28 November 2009

Thanksgiving is a Time for Memories

Thanksgiving is a great time to add material to our family history collection. As we create new memories we also reflect on the memories of the past. Take time this holiday season to record in some fashion your memories of the past and present. As family gathers I repeatedly hear, "Remember when we ..." or "Remember the time when ...". After the meal when we sit and relax, before anybody dozes off, is a great time to bring out the digital recorder. Visit and enjoy the closeness of each other and the memories of the past.

20 August 2009

Free Genealogy Educational Opportunities

I want to share several free online courses for the beginning genealogists. Education is the key to keeping up with the times in the ever changing field of genealogy and family history. Now, education does not have to be expensive, in fact today I will mention only online classes that are free.

BYU offers free enrichment courses through their Independent Study Program. The courses offered here fall under the categories of Introduction to Family History & Genealogy, Record Types in Family History & Genealogy and Regional & Ethnic Research in Family History & Genealogy. Under each of these topics are listed the classes themselves. Under Introduction into Family History is found: Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors, Introduction to Family History Research and Helping Children Love Your Family History. Under Record Types in Family History is found; Family Records, Vital records and Military Records. Under Regional & Ethnic research is found seven classes pertaining to research in France, six classes for research in Germany, one class for research of Huguenots and five classes for research in Scandinavia.

More free online classes are located at: FamilySearch.org. There are seven classes in the Family History Lesson Series they are: Perform Descendancy Research, Conduct Family History Interviews, Involve Children and Youth in Family History, Write a Personal History, Create a Famiy History, Involve your Extended Family in Family History and Use the Internet for Family History Research. The great thing about these lessons is that they can be printed out or downloaded onto your computer.

Another great spot it the website for The Center for Family History & Genealogy. The Center is located on the BYU campus and provides free online tutorials to students. There are 8 lessons associated with the Religion 261 class and they are: Gather Information, PAF, FamilySearch.org, GEDCOMs, Family History Centers, Temple Ready and Sharing. Also offered from this website are Script tutorials. These tutorials will help you learn to read old documents. The lessons are available for the following languages: English, German, Dutch, Itilian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

For those who have access to New Family Search can also find free lessons at the new site. On the main welcome page is a list of options, the last option is "Help Center". Click on "Help Center" and a new window will open. Next look at the tabs located at the top of the new window. Click on the tab that says, "Training & Resources". The top selection that appears will be E Learning Courses. There are 9 courses offered entitled: Overview, Registration, View & Add Information, Make Corrections, Organize Information, GEDCOM Files, The Temple Process, Available Help and The Helper Function.

27 May 2009

Probate Records

Probate records are court records that are created due to a death. Probate records include wills, letters of administration, inventories, bonds, guardianship and estate records. Most often the subject of the probate record has a valuable estate or minor children at the time of death. Probate records are good for proving relationships.

The probate process begins first with a death. At this point a will is presented to the court with an application to process. If no will was left an application is filed usually by the widow, to process the estate. Living heirs are recognized, a public announcement is made, debts are recognized, assets totaled by way of an inventory and accounts are administered. The heirs are again recognized, married daughters will be listed with their spouse representing them and minor children will be assigned a male guardian. If the wife of the deceased is still living she is by law entitled to 1/3 of the estate. The remainder of the estate to be divided equally between the living children.

20 April 2009

Land Records

Land records are a good source for genealogists. Land records will contain information about your ancestor's residence and the amount of property he owned. You can see when your ancestor first purchased land as he arrived to a new area and when he last sold land as he left to move another area.These dates and places can be used to establish the the specific birth place of children born during the years the family lived at a certain location. Census records are helpful in identifying the place of birth, but are limited to giving only the state or country where the birth occurred. Land records are also helpful in learning about your ancestor's wealth. A wealthy man is likely to need a will at the time of his death in order to distribute his property to his heirs. Land records will also list the name of the wife in transactions where the property is being sold.

Land records can be found in the county court house where your ancestor lived. Many land records have been microfilmed and are listed in the Family History Library Catalog. To find land records in the catalog do a place search for the county and state. A list of records available for for your area will appear. One of the topics will be "land and property". Look at the indexes first and remember to look in both the grantor and grantee indexes. One is indexed by the surname of the grantor and the other is indexed by the surname of the buyer.

