Saturday, April 24, 2010

Laundry Basket Research, Genealogy the Easy Way

Genealogy the easy way was the theme of the talk I gave today at the mini Seminar we had. It could be one of the easiest ways to start your researching.

You grab your laundry basket and start looking for things around your home that are
items that were given you, acquired by you or inherited. Put those items in the basket.

You look at photo's, albums, cook books and the like for clues to find your missing kin. Again put them in the laundry basket. See how easy this can be.

You contact family members near and far and ask questions.

As you find the photo of Grandma and Grandpa you put them in your basket. (I wanted
to do that but the room was not conducive to the situation). The large items you can not pick up you write on a piece of paper. Maybe the beads from Aunt Helen or the
saw from Uncle Albert, should be mentioned. The anvil that was Grandad's or the leather awl for making shoes, repairing saddles, etc. Remember Grandad had a name make sure you write Grandad Cecil Hoffman verses Grandad. :>)

Clues can be found in a jewelry box, a fishing tackle box, a tool box, a dresser drawer or on a shelf.

Do you remember the time line that the picture was taken, what they did at that time? How was the family dynamics then? Families have been drifting for over a 140 years.

I did read this last week that people are beginning to shift back to family mode only recently which implies money when it is minimal, family comes to the forefront.
This you will learn more as you go further in your studies of how to do.

Families worked together to make things happen to survive in our past. It did not matter so much if you were male or female, it was family from the youngest to the oldest the family worked together in some form.

The clothing in pictures and the style of the photo makes a photo age identifiable.
There are books in the library to help you learn this as you go on your adventure.

The age of a car, if enough is seen can also help to identify the time of event.

My theory is you can do genealogy and not be at the library or a conference, but just wander through the house and pick up the objects that remind you of various
past events. It can be a photo or object, that triggers thoughts of a great time or a sad event. Grab those items and put in the basket.

The larger items you write on a piece of paper so that you can go back and catalog them as part of your history also. It is a form of Siting your Sources.

Remember to use acid free pens or pencils to mark the names of those you know on your pictures. Never write on the back of a picture across where the face is on the front. Even Acid free does some damage to the photo's over time.

Look for crocheted, knitted, loomed items you have. Embroidered samplers, quilts and table clothes. Pillow Cases you, received used to have crochet work and embroidery on them. Did you do them or some one give them to you? Family Bibles if your lucky to have them, are a great source if they were filled in by people's of our past.

Do you have a woodworking ancestor and Uncle and cousin, maybe you do woodworking also your self. The predisposition for various careers are genetically handed down in some format. Another reason why it is so interesting to do genealogy.

Medically the ancestors gave us many predisposition conditions of the body.
If we log what we learn we can help our children and grandchildren and some times even ourselves to not be as ill.

There are so many great reasons why we should all do a bit of genealogy to make us a better people.

I mentioned my favorite working tools and showed the reason for using maps.

I believe everyone should use a blank USA map and track the families across the states on their migration trail.It was something that George Schweitzer taught us long ago. Each family a different color and you can see where families met and joined.
You also learn the trail they took so you can find the missing puzzle piece by using
Bill Dollarhide's, Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735-1815.

I use George Schweitzer's books on states for information on states. They are excellently written and data clear to comprehend.

I use Bill Dollarhide's (what I call companion book) British Origins of the American Colonists, 1629-1775. I carry an atlas with for locating places when in doubt.

Remember the internet is the last place to look for data. Only 10% of the data you will use over the years will come from the internet. The bulk will come from homes,
books, family data and libraries. If you do not own a computer head to the library to look at these free sites. I did genealogy for 30 years without a computer and it's been done for over 200 years + with out a computer.

My favorite sites to start a search are: for the states, and for the world.

I then use Rootsweb, maybe because it was the other free site when I started and I found so much there. Rootsweb is still free even if affiliated now with is good for P C users. It loves to down load data right to your program.
I am a Mac users so it does not help me in that way but I can read what is available
to see.

Url's or links to use. Remember you can always go to and find data and links also.

Sites to Search

1. covers United States and counties my #1 site

2. covers world sites

3. from Barbara I great site especially I you use FTM.

blogging, societies on this site, chat rooms for learning more about genealogy.

5. West Virginia Division of Culture and History

6. Germanic information

7. Maryland archives

8. Library of Virginia

9. www.GenealogyStorybooks.#6EA21C Books

10. Rootsweb data


12. http-//padutchancestry.h#7027AF

13. GenealogyandFamilyHistor#702615


15. Library of Michigan - Mi#6DA5A2

16. SAMPUBCO.webloc another of my favorites. Wills, Probates etc.

17. new site to help

18. Allen County Library

19. The Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group

20. United Kingdom's Archives

more are:
I am here on Thursday nights. 9 eastern, need to acquire password to attend. Free help CVGS site

Seminar contact people: President,, Barbara,, Virginia, - Ruth

Remember you can google any of your questions. :>)

Remember you can contact any of us for help at these above addresses.

Data is copywritten and created by Susi Pentico for help in genealogical research.

SusiCP 619 623-5250 by phone

1 comment:

  1. Great post Susi. My experience is that Susi is excellent at the ground-breaking level of presentations and interest. Susi's personality and one to one interest to follow through is very appealing to newbies. Some presenters speak to the "crowd" and assumes some shared knowledge. Susi's approach is more personal, heart felt and approachable. Susi has never scoffed at a question asked. She is always glad to walk you through it. This methodology may become boring and repetitive to more experienced genealogist. Yet I challenge those more experienced genealogist if they may not learn by interviewing newbies after one of Susi's presentations. She has a passion and a real gift for getting genealogist started. Few college professors would be successful or even enjoy teaching adults to read as an everyday job. Yet I think those college professors could learn a great deal by objectively observing the one to one interaction of Susi's presentations.