29 January 2010

Website Update

I redesigned my website, www.shawgenealogy.org

Still working on the family tree portion. It's there, but the information has not been updated--I'm waiting until I've finished updating my sources and citations.

22 January 2010

January 22

Jan ^the 22 1882
Dear Sister Flora
      I take my pen in hand to let you know that we are all well and hope you are the same we got a letter from Alice last week She said that they were all well except that Grandpa was sick too or three days. Alice goes to writeing school and singing School so I think that she goes quite often I expect that Orlo will walk by the time he is a year old it seems to do him good to live in Dakota I think that I will go up there to live with you Pa thinks that we will go up to Maders [sp?] to keep a furniture store he says that we will have to live up stairs and I dont like that very mutch. Jan the 23 I guess that I will try and finiche my letter Pa, Ma, Dora, and Louisa has gon to a Temprence Lecture to-night I supose that they think that they will have to go to keep from being Intemprent. well enough of that. Pa went down to Mr Birgets and freaimed [sp?] his and Dories pictures and the Mottoes to day they look real nice, he has got the fed room don and has conimenced the kitchen it has bin snoweng some today so he could not work out of-dors. Ma has got about half enough rags sowed for a carpet Eugene and Earle is sowing now they have each a lases [sp?] ball sowed Ma thinks that she will have enough for a carpet by spring Old Mrs Callah was down here to dinner last saterday wee had quite a visit she says that she is going to write to you now she has got some new glasses. Well tell Brittic that he will have to commence to save lots of beef for I am comming up there in the fall. Leona and I am going on the cars. will. I must stop for I have to baste Dories dress to stich she has too to make. I made Leona too dresses Elmy one Julia one Louisa and myself an apron a pese last week dont you think I done pritty well. I guess that I will have to say good by give my love to all-and keep a share for youer self kiss Orlo for me
from your ever loveing sister
Nina E Rutter

PS excuse my poor wrighting and bad spelling
    Nina E. Rutter, (prob. Lyon Co., Iowa) to "Dear Sister Flora" [Flora (Rutter) Dixon], letter, 22 January 1882; photocopy privately held by Jennifer Shaw. [address for private use], Canyon Country, Calif, 2005. Photocopy from Renee (Rutter) Rossa, who received a copy from Patricia (McLean) Clark.

19 January 2010

Mesa Family History Expo

I'm off to Arizona today to attend the Mesa Family History Expo. I look forward to meeting the some of people I've gotten to know online. See you there!

08 January 2010

Come and Learn - GPS Lecute at SCGS Lunch & Learn

Tomorrow I am giving my lecture on the Genealogical Proof Standard at the Southern California Genealogical Society library in Burbank, CA as part of their monthly Lunch & Learn series. Lunch is at noon with the first lecture beginning at 1 pm. Charlotte Bocage will speak on "So You Thought You Were Organized." I will go on about 2:45 pm. 
Come and learn!

The Genealogical Proof Standard, step 5

The last step in the Genealogical Proof Standard is the written conclusion:

5.  We arrive at a soundly reasoned, and coherently written conclusion.[1]

There are many formal written conclusions. Among these, include:
  • Proof arguments and case studies
  • Research reports
  • Lineages, Pedigrees, and Genealogies
  • Hereditary-Society Applications
The most common formal written conclusions are proof arguments and case studies, which follow this format:
  • Explain the research goal (or problem)
  • Present the evidence, with analysis, including full and complete source citations
  • Discuss any conflicting evidence
  • State your conclusion
You don't always need to write out a formal report. It always held to write out what you (do or don't) know. Trying to keep track of all of all of that information in your head doesn't work. By the time you're done writing everything out, you might have a book completed!
[1] The Board for Certification of Genealogist, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1.

07 January 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Only Surviving Copy

One of the first things my grandfather gave me was his father's Army discharge. It was folded up in an envelope.

Earl Bruce Shaw served in the Army Air Corp from 1917 to 1919 as a mechanic. He was discharged as a private first class (PFC) from Post Field, Fort Sill on 19 January 1919.

I contacted the National Personal Records Center for more information on his service. Unfortunately his records were destroyed in the 1973 fire. All they had were his name, military service number, and date of separation. When they learned that I had his original discharge, the NPRC asked me for a copy, which I sent them.