08 April 2009

Record Keepers

Family historians and genealogists are the record keepers of our generation. It is our responsibility to gather, organize and accurately record our family history. What does this mean? It means that as we gather and record our family's history it is of prime importance to document our facts and conclusions. At the risk of repeating myself, I will say again that every fact on a family group record or every fact in our genealogical database must be attached to a complete source citation.

It is not enough to simply state that the information came from grandma. Every citation must be complete with meaningful details. A simple test of completeness is to ask yourself this question: "If I show someone this citation, will they be able to get back to the record or person from which the original information was recorded?".

Basic citations include a title, author, publisher and location, date of publication, page number. I would also suggest that you add where you examined the record, or the location of the repository (The repository is where the record resides).

What if your source is a person? How is that information recorded? Follow the same outline and make sure to include the title, which may be a phone interview. The person giving the information, full name. Include the date of the conversation. Contact information for the interviewee. You may also want to include your relationship and other pertinent information such as age or condition of the interviewee.

01 April 2009

Preserve & Share - Photographs

Many of us are lucky to have some old photographs. Or maybe we know older family members who have these images hanging on their walls. Now is the time to preserve and share these images. Light, moisture, heat, oil and acid are all enemies of photographs.

Every photograph should be preserved digitally by scanning at a high resolution or by digital photography. Take care not to disturb or damage the original.

It is also important to identify individuals within each photo and label it. I use a black pigma pen, which will not bleed or smear once it is dry. Store original photographs in acid free sleeves.

Make a commitment now to organize, display and preserve your photos.

26 March 2009

The 5 Generation Ancestor Book

Several years ago I taught a genealogy class to a group of seniors (the over 65 variety). They were all very interested in genealogy and many of them were responsible for collecting and compiling their family's genealogical records. Most had written and published their own personal histories. I secretly wondered why these students wanted to come to my class when I would teach them how to do things they had already done. I decided to try a new approach which I found very successful. We focused on creating a book geared towards the youth in their families.

On the second day of class each student brought with them a 5 generation pedigree chart, showing themselves as the first person. I then introduced my plan of making a 5 generation ancestor book. This book would really be a 3 ring binder which included, 1 - their 5 generation pedigree chart, 2 - family group records for every couple on the chart and 3 - a biographical sketch and photo of each individual listed on the pedigree chart.

Now the first part of creating the book was fairly simple. All that was needed were printouts of information that could be found in a personal genealogy database. The difficult part was writing the ONE page biographical sketch for each person. Let me explain. We determined that one page would give the reader an idea of who this ancestor was and that one page is not too long for a youthful read to actually read.

The first writing assignment was to write a ONE page biographical sketch about ourselves. The instructions were that the biographical sketch was to be only ONE page. The purpose was to share something that the youth could relate to, it could include personal interests or a short experience, something that would help the youth make connections with this older generation. We left that day to write our own ONE page, we all were very excited.

As we returned to the next class everyone brought their ONE page biographical sketch. I had to smile as each student shared their experience. Most had changed the margins, then the font to try to include more on their one page. We all found that it was necessary to eliminate facts that could be found on the accompanying forms and focus on one experience or just sharing our interests.

We repeated this experience every week adding the parents, then grandparents, then great grandparents. Each time we had less information to work with and had to rely on memories, or research. When completed, this book was a treasure to each of us. My students, these seniors, gave copies of their books to their grandchildren hoping to bride the generations and spark an interest in family history.

21 March 2009


What can be found in newspapers? Birth announcements, marriage announcements, obituaries, and more can be found. Newspapers, especially small town newspapers are a great resource for biographical information. A small town newspaper may only publish an edition once a week, but it will include details not found elsewhere. Everything is news in a small town.The newspaper may have an article mentioning a family gathering and naming every person in attendance. I found a newspaper article that describes in detail the bride's dress and gives a brief background of both the bride and groom.

Where can newspapers be found? Many newspapers are located in public & university libraries and historical & genealogical societies. Contact the libraries or societies nearest to where your ancestors lived to get access.

Some newspapers are being digitized. Many are accessible through subscription websites. However there are a few free websites that have digitized newspapers. Chronicling America is a project under the Library of Congress and has newspapers from 1818-1910. Currently this site has newspapers from: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Another website is the U.S. Newspaper Program, this site contains a list of all the states and directs you to the website where digitized newspapers for that state can be found. Both of these websites are adding content regularly, if you don't have success now try again later.

