Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review and the Ancestor Approved Award

I am a little slow posting this, but I'd like to thank Travis over on TLGenes for the Ancestor Approved Award he passed to me in early December.  This may also be a good time to reflect on 2010.

The Ancestor Approved Award comes with two requests:
  1. List ten (10) things that you have learned about your ancestors that surprised, humbled, or enlightened you.
  2. Pass the award to ten (10) other genealogy bloggers.  (I'll do this in 2011, after I've caught up in my blog reading.)

In 2010 while tracing my ancestors I have learned:
  1. Roots run deep!  I'm constantly amazed at how geographically close my family lines have lived and continue to live.  I have cousins from different sides of my family that knew each other growing up.  (Check out the map in "It's a Small World After All" post)
  2. Label all pictures!  While boxes of unlabeled photos elicit some pretty neat conversations and lots of memories, labeled photos provide a much nicer collection of family treasures.  Grandma Leola (Workman) Crapser had a nice collection of family photos and treasures. Even after several rounds with my grandpa and his cousins, the subjects of many of the photos are still unidentified.
  3. Neighbors Aren't Nosy!  They're just detectives in disguise. You may find that a former neighbor may be able to provide clues to the lives of your ancestors.
  4. Read All About It!  Small town newspapers are notorious for sharing little bits of information about all the people around town.  You may find your ancestors visiting a cousin or friend and this information may just lead to more research for you.
  5. Readin' and Ritin' weren't as Important in the Past!  Check all possible variations of a name's spelling.  Was that "Jorenby or "Gorenby"?
  6. The Informant is as Important as the Information!  Take note of the sources of the information you are collecting.  The census and the church baptismal record are guaranteed to provide you with different birth dates.  And the census taker's informant may not have remembered all the details with precision. 
  7. Running in Circles Can Be Fun!  Elusive ancestors need to be found. While researching those elusive ones sometimes the only data you can find leads you to data you already know in a different format.
  8. Back Up Your Data!  After losing my data in a computer disaster, I learned the hard way to back up the data.  Also store a copy of the data in another location or in a fire-proof safe.
  9. Keep in Touch!  When meeting cousins for the first time, be sure to trade contact information to share future discoveries.  The wave of social media - Facebook, blogs, instant messages, and even - should help genealogist keep tabs on cousins.
  10. Give and Take! I mean SHARE!  Share your research with your cousins.  Take research shared by others, but give credit where credit is due and double check the facts. Give of your time and talents to aid other researchers.  Opportunities exist everywhere to do a little discovery for the good of genealogy.  Join us over at the Ancestry World Archives, if you have some time to spare.

As we reflect on 2010, let us dream for 2011!

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