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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 ($).

Contents

Definitions

Genealogy and Family History

Genealogy is the study of ancestors beginning with (but not limited to) the basic compilation of names, dates and places (NDP). One should collect seven facts for everyone; their full name plus the dates and places of birth, marriage and death. The basic collection of such information produces useful summary charts such as a pedigree, family group sheets and family trees.

Family History has been interpreted as a wider-ranging effort to gather much more information about each ancestor—putting the leaves on the tree, plus the blossoms and fruits—including the bad apples! (As per the list below)

In reality the distinction between the two terms is fading. Both work (or should aspire) to find and record as much biographical and extra information as possible about any given ancestor—his life and times—in contextual terms of geography, contemporary social conditions, religious influences and legal applications that affect him, and so on. But, both genealogists and family historians must begin with what are called the basic building blocks or the skeleton outline of NDP for vital events in their lives.

We want to know:

  • what our ancestors looked like
  • what they wore
  • what trade or profession they had
  • where they worked
  • what they were really like
  • where they lived and about their household possessions
  • their religion
  • how they were affected by historical events
  • where they went to school (if they did) and what they learned there
  • how they lived from day to day
  • why they moved from place to place every 2-3 generations
  • and even what they thought about their relatives!

In most cases all this can be sought and found through acceptable standard techniques and procedures.

Abbreviations Used in Family History

The family historian should be aware of standard sets of abbreviations such as the Chapman County Codes, (which also now include countries), lists of which are found in any book which uses them, such as The Genealogical Research Directory (Johnson and Sainty). Other indexers may have had to develop abbreviations to suit their particular purposes and it is always smart to find where these are located before you look at such an index. For example, you will find a listing of both the Relationship-to-Head and Where-Born (County/Country) abbreviations used in the 1881 census index of Great Britain wherever you find that index. Searchers are apt to make assumptions that the codes are identical to the Chapman County Codes, or to postal abbreviations, or other common systems. If they do, they miss out on a lot of useful information.

Symbols

(crossed swords)
died in battle
~~ (wavy line)
illegitimate child
/\/\/\/\/\/\/ (zig-zag line)
Adopted child
<
Less than; Before
=
marriage
>
Greater than; After
 ?
Perhaps; unsubstantiated data
(small box)
Descendants (issue) known
#
From IGI
+
Parish Register entry
(small box)
Have copy of parish register entry
*
Have copy of certificate

(a dagger) death
*
born
oo
marriage
1Q, 2Q, 3Q, 4Q
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of year
4d
4 days, or 4 pence
1c2r
First cousin once removed (etc), see Chart 19
2GG
2nd great grandparent
3s
3rd son, or 3 shillings
6m
6 months
7br, 7bris, VIIbr, VIIber, VIIbris
September (before 1752 in England and its
dominions) it was the 7th month. Date change varies from
1582 to 1918 in other countries.
8br, 8bris, VIIIbr, VIIIber, VIIIbris
October (likewise—8th month)
9br, 9bris, IXbr, IXber, IXbris
November (likewise—9th month)
10br, 10bris Xbr, Xber, Xbris
December (likewise—10th month)
10w
10 weeks
18c
18th century


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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 wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 22 April 2014, at 19:14.
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