Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

January 19, 2010

CSI Genealogy

How many times have you taken a careful look at your genealogy research only to realize that you never did get around to hunting for Great Grandpa Joe in the 1850 or 1851 census? Have you ever taken a good hard look at the chronology of the family you are searching? How often have you looked over your genealogy research? You might be very surprised at the clues and facts you've missed along the way!

But how can we organize our research so that it's easy to see what we have, what we still need to find, and what we've missed?

This is where CSI Genealogy comes into play!

C=Charts S=Success I=Investigation

With CSI Genealogy you create CHARTS to have a SUCCESSFUL INVESTIGATION into your family tree.

For example I am searching several families in one specific location in Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario before 1851. Records for that time period are sparse but there are some "Census" and Tax Assessment records that tell a lot about a family.

In order to figure out if there were more children I missed, or other clues I overlooked, I created a chart. Along the top are the years - 1833, 1834, 1835, 1837, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843 & 1844. These years refer to the Assessment/Census years that haVe survived for Puslinch. Then I notate each year with a "C" or an "A" so I know whether it's a "Census" or a Tax Assessment record I'm viewing.

Down the left column I put the actual headings used in each of those years - the Lot and concession Number where the family lived, Number of Acres of land cultivated and then the breakdown of family members by Males and Females, within the age groups provided.

I can print these blank charts from my computer, and then by hand fill in what I find. This allows me to see at a glance what records I still need. I can also compare numbers and ages of family members each year. This tells me if I'm missing someone in the family, or if perhaps a family member died or married and moved out of the home.

Using my chart tells me at a glance when the family first arrived in the area. In the case of the family I am showing here, they do not appear until 1839. This fits with land records and other records indicating that is when they left Ireland for Canada.

These early Ontario "Census" records also give the family religion which is very helpful in searching for early Ontario births, marriages or deaths. In this case my notation of "RC" means Roman Catholic. I know to search the available Catholic church records now.

In the example chart I am showing here, I also made a separate spot for the 1842 Census as it has different column headings than the others. On the right side of the page, in the empty space, I scribble my own notes. In this case, knowing some of the family members from later census years, I am able to see what years I have an extra child (notated with a ? mark).

I create one chart for each family I'm searching and find this helps me tremendously in looking back over my old research, carrying on with new research and finding clues I overlooked!

It also gives me more of a sense of the family other than dates and names. For instance in 1839 when the family first appears in Puslinch, they have a farm of 100 acres and managed to cultivate 5. By 1840 they had cultivated 6, then 10 and so on until 7 years later, by 1844, with a lot of hard work, they had cultivated 35 of those 100 acres.


Becky Jamison said...

What a wonderful idea. Thanks for putting in all the details for us, Lorine. I'll be using this system to help me be more complete on a family's data. Thanks again!

Mavis said...

Great idea. I'm trying to reorganize old materials and incorporate my findings from last year. Also looking for helpful tips.