Can You Chart the Heart? Revisited

I’ve been thinking about this question in relation to the new emphasis in FamilySearch training that says “first the heart, then the chart” in genealogy and family history. It only makes sense. This idea is important to acknowledge by those who have their charts given to them, such as in long-standing New England or LDS families. Others who begin with a question, curiosity, or desire to know the unknown naturally start from the heart because there is no chart :-) The heart provides the motivation for the quest, yet sometimes our hearts are challenged. Rarely do we know this until symptoms manifest.

Equipment to Chart the Heart WPIn 1903, a Dutch physician named Willem Einthoven invented a way to chart the heart. He received the Pulitzer Prize in Medicine for this in 1924. The electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) identifies abnormalities that provide doctors with information that helps in diagnosis and treatment. The heart exists; the chart assists. The same thing can be true in family history.

Anyone familiar with history knows that challenges within families have existed from the beginning. Without expounding, I have met many individuals over the years who resist family history and genealogy because of sensitive issues surrounding the chart. Family history can be fun if as a community we realize that one size does not fit all. Adoption and other circumstances require our understanding. I remember one student in the second grade who was asked to draw a picture of her family. She drew herself, her mom, her dad, a brother, and three sisters. In reality, her parents were divorced and she was an only child. She drew herself in her best friend’s family. In essence, she charted her heart.

The purpose of this post is NOT to address social or political issues, but to suggest ways that one can engage in and enjoy family history and genealogy by charting the way to turning the heart :-)

  • Start with anyone that you and/or your child would like to know more about :-) Consider a member of your family who has a quality or qualities that you admire. More often than not, they stand on the shoulders of those that came before them. Find out :-) Think about it; Who Do You Think You Are? finds a significant story, otherwise the majority of the audience would just tune out. Learn about your ancestor, write their story and/or a script, make your own episode highlighting a series of interesting life events. Make the ordinary extraordinary!
  • Family Roots Circle Pedigree WPPost a fill-in-the-blank chart in a high traffic area in your home, even on the refrigerator if necessary. Make sure it is laminated and that a vis-á-vis or extra fine Sharpie is readily available to record discoveries. Our chart was in the family room. Recently I decided I would erase all the ancestors and start over, more for fun than verification purposes :-) My daughter’s response was, “Mom, you do have all of this recorded somewhere else, don’t you?” My son came home that day and asked, “What happened to the ancestors!” Believe me, they notice :-) Again, the chart can start with anyone that turns your heart :-)
  • Create a chart to discover common or complementary talents, interests, abilities, and/or occupations. One can chart eye color, hair color, and/or other physical traits. [Don’t you just love military records and passport information that are so descriptive!] The point is for family members to discover patterns and what they have in common with their ancestors.

So, when I consider the titled question, my response is a resounding YES! [And, it can be a fun process.] Just like so much in life, one cannot appreciate what one has not discovered for oneself. It’s the journey, not the destination, that engages the heart and fills out the chart!

[If you have an idea for charting the heart and would like to share, please comment or send me message. At your request, full attribution or anonymity will be included in future posts. If you have your own blog and post a response there, send me the link. I would love to continue the conversation :-)]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy: An Epilogue

YA Presenters Paul Woodbury and Hannah Allan WPThe work is done, the classes have concluded, and participants have gone forward. The 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy has become part of history.

One of the benefits of attending a conference is visiting with friends and meeting new people. We learn from one another. We share our knowledge. We share our experience. We share our stories. We associate with those who understand our unique passion. We have many of our questions answered.

At this conference youth were learning and discussing family history. Young adults were attending and presenting. Our ever faithful seniors were presenting and learning as well. As we know, or have come to learn, family history involves the entire family!

How to Involve Youth: A Panel Discussion Left to Right: Matthew Hovorka, Tristan Ostler, Kylee Haunga, Brenden Alton, Mckayla Faddis and Devin Ashby (moderator)

How to Involve Youth: A Panel Discussion
Left to Right: Matthew Hovorka, Tristan Ostler, Kylee Haunga, Brenden Alton, Mckayla Faddis and Devin Ashby (moderator)

On Friday, participants had the opportunity to attend five more presentations throughout the day. There was no keynote address. Classes started at 8:30am and the room scheduled for the Facebook for Family History Consultants presentation was filled to overflowing at least 10 minutes before it started!

