Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Genealogy Roadshow

Last night I watched the first Genealogy Roadshow. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I am not sure how I feel about the show.  I like the idea that it helped answered some of the questions people had dealing with their family history.

My favorite was about a woman who didn’t know anything about her father’s family. The started by talking about her great-something father and worked their way back to her father. They showed a picture of her grandmother holding her father and I think may the other woman in the picture might have been her father’s grandmother. Then they showed some other pictures. It turned out that they found her father’s sister and niece (her cousin) and brought the cousin on the show. She presented to her new found cousin a scrapbook with pictures of her father and her heritage.
I guess I wanted to know more on how they found these people and figured out their histories. I am more interested in the back workings of the show. But that is probably because I do research and I want to learn tips, tricks and hints on how to expand our own histories.

The show did make me wonder about some of the questions that I have. Okay, I have a lot of questions that haven’t been able to answer yet. The biggest question is about my mother’s birth father. This summer, I found out that my mother was raised by her step father since she was about 2 and was told 2 weeks after her 18th birthday that he was not her birth father. She was then legally adopted by her step-father.  My mother knew this her entire adult life and never said a word to any of her children.
Another question is my twice great grandfather Amos Booth. I know he was born in Canada and I think he was from Elizabeth Town, but beyond that, nothing. His death certificate doesn’t list his parents.  His civil war pension file doesn’t tell much either.

Well, I could go on with even more questions, but we all have our own questions to answer and I am sure you don’t want to read about mine. However, this leads me to a tip I read, using a spreadsheet program to keep a running master list of questions. In addition to the question or task, include columns for the date the questions arose, the relevant surname, the ancestor, possible repository where you might find the answer, the result and when it was answered. The wonderful thing about a spreadsheet is that you can sort any column you want. Perhaps you will be visiting a certain repository and then you could make a list before you leave.  Various lists can help you plan research trips and know where gaps are.
Good luck researching.

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