Union County Genealogical Society

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September 23, 2020 By: Saundra Leininger
Genealogy Errors and How to Avoid Them!
Today, I would like to share with you an article by Andrew Koch in Family Tree Magazine that I found helpful.  I hope that some of his suggestions may be of help to you, too.
5 Common Genealogy Errors (and How to Avoid Them)
No one’s perfect, and we all have genealogy errors from time to time. None of us are safe from errors in our genealogy research. Many software programs (such as RootsMagic) and online family tree services (including Ancestry) have built-in tools to help you error-proof your genealogy. But you can take your family tree’s health into your own hands by knowing what issues to look for. Here are five common genealogy errors—and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Ages that don’t add up
Do you have an ancestor who was born before her parents? How about a great-great-grandmother who gave birth at the age of 60 (or at the age of 6)? Incorrect dates can topple your hard-earned research and raise head-scratching questions. Specifically, watch out for these oddities:
  • Children born before their parents’ birth
  • Women giving birth before the age of 14 or after the age of 50
  • Women married before the age of 13
  • Individuals who married, bought property, appeared in census records, etc. after their death
Solution: Creat a timeline of your ancestor's life.  Timelines can help keep your dates straight and prevent these common-sense errors from occurring. Make sure your timeline includes birth year and note what age your ancestor would have been during life events you uncover in research. Also look for additional records that might shed light on the circumstances.
2. Data copied from family trees
With millions of online family trees on sites like Ancestry.com, Family Search and MyHeritage, it’s hard not to peek at someone else’s family tree from time to time.  Fortunately, family research is not like your high school algebra class—copying, for the most part, is allowed. Genealogists have collaborated since the first family trees were drawn, and cross-referencing research can save time while providing new leads and connecting you to potential relatives.  However, copying another user’s tree without verifying it first is a recipe for genealogical disaster. The information the user found may apply to another person with a similar name (see No. 5), or the data may be incorrect altogether.
Solution: Check other users' resources before adding them to your tree.  Though copying is allowed, genealogy is like your high-school algebra class in another way: You must show your work. And you should hold others to that standard as well. See how the information lines up with what you have found so far and determine for yourself if the other user has come to the most-accurate conclusion given their resources. This goes double for records hints on sites like Ancestry—Not every hint the site suggests will apply to your ancestor.
3. Incorrect record indexes
Digitized, indexed records have made genealogy easier than ever before. And indexes on the big genealogy sites make most records keyword searchable, allowing you to survey far more records than traditional methods allowed. But since volunteers or algorithms indexed records collections by the thousands, not all of these indexes are perfect. Your tree may contain the results of a bad record transcription or poorly indexed document.
Solution: View record images whenever possible. Seeing records for yourself and in context can help you sort out details that the indexing program or a volunteer may have missed. This is especially true for handwritten records, as old-style handwriting is not always read correctly by software.
4. Typos in names or dates
Unfortunately, family trees do not have spell-check. And even if they did, we still would struggle with avoiding typos in our family trees. Add to this that spelling was not usually a priority for our ancestors (many of whom could not read), and you will understand how easy it is for misspellings to find their way into your family data. These can throw off your research and prevent you from getting matched up with other relevant records in online databases.
Solution: Systematically review your names and dates. Every so often, take a step back and look for typos. Making sure your dates are consistently formatted (e.g., that you always use the DD/MM/YYYY format) can help with this. Also keep an eye out for name variants and multiple spellings of surnames, as your ancestor may be listed as these in records or record indexes.
5. The wrong ancestor
Speaking of names: Your family tree may be cursed with a John Smith or a William Jones. (After all, we cannot all have a unique name like “Hannah Montana”!) What if you have the wrong John Smith? Having the wrong person in your tree can be disastrous, wasting your valuable research time and steering you away from records of your actual ancestors.
Solution: Use multiple criteria when searching for ancestors, sepecially those who had common names.  When evaluating records, consider your ancestor’s birth year, occupation, family members and location within a community to make sure you are following the correct person back in time.
By Andrew Koch, Family Tree Magazine

July 16, 2020 By: Saundra Leininger
Celebrating Family History Through Food
 Making family recipes is a wonderful way to celebrate your family’s history and culture, whether you are preparing your favorite everyday fare or a dish for a special occasion.  When you pass on a recipe, you are passing on a piece of your family’s heritage that can be enjoyed for generations to come. 
Several years ago, our youngest daughter, Jennifer Leininger Erickson, decided to design a 4-H project around cooking and family history.  She contacted relatives representing multiple generations asking for recipes and for them to write down their memories surrounding those recipes. She then found pictures to go with each recipe and history.  She wanted to include her three times great grandmothers but did not have any of their recipes so she researched common food and preparation from that era . She combined everything into an appropriate notebook adding a family tree in the front of the book showing her connection to the persons submitting their recipes. 
