Twelve Months of Genealogy

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Love is associated with the month of February because of Valentine’s Day. In some parts of Canada we also have a civic holiday on the third Monday of the month called Family Day. This is only a day off in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Manitoba this day is known as Louis Riel Day. Federal entities like the post office are open as well as stores. It is one of those days where some people are off work and some are not. It is a day you are supposed to spend doing various activities with your family. This month we are going to link these two holidays to our family history.

The first week of February go thorough your family tree and make note of all the marriage dates that are blank. Create lists of records and places to find the marriage information. If you have already done some research on a particular marriage then create a list of records and places already researched and add some new ones to investigate.

The second week of February pick one or more couples in your family tree and research what their marriage may have been like. What clothes would they have worn? What type of meal was served or was a meal served? Were there many guests? What was the area where they married like at the time? Were pictures taken on the wedding day, before or after? Was there a honeymoon? How about a dowry? Who were the witnesses and how were they connected to the couple? Did a marriage settlement exist between the couple?

Once you start answering these questions you can write up a description for the marriage. You will then have a story ready to put into your family book.

The third week of February we will focus more on family. Go through your family group sheets and make sure the information is complete and sourced. If it is not complete then find the missing information and add it to the group sheet. If there are questions about children or spouses on the family group sheet then create a research plan in order to investigate the answers to those questions.

The fourth week of February we will look at pedigree charts for the family. Are they all filled in with the information that has been researched to date? If not then complete them and if the information is not known then create a research plan to fill in those blanks. Have you hit a brick wall in a direct line? Write up your research on the family to date to see where the holes are. Then find out what other records can be examined to chisel at the brick wall.

You have made all those additions to your family tree so remember to back up your data.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

This year I have decided to provide a monthly list of items you can do with regards to your genealogy. Each month will be a different theme and suggestions will be made to help with varying aspects of your genealogy.

January is usually the month for organization. How many of us have been meaning to go through all our files, computer and paper, not to mention the piles of paper, photographs, and get them all organized.

Let’s take one item a week and see what we can accomplish.

The first week of January we organize all our computer files and back them up. We label them so that we know at a glance want they contain. When they are backed up it is not just to one place or device. How about using a stick, an external hard drive and/or a cloud to back up your information?

The second week of January we organize our paper. It could mean putting them in file folders, scanning them and adding them to our labeled folders on the computer and if we find something of interest then making a note for future research.

The third week of January we organize our photographs. You can scan, label and file them on your computer. If we have pictures we want to store then archival albums and supplies will be needed to make sure they are kept safe. Remember to store the albums in a safe dry place.

The fourth week of January is organizing all the notes we took while on research trips and adding them to our computer programs. At the same time we can create the research plans for this year. During the first three weeks you probably came up with other places and people you wanted to find out more about while you were organizing your data.

Since this is the last week of the month we need to back up our computer again, especially after all that hard work organizing everything.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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