Archive for the ‘Research’ Category
If you follow me on Twitter @jencoffeelover, you may have seen my rant recently about those Ancestry.com leaves and people merging stuff into their trees. Let me explain.
My Holik ancestors came to Chicago from Senetin, Bohemia. They all came to Chicago and appear based on all the records I have found, to not have lived anywhere in between once they got off the ship. Their ship logs all indicated another member of the family as the person in the U.S. they were meeting. For pretty much all the kids that immigrated, Frantisek Holik, their father in Senetin or Anna Holik, their mother in Senetin, was listed as the closest relative in the old country.
I found a tree on Ancestry.com where a woman had merged all my Holik stuff into her tree for a Marie Holek. Names and birth years were close so it must be right? Right? Wrong! This researcher took my Marie Holik, sister to my great grandfather John, as hers. She merged in records for that Marie and my great great grandmother Marie Rataj Holik into her Marie.
I was reading some comments on being a professional genealogist and new genealogical researchers that my friend Caroline posted and was inspired to write a breaking it down series for kids. I want to not only teach you about documents and research but break things down so you learn techniques to look for clues and make better decisions about what to add to your family tree.
Subscribe to the blog so you get updates on breaking it down. I’m going to walk you through step by step all the reasons and documents showing why my Marie is not this other researcher’s Marie. Through the process you may discover something I did not.
If you have followed my Chicago Family History blog, you know the story of my missing Kokoska child. Initially her birth certificate said Emilie Kokoska. A death certificate shows her name as Ana Kokoska. I discovered she is buried in Row 18 No. 1 at Bohemian National Cemetery. I knew she died at 699 May Street although there was a discrepancy between that address and the address on her brother’s birth certificate. But I determined the birth certificate address never existed according to old Chicago street maps and other sources.
I feel this child is the one I am looking for based on evidence I explained in prior posts. And I found out where her grave is this weekend.
I asked at Bohemian National Cemetery where to locate Ana’s grave and who owned the plot. Turns out Ana had a term grave. This means her parents bought it and when the time limit was up, someone else was buried over her. She was never disinterred and moved into the Kokoska plot. There was no stone allowed because it was a term grave. So Ana is buried in Bohemian National Cemetery and someone else is buried over her. No one even knows she’s there. Very sad.
This post serves as one of the testaments to her very short life. She was only over a year old when she died. She lived, was loved, died, and has been found, not to be forgotten by me. She is remembered.
If you visited the blog last week you learned about many great PDF resources provided by PBS through their Ancestors series. Today I would like you to download and print a Timeline.
This timeline is great for kids because it outlines every age from birth to age 18 on a sheet about one specific ancestor. At the bottom of the sheet it has a space for listing source documents where you gathered the information. Use this along with the Research Checklist from last week to uncover your ancestral information.
Last week I posted a few great research files from the PBS website. There was another fantastic resource you should know about. It is called the Ancestors How to Select a Record to Search.
This four page document outlines information on record types and where to find information for that type. For example, if you are looking for a birth date of an ancestor, look for sources like cemetery records, military records, town records, and census records. These are just a few of the records listed.
Not only does the sheet outline where to find records but also background information on a place, group or subgroup. Examples include the history of a place or group or record repositories.
The sheet ends with a glossary of genealogical terms. These are all terms every young family historian should learn.
Download the sheet and print it out for your research file. I think you will find it very useful.
Kids! I was on the PBS website this morning and found a great resource for you when you start collecting genealogical information. It is the Research Questions file!
This is a PDF file on which you list your ancestor’s name at the top with the vital information. Then there is a checklist of records for you to search and places to write questions about those records and where to obtain the information.
Download the file and use it when you conduct your interviews or start looking for documents. It is a fantastic resource!
Secondary sources are those created after an event by people who do not have firsthand knowledge of the event. An example is a newspaper or magazine article, documentary or book written by people who studied primary sources.
Secondary sources can lead researchers to new primary sources, help them form an opinion of an event or person, and outline a story. These sources can help answer questions about a topic which will help a researcher narrow their focus or expand a story.
Here is a great worksheet on analyzing secondary sources.
Where can you find secondary sources? Newspapers. Magazines. Libraries. Scholarly journals. Keep in mind that not all secondary sources are one step away from a primary source. Some are compilations of other secondary sources.
Hey kids, you know what a primary source is now but where can you find primary sources?
- Your home
- Historical Society
- Libraries – research, university, online, and local
- Archives – regional and national
- Special collections at libraries and archives
What is a special collection? It is a collection of rare manuscripts, books and other materials that are stored in special rooms to preserve the materials in a library or archive. These materials do not circulate. This means they remain on-site and users have to ask permission to view and use the materials.
If you live in the Chicago area, there is a fantastic resource listing of places to find primary sources.
So what are you waiting for? Start looking for some primary sources to add depth to your family’s story!
Today we will talk briefly about primary sources. What is a primary source? A piece of evidence from the past that was created during the event. A diary, letter, photograph, newspaper article, and legal documents are all examples of primary sources. A birth certificate is an example of a primary source, although it may contain some secondary source material. More on secondary sources later.
The Chicago Metro History Education Center has a great worksheet on primary sources for kids to use.
Primary sources can help history come alive and should be “listened to” during the research process. Be wary though because not everything you read is the truth. Sometimes the truth is stretched to make an event more exciting. Various pieces of evidence should be consulted while examining a topic before drawing many conclusions and writing your own piece based on the evidence.
There are a few great worksheets available to help guide you through primary source research. These are from an out of print book called A History Handbook for Student Research Projects by Gerald Danzer. I will have to see if I can locate this book through a used book seller. The worksheets are fantastic!
Check back because I will tell you where to find primary sources.
- New handouts such as Primary vs Secondary sources, and MORE! (sullivanlibrary.wordpress.com)
We have spent a lot of time discussing interviews, finding basic sources and what is in those sources, so now let’s talk more in-depth research.
I was writing an article for an online site about National History Day. This I thought, would be a great topic to break out on my kids blog! What is National History Day? It is one day dedicated in the to the study of history. This day goes beyond teaching about names, events, dates, and places. It requires students to dig down deep and examine a specific topic. Many cities and states participate in contests for high school students to present on a historical topic.
Chicago Metro History Fair. Students from high school compete in a junior and senior level for a chance to compete at the state-wide level. Students choose a project (presentation, website, living history demonstration, or article) based on the current year’s theme. In 2011, the theme is Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, and Consequences. Prior years’ themes have included Family, Revolution, Communication, Geography, and Rights and Responsibilities.is one of those cities that participates in a
Take a look at Chicago’s Metro History Fair page to see what it is all about. Over the next few weeks we will explore some of the research procedures the students learn that are also the same procedures genealogists and family historians use!
Does your school participate in National History Day? If it does, tell us about it!