18 March 2009

County & Local Histories

A great source that is often overlooked are published County Histories. As a general rule when ever you are researching in the U.S., find the county histories for the areas where your ancestors lived. County Histories contain a wealth of information about the area, history, economy, politics and more. The first part of these books contains topical chapters including chapters for each township within the county. The last part of the book will contain biographical sketches of county residents. Residents had to pay to be included in the publication. If there is an index check it for your surname and any other surnames of those who married in and out of the family. Do not be disappointed if your ancestor did not have a sketch included. The real treasure is found in the text of early chapters. Using the history found in a county history can help to flesh out the lives of your ancestors.

The Family History Library has filmed many county histories and these are available on microfilm. BYU has a collection of digitized county histories located in the Family History Archive. Another resource for county histories is the local Historical or Genealogical Society, where your family lived.

11 March 2009

U.S Census Basics

The first U.S. census was taken in 1790 and thereafter every 10 years. The first census records listed the name of the head of household and had columns where tally marks were entered representing other family members. It wasn't until the 1850 census that the names of every member in the household were listed. Also included were columns for age and birthplace. Every census after added more columns and more questions. Occupation, value of personal and real property, are also among the questions asked. The 1880 census includes the relationship of every person in the household to the head of household. The 1900 census asks the birth month and year, years married, and children born to the woman. This census also include naturalization and citizenship information. Census records are publicly available up through 1930.

Now the most important advice about census records is to find every census during your ancestor's life time. This method of research will help you get a complete look at your ancestors life.

02 March 2009

Church Records

Church records consist of records recorded by a church. In many foreign counties there is a state religion. For example if you are researching in Scandinavia the state religion is Lutheran, in Spain and Italy it is Catholic. In the United States however we do not have a state religion. Church records are kept by many different faiths. The most common religious records found in the United States are: Baptists & Episcopalians, Congregational, Roman Catholic, Methodists, Quakers and Lutherans. Of these religious records the most helpful will be those religions that recorded a christening or baptism shortly after birth.

Baptism or Christening records will include information about the child's name, parents names, residence, date of event and godparents or witnesses.

Marriage records will include the names of both the bride and groom, residence, date of event and witnesses.

Burial records will include a name, age and possibly the cause of death.

Church records are a great source! These are especially valuable for locating key information about an ancestor before vital records and civil registration were kept.

18 February 2009

Vital Records

Vital records are a key source when researching in the U.S. These are records created by the government and include Birth, Marriage and Death records. In the U.S. generally these records were kept on a state level beginning about 1900. Vital records kept before that time will be found on the county level and in some few cases on the City level. The vital records most commonly found recorded before 1900 are marriage records. Marriage records were typically kept side by side with the land records from the beginning of a county's creation.

There are at least 2 ways to find vital records. The first is to search the Family History Library Catalog. Do a "Place" search for the state and county where the event took place. This search will bring up a long list of available record types, find Vital Records and click on the blue link. This will bring up all the vital records that the Family History Library has for your location. You may be lucky and find that they have the film you need.

Another means of locating a vital record is to request one from the state or county where the record resides. A courthouse address can easily be found in The Handybook for Genealogists, Ancestry's Red Book or online.

The foreign equivalent of Vital Records is Civil Registration.

17 February 2009


We use evidence to prove facts. Providing reliable evidence is especially important when documenting family history. Good evidence helps us to avoid duplication, resolve conflicts and provide the most accurate information in our records.

Direct Evidence - Addresses a particular matter, clearly answers the question and stands alone.
Indirect Evidence - Circumstantial information, requires us to come to conclusions and does not stand alone.
Primary Source - An original record that contains first-hand testimony of an eyewitness.
Secondary Source - All evidence which is inferior to primary evidence.

Reliable conclusions are made based on the weight of the evidence not the quantity of evidence.

16 February 2009

The Big Family Reunion

Have you ever sat for a large multi-generation family photo? I think we all have had the experience of waiting for everybody to get into place, sit still and look at the camera. Years ago my mother-in-law planned such an event. She had six married children and 28 grandchildren. The oldest grandchild was preparing to leave on a mission and my mother-in-law was sure the family would never be complete again. It was vitally important that every grandchild be present. So we all gathered together in an wilderness area in Cache county and spent hours waiting and taking photos. By the time each person was in place for the large family photo I was distressed trying to keep my 8 children out of the trees and clean was wearing on me. I faked a smile as the photographer took at least 20 or more shots. When the proofs finally came I was again distressed to find that of my 8 children 2 or more were always making clown faces in the photos. My mother-in-law selected one photo to enlarge and proudly displays this picture in her home.