Jean Wilcox Hibben gave her presentation about Turning Genealogy into Family History: Creating Stories from Stats. She demonstrated that one does not need to inherit the family scrapbook to turn vital statistics into the stories of our ancestors.

There was at least one birthday among us. As it was said, this was an example of “the power of social media.” (If the person who had the birthday is reading this, I hope it was a happy one! I estimated that you would probably receive about 100+ “friend” requests :-)

The Facebook for Family History Consultants Crowd

The Facebook for
Family History Consultants Crowd

One of the last classes of the day was a Mac Users presentation. There was so much interest that Jimmy Zimmerman, who has been PC free for 5 years, decided to entertain a Mac Genealogy After-Party to answer additional questions and show additional features :-)

For those who may be interested, the conference syllabus is still available for purchase. It contains 586 pages of information suited to the new and seasoned genealogist. The CD syllabus is $15 + $2.50 shipping. The printed syllabus is also available for $30 + $10 shipping. Call 801-422-4853 or visit the conference website for more information.

Robert Dickey demonstrates the equipment used to digitize records. If you are interested in “a mission that fits your lifestyle” call 1-855-346-4774 or visit familysearch.org/mission.

Robert Dickey demonstrates the equipment used to digitize records. If you are interested in “a mission that fits your lifestyle” call 1-855-346-4774 or visit familysearch.org/mission.

I would like to take a moment to thank all who helped organize this conference including Stephen Young, FamilySearch Project Manager; Suzanne Russo Adams, FamilySearch Content Strategy Manager; Margo McKinstry, British Reference Consultant at the Family History Library; George Ryskamp, Professor of History at BYU; John Best, Assistant Program Administrator of BYU’s Department of Conferences and Workshops; and Tessa Lund, event planner in the Department of Conferences and Workshops.

Additionally, I would like to thank the vendors, the support staff of BYU Conferences and Workshops, and all of the presenters and participants. You made it a great conference!

[The Ancestry Insider, Renee Zamora of Renee’s Genealogy Blog, and I served as official bloggers. Be sure to check out their posts covering this conference!]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Calling All Family History Consultants! (At least those who pre-registered :-)

The Final Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

The Ancestry Insider

The Ancestry Insider

The keynote addresses are finished, the vendors are gone, and the Ancestry Insider has said good-bye, this is the final day of the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy being held in Provo, Utah.

Initial registration offered Family History Consultants one day of training at no cost. For those who have pre-registered today is the day! Sessions will include training on using Facebook, the role of youth, new resources available, more about the heart then the chart, and concluding the day with a case study. There will be a track for adults discussing youth and genealogy. Research tracks include the U.S., British, English/Welsh, and LDS Ancestral Research. Tracks for computers & technology and ICAPGEN complete the conference program.

Interview with J. Mark Lowe

Interview with J. Mark Lowe

Yesterday J. Mark Lowe exceeded expectations as he addressed a full house at the BYU Conference Center in the opening session. His presentation entitled, “Coffins, Urns & Zip Lock Bags” was not only informative, but fun :-) He had all of us laughing at life and isn’t lives lived and lessons learned what family history’s all about? From sharing stories of growing up as the youngest of five children to nurturing the interest in family history and genealogy with his nephews and others, Mark exemplifies the family historian. It was impressive!

The transcript will be made available soon on the conference website so I won’t elaborate, but he provided a list of “possible objectives” to support and save our cemeteries:

  • Identify historic cemeteries
  • Make “public” aware of cemeteries
  • Research cemetery use & history
  • Preserve and protect cemeteries
  • Promote cemetery preservation through education and special events
  • Broaden support

He posed the question, “What’s in your cemetery kit?” Some of the items he suggested were cornstarch, a paint brush, gloves, an unbreakable mirror, and a camera. He also admonished us to watch out for chiggers :-)

He closed the session by singing “My Grandfather’s Clock” written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work. From one voice to many, this session ended on key. (I must admit, the sing-a-long was a first for me in this setting and I wanted to break out my guitar to play along :-)

I had the opportunity to visit with Mark after the opening session. I asked him how he enjoyed the conference. He shared that he really enjoys being with people that are like-minded in genealogy. I asked him if he had the opportunity to attend other sessions and what he learned. He mentioned that he gained insight when he attended the Huguenot in North America presentation. He also mentioned that it was interesting to hear about the plans and developments that are happening at FamilySearch. When I asked him what he’s been up to recently he mentioned the work of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project, and the recent FGS Webinar he gave on July 18th entitled, “Discovering Local & State Militia Records” which is now available to the public for viewing. After his final presentation here at the conference, Mark was off to catch his plane. He is speaking at the 38th Annual Seminar of the Kentucky Genealogical Society (KGS) on Saturday, August 3rd. It is an all-day event with four lectures given by Mark, including “Coffins, Urns & Zip-lock Bags.” For more information, visit the the KGS website.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy is Going South

