Friday, September 7, 2012

Phase Two: Updating and Comparing Your Family History Research

My research brief case has not left my office for a long time. It has been gathering dust and papers that need to be reviewed, discarded or filed in the right notebook. Now that the computer database has been updated, I am moving on to family group records (FGR). For the Tidd family there were printouts for four generations, Daniel Tidd Jr. 1824-1913, Daniel Tidd Sr. 1799-1869, Daniel Tidd R.W.1760- 1806, and Amos Tidd 1729-abt. 1800. Amos lived through the Revolutionary War and probably moved to New Hampshire. His death and that of his wife remain one of the unsolved mysteries in this family.

The first FGR grew today from seven pages to twenty and the second grew from 10 pages to twenty-one. The next two are nine and five pages, and probably will not grow as much as the first two. The first generation requires records from a time period for which records online are rapidly increasing. My first objective was to compare the FGRs that were printed in 2004, yes eight years ago, with what shows on the current database. There were some notes in the material from 2004 that were missing, so those were added. Some of these are key pieces of information for the study of these families.

When that was completed I reviewed the FGR in the format for printing a report, in which I could increase the font to a reasonable size for ease of reading. Making a list of the missing pieces of documentation helped me to focus on the search of these important details. Blank spots were reviewed with online information at familysearch.org for the IGI information and other personal data. Then I turned to findagrave.com for some missing death and burial information. There were five burials in Holliston, Massachusetts, nine in Independence, Iowa and five in Sherwood, Oregon. This time I was more meticulous in recording the details and capturing the pictures, some of which were recently added. These records are a great blessing for genealogists and bring many serendipity moments to our research. Think individual notes and sources for each vital record located.

From there I returned to familysearch.org to utilize the browse section where many vital records are being added every day. For Massachusetts there are fifteen databases, Iowa there are eight, and Oregon there are thirteen. Of those I used the following:

Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915; 4,696,564; 13 Apr 2012
Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915; 3,818,515; Sep 2011;Images
Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910; 1,545,640; 14 Apr 2011; Images
Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915; 2,744,355; 3 Oct 2011
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910; 1,969,244; 22 Mar 2012 Images
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915; 1,538,139; 17 Feb 2011
Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920; Browse Images; 18 Apr 2012

Iowa, Births and Christenings, 1830-1950; 1,777,240; 26 Mar 2012
Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935; 696,160; 26 Apr 2012
Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934; 194,874; 1 Feb 2012
Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990; 398,978; 6 May 2010
Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992; 2,626,662; 5 Mar 2012

Oregon, Births and Christenings, 1868-1929; 61,020; 22 Mar 2012
Oregon, County Marriages, 1851-1975; 104,501; 10 Dec 2011; Images
Oregon, Death Index, 1903-1998; 1,447,641; 7 Dec 2011
Oregon, Deaths and Burials, 1903-1947; 22,625; 27 Apr 2010
Oregon, Marriages, 1853-1935; 58,915; Mar 2012

Out of these seventeen databases, five have images of the actual documents. One should not overlook any one of the databases, just focus on the dates for possible records to be found. Some of the counties have separate databases, but there were none for the counties where my records might be located. Within one database in Iowa I found marriage records for three of the children of Daniel Tidd Jr. What is interesting is that within a database there would be several listings for the same couple. It is important to look at each one, as they may hold different pieces of information.

At this time I am still missing some key documents. They include three birth records and four death records. For some of the events there may be no records, but for others it may just be a matter of time before they are posted. The record that surprised me the most was my grandmother's birth record. In my collection I had a paper copy and a copy of her delayed birth certificate. There were death records for Daniel Jr. and Daniel Sr. The marriage records are some of my favorites as they often list the parents names, thus providing a key link to the next generation. While there were no images for the first three marriages, I now know where to find those records. The images of the marriages for two daughters of Daniel Tidd Sr. were available, so after downloading them I printed a copy to preserve in their family record.

The wonderful part of this research is that the indexes and images are available for free. In working at the FHC yesterday I encouraged a patron to keep checking back as these records increase every day. When considering the costs of ordering microfilm and fiche, and then having to read those at the FHC, we have a great treasure in now doing that research online. We all need to get better organized, review our records and take advantage of this new gold mine of family history research.

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