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GenealogyClassBlog » On the Internet

How Do You Know? Understanding Evidence and Source Citations

June 13th, 2011 Posted in Events, On the Internet, Speaking, Uncategorized | Comments Off

At the Cherokee Ancestry Conference on Saturday I described the critical part of family history research — the evidence — and I identified some resources for understanding how to cite sources. The title of the talk was, “How Do You Know? understanding Evidence and Source Citations,” because we really do need to know what we can believe about ancestors.

I told the attendees that I would be posting some additional information here on the GenealogyClassBlog. I hope that it will be helpful to all genealogy students, whether in attendance at the seminar or not.

Realizing that there are mistakes in online family trees, and even in published genealogies, we discussed the importance of making sure that our work is correct before we share it with others. Standards for Sound Genealogical Research, from the National Genealogical Society, may be found here. Note that the document is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or Apple’s Preview to read it. At this same site, there is a link to download another related document developed by the National Genealogical Society, “Guidelines for Genealogical Self-Improvement and Growth.”

The Genealogical Proof Standard is described at the web site of the Board For Certification of Genealogists. The Genealogical Proof Standard is the current standard genealogists should use in determining whether the evidence supports a conclusion, especially when there is no direct evidence. This page also provides the process you would use to determine how to reach a conclusion based upon the Genealogical Proof Standard.

I would also recommend reading a Skillbuilding article, called “Guidelines for Evaluating Genealogical Resources,” by Linda Woodward Geiger for an explanation of how sources provide the information that becomes our evidence.

I will be presenting this same program for the Tulsa City County Library on Saturday, July 23, but expanded to an hour and a half, beginning at 1:00 pm. Following that lecture, I will be introducing a new program I am calling “Genealogy Using DNA: First Steps” from 2:45 to 4:15.

I will write again soon with links to genealogy blogger discussions about source citations in genealogy software programs and about additional genealogy programs. Here is a link to the downloadable flyer for Family History Month at the Tulsa City County Library. This form will also require Adobe Acrobat Reader or Preview for viewing.

1940 Census – Planning for April 2012

April 4th, 2011 Posted in On the Internet | Comments Off
National Archives Countdown

National Archives Countdown

Comedian Bill Cosby did a wonderful show yesterday at the PAC in Tulsa and my husband and I were there. During his two-hour description (although likely exaggerated) of life as a grandfather and someone who is now one of the “old people,” he mentioned that he is now 73 years old. So, Mr. Cosby has almost lived long enough to find himself on the census.

If you have been hoping to use the census to learn more about someone who, like Bill Cosby, was born between April of 1930 and April 1 of 1940, you will have your chance, beginning 2 April 2012, of using the United States Federal Census, taken 1 April 2012. The additional one-day delay is because 1 April 2012 falls on a Sunday.

I will be writing more later about what you can expect — that the images will initially be released online instead of only on microfilm for instance — but for now you can visit the National Archives website for more information — even a countdown (the image I’ve pasted here was the countdown as of 4 April at 8:35 am).

Constance Potter, Archivist, has written about the release, here and in a Prologue Magazine article online.

What’s New With FamilySearch?

April 1st, 2011 Posted in On the Internet, Speaking, Tulsa Events | Comments Off
FamilySearch Home Page April 2011

FamilySearch Home Page April 2011

Have you tried FamilySearch? It’s a large, free website for genealogists, provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is somewhat complex, and is currently undergoing some very serious updating. So, you may find it challenging to try to locate the information you need, and to know whether you have found everything there is to find. Want a list of genealogy terms in French? Want to find online lectures? Want to find which roll of microfilm might have your ancestor’s will? Or maybe you want to find published genealogies on the surname of your ancestor? Let me help you.

I will be presenting an even newer “What’s New” lecture on Saturday, April 9, from 10:30 to 12:30 at the Tulsa City County Library’s Genealogy Center. This is a free, two-hour program, and is an update to what I’ve presented previously. The objective is to help explain where FamilySearch has been, where it’s going, and how to use it now. I will be available afterward to answer questions, too.

The Genealogy Center is located at 2901 S. Harvard in Tulsa. See other TCCL events at this link.*

I hope to see you there. Please tell me that you learned about the program from reading my blog post!

* When you click the link, you’ll be downloading a pdf brochure, which may be opened using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

From Liverpool to New York, 3 June 1844

February 21st, 2011 Posted in Conversation, On the Internet | Comments Off
Ships Passenger List for the Hannibal, arriving in New York 3 Jun 1844, from Liverpool

Ships Passenger List for the Hannibal, arriving in New York 3 Jun 1844, from Liverpool

On last week’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Rosie O’Donnell traveled to County Kildare in Ireland. Her great-great-grandparents had lived there in poverty just after the Irish Potato Famine until the early 1850’s, when they emigrated to Canada and eventually came to the United States, settling in New Jersey. Watch the episode, or others that have already aired, at

Sometimes when I have a few minutes, I spend some time online, searching on the website of the program’s sponsor, After watching the show on Friday night I was in the mood for a little Irish searching — for my own great-great-grandparents who also reportedly came from “near Dublin, Kildare, Ireland.” County Kildare is, in fact, just outside of Dublin. And the parents of my mother’s grandmother, Anna Carr Regan, had left there around the time of the Irish Potato Famine, as had Rosie’s ancestors, Andrew Murtagh and Ann Doyle Murtagh, and their four children.