The Third Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit. Actually the South, or really an expert in Southern U.S. Research, has come to us :-)

Today J. Mark Lowe will give the final keynote presentation, “Coffins, Urns & Zip-Lock Bags.” Mark is a professional genealogist, author, and teacher. He is an engaging storyteller that weaves into the minds of his listeners the principles of sound methodology using his experience in conducting Southern research.

Following the opening session, methodology education continues with Jean Wilcox Hibben, Nancy Lauer, Hannah Allan and Stephen Ehat. As part of this track, Mark Lowe’s final presentation at this conference will be at 1:30pm entitled, “Here Comes the Bride, and There She Goes.”

The U.S. Research track continues as well along with the Scottish and German Research tracks. Dutch, Estonian, Russian, and Slovakian Research will also be offered today. More presentations about online research, as well as the first day of classes to assist LDS Family History Consultants with their church responsibilities will also be conducted.

Wednesday’s opening session of the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference

Wednesday’s opening session of the
BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference

Yesterday Dennis C. Brimhall, managing director of the LDS Family History Department, gave the opening keynote address. His remarks were entitled, “Not Just a Chart, But the Heart.” He mentioned that there are about 70,000 family history consultants world-wide and about 4,700 Family History Centers in 129 countries throughout the world. He shared that there are 2.9 billion names in the FamilySearch database and that 1.7 million names are added daily. Since April over 700,000 photos have been uploaded to the Family Tree system. Presently, there are 237 camera teams digitizing records and it is hoped to raise this number to 500. He estimated that it will take 5-7 years to digitize the Granite Vault.

And then he asked the question, “How well are we doing?” He said that only 25% of members of the LDS Church have registered to use FamilySearch.org and only 8% have logged on in the past 12 months. He said that “we” have been too technology-centric and that a significant number of LDS Church members do not have access to a computer, such as in the Philippians where 1 out of 10 youth have access.

The quandary has been that those who are paying for this system are not using it. He said that Family History Centers have missed the point; they have been places to do research, not places to learn about oneself and that people must start with themselves. He shared a vision of the future Family History Center becoming a Discovery Center that is family friendly. Presently, NEHGS and the British Library, among others, will soon receive this newly-designed center. He also emphasized that the new family history center is in the home.

He shared other statistics, such as 27% of contributors to Family Tree are friends from other faiths. He emphasized that FamilySearch has partnered with major companies serving the genealogical community to increase the number of record sets available to the patrons through avoiding duplication of acquisitions.

He closed by sharing statistics about RootsTech. This year there were 25,644 total attendees, 68% attended by remote access or by live stream. In 2014 RootsTech will be broadcast to 600 locations in 10 different languages with an estimated 120,000 participants.

He said that FamilySearch seeks to champion the things of the heart, as well as the chart. He said that FamilySearch is committed to providing such an experience. He announced that at the end of August a new pamphlet, My Family, will be made available to assist members in beginning their family history.

[The transcripts of the keynote addresses given at the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy will be made available on the conference website in the near future.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Can You Chart the Heart?

The Second Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Those involved in family history and genealogy are familiar with charts: names, dates, places, and relationships all displayed in an organized fashion. Some have these charts in files, others have published books, and others have charts hanging on the walls of their homes. They provide a sense of knowledge about oneself and those from whom one descends.

Elder Allan F. Packer (Courtesy of BYU Conferences & Workshops Photography)

Elder Allan F. Packer
(Courtesy of BYU Conferences & Workshops Photography)

Yesterday Elder Allan F. Packer extended “an invitation to shape the future” to an overflow crowd at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah. He asked us to get involved, to become “change agents,” in the field of family history and genealogy. He listed fun and fulfillment as the top reasons for the need for change in the number of people involved in this work. Greater unity in [the] family and society, the doctrine [of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], population growth and record-keeping were other points he mentioned.

And then he suggested “specific things [we] can do.” First on his list was to start with the youth. (This conference hosted about 70 youth yesterday. I had the opportunity to pop-in to their sessions, filled or almost filled, to capacity throughout the day. Will the youth have their very own conference in the near future?)

