The FIRST SON was
named after the FATHER'S FATHER
The SECOND SON was named after the MOTHER'S FATHER
The THIRD SON was named after the FATHER
The FOURTH SON was named after the FATHER'S OLDEST BROTHER
The FIRST DAUGHTER
was named after the MOTHER'S MOTHER
The SECOND DAUGHTER was named after the FATHER'S MOTHER
The THIRD DAUGHTER was named after the MOTHER
The FOURTH DAUGHTER was named after the MOTHER'S OLDEST SISTER.
--The Odom Library in Moultrie, Georgia
The practice of
genealogy or family
history has some time honored unspoken rules of decorum attached to it.
If you would like to be involved with sharing of information on any
level, there are a few things you need to know:
Archives and county courthouses have their own rules for requesting information. Better find out what those are before sending any requests.
Until the mid-eighteenth century, how a word was spelled was not considered important. Surnames in manuscripts were often spelled in different ways, even in the same document. With the publication of dictionaries, Nathan Bailey's in 1730 and Samuel Johnson's in 1755, things began to change. Account was then taken of the word's origin, formation and meaning, which eventually led to a standardization of both spelling and pronunciation. As most records containing a surname were written by a clerk rather than the surname owner, and the clerk only had the sound of the name to guide him, it could be said that most of us use a name that is derived from the sound rather than the spelling.
Latter-day abstractors making indices for census, tax and other records were no better! They seemed to be as creative as those who pre-dated them who were barely literate. A watchword here: Just because your ancestor does not show up in a contemporary index of the census or other work does NOT mean he is not there. Always check the original records yourself.
your kin and relatives, take great care to be creative and as broad
minded as possible. Insisting upon a name being spelled a certain way
is limiting to your search. May we never again hear the statement:
"That's not my person, the name is spelled wrong."
Many books published in the past are so lacking in basic documentation that they are harmful to persons pursuing their genealogy.
Do you have a tendency to copy anything out of a book or the Internet and feel because it has been printed in a book or on the Internet that it must be fact? Then you will have big troubles!
Unless a book cites primary sources, it should NOT be used as a reference. A book should only be used as a stepping off point (a clue) to find an ancestor. Even if the work cites references, it may not be correct. There are many mistakes in many published papers and books and on every surname web site. Care must be taken when using these sources.
Acts of faith may be admirable in religion, but genealogy should not be exalted to that status. It should remain a science and research methods worthy of the designation. Reputable genealogists constantly revise in the light of new evidence revealed. You will see this web site change continually as mistakes are corrected, and as new research alters the present data. An open mind must be kept at all times. Doubt what you read! Question it! Look it up yourself!
How many times do you repeat what your grandmother told you as fact? Can you prove it? Stories are wonderful, but remember they are only stories until backed up with evidence. Memories play tricks on a person. They dim over time and have a tendency to glorify facts after awhile. Label your stories as such and try to back them up with proof.
Today, compilers of family histories who borrow from previously compiled genealogies without verifying their documentation help to perpetuate false information i that should have been revealed as such.
Beware of histories based on myth! Heed words such as "probably," "I think," "possibly," "in all likelihood," "presumably," "supposedly," "perhaps," "conceivably," "evidently," "presume," "seemingly," "assume," "imagine," "suspect," "surprise," or any word that indicates the author is guessing.
the worst offenders in
propagating dubious or undocumented genealogy were the periodicals
devoted to the subject. Examples: The William and Mary
Quarterly, The Virginia Magazine of History & Biography.
It was not a period of verification. Family histories based on these
older works should bear warning. "This product will give you
genealogical glaucoma," "contaminated source: beware of coliform
--Broadly adapted from "Magazine of Virginia Genealogy", Vol. 26 No 1, Feb 1988.
It is not uncommon
for a beginning researcher to ask for "everything you have." Actually
the very first step for a beginner is the "home survey"--go through
their own family histories, oral histories, documents, boxes of photos,
old pieces of paper, contact relatives and organize that information
and then work back in incremental steps, not the other way around. It
is a misnomer to want to leap across the ocean four generations ahead--
you do genealogy step-by-step backwards in time from the last ancestor
Here's a great resource page which leads to many resources for
understanding the research process. Even classes for beginners: Cyndi's How To
include an introduction to
genealogical research, Roots-L FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions),
genealogical scams, and tips on e-mail for genealogists.
commercial site has an
excellent step-by-step guide. Topics include collecting information
from your family, getting organized, and finding missing pieces.
a tour of a Family History Center, records available, and downloading
to disk from the center computers.
links from Cyndi Howells.
Resources on the Internet.