Finding the Parents of Bertha Kantner: An Interactive Case Study

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Date Time Title
8 April 2021 9:00am Introduction
8 April 2021 9:15am Gather
8 April 2021 9:45am Choose
8 April 2021 10:15am BREAK
8 April 2021 10:30am Plan
8 April 2021 11:00am BREAK
8 April 2021 12:00pm Find
8 April 2021 12:30pm Evaluate
8 April 2021 1:15pm Find
8 April 2021 1:45pm Evaluate
8 April 2021 2:15pm BREAK
8 April 2021 2:30pm Find
8 April 2021 2:50pm Evaluate
8 April 2021 3:10pm Find
8 April 2021 3:30pm Evaluate
8 April 2021 3:45pm Share
8 April 2021 3:50pm Conclusion

Gather[edit | edit source]

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Choose[edit | edit source]

Before getting into new records, you need to choose a research goal. This goal should pertain to a specific question about an ancestor. This could be a relationship, an event, or a location that you would like to learn. Focus on one action such as find, verify, identify, extend, and locate. Remember that a record is never a goal.

The next step in choosing your research goal is to plan your research. Keep in mind what records would give you the information to solve your research goal. Make and keep a research log and a research plan to help you stay focused and organized. Your research logs can be in any format that helps you the best. Adapt your plan as your research; let your new records help to inform you on your next steps. Additional Resources:

Find[edit | edit source]

When possible always try to find the original record for the information you are seeking. An original record is one which is created at or near the time of the event being recorded. A census is considered an original record because it is the taking of the census which is the event. Do not limit yourself to online information and realize the information you are seeking may not be online but resting in some far off courthouse which you will have to visit to discover the document.

One major online source to find original records is the FamilySearch Library Catalog. This catalog lists all records available at the Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The good news is many of the records have been digitized and are viewable for free. When searching the catalog search all jurisdictions where the record may be located. This includes city, county and state.

The FamilySearch Research Wiki, while it does not contain records, can help you locate records and learn of their availability. The Wiki also lists societies in the area you are researching and how to contact them. The Wiki is a wealth of information and worth your time to learn.

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Evaluate[edit | edit source]

Evaluating is the process of determining the genealogical value of a record. Keep in mind that you want to evaluate the physical record and the information on the record. Before evaluating a record, you need to read it in its entirety. Don't just skim the record and move on! There is a lot of valuable information found in each record that can be missed if you just skim it. Use the following steps and questions as you go through this process: read through the entire document, pull out key information and people, evaluate the record and the information, compare the information with previously known information and the research goal, read and evaluate again, and look for clues to other records.

When evaluating, decide if your record is original or derivative and decide if the information is primary or secondary. Original records are records created at or near the time of event. Derivative records are records created from information from other records. Primary information is information given by the original event. Secondary information is information given by anything other than the original event. For example: This means that a marriage record is an original record; it has primary information about the marriage date; it has secondary information about the birth dates and places for the bride and groom.

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Share[edit | edit source]

After finding and evaluating records for your ancestors, it is important to share what you have found! What good is it to learn about your ancestors and not let anyone know? Here are a couple of ideas on how to share: update and add to online trees, create a blog, share on social media, write articles for genealogical publications, publish a family history, and tell stories to your family.

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In-Class Links[edit | edit source]

Links will appear under this section as we discuss them during the class.