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.