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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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19 January, 2009

Brick Wall #1

It was suggested by Miriam over at Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors, that geneabloggers do even more to interact and work together to solve each others' brick walls. I think that's a great idea, and it's hopefully a way to jump start my research. First thing I did was revamp my "Research Goals" worksheet. It used to look like this:
The first line with the category to the left was to list the "Target" of my research. Below that was a space to list my "Goals" for this target, followed by "Current Speculations", "Source of Speculations", "Potential Resources", and whether or not those resources were found and/or successful.

The new form combined some features to allow for better citations.

The top line still lists the "Target" of my research, to which I also add the relationship of that person to my parents (using my parents as the reference helps clarify which family line, e.g., "mom's paternal grandfather).

Below that I added a new section for "Vital Information", providing one line for birthdate (and source of the information), marriage (date, to whom, and source), death (date and source) and other for other vital statistics that may be found. The next section is for "Current Speculations and Sources", and the last section is the same "Potential Resources" and the end result. In the "Goals" section, I number each goal for the sheet so that I can reference that goal by number in the "Current Speculations and Sources" section. This saves precious room as I attempt to keep the sheets to one-page to reduce clutter.

The above is the completed section of the new form for what is probably my biggest brick wall.

Target: James O'Rourke, mom's paternal grandfather.
b: 24 Oct 1876 (WWI Draft Registration Card) (presumption: born in Pittston, PA)
m: 25 Apr 1900 to Mary KEARNS (rootsweb.com Marriage Record Database, newspaper notice printed 27 Apr 1900)
d: 02 Oct 1944 (source unknown; year inscribed on headstone at St. Mary's Help of Christians Church).

Goals:
1. Determine and cite the source of date of death.
2. Determine his parentage.

Current Speculations and Sources:
2: 1870 U.S. Census from Pittston, PA. for William and Mary O'Rourke. Basis: Vague -- same small town as my gr-gf was known to live; age of HOH William compatible with James' birthdate of 1876; William's and Mary's birthplaces listed as Ireland, consistent with data recorded on some of James' U.S. Census records between 1900 - 1930. However, other records list James' parents birthplace as Pennsylvania. Neighbor of William and Mary's has surname of Rutledge, which is also surname of James' neighbors on future records.

2: 1880 Census, Pittston: Michael and Mary O'Rourke. Basis: Neighbors' name of Flynn, which later married Tighe who had married Doyle who had married O'Rourke.

Potential Resources:
1: Death Record for James (not ordered.as I need to start sooner and work backwards!)
2: Return to more recent ancestors and order vital records.

You will notice some baaaaaaad genealogy research techniques in play here. My sources are not even close to primary. I didn't cite any source for the date of death for my great-grandfather James O'Rourke. I jumped to him before getting records for more recent generations first (as available, which won't be too many to begin with). You have to love beginners, don't you?

One of my big goals for 2009, genealogically speaking, is to comb through my Family Tree Maker and look at all the sources of my information, formalizing as much as I can and re-creating my sources. I thought I had done a good job of identifying who sent me what, but I still find holes. My new blog,
The R.I.P.PERS, is about digging holes. This one is about FILLING them!

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