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Proformat News
No: 105
November 2014
November Seminars
2: Adelaide heritage walk (south-east corner)—a village within the city WEA Centre Adelaide 2:00–4:00pm
5: Introduction to family history research (5th session) WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00–9:30pm
12: Introduction to family history research (6th session) WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00–9:30pm
16: Port Adelaide heritage walk—the heritage precinct (Refreshments included) Friends of SA's Archives (Contact Heidi Ing: 2:00–5:00pm
19: Introduction to family history research (7th session) WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00–9:30pm

December Seminars
There are no seminars planned for December.

January Seminars
There are no seminars planned for January.

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

London apprentices 1442–1850

Records pertaining to youths apprenticed to various livery companies in London held by the Guildhall Library are now available at FindMyPast. The records may reveal the trade your ancestor was learning, when he was apprenticed, his master’s name and where he was born. Some records may also provide information on the apprentice’s father’s occupation and parish.

Liverpool crew lists dock
Liverpool crew lists dock are now available on the Ancestry site for the period 1861–1919.

Who Do You Think You Are?
The WDYTYA web site has recently launched a page that allows you to create your own personalised Who Do You Think You Are? story using the theme of the television program. While this could be a great way to interest younger generations in family history, caution needs to be undertaken to consider privacy. Moreover as with any other sites that encourage you to post material you need to realise that effectively you are transferring ownership of your records to another party with no idea of how they may use that material in future!

In this issue:
November Seminars
December Seminars
January Seminars

London apprentices 1442–1850
Liverpool crew lists
Who Do You Think You Are?

Feature article
Revisiting some basic principles


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Revisiting some basic principles 2

In the previous newsletter the need to organise was stated to be the primary reason for lack of research success. There is no doubt that an essential tool to assist in organisation has to be the Pedigree Chart. In this case it is important to have one readily at hand and if you do not carry around a smart phone or tablet then perhaps a paper version in your purse or wallet would be a good idea because you just do not know when it may prove useful. Fill in the Pedigree Chart as far as you are able. You can download a free chart. This A4 size chart can accommodate 4 generations but has the ability to link on to further charts. Consider putting 2 charts in your purse or wallet and rather than put yourself at the #1 position, use one chart with your father at #1 and the other with your mother at #1—this way you get to see at a glance 4 generations of your ancestry and you probably know your own genealogy!

Now a Pedigree Chart is just a summary of your ancestry in genealogical terms. Many want to fill in pdf the details and the way to do that is to create a Family Sheet for every couple on your Pedigree Chart. This will enable you to add in siblings of your ancestors and far more detail and you will find you are well on the way to creating a family history! Family Sheets are also freely available.

pdfThe final essential tool which should be used is a Research Log in some format to keep a summary record of your work. Use column headings or fields such as date, research goal, search location, record, search range, result/comment. While you can easily rule up columns in an exercise book, you may wish to download a free version.

In the last issue, mention was made of the basic principles in family history research and the first three were outlined. The following address organisation…

Be organised and systematic
The serious researcher arms themselves with a range of checklists to supplement the Research Log. These can be purchased or drawn up at home on sheets of paper or even in exercise books. They provide the detail encountered during the search of records. For example if you are searching through British Censuses, then rule up the page using the headings in the census and thus record your findings. This way you will not forget anything in the process as you should make a point of filling in every column (use the word blank if that particular field is empty). Before you put away the records you have been using check that there are no blank spots in your table. While you are about it record everyone else listed who share the family name. They may prove important later when you are far away from accessing the record again!

Develop a planned research strategy
There is a simple process to follow. Look at your Pedigree Chart and the associated Family Sheets. A gap in the material cannot be tolerated and should be addressed simply because the correctness of all earlier records may be dependent on this record. So the nearer the gap in the records is to person #1 the higher its priority for attention. Remember the earlier basic principle mentioned in the previous newsletter…Always work from the known to the unknown.

If you try to work forward in time from some historical character who is supposedly your ancestor, or shares your surname—the usual consequence will be much wasted time, many dead-ends and little real progress.

Some researchers have researched wrong lines simply because they have ignored an important gap in the ancestral chain or failed to validate a record with an official document.

You must be organised and systematic in your researching. Otherwise you may find yourself running round in circles!

Maintain a set of research log books to manage your research program

Once you have located the gap in the record then start a Research Log in the particular person's name. The task is to locate the missing information.

Plan visits to repositories thoroughly
The last step before even venturing out into the vast world of repositories or into online records is to plan your attack. You do not want to end up scratching around like the proverbial hen hoping to turn up a tasty morsel. The hunt and peck strategy can be overcome by good preparation and planning. Examine that space in the your pedigree and look for clues and pointers in the material recorded for a possible source for the answer. Think about the issue in an historical context. Ascertain where the record may be located. Only then are you ready to start that quest.

Record your attack plan in your Research Log. What is the task at hand? Where are you going to undertake that research? How will you know if you are successful? All this preparation needs to be undertaken before you even leave home or turn on the computer so that when you commence you are focussed.

Once you have identified the search project you need to determine which collection may hold the record. You then need to determine how to access that collection.

Online sites hold a tiny fraction of the records and you will more than likely need to visit a repository and trawl through the records. If the repository is remote you may need to engage an agent and, if this is the case, the preparatory work becomes even more significant and could save significant costs.

…to be continued.
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