Paul, Anna, Kate and Rachel

Paul, Anna, Kate and Rachel

He also asked us to “change the sequence of how we introduce people to family history, help them to discover themselves, use stories and pictures, and simplify.” He stated that “family history is more than genealogy.” He encouraged us to “discover the history of the past, create history by living in the present, and shape the history of the future by what we do now.”

During his address Elder Packer reported that the participants of this conference came from 6 countries, 24 states, 89% of the participants were under the age of 60, and 75% of conference participants were female. Of this last point he said that this must change :-)

In the past, transcripts of the keynote addresses were made available on the conference website. I will keep you posted as to their availability this year.

Today Dennis Brimhall will discuss, “Not Just a Chart, But the Heart.” As you know, he is the Managing Director of the LDS Family History Department. After the keynote address there will be 40 classes for participants to choose from divided into 8 tracks. There will be a track for Beginners. Southern U.S. Research and Irish Research will have their own series of classes. Internationally, Canadian, French, Jewish, and Japanese Research will be addressed. Ancestry.com will be presenting a series of classes as well. DNA Research, the FamilySearch Family Tree, and FamilySearch Compatibles round out today’s offerings.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

“An Invitation to Shape the Future”

The First Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund are ready to greet registrants at the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund are ready to greet registrants at the
BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

I was only at the registration desk for a few minutes yesterday to pick up conference materials but in that short amount of time I met individuals from coast to coast. I look forward to meeting many more today as the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy begins a week dedicated to increasing knowledge and sharpening skills that will further research endeavors. Over 700 individuals are expected to attend. The opening keynote address will be given by Elder Allan F. Packer* entitled, “An Invitation to Shape the Future.”

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund will be ready to greet and assist conference participants. Today marks the first time a Youth track has been offered. From mastering the basics of family history and genetic genealogy to photographing graves to post online, the youth who will attend are sure to find something of interest.

BYUFHGC Hall WPFamilySearch will be on hand to give “a whirlwind tour of FamilySearch resources,” and encourage “effective search strategies and sound research practices” as well as discuss “FamilySearch book scanning.” Other online research presentations will be offered throughout the day including one by Mark Olsen of MyHeritage and another by David Williams of Fold3.

Stephen Ehat will discuss in two separate presentations oral histories and the whys and hows of descendancy research. Nancy Lauer will enlighten us on how to know if we have found the right ancestor. Kory Meyerink will discuss “evaluating evidence and resolving discrepancies.” Jean Wilcox Hibben, who recently served as a lead researcher for the new PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, will present, “Who is That? Why Did Your Ancestors Associate with Apparent Strangers?”

Research in Scandinavia, Italy, and Poland will be addressed today. An introduction to Hispanic research will also be covered. U.S. Research will address an eclectic mix of topics such as the Huguenots, migration, Maryland and probate research.

This is also the day to learn more about Church Records. Although J. Mark Lowe will not be giving the keynote until Thursday morning, those attending this track will have the opportunity to hear his presentations on the “Circuit Riders and the Early Methodist Church” and “Finding Baptist  Ancestors in Southern Manuscripts.” Lisa Arnold will cover “Quaker Records; “ Roger Minert will talk about “German Immigrants in American Protestant Church Records;” and George Ryskamp will discuss “Records of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church.”

BYU Family History Library WPThe BYU Family History Library will be open from 8am to 9pm Tuesday through Thursday and until 6pm on Friday. The library has subscriptions to many noted genealogical websites as well as houses a large collection of microfilm. To check to see if the library has a microfilm of interest, obtain the film number from the FHLC at FamilySearch.org and then check FHL Films and Fiche at BYU to see if the film of interest is here. Scanning, printing and other services are available. For more information about the BYU Family History Library call 801-422-6200.

[*Elder Packer is the Executive Director of the LDS Family History Department and a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At one point in his life he worked for MyFamily.com. He and his wife are the parents of eight children and twenty-five grandchildren.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Single Leaf Interrupts Your Summer…

BYU Conference Center NE WPActually, I hope to enhance your summer as I make this announcement :-)

Unknown to some is a week-long conference held in Provo, Utah, near Sundance resort, you know, Robert Redford’s place. Provo is located about 45 miles south of Salt Lake and if you are interested in genealogy you are probably familiar with that city. Although people come from as far away as Australia, and this year from Africa, to attend this conference, some locals may not even know that this conference has been going on for 44 years!

