Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Twigs of Yore is five years (and a day) old!

Five years and one day ago I nervously hit “publish” on my first blog post. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up for but five years (and a day) later here I am.

Happy blogiversary to me!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Genealogy learning

My transcriptions, abstractions and extractions should be just that little bit better now, having just finished a National Institute of Genealogical Studies course on transcribing, abstracting and, you guessed it, extracting.

To be honest, I wasn’t champing at the bit to start on this course. It was part of a package of the 9 basic level courses in the Australian Records certificate stream, which I had bought after winning a heavy discount for the courses as a door prize. This is my eighth course. The other remaining course is supposed to be done last. See? Not champing.

Most of the course was devoted to practicing transcribing, abstracting, extracting and quoting. I would have liked to see more examples in the course notes, especially of abstractions. However, since I’m actually feeling quite enthused about the idea of transcribing and abstracting various of the documents I hold I would have say that it surpassed my expectations and rate it positively!

The other courses

So far the course materials have been excellent, particularly the subjects specific to Australia.

I’m not entirely sold on the format of the courses. The weekly assignments submitted online are not too onerous, but you don’t get any individual feedback and I’m not sure if they play any part in the final score you receive. The final exam is multiple choice. That’s… ok. It works better with some topics than with others. It must be hard to put together a good multiple choice exam. Questions tend to range from ridiculously easy, to almost being trick questions.

The final course of the package is the “Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program-Part 1”. This will be quite different from the other courses. Instead of running for about 8 weeks, you have a year to complete the work. The course materials say that “Feedback will be provided during the course”. Having just complained about the lack of feedback in the other courses, my feeling about actually getting feedback is “eeek!” It sounds a bit scary, but I think it will be good. I might take a little break before I get this one started.

Then come some big decisions:

  • Should I cough up the fairly substantial amount to enrol in another package of classes?
  • Do I want to eventually do (and pay for) another 30 classes in order to earn a certificate?
  • If I do want to earn a certificate, is this the one I want to earn and the body I want to earn it with?

For now, I’m pleased with what I’ve done and am looking forward to having a bit more time to do other work on my family tree.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ever feel like you’re going in circles?

This evening I was searching for a great-great uncle. He has a common name so I didn’t know if the records I found related to him or some other person.

I decided to do a quick search of Ancestry member trees to see if there were any clues. I found only one other tree that included this man. Although the information recorded appeared to be the same, minimal, information that I had, I clicked in to take a closer look.

I noticed a source link on the side – Ancestry Family Trees. Interesting, since there were just the two of us. I’ve never bothered going further with a “Member Trees” source but this evening I was curious. I clicked the link to find this not-particularly-informative page:

image

There was another link – to view the individual member trees. While I was clicking links I may as well go there too!

My final destination was a side by side comparison of the tree I was looking at and the source tree for that information – my own tree! I had come full circle.

I think there are two things to learn from this:

  1. For genealogy newbies – or not so newbies – this is an example of why you shouldn’t blindly take other trees’ agreement with your information as any sort of verification!
  2. With a bit of patience, it might be possible to make your way through those links and work out who the first person was to enter some nugget of information since copied around all the Ancestry trees. THAT’s the person you need to talk to about the source. You want to talk to them about the source a) to save time and money and b) because it could turn out to be a privately held document that you would never find online or in an archive.