    Earl B. Shaw, "Honorable Discharge from the Army of the United States," 1919; privately held by Jennifer Shaw, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Canyon Country, CA, 2005. Passed from Earl to his son James, who gave it to his granddaughter.

06 January 2010

The Genealogical Proof Standard, step 4

    Sources don't always agree. Sometimes someone didn't really know the information they provided, other times someone out-right lied. Which source do you believe when they contain conflicting information?
    From the Genealogical Proof Standard:

    4. We resolve any conflicts caused by items of evidence that contradict each other or are contrary to a proposed (hypothetical) solution to the question [1]

    Compare the conflicting information. You need to decide which source is more reliable. First, what are you trying to prove with your information? A date of birth? The maiden name of a mother? Military service?

    Look at the analysis you did in step 3:
    • An original source has more weight than a derivative source
    • Primary information is more creditable than secondary information
    Try creating a chart comparing the information you have and the sources it came from. Also consider:
    • Who gave the information?
      • Does the grandson-in-law really know the birth information for a death certificate?
    • What is the record?
      • Are you looking at the marriage affidavit, license, certificate or return?
    • Why was the record created?
      • E.g. on a marriage affidavit someone has sworn that both parties are of legal age.
    • When was the record created?
      • A delayed birth return might be less creditable than a return made a day or two after the birth.
    Always keep in mind... 
    Sources can lie! 
    [1] The Board for Certification of Genealogist, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1.

    02 January 2010

    The Genealogical Proof Standard, step 3

    We collect many pieces of information as we search for our ancestors. How we look at and weigh that information determines what we learn.
    The third step in the Genealogical Proof Standard:

    3.  We analyze and correlate the collected information to assess its quality as evidence.[1]

    Source - the record
    Original—first oral or recorded form; the original document, artifact, photograph, etc.
    Derivative—derived from the original, either by copying or manipulating the information (transcript, abstract, compilation, database, etc.)

    Information - content of the source
    Primary—first-hand account/knowledge of event (someone who was there). Created at or about the time the event occurred.
    Secondary—account/knowledge of someone who was not there. Someone who heard about it or was told about it later. Or someone recalling an event long after it happened.

    Evidence - our interpretation of the information; the weight we give it
    Direct—information that answers the question or solves the problem by itself; self-contained
    Indirect—information that, compiled with others, answers the question or solves the problem
    Negative—“an inference we can draw from the absence of information that should exist under particular circumstances”[2]

    Sources provide information from which we select evidence for analysis.
    - Elizabeth Shown Mills

    Other things to ponder:
    Who created the document and/or provided the information?
    What is it?
    Why was it created?
    When was the record created and/or manipulated?
    Where was it created and where is it kept?
    How was it create/reproduced/derived?

    Look at each piece of information a source provides and weigh it as evidence:

    This is the death certificate for Chloe (Nichols) Fitts. The image above is a third-generation original source (it is a digital image of a microfilm picture of the original). The informant is Chloe Taft, her daughter, and a resident of Oxford, Mass. Mrs. Fitts died 14 August 1911 in Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts. This information is primary, as it was recorded at the time of death by someone who was there. Her cause of death is "old age," and at "99 years, 6 months, and 6 days," it is valid, although I would list it as indirect evidence since I do not know what, exactly, she died of. The date of birth listed is 8 February 1812, which agrees with the age at death. She was born in Oxford, Mass. The birth information is secondary - her daughter was not there when she was born. The evidence is direct since it tells us exactly when and where she was born. The same analysis for her parents, John P. Nichols and Sophia Shumway: secondary and direct. Mrs. Fiits is the widow of David Fitts, who preceded her in death (primary and direct, as her daughter would have known first-hand who her father is and when he died). Chloe (Nichols) Fitts was buried 17 August 1911 at Gore Cemetery in Oxford (primary and direct). The death certificate was filed 16 August 1911.
    [1] The Board for Certification of Genealogist, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1.
    [2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2007), 25.
    [image] "Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915," digital image, FamilySearch (http://pilot.familysearch.org/ : downloaded 24 September 2009), Chloe (Nichols) Fitts, death certificate no. 46, 14 August 1911, Oxford, Massachusetts; citing FHL film no. 2396049.