Therefore, I would like to announce that the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy will be held July 30th through August 2nd, 2013 at the BYU Conference Center, 770 East University Parkway, Provo, Utah. There is still time to register if you would like to attend. Remember, sometimes airlines have great last minute deals :-)

Why would you want to interrupt your summer plans?

Unlike genealogical institutes that have you register for one course for the entire week, this conference allows the participant to chose from 160 classes categorized into about two dozen tracks. The syllabus is a treasure trove of additional information, bibliographies, and links to further one’s study of a topic so one can go as deep as necessary or desired.

The opening session for the conference is entitled, “An Invitation to Shape the Future” and will be given by Elder Allan F. Packer, executive director of the Family History Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Wednesday, Dennis C. Brimhall, President and CEO of FamilySearch International will speak to conference participants about “Not Just a Chart, but the Heart.” This year BYU is pleased to announce that J. Mark Lowe will be teaching a number of classes as well as presenting the keynote on Thursday. Mark is well-known in genealogical circles for his expertise in Southern U.S. Research and his sense of humor. I’m curious to know what he has to say about “Coffins, Urns & Zip-Lock Bags.” Classes are offered from the beginner to advanced levels by some names that you may know and some who are just qualified to share their expertise :-) For a complete schedule of presenters and their topics visit ce.byu.edu.

As we have gone digital, the youth have been a great asset in helping FamilySearch Indexing get record indices online. This year the youth will have their own track on opening day, Tuesday, July 30th. Attendance does not require pre-registration so if you are a youth or know a youth, consider dropping by and staying for the day. It’s free and, with the hot Utah sun, it’s also air conditioned. (Did I mention that the entire facility is fabulous?)

Family Chart Masters and Genealogy Wall Charts are giving away free fan charts to conference participants. You must order them online and they will be available for pick up at the conference. Visit the conference website for more information.

The conference will also have exhibitors present to display their newest products and services. Come check out the newest offerings in the field of genealogy. With the retirement of the free PAF program, Ancestral Quest, Legacy FamilyTree, and RootsMagic will be available to demonstrate their software to help those who may have been reluctant to leave PAF, or those new to genealogy, find a computer database program that suits their preferences. For Mac Users who prefer not to use Fusion, Parallels, or Boot Camp to run the PC programs, there are other options. Ancestry.com will be at the conference. They have programs for PC and Mac. There will be a beginner class on Friday entitled, “Mac Users: Simple Tricks to Save You Time.” Talk to the presenter about program options or contact me. I like Mac :-)

As mentioned above, the Youth track on Tuesday is FREE and does not require pre-registration. Noncredit registration for the four-day event, including a CD syllabus, is $180. Family History Consultants, who may attend their specific track for FREE on Friday, may register for the full conference and receive a $50 discount on general registration. The credit option cost for the conference (2 credits of History 481R – Family History Directed Research and a CD syllabus) is $440. To register, call 1-877-221-6716 or visit familyhistoryconferences.byu.edu.

Men’s and women’s housing, which includes meals each day of the conference, is available on the BYU campus for $155. (That’s four nights lodging and 12 full meals.) Married housing is not available. (See the conference website about hotel accommodations.) Conference participants who are not staying in campus housing may purchase a $32 lunch card that covers lunches at the Morris Center each day of the conference. Lunch includes a choice of two entrees, salad, fruit, desserts, and drinks. It’s all you can eat! For more information about the conference, visit the website or call 801-422-4853.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

“KISS me, I’m Irish!”

The Blarney Stone and all its allure asideWDYTHA Lynn Broderick 2013 WP, “KISS me, I’m Irish!” It’s a common phrase on a day like today, but now that the parades have passed and one’s appetite has been satisfied by some corned beef and cabbage (or another delectable dish, like green eggs and ham), my thoughts turn to my Irish ancestors. Just as with any nationality, one would never have been the same without them, and, well, being Irish can be a lot of fun :-) Leprechauns, pots o’gold, and great folktales all add a measure of humor and intrigue to temper the hardships our ancestors suffered during the Great Potato Famine. (At least my ancestors were part of that tragic time in history :-(

Since KISS genealogy defines me, I’m always looking for resources that will help those interested in learning more about their family history in a clear and concise way. For those of you of Irish descent, I found a resource, available for download, that is a treasure trove of information on seeking those elusive and not so elusive ancestors. It is entitled Tracing Your Ancestors in Ireland. It includes step-by-step instructions, including a number of websites, a bibliography, and information directory. In the year of The Gathering Ireland 2013, it is a welcomed preparatory publication.

