December 21, 2014

How To Use Genealogy Criteria To Improve Your General Communication Skills

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Make Yourself Understood

When I first began doing genealogical research I was participating in online message boards and mailing lists. One of the things that really became apparent to me early on was that I needed to be specific to make myself understood for the best communication results.

For instance, if I was in a chat room it was imperative to say for whom I was looking, where they had lived and what time frame. Subject lines needed to include surname, location, and possible years, etc.: “YATES, Roane, TN 1840-1918” is one example. On message boards and mailing lists, it was much the same, but I could also include more in-depth information such as collateral names, etc.

Who, Why, What, When and Where

I’ve noticed in this era of shortened messages via Twitter or texting, many people don’t make themselves specific enough when speaking verbally to one another. I know they are trying to be expeditious and get their thoughts out while they have them fresh in their minds, but really, you are short changing yourself and your listener to leave out some facts. The “who, why, what, when, where” of old should always apply.

So, if you are speaking to someone, even if it not about genealogy, make sure you include whom you are speaking of, the location you are citing, and give some sort of time frame at the very least. Example: “When I was in Howell County, Missouri in 1972 I didn’t get to see any of my Yates, Pentecost or Smith cousins because we were just passing through West Plains and I was just picking up a postcard for my grandpa Will Yates who was then living in Washington State, but was born in the Brandsville area.”

Many times, my conversations with family and friends just leave me more confused as they jump from one person to another. It might be their style of conversation, but my advice is, Slow Down and think about what the other person might be hearing. If you get to the end of your story and people look puzzled, or need to ask for clarification, you need to spend extra time thinking about how you present your thoughts.

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Old Ents and Monster Trees of Pacific Northwest

Logs on train

One of my Bordeaux, WA connections sent me an email today with the title being about “Monster Trees” with content about logging. I’ve been asked many times if I know what was the tallest fir tree logged in Washington state. Sadly, I do not. But if the pictures in the blog post at SBYNEWS entitled before Chainsaws Logging Monster Trees don’t provide any reasonable examples of one or two, I don’t know what will.

Here’s an example of one from the article that makes me question whether it was just one tree or not. If it was, all I can say is “Wow”.

I know the photo above is small but you can see a larger one by following the link above to the site.  You might have read my earlier article

1938 Bordeaux Washington Old Growth Logs that included one of our personal family photos showing trucks loaded with some fairly large old growth logs.

These pictures bring up all sorts of questions like, “how did they get those big trees down, how did they load them on the trucks, and how could that small looking truck haul that big log on a dirt road”?

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Surprise! My Aunt’s Given Name Was Jeanette!

Jeane Moline birth certif copy

If you remember, I said in a previous post Was It Eleanor Jeane Or Jeane Eleanor Moline? that I was sending for my Aunt Jeane Moline Davis’ birth certificate to see what name her parents had given her.

First of all, I have to say, I had a lot of the information in order to be able to fill in the date, parents, etc., which made it pretty easy for the Health Dept. in Olympia to find the right person I was looking for. I was able to order online one day and I got the certificate the next day.  I should say, I only live an hour away from Olympia, so that was probably the reason for the fast service.

Now, here was the surprise: My aunt’s first name was neither Jeane or Eleanor, but Jeanette.  All my life though we always called her Jeane.  This brings me to the next mystery then.  My own mother was originally named Mildred Alice Moline.  Just to make this harder though, the birth certificate for Jeane shows no middle name! Ugh!

The middle sister was named Joyce Lorraine. I’ve never sent for her birth certificate but I have her military records showing her legal name (I presume).  I don’t remember the exact year but before 1965 my grandfather filled out an affidavit that changed my mom’s name to Joan Alice Moline.  So, the daughters were officially Jeane, Joyce and Joan. Or, as the Swedish relatives would probably say, “Yeen, Yoyce and Yown”. ;)

I’ve added the full image (minus the ‘copy’ info) to Jeane’s profile on Ancestry.

 

The Carstairs Family Dirt

I suppose you’re thinking that this is going to be about some dastardly deed done by someone in the Carstairs family. Wrong!

No, instead, this is the story of the David C. and Isabella (Small) Carstairs family, who are originally of Scotland, and are my sister-in-law Kathy’s Great-great Grandparents.

Actually, this is about where this branch of the Carstairs family settled here in Washington state near Matlock in Mason County. I have not pinpointed the time by finding them in the census, but I do know that they were residents of Washington according to the Territorial Censuses of 1887 and 1892.

As it turns out, the land where they farmed and raised sheep had some very distinctive soil, probably left over from when the last glacier pulled out and headed north. Carstairs Soil

My point is, when you are looking for family information, you never know what kind of dirt you will find. Real, or the gossipy kind. In any case, keep your mind open when you are doing Google searches or the kind, because that is how I found out about the soil being named for the Carstairs family and the land where it is found.

carstairs-descendants-by-carol-wilkerson

The above is a Genealogy Report format of 3 generations of this family. Please contact me for any additions, connections or corrections. webduckie AT yahoo DOT com

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