I have often reflected on the importance that this photo has to my mother-in-law. It represents her posterity and includes her dearest relationships. I think that parallels can be drawn as we think about our ancestors. Our ancestors, each couple found on our pedigree charts had children and their children had children. As we gather and research our family history we need to remember that grandparents want all their grandchildren present, not just some. As I research I make sure that I have gathered all children for every couple found on my pedigree chart. Then I take it another step and find all the grandchildren for every couple on my pedigree chart.

14 February 2009

More Locality Sites

When looking at localities a great free website is: USGenWeb.org. This website is set up by state and then by counties within each state. Listed on each site are free resources specific to the area, a brief history and links to other online resources. It is not uncommon to find a list of cemeteries that have been transcribed or a state census that has been extracted. I have even found county or local histories digitized and posted. My favorite option is the search this site option. I can search a state or county for my surname and all related hits will be brought up. All resources are provided by volunteers. Contribution in all areas in GenWeb is highly encouraged. The more you share the more others can find.

The world counterpart is WorldGenWeb.org. It is set up in similar fashion. First choose and region then a specific country, any related helps will appear. Some areas in World GenWeb are not as robust as US GenWeb. This is a growing site and is run completely by volunteers who love genealogy.

One last free web resource is Cyndi's List. Cyndi has collected and organized over 264,040 genealogical links. You may search this site by location, region or by genealogical topic. She has even included links related to history and customs.

13 February 2009

Locality Survey

Before beginning your own research you must find important details about the locations your ancestors lived. This is called a Locality Survey. Certain elements must be included in the survey such as information about the general history of the area, information about the surrounding geographic influences and specific genealogical resources pertaining to the area.

General history of the area can be found in the FamilySearch Research Outlines. These are available online at: FamilySearch.org, under "research helps", then "articles". Search for the country or state you need and click on "outline". Each Research Outline includes a section called "History". These Research Outlines are being expanded and updated and current information can be found at: FamilySearch Wiki. FamilySearch Wiki can be searched by state or country and contains a wealth of current genealogical resources specific to an area.

Other great resources for U.S. research are The HandyBook for Genealogists or Ancestry's Red Book. Each of these books contains a general history of each state, including when the state became a state and when each county within the state was formed and from which county it was formed. Another great piece of information is the list of Genealogical & Historical Societies found within each state. These societies can be a great resource in your research leading you to unique sources for the area. Find at least 2 of these societies that may help in your research.

Another key piece of information needed is a map. If possible find a map contemporary to the time when your ancestors lived in this location. It is beneficial to know the boundries that existed during their lives. All of this information will give you clues as to where the records for your ancesotrs will be found.

09 February 2009

Looking for More Previous Research

There are still many other places to look for previous research in this post I will include a few more. We have all used Google.com search engine to find things. Have you used it to find your ancestors? I once had a professor that asked his students to always do a Google search for every name on your pedigree. Can you imagine my surprise when I searched for a Swedish name and found a hit. I found a journal recorded by a local priest in the community where my ancestors lived. One of his entries mentioned a visit to my ancestors' rural home. You just never know what you might find. When searching in Google or other search engines for your ancestors, use quotation marks around the name. You can also include other pertinent information in the search field like the name of the state where your ancestors lived or the year of birth.

Another kind of search is a surname forum search. I like to use Genforum.com, but there are many others. Search for your family surname and see if others are searching for the same family name. If you find a family forum for your surname you can then search the posts within the forum. You might choose to search for a state where your family lived or you might search for a family first name. This kind of search will narrow down the number of posts you will need to read. Each contributer to the family forum will have email contact inforamtion available when you click on their post. This allows you to contact the contributer directly by email.

The last place and most popular places you can look for previous research is on online trees. There are many websites with free online trees: Ancestry.com, RootsWeb.com, Gencircles.com, Genealogy.com, and many more. Most of these trees will have contact information available.

Looking for Previous Research

After you have looked for previous research at FamilySearch.org there are many other places to search. I will attach some links to many of the great places to visit.

First a look at the Library of Congress online catalog found at: catalog.loc.gov. Do a basic search and include the surname and "family" or a location. If a book has been published in the United States about your family and you have found a copy of it at the Library of Congress you may borrow this book through Inter-Library Loan. Inter-Library Loan service is available through many public and university libraries. In order to borrow the book you will need to give the librarian a complete copy of the book information you found at the Library of Congress.

Another great site to search for books is Google Books found at: books.google.com. Google books is a collection of digitized books. You might be surprised to find the book you want in pdf format and available for download.

