A few years ago, I saw that our local library was conducting an introduction to genealogy course. Because it was somewhat last minute, and across town, I called my mother. Being closer to that location, she dropped by and just opted to fill me in later.
That day, she found out that they were given a grant to conduct 10 DNA tests of participants in the next class. We both signed up and went. Only 9 people showed up, so everyone was going to get tested. Because we were the only mother-daughter there, they still wanted to test both of us to see if it really only followed the female side or if it pulled from the female side on my father's side as well? (The result was that it only pulled from my mother's side - our results were identical.) We got a package, including a DVD detailing how they go about the testing along with some other information. The great thing about the tests is that we can contine to login to their site and they will continually update with things found. If you are a female, you can only be tested for the female line. Males can have either line tested. Thus if you are a female and have a brother, you can get more info! I have no connection to these people, other than they have a swab from the inside of my cheek and thus my DNA info on file, and get nothing from this but if you want to look into having a test done, click here for the website
. Well I guess I do get something out of it, if we find out we're related!
We did learn that the Nashville-Davidson County library
has availability to HeritageQuest
(good resource for Census reports - which you can access from your home computer with your library card login) as well as the coveted Ancestry.com (only accessible from the library's network - also your laptop when you're on their network). It's really not the ideal to have to go into a regular branch and sign up for utilizing one of their computers on a weekday. You're usually limited to about an hour and then you have to sign up for another session and may have to wait for another to come available. If you're able to carry in your own laptop, you can go to a much less populated (read: QUIET!) section of the library and spread out with your work on a table.
I've discovered that it's easier for me to keep a notebook with various family trees - just to keep my blonde brain straight - and to make notes for myself of who I want to look up on Ancestry
when I get back to the library. Also, I will "test" out a name and date just to see if a particular relative is listed on Ancestry
and may have other documents that I want to see later (read: my Great-Grandparents Marriage Certificate....SCORE!).
The first thing I started doing was playing in HeritageQuest
from home. I started with what I knew (my Grandfather and his rather large family) and was able to find a few census records. I started a "Genealogy" folder on my laptop - and even one on a thumb drive that I keep in my purse at all times - and a sample of how I save any files by " - Census - " I am realizing that I need to keep myself another spreadsheet with all of the family members with the census availability years - 1930 and before - and start marking how old they would've been then and which ones I have with them on it. There are a lot of downloadable forms available on the internet...but I always have a tendency to want to tweak what I find. I guess that comes from (formerly) working for a forms company and creating all of my own forms and spreadsheets while there! I've learned that organization in this is your best friend as are notes!
Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another GREAT source for information. Find-A-Grave
! The first time I checked was a few years ago and I didn't hit on too much, but I did create a page for my grandfather. Admittedly, it was very disappointing. Last year, when my grandmother had a health scare and I spent several months with her back in North Carolina, I spent a LOT of time scanning in photos and obituaries (needed to do more!) from her photo albums, Bibles and various other stashes. I decided to go back into Find-A-Grave
and put some of those photos along with the previously created pages and to also add a cousin that we lost while I was there. Plus I had taken some photos of some family members' gravesites that I knew hadn't been picked up for the site. I also decided to go ahead and do some searching and see if anything new turned up and was able to find that a very sweet lady had taken photos and made entries for the cemetery that most of the family is in. She was very nice to transfer those to me recently for my care.
I also just heard that the Nashville Archives
has records for North Carolina and Tennessee. I had figured that they only had Tennessee. So I'll have another place to take a field trip to when I can get everything in order. I'm sure you can't really ever be fully in order though, right? At least it's not like I have to take a major day trip to get there but figure I need at least a full day to spend there to take better advantage of the time.
I've already made a major dent in my findings...but I do hope to update this blog as I find futher information. As I do, I'll probably also end up going into previous findings as well.