Charting Technique from Ancestry Newsletter

Yet another free newsletter which arrives by email and to which you can subscribe at the my communication preferences link at is the Weekly Discovery Newsletter.
The following article is from the August 16, 2010 edition and is part of a larger article written by Juliana Smith titled RE-ENERGIZING YOUR RESEARCH.

Charting It “Old School”
Nowadays we can use technology to manipulate data into various charts and forms with the click of a mouse. In a matter of minutes, you can use your genealogy software to print family group sheets, pedigree charts, ahnentafels, and any number of other reports. However, sometimes this one-click type of formatting robs us of the perks that come with the manual manipulation of data.
Spreadsheets and word processors are basic and flexible tools that can help you to take a closer look at the facts you’ve discovered about your ancestors through chronologies that can help place your ancestor in a particular place at a certain point in time, and other charts. I created census grids for families to see where I’m missing them in census records.

I also used a spreadsheet to organize the many city directory listings for Kellys in New York City. This allowed me to sort by street name and other fields and follow individuals through the years.

Inventories of records you’ve collected can remind you of the records you still need to seek out.
When I’m in a rut, I like to take my laptop off the dock and move into my favorite comfy chair in the living room or out to the back porch. For some reason, not being confined to my desk really does wonders and I feel much more energetic. If you don’t have a laptop, turn to that old standby-a pad of paper and pencil. Jot down notes for follow-up and reorganize data and see what you can come up with.

Read a Book or Article
I have found that the more I read about family history, the more inspired I am to do it. In addition to this newsletter, the Ancestry Monthly Update is another free way to get a family history fix. (If you don’t already receive it you can sign up here.)
Reading books about the times and places where your ancestors lived can give you insights into their lives. Biographies of their contemporaries are particularly helpful.

Build Up Some Karma
Nothing is more inspiring and uplifting than helping someone else. Look around for queries posted on message boards or mailing lists in areas where you have expertise. Or join us on our Facebook page where we often find newcomers to family history seeking advice from more seasoned veterans like you. Once you’ve put your skill to work helping someone else out, you’ll be itching to turn that talent back to your own research.
Ups and Downs
We all go through ups and downs in our family history research, and if you’ve been in a bit of a rut and feeling uninspired, why not give some of these ideas a try. What inspires you? Share your tips with us in the comments below.
Copyright © 2010

Reprint Policy
We encourage the circulation of The Weekly Discovery via non–profit newsletters and lists providing that you credit the author, include any copyright information (Copyright 2010,, and cite The Weekly Discovery as the source, so that others can learn about our free newsletter as well.

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