The Family History Archive at BYU is another large collection of digitized books. The collection can be searched at: Family History Archive. This collection contains over 27,600 digital books and family histories and continues to grow.

Heritage Quest Online has a collection of 24, 000 digitized family and local histories that are searchable through their site. To search the books select the "Books" catagory and enter a surname. Heritage Quest also has an index called Periodical Source Index (PERSI). This is an index of 2.1 million genealogical and local history publications housed at the Allen County Public Library in Indiana. If you get results searching this index instructions are provided on how to order the article where your surname is mentioned. Heritage Quest Online is available through Family History Centers and is also available through many public libraries free of charge.

Looking for Previous Research at FamiySearch .org

I give my students an assignment to look at several databases and websites for previous research. It is important to know what has already been done before we actually begin new research. First begin at FamilySearch.org and search the Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource File and the International Genealogical Index.

Next search the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org, choose "Surname" search. Enter the surname you are researching. This search will bring up results of published genealogies and family histories that include the surname you have searched. If you have a large number of results look for the chosen surname with a locality. For example, if I search for the name Youngman and there are too many results I can look for the surnmane Youngman combined with a place name. Maybe I know that the Youngman family lived in Indiana. Any result that includes Youngman and Indiana will be important to examine. Record the call numbers or film numbers of any books or films that you would like to order. Films can be ordered through your local Family History Center.

04 February 2009

International Genealogical Index - IGI

The International Genealogical Index is a searchable database found at FamilySearch.org. This database is an index. Only deseased individuals are listed in this database. Individual persons may be found in this file without a connection to anyone else in the file. Occasionally there will be persons connected to a parent or spouse.

Information is entered into this database 3 different ways. The first, this file contains entries of deceased members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Secondly, names of relatives for which members have submitted to complete temple work. Thirdly, entries extracted from vital and church records from around the world. One does not need to have L.D.S. ancestry to find entries in this database. If by chance an entry is found that came from extracted records an associated film number will be listed as the source of the original record.

L.D.S. Members can access temple ordinance dates from this file after they have signed in with their user name and password. To register for a username and password a membership number and confirmation date is needed. These pieces of information can be retrieved from a ward membership clerk.

Pedigree Resource File - PRF

The Pedigree Resource File (PRF) is a computerized database found at FamilySearch.org. The PRF contains over 215 million lineage - linked names. These names are attached to another family member such as spouse, parent or child.

This file is open and data may be contributed online through the FamilySearch website. Submitter information will be listed.

The unique characteristic about this database as compared to the Ancestral File is that notes and sources may be attached to individuals. Unfortunately, many submissions do not include notes and sources.

As you search this datebase you will notice that entries refer to a CD #. CDs contain the additional notes and sources and new CDs which contain recent contributions to the PRF are published regularly. Currently 42 sets are available, each containing 5 million names. Sets 43 & 44 are set to be released soon. These CDs are avaialble for purchase through distribution centers. Most Family History Centers have a current set of these CDs. The BYU Family History Library has placed the CDs on their server.

Thanks, Paul Smart for the current statistics about this file!

02 February 2009

Ancestral File - AF

The Ancestral File is the first computerized database created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the purpose of gathering and organizing the Four Generation Program being submitted by the church membership. This database does not include paper forms submitted prior to the Ancestral File's creation. The Ancestral File database can be found at: FamilySearch.org.

This database has more than 35 million lineage - linked names. Lineage - linked means that each individual is linked to a spouse, a parent or a child.

This file contains only deceased individuals. You won't have any luck searching for a living individual.

There may be information about the submitter of the information, but it is very old and the submitter may no longer be living.

This file is closed and you may not make any additions or changes. The Ancestral File is known to have many duplicate persons and errors in the data.

One disadvantage to this file is that no notes or sources were contained in the data found here.

How Do I Find Previous Research?

It's not time to begin research yet. First you must find out if anybody else has researched your family. You might have a distant cousin that has already collected information that could help you. A great place to begin looking for previous research is at: FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch is an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There are many searchable databases at this site.

Go to the home page and click on "Search Records" found on the blue menu bar. This will take you to a page where you can see the list of available databases and a form that allows you to fill in first name, last name and other information about the person you would like to find. If you fill in the name and other information, by default all resources or databases will be searched. I prefer searching each database individually. I will describe each database found at FamilySearch.org individually in forthcoming posts.

