Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On Genealogical Work

Apologies for dropping off the grid somewhat there for a while. I suppose one could say that 'my heart has been turned to my fathers' lately (cf. D&C 2:2; 98:16; 110:15). I've been laboring quite intently on my maternal genealogy lately. Often it's consumed virtually the entirety of my day. A significant portion of that labor has involved systematizing much of my data into an ahnentafel covering twelve generations, with myself as the base person. Previously, I hadn't put much effort into ensuring that I had clear documentation for my information, so I've been slowly locating sources (birth certificates, census records, obituaries and death notices, tombstone inscriptions, those little pamphlet things they distribute at funerals...), citing them in footnotes attached to various claims made in the ahnentafel, and transcribing those sources into an appendix. Needless to say, it's been a long process, and I'm still working on it. I've also been spending a few days in the library of the local historical society; yesterday I succeeded in procuring about fourteen additional obituaries to utilize. (I've certainly used microfilm much more in the past week than I ever imagined I would in a lifetime.) I've found numerous treasures lately, including a few ancestors I'd simply never known about before. Perhaps one of the most treasured finds is a pair of newspaper articles about my great-great-grandmother Kate's demise in 1904 - a horrible death by burning oil, due to an exploding kerosene lamp, the day before a Christmas family reunion that she'd organized. In addition, I've found out much more lately of her ancestry (indeed, up until a few days ago, I'd never known her maiden name), and so last night and this morning I've been transcribing and translating the German inscriptions on a few ancestors' tombstones, some of which delightfully mention the biblical text preached at their funerals (Job 6:22; Luke 23:28; Psalm 119:105).

Now, I consider this to be a topic ripe for discussion here because of the strong historical involvement of Latter-day Saints in genealogical work (ordinarily carried on with an eye to performing proxy baptisms for the dead, thereby offering deceased ancestors an opportunity to accept the LDS faith in a valid manner). Does anyone have any general counsel for how I can research these matters more effectively?

No comments:

Post a Comment