Using a different format my mother, Evelyn Minnick Clem, purchased large oak recipe boxes for each of her grandchildren.  She filled the boxes with favorite family recipes including some historical information with each one.  When each grandchild was starting their own homes, they were given their box. Today those recipes in their grandmother’s handwriting are cherished.
Whether you make family recipe cards or want to do something a little more official by going the extra mile and creating a family history cookbook it is a geat gift for future generations.
Here are a few hints to help you get started:
  1. Include a bit of genealogical information with each recipe.  Consider including a photo of the food being enjoyed at a past celebration or some information about how and when this food was enjoyed in the past.
  2. If you do not have many family recipes but you know a little about your ancestor’s background, do some research to find out what foods were commonly eaten in the times and places your ancestors lived.
  3. For older recipes, google for a conversion chart to decipher older measurements.
  4. Share Grandma’s most famous recipes in her own handwriting, complete with cooking stains by making copies of them.
May 22, 2020 By: Saundra Leininger
Memorial Day
Submitted by Tessa Kelly Hull 
“Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2020 occurs on Monday, May 25.  Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.”
“The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.  By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.”
“Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War IIThe Vietnam WarThe Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.”
“Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in ChicagoNew York, and Washington, D.C.  Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because Memorial Day weekend—the long weekend comprising the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day and Memorial Day itself—unofficially marks the beginning of summer.”
How do you spend your Memorial Day?   Do you decorate your family headstones?  Do you volunteer to decorate headstones?  Use the link above to read more about Memorial Day.  The following links are links you can use to find information about your ancestor and their role during their service for the United States.
May 9, 2020 By: Saundra Leininger
TV Shows that will Inspire You!
I wanted to share with you an article by Sunny Jane Morton from Family Tree Magazine that caught my eye.   
11 Must-See Genealogy TV Shows That Will Inspire You
Can’t get enough family history? Kick back with these fun and inspiring genealogy TV shows.
Whether you’re looking for something fast-paced and fun like “Relative Race,” or something that shocks and inspires like “Finding Your Roots,” there’s a genealogy TV show for you! Here are a few historical and/or genealogical programs to check out.
A New Leaf
While some of the other popular programs in this list examine celebrity family trees, the Ancestry.com-sponsored program “A New Leaf” focuses on everyday people. The 13-episode series originally aired on NBC as part of the network’s Saturday morning block, “The More You Know.” You can watch episodes for free on NBC’s website.
This 23-episode series from BYUtv explores family history records from around the globe, weaving expert genealogy how-to with moving personal stories. You will learn about doing genealogy research and get inspired. Watch for free at BYUtv.
Ancestors in the Attic
Jeff Douglas hosts this irreverent, fast-paced series that takes Canadians on road trips and worldwide searches to track down their ancestors. Check WorldCat and your local library to find the show on DVD.
Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In each episode of this series, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the roots of two or three well-known Americans. History lessons are mixed in to show the context of ancestors’ lives. Guests also sometimes get DNA surprises. Season six began in January 2020 on PBS, with more new episodes scheduled for October.
Genealogy Roadshow
This PBS series, hosted by a trio of genealogy experts, features an “Antiques Roadshow”-style setup. Experts answers family history questions of everyday Americans in quick segments, with polished visuals of old records, photos and family trees. Watch by subscription on the PBS website  or purchase episodes on YouTube.
The Genetic Detective
Genetic genealogy expert CeCe Moore stars in this ABC show, set to premiere on May 26, 2020. (Check your local listings.) Moore was the genetic genealogy consultant on “Finding Your Roots” and “Genealogy Roadshow,” and she and her team have assisted law enforcement in solving dozens of cases using DNA. Her new show will follow her as she works with police departments to catch criminals using DNA and genealogy research.
The Generations Project
Secrets come out in the 38 episodes of this BYUtv series. It follows everyday people as they research their ancestors to solve family mysteries—discovering keys to their own identities in the process. Watch for free on the BYUtv website.
Long Lost Family
This deeply emotional series on TLC, hosted by Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, reunites separated families. In touching scenes, the searchers meet relatives they have been desperately seeking. Watch on TLC, online with a TLC subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube.
Relative Race
Watch four teams compete “Amazing Race”-style, following clues and complete challenges as they race across the country to meet unknown relatives. (Producers discovered the relatives through DNA testing.) Watch free on the BYUtv website or look here for cable/satellite services and TV streaming apps that offer it.
Roots Less Traveled
Ancestry.com debuted this series on April 4, 2020. The show, designed for teenagers, follows pairs of family members as they travel together and discover their shared family history. Like “A New Leaf” before it (see above), “Roots Less Traveled” airs during NBC’s Saturday morning “The More You Know” block. You can watch episodes on NBC.com.
Who Do You Think You Are?
In each episode, accompany a celebrity on a journey to archives and ancestral hometowns. The American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” is modeled after the British show of the same name. While this show has aired on TLC since 2013, season 11 will return to NBC on a to-be-announced date.