Thursday, June 20, 2013

In the Palm of Your Hand

The most valuable genealogy research idea I've created (as far as I know TRAEA's Grandma is the only one who does this) was born from a need (compulsion?) to reference more than one person, family, or groups of families simultaneously.  It's primitive, but used all the time.

It's 4x6 index cards.  How much more old school could it be, right?  

Because I respond to colors when separating information, I randomly color coded the main branches of my tree with yellow for the Hacketts, along with their associated families, and orange for the Hills.  

I also loosely code tree generations.  My grandkids are Generation 1 (1), which makes TRAEA's Grandma (3).  This way when I get back to Adam and Eve I won't have run out of reference numbers.  The grandkids will have to worry how to code their offspring. 

Check out the scanned cards for the basics:
  • Each card has a surname written at the top. 
  • Either Hills or Hackett is written in the upper right corner and colored.
  • Each generation includes two columns listing the parents.
  • Their B / D years are written under each name, with their generation number in the middle.   
  • As information about preceding generations becomes available, it is listed on the appropriate card so that the oldest family is at the bottom.
  • Miscellaneous notes are written at the bottom, often colored
Note that each surname lists everyone with the same last name on the same side:  fathers on the left and mothers on the right, EXCEPT for the top name.  That's when a daughter marries out of the family name, so she appears directly above her father, and her husband is in the right-hand column.

I write these cards in pencil since they've been known to change - some more than once.  Some have only the daughter who married out of that family name and her husband.  A few include marriage dates.  A few include question marks for individuals or dates that remain questionable.  Many are missing some B / D years.  And siblings only show up on family group sheets.

Old school?  Absolutely.

But dealing those card onto a flat surface displays multiple relationships almost instantly.  And TRAEA's Grandma can grab these cards knowing that the entire direct-line family is going along on every research jaunt.   

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