Whether elusive or not, in order to conduct genealogical research on the Emerald Isle, one must complete preliminary research to find the specific locality, at least the county, but preferably the parish :-) This can be a challenge, but now you have the goal: locate the county and/or parish of residence for your ancestor(s). With this reference guide you will be well on your way!

So, if you’re Irish, enjoy a Shamrock shake and consider how applying these suggestions will lead you to your genealogical pot o’ gold. And when you find it, please let me know so that we can do the Irish jig together :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

A Case for Preserving an Independent Medium

Imaging Equipment WP

As genealogists and family historians, we passionately seek to preserve the past. Questions are answered, understanding is gained, and the wisdom and folly of the ages are passed on to the next generation as we publish our research. In order to recapture the past, records and other artifacts are necessary to reconstruct it. Technology has provided incredible opportunities to amass what remains and to record the activities of the present day. There is no question that digital preservation has expedited research and placed records in the hands of the world. No one in the future will have to question what we ate, where we went, or even how we felt day to day as social media documents these experiences. But does the advances of digital preservation negate the necessity of preserving the original form? Can we justify the destruction of an old picture or document?

A printed photograph is preserved on an independent medium. Documents on quality paper have lasted hundreds, even thousands, of years. Nothing else is required to view, enjoy, and recapture the memory.  Although we know that conditions have rarely favored the preservation of these items, think about the limitations of the many dependent forms of media. Electricity goes out, batteries die, and networks get disrupted. Can you remember a time when your connection to the Internet was unavailable? Did it come at a critical time? How long did it last? How long could it last?

Although an independent medium has the limitation of number, therefore, found in one location, it is still nice to have a record or artifact in this form. I know of no material that is completely indestructible, but the independent nature of paper, stone, or metal is appealing. This is not to suggest that other ways of preservation should be ignored. It’s just that it seems ironic that if we want to preserve something we would destroy an original.

As we consider preservation, we must remember that provenance is an important principle in the field of genealogy and family history. Provenance is defined as “the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object.”1 When we destroy an original we disrupt this path. As we seek a source, we never reach the end of that particular journey even though we are encouraged to trace our sources back to the original. This becomes impossible to do if we are destroying them.

In addition to preservation in an independent medium, using technology and having multiple copies in different formats backed up to your devices and migrating your data as we progress on our technological journey will assure the best chances of survival. Coupled with all of these advancements, preservation in an independent medium has its place among us as the keepers of  records. As we find our ancestors, let us consider provenance and the preservation of the records and artifacts they left behind.

1. Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), “Provenance,” rev. 6 Mar 2013

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

What’s in a name?

What's in a name?

I’m not an attorney, but I know a few. I’m not a doctor, a principal, or a dog trainer. I’m a genealogist and a family historian. So, what do these occupations have in common? They are positions held by people of the same name. So, I ask, what’s in a name?

As children, we learn our name. It’s what people call us when they need our attention. One of the first things we learn to write is our name. We identify ourselves by this name. We even call it our name by writing “My name is…” But, what happens in school? How many Matthews can there be in one class? Well, in my experience, there were once three Matthews among ten children. I will admit that I receive no points for originality, but the name means “a gift from God” and that’s exactly what my son means to me :-) The name Matthew has remained one of the top baby names for decades! The demographics on naming patterns in many cultures are interesting studies, at least for me.

So, what’s in a name? When one is tracing their family lineage, identity is the issue. How does one know that this is their person? A name is a starting place but names are not unique to the individual. Just log on to Facebook looking for a friend and at times you will find  a list of people with the same or similar names. A name is not enough. Birth, marriage, and death dates bring more clarity as does a location for each of these events. But still, same names with similar ages in locations of close proximity, or the possibility of migration as it became common, can lead to confusion, mismatched individuals, and incorrect facts attached to family trees. It happens. Our online trees are evidence of these premature conclusions of relationship :-(

Remember, when tracing your family lineage identity is the issue! Consider relationships. Truly, we are known by the company we keep and so are our ancestors!  Also, consider occupations, talents, and any other factors that showcase your ancestor’s individuality. The final question is, how do you know that this is your ancestor? Without his or her name, can you prove it? :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.