Genealogy Do-Over – Week 8: 20-26 February 2015

The Genealogy Do-Over - Week 8 Topics: 1) Conducting Collateral Research and 2) Reviewing Offline Education Options.

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Previous topics in the Genealogy Do-Over:

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Topics: 1) Conducting Collateral Research and 2) Reviewing Offline Education Options

How are you doing on your Genealogy Do-Over? Or are you working on a “go-over” review of your own research? This is Week 8 with five more weeks remaining. I realize that many participants are not yet caught up, but one of the nice features of this collaborative learning project is the ability to print the PDF articles for each week and work on them when you are ready.

Don’t forget! When the current Genealogy Do-Over cycle ends, on 3 April 2015, I’ll be restarting with Week 1 on Friday, 4 April 2015.

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Conducting Collateral Research

Many people confuse collateral research with cluster research or they tend to lump them together. For me, collateral research involves the collateral lines connected to your direct line ancestors. Most times this would mean focusing on the relatives of someone who married into the family – the wife or husband’s parents, siblings etc. It also can mean distant cousins along your direct line. Also don’t forget those second and third marriages and step-children.

My definition of Collateral Research: A search for those who are not direct line ancestors, but who are considered part of the same family. These include siblings, half-siblings, in-laws and others through marriage. Example: take time to look at the siblings of a woman’s husband or her husband’s parents and who they married, as well as their children.

  1. Start out with a direct line ancestor.
  2. Spend time researching that person’s spouse, including parents and siblings.
  3. Record as much information as possible, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Include occupation, address and other details.
  4. If needed, branch out with research on the siblings and other non-direct relatives.
  • What I Plan to Do: Now that I’ve done basic research on my generation, my parents and my grandparents, I’ll go back and start collateral research. This means looking at my siblings (my brother) and proving his life events. Then I’ll work up to my father and my mother (Mom had 11 siblings – a huge project). For each of them I’ll try to prove their live events and list their children.
  • “All-In” Participant Options: While some researchers prefer to work on an entire family as a “group,” meaning parents and children, others “loop back” once they’ve work on all the parents and grandparents. No matter which approach you take, remember to utilize the research and evidence evaluation skills you’ve acquired over the past few weeks of the Genealogy Do-Over.
  • Modified Participant Options: Those doing a “go-over” will want to review the children for each set of parents and look for missing children, other spouses, and verify all information such as birth dates, locations, marriages, etc.

Reviewing Offline Education Options

You’ve likely heard the term “not everything can be found online” when it comes to records and genealogy research. The same holds true for genealogy education. There are several large genealogy conferences as well as week-long intensives better known as “institutes” offering a chance to learn from nationally known educators and genealogists.

Over the past five years, several new institutes have popped up and I believe this will continue over the next few years in the genealogy field. Genealogists realize the value of working in a collaborative environment with other researchers and also being able to network with others in person. There are some aspects of the institute concept that just can’t be replicated online!

Review the list of large genealogy conferences and institutes in the United States and make plans to attend one or more in 2015 or 2016. Click here for RESOURCE Offline Genealogy Education – US or visit the Files section of the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group for a listing with links.

  • What I Plan to Do: I currently keep tabs on all genealogy education offerings, both virtual and offline (in person) through various blogs and using Google Alerts. One of the challenges for me, personally, is that when I attend a genealogy conference I am often delivering several lectures. This means I am often unable to attend other lectures at an event. Participating in virtual genealogy education has always been a better fit for me.
  • “All-In” Participant Options: Review the list of available conference and institutes. Also consider local genealogy conferences and attending local genealogy society meetings.
  • Modified Participant Options: Review the list of available conference and institutes. Also consider local genealogy conferences and attending local genealogy society meetings.

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And that’s all I have for this week’s topic of the Genealogy Do-Over. Get ready for next week when we start looking at the importance of “cluster research” especially when trying to break through brick walls. We’ll also focus on keeping documents and photos organized.

Next Week: Week 9 – 26 February – 5 March 2015

  • Conducting Cluster Research
  • Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

Thanks for being a part of the Genealogy Do-Over and your feedback is always appreciated. You can leave a comment on the blog post at GeneaBloggers, email me at geneabloggers@gmail.com or post at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

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