Learn how to record your genealogy so that your family history is carefully preserved and your ancestry research is accurate. You will be recording information for many ancestors so your records have to be precise. Family trees templates don’t leave room for errors. Knowing how to fill out your family tree template with the correct abbreviations, names, dates and places recorded accurately will ensure your research is well preserved.
"Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start". We all know those words, and how true they ring, especially when commencing research into your family history. Every tree starts out as a small seed. I’m not inferring that you’re small, but rather the significant seed in this analogy. You are the very beginning of your family tree, and your branches will blossom and grow as long as you nurture it correctly. This involves employing a basic strategy and using a wealth of tried and tested tools to shape your family tree into a multi-generational myriad.
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Your immediate relatives can be effective springboards to your family history research success. Paperwork, photographs, diaries and especially memories contain a wealth of information that will get you at least as far as your grandparent’s generation, maybe further. More important than uncovering these historical delights is recording all that you information accurately. Pictures, documents and other paperwork will need to be logged and filed, and the information that they contain sorted and eventually entered onto you family tree chart.
You can imagine that as you delve deeper and deeper into your family’s past, the information will accumulate into a mountainous mass. It is important that you take your time and record all of the information precisely. A misspelt name or wrong date could send your search or someone else’s into a tailspin. Knowing the correct way to record names and sates will go along way in furthering your family knowledge. When other genealogists see that you’re using professional methods they’ll gain confidence in your ability and more readily assist you in your endeavours.
One of the first things to learn about recording names is to write surnames in all capital letters. This enables immediate recognition of a family name when scanning genealogical data sheets. Names should be written like so: Robert James MOORE. If a nickname is involved it should be inserted between the middle and surname and enclosed in italics. Another method is to include an aka such as Robert James "Jimmy" MOORE aka "Jimbo". If ever you are lacking part of a name, it’s usually a middle one; you should leave a space. That way it can be written in if further research by you or someone else uncovers it.
Dates are equally important as names and there is a standard method for doing this that avoids any confusion. The military method of day/month/year is the only way you should ever record a name. Though some countries put the month first, this is not an acceptable genealogical method. Writing dates any other way will only result in confusion and delays in an exercise that is already time consuming enough. Months may be abbreviated, and once again leave a space if part of a date is not known.
Writing down data for addresses has its own challenges and should be given adequate attention. Places are written so that the smallest geographical administrative locations are noted first. For example if an ancestor from Ireland lived in a village called Hatley Cross in the New Ross council of Co.Wexford, the address would be written like – Hatley Cross, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland. In the case of Ireland there is no need to include the province. Each country has its own unique names for administrative divisions, so you may have to do a bit of researching into what they are called in that country. Use the general rule though, smallest to largest.
Abbreviations are critical to know, as the condensed nature of the family tree dictates it. Popular acronyms include:
b for born,
bp for birthplace,
bur for buried,
c or ch – christened,
c or ca means circa (approximate date),
d is for died,
dp for place of death,
m or mar are used for married,
mp indicates place of marriage.
Knowing these standard techniques will help you to master the basic aspects of genealogy and help you to professionally "prune" your family tree.