Monday, February 29, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! February 14-28

I'm still working my way through the 200+ newspaper articles discussed in my last post, plus I've had a lot of other things going on, so I didn't write a blog post for the week of February 14. That week was focused on citations...reviewing what we have already done, getting familiar with the sourcing feature of our software program, and reading a couple of articles. I have always been a stickler for source citations, and use that feature of Legacy quite extensively. In fact, the first week we worked on our surname, part of my review was to update all of my older citations using SourceWriter. So that week I read the required articles, and continued working through the newspaper citations.

For the week February 21-27, we were to focus on our ancestor's siblings. My father was an only child, so that generation was a cinch! My grandfather had four sisters, and I did manage to record the information I have on them. I am missing some marriage information and obituaries, so those are on the to-do list for future research. My great-grandfather, Arthur Beem, and his parents and siblings are the focus of those 200+ newspaper articles. I am missing some marriage and death dates for some of Arthur's siblings, and those are now also on the list for future research, if I don't find the information in the newspaper articles.

Overall, this month has been more challenging, in large part because of the mother lode of information I am still processing. It's been fun, and I've learned a great deal about my grandfather's side of the family. Some of the new information raises a lot of questions for further research. I'm also waiting on a reply about Arthur's Spanish-American War Pension record, which will hopefully answer a question or two...and probably raise even more questions!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! February 7-13

This week's focus in getting organized is learning how to use the Genealogical Proof Standard - or GPS - in our analysis. I've read about and viewed webinars on the GPS before, so it's not an entirely new concept for me. I've even attempted to use it in writing about a couple of thorny research problems, and found it a great help in clarifying my thoughts. This week's task list:
  1. Print out and study the synopsis of the GPS Genealogical Proof Standard published by the Board for Certification of Genealogists: This is one of the articles I have previously read on the topic. I did read it again, but I have to admit I did not spend a lot of time pouring over it.
  2. View selected videos discussing Evidence Explained, specifically the first chapter on evidence analysis (links to videos are on DearMyrtle's blog post for this week): There were two videos, covering about 2 1/2 hours, and I watched them both on Friday morning after reading Chapter 1 of Evidence Explained. I'm not one to just sit and watch tv, so I did do some light housework and other things while I watched. I found the discussions quite good, and it gave me some ideas for the next task.
  3. Make research notes on your to-do list where you now realize your evidence is weak: I started this on Friday, and continued the list on Saturday as I had more ideas. 

 Letter to Santa, published on December 16, 1911
in the Journal Gazette (Mattoon, IL)


While working on task #3, I realized I was missing newspaper articles - obits, wedding announcements, etc.  I started looking at the various newspaper databases for one that carried papers from Mattoon, Illinois, where my great-grandfather was raised, and found some at I took out a one-week trial, expecting to find a few articles here and there, and really just hoping for obituaries for my great-grandfather's siblings. Boy, was I in for a suprise! Turns out that my family was mentioned in the social columns frequently. Some members ran for political office. My great-grandfather's brothers were railroad engineers, and there are weekly columns with railroad news. I can almost pinpoint when any of these guys took a day off! So far I've covered a 17 year period, and I have over 200 newspaper articles! Some of the more interesting tidbits:
  • My great-grandfather, Arthur Beem, was in the Spanish-American war, and his military record contains a letter from his sister asking him to come home because their brother was sick. The newspaper had several articles about the brother's illness, at one point noting that Arthur was, indeed, back home because of it.
  • Arthur's uncle, William, was a local politician, and at one point the paper published a brief biography about William. This has helped me be more precise about a couple of research questions, including when the family first moved from Ohio to Illinois.
  • In their later years, Arthur's parents returned to Ohio for an extended visit with family. Neat find!  
 News about railroad employees, published October 19, 1904
in the Mattoon Daily Journal (Mattoon, Illinois)

My challenge is to continue -and complete! -  downloading articles on the family before my trial period ends next weekend. After that, I will create an index, transcribe, and cite the articles in my Legacy file. I have the feeling this second step is going to be a project that takes me most of the year to complete.