28 January 2009

Looking for More Clues to Your Family History

A great resource for family history are your living relatives. Take an opportunity to call them and ask them questions. Whether over the phone, by email or at family gatherings make a record of what you learned. Ideally you could digitally record the interview, but at minimum take a few notes so the information is not lost. As you search for information further back in time your oldest living relatives will be your best source. Don't forget that a great aunt may be able to tell you about your grandparents or great grandparents. If you are the oldest living relative take time to record what you know and share it with your children and grandchildren.

26 January 2009

Printing in PAF

To print a pedigree chart in PAF you must first highlight the individual you would like to be the first person on the chart. Usually you will begin with yourself. Once this person is highlighted you need to click on the little printer icon found on the top menu bar. It is the fifth icon from the left. Once you have clicked on the printer icon a "Reports & Charts" box will appear. There are many tabs at the top. Select the "Pedigree" tab. You will verify that the starting person is whoever you highlighted. The type of chart is usually a "single" chart. Chart options include a choice of 4, 5 or 6 generation chart. "Other Options" include "Prepared by". Always click "Prepared by"so that your name and contact information will be printed on the bottom left hand corner.

To print a family group record in PAF you must highlight the individual you would like to show as parent. Click the printer icon and the print "Reports & Charts" box will open. Select the "Family Group" tab. You may verify the starting person and select "parent". "Type of Chart" will be a "single family" and "expanded"(fewer abbreviations). The "Sources and Notes" area should have "source citations" checked, along with "Actual Text"and "Comments"also "General Notes". This allows all sources for this family to be printed. Remember we like to have sources with everything. On the "Other options" check "Prepared by".

Before you print out any of these charts or forms I recommend that you "preview" the documents. By previewing the charts you will not accidentally print something you don't want and you will assure that you have included sources and prepared by information.

22 January 2009

Opening a GEDCOM File in PAF

Opening a GEDCOM file in PAF is not very difficult. After saving the GEDCOM file to your computer, open your PAF software. Click on the "File" button at the top lefthand corner of the screen. Choose "New". Name the file something meaningful. Say the GEDCOM contains the genealogy of your Palmer ancestors, name your file "Palmer". Naming the file is like naming the folder in which you will place the genealogy data from the GEDCOM file.

One the new file is named, click "Save". A new screen will appear and you will need to enter in preferences. When you have completed choosing preferences, close the box. Next you will notice that only 2 icons are active on your menu bar at the top of the page. The first is an open file folder and the next is an old style computer diskette with an arrow pointing inward. To import a GEDCOM file you must use the computer diskette icon. Click on the icon and an "Import GEDCOM File" box will appear. You will need to find the location where you saved the original GEDCOM file. Once you have located it, click the "Import" button. The program will quickly import the data from the file into PAF. It will notify you the number of individuals and marriages have been successfully import.


So what are GEDCOM files and how can I use them? If you are new to genealogy software you may be unfamiliar with GEDCOM files. GEDCOM stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication file. When a person wants to share the genealogical data from their software program with someone else that may have another software program, they create a GEDCOM file. This file can then be attached to an email and sent. The recipient can then use their own genealogical software and open the GEDCOM file to access the data.

17 January 2009

Adding Sources to your PAF data

Sources are an important part of good record keeping. A general rule that should be applied is: Enter at least one source for every fact. Entering sources for every fact will help you evaluate evidence as you research. I know that entering sources for every fact may seem time consuming, however your work will be credible to others if you have sources listed.

Open your PAF file and look at each individual you have entered. Open the "Edit Individual" box by double clicking on a name. Once the box is open, look at the facts you have entered. Next to the birth date and place line you will notice a small letter "s". This is where a source is entered for the birth date and birth place fact. Double click on the small "s". You will be brought to the "Select Source" box. Since you are just beginning this box will be empty. To enter a new source click the "New" button found in the lower portion of the select source box. Another box will open, this is the "Edit Source" box. There are spaces to enter a title, author and publication information. There are more spaces but we will only use the 3 above mentioned at this point. You may easily enter the title, author and publication of your source and then click "OK". This will save the source. You will then be brought again to the "Select Source" box. The entry you just entered will be highlighted. Click the "Select" button and the "Sources" box will open. At this point you may add the citation detail such as page number. Click "OK" to save your additions and your source will be attached to the birth date and birth place fact. You will notice that when a source is added that an "*" appears next to the small "s" to notify you that a source is connected to a particular fact. Repeat this process for all the facts you have entered in PAF.