I still remember the day that I saw the photo of my grandmother with a ladies' group in a small local paper. She stood there in a lovely fitted dress that was embroidered at the collar and waist. The sleeves came all the way to her wrists, where she had lifted the left sleeve slightly so that the "nice watch" my grandfather had given her showed for the photo in the newspaper. Her fresh permed was styled with loads of hairspray and the smile was perfected with heavy applications of lipstick.
Even better was the fact that behind her was a calendar on the wall of the house she was at, letting us know that the photo was taken in the summer of 1956. My mother would have been 8 years old by the end of the year, my grandmother would have a total of 5 children. At the time of the photo, she was mother to my mother, Elizabeth who was 7 1/2 when the photo was taken, my Aunt Lydia, who would have been 6, my Uncle Johnny, who was 5, my Uncle Tommy was 3. My Aunt Trish would not be born for another 4 years. In the photo, with the help of a girdle and a fitted dress, my grandmother does not look like she had ever had a child. She could have been a senior in high school from her appearance, but in actuality, she was 23 years old.
There are so many wonderful clues in this photo for the genealogist. The city and state are mentioned, as well as the date, the name of the organization and what the occasion was. (I don't post it here because I am waiting for permission from 2 people in the photo who are alive.)
My grandmother referred to the shoes in that photo a lot. She hated them because they were out of style. I thought that they looked very nice, but she told me that they were peep toe shoes that had not been in style in her area for some time, but they were the only shoes that she owned that she could polish up on a moment's notice.
What do all of these facts put together? From the organization listed, I can look up online that group and see if there are any other mentions of my family. Any new members that might be my family. Any get togethers that may have photos of my family.
Another great thing that groups do is let you know a little more about the person that you are looking up. Knowing some of the things that they did adds a little more color and dimension to a person, making them more real.
It is very easy with famous family members to find out tons of information. Small local newspapers can be a wealth all to themselves, sharing local news and a higher chance of seeing your loved ones' name in print.
I have plans for 2017 that I will be sharing with you fine readers. Often I get ideas for a lot of repetitive tasks, as well as ideas for things I would like to get done in the next year.
I broke down a lot of these tasks into 12 different groups, one set for each month. I have printed those off so that I can check them off as I go, and I will be adding those lists each month here, so that my readers will have access to them.
Additionally, for the tasks that I perform each and every day, I will be laminating those sheets and using a dry erase marker to chart my daily progress. I will be sharing that in the first week of January to help with meeting organization goals.
The hardest thing for me when I do research sometimes is not running into dead ends, but with the internet, finding too many good leads to look at all at one time. I have made a point to stay on track of the person or item that I am looking for, but I make notes and bookmarks for the other information that I am looking for.
Each section of items that I find goes into a special bookmark folder, where the title will let me know what is contained within. However, I also make hard notes in my paper notebook, documenting what I have found. Once I have completed the research on the subject I initially started, I will then return to the new information that I have found and go forward from there. My resolution for 2017 has already been getting practice in 2016 and I find that I am getting a lot more research done.
My biggest resolution has not been to simply say I will be more organized in 2017, but to create steps, tools and tips that will allow that to happen and not merely be a bright and good idea. I look forward to reading the good ideas from you, my readers!
One of my side hustle jobs is taking care of an elderly person for a few hours a week. I really like the person that I care for and she is a lot of fun to be around. Her physical needs are great, which brings me to the idea of getting the most senior or most frail person DNA tested before it is too late. My client has a lot of physical needs.
With the DNA tests that are out there right now to test your DNA results through, especially through Promethease, a person can make a lot of discoveries about themselves for the modest fee of less than ten US Dollars. The test results are available to be downloaded and reviewed at your leisure. Of course, these tests are not a replacement for proper medical treatment and consulting with your doctor, but they are a great stepping stone that allows you to have a baseline with which to compare information when you do decide to go to the doctor.
With the eldest person in your family being tested, you get an additional generation of research and information upon which to stack and build your research. Additionally, some of the information, if run through Promethease, can be searched through in order to see if they have a higher risk factor for diseases, drug interactions and the metabolic rate that certain drugs are processed through.
When I took the test and ran the results through Promethease, I learned that certain medications, I process much more slowly than the average person. I also saw that I have an elevated risk of bladder cancer, but a reduced risk of dementia disorders and diseases.
With any of these tests, the strongest thing that you can do is make sure that you take good notes, note the source and go forward from there.
Here is an example image of one of the test results:
As you can see, the magnitude of knowing that your body takes longer to metabolize medications is something that is very important. I strongly and heartily endorse taking this test as it can point out factors that can change the way that you take medication.
There are so many good tools out there for all of the DNA tests that are out there. I will be reviewing helpful sites and tools on this blog.
Today we are looking at Genealogy Junkie's Very helpful article "Help, I recieved my test results from FTDNA, now what?"
When you first get your DNA, the amount of information can be staggering. In an easy to understand format, the writer walks you through the process of making sense of your DNA and points out ways to make your DNA useful to YOU. I found that although they are still editing the page, the article was very helpful. Click on the link, and if you find it helpful, please let them and me know.
I am in the process this weekend of creating my GEDCOM file. The process can be frustrating, but it is also very helpful because once it is done correctly, the sense of accomplishment is palpable.
Additionally this weekend, I am completing the work on my family tree "error" database. This is where I have been keeping a file of known errors, but I needed to be able to back up the fact that I KNEW they were errors with hard facts. One by one, I have gotten that done, but to be honest, it was a lot of work.
Finally, this weekend, I have been organizing my family research files into 2 separate and important bookmark folders, Genealogy and DNA. Although they are assuredly related, knowing that I won't have to wade through the tons of bookmarks that I have collected will be a huge timesaver. I am also in the process of making subfolders as well for some very specific bookmarks.
What are your tools for organization for your family research?
From Thanksgiving week until now, I have been inordinately busy. Moving from one part of the state to another, starting a new job and personal life events have really taken a lot of my time.
Originally, I was going to only bring a few things, but things changed and I ended up having to pack almost everything in less than eight hours! It was hectic, but it is done now, thank goodness.
One of the good things about moving is that you come across important family or personal documents. I made it a point to take photos of each and every one of the documents that are of any importance to my family and myself. This included my drivers license and social security card as well as my voter registration.
Family Tree DNA allows you to designate a person to get your files and information when you pass away. I have asked several family members who are into genealogy and am currently waiting a response.
This year, for Christmas, I have sent out a questionnaire to all of the members of my family that are old enough to participate 25 questions. I hope to get a lot of fun questions answered that will add a lot of dimension to our family.
Additionally, my aunt got a photo from a family member that she met through Family Tree DNA and we are now enjoying seeing new photos and sharing fun stories with family members that we did not even know existed.
Finally, please click on My Links for some products that you probably already use. The links are all referral, so I get a very small commission and it costs you nothing. Peace on Earth, dear readers.
I write a lot about genetic genealogy, family trees, DNA, and home life as well as the occasional product review. Comments? Email me at CocktailsAndSwagger@Hotmail.com