Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Becoming a professional genealogist?

Before yesterday I didn't know much about professional genealogists. I was browsing around on and ended up on this page which provided a nice overview of organizations that credential genealogists.

Now, I am still very much in the infancy of my genealogy skills and I am far from a pro, but I found this intriguing. The Association of Professional Genealogists maintains chapters all around the United States and the closest to me happens to be quite a few hours away.

I was also surprised to learn that there are educational programs at colleges and universities in fields such as genealogy, family history, and genealogical research. One of the other methods to improve skills that was recommended by the APG was reading books.

Anyone read this book?

It is pretty old (published in 1998), but got mostly positive reviews. I was amused by the extreme difference in the dates the ratings were posted - some in 1999 and some in 2011 without many in between. I suppose this is somewhat fitting as my very first introduction to genealogy in the form of a school assignment dates back to about this same time!

Another route to becoming a professional is to become 'board certified' through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. On the "Are You Ready for Certification?" page I was struck by the first question regarding the numbers of hours spent on genealogy research! One point is given for every 250 hours. I wonder how many hours I have done? Might be interesting to start keeping track (though I feel like the last thing I need to my research routine is something else to keep track of!).

While this is certainly not something I will pursue in the immediate future, I think it would be a nice way to recognize all of my hard work down the road.

Free United States Census Access!

Access to ALL of ancestry's US census records is free until 9/3!

What will you find out?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tree Stats Update

  • People currently on my tree: 1427 (up from 1424)
  • Records currently attached to my tree: 2391 (up from 2369)
  • People with unattached hints: 1094 (down from 1096)
  • Total number of unattached hints: 2879 (down from 2916)

Another post about organizing

I have just over one more month left on my current subscription. My life is going to be very busy for the next 3 months, so I will probably plan to purchase my 3rd 6-month package around the new year.

In the time between now and then my goal is to get the most out of my current access and save save save some records! I have a small window of free time this evening so I am planning to go through the "Member Tree" Hints linked to my tree.

Ancestry divides "leaves" into categories including (the current # of hints on my tree):
  • All people with hints (1096)
  • All hints (2933)
  • Record (1881)
  • Photo (1)
  • Story (51)
  • Member Tree (1000)
While I have found the member tree hints to be enormously helpful, there are many instances where a hint is suggested for an individual that I already have a lot of information about. For example, while someone else may have 1 census record linked to my grandpa...I may have 10 additional sources already cited on his page. My plan is to weed through the ones that aren't helpful so that I can focus on the ones that are.

I used this 'weed out' technique with the photo hints a few months ago and it was very helpful. As you can see I currently have one photo hint (one that is perplexing me) while I had hundreds when I started.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The first bite was a small one.

Today I was going through an old email account and realized I made (and forgot about) an ancestry account on 11/11/06! A full 2 years before I created the one I have been using to do all of my research.

I wonder what I learned in those first few hours...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A tangible piece of the past

Last Thursday I received a very exciting piece of mail! A few weeks ago I requested a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate from the New York City Vital Records. This was my first time attempting to locate such an old record so I was actually expecting a notification that nothing could be located.

I first talked about this idea in an earlier entry. The Vital Records website suggests that birth certificates issued prior to 1910 are currently available, but I think the time limit is actually anyone born more than 100 years ago. So, it's possible births in 1911 and 1912 are also available at this time.

The process was very easy and I would recommend it to anyone searching for vital records housed in NYC! I used the "Request a Search and Certified Copy Online" option. I provided 'the searchers' with lots of information including full name, birthday, location of birth, and parents' names because I just wasn't sure how difficult it would be for them to find the certificate. The only required information is last name, year of birth, and which borough should be searched. The base fee is $15 and smaller fees are added if your search requires additional years or boroughs.

Since I already knew a lot of the 'vital' data that this certificate confirms, perhaps the most interesting tidbit for me was that my grandfather was born at home and his birth was attended by a doctor. While the home birth doesn't surprise me, a doctor attending the birth did.
So thank you to Dr. Blanett, MD for helping get my grandfather into the world!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tree Stats Update

I'm going to update this list occasionally so I can get an idea of how much progress I am making and how many new records are appearing over time.
  • People currently on my tree: 1424 (up from 1342)
  • Records currently attached to my tree: 2369 (up from 2163)
  • People with unattached hints: 1096 (up from 1053)
  • Total number of unattached hints: 2916 (down from 3135)