11 March 2014

MGP 2 – My Chapter 2 Homework Thoughts – Crafting a Genealogical Question

This post is part of DearMyrtle's Hangout on Air series, MGP2 Study Group 2, studying Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones.¹ Hangouts are every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM Eastern US time. Join us to learn more about the discipline of genealogical work and how adhering to its standards will improve your family history results. Your family will thank you. 

As a hanger for Study Group 2, one of my responsibilities is to post my completed homework for each chapter. Because the answers are found at the end of your book, I will not post them (which would also violate copyright), but will post my thoughts about each question. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend that you purchase and use this text. I am not being compensated for my endorsement, although I am enjoying the benefit of the author's wisdom. 

It All Starts With a Question

How do we begin genealogical research? We ask ourselves a question. What do I want to know? Perhaps the answer is everything about the Burrell family from Weymouth, Massachusetts. This is a noble question, but one which might require a lifetime of research to answer. Unless embarking on a major project or possessing limitless time and funding (i.e. we won the lottery), our question must be simple and straightforward.

Crafting a Genealogical Question

1. Who is your person of interest? “a documented person”²
2. What do you want to learn about this person? 
     “specific information”³

In the case of my Burrell family from Weymouth, my person of interest is my 4x great grandfather, Alvan Burrell. My crafted genealogical question answers the two questions above:

1.   Who? the Alvan Burrell, who married Nancy Tirrell                  Burrell on 6 August 1825 in Weymouth, Massachusetts 
2.  What? Who were his parents?

and becomes, "Who were the parents of Alvan Burrell, who married Nancy Tirrell Burrell on 6 August 1825 in Weymouth, Massachusetts?"

Parentage is a relationship question. According to Dr. Jones, there are two other possible general genealogical question types; activity and identity.⁴

My third great grandfather is also named Alvin [i and a are interchangeable for both father and son] Burrell. There are many sources, which include information about an Alvan Burrell in Weymouth. The identity question is which one? In order to identify the correct Alvan Burrell, I would ask, “Which Alvan Burrell is referenced in the 9 Jan 1873 Deed from Thais Burrell to Alvan Burrell.”

An activity question answers a question about something your person of interest did; immigrated, performed military service, lived in a place, etc. About Alvin Burrell, the son, I might ask, “Did Alvin Russell Burrell, born 24 March 1830 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, serve during the Civil War?”

Crafting our genealogical questions leads to better and more effective genealogical search results. How do you craft your questions? Feel free to post one in the comments below.

¹Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia:                National Genealogical Society, 2013).
²Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 7.
³Ibid., 7.
⁴Ibid., 8.

Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[Book available from the publisher, 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comments, ideas and suggestions. Your thoughts are important to me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


#apgen 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy 97th General Hospital Adobe Photoshop Elements Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Album Analysis Ancestral Ancestry Android Apps Archive Army Association of Professional Genealogists atDNA Bailey Beginning Genealogy Bichon Frise Blog award Blogging Book Review Brainard Brisk Bristol Bristol CT Bubba Bubbaisms Bubbie Burrell Butzbach Carnival of Genealogy Cemetery Certification Christmas citations Civil War Clift collaboration community conference Conferences Connecticut connection Correlation December Dell Streak derivative Digital Digital Images DNA Documenting Sources Dropbox ebay education Evidence evience Family Family Finder Family History Family History Centers Family History Story Family Tree FamilyTreeDNA Favorite Photo Fearless Females feedly Feeds Feldman Fishing for Family Fishing Friday Food Footnote Friday Footnotes Forenames FotoBridge Foxboro MA Frankfurt Freshford Kilkenny Ireland Genbank Geneadaddybloggers Genealogical Genealogical Education Genealogical Goodness Genealogical Organization Genealogical Proof Genealogical Proof Standard Genealogical Research Genealogical Serendipity Genealogical Success Genealogist genealogy Genealogy Beginner genealogy conference Genealogy Resources Geneamommybloggers GeneaScrappers Genetic Genealogy Germans Germany Gift Gift Idea Ginter Giveaway Glasgow Goals Going In-Depth Google Google Books Google Reader Grace Gravestone Gremley Hammond Hanukkah haplogroup Haplogroup W Heritage Hill History Holidays Holocaust Homes Horse IAJGS Image editing Images immigrant immigration indeterminable information Interviews Ireland Irish Jewish Jewish Genealogy Kiesel Kindle Kindle Fire Kindle Fire HD Lamb Learning to Blog Learns to Blog letters LibraryThing Maps Mary Massachusetts Melting Pot Memorials MGP Study Group 2 Michigan Microfilm Military Military Monday Minsk Motor Torpedo Boat MTB mtDNA Murtagh Murtaugh Music My Girls Mystery Photo Mystic NARA Navy NERGC New England New Year New York New York City Newspapers NGS Nook Color Northern Ireland Norwich CT Notes Old Photos Organization original Passover Photo Photo Clues Photo Edits Photo Organization Photo Preservation Photo Repair Photo Scanning Photograph Photographing Photographs Phylotree Places Plock Poland Polish Ponce Portsmouth NH Postcard Posterity primary information privacy ProQuest Providence Prussia Prussians pt boat Questions Reader Real Life reasonably exhaustive search Recording records reference notes Relatives Remembering Research Research Trip Resources reverb10 Revere Revere MA Riga Latvia Russia Salt Lake City Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Saturday Stars Scanning Photos Scanning Slides Scrapbook Scrapbook Sunday Scrapbooking Scrapook Screen-O-Matic Second Life secondary information Secret Sentimental Sephardic Sephardic Jews Sharing Memories Shoer SLIG Smith social media Somerville MA source Sources Spanish Inquisition Speaking Spring Stonington Stonington CT Stories Story Sumbeg Surnames Tablet Tablets Tech Tuesday Technology Technorati Temple Israel Temple Jacob Thanksgiving The In-Depth Genealogist thorough research Tombstone Tuesday Traditions Transcription Travers Tree Tuesday's Tip UGA Utah Utah Genealogical Assocation Veterans Day Video Virtual GeneaScrappers Vistula Vital Records Washington DC Webinar Websites Weddings Windows Live Writer Wlh Wloclawek Wordless Wednesday World War I World War II Writing yDNA Yearbooks York ME Your Family Tree Magazine YouTube Zayde Zemanta Zinio