Live from Roots Tech 2016!

Actually, this is the last day of Roots Tech, and I left the Exhibit Hall to go to the Family History Library for a while. Last year, the Library held extended hours for those attending the conference to get some research in. This year, regular hours have held–with Saturday closing left at 5:00 pm. Lots of sorry and even sad attendees, who counted on Saturday evening to get a few ancestors looked up. Perhaps even trying out new techniqes and resources that they learned about during the three-day+ event.

I discovered a new book in the stacks that I missed the first time around: Nineteenth Century Tennessee Adoptions, Legitimations, and Name Changes, compiled by Alan N. Miller. And published through Clearfield Press, Baltimore Maryland, 2009. This little book is amazing with information you could easily overlook that might make a difference in the outcome of your research efforts.

These are two common errors that change the outcome of genealogy research:

  1. Taking too little information out of the basic sources, including persons of a younger generation who could be children born to a previous marriage and persons of older generations who could be the parents of your ancestor–even if you have no idea who these persons are. They don’t have the names you are familiar with. Take care here. If you knew the names of the parents, you probably would not be looking.
  2. And, cutting your search time period too short.  Some of the most valuable entries in the name changes and adoptions book referenced above occurred more than 25-35 years after the fact. The prospective parents arrived in court with an adult child who agreed to be adopted by persons who raised her and provided her with a full life–now they want to make it official with a legal adoption.

I know that you want instant answers–most people in genealogy today want it now. The ease of searching on electronic devices under your own control bends response this way. The phone rings, and you answer. When you make a call, you expect an answer on the moment. Research on your family will be more successful if you remove the time constriction. Take the time to look for new resources that were not available the last time you looked.

Expand your time period so that you can spot events and dates enacted years later. And recall that persons whose lives appeared stable, where you found them in the records year after year, then all of a sudden, they are gone. Did they divorce and move away+? Did they remarry and change their surname? Don’t just assume that they died. Look for them.

Roots Tech has thousands of people attending and the world’s largest genealogy chart taking Douglas Butts’ lineage all the way back to Adam–or so it would appear. What is impressive are the long lists of names coming down and going back all the way through the centuries.

We have had our 12 new books, published during 2015, on display. The array is impressive too–subjects like Virginia Research: Bypassing the Burned Courthouse and our two bestsellers–Scandinavian Research and Researching the British Isles. All 12 titles are available through–just type my name in as an author.

Work begins next week on the next 12 books for 2016. The one to be completed in February is on Vital Records and Where to find Them.  We’re compiling a stat4e-by-stat4e finding tool with little-known records. Did you know that SC and PA and NY did not keep early vital records? Or that Kentucky began keeping them, stopped, and eventually passed a law requiring state-wide registration? Stay tuned! Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle.

PS Compiling a book a month has taken the time way from writing my blogs. I’ll be more diligent in 2016. AE

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