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June 17, 2019

Genealogy Tip: Do the Basics Before Asking for Help

Peter posted this query in a group I am in. He didn't get any responses so I thought I'd take a look.
I  looking for any information about my fourth great grand parents who immigrated around 1820 to the Cavin, Peterborough area of Ontario from Ireland and were in the Orange Lodge. their names are Joseph Burns and Ann Madill. Their son John Thomas Burns was born 1838 in Cavin died 1931 in Toronto. I don't know how many other children they had. As for John I don't know his wife's name or how many children they had.
It surprised me that Peter didn't have any census record information for his family. Since the son John Thomas Burns was born ca 1838 in Ontario and died 1931 in Toronto Ontario, he should be found on the census records which were taken every 10 years - 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, and 1921 (the last publicly available census for Ontario). Many of these are free on Library and Archives Canada. Researchers can also find them on Ancestry, and some are available on FamilySearch.

So while I love a good challenging brick wall to break down, genealogists should always do basic research before asking for help. The family unit can usually be put together by getting those census records. In fact a 5 minute search of census records gave me John's wife's first name and one child.

Searching for Vital Records such as marriages and deaths after 1869 can also help determine family groups.  Another 2 minutes and I found two marriage records giving the full name of John's wife and the names of two other children.

I realize that Peter might be new to Canadian research, specifically Ontario, so I hope this blog post will lead him in the right direction to get the answers to those questions he posed. 


Sappy said...

I don't mind trying to help people either but these days with so many people also getting involved with DNA as well, the numbers of people asking for help just frustrates me. You can tell from the posts on the FaceBook groups I belong to that they haven't taken any time to look back on posts to see if their topic has been addressed. Nor do they familiarize themselves with what DNA is all about. I admire the patience of those who do try to help them when the same questions are asked, again and again. For both standard and genetic genealogy there are so many videos and webinars that help beginners but most don't seem to avail themselves of that help. For myself, I try to exhaust every avenue I can think of before asking for help. I must admit I am baffled by a lot of the info pertaining to DNA and deciphering the results that I find using the various tools, but at least I have tried.

Anonymous said...

That is the reason that when I encounter one of these, and also sometimes for people who have searched , a list of resources. Very frustrating is when a response indicates they have not yet explored the site ,and indicate a wish for me to do the actual research.

Unknown said...

I have finally learned how to search the posts on Facebook Groups, which makes it easier to find a topic. I wish Facebook would make this more prominent. It would be helpful.