In the last couple of posts I sketched out the writing projects I found I needed to truly utilize the genealogy computer program to its full potential. Although I like having all the genealogy data in one location that is easy to access, it does not provide much in the way of cross-referencing.
In this post I am describing the format I use for Geographic Locations.
At this time and space, I am only concerning myself with the US locations. I have many connections to other countries, but as I do not plan to do any boots on the ground research outside the US at this time, I am sticking with the US.
Because there is no way to extrapolate all the geographic locations into one place using the computer program, I meticulously went through each and every single relative and jotted down where they were born, where they married, and where they died.
If this sounds like it must have taken hours and hours, let me assure you: it did! I have over a thousand relations cataloged, and each one had to be looked at and considered. I mostly stuck with direct descendency (apparently this is not a word, but I like it, so in it stays) except where a sibling’s location helped establish a direct descendent’s presence. If I also knew where a relation had lived (i.e. owned land, showed up on a census) but did not already have that noted, I added that to the format.
When it was all said and done, then, I grouped all geographic events under the header of the different states. Though there are 50 states, my research only takes me to 26, so I have 26 documents (listed under State Lists), each headed with the state name in bold, size 16 font.
Then I group the information accordingly: under the header (this time using size 12 font) I list each one of the life events that happened in that state. So, for example, on the Kentucky sheet I have the following information:
Phillips, John B abt. 1809 Horse Cave, Hart County
Heather, William D Mercer County
Doyle, Farmer L 1800-1840 Shelby County
See what I did there? Rather than listing alphabetically by name, I go alphabetically by county. This allows me to group all the events that occurred in that same location together. SO much easier when trying to identify where I want to go in any one particular state. Names are listed last name first, so I can see similar names in a chosen location. I chose to put the B (born), L (lived in), M (married), D (died) in bold so I can easily tell what sort of event I am looking for in that place. If I don’t have a date, I leave it blank so I can fill it in later.
I have found this State Lists tool to be just as important as the computer program, because I can easily tell geographically how many other family events occurred in that state or even the same general area.