Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TUESDAY’S TIP ~ Have you documented everything? Take another look at those closest to you

Mom & Dad screens hot-redacated
A screen shot from my Legacy 8 database - I have redacted the month and day of my parent's births just because of identity theft and my Mom's death being fairly recent

It will be one year, next month, since my mother died.  Of course, I think about her all the time.  But, this morning I looked at her entry in my Legacy 8 database and realized it was incomplete.
Not only did I not have her death certificate attached or cited, I didn’t even have it scanned in my digital folders.

Take a look at your own parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins and even spouses. 
  • Have you documented them the same way you would a great grandparent or granduncle etc? 
  • Have you cited all your sources and attached any images that pertain? 
  • Or, did you just enter the information because you knew it?

I believe it takes all of us a while to be able to go to someone close to us and document the cold, hard facts.  At least that was true for me.  I had entered her date & place of death and burial and even the cause of death.  But, not the source citation that is necessary to complete the information.

This morning I completed that task.  My Mom was 91 when she died.  She didn’t have a good quality of life and had many ongoing health issues and daily pain.  She had been in assisted living for the last 4 1/2 years of her life.  We had so many conversations over the years.  I interviewed her about her life. I asked a multitude of questions (she would say too many).  I had her help me identify photos and peoples names.  I shared my research with her, even though sometimes she wasn’t that interested.
Funny thing about the genealogy research.  My grandmother, Florence Bowden Milne (my Mom’s mother), was a genealogist for most of her life.  She left me copious quantities of information about our family.  Of course I still have a LOT of unanswered questions.  But, her information gave me a heck of a start.
I think the genealogy bug skipped a generation though, because my Mom had absolutely no interest.  Sure, she would listen to me and answer my questions, when she was able to remember, but it wasn’t her favorite thing.  Her statement to me a couple of times was “why in the world do you care about all these dead people?”

Genealogy research is either something you “get” or you don’t “get.”  For those of us who do “get” it, we love finding those stories and chasing down those leads.

I am confident that I have documented and cited all the various entries for my Mom, my Dad, my sisters and my grandparents.  Have you?

Let me know if you’ve discovered the same kind of thing in your tree.


How To Save A Book from Archive.org to Evernote or Your Computer

A Database or a Website?  What's the Difference?

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2017   Diane Gould Hall


  1. You make an interesting point about recent facts. I waited ten years before ordering my father's death certificate for documentation. Weddings that I have attended and Nieces, Nephews and Grandkids that have been born in the last decade I use the citation "Family Knowledge" with attendees cited just to prevent those entries from being Unsourced. For historic birth, wedding, and cemetery deeds that are original I mark the source Family papers or Family heirlooms to differentiate from those I have purchased or found online. I have wedding invites from 1887 and cemetery deeds from 1866.

  2. This is good advice for all of us. Generally we enter the facts about our closest relatives when we are beginners -- before we have developed our source citation skills to the fullest. Now that we have developed the skills, we should go back and apply them to our most important people. Even if we don't feel that our skills are up to it, we can write a statement like, "Personal knowledge of Jane Doe, compiler."

    1. Marian - That's exactly what I discovered. Even a note, as you mention, is something. Back in my genealogy rookie days I certainly didn't make proper source notes or citations.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I discovered three years after my mother's death that I hadn't scanned and cited her death record. You were way ahead of me. Good job!

    1. There are still records of living family and those close to me that I need to get recorded. It's a work in progress for sure.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.