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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Reconstruction research - after the beginning ..

Reconstruction research is Genealogy 300, an intermediate phase that builds upon a sound beginning. Before entering this phase, be sure you have a foundation.
The Foundation
- Begin ...
- work from the known to the unknown and back again (my addition).
- write down what you know, or remember, about your family's history (include any sources). Don't forget to contact your siblings and cousins as well. Everyone's experience is unique and each one is a living (family) history.
- write down what your older relatives know or remember.
- write down what their spouses remember (sometimes a spouse can be more 'talkative', if they spent time with the previous generation of relatives.
- complete a research outline, and summary documentation. (If you don't have a computer genealogy program, complete at least the major forms - ancestry, family group sheets, research log...). Highlight the blanks/missing information. You will begin indepth research to 'fill in the blanks'.
- Milk the census for all its worth, starting with the latest available (1930) and working BACK in time to the earliest available for your ancestral research. When you've completed the journey, travel back again through your research, picking up details you may have missed the first time around. [Complete a census history - which can be combined with an individual timeline, if desired.]
- share with family members, especially those that provided contributions and encouragement.
- follow up with civil, public and private records (birth, marriage, death, city directories, cemetery, obituaries, land, tax, probate, etc.)
- share with family members ...
- insert a picture or so into the mix. A letter, diary, report card, graded school paper, diploma, and/or home movie or recording can add dimension and color to your family history 'facts'.
- Look at the evidence so far. Play close attention to where it leads - examine trends, confirmations, contradictions, and develop a plan to bridge the gap between what is known and what is unknown. Review each bit of information for its clues to the previous generation (one generation at a time).
- share with family members ...
- when you reach a 'brick wall', evaluate whether it is truly a wall or a gate for which you haven't yet found the key. If it is indeed a wall, you can usually begin to break it down one brick at a time. If, however, its a gate, re-examine your 'evidence' to see if somewhere within lies a key that will unlock your current 'gate'.
- Begin again.
- Network, network, network. This is where you get to celebrate your successes and obtain help and support through the roadblocks.
- share with family members, especially those that provided contributions and encouragement.
- Take time to read and learn more about researching your ancestry.There are a few excellent genealogy books out there (check both the Book and the Main forum). Take a class, attend a seminar, join a genealogical society, special interest group or historical association.
- When you get to the end of your rope, take a breather, review where you are and where you want to go. Plan (another) strategy for getting there. Volunteer to help others - the practice will sharpen your own skills and prepare you to begin again with newfound abilities and experience on your side.
- Begin again.

Messages In This Thread

Reconstruction research - after the beginning ..
Re: Reconstruction research - after the beginning

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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