facts were documented, the repositories for the data, where to find copies, referencing surnames and locations (by country, state and county), dates and comments.

Variations of many pre-printed pedigree charts, resource logs, and starting forms available for use were discussed. Participants were encouraged to customize their genealogy charts and forms to meet their research needs.

A resource log can be used in the "first" steps of documenting data. As a resource log 'matures' it should be flexible and develop with added resource data. Each individual's resource log will reflect the uniqueness of each family history. Some examples of "unique" records for a particular family could include:

o arrival date/port/ship
o state/county at birth or state/county as known today
o records found at Church/Parish/Location/date

A Microsoft Excel file was used as a resource log to demonstrate the flexibility needed to add, sort, merge, and address resource data. Workshop participants were very surprised to learn how much data can be collected and recorded for each pedigree entry. The presentation demonstrated how essential this organizing of information will become in later genealogy research.

The Pedigree Chart of each workshop participant was reviewed for readiness for the CVGS Picnic Surname Game. Suggestions were given to expand, print and update these charts.

Other key workshop points included brief explanations on:

o The difference between an ancestry and a pedigree chart
o Genealogy Terminology
o Family Group Sheets
o Census worksheets
o Fun with Fact-Assumption-Conclusion worksheets.
o Preparation to get the most out of your visit to a library using on-line databases.

All of this information led into a lengthy and informative discussion on wanting more workshops to learn more. The participants were encouraged to add these class requests to their CVGS survey sheets.

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