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.

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