My mother had put together most of the dates and places several years ago.  I opened the family view in my genealogy software file in Reunion (for the Macintosh), so that I could find what I needed as I searched. Patrick Carr, who lived and died in Cleveland, Ohio, was reportedly born in 1805 and his wife, Bridget in either 1814 or 1824. Their first two children, both girls, were supposed to have been born in Ireland in 1842. The eldest was Mary and the next Bridget. My mother thought that the third child, Kathleen or Katherine, was either born in Ireland or in New York, in roughly 1848, and the fourth, also a daughter, named Helen, was born in about 1849 in Ohio. I was a little fuzzy on the dates we had established that the family was in Cleveland, but I was pretty sure that the date of immigration could have been anywhere from the early 1840’s to maybe 1856, when Anna Carr was born. We were not sure about the dates or places of birth of Katherine and Helen, and we still do not have the maiden name of Patrick’s wife — unless it really is Carr — what one vital record showed for mother’s maiden name: Bridget Carr.

Patrick Carr is not an uncommon name and when my mother and I were in the thick of the Carr research several years ago, the New York Passenger Arrivals were not indexed to the extent that they are today. Of course, New York was not the only port, but it seemed to be the most likely for this Cleveland family, especially because of the family tradition. Searches on for Patrick Carr resulted in lots of hits for the wrong Patrick Carr, but eventually I was able to find one passenger list that included all four members of the Carr family that immigrated. I did this by using one of my Power Hitter tricks — I searched for others of less common names who were probably in the same record, in order to locate the record.

Genealogists can often find a record of someone with the same name as their ancestor, but what they really need is something in the record that can help them to identify that they have found a record of the actual ancestor. I knew that if I found a Patrick Carr, I wouldn’t be sure whether he was my Patrick Carr unless he was with his wife Bridget, and better yet if they were together and had some of their children with them. I located this little family after a little perseverance:

  • Pat Carr 30
  • Bridget Carr 38
  • Mary Carr 2
  • Bridget Carr Inft

And I was glad that they had immigrated together. The arrival date was 4 Jun 1844 and the ship was the Hannibal, which had departed Liverpool and arrived in New York City. This was too early for the Carrs to have been processed at Ellis Island (which wasn’t established until 1892), or to have seen the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor (because it wasn’t erected until 1886). They did probably enter through Castle Garden, at Battery Park in New York City.

Looking back to try to determine why I wasn’t able to find Patrick Carr very quickly, I think there were a few reasons. First, there is a significant difference in the estimated date of birth. Instead of 1805, this Pat Carr was 30 in 1844, or born in about 1814. In addition, rather than Patrick Carr, he was listed as Pat Carr. And, when I searched the index to New York, 1820-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists for all Patrick Carrs, I found that the one who arrived on the Hannibal was 28th on the list.

So how did I find the family without looking at every Patrick Carr in the results list? The name Bridget is not as common as is Patrick, so I searched for Bridget Carr, born in about 1842, and for her sister, Mary, born in about 1842, and compared the results lists for the two. I found the Hannibal on both results lists and then checked the digital image to see whether they had parents, Patrick and Bridget. Without the rest of the family, the age of Bridget (the mother, at 38), or the age of Pat (30) would seem to eliminate them, but considering that the information about their daughters is what we would expect, and given that the 3 June 1844 falls within a likely date range for their migration, I believe that I have found the boat — and I have called my mother to give her the news. I will continue to search for all related records, as good genealogists do, to either strengthen the case or to disprove it. I hope to establish that this family is mine, so that I can pursue them in County Kildare. But if it isn’t, then I’ll keep looking until I do find them.

I’ll be watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” again this Friday night, highlighting Kim Cattrall. If you miss it, be sure to watch the online episode.

Tulsa Genealogical Society Mini Workshop Feb. 24

November 27th, 2010 Posted in Events, On the Internet, Speaking, Tulsa Events | Comments Off

Whether you are new to genealogy or have been researching your ancestry for years, you need to know what is going on with FamilySearch®. I included the topic of FamilySearch® in class in late October and I have already heard about changes I’ll need to make to my presentation.

On Thursday, February 24, 2011, I will be presenting an evening workshop for the Tulsa Genealogical Society on the topic, “What’s New With FamilySearch®?”

I presented the same topic in July for the Tulsa City-County Library and had a large crowd at Hardesty Library. FamilySearch® is a free website, an online home for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their genealogical help to everyone – whether Mormon or not.

The people at FamilySearch® have been listening to genealogists. I even had a meeting with Jay Verkler, the FamilySearch CEO while at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2009 National Conference in Little Rock. They have introduced new online spaces, and are uploading digitized records. They have a huge volunteer indexing program and they are working to digitally back up their collection of 2.4 million rolls of microfilm as well.

When I presented the program in July, I included two brand new online videos that you should be sure to watch. Visit their blog entry from July to access the videos.

And, to visit their beta site, which is where they are testing all of these new features, go to Their original site can still be found at

The mini workshop is a fund-raiser for TGS, and will be held at their library, 9136 E. 31st St., from 6:30 to 8:30. Check the Tulsa Genealogical Society’s website for the recommended donation amount.