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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
When starting ancestral research, and as you move back each generation, carry out the procedure known as a pedigree analysis. This consists of three stages:
- Organizing the facts that you have
- Estimating dates and places
- Planning the next research step
1. Organizing the Facts That You Have
The following chart shows part of my pedigree with the known facts organized in standard fashion.Pedigree Analysis: Step 1-Organizing Known Facts
2. Estimating Dates and Places
Here we make some hypotheses by using the known facts and some estimates to provide a framework of dates and places with which to start searching for more information. We recognize that one or more may be incorrect, but we say to ourselves—if these assumptions are true then these are the most likely dates and places. The following chart shows our estimations and the 2nd chart adds these to the pedigree.
Pedigree Analysis: Step 2-Making Estimations
|INFORMATION NEEDED||ESTIMATES BASED ON DEDUCTIONS|
|Name of Francis’s mother||
Francis had 5 daughters, named (in order):
|Date of THOM - MOSS marriage||Between 1806 (John THOM age 20) and 1812 (christening of first child.|
|Place of THOM – MOSS marriage||He was a mariner, could be anywhere!|
|Death of John THOM||After 1821 (christening of last child), could be at sea|
|Death of Elizabeth MOSS||After 1821 (christening of last child), probably Scotland|
|Birth of John THOM snr||175/2 - from age at death, probably in Scotland|
|Birth of Mary PRESLAY|| 1741-1762 – assuming at least age 18 at marriage and not more than|
45 at birth of John. She was probably younger than her husband, so
most likely date range is 1752-1762. Probably in Scotland, possibly
at Old Deer.
|Birth of Elizabeth MOSS||Date estimated from childbearing date range to be 1776-1794. Place could be anywhere, perhaps where they married.|
Now we have some concrete ideas of when and where to start our searches.
3. Planning the Next Research Step
Choose an ancestor and decide what source(s) would give you the needed information. Take into consideration the following:
- Is there previous research that can be checked, for example the Ancestral File or contact with other researchers through genealogical directories?
- Are there any indexes to original sources which would assist you? Examples are the Scottish OPR Index or probate indexes.
- Can you conveniently access these indexes and the original sources? Or will you need to get someone else to look at them for you? Is it cheaper to do the research yourself by visiting the archives, on film at your FSC, or by using a record agent at a distant archive. Consider travel expenses and cost of time, films, library fees, and record agent fees.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.
- This page was last modified on 22 April 2014, at 22:24.
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